Mar 31, 2010

Do the pine trees know it's Easter?

(not my photo & not my realization; this was shared with me and I wanted to share with you)

Do Pine Trees Know When It’s Easter?

Ever noticed the Pine tree crosses on Easter Sunday?

One type of pine tree which grows in the southeastern US, starts its new growth in the weeks before Easter...


If you look at the tops of the Pine trees about two weeks before, you’ll see the yellow shoots.

As the days get close to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross.

By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see most of the Pine trees
will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots...



Easter Blessings,
Caroline

Mar 30, 2010

CCM

CCM stands for Classic Children's Moments....
you knowwhen your child says something, 
does something, or points out something that is classic! 
It can be either so funny or so sweet 
you run to get paper and jot it down, 
or so embarrassing you want to run get a shovel, 
dig a deep hole, crawl in it and never come out.
We have CCM's a lot over here and unfortunately 
I have not a great job of journaling them all.
Here's a recent one...
In the grocery with just the girls 
and I am near the cheese & dairy section. 
We turn the corner and I hear Charlotte gasp...
ohhh Mommy...Can you believe it? 
They have CHOCOLATE EGGS here! 
How do they make chocolate eggs Mommy?
Then a conversation with William when he was five:
I was a part of this conversation along with our four children. 
Sarah Grace was crying and I thought she was injured from playing outside. 
Sarah Grace: crying but no sign of injury
Me: "Sweetie, Are you ok?"
Sarah Grace: "No" (tears streaming)
Me: "What happened? Did you get hurt?"
Sarah Grace: "Only my feelings got hurt 
because William told me I cannot marry Walker." 
(more tears)
Me: I hug Sarah Grace and look at William 
and before I could even say a word...
William: "Well Mom, she can't marry Walker... 
they would have weird looking kids! 
It's the law...you can't marry your family!"

P.S. We have had this same conversation 
and tears over not being able to marry Daddy.

Then this was one of my favorites:

William 5 years old said to me... 
"Mommy, GUESS WHAT?" 
Me: "What William?"
William "When I get to be a Daddy, 
guess how many kids I'm gonna have?"
Me: "How many, William?"
William: "4...just... like you and GUESS WHAT ELSE?"
Me: "What William?"
William: "MY four kids can play with YOUR four kids...
won't that be fun?
Me: Tears of joy and sadness 
because comments like this won't last forever!

Then there was the time Walker spotted this license plate
...we "belly laughed" in the parking lot!

Then when Walker was a toddler 
(only one child then...what was that like???)
My sweet toddler was in a store shopping cart 
and we're waiting in line to check out 
and he squeals "Look mama, Clown! Clown!" 
And yes, standing right next to us 
was a woman who had on so much make-up it was unreal. 
I wanted to crawl in that hole I mentioned earlier. ughh!

Tell me your funny, embarrassing or most treasured CCMs? 
I know you have some! Share, share!
xoxo,
C

Mar 29, 2010

The RED ROSES!

It's official...the votes are in! 
Our soccer girls voted on a name and we are...
 The
 Red Roses
I know I am biased because I am their coach
and mother to two of them,
but these are the cutest, sweetest girls 
and they LOVE life and each other!
I am just convinced that 5 is the perfect age. 
Everything is fun and they have not a care in the world!
 
Learning new drills and skills...
Open minds to to learn about teamwork...
Back up plans are good...
And even when life brings you messy, tangled nets,
your friends will be there to help get you out!

Lessons for soccer and lessons for life...
Have a red rosy day!
xoxo,
C

Mar 27, 2010

Palm Sunday

Hope you had a great weekend and a beautiful Palm Sunday!
I made this Easter dessert display for the kids this weekend. We only let them have dessert on weekends and special occasions. Started that a few years back when dessert was getting out of control and we've stuck to it pretty well. Anyway, I found these beautiful chocolate crosses at Walmart and love them so much more than the bunnies. This is, after all, what Easter is about, Christ's death and resurrection. It would look neat with any candy, jelly beans, etc so if you try this, be creative and use your imagination.
You'll need a cake stand or something similar...
chocolate crosses or bunnies, etc
a few dabs of icing to make the crosses or bunnies stand upright
any candy you prefer...
Found these at Marshals or TJ Maxx 
and used one for the center part of our dessert display.
I used 4 crosses for the 4 kids...
So that's it. 
Maybe you can make something similar 
for your Easter centerpiece this week.
Let me know if you do!
Here's a neat place for Easter crafts with the kids.
Enjoy and may this week bring you many blessings!
xoxo,
C

Mar 25, 2010

Multiplying time...

