Friday, March 26, 2010

Today is Brought to You By the Letter 'M'

If I could open a brick and mortar place, I think I would choose a venue similar to my features today. Have you heard of moomah or The Make Lounge? If not, hurry and check out their websites. Oh, the creativity is just oozing at these two wonderful places. They make the right side of my brain tingle with delight!

moomah :: A place of sweet whimsy, wonder and warmth, moomah is a creative playscape, a cozy café, a living classroom, a quiet hideaway, an art oasis, your neighborhood meeting spot. Your favorite place to be together, and a place for your child to simply be.

These words just jump out at me and beckon me to visit :: whimsy, wonder and warmth. These phrases sing to my heart and creative passion :: creative playscape, living classroom, art oasis. And as a parent, this phrase just makes me smile and is music to my ears :: a place for your child to simply be.

Located in New York City, moomah offers a variety of classes for all ages of children ranging from art to yoga - there's something for everyone! The café provides a healthy eating outlet allowing visitors to choose from a wholesome and sustainable menu and making their selection into a fun presentation. Check out their activity listing for programs for both children and adults. Next time I'm in New York City, I'm going to check this place out.

Next up is The Make Lounge in London. Again, a MUST visit place when I get to the UK.

According to their website, The Make Lounge is a stylish, welcoming space featuring short-term, project-oriented craft workshops. It also has a retail shop, featuring all manner of crafting supplies, including gorgeous fabrics, haberdashery, trimmings, craft books and magazines, stylish kits, and even lovely handmade goods.

Jennifer Pirtle, creator and founder of The Make Lounge, offers workshops for a wide range of interest and levels. Be sure to check out her parties section - how much fun would it be to do a crafting party?!? Girls' Night Out, Baby Shower, Bachelorette Party, Milestone Birthday...the possibilities are endless. They may be across the ocean for some of us, but you can sign up for their newsletter and be inspired on your own. Who knows, maybe you'll open a shop like this in your city? I know I'm thinking about it...seriously.

What types of venues do you like to explore your favorite or a new creative outlet? Please share!

(Images courtesy of moomah and The Make Lounge)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Word of the Day

We are so thankful for the PEACE that God has given us with securing new employment and housing. We are at PEACE and eternally grateful. Thank you.

(Image created using Spell with flickr)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Moving Story

Literally. We are moving again. However, we're moving because the hubs found a job! WOOHOO!!! And we'll ironically be moving back to the city from which we moved (17 years there only to return for a few more I guess) he can work for the company that cut his job...but this time as a contractor/consultant. If you're not confused, I give you kudos. Seriously. It took me two days to realize what was going on and what it meant. I think I said to the hubs a few times, "Now explain this to me again..." - he must think I'm crazy. It's like we took a 7 month vacation with our recent move out of that city last the hubs reminds me, it was anything but a vacation (unemployment is not fun - we've crossed it off our list hoping we don't have to venture down that path again), let's call it a sabbatical.

We took the crash course in frugality and budgeting...and yes, the art major who always runs away from numbers has become a budgeting queen and 'save' has replaced 'spend' in my vocabulary. My family doesn't know who I am. But I am OK - no more than OK - with this revised thinking I have adapted. God works in funny ways, let me tell you. The lessons He wants us to learn are sometimes the longest roads we take in life. We all need to be refined in different ways and who better to know and guide us than the Heavenly Father. I am grateful for that even though we may not know exactly what His plan of course may be or the paths He takes us down.

Thank you Heavenly Father for blessing us with the security of new employment. Help guide us in the future with decisions we need to make with housing and give us strength to embrace the lessons of frugality when temptation comes our way. Teach us to trust in You as you have shown us time and time again that with You (God), anything is possible.

My blog posts may be sporadic in the next few weeks - I'm apologizing in advance...I'm going to try my best to post every couple of days, but please understand I need to start packing up this family for our next adventure! Thanks for taking the time to follow my blog - I appreciate all of my readers!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And the winner of the Where Women Create magazine is...

