Monday, December 29, 2008

The last days of 2008...

I'm well rested after a lovely (though slightly hectic) holiday with my family and friends, and I must admit, I spent most of the weekend lounging around, not really accomplishing much of anything... the perfect antidote to the Christmas rush, I think!

Througout the fall and early winter, I've been working on new designs, printing, and preparating for 2009, but still have lots to do in the remaining days of 2008, and for the start of the new year, so I'd better get busy.

First up for me is clean-up and organization of my studio / office (oh, not to mention the rest of my home). I did ask Santa to send me a couple elves to help if he could spare them after Christmas, but it seems they couldn't make it, so I guess I'm on my own. I am armed with some storage boxes from the Container Store and various other sources that I've purchased on sale in recent months, garbage bags for the big purge, and inspiration from the beautifully organized spaces I've seen on so many blogs and on flickr, especially in the Pretty Organized and Organization is for Squares groups. If you're looking for some motivatation and inspiration to get your space in order, check them out. I hope to be able to get my studio looking beautiful (and functioning well) over the next few days, so I can share it here and on flickr as well!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just a few days left....

... to get everything done for Christmas!

Over the next few days I'll be doing a little shopping, a little wrapping, a little cooking, oh, and yes, a little Christmas carol humming..... and am looking forward to every minute of it.

My family has a big festive get-together on Christmas Eve, this year at my Uncle Pete and Aunt Linda's house. We all bring appetizers and desserts, my aunt Linda makes a big pot of soup and we gather to celebrate. We also exchange our family secret Santa gifts... a tradition that we've enjoyed for, oh, maybe 20 years now. We all really love to be together, and good food, a little wine, and a gag gift or two make it all the more joyful! And if we get through the entire night without setting off the smoke alarm, it's even better!

On Christmas day, I have dinner at my brother and sister-in-law's house. My brother never fails to treat us to an amazing feast, which we enjoy with my sister-in-law's family, and some of my family, and occasionally a friend or two. It's a bit quieter than our Christmas Eve, but just as special.

So, before the start of it all, I've still got a bit of work to do.... shopping, wrapping, and of course, preparing my contributions to the feasts. This year, I've decided on spinach pinwheels for my appetizer for Christmas Eve (a tasty spinach and cheese concoction rolled in puff pastry, sliced and baked... yum!) and of course some home made chocolates for dessert on Christmas day.

Last year, I was quite frazzled before Christmas, barely getting everything done, and my chocolates failed. I have no idea what I did wrong, but it was a disaster (okay, that may be a little strong, but I was disappointed with the results, and my family and friends were disappointed in the lack of chocolates!). This year, I'm planning on things going better. So today I start. I'll be making the filling for my chocolate raspberry truffles and coconut candies, so that tomorrow they'll be ready to dip in the chocolate coating. Also on the candy agenda... white chocolate peppermint bark and dark chocolate cherry almond bark... but these are easy so I can put them off until Monday or Tuesday.

Well, if I'm going to get all this done, I'd better get my shovel and move that foot of snow out of my way so I can go to the grocery store!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I love decorating for Christmas, but I do admit I have simplified my decorating dramatically since launching Artful Sentiments, in order to remove some of the pressure from an already hectic holiday season. A few years ago, I switched to an artificial tree, and although I miss the whole process of going out to find the perfect real tree, and the lovely smell it fills my home with, the decision has worked well for me. I lovingly decorate my tree with a combination of ornaments that I've collected my whole life and little silver picture frames, full of holiday photos of me, my family and friends (pictured above, me on my first Christmas). I cherish the memories as I add the ornaments and photos to my tree, listening to Bing and Nat, remembering special people and times, and imagining all the magical memories to be made in the upcoming season.

I'm looking forward to this years festivities, and hope to capture some more sweet photographs to add to my tree for next year!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

All wrapped up!

A few years ago, I decided to take a step toward simplifying my life, and eliminated the endless half rolls of wrapping paper and mismatched gift bags, and replaced them with white and Kraft paper and bags. Don't get me wrong, I love the gorgeous papers that are out there in the marketplace, but I found that I was always buying it, and never seemed to have the correct color, style or theme to go with my gift, and more importantly with my card. Yes, I'm one of those who must coordinate.

Plain paper - boring, you say? Well, fortunately, I am able to print my paper if I want, so that helps with the boring factor, and there are such beautiful embellishments and ribbons, that I never feel bored.

