The Pearly Story Behind "Dusting in Pearls"

I always feel like a walking paradox. I can get out in the garden with my shovel and sledgehammer and love every dusty dirty minute I'm out there. I spend the majority of my life dressed in my "grubbies". Yet there's a part of me deep down inside that still likes "the frillies", "the pearlies", and "the sparklies"--all the pretty things. Maybe it's all the great classic Hollywood movies I watched as a kid. I don't know. All I know is that I can be dirty and sweaty and still want to put on heels when it isn't practical; buy the prettiest apron even if it will get dirty; and don pearls when all I'm going to be doing is dusting and vacuuming the house. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to. I've decided to claim it, celebrate it, and have fun with it... and create some "pearly" goodness along the way.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dusting in Pearls on hiatus

In an attempt to consolidate my blogging life, the Dusting in Pearls blog is on an indeterminate hiatus. I will continue to post about my creative adventures at Rosehaven Cottage and would love to have you visit me there.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

NEW COLLECTION! The Lure of Fishing

I am really excited to announce the release of a new collection of authentic vintage art and graphics at the Rosehaven Cottage Digital Download Shop--"The Lure of Fishing".

A few years ago, I acquired a collection of travel brochures that was compiled by a young girl back in the the 1950's. She had written to different boards of tourism in the various states and territories of the U.S. and received standard tourism packets in return. Each packet had been carefully preserved and untouched for over 50 years when they were given to me by the all-grown-up collector.

As an artist and graphic designer with a love of vintage illustration, I have treasured the collection as a treasure trove of inspiration and irreplaceable vintage photographs (many in color!). But for a long time, I've tried to figure out a way to share them with others in a format that would inspire others' creativity as they had inspired mine. Last month, the solution finally came to me! I could share the images in collections as digital downloads!

I carefully scan each graphic image using my high-resolution art scanner. Then I take each graphic into Photoshop CS3 and digitally restore it. Once that is done, each graphic is compiled with other coordinating graphics onto a 300 dpi digital sheet with 12"x12" physical dimensions for printing. Each coordinate sheet can each be purchased separately to mix and match. The sheets can be printed and cut apart by hand or cut apart digitally and used for a variety of creative projects.

"The Lure of Fishing" is the first of a number collections I plan to release. Click on any of the images below to read more about that particular set.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Print-Your-Own Gift Tags

Do you have the same problem I do every year? I get around to wrapping all my Christmas gifts and then realize I don't have enough gift tags. Or I don't like the ones I have on hand. Well, if you're feeling a little creative and need a solution to the same problem, here it is!

Featuring my own original watercolor illustration "Santa's Sleigh", this print-your-own PDF file lets you enjoy creating something while you're enjoying the spirit of giving at Christmas. And it's only 50 cents!

Print as many as you wish (for your personal use) on your own printer, on the paper you want, and even embellish them to your heart's content!

Delivered in a digital PDF file that you print. When you purchase this item, a download file will be made available to you IMMEDIATELY after you checkout. You will need a free copy of Adobe Reader to view and print the file, but that's it! This file is compatible with every computer and doesn't need any special software to use.

The high-resolution full-color PDF file prints on 8.5"x11" with three large 4.75"W x 2.75"H gift tags on each page you print. Instructions and fun ideas are included on each page you print too. Once you've printed, simply cut around the dotted lines, and you have three gift tags!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Take-Out Twinkler

Since November 2009, I've had the pleasure of being a part of a design team designing projects for Aqua-Gems using their products--Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles and BrightSPOT Submersible LED Accent Lights. I've been given permission to share my craft designs here on my blog. To see all craft designs I've featured, click on the label "craft design" at the end of this post.

Click on image to view larger

This project is so fun to make because it's really easy and very inexpensive. It's a versatile project that has a lot of possible applications (see "Ideas" section below).

  • 1 translucent plastic take-out container (Dollar Tree has this pre-decorated one or you could buy a plain on and draw your design on with Sharpie markers)
  • 3 BrightSPOT submersible LED accent lights (I used blue, red and pink)
  • Aqua Gems (I used clear)
  1. Put a 1 inch layer of Aqua Gems in the bottom of take-out container
  2. Set one BrightSPOT on top of Aqua Gems with bulb facing out about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in from sides of container
  3. Put another 1-2 inch layer of Aqua Gems burying light
  4. Set one BrightSPOT on top of second layer of Aqua Gems on opposite side than first BrightSPOT
  5. Put another 1-2 inch layer of Aqua Gems in burying light
  6. Set last BrightSPOT on top of third layer in line with first
  7. Fill container full with Aqua Gems burying last light
  8. Close flaps of container and your done!
  • String together multiple Take-Out Twinklers as a lighted “garland” and hang for a party
  • Place multiple Take-Out Twinklers along a walkway leading up to the door to welcome guests to a nighttime party
  • Tie helium-filled balloons to handle and use as a centerpiece on a table or make multiple ones for a larger room with many tables
  • Jazz up the top by putting the stem of a single big showy flower through the small space in the top between the flaps. The Aqua Gems will keep it hydrated. A gerbera daisy would look great.
Click here to visit the Aqua Gems website for more information
or to buy Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles
and BrightSPOT Submersible LED Accent Lights for this project

