Friday, February 20, 2009

February Holidays - Time to Celebrate!

They are finally here... the February holidays and boy do we all need them around here. Time to just do nothing if we choose. Time to sit around in our jammies all day if we want. I can't wait.

But actually, the jammie sitting probably isn't going to happen. At least not much. The girls are signed up for ├ęcole de neige and are going to learn to ski for the first time. They are beyond excited about it and I'm so glad they are getting the chance to learn. Somehow we've never been able to have a real winter holiday for many years. Between pregnacies, infants, moving houses, moving countries, something has always seemed to get in the way. And this year, it would seem we're making it only by the skin of our teeth. With the littlest and his broken collar bone, we're still going to be somewhat limited in what we can do, but at least it's a start!

So bags are packed (pretty much) and the house is tidied (or will be hopefully by the time we leave) and we're off in a pouf of smoke (or rather after a lot of frantic last minute scurrying as per usual).

I am bringing with me my new pencils, a trusty eraser, some pens and a sketchbook. As well as one or two new novels. I am ever so optimistic don't you think?

And to celebrate the February break, I'm participating in my very first Illustration Friday. I've been watching them for quite a while, but as per usual, I'm never quite organised enough to participate. This week, I found an excuse while painting with the kids. Yes, those balloons are painted with children's paints. And then I had a bit of digitial fun with the background. Once again, at least it's a start!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Collaboration

This has been under works for a couple of months, but it's now official - you can have Chichiboulie artwork on your website!

I was contacted by Cicily of August Afternoon Designs a few months ago. Cicily started her webdesign business in 2007 and specialises in creating sites for small businesses. And what wonderful designs she does! I was taken in with the bright and crisp templates she creates and so working with her just seemed like a natural fit. Add to that the fact that she is a WAHM like myself and I just couldn't say no.

We're really excited about this project that is just getting off its feet. Do you need a new website or maybe just a fresh update? Now, you can have Cicily create you a website as well and using Chichiboulie images if you're so inclined. Images can either be made specifically for you or you can choose from a currently growing selection of stock images.

Go have a peek at Cicily's work. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thank you!

I've received 2 blog awards lately and I just wanted to say thank you to both ladies for choosing my blog. This first one, The Lemonade Award, I received about 2 weeks ago, but it's taken me that long to post about it. I loved reading Cen's blog as she actually held an entire awards ceremony! I was quite impressed, red carpet and all. It's also an overall fabulous blog and I would recommend checking it out.

As for me, I think I'll be a bit more low-keyed about the awards mainly because, as I've already confessed, I'm such a poor organiser of events. I can't even do children's birthday parties without becoming overwhelmed so how could you possibly expect me to hold an awards ceremony. Honestly!

The "rules" of this award are that I must:-
1. Put the logo on your blog or post. (Right click on the logo and save to your own computer.)
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post with the person from whom you received your award.


So I am now going to reveal my chosen winners. I may not make it to 10 as I'm aiming to choose people I haven't chosen in the past.

1. Petit Plat - check out her minatures. Amazing!
2. Glitter and Grunge - for showcasing such wonderfully talented artists.
3. Chest of Fairytales by Vusova - fabulous artist
4. Good and Crazy People - because it's real
5. Francoise Studio by Francoise Lama-Solet - she makes such exquisite children's clothing
6. Cen's Loft - she awarded me this one and made me discover her blog with such great finds!
7. Keeper of the Cheerios - a lovely blog on life and children especially


The second I found in my inbox this morning, thanks to LeAnne of Mile High Stamp and Scrap. I "met" LeAnne through the wonderful world of stamping and I think she's probably one of the biggest fans of my Chichiboulie Fairy stamps. I always love hearing from her, so this award brought a real smile to my face.

For this one, I'm going to send it out to others who help me along my way and bring smiles to my face as well.

