Monday, November 26, 2012

And Now ... I can Handle Christmas!!

After listening to Christmas music and looking at Christmas products since before Halloween ... I am now officially embracing the Holiday season!

* Do I have my home decorated? No
* Do I have my lights up? No
* Do I have my music out and on? No
* Have I bought all of my presents? No, but some of them.
* Do I want to do it all now? YES!!

However, I have my son's wedding to go to (Dec. 1st) and so I'm chomping at the bit to get him married, so I can ...

* relax over the wedding and start stressing out about Christmas
* Decorate til the cows come home - my favorite part of Christmas.
* Buy my "Christmas Vacation" sized Christmas tree (has to be real or it's not Christmas) my husband so graciously puts up with every year.
* And stress over all of my last minute orders in my shops.
* Stress over the perfect holiday menu and then cook until I can hardly stand, barely eating the food because I'm not hungry over smelling the food all day.

Sounds like fun, huh?! LOL!

Seriously, I love the holiday season. I love finding just the perfect gifts for people, and then going all OCD over the wrapping of the gifts. I love decorating my tree so that it's beautiful enough to be on the front of BHG magazine. I love the smells of spices in the air. I love the generosity of people, and the goodwill that you just don't see at other times of the year. I may even like my neighbor (who is a very crabby man, and very hard to like ... but you never know!).

So, in the spirit of Christmas, my Brag Monday entry for the Graphics Fairy are more Christmas gift tags. Hopefully you have taken advantage of some of the sales going on and you have presents that they will work perfectly for!

Bonjour mes amies, and have a wonderful week! Mine will be filled with last minute wedding preparations, and the excitement of seeing family members I haven't seen in over a year.

Au Revoir!!


*As always, these are for personal use only. No mass production allowed, however you may send any and everyone to my site to download their own personal copy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside ... or at least it Should be!!

This past few weeks I've had a hard time staying healthy. The weather keeps dipping up and down, up and down, which is not a great combination with asthma or staying healthy! But, I'm now feeling much better and trying to get back on the horse.

In the meantime, I've been gathering Christmas graphics, Art Deco graphics, and a whole bunch of fashion illustrations that I'm so excited to start using. And, so I had to make a Printable for you. I hope you enjoy it. It's something that I will be using in my stores (Zazzle and Etsy), but in the meantime, I'm happy to let you use it to inspire you.

Isn't she wonderful?! She's from 1913 from a french fashion magazine called La Gazette Bon Ton (High Society Fashion Magazine). This is truly the beginning of the Art Deco movement and you can truly tell by the modern lines and drape of the fashion. And it's PINK!! Who could ask for more!!

So, now on to my Brag Monday. I also have been working on Christmas tags with some of the beautiful Victorian pictures I found. Many thanks to the Graphics Fairy for sharing her beautiful images. So, once again, these are for you to start using as you (hopefully) are getting ready for Christmas. I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them.

As always, these are for personal use only. You may not mass produce, but please feel free to send anyone my way to download their own copy.

Have a wonderful week mes amies!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beauty: Within, Without, or Not at All

I believe I may have mentioned earlier that I have been really working hard on finishing up some projects in my home. It is truly coming together, and I'm so excited about how I feel when I open my door, walk into my home, and just feel ... aaaahhhhhh. I'm truly home. Not only is this transformation the result of trying to create a beautiful home, but it is also an internal transformation ... a realization of who I am and what makes me happy -- what "speaks" to my soul.

I'm in my late 40's and it has taken quite some time for me to figure out what truly is me, what truly makes me happy, what truly speaks to my soul. Also, what "spoke" to me at 20, isn't what speaks to me at 48. Too much life has happened in the meantime.

I'm reminded of the analogy of us starting out as lumps of coal, and through life, God creates a diamond ... something that He saw in us from the very beginning, but that we aren't able to see in ourselves. At least for many, it takes a long time, for others, they never see their full glorious worth. How incredibly sad that is.

So, today, for my Brag Monday, I've created a free printable to help remind us that we have to carry the beauty within in order to see the beauty outwardly. I particularly hope that it will inspire you to remember how beautiful you are ... and that you will believe it!

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I created the printable using a peacock graphic (with many thanks) by the Graphics Fairy. As always, feel free to click on the printable and right click to save to your computer. It is for personal use and may not be mass produced or used in any commercial way. Please feel free to send people my way so that they may download their own copy.

Au Revoir mes amies ... have a wonderful week!!


Friday, November 2, 2012

It's all About your Head ... or Neck, as the Case May Be

It's been a bit of a tough week for me, and so I knew I needed to blog ... not to vent, mind you. I'll spare you that ... but I needed to create my Freebie Friday printable for you and pour some humor into my life. Hopefully, it will offer you a chance to chuckle as well ... and yes, I give you permission to laugh at me, I'm laughing at me while I write this.

As I said, it's been a bit of a trying week. But, I've realized that it's all about perspective. I was griping to a friend of mine about some of my troubles and then promptly moved into another stresser that just popped up, albeit a good one. As any good friend would do, she promptly said "Boo Hoo ... must be rough to have Google wanting to promote you on the internet, I'm sure that's really terrible." And ... it hit me. What the heck am I complaining about. See ... it's all about perspective. I'm worrying over my house being perfect for a photographer that Google is sending to my home as they are highlighting me for the state of Indiana with one of their ad campaigns. Who freakin' gets to do that? Me!!!! I can't believe it's happening to me. So, why am I stressing out. I should be jumping up and down, thrilled beyond my wildest dreams ... and GRATEFUL!!!!

Some people don't even have a home right now thanks to Hurricane Katrina, and I'm freaking out about what is probably the chance of a lifetime, business-wise. So ... as I thought about what I could use for inspiration for my Freebie Friday, I turned to Marie. We always think about the fun she had, fashion, wearing anything she wanted, escaping to Trianon to get away from the court politics, and we promptly forget the woman lost her head ... literally. So, while this picture is not Marie, it is Marie-esque (do you like my made up word?). I hope you enjoy and get a laugh out of it.

As always, feel free to click on it and then right click to save to your computer. You may only use it for personal use (print or as a wallpaper for your computer) but may not mass produce. Fee free to send anyone my way to get their own copy.

