Wednesday, October 29, 2008


November begins in just a couple of days and with it comes NaNoWriMo.

What in the heck is NaNoWriMo? you ask. Well, that would be one month of pure torture, too much coffee, computer key pounding, hair pulling, teeth grinding, and a lot of random doodles in the margin of my notebook.

Yup, National Novel Writing Month is here. And, as if I don't already have enough on my plate, I'm diving in head first with the hopes of having a 50,000 word novella completed come November 30th.

Pressures on.

At least there aren't any rules about whether the the manuscript has to be any good. I'm counting on pulling out nothing but crap, as, while being a published young adult fiction writer has been on my Top 5 Things Marisa Must Do Before She Turns 30 list (preceded by get married, have kids, travel Europe, and become a professional artist {professional defined loosely} - check check check and check), that certainly does not mean I have any idea how to actually write a publishable book.

Like I said, pressures on.

I always thought being a writer would be the first thing I ever did in life. In high school and college, nothing made me happier than Creative Writing assignments and even 20 page term papers. I graduated college with a degree in Creative Arts, my major emphasis being English Literature and minor emphasis being Art for Children with the plans of becoming a teacher.

Life kind of got in the way of my creativity for awhile. Since opening Elegant Snobbery last January, however, my creativity has been coming back. I always have itchy fingers to draw, but my itchy writing fingers are equally twitchy.

Will is a very tolerant husband. He doesn't seem to mind the piles upon piles of notebooks that are constantly spread around the house. And he is used to the look on my face when the dialogue between two unknown characters suddenly starts in my brain and I blank out while I listen to whats going on. Sometimes he even passes me a pen and notebook so I can scribble it all down before the voices stop.

No, it isn't schizophrenia or multiple personalities. At least I don't think so. Just a lot of characters having conversations, confrontations, and trying very hard to tell me their story.

So, that brings me to now, only a few days before the craziness begins. I've never been successful with NaNoWriMo before. I tried it two years ago, but only got 15,000 words done before Gracie, only 18 months old at the time, made things too rough for me. And, as I was hugely pregnant with Annelie, I was too tired to have my late night typing sessions.

Now I'm ready. I've got my notebook full of characters, plot, and setting. My mood music play list has been filled with Muse, Placebo, Marjorie Fair, Ghostland Observatory, and Linkin Park. My black Ultra Round Stic Grip Bic pen (which doubles as a microphone when I need to take a break from typing) has become permanently attached to my hand, ready to jot down any little note.

Fingers crossed. I still have art to print, package, and create. As well as a house to clean, kids to dress, cook for and play with. Maybe this month will be a success... or maybe I'll have to quit only 15,000 words into my novel.

Whatever happens, I'm just happy to take the plunge and hopeful that I might actually make a move on getting that last check on my list taken care of in the next few years before my 30th birthday.

Good luck to any of you other bloggers who are attempting NaNoWriMo this year! And if you are interested in learning more about it, but don't know where to look, be sure to visit


Monday, October 27, 2008

7 Things You May or May Not Have Known About Me

Portrait of Marisa by Gracie Hopkins, age 3
The green stuff on my face are my tattoos. One is a sparkle, one is a circle, and one is the ocean - says Gracie.
The mustache above my lips is actually my teeth and lipstick.
I am also wearing a tutu and green slippers.

I was tagged ages ago by Andrea of Handmade by Andrea Baker. It takes me forever to get to things, sometimes. I've been tagged before, and I also share just about everything about myself on this blog, but I tried to think of 7 random facts about me that I haven't shared yet. Normally, my tags are very, very, very long winded, so I'll do my best to keep this somewhat short and sweet.

Here goes.

1.) Everything makes me cry. I cry when I'm angry. I cry when I'm frustrated. I cry when I'm nervous. I cry when I'm embarrassed... the list goes on.

Will loves to watch me when I'm reading a sad book or watching a sad movie. He always knows when I'm about to break down, because I start by sniveling quietly... and then I burst into tears as if my heart has been broken into a million pieces. He thinks the look on my face is the funniest thing he has ever seen. He says it doesn't even look like I'm really crying (with the exception of the huge fat tears streaming down my cheeks) because my face is so exaggerated in its sadness.

Personally, I don't think there is anything funny about me crying my eyes out, but apparently, there is.

