mac attack

lately, i’ve become obsessed with all things macarons…  i am determined to learn how to make them…correctly & successfully 🙂  have been scouring the internet for the 411 on these delectably sweet french confections.  you might say that i’ve gotten “a big mac attack” wicked bad.  a week ago, i ordered a sampler box from… i received my goodies the other day, but was  disheartened to find that pretty much all my macarons were damaged…there were crumbs everywhere!  yes, i have contacted the company & told them all about it, even sent pix like this one: 

to express my disappointment and dissatisfaction.  i have not heard a response from them, suppose i never will.  but companies need to be told when their products arrive damaged & not as described…   and above all, how all  that simply is not acceptable… yadda yadda…

oh well, instead of getting my knickers all bunched up in a twist, i decided to make lemonade, so to speak.   i took what macarons i could salvage from the “wreckage” and set up a little still life that i could sketch and paint.  don’t get me wrong, the damaged macarons were still delicious.  heck, they should be!!!  omg,  after paying a premium for these rather high-priced french cookies, one tends to expect nothing but the best!  so, long story short, this is precisely why i want to learn how to make my own macarons… so i will never have to be crushed by, well, crushed  (& overpiced) macacrons again! 🙂

i guess the moral of my lil tale here: when the cookie crumbles, go ahead & enjoy the crumbs 🙂


summer pix highlights

i spent a good portion of my morning creating  a bunch of photo collages of our summer.  i can’t believe that for me, my summer vaykay is coming to an end…next week, (yes, already!) i return to work at the preschool.  thankfully, it’s only one school this year. i learned that taking on two different school districts was just too much stress! 

with the return of my school schedule,  i am hoping that i will be more diligent about upping my artwork productivity.  my online shops are in major need of an overhaul & i didn’t do much about that as i took a break this summer from that (among other things)…but hopefully things will be different when i get back on a more structured work schedule.   i have been keeping a mental list of things i need to get done to revamp my shops.  i hope starting back to school will force me to refocus & be sure to schedule in studio time on my days not at school.   

ok enough chit chatter,  sit back & relax, i’ve got a ton of collages coming at ya…enjoy & have a super week! xo mary ann
























my summer plans




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what i’ve been up to these first days of summah vaykay


it feels sooooooo good to be at home, doing my own thing on my own time & creating stuff in my jammies pretty near all day! 🙂  that’s how my summah vaykay is shaping up & i am LOVIN it! 🙂

my summah “uniform”, hehehe: apron & jammies!inpjs2


this month’s spc is SHOES…here’s me in my super comfy slippers, which i found not too long ago on my thrifting jaunts for a mere 49 cents. 


don’t i look like one happy camper?!  you betcha!! 🙂


i just finished this massive swap wip, the sweet sentiments tag book swap that i hosted here


ssts4my days lately are spent cutting, pasting, embellishing, stamping, glittering…  






(a baby shower card i made for a group of teacher friends to sign & give to a mutual teacher pal) 


(my itty bitty summer book wip that i started…)


pretty much creating with abandon. & i am not even complaining!  hehehe…didn’t someone famous say that if you are having fun & enjoying what you do, then it is not work?  well, that’ how i feel these days.


i’m planning to use these sweet fabric scraps that i got recently from here in my other tag book swap, christmas in july (which btw there are 6 spots left before we HAVE reached our 20 participant max as of 6/18/09). 


have you seen dear lisa‘s piddlestix zine?  i’ve been meaning to mention this…she did a lil write-up about the itty bitty book club.  thank you so much lisa for the plug!  xoxo


speaking of itty bitty books, i’ve also been working on the itty bitty vintage tea cup books.  they were due last wednesday, june 10th.  there are a couple fo teacup pages still outstanding, but it’s just as well, beacuse i’ve got my hands pretty full these days (not complaining, mind you.  just saying…)


from what i can tell, these books are going to be A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!