Have a wonderful weekend mes amies ... and keep your perspective straight (and your heads on!).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Toile or not to Toile ... that is the Question!

I love Toile. I love every color, texture, etc. of Toile. It is so fascinating how a piece of Toile can tell so many stories. I have Toile covering my storage boxes in my craft room/office. I have Toile on pillows ... I have a gorgeous Toile quilt that I need to finish and hang. Although I love Toile, my husband has more of a contemporary aesthetic, and so I judiciously disperse it throughout my house in a constant effort to merge our two styles so that both of us feel like our home speaks to us. But, I will always have Toile in one form or another, somewhere in my house.

I have spent the last several months collecting vintage and discontinued Toile patterns to use in my store Lorraine's Graphiques ... a digital image store that I created. So, when it was time for Brag Monday, I decided it was time to pull out some Toile and share it with you. So, I've made a free printable of Toile labels or tags. My gift to you for all of your support. I couldn't have the success that I'm having with my Etsy stores, this quickly, without my facebook and blog friends. I truly hope you enjoy ... and that these Toile tags bring a smile to your face, as they do mine. Many of them are from the 1700s-1900. The one in the middle is gratis from the Graphics Fairy ... many thanks to her!

As always, you may not mass produce, but feel free to click on the picture and then right click to save. You may refer others to my blog, however. You may also print them out and use them to your heart's content for personal projects, not commercial.

Au revoir, mes amies ... have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Delicious Autumn

Today's Brag Monday is a free printable that I created to celebrate the beautiful, gorgeous leaves that are all around me. I love the upper midwest during Fall because of the brilliant Maple and Elm trees. I found a quote by George Elliot that I also loved, and thought I'd share it with you. The faint leaf with acorn behind the quote is a free graphic from the Graphics Fairy (see her button to the left).

As always, feel free to click on the graphic and then right-click to save. This is for personal use and may not be used for commercial use or mass produced for any reason. Feel free to point anyone my way, however, to download their own copy to either print and display or save as wallpaper.

I hope you are enjoying the autumn weather where you are. I'm getting so excited as I will be attending a bead retreat this next weekend up in Michigan near the lake. I will definitely be getting my "bead" on with the super talented Heather Powers with Humblebeads. To see her work, feel free to go HERE

I promise, you won't be disappointed it's worth a "look-see." Hopefully I'll have something to show and tell next week!

Have a wonderful week mes amies!!

Au revoir,


Monday, October 15, 2012

House Decorating: Small and Large Scale

Have I mentioned before that I absolutely adore fall? I know it's probably overkill, but I truly do. I love Halloween as well. Nothing is more fun than opening your door and seeing little ones in the cutest outfits and looking so hopeful. So, I always make something new to decorate my home for Halloween.

So, for today's Brag Monday (see the Graphic's Fairy button to the left) I decided that since I'm in the process of really amping up my home decor, I could do an overhaul to a smaller home, a la Halloween. Here is my final Halloween House:

At the risk of sounding a tad bit OCD (okay maybe a lot), the orange roof is actually hundreds of little circles of paper so that I could have a spanish tile roof. Need I say more. I apparently LOVE tedious work. Would this be the project for everyone? No, However, anyone can do it. Truly.

I purchased a card board house from Hobby Lobby (with my 40% off coupon, so it was around 4.99), but Michael's and JoAnn's have them as well. I then found scrapbook paper that fit the Halloween theme, covered the major parts, and then made X's in each of the holes so that I could push the paper back inside and glue it inside of the house (resulting in nicely finished doors and windows. I used scrapbook borders for the window shutters.

I then looked the the Graphic's Fairies halloween images to find the skeletons and cats so that I could have them peeking out of the window.

I love my little house. It looks perfect in my entry hall. I will turn on a flameless candle at night so that it will flicker through the windows (I used vellum for the window pictures) and light up the house within.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lining Your Nest

I have been busy the last several weeks working on decorating and updating my home. I have been having a wonderful time, and I have to say that when I walk into my house now, it truly feels like coming home. I know that probably sounds cliche, but let me elaborate.

Years ago, I decorated my bedroom based upon some fabric that I really loved. I'm a red girl, but very much aware that red is not the color choice for when you want to relax and go to sleep. So, I chose one of the other colors in the fabric ... a smoky dark blue to paint my walls. In theory, it was absolutely beautiful. I had two very large windows that brought plenty of light into the room, so I knew I could pull it off without feeling like I was entering a cave.

Well, folks ... it didn't work. It was beautiful. It was coordinated. It worked with the fabric I had used on the drapes and the red cornice boards. But, I realized after several months, that I NEVER spent time in my bedroom. I'd leave it as soon as the day started and never return until the end of the day. It really wasn't "Me!"

At the time, however, I was younger (around 28) and didn't really know yet exactly what was me. So, I started reading the "Simple Abundance" book by Sarah Ban Breathnach that was so popular at the time. One of the prompts in the book was to start a scrapbook and whenever something "spoke" to you, you put a picture of that in your scrapbook. So, that is what I did, and "Voila!" Over time, I realized what truly was me. So, I painted over those blue walls, they became a soft creamy ivory and then I sponged a soft sage green very delicately on the walls. I kept the red cornice boards, and then changed my bedding to a creamy ivory background with red and yellow toile style flowers and, you guessed it probably ... sage green leaves. At the time I don't think anyone knew the phrase "Shabby Chic" but that is what my bedroom became.

Afterwards, I couldn't stay out of that room! I wanted to be in my room all day long, every day ... but alas my children and husband needed me to function outside of my bedroom.

So, here I am, once again, making my house uniquely mine. I'm having a ball, and ... when I come into my home, I once again have that feeling of "Aaaahhhhhhhh," I'm really home now. This space is "ME!"

So, my brag Monday entry is actually some placemats that I've designed to use on my new dining table (I'll post picks after I finish a few things so that you can see). And they are ... you guessed it ... red!! But, I promise ... there is no dark steel blue, as pretty as that color may be, on the walls of my home!