1 & 2 & 3. Canvasses of Poetry and Prose and Mile High Stamp and Scrap and My Idea of Recess- I love hearing from all of you. It helps to keep me motivated among other things!
4 & 5. Tiddly Inks and Alice in Paris - both wonderful ladies and wonderful artists. And also wonderful in the support category.
6. Chalkhill Studio - My sounding board and a beautiful person who creates beautiful things.
7. StampingBella - such a fun person, full of enthusiasm and I think she may actually get me!

I'm going to stop there although there are others I could name. Thank you to all of you!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Snacks

We recently purchased a new waffle maker. We did have one years ago in a prior life, but it was lost in an unfortunate voltage accident when we moved to England. For those of you who may not be aware of a certain issue hubby tends to have concerning small appliances and voltage, you may want to read back to this post: Of Rice and Men. That should get you up to speed.

But as I was saying, we now have a new waffle maker. And we're thoroughly enjoying it. Waffles are quickly becoming our traditional weekend snack. Hubby sets about making the batter a few hours ahead. Then come 4pm, the girls make tea and set the table: cups and saucers, tea plates, tiny teaspoons. Our youngest quickly sits himself at the table in his role of waffle inspector and we take turns turning them out of the machine.

Everyone has his or her favourite topping: confectioner's sugar, chocolate, whipped cream, all of the above. Chocolate is of course my favourite, but I think I really need to find a recipe for hot fudge instead of just chocolate sauce. True decadence that would be.

Sometimes, as you can see, if I'm really nice, I get specially decorated waffles made just for me. Isn't that sweet?

And because you're all just so sweet as well, I've written up a recipe card for you for this very yummy waffle recipe. It's right over there in the Bits and Bobs section. Just click and it's yours. Now you can make them yourself. But you may have to recruit someone else to make the chocolate hearts for you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

9 Year Old Poems

Just as every parent should be, we're usually pretty impressed with our children around here. For better or for worse. Sometimes we're completely impressed by their overabundance of energy and lack of obedience. Other times we're really impressed by their inability to follow simple directions like "go to bed" or "stop jumping on your sister".

But there are those other occasions. Those occasions when we're impressed in the most positive of ways. This morning was one of those moments.

We were greeted by an overwhelming number of handmade cards and notes from our two oldest in celebration of Valentine's Day. Our oldest truly adores poetry and has been writing her own poems for years now.

Here is the translation of the above poem she wrote for us this morning:

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day doesn't cost a thing.
You do it all yourself.
The only thing that counts is love.
But sometimes you get chocolates.
Valentine's Day doesn't cost a thing.

Note the subliminal message in there. Did you see it?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tulips and Polky Spots

Before we get to the polky spots, I had to share this with you first.

Hubby went to Amsterdam and all I got was....

50 gorgeous tulips!

Am I happy? Yes I am. I do believe tulips, along with gerbera daisies, are my favourite flowers. They are so simple and colourful, who can help but love them. And since hubby thinks that I don't really appreciate his lovely gests, I thought I would prove to him that I do by sharing my beautiful gift with all of you. Aren't they gorgeous?

In fact, I love them so much, I decided to set up shop next to them today instead of in my studio in order to really enjoy them. So in case you don't believe me, dear, here is my proof! (I like to cover all my bases as you can see).

Now that I've shared that with all of you, I have something more. Something that may be of more use to some of you than looking at a bunch of flowers (though they are really very pretty). In fact, I hope this will be of use to a good many of you.

It's all about Polky Spots because besides tulips and gerbera daisies, I really do think that polka dots are one of my favourite things. Okay, probably chocolate and strangely enough endives as well, but I digress...

Polky Spots! I've been having some fun with patterns and effects and I'm sharing it with you. 5 different papers full of polka dots of all sizes. Blue, red, pink, green.... Eeps aren't they fun! You can download them in a pdf file by clicking on the link on the right. They are formatted in 8x8 inch size. If you need a different size or help resizing, just left me know.

