Sunday, May 31, 2009

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea...

I'm feeling ocean-sick today.

I can't say home-sick for the ocean, as I've never actually lived in one. But my name, Marisa (pronounced Mer-ree-sa), is Latin for 'Of the Sea,' and therefore, I'm supposed to be a mermaid. That sounds logical, right? I think so, too. The ocean is home.

Now that I live waaaaay far from the sea, out here in West Texas, I miss it like crazy. I grew up in the Bay Area of California, only a short drive from Santa Cruz and Capitola. And driving an hour and a half to visit Carmel and Monterrey was just another weekend pastime for me and Will.

As much as I loved the ocean, and spent as much time there as possible, I took it all for granted. I just never expected to be away from it.

I was spoiled by Holly when I went to visit her in April. Seaside, the adorable little beach resort town along the Oregon coast, is only an hour drive from her home, and she was more than happy to pack me in her car and drive off for an afternoon. I hadn't seen the ocean in two years, and wow... it was fantastic being back.

After a lunch of fish and chips and clam chowder, we walked along the beach. The roar of the crashing waves, the smell of the salty air, the seagulls crying out as they fight over the leftover Doritos spilled in the sand -- those are sounds that you just never forget. Once they get into your blood, they are there forever.

Holly certainly knows how to sucker punch me into moving to Oregon.

The last time my girls saw the ocean, they were only babies. Gracie had just turned two and Annelie was only 6 months, when we flew to California and spent our vacation in Santa Cruz and Carmel. The Pacific Ocean might be absolutely, bloody freezing... but in my biased opinion, it is the most beautiful ocean in the world.

Its a beautiful, sunny day today, and though I should be spending it in the sand, listening to the waves crashing, I have to make-do with taking the girls to the swimming pool. They'll have a good time.

But somehow, being splashed by cannon-balling college kids, who blast their boom boxes with hardcore rap music, and swear too much, doesn't sound nearly as good to me as spending the day on a beach towel in the sand.


Here is a little ocean tribute, featuring some of my favorite Etsy items.

Divinity Necklace

Ocean Blue Flower #1
by Karen Faulkner

A Mermaid Out of Water
by Kathy Jeffords

Ocean-lovers out there, enjoy! And if you are headed to the sea on this fine weekend day, have a blast and know that I'm hideously jealous of you.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Illustration Friday: Adapt

Motherhood is quite the challenge... but 4 years after having Gracie, and two and a half years after having Annelie, I think I'm actually beginning to adapt.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Heart You... and a Giveaway!

I was playing around with some sketches the other day and I thought they were a little too irresistible to leave in sketch format... I just had to color them in.

So here are a couple of little prints for my I Heart You collection (named by Holly. Thank you Holly! - BTW, Holly is having a giveaway, too, so run right over {HERE} and enter!):

I Heart You, Bear
5 x 7 print

I Heart You, Dinosaur
5 x 7 print

I Heart You, Frog
5 x 7 print

Let me just say, I heart these boots. Seriously, I want some.

I have a bunch more sketches, with all sorts of awesome hats and little stuffed, squishable, squeezable, lovable animals... but first, how 'bout another giveaway? It'll be a good one, I promise.

GIVEAWAY (yay!) :

From today, until next Friday (June 5th), leave a comment letting me know what you heart, be it cats, rainbows, sunflowers, jelly beans... just let me know what you heart, heart, and heart some more (and mean it sincerely!) and you will be entered to win:

An original custom 5 x 7 I Heart You illustration.

That's right, original. Design it around your own little kid, a kid you know, yourself as a kid, your significant other as a kid, your grandma as a kid, your brother as a kid... I think you get the idea. Basically, whomever you want.

You get to pick the hair color, skin color, squishable, squeezable, lovable stuffed animal, awesome hat (to match the animal, of course) and illustration color palette. It will be yours, all yours (except for the rights to reproduce your image. That will still be mine, all mine, as image copyright does not transfer from me to you). I'll be adding some limited prints of your illustration to ye old shoppe, but the original -- that'll be yours.

PLEASE leave a way to contact you, via Etsy shop, email address, or blog, in the event that you are my winner!

Looking to add multiple entries? Shout this giveaway out to everyone you know, via Twitter, Facebook, or on your own blog. Let me know how you promoted this giveaway and I'll add more entries to the pot. Just leave me the link in a comment here, so I'll be able to count it.

