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Saturday, December 31, 2011

BIG News! And About Dreams Coming True...

Licensing: the owner of a copyright, trademark, intellectual property etc. (defined as 'licensor') allows under written contract, another party (the 'licensee') to make, use and sell copies of the original.

As we are starting over with a new year, I'd love to begin it unfolding some really wonderful, exciting new opportunities I've been given.
I told you there was so much in the works over here, and I was very busy. The fact is, I signed on with Linda Mc Donald Inc. (will tell you about how wonderful she is later on!), and this means I am ready to finally license my work!... So in the future, you might bump into a greeting card, journal, gift bag, bookmark, fabric line, travel mug etc. etc. with one of my designs onto it!
This is THE job I've been dreaming of taking up forever!!!!! Even before I even knew what 'licensing' was...

All happened like magic and very quickly... when I committed to stop blocking the energy of the Universe with my fears... when I said a loud, profound YES to what was calling me deeply. Even if I myself thought I was crazy to even think that could be possible. A simple italian girl, taking up a career as professional artist? With an american agent? Hey, people are going to laugh at you, I kept telling me.
On my Illustrated Discovery Journal, I already showed here on my blog before, these images kept making their appearance, though... I've been a fan of these women forever!! I remember my teen years when I collected money in my piggy bank to be able to buy books, cards and journals illustrated by Marjolein.

Looking at them right now, all seems so surreal to me... I knew, and I didn't at the same time.

It really took me quite a while, and totally hard work to finally let my fears go and feel I was ready.
And when I finally have been, after years (yep, years!) of spiritual work and with a recovered, greater faith, all happened like magic. The agent I signed with is THE agent I've been dreaming of having to represent me since the moment when I understood THIS was what I was meant to do, years ago. When I hadn't the barest idea of how-to, practically, but that small voice was continually whispering me to walk on this path. I cannot tell you how good I feel knowing that it meant to happen... and that this is God's plan for me.
Hence, what I can say from my humble experience is that DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE! So hold. on. to. yours!!!

"Opportunity never arrives. It's here!"

Monica x

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Look Back at 2011.

Hey there dear friends and readers! Cannot believe we're ready to say farewell to 2011, can you? This year, for me, has just flown by!
As usual, I like to write this 'look back' as my last post of the year.

In January, precisely on the very first day of the month, I finished Janvier, one of my Well Loved teddies, wearing the symbol of a new home for us in a new Country. My white bookcovers made their appearance in an article in Somerset Life, together with a few of my shots in the Miscellany section of the magazine.

In February, we moved from our home to a temporary address, and put all of our belongings in storage. My hubby gave me a new laptop to be able to survive the move, and I created for him pretty boxes as Valentines. My woolen scarves were published in Green Craft Magazine, and it has been the first time ever one of my creations was modeled!

In March I started to de- stress after more than 6 months of packaging and bureaucracy, slept an awful lot, and started to deeply feel the call to paint once again. I celebrated my birthday, and out of the blue found out I had to have surgery on my left hand in May.

In April, I had the great joy of having the transplanted peonies from my garden blooming!
My rosette bouquet, a photo-tutorial and other pictures were published in Somerset Life. April has definitely been growing time for me.

In May, I finally had surgery to fix Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my left hand too, after I had it fixed in the other hand four years ago. May has been a time of rest and reflection, as I couldn't do a single thing and had to excercise my hand more than two hours per day.
My Bear Doll Pincushions were published in Art Doll Quarterly, and my denim bib necklace and cuff bracelet in Altered Couture (... and modeled once again!).

The month of June was full of beauty, flowers and colors. I found gorgeous treasures at the antique market and visited Lake Como, where I used to live.

In July I made good use of a vintage train case I had bought at the thrift shop, making a portable studio out of it. My coffee filter roses with a vintage patina were published in Somerset Life. For those interested in making them, a free tutorial is available on my blog here.

All over August, I continued to answer my call... One of my projects was in Green Craft Magazine once again, and I made inspiration stones. I had fun playing with my camera to capture beauty and colors around me.
I felt so very blessed that I needed to fix those feelings on canvas... didn't perceive any sort of lack in my life, but only Abundance.

In September, I finally shared the long- awaited tutorial to make coffee filter roses and another one to make felted acorns. I was published again (gosh, by now you'll be bored stiff to hear...;)), and enjoyed some little pleasures. I welcomed Autumn with a new look for my blog.

October was filled with wonderful colors outside and deep into my heart. I found one gorgeous, vintage, plaid suitcase that I love. My interview as a 'Pro' was published in Somerset Apprentice, and I painted several mixed media canvases. I felt really very inspired!

In November, my creative biz took flight (will tell you my news in my next post- sorry I had to write this farewell to 2011 first!) and my priorities shifted, but I found the time for going antiquing, cozying up in front of the fire and decorating. I roasted chestnuts and spent quality time with my family. Painted several new canvases with butterflies and affirmation girls. I made new woolen scarves, and made- over a thrifted mannequin. Finally had the chance to see my feature in Romantic Homes.

The month of December brought me joy joy joy, excitement and new inspiration, some Christmas cards from blog friends, and endless hours painting! I sewed a coat for Kim, started a Biz Gratitude Book, crocheted a bit and treated me to some yummy magazines. I shared my crafty snowmen at Design Dazzle, quick wrapping ideas, a recipe, and pretty, easy projects here and here. I also asked you about your 'creative' decorations, and you have been so nice to share your experience and thoughts with me/my readers... Thank you!

Thank you also for another wonderful year of blog friendship, help, support, tears, laughing, creativity, sweet comments and emails, inspiring ideas! Let's toast to another one, filled of joy, love and peace of mind for everyone!
Happy New Year!
Monica xoxo

Monday, December 26, 2011

Homemade Lanterns.

