Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wedding signs and journal pages

One of the ladies I work with asked me to make some adorable sign's for her daughter's upcoming outdoor wedding.  They will be attached to pieces that are stuck in the ground and will point people towards the wedding and reception.  What a cute idea!!!

 I told her to send me some pictures after the wedding so we can see the finished product!!! They will be adorable!
 In other news, my on going journal obsession continues.  I don't know what it is about cute journals, but I want them.  I have such high hopes of filling them, but so far, my Sketchbook Project book is the only one that has ever been successfully finished!

...Despite that fact, I bought this little gem in Chicago!
 The graphics are so neat and have a vintage feel, and I've already completed some pages!!!
 ...notice how I'm talking about ANOTHER journal in my new journal!!! ...are there groups for this type of thing? ;)
 I've even used some of my new little stamps!!!

I hope y'all enjoyed Ann's post last week about the Handwritten Letter!  It was such a blessing to have her post, as I was kept very busy with some little preschoolers at Vacation Bible School. We did crafts all week and had a blast!!!  I just love those little guys, they're such a hoot!

I'm glad to be back, and I hope y'all had a great week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I have enjoyed my week of reminiscing with you on my love for the handwritten letter.  It comes easily to me and I have discovered over time that those who are passionate at heart and free themselves to share with others…have thus found their “gift”.  I have friends who sew like the wind and create beautiful wears and accessories.  Kelly can paint and create and I am still trying to figure out what size canvas to buy!  But I also believe that we all possess a bit of a gift in all areas and we soar when we allow ourselves to do so…without parameters restricted by what others will think or say, but with the joy of the gift that God has given us in His many promises to us.  So, I hope that someone might have read this rambling this week and become inspired or encouraged to share a handwritten note with someone who is dear to them, or a friend that needs kindness inside a .44 cent envelope, or just a note of love.
 I encourage the handwritten letter writer to include the most important information on the exterior of the envelope (yes, the recipient’s address is necessary, and the postal employees will appreciate a return as well), a flashy new sticker or cute stamp are always entertaining… but I suggest… write a verse from God’s Word or a favorite verse; something as simple as; “The Lord is my Shepherd.”  You never know whose eyes will fall upon those trustworthy and faithful words.  The Word of the Lord will stand forever and in letter writing there is nothing more essential and powerful than the Word of God.  I try to always include His Word inside and out of my letters, for truly, THAT is what will enrich the recipient the most and ultimately even the writer.  Refreshment comes from seeking and sharing…speck so!
Lastly, I encourage you to find a location for your writing.  That cozy comfy spot, where all of your “tools”, stationery, pens, addresses, stamps are together, but most certainly, a quite spot where you can nestle in and write without interruption.  Sometimes, I leave my desk and head for the great outdoors (presently, be cautioned to the extreme heat…for you do not want to melt!).  Just hearing the song birds sing as you script your handwritten letter, will bring solace to your own soul.  Wherever you settle, make it your spot.
The weekend is upon us.  There is free time in everyone’s busy schedule.  Take a few moments, think of someone….find some special paper….reach for a pen that brings you joy… chose your words thoughtfully and lovingly…search for a nugget of manna in God’s Word and wrap it around your handwritten note…and let someone stumble on a treasure when they head to the street corner with hopes of seeing that “You’ve Got Mail!”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Instrument and the Ink

