Saturday, July 17, 2010


birthday to me!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Operation Write Home

Last week I discovered Operation Write Home through a post from Stationery Trends Magazine on facebook. Operation Write Home's mission is to support our nation's armed forces by sending blank handmade greeting cards for them to write home on, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them. They've sent hundreds of thousands of cards to the heroes who are serving our country.

Well, I just think this is fabulous, so of course, Artful Sentiments will be participating! I am looking forward to sending a bundle of my hand block printed cards, and proud that I am able to support our troops in this little way.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sneak peek....

.... at one of my favorite projects each year - Artful Sentiments calendar! I love the challenge of creating a design for each month of the year, with a cohesive feel and color story. I actually designed the 2011 calendar back in January and February, but I thought I'd wait until the first half of the year was over to give you a peek at what I came up with.

The 2011 calendar will be in the shop in September, and is currently available for my lovely wholesale customers (e-mail for wholesale information).

(Now, it's time to get inspired to design some new Valentines - I know, crazy schedule!)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Celebrate and Enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome Summer!

Ah, the first day of summer! The arrival brings back so many fabulous memories - simpler times when every day was filled with bike rides and lemonade and beaches.

I spent summers at the beach when I was a child - those days were the best of simple living. I get nostalgic for those joyous summers every year when the weather warms. I cherish my memories of those days, when my bicycle was my main form of transportation - my bicycle with only one speed, a bell and a basket to fill with little treasures, like flowers or shells, collected in my travels. I rode my bike to the beach almost every day, on adventures with my cousins, to movie night with all the kids. And I rode, well, just for the fun of it, with no destination in mind.

Since I don't have a bike any more, I think I'll take a walk today, and celebrate this first day of summer. A walk, just for the fun of it, with no destination in mind. And I may bring a basket along to fill with treasures I find along the way.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day....

... to all the wonderful dads out there!

(me and my dad, when I was about 6 months old)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family time.

I'm so excited that in a couple weeks we'll be getting the family together for a reunion (on my maternal grandfather's side of the family). For quite some time we had reunions every few years, but it's been ages since we were all together and I'm really looking forward to it.

When I was growing up, my grandfather's family was centered around the family farm, which was about a mile from my home. I have early memories of playing at the farm, cows, and driving into the corn fields to pick sacks of fresh corn for our dinner. The farm is no longer there, but the family and memories are strong.

Like all families, ours has gone through a lot of changes in the last several years, new additions will help to make the day joyous, and remembering those we've lost will make it bittersweet. I do know we will have loads of fun, water balloons, delicious food and much valued time together.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Berry love.

The last few day's I've been obsessed - impatiently waiting for the arrival of the perfect summer strawberries to the fields and farm stands in my area. And at long last, I'm able to indulge.

Now, I'm moving on to obsessing about corn on the cob, native tomatoes and peaches. It's gonna be a long month or so.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The {unofficial} start of summer....

Ah, summer. Although it's not officially here for a few more weeks, it has been feeling like summer already, and I must say, I'm loving it! I've been a bit to busy to indulge myself with a beach day (or lounge around for an afternoon drinking icy margaritas), but I have been taking advantage of the warm days with some simple pleasures - early morning walks, having my morning coffee and afternoon iced tea outside on the deck, wearing sandals every day. And I get so much joy from these little things!

I've been busy printing, making magnets, mirrors and bottle openers, and sending goodies to some lovely retailers in coastal communities - yes, loads of lobsters, whales, mermaids and sea shells!

It's all putting me right in the mood for a little summer excursion. Time to make a plan, I think!

What about you? Any plans for a trip to the beach this summer?

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's the BIG idea?

Hello Friends!

The last few months have been an exciting time at Artful Sentiments... I've been busy with loads of wholesale orders since the Boston Gift Show - lots of lovely shops to send goodies to before the New England summer season gets underway. I'm printing, assembling, packing and shipping every day!

And in my spare time? I'm so excited to be participating in A Fresh Bunch and the launch of the BIG Idea.

What's the BIG idea? The BIG idea is an innovate print in store program, which you can read all about here, or if you're a stationery retailer, you can find out more at the National Stationery Show - booth 2042, and booths 2806-10. A Fresh Bunch members (including me!) will be there to explain and demo the print in store program, show you catalogs and samples, hand out info and product samples from our participating members.

The print in store program has been a bit of a challenge for me - adapting some of my existing block print designs has required me to learn some new tools, but, oh, I'm having so much fun! I love that my designs will be available, through the program, as invitations, personalized flat notes, address labels and more...

I hope to get a chance to meet you if you'll be at the show - I'll be there Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning - and I'll be the one wearing the BIG idea badge!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spreading a little sunshine....

Happy Friday! Thought I'd take a moment today to spread a little sunshine to all of you who are buried in snow or bailing your basements after all the rain in recent days.

I'm looking forward to the arrival of spring (soon, I hope!) and all the loveliness that it brings. I love seeing the first flowers peek out from the frozen ground, and when the sun warms your face on a morning walk. I love seeing the dirty snowbanks disappear, and the birds reappear in the trees. I love shedding the winter coat in favor of a denim jacket, and not having to wear socks. I love opening all the windows and letting the warm breeze in.

What about you? What do you love about spring?

Monday, February 15, 2010

I love: Mittens...

... especially beautiful hand knit mittens! My grandmother knit mittens for me (and all the other kids in the family) every year when I was a growing up, always with a little pattern on them, and always with the long string that you would thread through the sleeves of your jacket, so you'd never lose one of the prized mittens!