Max 4 entries per person.

So, tell me, please. What do you heart?


Monday, May 25, 2009


You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worries

You belong somewhere you feel free
~ Tom Petty

Its no secret that I am not a big fan of Texas. I'm a California girl who dreams of the ocean and the redwood forests rather than heat, humidity, and a home on the range.

But I've gotta give Texas credit for the beauty of the wildflowers. They are everywhere.

Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady, worked hard to protect and preserve the native plants and natural landscapes, and her beautification of Texas included tossing wildflower seeds to the wind so that they would grow here, there and everywhere.

Wild daisies, cone flowers, black-eyed Susan, Indian paint brush, sunflowers, and phlox grow anywhere they can find soil, which, in Texas, is just about everywhere there isn't a subdivision or a strip mall. In March and February, the bluebonnets grow thick and wild all over the Texas Hill Country, giving the illusion of deep blue lakes anywhere you look.

These wildflowers, carelessly blooming wherever they please and with fluttering butterflies all around - they are magic.

Because seriously, how can two little girls squabble over insignificant things when they are chasing butterflies and gathering fistfuls of wildflowers?

They can't. That's impossible. The magic of the wildflower is too powerful, trust me.

Not a day has gone by, since we moved to Texas three years ago, that I haven't wanted to claw out my itchy eyes and dope myself up with Benedryl. But truthfully, if it means the joy on my girls faces as they gather bouquets of wildflowers, or the beauty of a simple salsa jar (this is Texas, after all) of wildflowers on the kitchen counter, then the allergies are well worth it.

What can I say? I'm a wildflower child.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Clean Your Room, or You'll Be On Time-Out For the Rest of Your Life

Spring is in full fling, and you know what that means: the birds are a-chirping, bees are a-buzzing, flowers are a-blooming, mosquitos are a-blood sucking, and I'm... supposed to be a-Spring cleaning.

Let me tell you a little something about me: I hate cleaning. Really, I do. Here I am circa 1985, cleaning my room. This photo is actually the 2nd in a two part series. The 1st photo (which I can't find because my photo boxes are a disorganized mess) shows me sleeping on the bed. Clearly, I was working hard.

24 years later, this is still pretty much how I clean. I'm sure in some language I don't speak (but should!), "Clean your room!" actually means "Go and take a nice long nap and when you are done we can all have ice-cream."

I wasn't even born with that gene that gives you a sense of accomplishment when the job is done. I think I'm defective. After busting out the cleaning products and vacuum cleaner, and scrubbing, organizing, and dust-removing for hours, I usually just feel annoyed that what could have been hours of creative time were wasted by cleaning.

And it doesn't help any that I have the worlds messiest, most destructive kids on the planet. Annelie's new favorite activity is "fixing" things, which translates to her disemboweling, shredding, and defacing whatever she can get her hands on. Gracie hates cleaning as much as me, which is pretty disappointing as I'd always hoped I would have little neat-freaks for kids.

And when I try to get Annelie excited to pick up and put away her toys, she just flashes me the 'V' sign (um... this is the British equivalent of the middle finger) and shouts, "Jog on!"

Yeah, my husband taught her that. Thanks a lot, honey. But that's kinda how I feel when I have to clean. I just want to flash the Great Cleaning gods in the sky the "V" sign and shout, "Jog ON!"

But instead, I blast Lady Gaga from the speakers and hope that the pop dance beat will get my bum moving so that I can finally be done with this whole Spring cleaning nonsense. Already, I've bagged up three Hefty bags of unused and broken toys that have been just sitting in Gracie's closet and under her bed. And next... my crafts and art supplies. I'm saving that for last because procrastination is my favorite and I seriously dread going through my crafty stuff with the intention of downsizing. I hope you all are enjoying your Spring a little more than me.

On a brighter note, the girl's and I are off to Austin to hang out with the family until next week, so adios! And if any of you want to pop by and clean my place while I'm gone, just let me know and I'll leave a key for you.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Illustration Friday: Contagious

Best Mates - 8 x 10 print

...there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.

~ Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

I thought this grinning, cheeky sock monkey duo fit in quite well with this week's prompt over at Focusing on contagious laughter and humor seems more my style than drawing sock monkeys with the flu. I certainly can't help but smile with good-humor when I look at them. But I might be biased since I colored them...