...lucky number 13...seriously! And number 13 is SANDI (3/16 at 11:37 pm) selected by

Here's what she had to say:

Hi there! I'm a huge fan of WWC and was pleased to find you and become a Follower! One of my many favorite creative sites is:

Not only is Dawn a talented artist, but she's directed me to many other creative and beautiful blogs that I probably wouldn't have found on my own!!


CONGRATULATIONS SANDI - I will be emailing you for your mailing address and sending off your Where Women Create Spring 2010 magazine as soon as I hear back from you!

Thank you for all your comments and excellent inspirational blogs you shared! I plan to stop by each and every one of your blogs and say hello, as you did to mine. I'll have some more fun checking out the great links you all left for inspiration...and I'll put together a list of them for you all to have some fun in your free time. Thanks again for making my first blog giveaway so much fun! Look for more giveaways in the future!!!

(Image courtesy of Where Women Create)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Beautiful Idea

My heart goes a flutter when I find great sites like wonderful that these are out there! And thank goodness for people like Evie Shaffer, aka evie s. Be sure to check out her sites when you have a chance.

Here's a summary of A Beautiful Idea:

My name is Evie Shaffer, and I’m an artist. I blog about beautiful things, crafts, and inspiration and also run an etsy shop.

As an artist, I’ve struggled with the “why” behind the creative urges I have — to be used for something more than myself or for profits. I’ve longed for a greater purpose. I know I am not the only artist who feels this way. That’s why I created A Beautiful Idea.

As a friend of mine said it so perfectly, “how can God use artists to meet real needs in practical ways? Cuz my creative gifts seem futile up against a hurting world. Help!”

My hope and prayer is that A Beautiful Idea will motivate artists to use their gifts to change the world.

Artists partner with A Beautiful Idea and create a product(s). They sell it and donate the money to our current charity via A Beautiful Idea’s donation center. It is really that simple.

If you are an artist, create. If you are an art lover, support A Beautiful Idea by buying our artists’ products, donating to our current charity, and spreading the word.

As she notes on her site...

That's a HUGE impact! Thanks for your vision Evie - we wish you only great success.

(Images and summary content courtesy of A Beautiful Idea)

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Power of Half

I picked up this book at the local library after becoming intrigued by the story I saw featured on the news. The Power of Half is the story about one family's decision to stop taking and start giving back. The idea was born when Hannah, then fourteen years old, witnessed a homeless man and another man driving an expensive vehicle in her neighborhood. She said to her father, "If that man had a less nice car, then the other man could have a meal." Quite a deep thought for a fourteen year old, I thought. The whole family got on board with Hannah's aha moment and decided to put their large home up for sale agreeing to donate half the profit to charity. I'm sure I'll finish the book in a day or such a great thought philosophy to read about. For each copy of their book that is sold, $1 will be donated to Rebuilding Together, serving America's low-income homeowners and providing critical repairs at no charge to those with the greatest need. For their family project, they are investing in The Hunger Project. Visit their blog for more ideas for projects of your own. Kudos to the Salwen Family - what a great example!

After experiencing seven months of unemployment and living very frugally, we have been finally blessed with a job offer that will require yet another move. With this move, as with the last, my focus is to simplify. When you are forced to move, you realize how much 'stuff' you accumulate...and for what?!? To move it again? My goal is to sort and purge what we have and donate to those less fortunate. Once we are on our feet again, I am hoping to practice this same frugality we embraced through our months of unemployment. Live in excess no more. Give more of myself and more to charity, not necessarily money, but talent and service when and how I'm able. Lead by example as others learn by example. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Take nothing for granted. In the end, it's not how much you give; it's how much your giving changes your life and the lives of others.

What are some ways you give...time, talent, service? Remember to pay it forward.

(Image courtesy of

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Looking for Great Letterpress?

