Friday, October 31, 2008

Just Treats, No Tricks!

Hi y'all! Just a quick note to wish you a fun, safe holiday. I thought it would be appropriate to share my latest illustration - it's a remake of one I did with watercolor/colored pencil back in the mid 90's (see below). This time I used my "cut out" digital style with some digi-scrapbook type elements. It's still whimsical and colorful (I can't help it...that's me) - but hopefully with a fresh look. This image just happens to be the October illustration for my soon-coming 2009 Calendar!! Yep, this year I'm going with the pure whimsical look for fun - it'll be smiles and sweetness from start to finish with a Scripture for each month. Oh, but if you missed out on my 2008 Calendar, never fear, I will be re-issuing it for 2009!! (you can see the 2008 version here). Over the next month or so I will be posting sneak previews of the new 2009 images, so please stay tuned!!
Love you guys!!!
"There is no fear in love."
(1 John 4:18)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tea for Two-sday! Diane and Celeste!

Well friends, after the hurricane hiatus, I am tickled pink to bring you the latest installment of "Tea for Two-sday", where I bring together two creative gals who use different media, have different styles, or are from different parts of the world, and have them over for tea to meet each other and to have all of you meet them...

This week, I am incredibly honored to introduce these two lovely souls to all of you - turns out from closer investigation that they are already blog buddies, so instead of an introduction, this will be more of a reunion of two friends - but hey, who doesn't enjoy tea with an old friend? So, please welcome my friends Diane of Diane Knott's Musings and Celeste of La Rea Rose!

Diane probably doesn't have a clue how big a fan I am of her artwork - I have seen her images and name on calendars and greeting cards and fabrics for a long time now, and she is one of my heroes in the illustration/licensing world - what a talent! What you'll see on her lovely website and blog are beautiful images of Diane's sweet, expertly rendered watercolors and the myriad of products that they grace - like the adorable fabric collection below (just one of many) as well as the cute, cute nautically-themed Christmas cards...and so much more (she's even licensed by Universal like me!). And if that weren't enough, Diane is quite a quilter as you can see from the pumpkin table runner she designed and created. Apparently, this talent runs in the family, because Diane's daughter Holly is an expert quilter - she and Diane have co-authored a book called Quilted Garden Delights with eight incredible garden-themed quilt projects based on Diane's watercolor paintings!

Oh, and since Diane's not really busy or anything ;o) she also beautifully alters vintage bottles and sells them, along with art prints and other goodies in the Etsy shop she runs with Holly. By the way, you can click here to see how you might be able to win that very bottle pictured below!! Please drop by and say hello to Diane for me - I'm sure she would love to have you over for a visit!

(Photos and images courtesy of Diane Knott)
Please also say hello to one of the sweetest gals in all of Blogland - Celeste of La Rea Rose! Celeste is such an incredibly talented decorative painter - her beautiful work is generously sprinkled with charm and grace and just makes you smile to look at it! Celeste's work has definitely caught the attention of some very high-profile folks - just so happens that Celeste's ornaments have graced the Blue Room Christmas Tree in the White House twice...and she has graced the Blue Room as well, being invited there each time to add her ornaments to the tree!!
Celeste also has a love for all things vintage and regularly scouts her favorite flea markets, tag sales and thrift stores for hidden treasures just waiting to receive new life from Celeste's brush - the cake cover is just one such example of the power of paint in the hands of a person with vision to see what can be in the most humble of objects... You can see (and buy) many, many more examples of her transformations at both her eBay Store as well as her Etsy Boutique!
Oh, and if this all wasn't more than enough, Celeste has an incredible knack (and love) for decorating. Her gorgeous and cozy studio seen below and in this blog feature just makes me want to climb in there and create! What an inspirational space! Click here and here to see two more examples of rooms in Celeste's home that she has lovingly appointed with warm and inviting touches that instantly put you at ease and say "welcome". I hope you will stop by and say hello to Celeste - I guarantee you will receive a warm welcome!

(Photos courtesy of Celeste Schaumburger)

Thanks so much to all of you for stopping by for this installment of Tea for Two-sday - and thank you for your patience as I muddled through the last few weeks and had to suspend this Tuesday fun. Please stop back often - I have SO much to share in the coming days. Plus you never know, I just might be asking YOU to tea!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back Home, Back to Normal, and Back to Business!'s so good to be so many ways. We're back from our Birthday Extravaganza mini-vacation to Central Texas (fabulous!), back to normal (pretty much) after the hurricane, and back to business with all things illustration-related and blog-related (finally!). The month of September was a blur and October is already half over, so it's about time!!
Here's a little pictoral review of our my Baby's Birthday Extravaganza which included a small family gathering last Wednesday, his actual birthday. Now there's a man after my own heart...he's a chocolate-on-chocolate cake lover too - yum!
And, from the "you-never-know-what-you-might-find-at-a-garage-sale" department, we got a fabulous deal on an authentic Fender Stratocaster from a guitar collector with one too many - sweet! Great early birthday present for Sweetie! He's been wanting one for forever!

On Thursday we headed west to the sweet town of Fredericksburg in Central Texas - what a wonderful trip to a wonderful place!! The following photos are from in and around the awesome, rustic, pet-friendly, well-appointed, authentic log cabin that we called home for a couple of days (Cay Cay's Cabin) - we will definitely stay here again - it was so cozy and quaint and the owner was a doll - loved it!! Fredericksburg is famous for its numerous Bed and Breakfasts - you can hardly go wrong with any one of them...

