Thursday, December 18, 2008

christmas a week away!

It's starting to get a little crazy around here! Sound familiar?

The cookies are baked and sitting in the fridge waiting to be iced.

At least the Christmas cards have all been sent. But the Christmas rush is far from through.

The house will soon smell of pumpkin bread and all the "Handmade Holiday" Christmas projects are still very much underway. Those meant to be sent off need to be completed by tomorrow - my second big deadline following the teacher gifts we handed out yesterday. (fabric covered calenders which were sewn up just in the nick of time, so no time to photograph) Here are some nice wood and fabric blocks just completed. Meant to do up a bunch of these for the Etsy shop... and... well... that just didn't happen. But I did manage a set for one of my favorite little boys in the whole wide world. Who?... I won't say... Don't open until X-mas!

(AND... I've gotten what is probably the TWENTIETH e-mail in response to my monkey birthday party pinatas... SO, a full, sketched up tutorial on how to make the little buggers is soon to come!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

cutting + pasting

This is my holiday card basket:

Lots of cutting + pasting to do before cards go out in the mail. Sometimes I wonder why I can't just order cards like everyone else. Scribble on the addresses and slap on a stamp. Why do I always insist on cutting + pasting? Everything I do is cut + paste! Does anyone really care?

(I do)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

deck them halls, y'all!

I love this ornament. We picked it up in Oklahoma last year. Yee ha!

We put a 4-foot tree up high on my old drafting table. (see how our angel is smooshed up against the ceiling? barely fit!) This has turned out to be the perfect solution for saving fragile ornaments from the little hands of the shortest member of our family.

Finally sewed the family some matching stockings last year. Every year I hope to embellish them a bit. Found some cute handpainted wood buttons that I want to tack on and maybe some bright cuffs.

For days I tried to figure out where I'd put the little ceramic village I've been painting for years. (still so many buildings to go) After watching Martha, the perfect solution: clear out a section of books and nestle this snowy little village into the bookshelf with a lovely backdrop of snowflake scrapbook paper!

Monday, December 08, 2008

vote for me!

One of my fabric designs is up for the Favorite Fabric of the Week over at Spoonflower ! If it is chosen as the favorite, it will be available for sale in the Spoonflower Etsy Shop next week. So exciting! So if you have a chance this week, go over there and VOTE! I would love to see my fabric available for others to buy (without my having to orchestrate it all) so I could see what others make and do with it.

If you haven't visited the Spoonflower site recently, it's gotten really interesting and inspiring now that they're out of invitation-only mode and accepting orders from everyone. I love how you can set up a profile (see mine: Outofthebox) and select favorite designs that have been submitted by other artists. I haven't spent as much time as I'd like exploring the fantastic prints, but I have a few favorites selected. Check it out.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

find that balance

It's taken me awhile to stop feeling so pooped from all the party planning for the 5-year old's big day a couple weekends ago. And now that I finally have a chance to sit down and think about the things I've been neglecting, I feel slightly overwhelmed by the stacks of projects that surround me. I haven't been dedicating myself to the creative process like I should... I've been allowing my mood and temperament to be guided by floors that need cleaning and laundry that stacked up when I was fighting a cold. So, while I struggle to find that balance, again, I might just resort to a picture or two now and then on this little blog. The original point of this blog was for me to justify where my days were going. It was a way for me to force myself to do something other than housework and mommy-duties at least once a day so I'd have something to report on. I need to get back to that.

Notice the personalized cookies? I LOVE this cookie cutter.

Grown-ups got dino cookies on their cupcakes.

It was a dino-rific day!

Friday, November 14, 2008

plastic is for goldfish

Planning on making re-usable grocery totes to put in the Etsy shop and give as Christmas gifts. This is the design.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

sneak peak

A little sneak peak at what I've been working on...

I'm getting ready for a BIG update in my Etsy Shop after Thanksgiving - just in time for holiday shopping. I have a long list of things I'd LIKE to be making, but little boys are keeping me from staying on task. So while the shop won't be metaphorically stuffed to the rafters, there will be some new things and a few old favorites for you to browse through once you're back from hitting all those Day-After-Thanksgiving sales. I've continued to get e-mails inquiring about the fabric for sewing the bibs I demonstrated on The Martha Stewart Show. Some of you will be happy to hear that there WILL be fabric in the Etsy Shop - so please be sure to check back after Thanksgiving. (this should leave you with enough time to sew up your own bibs in time for Christmas!) Something else to look forward to: 2009 Calendars, Fabric Booties, Hand-Painted Wood Blocks, Christmas Ornaments... and, hopefully, much more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I'm just so giddy over these personalized stamps from I couldn't resist having them made for Robbie's birthday party invitations. True, I decided to make postcard invites to save money on postage. (we're all trying to save wherever we can, right?) But then what did I do? Ended up spending exactly what I would have spent on regular postage by having stamps with my dino design made. The thought of making my own stamps is so tempting... I just may take up written correspondence again so I have an excuse to design more personalized stamps.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


A week overdue... but this is how the dino costume turned out. I loved working with fleece to sculpt the headpiece. My little dino insisted on being a triceratops and not the generic dinosaur that the pattern instructed. By Halloween the headpiece was completely fuzzy like a well-loved teddy bear... he'd been wearing it nonestop since I completed it.