And another note: Okay, first neutral(ish) illustration done. I couldn't help but add a bright blue and a lime green button to their chests. But hey, I think they have personality and they are pretty darned cute AND they are really soft and sweet compared to my typical bright and bold illustrations, which is what I was going for.

So meet Jasper and Jackson, the newest little sock monkeys in town. They are both made of snips and snails, and puppy dog tails, and both make their fair share of mischief. And of course, with that cute sock monkey face, they usually get away with it.

Okay, I have to say a great big, tremendously huge THANK YOU to those of you who commented on my last post. While I appreciate ALL of my blog comments, in ALL of my posts, ALL the time, it really meant a lot to me to have so much support during my artistic identity crisis yesterday. Seriously, I love you guys. If we were all out for a girls night on the town, tossing back hot-pink cosmopolitans together, I'd be the one with tears streaming down my cheeks saying over and over again, "I love you girls. You know that right? I just love you."

So thank you, thank you! And have a great week!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hello, Beige!

For the last year and a half I've been averaging about two artistic identity crises a week, and let me tell you, its not easy. Having an artistic identity crisis is not as fun as it sounds. I'm exhausted.

I'm not exactly sure what the problem is. I know part of it is that I feel like my shop is just one big random mess... which it is. I have this tendency to draw what I feel like drawing whenever the mood strikes me, and not all of it is cohesive (I love that word) with the rest of my shop.

And I'm still not sure exactly who my target customer base is. I mean, I know I have a bajillion things geared for baby nurseries and childrens rooms, but I also have a lot of other things geared for ... I have no idea who. And every time I think, "Okay, Marisa. Its time to take out the items that aren't cohesive with your overall shop look..." something unexpected sells.

Enter yet another artistic identity crisis HERE: _______________.

It doesn't help any that my mom has been after me to tone down my color palette for AGES. She decorates in neutrals and tends to like work that is more vintage and soft in its color. Judging by what is the most popular in art prints on Etsy, she's not the only one.

If you can't tell, I really like color. In fact, when I'm not using the brightest colors under the sun, I don't really know what to do.

So this weeks series of artistic identity crises have involved me trying to figure out how to make my pictures neutral. Is it easy? Uh, no. I'm kind of freaking out here, and itching to get my hands on bright colors.

But instead of reaching for Mediterranean Blue, Poppy Red, and Spring Green, I'm trying to make use of my least used color: beige.

Beige scares me. I am not beige. I'm Flamingo Pink and Lime Green. But I figured I might start by taking my existing work and trying to see if I can alter the color palette to be softer and more neutral.

There. I'm done. Isn't it adorable?

Just kidding -- but I really love seeing pictures of my work in their ugly duckling stages of illustration. They really are hideous little things!

Am I going to be able to pull off the neutral color palette? I'm not really sure. But let me just tell you, the background is going to be plaid when I'm done. How awesome is that?


Friday, May 15, 2009

Hey, Dog Breath!

Its my fault, of course. I should have listened to her.

"Mama, I want crackers, puhleeze?" she asked, oh so sweetly.

But I just continued making egg salad sandwiches and replied, "No, Annelie. Lunch is almost ready."

Normally I'm quick to hand out a little snack when my over-active, high-energy kids are hungry. After all, they need lots of fuel in order to power their little bodies to drive me crazy. But, as I was 2.5 seconds away from being done preparing lunch, I didn't think asking Annelie to hold out would be that big a deal.


Annelie: I want crackers, Mama!

Me: Annelie, it's not time for crackers. Go play. Lunch is almost ready.

Annelie: I want crackers! [stomps feet] NOW!

Me [getting impatient]: I said no. No means no.

Annelie: Crackers! I want it!

Me [eyes beginning to bulge out of skull]: Stop asking. I said no.

Annelie [as if dying]: Maaaaaamaaaaaaaa. Puhleeze, want crackers now! Puhhhhhleeeeeeeze...."

Me [bulging eyes twitching in charming yet psychotic way]: Get out of the kitchen. Right. Now.

With a mother like me, its no wonder my two year old needs to forage Chez Hopkins for some grub of her own. Because otherwise, she'd starve, right?

But if it is good enough for a four year old German Shepard/Malamute, then its good enough for a two year old starving child. Who, by the way, wouldn't even touch her lunch.