As a child I received certain limits. No make-up until I was thirteen. No pierced ears until junior high. No stockings until I was twelve. One thing I distinctly recall from my years at Fall Creek Elementary… I could not wait until I reached 5th grade, for THEN, I would be able to write my assignments in fountain pen! Could life get any better? Legal handwriting with an ink pen! By 6th grade, my parents transferred me to a college prep girl’s school. The trendy uniform was gray! Drabness! No one would be graduating with an art degree from this “plain” institution…however…this was the 60’s and rebellion was the theme…hence, the gals who befriended me, influenced my wild streak and introduced me to a new drug for my Schaeffer fountain pen…
Peacock Blue Ink! I had died and gone to heaven! But, like most finds in junior high and high school, monotony wears thin, and soon my fountain pen and peacock blue ink, found its way to the back corner of my desk drawer…surely to be empathic with the Woody character in Toy Story.
By the time life fast forwarded to 2002 and the entire “special” paper incident, I began to search for that old fountain pen…but too many moves and “spring cleans” had caused its disappearance. I relocated my exact fountain pen; Sheaffer, at that, at a Staples Store…but blue and black inks were my only choices.
I must have talked about my beloved Peacock Blue Ink more than I realized or a more accurate assumption would be that I have a very attentive husband with a good listening ear. For Christmas 2003, I opened a small square box from my hubby. It had intrigued me as I usually make multiple scans for new gifts appearing closer to the 25th! When I opened my present…I was in shock! I was breathless! I said “where, where did you find these?” “On the internet” my husband replied. It had never occurred to this technically challenged gal to check such a source, but this gem of a man had bought me 5 boxes of peacock blue ink! It took me back in time…to fun…to a love…both of writing and a privilege…it was comfort in a Sheaffer ink cartridge box. I used this special ink on and off for the next several years…but then we moved and all of our “stuff” moved and got stored and moved again and then “stuff” finds a way to hide at times. Well, just a few months ago, I was rummaging thru my old dresser drawers and stumbled on a box…containing some old notes and then…my peacock ink! I currently have some fabulous fountain pens that I only use black ink in…but while in Wheaton, IL last week, Kel and I visited our “art” shop…and a must have purchase was a $5.78 Sheaffer fountain pen…just like the one from 5th grade.
Ink is important. Probably more so to the writer…but I find it an integral part to letter writing…speck so. The point I am trying to make is that from my experience… a joy in the handwritten letter is found in the instrument used and the ink that flows. As in most things in life, you must make the most of every moment or it will just “pass you by.” I believe there is a significance in peacock blue for me just as there is an incredible effervescence of thrill that comes to me when I pick up the fountain pen that my three daughters gifted me one year for mother’s day and the special pen that my parents gifted me because they purchased it from Dr. Whitney’s favorite store…the price of such a treat could equal that of a small mortgage payment! It IS the experience…it IS the story from within the heart that makes the letter “sing!”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hi!  I just had to make a quick note that is is my most favorite topic of this series!!!  For YEARS "special paper" has been a constant part of mom and my's vocabulary.  Besides being visually drawn to a gorgeous design, our second gut instinct is to feel the paper.  Yes, we're quite a site! :)  I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do!  
Now, back to Ann!
Hiddy Ho wRiting Rancheroos!
Paper… “Special” paper…stationery… on Wikipedia, the definition of stationery states that “historically stationery has meant a wide gamut of materials; paper and office supplies, writing, implements, greeting cards, glue, pencil case, etc.”  I LOVE the word gamut!  But paper has a huge importance to my handwritten note.  Sometimes, due to a crisis moment, I am forced to forgo the use of my number one criteria for a note, due to mismanagement of proper stationery inventory and my thoughts find their way scripted onto a handy dandy typical notecard…but the paper source for writing is interracially woven into the importance of the handwritten letter.
In the summer of 2002, our family traveled to Alaska for a most marvelous cruise.  An early side trip brought us to Victoria Island.  After an intriguing day on the Isle, we wandered the streets of quaint shops and explored an old bookstore.  Up to this point, paper had no uniqueness to me really, any old card or paper source would do…but that evening, in an old dilapidated bookstore…I spied it!  It was….”special” paper!  A sheet of soft yet textured piece of heaven, ivory in color with little delicate ladybugs and green leaves meticulously ornamenting that which I fell in love with at first glance,…it had to be mine!  I purchased two sheets and traveled with it for the next sixteen days, snuggled in my suitcase for the duration of the cruise.  I was very protective of my “special” paper and when it was gone…my obsession with such only escalated!  My search for that same texture and feel became finite back home in Alabama and it has never ceased.  I seem to not be able to tolerate just “any” paper…texture and feel is everything to this writer.
Kel and I just returned for our Chicago/Wisconsin trip and on the way home, we made a side tour to Shamburg, IL.  I was not looking for it…Kelly actually discovered it…”special” paper in the MOST unlikely find!  That is what makes it so very exciting to me.  I usually discover the stationery that I dream of most, in unexpected places.  I always wonder, as I write my notes and send them; do the recipients know that my heartbeat skips to not only the joy of sending them a handwritten letter, but the feverish fluttering of just the find of such a product, the touch, and the privilege to write them a note on that which I hold dear to my heart.
So, to all of you wRiting Rancheroos, some may make your own cards, others may just find true delight in a colorful design, but whatever floats your boat…I hope that the paper product becomes an essential part of your handwritten letter experience as much as it has become for myself, speck so. 
Do you have a special or favorite type of stationary?!  Feel free to share a link so the rest of us can check it out! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Art of the Handwritten Letter