So, my challenge to you is ... how do you feel in each space of your home? Is there a room that you love, and why? Is there a room that you don't spend any time in? I know why! It isn't you. And, if it isn't you, and you don't know what is ... I promise that if you start making a scrapbook (you could even update that by using a Pinterest board) of anything that "speaks" to you, you'll start to see some patterns, and you'll realize what you need to do to make your living spaces create that feeling of "AAaaaaaHhhhhhhh" I'm finally home.

So, here is my brag Monday entry (Many thanks to the Graphic Fairy for her generous use of the nest graphic). Let me know what you think!!

If you click on the picture, it will take you to my Zazzle store, where you'll see some of my other designs. Maybe it will give you food for thought for your journaling to find out what is "YOU!"

Have a wonderful week Mes Amies!!


Monday, October 1, 2012

What a Man!!

Today, I have to say thank you to my husband, for trying to help me dig out of the wreck of last week. I've almost thrown him back in a couple of times, but decided he was a keeper! And, I'm glad I did.

The sweetie brought me a big bouquet of flowers to put on the table where the tile disaster happened, to try and put a smile back on my face. He fixed the dishwasher, fixed the fridge, scraped off the tiles so that I could redo them, and this on only a couple of hours sleep. So, in homage to his kindness, I created a free printable for my Brag Monday entry. The print is from the Graphics Fairy (see her button to the left) and the quote from Barbra Streisand, of all people. I hope you enjoy and have a chuckle to start off your Monday!

As always, this is for personal use only. Feel free to click and then right click to save to your computer or print for non-commercial use.

Au revoir mes amies!!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Never, Never, Never Give Up! (Winston Churchill)

I could start this out as in a really happy way, but I'm not feeling too happy, and I can't fake it. So, this post is for me as well as you!!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where NOTHING went right? Well, this has been mine. I've literally wanted to crawl into the bed and not get up until next month. I know this sounds like a "Debbie Downer" but I'm being real and authentic ... and it does get better.

So, as I looked for inspiration for today's Freebie Friday, I realized that I needed to motivate myself and I, hopefully, will motivate you as well.

Because, while I did have a really bad week (fridge water hose sprayed all over the kitchen, ruining 20 tiles drying on my table (as well as the drywall behind) ... 20 tiles having to be redone ... again because the weather didn't cooperate, 20 tiles still not drying because of the weather ... yada yada yada), I can report that I can find some good in all of this.

I refuse to give up! I truly do. So, while nothing seems to have worked well, I can say that I have persisted, and I will keep persisting til I get everything worked out. So, today's Freebie Friday is a little pep talk for me, and for you if you need it!

*Personal use only, no mass production, but please feel free to direct anyone to my blog to download their own copy. Just click on the picture and then right click to save to your computer.

So, I'm gonna put "my big girl pants" on (as my daughter says) and get back on the saddle, and get those tiles done!! Whoo ... I feel better already, and am smiling again.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend mes amies, and that it is better than my last few yesterdays!

J'adore my followers!
Au Revoir,


Monday, September 17, 2012

What about Marie and Money?

So, today is Brag Monday, once again on the Graphics Fairy's blog (see her button to the left), and I wanted to do something a little different this time. Most often I tend to post a piece of jewelry, or one of my coaster designs. This time, I decided to create something that "I" needed, rather than something that would eventually end up in one of my stores.

So, what to make ... what to make? Well, I have this little problem ... or rather a little bit of a big one. I have paper clutter like no one's business. It seems as though just as soon as I get my papers under control, I get a whole bunch more in the mail or create a whole bunch more that need to be filed. And, as I now am self-employed, it is absolutely crucial that I keep my financial papers in order. You wouldn't necessarily guess that I have a problem, because I'm really good at hiding them in beautiful storage boxes. But, "I" know that they are just thrown in there until I can't put it off any longer.

So, I decided to psychologically trick myself. Who better than Marie Antoinette to put a smile on my face as I file my store receipts? I mean, the irony is absolutely perfect!! I love all things french. I even sympathize with Marie, and love that her style "Iconishness" (is that a word?) is still just as prevalent today as it was when she was alive. But, let's face it ... she wasn't known for her thriftiness or her attention to financial details.

So, I've created a financial journal and proceeded to design and create the cover for it. Now, I don't think it will be as difficult to file those business receipts away. I'll look at Marie and think ... "Wow" I'm really on the ball. No one is going to chop off my head now that I have this receipt put away in the proper place. LOL!!

So, here are some pictures of my brag entry (many thanks to the Graphics Fairy for her beautiul graphic of Marie). I hope you enjoy. It isn't necessarily overly embellished, I tend to prefer complexity in design, not in a lot of doodads. But, I'm rather proud of her, if I say so myself.

and here's another angle:

So, I must ask ... What tricks do you do to motivate yourself into doing those things that you don't want to do? Oh, do tell!!

Au Revoir, mes amies. A bientot (until next time).

Bisou Bisou,


Saturday, September 15, 2012


Over the past several months, as I've been investigating and researching vintage couture, I have been increasingly aware of how relevant many of the designs are, still to this day. It is mind boggling how truly beautiful and proportionate style can maintain its beauty, throughout the ages. And, as my mind tends to wander from one idea to the next ... I started asking myself ... why do we become so attracted to fleeting styles, when often they aren't something that we could see ourselves in 5, 10, or 20 years from now. I mean, I hope I'm not the only one who looks back at her school or younger pictures and thinks ... "What was I thinking?" And, I have to admit, many a time my mother would say she couldn't understand my fashion choices ... to which I thought she just didn't understand what was "au courant." And, as much as I hate to admit it, she was right!

So, my mind bounced to the next thought ... why do we accept less than the best when we look to fashion? Many would say, well, I can't afford this, or I can't afford that. But, one thing my grandmother did teach me was that you don't have to have a lot of clothes, if the clothes you have are right for you. Once again, they fit your proportions well, they are made with good fabrics, and are well cared for. But, we tend to live in a very consumer driven society where the seasons and fashions change at the drop of a hat (pun intended). And, many of us feel that we have to have the latest, even if the latest isn't really what works for us!

So, I've decided I'm going to go through my closet and ask myself the question ... "Will I wear this 5 years from now?" If the answer is no, then what the heck is it doing in my closet? I've allowed myself to be influenced by a fashion blip on the fashion timeline, and I don't want to do that anymore.