With everyone wrapping for the holidays, I thought I'd share a couple of my past holiday looks - the first was my favorite ever.

My Christmas card was my polar bear, set against a pale blue sky filled with snowflakes. My wrap - white, with blue organza ribbon. Tags were white, printed with little blue snowflakes. And to top off the packages (for all the girls, at least)... lovely rhinestone and crystal snowflake pins that I collected from vintage stores in the months before Christmas. In some cases, the gift inside was just a small token, a bar of handcrafted soap or some little sweets, and the pin was the real gift! In the years since, I often see my friends, cousins and aunts wearing the little pins that were atop their packages.

Then there was the year of the penguin. My card for that year was the chill card... which I chose because, well, I really needed to do that! For my wrap, I used white again, with hand printed penguin tags, and a variety of apple green ribbons, in polka dots and plaids. My plain white gift bags were all hand printed with the penguins as well. For some of the little gifts, I chose apple green and red polka dot organza bags which I just thought were too cute to pass up! And the little girls had their gifts packaged in pink paper suitcases with green bows and penguin tags.

As for this year... well I'm still working on it. My cards are done, and will be going in the mail in the next few days, and I'm working on my packaging now. Of course, I know I'll be starting with white wrap, then I'll add the ribbons, tags and embellishments!

Happy Wrapping!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sweet little gifts....

Every year I make inexpensive, creative little gifts for friends, family, and also a few extras to have for hostess gifts, or to have on hand, just in case. I've been working on gifts for everyone on my list, but wasn't sure what to do for the extras. I thought I'd like to use my new tins but wanted to add a little something to them... and finally today, creativity struck!

Faux bois tin filled with homemade white chocolate peppermint bark (get it?).

Honeycomb tin filled with teas, and maybe one of the little honey dippers.

Blossoms tin filled with packets of seeds for spring flowers.

What creative little gifts are you giving this year?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dear Santa

Wow, I can't believe it's December already. The months have flown by. Sorry I haven't written in a while. You'd think, being in the stationery biz, that I'd be diligent about sending cards and letters, but I will admit I've been a little lax in that area. In most other areas, I've been really good this year, so I think for sure I should be on your nice list.

I know you're getting lots of letters these days, filled with everybody's wish lists. Honestly, I have enough stuff, so you'll find none of that on my list - please make sure to send my share of the stuff to someone who might not otherwise have any packages to open Christmas morning. So, I guess that's my first wish... that there is a little bit of joy for everyone this holiday season.

As for the rest of my list... I wish for continued inspiration and creativity. It really makes me happy to create, and frustrated when I can't find the inspiration, so I'd really love if you could share some of your secrets. After all, if you can keep all those elves inspired, you must have some great secrets. I would really like for my brother to get the kitchen reno he's been dreaming of. I know this is a big one, but John is always so good to me, and he is a fabulous cook and so deserving of a nice kitchen. I'd like for my friend Michelle to get some time for taking care of herself....maybe enough so she and I can book manis and pedis together and spend some quality friend time. And it would be great if Grace could get a little time to come with us too. I wish for continued health and happiness for my family and friends. We went through a few rough years a while ago, and it's really nice to see everyone doing well....I'd love for it to continue. It makes me happy to see them happy.

Well, I think that's more than my share, so I'll stop now. Oh, there is one more (little) thing... if you can spare an elf or two after the Christmas rush, I could really use some help organizing my workshop!

Thanks Santa, for all you do in spreading the cheer!

Have a Merry Christmas and Peace and Joy in the New Year!


(P.S. You can thank Melissa at Operation Nice for getting me motivated to write this year. She is very inspirational when it comes to keeping her readers on your nice list... so if you can, you should do a little something extra for her this year!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm headed to Connecticut in the morning to spend Thanksgiving with my fabulous family. As you probably have guessed, I've been looking forward to this day for weeks (months?).

I'm so thankful that I have a wonderful brother and sister-in-law, cousins, aunts and uncles to share this day with. We'll be enjoying delicious feast, great company, laughter (and knowing us, probably a few tears as well, as we remember those who aren't with us) and lots and lots of joy!

I'm thankful for my wonderful friends, who make every day as special as the holidays.... enjoying a latte in Starbucks, a sandwich in the mall food court, or a long chat on the phone can be perfect when shared with a good friend.

I'm thankful for my creativity... it brings me joy to be able to spend time creating delightful cards, yummy desserts, pots of soup, and so much more. Tomorrow I'll be showing my creativity with the leaf-shaped sweet potato slices topping my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.... sweet potatoes Anna.

