Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Years Printable & GIVEAWAY

Creativity always strikes right when I should be climbing into bed.  It just always seems to happen that way.  I've found that if I don't jump on the idea when it happens, I don't get as good of a design/outcome.

I spent my Saturday evening at the computer putting this little guy together and I'm very happy with how it turned out.  It's made to fit an 8x10 frame, but you can easily trim off the excess if you plan to hang it on it's own.

You can download the free printable here. (2 color options)

Or you can purchase a print from my shop. (10 color options)

There are ten color options in the shop.  The print is professionally printed on 100 lb linen paper.  I'm going to put the purple one in my living room and the yellow one in my bedroom.  Strangely enough, the red and tan turned out to be my favorite (I don't really even like red).  Too bad it doesn't match my decor.

To celebrate this new print - I'm hosting a giveaway!  Enter each day to win 2 New Years prints. The Giveaway is open and end Sunday, January 6th at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The "+3" and "+5" you see show you the number of entries you earn for doing each task.  For example when you like my new Facebook page, you earn 5 entries.  The more you do, the better chance you have to win!

ps.  I started a new Facebook page (hint hint).  Like my page and show my updates in your news feed to stay updated on what's happening on the blog!

Get excited - Tomorrow's post - January desktop wallpapers!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hannah's Present

Now that Christmas is over, I can finally show you some of the gifts that I made for my family.  We'll start with Hannah's gift, since it's the most exciting (to me, anyway).

This little gift was made especially for my favorite niece.  I'll do my best not to point out all the flaws that are driving me crazy.

The design for the little girl and the mushrooms both came from the same book.  It's an embroidery book that my mom got me last year - Doodle Stitching.  It's a great book with many great designs.  I love it.

I used a stem stitch to embroider Hannah's name into the design.  Since I was having a hard time with the curves, I added a few extra loops to hold them in place.

The bow on the little girl turned out to be two of my favorite little details.  It's usually the simplest things that make all the difference.

First, I painted the hoop a cream color.  Then I used some very thin tape to tape off a line in the middle of the hoop.  Last, I painted on several coats of gold metallic paint so it's nice and shimmery.  There was some touch up needed once I peeled off the tape, but that was due to my impatience.  I put the tape on before that coat had fully dried.

I'd say "lesson learned" but I know I'll do it again.

 I love how it turned out and Charlotte did, too.  Mission accomplished.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Creative Speed Bump

Tonight I did what I always do - I sat down at my desk, clicked my Blogger link and opened up a fresh post.   But, unlike most nights, I sat and stared at the computer for a good 40 minutes (in between checking Pinterest and watching How I Met Your Mother).  I have no good ideas.

Well, sort of no good ideas.  I have projects I want to share with you, but as they are all gifts, they must remain a secret.  Plan B - make something especially for posting.  After another 40 completely unproductive minutes I gave up.  Sometimes I hit a speed bump; I'm not lacking all creativity, there's just not an abundance of it.

Here's a gift that I can share with you.  Cam loves keys; golf cart keys, car keys, old keys, new keys, motorcycles keys.  When I passed these keys while strolling through Lowe's the other day, I just had to buy them.

Since they are real keys, they are heavy and solid.  They feel like the real thing because they are the real thing.  I didn't get them cut because it seemed like a waste of time.  I think he'll be excited to get these keys because they have three of his favorite characters all over them: Woody, Buzz and McQueen.

After working hard on gifts, I'm very excited to Christmas Eve to finally arrive!

The best thing about today? Esther's home!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas to Me

Whenever my family members buy something for themselves around Christmas time, the rest of us yell at them because we could have gotten it for them for Christmas.  Today, I am that person.

Technically, these were never on my list, so I might not get yelled at.  When I saw these babies at Barnes and Noble I just had to buy them.

These beautiful books are only $12.  Seriously.  I'm adding art to my home for only $12.  It doesn't get much cheaper than that.

These amazing designs were created by Jessica Hishe for Barnes and Noble.  They are stunning and make a wonderful addition to my little space.  When I buy classic books that are beautiful, I have one rule for myself: only buy what you have read.  I don't know why, but that is my rule.  I think it sort of authenticates the purchase in my mind - its ok to have 3 copies of Pride and Prejudice because I love it and I've read it several times.