image copyright Caroline Simas©
The above is a design which has been selected to be used on spiral notebooks, pocket folders and a selection of decorative school related products. Still waiting to have final word about when and where this will be used, but the idea is a calculator and cool looking numbers. I love the various art elements showing through, do you? Would your student like this if they saw it in Target or Walmart when shopping for school supplies next fall?
Have been thinking about numbers a lot lately and specifically multiplication because we are having timed quizzes for my 3rd grader on the dry erase board at home. He actually likes the challenge which is great and it makes it fun to use the big board and marker. With the younger ones we use a large cookie sheet lined with foil and spread chocolate pudding all over it and if they wrote the number or letter I called out correctly then they could like their finger and try another letter or number. It works and it's fun. We haven't done that in a while so maybe we'll do that soon. We've used shaving cream too but of course the pudding was a more popular choice!
If you're like me, and most of you are...you're juggling a lot on your plate. It may not be art deadlines and motherhood but it's stuff. Most everything I do and am involved with, I love, so it's hard for me to say no (although I have gotten better at this over the years). It's about prioritizing things and making the most of each day. We all have 24 hours in a day, so how are we using that time? Sometimes I look back on my "to do lists" and think..."Were all of those things reeeeally necessary?" Some days I feel like I make the most of my time and use my time wisely, other days I know I completely fail. I have been praying too for the Lord to multiply my time. And He does. Snippets of time pop open when I am open
to His goodness. And remember when I posted about multiplying love for our children? I obviously love the word "multiple"...do you know the reason/story behind the name Multiple Blessings?
I read about a little church song called Multiply...about the little boy who shared his lunch and the chorus  went like this:
“To sum it all up, you simply divide. Watch your fish and bread just multiply. Add a little faith, subtract all your doubt, just watch it all work out. You’ve got to give it away, pass it around, and turn your basket upside down. I can tell by your smile and the twinkle in your eye. The Master has taught you how to multiply.”
Love it!
I wish you multiple blessings today and that your time may be multiplied as well!
xoxo,
C

P.S. Thanks for all of the input for the wraps...we have made some changes and I will be showing you the final one soon!

Mar 24, 2010

Summer Sip!

Ahh! Summer...can't wait! The warmth of the summer sun and the chill of a cold summer drink on the beach with family and friends and children running around without schedules and activities just making their own fun.
my favorite Tervis wrap for morning coffee!
Last week it was final and I was giddy with excitement. Signed a contract with Tervis, as in Tervis tumblers. They are a great company out of Venice, Florida and they manufacture these great products right here in the good ol' USA. Read their history here. Our family has always been big Tervis fans and really do drink from them every single day. We have Red Sox tumblers, Masters tumblers, CofC tumblers, Tar Heel tumblers and more. They don't sweat and don't leave a ring on your table! And the best part is they have a lifetime warantee! Yes, you can send them back to Tervis and they will either fix them or replace them for free. Love that!

So backtracking a bit...I have wanted to design for them for quite a while and have been in discussion with them for over a year, but they have been working with big licensors such as Disney, Coke, Harley, Nascar. Hard for little me to compete with those big dogs! They have been great however, about continuing to meet with me and keep the lines of communication open. I initially pitched an inspirational collection of art to them which they liked but were not "ready for"... I was told in January it would be 2-3 years until something may happen. I was disappointed at first but then at peace with it and was frankly busy with other design work.
Meanwhile, I was asked by the Women of Vision in Charlotte to design their 10 year anniversary bookmark for their fundraiser dinner. The Charlotte Women of Vision chapter is filled with amazing women who have such a heart for those in need. It is part of the World Vision ministry which you can read more about here. It was requested that I paint hands holding the earth... I guess the hands could be viewed as those who are called to serve...people's hands who are helping serve on earth. I viewed the hands rather as God holding, protecting the earth. Both are great ways to view the art but that's what I kept thinking of as I painted it.
Anyway, the bookmarks were made and turned out quite pretty. David and I were honored to be invited to attend the lovely dinner event and we met Richard Stearns who runs World Vision. He was a dynamic speaker and I purchased his book, which I am embarrassed to say I have barely cracked but plan to for spring break!
The bookmarks were the giveaway at the fundraiser and went quite nicely with the book. I was so honored to be a part of that, and had no idea that God had more plans for that small piece of art.

A week after the event, I was contacted out of the blue by Tervis asking for some "green, earthy art." They felt like my style was a fit and asked me to quickly submit. I painted several new designs but knew they would not use anything inspirational I sent. Then it happened. I guess it was God placing the idea in my head and telling me "Use the hands holding the earth; MY hands holding the earth." So I reworked it to a Love the Earth theme.