So, to make a long story longer...I attended the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in Chicago last December and LOVED it. If you have a chance to get to a Renegade Craft Fair in a city where it's held, GO! It's soooo worth it. While there, I stopped at many a booth, picking up business cards and meeting wonderfully talented people. Sought out letterpress and found lots of it. Made a few purchases and enjoyed all the inspiration. One of those talented people was Michelle...let me introduce you to Elevated Press.

Here's a brief profile summary from Michelle's site: Elevated Press is a division of our design and production company, Elevated Works, founded in Chicago just below the El train.

Elevated press is a full-service letterpress stationery studio, printing original designs on cards for all occasions, wedding invitation suites, birth announcements, business stationery, and any other type of stationery that is desired in order to make a special impression. Custom orders are always welcome!

All of our stationery products are handmade on a Kelsey Excelsior or a Vandercook #3 letterpress. Letterpress gives a tactile quality to the print which makes it so appealing to look at as well as to touch. Due to the nature of letterpress printing, slight variations may occur in the prints... that's how you know it's handmade!

A few weeks after the show, I received an email from Michelle of Elevated Press announcing I was the winner of a set of their letterpress cards - my choice! I was elated!!! Ironically, hers was one of the business cards I had picked up...and I won from signing up on her mailing list. Awesome! I chose the Pair of Doves cards...they are so beautiful - the detail and color is exquisite. This is how gorgeous they are - I sent one out as a Thank You to someone and actually received a Thank You card back from that person for sending such a beautiful note (she ended up framing it)!

I love the heart hands card and have one of these, ready to be open framed for our family wall. It also seems like it's baby season around here (girls are outweighing the boys again), so I may have to pick up some more of their adorable pink 'Welcome Little One' cards pictured below. If you're looking for great letterpress, check out Elevated won't be disappointed. Their product is fabulous and Michelle gives top-notch service! So happy we crossed paths - great letterpress always makes me smile.

(Images and profile summary content courtesy of Elevated Press)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Favorite Irishman

Today's post is in honor of my favorite Irishman who unfortunately passed away in late February as the result of an accidental fall. Father Michael O'Rourke (Father Mike) was Pastor at St. Mary Parish where we attended for years before recently moving away this past Fall. He was a wonderful friend and mentor, counseled us through many ups and downs, married me and my husband and baptized our daughter. He will forever hold a special place in our hearts and although he is no longer with us on this earth, we know we have gained a very special Guardian Angel in Heaven. Please take a minute to read a very special article about Father Mike and how he connected people together throughout the Valley area. You'll get a sense of how many people's lives he really did touch - over 1500 attended his funeral services and the local newspaper was kind enough to broadcast the services via internet to allow over 1700 people from multiple locations in the state, country and four continents watch it as well.

He always told us that Jesus was our best friend. No matter what happens, Jesus is there for us and loves us. One of my favorite stories he would share was the story about the lightbulb. He told this story to many of the children and it was a great analogy I plan to share with my daughter as I teach her about Jesus and our faith. Father Mike would take a regular old lightbulb and ask the children how he could turn it on. He would then stick it in his ear or under his arm...and look puzzled as to why it wasn't turning on. He would explain that we can't be a light to others or the light that Jesus wants us to be without being connected. Connected? Yes, he would then get an extension cord and add that to the lightbulb base...we need to be connected to Jesus Christ to let His light shine through us. What a great analogy...I can hear him telling it and see him acting it out.

He also would talk about the importance of the 'dash'. What is the dash, you ask? Father Mike said that your dash should not be about the material things you have in life like the house you live in or the type of car you drive...but what is important is what happens during your dash...meaning between the time you arrived on this earth to the time you leave. How will you fill your dash? How will others talk about your 'dash'? Another important and invaluable lesson I hope to teach my daughter by example. I can guarantee you, Father Mike's 'dash' will be remembered forever fondly by many, many people by how much he selflessly gave to his community and by the example of Christ he was to us.