After my tv obsession confession yesterday, you might not be surprised to find out that I'm not a big reader. I love books, but I just don't save time for reading.  Audio books are amazing.  I'd rather spend my time playing in illustrator and listening to a book than reading the book.

Listening to a book does not give me the same experience as reading a book, so I will never listen to Pride and Prejudice or The Hunger Games.  There are some books that are meant to be read and I always make sure to give them my full attention; P&P, Redeeming Love, and the Mark of the Lion series are books that I read over and over.

ps.  I strongly recommend The Mark of the Lion.  The book is absolutely amazing and it's an incredible love story.  It made me laugh and cry and I could not put it down.

Two things to remember about The Mark of the Lion:
#1 - the first 45 pages are tough to get through, but don't give up - you will not regret it.  I promise.
#2 - make sure to have book two ready for when you finish book one.  I finished book 1 at midnight and if any book store would have been open, I would have been in the car in .5 seconds on my way to get the next book.

Wow...I went off on a little rabbit trail there, didn't I?  But seriously, I cannot say enough how good The Mark of the Lion is.

Welp, time to go watch NBC and find out who the winner of The Voice is going to be!! I'm voting for Terry as of now.  Can two people win?  I want Cassadee and Terry to win.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Did You Know...

that I LOVE tv.  I seriously love tv.  And I also love movies.  There are only a few shows that I'll watch over and over again, so I'm always looking for new shows and movies to watch.

Hulu Plus - best $8 I spend every month.  (All photos from

Did you know that I follow 35 shows on Hulu?  35.  That's a lot.  Before writing this post, I went through my favorites to see if anything needed to be cleaned out.  After deleting the shows that had been canceled I went from 39 shows to 35 shows.

Because I love you, I'll share with you all the shows I follow - the good, the bad and the embarrassing..

30 Rock
Alcatraz (canceled)
America’s Next Top Model
Beauty and the Beast
Ben and Kate
Body of Proof
Breakout Kings (canceled)
Burn Notice
Chicago Fire
Design Star
Hell’s Kitchen
Kitchen Nightmares
New Girl
Project Runway
Raising Hope
Rookie Blue
Saving Hope (canceled)
So You Think You Can Dance
The Finder (canceled)
The Mindy Project
The Mob Doctor
The Office
The Voice
Up All Night
Vampire Diaries
White Collar

Welp, there you have it.  It's not as bad as it looks.  Lots of those shows only come on for a couple of weeks once a year (The Voice, Hells Kitchen) and they don't all have the same season.

Not gonna lie, there are some TV shows that I'm a little embarrassed that I watch.  Like The Vampire Diaries, for example.  This show is pretty bad.  Everyone in the cast is practically a model (a weird complaint, but is everyone in the world pretty? It's weird that everyone in the show is.), they make up new vampire/werewolves rules like every five minutes, and its basically a soap opera.  As terrible as it is, I find myself watching every week wondering if Elena is going to pick Stephan or Damon.  It's basically the poor mans version of Pride and Prejudice - no, I take that back, that's too high a compliment.

Shows like White Collar, Rookie Blue, and Suits don't start until January.  They have those really weird, short seasons where they have a mid-season finale and then start up again a few weeks later.  I don't understand it, but as long as Neal Caffrey keeps coming back, I don't care what they do.

I also have shows that I am dying to watch as soon as they get on Hulu.  I could watch Bones at 9pm on Mondays, but I never remember and I'm usually doing something else.  Plus, it's much better to watch it without all of the commercials.  Same with Castle, New Girl, and Raising Hope. 

Chicago Fire is my newest favorite.  I hope that a lot of other people are watching this show because I do not want them to cancel it.  Seriously.  No cancelling, NBC.  You seem to screw everything else up, so don't put your paws on this show.  It's fine just the way it is.

When I watch Hulu in the evenings, I'm usually working on something else.  Most of the shows I watch are perfect for background noise because you don't have to watch every second to know what's going on (like The Voice, Body of Proof, or Smash).  Yes, some shows are good for just listening...

But some shows are meant to be watched.  I think we all know how much I love Grimm, so I won't go into great detail about Nick's hair or sternocleidomastoid the brilliant story line.  Let's just say that I don't work on any projects when I watch Grimm. 

Here's the sad part - there are more shows that I want to follow, but don't because they aren't on Hulu (NCIS and How I Met Your Mother).  That would take me to 37.  If I could catch myself up to the current Modern Family season, that would bring me up to 38.  