As written by Ann :)

Kelly has been asking me for over a month to write a contribution on such a subject matter. My thoughts come from a passion deep within my heart, and thus I think this is what has drawn her to ask me to be “featured” on her blog; that, and her kindness, which runs as deep as her loving spirit and enthusiasm over anyone’s passion. So, here goes…

Why a “handwritten” letter? Technology has brought us so very far. Instantly we can communicate via internet and such the like. Spelling, as I have seen on facebook and email, does not really matter…the “close enough” theory seems to adapt well in such circumstances. Instant, immediate, spontaneous chattering…as long as it is brief, quick, and speedy to reach the “one” or many…it has become our way of life…and possibly…expectation. But a handwritten letter, done with fervency of my heart, is completely opposite of the descriptive words fore mentioned. It involves pondering, practice, penmanship, a dictionary, a thesaurus, compassion, and joy!

In my case, the following are essential for the handwritten letter; “special paper,” a fountain pen, and a beautiful ink. The passion for the letter encompasses an emotion to the receiver, an excitement over the thought of them loving the aspect of the note, the craze of the intentional selection of the feel of the stationery, and the zeal within the letter writer’s soul to explain the tender thoughts that lie within and the challenge to properly convey that message to the recipient.
Can the handwritten letter bring comfort, joy, kindness, enthusiasm? Can the note reveal a humble spirit but bring eloquence bestowed from the sender to the intended? I have found all to be true over the years, as I have made many first and second drafts to many notes and received a multitude that have brought life to my spirit and comforted me in many ways… I have saved numerous such treasures.

Framed is a note from my eldest daughter with an attached etching from my first grandson. Packed away in the attic is a humorous four page letter from my mother to me, scripted in the 1980’s when she and my father explored the region of Peru South America as she colorfully described their travels. A saved treasured letter from a lady I had never met is still in my possession. She lived in Tennessee and I had first written to her when I was eleven or twelve years old about goats. Goats?...what about goats? Well, that is another story for another day, but it is the paper she wrote on, the shaky hand that penned the words, the time she took to write to a young girl (a child, really) whom she never met and share the information I had requested in those young years of my life. I still enjoy today, re reading that which was saved from many years past.

The handwritten letter begins with a passion. It is a readiness to convey a thought, an emotion, an expression of the soul to the intended family member, friend, or in some cases, the perfect stranger. Words are powerful and can influence a mood or outcome of any situation. Letter writing has become my gift. I believe it was developed by my mother’s insistence to always respond in thankfulness by a handwritten note. My love for writing was encouraged by my father as he worked diligently with me in junior high to excel in composition class, by leading me to understand the importance of “rough drafts” and chosen and selected words. Here was my introduction to a thesaurus and a reminder…that I am spelling-ly challenged and hence, a dictionary is always a wise companion.