2.) I can't do a fake accent to save my life. The accent I'm the absolute worst at is the English accent. You'd think, after hearing my husband talk everyday for nearly 5 years, that I'd be able to sound half convincing with an English accent... but nope. Will says I sound Indian. And my Indian accent apparently sounds Scottish - says Will. He can do any accent and do it well. I'm hopeless.

3.) I have a very very expressive face. No poker face on this girl. You only have to take one look at me to know what mood I'm in. Although, it seems that my straight face is a little on the angry side, because when I'm walking down the street, I get a lot of weirdos saying things like, "Smile, sunshine," or "No need to be angry, pretty lady!" as I walk past.

Annoying, that. Of course they know that it annoys me, as my face is very expressive when I glare at them.

4.) I have the most irritating voice I have ever heard. Okay, I know that nearly everyone thinks that about themselves, don't they? But seriously, I have the most irritating voice I have ever heard. Way too high pitched. And I'm shrill when I'm angry.

5.) I'm loud. Very, very loud. Which worked for me. I was a high school cheerleader, took drama for a few years in high school as well as children's theatre in college, and I worked as a daycare supervisor and summer camp instructor for 5 years (often put on playground duty as my voice carried across the entire campus and all kids could hear me whenever I called them).

Gracie and Annelie are used to it already, and don't even flinch. I pretty much shout everything I say.

6.) I have no filtering system when I talk (or type). I say anything and everything to anyone and everyone. It is totally embarrassing and I usually notice I've said too much (waaaaay too much) about 10 minutes after the person I'm talking to has tuned me out.

7.) I have a somewhat rebellious nature. I'll show it all to you now, as I refuse to finish my tagging participation by tagging other people. The tagging stops here, folks.

At least I kept it short and sweet... for me. No filtering system, remember?


Friday, October 24, 2008

Fabric, Fabric, Everywhere

When I was visiting my mom last month, I casually asked her if she had any fabric scraps that she wasn't using. I expected that she would hand me a few small pieces, enough to fill a little zip lock bag... but whooooo boy! Instead, without a single second of protest from me, I ended up going home with a doggie bag filled to the brim.

A lot of you know that my mom is Linda, of Lindylou, an Etsy shop filled with gorgeous pillow covers, travel accessories, sachets and zippered cosmetic bags. She now has another shop, Lindylou Fabric, which is full of lovely designer quilting fabrics, handmade supplies and patterns. Needless to say, she has a LOT of fabric.

Naturally, I'm in 7th heaven when I visit, as her sewing room is chock full, and everything is fabulous. This time, my mom decided that she wanted to empty her collection of discontinued Amy Butler fabrics from Amy's Charm, Ginger Bliss and Temple Gardens collections... and I got it all, along with some chenille, fabric covered buttons, and sewing notions.

Fabric lovers, prepare to drool...

Oooooohhhhh.... fabric.... drool.....

I just want to lay them all out, and gently pet them. Aren't they just the loveliest things?

I'm quite excited as most of the pieces are big enough to make skirts and dresses for my girls. They are going to be quite spoiled by all the things I want to make for them!! And since there is so much, I expect I'll have a trillion projects to last me the next few years, especially as my own fabric collection, the two moving boxes full of fabrics left over from my old sewing days. is still huge and intact.

I'll be quite excited to show off all my projects when I get to them. Stay tuned!

And thanks, Mom!

Here is a sample of some of the lovely items from my mom's shop:

You can find all these and many more home decor items and accessories for gals on the go at


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Illustration Friday: Late

Oh Dear, I must Be Late! - sketch

I've been out of drawing paper for the last week and a half, and it is driving me crazy. Every time I make plans to go to the art store, life gets in the way. But I wanted to participate in Illustration Friday this week, as the topic is "Late" and I thought another picture in my Alice series would be perfect.

Unfortunately, since I can't color this bad boy in, I'm just posting my sketch of the White Rabbit. This will be another mixed media collage. The rabbit will be colored pencil, the background will be paint on vintage text, the flowers... I'm not sure but I hope to make them pretty cool looking.

Sorry, Illustration Friday folks, for my half-finished contribution... as for everyone else, I'll be sure to show him off as soon as he is done.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Naughty Little Lady and the Pushover Mom

When it comes to Annelie... I'm such a pushover. This is her "I've been naughty and I'm in big trouble" face, and if I don't check myself now, she'll use it to get away with everything for the rest of her life. Although, taking pictures of her and laughing my head off because, naturally, I think she is the cutest thing even when she has been naughty, doesn't help me and my credibility as a mom-who-runs-the-show.

