Thursday, January 31, 2013

Packaging inspiration

Saw some really good ideas for packaging recently on Pinterest...

Packaging | paper lace, silk leaves, vintage tag, and twine for an extra-special parcel. 
Like the idea of paper punched overlays

Brown paper packages
Artificial mini flower arrangement tied up in twine?  Yes.

I like these ideas for using washi tape

Paper flower gift bag tutorial
Like the big flower!!

love this wrap/tag
Like the striped twine and their label

cookies wrap ♥
Nice idea the way they stamped on the bags and added that plaid paper

Lace & Ribbon <3
Lace and ribbon!!!

Love everything about this

These pictures came from my Pinterest boards, they are not mine.

Hope you are having a lovely day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Escaping into the World of a Book

Don't you just love books?  Sometimes I just can't get enough of them.  There's something thrilling about opening the cover and reading the first few sentences of a good novel, but then again, writers will know that composing these first lines is much more enchanting.

I have unofficially been "writing books" since I was about 10.  Of course, I will give it to myself that I have come quite a ways from the nonsensical, unfinished story plots I dreamed up years ago, but as I was looking through some of my old stories that I had written long ago, there was a childlike interest that was suddenly sparked.  Somehow before I knew it I was scrolling down to the next page, and the next, eager to see what happened next and grinning like a geek.  Of course, my writing style was very simple and a bit repetitive; nowhere close to the thrilling classics of Austen, Dickens, or Bronte.  Either way, I am prepared, and quite willing, to share with you some snippets of past stories so that you can see what once lived in the mind of a tomboyish, adventure-craving, daydreaming, twelve year old. 

This first story was about a young girl in the Colonial time period who came across a mysterious black ghost horse on the banks of an island.  This excerpt is from one of the chapters towards the middle of the book...


  Storm clouds gathered. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Hattie slid out of bed and got dressed in the dark. She grabbed her boots and silently tip toed down the wide stairs. At the door, she slid the squeaky boots on and pushed open the back door. The path to the barn was damp and the dirt stuck to Hattie's boots. When she reached the barn, she took Snowy from her stall and tacked her. Riding out to the barnyard, she went through the front gate and down to Nelly's house's gate. Nelly was coming to the gate on Defender already.    
    Without a word, both girls went down the street and crossed over to the dock. They rode along the line of dark, creaking ships and entered the forest.  
  There, the pine tree branches were thick and they swatted the horses and riders. The woods were always mysterious to Hattie, but tonight, they felt even more mysterious. Hattie felt that there was something else in the woods with them; some strange presence loomed around her.
  Defender snorted. Snowy whinnied. The horses danced in circles and wouldn't press forward. This was the same spot that they had acted up before. And it wasn't just Defender and Shadow that had the problem, because Snowy was shying too.
   Thunder split through the forest and lighting lit the sky. Freezing rain started pouring down in buckets.
  Nelly looked at Hattie.
  "We have to keep looking!" shouted Hattie over the roar of the storm. At least it wasn't as bad when they were in the shelter of the trees. Snowy whinnied fiercely and Defender reared. The horses couldn't move forward.
  Suddenly, and shrill whinny pierced through the storm. The girls looked up a hill, the direction from which the whinny had come. A shiver ran down Hattie's spine. There, on the hill was a huge black horse. His black coat shone wet with rain. The horse whinnied a long, echoing, sad whinny. He reared tall, his hooves plucking the air. 
    And then, before they knew it, the apparition disappeared like a breath of mist.
   The two girls and two horses stood in awed silence even after the ghost horse disappeared.
   "Do you think it could have been…" asked Nelly. Hattie nodded.  
   "It was Thunder," said Hattie.


Not too bad, I think.  I did end up finishing that book. :)

And here are the opening words of the sequel to the above book...



             Salty waves quietly washed ashore. The gentle breeze blew them in, and out, and in again. The pine trees rustled slightly, shaking off the night, and stretching their needles out into the salty ocean air. Birds woke and ruffled their wings. Squirrels scampered down the thick pine trunks to collect fallen acorns from nearby oaks. It was morning, dawning bright and new on the peninsula of Brunswick. A little pink starfish washed ashore and lay on the sand. The sun beat down apon it and it had no hope of returning to the cool ocean floor. But presently, a little slender shadow came over it and a cool hand picked it up. Two sparkling blue eyes looked at it closely and a mouth smiled down at it.
    "You look like you're far from home," whispered a voice close to the starfish, and suddenly it was flying through the air and dropped down to the ocean floor to its cool home. But the slender shadow stayed ashore and watched the little bubbles at the top of the water as it sank. Then that shadow glided across the sand and joined a much bigger shadow, a shadow with long, lean legs and a thick neck and a flying mane and tail. The two shadows cantered softly on the waves washing ashore, gliding along together, then disappeared into the shadowy woods.