So, I end with the thought of passion…love for words and how they can be used for goodness. Ponder… think how you can increase someone’s joy just by pondering on some well thought upon words to encourage and delight their spirit! Savor the thought of the thoughtfulness of those words as you meditate and heart fully think of the one you are writing to. Seek out some “new” words to use in your letter writing. Finally, fast forward in your mind about five months…December is almost around the corner! Doesn’t your heart just skip a beat thinking about the mail…at Christmas time? The only month when cards and letters seem to outnumber the statements that meet you daily! Ha! You and I have the power thru the handwritten letter to produce that same excitement to others during the entire year! Until we meet again…God Bless.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meet Ann:

This is Ann.  She is more commonly known on my blog as "Mom." :)
See the resemblance?! Yeah, we get that a lot :)  I don't just get my dashing good looks from her, but a lot of my creative juices as well!!!  Although never "classically" trained, she has always created beautiful works of art from doodles and birthday party decorations, to her most recent work of The Sketchbook Project!  I asked her a while ago if she would be interested in guest blogging here at TGITHBG about her greatest talent, and since I will be doing VBS all week, this turned out to be the perfect time!!!

For those of you who have met my mom, you have also probably received a letter from her.  The Lord has blessed her with an extremely wonderful gift of writing.  Along with this, he bundled up encouragement, compassion, truth, and love.

All my life I have received loving notes hidden in my desk at school, lunch box, on my bed, attached to "happies," and later in life, in care boxes and in the mail.  She has a way of filling each note with the warmth of a hug and the comfort of The Word.  On many occasions I have watched people come up to her and thank her for the wonderful blessing that her note had sent them.  I don't think you understand.  It's a Big Deal to receive a letter from Ann.  People love them. Save them. Talk about them.  It's her thing.

And guess what?!  She's going to share it all with you!!!

This week, Ann (mom) will be featuring a week long series entitled
The Art of the Handwritten Letter 

Here's a little preview of what's to come!!!

"Why a “handwritten” letter?  Technology has brought us so very far... But a handwritten letter, done from within the passion of my heart, is completely opposite of the descriptive words for mentioned (brief, quick, speedy)... The handwritten letter begins with a passion.  It is a passion to convey a thought, an emotion, an expression of the soul to the intended family member, friend, or in some cases, the perfect stranger.  Words are powerful and can influence a mood or outcome of any situation."

Join us this week to dip into the "lost art" that holds so much treasure!!!  Have you ever received a letter from Ann?  Please comment and share with us!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sketchbook Weekend

 I returned home late last night after a magical trip to Chicago!!!  Our trip was extended a bit because my Grandma passed away.  All the guys met us up in Chicago, and we headed to Wisconsin to celebrate her life and soak up as much time as we could with family that we get to see way too little of.

We made some GREAT memories as we traveled to see our sketchbook, and here are some highlights!

 After we made it to our hotel, we explored some of the terrain not usually tredded on by the "Potter" clan.  As you can see here, we visited "the ocean."  Yes, that's what I called it.  Mom quickly corrected me that we were not look at the ocean, but in fact Lake Michigan.  ...I'm an artist, what do you expect ;)
 Our "ocean" walk led us to Navy Pier:
 Where we spent way too much money in Garrett's popcorn shop and the little Candy Shop next door! :D
 We left with bags full of food, orange fingers (from the popcorn), and sailed out on a canal architecture tour!
 We had never learned about the buildings before, so it was very interesting.  Unfortunately, the sun was fierce, and it honed in on mom's back, leaving a rather intense sunburn above her shirt line.  To add to it, we had to walk a LONG distance from the pier back up to Michigan Ave. in the blazing heat.  It took quite a toll on mom. :/  She heroically made it all the way to Gino's East where I barely got her to the second floor booth.  Thankfully, salad and some delicious pizza later, she was back to new :)
 We carved our moment in history into this little booth, documenting the historical Sketchbook Project Trip of 2011 that will undoubtedly resonate on the walls for all of time :)

That night we rested up, (I'm pretty sure I fell asleep around 8!) and the next morning, after a delicious breakfast at the Ritz Carleton Cafe of eggs benedict, we made it.  All together now: "Hallelujah Chorus!"
 I think I had been so busy preparing to leave and complete orders that I had fully prepared my self for this experience.  As soon as we walked in the door and saw the sign and the books, we both had a complete freak out!!! a good way!!!

