Monday, August 30, 2010

Bronte Sisters, Power UP!

Please, oh please can someone make these real?

I totally want Bronte Sisters Power Dolls.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Flashback: Looking Back... '89

I blogged about my childhood friend, Molly, the Loopy to my Latoosha, when I flashed back a few months ago. Recently, I found the above picture of the two of us, which I drew when when we were ten, and I couldn't help but laugh and post it here!

Today's flashback isn't my own, but one that Molly wrote and shared on her new blog - Organicopia - A Total Organic Experience.

She gave me permission to share it, so here it is:

Looking Back... '89

by Molly Holbrook

I remember hanging out in the gazebo. Foothill elementary. We thought we may be able to dig to Marisa’s grandma’s house, in Monte Sereno. It was a long way, digging in the sand. Kenny Merthe thought we may be able to fly there. So we jumped. Not very far though. Maybe like, 3 or 4 feet…. it felt like we were really going the distance.

That was with my best friend, Marisa. We were crazy. We had wild imaginations. We were going places. We were digging our way to freedom. We dug to China, to her grandma’s house, to Michelle Brown’s, to kingdom come. We never stopped, we never stopped dreaming, we never stopped trying, we never stopped believing.

I remember exactly what Marisa used to bring for lunch. Bologna and cheese sandwiches on white bread. I remember exactly what she used to do to those bologna sandwiches…. wad that bread up in a ball, until it was like dough again.

Why in the heck would I remember something like that?

I remember what I got for lunch. A soggy pb&j in an over-sized produce bag stuck at the bottom of a used up Safeway bag with a rotten apple and a warm Yoo-Hoo box. Remember those? Well, my Yoo-Hoo was probably older than your Yoo-Hoo. I never wanted to eat my lunch. I was always salivating over someone elses. The Doritos, the fruit snacks, the cool lunch boxes that didn’t ruin your meal or taste like dish soap when you took a sip out of your thermos.

I remember putting a different name on my lunch bag. Bridgette or Mindy or Rebecca. Any name but mine. I remember my mom getting so upset, if we didn’t finish our WHOLE bowl of cereal, or opening up a new jar of peanut butter before the old one was finished.

Remember that Marisa?

Crazy times, in the Holbrook household. Waste not want not, was the motto in our household. If you take it, eat it. Crazy times that lead me to where I am today. Give it away.

The motto I seem to live by.

Giving food away. Making enough to pass around. Buying enough to share. It’s good, I suppose.

Sharing is caring.

But not at the expense of my own well being…..

That’s where I’m at today.


Yes, Molly, I do remember that!!

Twenty-one years later, Molly is an organic chef - an amazing one! Before moving to Texas, I had the pleasure of tasting her gourmet cuisine when I helped her cater parties where she worked as a personal chef. Very different than the Truth or Dare fare of our youth, when she'd whip up a bowl of mustard/peanut butter/pickle juice/ketchup/pistachio pudding and dare me to eat it all.

Be sure to check Molly out on Tumblr -

and on Twitter! -

Have a flashback of your own? Head on over to Tia's blog and join in!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thank You! and a Crafty Project

Gracie's first days of kindergarten have been a success - thank you all for your awesome comments on Monday's post!

Waking up early is going to be the biggest challenge, I believe. On Monday, after I woke Gracie, she sat on her bed, looking around, dazed, and said, "This is really weird. Am I just dreaming this?" but was so excited she got up anyway.

Now, three days into the school year, Gracie automatically plugs her ears and rolls over to avoid me when I come in to wake her up. My kid = not a morning person.

I'm not a morning person either, and this waking-up-before-9-am thing is not easy. Not to mention the whole going-to-bed-before-2-am thing. But we'll adjust. Hopefully. And if not, I'll just get used to looking half-dead for the rest of my life.

In other news, I posted a crafty project over at The Mama Dramalogues today.

Check. It. Out. <- click that.

Happy Wednesday, folks!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Gracie Goes to Kindergarten

An exciting day in the Hopkins house to be sure... Gracie's first day of school!