So there you have it, my tv obsession confession.  Anybody else a tv fanatic? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Preparations

Saturday was a very busy day for this pup and me.  Well, it was a busy day for me.  But, as you can see, Charlie was completely worn out by 8 pm.

I had one goal for Saturday - completely finish Christmas shopping.  I had a list of what I wanted to get for everyone, but didn't have everything yet.  By the end of the night, all of my Christmas presents were bought, planned, or on their way from Amazon.

Then on Sunday, I realized I had forgotten one. One present! Ah! I'm sure you know what it's like to even venture near a store during this week before Christmas.  I managed to get the last gift on Sunday and now I am done the shopping at least.

There's still a few gifts that I need to make, so I'm not officially done yet, but it's nice to be almost all the way there.  Esther is coming home on Thursday, so I'm determined to finish everything by then.

Here's a sneak peek of one of the Christmas presents I'm working on.  I can't show you the entire thing because then it wouldn't be a surprise, but I'm excited about it.

I always wonder about bloggers who post their projects before Christmas - they must have time to do two times the projects.  I mean, you can't show your Christmas presents on your blog before Christmas.  I wish I could though, I really like this one.

In other news - the weather is finally cold enough that I'm not wiping this dog's paws every time we come in the house.  I still give her feet a quick wipe, but it takes 3 seconds - instead of the five minutes I used to spend in the garage scrubbing her feet!  Amen.  Thank goodness for cold weather.

Dear family members who will be at our home over Christmas,
Good news!  Charlie is getting groomed on Wednesday!  She'll be all trimmed up and cleaned up in time for your visit.  She will smell wonderful and be super clean (until she goes out for the first time, anyway).  But, I'm not making any promises about her breath.
Love, Ginner

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2013 Calendar Giveaway - Winner Chosen!

Hi All,

Thanks so much for entering my giveaway!  You made this first try such a great success that I will definitely be doing it again!

As promised - one winner was chosen...and the winner is...

Entry #29 - Jennifer W.  She won the giveaway with a twitter entry! Congrats Jennifer!  Once you get back to me with your information and color choices - your calendars will be on their way!

Thanks again everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Printable Gift Tags

Hello All!  I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!  It's freezing in eastern PA and unfortunately, we haven't had any big snow storms yet.  Boo.  I'm still dreaming of a white Christmas.

To get myself in the Christmas spirit, I put together a free printable for you! It is the season of giving, after all.  This simple design features your traditional Christmas colors....

but also some less traditional Christmas colors - like gray.  This may be a little dark for a tag (the ink may not show up) but it would look really cool when written on with a metallic pen!

Lastly, there's a vertical option.  I love simple design - when there's too much going on, I feel overwhelmed so this little printable is right up my alley.

You can download this free printable right here.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Christmas Card

A few posts ago, I mentioned how I don't normally do Christmas cards.  I never really have anything going on and as a single person - it always felt a bit weird. But! This was a big year for me, so I figured I should write one.  Also, it gave me a wonderful excuse to spend some quality time in Illustrator.

Welp, here it is!  I decided to do a more traditional card/letter rather than just a photo.  I started with some inspiration from my "About Me" infographic.  Using the same dashed line and color scheme, I started by laying out the pieces.

The wrong color scheme can be my biggest road block.  I started this design with different colors, but kept getting stuck on layout and fonts.  Once I switched to the current color scheme, it was smooth sailing.

This section ended up being my favorite.  I like how the layout of the #2 box came out and I LOVE that picture of Charlie.  She's so cute.

The funny thing is that I had the layout and the number idea before I had any text.  Once I decided I wanted to do the one-four thing, I had to figure out what to pair with each number.  With a little help from my mom, I figured out a topic to go with each number.  Then I tried to write informative, but also funny paragraphs.  My rule - short and sweet.  People are more likely to read it if it's short.

My friend, Bethany, got a good laugh out of number four.  She's as much in love with her dog, Potter, as I am with Charlie.  I wouldn't be surprised if her doggie anniversary starts showing up on her Christmas cards.  Honestly, not writing a short paragraph about Charlie would have felt like a betrayal.  I'm pretty sure that even when I get married and have kids, I'll be including my doggie anniversary in the Christmas letter.

