Monday, January 28, 2013

Downton Abbey greeting card feature

Country Living Magazine feature
It is always lovely when a magazine contacts you to feature one of your items.  :) My Downton Abbey card was asked to be featured in Country Living Magazine.
Get your Downton Abbey card at my shop.  The free shipping over is still available too.

I am still trying to recover from last night's Downton Abbey episode. (Good heavens, I wasn't expecting that to happen!) 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

$100 Gift Card Giveaway (yay!)

Head over to the TomKat studio blog for a chance to win a $100 credit to my shop!
Kim Stoegbauer, the owner/designer at the TomKat studio is hosting the giveaway.

TomKat Studio

You'll love her blog and shop too. She is an amazing party stylist/designer and works closely with HGTV, Pottery Barn and others......  Kim makes me want to throw a party!! There is only 24 hours left to enter (so hurry scurry!!)

TomKat Studio

New Year's Resolution

I love the turn of the new year. It gives me an energy to get new things accomplished. I am also doing a massive overhaul of my house and getting rid of things I really don't need. It feels grand, getting rid of some clutter. Like many, I am vowing to get into better shape.  My hubby and I are workout partners. I am pretty happy to say we have lost 18 lbs since Jan 1. :) It feels very good.

I was also inspired by this new quote I designed. There really is something about this saying that speaks to me. It reminds me of how stuck I can get sometimes in yesterday.   Here's to living for today  (and enjoying it)....


Friday, January 11, 2013

Downton Abbey !

Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew....
Being a freelance illustrator/designer means you work typically by yourself in a studio all day. Most of my other studio artist friends are the same, in that we feel we have pretty much watched everything that Netflix has to offer in in their watch instantly queue. A comic artist friend and I were joking how many times we have each watched the Ken Burn's documentaries.  I would totally rock the house as a contestant on Jeopardy as I have also watched every documentary.  :)

So, some of you by now may know that I am completely obsessed with Downton Abbey. In fact it isn't just Downton Abbey.  My favorite genre  is British time period pieces. I swear I have watched them all at least 5 times or more. They help me work, especially if I have seen them before. They are a great background noise for me while I work.  When I find a new one, especially if it has 8 parts or so to it, I am giddy!  When I found Downton Abbey a few years ago, I was super excited as I hadn't heard of it before. I have since watched Episodes 1 and 2 many many times.

I have been inspired to make some new pieces lately and I have vowed that my shop be full of things I love, and things I love to make.  Here they are...enjoy these Downton Abbey art pieces....
an, I Love You More than Downton Abbey greeting card or art print and a piece to my favorite character, Lady Mary Crowley, What Would Lady Mary Do?  I am sure we will find out in Season 3 .....

Downton Abbey art print at UUPP

Downton Abbey Lady Mary art print at UUPP

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't Give Up (ever)

I feel like I rely on this new quote that is now in my shop. It is so much easier to give in and throw  your hands up when things are really challenging. I have this sitting by my desk (and elliptical machine  :) each day as a keep on putting one foot in front of the other.  



Monday, May 14, 2012

The Children's Book Excuse

So I must explain....I haven't posted for 2 months.  On occasion you will find, I do sort of seem to drop off the planet.  I illustrate children's books in addition to managing UUPP,  and you will always know when I am working on one because I am forced to go into seclusion to get the work done.  Illustrating a children's book takes about 6 months of my time. During the last 2 months before it is due,  it gets really intense and the work days are very long.   Very soon I will be able to unveil the new book, which will be book #16 for me.   I am super excited. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this little involves a chocolate cake....mmmm

Monday, March 19, 2012

Baby Love

Many of my friends have recently had babies, so I have been making new prints as gifts. I am releasing some of the designs in my shop.  This quote, being one of my favorites, so beautiful.
I feel fortunate to have been blessed with my children. No matter how we become mothers, whether we give birth or adopt, it is a beautiful thing.

The lettering is a rich chocolate brown and is available with Pink or Blue accents for the word LOVE and the sweet little dots. It is also available to personalize with the baby's name or choose different colors.  The background is a light cream with a slightly distressed texture.   Although I don't sell the frames with the art prints, I get asked frequently where I buy my frames. This pretty 11"x14" frame seemed to be the perfect compliment for this  print. I purchased it at Michaels Craft Store. (Fuzzy bunny, from the vast stash of stuffed toys we have accumulated)

Mother's Love Print

Personalized Birth Print

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Spring Sale!!

Head over to my shop for a super fabulous spring sale!
Buy any 2 prints (any size!) and get the 3rd free.

(Love this time of year!)


Monday, February 27, 2012

With Enough Coffee .....

I thought of this saying last week and it made me laugh at the thought of it.  What a perfect saying for a new design, available in 3 colors, green, yellow and orange.

I am currently illustrating a children's book and have a few weeks left before it is due.  Trust me when I say, the coffee is being downed in epic volumes right now.   


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fly Away ......

Spring is almost here and I am truly excited when I start hearing the birds again. Hearing them yesterday, inspired a new print I designed....


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bring on the Smores....

I absolutely love to bake. Trying new recipes is ultra exciting for me. I decided to try Smores cookies. They look incredible and...yes, they also taste incredible.  I whipped these up last week with the help of my little 3 year old chef. He was mesmerized at the thought of putting marshmallows and Hershey bars in a cookie, as was I.

