Thursday, December 28, 2006

christmas recap

we're slowly recouperating from christmas here. what a whirlwind! here's a photo recap of some great moments.

the little dude "helping" daddy vacuum for christmas.

the little dude in his christmas best!

the little dude listening to his new ipod shuffle.

traveling in style!

the morning after christmas. discovering the train that mommy and daddy had set up overnight. (the new thomas the train that is suposed to "steam". a gift from his aunt and uncle. it's not as great as the commercials show. is it ever?)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

christmas cookies & houses

on sunday we "made" cookies with the little dude. since both the hubby and i are working on our waistlines, we didn't want to make a ton of real cookies, so we just bought the little kit at the store that has 12 cookies so he would have the experience. they included "stickers" that you put on after frosting, which were perfect since the little dude is obsessed with stickers right now. here's a photo of the finished product after the little dude "stickered" them. he was so excited about them.

next we made graham cracker houses (as seen on martha). this was so super easy and fun. so quick since you don't have to bake anything, but instead use graham crackers for the house. the little dude had a lot of fun making these too. above is a picture of one of the houses.

and here's the mess that accompanied the food crafting!

Monday, December 18, 2006

all work, no play

i feel like my blog has been all work and no play lately. boring, boring, boring.

i was recently tagged over at punkin' pie productions to list 6 weird things about myself that you may not know. i've been thinking, and thinking. i can't come up with anything good. i think i'm pretty normal and boring, so i decided to just do 6 things about myself that you may not know. (maybe you'll think their weird) in no particular order....

1. i am a complete control freak. really, really bad control freak. i can't trust anyone to do anything at anytime, so i end up doing everything myself....often times leading to major work overload.

2. i hate, i mean despise, green peppers. i like jalapenos and other types of peppers, but bell peppers disgust me.

3. i don't drink coffee. i think i'm one of the only people left on the face of the planet that doesn't drink coffee. in fact, the smell of it makes me sick.

4. i was a major tomboy growing up. (still kinda am) we grew up in the country, so we only really had 1 neighbor, and he was a boy. so i had my brother and one boy neighbor....and they weren't playing barbies.

5. although i don't generally like tomatoes, i love cubes of them piled high on bruschetta.

6. i was married outside at an art gallery, in a garden, by a judge. (much to the dismay of my catholic family)

there you have it. 6 things about me that you hopefully didn't already know.

Friday, December 15, 2006

new designs. big deals!

we are super excited to introduce our new birthday and special occasion designs!
for a limited time, buy any 2 cards marked as "new" and get 1 card of your choice FREE! just enter code: FREECARD at checkout. hurry, offer ends 01-31-07!

check out our new birthday designs here
check out our new special occasion designs here

people have been asking us for YEARS to introduce flat enclosure cards with our current illustrations. well, we couldn't put it off any longer. when we started, we figured if we were going to do it, we better do it right, so we're introducing 24 designs at once! we hope you love them as much as we loved putting them together!
because you're a newsletter subscriber, we're offering a special deal....only to you! buy 3 new enclosure designs and get 1 of your choice free! just enter the free card of your choice in the comment secion of your order.

check out our new flat gift enclosure designs here

with all the new products moving in, it's time for us to clean house!
we're discontinuing 37 of our designs and they've been majorly discounted on our website. right now, you can get cards valued at $5.00 each for only $2.00! yup, that's right....60% off our regular prices! we're eager to move them out and make room for all the new! get them while you can, because, when they're gone....they're gone. we have anywhere from 8 - 50 cards of each style available...depends on the style. so hurry up and check them out.

check out our discounted designs here

Monday, December 11, 2006

tis the season

for features! check out all the recent features & mentions of marzipan inc./shades of violet

+ december 9 2006 + read the article in the seattle times newspaper which mentions our gift tags