We've known this day was coming for five years now, but somehow that didn't make it any easier to say goodbye as she went off to kindergarten.

Of course we needed the mandatory first day of school photos - a brand new first-day-of-school outfit, shiny white sneakers, Littlest Pet Shop lunch box, and hand made hair flowers from fleurs de pomme, a present from our friend April.

And all the pictures are complete with the best accessory of all - Gracie's strawberry cream cheese mustache.

I didn't have the mama's-not-ready-to-cut-the-apron-strings moment of pure panic, which I fully expected - it was Will who got choked up, instead.

But I did have a nervous breakdown last night as I spread her homemade brownie with purple-tinted white chocolate and sprinkles, and drew a picture with flowers and butterflies and hearts for her lunchbox.

I guess it's time to stop seeing Gracie as this little baby butterfly now that she's flown off into the big bad world all on her own.

It will be hard though... I'm still not quite ready to let her go, even though Gracie wasn't nervous a bit. She was more than happy to hug and kiss us goodbye and head into Mrs. Lamb's class.

Annelie was thrilled to say goodbye to her big sister and get back into the car this morning.

"Yay, now it's time to go to the bakery and get a cupcake!" she exclaimed! To which I replied, "Um... why do you say that?"

And her answer: "Gracie said that when she goes to school, I get to go to the bakery as a special treat!"

Well, if that's what Gracie says, then it must be true... so off to the bakery we went, and Annelie got her 'cupcake' (otherwise known as a banana nut muffin)

Happy first day of school, Gracie! We're so proud of you!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Support Literacy: Share Some Book Love!

Growing up, I didn't realize just how lucky I was when it came to the modeling, sharing, and love of books surrounding me. I thought everyone read, was read to, was given books for birthdays and Christmases. Not to mention those YAY-You-Got-an-A-on-a-Test trips to the used bookstore.

Books were my reward for a job well done. They were my escape when I didn't want to clean my room. They were the way I bonded with my fellow book-loving school friends. They were the way I coped when I didn't have any friends at all.

They were magic, adventure, mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy, how-to, and by golly, if Margaret hadn't asked God all those questions, I'd still be confused about boobs and periods.

When asked about who most influenced me to read, I couldn't come up with a single answer, but I did narrow down some of my influences.

  • My mom is an avid bookwork and made sure my book cravings were always satisfied. She read aloud to my brother and I from babyhood through middle school. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, and the fantasy of Madeline L'Engle and Mary Stewart were certainly fun to read on my own, but much better when my mom would light a fire in the fireplace on a cold winter night, and my brother and I would listen as she read aloud.
  • My big brother Dan had a bookshelf filled with The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift and The Three Investigators, which I raided often because I couldn't get enough adventure and mystery.
  • My aunt made sure my life was filled with Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Black Beauty, Nancy Drew and a billion other classics.
  • My Grampa is very rarely without a book and my John Grisham obsession in high school was all thanks to him.
  • My Grammy took me to the library every week, and never put a limit on how many books I could check out. I know this because when I was ten, I filled my arms with 40 books - I counted - and she still didn't make me put any back. I read them ALL.
  • The local librarian came by our school to read to us, from kindergarten through middle school, and thanks to her, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin will always be one of my most favorite books EVER.
  • My closest childhood friends, Molly and Elena, had bookshelves that rivaled mine in awesomeness and we frequently roller-bladed to each others houses to "check-out" books. And anytime we came across fifty cents, we ran downtown to the used bookstore for a new addition to read and share.
To this day, thanks to everyone who read to me, read around me, and read next to me, I am a hardcore book junkie. And I love it.

So tell me... who most influenced YOU to read?

Or better yet, share your story in a blog post, and inspire someone to pick up a book and share the reading love, too.