I'm thankful for all who support me in my business - my family, friends and customers, my online support group of paper peeps, indie business owners and bloggers... all of whom keep me moving forward.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Lori from Paisley Wallpaper shared this wonderful youtube video, and I found it so inspirational, I wanted to pass it on!

Enjoy, and be inspired to create!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Warm and Wooly....

now in my etsy shop!

I just love these sweet designs - they remind me of my childhood, winter days, and playing in the snow. I first designed the mitten card several years ago, inspired by my grandmother. Gram loved to knit, and I was lucky enough to always have hand knitted sweaters and hats and mittens. Each year, she would knit me a new pair of mittens, the pair was tied together with a long yarn that you'd thread through your jacket sleeves, so you'd never lose them!
Gram taught me how to knit when I was a child, but it never really held my interest for long enough to make anything bigger than a doll blanket or potholder. I'm thinking I might like to give it a try now, I probably have enough patience to at least end up with a scarf, and with all the lovely hand dyed yarns out there.... hmmmm, I'm talking myself into it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

We have a winner....

... in my first blog giveaway. First, thanks to all of you for entering and sharing your stories. I love to hear about all your traditions and favorite holiday foods. One of my cousins entered as well (although remained anonymous in the comment - it's not like anyone in my family to be shy!) but I recognized our Thanksgiving day pretty easily from the note.

One tradition I didn't share with all of you yet is the tradition of Thanksgiving day #2. Yes, after the big family get-together on Thursday, we do it all again at my brother and sister-in-law's house on Friday. We celebrate the day with friends, some of our family, and my SIL's family and we generally have 2 turkeys, deep-fried, and all the trimmings. The past couple of years, our pies have been accompanied by my SIL Dawn's homemade ice cream... just what we need after 2 days of feasts!

Well, now that I've shared all that, I bet you want to know who won... I made a list of all the entries from the 2 comment sections, and used to select the winning number... #12 which was Jessica from Funky Finds! (I'll be emailing you to find out your coaster choices!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

My most memorable Thanksgiving... and giveaway reminder

.... for you to enter Artful Sentiments giveaway! All you have to do is share your favorite Thanksgiving tradition, food or story in the comments on the post below and you'll be entered into our drawing! And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I'd love it if you'd share another holiday tradition or story!
As I had mentioned earlier, most of my Thanksgivings have been very traditional, but there is one year that was definitely not traditional, but was certainly memorable - the year I was a clown in the Macy's Thanskgiving Day Parade.
Michelle (on the right) and I - ready for the day.

My friend Michelle has a family friend who worked at Macy's and signed us up to participate, and I have to tell you, it was magical! We took a bus into NYC from Macy's in New Haven, Connecticut, very late the night before Thanksgiving, and arrived in the city in the wee hours of the morning. We were taken into Macy's for our wardrobe, instructed on where we would be in the parade and what time to be in place, and then we headed out with a few hours to spare before the start of the parade.

Our group of Clowns, from Macy's New Haven

We wandered the streets and watched with wonder as the parade came to life. It was magical. The balloons were amazing - they are so much bigger than I would have ever imagined! We watched as they were being blown up, starting out flat and then expanding bigger and bigger, tied down by huge sandbags. And we watched as they were allowed to float up, controlled by dozens of handlers.

Michelle and I, and Superman, of course.

Me and Underdog.

Finally, we took our places and the parade started. We marched through the streets, exhausted from the long night and lack of sleep, but energized by the crowds, the spectacle of it all, and by being part of something that is such a a part of holiday tradition.

At the end, we shed our costumes, got back on the bus, and headed to our family celebrations. I got home at about 5PM, and my family was waiting, turkey and all the trimmings ready to go, but honestly, I was so exhausted, I don't really remember much else.

So, that's my most memorable Thanksgiving - what about you?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Love List - part 3

Melissa at Operation Nice gave another love list assignment - this one is to write what we love about ourselves. This assignment was so much more difficult than the first two (posted here and here), but I was inspired to do it since I did the others, and it felt so good once I completed them.

