Monday, June 30, 2008

Tagged again!

I've been tagged by the lovely and wonderful Mary. She tagged me a while ago and am now finally getting around to playing. This version of tag is a little different in that there are actual questions to answer so here goes!

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Hmm. I believe it was the summer after my Sophmore year in college and I was working at the Maine Mall at a store called "Natural Wonders." It was such a fun job but I didn't quite make as much money as I needed to for my Junior year! Let's just say I ate a lot of Ramen noodles.

Five items on my to-do list:
1. Call the plumber
2. Do the dishes
3. Photograph all my newest work
4. Write my thank you notes
5. Put some listings up on my shop

Snacks I enjoy:
I like to slice an apple into little pieces and put dressing on them in a bowl. I then sprinkle lots of Parmesan and cheddar cheese on top with garlic salt as a last touch. I also love buttery popcorn, cheese and crackers, and banana with whipped cream. I don't snack much anymore though.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
I would immediately pay off all of our debts and all the debts of my family. I would then buy everyone in my family a new home and furnish it for them. I'd also buy them all new cars. I would buy ourselves a house in our favorite places so that we could stay all over. I would donate lots and lots of money to my favorite charities (National M.S. Society and the American Cancer Society are 2 favorites) and I would give to many homeless families to get them back in the game. For fun I would travel the world and learn all about different cultures. I would also love to take new classes and learn all about the things that interest me. I would also probably volunteer at different places in our area. I'd also probably pay off the debt our church has. And I think it would be amazing to have the means to adopt several children who are trapped in the system and need loving homes. I could go on and on with this question!

Places I would live:
I would love to live in Maine again...particularly Falmouth near the water
Portland, Oregon
San Francisco, CA (if I could afford it!)
Raleigh, NC
Somewhere in coastal Florida just for a little while
Austin, TX

Jobs I have had:
My first was when I was 14...I worked giving pony rides to small children at birthday parties and fairs. I spent most of my time shoveling poop and holding kids on the pony. It sucked and I got paid virtually nothing.

My next job was at Wendy's. My usual task was to put the sandwiches together. It was very stressful since I had to work so fast for hours on end.

Other jobs:
Daycare summer teacher
Retail associate
Account Executive
Graphic Designer

Bloggers I am tagging who you will enjoy getting to know better:

Rose: (Good Thoughts)
Erin: (Adventures in Letterpress)
Nicole: (Clearframe)
Laura: (Cult of Domesticity)
Louise: (Poppy Letterpress)

{The rules of the game: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.}

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Party On!

I'm overwhelmed. My husband hatched a plan long ago to throw me a surprise birthday party and boy, was I surprised! I am turning 30 on July 14 so he thought he might as well throw me a party a month before-hand so I wouldn't suspect anything! WOW! It was on Saturday (June 21st). I had gone to Boston to hang out with a good friend of mine all day Friday...the plan was to have ice cream, window shop, do dinner, go see a movie, and then go dancing. I was to stay at her house for the evening and then do breakfast and pedicures the next day. This all in itself is big doin's for me since I rarely get out. I was so excited! When I got home on Saturday afternoon there was a HUGE tent in the yard and piles and piles of people waiting to surprise me. I saw my family and my friends all standing was just too much for words. My husband even went so far as to have it catered so he could spend time enjoying the event without worrying about preparing the food and appetizers. He arranged for everyone to bring a photo with me in it and to write a personal note on the back. He had them all displayed on a board (and also in a pile at the back because there were too many to fit!) and when I got to take them off the board the next day there were so many fun messages and notes to read. When they brought out the cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to me I started to cry. I couldn't help it and felt so silly...but it just felt so darn great to know I had so many people who love me and care. The gifts were all fun and thoughtful and I hope everyone had a great time...I sure did! Thanks to everyone who came and helped make the day so special to me. I will always remember it and it soothes the sting of turning the big three-oh. Much love to everyone for coming such distances to share in the fun, most of all to my amazing husband who organized every detail himself and pulled off such a fun surprise. I feel so special and lucky every day because of you Chris. No words will ever be able to mean it enough. Nothing I want to say seems to measure up to the gratitude I have. I love you! I don't have much for pictures of the day yet; so posted here are a few. A good friend took a bunch of "professional" photos and I will be sure to post some favorites some other day when I have them!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm on Dooce for sure!

