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.