Me: [sigh]

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Plum Tuckered (For Once in Her Life)

I'm not sure how many more blog posts about Annelie and her wretchedness I can get away with writing before all of my readers begin shouting, "Okay, we get it. She's a 'lil monster!" but since she consumes all of my time, energy and brain power, I'm having a hard time stringing together a single sentence that doesn't begin with, "Holy crap, I can't believe what Annelie just did..."

But I had to share this photo because, first of all, I think it is just hilarious, and second, because she actually took a nap.

That's a very big deal.

Nap time for Annelie came to an unexpected halt about four months ago, right after her second birthday, and I have been disoriented and a little (read: completely and utterly) insane ever since.

Will saw this picture and his eyes just about bugged out of his head. "Did you knock her unconscious?" he asked, incredulously. I'm still sort of hoping that he was kidding when he asked me that, but truthfully, anyone who knows Annelie, my two year old hyperactive insomniac, hasn't seen her passed out cold like this since she was a newborn.

Of course, I have been optimistic that perhaps she'll just take one eensy weensy little nap every couple of weeks, so I can get my bearings again and breathe for a minute... but generally, she just spends all of nap time destroying stuff. Like last week when she shredded every single book on her book shelf, including one library book which took me a good hour to tape back together.

But that picture is fantastic, isn't it? Almost as good as the 30 solid minutes of peace and quiet I had while she slept.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Illustration Friday: Parade

The Illustration Friday prompt for this week is parade, and I thought a fairy parade would be just perfect.

But after only three fairies and a butterfly, I decided I was done. Does it still count as a parade?

I hope so! I love it.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Look Out For Mr. Stork...

Motherhood came as a bit of a surprise to me. Okay, I'll be honest... a MAJOR surprise. Will and I had only just gotten engaged when I had that, "Hmmmm... I wonder if I'm pregnant" moment. At that time, he still lived in England, we were both still in college, and we hadn't even thought about planning our wedding yet, let alone preparing for a little baby.

But little pink plus signs don't lie, and only 4 months after our wedding, Gracie was born. SURPRISE! It was useless to tell people that Gracie was 5 months premature. She was a 21 inch long, 7 lb-er and very alive and kicking.
I celebrated my first Mother's Day on the day Gracie came home from the hospital. I was very unsure of it all. My pregnancy had been rotten, and labor and delivery were even worse. I had to be induced when she was a week past her due date and my blood pressure was on the rise.

I fainted when I got to the hospital and the last thing I remember before I blacked out was the nurse screaming that Gracie's heartbeat had dropped and I'd need an emergency c-section. But I was given enough oxygen to keep on going, so I got to enjoy 24 hours of labor, with back labor being a major part of it all.

And, since Gracie was sunny-side-up and not coming out, the nurses had me twisted into all sorts of positions - my hospital gown open, my bare backside exposed for all to see -- and of course, my lovely husband chose to turn to my grandma and mom, who were there in the labor room with us, and say, "I believe it was a position like that which got us into this mess in the first place."

Mom and Grammy were not amused. Neither was I. I promptly kicked everyone out of my hospital room, so I could suffer in peace and quiet.

And then, after it all, I had to have a C-section... unmedicated on the right side of my body, since my epidural had shifted. After a delivery like that, I had really hoped for some rest and relaxation to go with the twelve tons of morphine pumped into my body.

Who was I kidding? We now had this screaming little peanut who refused to sleep for even a second and spent every waking moment hiccuping and messing her itsy bitsy little diapers. And, as all moms know, baby diapers are virtually useless, since every mess ends up about 10% in the diaper and 90% everywhere else.

Four years after my very first Mother's Day, I'm still over-tired, over-stressed, and overwhelmed by my little girls.

But waking up to a card like this, which say's Happy Mother's Day (if you can't tell), certainly helps. Especially as I was able to stick in my ear-plugs and sleep in until noon today, only waking when Gracie and Annelie began bouncing on the bed beside me and Will stuck a pair of sparkling earrings, a plate of breakfast tacos and a cup of coffee under my nose.

When I think of Motherhood, I can't help but remember the lyrics to a song from Dumbo, which Gracie and Annelie listen to on their favorite Sing-a-long Songs DVD.