Or better yet, share your story, and then run as fast as you can over to the blog Kid Lit Frenzy, and enter to win an advance reading copy (ARC) of the book Crescendo - sequel to Hush Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick - and the ARC of Matched by Ally Condie (which I read this past week and LOVED).
And if you want, leave me a comment with your favorite books! I love all sorts of books, and am always looking to grow my to-read list!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Staying Positive

Wanna know what sucks? Mono, that's what.

It's sucking my energy, my creativity, my social life (you know, because I'm too drained to update my Facebook status forty thousand times a day). It's sucking my SOUL.

Those who have had mono before know exactly what I'm talking about. Those who haven't - don't come knocking on my door, because you don't want it, I can assure you.

But I don't want to whine about being sick today, this week, this month. I'll save that for another day and instead blather on about staying positive.

Something I've learned about myself in the last week and a half - I don't like to sit still. At all. I need to be busy, move my fingers, work my brain. I can barely even watch a half hour of TV before I have to pull out my notebook and outline scenes of my book, or grab my sketchbook and fill the pages with cupcakes and giraffes and anything else that pops into my head.

But now, I pretty much have to sit still, especially on the days when I'm too tired to function.

Why is this a positive thing? you may be asking yourself.

Here's why: Because my kids are LOVING it. Mommy sitting on the couch? In the day time? That NEVER happens! Mommy's always too busy!

Anyone who knows me already knows that watching kid's television, or playing with Barbies makes me want take a long walk off a short pier. But with my kids sick, and with myself being sick, my days are spent on the couch, cuddled up with them, watching endless amounts of PBS Kids (omg, Caillou is the dumbest show ever. Just sayin') or playing dolls in an effort to keep us all calm and quiet, hoping that tomorrow will be a better, more energized day.

  • My house is insanely messy.
  • Art has fallen by the wayside, just when I was excited to pick up my pencils and create again.
  • I used to fill pages and pages of my manuscript a day, but now, just finishing a paragraph is cause for celebration.
  • I'm too tired to READ, which is insane (Although I have read about 3 books this week, so maybe my definition of being "too tired to read" isn't the same as other people's definition of being too tired to read)
  • I'm starting to smell funny.

But I will NOT stress out.

I will stay positive because:
  • Those colored pencils will be picked up another day.
  • My book doesn't need to be finished this month, even if that is what I want.
  • My house can be cleaned in a week from now (except the kitchen and bathroom. Ew).
  • I don't need to read a book a day to survive. As it turns out, a person won't actually DIE if they don't read a book a day.
  • According to my husband, I don't actually smell funny, especially as I'm still showering.
Yes, I will stay positive, because my kids are loving all the mom-time they're getting, and I'm loving all the kid-time I'm getting, and that's what matters most at the moment, don't you think?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sparkly Mermaid Tail Tutorial - a re-post

I don't ever re-post my old posts on this blog, but my Sparkly Mermaid Tail tutorial has been getting lots of views and comments lately, and I've been getting thank you emails from AWESOME people who have made tails for their kid's dress up box, their kid's mermaid-themed dance routines (OMG, I got an email filled with pictures and they were so awesome!) and Halloween costumes.

Since I have many new crafty readers since last fall, I thought I'd link to my SUPER easy and ridiculously cute mermaid tail tutorial for those who haven't seen it, but might be interested:

(just click the link to be magically transported to my original post)

For Halloween last year, I made a sea-junk necklace out of yarn (just a braid of about 15 pieces of yarn), fake flowers and beads, which I hot glued on, and dangly bits of left over sequin fabric and organza, which I also tied into their hair. It took about 5 minutes to make, and the girls loved them!

The girls were heavily complimented, and scored major amounts of candy (which I ate most of... shhhh... don't tell them) so the costume was definitely a success.

Now I just need to figure out what to make for Halloween this year...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Aced My Test!

(self-portrait at age 4 - drawn at age 16)

Randomly, I decided to take a personality test. More specifically, this personality test. And then I checked my results -here- because it's a better result-checker than the one that goes with the above link (says my fave writer, and I totes agree with her).

