Tuesday, May 3, 2011

little snapshots

The weight of time has been on my heart lately. I feel challenged by making the most of the 24 hours I have every day. Life is really precious and mine was saved at a high cost, and I want to celebrate it. I've been taking all the little moments in. We've been having Beatles dance parties while I wash the dishes. We've been learning new words while driving in the car. We've been taking the time to snuggle and be still even if there's a lot of work to do. Sometimes I even let myself nap when she naps so I can feel refreshed and ready to go when she's up again. I feel like this journey is beautiful and I'm really inspired by it.

These are just little snapshots from the past couple of weeks. :) I've been super busy because a new idea hit me and I just had to act on it. I'm a crazy woman hoping to finish a dozen skirts and 20 dresses (at the very least!) for my next show May 22nd. I'll be at the Handmade Mart in Silver Spring, Maryland. It's my first out of state show. I'm a little nervous about leaving Emma for the day but I'm looking forward to the road trip with my hubby. We plan on blasting 90s music, holding hands, and enjoying not having to pull over for diaper changes or breaking our arms trying to calm fussy little girls with animal crackers. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Little Business

The Cupcakery @ Spring Bada Bing 2011

I had my first big show of the spring season on Sunday. Somehow we all worked together in this house to pull it off. There were countless late nights of last minute stitching, buttonholes, applique-ing and merchandising all while trying to keep up around the house and maintain the happiness of a 16 month old. We have a system, and it's very chaotic, but I feel blessed to have a patient husband who deals with skipped meals, more diapers than usual and cleaning out my bug and packing all my stuff in there (thanks, hubby!)

The Cupcakery @ Spring Bada Bing 2011

This was my third time vending at this particular show. I went as a shopper for the first time in 2008 and I fell in love. I was absolutely inspired by it all. I had just quit my job the week before and I knew it's what I wanted to do. My husband encouraged me to stay at home for a bit and work on what I wanted to do. For the longest time I felt like it was so silly. When people asked what my husband did for a living he could say proudly "I'm a nuclear engineer" and when people asked me what I did for a living... I really didn't know what to say. My husband would always say "she's an artist!" but I didn't feel like one. It took me a long time to find the confidence to make the ideas I had in my head and put them up for sale.

(want to see my very first craft show table?)
The Cupcakery

So a few years later, I'm really proud when people step up to my table and ask how my little girl is doing because they've seen her on my Flickr account, or they tell me they got one of my famous Christmas ornaments as a gift, or that they've seen my Etsy shop and loveee it! I would give something away to everyone who said that if I could. That's how happy it makes me. I love that I have a brand now, and my shop is recognizable even when I don't have a sign that says "The Cupcakery" on the front of my table. That makes me feel like I've done something right!

The Cupcakery @ Spring Bada Bing 2011

A customer came up to me and said she had always wondered why I named my business The Cupcakery. This is a fun little story I can't wait to share with Emma one day. When Thomas and I got married, we lived in the smallest little apartment right across from the engineering building on VCU's campus. It was under 400 square feet. It was brand new when we moved in, and while most people called it their dorm room, we called it our home. It was so very tiny though... we only had room for a loveseat that sat probably 3 feet away from the TV, and for our first Christmas together we had to take down our table for two (literally all you could fit at that table) to make room for a tree. We disassembled the table and slid it under our bed and put our tree up and... oh crap. Ornaments. We didn't have any! and we were poor. We didn't really feel poor because we just got married and were so in love and who cares if you're poor?! So I went to work. I made cupcake felt ornaments with hot glue and pom poms and hung them on our tree. My husband said "those are really neat! I haven't ever seen any like that before! You should try to sell some!" and so on November 17th 2007 I started an Etsy shop and named it The Cupcakery so I could sell my felt Christmas ornaments. and the rest is history. :)

The Cupcakery @ Spring Bada Bing 2011

It was much easier to craft before having a baby, but I think I've actually gotten more accomplished since Emma was born. I feel like she's made this all important. I want to surround her with all of the beauty and creativity I can find. I want her to develop a stronger confidence than I ever had. I want her to see that great things can be accomplished with patience, love, ideas and your two hands. When people ask me what I do for a living, I get to say mommy, but I also get to say "I have a little boutique and sell things that I make" and I'm really proud to say it. My family has worked really hard for me, and it wouldn't be fair to them if I didn't take pride and joy in what I do.