Once my son (who was 9 at the time) asked for a CD player for his very own. Now, this is the child who broke every one else's CD player in the house. So, I told him he could either save up his money to get one, or, he could use an old one that only played the radio and casettes. He was immediately irate and emphatically yelled "I don't want that ... I WANT LUXURY." Needless to say, I had the hardest time not cracking up!!

But, now I find myself thinking (in caps) I WANT LUXURY!! That doesn't mean that I want the most expensive or fanciest clothes or accessories. But, I want ones that fit right, I want ones that feel wonderful to the touch, I want ones that make me feel beautiful!

So, in keeping with that thought, I created today's "Freebie Friday" with just this idea in mind. I hope you enjoy!!

As always, this is for personal use, and not to be mass produced in any manner. However, you may always refer people to my blog for them to save their own copy. To save, click on the picture, and then right click to save to your computer.

And now, here comes my challenge ... check your closet and ask yourself the same questions! You're beautiful and worth having luxury!!

Have a wonderful weekend mes amies!!



Monday, September 10, 2012

Brag Monday Entry 09/10/2012

Bonjour Mes Amies,

It's been a little while since I posted, but I have been out of town off and on, and now I'm back on track!! I wanted to share my Brag Monday entry with you which is held at the Graphics Fairy (see her blog badge to the left in my favorites column). I have had the bezel for this necklace for quite some time, and have been waiting for inspiration to hit. And, Voila, while looking through the Graphics Fairies free clip art, I finally struck paydirt.

I've been doing quite a bit of studying lately about many of the illustrations that I use in my jewelry and graphics art. And so I have been spending a lot of time back in history, at least in my head. So, what better decision than to go farrrrrrrr back in time and use a royal coat of arms? Since I absolutely adore French history, British history, truly just history period, for that matter, I thought this would be a fun design to work with.

I have to admit that I have read so many classic novels that center in one historical time period or another. And, many a time I have wished I could have lived then ... only with air conditioning and good hygene. I'm not too picky, am I? So, if I were to live in a historical time period, I would definitely want to have been royal, or at least from a noble family. They couldn't have promised air conditioning, but I would at least have had a shot at wonderful fashion and better hygene!

So, here is my entry. I wanted to create a piece that would work well with Autumn tones, as I cannot wait to get into my sweaters and Fall clothes. Let me know what you think! If you were to live in the past, which time period would you choose, and why?

Au Revoir, mes amies. A Bientot!!


Friday, September 7, 2012

I've been Featured on Zazzle!!

Okay, sometimes you just have to toot your own horn.  One of my designs is being featured on Zazzle's "Best of" page.  I'm so excited and rather humbled.  It's such an amazing feeling when you have been working so hard creating, and you finally get a little recognition.  Once again ... I encourage you to find a creative outlet.  The rewards are endless for your spirit.  And, sometimes, you even get rewarded for it too!!

Here is the design that I won the award for:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday: To Hat or not to Hat?

I LOVE FALL. So, in order to get ready, I'm already looking at my sweaters longingly. I'm pulling out my scarves, and ... of course, thinking about my hats. Hats? you might ask. I LOVE hats!!

I never thought of myself as a hat person, until I started looking at wedding dresses. Now, this was in the mid 80's where everyone had a huge poof ball on the back of their heads. So, of course I wanted to have a huge poof ball on mine. But, as I started trying on veils, something just wasn't right. I then, tried on a hat. Voila!! I couldn't believe it ... I was a hat person. So, instead of the traditional 80's wedding dress and poof ... I wore a vintage style dress with an 1890's style hat. I loved my hat ... it was my favorite part of the whole outfit.

So, now, I'm always excited when I see a beautiful hat. Over the years it has been difficult to find great hats. I don't know why, but for some reason they went out with Jackie O. But, I'm on a personal mission to see the hat make a comeback. I think there is a hat for every woman, and a special place for her to wear that hat. So, I've created today's Freebie Friday printable about hats. Have a peak:

Feel free to download your own personal copy. Again, it's not for profit, only for personal use. You may not mass produce, but you are more than welcome to send anyone my way to download their own personal copy. Just click on the picture to get the full size, and you can then right click to save it to your computer.

So, what kind of hats do you like to wear? I have to admit I must have been born in the wrong time period, because I love cloche hats. I was able to find a gorgeous one at Charming Charlie's this last winter. I now wear it all fall and winter long. If you're aren't sure what a cloche hat is, here's a really cool picture of some:

This is actually a designer's sketch from 1923.

So, do tell ... what kind of hats do you wear? What are your favorite? I'd love to hear your comments.

And, as a suggestion, I've decided to have a "Mad Hatter" party with my girlfriends. as I said, I'm on a mission to get the hat back!! Maybe we'd be a kinder, gentler nation if we wore hats and returned to feeling like a lady when we wore one!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Bisou Bisou,


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Primp or Not to Primp? That is the Question

Okay, Okay ... I know that's a cheesy title, but I couldn't resist. Because, bien sur, when talking about beauty, Primping is definitely part of the picture!

And, speaking of pictures ... I'm participating in the "Primp Your Stuff Wednesday" hosted by Primp (please see the button to the left to participate as well!) and wanted to share my entry with you. I've shared the Marie Antoinette Coaster tile with you before, but I'm actually using the whole series in my living room because I love the subtle tones, and ... well ... the whole set just says "Oo La La" to me and therefore is a must in my living room!!

So, here is what I've primped my living room coffee table with:

I'm so proud of them, that I had to show you each one separately. I guess I'm most proud of the fact that I digitally designed all but the French chair (many thanks to the Graphics Fairy for her generous lending of that design - she's also to my left in the side bar). I'm newer - really been playing around since this past March -- to the digital designing playground but am absolutely loving it.

Hope you do too!

Bisou Bisou,


P.S. I do carry this set, and each of the individual tile sets in my store if you really, really, really, love them! :o) -- Sorry, but I couldn't help myself!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brag Monday: But, do YOU LOVE it?

Before I get to my Brag Monday entry to the Graphics Fairy (see her link in my sidebar), I wanted to share an experience I had recently that prompted some thoughts ... hmmmm ...

