An Exciting New Project



Hi! How is everybody? Just wanted to stop and chat a bit and update you guys on where things are at with me personally.

I've stopped doing the custom wedding invitation thing (thanks for all your support). As much as I loved meeting all the couples and working with my hands on the paper and embellishments, it was very labor intensive and I wasn't making much money:( So, for about the last 9 months or so, I've just been a stay-at-home Mom (my favorite gig so far!)....and blogger, of course. I've loved the freedom and extra time to myself that came along with giving up that side business. I'm completely happy with that decision, but I've also recently been wondering if, creatively, I am supposed to be doing something other than coloring with Maura:) I was sort of at a crossroads, until something completely out of the blue fell in my lap.

A good family friend (Lisa of Life in Dar...she currently lives in Tanzania - yes, I mean Africa!!! - with her husband and 2 adorable kids) recently got in touch. She and her hubs have written a children's book (it has always been a dream/goal of theirs to do together) and they asked me to illustrate it!! Say what?!

I went to school for Illutsration...earned a BFA in it from Syracuse University (coincidentally, Lisa attended SU too). But my first job was in product design and then I became a 3D animator, so I never really totally did the illustrator thing. It was the farthest thing from my mind when I started thinking about what (if anything) I was meant to be doing with myself and my free time. (Did I just say free time? Lol. I have a toddler...and a blog. That's funny!!) But after a lot of thought, tons of emails back and forth to Africa, and chats with some of my creative/live hard-play hard kinda friends, I decided to go for it!! I'm so thankful to Lisa and her husband Kristoffer for wanting me to be a part of this adventure.

So, I'm about to illustrate my first children's book  (its a very different Santa Claus story - so fun)!!! I've been published a few times before, but nothing this huge. (Worked with a local author before on a couple of her favorite piece was one of those maps you see at the beginning of a book that shows you where all the locations and events mentioned inside are! I'm the nerd that always flips back and forth to the map while reading to get my bearings!) I'm really, really excited...and nervous...and scared out of my mind!! How cool/surreal would it be to someday be in this stack?!

We don't have a publisher yet, our plan is to shop it around and then if no one bites/worst case, self-publish. If you don't mind my asking (we can use all the help we can get in making this thing a reality), have any of you been involved in something like this before? Do you know anything about publishing your own book? Have any contacts in the publishing world?

On a side note...what are some of your favorite children's books? Have any favorite illustrators whose work I can check out?

Any of you guys starting out on a new path? Inspire me with your success stories:) And thanks in advance for understanding while I juggle this new work load with this ol' blog here!!!

The Next Mood Board Monday: John Robshaw Textiles



 ***me waving hi!*** Want to do another Mood Board Monday?

That global/ethnic-inspired look is everywhere these days. I'm really finding myself drawn to block-printed pattern. And who does this better than John Robshaw!? The craftsmanship, detail, and precision that goes into printing his stuff in India and elsewhere abroad is truly amazing!!

I first got this idea when I saw some of John's bedding in a recent issue of House Beautiful. I dog-eared the page and then I kept flipping back to it like every 5 minutes and sighing!! Then my girl Holly's cool series "Pattern Play" (where she features different fabrics and then plays around with several other coordinating patterns to achieve different looks), inspired me to do the same here.

So, I'm giving you three different combinations of Robshaw's fabrics to choose from (all hand block printed on fine linen and available only to the trade). You must then include both patterns from the pairing in your room (as drapery, upholstery, pillows, etc...whatever you want to do).

The actual MBM linky party will be Monday, August 20th!

Remember, Mood Board Monday is all about how different people are inspired differently by the same things. There's no real client, no budget (unless you want to challenge yourself), no limits. Just you, your imagination and the interwebz:) Here are the three gorgeous JR fabric combos you have to choose from:

JR Fabric Combo No. 1: Citadel Umber and Madura Vista

JR Fabric Combo No. 2: Algiers Lotus and Jajam Brinjal

JR Fabric Combo No. 3:  Twine Light Indigo and Bagru Indigo

Yikes, how am I going to choose? They're all so beautiful!!

