Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We're easing back into real life over here after a very relaxing week of sleeping in (thank you kids!) and eating out. I've declared this week "scrap booking week" and hope to end up only ONE year behind on cataloging our pictures. *sigh* I'll be back to my beloved sewing machine next week and have lots of fun ideas I plan on finally turning into actual things. Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jazz up your stocking...



(Again, I took these pictures at night, when most of my sewing happens, so the lighting is weird.) I'm super happy with how this turned out and had so much fun making it since I know the little girl it's for. Enjoy, Baby Elle!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Books We Love

My boys love all books, but these are some of the ones we are reading a lot lately. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle is the perfect combination of vehicles, animals, and their respective noises. It was a lucky library find and I'm hoping Titus gets it for Christmas this year so we can keep it...
This book was a birthday present for Moses (thanks Liz!) and it is WONDERFUL! It has a few pages depicting the real story of Christmas, taken from Matthew and Luke, and then several more pages of punch-out paper dolls of a manger scene (camels and chickens included). Very sturdy and easy to punch out, and the inside cover of the book is illustrated to look like the inside of a barn, complete with pockets to put the dolls in when you are finished. Genius! Moses and I set it up the other day and after we were finished he played with it for over half an hour by himself while singing "Old MacDonald." It is by H.A. Rey, of Curious George fame.

And no post on children's books would be complete without reference to a Carl book, so here is the one we are currently reading. It's my favorite of the Carl books - no words, but the pictures are beautiful and both my boys adore them. There are lots of Carl books, all by Alexandra Day. All of these books are available on Amazon and probably at any local bookstore, in case you are doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Birthday Party

Last Saturday we had Moses' 4 year old birthday party and it was a big success. The night before Brett and I made 24 "gingerbread houses" (graham crackers, really) after the kids went to bed. I had been dreading it, but it turned into a really fun silly activity, especially since we hadn't bought enough crackers and were trying to build structures while conserving every last broken shred of building material. Mine almost looked like houses, while all of Brett's looked like bunkers. (Don't mind the mess in the background, my shoddy attempt at Christmas decorating, or the pants hanging on the chair to dry...)

Moses came up with the idea to use the candy from the piƱata to decorate the houses. I have to admit that I pictured a huge disaster of sugar-crazed children, candy wrappers, and frosting exploding all over the dining room, and tried to refuse, but Brett came to Moses' rescue and the two of them convinced me to let it happen. I'm glad I did - the children LOVED it and they all spent a long time decorating, even the younger ones.

The houses looked so cute and festive! It was a fun, simple party, and a great way to begin the last week before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Minis in the Shop:

LinkI snatched a few shreds of real sunlight the other day to photograph a few mini quilts for the shop. They can be found here - this is the girly-est one of the bunch. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toy Exchange

Here's a fun, earth-friendly, easy-on-the-budget, wonderful thing to do with your friends: have a toy exchange! I recently did this with the other moms in my Bible study and it was awesome! We each brought a few toys in good condition that our kids don't play with any more. Of course, as soon you decide upon the perfect toy that your kids won't miss, they will fall in love with it again, so the best strategy is to squirrel the unloved toys away after kids are in bed. We compiled all the toys, drew numbers, and took turns picking out "new" ones. I suppose you could do this White Elephant style, too, which would make things a bit more exciting. Having the kids there would make things more exciting too, but probably in a different way. We opted to do it sans kids. I'm wrapping up our "new" toys and putting them under the tree for Titus and don't feel a bit guilty about it - he doesn't care that they were free!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Morning Muffins

My mom made these awesome little muffins every Christmas morning for as long as I can remember - it was the only time she made them and they were always all gone by the time the last present was opened.

This year I made them as the birthday snack Moses took to preschool (yes, he is almost four!) and as one of the goodies for a friend's baby shower I hosted. Definitely a big hit with 3 year olds as well as 30 year olds. Give them a try:

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil

white sugar

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line mini muffin pans (seriously, you have to use the minis - big ones just wouldn't be the same) with paper bake cups.

