Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Project Inspirations: Birds and Sparkles

Inspirations are something that are essential to a young woman, particularly when that young woman is striving to bring glory to God through hidden arts.
I have loved looking through different magazines and art blogs for project ideas and I thought of starting a series on Project Inspirations.

So, each week I will be posting something that has encouraged or inspired me that week; it may be a portion of scripture, magazine article, or a post on an art blog.
And please comment if you have something to contribute too!

This week I'd like to share a link to my friend Cait's blog,
In Company With Sparkles.Cait is a sweet, creative young woman whom I have enjoyed to spend time with; although I live in the States and her in the U.A.E., we have been able to connect through a mutual friend and I have been blessed to call her my friend and frequent, creative inspiration.

Today she posted a great project idea for pillows!

So hop on over to her blog and be encouraged and inspired! It's so fun to see the different things she creates and how she uses them to bless others.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Week Two of AHC: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

Here is week two of A Homemade Christmas put on by Emily Rose at Simply Vintage Girl.

(It's always best to begin at the beginning)

Here is a wonderful recipe for Crusted Nuts that was given to me by some dear friends.
I love this recipe because it is one of those that can be changed and
adapted, however you like it.
This is a great gift for neighbors, you could couple it with a "thank you" note,
sprinkle them on ice cream, or simply leave on the counter for whenever you feel the least bit hungry!

They may not be chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but they really taste and smell yummy, in whatever weather you may be.

You start with:

~ 2 beaten egg whites
~ 1 tbsp. water
~1 1-pound bag of your favorite nuts (I used halved pecans but it tastes good with almonds or walnuts as well)
~ 1 1/2 c. sugar
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, then for an easy clean-up, I lined my pan with some greased wax paper.

2. Beat your egg whites until they are white and foamy (think sea foam, without the salt). Coat your nuts well; this is what the sugar mixture will be sticking too, so make sure all of the nuts are well covered.

3. Mix sugar, salt, et cinnamon and coat the eggy nuts well.
4. Pour nuts onto sheet et bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Et bon appetit!

You could store this in a glass jar with some cute ribbon or fabric and leave on the counter for some edible decoration.

A yummy option would be to add some dashes of nutmeg or allspice to your sugar mixture.
And, to add to the ice cream idea,
you could chop your nuts before using them so they fit easier on the spoon.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Homemade Christmas Week One: frames

I really enjoy making gifts for people and trying out new project ideas; it's also wonderful to receive homemade gifts. There is just something that makes the gift more special when you know someone took the time on it for you.
You can add your own style to the gift and you can make it more personal and sentimental when you are making something.
As you know homemade gifts come in all shapes, sizes, and styles.
This is a fairly common gift idea, and the wonderful part is that the possibilities are endless.
I first saw it in a bathroom of a friend. She had a lovely frame with craft paper, pressed pansies, and a scripture verse in calligraphy.
I started by keeping a watch out for interesting, (inexpensive) unique frames. For some reason I have developed a liking for picture frames, mostly because of the endless decorative purposes.
When I am giving one away, I try to pick one that fits the style and personality of the person I am giving it too.
Then I chose different craft paper, using the glass from the frame to measure size; I also used different types of craft scissors to cut out the paper.
After everything was arranged the way I wanted it, I wrote out the scripture verse and decorated it a bit.
Depending on the style of your frame, you could center everything or (if you're like me) you could angle different pieces and put your own flair to it!
I've learned it's best to wait until the end to paste everything together, so after I finished the verse I did the final arrangements et voila!
Like I said, the possibilities are endless.
Next time I want to print a picture or use one from a magazine and frame around it.
You could include some pressed flowers or leaves; a train ticket or business card. This could even be a cute way to frame a baby's foot prints.
Don't forget, it's not too late to be apart ofA Homemade Christmas over at Simply Vintage Girl.
It is a wonderful way to share new ideas and see what other people are doing to prepare for Christmas; I hope you will join in the encouragment and learning.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

"Have yourself a homemade Christmas..."