I've been helping my son and his fiance with their wedding planning, and it has been a pleasure to help them. But, throughout the process, I've been asking them ... "But, do you LOVE it?" Or, "but, do YOU love it?" I finally started thinking I'm crazy, why do I keep need reassurance as to whether they love it or not.

The answer is ... I think, as an eldest child, and the typical "people pleasing" person that I am, I often compromise on what I LOVE because I'm too worried about others being happy. Please tell me I'm not the only one out here in blogland that feels that way. Here I am, [she clears her throat nearly 50, and I still find myself thinking about what would make everyone else happy, and not myself.

So, for my challenge today ... I want you to think of something ... anything really, either in your house, clothing that you wear, or I don't even care what ... but something that you have compromised on. You may not even be consciously aware that you've compromised or that your thinking is squeued to thinking about what everyone else loves before thinking about what you love.

So, go around your house, your closet, you, whatever, and ask yourself "but do I LOVE it?" If not, chuck it. I mean it ... get it out of your life. Life is too short to compromise on things just to please others. Because, this is the funny part ... generally speaking I think we compromise on things that are usually (and I know I'm assuming here, but I have this gut feeling that I'm right) not as important to the other person as we think it is. At the very least, open up some dialogue and see if it means as much to the other person as you think it does. You might be surprised!!

Now, for my brag entry to the Graphics Fairy, I have entered a Beautiful vintage style Butterfly pendant: If you click on it, you can see multiple images of it in my store:

Have a wonderful week mes amies!!

Bisou Bisou

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Sense it's Freebie Friday

So, this week I've had an ant problem. I know, I know, it's not really something to blog about, but while ants probably fulfill a wonderful purpose OUTSIDE of my house, I really don't care to have them sharing my home with me.

So, I've been deep cleaning and making sure that there would be no "legitimate" reason for them to decide to move in with me. In the process, I found some old Air Wick and Febreeze wall inserts that I forgot I had and decided to buy some more scented vials for them. I was so excited because they have some of the fall scents out already and I absolutely adore fall!

Which reminds me ... I know I'm rambling ... but forgive me this side note. I made a Treasury on Etsy called "I Love Paris in the Fall" that I'm pretty dang proud of. Here is the picture of it, and if you click on the picture, you'll go straight to the treasury. It was such a joy to highlight the work of other wonderful artists and craftsmen/women, without expecting anything in return.

Okay, so let's get this train back on track.

I immediately went home, plugged those babies into the wall, and I cannot tell you what a difference it has made to my spirits. Which really made me start to think ... hmmm ...

How much joy and beauty are we missing out on when we don't tap into all of our senses? Not only around us, but on us as well.

So, I want to focus on the sense of smell today. Think about the special memories in your life ... are there smells attached? I love fall, as it makes me think of crisp leaves falling, the smell of football games with hot dogs and peanuts. I love the smell of leaves burning. I love the smell of apple pie and cinnamon. It reminds me of a homey warm feeling. When I think about things that I adore, I often think about the smells that come with that thought or feeling.

Okay .. so let's move on to your environment. How does your home smell right now? If it doesn't smell inspiring, or beautiful, then how can you feel inspired or that you're in a beautiful environment? You might want to think about the smells that inspire you or relax you, enliven or invigorate you. Do you have the appropriate smell in the appropriate room? If you want to relax in your bedroom, you probably don't want to potpourri in there with eucalyptus (known for its invigorating properties). If you have a work out area, you don't want to have chamomile and lavender in there, because you'll go to sleep before you finish your push-ups.

As to smells and which ones do what, here's a wonderful link for you to learn more, it is the Aromatherapy website and has a ton of information about which scents do what.

With that being said, I also read a very interesting article that stated that if you have a bad association with a smell, then it doesn't matter what the properties of that scent is, it isn't going to produce the effect that you want. Because our memories of smells can overcome the effectiveness of a smell in and of itself.

So let's go to the beauty aspect of smells. Do you know what smells work best on you and your system? Have you ever noticed that someone can be wearing the very same perfume as you, and it will smell completely different on them. It is amazing how are body chemistry works with a perfume to create a unique blend or fragrance.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a Perfume store where there is actually someone who truly knows what they are doing, it is quite an experience, and one that I think all women should do at least once in their lives. You will learn so much, and at the same time, realize that you have probably wasted a lot of money on perfumes that really weren't right for your body chemistry.

So, let's get to the bottom line ... do you have a special perfume that is just yours? That is you ... that is everything about you in a nutshell? One that isn't the hope that you'll become like the model on the television commercial, but one that characterizes you and your own unique beauty? If not, then I think it's time that you took the time for yourself and found out what your perfume should be!

I've had several perfumes that I've loved over the years. And, now that I'm in my late forties, I have found that some of the old favorites, don't really "speak" to me like they used to. I think that my life has evolved and so my perfume choices have evolved as well.

I found MY scent a year ago. It is Angel by Thierry Mugler.

I wish I could say that it makes me look like Naomi Watts, but it doesn't. It does, however, make me feel beautiful when I wear it. It is a very strong perfume, and I only need just a little, but man oh man ... when my man smells it on me ...

So, my challenge to you today, is to take the time to think about your perfume ... does it reflect who you are, right here and now. If possible, go to a perfume store, or at least a perfume counter where someone truly knows perfumes, their top, middle, and low notes. Someone who will know what questions to ask you so that you can find "your" scent. I promise you, you'll feel so beautiful when you are wearing ... well ... you, in a scented form!

So, here's today's Freebie Friday. I hope you enjoy. I first found a quote by Coco Chanel that says: "A woman that wears no perfume, has no future." However, I'm wanting to inspire, not tell you there's no hope! So, I think this one is a little more promising!!

As always, it is not for mass production or to be used for profit in any way. You may download your full copy by clicking on the picture and then right clicking to save to your computer. Of course, you may send as many people as you want to my website to get their own copy.

Bonsoir Mes amies ... Have a wonderful weekend!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Brag Monday Entry

It's a rainy, cloudy, Monday morning (whoops it may actually be after noon now) and I'm still in my jammies, trying to be "inspired" for the day. But, it's not really working. I got enough rest, I should be raring to go, but it's just one of those days when you want to stay in bed, eat chocolate and watch "Sleepless in Seattle" or something else where you get to cry!