2. ) Combine dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl beat the egg and add the remaining ingredients, mix till smooth.

3.) Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just till moistened. This is the critical step - if you over-mix your muffins will be chewy!

4.) Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans and bake about 8 minutes or till golden. (Makes about 36 mini muffins.)

5.) When muffins have cooled, dip the top of each one into melted butter then into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. They taste best if eaten right away but definitely keep for a few days if you can keep your hands off them long enough! Yum!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fingerless Gloves

These guys were a LONG time in coming. I started them last year when I was on bed rest, completed one, and put the yarn and needles away. Moses has been asking me to finish them ever since, and last weekend I FINALLY made the other one. I'm pretty happy with how they came out, but the thumb gusset is a tad sloppy. I just switched from double-pointed needles to straight needles, knit a few rows flat, then rejoined it in the round. It is already getting stretched out and ugly looking. Oh well, I figure it's not too bad for my first try without a pattern.
I'm working on another pair of adult-sized gloves as a Christmas gift and am hoping to get a few thumb-gusset ideas from this awesome pattern. It's wonderful to be knitting again, though I'm also getting antsy to sit at the sewing machine. Not enough time to make stuff!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Belated Pumpkin News

A few months ago we harvested our three hard-earned pumpkins. Boy, was that a great feeling! I seriously think I would have loved living in the pioneer days (except for the bathing once per week and no electricity... ). I would have loved living off the land and having to make or grow everything used to sustain the family. Moses had a great time sawing through the pumpkin stalk (is that what it's called?) with a real knife and carrying it inside to show daddy.

I hacked those guys in half, saved some of the seeds for next year (I'm really excited to see if they actually grow!), roasted them in the oven and turned them into pumpkin puree. Let me tell you, three smallish sized pumpkins turn out A LOT of pumpkin puree! We've been enjoying the pumpkin goodies for months. (P.S. Try these.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Handmade Ornaments

My mom was obsessed with Christmas ornaments. Every year when we were little we would go on a special family shopping trip dedicated to each choosing our own special ornament. We would also receive an ornament as a gift each Christmas Eve. My mom put lots of time and energy into choosing ornaments that reflected each child's unique personalities and enjoyments. You can imagine what our Christmas tree looked like - every year it held 12 more ornaments than the year before, a mish-mash of ballerinas, birds, cars, balls, rabbits, dogs, musical instruments, comic book characters...

She also had us make ornaments every year, and was herself constantly working on some little ornament which she usually gave away. Happily, she kept a few of them and I was able to steal one for myself when I got married and moved, along with my huge box of ornaments, to our own place. Here it is - a little bit dirty unfortunately, but the perfect reflection of her love of needlepoint and lace:

So cute, and I love that it isn't the typical Christmas colors.

My Grandma also loved making ornaments and would make huge batches of them for all us grand children. I have such fond memories of driving to her house in Napa during the holidays, walking inside and seeing the entire kitchen table set with undecorated sugar cookies in all shapes and sizes, along with dish after dish of fancy candy and sprinkles to decorate them with. Off to the side would be our ornaments, adding even more cheer to the already festive table.

This heart that she made me has the letter "H" hand-stitched on the back. I love that - to know that she made this one specifically for me makes it even more special.

I think this angel is my favorite ornament that my Grandma made. I love her simple little face and calico dress. Perfect.

This year I tried my hand at making a few ornaments, and have put them up last-minute in the shop. I'm really happy with how the little trees came out. I know I'm trying to sell them a bit late, but I don't mind if some are left over for me. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Day!

This is what I woke up to this morning, and this is NOT a normal sight here in the Silicon Valley, even though we do live in the hills. Snow was falling and everything was covered in inches of snow. Beautiful! For the first time in my life I woke my kids up (rather than the other way around!) so they could see it while it was still falling.

Of course, the day's plans were immediately canceled, friends were called, and it was declared a snow day. We spent the entire morning alternately playing outside and sitting inside defrosting, drinking hot chocolate and eating coffee cake. Brett took a huge ice-chest full of snow down to Moses' preschool so the kids could play with it (I know, awesome, right?) and even skipped out on work to drag Moses and his buddy Keefe around the entire 3 acre property on a make-shift sled.

