Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(Belated) Blog Birthday Giveaway!!!

Just Bee 'n Me Blog Birthday Giveaway!!

The (Belated) Blog Birthday Bash Giveaway is finally here!!!!!! Whew! I really wanted to do a photo shoot, but then I would never have gotten this post finished, and I didn't want to wait one more second to make this available to you!! SO, you can check out the montage above to get a feel for the goodies that I will be sharing with the winner (you can see a sort of Sweet Summer Blues feel to the collection). There are repurposed china pieces and vintage linens (from the Just Bee 'n Me Boutique), cute little collectible whatnots, teensy tea cup, notecard set (based on some of my calendar designs), bookmark, and several fun and functional art pieces (framed print, altered journal, etc) using one of my digital illustrations from each of the years I've been blogging ('05, '06, '07, and '08)!! Plus who knows what else I'll throw in as I'm packing up the goodies!! And, as an added bonus, I will send the winner a copy of the Siesta Fiesta Cookbook with my cover design as soon as they are available!!!

To enter for the giveaway, simply leave a comment to this post between now and 5:00 PM Central time on Sunday, August 3rd when I will use a random number generator and pick a winner! You don't have to have a blog to enter and I welcome participants from around the world! PLEASE, if you don't mind, tell folks about this giveaway that you think might be interested - I would LOVE to meet a lot of new blog buddies!!!
Belated though it is, I hope this thank you gift giveaway in some small way conveys my heartfelt appreciation and love for all of my blog friends...old and new. Many of you have been here from the very beginning and have never stopped saying hello...even when I had... Wow! Plus you have been with me and supported my through divorce, relocation, remarriage and a host of family happenings, artistic endeavors, uncertainty, flea market madness, and pure joy. I wouldn't have wanted to walk this road without you. What a blessing you are to me!!
"I thank my God every time I remember you."
(Philippians 1:3)
BTW, I am working steadily on the Just Bee 'n Me Boutique online shop - I can't wait to be able to offer you some of the same goodies that we sell in the Boutique locally - plus some awesome online-only selections like unique ephemera and fabric/trim crafty kits, one-of-a-kind vintage linen collages, and so much more!! I hope you will keep us bookmarked and check back for the grand opening SOON!!
And here's just a sampler of the blog fun I have planned for the Fall/Holiday season:
  • A return of the new and improved Merry Making Christmas Gift Guide - bigger and better than ever!!! I hope you will plan to participate this will be greatly expanded but still FREE, FREE FREE for my vendor buddies!
  • New Freebies - I will be offering free blog sidebar inspirational images to grace your blog with the Word
  • Way-Back When-sday will continue, but I am inviting others to participate with me and I will post the links to participating blogs here. I'll post a way-back year ahead of time and give you plenty of time to participate with your own old photos and sweet remembrances of that year. C'mon, it'll be FUN!!! We'll probably shoot for bi-weekly since it is such a busy season.
  • Brand new Just Bee 'n Me studio construction and reveal!!!
  • So much more!!! Please come back often to see what new fun things will be happening at Just Bee 'n Me!!!!
I treasure each and every one of you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! And best of luck to you in the giveaway - don't forget to leave a comment and pass the word!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wow!! Thank Y'all!!

Dear friends and family,

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time and making the effort to vote on the Siesta Fiesta Cookbook Cover well as for your sweet comments and well-wishes! I am so thrilled to announce that my cover design was the winner!! Wow!! I am very humbled and grateful for this opportunity...and I am honored to be a part of this great project with the Siesta Fiesta! To God be all the Glory!!

Congratulations to all the other cover contest participants - everyone did such a great job...they will be incorporating all of the designs into the cookbook, so that will be a real treat! I'll share information soon about how to pre-order these special cookbooks...they are going to be chock full of great recipes and commentary from all the Siesta bloggers out there. Plus as I mentioned before, $5 from every $13.50 purchase will go to support the building of wells in Africa!!

