Imperfect, Artful Living. {Sweet Days + iPhone Memories + Art}

Man. I can’t believe our 2nd baby girl is about to join us. Any day now… Really. Any day. *AHEM.*

I was looking through my phone and the RIDICULOUS amount of photos there, and saw the increasing fullness of this year- from my belly to our schedules- and back to my belly. It’s been dizzying (sometimes downright nauseating- ha), unexpected, miraculously productive, risky, and so good.

 

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I’ve been so blessed to work on multiple custom orders for the shopnew exciting illustration projects that hopefully you’ll hear about some time, whimsical thank you cards, and of course the autumn pieces I shared recently which are my happy place. All of this means I’ve not only created more items for the shop, but I’ve had more business- real, actual business- from the shop this year! Easily more than double last year! That’s such a huge blessing.

 

Beyond work or the shop or any measurable productivity, as summer wraps up- ANY DAY NOW please– I find the deluge of iPhone photos reminding me it hasn’t been all to-do lists and travels (though often it felt that way). 

There have been coffee shop visits, in which much prancing around in tutus occurred:

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There was the annual weekend lakehouse trip with our small group:

 

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There was the incredible and unexpected experience of getting to perform 8 months pregnant at Gospelfest in Kettering, Ohio alongside 9 other artists (and Sidewalk Prophets!)- all of whom had to audition back in June (except Sidewalk Prophets…obviously). That process alone was a risk for me, and definitely a challenge, considering Ryan had to take the afternoon off work and lug a keyboard and equipment and our toddler across town to make that even happen!

It was one surprising moment after another- not the least of which was being asked by one of the audition judges to be on her radio show the day before the performance! I’ve definitely never done that before. Lucy enjoyed it, too!

 

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Oh, don’t mind my crazy eyes and dorky face. I was just freaking out a little…

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The concert happened the next day in an outdoor venue. Naturally, the weather decided to helpfully be either 91 degrees with 200% humidity or crazy thunderstorms that caused a 45 minute delay- RIGHT before it was my turn to perform. So, just more time for me to feel nauseous backstage, no big deal… (My husband was so awesome; at one point during our wait, he said, “You’re gonna Adele the crap out of this place.” I just love that man.)

 

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In case you’re wondering what love looks like? It wears a raging bright orange poncho. And it runs through the rain to make sure all your stuff is okay.

Oh yeah! I had a booth there too… that’s the stuff to which I’m referring. All the artists had the option of utilizing a booth, and this was my very first time actually having all my Etsy shop stuff out somewhere for purchase!

 

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(Hey look- Bethany is totally hiding in the background! And WOW I’m so pregnant in this photo. Who knew I could get even more pregnant than this?)

That whole weekend was filled with such meaning and encouragement! Dear friends rode over with my parents- a 2 hour drive one way- to come and see me perform (and get totally drenched in sweat followed by torrents of rain). Not to mention people from our church who came out to support me, and even other extended family who I rarely get to see! I felt overwhelmed with encouragement and that they all took the time to come and be part of such a great experience with me!

Then, the last two weekends were occupied with two separate women’s retreats…at which I led worship. Because I’m super good at planning. Yet, in spite of how exhausting it is to really do anything at this point, all of those endeavors were such a blessing! I’ve prayed for God to open doors and provide opportunities for me to utilize the abilities I have, and I’ve even prayed for opportunities to risk!

This year has been chock full of those. Throughout the summer, I’ve just prayed desperately that God would help me get all the work done I needed to before Evie is born! But now, other than my desire for her to arrive, I’ve prayed that he would help me savor the sweetness of these days, of these answered prayers, and especially this time with Lucy before we go from a family of 3 to a family of 4.

Yesterday, I told Lu we were going to have special Mommy + Lucy time and do fun stuff. “Fun stuff!” she gasped, “For us??” Just like that, which was the cutest ever. I kept it simple, which is pretty much all I have capacity for anyway, and documented our “fun stuff” as follows:

  1. Fall Coloring Pages- free via Google!

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I decided to make it feel semi-preschool-ish and talk all about fall, because obviously. So, after we talked about pumpkins and acorns and leaves and colored several pages, we watched some youtube videos for kids about fall which she loved. (Notice: she is looking super adorable in Ryan’s old Cubs t-shirt from when he was a little boy! How cute is that?!)