I feel so very lucky and blessed to have had him in my life for so long, and I hope and pray that I can be an inspiration and light to others as he was to me. We all THANK YOU Father Mike for the blessings and inspiration you have shown us and given to us. We will miss you dearly! Happy St. Patrick's Day - celebrate the day in Heaven!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Very First Blog Giveaway!!!

Where do you look for inspiration? Nature, art, architecture, blogs, magazines, books or maybe all of the above? There isn't a right or wrong answer to that question and the happy thing about it is that it differs for everyone. How fun! Awhile ago, I was given the book Where Women Create and have enjoyed every page of it...over and over and over again. The book highlights the creative workspaces of a variety of women - it's true eye candy and is inspirational on so many levels. Did you know that Jo Packham and Jenny Doh are releasing another book called Where Women Create: Book of Inspiration: In the Studio and Behind the Scenes with Extraordinary Women? (Insert squeal of delight here.) It's due out on April 5th - you can check it out for yourself and pre-order yours today here.

Where Women Create also has an awesome blog where you can lose yourself for hours, if you're not careful. Be sure to check out the WWC BLOG here, or click on their button in the lower part of my left sidebar to visit. They have put together a wonderful couple days in September called The Creative Connection. Crafters come together over a few days in Minneapolis to take classes and enjoy's going to be on my calendar; how about yours?

I was ecstatic when Stampington announced that they were creating a quarterly magazine that would feature more creative spaces of women on a regular basis. I've purchased every issue since the first and frequent the pages for a quick creative fix or a peek into someone's studio...a mini vacation.

I'm happy to announce my very FIRST BLOG GIVEAWAY!!! One lucky reader will receive the Spring 2010 issue of Where Women Create (a $14.99 value)! I MUST share this creativity with you!!! Here's a sneak peek of one of my favorite articles in this issue (PAPER SOURCE!).....

Here's what you need to do to enter the giveaway...two easy steps:

1) Become a 'follower' in my Google Friend Connect window in my left sidebar. If you are already a Google Friend, fantastic and thank you! Skip down to step #2.

2) Leave a comment letting me know the URL name of your favorite creative or inspirational blog. I'll write a post later highlighting some of the great blogs you mention.

Also be sure to leave your name and an email address so I know how to get a hold of you when you win!

Giveaway is open to US residents at this time only.

One entry per person please.

Enter through Saturday, March 20th at midnight CST.

One winner will be selected via on Sunday and announced here sometime on Monday, March 22nd.

Do YOU have the luck of the Irish? Be sure to enter to see if you do! Have fun!


(Images courtesy of Where Women Create and

Monday, March 15, 2010

Matilda Jane Hammond Bay Trunk Show

Spring is right around the corner! That is the Matilda Jane Spring 2010 Line. I'm soooo very excited to be attending a Matilda Jane Spring Line Trunk Show this upcoming Saturday, March 20th! {insert cartwheels here} Remember my previous post highlighting the MUST HAVE outfits for Gabrielle? Ack! I feel like a kid before Christmas (breathe, breathe, repeat)...I can hardly wait to see their fabrics, the combos and all the cute outfits I can put together. Better leave my checkbook at home. I could do some serious damage in a very quick time. Here's some eye candy to hold you (me) over until Saturday...are we there yet?!?

REMEMBER to come back here tomorrow, Tuesday, March 16th to enter my VERY FIRST BLOG GIVEAWAY!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Give Me Liberty!

Liberty of London for Target! Today is the day...are you ready? If not, hop on your bike, get in your car, hail a cab, jump on the train...whatever you do, get to your nearest Target to check out the flowery goodness of Liberty of London goods. If you don't have a bike, you may want to check out this one from Liberty of London for Target, slated to be priced under $200.00.

This is will be my last Sunday blog post as I am reserving Sundays for time with my family and for non-media activities. Regular posts will continue during the weekdays and Saturdays. Thanks for all your comments and support! I appreciate each and every one of my readers :)

Don't forget - come back here Tuesday the 16th to enter my VERY FIRST BLOG GIVEAWAY!

