we have a winner

I know what you're all here for today! Here's what I did. I punched out pieces of paper and numbered them 1-99 (I didn't expect that many!), put them in a bowl and my little C pulled out one. So... Drum-roll please. The winner of the giveaway is: number 89. The 89th person to post a comment was Cheeky from All Over the Map (Australia). Congratulations! I'll be in touch so that I can get your mailing address.

To everyone else a big hug for all the lovely comments you posted on my giveaway post. I wish I had the time to answer each and every one of them. I'm touched by all your kind words. Thank you!

Friday Tidbits (I haven't posted these in a while)
- A personal one first. Thank you to Bryn, How Magazine editor, for making me part of her Paper Market article.
- I've been avidly reading all the coverage that the National Stationery Show received on so many blogs and the one designer that stood out for me was Elissa from Loop. Her work is so unique. If you'd like to see a more behind the scenes check out her blog here.
- To end the week on a positive note, here's a little inspiration I got from a forum friend. Look for the positive angle in your failures. Super short - watch here.

Today is the last day of school (half-day) so I must get a few things done around here before the summer break officially starts in this household.

I hope that everyone has a great weekend!

some yin for my yang

I was just going through my archives to add some work to my portfolio on Logo Lounge (an amazing online logo library - worth every penny of membership!) and this is some of what I added. You may recognize at least a couple of these logos. It's rare that I get to see a group of them like this and I find it to be such a visual treat. It makes me feel like I'm really getting somewhere. I don't know where the finish line is but I'm in forward motion regardless.

This got me thinking about the two worlds I work in: the digital and the handmade. I love them both for different reasons and I don't think I could do without either one of them. My logo work starts with a lot of communication and interaction with my client and then a type of hands on approach in the form of sketches. However, the majority of the time involves the steady click of a mouse and lots of back and forth emails.

My handmade work is so different. I typically start working on a piece with no outside direction other than my own gut feelings, ideas and whims. I work entirely by hand and the end result is purchased (hopefully) by someone that I will never speak to, let alone meet or given away as a gift. The latter occurs less frequently because I have this silly thing about feeling self-centered when I give someone something I've made. I know. I need to get over that.

So where am I going with all this? Not sure. I guess I'm just thinking that finding the right balance with what we do and how we live is really important. I'm only mentioning the balance in my work life but it obviously applies to all else. I don't consciously check my 'life scales'. They just seem to gently rock back and forth on their own. Thank goodness.

Speaking of giving something away... I couldn't leave well enough alone and instead of giving our cards and 'thank you' drawings to our kids' teachers in a plain envelope I made the small folder type pockets below. They match the cards I made the other day. I know I called them gift tags in that post but we used them as note cards this time. You can't go wrong with versatility.

My little C decided that the little graphic in the corner of each card just wasn't enough (even though she did stake her claim really quickly on the school house and apple). She added hearts and a portrait of herself, standing next to each of her teachers, on the back of each card. Someone seems to be taking after her Mom. Nah! I'm not beaming that's just the glare of your monitor.

Good news for the day:
- My little C graduated from Pre K today. What is it with me and the mommy tears? I just couldn't help myself. She looked so cute in her cap and gown.
- My blog made it to a very unexpected place. Neat!

Don't forget there's still time to participate in my anniversary giveaway. Just leave a comment here! I'll let you know who wins at noon tomorrow.

mother & daughter collaboration

It seems like I need to celebrate more anniversaries to meet more of you. I'm so glad so many of you have delurked to say hello and I'm so happy that you like the mat boards (they've been a hit - thank you!). Keep the comments coming here and I'll announce the winner on Friday as promised.

I was taking a photo of some roses when little C decided to play the part of 'stylist'. She added the bunny ("take a picture Mommy") and then added a blanket ("take another picture Mommy"). I was very obedient.

We used another of bunny's blankets to cover up the new twins. ;)

a is for anniversary and alphabet

Today, May 26th, is my 3rd blogging anniversary. 3rd! I don't really remember the real reason why I started blogging but I'm so glad that I did. I've received so much in return. My work has definitely benefitted and I don't think - no, I know - I wouldn't be where I am today had it not been for this blog and for the wonderful people I've met because of it.