We were HERE!!!! it was happening. to us. right now!!!  We could see all the books, and Caitlyn and Eliza, and Shane!  We felt like we knew them from all of our research of the Library, and it was all coming to fruition!!!
 Did you see all of the books?!!!  10,000 of them!!!!  Oh, the stories they held, and the time that was put into them.  10,000 people who were brave enough to commit themselves to paper to be permanently archived for all to see!!!  And we were going to get to see them!!!

Naturally, Mom checked out my book, and I checked out hers.  Then, from the pleathera of unique covers, we were allowed to choose 2 more to view *squeal!!!*  Mom picked the polka dot cover, and I chose the red cover for her :D
 I check out hers, and iHanna's, and a magnificently decorated black and white sketchbook.
 It was such a joy to see the books that we had spent SO many hours dwelling, working, and experimenting over...and others had now seen them too.  As we were looking, I experienced a great blessing.  A fellow viewer of the books walked by and complimented my book as mom was reading it!!!! She had no idea it was mine when she said something, but after viewing it herself, she told me that it was the best one she had seen so far!!!! (please note this is not me tooting my own horn, but rather documenting a wonderful experience that encouraged me as an artist)
 We were also blessed to meet Jo and her children Shibon and Ian.  They had started this project while their husband/dad was serving in Iraq to complete as a gift to him upon return.  He was so thrilled when he got home that he wanted to participate as well!!!!  Jo's sister even completed a book!!!  We just loved making this new friendship with such a sweet family :D
 As we were getting ready to leave, we got to talk to Shane, one of the founders of The Art House.  We loved hearing about how their dream for this project has grown in this last year.  It was all we could do to not say, "we're moving out there and becoming part of your team!"...or maybe we did say it ;)
This project has done so much for both of us this last year.
For me, it has been a creative outlet as I entered into motherhood.  I looked forward to working on pages during nap time, and used it as a bargaining chip for myself to do the dishes and laundry :)  It has also been a way for my mom and I to team up doing something fun!  I cherish my time with her, and we have had so much fun along the way!
For mom, it has been a leap of faith.  Although she does not claim to be an artist, she is.  She pushed herself through her sketchbook, experimenting and thriving along the way.  She doesn't always see it, but she has been developing her style through this experience.  Now that her book is done, she continues to be inspired and works in her newly made work space with gusto!

After having such an amazing experience at the exhibit, we both ordered our sketchbooks for next year!!!  I chose the theme "Folds and Stitches," and mom chose "Encyclopedia of."  I hope you will join us on this amazing journey!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And, we're off!!!

 It was just one short year ago that Mom and I received our sketchbooks for the Sketchbook Project 2011.  I was just a few weeks away from delivering T, who was nestled not-so-subtly in my ginormous belly, and I was so pumped to get my hands on this journal!!!
 Miraculously, we were both able to finish our sketchbooks by the January deadline, and have been anxiously awaiting our time to visit them on tour ever since!!!
Well, our time has come!!!  Mom and I are heading out tomorrow morning for Chi-Town!  I can't wait to see the 10,000 other sketchbooks involved in the project!!!

So, you probably won't be hearing from me until  next week.  BUT, if you also participated in the 2011 Sketchbook project, please let me know because I would LOVE to check out your sketchbook!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

weekend happenings

Thank you for everyone who entered the giveaway!!! Click here to see the winner!!!!
This weekend we started the first of what will be MANY birthday celebrations for T and his friends!!!  Lukey celebrated his 1st birthday on Saturday,  and we had a great time watching him enjoy his friends, presents, and cake! :)

Tucker wanted to give his something really special, so he made this growth chart!!!...I may have helped a bit ;)
 Luke's Dad, Adam, coaches football, and was thrilled with this gift!