+ december 4 2006 + see our gift tag mention on paper crave

+ november 30 2006 + see our mention on the mobs (mother's of boys) lounge

+ november 27 2006 + see our awesome feature on the mixed plate blog

+ november 27 2006 + see our spotlight on modish

+ november 27 2006 + see our holiday card feature on the indie fixx blog

Thursday, December 07, 2006


for weeks before "the birthday", the hubby and i must have spelled that word out 50 times in front of the little dude. we had been "test driving" bikes every time we went to our local chain stores, and every time it was torture tearing the little dude away from them.

so, for his birthday, he got his wish. a b.i.k.e.

behold....THE bike.

note the special monkey outfit picked out specifically for the curious george party. and of course, the small stuffed george that must, must, must be in the bike's basket in order to ride it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

happy birthday sweet boy

it's so hard to believe that two years have already come and gone. not a day goes by where we are not amazed at the things you do or say. we love your cute shy ways and the silly things you do when nobody is watching. watching you clap and head-bang to the music in the car today was such a great moment. you certainly are quite the character. i love the way you say your favorite words and how we have to work to decipher them. here are some of my recent favorites:
alpadet = alphabet
go-ga = go dog go
pancake = pocket
blah blee = blanket
nose = snow

just remember, even though you are no longer considered a baby, you will always be mine. i love you forever.

Monday, November 27, 2006

holiday features

i've been away way too long. sorry, it's been crazy hectic around here and with the holiday season upon us, it just gets crazier!

below are a few places that shades of violet has been featured for the holiday season. go check them out and order up some holiday cards.

p.s our boxed holiday cards are now 20% off! plus, we're offering free shipping. (just check the homepage for the coupon code!!)

our holiday gift tags on the cool mom picks holiday gift guide

see our holiday thank you notes on the mixed plate holiday gift guide

Friday, November 10, 2006

childhood flat notes

the new designs i mentioned a few posts back are officially here!

we are super excited to introduce our new childhood flat notes! these flat notes feature illustrations straight out of your childhood, and are perfect for every age! the front of the flat notes features a childhood object, writing lines, and a colored pattern that is then carried over onto the back. the cardstock is both beautiful and sturdy.

grab a bunch now for stocking stuffers! don't forget your kid's teachers, day care providers, and friends. these notes are truly perfect for any age.

check all 10 designs out here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

happy birthday hubby!

happy birthday honey! hope it's a year filled with joy and excitement!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

the new obsession

we have a huge new obsession at our house. or i should say, the little dude has a a huge new obsession. just as i finished putting together his curious george birthday invites, he decides his new favorite cartoon is handy manny. now, i must admit, handy manny is pretty darned cute, but i knew this was going to happen! i spend all this time drawing up a cute little invite for him and he goes and changes his mind on me! oh well. he's going to like curious george if he likes it or not! i'm sure he'll change his mind when he sees all the monkey themed items at the party! here's a sneak peak at the invite:

Friday, October 27, 2006

remember when?

remember waaaaay back in january when i made a gigantic list of goals for the year?

remember that one crazy goal of losing 10 pounds?

yeah, well. i knew it was a long shot. 10 pounds is a lot, especially when you're a buzy mamma. i did really well from january until may. but when the national stationery show hit, it all kind of fell apart.

so, being bound and determined not to let that goal slip away without a good solid try, i've been working the last two months or so on trying to eat less and exercise more. i still don't feel like i have the time and/or motivation to go to the gym, but lately i have been walking with a few friends about twice a week. (better than nothing i guess)

for all my work over the last two months, the scale rewarded me yesterday! it's not 10 pounds, but i officially hit the 5 pound mark! considering how much i've done, i'm very happy with this. it's actually kind of funny. i feel like i'm doing way less than i've done in the past, but i'm losing more. maybe it's because i'm really trying to focus on how much i eat instead of how long i work out.