The Cupcakery @ Spring Bada Bing 2011

It was a great show. It was the best spring show I've had to date. I had great customers, great feedback on my new stuff, got to see crafty friends that I haven't seen since December, and walked away with some incredible inspiration. I'm hoping that will carry over until next month, because I have my first out of state show in Maryland and I have some restocking to do before then!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My little girl was sick all day on Friday. Threw up everything. It was her first stomach bug. I think I earned my mom badge for sure. My husband and I worked together flawlessly as a team to wash laundry, stock up on pedialyte, and sneak some small bites of applesauce in Emma. Saturday everything seemed back to normal. I woke up on Sunday at 4 in the morning throwing up every 10 minutes. (thanks for sharing, Emma!) I was sick all day, and it took me all of Monday to recover. I could hardly open my eyes I was so worn out. Tuesday was my birthday and we tried to have a little fun, but Emma woke up with a fever and it got worse throughout the day. At midnight last night her entire body turned cherry red. I was so scared. I couldn't even sleep. I put my laptop in her room and thanks to season one of The Fresh Beat Band she was mildly entertained and I eventually passed out. She slept for most of today and it seems like we may be coming out of this funk. I would trade my birthday cake for snuggles with my little girl anytime, but maybe next year she can be well. We're planning a cookout next Saturday and I'm looking forward to eating some good food with my family, indulging in as many cupcakes as my heart desires and hiding easter eggs for my pretty girl. For right now... I'm trying to keep this house together. I spent hours last night washing all of the bedsheets, blankets, lysoling everything in sight, wiping all of her toys with antibacterial wipes... if you can name it, it's been cleaned. Gives a totally new definition to spring cleaning. Thanks virus, but you can find a new home. You are not welcome here.

Oh, and did I mention I have one of my biggest shows of the season on Sunday? I am three days behind on my work, but I've got enough heart to make up for it. If you're in Richmond, come by and say hello!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I have been at a loss of words lately. My heart feels so cluttered with meaningless worry and anxiety. This happens from time to time. It steals the joy I find in the everyday things I used to love, and that includes creating.

It took a few days, but I'm feeling a little better now. I spent my free time today going through my vintage fabric collection. I cut some of my fabric into fat quarters so it would be a bit more manageable, and then I set some aside to share :) I'd like to trade some and I'll probably add a few in my shop. I'm parting with the prints that I've used a lot and want to swap out for some other patterns, or with prints that I got a king sized sheet of and there's just simply too much fabric for one girl.

Is that a bad problem to have? :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

pattern pattern pattern!

I've always been a terrible student. I cannot follow instructions. There is a disconnect from the words on a page to the signals in my brain to my fingertips. It just doesn't work. I accepted it years ago and I learn in my own unique ways. :)

I feel like I'm constantly pushing myself to learn new things and to improve my seamstress skills (note: creative, but still minimal). I've always wanted to have a little frilly unique dress and skirt collection for my shop and until recently I haven't wholeheartedly pursued it. Right now I'm heavily inspired by my daughter, by spring, by vintage whimsy. I whipped up 11 skirts last week and this week I decided I'd try my hand at a few dresses. Newborn dresses, that is! I searched high and low for some cute unique handmade dresses for Emma before she was born and didn't find any (well, not any that I could afford, I bet they were worth it but I'm not spending more than $30 on a dress for a baby!) I pulled out an old newborn dress, took some measurements, and went to sketching.