I wish I had taken more photos of Fredericksburg itself - it is such a great old German settlement, nestled in the beautiful Central Texas Hill Country only about 70 miles from Austin. It is world renowned for its antiques, home decor, art, craft, and yummy food shopping... And, it is chock full of quaint old Texas limestone and Victorian-era homes in quiet neighborhoods If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend it!

This is just one of the bazillions of cute shops lining Main Street...

On Friday night we were treated to a fabulous show at the RockBox Theater - it was a Rock 'n Roll review show performed by an incredibly talented cast of singers/actors who have been together for 8 years and have made Fredericksburg their home. Their show rivaled anything I had seen in Branson, which is the closest thing I have to compare it to. John and I were laughing SO HARD during the many comedic touches throughout the show, and we were happily singing along with so many of our favorites anywhere from the 50's to the 80's. This is great CLEAN family-friendly fun and I highly recommend it!! Check out their hilarious spoof on Bohemian Rhapsody from YouTube (sorry, I had no luck actually embedding the video):

All in all it was a truly glorious trip - so much fun!! We can't wait to go again!!


BUT, we were SO GLAD to get home...back to normal, back to business... It's been a weird few weeks of upheaval and stress and it is just so nice to just feel normal again.

I will be back to hosting "Tea for Two-sday" next week where I will introduce two new creative, lovely ladies to each other and to all of you - such fun! I will also update you on just what happened to our little shop after the hurricane. Also, I am gearing up to launch the 2008 Merry-Making Christmas Gift Guide - and I HOPE you will all participate again, plus many more - it was a blast and it was so great to highlight the handmade goods of my sweet talented blog buddies with absolutely no charge to them! If you participated last year I will be sending you an invitation to participate again soon - if you did not participate but you would like to or you'd like to know more, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email (see my sidebar).'s SO good to be back....

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Hurricane Ike Chronicles: The Aftermath

Hi Y'all - I know I am terribly late in getting this update and photos out to you, but I have been doing a lot more illustration work like this over the past couple of weeks and had deadlines to meet - so that's why the delay. (I haven't even done much blog-visiting or any commenting sorry...I miss you guys!) Sweet Hubby and I are heading out tomorrow for a 4 day birthday trip to Central Texas (Happy Birthday Sweetie-pie!!), so I wanted to be sure and get this out there before I was going to be away for several more days and not be able to post...

So, here is a bit about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike from my perspective...and how it affected us personally...(mostly photos with minimal commentary) Once again - we had it pretty good compared to the utter devastation of so many places...

Our Back Yard/Home

Playhouse/Garden Shed before...(Oh, I had such plans for this cute little bundle of potential)

Playhouse/Garden Shed after the neighbor's tree fell on it...

Thank the Lord it didn't hit out home though...

Fence damage all around our back yard...

General mess...

No power...spoiled food...

Bill paying by lantern light...

Other than the substantial mess in the back yard (which we are still cleaning up), we really were quite fortunate - there were LOTS of folks in and around our neighborhood that had scenes like this to deal with...and this was a relatively minor one...

We are very blessed...

But nothing around here was anything as terrible and heartbreaking as the utter devastation on the Boliver Penninsula (incredible before and after shots), Gilchrist (amazing images), Kemah and surrounding areas, and in Galveston itself...just stunning in its scope. So many lost so much...and so many are still hurting and struggling...please continue to pray for the folks so deeply impacted by this incredible storm....

So Sad to See Them Go

I just wrote a blog post about this sweet Bed and Breakfast (The Clipper House Inn) a few weeks ago - my dear friends from Colorado joined us there in Kemah just two weeks before Ike hit - and now on the reservation page of their website it simply states the following:

"Due to hurricane Ike, the bed and breakfast will probably never be back in business."

So very sad...we loved it was so cute and cozy with its 9 unique cottages, adorable furnishings and accessories, etc...all washed away by a 20 ft. storm surge that ravaged Kemah. Here are photos of our favorite all destroyed...

Another favorite we are saying goodbye to is the Hula Hut Beach House in Crystal Beach on Boliver, our family's favorite vacation rental. We spent Christmas of 2006 and Thanksgiving of 2007 in this cute, kitschy beach house and have so many fond memories of our times here. We were booked there for Christmas this year, but received our deposit back in the mail with a simple note from the owners saying that our beloved Hula Hut "was no more".

It wasn't fancy, but it was perfect for our family...

It was so very close to the beach...just a stone's never had a chance....


Post-Ike - 10 Things I Hope To Never Take For Granted Again:

  1. Ice

  2. Full grocery store shelves (it was the most eerie sight to see WalMart with empty shelves all throughout the cold and freezer sections of the grocery department)

  3. A soft bed

  4. Neighbors (it's amazing how we actually visited and got to know our neighbors through this, many for the first time)

  5. Air Conditioning

  6. The Internet

  7. Hot coffee

  8. The beach

  9. Traffic lights

  10. Our home and family

I'll see y'all when we return on Sunday, with lots of photos and stories to share I'm sure...and so much more...thank you so much for hanging in there with me through this time!