i don't even feel like i'm sacrificing much. i've found that it doesn't matter so much what i eat, but instead, how much i'm eating. so, if i feel like ice cream, i have it. just less than before, and maybe less for dinner to make up for it. i'm trying to be more aware of how much i'm eating instead of just finishing everything that's sitting in front of me. so basically being more conscious of what's going in my mouth.

and my "hot jeans" (as my hubby likes to call them) are becoming more like my baggy jeans! it's pretty cool what 5 pounds can do!

now to keep it up!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

dancing with my baby

to my baby…

i wanted to record this memory because it’s one that i never want to forget.

when i went to tuck you into bed last night, i asked for my hugs and kisses as usual. you hugged me and cuddled so nicely that i decided we should dance. so we danced around your room with your head on my shoulder while i sang my “dancing with my baby” song. over and over i sang my song, and we danced. when i was ready to put you down i asked if you were ready and you said “no. dancing!”, so we danced some more. we stopped again. i asked again. you said “no. baby!” so we danced again. over and over this went. how could i say no to my cuddling baby boy? finally after many dances, i convinced you to lay down and go to sleep.

tonight, i promised that we would dance again. so, of course, we danced. i sang the same song and danced the same slow dance with your head on my shoulder. this time your arms were wrapped tightly around my shoulders as you didn’t want me to stop. when i asked to stop, you said “no. sing!” over and over again. i may not have the best voice in the world, but at least i know someone appreciates it.

i don’t think there’s any other feeling in the world like the one you have given me the last two nights. i love you too, baby.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

how i spent my day.....

remember that mega huge gigantic order i wrote about a couple months ago? well, it's time for it to ship. today, my assistant and i, labeled each and every one of our items with barcode labels provided by the retailer.

here's a photo of about 1/3 of the labels spread out on our table. it took us a total of 4 hour with two people working to get them all done! whew!

here's a photo of everything ready to be boxed up to go! the blue boxes are full of gift tags just like the one open on top. sorry about the quality, not the best lighting in the basement!

and another. now onto invoicing! fun times!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

thrifter's paradise

this weekend, the family and i visited the world's biggest and bestest rummage sale! the hubby had heard about it through a couple people at work. it's held by a private school and many of the donations are from the wealthy parents of the students who go there. they even auction off cars, boats, etc....crazy!

we were not disappointed when we arrived. it was just as big as we had heard it would be. sheds, barns, and tents FULL of thrifting goodness! i was in heaven. we weren't able to make it to the sale until about noon on saturday. i was a little worried about what would be left since it started early on friday. much to my surprise, there was a ton of fun stuff left.

here are my favorite finds:

this is my first find of the day. it's a piece of patchwork stretched on a frame. it's pretty large; about 3 feet by 2.5 feet. it does have one little tear that needs to be repaired, but other than that it's perfect. actually, it's rather imperfect, and that's what i like about it. it was marked $5.00, but since saturday was half-price day, i paid a whopping $2.50 for it! unbelievable! i think it's going to go in my red dining room. since the border is red, i may paint a block on the wall to stop it from blending in too much.

i have to thank the hubby for this find. a whole box of weaving thread. (the jars were not included) the large jar on the left is all of the thread that was included in the box. the second jar contains spools that i found on another outing years ago. i thought the box of thread was the perfect addition to match the spools i already had. now i just need to find smaller versions for the smallest jar. this is also resides in the dining room in the built in buffet. again, i paid $2.50 for the whole box!

and here's my precious little lemon tree embroidered piece. it's about 5 x 7 inches. it needs to be cleaned up a little, but i couldn't resist the three dimensional little lemons hanging off the tree. this was my big purchase of the day at $1.00!

we also bought a few books for the little dude as well as a leap frog leap pad for him. although he's a little young for it, it was in perfect condition and had an asking price of $12.00. too good to pass up. he'll have fun with it even if he doesn't quite understand what he's doing yet.

next year i want to get a pass to get in early. it costs $10, but you get to go in before anyone else on friday and see everything first! i can't imagine all the goodies i would find being able to go before everything is rummaged through!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

where am i?