My print is on the here to see!

*update: I've emailed her to give her the link to my shop, so we shall see if it is mentioned or not. I know she doesn't HAVE to since it's HER blog and she can do what she wants. It would just have been so cool to have had my link there too. I worry people will think that my print on the right is from Wayne Pate as well since she doesn't mention it. Of course, he is MUCHO famous for his prints right now and I'm pretty unknown. Oh well, onward and upward and I'll keep smiling.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lift the ban?

Check out this article.

Of course he's pushing the use of MORE oil. I'm not so sure the costs would even go down. Especially in several years! Obviously we need help NOW, but that's not going to happen. That being said, I'd love to see the years of effort and resources go toward perfecting other methods of fueling our lives altogether. That would, in large, take away our dependency on oil from other countries...would it not? Wouldn't it end a lot of fighting? Isn't this the perfect time to say "our dependency on oil needs to become a thing of the past." If we are a nation that is innovative and forward-thinking then I would think that we should be moving FORWARD and not BACKWARD. I want our leader to embrace new technology and to be forward-thinking. It would be so great to have a cleaner fuel that is very inexpensive (and easy to replenish) that we all can have access to. I'm just so sick of the oil issue and want it to go away already. Sorry, I will get off the soapbox now. I just had to react.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Secret

Hello! I hope you had a great weekend! We went and saw the new Indiana Jones movie on Saturday was great! If you like those films, that is. My husband said "I didn't like it as much as some of the others, but I thought it was good." The movie was in keeping with the others in terms of the humor and the writing, so it was a refreshing break from the over-digitized flicks of today. I'm sure this one was plenty digitized, but it would have been for the backgrounds (and I couldn't tell one way or another). Overall, it was a fun movie. Onto the next topic...
I promised to mention the book I'm reading in my last post. Most of you out there have heard of it or have read it and I finally jumped in to see what it was all about. It's called "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. I've heard all about it for the past 2 years on blogs, in the workplace, and on television. I had the gist: "Think positively and you will attract good things." But I decided to see what else it had to say and I'm glad I did! I've recently decided to take a more positive stance in my life in hopes that I would feel more energetic and that it will attract my hopes and dreams my way. This book helps confirm that this is a worthy stance to be taking and also gives tips and thoughts on how to enhance that. I always knew that visualizing and FEELING what I most want to happen was important, and I'd just sort of stopped practicing that. Perhaps I became pessimistic. The book reminds me to live like I already have what I want and that will attract it to me. To affirm every day that I am abundant, I have what I need and want. Since I want to have children, it is helpful to say "I am a great Mom" instead of "I wish I were a Mom." According to the book, wishing only brings MORE wishing. Worry brings MORE worry. Negative brings MORE negative. There is mention in the book about how Mother Theresa was asked to join an anti-war rally and she said "tell me when there is a pro-peace rally...I will go to that!" This shift in thinking takes the focus off the negative connotations and puts in on the positive ones instead. The other good thought I'm getting from this book is that if you want something so bad that you are obsessed and feel like you NEED it then you are choking that energy and keeping that very thing from coming to you. The book implies that you should ask once and let it go. It asks us to assume we are going to get what we want (much like when we place an order from a catalog and assume it's on it's way) and let it go. Then, visualize HAVING that thing (for me it's lots of shop orders, a baby, etc.) It's teaching me to MAINTAIN the positive mindset and try to catch myself when I'm thinking or dwelling on something negative. I figure, it can't hurt to give it a try. I've found pictures that represent the things I most want to bring to my life and business and I have them in a folder on my computer. I look at the pictures each day and I make sure to smile and feel joy knowing these things will be coming to me. I'm just going to let everything unfold as it should and I'm happy with knowing just what I want and who I want to be. This brings so much positive energy around me...and makes trying this new way so worth it. I know it will take practice, but I'm willing to do it. I'll let you know when any of my wishes come to me! You can find out more about The Secret and order the movie (or view it online for a small fee) here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