Disclosure: I was paid to design the featured project. I AM NOT being paid to feature this project or product(s) on my blog and WILL NOT receive compensation for clicks through to the company website featuring the product(s)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dancing Dear Abigail Girl

After finishing up the design work on the Dear Abigail Girl for, Abby wanted me to come up with an excited dancing version of our little gal. She wanted to pair the art with one of her favorite Marilyn Monroe quotes so she could use it as a Facebook button.

Here's the exciting news...

Abby wants this art to be available to anyone that wants to buy it for only $0.99 at the Rosehaven Cottage Digital Download Shop (click here to download it). It is also available without the lettering at the bottom (click here to download that version).

I can also add custom lettering to the bottom if you drop me a note at dustinginpearls at yahoo dot com with a special request--and it will still cost only $0.99.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Abigail Girl

Over the past few weeks, I've had the privilege of working with Abigail at Dear Abigail to design and illustrate the "Dear Abigail Girl" to appear on a sidebar button on Abigail's newly burgeoning website for girls. Abigail had a great vision and articulated it so clearly. She wanted a curly-haired girl playing dress-up in colors that coordinated with her website's color palette. Because Abigail's website looks like a bulletin board, she wanted the illustration to look like it was taped up to the "bulletin board". So I was able to create that for her too. The Dear Abigail Girl is now being incorporated into the website by Abigail's coders and should make her debut soon.

Click here to visit Dear Abigail

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lighted Kissing Ball

Click image above to view larger

The above arrangement is another of the design projects I've been working on for Aqua-Gems using their products--Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles and BrightSPOT Submersible LED Accent Lights.

I've named this design "Lighted Kissing Ball". The above arrangement is made with fresh roses and lemon leaf leaves for greens, but I also made it up in a silk sample. Here are the steps on how to assemble one for yourself.

Materials list:

1 Gala Bouquet Holder by FloraCraft (from craft store)
1 Bright Spot light (used white)
Aqua Gems (any color--I used purple)
48 fresh roses (as shown) or 24 silk roses
Green leaves for filler (for silks use green leaves from stems)

  1. Carefully open bouquet holder at middle seam and remove floral foam (slide a dull knife around the middle if necessary)
  2. Using a butter knife or flathead screwdriver, remove plastic plug separating globe from bouquet handle
  3. Fill hollow handle with Aqua Gems
  4. Turn on Bright Spot and push up into the bottom of the floral foam (cut out foam material if necessary)
  5. Replace floral foam in holder with light shining down
  6. Snap holder back together
  7. Arrange flowers in floral foam so the edges touch and all foam is covered
  8. String ribbon through hole in bottom of holder to hang
Click here to visit the Aqua Gems website for more information
or to buy Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles
and BrightSPOT Submersible LED Accent Lights for this project

Disclosure: I was paid to design the featured project. I AM NOT being paid to feature this project or product(s) on my blog and WILL NOT receive compensation for clicks through to the company website featuring the product(s)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lighted Carnation Parfait Centerpiece

Click on any image in this post to view larger

The past two weeks I've been working on a confidential design job that I can finally write about. I've been designing projects for Aqua-Gems using their products--Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles and BrightSPOT Submersible LED Accent Lights. A number of the design projects I've created will be used in a large retail craft/fabric store account that Aqua-Gems has, but I've been given the green light to showcase them on my blog too!

The first is a lighted centerpiece I've named "Carnation Parfait". Here are the steps on how to assembly one for yourself.

Materials list:

1 parfait or sundae glass (I got mine at a restaurant supply store)
1 drinking straw
1 BrightSPOT light (I used pink)
1 package of Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles (I used pink)
6 standard carnations in a color matching the Aqua Gems you use
2 white standard carnations
1 artificial red cherry or cranberry on a pick wire (from craft store)


1) Turn on the BrightSPOT and slide the drinking straw over the bulb of the light (see photos below)

2) Place a small amount of hydrated Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles in bottom of parfait glass and nest BrightSPOT in Aqua Gems (see photo below)

3) Fill the parfait glass full of Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles

4) Position straw just to the right or left of center

5) Cut the carnation stems to 3-4 inches in length

6) Arrange 6 colored carnations in a circle around entire rim of parfait glass (let edges of carnations hang over the edge of glass)

7) Place 2 white carnations in top center (re-position straw if needed)

8) Place cherry on top by sliding pick wire down into center

And you're ready to "serve"!