Of all the art I submitted I never thought:
A. one of my designs would be chosen
and
B. they would pick this one

To me this was God's way of getting on that tumbler anyway, without scripture or inspirational text.
Yea God!

Most folks who see these tumbler wraps in stores soon may never know the history behind those hands, but I will and you will and I hope you will purchase them and spread the word.
By the way, production begins soon and they will be released for sale June 21st, 2010. Tervis is opening orders to all of their wholesale accounts, including Bed, Bath & Beyond, so when I find out exactly where they will be sold, I will let you know. Stay tuned!

So now, I NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! Please let me know which background you like best...we are trying to finalize this now and it would be nice to have your consumer opinion.

#1solid

#2 stems
#3 floral
All images above- Caroline Simas© 2010

Thank you for your enthusiasm and for sharing the excitement with me about how God allowed this art to come full circle.
Joyfully,
Caroline

Mar 23, 2010

Leap of Faith...Surtex!


I have been encouraged and have decided to take the leap of faith and exhibit in at Surtex in NYC in May. God is so good and I feel like He wants me there. I think He wants me to meet with and challenge manufacturers about being bold and placing scripture and inspirational text on their products. It's happening and I could not be happier about using my talent this way. So many things happened and fell into place (good booth # opened up, childcare taken care of (thank you Mom and Dad!), husband's support (Bless you sweet heart!), etc.) it all feels right to go, well, except for my nerves and the money (ouch, it's so expensive!) And oh yeah, all the planning and preparation. (sigh...) But I KNOW He has it all in the palm of His hand and will guide me. And encouraging words like the following... sweet friend, Sarah, sent this to me last week...(thank you!!!)
Keep walking.  I know it has been hard, but you have done well.  Stop and take stock.  Look back over the times you have had a hard path on which to walk. Did not I get you through the narrow squeeze, to stay on the straight but narrow path?  I will get you through again.  The field before you is wide open.  The boundaries have been set but the space to accomplish all I have for you is large.  Let your creativity flow.  Let the ideas come. You already know the ideas that work come from Me, so you don't have to cross that hurdle. You have success coming and abounding.
Psalms 16:5-7  "The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.  I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night."  
Bev Robinson
Sharyn Sowell (do you remember her from here?) and I have become fast friends and she is my "sweet Christian art licensing mentor" (bless her heart...I did give her this title) and has encouraged me to exhibit and come room with her too. She has been a big blessing in walking me through Surtex exhibiting because it's different than NSS (National Stationery Show) which I have done before. Sharyn and I are so excited and have spent lots of time talking on the phone, e-mailing, planning and preparing. Most folks may see this meeting on a random bench in that high rise in Atlanta as total coincidence, but we both recognize it as God's complete plan. I love her recent words to me about that...
"Funny but He proves His love and care even in arranging where you sit and when and how you look over at someone in far-away Atlanta for a "chance" meeting that was divine appointment and not chance at all! How comforting to know that even in the tiny ways anyone else would call coincidence He prepares the way."
Amen sister! Can't wait to see how He will bless this adventure. I love that with all of Sharyn's success (and she has had LOTS of it!), she is extremely grounded, humble, and chooses to give God the glory. You'll have to read her blog to see how she gathers inspiration from all around her beautiful pacific west coast home.
Here is an overview photo of the Surtex show so you can get an idea. 
And here is more about what Surtex is all about...
SURTEX is a dynamic market, like no other, filled with the latest trend-on artwork, designers and licensors from around the world. Over 300 exhibitors selling and licensing the most diverse art & design, draw some 6,000 quality buyers and licensees - top decision-makers from manufacturers and retailers of all product categories.

It's an incredible business-building opportunity for anyone in the art & design world...from exciting exhibits and networking events, to an information-packed Conference Program, a new ReSource section and co-located shows.
And it's in New York City, where energy and creativity are never-ending!
I am finalizing art collections, categorizing portfolios, sketching booth design and working on pre-show marketing (the image above is one) so needless to say it has not been quiet around here. That does not include laundry, cooking or carpool, etc. of course, so it's been very on/off planning in bits and pieces. So that's some of the new happenings here in the studio and more to come...promise I'll share the contract news very soon! Check back, won't you? What projects are you working on?
xoxo,
C

Mar 21, 2010

new view

We have a new camera lens and it is fabulous! 
And just in time for our beautiful weekend. 
Friday, the girls and I took a long walk around the yard 
and I practiced using my new toy.
Take a look the the beauty we found in just a few short minutes.