This next one I really liked.  It was sort of a mix between Peter Pan and Treasure Island (two stories I adored at the time)


   Janie reached the shed and peered in. She held up her candle and the light cast upon the coiled rope in the corner. She reached for it, snatched it, and hurried out the door as fast as she could. Brave first mate or not, she hated certain dark, spooky sheds. As she trotted across the yard, she saw a red glint out of the corner of her eye. She turned and walked over to it. Janie caught her breath. A ruby glistened amongst diamonds and emeralds that were encrusted in the handle of a razor sharp dagger. She dared her self to pick it up, holding it as if the slightest jounce would make it vanish. Carefully, she carried it over to the ship. Still lost in awe, she stood at the foot of the drawbridge; holding the knife.
  "What's that?" exclaimed an awed voice above her. 6-year-old Jimmy was staring at it.
 "What is all this?!" Johnny's harsh whisper broke the enchanting silence. But when he caught sight of the dagger, he stopped in his tracks.
 "I could carry that in my belt as captain of the ship!" he said. But before Jimmy had a chance to argue the privilege, a strong hand snatched the dagger away from both of them. All three looked up at a tall, skinny teenaged boy wearing faded, loose fitting pants and a tattered white shirt.
  "That's my knife. I need it to get back to the ship," the boy said.
  "Who are you?" demanded Johnny.
  "Williams. Thomas A. Williams." he said, "I come from Black Beard's pirate ship, way back in the Mediterranean."
 Johnny looked the boy strait in the eye. "Than how'd you get here?" he asked. Thomas smiled. Then, he dug into his deep, spacious pocket. He pulled out a black bundle. Shaking it out, the children gaped in recognition as white crossbones unfolded before them.  
"With this," said Thomas, "I can go anywhere I like." The three children sighed with envy and Jimmy piped up.
"Can we go back with you? To Black Beard's ship, I mean?" Thomas smiled as if he knew someone would ask.
"Of course," he said, "but you must believe. Trust this dagger and you can go anywhere with this flag."
"We all trust it! Right, men?" said Captain Johnny.
"Aye, aye! Cap'n!" said Janie and Jimmy.
"All right, then. I'll get on with the rules, shall I?" said Thomas. The tree bobbed their heads vigorously.
"No jumping while riding the flag. No shouting or screaming once we land; the pirates will take it as a battle call. Obey orders from the captain, Black Beard.-" Thomas went on and on until the children finally where told to back away. Thomas spread the flag on the ground.
"Climb on," he said. Johnny went first, then Jimmy, then Janie, then, lastly, Thomas. After they had seated themselves on the flag Thomas pulled out the dagger.
"But won't Mother miss us?" she asked.
Thomas smiled. "Time stops once we're off the ground." Then, he thrust the dagger into the right eye of the flag, and they were off! Whizzing through the midnight sky, they could see all the mansions of Maple Avenue shrink out of sight. They soared past the high steeple of St. Michael's on to the ocean. After about twenty minutes of lightning speed, they could catch a glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea. Flying closer, a small ship came into sight as they descended from the sky. They could hear the faint ringing of pirates singing…Yo ho ho! And a bottle of rum! Jimmy, Janie, and Johnny grinned at each other. Just like a book, they thought.


I will not plague you with any more, but I just really got a kick out of reading these little stories I wrote long ago.  It reminded me how much I really do like to write, and how much fun it is to escape into your imagination and create a world of your own.  It even motivates me to find time every day to work on my current historical fiction work, At the End of the Trail.  It's easy to lose interest, and go through periods when every time you sit down to write you can barely eek out a few sentences and then you have to close it down because you're not making any sense.  But looking back at things you wrote a while ago can really, somehow, encourage you to push forward and keep writing!  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shop | Trying my hand at notecards...

I used to scrapbook quite a bit when I was younger, but as I got older, naturally, my tastes began to bend in other directions and that lovely world of floral paper, pink ribbon, paper punches, and sheer stickers was set aside for a while.

However. :)

Yesterday I was at Hobby Lobby and I happened to pass by the paper isle.  You all know what it looks like; rows of small metal racks with papers of all colors, patterns, and styles to choose from.  So I stepped into it for a second to see what they had.  Right away a shabby turquoise and pink rose design caught my eye and I slipped a piece of it out of it's tray.

"You don't belong here, Elizabeth," I said to myself, "Don't waste your money on something just because it looks pretty.  You won't use it.  You're done scrapbooking."  But I just couldn't put it back.  Then I saw another.  And another.  Before I knew it I had a small collection of randomly coordinating papers.  "There has to be something I could do with these at home," I thought, so I held on to them and headed to the art department where I needed to pick up some watercolor paper.

When I got home, the idea came to me to use some brown paper blank cards I had, and make some note cards.  They could be used as invitations, thank you notes, get well cards.... pretty much anything.

Four hours later, here's what I came up with. :)

And.... they are posted in the shop!