i feel like i've been a little absent from the blogging/internet world lately. what have i been doing? i'm not really sure, to tell you the truth. busy doing a lot of nothing i guess! in reality, that's not true, but that's how it feels.

i've been busy building my online portfolio for a new wholesale art/craft website that i've joined. retailers can see all my things and order right from the site. i'm then notified by e-mail! pretty smooth. i hope it goes over well. my site is supposed to launch sometime before friday. it's a lot of work to upload nearly 200 product descriptions and images. i didn't add some of my less popular products because it was getting a little overwhelming. if sales are good through the site, i might think about adding more.

i've also been working on getting some promotional materials out in the mail to my customers/potential customers in hopes of adding to my holiday sales. i know it's a little late for christmas, but i also included spring holiday information too. we'll see how it goes. they went out this morning.

the happily handmade giveaway is going great! i've already got almost 175 entries in less than a week! i can't imagine how many i'll have at the end of the month! i'm excited at the possibilities. hopefully it will really start to get my retail name out there a little bit and increase sales for the upcoming holidays.

i've also worked on a new set of notecards that i'm really excited about. i think they're really fun and unlike any of my other work. all of my current work is illustrated on the computer, where these were hand drawn and then scanned in. it's all based on remembering when you were a kid. so think fun kid images, but grown up. i'll post a sneak peak soon. the only problem is finding the funds to get them printed! i want to do them on some really, really nice paper, which i fear is going to be very expensive. i'm afraid to get quotes!

so that's about all i've been up to in the last week or so. not too much! :) i guess i HAVE been busier than i thought!

Friday, September 29, 2006

happily handmade giveaway

we are so excited to announce that shades of violet is going to be participating in the happily handmade giveaway!

what is the happily handmade giveaway?
the happily handmade hiveaway was created in appreciation of indie shoppers, everywhere! twice a year, a massive give away totalling nearly $10,000 in indie prize goodness is held!

how does it work?
independent artists and crafts people (like shades of violet) donate goods to be included in the give away. you visit our sites to enter the contest. (yes, you can enter on each and every one of the 69 sites listed on our website for more chances to win! how cool is that?) at the end of the entry period, winners are chosen at random! it's that simple.

when is it?
we will officially begin collecting entries today (september 30th)! entries will be accepted through october 29th, and the winners will be announced in early november.

how do i sign up?
it's easy! just visit our website and click on the happily handmade giveaway link. you can sign up right there, as well as view the other participating websites!

so what are you waiting for! go! register! win a ton of cool prizes!

Monday, September 25, 2006

birthday breakdown

i'm so overwhelmed by my birthday weekend that i don't even know where to start. i tried to start last night and gave up shortly after. i think sharing photos will be the best way.

so my birthday was on saturday. i woke up to breakfast in bed, and then went downstairs with the family. the little dude and i opened lots of presents. (i'll post photos of those later!) then we got ready to go out and buy a few shrubs and plants for our house to replace the horrible, ugly bushes we had ripped out last weekend.

then the real fun began! the hubby surprised me with a trip to apple holler. it was someplace i had always wanted to go, but we just never got around to it. a perfect trip for the fall! i have a ton of photos of apple holler. here are my favorites.

mommy and little dude among the holiday decorations.

the little dude petting his first goat!

daddy and the little dude climbing the big pile of hay to go down the big yellow slide!

mommy and little dude on the train. we had to pry him off when we were done. he could have rode that thing all day!

and the créme de la créme! they had a make-your-own-caramel-apple bar! here's a photo of my apple with snickers topping!

and here's the hubby's covered with butterfinger, peanuts, and reeces pieces. crazy man!

and finally a picture of the little dude playing peek-a-boo with the scarecrows.