pattern making

It's nothing super fancy, trust me, but I still made it! I started off by sewing patterns I purchased, and then when I got comfortable with that I started ripping apart thrifted dresses to mimic the pattern, and this is my first try at pulling out a pencil, ruler and pattern paper. My first try at constructing it failed (I sewed it all wrong, armhole nightmare... I cut it in half with my pinking shears and cried for 20 minutes!) but tonight I got it right :)

I think I'm going to sew up 5 of these cute little newborn dresses and then my next attempt... enlarging my own pattern. eep! Why am I intimidated by the littlest of things? I'm completely self taught by trial and error. I'm sure it would be easier if I could follow instructions and read and have someone teach me. sigh!

Monday, March 7, 2011

vintage bug!

I have it bad. I've always been into vintage... embarrassing story alert: we watched The Brady Bunch when we were little and unlike my sister, I mostly loved it so I could see all of the mod dresses the Brady girls were wearing. I wanted them all. I begged my mom to make me clothes like them. She finally caved and made me a couple of floral 60s inspired numbers ;) I wore them to school all the time (and got picked on unmercifully for it, sigh!) anyways, ever since I was little I've been very fond of pretty things with vintage charm.

I've been scouring the thrift shops for vintage sheets (for my latest sewing projects, and a few to keep), vintage toys (for Emma), vintage storybooks (for all of us to enjoy), vintage dishes (for the dining room china cabinet), vintage clothes (for both Emma and I!)... you get the hint. I go out thrifting a few times a week. It gives us something to do. We sing songs in the car to and fro. I get to cuddle her as we walk the aisles. She likes flipping through the hangers. We read all the kids books in one of the shops. It's a lot of fun :)

Yesterday I pulled down the vintage little people barn that I found last fall at my favorite thrift shop. I think it was $10. It was really dusty & dirty and took a lot of scrubbing to get clean, but it is as good as new now! We played with it all morning until lunchtime (no spaghetti sauce on this toy that has lived 40 years so far, please!)...

I've been meaning to photograph some of my recent finds. One of these days :) What vintage finds have you found lately?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretty Little Skirts

The Froggy Skirt

The Chicky Skirt

The Panda Skirt

The Elephant Skirt

The first vintage linens I ever purchased were from a little old lady at a church yardsale up the street from my house. I was looking for clothes for Emma but I ran across her little square on the parking lot and spotted them immediately. All bundled up, 2 pillowcases and a sheet for $4. She said they were on her guest bed for years and she was happy they were going to a new home. I didn't have the heart to tell her that eventually I was going to chop them all up! If she saw that little chick skirt up there, I'm sure she'd agree that they were re-purposed appropriately ;) and my dear husband... bless his heart. He must have thought I was on crack when I started scouring thrift shops twice a week to buy old lady sheets. He totally gets my vision now and even helps me with my hunt for pretty vintage sheets :)

These little skirts are my newest little creations. I like that I could add a little touch of my trademark felt whimsy to them ;) There are two others that I need to photograph tomorrow, a puppy and a bunny... and now I'm out of pillowcases. Sad! :( As if sheets weren't hard enough to find, pillowcases are even tougher. I'm on the hunt so I can fluff my inventory for some spring markets, but for now, these 6 will have to do. :) Some are in my shop now, and some more will be added tomorrow and Saturday. I was trying to think of my next project, but it just may be sewing something pretty up for my own little pretty girl. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a little glimpse

a snapshot of today's workspace :)

This week I made some cute felt appliques with a plan to put them on skirts made from vintage pillowcases I've been collecting for nearly a year now. I'll have 6 ready to list in my shop by the weekend. It makes me so excited to create new things.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

photoshoot :)



I probably do the annoying mom thing and share way too many photos of my daughter, but I think she's way amazing and pretty adorable. Yesterday my husband took me to the thrift shop so I could run in and do a sheet check, and I found this amazing vintage chenille bedspread. It's incredible. I want to cut it up but I haven't got the heart to do it yet. It made me want to take pictures of Emma today so after her naptime she got to be my little supermodel. It's not easy to take pictures of this little booger! The sun was going down quick so I had to snap fast. I think I got a few that I'm pretty happy with :) (I think she looks so grown in the first picture!)