But, a promise is a promise, and I've made a commitment to myself that I would get my Brag Monday entry in every single week to the Graphics Fairy, so here I am ... following through (but still in my jammies - isn't the internet wonderful!!).

So, here is a picture of my entry:

I chose a graphic from the Graphics Fairy (thank you Karen) that is from an old birthday card, probably from the Victorian era. During that time, giving flowers meant more than just a flower, each flower had a meaning. I almost wish we lived in that time, where a bouquet not only meant that we were loved or admired, but that each flower in the bouquet had a hidden message for us.

Well, the Iris is the national flower of France, and is, in fact what the Fleur de Lys was taken from. I feel silly that as much as I love all things French, I didn't know that the Fleur de Lys was an Iris!! Hopefully I'm not the only one out there my age that didn't know that. The Fleur de Lys was traditionally named after King Louis, because as royalty he represented perfection, light, or life. Joan of Arc carried a flag showing a Fleur de Lys being blessed by God to inspire troups as they marched to victory.
So, that is why I've chosen the word "Inspire" to put on this graphic. I hope that it inspires you to learn a little more about flowers. I had a wonderful time learning about their names, the history behind them, etc.

I love flowers, particularly since I was able to live in Holland for a year when I took a year break from college. It is traditional there, that if you go to anyone's house that you bring a bouquet of flowers. Everyone has flowers in their home, and it is amazing what that one little touch can do to brighten and beautify a home.

Later, I read one of Alexandra Stoddard's books about decorating (she is an amazing author if you haven't read her works yet, you should) and one of the suggestions she had to beautify your space, was to have real flowers in your house. I have never forgotten that, because I knew exactly what she meant after having lived in Holland. So, my challenge to you this week is to go out and get some flowers (even if it means getting them out of your yard (not your neighbor's, unless you ask) and bring some into your home. I promise you, your spirits will lift from that one little touch in your home.

Which reminds me ... I think I'm going to go out and pick some of my hydrangeas and take some of my own medicine!

Bonjour mes amies,

Go out and inspire!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spreading our Wings

For this week's Freebie Friday, I wanted to explore a subject close to my heart ... that of overcoming our fears and forging ahead. You might ask ... what does this have to do with beauty?

Well, quite a lot, I think. Have you ever seen someone who cannot look you in the eye, who is a little hunched over into themselves, or perhaps who denigrates themselves by making excuses or apologies for either their looks or their actions? Do they seem beautiful to you at the time? Probably not. It is definitely difficult to see beauty in a person who has no confidence.

Likewise, I have always had a very difficult time seeing beauty in a person who tears others down in order to make themselves feel better about themselves. They might have beautiful features, but their attitude is not beautiful and it shows in every negative word or vibe that they radiate.

In either instance, the person is obviously not comfortable with her true self. She does not appreciate or see the beauty she has inside and therefore either tears herself or others up ... and in the process her true self cannot shine through. That is so incredibly sad to me.

The fact is ... we need to find the courage to see inside ourselves, to see our real selves, and to love her.

I love a quote by Oprah Winfrey that says:

I was once afraid of people saying, “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.”

Isn't that a wonderful quote? But I think it's almost putting the cart before the horse. How do we even get to the point where we worry about someone saying "who does she think she is?"

We have to decide that we are going to fly and spread our wings. That's the first step. Have you ever watched butterflies? I have several beautiful and large lavender bushes in my yard, which I love to watch everyday. They attract beautiful little white butterflies (at least I think they're butterflies, I'm definitely not an expert). I love to watch them flitter and fly their delicate individual dance. They seem so free, light, and have such grace and beauty as they flit from one lavender stalk to the next.
They are free, light, carefree, and going about the business of their lives as they were intended to do. I believe that is how we should live. Living without fear, living without the weight of the world on our shoulders, living with a joie de vivre, going about our lives with the purpose that we are here for. I believe that each person has a beautiful purpose, that only he or she can know. It is inside of you and you were born with that specific purpose. However, you, and only you, can have the courage to look inside, see that purpose, and find the courage to live passionately and to the fullest and not let fear keep you from doing it.

When you do that, once again, and I can never say this enough ... the very unique beauty that is yours will shine through.

So, why do we not do this? I believe it is because we think we have to be the perfect person that others think or perceive us to be. here's another quote that I love:

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." ~ Anna Quindlen

So, mes amies ... that is my challenge to you (and myself) this week. Take some time, just for you, to look inside your heart and see the "real" you. What is holding you back from being that person? What can you do to release those fears? Contemplate on if you could ... then you would ...

In other words take the time to figure out that if you spread your wings, where would you fly? What would your carefree dance look like? Where would you flitter with grace and beauty? We can't know how to get where we want to be, if we don't know where we are going.

And, to give you a reminder of this challenge, I have created a wonderful quote by Vincent Van Gogh that I hope you will enjoy. All you need to do is click on the picture below to see the full size, and then right click to save to your computer.

Please feel free to print it out and display it to remind you. Or, you can use it as a desktop wallpaper to remind you of your challenge this week. All I ask is that you not mass distribute or use for any personal gain. You may, however, send any and everyone to my website for them to download their own personal copy.

So, au revoir, mes amies. Spread your wings and fly!!

Bisou Bisou,


P.S. Thanks to the Graphics Fairy for use of the Swallow Print.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Brag Monday Entry

I thought I'd share my Brag Monday entry with you. I'm pretty proud of this Tile Coaster set, and have to admit that I was really having some difficulty with this particular tile. But, the Graphics Fairy came through for me!! I was able to find just the right Marie to put on this tile. Here's a picture of what I ended up with:

You know when you have something "just so" in mind, but you can't find the reality of what you have envisioned? That's where I was. But, I was finally able to find the right Marie, and it all came together.

I've been having a lot of fun designing digital designs, because I have to admit that my hands are a little tired from the 200+ marathon of jewelry making that I did to get ready for my Italian festival. But, I'm really having a ball now designing digital art and then translating that onto tiles. I have some ideas of other projects, but I'll keep that secret to myself.

Oh, and just so you can see, here is the entire set of my 1st French series:

See what I mean ... it needed just the right Marie! Thanks again Graphics Fairy for coming to my rescue.

And, if you'd like to see the whole set in more detail, head on over to my store and you'll see more photos.