The last of my newest designs have debuted in my shop. You'll see my new giraffe card and my new branch card... the giraffe is a folded note while the branch is a flat note. I printed the giraffe to be a touch "off" between the yellow and brown colors. I wanted it to feel more childlike and whimsical, so the brown layer was printed a hair "off" from the yellow. It varies a bit from card to card and gives it a more whimsical/cartoony feel. I'm pleased with how it came out. My favorite is the branch card. I think it's because I like the combination of filled color and outline color. These are also original illustrations. Have a great weekend everyone! I'm headed to a morning showing of the new Indiana Jones movie with my husband. (no crowds and much cheaper tickets!). I hope you enjoy whatever plans you may have.

Friday, June 13, 2008

hungry hippos

Hello! New card in the shop; two more to go after this one! This is just a fun little card with a mom and baby hippo hanging out by a tree. Selling them in my shop in a set of 3 (you can contact me through the shop if you want a custom quantity). Happy Friday! I'll be posting the last 2 of my recent card designs in my shop later today and this evening. I hope you enjoy your weekend. I'll be back Monday with a post about a great book I'm reading... Until next time!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Elephants on parade toward bliss

Elephant card sets are now available in my shop.

Hello everyone! Happy Thursday to you. It's feeling a lot like summer now and I'm loving it. It was such a long winter and I'm glad it's done with. Today I've been thinking a lot about choices and the tough ones we make regarding our careers. I wanted to share this with you because it's a sort of milestone in my life. Two years ago I left my corporate graphic design job for the world of freelance. I had no idea what direction I wanted my work to go in; I just knew that I wanted to work for myself. I plunged forward trying to get a client roster going. Things were booming! I was so busy that first year I thought "Wow! I can't believe I didn't do this sooner!" But, as time went by I started noticing I still had that little pit in my stomach that said I still wasn't quite happy with what I was doing. I still felt a little un-fulfilled and a little sad. It didn't take long for me to realize that it wasn't graphic design as a field that I was unhappy with, it was the KIND of work I was doing. I didn't feel that wave of pride when I completed a project. That thrill of a job well done. Well, I didn't feel ANYTHING for that matter. Doing work for corporations just didn't feel right. I decided I wanted to CONNECT with people. To do work that mattered to someone on a more personal level. That's when I decided focus my work more on weddings, birth announcements, stationery and the like. Not only is my job much more fun, it is much more personal. And even more recently I've refined my goals to include selling my own cards as I try to create a thriving online shop. I've never been happier. Have I taken a pay cut? YES. But I feel that it's only temporary as I move forward and try to gain more of an audience for my product. It took me a while and a leap of faith to allow myself to focus in on what I really wanted to be doing and not what I "maybe should" be doing. The other day I got a call and a possible opportunity to do some freelance work with a great up-and-coming company with a fantastic brand doing packaging (and such). I would have been working with one of the country's top product designers. I was speaking to the President of this company who is a friend of my husband's family and I thought to myself "Wow! Up until recently I would have given my left arm for an opportunity like this!!!" It was everything I used to dream of. Right there dangling in front of me. And I said no. I SAID NO!!!! I ask myself if I'm crazy. But I know that I'm not. It WAS a great opportunity...for someone else. For someone who has the dream I used to have. The reality is that the work would have taken me way away from where I want to go and I know it was the kind of work that I simply dread doing. If I had said yes, what would I have been trying to prove? Because I wouldn't have said yes for myself. I'm proud of myself; that I was strong enough to say no to something that, while slick and glossy, would have taken me away from where I'm truly meant to go. I heard the voices in my conscious saying "don't do it! it's not right!" and I listened for once. What I'd like to say here is that we all have to make choices in all facets of our life. And we make decisions based on many reasons...sometimes we have to stop and ask "is this going to take me TOWARD my dream, pull me AWAY, or STALL me on my path? The decision has to be right for YOU and your family. Not for anyone else or for any other reasons. And if you can't make that decision now because of finances, bad timing, or a zillion other reasons that may hinder you, just know that if you make tiny little steps toward your dream it will eventually be realized. But you have to be making steps no matter how small. Here's to small steps!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

