Jul 30, 2010

The best beach game EVER!

We've had a full week of memory making here on Edisto Island.
Incredible family time with my parents, my sister and her boys.
My brother in law was here too but slept on the boat
because he is fishing in the Governor's Cup tournament.
What a fabulous week!
I can't show you all the pictures quite yet...only took 465 of them!
But in the meantime, I'll teach you the BEST beach game ever!
Hopefully some of you reading this are at the beach or headed there before summer's end. 
The game is called BEACH GOLF.
It's simple.
It's for ALL ages!
All you need for this fun game:
2 golf balls
1 shovel (or your hands)
and the beach 
Yep, that's it.
Find a spot on the harder packed sand.
Fun to do on a flat area or on a slope.
Dig two holes about 20-25 feet apart
and use the sand that you dig up to create a barrier behind the hole.
Make the holes closer together if the kids who are playing are younger. 
One player stands at their end with 2 golf balls (you can also play using 4 golf balls); 
other player stands on the other side by the other hole.
Player one throws/rolls one golf ball at a time and tries to make it in. (2 tries)
If a player makes it in the hole, he/she makes tally marks with their points in the sand 
to keep track of the score. Great math lesson!
Take turns rolling the balls and try to score.
The player to reach 11 first wins!
Kisses from the coast,
P.S. Lots to report with art licensing...the ball kept rolling with this even from the beach.
I continue to marvel at His goodness in providing me opportunities to use this artistic talent.
So much to share but I have to wait until contracts are signed.
Exciting news on the way!

Jul 23, 2010

Watercolor Surprise

It's funny how this blogging things works. 
I never thought I would even read one, much less write one. 
But I love it, and this journal of sorts has provided me a place to call my own. 
A place to journal this crazy journey of art licensing, family life and faith. 
And all because of this I have met some amazing new friends from all over the world. There are well over 100 of you who subscribe and read it daily...Friends like Julie Hill
I have never seen her (except her blog photo), but we're friends because she's a friend 
of a friend (Kelley) who is also and artist and she found me through her blog.
It's the artist community too...we try to support one another 
because it's not always easy following this artistic passion. 
So anyway, here's how I met Julie and a story and painting to go with it...
 There a times when modern technology is truly a blessing.  Because of the internet and blogging I have recently made some fantastic acquaintances both inside and outside the artist arena. One new friend is Caroline Simas, she is a wonderful graphic designer (not really, rather a licensed artist, but thank you anyway) (My sweet graphic designer who works for me would agree, that is not my best skill set!) and writes a blog called "Designing for the Soul", it truly is a treat to see her inspirational products and hear her lovely stories. Anyway, one day while reading her blog, I came across this photo of two of her sweet children playing...and instantly "felt it".  She has kindly let me paint it.
Of course we have to purchase this painting. It was Mother's Day when we went here
It was a magical day. And thanks to Julie, we'll remember it forever.
Visit Julie's blog, Capturing Life with Brushstrokes, and say hello, won't you?
Have a beautiful weekend!

Jul 22, 2010

A heart for Honduras

My sweet dad has a heart for mission work and that's only one of the many reasons I love him.
I also love this amazing handmade cross he brought back to me from Honduras.
Isn't it gorgeous?
And he brought our girls these woven dolls made by the children there...amazing!
A blonde for Sarah Grace and a brunette for Charlotte! 
 And you will not believe this...
can you guess what materials Honduras children used to make this belt???
Yep, soda can tops and shoe string!!!!
Unbelievably resourceful!
Many of you have been kind enough to ask if Dad's back safely and wondered how it was...
I have only heard a few stories so far (can't wait to hear more) 
and have only seen a few pictures (they have well over 600!)
But I'll share a few pictures and an overview I begged Dad to send now
until I can sit with him and hear more.
So the following is a quick recap from him...
10 people went on this mission trip from Unity Presbyterian Church .. one youth, age 17.
Arranged by Heifer International and PCUS through our missionaries Gloria and Tim Wheeler
Visited Boys Home 50 boys of families in Tegucigalpa that can't take care of them. 
We support them and took a check for $3,000.
Boys gain skills in their wood working shop, bakery and on their farm.
Visited downtown Project Alternatives program for single women of the Market and their kids.  
Support group and education for both kids and mothers... 
Great program... both mothers and kids would be completely lost without this support.
Visited Heifer International to learn about their program to support the poor 
with cows for milk, bees for honey business, chickens for eggs and meat, goats etc. 
Did a seminar on how to help the people of poverty. 
Worked in a very remote community in the Western mountains for 5 days 
building houses with the people.  
They have been working to improve their conditions since 1982... 
good progress but very slow.  
People are committed, happy and love the Lord.  
They just want a chance and some support... 
not just money but the physical presence that confirms what they are doing is right.
Can you even imagine that people live in this house? They do.
kids like these...
Can you believe the Charlotte Jr. Soccer jersey?
So glad to see donated clothes from here.
These are the new concrete homes they made.
hungry animals...
hungry children...
 This little fella was Dad's favorite new friend. 
He has nothing and yet he is happy.
Look at the joy on his face.
He evidently wore this shirt a lot.
They called him Superman.
And I think he must be Superman to live like this in these conditions.
May God bless the people of Honduras and the poor all over the world.
My heart breaks when I see and hear this and I wasn't even there in person.
Thank you Dad, and to all those who went and showed the love of Christ
to the least of these.
Bless you!