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tears & A Pretty Quilt

work in progress :: february 26th 2011

I finished this quilt tonight. I finished the quilt top a couple of weeks ago and another quilt top last weekend, and I thought I could get them both done tonight. My plans are always too ambitious. This quilt is made from beautiful vintage linens in blues, greens, pinks & a tiny splash of purple. I had the most perfect sheet for the back of it. I had it all sandwiched together and ready to quilt, and with the first line down the middle all stitched up, I realized I had stitched the quilt to itself. It should have been an easy problem to fix, but the backing was so very thin it ripped right in the middle. After a small anxiety attack, some comfort from my husband, and help from the seam ripper (talk about a love/hate relationship!), I got the quilt top free and unharmed, but there wasn't enough of that perfect sheet for the back. ugh. I found a green gingham vintage sheet in my stash and went back to the machine (just a little more careful this time!) I'm actually kind of glad it didn't work out the first time, because I love this green sheet with it so much more. These vintage sheets are so soft and gorgeous, but they are so thin, so lesson learned. Don't sew sheet to itself. It's gonna be a booger to undo.

Sorry I've been quiet around here. I haven't been feeling too well. I have an autoimmune thyroid disease and it's crazy out of control. I've been feeling super tired and just generally sick and my thyroid levels turned out to be okay, so my doctor checked my vitamin D levels and they are super low. I usually can't take vitamins because it interferes with the medicine I take to supplement my inactive thyroid, but right now I have no choice! I'm on day 3 of the vitamins and I'm feeling a bit better already! I don't mean to rant about it but the thyroid issue has recently become a big part of my life and it's tough to deal with. I want to get myself feeling better so I can be better for my husband and for my daughter :)

Friday, February 25, 2011


I never could forget this sweet time in my life right now. I don't even know when it started, but sometime this year Emma has learned the word "duck". It's become absolutely adorable but kind of overwhelming obsessive. I can't leave the house without a duck (or two) in my purse. There are ducks scattered throughout her playroom, living room, bathroom, and her bedroom. and my car! and my purse. There are ducks everywhere. Many have been graciously donated by family members, and some have been complusive purchases while I'm out shopping and just so happen to find something with a duck. Duck duck duck. She started saying duck like "gah-guk", and then it morphed into "guck-a", and now it's "duck-a". We fed real ducks at the lake. She thinks that geese are also ducks. We try so hard to get her to say "quack" but nothing. Just "mama", "dada", "dog", "night night", and "duck". She lines them up and points to them and says "duck-a, duck-a, duck" and when she gets to the end of the line, she starts all over again. Her face lights up at these silly yellow rubber toys. I don't know what it is, but it brings happiness to my life too, so I'm going to feed into this as long as she'll let me. She loves to read and she can spot the tiniest of ducks on a page. "DUCK-A!" Who knew that all of her books have atleast one duck hidden in there?! We probably won't get so lucky with her next favorite. Thomas did a google image search for ducks once and let Emma see the hundreds of pictures that came up, so now she'll come up to our laptops and point and say "duck-a!" ... she probably thinks that whenever we're on our computers, we're looking at duck pictures. I gave her a bath tonight and once again, she got upset that we had to leave the (wet) ducks in the tub. We're working on telling them night-night and blowing them kisses and that they'll be there to play with next time we take a bath. Duck duck duck. Life is so much sweeter with ducks around. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Hearts Day!