Click here to visit the Aqua Gems website for more information
or to buy Aqua Gems Liquid Marbles
and BrightSPOT Submersible LED Accent Lights for this project

Disclosure: I was paid to design the featured project. I AM NOT being paid to feature this project or product(s) on my blog and WILL NOT receive compensation for clicks through to the company website featuring the product(s)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One-of-a-Kind Vintage Doilie Corsages

I love wearing flower brooches on my retro-looking button-up sweaters. So I came up with a way to make flower corsage brooches from vintage doilies and mismatched or disassembled vintage jewelery. I've just released the first collection in the "One-of-a-Kind Wearable Art" section at the Dusting in Pearls online store.

Each of the vintage doilies are from my favorite local antique store with each one being unique and special. I found the vintage mismatched jewelery during my thrifting trips and thought they needed a new life as something special and pretty.

Click on any of the images in this post to see details and a larger image

Monday, November 2, 2009

Print-Your-Own Thanksgiving Invitations

Click on any of the images in this post to view larger

I've just released a new design for print-your-own Thanksgiving themed stationery that is very versatile and can be used in a lot of ways. There are some pretty cool reasons for buying a PDF digital file download:
  • You can print as many as you need for your personal use without any fancy software--all you need is a free downloaded copy of Adobe Reader
  • If you remember someone at the last minute, just print out another one
  • Once you've printed out the stationery, you can embellish it with glitter and lots of other fun things or just leave it as-is
  • You can use the same file for multiple uses such as invitations, map/directions inserts in the invitations, AND place cards
  • If you want to customize the stationery before you print it, you can do it easily by following the instructions below
Customizing Your Print-Your-Own Stationery

You can always print out the PDF file just as you receive it and then hand-write on the stationery. But if you want to save yourself time and turn the PDF file into your own customized invitations, this is how!

I used MS Word to do these (because most people have that program), but this can also be done using Photoshop Elements, Photoshop CS, or many other programs that allow you to insert or place a graphic into a document as an independent layer.

In MS Word, open a new document that is 8.5"x11" (letter-sized). Go up to the "Insert" menu at the top of your document so it expands like this...

Move your cursor down to the "Picture" sub-menu and hover over the right-facing arrow to the right of the title "Picture" to bring up the pull-down menu you'll need to insert a picture.

Within that sub-menu you'll have some choices. Choose "From File..." so you can navigate through your file directories to the PDF file that you've downloaded and stored on your hard drive. Once you've found the PDF file, select it and click OK.

The PDF file will now appear within your Word document as a graphic. It will probably be slightly smaller than its actual size, so you'll need to resize it larger.

To resize without distorting the correct proportions of a graphic, hold down the Shift key while dragging one of the corners of the graphic. Continue to drag until the graphic is as large as your document page.

The next step is really important.

Double-click on the graphic itself and define the "Wrapping Style" of the graphic as "Behind Text". What you are doing is telling the program that you want the graphic to act like a piece of paper behind what you are going to type. You want them to act independently of each other with the text sitting on top of the graphic.

Now go back to your "Insert" menu and select "Text box" to create a text box. Size the box to fit inside the graphics by dragging on any corner of the box, then start typing just as you would type a regular text-only document. Using a text box allows you to drag the entire block of text around on top of the other graphic as if the text is it's own editable graphic.

Once you've typed all the text that you need in the text box, select the text box (if it isn't already selected) by clicking on it once.

Now go to the "Edit" menu at the top of your document and select "Copy". An invisible copy of that text box will be copied to an invisible clipboard in your computer's memory.

Now go to the Edit menu again and select "Paste". A duplicate text box will appear in the center of your document. It will float on top of everything just like your other text box.

To drag and position it on the lower invitation graphic, click on top of the text and continue to hold down your mouse button without releasing. Then drag the text box into place.

Another way to reposition a text box or graphic is to make sure the object is selected and then use the direction arrows to maneuver it around your screen (this works well for finely adjusting a position).

Once you're happy with how everything lines up, it's time to print out your document.

Set your printer the highest quality print settings to get the best results. You can print on cardstock (Wal-Mart has some nice cardstock that's inexpensive) or on some other nice paper you have.

Print out as many copies as you need and you're set to begin embellishing and/or cutting them out! Easy!

IMPORTANT "PEARLY" NOTE: If you are using Internet Explorer, you aren't having the most beautiful "pearly" experience that you could have if you were viewing this site with Mozilla Firefox for the PC or Firefox for the Mac which is available for FREE download at the above links.