Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy National Pencil Day!

Okay, so perhaps not the most exciting day of the year... but as I'm a massive colored pencil fanatic (GO DESIGN SPECTRACOLORS!) (LETS HEAR IT FOR PRISMACOLORS!) of course I think it is a great day.

My colored pencils are like children to me... only a lot quieter, less messy, and a whole lot more polite. I love them. Very, very much. Especially my Design Spectracolors which I seem to talk about a lot on this blog. In fact, they might even deserve their own category along my blog's side bar.

.... Maybe not. But anyway, today we will be spending some serious quality time with our pencils and I hope you all will too. Pencils are wonderful things!

So I'll finish this celebratory post with a poem (and pencil illustration) I wrote back at the age of 12. Its not any good - heck, it doesn't even make any sense - but as you can see, pencils and I go way back.

My Family is Like a Box of Colored Pencils - by Marisa (Myers)

My family is like a box of colored pencils:

My brother is a new pencil, sharp at the tip but chewed around the edges.

My mother is the prettiest color, the one everyone wants to use.

I am the small colored pencil, the one way back, where it is hardly seen, but everyone knows where I am, because I'm the common color, the one in everyone's picture.

.... Um.... I'm not sure how my mom will feel knowing that I thought she was the one everyone wanted to use... Not sure what that is all about.

And unfortunately, my poetry skills have gotten worse over time. Not to mention my handwriting. But still. I love looking at my old homework papers. And of course, I love colored pencils.

So anyway, hurray for pencils and hurray for National Pencil Day!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lazy Daisy

Lazy Daisy Afternoon
by Doe Studio

I've been back from my trip to New Orleans for a few days now... but I'm having a hard time jumping back into my plain ol' life. I blame the Creole food, which, as it turns out, is the most delicious food on the planet. Perhaps I'm biased because I was only just eating it a few days ago... but whooooooo boy, that food was fantastic! Alligator Gumbo, BBQ Shrimp Po'Boys, Crawfish pastas, Beignets with Chicory Coffee... lets just say my clothes are a little snug all of a sudden.

I was going to do a post about my trip with tons and tons of pictures, but as I discovered once we had left New Orleans, I didn't really take any pictures. I took maybe about five of them. Hmmm... I'm not that great at remembering to take pictures anymore. I think I was too busy eating.

So instead, I'll just blog about how L-A-Z-Y I am now that I'm back. Its hard getting back to regular life after a great vacation, isn't it?

by Kristiana Parn

I hope you all are a little more productive than little ol' lazy me.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans

Antoine's - Giclee print by Dianne Parks
Dianne Parks, Louisiana Art

So, my mother-in-law is coming back into town tonight, to stay with us for the next couple of weeks. Remember last year's Killer Caipirinhas?? Whoooo boy, can't wait for some more of those, though we might have to make Caipiroshkas, this time around since the cacha├ža is gone.

But I digress, because this post isn't about limey/sugary Brazilian alcoholic beverages, but about the fact that we are GOING TO NEW ORLEANS!

Whoo hoo! I've never been there before, but Anne (that would be my MIL) booked her flight from England into Houston, rather than Dallas or Austin... which means a 6.5 hour drive for us to go and get her.

So, instead of fussing over the drive, Will and I called up my mom and said, "Hey, are you interested in taking the kids for 5 days?" to which she replied, "You betcha!" (thanks, Mom!)

.... and so BAM! a trip to New Orleans was set in motion. We love spontaneous road trips. Ahhhh, like the good ol' days before kids.

Jazz City Plaque

Will is insanely excited because of the jazz scene. He is a huge music fan and being in Jazz City is just his thing.

I'm insanely excited because of the Ghost and Vampire tour...

Foggy Man, New Orleans Fine Art Photograph
by Anastasia Lang

(ooooohhhh, creepy!)

and the Cemetery and Voodoo tour...

Crown Coffin Locket Necklace

I love the haunted histories of famous cities and I can't wait to see the tomb of the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. So fun.

And I'll have a big bowl of gumbo... mmmmm....