S'mores Cookies 


11 Tablespoons unsalted softened butter 
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 – 3 regular sized hershey’s bars, broken into pieces*
1 package graham crackers, broken into squares

* In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.
* Add flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
* Fold in chips and marshmallows.  Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line baking pans with parchment paper** Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching).  Place tablespoons of chilled dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart.  Press down slightly with fingertips.  Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces  on to the top.  Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

**If you want thicker cookies, use less graham cracker-lined pans and put your cookie dough closer together.  For thinner cookies, spread out graham crackers and cookie dough across more baking pans.

Is it possible to have regrets after making such a lovely dessert?  Yes, I am afraid so. The regrets could be that:
     A) I ate the whole pan     
     B) I should have made a double batch so I could eat twice as many  or 
     C) something not quite as sinister as options A or B.

Answer is C. We will call them minor regrets.  Two things:

     1)   Next time when I make the fabulous Smores Cookies, I vow to put in WAY more Hershey bars in the final baking round. As you see I used restraint in the photos above in only placing 1 Hershey bar square on each graham cracker square.  I hope to prevent any of you from making such a mistake as I have.   More Hershey Bars, you won't regret it.   :)
     2)   Less cinnamon.  This is just my taste preference, but next time I will only put in 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I thought it was a bit too strong with a full teaspoon, but that is just my taste preference.  The food critics I live with also agree, a bit less cinnamon.

There you have it..........

Monday, February 6, 2012

Free Printable Valentines Day cards .....

Enjoy these 'oh so sweet' Valentine's Day printable cards I designed just for you.....
Just click on the image to go to the link where you can download the high resolution file to print. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Here is to 15....

This week I celebrate a very special occasion.....
15 years ago two young kids in college met. She was 20, he was 19.  They worked alongside each other at a part time job for a few years while they were both in college. They both lit up when they would see the other and considered the other a good friend. At one point, he lived in the apartment building next to hers.  On those cold -20 degree mornings in Minnesota, she would sometimes go knock on his door at 7am to ask if he could jumpstart her car, so she could get to class.  He would smile, grab a stocking cap and would always help the cute girl next door when she needed it. Two years later, they decide they like each other.  Finding someone like this makes her realize she can't let anyone else marry her guy. She asks him out on the first date. 6 months later he proposes.   She is 22, he just turns 21 in time to have champagne on their wedding day. They have kids right away, have the honor of having their  2 young daughters witness both of their parents each graduating from college, he becomes an architect, she becomes an illustrator.  Several moves to different houses/states, several pets later, the additional of the sweetest little boy on the planet....lots of smiles, lot of tears, still together and happy as ever....Thank you, thank you my dear.

I have experienced all with you....

I truly mean this ....
Art Print inspired by a handwritten note from my hubby

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love Is In The Air .... ( Free Card Alert )

I have been a busy bee creating lots of new cards for one of my favorite holidays, Valentine's Day. For years, I have made my own cards for special occasions, personalizing them and making them just right.  Here are a few of my new ones.  The Melt My Heart Like Butter card, I just finished this morning. I am a big foodie, so for some reason I had melting butter and love on the brain at the same time when I thought of that idea.  Click here to see my full line of Valentine's Day and Anniversary Cards.   Leave a comment stating which card is your favorite and be entered to win a free card drawn on February 1st (my 15th year anniversary!)


Houndstooth Valentine Note Cards

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To a Peaceful Prosperous New Year

I love the idea of New Year's resolutions. In fact, I am one of those people that gets super excited about it, really pumped up about doing something new or doing something better. Even if one 'falls off the wagon' a few weeks after starting a New Year resolution, I still think the idea of trying to improve some aspect of your life is admirable. I am working really hard on living 'with intention'. Not choosing too many things to change at once, but rather maybe just choosing one thing to focus on. The impact of focusing on changing a small thing in your life is usually bigger than you could have ever dreamed.

After many difficult personal struggles over the last few years; the diagnosis of my daughter's bipolar disorder and our family's struggle with her illness and also losing my sweet little boy, Benjamin, in my 2nd trimester, I am still so so grateful to God for all of the many blessings around us. My daughter has made an amazing recovery. My faith has never been tested as much as it did during her most difficult times. I learned to live in the moment, just get through the day, the next hour or the next 5 minutes. I learned how to experience joy, real joy, even if it was only for a few minutes, on days that most would look at and describe as being a terrible day. I learned to pray to God for enough light to see my next step. Things weren't going to get better at the speed I would like, I needed to be very patient. I learned how to be calm despite the storm around me.  My girl is getting better each day and is growing into being a strong, beautiful, confident young lady. Take that bipolar-disorder! So grateful to the amazing medical team she had to help her through and a family that wasn't going to give up no matter what.   My family is so much closer to each other than we were before being challenged as we were.  God has a plan through all struggles, as long as we are open to growing during the most difficult times. My little Benjamin, is in the best of all places. I will see him again.  I joined a 'club' I didn't want to join when I lost him. I now possess a perspective on appreciating life that I didn't have before. I join so many moms and families that have also had to bury their child. It breaks your heart. Mine I admit was shattered. It is still hard. But again, I will see him again, someday, just not yet...

Here is to a new beautiful year...may you all be inspired, renewed and ready to take on anything that comes your way in 2012, with a smile.......

Take Time For Yourself


Persevere No Matter What