Jul 21, 2010

Tervis time

I forgot that I had taken a few snaps with my iphone during market. 
Thank goodness, since I had the strange camera mishap 
and all the good pictures are missing....ughhh!
So here's a peek into the brand spanking new Tervis showroom. 
Wish you could have seen it! So bright and huge! 
And all the folks working for Tervis had bright colored Converse sneakers on...
some even had a different color on each foot. 
Quite eye catching, not to mention fun and comfortable!

It was fun to see my "Love the Earth" tumbler  front and center 
among the new arrivals...
right with Disney and other cute designs. 
I even had a brief meeting in their new conference room where my design 
was plastered on the display board with the other new arrival designs. 
They had just presented them to Bed Bath & Beyond 
so we should know in the next few weeks if they will carry it or not.
Keep your fingers crossed...it would be great!
FYI...I have a small handful left in the studio if you are local 
and want to swing by to purchase one.
If you are not here in Charlotte, you can certainly shop for it here
Let me know what you're drinking in your summer tumbler...
iced tea, water, lemonade, coffee, margarita, something else delicious?

Jul 20, 2010

Atlanta recap

Well, the Atlanta market visit was wonderful. 
I was able to spend time with my cousin and his family 
and also some quality time with my sweet aunt! 
Always busy at market and meetings almost back to back, but such fun, especially this time... 
to be invited to meet and greet and sign autographs in a showroom 
where they were launching my designed products. 
It was surreal in a way, and although I have never been one who wants anyone's autograph, 
I understand why they do this. 
Customers really love having a connection to the artist. 
They like to know the story behind the product, 
where the idea came from to even create it in the first place. 
This of course provided a wonderful witnessing opportunity for me 
because it was God who gave me this idea several years ago 
when I was manufacturing Multiple Blessings greeting cards and gifts on my own. 
This time though, the product is even stronger, made with better quality,
and will be distributed near and far. 
This type of an event certainly drove sales. 
The buzz created a shopping frenzy 
and retailers were purchasing the displays for their stores 
which made everyone happy. 
I met store owners from all over and many had the idea to take the signed postcard 
and place it by the product displays for their customers to have the artist connection...
I had not thought of that!
And I had a camera mishap..all the pictures taken in Atlanta 
somehow disappeared from my camera and cannot be found...
so strange and have never had this happen, but they are gone!
The best shot I have was taken by Vickie 
and so here it is to give you a sense of what the showroom was like.
Manual had all of the tapestry products out front on a wrought iron bench 
(the bird throw, the bird pillow, and the faith, hope and love wall decor).
To my left on the table were all of the displays 
Lots of other very exciting licensing news in the works 
which I will share with you as soon as I am able!
Have a wonderful day!

Jul 18, 2010

Checking in and Snaggle Tooth!

Hi friends! Checking back in with you...
Atlanta market was amaaaaaazing AGAIN! 
I continue to marvel at how many folks want to license my art on their products 
and along with that I continue to be so very grateful for these opportunities.  
I traveled this time with my very talented friend, Jenny Jordan 
who is also doing some art licensing and has so much cute art to offer! 
We both had a very successful trip and have so much to do regarding follow up 
but we had a blast together! 
Pictures to come and details to follow, I promise!

In the meantime, my sweet in-laws are here and have had a grand time with the kids! 
They even traveled by plane here with local Rhode Island corn, 
which was David's favorite as a child. 
It was just the right thing to help Sarah Grace's very first tooth come out too 
the first night they were visiting.
Luckily, this was before I left for Atlanta 
so I didn't get to miss the event or the Tooth Fairy visit!
Don't you just love the matching freckles?