So off we go (we leave tonight). I wont be back until next week, so au revoir my lovely bloggers and I hope you all have a fantastic week.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Interview with a 3.5 Year Old

I got this interview from the lovely Lorissa of LJ Design and Photo, and I thought it was hilarious. I couldn't wait to try the questions out on Gracie.

What is something mom always says to you?
Don't run away

2. What makes Mom happy?

Being a good listener

3. What makes Mom sad?

Bedtime and naptime

(oh, yeah right!)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

From making silly faces

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Like a baby

6. How old is your mom?

This many (holds up five fingers)

I'm five?

Yeah. Five

7. How tall is your mom?

Like a giant

(seriously, I'm 5'2'' and the shortest person in my family, including my 12 year old cousin)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Play with me

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

Play with my toys

(um.... no)

10. What is your Mom very good at?


11. If Mom became famous what would it be for?

{insert Gracie crying here}

Why are you crying?

Because I don't want you to be famous! I want you to be my mommy!

Gracie, seriously. Stop crying. If I went on TV, what do you think I'd be doing.

Being on a cooking show

(for what, making macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets?)

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Not good at doing the alphabet

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Work with Angie

(Angie is the gal who does my prints, and one of Gracie's favorite people)

14. What is your mom's favorite food?


(It really isn't. We just eat spaghetti all the time because it is quick and cheap)

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Taking a shower

(exactly what is she trying to say here?)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?


(she’s right, I would choose Ariel)

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Play tag and paint

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Because we have hair

19. How are you and your mom different?

Because we are different than penguins

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Because you lick me and you’re my friend

(yes, that says LICK not LIKE. Apparently I lick her)

Got a little kid of your own? Be sure to interview them! You just never know what is going to come out of their mouth.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sometimes It Pays To Hoard

The other day I was sulking because I had the brilliant idea to make super adorable gift tag sets with colorful ribbon ties... but the only ribbon I had was some solid red grosgrain ribbon.

So I made these little sock monkey tags--

--which I love, but then I thought, "Okay those are cute, but I'm bored of solid red grosgrain ribbon already, and want something colorful with fun patterns."

I wanted something to make my tags all sorts of fabulous... but I had NOTHING.

{insert sulking here}

And then I had one of those A-ha! moments as I dug through my fabric stash. My tremendously huge fabric stash. The one that Will always sees in piles and bags and boxes and says, like a skipping record, "Are you ever going to use any of this stuff?"-- (okay, I should give him more credit than that... he is amazing when it comes not harassing me about my fabric hoarding tendencies too much)

So I pulled out some fabrics - colorful, patterned fabrics - and here are my latest tags which I might just become obsessed with because I love those fabric ribbons so much.

What do you think of my fabric ribbons?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's ...

Erin Go Bragh - Original Watercolor Shamrock Painting
5 x 7 inches - Karen Faulkner Art

I'm not gonna lie -- I've never been a fan of St. Patrick's day.

Generally, I like fairies and leprechauns and any chance to celebrate magic, and I LOVE Ireland, especially as that is where I met my husband... but truthfully, I was always that girl in school who completely forgot to wear green and therefore ended up with little finger print bruises all over my arms. People never listened when I insisted that my underpants had green on them.

And then, if that wasn't bad enough, my grandma always invited us over for an Irish feast of corned beef and cabbage... and again, I'm not gonna lie... I HATE corned beef and cabbage with a passion unparalleled.

Incidentally, I am wearing green today, though that is because I'm too lazy to change out of my pajama pants. But Gracie isn't wearing green, and Annelie isn't either, and I simply refuse to pinch them.

Yeah, thats right - today I'm going to rebel. No green clothes for us, no green beer, no corned beef and cabbage.... though I might just stick the Lord of the Dance DVD in for the girls to watch this afternoon, but only because I secretly adore Michael Flatley and saw L of the D live once and it was spectacular.

So Happy St. Paddy's Day to you and you and you, and if you are celebrating today, Hurray and may the luck of the Irish be on your side! And if you aren't... well, just know that you aren't alone. We can rebel together.

Friday, March 13, 2009

We Bought a Washer and Dryer!