And the dino-mania is far from over. Coming up... a birthday party for my soon-to-be 5-year old paleontologist. I designed these postcard invites and will be sending them out for our big dino bash.

Next up: a stegosaurus (his new favorite dinosaur) pinata, dinosaur decorations, a prehistoric cake and dino-tastic party favors.

Thursday, October 30, 2008



Yogurt dipped pretzels

Sunday, October 19, 2008


When life gives me little boys that break the stems off my carefully selected stem-perfect-pumpkins, well... I make pumpkin pie.

Go figure... they're called pie pumpkins because they actually yield precisely what you need for most pumpkin pie recipes.

Made some little taster pies in a muffin tin with the left over crust and pie ingredients. Little bite sized pies... yum!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Something new. No names yet - friends for my Boggies.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

help in numbers

I can't believe it is already Thursday and I haven't yet written about the incredible Saturday we had last weekend. It was a day that really opened my eyes to all the good-hearted people in this world. It's easy to forget that they're out there, but they do, indeed, exist.

The city selected our neighborhood to be the focus of their yearly Vistans R.O.C. (Revitalize Our Community) program. I really didn't know what to expect. They offered to paint our house, paint our fence and help us remove the ivy that has been growing here for over 30 years (as my neighbor who has been here that long informed me). What a job! I couldn't imagine it would all get done. At best I hoped that invasive ivy would get thinned out so we could manage the gruelling task of untangling our yard and fence from it's grip ourselves. But what I discovered is that when you have help in numbers, miracles can happen. Our house was one of several that got some sprucing up. Each house was adopted by a team of volunteers. Our amazing group was a team of students, teachers, staff and parents from Vista Magnet Middle School. A team of contractors and landscape architects couldn't have done a finer job. I woke up Sunday morning feeling like it was the day after Christmas and Santa had brought us a new house.

Those kids painted our entire fence! Everybody chipped in to rip out that ivy - with roots as thick as baseball bats in some sections. The house was painted - I love my new colors! And THEN, the team leaders went about finding surplus plants, sod and mulch from the other teams so we wouldn't be left with dirt where there once was ivy. (I thought having the ivy removed was more than enough to ask for and didn't want to be too greedy to ask for landscaping when initially discussing the project with the coordinators) So not only did our crew get the entire job done, they went above and beyond by throwing some landscaping into the day's work. When all was said and done, I was speechless. How can I ever thank them enough? One thing is certain, I'll definitely be volunteering next year. You can count on that! I'm a pessimist no longer. When over 800 people give up their Saturday to get their hands dirty in somebody else's neighborhood, how can you not see the beauty in that?

Thank you Vistans R.O.C.!
Thank you Vista Magnet Middle School!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm back from a wonderful week in Hawaii. I think we've finally reached a good point as a family where travel isn't purely stressful but filled with some really nice moments that far outweigh the temper tantrums and exhaustion. (FINALLY!) After the past couple trips, I was so happy to be home and promised myself we'd just stay put and avoid venturing too far from the stability and predictability of home. Today, however, I find it kind of nice to be thinking about the next big trip and knowing that we are capable of traveling and enjoying each other's company as a family. I think the husband and I have also decided that the island of Oahu is more our speed as a family with kids. Our usual Hawaiian destination is Kauai. Maybe we were expecting too much to expect the kids to appreciate the wild and untamed beauty of Kauai. All they want is a beach, some sand and a shaved ice. In Oahu, it's easy to find all of that without even having to get in the car. Perfect.

Didn't pick up the sketch book once. Took a few pictures, but mostly of the kids. But I did manage to do some fabric shopping. I love the availability of beautiful Japanese prints in most fabric stores - I could have spent hours in Fabric Mart if the 1-year old hadn't insisted on coming with me. Maybe having him there was a blessing because I found myself falling in love with rolls of fabric and thinking, "Hmmm... there must be SOMETHING I can make with this... and this... and this..." I ended up with this stack of prints and I'm still not really sure what I'll do with them. Maybe a scrapbook cover for an album with all of our Hawaiian trips. We'll see.