2. Making Peanut Butter Cookies! This was a brave activity for me to do with her. It was the first time I’ve ever had her help me make anything, thus I picked the easiest thing I could think of that was also cookies. My mom’s PB cookies have literally 3 ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and BAM! Peanut butter cookie deliciousness. There is no possible way you can mess these up. Oh, and you can sprinkle sugar on the top of them if you want. That’s optional. However, making a criss-cross pattern with a fork on each one is mandatory. I’m pretty sure that’s what makes them so good…

 

Lucy was a great helper! She helped dump the sugar in:

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Then she got to help stir with the bright green “fa-tchua!” which pretty much made her life.

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And then that 10-minute wait, in which we could barely contain our excitement as the cookies baked… Then they were done!

 

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Then this happened so fast, I’m pretty sure she just inhaled it.

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These aren’t perfect pictures. They were not carefully curated to be part of a blog post. But they’re here because this is part of living beautifully.

This is part of leaning into the art made in the imperfect moments: when you still have storage bins in the middle of your living room that have been there for weeks or your little one is in mismatched pajamas, or you find yourself wearing the same top and leggings all the time because literally nothing else fits because of the new life preparing to arrive (as evidenced by this rare photo of my prego-profile… I don’t typically post lots/any of those).

 

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I’m happy sharing our moments of imperfect art with you. Freshly baked from my iPhone. With a criss-cross pattern and sugar sprinkled on top.

For a little while, I’ll take a breather from writing here. But rest assured I won’t be able to stay away long! See you soon- most likely with lots more iPhone photos. Much Love!

 

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P.S. I almost forgot!!! 4 of my original songs are NOW AVAILABLE on Noisetrade!!!!! Eeep! I’m SO excited about this!!! CLICK HERE to go visit the page and download them!

Closet Nursery! {Aka Let’s Pretend This is Another Room}

pomelierI’ve been pondering and planning and perfecting Evangeline’s mini-nursery in my head for months now. The key words here being “in my head.” I had envisioned one of these cute types of closet nurseries on Pinterest where everything is coordinated and somehow doesn’t feel like it’s just a storage space into which I shoved a mini-crib.

Which is how the closet-nursery felt for a long time. Here’s how it started just after we assembled (listen to me- “we”- you all know it was my husband, right) the crib.

 

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Gah. So much stuff!!! Hmm let’s move those diapers down into that bottom left cubby and/or to other shelves, shall we?

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Ok, that’s a little better.

These last few weeks I’ve been scratching my head as to how to make the closet feel less, well, closety. And less crammed. And just generally more like a space I’m comfortable thinking about one of my children sleeping in.

The thing is, when I looked over those Pinteresty options, I noticed they all had one thing in common: margin. Did you notice there really is still a lot of space left over in all of those super cute pictures? Evenly spaced storage bins, shelves that only hold a few items… Like, where are these people keeping all their crap???

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So, storage wise, it was okayish… I’m loving the turquoise containers for sure! But I wanted to move some of that bottom stuff (aka the wooden lazy Susan, the boxes and folders and just whatnot that isn’t kid-friendly). Still, it was starting to look more organized at this point, which was good.

But it was still pretty crammed. I determined to figure out a way to make it feel pretty and intentional and not like it was a catch all for all our possessions including our new baby, along with getting rid of the really heavy stuff we were storing above the crib. Because that just makes me nervous. You know, with all the earthquakes we get in the midwest…

 

So, here it is as of yesterday:

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And here it is after I decided to move a bunch of stuff on the really high shelves up to our laundry room (downside: now my back hurts a lot- can I just go into labor already?). 

Finally! It feels- mostly- like a nursery. So, welcome! Let the explosion of pink and girly commence.

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Yes, somehow I managed to find new places for all the clothes that were hanging above those white shelves. Okay, maybe a couple things will be hung back up that made the photo less cute… And yes, there are still some empty boxes and possibly a trash bag with those aqua poms I love up on that top shelf. But not everything can be extricated from this closet, because valuable real estate, people.

I hung a gold polka-dotted scarf behind the crib, just for some interest, and this cute little canvas sign that says “You are the best adventure.” Yes, I know it’s not centered. That’s semi-intentional, semi-because of the white metal thing holding up the shelf above it.

…Which I managed to decorate a little bit! Yay!

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Look at those FABULOUS sparkly baby girl shoes!!!! Can you even handle it? And that sweet little air-balloon lantern was made by my ridiculously crafty and fancy sister-in-law, and was part of the Baby Sprinkle decor back in August. Isn’t it adorable? It says “Evangeline” on the little tissue bunting around it.

And what’s that? Is it pink flower poms? Is it a chandelier??

