Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Three Year Old!

And once again, we have a birthday here at my blog... Annelie Cecelia, my itsy bitsy newborn baby, is three today!

Its funny, blogging is a regular part of my life now, just daily routine... but when the years go by and I realize that not too long ago, I was blogging about Annelie's second birthday, and a little bit before that, I was blogging about her first birthday, it wows me how quickly the time has passed.

The last three years with Annelie have been... interesting. She's a force to be reckoned with, a tornado-like flurry of energy, with terrible impulse control and enormous amounts of love and affection.

And now she's three. I'd love for her to grow out of her high-energy, Queen of Destruction self... but when I look back at the memories of all that she has done, it just makes me laugh. The last three years have been a wild ride, and I'm pretty darned sure, the rest of Annelie's life will be the same.

Here's a little trip down memory lane...
a few of Annelie's posts (the links are below each photo):

Annelie eats dog food...

Annelie is a twerp...

Annelie starts her Terrible Twos very, very early...

Okay, I could go on for about 2.5 years, but I'll stop now...


And thanks to all of you, folks, for sharing our lives with us!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Flashback: Starting Over, in England

I get ridiculously nostalgic on January 29th. It was six years ago today that my nerves were out of control as I crammed the last of four months worth of junk into my suitcase and waited anxiously until it was time to drive to the SF International Airport.

I was about to meet the seventeen other students I would be traveling over to Bath, England with, for my college study abroad semester. I was freaking out. Would I like them? Would they like me? Would I love my classes? Would my classes consume all of my time? Would I travel as much as I wanted? Would I get homesick? Would I love or hate my host family? ...

I had no idea what to expect and I was a monstrous mix of scared and excited. I'm not a natural risk taker. I don't enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone for even a minute. Studying abroad was not on my list of things-to-do, as I never imagined I'd have the courage to get on a plane and live my life in a different country, even if it was only for a few months.

But, six years ago, I was one semester away from graduating university, I was in the process of ending a long relationship, and I was sitting bored, in one of my classes when the Study Abroad coordinator walked to the front of the room and said "I'm here to tell you ten reasons why you should study abroad in Bath, England in the Spring semester."

She listed her ten reasons and I sat there frozen as my life seemed to click into place.

I HAD to go to England. I had to study in Bath. I absolutely felt, with every fiber of my being, that packing my bags, getting on a plane and starting over, was completely necessary.

WOW has my life changed as a result.


When I think back to my college days, though I was in school for years, its the friends I made during my study abroad that I think of with the fondest memories. There was something about the eighteen of us, thrown together in an unfamiliar culture, traveling around Europe together, making memories in a foreign country together, that changed me forever.

And, as I've blogged about before, it was three weeks into my trip, while in the Dublin airport after traveling around Ireland with some of my classmates-turned-friends, that I sat myself down next to the cutest guy in the airport... and met my husband, Will.

Watching Wales play France in the 6 Nations Rugby
with Will

I absolutely can not imagine how different my life would be now, if I had not taken a chance, hopped on a plane and said goodbye to life as I knew it.

Tea and scones with Ryan (Gracie's God-father) in Chepstow, Wales

Stourhead, England

Montacute House, England

January 29th, 2004 will always be one of the best days of my life.

Do you have a flashback of your own that you want to share? Come on by Tia's blog, for the best meme in town.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Valentines for your Valentine.

I thought I was going to be super ambitious and get all sorts of valentines in my shop, as Valentine's Day is the best holiday ever (it used to be that my birthday was the best holiday ever - it's the day before Valentine's Day - but this year I turn 29 and I'm not very happy about that... so Valentines Day wins. Until the next best holiday, that is - you know, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas... ) .

BUT I didn't make lots of valentines. I made four.

I might make more, but if my kids continue to drive me up the walls more than usual, as they have been the last few days, these may just be the only valentines that make it into Elegant Snobbery this year. We shall see.

Anyway, I used to always get valentines from my mom... and I thought these were sweet ones, perfect for moms, or daughters, or grandmas, or aunties.

The Frog Prince

Sophie in Paris

Best Friends Forever

So here they are - They each measure 5 x 6 and come complete with a hand folded (by me!) coordinating envelope, white label sticker (for the front of the envelope) and an Elegant Snobbery chocolate cupcake printed sealing sticker to seal the envelope. The card, envelope and sticker are enclosed in a clear plastic cello sleeve for protection.

(This image is not waterproof and will fade if left in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time, so please be careful of placement, if you choose to frame it!)


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Monday Blahs

Orange Bad Day Monster - by The Gorgonist

Today is one of those days.