"Joe and I been married five years now.  Little Johnny is 3 and Sally is 1.  The kids are growing like weeds.  Charlie and I celebrated our 9th anniversary this year.  We've been together for almost a decade.  Time flies when you're having fun!"

No lie, it will read exactly like that.

Christmas is less than two weeks away.  I'm freaking out.  I don't have nearly enough done.  But eventually, I'll get all the gifts I needed to get.  Let's just hope that happens sooner rather than later.  At least I can cross "Christmas cards" off the list!

ps. Auntie Karen, no need to print this out from here to show to Grandma.  There's one in the mail for you and Uncle Lowell and for Texas Grandma!

pps.  If you see any typos in my Christmas letter, please don't tell me.  I will be mortified and since they are already sent out - it's too late to fix any mistakes! Eek!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Annie's Birthday Present

My dear friend, Annie, turned 13 last week.  Thirteen!  Seriously, when did that girl get that old?  Since 13 is a big one, I tried to go all out.  I designed her a few things for her room.

The first things I started with was this festive name illustration.  It fits in an 8x10 frame, so when she's over this, she still has a frame.

Next came this 5x7 print out of her new age - 13.  She's a teenager.  Oh my.  Annie is an artist and she loves lots of colors.  So, instead of leaving this one solid color, I made it several different colors.  The simple chevron pattern in the back adds a little depth without being too crazy and busy.

The last thing I framed was this 8x10 chevron pattern with a butterfly.  You can write on glass with dry erase markers, so I bought her a new pack of markers and an eraser to go along with this.  The butterfly was just to add something cute.  Plus, there aren't a whole lot of animals/insects I can make myself, but a butterfly I can handle.

Lastly, I tucked it all into a personalized purple bag.  I got this bag for free from Old Navy when I shopped during their stuff and save event.

This is the design on the bag.  Normally when I cut out stencils, I use freezer paper.  For some reason, the freezer paper was giving me issues, so I tried vinyl instead.

It cut out beautifully and transferred beautifully.  Unfortunately, the texture of the bag allowed for some paint seepage.  Aside from where the butterfly meets the bottom of the I, the seepage doesn't bother me.  It gives the bag a little more texture.

Do you like how I reason with myself to make mistakes seem totally acceptable?  Well, in this case I had to do a little reasoning since there is no way to fix that.

Either way, Annie liked it and that's all that matters.


Monday, December 10, 2012

A Sunday of Movies and Relaxing

Whenever I am writing/typing, I always have something on in the background - tv, movie, or music.  If it's something I've never seen, its often too distracting and I have to turn it off because I end up typing what I'm hearing.  But as I worked on some projects, I just had to see the new Batman movie.  I didn't get to see it in theaters, so I was very excited to spend this afternoon in front of the tv.

As I write this post, I'm watching The Dark Knight Rises for the second time today.  It is so good (plus, I definitely missed some of the story the first time around since I was on the computer). So, if you see some weird words in this post like Bane, nuclear, Gotham, or Bruce, at least now you know why.

During our lazy afternoon, I worked on a freebie for you guys and Charlie had some sweet dreams that involved a little chasing, I think.  The sounds she makes when she's dreaming are beyond adorable.

Later in the evening, I met up with my best friend, Teen to see Wreck It Ralph.  Oh my gosh.  It was so good.  The storyline was new, original and very interesting.  The animation was superb (of course) and the ode to old video games was awesome.  The way they created a world for video game characters was very clever!

Plus, winter months in eastern PA are usually cold and wet and this weekend was no exception.  A movie is always a good activity for a rainy day.

It's been wet and muddy around here a lot lately.  I love the winter whether on one condition - snow.  When there's no snow, its definitely not as fun.  The rain has been really obnoxious lately and I'll tell you what, I'm getting really sick and tired of wiping off those little feet.

Every time we come in from a 30 second trip outside, I spend 8x that long cleaning these cute little feet.  It's torture for both of us.  By the time I get to her last foot, Charlie is kindly letting me know she's fed up.  Charlie knows that biting is not allowed, so instead she gives me a little growl, shows her teeth and touches her teeth to my skin.  

FYI Charlie, I hate it more than you. 

Charlie does not appreciate being woken from her nap by me snapping pictures.  I'm fine with it though.  If I'm going to wipe/wash her feet 4 times a day, she could at least smile for the pictures.