Yeah, okay, so today's blog post isn't quite the most exciting of blog posts, for you, my readers... but let me just shout out for a minute: WE BOUGHT A WASHER AND DRYER!

Clearly I'm excited. And you can probably tell by the above picture, that Annelie is excited, too. She seems to think that she has a new fort, which is fine by me as long as the door stays open.

Gracie has already experimented with shutting Annelie inside, though she can't reach the 'on' button, so all we get is a lot of metal banging, a two year old screaming, and a 3.5 year old temper tantrum as a result of an unwanted time-out..... but its worth all of that, because now WE HAVE A WASHER AND DRYER!

Will and I have been married over four years now, and have spent all of that time moving from apartment to apartment (7 times!).

In Austin, our apartment came with a washer/dryer, which was great... but since we've been in Abilene, we've had to make do with the community laundry room. Last week, it took me three hours to do one load of wash and dry, as I was doing battle with all of the other residents, a dog that I swear was on the verge of attacking me before he squatted down and peed on the laundry room floor, and a chain-smoking lady who felt the need to gripe about her life and kids to me, as she waved her cigarette in my face.

But not anymore, thanks to our tax refund...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Elegant Paperie, Now Open!

Hip hip hurray! The day is here, and Elegant Paperie is now open! I'm slowly adding the paper goods I have ready made and packaged up... with much, much more to come.

I'm still playing around with my designs for note cards sets and stationery sets, so I'll have more coming into the shop in the next few weeks.

I also have a ton of gift tags already cut and ready to be assembled - but my poor fingers need some recouping from all the cuts and scrapes from scissors and double-stick tape dispensers.

In the meantime, here is a peek at a few of the things going into the shop today:

Captain Monkeybones note card set of 8
with red A2 envelopes

Love Bunnies All Occasion Card with Handfolded Envelope
signed and dated by me

Princess Cordelia All Occasion Card with Handfolded Envelope
signed and dated by me

Muschka Mouse gift tags set of 8

Captain Monkeybone Gift tags set of 8

And much, much more.

Hey! For those of you who have stuck around long enough to reach the bottom of this post, good for you ... now, scamper off to OhMandie's blog at: .....

for a Muschka Mouse set of 8 notecards GIVEAWAY!

Because free stuff is the best, and Muschka is looking pretty cute, if I do say so myself.


Monday, March 9, 2009

The Sound of Music

The hills - and my apartment - are alive with the sound of music, today.

Gracie shares my love for musical theatre (hurray, I'm definitely doing something right as a parent!) and I couldn't be happier on the days when she decides to ditch her Strawberry Shortcake movie for a musical gem like The Sound of Music during Annelie's naptime.

Will spent part of his childhood living in Austria, so Gracie has a connection with the little Austrian singing nun and her gaggle of singing Austrian children, as she points out all of the places that she knows her dad lived and visited when he was a little boy.

While I wasn't fortunate enough to spend my youth playing amongst the edelweiss and sporting lederhosen, as I'm sure my husband did as a kid, I did get to belt out my favorite things, just like Gracie and Annelie are able to do now. I love being able to share a timeless classic with my kids.

If you have kids, and they haven't seen the Sound of Music yet, I urge you to RUN OUT AND GET IT! And if you don't have kids... well you can still run out and get it, because its just the perfect movie for everyone of all ages, don't you think?

And in the meantime, you can warm up on this lovely YouTube video, which is Gracie's favorite:


Friday, March 6, 2009

Alice in the Garden of Live Flowers

Alice in the Garden of Live Flowers
11 x 14

I'm done with my first Alice watercolor, and I'm excited to keep going with this series. I'm thinking I'll be working on the Alice series (there are about 9 or 10 illustrations so far, some scenes, and 4 snobs... and I keep adding more sketches to the pile as I think of more Alice scenes that I just absolutely have to illustrate).

But I'm really pleased with how this one turned out. I'm definitely getting the hang of watercolors now, and find that it is a lot more relaxing than colored pencil.

Here are some close ups:

I love the leaves on that little violet!