A Bientot!!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, Or Is It?

I hope you had a great day yesterday. I certainly did. I spent time with my daughter (who is recovering from an appendectomy) and helped her "Feng Shui" her living room (which I had been dying to do, but biting my tongue until she asked!). It was wonderful to feel needed by her and to help her out. She is my first child and never asks for my help (she feels like she should be able to do everything herself ... hmmm I wonder where she got that - says another first child?).

I also had a great visit with a newer friend of mine. I'm not going to name any names, because she may very well read this, and while I know she'll forgive the content, my lips are sealed as to her identity! :o)

Anyway, in the course of our conversation, we started talking about our looks, and I commented on how beautiful I thought she was. She wasn't having it. She started pointing out what was wrong with her face, why it wasn't beautiful (and I have to mention her subject matter was backed up by a National Geographic documentary on beauty - so she felt she had science on her side). It didn't matter what I said, she knew when she looked in the mirror that because her eyebrows weren't symetrical, she was majorly flawed, and she couldn't see beyond that. I felt like we were talking about two different people. I thought she had beautifully arched eyebrows, and I have always believed myself to be a pretty observant person, but I honestly could only tell that one eyebrow was a little more arched than the other. I thought it was charming. She wasn't having it.

Okay, this has just made me remember that when I try on glasses, the eye technician always tells me that I have one eyebrow higher than the other, and you can only really tell when I have my glasses on, because that's when you notice it. HA! I have science (aren't the eyeglass technicians scientifically trained, or am I stretching things here?) on my side. She never mentioned anything about my eyebrows, and so we are equally flawed, but she didn't even notice ... now why couldn't she accept that I couldn't notice hers?!

Okay, it sounds like I'm picking on her. And, I promise I'm not. But it really made me start to think about what I see in the mirror, versus what everyone else sees. How different are the images we see in the mirror from the visual images that everyone around us sees when they look at us?
I have to wonder if it's like when you listen to a tape of your voice, and you think "Yuck! Do I sound like that?"

I know that I have a great disconnect between how I perceive my looks and how the others around me perceive me. My husband is always telling me how beautiful I am. But, I have to admit that I assume that he is biased because he loves me. At the same time, I also have to admit to myself that my husband couldn't lie to save his soul. So, while I know this about him, why can I not believe that his visual perception of me is accurate based upon his ability to truly see me, not based upon his feelings alone?

I think that is something that probably most women (and I know that I'm assuming here) have a difficulty with. At least in America it seems to be a problem. We look in the mirror and we see our flaws. We see the lines that experience has given us, we see the imperfect bodies that children or gravity have given us. We see the experiences that life has brought to us, and we see them as negative instead of seeing the beauty that all of those things have wrought in our lives and that we now carry as badges of bravery and wisdom. Life's impressions on our bodies shouldn't be seen as anything less than beautiful, because they have made us into the people we are today. And I don't believe that science can accurately measure that type of beauty.

So, in keeping with this theme. My Freebie Friday printable has a fabulous quote on it that I hope will inspire you to be a little kinder to yourself when you look in the mirror. It is by Anais Nin, who was a wonderful french writer who mostly wrote memoirs before it was even really a genre, or popular genre, of writing. Of course I had to throw a little french in here, bien sur!!

If you cannot find the beauty that life has given you on the outside, then maybe you need to dust some of the cobwebs out inside of you and start to see (with gratitude) all of the good that has come from the experiences that have marked your body. I promise it will help. I feel better about myself just writing this post! So, that is my challenge to you. Look at yourself in the mirror, and be kind! When you see a flaw, think of the good that brought that flaw into your life. Even if you have to work hard to do so, it is worth the effort. A feeling of gratitude and love will always create peace in our lives. And, the peace we feel radiates from inside ourselves and sheds itself to others around us. That is true inner beauty, that cannot be measured by science and cannot be contained within us. It radiates from inside ourselves and shines so brightly that we truly radiate a kind of beauty that is visual to the eyes of all who behold it.

Bonsoir mes amies. Have a wonderful weekend, and be kind to yourselves!

Bisou Bisou! (Kiss Kiss)

**As always, you are welcome click on the above picture to get the original size (8 1/2 by 11), then rick click and save to download and copy this to your computer or print out for personal use. You are not allowed to mass produce or use for any commercial gain. You are always welcome to direct people to my blog to get their own free copy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

In the Leafy Treetops

Growing up, one of my favorite songs in church was called "In the Leafy Treetops." the first line was: "In the leafy treetops the birds sing good morning." We had hand motions and it was a wonderful way to get the children involved and to say hello to everyone. I had to title this blog by that name, because I thought it was a great way to start the week and also wanted to share my Brag Monday entries with you.

Those who know me will understand that, bien sur, I had to do something with a bird theme!!

I created a coaster tile set using Victorian ephemera scraps from the Graphics Fairy (her link is to the left in my blog list). My second love is music, so of course I had to include musical quotes. I think they speak for themselves. I used a new type of lacquer varnish, which is extremely thick, and I'm very pleased with the results. If you have any questions about how I made them, please feel free to ask, and I'll share my dark and dirty secrets!! Here are my pictures:

What type of music do you have in your life? I ask this, because my husband tried an experiment this past couple of weeks. He is an ER physician and works in a highly stressful environment and encounters all types of people in his interactions. Needless to say, many of them are not at their best on any given day, much less in an emergency. He had been bringing music to work to get him "pumped up" (in his words) and to try to stay energetic. It did work at first, but then his attitude would slowly deteriorate as the day or night went on. So, he went 2 weeks without music at all, to (in his words) detox. He then only played uplifting and soul-speaking music in preparation for work. He was amazed at the difference in his ability to keep a positive attitude.

It is amazing how powerful music is. It can create beauty in our lives and help us maintain a beautiful attitude. What type of music do you listen to? Is it contributing to the beauty in your life? I challenge you to experiment with the types of music you listen to and see if it is pulling your attitude up, or down.

Au Revoir Mes Amies ... have a wonderful week!


Friday, July 27, 2012


I thought I'd share some thoughts about bravery today. As we are getting ready to watch the Olympics, I'm always reminded of the bravery of those who dedicate their all to perform at such a superior level. It's almost mind-boggling to think about how many hours the athletes have spent preparing for (in some cases) just a few minutes of a performance.