Thanks again everyone! This has been a really wonderful experience!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Siesta Fiesta Cookbook Cover Contest! (Please Vote!)

7/23/08 UPDATE: Hi y'all!! The voting continues till 5:00 pm MST (earlier I mistakenly said EST) today (Thursday 7/23) if you haven't made it there yet. For those of you who have voted (for whomever) I'm just so thankful for your participation...the cookbook sales are going for a really good cause, so hopefully the cover, no matter which is chosen, will help enhance sales... Thanks again!!

My Submission:
Siesta Fiesta Cookbook Cover Contest!

I am SO excited to be participating in the Siesta Fiesta Cookbook Cover contest!! So what is a "siesta" and why are they making a cookbook? Well, if you'll hang with me for just a moment, I'll try to set it up:

First off, Beth Moore and Living Proof Ministries have a blog - (I would highly encourage you to check it out if you've never been there...she has a summer online Bible study going plus wonderful and sometimes downright hilarious devotionals, recipes, and more). And if you've never heard of Beth Moore (awesome Bible teacher/speaker and all around great, beautiful, funny servant of God), I would also highly recommend any of her great Bible studies or books...just fabulous!!! (I could easily write 100 blog posts about how her teaching has impacted my life)

Anywhoo, she (Beth) coined the name "Siesta" - and here's the explanation of how from their blog:

What's a "Siesta"?
Isn't "siesta" the Spanish word for nap? Yes! Then why are our LPM blog readers called siestas? One time Beth typed out the word "sistas," referring to our blog readers, and her spell checker wanted her to change it to "siestas." The name stuck! You can read about it
here. If you read this blog, consider yourself a siesta! It's just another word for sister.

Well, somewhere along the line, in anticipation of the upcoming Living Proof Live Conference in San Antonio, the "Siestas" were invited to a blogger get together called the "Siesta Fiesta". And some time after that, the Siesta Fiesta blog was created, and since the blogging Siestas often share recipes in the comments, Holly from the SF blog had the idea to create a Cookbook based on the recipes to sell at the Fiesta as well as online (you can read more here). And from that came the Cookbook Cover Contest which is why you're reading about this here...whew! The awesome thing about the sale of the cookbook is that $5.00 from every $13.50 of the sales price will go to dig a well for Life Outreach International!!! Great cause!!

I hope you'll take a moment and vote for the cover of your choice. This is not a contest for $$ or anything like that (though there is a Chili's gift certificate in it for the winner!) - it's just to support a good cause and make the cookbook colorful and special for the siestas. The winner will be announced on July 24th, so you have a few days to vote...oh, and you can only vote once. :o)

Love to all you Siestas out there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Way Back When-sday: 2005 (and other stuff)


Well, welcome back to Way Back When-sday!! Well, it was Way Back in April I think when I did this feature the last time - goodness gracious, what a slacker!! Well, the reason I chose the year 2005 is that it was a complex mix of beginnings and endings. It is the year I started this great adventure called blogging - thus my 3 year blog birthday from June (which YES, I am still going to do a fabulous giveaway for!!). It was also the year that I re-energized my illustration work that had been dormant for years. Sadly, it was the year of the demise of my 22 year marriage, and then the subsequent move from Colorado back to Texas...which started me on a whole new adventure. So to say that 2005 was a pivotal year for me is an understatement...

First off, how the blog came to be. Well, I have to back up just a tad to the Fall of 2004. I had just completed my first freelance illustration job for the children's market (actually, it was the first freelance job I had done in years - that's one of the puzzle pages above). It was an activity book that never actually got published, but I did get paid. My mentor and pal, Liz Malwitz, had sub-contracted me to do it and it was so much fun! Well, now I was hooked on freelance illustration, and I sought work from other publishers and got work here and there all through the Spring of 2005 (I was working at the same full time home-based job then too, so this was all on the side). Then I began to surf the internet for information about illustrators in the children's market. That ultimately led me to Holli Conger's website, where I found her powerful year-long monthly journal that she called "Becoming an Illustrator". I highly recommend this article to anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a full time artist (of any kind) is a great, intimate glimpse into the process and is full of practical guidance and marketing ideas. Anyway, it was in this article that I first read about blogs. Then through Holli's blog and her links I found many more inspiring, creative blogs, and I was forever hooked. On June 9th, 2005, I started up Just Bee 'n Me (a name I had been toying with for months as a possible name for my illustration business) and the rest is history...