I worked in childcare for 10 years, from nanny to daycare supervisor to 4th and 5th grade summer school teacher... and I kept those kids in line as rigidly as Captain Von Trapp with his whistle system. Naturally, I assumed that keeping my kids in line would be just as easy.

Moms out there... stop laughing right now! Don't think I can't hear you....

It doesn't help that Annelie, after wreaking havoc upon the world and my life, looks up at me with her "I've been naughty and I'm in big trouble" face, and then happily says, "I'm funny!" in order to see me crack a smile.

Don't worry, I'm not one of those moms. You know, the kind that sit calmly in the principal's office and say, "I don't know what you are talking about. My little Timmy would never put sand down little Ava's shirt" As a former playground terrorizer (read this post), I know just what is in store for me from my two little clones and have already broken in the time-out spot.

But seriously, how cute is this face?

I don't know what you're talking about. My little Annelie would never dump a bucket of water all over the bath mat!

Oh wait, yeah she would.

And another thing... why must the bathtub always look like the movie set of Titanic??

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh me, Oh my, Oh Mandie!

I got a surprise package in the mail yesterday that has had me jumping up and down with joy all day long. I love packages. They are so much better than bills. And when the package has Oh Mandie! all over it, I know I am in for a TREAT!

I'm a huge Oh Mandie! fan. I think everyone who knows the gal, loves the gal. Last month, Amanda and I did a shop swap. She decorated her boys room with sock monkey prints and I made out like a bandit with a whole assortment of lovelies, including this pearly sparrow necklace.

Ooooh, how lovely! This necklace is just my absolute favorite. Unfortunately, I didn't have a single pair of earrings to match. Whats a girl to do?

Amanda was more than happy to make me a matching pair...but little did I know, she would surprise me with the most awesome earrings in the world.

Aren't they just the girliest, cutest earrings ever? I may only be 27, which is technically supposed to be young... but being the at-home mom of two lively and little, energy-sucking daughters has been running me ragged for the last few years and I feel old and frumpy beyond my years.

Nothing quite like a fabulous necklace and a gorgeous pair of earrings to make me feel young and fun again.

Thanks, Amanda! You have unknowingly given me my youth back!

Want to see the other Oh Mandie! items I have? Be prepared to "ooooh" and "ahhhhh."

I bought this ACEO in August, when I realized that I had spent an entire day yelling at my trouble-making little divas. I was tired and burnt out, and when I saw this I knew it would be just the thing to remind me to LAUGH instead shout.

My girls are precious and, though they drive me to insanity, I need to appreciate the funny stuff more and let the aggravating stuff just roll off me.

Here is my new sketchbook which measures 8 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches and has 50 blank, unlined pages of heavy weight, hand cut Bristol Board paper -- I pretty much just copied all of that from her item description.

Here is some more copying: All of the inner bristol board paper is recycled from a local paper mill - the cuts of paper were too small for them to use, but perfectly wonderful to make journals! Helping the planet one piece of paper at a time! ♥

Whats not to love? This journal/sketchbook is the perfect thing for me to sketch out my new mini illustrations. Love it!

And these Sugar earrings are just adorable. They are as sweet as cotton candy and give my regular jeans-and-a-t-shirt look some flirty pizazz.

Be sure to visit Oh Mandie! if you haven't yet. You won't be let down!



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Make a Wish

I'm a compulsive wisher. No dandelion or birthday candle goes unblown, no wishing well is without my penny, no first star goes without a poem recitation, no wishbone goes unpulled, and no clock, at 11:11, goes unkissed.

I'm turning Gracie into a compulsive wisher, as well. Every night, she searches the sky for the first star. She knows "Star light, Star bright, The first star I see tonight..." by heart. And just like me, she recites it, then scrunches up her eyes to make her wish. I don't ever tell my wishes. I'm superstitious like that... but Gracie is more than happy to share her wishes with me.

"I wished for a whale to fly in the sky with the man on the moon." She proudly announces. Her wishing well wishes and dandelion wishes are pretty much the same. Sometimes she switches things up - asking for alligators or an octopus - but they all tend to be up in the sky and a little surreal.