Anyway, if you're curious, I am an ISFP (introverted* sensing feeling perceiving) which is also labeled THE ARTIST (yay!) and basically the ISFV-type fits me like a too-tight pair of pants.

* for those of you who are thinking, "Uh-uh, no way, Marisa is NOT an introvert" - here's a true fact: my online personality is more extroverted than my IRL personality. Although, I talk too much no matter which personality is face-forward)

Here's me in a nutshell:

-- ISFPs live in a world of sensation possibilities. They have a strong aesthetic appreciation for art, and are likely to be artists in some form, because they are unusually gifted at creating things which will strongly affect the senses (BOO-YAH!)

-- They have a strong set of values, which they strive to meet in their lives. They need to feel as if they're living their lives in accordance to what they feel is right, and will rebel against anything which conflicts with that goal. (YUP)

-- They're original and independent, and need to have personal space (Meaning: LEAVE ME ALONE, I'M BUSY BEING ORIGINAL!)

-- ISFPs are action-oriented & are uncomfortable with theorizing concepts & ideas unless they see a practical application. They learn best in a "hands-on" environment, and may become easily bored with the traditional teaching methods, which emphasize abstract thinking. They are uncomfortable with the idea of making decisions based strictly on logic. (Meaning: I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HECK YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT! SHOW ME USING PLAY-DOH!)

-- They are extremely perceptive and aware of others and constantly gather specific information about people, and seek to discover what it means (Meaning: I'M STALKING YOU ALL CRAZY-LIKE AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW IT! BWA-HA-HA-HA!)

-- ISFPs have no desire to lead or control others, just as they have no desire to be led or controlled by others. (Meaning: STOP BOSSING ME AROUND! - and in return, I won't boss you around either, okay?)

-- The ISFP is likely to not give themself enough credit for the things which they do extremely well. Their strong value systems can lead them to be intensely perfectionist and cause them to judge themselves with unnecessary harshness (Um... no comment. But I'm sure I'll get a few I TOLD YOU SOs. Specifically, from Tina, Heather, and Alyssa)

-- The ISFP has many special gifts for the world, especially in the areas of creating artistic sensation & selflessly serving others (Meaning: LUCKY WORLD FOR HAVING ME & LUCKY YOU, WHO HAVE BEEN SELFLESSLY SERVED BY ME)

Sorry, I couldn't help my reaction to that last one....

Anyway, if you take the personality test (Go on! It's fun!) let me know what you got! Because I am extremely perceptive and aware of others and constantly gather specific information about people!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Flashback: My CA Peeps

My last girls night out before moving away.
I was 5 months pregnant with Annelie which is weird
because I always thought I was so fat when I was pregnant

I'm missing California, and missing my friends, so this flashback is really just a couple of photos I pulled off my old MySpace page from just before we moved away to Texas four years ago.

And now I'm sulking and wishing I could hop on a plane and go back to California.

Dinner at Sonoma Chicken Coop...

Drinks at the Bank...

Bonfire at the beach...

Eating a lot of Corn Nuts (those things are addictive. If you don't believe me, try the Chile Picante ones)...



Have a flashback of your own to share? Head on over to TIA'S BLOG and join in!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Outta the Mouths of Babes: TMD Edition

I did a quick li'l blog post today, over at
The Mama Dramalogues.
Head on over, and share a funny "outta the mouths of babes"
story of your own in the comments!

In other news, I am sick, and very, very tiiiiiiirrrrred, and planning a trip to the doctor to see if my slobbery, contagious three year old has passed her mono over to me. I'm thinking yes, but hoping no.

And now, I'm





G'night, folks!


Monday, August 9, 2010

New Coloring Pages!

If the place where you live is anything like the place where I live, then it's too hot to do much other than sit under a fan, sipping iced coffee and wishing it was cool enough for the kids to go out and play without melting into a puddle after 2.5 seconds.

Looking for something to do? Print up some coloring pages, grab some crayons, markers, colored pencils, and/or glitter, and let those little kiddos go nuts!