I've never really done anything particular to celebrate my anniversary because I always forget the date. I did remember it this year and decided that a giveaway would be a great way to thank you all for visiting my little corner of the blogsphere. Your comments and feedback have always been so generous and encouraging. Thank you so much!

Leave a comment here, just to say hi, and I'll include you in the drawing for two books seen below, a one-of-a-kind piece that I made (above) and my new set of Alphabet Mat Boards Templates. I'll be taking comments until Thursday and I'll announce the winner on Friday morning (May 30th). Sound good?

About the books:
- Tiny Yarn Animals (Paperback) by Tamie Snow
These little crochet animals are so adorable and they're on the list of things I'd love to make this summer. Maybe during the kids' swimming lessons? Could be.

- I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
Judging by the publisher's description of this book it sounds like a great summer read. I wish I had time for it!

Oh yes... In the midst of everything going on, I managed to come up with another set of templates for alphabet mat boards. This summer I'll really have to help my little C keep her alphabet straight. She still gets confused with some letters and she's not too thrilled about dealing with flash cards or anything that looks like I'm teaching and/or 'testing' her. I've been trying to come up with a fun way to help her and all the brain storming and the alphabet wall pieces (that I've haven't gotten around to continuing but are still in my head) gave me this new idea.

I can see this new PDF template set being used for so many things: decoration for a child's room; as a gift with really nice black and white photos; several frames where the template letters spell something out... etc. I can also see these being used with photos fabric swatches, or colored paper. The possibilities are really endless. I'm thinking of using these with a couple of recent close up shots of the kids and hanging them on a lonely wall that we have.

By the way, thank you so much for all the birthday wishes (that keep coming!) and for the lovely things you all said about my little flower. :)

just a quick hello

I have much to do and the kids will be out of school by the end of next week. So... my presence around here will be a little scarce. I leave you with a little flower made from a sheet from our recycle stash.

Be well!

weekend moments

- We knew we were in trouble when little C asked "are we there yet?" and we were 20 minutes into a three and a half hour trip.
- It's always wonderful to see old friends again. We should see each other more often.
- Three month old babies are adorable. They almost make me want to have another one myself. Almost - not quite.
- I love giving something I made as a gift. Knowing it's genuinely appreciated is the icing on the cake.
- "Home sweet home" is never truer than when you get home from a road trip.
- Brunch tastes better under an umbrella by the river.
- It's always fun to throw rocks into the water.
- Revisiting old finds gets some new ideas stirring. Hmmm.

what I didn't say earlier

Warning - Mushy moment up ahead.

I posted just after midnight last night and I guess I wasn't really in the mood of saying what I really have had on my mind all week. I've been making a mental inventory of what I've experienced over the last year and I have to say that I'm very grateful to be where I am at this time in my life. We're all healthy and happy, my career has taken unexpected turns (good ones - of which many of you have been a part of - thank you!) and I feel more fulfilled with my day-to-day living. There has been no magic formula involved. With some elbow grease things have been rolling along. The prize we earn as we age, of feeling more comfortable in our own skin, may have also played a part in all this. I think when you're more sure of yourself, you become more receptive to the opportunities that surround you and you're less afraid to dream, or even ask for, what you really want.

I know many people visit my blog for the projects and ideas that I post (not for my "profound" writing skills) but I just felt I needed to write this tiny interlude. I'm not taking anything for granted and I'm very thankful. This just needed to be said. It needed to be out there.

The roses in the photo are the first thing I saw today, as my husband and children sang Happy Birthday to wake me up in the morning. You can't beat waking up like that.

so lucky

I've had a fun week so far.
- I finished a logo project and have a happy client because of it (my favorite to do as far as graphic design is concerned)
- I made some progress with my book manuscript and put together some of the projects (fun!)
- I shopped for paper and artsy stuff (drool)
- I sent out several orders for my shop (yeah!)
- I made a skirt for my goddaughter this afternoon (cool challenge while sweating bullets to meet the deadline)

About the skirt - It was a careful-what-you-wish-for kind of thing (read last sentence of this post). My goddaughter will be in a play on Friday ( The King and I). She didn't have a costume and one couldn't be found. The situation was so desperate that I offered to sew and her mom was crazy enough to accept my offer (she doesn't own a sewing machine). Knowing me, isn't that just hilarious? I was supposed to have a couple of days to make it, or at a minimum, a whole evening. Well, this afternoon we all found out it was needed for dress rehearsal tomorrow morning. Talk about panic attack! Fortunately I had already purchased the fabric and had a mini-mental plan as to how I was going to put the whole thing together.