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oz Bushfire Appeal

I'm sure most of you are aware, it's truly difficult to not be, of the terrible fires that have swept through parts of Australia near Melbourne. I was in shock when I first saw it on the news. It just seemed to incredible. And it is. And it is also very sad.

In order to help out those who have lost so much, an appeal has been set up through the Etsy community to raise money. A special Etsy shop has been launched by the Dust team (Down Under Street Team). It is called OzBushfireAppeal and in it are items that have been donated by other Etsy sellers to help this cause. Sales from all items will be donated to the Australian Red Cross every Friday.

Please do have a stop by and think about purchasing. New items are being added around the clock.

My thoughts go out to all those affected.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Exhaustion











I am still around although more physically than mentally. I have to admit that I'm exhausted. We've had quite the month of February and although things are slowly calming down and getting back into order, we still have a bit to go.

Having wee spotty man home with me is definitely not conducive to getting work done. I'm pretty sure that the mental block I'm having is due to fear of getting involved in a project only to have to drop everything in a second to go find out what the crashing sound in the next room was or, as is also very often the case, draw yet another lorry in one of the many glorious colours of Crayola.

So in the meantime I'm trying to keep myself occupied with small projects like getting my portfolio site updated and creating some new artwork as well as trying out new techniques. Small personal projects that I've been meaning to do, but never seem to find time for. Slowly, very slowly, I'm getting there.

Unfortuantely my body seems to be telling me I should be napping. And so I may just do that. Somebody please wake me up in March.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Game of Tag

Since it took me a great deal of time to come up the the 25 random tidbits that I was asked to post about myself by various so-called "friends" on facebook (and you all know who you are), I thought I wouldn't let the work go to waste and I'd post it here for all to see.

Enjoy! (Though I'm sure there are teeth you could be having pulled out instead.)

1. I really don't like being tagged. I find it all rather stressful.
2. Odd things stress me out. Like children's birthday parties. And being tagged.
3. I used to be a very good "tag" player when I was younger. Very fast runner. But that will happen when you are petite with very long legs.
4. My favourite colours are green and red. I have loved green for as long as I can remember.
5. My first "real" bicycle was green.
6. I had green carpenter trousers when I was 8.
7. My parents used to tell me they got me from the blueberry bush.
8. The older I get, the more I believe them.
9. I can play Silent Night on the accordion and the theme from Star Wars and Rocky on the recorder.
10. I'm much more accomplished at the piano though.
11. I was also very good at hide and seek when I was younger. Again, the benefits of being petite and able to hide in dresser drawers.
12. I learned you should never hide in dresser drawers as sometimes the dressers can tip over.
13. I learned that although jumping off a roof with an open umbrella will slow your landing, you won't fly like Mary Poppins.
14. I learned that chemistry experiments should be contained to testtubes and not conducted in the water in inundated basements. Parents don't tend to like 4 inches of blue water in their basements.
15. I know from experience that hanging plants do not make good swings. Neither do shower curtains.
16. My parents found me rather challenging to raise.
17. I'm very good at looking at the bright side of life and at laughing in the face of adversity.
18. People sometimes find my jokes inappropriate. Those people don't often see the bright side of life. Nor do they laugh in the face of adversity.
19. I think my children are hysterical and very talented. But a bit odd too.
20. I'm a wealth of knowledge about very random and mostly useless things. I love to share my useless information when possible.
21. I'm slightly (and silently) obsessed with counting and patterns.
22. I constantly jiggle my feet and toes when watching a film. And count how many times I do this. Hubby knows about the foot jiggling, but I haven't fessed up about the counting yet. I probably never will.
23. I'm completely clueless about how to use Facebook and thus never do. Many of you may have noticed this.
24. I'm only filling in my 25 random tidbit so that I can tag back all those who tagged me.
25. I'm so relieved to be done with my 25 random tidbits - but I still don't know how to tag others... Sigh.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When it rains....

....it pours. Or so the saying goes.

Apparently there is a reason for this saying, as it does seem to be true.