I love that I have both a technical side and a creative one, it gives me balance. I love that I had the courage to really embrace my creative side a few years ago by starting Artful Sentiments, after focusing on my technical side for most of my adult life. I love that I am a loyal friend, and am rewarded with loyal friends in return. I love that I have talents and skills to share, and that I share them openly. I love that I'm not afraid to admit what I don't know, it's so much easier than faking it. I love that as I have grown older, I've become less worried about what others think of me and more focused on my own thoughts and feelings. I love my sometimes corny sense of humor. I love that I make myself giggle, and sometimes I even make other people giggle too (that's a bonus). I love that I have one of those laughs that people can recognize from across the room, and that I laugh enough that lots of people know it's me. I love that I cry at sad movies (and sometimes even sad commercials) and I love that I'm able to admit that here. I love that I am sentimental about my family and our history and traditions. I love that I look like my mom.


This beautiful poster from Amy Jo was a part of the Poster Offensive, a nonpartisan show promoting peace and democracy.

Remember its inspiring message of hope as you stand in line at the polls today, and as you make your choice for President, for the other important offices on your ballot, and on issues that will shape our future.

(Amy Jo's poster is available for purchase here.)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy November, and a give-away!

Happy November - the month of my favorite holiday is here! I'm so looking forward to Thanksgiving - a wonderful day filled with family, tradition and amazing food! For the past several years, my cousin Patty and her husband Dave have been our hosts for our family celebration - such an important role for a favorite holiday! Patty cooks the all-important turkey among other things (her mom, my aunt Doodle, trained her well!)...the rest of the family brings appetizers, desserts and side dishes. They're nearly the same every year - John makes mom's mashed pototoes, I make sweet potatoes, Snooker brings peas and pies, Dimpy brings creamed onions and squash , and the list goes on. (Oh, and yes... my aunts really are called Doodle, Snooker and Dimpy, but that's a story for another time.)

But enough about the food - back to the host and hostess! Because it's such an important job, I thought it would be fitting to celebrate hosts and hostesses in my first give-away here on the blog. One lucky winner will be able to choose 2 sets of Artful Sentiments coasters, one to bring to your Thanksgiving host or hostess, and keep one for yourself! I'll even send along a hand block printed Turkey card, so that you can write a little note of Thanksgiving to your host or hostess.

Just leave a comment describing your favorite Thanksgiving food or tradition, and I'll randomly draw from all the entries! Wouldn't you like to bring a little something special to your host in thanks for a fabulous holiday dinner?

(I will choose the winner after 5PM, Friday November 14th.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Artful Sentiments New Etsy Shop!

One of my goals for October was to open a new etsy shop, where I can list limited editions, seasonal, new products, and of course some old favorites. Well, I got it done, with a few hours left to spare in October!

Please stop by and visit, and *heart* me if you'd like!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My love list, part 2

Melissa at Operation Nice has given another love list assignment this week, so I wanted to share mine with all of you. In this assignment, Mel asked us to share what we love about the people in our lives.

I love spending time with my brother John and sister-in-law Dawn, sharing a fabulous meal, antiquing, or just hanging out in their living room watching a movie. They really know me which is very comforting. I love that John is as sentimental as I am about family and the things that have shaped our lives.

I love my {almost} daily chats with my best friend Michelle. Over the past couple years we've started using our commuting time well - we talk on our cells during the drive and catch up with what's going on in our lives, listen when things aren't quite perfect, and support each other in every way. She is the sister I never had.

I love my cousins, aunts and uncles - we are the closest extended family I know of, even though we don't see each other as often as we might like. We adore getting together for any occasion at all, but especially for holidays, where we are a big, loud crazy crew filled with love. I look forward to all the days we spend together (and am currently looking forward to our fabulous Thanksgiving day).

I love my girlfriends, who are there for me in my life and my business. I know I can always count on Grace, Heidi, Elaine, Jen and Brenda to be there for me when I need them and to forgive me for being to busy with work and life to get together. I love that when I need a break from it all, we can go out for coffee, or meet for dinner or drinks and just relax and enjoy.

I love the time spent with my former coworkers from my first job after college. Our annual charity golf tournament is a testament to our longstanding friendships. The bonds we made when we were all starting our careers together, traveling, and supporting each other through changes in our lives is strong.

I love the old friends who've found me through the internet, and have gotten back in touch. Just last week, an old college friend Rick found me on linkedin, and I'm loving getting reacquainted after more years than I care to admit... and to other old friends, if you're out there reading this and haven't dropped my a line to say hello, I'd love it if you did!

I love the online friends I've made over the past couple of years through Artful Sentiments. The support and sharing is amazing to me. I love that we openly share successes and challenges, so that we may all learn from each other.

I love my customers, readers and supporters. Your comments here in the blog, on flickr, in email, and when we see each other mean so much to me. I love when you love what I'm doing, and I love when you are honest with me about what you'd like to see me change or add. Thank you.