Look out for Mr. Stork
that persevering chap
To come along and drop
a bundle in your lap
You may be poor or rich,
it doesn't matter which
Millionaires they get theirs
like the butcher and the baker

So look out for Mr. Stork,
and let me tell you friend
Don't try to get away,
he'll find you in the end
He'll spot you out in China
or he'll fly to County Cork
So you better look out for Mr. Stork

Look out for Mr. Stork
He's got you on his list
And when he comes around,
its useless to resist
Remember those quintuplets
and the woman in the shoe
Maybe he's got his eye on you!

No matter how much you plan to be a parent (or in our case, don't plan at all), its definitely a surprise when that little person pops into the world and changes your life as you know it. As stressful and overwhelming as life is with my girls, I can't imagine my life without them. They really are the best little people I know.

Mom's out there --
and especially my own....

Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Oh YUM: BLT Quesadilla Wrap a la Natalie Perry

I absolutely LOVE the blog Perry's Plate, put together by Natalie Perry, a fellow mom of two little girls, jewelry maker, and super foodie.

Everything she makes causes me to droooooool, as her recipes sound so fantastic and her photos look even better. Natalie is the queen of taking restaurant foods she loves and creating them at home (such as the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits), sharing tried and true recipes from her favorite books and magazines (such as this recipe for 5-Spice Roast Chicken), as well as inventing new and amazing looking dinners, snacks and desserts, such as this Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette)

Holy cow, everything sounds so good.

I absolutely, positively had to put together her BLT Quesadilla Wrap which I've had on my list of things to make since she posted it in March.

I'm a huge BLT fan, huge quesadilla fan, and let me just tell you now, combining the two is GENIUS! Served with a side of garden veggie toasted chips, and the girls and I had a pretty darned fantastic lunch.

You know lunch is a hit in our household when Annelie smears it all over the table, in her hair and on her face. No, we won't be invited to tea with the Queen of England anytime soon.

If you haven't seen Perry's Plate, oh dear you are gonna be in trouble. Natalie isn't afraid to create delicious dishes that are not exactly on a low fat, low calorie diet. But you know, life is short so eat well. You will certainly be doing that if you re-create Natalie's dishes!

Next recipe from Perry's Plate for me to try: Rolling Maki Sushi
Will can't wait for me to get cracking on the sushi-rolling.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

'On Sale This Month' and a Paperie Update!

Warning: This blog post contains a large assortment of VERY CUTE PHOTOS featuring even cuter items. Yes, it is possible, believe it or not. Marisa Hopkins of Elegant Snobbery, Elegant Bloggery, and Elegant Paperie, is not responsible for injury that may be a result of any of the following: readers smashing their faces against their computer screen to get a closer look, the severe ligament damage to the fingers and forearms as a result of compulsive clicking between Marisa's shops and blog, or damage to the throat, lungs, ear drums, or muscle pulling as a result of reader jumping up and down and screaming in excitement, after viewing said photos.

I've been working my tail off these last few weeks, coming up with new items for a Paperie update and let me just tell you, I'm going to have the hardest time parting with anything. What can I say, I'm a paper junkie.

But I've been playing with new papers, stickers, embellishments, fabrics and ribbons and I really think all of you Elegant Paperie lovers will be happy indeed!!

First things first, I have a new section in the shop called 'On Sale This Month' with major price markdowns. Hurray! I figured that since the economy isn't the greatest, I might as well treat those compulsive paperie junkies by having plenty of items in my shop at a reduced price. Enjoy!

Also, I've been reworking some of my notecard designs and I LOVE them! I hope you all will, too!

And my favorite part of the update will be the $6 samplers I've put together. For those who can't ever decide between note cards or gift tags, I've put together 3 sample packs with an assortment of goodies for you to enjoy. The price is insanely low for the large assorment of goodies that come with it, but I thought 'Six Dollar Sampler' had a nice ring to it.

I can hardly handle the cuteness.

And more exciting news for compulsive shoppers who are struggling in this crap economy (yes, I am one of those compulsive shoppers struggling in this crap economy, in case you were wondering) I have added an 'On Sale This Month' section to Elegant Snobbery, as well.

I tried to choose a good assortment of favorite prints in various sizes, and then I slashed the prices by quite a lot!

So come on over to Elegant Snobbery and Elegant Paperie and see whats new/on sale!


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