Thursday, December 31, 2009


I have been reflecting over the last few days about this past year. It was definitely a year of challenges and tests for our family. Christine's illness, my husband's months-long absences, a move, and loss which I had not yet shared here. . . it was a lot.

But it was also a year of awakening and blessings. I learned to appreciate our health, even when it is not quite perfect. There are so many others that have bigger crosses to carry.

My new friends

Why didn't I know about these guys sooner? Since I've been aquainted with the Jean-a-ma-jig / Hump Jumper, I no longer cringe at sewing over thick (denim) seams. My blood pressure thanks you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meet the Happy Chef

I'd say the apron and toque went over very well with Monkey 7, wouldn't you? (Sorry for the crummy mobile photo. . . my camera DIED on Christmas morning, of all days.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last minute Christmas sewing: Peek III

I'm in the home stretch. I finished three of these sweet little skirts for Monkey 5 in just a couple of hours. I used the free Lazy Days Skirt pattern from Oliver + S. SO easy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last minute Christmas sewing: Peek I

Every year, I start with the best of intentions, even as early as October, hunting down patterns and tutorials, sketching plans, buying supplies. . . and then nothing. December comes, and I avoid looking at the untouched piles of fabric, balls of polyfil and unopened padded envelopes from Etsy suppliers stacked on the corner of my desk.

I'm very, very late in crafting our Christmas gifts this year. But I am determined to make a handmade gift for each of my Monkeys! I am keeping it simple, and am making gifts that I know my children will like. . . no risky, over-complicated plans this year.

I just began last night.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fairy Drop Cookies. . . a family favorite

We like to try at least one new cookie recipe each year during our Christmas baking marathon. This year, we picked Fairy Drop cookies -- and I'm happy to say it has earned a spot on our yearly Must-Make list! It's a buttery cookie, with a shortbread-like crumb/texture. It's also very easy to make. One of my sweet teens made the above-pictured batch with the help of her 8 year-old sister.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chocolate chip scones

Chocolate chip scones from the recipe below.... 
the scone on the right has a drizzle of peanut butter glaze.  YUM!

No secret around there that scones are a family favorite -- and a staple. They are simple, quick and quite adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. Mind you, my scones are not the fancy wedges you see at the bakery, although I suppose I could shape them that way. Being lazy, I just drop the dough onto a cookie sheet, like a drop biscuit, and they still turn out delicious. (And if you compare scone recipes with biscuit recipes, they are really quite similar!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some autumn swap goodies. . .

I received a sweet little package the other day -- all the way from Australia! -- from Harvey, who volunteered to angel for me after I was flaked on in the Can't Wait for Fall Swap. It arrived just in time! It brightened my day, and I love what she sent. . . .

A cute bracelet -- very pretty colors!

Some hot pads that I desperately needed. And I mean desperately! I had been using some several-year-old Christmas hot pads (year 'round) that were just plain ratty. Now I have these lovelies!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hard work

Pilfering Christmas cookies is really hard work.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two rooms completely unpacked. . .

And I only have two tiny peeks for you, since my camera batteries died. . . sorry! But I'll take more photos later.

Now, the living room --

I LOVE the huge window. It looks out into our front yard, and on into the pasture. The walls really need help in here -- they are institution-grey, with a sad, drab olive trim. Any color suggestions? The french doors lead on into the classroom (painted an even darker, uglier grey), but the doors themselves are so pretty, and so antique.

I feel VERY accomplished about unpacking this next room -- the kitchen!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Christmas ornament tutorial

This is too cute not to share. . . .

I think we'll be making a few of these. Imagine how cute this would be with a picture of your little ones, or with some of your little ones' original artwork! So many possibilities. . . pets, vacations, special occasions. With an adult handling the base assembly (there are sharp edges,) the kiddos should have no trouble embellishing these to their little hearts' content!

Thanks, Angie, for sharing this fabulous tutorial! (Please check out Angie's blog -- she shares a lot of really neat tutorials!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

We're still alive and kicking. . .

. . . and still unpacking and settling in to our new home!