The roses that decided to bloom last week were a bit confused by the whole thing. Poor pretty things.
The boys were thrilled, Moses especially, who will tell you that his favorite time of the year is winter because we "go to the snow." He could hardly believe that the snow had come to us! I'm afraid I didn't even get many great pictures because I was too busy enjoying it all. I know I'll remember it all forever, though, and that's what really matters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It's downright cold around here. Not Montana cold, mind you. But it is California cold. As in, your knees get a little cold through your jeans when you go outside. And you can see the sheep's breath. Time to reinstate weekly soup night!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Some things are just easier to photograph. I'm always struggling to find the right light, fold things the right way, decide whether to edit out the background or use a natural background... Some day I will take a photography class. In the mean time, my favorite thing to take pictures of in the shop are the play mats. They always look good for some reason.

Tonight I have big plans - piece and make four sets of coasters as well as the binding for a quilt which also needs to be attached to the quilt. This craft show is making me crazy - I don't know how people ever do more than one per year!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Make it: quick and easy smock

1.) Cut a 1-2 inch wide strip off the bottom (short end) of an old towel. I've found that a thread-bare towel works best - those plush towels are hard to cut through and a bit cumbersome once you put it on your kid.

2.) Fold your towel so the short ends are touching. On the folded side cut a half-circle so that when you unfold the towel, there is a circular hole right in the middle. (Start off with a small circle - if the hole is too big the smock will just slip off your kid's shoulders. You can always make the hole bigger if you need to.)

3.) Pop it right over your little one's head and tie the "sash" around his waist. His clothes will stay paint-free, you can use it to wipe up after he is done, and then just throw it in the wash to be used again and again. Moses loves his, as you can see. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apotheosis the Vug

No, I have no idea what that means, but it has long-since been the e-mail address of my brother, and it is now the name of both his etsy shop and his blog. Friends, I am telling you, you MUST check them both out! I seriously don't know if I am more excited that people can now buy his awesome art work or that they can read his hilarious blog postings. Go check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I love these little dudes.

Now that we are all healthy, things are back to the usual silly routine. There has been a lot of refrigerator magnet action lately, as well as a very long stint with the marble track this morning. The little guy spent an hour clutching one potentially deadly marble in each hand, all the while looking sideways at me while he tried to surreptitiously jam them into his mouth. He eventually realized he couldn't out-sneak me or charm me into allowing him to gulp down even one (and boy did he try, with that cute little grin. Man.), and he settled for the occasional quick lick of the orange marble, which seems to be his favorite. Just to appease me, he would make a very unconvincing face of disgust and say "eeeugh" after each lick, which didn't fool me at all. Very entertaining and totally worth the non-showered look I rocked all day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


A lot has been happening around here, including our first real bout of sickness for the season. (No, don't worry, we didn't get THAT.) We're also entering birthday season - Titus and I get to celebrate next week. I can't believe it's already been a year since I celebrated my 28th birthday by coming home from the hospital with a tiny baby boy. Pretty crazy.

As for the shop, I've signed up to do another craft show (and if you remember my last experience with craft shows, you probably think I'm crazy. I know my husband does.) so I'm sewing whenever I get a free moment and buying lots of new fabrics. Here's the stack that is currently cheering me up - a new play mat and a bunch of darling fabrics from this excellent fabric store. I'm off to work on another play mat - just wanted to do a quick update. Lately blogging is like working out - if I go longer than a week without doing it I might just throw in the towel. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Something for us

I started making this quilt when I was pregnant with Titus and VERY sick. Not only was I throwing up every few hours, but I was taking an anti-nausea medication that did nothing except make me feel like my arms were going to fall off. (It's always a bad sign when the pharmacist says "huh - this used to be prescribed as an anti-psychotic," when she hands you a bottle of pills.) I was completely worthless, so Brett took Moses to his parents' cabin to leave me alone in my misery. I decided I was going to do something productive with my "freedom," so I pieced this together using a charm pack (I think that's what it's called...) I bought at the Twain Harte drug store. I spent the entire day piecing it, quilting it, making and attaching the binding... and then the mere sight of it would make me dry-heave, so I was forced to pack it away.