It all started Friday when little one fell and broke his collar bone. Contrary to popular belief, they are not all that flexible at this age and they don't always bounce back. That being the case, I spent the better half of the afternoon in A&E with my three children, I was glad to finally get back home by mid-evening. After a less-than splendid Friday, I was very much looking forward to our dinner out with friends on Saturday. Our regular babysitter arrived and we explained the situation with the 2 year old. Not a problem as he is studying physical therapy and is thus aware of precautions to take.

We left our children in his capable hands and headed out. Only to return a bit later than expected and find all three children STILL AWAKE! Not the sitter's fault. In fact, I actually felt rather bad for him. Little one was awake due to his shoulder and, I also suspect, due to having found a strange person in his house (as he's usually asleep when the sitter arrives). Our oldest was awake with a headache. And middle child was awake out of sibling solidarity.

It didn't take long for the oldest's headache to turn into a bellyache which was promptly diagnosed by my only-slightly-hypochondriac husband as the only thing it could possibly be: appendicitis. I tried in vain to reason with him that it was most likely just a virus, but he was insistent. Until I suggested he bring her to A&E at 2am and sit there with her as I flatly refused. I had done my tour of duty for the weekend as was staying snug at home this time. This helped him see the light and we tried to get some sleep after tucking everyone in and soothing those who needed soothing.

And then the vomiting began. All night. Completed by cries from our youngest being awakened stuck in a position he could no longer get himself out of due to his shoulder harness. It was a long, long night.

Things were quiet for a bit on Sunday morning as we all walked around in more of a zombie state than anything else. No sleep will do that to a family, you know. By early afternoon I was starting to feel a bit more at ease and let down my guard. A bit too hastily, I was soon to find out.

Middle child suddenly developed stomach pains. And then the vomiting began. Again.

I have to admit that Monday and Tuesday were pretty quiet days in hindsight. Nothing out of the ordinary really. And that's what makes you complacent. As a mother, you must always be on your guard. You must never become complacent for it's at those very moments when life strikes. It had happened in the days prior and it wasn't about to let up.

Today, life stuck again. Little one has the chicken pox.

So it's pouring at our house. Good thing I've got a good pair of Wellies.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Henry Hedgehog's Special Prize

It happens every month! The first days just sneak up on me and I'm completely lost and even more... I'm further and further behind.

I'll comfort myself with the fact that it's only the 3rd so not too too far behind at this point. Am I?

I'm just uploading this little cutie for you to have fun with this month. A little hedgehog and his big prize. I hope you enjoy him. I'll think I'll call him Henry as Henry seems to fit so well with Hermione, don't you think?

I'd love to hear your feedback and comments. Anything you'd like to embroider in particular? Let me know!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Louisa then Clara then Pippa!

A few name changes later and I'm happy to introduce you to Pippa!

Anyone who really knows me knows how important names are to me. My husband just shakes his head now when I spew name statistics at him. People who don't know me gape in amazement if they have the mischance of bringing up the subject. And so you may imagine that it was no easy task finding just that perfect name for my very first paper doll. A few posts ago she was Louisa. Then I thought that wasn't quite right and maybe Clara was a better fit. A bit more mulling over and a few more names tossed aside and I've finally come to the conclusion she's a Pippa.

I think it fits. And so here she is, all packaged up and ready to go. I've had such fun designing her, cutting out her clothing and then trying on all the outfits. In fact, the girls and I has a little Pippa fashion show this afternoon. What fun!

I'll be listing Pippa in my various shops so please do stop by. Pippa comes with several outfits for summer and winter, as well as her jammies and a lovely little nautical number, just because. She also comes with a template for making a carrying case for her and her accessories, complete with the ribbon needed to keep it closed when she's resting from all that play.

I hope your little ones will find as much pleasure in playing with her as I did in creating her.

Stay tuned to the Boulie Blog to meet Pippa's friend (who, by the way, has also had a name change) and maybe a few extra little treats to go along with them. I love giving out treats!