new stuff

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a great week so far. I finished 5 new card designs yesterday after a week of printing and doing lots of other things. Here is a new flat notecard available in my shop.
"Printed in a light blue and brown ink, the stump flat notes are stylish without too much pattern and frill. Comes in a set of 5 flat cards. Printed in ultra-thick and pillowy soft cotton Crane's Lettra letterpress paper. Ultra luxurious." I will debut my other cards through the next few days; I'm excited about all of these ones because they are a little different from the other work I'd been doing but are still cheerful, whimsical and fun. Plus I did all the illustrations myself (quick and simple ones to keep the child-like quality to the design). I hope you enjoy them! Have a great day!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Japanese Fan Card

Here is a cool Japanese fan card I promised to show you. Here it is all packaged up as it was bought.
Below is an up-close view of the little add-on sticker on the front. I thought it was a nice touch and was impressed that this little detail was die cut into a fan shape too.
Here it is out of the cello sleeve. There's an envelope and a little card with a slit that holds the fan in place.
When you remove the fan from the holder card, you can flip it over and write a message on the back.
Here's how it looks when you open the card and flatten it out on the table. It works like a pop-up book. I love all the gold foil detail!
It comes with string attached for hanging.
Here's another view of it when it is closed again.
And finally, here's a view from the front of it when the card is only opened a little bit.Thanks for checking out this little card with me! I hope it inspires you in some small way as it did me.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fine Art vs. Commercialism

Hello everyone! Happy Friday to you!
I got an interesting comment on my blog yesterday on my bird cage cards from "anonymous." She/He says: "Reminiscent of Gwen Frostic's work. huummm. Gwen's prints are the best, think I rather prefer her cards for buying. I find your work is very cold and barren. Almost Soulless."

I'd like to say thank you for pointing out Gwen Frostic's work. I'd never actually heard of her until this comment so I went ahead and Googled her. Her beautiful prints have a rich watercolor feel and bring out such beautiful colors of nature in birds and botany. So delightful and a feast for the eyes.I urge you to check out her work; particularly her cards HERE.

Clearly, Ms. Frostic's work is the result of many hours of intensive work. Soulful work. This is fine art at its best. She has then turned her art into cards and calendars and all manner of wonderful products to make a living from her work. Kudos to her and I hope to have my own successes with my own work one day. However, currently I have not been working on my fine art. It's been placed on the backburner for a while now. All my paintings and drawings from the past are stored away in a special case; save for one small watercolor painting that is framed in my living room. Someday soon I will take out my pencils and brushes and paints and enjoy it all again. I have made the choice for now to create little letterpressed greeting cards that are just plain fun for me to make. I either illustrate the subjects myself or I find free clip art that I make unique compositions with. Do I put my soul in it? Hardly. I'm having fun! I'm enjoying myself! I'm doing what makes me happy. Yesterday, I was printing a little card that will be coming soon...little hippos by a palm tree. Cartoonish yet cute. Is my soul there with it? No. I giggle at the thought. My happy helpful commenter was correct: I didn't put my SOUL in my cards. I make my cards purely for the fun of it and with the hopes that others out there will enjoy them too. I put my SMILE in it. Little paper bits to send around and urge a smile from others. Nothing more and nothing less. I do not take my little cards too seriously. I think the topic of fine art vs.commercialism are important..It's vital to know the difference between what is meant to be a soulful expression and what is meant to be a fun expression made specifically for a commercial product in an effort for fun and to help make a living.