It truly is a fascinating thought. But, every 4 years, these athletes will attempt once again to break their own personal best record, and hopefully beat all of the other participants in their own field. And in so doing, they bring honor, pride, and joy to their homeland.

While I will be watching along with everyone else, I have to admit that while I find these athletes most admirable, there are so many other people who are brave in their own way, of whom I admire even more.

I love the thought of all of those who perform quiet acts of bravery every day. The child who stands up for their friend. The mother who gives her all, so that her children will not go without. A husband who goes out every day looking for a job to take care of his family, even when the economy is slamming doors in his face. The teenager who says no to peer pressure. There are so many brave people in the world, but we don't always honor them. To me, bravery is beautiful. It is never out of fashion. It is always something to aspire to.

So, for my Freebie Friday, I've created a printable by Alphonse Much. He was an incredible artist and illustrator, who pretty much created the Art Nouveau movement. I hope that you enjoy this printable. I love the quote by William Makepiece Thackeray.

As always, please do not reproduce this printable en masse or for commercial gain. However, you are more than welcome to send anyone to my blog to download their own copy.

Now ... create your own beauty by being brave ... in whatever small way that you need to.

Au Revoir,


Monday, July 23, 2012

One Happy La La

Well, mes amies ...

I'm a happy girl, but a tired one. The Italian Festival went very well. For my very first jewelry event, I have to say that I'm so pleased with the results. I was almost as happy about the ambience of my booth that was commented on as I was in the amount of jewelry that I sold.

When creating, and then putting your work out there for someone else to look at, judge, and then comment on, it is almost like birthing a child and then having someone else judge them. You feel protective, vulnerable, and at the same time so proud of each item.

I hope that each of you has a way to create and experience that type of feeling. And in light of that, I wanted to share the following quote:

"My mission in life is merely not to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." -Maya Angelou

For me, thriving means creating. Thriving means having a passion for life and all it offers. Thriving means having compassion for others. Thriving means using humor to get through the good and the bad. But of course, (mais oui) one must always thrive with style! Maya Angelou must have been channeling some Oo La La when she wrote this.

So, mes amies, I must apologize for the lateness (once again) for my Freebie Friday, but I hope you'll forgive me as I used my time to thrive at the Italian Festival.

My prayer is that you will thrive with style, just as Maya Angelou would have you thrive! But I also challenge you to find a creative outlet, whatever that may be. Having an outlet for creativity will light you up inside and your internal beauty will light up and spill over to your outer beauty!

Once again, please do not mass distribute this printable in any way and you may not use it for commercial gain. But, by all means, please feel free to send people to my blog to download their own copy. Or, if you'd like to feature it on your blog or website, all I ask is that you link to my blog.

This particular freebie is a little smaller than usual. I didn't want to compromise the beauty of this particular piece. I think it would make a beautiful card to send to someone or to put on your desk. Please click on the picture and then right click to save.

Bonjour Mes Amies! Now go out and Thrive!!


**Many thanks to the Graphics Fairy for the beautiful French illustration. To check out her website, you'll find her link to the left in my blog list.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Freebie Friday: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Today I just have to get something off of my chest (and no it is not chest hair, judging from my title).

I have had a bad few months when it came to my hair. Was I going to grow it out? Was I going to cut it again? Did my desire to cut it just mean I was sick of the in-between-phase? On and on the dilemma went.

I would guess that (at least in America) there are probably about 3 in 5 women who are doing this same thing every day. Especially when we are having a bad hair day!!

I have a little bit of perspective to share with you about hair. I hope my unique perspective clears some things up.

As I mentioned previously, I glow in the dark. Not literally, but if you count the amount of radiation and chemo I've had, I SHOULD glow in the dark! Well, as you know, one of the side effects of this is hair loss. And when I say hair loss, I mean EVERYWHERE!!

At first I thought I'd have fun with this. I ordered every kind of fun wig I could afford. Long, with sassy stripes of highlights. Short blonde bobs, long red curls, short black bobs, etc. What I didn't think about or know, was that your scalp is so sensitive, that wearing wigs is actually kind of painful. So, around the house, I just went bald. Often in public, I'd wear a hat, or some beautiful scarves. I felt that I was handling it all emotionally very well.

What I didn't realize, was how much my femininity was tied to my hair. Think about it. As women, we are constantly thinking about our hair, every day. Do I have time to wash it? Do I have time to curl it? Or straighten it? Is it a bad hair day and will I wear it up in a pony tail, or with a head band? If we have a special presentation at work, how will we fix our hair so that we look professional? If we are getting married ... how will we wear our hair to best compliment our dress and looks? Every day we think long and hard about our hair.

Well, when you don't have hair, and you've spent your entire life thinking about your hair every day, suddenly you feel extremely off kilter. Even though I knew that with the beautiful wigs I had bought, I could still look attractive. I still did not feel completely like a woman should feel.

Our hair is truly a part of our identity. And, so, instead of continuing to debate about what I was going to do with my hair (thus wearing a headband or a hair clip every day and not looking like the polished person I usually try to present), I decided that I had to do something. I decided to channel my inner self and put that on my head.

Here is the result:

I cannot begin to tell you how much better I feel about myself! No more headbands. No more feeling ugly all over, even if it is just my hair that's not great. Our hair truly does have an influence on how we perceive ourselves, and, unfortunately, how others perceive us.

So, with that in mind, today's Freebie Friday is a fabulous quote by Givenchy that I hope you'll enjoy. Please feel free to click on the picture and then right click to save. You may print it out for personal use, but not mass produce, or use for commercial use in any manner. You, of course, may always send someone to my blog to download their own copy.

So, here is my challenge to you: Does your hair reflect who you are? Not the person you were 20 years ago. Not someone else whose haircut was appealing on them and so you copied it, but it still doesn't "feel" right. Not the person that you are afraid you are inside. But, the true, beautiful you. If it doesn't, then do something about it. I promise you, you'll feel more beautiful and your inner self will be reflected even more on your outer self.

Bon Soir Mes Amies,

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

P.S. I can't wait to find out who wins the give away!! I'm so excited, it feels like Christmas morning!!