I've added five new coloring pages (cupcakes!) to my FREE COLORING PAGES post, so if you're looking for a sweet way to keep little hands busy, check out the new cupcakes!

Happy Monday, folks!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just Me and the Littlest Duckling

For the very first time, instead of having misty eyes and heart palpitations over the idea of my biggest duckling waddling away to kindergarten in three weeks, I am actually excited.

Gracie is going to thrive in kindergarten. She loves to learn, she loves arts and crafts... And, well, my boy-crazy five-year-old will be surrounded by a room of cute little boys, seven hours a day, five days a week, so I can only assume she'll be a happy clam.

But what makes me excited, is the fact that for the first time in her 3.5 years of life, it'll be just me and Annelie.

My kids aren't in preschool or day care, and are stuck together with me all day long. Add to that the fact that neither one of them has had any parent/child one-on-one time, and you can imagine just how sick of each other they are.

And if you can't imagine it, let me tell you - the kids are sick of each other. All they do is FIGHT.

As a special "farewell, you're off to kindergarten" treat, my hubs took Gracie away for a 2-day daddy-daughter road trip, leaving me and Annelie - who was diagnosed with mono last week - home alone in an effort to keep the rest of West Texas mono-free.

Did she mind? Why, no, she most certainly did not.
- Art whenever she wanted without Gracie saying her picture wasn't pretty.

- Sitting next to me, scribbling stories (or the letter A on repeat) in her brand new notebook, while I worked on my own book.

- Any show she wanted to watch on TV, without Gracie saying her choices were babyish (although Gracie loves Blue's Clues and Little Bear, so really, she's not one to talk)

- Mommy-playing-Barbies time, which usually never happens as I hate playing with toys (I know, I'm one of those no-fun mamas).

- And, the creme de la creme as far as Annelie was concerned: I handed over her very first Sharpie and a stack of fancy drawing paper, and let her go nuts with it.

Yup, folks, Tootsie and Grace is back in action, and in a few weeks, there will be some awesome new additions by my littlest Tootsie Pop.

There's something about the art of a three-year-old that is flat-out fantastic and now that Gracie's art is more sophisticated (um, and filled with pictures of Harry Potter or Justin Beaver - er, Bieber...), I haven't wanted to add any of her current work to Tootsie and Grace. But Annelie is an amazing artist and her illustrations will fit in our shop perfectly! Check out her latest, waiting to be colored in by me:
Yeah, I sort of think my kids are artistic geniuses. What can I say? I'm their mom. It's my job to think they are UNBELIEVABLE in all that they do.

Gracie can not wait to start kindergarten. Now that Annelie has discovered what life is like as an only child, she can't wait for Gracie to start kindergarten, either. And now that I remember what it is like having only one kid around me in the day... let me just say, next year will be BLISS.

Ahhhh... no more fighting all day, every day. I can't wait!

Happy weekend, folks!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Back in the Saddle

The other day, I pulled out my colored pencils for the first time since February. Let me just say, holding my pencils in my hand again was like coming home after a long, long journey.

Cheesy, I know. But seriously, I hadn't realized just how long it had been since drawing last, or just how much I missed it.

My muse and I have been on bad terms, lately. I think she missed my colored pencils, too, and has been rudely taking it out on me. I was finally typing up the very last chapter of that dang book I mention writing every so often, and was ready for that final fight between good and evil and all that...

But the last 84 pages I'd written - everything since May - were complete and total crap, so I dumped them in the trash and stepped away from the computer for a few days, in desperate need of a breather.

A custom illustration came at the perfect time.

Here's a little sneak... more to come soon!

And remember a million years ago, when I had that giveaway for Alphabet prints? Well... guess what's on the drawing board?

P for Peacock...

R for Rabbit...

and V for... I'm not sure... Vulture, maybe?

Well, whatever I come up with for the letter V, I'm just happy to be scribbling again!

Looking forward to showing you my finished illustrations soon!

And as for that book I've been hacking away at... my muse is in better spirits this week. On with the end!


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