In Holli's article, she also mentioned Illustration Friday, a wonderful network of illustrators in all media who create artwork based on a weekly topic sent out by email to all participants. Participation in this venue probably did more to revive my desire to illustrate and hone my skills and help develop my style that just about anything I had done previously. Before I knew it, I was creating an entire new illustration a week, and this quickly built up my lagging, neglected portfolio.Plus, it was just plain fun! Sharing comments with and getting comments from other artists I admired was incredibly addictive and very helpful. Here are some of my early pieces from the first few months of IF participation:




IF participation, and blogging in general were becoming an increasingly important part of my life. This outlet provided me with a sense of community at a time when I really needed it. My 22 year marriage was falling apart - we were living under the same roof, but we were living separately in every other way. This is not the proper forum to share too much about it other than to say that it was a heart-rending, miserable time for both of us. The decision to divorce was not made lightly, I can assure you. I had come to love the life we had made in beautiful Colorado in many ways (we had been there 7 years after having moved from Austin in 1998) - and I had a LOT of wonderful BFFs in real life that I did not want to leave behind...but it became clear that moving would be the best thing to do. I needed to be surrounded by family, and family was all in Texas. So, on December 23, 2005, I arrived at my parent's door where I was welcomed and loved and cherished, and the healing process began...

2005 - what a year...


Upcoming Stuff...

On Friday the 18th, I will reveal the Cookbook Cover I designed for the Cookbook Cover Contest over at the Siesta Fiesta Blog, and I will ask you guys to head to their blog and vote for your favorite cover submission. I'm so excited to be participating in this project - it is for a wonderful cause - building a well in Africa (I'll share more of the particulars on Friday)...


Preparations for the Just Bee 'n Me Boutique (online) are underway! I can't wait to get it all loaded and functioning! It will be so great to share my creations with a wider audience...and give you an opportunity to buy many of the goodies that you've seen in photos on the blog. It's so exciting and I can't wait to share it with all of you!!


The Giveaway hasn't gone's just aging to perfection! :o) It will happen this week or early next week no matter what so please keep stopping by...I'm looking forward to showing my appreciation to you all through these handmade treasures...

Thanks again for stopping by - you have made blogging one the most fun and satisfying things I have ever done! I love you guys!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


That's how you pronounce "catch up" in Texan-ese - and that's what this post is for - to catch up on several sadly neglected but fun bloggy things that I've been wanting to share/participate in. SO hang on - this will be quite a long-winded post with lots o' pictures too...

Mom's Birthday and Retirement Parties

On May 30th, 2008, after 22 years as a lab tech with the same company, my sweet Mom has finally retired and I am SO happy for her!! Just so happens her __th birthday was the same week (on Memorial Day) so it was a week of parties and fun! The photo montage is from both the birthday and retirement parities...ain't my Mom the cutest thing!!?? She smiles all the time...and is very beloved by family and friends/co-workers alike...

Isn't this the sweetest little heart with the nest, bead eggs, and the handmade "Mom" charm...? I had shown Mom a similar heart on Kathy's blog a few weeks prior to her birthday and she loved it, so I wrote the sweet and talented Kathy to see if I could get one customized as a surprise for the upcoming birthday celebration - she was able to do just that (Thank you Kathy!!) and I had the perfect gift for my wonderful Mom...Be sure and check out Kathy's Etsy shop for more cute hearts and other goodies - she was a peach to do business with! Kathy - Mom just LOVED this and was thrilled with it!!! (PS - I won't tell you my Mom's age...although she wouldn't mind...but she does not look it...I think she is just so beautiful! Happy Birthday and Retirement Mom!! Enjoy!!)