Jul 14, 2010

a TINY bit of news!

I have a TINY bit of news...actually it's BIG news! 
I have been selected by TINY PRINTS to launch a huge collection of designs for their
We are reviewing Holiday 2010 now, which will launch in October. 
Here's a peek... 

all images ©Caroline Simas 2010
Yes, that means for all you sweet, patient folks 
who have asked for my art to appear in holiday photo card format for so long...
Now you will be able to upload your photos and not have to print them or tape them on the cards. 

all images ©Caroline Simas 2010
I am actually designing holiday, religious, baby, wedding and birthday 
invitations AND announcements. 
In addition to this will also be designing personalized greeting cards for Tiny Prints too. This is a huge project and is requiring a lot of work, but we think it's going to be a great partnership 
and make for great selling on-line paper products.

Let me know if you know about TINY PRINTS and what you think.
Also feel free to share ideas of what you are looking for 
when you shop for invitations, announcements and holiday cards. 
I hope you're a TINY bit excited!  
I am heading to Atlanta Market for a few days for meetings and showroom product launches 
so I will not be posting for a few days, but I promise to be back soon. 
I have even more news to share soon, I promise!
If you are planning to be in Atlanta, come see me from 12:00-2:00 on Friday. 
I will be meeting customers and signing autographs (hysterical to me!)
in the Manual showroom, Building 2 West Wing #697. 
They have asked me to chat with customers about the history of 
Grace Bits and GOD BLESS YOUs.  

Jul 13, 2010

Discipline & self-control

Discipline & self-control...
words which are not always easy to hear, and certainly not easy to master. 
I am on a specific diet these days but still baking for company 
and serving delicious yummies which are quite tempting. 
But I am sticking to it and trying to show discipline and self control.
©Caroline Simas 2010 
How do you like my Fruit of the Spirit design?
And as a parent, discipline is challenging too, but oh so important. 
Of course it's easier to say yes...but often, "no" is a love word.
So we get newsletters from our pastor on occasion and the most recent one really spoke to me. 
I guess because I struggle with discipline, 
and I bet since you're human, you struggle with it too in some way, shape or form. 
I wanted to share this from our pastor, Steve, and hope it will speak to you too.

The World Cup.  Wimbledon. The Tour de France.  The NBA finals.  The British and U.S. Opens.  Sports galore have filled our television screens this summer.  If you are like me, you have marveled at the athletes' incredible discipline.  
But do we apply that kind of discipline to our own lives?  Especially when it comes to faith?

To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, "Run in such a way that you may win it.  Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.  So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.  
(1 Cor. 9:24b-27)

The Christian life is a discipline.  You choose it over and over again.  It is not a birthright.  It is not something that you automatically get at baptism or confirmation. You do not receive a stamp for simply attending church.  
It is a discipline; a choice to live a certain type of life. 

So just as we choose to exercise even when we do not feel like it and eat the right foods when we want junk, we must live our faith.  That is easier said than done.  Each day, the choices we make, what we say and do - should all reflect that we are followers of Christ. It takes the discipline of an accomplished athlete.  Together let's run the race!

Thanks for listening.

Let me know your thoughts on this...
what do you struggle with regarding discipline and/or self-control? 

Jul 12, 2010

Summer List!

This summer we have had discussions galore about things each of us wants to do this summer. 
Much like your family probably, everyone has their own opinions and ideas to share.
We have not filled the poster board completely, 
so we keep adding things we want to do or see or experience.  
The kids have enjoyed checking off a few like this one...
What's on your summer list?

Jul 11, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday David!
We celebrated early this weekend since Walker left for Pittsburgh Sunday.
The kids learned how to make my mom's fudge pie recipe. 
Easy and delish!
He can eat this because he works out at 5:30am every single morning! 

Fudge Pie (makes 2 pies!)
1 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter (yeah, I know!)
2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
4 eggs
1tsp. vanilla
2 unbaked pie shells

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Melt butter and chocolate chips on microwavable dish over low heat. 
Beat eggs and sugar and salt in another bowl. 
Add chocolate mixture and vanilla and mix well. 
Pour evenly into two unbaked 9 in. pie shells and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. 
Cool well before cutting.
Serve with coffee or vanilla ice cream.
Happy Birthday dear!

