Friday 27 November 2009

Sometimes you get diamonds . . . sometimes you get dust . . .

I've had to do some hard thinking lately. I'm a big dreamer and sometimes my dreams get me into a spot of trouble. I just love painting and creating as you know. There is always some sort of little character playing around in my head . . . all I am lacking in is time to get them down onto paper. I live in hope that one day I will be able to do nothing more than create, but in the meantime, I do what billions of others have to do to get by . . . I work. ☺ Drawing and painting is just so much fun for me, it always seems like play.

Anyways, sometimes my dreams lead me down dark alleys and I get in over my head. Last year I sold a fair amount of my Christmas Cards, but I couldn't help thinking that in a world of greeting cards cheaply printed in China on shoddy paper and sold for a thruppence . . . they were a bit dear for most people. I just couldn't sell them for cheaper though, after the time involved in creating each one and the ink and supplies etc. (Isn't computer ink a *rip off* people??? Costs a bomb and lasts only a twinkle!! ) Anyways, this year I thought . . . I'll have the lovely people at Moo print out some cards for me, and then I could sell them for half the price. So, being the dreamer that I am, I ordered a hundred of them, and I was ever so pleased with the quality of them when they came. Beautiful card was used to print them on, much nicer than any you would find in a box of cards and the colours are stunning. The two people that purchased a set from me were well pleased with them as well.

Todd was a bit miffed at me though, coz they cost a mittful, . . . but I assured him that I would be able to sell them all and make a small profit as well. This is where my dreams let me down. I have sold only 12 of the one hundred . . . and Todd is rightly annoyed with me and my dreamer's folly . . . as he said, and quite rightly, Moo Cards have made a bomb off of my hard work, and I have paid them to do so. To try and redeem myself in his eyes I am now offering them for £1 a piece plus postage to anyone who wants them, which is what I paid for them. I apologize for the two people that bought a set from me and paid more. I'll be more than happy to refund them the difference in price. If you would like some of these lovely cards, just leave me a comment, or send me an e-mail at MarieAliceJoan at aol dot com and I'll be happy to post them off to you, and Todd will be happy too.

I am thinking of completely re-working this art thing of mine in the new year. The prints don't seem to sell well (read not at all here) and I am pondering what I can do that will be different and that people will want. I had sold a rubber stamp design, and did get paid for it . . . but where is the stamp??? I don't know! I have yet to see it! . . . The publisher in Utah that said they were working on a Card deal for me has disappeared in a whiff of smoke too! So here I am at nearly the end of the year thinking that . . . in the new year I shall have to take a different direction. I just don't know which way yet!!!

Also, if anyone wants to buy my little Christmas Character Doll, Emily . . . make me an offer and I'll see what I can do.

Got home really late last night, or err . . . early this morning, but the Thanksgiving Dinner I cooked went really well. Everyone really enjoyed it and I was rather pleased with myself. Today I expect they will really enjoy the leftovers!! In the meantime here's a tasty dish that is not turkey, or even leftover turkey, but I hope you'll enjoy it all the same. It comes from my Big Blue Binder, and we all know what a treasure trove that is!

*Beef Stroganoff*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

Who wouldn't love tender strips of beef in a light and tangy mushroom sauce? Named after a nineteenth century Russian Count, this dish was very popular in the 1960's and 70's. I think it should come back, back, back and enjoy a delicious revival, as it's really very good and very easy to make! Another one from my Big Blue Binder!

2 pounds of beef round steak, trimmed of all it's fat, and
cut into 2 by 1/2 inch strips
salt, black pepper and garlic powder to taste
2 TBS olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
3/4 pound of fresh mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream

Season the steak strips with some salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When it is hot add the steak and cook for several minutes, just until they are no longer pink. Reduce the heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes longer. Pour the beef btoth over to just barely cover the meat. You may not need to use it all. Pop on a cover and simmer over low heat for 40 to 45 minutes, until the meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Whisk in the sour creaqm and allow to heat through WITHOUT boiling. (This is important. If it boils the sour cream will curdle) Serve at once with some hot steamed rice or buttered noodles on the side and a green vegetable. Delicious!

PSSTT!! If you haven't done so already, don't forget to enter my Christmas Giveaway! I'll be drawing a name on December 1st, which is fast approaching!!