For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of MBM, here's the general idea (we would love to see some new faces and hopefully lots of you back from previous parties):

1. This is a fun way to share all of the creativity out there and showcase how we can all start from one inspiration point and end up with a variety of ideas.
2. To participate, you need to create a complete mood board for any room using one of the three pairs of John Robshaw fabric shown here.
3. On Mood Board Monday party day (Monday, August 20th in this case), come back here to link up to the party. You will need to include your sources in your post and give a brief description of the room and how you used the inspiration fabric.

Yay! I'm so excited about this! Seriously, this guy is the bomb:) Now I really want to go and block print something...maybe the drapes in my dining room?!

PS. Check out our previous Mood Board Monday Linky parties here: MBM01, MBM02, MBM03, MBM04, MBM05, MBM06, MBM07, MBM08, MBM09, MBM10, MBM11MBM12 and MBM13.

To Chalk/Milk Paint or Not?



I have some pieces of furniture I've been wanting to paint for awhile and I'm wondering if I should jump on the chalk and/or milk paint band wagon or not?

Like this small black cabinet in our kitchen, that I said I was going to paint last summer! (Here was me testing out some colors):

 And my Gram's bow front dresser, now on the wall with my Brimfield map (thinking of going white/cream on the base and sanding/re-staining the top):

And these twin beds in the girls' bedroom at my parent's house (not sure what color they would get yet, it would probably be smart to wait until mom gets new bedding):

And a "dry sink" (kinda like these) that used to be in our house growing up (I remember we kept all our crayons and coloring paper in there) that I want to put in our family room for closed storage.

Besides the cool distressing effects, etc. that chalk and milk paint are known for, I'm also really interested in the time saving factor. We all know I'm not the fastest worker-bee on the block. Supposedly you don't have to prep your pieces at all when you use chalk/milk no sanding, priming, etc. Right? It would be awesome not to have to worry about all those first, boring, prep steps. I'm into immediate results:)

So, I'm guess I'm wondering if any of you have used chalk paint before? Did you like it? Is it worth the upfront investment (paint, special brushes, finishing wax)? Has anyone ordered online or do you always try to rind a local retailer? I'm tempted (by all her gorgeous furniture make-overs...see below) to wait for Marion/Miss Mustard Seed's new milk paint line that I think will be out sometime in August. Anyone else? Hmmm...what should I do?!

{one of Miss Mustard Seed's new milk paint colors - Luckett's Green}
{and another one of Marion's new milk paint colors coming soon...Mustard Seed Yellow}

PS. For once in my life, I'm trying to do some research before actually making a decision. Here's some posts I've found by others about using the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint:

Our July 4th Week Staycation!



Hello! Hope everyone had a great holiday/week! Here's what we did on Paul's week off, just in case you were wondering;) Warning...lots of cute Maura pics (and I've applied a little vintage effect to them)!

First we hit up Edaville Railroad in Carver, MA where there was a special "Day Out with Thomas" Event going on. Maura loves watching Thomas the Tank and trains in general, so we thought she'd have fun riding the train being pulled by Thomas and partaking in the general theme park vibe.

{Riding the train...see that blue car waaaay up in front? That's Thomas!}

We had fair food, played on all the fun equipment, and went on some kiddie rides. Good times had by all:)

Then we spent a few days down the Cape at my parent's house. We got in plenty of beach time, took Maura on my Dad's sailboat for the first time (she did so well!), caught the last few minutes of the Chatham July 4th parade and watched the fireworks from the beach at the end of our street (she loved them!!! she was asleep for them last year!).

Here's my on-the-fly attempt to get Maura's picture in front of some patriotic bunting on July 4th:

{"Oh my!"...that's one of her favorite new sayings!}
{"Is that dirt?!"}
{"And, I'm out!"}
 Really?! Guess I was asking too much;)

Towards the end of the week, we took her into Boston. It was hard to cover much ground because she tends to lollygag, getting lost in the small and normally mundane climbing the same stairs over and over again, playing with a fire hydrant and splashing in puddles! But that's ok, that's what life is all about:)

We had a great week! And it was so nice having Paul home to help. I love creating all these family memories:) What did you guys do?

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