The kind where you wake up and instantly want to go back to bed until tomorrow. But nooo... instead you pull the covers over your head and try to ignore the obnoxious voice of Dora the Explorer, which is, as far as I'm concerned, the worst kind of early morning torture.

Oh wait, take that back.... spoiled milk. That is the worst kind of early morning torture. Because when you have a coffee pot full of coffee, and milk that suddenly, for no reason you can fathom, stinks, life. is. not. good.

Oh wait, never mind. Cleaning up broken glass and grape juice from the stinkin' cats knocking things off the table - that is definitely early morning torture.

And oh man, these allergies... I can't handle them. Torturous.

So, its not even ten am yet, and already I'm looking forward to tomorrow, because the best thing about no good, very bad days, are the really great days that come after them.

In an effort to not be the worlds biggest downer today, here is a video that was linked to me by the awesome Keala of KealaLegacy, when I was having a bad day awhile ago. It still cheers me up.

Best video EVER.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Winner Ribbon -

Okay, let me just start by saying that picking a winner for my Rapunzel giveaway was HARD. Not hard as in difficult to choose, as all I did was punch numbers into a random number generator... but hard because while I was calculating entries, my girls were clacking across the hard wood floors in their Disney princess dress-up shoes, causing me to lose my number counts a million times and I pretty much spent ten minutes just figuring out my winner...

Who is, by the way, BETH of Rose Bush Designs.

So YAY to Beth!

And thank you to everyone who entered and said LOVELY things about me and my shop and my shop items. Also, thank you, Random Number Generator, for making my life a little bit easier.

And last, thanks a lot, kids, for clacking your dang shoes across the floor and making me crazy.

Happy weekend, everyone!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Flashback: Age 13, and in LOVE

Tia's flashback post today, complete with a photo of her as a youngish teenager (flannel shirt on and a collage of hot celebrities on the wall behind her) cracked me UP. I don't have a photo like hers, but if someone had taken a snapshot of me in my room at the age of 13, they would have found me sitting on my bed, wearing a flannel, with my awesome Keanu Reeves collage on the wall behind me.

Okay, okay, I know. Keanu? But let me just remind you that when I was 13, it was 1994 and the movie Speed was still in theatres... and really, he was hot (and, BTW, if you are sitting there snickering over that photo of me in my super awesome machine gun-toting fish shirt... its been done before).

That summer, I made a very important decision: I was going to marry Keanu Reeves, and we would live happily ever after, forever and ever and ever. The end.

Let me show you a little snapshot of my diary, circa August 1994:

*sigh* Bubbles, hearts and a flower? I'm so embarrassing.

And also, haha, look how fancy my 13-year-old cursive is... I practiced my penmanship for ages when I was younger.

And also HAHA, Keanu update: He is GEORGEOUS. I shouldn't have spent so long practicing my cursive or drooling over Keanu... should have been learning to spell instead.

In case you are wondering if Marisa + Keanu = Happiness, now that I'm 28 instead of 13 ... um, no. At the age of thirteen, I thought he was a god... but seriously, it's Keanu Reeves... He might look hot eating a jelly donut in the movie Point Break, or while saving a bus full of people from a bomb in the movie Speed, but that is about it.

When I was a freshman in high school, my Keanu collage (with a few other celebrities I liked thrown in) was pretty darned huge. But, as all things must one day come to an end, that collage did not last forever. Nope, it did not. One day I came home from school, and discovered that my big brother Dan had removed the heads from of all of my Keanu pictures and replaced them with... um... hundreds of engorged members of the male anatomy, which he had removed from a porn magazine.

I cried. Well, first I screamed, but then after that I cried. My brother still refers to Keanu as "that dick-head."

And that, my friends, is my awesomely awkward flashback.

Do you have a flashback of your own you want to share? Head on over to Tia's blog, for the coolest meme in town.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank You, And Other News...

So, can I just begin this post by saying that you are all my most favorite people in the entire world? Because it's true. The response you gave me to my nervous breakdown post was AMAZING. Every single comment meant SO much to me, and I just can not thank you enough!

And do you want to know what reading all of your awesome comments pushed me to do?

You pushed me to submit my portfolio to about 8 different children's book publishing jobs (oooh, cross those fingers and toes that I get one), that's what! So now I'm just wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' and plannin' and dreamin' (... and clearly channeling Nancy Sinatra, here) and still submitting, because I'm not going to give up when I feel like I'm so darned close to something big and wonderful.

And, in the meantime... ohhhh, get ready for this - (especially you, Anne and Denise!)

Sweet Swallow Tattoo

Hello, Friend!