So, stay tuned, as I'm going to be updating my shop with all of the Alice illustrations in the Spring. I'm hoping to be done with them by April and hopefully they will make a very sweet Spring collection!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Elegant Paperie

Remember back in the day (well, a couple of months ago, at least) when I used to have all sorts of paper goods in my shop? I had note cards and gift tags, and the occasional stationery set, all featuring my illustrations and the cutest scrapbooking papers ever. Well, some of you have noticed that they are all gone... but where did they go?

After being buried under the 100+ prints in my shop, my poor little paper goods just never had a chance. Occasionally, I'd get a message from someone saying, "why don't you have any note cards featuring {enter name of illustration here}?" -- To which I would say, "But I do!"

Those poor paper goods were just not having their chance to shine on their own.

Poor little things.

Well, no longer! There will be a new shop in town, Elegant Paperie, opening in the upcoming weeks (I'll keep you posted, don't worry), all for those paper goods... and some new and exciting additions as well.

I've been secretly {shhhhh... don't tell anyone!} working on note card sets and stationery sets that have my heart singing, LALALALALA! with joy.

Garden gnomes and hedgehogs and paper flowers, oh my

Here is a sneak peek at some of the note card sets in the works...

And some stationery paper for those who refuse to let the beauty of a hand written letter die! Long live Snail Mail!

And some art cards, complete with my signature on the back, an Elegant Snobbery sealing sticker, and a hand-folded envelope to match...

For the Snob lovers -

For the girly sock monkey lovers -

For the hedgie lovers -

and the cupcake lovers -

and the pirate sock monkey lovers -

Whooooo boy, I have a ton more. And all the gift tag sets to match!

So stay tuned, because if you love my illustrations and you love paper, you wont be disappointed. I am REALLY excited about Elegant Paperie!

I think it is funny that four different people have asked me just this week, how in the world I'm able to get this all done... to which I jokingly (but also kind of seriously) replied, "A little insanity and a lot of insomnia."

But seriously, remember when I said that Gracie had imaginary friends? Well now there are five of them, as Mr. Tumnus has come to join us... though he spends about 95% of his time in the bathroom for some reason I don't quite understand...

And as for Annelie... give the girl a bowl filled with 1/2 inch of water and a drop of hand soap, and I find I can get about 45 minutes of painting and crafting done at a time.

Thank goodness for imaginary friends and bowls of water!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Gracie has discovered the world of girly, bubblegum pop music, and let me tell ya, she is THRILLED.

It all started with Aqua and the song Barbie Girl, which Gracie had memorized by the age of two. Then came her passionate love for Hannah Montana (not the actual show. I can't bear it, so she has to make do with the commercials she sees now and again). And thanks to my mom (thanks a lot, Mom), Gracie discovered the song So What- I'm a Rock Star by Pink while she was listening to the radio.

After listening to that for a few times, I just couldn't handle it anymore. I'm not really a fan of girly, bubblegum pop.

With the exception of Madonna. I LOVE Madonna. I have always loved Madonna, and I WILL always love Madonna, and in my humble opinion, the Immaculate Collection is one of the greatest collections of all times (besides anything Fleetwood Mac, of course. Stevie will always rule, as far as I'm concerned).

And let me just tell you, after putting in my Madonna CDs, Gracie has never enjoyed music so much in her life. She even decided that, instead of being called Donna (which is actually her real name, though we NEVER call her that. Grace is her middle name) she wanted her name to be changed to Madonna.

Hmmmm... I'm not sure I'm ready to rush off to the recorder's office for name changing paperwork anytime soon...

Lately, all of our days have been spent with me sitting on the couch while (Ma)donna performs for me.

She is a bit tone-deaf and she makes up about 95% of her lyrics...

...but dancing around and singing along to girly, bubblegum pop is apparently the bees knees, and nothing makes Gracie (ooops, I mean (Ma)donna) happier than being in the spotlight.

I wonder if this is just a phase... I kinda hope so. But knowing my little (Ma)donna and her diva/mega star personality, I'm not so sure.

At least I have a lot of funny pictures to black mail her with when she grows up.


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