After a visit with my Auntie (my Grandmother's sister) in Honolulu (it was so wonderful to see her - like seeing my Grandmother once again), I can't get the idea of retiring in Hawaii out of my mind. Her retirement residence was so beautiful and the residents were all so cute wearing their bright aloha shirts and muu muus. Of course, the $350 we spent for a week's worth of groceries put paradise in perspective. Aloha isn't cheap! I guess if you've lived there your entire life, like Auntie has, the high cost of living is all you know. Funny commentary about this over at The Lost Hawaiian. I certainly can sympathize!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

second chance

Made Banana Cake. Recipe from (I didn't do the cream cheese frosting - just drizzled Royal Icing - look up "royal icing" on Martha.) It's pretty darn good. I just hate throwing black bananas away. I hate it entirely when I let fruit or vegetables go to waste - but with bananas, you get a second chance. Bad bananas make great muffins, bread, pancakes, cake. So when I end up throwing them away, it's reminds me of how lazy I can be. Not today.

Pureed the bananas pretty good - didn't want ANY lumps.

One for the house, and one wrapped up to give. The kids gave it their stamp of approval.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


The husband did good. On his recent trip to Berlin, he picked up these wonderful ribbons for me from a store I can't wait to visit next time I get to tag along on a trip to Germany - KaDeWe. Not sure yet what I'll do with them just yet. Too pretty to store away - must be used. Maybe I'll hit the Martha website, type in "ribbons" and see what kinds of craft projects pop up. I'm afraid I haven't had much time for fun projects lately. We've had pet drama - a fluffy dog named Ringo is on the mend. And, as I mentioned, the husband was out of town for a week so I was living it up single-parent style. This is actually the first moment in a couple weeks now that I feel like I'm finally starting to catch up with the chores. I must be getting old, because days like this really wear me out now. What I'd really like to do is sit down and start some Christmas crafts. (Christmas music, hot chocolate and a blustery day outside!) Am I crazy to be thinking of Christmas? I think about how fast the summer went by and, technically, Christmastime is really only about a summer's length away. It's going to be here before we know it. Now I'm remembering all the projects I wanted to get done for Christmas but just couldn't manage to sqeeze in last year. Sure, I'd like to start now, but how am I going to get six more hours into each day? And not just any old hours, I need six hours when I'm refreshed and powered up to be creative. I need more hours before lunch. If I'm not struggling to get through my to-do list after lunch, I'm struggling to stay awake. I guess I've just given myself the answer... but who wants to wake up and start their day at two in the morning???

Thursday, August 28, 2008

excited by the fact that he's so excited

I hate posting without pictures. But I also hate not posting for long stretches of time. So what do I do? I have a mediocre picture indicating a little something about what I've been doing...

Not very exciting stuff, I know. First I'll explain the picture, and then I'll explain what's been going on (earth-shattering stuff, let me tell you... **sarcasm**). I mentioned, off-hand, matter-of-factly to the 4 year-old that I could sew his Halloween costume this year. He's been REALLY into dinosaurs lately, so I suggested a cold-blooded, over-sized lizard for his All Hollows Eve entertainment. What I didn't expect was this attitude of his - "So, Mommy, are you going to sew it NOW???" Every 15 minutes, it's, "Um, Mommy, Finn is asleep so are you going to work on my costume NOW???" I got a generic dinosaur costume pattern (Simplicity 2783) - but, oh no, he wants a tricetetops. And, I'll admit, it's all my fault. I asked him to tell me what dinosaur he wanted to be. I invited the chaos. I'm so excited by the fact that he's so excited by SOMETHING - how exciting is that? I want to encourage his enthusiasm! So now, I sit everynight before a pattern for a very generic lizard-like dinosaur, compelled to turn it into a very realistic looking triceretops. From a 4-YEAR OLD, I was given a little triceretops figurine and two books with pages marked to show exactly how the costume was to look. So, that's what the picture is all about.

In other news - it's just been a crazy week. Hectic work for the husband, and after talking to a friend this morning, I realize I am totally spoiled. I was telling her about how I've had to not only cook dinner but also bathe the boys every evening - "HE gives them a bath EVERY night?!?" Okay, so I guess that's not the norm. "My husband has only bathed the kids, like, three times their entire life!" So... I guess I'm lucky. In this house, it's just sort of become the standard that whoever isn't cooking dinner is responsible for putting the kids in their bath. That's a good rule, isn't it? Totally fair, right? Okay, women, join me on this one. Let's train these men to bath their kids. So, with both dinnertime and bathtime on my plate this week, it's been a bit hectic. Good for the diet, though. No time to eat. By the time they're asleep, I'm ready to hit the sack myself before I have time to make my own dinner. I simply don't know how single parents do it. You have my respect.

Friday, August 22, 2008

how to make sweet little boys

Slather one homemade graham cracker circle with marshmallow fluff and another with Nutella - put them together and what do you get??? Very very very happy children who say the sweetest things... "I love you soooo much mommy! You're my most best mommy in the whole wide world!"