Elegant Snobbery Embroidery Patterns! I did the design work, and my mom turned them into these ridiculously adorable patterns which can be found in her shop: HERE

Just you wait... there are PLENTY more to come (I've seen a teaser of Captain Monkeybones, and it is so cute I can barely stand it)

And, for those of you who are like, "Marisa, really? But really now? Don't you know that I can't even thread a needle?" - well, don't worry... because check out the cuteness of this PILLOW!

Which you can find: HERE

My mom rocks. Just sayin'

And you all rock, too. Seriously, I love you guys. Knowing that there are amazing, encouraging people all over the world, rooting me on with every step I take toward my dream.... that's pretty heady stuff!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Nervous Breakdowns, OH MY!

So. I don't know if any of you noticed, but I had a complete and total nervous break down last week. It was pretty awful. I'm better this week, so yay. But last week was rough.

Why the nervous breakdown? Will and I went over our finances and came to the conclusion that money sucks.

Okay, okay, what else is new... with the economy being as rotten as it is, with our health care being pretty darned lame (I could probably write a 500 page book about how much I hate our health care system), mixed in with the expense that comes with buying a house and raising two kids and eating... money just really, really sucks.

So Will had the brilliant idea that I go back to work. Full time.

--enter nervous breakdown--

I'm sure I'm being a great big baby for having a nervous breakdown about going back to work, especially considering that so many moms work full time... but just the idea of leaving my kids behind in the day so that I could do some boring desk job, or possibly missing birthdays and first-day-of-kindergartens so I can answer phones for some lame company -- ooooh, the heart palpitations are starting again.

And then the realization that Elegant Snobbery would probably fall by the wayside, as I would have 40 less hours in the week to illustrate, promote and package. And my blog? And the book I'm writing? And all the kids books and plays that I've been working on over the years, but need to finish off, package up and send off to publishers? I just wouldn't have any time -- oooooh, there go those heart palpitations again.

So what was the conclusion to my nervous breakdown? Well, I'll stay home with the girls until September, when Gracie starts kindergarten, and in the meantime, I'll be getting my bum in gear and finally start sending my work out to agents/publishing companies/whoever the heck I'm supposed to send books and such to.

Time to stop being a scaredy-cat and actually get things done.
First up: The Animal Parade, which I wrote about 7 years ago and have done NOTHING with, other than paint (ugh, watercolors, why do you hate me so?) some sample illustrations, draw a complete 32 page dummy book, and enter into a contest in 2005.

I came in the top 10, which isn't so bad, but also not great. When you are submitting something to a publisher, you definitely don't want to be in the top ten. You want to be number one.
So, I'll be reworking the sample illustrations in colored pencil, reworking my dummy, tweaking lines that don't sound fantastic, and start submitting.

I'm not getting any younger here (seriously, my birthday is next month... time for another nervous breakdown) and its time I stop putting off submitting my work and actually try to get my work published.

So here goes. What is on my list of New Years resolutions?

  • Finish The Animal Parade dummy and art samples and begin submitting wherever they are supposed to be submitted (I need to get a copy of this)
  • Finish revising the children's play I wrote about 6 years ago and begin submitting wherever they are supposed to be submitted.
Can I just interrupt myself for a second here? Okay, this is going to be embarrassing to admit... but I had a teacher in my last semester of college who had contacts with Scholastic and she loved my play so much that she wanted to submit it to Scholastic for me... and I DIDN'T DO IT! Instead, I graduated, got married, had Gracie, and lost contact with that teacher.

I know, I know. So stupid. I hang my head in shame daily.

Okay, lets move on.
  • Finish the YA book I'm working on right now, join a critique group and revise the crud out of it. Then begin submitting wherever they are supposed to be submitted.
  • And also... I have about one billion unfinished books with sample illustrations, that need to be finished! So... finish them!
I won't be adding much new work to my shop this year. I do have a few things that I want to finish up (like my alphabet collection and some paper dolls, which are turning out pretty darned fantastic, if I do say so myself), but other than that, I'm going to be hard at work with my writing and dummy book finishing.

I have to end this post with a ginormous THANK YOU to my incredible husband who is willing to eat spaghetti every night until September, while I work to get myself published (And then we'll have to continue eating spaghetti every night for the rest of our lives, because authors don't really make a whole lot of money, anyway).

I am so lucky to have a supportive husband. He is pretty darned awesome.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Flashback: The Real Rapunzel

Okay, after this post, I'm totally DONE talking about my Rapunzel illustration. I promise. But today is Friday and with that comes a Flashback Friday post and I thought it was only appropriate that I flashback to five years ago, when I set my colored pencils aside and pulled out my watercolors.

Can I just remind you that I hate watercolors?

Okay, not hate. I actually love watercolors very, very much and am in awe of the folk who do them well... I am not one of them. Marisa and Watercolors are not BFFs.