Jul 10, 2010

On a mission...

My sweet dad is on a mission trip in Honduras for ten days. 
Would you please pray for their group while they are there? 
I would be most grateful and so would he. 
We have had word that he is there safely...praises!
They went to Diamonte, an orphanage for boys which my parent's church has supported....
Project Alternative- a group helping street kids 
and impoverished, single women and children learn ways to have a better life. 
The program is run by by Heifer International
If you have not heard of this, it's an amazing organization! 
Then they had a 9 hour bus ride to Trinidad 
where they will be working in the remote area of Copantle
for several days. 
They are helping this community rebuild homes...
cinder block homes 
and I think they have to make each cinder block. 
It's a grueling process and primitive conditions,
but they are doing God's work 
and loving these grateful people in the process. 
Although the following video is not from my dad's current trip, 
it was filmed in the area where he is right now.

I will certainly be sharing more when he returns. 
They have promised to take lots of photos during their stay.  

In addition to this, our 12 year old left today for a summer mission trip through our church.
He's headed to participate in
Our sermon today was on the Good Samaritan.
I loved the perspective...sometimes we think we are the ones going to help the broken.
But the fact is, we are all broken and often times, we end up being the ones served and loved unconditionally by the least of these.
Thank you for remembering these two groups
and certainly the people they are helping.
May they all have the opportunity to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Jul 8, 2010

Drum roll please!

Drum roll please!
To the sweet folks who commented 
and shared Designing for the Soul with friends, 
thank you!
Your names were thrown into a basket (the old fashioned way of selecting a winner!) 
and THREE names were chosen.
 And the winners of the one year BLOGIVERSARY prizes are:
Prize #1 goes to 
You won this:

 Congratulations and I am so happy for you!

Prize #2 goes to 
You won this:
Congratulations and I am so happy for you!

Prize #3 goes to  
You won this:
Congratulations and I am so happy for you!

MOST COMMENTS ON THE BLOG since the Blogiversary
goes to 
Nancy, you won prize #4
Congratulations and I am so happy for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment...makes me so happy to hear from you! 
Congrats to everyone and thank you for learning how to leave comments on my blog 
and for telling your friends and family about Designing for the Soul
I will certainly have more give aways in the future!
If you are a winner, shoot me an e-mail and we'll coordinate delivery of your fun prizes!
Have a fabulous day!

Jul 7, 2010

Summer Reading!

Summer Reading...
how's it going at your house?
We have one who wants to read anything he can get his hands on, another who would rather do anything but read, and two who want to be read to as much as possible.
It's so important to keep up with summer reading, 
and I am not too picky about what my kids are reading as long as they read. 
William's teacher was a fabulous at encouraging the kids to read whatever interested them and she read so many great chapter books aloud to them as a class this school year.
At our house it's anything from Golf Digest magazine to the Alex Rider series;
from Kid's National Geographic to the Harry Potter Series;
from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Frog & Toad to the American Girl Doll books.

At our elementary school, the summer reading is our only fund-raiser! 
Yep, no wrapping paper sales, raffle tickets; just good ol' summer reading and the kids get family and friends to sponsor them based on how many hours they read. 
The money raised goes toward wonderful things for the school and classrooms. 
win-win, wouldn't you say?
Being a good student takes a lot of work 
and summer reading takes a good bit of this:
I need a bit of perseverance these days too!
Here's to summer reading...
let me know what you're doing to get the readers going at your house!
PS: Don't forget we have 4 amazing prizes to give away HERE!
                Keep the comments coming and spread the word about Designing for the Soul!
P.S.S. The HEART COLLAGE  from yesterday's post sold
but the TULIP collage is still available if anyone is interested. 

Jul 6, 2010

With These Hands...

I of course love licensing my art...
it's beginning to reach many across the globe now 
and that makes me very happy. 
However, there's something super special 
about creating and owning an original. 
It's kind of like the fact that we all love (well maybe) and need e-mail 
but it can't replace the special feeling of receiving a hand-written letter or note. 
Here are a few original canvases I was commissioned to do recently.
These are sold....sorry!
However, I do have the following 2 in the studio for sale 
if you are interested...let me know.
TULIP (mixed media) 12x16x3
Caroline Simas© 2010
HEART (mixed media) 16x20
Caroline Simas© 2010

Have a great day and...
PS: Don't forget we have 4 amazing prizes to give away HERE!
                Keep the comments coming and spread the word about Designing for the Soul!

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