And I love that Melissa is challenging me, and all her readers, to remember what it means to be nice. It enriches my day and my life to think positively and act kindly.

(You can see my first love list here.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sneak Peak...

I've been busy working on my 2009 collection, and as I expected, I just can't keep it all secret until 2009! The new collection leverages some of my favorite card patterns from last year and adds some lovely new ones. I've been carving and printing like crazy, and am thrilled to give you a little peak at the results. There will also be new products featuring these designs, including the tins (or pencil cups) pictured here, mini notebooks, and some new larger magnets. I'm also putting together some coordinating desk sets, which will include all of the above.
I've decided to open an etsy shop to try out some of the new goodies in limited quantities, and will also offer some of my seasonal items and customer favorites as well... stay tuned for the shop opening later this week!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Life's a beach.... any time of the year.

The beach is a big part of my life and inspiration, not only in the summer, but throughout the year. As a New England native, and a beach-lover since I was 2 weeks old, I am incredibly inspired by the joys of the coast.

Many of my customers, both wholesale and retail, are along the New England coastline, on lovely Cape Cod, the craggy coast of Maine, the beaches of Rhode Island and Connecticut, and of course, the tiny New Hampshire coastline. I've always had a collection inspired by coastal living , and a couple of years ago expanded it to include coastal holidays, combining New England tradition and a bit of whimsy.

This year, one of my retailers, P-Town Pulp in Provincetown (at the very tip of the Cape), asked if I could message the inside of the normally blank coastal holiday was a bit of a challenge, but wonderful fun! I struggled a bit, not wanting to be too corny, but definitely needing something beyond a generic greeting.... so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites!
Now... I've got tons more of those lobsters with holly to print, so I'd better get back to work.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Soup's On!

I thoroughly enjoy this time of year - sweater weather and fall foods. As much as I love the the first ripe tomato of the summer season, I am always ready for the cooler weather to arrive so I can make my first pot of soup! This weekend I'm cooking up the family favorite, my mom's beef and barley soup. (I know cousin Darcy will be drooling thinking about this...)

My mom owned a little restaurant for a few years when I was a teenager. It was called Soupcon (with a little curly thing under the c, pronounced "Soup's On") and was located in an old grist mill which had been converted to shops, just down the street from our house. The restaurant was tiny (it sat only 22), and had a wonderful view of the river. It was only open for lunch and tea. Mom served two choices for lunch, soup and salad or a casserole and salad, with different choices every day. There was delicious homemade bread, simple desserts and yummy cookies. That's all anyone could need.

So many of the foods I love today are from mom's time at the restaurant, favorite of all is the beef and barley soup. This soup was a staple in our house, and a part of our holiday traditions as well. A big pot simmered on the stove on Christmas Eve, to warm all of our family and friends as they came in from the cold for our holiday celebration. Lots of memories surround this soup.

Of course, mom's recipes are not very scientific... most are written on tattered old index cards (if they are written at all) and were created to serve 50 people, so there's a lot of instinct that goes into getting them just right. Thankfully, I have many of them down (and so does my brother - the most fabulous cook!), so I can still enjoy mom's recipes and the memories that go with them. So now it's back to my beef and barley soup. As always, I'll make enough so I can eat it for a few days, then freeze the leftovers in containers for the next time I have this craving.


Our Creative Life

As a woman-owned business, I love to support others in whatever way I can - by purchasing their products and services, participating in supportive communities, sharing ideas and more. Over at the blog Our Creative Life Darlene has provided a way for women entrepreneurs to come together to support each other. Visit her blog to see a great list of women owned businesses - some you may already know, and some wonderful new ones to explore!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Autumn Inspirations

I've been enjoying the last few beautiful autumn days - the crisp air, changing leaves, lovely tart apples, and delightfully imperfect pumpkins. It's a wonderful time of year in New England, as so many leaf-peepers will tell you!

As inspired as I am by this season, I'm always designing about 6 months ahead, so here I am loving autumn and sketching, carving and printing new designs for spring and summer! I've never found it an easy task to design this far out, but this year I seem to have found so many inspirations that are translating to a sweet new collection for next year. I'm not ready to unveil the goodies just yet, but you may just see a few before the holidays, since I'm really not very good at keeping secrets.