This year I am very excited to participate in a Homemade Christmas put on by Emily Rose at Simply Vintage Girl.

Every two weeks (starting this Tuesday) Emily Rose will be posting about a homemade project she has completed and you can have to opportunity to post as well on your blog and hers about the different things you are doing to prepare for Christmas. It can be a good gift recipe, crafty accessory, or even a fun notebook.

I will be posting every other Tuesday about a project that I have completed or are in the process of completing. And I am really looking forward to getting ideas from other girls on homemade items to giveaway.

I hope you will make time to visit Emily Rose's blog
and perhaps be inspired to create something of your own!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Creative Inspirations

As I have been planning and preparing over the past few months, I have made a small list of things I have learned about hobbies, creating things, and the hidden arts. Attatched to each lesson is a photograph that has inspired me or is just on of my favorites!
First, as a job "well begun is half done",
I think the best place to start in your own industrious endeavours is in the purpose of your business. This may seem obvious but is vital to the growth and flow of your own shop.
Why are you doing this? Where do you plan to go with it?
And more importantly, whom will you glorify with your endeavour?
As believers we understand that,
"...the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
And that, as an extension of this, we ought "to do everything as unto the Lord".
So, before starting anything we must say in our hearts with the Psalmist,
"Bless the Lord, O my soul!
And all that is within, bless His holy name!"

Peonies are one of my very favorite types of flowers. It is such a pity that they do not grow well in Houston, and an even greater pity that they are $4 a stem in Whole Foods.

Do you have a favorite flower? A favorite anything?

I've found it very important to establish exactly what it is that I like and what sort of style that I pattern my hobbies after.

It doesn't have to be perfect.
If you don't draw attention to it, people do not generally notice.
Contrary to popular belief, this is true at piano recitals, speech presentations, string quartet practice, and yes, in your hobby. Whether it be painting, tatting, knitting, sewing, or cello practice. There are not as many professionals out there as you may think. In fact, that majority of the people you share your art with love you. And they really won't notice when you play an E flat instead of a D, that you increased five stitches in your scarf, or if you accidentally forgot a stick of butter in a cookie recipe...okay they might notice but hey, sugar and flour are very forgiving when baked.

This is one of my favorite Norman Rockwell paintings.
There is so much description in the frame that tells such stories. Which is one of the things that I love about Rockwell; the detail he adds and how he makes his point in each of his paintings.
His artwork always inspires me; and if I were a painter, I would quickly take out my brush and try to capture something from my life.
But alas I am not!
What does end up happening is that I try to consider what detail I am showing people in everything I do. Whether it is writing, art, or simply talking with people; how am I representing the Lord, myself, my family?
What is it that people walk away thinking?

Take good photographs.
This is very important when selling things online or simple posting them on your own blog.
Although I am no photographer, I have learned to appreciate a photo taken in the right lighting and proper emphasis on the subject. Take the time to test your lighting, create an interesting shot, and use the attention of the viewer to your advantage.

And finally, I think it very important that you enjoy what you are creating.
People will be more prone to take interest in what you are doing if they see that you are excited about it.
So, the next time some project catches your fancy, take it up! Do something with it, learn more about it!
Who knows, it may be your next favorite hobby...
to add to your budding collection.

Friday, 28 August 2009


Welcome to my blog!
My name is Elena Marques and I am a recent Etsy member and am in the planning process of setting up shop there.
Currently, I am planning to sell greeting cards, knitted items, and vintage items.
Since this is a fairly new thing for me, I thought what better thing to do than blog about my online Etsy endeavours! I hope that this blog will be an encouragement to other young women who are committed to being industrious, visionary, and joyful!
As a devoted member of The Pickwick Portfolio I am very familiar with the blogging concept; but as to the Etsy part I am not so familiar with.
Which is why I am very excited to be doing both at this site.
I will also be posting tips, recipes, shop announcements, and hopefully much more as time goes by :)
Thank you again for visiting and I hope that you will continue reading.


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