But I digress, because this post is a flashback and I wanted to share the days when I used to paint... what did I paint, you may be wondering? Rapunzel, what else?

Its funny, I remember being so darned proud of myself when I finished this one. When I say that I find watercolors challenging, I'm not kidding. They are hard! Mostly because they take a million years to dry and I don't have the patience to wait, so I wreck everything... but this Rapunzel one was a painting I admired.

??? I know, right? Its awful. I mean, I do think the style and colors are sort of okay... not well planned out, but not too horrible. And I like how Rapunzel is off to the side, not in the middle of the page, like my new one... But my technique? Pretty awful. About a week after I finished, I took another look and the reality hit me: I am not a water-colorist. I am a colored pencil artist. Though I like to step out of my comfort zone to challenge myself, I'm not going to kid myself.

And, though it took me five years to do it, I made a promise to myself that I would re-illustrate my fairy tale watercolors and this time do them right - in colored pencil.

Here is another one of my fairy tale watercolors... Does it look familiar?

How 'bout now?


Do you have a flashback of your own that you want to share? Head on over to Tia's blog ( for the best meme in town.

Happy Friday, folks!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rapunzel 8 x 10 Print GIVEAWAY!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, how I would love thee... for FREE!

After adding Rapunzel to my shop yesterday, I thought: GIVEAWAY time! And since Rapunzel is my latest print, and I have an 8 x 10 sitting right here next to me, I thought: Perfect!

I've been meaning to have more giveaways here on my blog. Not only is it good exposure for my business (bringing in new fans from far and wide, who wouldn't have ordinarily seen my shop), but its a way for me to say HEY, THANKS to my awesome readers and fans by giving you a chance to win a little something.

So, without further ado, for all the fairy tale lovers out there, up for grabs is an 8 x 10 print of my latest illustration. Go ahead and enter... its free! Anyone and everyone is eligible. Just make sure I have a way to contact you, in the event you win!

I'll be announcing the winner on Saturday, January 23rd

Entering is EASY:

1. Go to Elegant Snobbery (my Etsy shop) and pick your favorite item. Come back here and tell me what it is (1 entry).

2. If, while in my shop, you see something you love and purchase it, you get TWO extra entries for EACH purchase during the week of this giveaway. You must leave a note in "message to seller" or add a new blog comment here to ensure that your extra entries are counted.

3. Follow my blog, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

4. Twitter this giveaway to your followers, and let me know in a separate comment (1 entry).

5. Blog this giveaway, and let me know in a separate comment (1 entry).

6. Heart my Etsy shop, Elegant Snobbery, and let me know in a separate comment (1 entry).

**if you are new to Etsy, and don't know how to heart my shop, just go to my shop page and click on ADD SELLER TO FAVORITES located on the bottom right hand column of my shop page

7. Follow me on Twitter ( (1 entry.)

8. Follow my Facebook Fan Page ( (1 entry)

AND if you are already doing any of the above, don't forget to let me know (as a separate entry for each) because they'll definitely count!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair

Rapunzel became the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the sorceress locked her in a tower that stood in a forest and that had neither a door nor a stairway, but only a tiny little window at the very top. When the sorceress wanted to enter, she stood below and called out:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.

~ Rapunzel - The Brothers Grimm

Rapunzel has been my FAVORITE fairy tale since I was a little girl. Okay, actually, The Frog Prince has always won by default - that love for frogs wins every time.

Oh, and The Little Mermaid, always wins hands down, because I love mermaids even more than frogs... but when I pull a fairy tale of the shelf to read, Rapunzel is always it.

Well, and Sleeping Beauty. I love that one, too. And Cinderella.

Okay, so perhaps I can't pick a favorite. But I'm talking about Rapunzel, here, so lets move on.

I'm SO excited to be done with my latest piece. This one was definitely labor intensive. Lots of sweat, blood and tears went into the making of this illustration. Okay, that's not true... no sweat, blood OR tears... lots of coffee and inspiration music (Erin McCarley - she has such a lovely voice!).

She turned out even better than I hoped she would. I love that... I can envision a finished piece in my head before I even start, but when they turn out nicer than I envision, its as exciting as Christmas.

Here are a couple of detail shots:

In case you haven't seen my previous work-in-progress posts on Rapunzel, this is an illustrated mixed media collage. All elements of this work are hand drawn or painted by me (excluding the vintage text background). Rapunzel and her tower have been drawn with colored pencils, the background is a mix of vintage text, acrylic paint, and colored pencil.

Prints are listed in the 8 x 10 and the 11 x 14 size in my shop.

(My inspiration music):



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