Emma's Valentine Doll

Emma and I are baking cupcakes to take to my husband's work after her naptime. I think we're going to save one for our sweet neighbor and take a few up to our friends at our favorite thrift shop by our house. I still have my husband's gift to finish (an altered book full of photographs of us, our favorite songs, our favorite scriptures, etc) and he made me a necklace but won't let me see it until tonight :) We're going to finish it all off with a big dinner together tonight (the three of us!) -- heart shaped pancakes! ♥ we decided once we had Emma that we would always celebrate the big 14 together as a family, and then have a romantic dinner on the 15th :) I hope you all have the best hearts day full of hugs and fun things with the people that you love.

Emma and I are off to the bathroom floor... I mean... spa. ;) We're going to paint our toes with red, pink and glittery polishes!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


last february

It was around this time last year that I realized I needed to help myself. Not many people know that I suffered from postpartum depression after I had Emma. It was hard. Many days I would just stay in our bedroom with her. I couldn't leave the house. I couldn't get up and get dressed. I didn't really eat breakfast or lunch. I was a mess. I felt so lonely and at the same time I felt so connected to my daughter. The insane rush of hormones caused by having a baby combined with the lack of hormones caused by my thyroid disease was so awful. I didn't really have anybody to turn to other than my husband. We took baby steps together, just the three of us.

Emma and I would go on "adventures" once a week. At first I had to make myself leave the house. I knew it was good for the both of us. We started going to the antique mall and the thrift shop by my house. We walked around Target. We were patient with each other. I learned that it was possible to get dressed and leave the house with my newborn and everything was going to be okay. Sometimes I even had to nurse her in the dressing room while we were out. Our weekly adventures became more frequent and before we all knew it, spring had arrived and new habits helped change my outlook and attitude. I didn't feel so desperate any longer and I moved onto other mommy issues :)

I felt like I was less than patient with Emma yesterday and I feel awful about it. I just wasn't feeling very joyful. I felt like I was in survival mode and I'm not even sure why. My husband reminded me that Emma has her days when she's less than patient with us and we just need to try hard and work with each other. I love my family. I love my husband and I love that he's patient with me, and I love how he encourages me as a mom when I feel like I could be doing a better job. and I love my daughter and how smart she is and how big she's growing. She is such a silly joyful giggling colorful little blondie and I am excited to see what this spring has in store for us, and I am excited for all of the "adventures" that are waiting for us :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Spending a bit of time developing some new things today. I've been struggling a lot with my business lately. My products have shifted into cute, bright & bold colored & patterned items for babies and children. I make things that I would want to buy for Emma. Moms and kids LOVE it. I love it too, but I get burnt out on sewing up bibs, even if each one is a little different. Sometimes I wish I could spend more time making jewelry and selling the pieces that I make, but that has not been my most successful venture. I've done a lot of brainstorming and thinking on where I want to take my business. I think I'm going to stick with the baby & kid business and dabble in some more sophisticated things occasionally :)

My favorite part of my business is designing. I buy a lot of fabric and sometimes it sits on the shelf for years before I find the right prints to go with it. When I design new things, I get to go fabric shopping from the hundreds of fabrics in my studio. I LOVE IT! :)

These 72 squares are being sewn up into 12 fabric stacking cubes for babies. I'm super excited about this new product I'm adding to my shop. Emma has always loved all of the fabrics in my collection, so I know other babies will love it too!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Emma's new favorite thing is ducks. She loves to find them, point, and exclaim "gah-guk!" We read lots of duck stores and buy every rubber duck we find, because life is short and you can never have too many rubber ducks in the bath when you're 14 months old! I wanted to make her some little plush ducks to surprise her with in the morning, so I found this sweet little tutorial, and after pulling out some supplies...

... and enlisting my husband to cut out some ducky feet, I spent a couple of hours and made my little girl some new gah-guks.