Just Bee 'n Me Boutique Update

It's overall been quite slow at the little Antique store where we sell our goodies (no one wants to shop in 98 degree heat, 89% humidity and almost $4 per gallon gas), but the day before Father's Day when we had a special sale, we were the top seller in the shop! Since then, eh, not so much, but we're about even with everyone else...a few little sales here and there. It's all good though because I am committed to learning and have no illusions about big $$...that's not why we're here... I have added a few more things over the last few weeks and have done some tweaking and fluffing, so I thought I'd share a few photos...

I updated the short wall section including a cool dresser we found, where else, but at a yard sale...

I painted this really cool old $2 frame and added blue china plates and a fabric collage for a little wall grouping...there are so many things you can do with an empty frame...

Here are progressive closeups of the fabric collage I made using a vintage embroidered piece, doilies, buttons, wire, lace and ribbon trims and a tag with a Scripture...all framed with an old frame that I shabby-ed...

This antique "StorkLine" brand child's chifforobe sold the very day we put it put it's patiently awaiting it's new owners to pick it up...such a cute piece!

On Sunday I redid the table and changed the table coverings and dishes/accessories - went with pinks this go round...

I like the addition of the rustic little stool on the tabletop - it added some vertical interest and allowed more space for displaying goodies...

Had to move a few things around in this section because we sold several things in this & cream is definitely the dominant color story at the moment...

This little candle holder is one of my favorite examples of repurposing and using simple, inexpensive elements to make something special. The metal candle holder (previously gold) was 25 cents as was the porcelain rose I tinged with pink and glued on.The candles are from WalMart, and I simply added coordinating ribbon to the candles to dress them up a touch...

BTW, hubby and I are planning (soon) to open an online shop as a compliment to our brick and mortar shop...and we will be adding similar pieces to the ones you see here, plus much more....If you ever see anything you're interested in in any of these and future photos, please leave a comment with your email and we can make it happen!! We're all set up with PayPal and ready to go!!!

Birthdays in Louisiana

On June 18th we headed to Louisiana to see the kids and grand kids which is always wonderful - I am still so grateful and very happy that my new family has welcomed me so warmly. We all get along so's as if I've always been part of the family (it's the same way with sweet hubby, btw - he just fit right in with my wonderfully nutty family right off and they have loved him from the get go). Anyway, Johnny's two oldest daughters' birthdays are just one day apart, so we had a big birthday party for the pair and had a wonderful time! I've included just a couple of grand kid photos too (PaPa John has eight so it's hard to include them all), but I thought you'd like to see how little Miss Hope has grown...and big brother Kane - he is the biggest photo ham...he's always quite aware of the presence of a camera...


7 Things

My new friends Patricia over at Vintage Linen Treasures and Myrna at More Than Heirlooms each recently honored me with a tag to play "7 Things" where you share 7 random/weird facts about yourself. Check out these sweet ladies' sites - lots of great stuff to see and read!

So here goes nothin'....

  1. Sweet hubby and I live next door...yes, right next door to my parents. Long story short, when I moved back to Houston from Colorado after my divorce, I lived temporarily with my folks while I looked for a house to buy. It just so happened that at the same time I moved in at Mom and Dad's, the house next door to them was purchased by a couple who were going to fix it up and flip it. I loved the house, and as the couple began making repairs and updates, they began to ask me if I liked this color paint, this tile, this front door, etc and basically, before I knew it, the house was being finished pretty much according to my tastes and desires...but I wasn't having to do the actual work...very cool. Well - ended up that the timing of the house being ready coincided perfectly with me getting my financing together (with lots of behind the scene miracles), and I closed on the house April 20, 2006! When Johnny and I were planning to get married, he had no problem whatsoever contemplating living next door to his future in-laws - what a guy! And since being married a year now, I can happily report that we both are having a blast with the folks being next's a blessing!

  2. I have to rip out all the card stock inserts in magazines before I can even begin to read the magazine...can't stand how they hinder turning the page.