Amazing, right? 
Working on a new collection called FULL BLOOM 
so our Friday walk was perfect timing 
for that burst of spring inspiration and color. 
How cool that our awesome and almighty creator 
leaves this for us each day right outside our doors?
Ok, now these are not from our yard, but are beautiful too. 
They were from my husband to celebrate 
an exciting licensing contract 
that was signed, sealed, and delivered on Friday 
which I will be posting about soon. 
Very exciting news...
Have a beautiful start to your week!
xoxo,

Mar 17, 2010

NOT lucky, but blessed...


Hope you all had a great St. Patrick's Day! 
Not trying to put a damper on this festive Irish holiday but...

I shouldn't say the word hate. 
I tell my kids not to, but I hate the word "lucky." 
It's ok to wish someone the best or good luck in a game 
but really if you think about the word luck it means:


luck·y 
   (lŭk'ē)    
adj.   luck·i·erluck·i·est
1. Having or attended by good luck. See Synonyms at happy.
2. Occurring by chance; fortuitous


Notice that I highlighted occurring by chance. 
That, to me, means with luck it just randomly happened 
and no one had anything to do with it. 
It doesn't say this in the dictionary, 
but I believe sometimes we trick/convince ourselves 
into thinking that we are responsible for our luck 
(or good happenings.) 
But the older I get and the more I grow in my faith, 
I KNOW that we have NOTHING, 
absolutely nothing, to do with our good happenings. 

It's all too detailed for we humans to be responsible for anyway. 
We cannot possibly orchestrate such wonderful experiences 
and happenings. I am convinced it is only from God. 
People often say to me..."You're so lucky...to have twins, 
to have 4 healthy children, to do what you love, etc." 
Very nice, very kind, but it's not luck 
and I did nothing to deserve any of it. 
"For it is by grace you have been saved, 
through faith-and this is not from yourselves, 
it is the gift of God." 
Ephesians 2:8

Well, that pretty much sums it up. 
And so I try very hard not to use the words "luck" 
or "lucky" because I'd rather use the word blessed or fortunate.
So if you hear me accidentally use these words, 
please remind me of this post.
Have a blessed and fortunate day!
xoxo,
C

Mar 16, 2010

Love and other fruit...

You probably know by now 
that I have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit 
this year in my Bible Study. 
I have posted about it 
and created art about it here 
and here.
We've been reading about the things we do and say 
to KEEP ourselves from living out our fruit of the spirit. 
The following really hits home for me and I hope it will for you too. 
I think I may need to write this on our chalkboard wall.
Enjoy...

(from the study guide A Woman's Walk With God) by Elizabeth George
Selfishness spoils love.
Discontent spoils joy.
Anxious thoughts spoils peace. 
Impatience spoils patience.
Bitter words spoil kindness. 
Indolence spoils goodness.
Doubt spoils faith.
Pride spoils gentleness.
Love of pleasure spoils self-control.
xoxo,
C

Mar 15, 2010

Dishing up Spring!

Spring is getting closer...I can almost taste it...literally! 
I can't wait to plant basil.


Love to add it to my lemon basil chicken salad. 
And I plant mint too...
nothing like a fresh sprig of mint in a tall glass of iced tea. 
Ok now I sound like Paula Deen, yaaaaaaaaa'll!

Wanted to share this yummy and quite colorful dish (ORZO SALAD)
You can make it with so many variations so I will share it a few ways.
orzo (16 oz. box) Boil water and cook orzo according to directions.
  Rinse with cold water and drain well. 
Stir in 1T. extra virgin olive oil and stir to coat orzo.
Dice colorful peppers. I use red, yellow, and orange but not green. 
Up to you...I think the green pepper is a bit overpowering.
Rinse and drain 1 can black beans. 
Add some dices scallions.
Mix 1 part red wine vinegar 
and 2 parts extra virgin olive oil together 
with 1 tsp. dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix in the orzo and voila!
Now...I made this with diced rotisserie chicken (very top photo) 
and it's placed on a bed of wild arugula. Love that together!
But, I have also made it with shrimp and artichoke hearts. 
Our oldest likes to eat it warm; I like it cold best,
but really it tastes great both ways.
Have also added shelled and cooked edamame. 
Have also used other types of pasta like this:
Be creative and do let me know
if you have another version you like better.
You can also find the recipe HERE and
my Homemade (Kind Of) Chicken Noodle Soup too.
I do have a great edamame and cherry tomato salad
I will share sometime.
Enjoy this colorful spring dish
and let me know what you think.
Come on sweet readers...leave a comment or two!
Blessings,
Caroline

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