She has carried them around all day. I couldn't get a better picture. I guess this is a good problem to have :) I love making little surprises for her. A friend said they'd make cute Valentine's Day gifts and she's right... except I just couldn't wait that long! Besides, she'll probably have a new favorite animal by then. We're trying to teach her how to "woof" now :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


My little Emmabelle the day after she was born

We named my daughter after a Spice Girl. Okay, maybe not after a Spice Girl, but they definitely inspired her name. Whenever I heard the name Emma, I imagined a cute little blonde haired girl in pigtails and a pink dress. I thought it was a sweet little name for the sweet little girl growing in me. When she was born, my husband looked at her and said "Emmabelle". Long before she was born he called me "Cindybelle", most likely because I had a little pet bunny named Tinkerbell. Emmabelle just seemed right. She was so pretty and dainty and everything about her was so feminine, right down to her little cry. Thomas kept calling her Emmabelle and I called her Emmabelle too. Our family was very confused. "Why are you calling her Emmabelle?" It just fit her! A week after she was born my husband and I started to wonder if we should change her name. I felt really guilty about it. I felt like I didn't do a good job thinking it through the first time. Why didn't I think of Emmabelle? We just didn't know she was our little Belle until she was born. We went back and forth on it for the longest time. Is this just a little phase? Are we just silly in love with her and not thinking this through with a clear mind? Will we regret it later? Will she like it? Will she get picked on?! I imagined what they would call her at her high school graduation... Emmabelle... would she cringe when she heard her name? Silly mommy worry.

Emma is 14 months old now and this Friday we're going to the courthouse and changing her name to what it was supposed to be all along. Some people in our family still don't understand it, and that's okay. I no longer feel guilt about adding "belle" on the end of her name. I think one day she'll look back on this story and love it. Her daddy named her with all the love in his heart. I call her my Belle and she comes running to me and gives me a hug and says "Mama" and that's all I need to know that we're doing the right thing. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's In My Bag?


Well, not anymore. We're headed to IKEA today to get some furniture to beautify and organize our life ;) and I decided it'd be a good time to clean out my purse and make it a little lighter to lug around my favorite place in the world. I knew it was messy but come on! There were 2 forks, a spoon, a snack cup half full of week old goldfish crackers, countless tissues (we're getting over nasty colds), a dozen receipts, a diaper, baby wipes, 3 tubes of chapstick, 95 cents in change, my husband snuck his hat in there last night... Emma's necklaces, a dirty bib, Tylenol, a change of clothes for Emma, my cell phone and my cell phone holder (separated, of course!)... 3 granola bars, and a little bride figurine doll. What a mess. It's a little cleaner now.

I see people do creative "what's in my bag?" posts all the time, and they're always so neat. No loose change or money, no receipts, no diapers, and their bags are always full of fun trendy things, journals, fancy pens, expensive sunglasses... makes me feel like a purse clutter hoarder! I know I'm not the only one. I posted this picture so that other people like me could feel better. :) Mommys, one day you can carry beautiful bags full of only things you would like to carry, but for right now, I'm really secretly happy carrying around a toddler granola bar and a diaper. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping I leave the diaper in my bag because it reminds me of my girl. and sometimes, don't tell -- I eat her granola bar. ;)

Friday, February 4, 2011

"How Do You Do It?!"

I get asked this question a lot. I often don't know how to answer it. I just do what I do. I know there are other moms or busy women who would like to make more time to create beautiful things. Maybe I could share a few tips that work for me, and maybe one of them could work for you!

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I had Emma was to put her on a schedule. For nearly a year now Emma's naptime has been around 1 PM. She got more tired after lunchtime, so I've always put her down for a nap after lunch. I know that doesn't work for everybody, but having a consistent naptime has been a necessity for my business. She naps for a couple of hours, it's her only nap, so I try to make every minute count. Sometimes I don't eat lunch. I don't answer the phone. I rarely even turn the TV on because I know if I do I'll sit there and waste my time watching it. It's straight to work for me! Sometimes I'll carry a small bucket with my project down and sit on the sofa and work on it, but most of the time I'll spend working in my studio. When I work in a room other than my studio, I make sure I have a container that it will all fit in, project & supplies & all, incase she wakes up before I'm finished.