Hope you are all having a lovely day!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bound for England

Last year a little idea was planted in my mind when I was feeling a bit down.  I felt like I wanted to get out.  Not sure where I was going to go, I just wanted to get out and go see someplace.  That's when Mom, knowing me right to the core, suggested I think about visiting a foreign country.

The idea had never occurred to me before, but right at that moment, it seemed just perfect.  Of course!  How much fun that would be to go see a far away country.  But then the question arose as to which country should I visit?  Ireland came to mind first, partly because our family heritage is Irish, and secondly because, well, I'm a fanatic for all things Irish. :)  Then I thought of Italy.  Mom and Dad went there before I was born, and their stories and photographs they brought back with them, which are now still nestled in a thick album, intrigued me.  But then I thought of England.

No one suggested it, the idea just came to me.  And after I considered England, I never turned back.  England is where I want to go.

So, since we aren't exactly the wealthiest people on this planet, my parents said if I saved enough, I could go.  Yipee!  That means that every babysitting job, every Etsy sale, every gift from relatives.... is all being kept away.  Not as quickly as I would like it to, of course, but it is starting to add up.  And once I graduate in the spring, I will have all kinds of time to expand my home based business, take on a nanny job, and work hard.

I don't think I need to tell you that I am inexpressibly excited.  England is such a beautiful place, at least, from what I can see through photographs and BBC dramas. :)  There are so many things I want to see there, but instead of rambling on any further, here are some inspiring photographs.  Note that these are not mine, but were found while searching the internet. :)

The Lake District
Ullswater, Cumbria, England

 Windsor Castle


Well I hope you are all having a lovely day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I took these photos recently when we were all huddled under a blanket of snow.  We got quite a bit!  Of course, Scout loved it the most. :)

Have you been having snow where you live?

God bless,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shawls, Purses and Dreary Weather

So, there have been a couple of new things added to my little wardrobe recently.  Here they are :)

I recently was given this adorable shawl/scarf from my aunt who is visiting us.  Don't you just love shawls?  I do.  There are quite a few in my collection. *sheepish smile*

Isn't it lovely??!!

I just finished making this purse.  It is more for spring.  I went to the thrift store a few weeks ago and fell in love with this extra large ladies button up shirt that was hanging on the rack.  But it was the fabric I was swooning over.  Seriously, when do you see a linen blend in that cute of a print made up in a plain shirt like that?  For $2, it was well worth it.  So I cut the whole thing apart and used some of the fabric to make this purse, using another coordinating blush pink cotton for the top band.  What do you think??

And now, last but not least, I've been working this half moon shawl in some fisherman's wool that I got on sale at Joanns.  It's 100% natural wool, and it's soooo soft.  The pattern is from Lion brand yarn's website.  It's not quite finished, I still have some more rows to work which will make it bigger, but you can see the general look of it.  


This post-Christmas time of year always seems to go a bit slow for me.  Etsy sales are not as many, second semester is starting, and the weather is just downright dreary.  But I'll not let it drag my spirits down.  I'll keep thinking of springtime and all it will bring for me this year, much different than in past years.  

Oh, and you know what?  I think it's time for a blog design revamp.  I'll have to start looking at some new backgrounds and header ideas.  Any suggestions on how you think I should design my blog for this late winter time of year??

God bless,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas - Finally!

At last!  A quiet moment to sit down and share with you all our Christmas.  I apologize for the long gap between this and my last post, but with all the things going on at this time of year my time has not been my own.

This year Christmas was quite hectic at our house, but so much fun.  The best part was having our brother back at home with us, even though it was for not even two weeks.  We made Christmas cookies together; of course, Stephen always comes up with the most interesting designs. :)  Mom decorated the house mostly, though we helped with the tree and Stephen put together the mantlepiece.  While they were making the house beautiful, I spent most of Christmas Eve in the kitchen (naturally).  Then it was off to the church to sing for a solemn high Midnight Mass, and then morning high Mass, both of which went very well.

So, here are some pictures. :)

Mom's favorite statue among the evergreens on the mantle

The tree!

The mantle

My favorite ornament

Stephen's cookie

Playing Axis and Allies
My present to Mom: a pair of handmade earrings all wrapped up in my signature plaid tissue and paper doily!

My favorite present from Mom and Dad: a Claddagh ring! :D

Stephen did the table... academy style. :)

For New Years we went to my grandmother's house for dinner.  Then the next morning Dad left to take Stephen home.  Now we're back to the next semester of school and the house is back to being dull as tombs again.  But that's ok.  Whenever the house gets quiet like this when my brother's gone, I use the time to make plans about what I'm going to do when I graduate this year and my life suddenly becomes completely my own.  The places I want to see, things I want to make, trips I want to take...  Gosh, I want to go to England.  Really badly.  I want to go roam the countryside with my sketchbooks and paints, and paint everything I see... 

Goodness there I go again.  Rambling.  Well I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas and have a blessed New Year!

God bless,


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