For now, though, I think I'll enjoy a little more of this gorgeous fall day, and maybe sketch a little more spring and summer from my patio. (Oh, and just so winter isn't neglected in my plan for the day, I'll be printing some holiday cards as well.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Love List

Over the past few days I've been putting together my love list, a little assignment from Operation Nice and wanted to share with you some of the things I love...

I love a table set with vintage china and silver, sweet little desserts on pedestal dishes, fresh whipped cream, and homemade ice cream. I love a crisp fall day, the first frost, and pumpkin pie for breakfast. I love finding the perfect treasure on a day antiquing with friends, and a quiet cup of coffee at the end of that day to celebrate our fabulous finds or just the time together. I love early mornings and late afternoons at the beach, when all is quiet. I love outdoor showers. I love pedicures. I love holidays, especially Thanksgiving, a day all about family and simple, delicious food. I love our relatively new tradition of Second Thanksgiving on the Friday after - the first is so great, why not do it twice? I love making mom's beef and barley soup. I love sweater weather. I love sitting on my sofa with a cup of tea and a box of old family photos, remembering. I love beautiful paper, color and pattern. I love making the first cut into a block of lino, and the first print from a finished block. I love seeing something I've imagined become real.

I love how it feels to do something nice for someone else.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting ready for the holidays.... already.

Well, it may seem early to you, but I've actually been working on holiday goodies for months now. I've been busy with holiday wholesale orders, as well as some new projects for the shop... here's a sneak peak at one of them - bottle openers! I seem to get a lot of requests for more guy-friendly gifts, and these little bottle openers are just the ticket. I gave the fish one to my best friend's husband for his birthday (I know, big spender, right?) and he loved it! I've made several designs, to be sold in coordinating gift sets with my coasters. You can see the rest of the designs here and they will be in the shop soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Speaking of orange and pink...

... I have indulged myself with another beautiful item in my favorite color palette... a fabulous bag from Becky Oh!

When Becky showed a sneak peak of this fabric on flickr I knew I had to have it - not only does it feature orange and pink, but the lovely organic shapes have a hand printed feel... so me. The orange button is the perfect touch, and the lining, well, fuchsia of course!

Thanks Becky, for bringing us such such fabulous bags.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Orange you glad...

My favorite color combination in recent months (years?) is orange and pink. I've found myself adding more and more of it to my life, and as well as into my line. My favorite earrings, a fabulous paisley shawl I wore all last winter, and my zinnia prints, which make me smile like nothing else. When I'm shopping I'm drawn to sweaters and tees in these delightful shades, and would have them all if it wasn't so frivolus to have multiple orange sweaters. (Ok, I admit, I do have more than one orange sweater, but one is cotton and one is wool, so that's ok, right?)
I am beginning to work on additions to my line for next year and I'm quite sure orange and pink will be strongly represented among the patterns and colors.

I'd love to hear what color combinations you're inspired by right now. Orange you glad I asked?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Well, maybe not fishin', but I will be out of town for a week, enjoying some down time at a lake it Maine. It's a girls vacation with two of my wonderful friends and four teenage girls. All the men and boys are off on various camping adventures, so it's girls only! We'll be lounging at the lake, sipping margaritas and just relaxing!

The shop will be open, but I won't be able to process or ship any orders until I return next weekend, and I'll have limited access to email (yikes... withdrawals...)

Happy Summer!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

2009 Calendar... sneak peek

Artful Sentiments 2009 Calendar
Just a little peek at the 2009 calendar.

I love creating this little calendar every year.... and am always so excited with the response it gets from my customers, family and friends.

It's not yet available in the shop, but should be within the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quick and Simple!

The new issue of Quick and Simple is out, and (YAY!) my coasters are in a piece on summer parties! They chose my sweet zinnia, margarita and cupcake coasters to go with their orange, green and pink themed party in a box items, but there are loads of options for your summer party and beyond.
Coasters are available in the shop, as well as at some of my fabulous retailers...

Mermaids on Main, Chatham, MA
The Spotted Cod, Sandwich, MA
Coastal Cottage, Brewster, MA
P-Town Pulp, Provincetown, MA
Koi Boutique, Garwood, NJ
Sugar Magnolia, Harpers Ferry, WV
(stop by and visit them, won't you?)

I'm thrilled to be included in this piece, even though, sadly, the magazine is folding and this is the last print issue. Thanks Q&S!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New in the shop....


Artful Sentiments new hand block printed paperboard coasters make the perfect addition to your party decor, or a delightful gift for hostesses and friends. Our four inch round coasters are made of heavyweight paperboard, sturdy enough to hold up for mulitple uses.