  1. You are incredibly brave to be following your dreams, Marie. There may be dust hiding some of your diamonds' luster, but your are helping some of us who are not so brave polish our own.

  2. I love how you are so resilient. I am sorry your cards and not selling etc. Whichever way you choose to follow your dream I wish you well.

  3. Marie, its me,,, Laurie from Sault Ontario again, could you not some how combine your art with your recipes in some way.Such as Susan Branch.She does cookbooks which she illustrates with watercolors.I just love her books and I know they are really popular .Its just an idea.Hope you recover from your hard day yesterday.My daughter married and American fellow and she cooked dinner for his family yesterday also.Sault Canada is a border town directly across the water from Sault Ste.Marie michigan so she is only 45 minutes away.So we have two Thanksgivings.Very yummy.Take care.

  4. Don't be dissapointed. I don't think people have a lot of money to spend now, so no one is buying much of anything.

    I'm featuring 12 artists next Saturday and you're one of them, and I highlighted your cards, so hopefully that'll move some...

  5. Oh, Marie...I did buy one of the card set and was thrilled with the quality of the cards, the fun designs and didn't mind the price tag at all! I'm sorry that not more are purchasing and discovering your work and sharing it with others. Very much I can relate to how you are feeling. There will be some changes for me to, as I am closing my online shop after Christmas--with no one buying my accessories with any regularity and no gain it's not going over. I think so many of us selling our hand made creations is struggling right now, and as the economy is still sluggish (in spite of what some experts say!) people still aren't spending. Makes it hard for us to keep on in the meantime though. I hope we can chat about this and more soon--would love to brainstorm with you! I hope things will pick up...and that more of those sweet cards sell! You have great gift, don't forget... LOVE YOU HEAPS, my dear friend! :o) ((BIG HUS))

  6. Marie,
    I love your designs but I'm with Laurie in her suggestion to try something completely new! I think you are very talented by need a change with the type of character you are drawing. I would love to see what you come up with if you decide to venture in a new direction!

  7. Don't you ever be discouraged, dear friend! It's hard to put our heart and soul into our creations and then launch them out into the world...

    Your work and vision is just beautiful--if I hadn't promised my husband never to buy Christmas cards again (I GET to make them all! If I buy the stamps, I should make the cards, right?!) I would buy yours, for sure!

    I just read through the other comments, and I really think Laurie hit it right on the head--a cookbook with your illustrations sounds like just the thing! That would be amazing!

    Just don't stop creating--you are an amazing artist--both with the pen, and in the kitchen--I adore you!

  8. You are so talented, it's amazing! If I can buy Emily for the same price as the first one then I would love to do that - and this time I want her for myself!

    Unfortunately we can't collect her this time so you'll have to let me know what the postage is.

    I would have even bought her at the higher price but you see I would also like to buy a box of the cards - and at the proper price please, not a quid a throw - and I can't have everything.

    As for your prints, I can't - can't - can't let them go and I've seen some lovely frames that don't cost the earth, then they're going in my hallway. Could you maybe give the option of a framed edition?

    The cards - personally I think more 'boy' subjects would be a good idea.

    And I'm with Laurie from Sault about combining your art and cooking together in a book. God gave you these talents, see, so he must have meant you to use them. No matter how obscure right now, His purpose and the means to achieve it were all part of the package! Have another look in the box!!!!

    Don't forget to let me know about Emily.

    love, Angie, xx

  9. Marie your cards are beautiful. If my budget were bigger I'd be buying them for sure. Everything you do is just beautiful. I have a son who does cards too and I can't afford his either. So don't feel bad. He does his own every year and I'll have to share them sometime with you. It would be nice to get in with one of the greeting card people. My son has gone that route too but hasn't been successful yet.

  10. You are so talented, it makes me sad when you sell yourself short. I don't think you should have lowered your prices because even if they don't all sell now, they may in the future.

    Right now the economy is so bad and there are so many people without jobs, losing their homes, having problems making ends meet, that buying cards is probably not an option--even if they love, love, love your work. So be patient--not disheartened. The lack of buyers right now is not a reflection on you or your beautiful crafts. Things can change at any time.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!