Nope! It’s a pomelier.

pom-chandelier

 

I felt like the space needed something above the little vignette area with the pictures and shoes. So, I hung these via packing tape to the ceiling… It’s possible that one has already fallen down. Ryan may have the job of securing them better to the ceiling. You’re welcome, hubs!

 

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Remember the Reclaiming Abundance Project? That little pink frame has a verse from week #2, which was all about Lucy aka The Princess. Now our second princess is almost here, so it’s only fitting for it to be in her space too.

And the shelves. I wrangled those shelves until they felt less crazy, and here’s where things stand for now.

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Better, right? I mean, it’s not perfect. But look! There’s actually some margin on some of them now! Including above them, which excites me to no end.

 

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The big turquoise bin was $5 at the Target Dollar Spot, the cute little pink bin was part of a gift at the sprinkle, and the top two little baskets I already had. Here’s a look at the bottom half of the shelf.

 

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The other turquoise bin was also a gift at the sprinkle. At some point, I’m hoping to get a couple bins or baskets to use on the shelf for all the clothes there. For now, all newborn-3 month stuff is stowed in the dresser we use as a changing table in Lucy’s room. So, this shelf is all 3-6 month stuff! Can you believe that? But it’s a combination of Lucy’s old clothes, other hand-me-downs, and gifts we’ve received. (Also, can you believe the incredible amount of diapers in there?! It’s so awesome. And it’s 100% a testament to people’s generosity to us as we prepare for Evie’s arrival.)

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This is basically the same. However, there’s just a smidgen more room for both the diaper bag and that super cute gold polka-dotted bin from Target. Somehow, I ended up with a lot of pink and gold things, and I love that! Now, it looks like I planned it as the mini-nursery’s theme.

 

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I share this just to show what’s on the other side of the crib. These built in cubbies hold things that aren’t super crucial right this second, or things like the big boxes of diapers that didn’t fit anywhere else (except above the crib), and/or mason jars which I have no other place for. Still! I think this closet is shaping up to feel very nursery-ish!!

 

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We already love you, Evie! Feel free to come any time!

How I Happy: August + September 2016 Edition

Before we get to the happiness, I think it’s important to articulate at least once every August (or you know, September… whatever) why August is the worst. Ok, MAYBE February beats it, but hear me out:

August is when summer is at its hottest, humid-est, gooey-est, and buggiest. For FIVE WEEKS.

And the bugs, people! Walking out of my apartment this August felt tantamount to the risk of walking across a busy highway; you never know when some big, terrifying thing will race out of nowhere- except instead of cars and semis, it’s bugs that WILL EAT YOUR FACE. Like the GINORMOUS locust-cicada-things that have recently found it pleasing to positively LURK on both stairways leading from our apartment down to the parking lot below.

What in the actual heck.

I don’t care if they don’t do anything, they are bigger than any bug should be allowed to be. (Grammar? That felt like a lot of “be”s… Who knows.)

Anyway, the heavily redeeming quality about August is that two of my kindred-spirit-est friends celebrate their birthdays this month. Fine, August. You can stick around. (Literally. Because you’re inherently sticky.)

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That’s a quote in my shop about August. A quote from one of the August-born kindred spirit friends.

“August is the month that stretches itself out on lavender horizons. Everything hushes. It’s the only time of year you can hear the last of the plants growing in their dirt beds. They are amber days with caramelized sunsets.” – Brooke Reed

Oh, Brooke, with your ridiculous, beautiful way with words… August sounds awesome according to her! However, I can’t think carmelized, lavender thoughts this year because I’m 9 months pregnant, so August just feels evil.

And yet, let the happiness abound! Without further ado and/or whining about summer, here are the ways I’ve been happying through August and September:

First and foremost, it’s SEPTEMBER! Or as I’ve previously dubbed it, “October Part 1.” I told myself that I’d allow myself on September 1st to begin decorating for fall. ***FALL!!!!*** Let’s just talk about the glories of fall from now until Thanksgiving, ok? Just kidding, you don’t have a choice.

  1. “Happiness” by Needtobreathe.

This song. This album. It’s my new happy place! Even Lucy loves it; she will request the “Happiness Song” every time we get in the car, or I open my laptop… or anything that plays music.

2. Mermaid & Fairy Thank You Cards!– I already shared about these a couple weeks ago

Fairy Card ScaleBut they really make me so happy just looking at them!! I want to send them to people for all occasions- not just as thank you notes! That wouldn’t be weird, right??

Mermaid Card ScaleAnyway, each pack comes with two of each design, so if you’re in need of some thank you cards and want to support my little shop, get you some whimsical, punny, thank-you-card goodness! You can see them here.