oh yes, i finally got around to taking pix of those large-ish finds that i snapped up in last month’s antique flea opener here>>>


they’ve been sitting in the garage…i’ve already found homes for them, yay!ff61209b

this went on the front porch…


this sweet tier went into our guestroom/office (which i currently am re-doing…pix to follow)…


the white whicker shelf went to my lil shop at the antique barn, while the wood trim are awaiting alteration in the studio…


the pale sagey green moulding will be mounted on our bedroom wall, hopefully soon…

i haven’t just been homebound entirely my 1st days of summer vacation…i did venture out to go to my yoga class & then to the farmer’s market another day…


this is my fave barn, which is not far from the house.  i pass this barn every time i make my way to my yoga class.  it is on a back road that i take & seeing it always makes me smile.  i just love all those windows…i’m thinking, wouldn’t that make an amazing studio space or what.  but cows live in there.  pretty fancy digs if you asked me!

go1 aren’t the clouds & blue sky so quintessentially SUMMER? 


after my yoga class, i went to a local resale shop & boy, was i ever glad that i stopped in.  i found some wicked good deals & look at all this stuff i snatched up for under $25!!










i especially love this vintage ribbon (in my color palette too!), it was only 75 cents!  i bet there are  75 yards of it or maybe more on this roll.  sah-weet!  so many possibilities…


i also found these sweet martha stewart napkins that i thought i could use for paper whimsy‘s altered napkin tag swap.  i’ve got to get to this wip soon as they are due 6/20…eek!

last saturday, i went to the farmer’s market & bought some cut flowers. 



they just looked like summer to me.  i actually have these same flowers, daisies, cornflower & sweet williams, but they are still coming up…they haven’t yet bloomed in my garden.  idk what’s taking them so long…

anyway, i stopped by my friend cj‘s shop, annabelle’s.


i spotted this wicked darlin’ birdie tuteur.  you know me & birdies…i am such a softie, hehehe.  i thought it would come in handy next time i am doing an art fair.  i can use this to hang tags, small packages or even some handmade jewelry.  plus it makes a nice decorative statement.     


after the farmer’s market, i scooted down the road to the stateline flea market.  i found some sweet things…



i thought with these spools of patriotic ribbon, i could fashion some badges & bows. 


another weakness of mine…vintage buttons!  i snap them up whenever i can, esp. if they are a good price as these were.  they reminded me of these lil flags i found hidden in the coat closet.  pretty soon, i will be decorating the fron porch with these.

fmfj aren’t these too cute for words?  i found them at my local scrap n stamp store.   fmfg

& these, i found herefmfh

they sure will come in handy for those teacup books! 🙂


yep, that’s how it’s been so far.  & i wouldn’t have it any other way!

switching gears


just one more day of school next week & i will be taking off my speech therapist hat & (with great pleasure) putting on my artist cap.   nearly 3 months of  school-free BLISS, oh yeah!!


will be busy working on some custom orders & other art wips this weekend which is fine because the weather forecasted is rain for the next couple of days.

the other day, i received my fab tag book from jenny‘s majestic feathers swap.  isn’t it just wonderful?

mfts1 here’s my page…


i am such a sucker for birds, hehehe.  i’m participating in danielle‘s birdsong collage swap.  luckily, it’s not due until the end of the month.  it is on my to-do list.  

currently, i am working on this paper napkin tag swap hosted in the paper whimsy group.   we’re supposed to incorporate a paper napkin of our choosing as we alter shipping tags, which as some of you may know, i have like a bazillion, lol.  i only have to make 12, plus we have to incorporate a paper whimsy image & element from the pw shoppe. 


these napkins are actually ones i still had left from our wedding reception…we had a outdoor garden party.  i figured that the chance of anyone else in the swap having the same napkin was pretty slim.  so i thought these would be good to use.  when i am done making my taggies, i’ll be sure to show pix. 

this morning, i finished making this art shrine for my partner, tami r.  it’s for another paper whimsy swap that i joined recently.  the twist to this particular swap is that we take an art canvas & actually alter the back. interesting concept, right?  i never would have thought to do that in a million years, but the little niche in the back makes a perfect little shadow box.  what an opportunity to explore…