Choose one of our many designs to complement your fabulous fiesta, glorious garden party, seaside shindig or family festivities!

Pair a bottle of your favorite wine with our wine coasters as a gift for your host or hostess, include one of our floral designs in a gardening gift basket, or choose our deer coasters for your "deer" friend's holiday gift!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

One of the things I love about having my own biz.... getting to know some really amazing small business owners, from all over the country (and world!). We share experiences, support and encourage each other, as we navigate through new business milestones, ups and downs.

I've been helping Carrie of Sommer Designs out a bit with how things work at a wholesale show, and sharing my many resources and long to-do and to-bring lists for setup and the show itself. Carrie is exhibiting in her first wholesale show - the California Gift Show next week, debuting her fabulous new full aprons, to complement her line of half aprons, beautiful bags, and sweet hand sewn gifts. You can visit her blog to get a peek at her new aprons, and the gorgeous photographs she has to show them off!

I was so excited to go to my PO Box today and find a lovely gift from Carrie - these beautiful lavender liners. Now my unmentionables will be smelling 0h-so-pretty.
Thanks so much for the wonderful gift, Carrie, and for thinking of me when I know you're so busy! (Oh, and of course, have a great show!)

Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Keeping my head above water!

I've been quite busy with wholesale orders and spring trade shows (Boston Gift Show and the National Stationery Show), and am just now starting to get my head back bove water. This week and next are looking to be quite busy, and then I'm *hoping* to have a little down time over the 4th of July long weekend, and some time to enjoy the start of summer! I've been busy printing mermaids, lobsters, crabs and other sweet beachy cards for a few months now, which has made me so in the mood for summer.

I'm a beach girl at heart - my "win the lottery" dream is a little beach cottage in New England. Nothing grand. 1 or 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bath, living room, a deck where I can sit and have my morning coffee, and an outdoor shower. Just love taking a shower under the stars!

My first trip to the beach I was around 2 weeks old. My family spent summers camping at Hammonasset beach in Connecticut (until I was 12). I was born in the summer... so it was off to the beach for the rest of the summer. We lived in a trailer and a tent for the entire summer, as did many of my aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends. It was nothing fancy. Really. There was running water (cold only) to a faucet shared with the surrounding lots, and the occasional shower stall along the side of the road (again, cold water only, unless you took a shower mid-day, and got the water that was in the pipes and heated by the sun), and outhouses. The old fashioned kind (buckets, no flushing). When we were really little our baths were taken in a 3 foot round galvanized tub, with water heated in kettles on the stove. It was one of the few things we used the gas stove in the trailer for - cooking was mostly done on the charcoal grill. These days I prefer a few more amenities, but at the time it was heaven - the best childhood you could ever want!
My parents, brother and I shared our lot with my grandparents and aunts and uncles. The moms and kids spent all week at the beach, and the dads came on the weekend - this was back in the day where most of the moms didn't work (or worked in the school and were off when the kids were off). My parents and grandparents slept in the trailer, and my brother and I did when we were really little. As we got older, we moved out to the tents with the single aunts and uncles.

Things were so simple. We rode our bikes everywhere and our moms didn't worry about where we were. Every day we went to the beach. All of us kids rode our bikes, and the moms loaded everything we needed into a wagon (along with any babies) and took it to the beach. If we left the beach for any reason during the day, we just left all of our stuff there... nobody took it. We went creek jumping. (Ok, that was one of the few things we weren't supposed to do, but my adventurous cousins always took me.) We gathered shells, made sand castles, and buried ourselves in the sand. We swam and swam and swam. And we took swimming lessons. One night a week was kids movie night. We rode our bikes to the pavilion, sat on picnic tables and watched a movie. Parents didn't come.
We cooked on a charcoal grill all the time... on weekends we even had breakfast on the grill (dad would cook bacon and eggs on a big griddle on top of the grill.) We had an awning and a deck outside the trailer, and ate all our meals there.

There were no phones. Funny, I just realized that now. There must have been pay phones somewhere, but I don't recall. It just wasn't important. Remembering this simple living has really made me think about what's important. It was all about family and friends, fresh air and sunshine. Now that I've reminded myself, I hope to recapture some of that in the coming summer days!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What are you doing with your tax rebate check?

How about supporting American Craft!

Visit a local craft gallery and buy something handmade in the USA, or shop at one of your favorite online artisans and treat yourself to something fabulous.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's show time!