Although these days gloves seem so much more practical than mittens, I do still find mittens so charming - they remind me fondly of my childhood and the joys of snow days, sledding, and snowmen.

Me, my little brother John, and cousin Sarah in the snow.

Do you love mittens too? Well, here's your chance to win an amazing pair of mittens from the Vancouver Olympics, from the lovely and talented Fiona of Cartolina and Cafe Cartolina.

(Thanks for a great giveaway, Fiona... and I really, really hope I win!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Happy!

Happy Valentines Day and Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I love: conversation hearts...

... such a sweet Valentine's Day tradition! It's hard to resist the charming messages on the little pastel hearts.

If you're more inclined to indulge in a heart shaped box filled with gooey chocolates or a pink m&m on Valentine's Day, you can still take part in the conversation heart tradition with a calorie-free version - create your own virtual candy hearts, perhaps to send to your special Valentine in a sweet email!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Inspired: Scherenschnitte (papercutting)

I am completely fascinated by beautiful, intricate scherenschnitte, and am so pleased that it's made a comeback in recent years, both in traditional patterns and more modern form. One amazing artist that I adore is Rob Ryan, who has completely captured the vintage charm of this art form, while giving it a bit of a current twist.

I tried my hand at papercutting several years ago - making some lovely framed pieces and sweet ornaments... I loved the process as well as the final outcome, but especially enjoy the design process - working with symmetry, silhouettes and the use positive and negative space, as I also do in so many of my prints.

The papercut above is from Rob Ryan's book, This Is for You (which would make a very sweet Valentine's day gift, by the way...).

Friday, February 05, 2010

Finally Friday: Wear Red

Today is National Wear Red Day, part of the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Movement - a day to speak up about heart disease, the number 1 killer of women - so grab your favorite red dress or sweater and help raise awareness!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Sneak peek: new artful goodies

.... bookmarks and bookplates!

Here's a peek at just a few of the designs I have in the works, and will be debuting at the Boston Gift Show in March.

Wise Owl
(perfect for the scholar!)

Pirate Ship
(for those who love tales of the sea!)

(for the baker, or birthday girl!)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Things I love: Colored Pencils

Oh, aren't they just glorious? 500 amazing colored pencils to collect, inspire and delight! I could have so very much fun with these, and a big sketchbook!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Inspired: Wood grain

I bookmarked this post several months ago, completely inspired by these amazing prints! Printmaker Bryan Nash Gill had taken an ordinary tree stump and painstakingly relief printed it to create amazing limited edition prints. It really takes me back to some of my earliest printmaking endeavors, inking and printing leaves, apples cut in half, and other beautiful natural elements.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Things I love: Speaking of Chocolate...

Cupcakes. Of course, who doesn't love cupcakes? Chocolate or otherwise. I am completely enchanted by all the little cupcake shops that have popped up in nearly every town over the past few years. It is so wonderful to see something that was once relegated only to kid's birthday parties develop into a treat for everyone, and a true art form as well! And all the cupcake goodies out there make it possible to elevate the cupcake to a new level.

Don't you just adore these cupcake pedestals? I can just imagine one at each place setting for a lovely little dessert after a girls' lunch.
Or how about these amazing paper cupcake wrappers? They certainly make every little cupcake extra special.
Of course, Artful Sentiments has its share of cupcakes as well (including one of the newest - Chocolate + Moose) and in addition to all the cupcake cards, I decided that cupcake magnets are a must! So here they are. Sweet, huh?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Inspired: Chocolate

Inspired by chocolate? Um, yes.

Every year I make chocolates for the holidays, a heavenly sweet little treat, a glorious decadent bite of goodness. I especially love making (and eating) truffles - in the past I've made such delights as chocolate raspberry, white chocolate peppermint, pistacio covered white chocolate cherry...mmmm, all delish. This year I tried a new recipe - chocolate peanut butter truffles, a lovely smooth chocolate peanut butter ganache rolled in chopped peanuts. For all you peanut butter cup lovers out there, these are a must try!
That leads me to my inspiration! As a lover of all things chocolate (although I am indulging only in moderation these days), I've added "Chocolate + Moose" to my collection of hand block printed party animal cards. These whimsical notes feature some of my sweet little creatures, along with cupcakes, party hats and birthday cakes.
I think that Chocolate + Moose will sell like hotcakes (or maybe cupcakes!) in Maine, where they love their moose!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy 2010!

I can't believe that the first decade of "the new millennium" has passed and 2010 is here already!

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions - I believe in changing when you are ready, and not waiting for New Year's day, or Monday, or next week to begin anew. That said, I've been feeling for some time that I had to revitalize my much-neglected blog, and so I'll begin today, since that is when I'm ready to!

Here's a belated peek at my holiday cards and this year's wrapping. Several years ago I switched to all white wrapping paper, partly as a way of simplifying my life (I always have appropriate paper on hand for any occasion) and partly because it's a great creative backdrop for me - with beautiful ribbon, my prints, and other embellishments I can always find a fun way to wrap a package.
I'm not really one for choosing the most traditional colors, so instead of having a red and green Christmas, mine was orange and blue! My cards were hand printed orange mittens, and I printed strips of white paper with the mitten pattern in orange and blue, to wrap around my white packages. Then I added tags with the same pattern, and various blue and orange ribbons (I especially like the blue/orange multi stripe ribbon) to complete the packages. I loved that they were fun, warm and unexpected (hmmm, and I'd like to think that description sounds quite a bit like me, too)!
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