Just take some glass jars and a few other supplies... then put lit tea lights into them and hang on bare branches...

Hope you had a fabulous Christmas day!
Monica x

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

... Do You Get It???

I know you DO! :))
It takes a creative soul to understand...

Have you ever witnessed funny reactions from guests or family members visiting your home, when they see your creative decorations, spaces or stuff?

I have ;) Shocked expressions indeed... someone even 'tried' to understand... but obviously thought I was completely crazy!!

Thank goodness for Blogland and you all, kindred spirits! What a creative girl would do without you???LOL. By the way, Johanna looks very happy in her festive attire!

Will pop in after Christmas to share my big news with you all, to prepare to say farewell to 2011 and greet 2012 with newly found inspiration and energy.
In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful, merry Christmas. May you always feel its true Spirit, forever and ever.
Monica xoxo

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cinnamon Palm Cookies.

This is my own recipe for palm cookies. I don't use salt and I like to add cinnamon when I prepare them for Christmas.


One sheet puff pastry for about 15 cookies
3 spoons each of Demerara sugar, white granulated sugar
Silver dragees (optional, these have been banned from California and somewhere considered inedible, but they're still sold and used here)


Preheat the oven ( 180°C/350F).
Combine sugars, and spread evenly on the puff pastry. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Roll the pastry toward the centre, until you have two rolls meeting in the very centre of the dough rectangle. Cut into slices.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar and silver dragees (please note that these are very hard, so not suitable for elderly people or young children).

Bake until caramelized (about 15 minutes in my oven, but it depends. Check them often).

Monica x

Friday, December 16, 2011

Found Beauty #8- Christmas Cards.

There is something beautiful in receiving Christmas cards... one of the most delightful simple pleasures of the Season! Those colored envelopes you recognize at first sight in the mailbox... Someone thought of YOU at this special time of year and took the time to send along their words of friendship and love!
When they are glittered and artistically wrapped in ribbon (as this one I have just received from a friend) well, delight is more than doubled.

Monica x

Thursday, December 15, 2011

5 Quick Gift-Wrapping Ideas.

Just popped in to say hello!
I thought I'd show a few simple and creative ideas to wrap up your presents in seconds, if you haven't yet.
1. Newspaper, Burlap and Twine:

Wrap up the present in newspaper, burlap ribbon and twine, hot glue pinecones down, add a simple coordinated tag, and you're done!
Check my article "Wrapped Up in the News" in the upcoming issue of Somerset Life for more ideas to gift-wrap using newspaper.

2. Fabric and Scrap Wreaths:

Use fabric instead of paper, and top with a little wreath made with wool and fabric leftovers.

3. Sheet Music (or ledger or book paper) and Ribbon Roses:

Cover a box entirely or wrap- up your gift in old paper. Then top with a gorgeous ribbon rose (my free tutorial here). Make a Christmas tag instead of the Paris-inspired one shown above.

4. Vintage Pattern Paper, Doily and Glittered Birdie:

As easy as A, B, C! Use Divine Twine in a color of your choice and add a rusty, old key and a glittered bird. A fresh fir tree twig would be a great, and divinely scented, addition.

5. Pattern Paper, Doily and Wish Ticket:

Add greenery or/and a bell for a Christmas-sy touch.

Monica x.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Snowmen.

Hello everyone!
Toni over at Design Dazzle gave me permission to share this post I wrote for 100 Ideas of Christmas Wonderful here on my blog, too.
To make my snowmen, I used crumpled tissue paper, glue and then gesso, to make the styrofoam balls look like actual papier machè (a technique of my own).

They have funny sheet music hats, embellished with vintage lace, wool and remnants of all kind, plus sweet rusty snowflakes and bells. I adooore that cheery jingle jingle!
To make the hats, just adhere sheet music on cardboard with paper glue, cut out a triangle, make a cone, and staple it to secure on the rear. Then finish off with lace, remnants etc and put on the head of your snowmen using hot glue.

To make these chaps perfectly wintr-y, I also incorporated wool yarn and scraps of mohair left from my handmade bears into their collars and to finish the hats off.

My snowmen's noses are made with little tree branches, sharpened and inserted in the styrofoam balls. You can add one or two bigger ones under the head to create the bodies, and insert bare branches as arms. Paint happy faces with acrylics and finally, a generous sprinkle of clear glitter to make them sparkle!

... And voilà! Ready to spread Christmas cheer!!

... Happy crafting and enjoy the countdown to Christmas!!
Monica x

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Book a Month-#1 "Merry and Bright".

I share with many of you the love for books. Not only those torn and worn with tattered pages...;) As I had announced last year, I wanted to start to show you some of those I have on my bookshelves, so they might be of inspiration for you too, as they are for me. Almost the totality of them are second hand books, I purchased on Amazon over the years.
I'm starting today with this, from the editors of Country Living (US Edition), which truly is one of my favorites!

If you love the style of Terry John Woods as I do, you could easily recognize some of the pictures here, taken from his own book "New Farmhouse Style", I'll show next month.

Fabulous trees, stunning decor, tablesettings and overall magic throughout the pages of "Merry and Bright"...

My, I so love that bedroom!

An original, handmade Santa and neat display in a cupboard.

And lots of cute, simple craft ideas to easily reproduce.

This book is quite a gorgeous addition to your personal library, to refer over and over again for inspiration! Thanks to Brenda who mentioned she owned it too in the comment section. You definitely persuaded me to finally start this 'One Book a Month' series of posts!

Country Living. "Merry and Bright". 301 festive ideas for celebrating Christmas. Hearst Books.

Hope your week is off to a great start!
Monica x