Whew, finally checking in after the Boston Gift Show. I saw some of my favorite retailers, met some wonderful new shop owners and buyers who are going to be carrying my goodies in their shops, and got to visit with my fellow exhibitors in the handmade section of the show. Most of my neighbors return year after year, and we look forward to visiting with eachother and catching up on the last several months of news.

This year I introduced some new hand block printed coasters, and I'm so happy to say they were a hit! I'm quite busy printing now - as well as getting ready for the next show which is just 4 weeks away (National Stationery Show in NYC).... it's a busy time right now.

I'm also enjoying the fact that we finally have some beautiful spring weather here in New England - after the long winter I'm really loving every minute of the sunshine and warm weather (even if much of the time I can only enjoy it through an open window in my studio....)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Fever!

I have it bad. Despite the chilly New England weather, I rejected socks for Easter Sunday. Refused to put them on. Admittedly, I felt a bit like a rebellious child, doing something that I knew wasn't very sensible, but I did it anyway. Fortunately it was a pretty nice day, so I didn't freeze my toes! Unfortunately, despite what the calendar says, spring isn't really here yet, so I can't put away my socks (and sweaters) just yet.

There was a little dusting of s&@# (yes, it's a 4-letter word) on the grass this morning, and more in the forecast for Friday... not enough to really accumulate, but enough to keep it from feeling like spring.

I should be thankful that it's only a dusting. We've been known to have feet of snow in March and April, and a little further north, people are dealing with just that. My friend Michelle and her family went their camp in Maine for Easter, and found 3 feet of snow in their yard, and a big icy pile at the end of the driveway courtesy of the plows. (Yes, I can handle a dusting, I guess.)

I've been compensating for the long winter by carving flowers... lots of flowers... some of which you can see here. Despite my attempts to create designs in some other categories to have ready for the Boston Gift Show and National Stationery Show, but I can't seem to focus on anything but spring blooms. And I know, the real spring blooms will be here very soon!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Many thanks... Jan at poppytalk for mentioning one of my journals in her post this week! Jan featured my hand printed dandelion journal, one of four spring-inspired journal designs, currently available only at IndieFixx.
More journal designs are available in my shop, perfect for recording your thoughts, dreams, memories, recipes, or just for everyday lists.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

March of the tools (Onion Goggles)

How did we ever live without them?

I gave my brother a pair of these onion goggles the Christmas before last, as a little bit of a joke, and made a whole theme gift around them. Turns out they're not really a joke at all, but a really useful kitchen tool! If you're one of those people who cries like a baby whenever you're chopping onions, you'll love them. Sure, they look a little geeky, but they really do work.
If you want to see more great tools visit Heather Bailey's blog and the flickr group, where you can see favorite tools from everyone who's participating!

Friday, March 07, 2008

March of the Tools

Heather Bailey has started a new blog feature for March - March of the Tools - and has invited others to join in - what fun! I'll be posting some of my favorite tools throughout the month, both related to my business, as well as some of my favs for everyday life.

Heather has also started a flickr group, where everyone can post their photos. Can't wait to see everyone's tools (and decide what to add to my shopping list!)

Join in, if you'd like!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Really, I'm not a spammer!

My mailbox has been filling up with email message bounces from messages I didn't send. At first it was a few messages, then I got inundated with 100 overnight! Seems I am a victim of spoofing. Yes, my email address has been used as the from address on someone's spammy email messages, and now I'm getting all the bounces and out of office replies. It's making me crabby, and there's nothing I can do about it!

On a more cheerful note, I'm feversihly working on new designs and products and will be sharing with everyone soon. I'm less than a month away from my first wholesale show of the season, and have lots of new goodies to get ready before the shows!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sweet Valentine, will you be mine?

With Valentine's day just over a month away, it's the perfect time to start planning - of course starting with the perfect card and sentiment! Sweet or sassy? Cute and cuddly? What will you choose? When I think Valentines, I am inspired by the the whimsical little cards from my childhood....

How about our little bee card? Add a very simple message: Bee Mine! Delightful for the kiddos, or your sweet love.

One of my favorites is the heart breathing dragon, for the hottie in your life. Pen a little note inside like You Set My Heart Afire and send it on it's way.

Another cutie (and customer fav) is the little squirrel with heart card. And what better message to send your sweetie than I'm Nuts About You!

... and lastly, Hoo Loves You, Baby? says our wise owl, or you to your sweetheart.

But of course, for all of you traditionalists, there are always hearts and roses!
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