 I've also been working on some projects for Courtney over at Klassical Keys!!! We met at my booth, and have become fast friends!!!  I'll give you more details in a while, but it was nice to work on some  mixed media again!!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Smash Book!!!

Happy Friday!!!  Although, in my world, all the days pretty much just run together, so everyday feels like the weekend :D  Lucky, I know :)

Anyways, I had to share this with you!!!  I entered a giveaway to win this today, and thought it was just one of the neatest things!  You know my love for journals, so of course I loved this!  It's called a Smash Book!!!

What is a Smash Book?!  Well, this is what they say:

The book comes in various themes, based on the color of the binding, in which the pages in side reflect it through gorgeous pages to get those creative juices flowing!  Awesome!!!  Blank white pages can be daunting...
And, it even comes with a pen/glue stick!  One side pen, one side glue stick!!!!  AMAZ!

Look at all of these neat pages to work on!!!!

So, you should really watch this video to see how it all works.  You'll want to buy one!!! You'll finally have a place to put all of those random "things and stuff" that you want to keep, but don't know what to do with.  Anyone else?...just me?!  mmmm-K!

They also have a great blog, which I'm sure I'll spend way too much time browsing through... :) with more videos, examples, and inspirations!!!

They have tons of additional accessories in their store, at beautifully cheap prices to make your Smash Book even cooler!!!!

Super neat, huh?!!!  Just had to share with my lovies!!!  Which one would you get?!  What would you put in it?!!!


Also, if you haven't entered my GIVEAWAY, do it now!!!  Remember, a clutch AND a surprise!!! I know, I'm so kind ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sock Monkey Babuskas!

You know how I love those Babushka dolls!  Oh, their little faces are just so cute!  They make me happy :D

Yesterday, I received a text from my mom who found these little guys!!!
HOW FUNNY!!!! I also love sock monkeys.  T's got a bunch in his room.  Again, something else that makes me happy :)  I think she found these at Target, so search for them if you're there! 

Oh, and have you entered my giveaway?!!!  Remember, you don't just get a clutch, you also get a SURPRISE!!!!  A double prize!!!  Tell your friends, shout it from the rooftops!!! :D

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Clutch Giveaway!!!

True Random Number Generator 11 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Congratulations, Jessica from Jessica & Josh
email me at and send me your address!!!

Hey, lovies!!!  Happy Hump Day!!!  Guess what?!  Right after the FFF, I reached 100 followers on my Facebook fan page, and have now jumped up to 113!!!  That is SO exciting, and warrants a giveaway, don't ya think?!

Me too! :D  So, here is my "gift" to one of my wonderful followers...
 This adorable fabric clutch!!!  It's about 14 in. long and approximately 10 inches tall (I'm eyeballing this, people!).
 Check out the adorable details.  That button alone is awesome!!! The fabric is so great, as well!!!  If you're in my line of duty, this is the most perfect "Mommy Pouch" to put in your diaper bag!  It's big enough for your wallet, phone, lipstick, and anything else your heart desires!!!
AND THIS ISN'T ALL!!!!  The winner of this giveaway will not only receive this awesome clutch, but you will also receive a SURPRISE...from MOI!!!!!

I know, a surprise!  I LOVE surprises, and hope you are the same!!!!  Any guesses as to what it is?!

So, how do you win this bad boy?!  I'll tell you:

1. Follow me on Facebook, and leave a comment telling me that you do (or already do)

2. Follow my blog, and leave a comment telling me that you do (or already do)

3. Post about this on your blog,  and leave a comment telling me that you did

4. Post about this on Facebook, and leave a comment telling me that you did

 *I would love to reach 100 followers on my blog, so help me get there! :D

The winner will be picked by on Monday morning!!!