3. Elf Facewash + Moisturizer

elf-skincareFirst of all, let’s talk about the fact that the packaging is straight up pretty. Which of course, is crucial to any good skincare… Seriously, I was a little apprehensive to use these when I first bought them back in June, since it was the first time in 5 years that I’d purchased a different brand of face wash and moisturizer. But they have proved to be lovely- and to work!!! They just feel good on my skin, they smell wonderful (they’re not scented- it’s just how they smell). And plus, they are only $7 and $8 respectively!!!! Yay for cheap + pretty + smells good + feels good on my skin! If you’ve been wondering about that cute Elf stuff, I give it a thumbs up (in my highly unprofessional opinion).

4. Gevalia French Roast Coffee

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This is the BEST strong coffee I have found under $8. I think usually it’s about $6.99 depending on if you’re at Kroger or Walmart, and around here we consider it fancy if it’s not the absolute cheapest version of anything you can buy. However, because coffee reigns supreme above all other beverage or food items I consume (and because it makes me supremely happy), I have explained to my non-coffee-drinking husband that this is the one “fancy” item which I am happy to spend more on (aka HE will be happy about it too). Hey- I work from home, so I’m not eating out or taking weekly trips to Starbucks. So, I’m saving us money.

5. This story, by my friend, Libby. Wow. For anyone who needs to know that light shines in the darkness- that it even shined on the dark day of 9/11, read her unique and beautiful story of what happened to her, her mother, and other “plane people” when they were forced to land in Newfoundland that day and the days that followed.

6. Re-reading the Nesting Place + those tiny eclairs. (Which are from Aldi’s.)

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I was possessed of a sudden desire to reread this book, which I’d first read back in January (one of the best Christmas presents ever!) and it just did my soul so much good to reread it now. I love it because it’s not just a book about home decor. I love reading Myquillin’s story- all the houses, apartments, rentals, and glorified-two-car-garages she and her family lived in over the years.

It speaks into my story, living in a third floor apartment and trying to figure out how on earth we’re going to make room for another person in here. Most of the time, I enjoy this place and this season, and I even like the challenge of moving stuff around and making it work for our family. But sometimes I have crazy hormones that hate everything and feel like nothing is working because those stupid boxes of things I can’t seem to find a place for will ALWAYS be in the way forever and ever amen and why haven’t I just thrown it all away yet??? Or sometimes, my brain cells evaporate and I have no inspiration whatsoever, and this book is good for that too.

Basically, it just feels like a good friend having me over for coffee and eclairs and telling me my home is beautiful. Right now. As it is. Stupid boxes and all. So, thank you, Best Friend the Nester… Nester Friend. Best Nester Friend. Bester Friend??

Of course, maybe I just wanted to reread it because I’m- wait for it- nesting. Bahahaaa.

 

7. Last but not least, Parks & Rec– I’m rewatching this series for maybe the 3rd time? 4th?? Anyway, apparently when I’m pregnant I turn on comfort TV (while eating comfort food in the last pair of comfort pjs that will fit me). With Lucy, it was Scrubs. With Evie, it’s Parks & Rec. But not really until the third trimester- both times! I don’t know why, but apparently this is something I do when I’m so pregnant I don’t feel like a person anymore.

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I mean, isn’t Ron Swanson just the greatest ever?

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And for some reason there is no meme for arguably my favorite Leslie Knope quote of all time, which is:

Martha, I’m gonna need two hours worth of waffles.”

 

I hope you enjoyed this double edition of How I Happy!

 

How are you happying?

NEW: Pumpkin-Spiced Prints for Your Autumn-y Pleasure!!! Plus an Announcement

It’s almost autumn. AUTUMN, YOU GUYS!!! Beautiful, lovely, pumpkin-spiced autumn. I’m always ready for it, as you know. I wrote a whole series last fall called “31 Days of Enjoy”, which was punctuated heavily by an outpouring of gushing my crisp, leafy love of Autumnal Everything.

 

Last year, I barely made it to October without talking about autumn at least a little. This year, I made it at least to September! I deserve a gold medal. Or maybe an orangey-red medal. You know what? I’ll settle for a pumpkin-spice latte.

 

And I managed to also wait until September to decorate, unlike two years ago(So, make that two pumpkin-spice lattes.) Barely. But I’m totally ok decorating for fall now, because a) baby is due the 27th, but who knows when she’ll come? and b) I’m quickly losing my physical prowess and motivation to accomplish things like decorating.