I don't know if all my wishes come true. I make so many a day that it is hard to keep track. But it is nice to know that something as simple as wishing on a star, or the seeds of a dandelion can give me a sense that wishes can come true, if only I take a moment to think of one.

For all you other wishers out there, here are a few items from some excellent Etsy shops, for you to enjoy.

Macaroni and Glue is a sweet and stylish shop full of chic, vintage-inspired stationery.

I just adore this Wish set of 8 blank note cards. It is completely adorable!! You can find her shop at

The photography of Lorissa Longfellow, of LJDesign and Photo is some of my favorite ever taken. I have several of her photographs on my walls, and this dandelion photograph is just fabulous.

Aren't you just itching to make a wish and blow? You can find this print and many others at (the Route 66 collection is my favorite!!).

The artwork found in Gumball Grenade Illustrations never fails to make me smile. I just love this piece, titled Whale of a Wish. Isn't the cutest?

You can find this print, as well as a whole collection of dreamy and wishfull art, at



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mini Prints = Mega Cuteness

I've been working on some very tiny prints lately and I am completely in love with them.

I wanted to add some small and inexpensive items to my shop, just perfect for those who like my artwork but don't quite have the need or the pocket money for a larger print. These mini prints are just the ticket, I think. They measure 3 x 3 inches and comes attached to a background paper, which measures 4 x 6 and fits into a 4 x 6 frame.

I'm a scrapbook paper nut, so I was quite happy to pull out my card stock and patterned paper stash and offer a variety of paper mats that the prints come attached to.

And I think that Cowboy Jimmy the sock monkey, and his trusty steed, Henry are so cute that a large cowboy sock monkey print just might make it into my shop soon! I love him!

Here are my mini prints so far. I have some candies and cupcakes in the works... and other ideas are still floating around, just waiting for me to sketch. I think they are pretty challenging, since I tend to work in a larger scale. The originals are only 3 x 3 inches, when I usually work in the 11 x 14 size. But I love them. Small things are always the cutest things, aren't they?

Ice Cream for Jolie
3 x 3 inch mini print

Jessie and her Teddy
3 x 3 inch mini print

Ice Cream for Jeffrey
3 x 3 inch mini print

Love Monkeys
3 x 3 inch mini print

These mini prints are now in shop. I hope you think they are as cute as I do!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Cheating at Dinner

Sometimes I have to cheat at dinner and make something extra fabulous, yet super quick because, instead of using my time wisely when the girls are happily playing on our back patio (aka happily eating dry dog food on the back patio - what is it with kids and dog food? Or is it just my kids? I don't know) I wander into the Etsy forums, and needless to say, glance at the clock 45 minutes later only to realize the Will is going to be coming home from work in only 15 minutes and I haven't even started dinner. Nothing quite like the Etsy forums to make an at-home-mom forget to cook and clean.

So, I have to get crafty and cover my tracks. My cheat dinner of all times is pizza. A garlicy gourmet-tasting pizza that makes my husband drool and spend no less than 35 minutes praising my culinary genius.

Ladies, here's what I do:

Grab a frozen, ready-to-bake pizza and preheat the oven. I use Tony's pizza because it is only $2.00 a pizza and I'm cheap like that. It actually tastes really good, but feel free to eat whatever fancy frozen pizza you like. If you are of the pizza crust-making variety, props to ya. I'm not, unless it is the just-add-water kind of crust. Yeast frightens me. But like I said, this is a quick pizza, and frozen is just the ticket.

Prep time is only about 5 minutes. Slice some tomato, chop some fresh basil leaves, and mince a clove of garlic.

Grate some mozzarella cheese because, of course, cheese is the best part of a pizza and the more the better. This pizza is not diet in any way, shape, or form, in case you were wondering.

Spread the minced garlic all over the pizza. Then spread out the tomatoes, basil, a layer of cheese and sprinkle with dried basil leaves before popping it into the oven for about 7-8 minutes.

The end result... the most delicious gourmet pizza on the planet, fresh from the oven just as hubby's key is turning in the door.

I'm telling ya, this pizza is fantastic. Will always assumes that I've been slaving over a hot stove for ages (this guy knows nothing about cooking anything other than beans on toast, and I'm more than happy to keep him in the dark, especially since he thinks I'm the most wonderful cook in the world).
And if you really feel like getting worshipful praises, pass him an ice cold beer along with his pizza. He'll love you forever.

If you have pizza sharing issues like I do, you'll want to make a couple of these.



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