One part of the house was built in the 1940's, and then in the early 50's was added on-to. Another section of the house was also built in the 50's, but was on a different part of the property. . . so it was later moved and attached to the first part. Interesting, to say the least! There have been a lot of updates, and there's a lot of character. But don't get me wrong -- there are so many opportunities here for creativity, painting, decorating, updating -- it is quite overwhelming, if I think about it too much. I'm just going to try to unpack all the boxes first, and then take the next step. Whatever that may be. . . .

More pictures later. There's so much to tell you! Take care, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A few hours left. . .

. . . for packing and moving!

It's really happening, folks! And I couldn't be more excited / scared / elated / relieved / terrified. You see, this is our first home purchase. . . we've rented all these years, because we moved around a bit with my sweet husband's job. But now we're ready to settle down, and put down real roots. And that feels wonderful.

More pics to come, I promise.

And a few hours left. . . .

There are a few hours left in the ETC First Monday Sale to snag some early Christmas gifts at bargain prices! Support cottage industry and buy handmade. . . Etsy makes it so easy.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Three zombies, a punk rocker, a rock star (not to be confused with the punk rocker), a biker dude, and a Coraline-style rag doll. Not too bad for a total of 2 hours and $3 spent.

A nice, cool evening, lots of laughter, and too much candy. . . a happy halloween, indeed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

AWESOME boy shirts and a legendary jacket

A lovely set of embellished shirts arrived on our doorstep today! My sweet partner sent them to Monkey 7, and she captured his quirky-sweet spirit perfectly.

This adorable owl shirt has so many different textures and fabrics and hand embroidery ---> love this! Monkey 7 is showing me his strong-man pose. . .

Awesome ever-so-slightly-sparkly shark. . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Layered embellished girl shirts (when I should've been packing)

I finished up my last swap last week. My sweet partner has received her shirts, so I thought I'd share what I sent.

I love this shirt! It's embellished with hand embroidery and felt applique. Yes, the bee on the right is upside down, and I'm going to say that I meant for that to happen.

I thought it would be fun to work with a couple of these layered shirts, instead of all plain shirts. More felt and fabric applique, with machine stitching. . . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I need help: fabric addiction

Maybe a quarter of my fabrics. What have I done???

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kid craft: fleece jack-o-lantern pillow tutorial

our fancy-shmancy jack-o-lanterns!

The kids and I had a blast whipping up these hand-drawn jack-o-lantern pillows!  It was fun, easy, and something we use again and again, year after year.  All it takes is some orange fleece, some felt, fabric glue, and some polyfil.  You can use a sewing machine if you like, or you can go completely no-sew!  Here we go!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our pumpkin patch

This year, I am being a big meany and not allowing the Monkeys to carve pumpkins. We will be moving around Halloween. Although the Monkeys see nothing wrong with loading stinking, rotting pumpkins onto a moving truck, I don't think that a wise, or convenient, option this year.

As a compromise, each child designed their own jack-o-lantern pillow! OK, so it's not anywhere near the same, but we all enjoyed our craft night (aka break from packing) and they love their pillows.

Working hard on designing their pillows. . . .

I love how different each pumpkin is.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A perfect day

No packing. No cleaning. No sorting. No crafting.

Just fishing, hiking, laughing, eating and enjoying wonderful company.
Now, back to the grindstone. . . .

Friday, October 16, 2009

Autumn goodies for my swap partner

I'm not even really sure why I am sharing these photos -- they are so ugly and either washed-out, or dark. But the actual items were pretty cute, so you'll have to use your imagination a bit.

I made an autumn tea towel for my fall swap partner. . . .

And (yet another) apron as part of the fall-kitchen-theme. . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Light a candle tonight: Wave of Light

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Most of us have suffered the loss of a dear little one that left this world too early. We have either suffered this directly, or with a family member or friend. Their brief lives are forgotten by many, but never by the ones closest to them.

Won't you please say a prayer for their families, and light a candle at 7 pm, in whatever time zone you happen to be in, to remember these precious little ones?