4tr3  the girl image and the pink floral foil trim are from the paper whimsy shoppe.


here’s the front of the 6×6 canvas that i used.    i think i rather like this idea of flipping the canvas & altering the backsides.  hmmm, i just might have to make more of these…

a while ago, while perusing on ebay, i came across a couple of shops that made custom signs.  the one at the beginning of the post & below are ones i had made with my motto: 


the handpainted roses one will be used for when i do art shows and the other, the one in my fave robin’s egg blue, will go in my studio.  well,  actually, second studio.  i have been thinking about converting the large closet in our guest bedroom/office into another studio.  that’s also on my to-do list this summer.  it’s more like a huge linen/junk closet than a wardrobe, so the little grey cells, they got to turning & well, i’m thinking wouldn’t this space make a nice studio space?   i’ve got some serious purging to do this summer…sigh all in due time.  all in due time.

ok, it’s back to more arting… ain’t life grand? xo mary ann

never ending BUSY


(a shot of one of my many beared irises, just after a light rain shower)

only 2 more therapy sessions left at the preschool & only 3 more therapy days at the elementary school…WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! 🙂

you have no any idea how much i want the school year to end…it’s been a l000000ong year, mostly at the elementary school.  so much freakin’ DRAMA there that it was ridiculous.  my word!  i simply cannot wait to be finally FREE.

i swear i am going to look for that twisted sister tune on you tube (“school’s out for the summer!!”) & post it somehow on my bloggy.  that will be my anthem this summer, hahaha!


(i came across these gorgeous poppies on my way home from school yesterday…the brilliant red & green just struck me…& i love poppies)


in addition to end of the year school busyness, i’ve been also working on completing some wips, like these atcs for the ancestor atc swap hosted by these gals.  the above is a “thank you” atc for hosting the swap.   rlaas1

i’ve been so engrossed with all things itty bitty, that i thought it was time to change things up a bit & venture outside my itty bitty world every once in awhile, hehehe.  i really believe that participating in a variety of artsy swaps or challenges do help to fuel your creativity & also give you opportunity to flex your creative muscles. 


the deadline for my sweet sentiment tag swap is fast approaching (JUNE 1st) & i have been making extra sets of taggies just in case… 


i’m kinda worried that some peeps may have dropped out & hadn’t for whatever reason given me a heads up. 😦

so lately, i’ve been finding snatches of time to whip up some extra tags whenever i can.  i’m being proactive, let’s just say.  & if i end up having a surplus, well then, i can always put them up in my etsy shop or something…


i also have been working on my itty bitty teacup book.  i did a trial run thru the binding machine to see how the book would look.  omg, how wicked adorable, if i do say so myself.  i extended the deadline to JUNE 10th due to some rather earnest requests to do so.  so i gladly obliged. 🙂 


during this past week, i got some mail love…always LOVE that, hehehe!  i’m participating in paper whimsy‘s “flipped art canvas” swap. i haven’t yet got to my project, but i did receive this beautifully flipped canvas from my partner, chris aka deedee (the early bird that she is as the deadline isn’t until june 10th!).  thank you so much chris, i simply adore it.  i plan on working on mine for my partner, tami r. sometime next week. 


i mentioned that i participated in ele‘s sweet tweet swap?  these are what i sent my partner, valerie d.  she loves to collect vintage recipe books & on one of my antiquing jaunts, i found a few that i thought might be of interest to her.  she also mentioned that she loves orbit’s sweet mint gum & i got that for her as well.  for ele’s swap, we were supposed to include a birdie-related giftie along with one handmade item (my fabric tussie mussie) and a sweet treat (the orbit gum). 


since we learned that we were paired up, valerie & i have been emailing one another & learning so many fun things.  i think we are kindred spirits, yay!  it’s always so much nicer when you make a really nice connection…a really nice by-product of swaps. 🙂