The comment raised another important topic: How do artists gain inspiration? and Has someone copied my work or have I copied someone else's work? These are issues that we freelance designers worry about and wrestle with. There are so many ideas out there and many have been done several times over. On purpose? Sometimes. But I think most of the time it is unknown. It is impossible to see every piece of art that has ever been created and make sure your special piece isn't similar to another. It sometimes happens. My happy helpful commenter implied that my work was like Ms. Frostic's. I'm flattered! But I do not see the comparison or similarity. I guess I have a bird on my card. That's about it. I found the cool bird on a royalty free clip art subscription-only website and just plain liked it. I'm happy to have learned about Ms. Frostic's work though; it is incredibly beautiful and really speaks to me. Something to note is that we all get inspiration and ideas from each other and from somewhere else. We as artists develop our own particular style over time. Sometimes two different artists will have similar styles. For example, when I looked at Ms. Frostic's work it immediately reminded me of the work of CharleyHarper. They aren't exactly the same style, but they reminded me a lot of each other. Her work is more painterly and less geometric.

Ms. Frostic's work:

Charley Harper's work:
Are they the same? No. Are the birds in dynamic and expressive poses? Yes. Are their angles exaggerated? Yes. Are the birds of the same species? Maybe. But they are also different in lots of ways and I could go on and on.

These are all topics that have been floating around in my head for a while now and I'm glad my happy helpful commenter reminded me of them. I've said how I feel about these issues; I'm curious to know what all of you out there think about these topics in relation to YOUR life and occupations? Enjoy your weekend everyone! I will be hanging out with family...I plan to go to a town carnival and then off to a fun paper store to see what treasures I can find. I'll be back Monday with pics of a paper treat from "Japan" at Epcot. Be well and here's a smile!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Bird Cage!

Here is my newest letterpressed card that will be available today in my shop. I've been enjoying the color combination of yellow and gray and thought this was my big chance to use it! This is a small folded notecard printed on ultra-thick and cotton Crane's Lettra letterpress paper. They come with matching white cotton Crane's envelopes. I will be selling these in sets of 3 for $9, but feel free to contact me through my shop if you'd like other quantities. I hope you like them!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Thanks to Nicole over at Freshly Blended for featuring the invitations I did for my Mom's surprise birthday party invitations last year on her blog. You can view the post here. She has a new "DIY Invite Tuesdays" feature where she profiles some "do it yourself" invitation designs once per week during June. If you have some invites you've created and want to show off, you can submit them here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hello again

Hey friends! I'm back from vacation and back at it. We spent a few sunny days in Vero Beach, Florida playing in the pool and on the beach there with friends. Chris and I then drove to Orlando and spent a few days there playing at Universal Studios and at Disney's Epcot park. Universal has really updated their rides to utilize the newest technologies. What a great time! I loved all the rides we went on (except for maybe one where I felt pretty sick after). It's like a new park though, and I highly recommend it if you are ever in that area. Epcot was fun too; but was more about walking around and being relaxed and shopping. I spent a lot of time in "Japan" and bought tons of little paper items that I plan to share with you over the next week. Everything is so intricate and folds this way and that. I haven't assembled anything or taken anything out of the packages yet. I thought we could discover each thing together. We also enjoyed "Germany" a lot and had dinner in an Oktoberfest atmosphere. I think Chris was in heaven. I have lots of pictures from our trip, but they are on my husband's new camera and they have yet to be uploaded to the computer.
I have lots of plans this week for new letterpress card work, but I'm having such a hard time getting motivated. It's sunny and warm out so it makes me not able to focus very well. This is my number one problem: staying motivated. I have so many plans and ideas but such a hard time making myself follow through. Perhaps it's fear? I'm not sure. Anyway, I'll be back soon with the newest paper discovery from Epcot's "Japan."