I know we will.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An autumn leaf doll and a patchwork trivet

I joined an autumn swap a little while back, and I thoroughly enjoyed crafting for it! My partner received her package yesterday, so I thought I'd share a few of photos with you now. (Please excuse the awful photos.)

An autumn dotee doll. . .

I had never heard of these dolls, but my partner collects them. They have entire swaps for these on Craftster and Swap-Bot. I decided to try to make one for her.

Monday, October 12, 2009

One positive aspect of packing

You sometimes come across little forgotten treasures. . . .

This is Monkey 6 (he's 5 now,) eagerly awaiting his bath. He looooved pancakes, and wore every droplet of syrup he did not ingest. . . as evidenced by the spoon and pancake remnants. (I loved that tub! And guess what? The house we're moving to has one, too!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Get a jump on the holidays

. . . and support cottage industries! Time for another HUGE Etsy Texas Crafters sale!

More than 113 shops are participating this month -- sooo many great bargains to be had. Want to make your own handmade gifts? There are lots of art and craft suppliers on the team as well. Paper goods and gift tags? Yep, those too. (And there's even a sale in my shop!)

Have fun browsing. . . but hurry -- the sale ends at midnight tonight!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I may not be crafting much. . . .

. . . but I have been busy. . . .

. . . sorting clothing for the season change, culling, and packing. This doesn't include what is currently in their drawers, the hastily packed bags hiding in closets, or mine and my sweet husband's clothes. This is the chore I hate the most.

Others don't seem to mind too much.

(haha -- I just noticed the fort someone has already built on the top box in the top photo!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sewing super-easy skirts

The older Monkeys and I did a bit of sewing today.
They had been wanting to sew themselves some skirts for quite awhile, but I never made time to help them with this. But since my schedule has been a bit more relaxed as of late, we decided to tackle this project today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another early morning picnic

Such nice, cool weather we've been having, especially for this time of the year in Texas. I felt that another little trip to the nature preserve was in order, complete with some apple-walnut-raisin muffins and 8 energetic Monkeys. . . .

. . . to celebrate a very special Monkey 4's birthday.

Monkey 1 took these photos. . . . very nice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sporadic, and slowing down

My posting, that is. Between schooling, house hunting, packing and sheer exhaustion. . . well, there just hasn't been much time for crafting, sewing, or blogging.

I'm slowing down -- way down -- on the Etsy front for awhile. I have a wonderful stash of autumn-y fabrics, loads of ideas and designs and sketches. . . but no motivation. My thoughts and time and energy are elsewhere, and I hope someday it may come back to Etsy. But right now, I don't know.

My time, my priorities, have been so unbalanced.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cloth diapering -- again?

I tried cloth diapering once before, and I gave up after several weeks. It became much more expensive than disposables, since my little Owen is such a heavy wetter, and the laundering was a huge hassle.

I've decided to give it another try.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Congrats! The giveaway winner is....

Congrats to kimmay for winning my 1000 Sales Giveaway! I hope you enjoy these!

Thank you for all the kind comments and congrats. . . I really appreciate them all!
And yes, they're finally ready --

Monday, September 7, 2009

1,000 kind of seems like a big number. . . . Giveaway AND sale!

Last week, I reached a crazy milestone in my Etsy shop -- 1,000 sales! WHOA. I cannot believe it. But I think something this awesome should be celebrated with a giveaway, don't you? Please leave a comment below, and I'll enter your name into a drawing for an eco-friendly laundry kit! We'll draw the winner's name on Friday! The kit includes two recycled wool dryer balls. . .

PLUS. . . .

Friday, September 4, 2009

The BEST pumpkin cream cheese bread, and some news

News first. . . .

We're moving, for real this time, within the next 6 weeks or so. Or as soon we find a new home. I'm sure I'll have more to post on this later. And I'm sure you can't wait to hear about how I pack and move a household of 10, complete with action shots. :)

Now, the bread. . . .

If the photo is not enough to convince you, please take my word for it -- you really MUST try this recipe. It's very simple, and the pay-off is huge. It made 2 loaves, with pockets of cream cheese (cheese cake!) throughout. Very moist, and absolutely delicious.

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