  3. I often randomly shorten, lengthen, or completely change people's names when I talk to them - even if I just recently met them. (Sue = SusieQ, Jamie = James, Sharon = Sharona, etc)

  4. My name was supposed to be Lauren Gayle instead of Rebecca Renee' (Lauren Gayle was the name my Mom wanted) - while my mother was in recovery after I was born, my Dad and maternal Grandmother put "Rebecca Renee'" on the birth certificate because my Grandma wanted a Bible name (Rebecca) and my Dad wanted a French name (Renee'). Sneaky. (Mom never told me how she responded after finding it out) Once I found this out as a kid, my alter ego when I would write stories or whatever was always named Lauren.

  5. I CRINGE at the sound of cardboard scratching against cardboard (like when you fold the top of a cardboard box down "layering" each flap on top of the other and tucking the last one under)...same with Styrofoam (like egg cartons). To me, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard (which ironically doesn't really bother me that bad). I guess I would die penniless if I had a job as a packer at an egg processing plant...

  6. I work at my day job as a software trainer for one of the world's largest IT companies, and have for almost 10 years - BUT, I am blessed to be able to telecommute 100% from home...I never have to go into an office, dress up, any of that! I have a company-provided laptop and business phone and I do everything online and on the phone...all day long...right here in our home sweet home. I have never even met the manager I've had for 3 years face to face...neither have several of my co-workers...we all work virtually...or virtually work, depending on your perspective. As I said, I am blessed. And yet, even with this cool stay at home job, my heart longs to be an illustrator full-time...all in God's perfect timing...

  7. I can recite the McDonalds commercial from the 70s that spells out all the things in a Big Mac backwards: "Bun Seed Sesame A On Onions Pickles Cheese Lettuce Sauce Special Patties Beef All Two" (read this backwards and those of you who are "vintage" like me will remember the tune). I used to have a t-shirt with those words printed on them (the right way) and I could look down on the shirt and read it backwards, and for some unknown reason I committed it to memory backwards...weird, I know...

I know I am supposed to now tag other folks to play along, but quite a few of you have already done this, so I'll just say if you've never done this 7 Things meme before, consider yourself tagged!


FROG Update

Finally, I thought you'd enjoy seeing the young recipient of the FROG Illustration I recently completed for my sweet friend Sue. Here's brand new baby boy Bridger, his great Aunt Sue and his dad Nick, Sue's nephew! This was such a fun project - I'm pleased with how it all turned out... Thanks Susie for sharing the photos!!

And may I again say "Thank You" for still coming by here even as my postings are sometimes few and far between - also thank you for your patience in waiting for the Blog Birthday Giveaway - although it is, alas, a month late now, I'm still having it VERY soon, so please don't give up!! I hope it will be worth the wait...


"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy July!!

( Click image to see detail)

Happy July to you all!!

I can't believe I'm writing those words - what happened to June???? I have SO much to catch you up on (I have a post about 85% complete with lots of info and photos from all the goings on of late - coming soon) - plus, fret not - I will be having the *now* Belated Birthday Bash & Giveaway within the next few days - I finally got one piece of the giveaway delivered that I ordered specially for the occasion, so the prize package is just about complete. Can't wait to share it all with you!! PLUS I created a book cover design and entered it into a contest that will involve folks voting for their favorite designs online - so on July 18th, when all the designs are posted, I will be asking you to kindly vote for my design should you think it's worthy of your vote....more to come on this contest soon. One last thing - I have been collecting LOTs of new blog links that I can't wait to share with you - there is so much creativity and beauty out there - it is really mind-blowing!!

Not much else at the moment other than to say thanks for continuing to stop by here, even when it's been slow between posts - I appreciate it more than you'll ever know!

Happy Independence Day if I don't talk to you before Friday!! Enjoy our glorious freedoms - both in this wonderful country of ours and the freedom we enjoy in Jesus!!

"I will walk about in freedom for I have sought out your precepts."
Psalm 119:45