 

I don’t have pictures of decor today. But I DO have some really special lovelies I am just beyond excited to share with you!!! (And stay tuned for an announcement at the end of the post, too!) I’ve worked hard all summer on projects for the shop, custom orders, illustrations, and lots of new listings- I confess it’s been WAY harder to wait on sharing some of these even than decorating for fall!

So, here are three brand spanking new, watercolor outpourings of autumny happiness I illustrated just to spread my joy further this season! And guess what? They are for sale in the shop as of today!!!

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The first one- a redhead walking in the woods- can be customized with the quote of your choice for a smidgen more than the purchase price!

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For example:

Redhead October Quote

Or maybe you like more swirly writing?

Redhead October Quote 4 Meddon

You can request whatever quote you want (as long as I can get it to fit and look right etc.) and what type of font you prefer, too!

Then the second listing (possibly my favorite) features another redhead- yes, another, because I am one so deal with it- surrounded by a happy mound of pumpkins, wearing a happy scarf, and drinking something hot and delicious. (Oh, and her hair is swirly and why can’t my hair in real life be like this?)

Autumn Dreams Angle 2 EDIT

Isn’t she just happy? I super love her.

 

Last but not least is a precious little family taking a walk in the woods together.

Etsy Family Angle

 

Aren’t they sweet with their little baby boy?

 

All of these cheery watercolor prints are 8×10 and are available as printable downloads in the shop! Visit the shop here to download yours!! Or of course you can order a physical print to be mailed to you as well here.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: If you were thinking of ordering a custom piece from me, I’m only accepting new orders through September 15th- aka you have 10 days to order. 

Since I budget 2 weeks per custom order, that provides me about that time frame to finish up any lingering projects before the baby is due.

 

I hope you enjoy these fall pieces! And dahling, won’t you be so kind as to share a link either to this post or to my shop with people in your world? I would be so honored!

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Happy October Part 1! (I mean- September.)

 

Thank You Cards: Because Puns + Whimsy Can’t Go Wrong, Right?

Have you ever felt so thoroughly overwhelmed with gratitude towards someone that you painted a whimsical mermaid and fairy and made them into Thank You notes to send to that someone???

Thank You Tray

Well, that’s how I felt after the Sprinkle that my amazing- let me say it again, AMAZING- sister in law threw for me a few weeks ago. Wow. I confess, it was one of the most beautiful, fun, cozy, perfect showers I’ve ever been to- whether as the guest of honor or just as an attendee.

Also, I’m pretty sure she is the official Queen of Diaper Cakes. And Diaper Wreaths. And Diaper decor… All the diaper things.

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Yes. That is a diaper wreath above the fireplace. Epic. Then there was this big, lovely diaper cake (one of several, people).
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Those gold sparkly tiny baby shoes!!!

And then, there was some pretty fabulous food, too… Three words: Pink. Velvet. Cupcakes. (With cream cheese icing in the middle. Okay, more than three words.)

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I was truly overwhelmed by the generosity both of my sis in law and the dear group of friends and family who came! Lucy even got several big sister gifts!! Including this adorable crochet Elsa doll made by my mega-talented big sister:

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Btw, she has a whole Etsy shop of these fabulous crochet buddies called All on Hooks and Needles which you MUST look at!!! You can also see pictures of what she’s working on right now- before it’s even in the shop- here on her Facebook page! (Her shop even features an entire crochet Noah’s ark set!)

Lucy of course has been carrying her doll around ever since…

I know I received diapers at Lucy’s shower(s), but man, I feel like I’ve hit the diapers + baby wipes jackpot! There was a positive mountain of diapers once I got home and unpacked it all!!

Along with that, I received that gorgeous black and white striped diaper bag I’d been pining away for- which is big, structured, utterly practical, and completely beautiful on top of everything else!

I wanted to do something extra special as a Thank You for all those ladies. So, I painted a watercolor mermaid and fairy, and made Thank You cards out of them! (I say “I” however, my husband helped a TON with formatting and editing them so they’d be good quality!)

Thank You Cards 1

Fairy Card Scale

Of course, it wouldn’t truly convey my gratitude unless there were puns involved… So, the cards say, “Thank you fairy much!” and “You really mermaid my day!” respectively.

Mermaid Card Scale

And I decided, why not add them to the shop? So, as of today, they’re my newest listing! Dimensions are 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ and each 4 pack comes with 2 mermaid cards and 2 fairy cards.

Maybe you’d love some whimsical, punny thank you cards for your next outpouring of gratitude?? Click here to see the full listing!