after our little trip, we came back home to freshen up before our 6:00 dinner reservations. i had no idea where we were going for this either. so we got cleaned up and headed out the door. the hubby did his usual drive around town trying to confuse me, but i'm no dummy. i know it's all an act! so we end up pulling up to il ritrovo (unfortunately they don't have a website). the hubby was leading me around to the closed off portion of the restaurant. and like usual, i was wondering what the heck he was doing. he told me to go up the set of stairs that leads to their loft dining room. as i ascended, i saw all of my friends and family gathered for a big surprise party!

i don't have any great images of the party itself because our camera battery died. but the hubby managed to get a photo of the cake he made for me! check it out.

i'm one lucky woman! chocolate mousse cake with meringue top and bottom. plus he made a stencil for the top....three x's to represent my 30th birthday! what a guy!

there were so many lies involved in the planning of this party it's unbelievable. he even took off of work on friday to drive an hour to bake my cake at my parent's house!! here i thought he was at work all day as usual! so many lies.

after the party we headed home with our friends who had driven over 5 hours from minneapolis to be there. what great friends we have!

on sunday we went out to lunch with the hubby's family before they left to go back home. i swear i'm not going to eat for a week! then we came home and planted all of our new goodies in the yard while the little dude took a nap. after nap time, we headed to a local coffee shop to hear a local band that we like. it was quite a day! and even more of a weekend!

thank you hubby for everything! i think it may have easily qualified for the best birthday ever!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

happy birthday means...

waking up today as a woman in my 30's! i honestly don't feel that much different yet, but the (younger) hubby is sure having fun rubbing it in! we have lots planned for the weekend. i'll update later with photos and stories! happy birthday to me!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

library madness

last night we took the little dude to the local library for story time for 2 & 3 year olds. yes, i know, the little dude isn't two yet, but at 21 months he's very patient and well behaved....especially when being read to. plus i figured they wouldn't be checking id's at the door. well, maybe they should's, that is. seriously.

the storyteller started off by saying that at story time, she closes the doors, but that if you need to leave at any time, PLEASE, please feel free. i'm not so sure what people thought she meant by that, but it obviously wasn't the same thing i thought. to me, that means: "if your kid is being a rotten, spoiled, brat during story time, we'd rather not have him/her here." obviously i was mistaken. to everyone else the meaning was: "please, no matter what happens, do not leave the room. we don't care if your kids are pulling an 8 foot paper tree off the wall. please, please stay!!"

story time for 2-3 year olds only lasts 20 minutes. they read 3 books and do 4 singing/interactive activities in between. if your kid can't behave for 20 minutes, then please don't come. i mean it. don't get me wrong. my kid isn't always a perfect angel. however, if we're at story time and he's being a punk, you better believe we're taking his ass right out of there and heading home. we're not going to stick around and submit perfect strangers, who are trying to enjoy stories, to his misbehaving.

the storyteller was very patient. much more patient than i would have been in her situation. she had them do stretches and shake themselves out after the first story since there were many that were misbehaving. she made several not-so-subtle remarks about the actions of some children. still, the parents were oblivious and stayed. the little dude couldn't pay attention or even hear the stories being read because there were kids literally running around the room screaming. i understand that every kid has occasional outbursts. that's fine. but when we're on our 5th outburst from the same child in 5 minutes, it's time to take him/her home.

maybe we're just lucky to have a kid who is, for the most part, well behaved at this age. however, i have a sneaking suspicion that it's a little like "super nanny". if you've ever watched so much as 10 minutes of this show, you'll find that it's always the parents who are the naughty ones. the poor kid is only starving for attention/trying to get your attention/trying to get you and your hubby to stop fighting, etc. etc. etc. i chose to believe that the reason we're "lucky" enough to have a well behaved child at this age is because we taught him to be that way!

now, i don't mean this post to be a my-kid-is-better-than-everyone-else's-kid post. rather, it's meant to be a post about parents who seem to be oblivious to their child's misbehaving. i honestly don't care if you chose to let your child behave that way at home. however, it is extremely rude to take them places and think that it's appropriate public behavior....especially in a group setting.