When I was about to start, my little C was begging for some entertainment. My solution was to ask her if she wanted to help me sew. She pulled up a small stool and very enthusiastically took on the role of pedal pusher (her idea). After yelling 'stop' and 'go' for an endless amount of times we got the job done in about an hour. I'd have to say we did a decent job for the time we had and without the use of a pattern. D took the photo of me trying on the skirt and now it has been picked up and will be making its debut tomorrow. Phew!

As of a few minutes ago, I can add that a fun week also happens to include my birthday. Today I'm a year older but I still feel at least a decade younger than I really am. I hope that I'll always feel that way!

new gift tags

I was making some of the projects for my book (I wish I could show you!) and as usual my mind was going over other items on my to-do list. Among other things, I was thinking of what we'll be giving our children's teachers at the end of the year. I'm not sure what the gifts will be, but I worked on our gift tags this afternoon (with some input from C and D). Remember the ones I made for Christmas? This new set has the same layout but new graphics. I think it will be a nice touch to have the kids write their teachers a short message themselves.

If you like these gift tags, you can get your own set for free here. Enjoy!

Thank you to Cookie Magazine and Apartment Therapy/OhDeeDoh for featuring my Let's Go! boxes! :)

tiny sewing adventure

We had a very busy weekend getting ready for my D's first communion. It took place yesterday and it was a beautiful celebration. He was so happy and proud of himself. I also had my proud mommy cry moment.

For the ceremony, the boys needed to wear dark pants, a white shirt and a white tie. Easy—or so you would think. The first two items where store bought and simple enough to find. The last item is the one that got me in trouble. I went to the store that was recommended for purchasing the tie. As soon as I saw their selection I knew I had to try to make my own. If you've read my blog long enough you'll know that I'm not confident with a sewing machine at all. So this was a big decision and a risk to take even if there was just a really simple tie involved. Here is what I learned.

The good:
- If you're going to make a tie, having an old one to pull apart is a sure way to make things go faster. Even if the old one is an elastic-around-the-neck version.
- You can never go wrong with linen.
- Sewing isn't as intimidating as I make it out to be.
- A bone folder is also a good tool to help push out corners.

The bad:
- You don't make a tie the night before a big event. Yikes!! I honestly tried to get it done sooner but it just didn't happen.
- If you want a real tie (no elastic) make sure you figure out the length of the tie that will be used to make a knot.
- You don't cut something close to your finished product because you may nick it. Duh!

The priceless:
- Your son thinks his tie looks great and gives you a heartfelt thank you.
- As predicted, he asks to take the tie off an hour after the ceremony (keeping it on much longer than expected) but tells you to "make sure you don't mess it up" when you put it in your purse.

One small sewing project is complete. Hopefully more elaborate ones will come.

let's go!

I've had these templates ready for quite a few weeks but I didn't have time to post them until now. One day I realized that all my boxes are cute and girly. What about the boys? So here they are. I can see them being used for a baby shower or a small birthday party.

Making these boxes reminded me of my son's fascination with anything on wheels. He was about four or five months old when I bought him a book about cars and trucks. I kid you not... when he opened the first page he held his breath and gasped. It was love at first sight. It's not like he hadn't seen cars before. It was more like he had just discovered them. We soon realized that more than anything he was interested in wheels. Just the wheels. Whether they were on a car, tricycle, or his own stroller he was fascinated. His interest gradually shifted to trains and that captured his attention for a long time. Now, at eight, if he sees anything resembling a car race on TV he must watch it. I wonder what he'll move on to next.

And back to my templates...
My question is - what do I make next? So far I've worked on boxes, one set of cards and the calendars. What other templates would you like to see? Any ideas?

Have a wonderful weekend!