Well, the other day I found it amongst my fabric stash and realized that the leaned association had worn off enough for me to finish stitching the binding. Now Titus has his very own little quilt. I love having a baby quilt just for him - the other ones we have are technically Moses' (though he is very good at sharing them). Titus loves it - all the little patterns and the red and white backing are really eye-catching.

I tried to do a cutesy photo shoot of Titus and the quilt, but most of the pictures turned out like this:

so I gave up. That's why there are no kids in the pictures in my shop. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

... and then the wind blew

Imagine being less than a year old and feeling the wind on your face for the first time. This is what it feels like. And imagine being so early into this life that you intrinsically feel grateful for it - he couldn't tell me he felt that way, but I could tell. Even though he is too young to understand the concept of God, it was as if he intrinsically knows that He exists. And it seemed like he was throwing up a sweet little thank you to that wonderful being who made something as wonderful as wind.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sewing Update

There are a few more coaster sets in the shop. This round was frustrating because something kept going wrong with my sewing machine. We now have a few new sets of coasters at our house with little mess-ups in their quilting. It is nice having some more for myself, though!

And this year I'm actually thinking ahead - here's a sneak peek at what I've been working on:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today the grass was shiny

It was breathtaking, actually.

So pretty we had to get right down in it. I love little gifts like this in the middle of a regular old day. Beautiful.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Here is a very small sampling of the fabrics I got from my Grandma. Pretty cute - definitely vintage colors and prints. I LOVE tiny floral prints, and there are so many of them! What makes these fabrics even better is that they've spent the last 30 years packed in cloves and lavender, so they smell heavenly.

Using some of my more modern fabrics, I'm working on a few little things for the shop. I got all the corners trimmed last night and today I get to flip them. I love flipping - you finally get to reveal all your hard work. I'll show the finished products in a few days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Titus and I got back from our trip to Montana a few days ago, and I feel like we went back in time for the weekend (in a good way. A great way.) My Grandma and Uncle Brian live in a small log house in the middle of the woods at the base of the mountains, right next to the Flat Head River. They don't have a microwave, dishwasher, tin foil, or live anywhere near a "real" grocery store. In the evenings they turn on gospel music and play Scrabble (Grandma always wins). Their home is full of my Grandma's sewing supplies and Uncle Brian's huge painted canvases, which lean against boxes and boxes of herbal tea that he's made. It smells like lavender, cloves, and vinegar and is immaculately clean. I love it there.

It is a simple, healthy life, and in spite of how exhausting it was taking an infant on four plane flights in three days, I feel as if I experienced some sort of a detox. Living away from crowds, technology - even sugar - felt great. I don't know if I could do it forever like them, but it was sure nice in the small dose I experienced.

Oh, and it was COLD! I am such a wimp, having lived in California my whole life, where we think it's "freezing" when it hits 40 degrees. Well, in Hungry Horse, it was 7 degrees at night and not much warmer during the day. This is the type of cold where you put on all your clothes, go outside, and two minutes later go back inside because you realize it is literally not healthy for you to be out there any longer. We did manage to take one quick walk - I put Titus in four layers of clothes, then put him in my wool sweater like a sleeping bag and put my wool socks on his hands all the way up to his shoulders. The poor kid couldn't move, but he seemed to enjoy the sights. The entire edge of the river was frozen - pretty crazy.

I came home with a huge bin of vintage fabric and a sewing machine from my Grandma - she wanted me to take everything but of course I couldn't fit it all on the plane. I'm hoping to post a few pictures of fabric when I get the chance, and am looking forward to getting to work on it. Thanks Grandma and Uncle Brian for a wonderful visit (of course they'll never read this because they don't have a computer)! We love you guys!