& omg, valerie went nuts n bolts with my swap package>>>


she totally SPOILT me!!!!  i love everything that she so thoughtfully & also generously sent my way.  everything was so prettily wrapped, i hated to tear into them.  she & i actually called each other up on the phone & opened our swap packages at the same time, hehehe!  it was great fun getting to talk to her in real time.  🙂

okay, i think i posted what i wanted to post on the bloggy.  now i have to get myself ready to hit the road.  i’m off to chi-town today as my sis & i are going to meet up with my pal cj for country living‘s women entrepreneur event.  it’s going to be held at navy pier, how exciting!

then on sunday, hubby & i are going to airfest, a local airshow in town.  the blue angels are headlining the show.  all week, both here at home & at school, we’ve been hearing the jets come whizzing by at lightening speed. 

oh boy, never any rest for the weary…it’s go, go, go this weekend!

i’ll be back with the full scoop of my adventures.  until then, have an awesome weekend! 🙂 xoxo mary ann

just tagging along


wiley, the youngest ginger kitty in our tribe, was very curious while i was busy working on jenny‘s


like wiley, i am just batty (or is it birdie?) over anything aviary-related.  so when jenny’s swap came up, i just couldn’t resist (as crazy busy & under the weather as i have been)…so i set out to create 12 tags using a bird & crown theme.  in return, i will be getting a book of tags created by other bird-loving peeps.



the birdie and crown images were from collage sheets that i got from the uber talented patty.  the rest were from my stash of miscellaneous papers and various other fripperie. 


& this little number was my extra tag that i sent along as my thank you to jenny (who is expecting very soon!) props to her for hosting!!mbs3

after about a week of eating soup and drinking oj & gingerale (sometimes together for my “mock” mimosas, haha!), i finally had appetite for more solid food (albeit, junk food from the local chicago-style deli place, hehehe).  hubby did the deli run and after we ate our delish grub, little patches jumped in the box…fratchinthebox1

looking at us as if she were saying, hey what about me?!fratchinthebox2

the dh wanted me to take a bunch snaps of her looking so cute in the box.  (AND not to mention, insisted i post the pix on the bloggy).fratchinthebox3

not long after this impromptu photo session with patches, i couldn’t stop making MORE (hehehe) teacup pagesmoretcups1_edited-1

for the itty bitty teacup book swap that i’m currently hosting over in the fyb ning group.   (tcup pages due JUNE 5th)ibvtcupbadge3aanyone who knows me, knows that i go nuts over all things TEA. my lil brain simply went into overload, brimming with non-stop ideas for pages.  like a marie-inspired one…moretcups2

i used the scraps that i had left over from that marie collage that i posted awhile ago…

then i got this darlin’ image from here not too long ago & just had to use it!moretcups3

& then i found in my stash, this sweet image from here & i couldn’t NOT include it either!moretcups4

& then lucky me, found this flapper-inspired gem on ebay recently…i knew i just had to have it included in the book as well.moretcups5

see, i told you, i went a little TEA crazy with my pages…but you do not understand, i LOVE TEA! hehehe…  i could keep making more and more and more tea pages if i wanted, you know.  hmmm, that might be a nice idea for a personal art project…


TODAY, i got crack-a-lacking on my set of tags for the tag book swap i’m hosting:

3341304196_35cf399d37_o the tags are due JUNE 1st!


we have 45 peeps participating and i divided them into three smaller groups.  i am in GROUP III.ssts2

first i took a bunch of shipping tags & dumped them into a baking dish filled with HOT raspberry tea.  i thought that it would be a neat way to add color to the otherwise plain beige-y tags.  ssts3

then i took some pink pearlescent liquid acrylic paint & brushed it on all the tag fronts.  i thought it would give them a wonderful sheen. 🙂

after all that pearly paint dried, i went nuts n bolts with all the paper ephemera & other bits n bobs that i had at my disposal.  et voila, sweet sentiment tags!ssts4

i have a bunch more tags that i tea-stained and then painted.  i had such fun creating these pretties that i just might  make some more, lol!

hope you had a wonderful mother’s day weekend!

i know i did completing all these lovelies.

until nextime, have a super week!

xo mary ann