so please, if you live in a south-eastern town in wisconsin and attend the story time for 2-3 year olds on wednesday nights, take your devil child out of the room if they're misbehaving. please. for everyone's sanity.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

a few deals over at shades of violet

the kids are headed back to school, so that means halloween is just around the corner! don't forget to send some spooky notes to your children's friends and favorite teachers! to officially kick off the fall holiday season, we're offering a special deal on halloween greetings at shades of violet.
buy 2 halloween designs and get the card of your choice FREE! use code: FREECARD at checkout. offer valid through monday, october 16th


50% off do-it-yourself greeting card kits!
if you still have little ones at home that aren't in school yet, entertain them for hours with our do-it-yourself greeting card kits! for a limited time, our kits will be 50% off! that's right....only $7.50 each! each kit has enough supplies to make 5 or more cards including paper, and envelopes. all you need to provide is the creativity! offer valid through monday, october 16th.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

latest feature

i'm a little behind on posting this, but miss brandy over at indie obsession filled me in the other day that she did a nice little feature about my dandelion correspondence notecards. you can check it out here. thanks brandy!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


it was a busy week recovering from the long three day weekend of labor day. i feel like i've been running in circles all week. as a reward for our long and busy summer, this weekend was our first "free" weekend to do whatever we wanted with! it's been so nice i can't even begin to explain my joy with words.

yesterday we spent the day doing things that WE wanted to do....hmmmm, what a concept! we went to the farmer's market, thrifted, went to a local nursery to pick out a new tree that we want to put in, watched the surfers on the beach, and lazily lounged through our day. we topped it off with some "new" thrifted board games after the little dude went to bed.

i just had to take this photo while we were at our local good will store. (you can click on it for more unbelievable biggness)

seriously. who put this together and said to themselves: "man this looks good enough to put on display!"? really. ironically enough, i found 2 really great sweaters for $3 each.

this morning we got up and ran a few errands and now we're waiting for the little dude to wake up from a nap so that we can go to the john michael kohler arts center (where we were also married) to see their new exhibits. it's such a nice change to be able to do things we want to do instead of driving all over the countryside to be somewhere to do something we probably don't want to do at some god-forsaken hour.

i leave you with some photos of the little dude from last weekend at grandma & grandpa's house. he found a really, really sour apple that had falled from a tree and devoured every last bit of it. we had to take it away because he was starting to eat the seeds and core. here he is chomping away in the big red chairs.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

summer project

it has been a busy, busy summer. as i've mentioned before, nearly every one of our weekends from june through september have been booked solid. i haven't had as much time to work on the house as i would have liked this summer. with such limited time, i've been puttering around with our entry way whenever i have a spare minute or two.

it's a very small little space that was covered floor to ceiling with horrible, horrible wallpaper. i wish i had taken before photos, but of course, i didn't think of that until after the wallpaper was down. here are a few photos of the finished product:

the color of the walls is "pressed leaves" from the martha stewart collection. (in bear paint)

i found this amazing fabric that is really similar to the pattern i painted on the wall. quite a lucky find! especially since i found it after the wall was painted. and it's almost exactly the same color green.

here's a closer version of the pattern i did on the wall. i originally found this fabulous wallpaper that i wanted to put up, but at something like $200/roll, i just couldn't bring myself to do it. so, instead i cut my own pattern and painted (i can't bring myself to say "stencil" because it brings up visions of puppies and horrible fruit motifs) but anyway, i would "stencil" the pattern and then age it by removing a lot of the paint to make it look as if it had been there for a long time. i did the entire wall from floor to ceiling. it took some time but the results were well worth it.

i also painted the bench with some green accents to match. the hubby is always amazed that i can do such things without a ruler! :)

and here's our "name plate" for the front door. i actually made it years ago from some old lead type, but i still love it.
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