(Images courtesy of

Saturday, March 13, 2010

And the winner is...

...could it be you? Did you enter HGTV's Dream Home Giveaway? Be sure to watch the giveaway special on Monday, March 15th 8/7 C. The giveaway had over 40,640,000 entries - wowsers!

Here are a few of my favorite Dream Homes from HGTV from years past:

My number favorite is the Tyler, TX house in 2005. It is the largest of the Dream Homes with a second house on the lake. I seriously would have dreams about this house during the contest as if I was already living in it - I knew it inside and out. *sigh* Oh, the memories...

Tyler, TX

I also loved the 2008 Dream Home in the heart of the Florida Keys as well. Remember this kitchen with that gorgeous tile? Who wouldn't want to live in a town named Islamorada (meaning 'purple island') with palm trees in your yard? I've only lived in the Midwest, so palm trees excite me. Seriously, love them.

Islamorada, FL

Another favorite is the 2006 Dream Home in Lake Lure, NC. This house had great outdoor space with picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a really, really cool craft room. Love that shake siding detail. Nice.

Lake Lure, NC

What was your favorite HGTV Dream Home? Come back here on Tuesday the 16th - I'll be sponsoring a fun giveaway for you! No, it won't quite be a house...stay tuned!

(Images courtesy of

Friday, March 12, 2010

Do the Thing You Love...

Amen to that! So sorry that I've been out of the loop lately, but I've had good reason. I've been fighting this horrible headcold/cough/sinus infection for TWO WEEKS. I rarely get this sick - the last time I was this sick was over 3 1/2 years ago. Yikes. And it is going around unfortunately...many people I know have it or are just getting over it, the hubs and babe included. My mom went to the doctor today only to find out she has bronchitis and walking pneumonia...keep her in your thoughts for a speedy recovery. I'm going to plan on sneaking over there sometime tomorrow with a little care package for her (shhhh).

Anyway, now you know where I've been. The time off has allowed me to do some really deep soul searching and introspective research on our employment situation and how I could and/or should contribute to it. As most of you know, the hubs' job was cut last August and he has not found anything as of yet. Not that he hasn't been interviewing...he has and has been all over...but no luck (that's another post in itself). Anyway, we're quickly coming up on nine months of unemployment (May) which is the same amount of time to hatch a child...I'm just sayin' - it's a long time to be unemployed. It could be worse, but it could be better.

So, the past month or so we really visited the option of me going back to work full-time in the world of design. I've been freelancing for the most part since 2001 (my main focus right now is staying home with our daughter), so returning full-time in a corporate environment or organized company concerns me since it tended to burn me out in the past. I immerse myself and become (overly) passionate about design - meaning I eat, drink, sleep it. I literally become my job. With a husband and a daughter, balance is essential. With freelancing, I was able to control my involvement. I dislike being burned out (as we all do) especially when it is something I LOVE to do. So, I evaluated everything...pros, cons, options...I prayed about it, made lists, researched topics on the internet, made more lists, wrote ideas, talked to can do a lot when you're sick and no one else (rightfully) wants to be around you.

In the end, I made the decision to reprioritize my life...Faith, Family, Friends, that order. My focus will be on my family and making our home life better and less stressful and chaotic. I want to be a better child of God. I want to be a better wife. I want to be a better mother. I want to be a better friend. I want to enjoy my design work, crafting and sewing projects, or however I decide to enjoy my creative outlet. I have no doubt in my mind that with this order I will be led to happiness and satisfaction I cannot fathom. Do what you LOVE and you'll LOVE what you do. Right now, I'm just happy to BE (a child of God, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a creative).

What is YOUR favorite phrase that is your mantra? Mine?

Do what you love :: love what you do.

Visit Catherine's shop to find the featured sign above (image courtesy of Red Shoes blog and shop). She has all sorts of artsy and creative things to inspire you and add some cheer to your home. I'm hoping to order this sign (in addition to the one above) once we have some extra income.