Emma's bedtime is no later than 9 PM, and I usually go to bed around midnight or 1 AM, so I spend probably half of that time working as well. Some of this time is also spent on washing dishes, washing & folding clothes, sweeping, cleaning, etc... we're not filthy here at my house, but it's not spotless. Sometimes the laundry sits in the basket for a week. I don't put extreme pressure on myself to be a superwoman with domestic chores that aren't important to me. We always have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of, so if it can wait a day, it does. It gives me more time to sew, it makes me a happier mommy, that makes my husband happy, both of us happy makes my daughter even happier, and you know... it doesn't get much better than that! :)

My husband knows how important it is to me to create. He is totally supportive. I couldn't do it without him. We share the household responsibilities. Communication is key here!

Emma's play space is downstairs and my studio is upstairs. While I can work in the studio when she's sleeping, when she's awake and playing that's not really an option. This is my greatest secret. I create makeshift studios all throughout my house. You should see this place during craft show season. I take over just about every room in the house except for the bathrooms. The hallways are full of display pieces and packed up merchandise ready to go, the laundry room is full of fabric, my mock display is set up in the sunroom, the sewing machine is on the dining room table and about half of the chairs have most of my fabrics stacked up on them just waiting for their purpose... it's crazy! When Emma got to be completely mobile I lost the ability to sew and work in the same room as her, until I decided to put myself in a playpen.

Yeah, you read it right.

Brilliant idea! That baby fence became way too small for Emma months ago, but it's just the perfect size for me to sew and be in the same room as my chicky. She doesn't get bored while I work because I involve her in it. I throw all of the scraps her way and she LOVES it. This isn't the prettiest design for a living room, but people aren't knocking on my door asking to photograph my house for a magazine, so it works out :)

Of course I wish I had more time to devote to work, but this is a happy balance right now. I learned a long time ago that if I'm not satisfied with the time I have to create, it throws my whole family off. Do you ever feel that way? It takes so much out of me to be a good wife and a good mommy. Cutting fabric and pressing the pedal of my machine is so therapeutic. I don't think about what I have to make for dinner or deal with cleaning up spilled fruit loops all over the floor (or battle the dog so he doesn't eat his weight in snack scraps she leaves around!)

How do YOU do it? How do you make it work for you? What sacrifices have you & your family made? How do you involve your children in your creative endeavors? I'd love to hear!

What I Wore Today

This seems to be the trendy thing to do, right? I can't commit one day a week to showing this because... let's be honest... life with a 14 month old is a ton of fun, but most of my days are spent looking far from glamorous ;) I can, however, commit to taking some photos when Emma and I are looking like rockstars :)

Shirt: thrifted, but originally from Forever 21, $2
Cardigan: thrifted, new with tags, $2
Necklace: hubby made it for me for Valentine's Day 2 years ago :), priceless! ♥
Bow: handmade by me! I sell them in my shop :)
Jeans: Aeropostle. I've had them since high school!
Shoes: Walmart! aren't they adorable?! $12
Bag: thrifted, $3

I am so ready for spring. I've been on the hunt for pretty new things to wear with lots of color, especially skirts & purses. Last spring & summer I was still nursing Emma and lugging around a huge diaper bag. I couldn't wear cute tops. The spring & summer before that I spent too pregnant to wear anything cute. I'm ready to expand my wardrobe a little bit this year! ♥

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Emma's New Dress

There are lots of things that I look out for when I go thrifting. Vintage colorful dishes to display in my dining room, vintage fabrics and linens for quilts and other fun crafts, new skirts to wear when springtime is here, record albums to dance to with Emma on my old Fisher Price record player, and last but not least, lately I've been getting some dresses for Emma, but not for her to wear. ;) I've been ripping them apart, studying the way they were assembled, and then making my own! The easier more normal way to make clothes is to buy a pattern, I suppose ;) but I find this way to be challenging and fun. I'm limited to what I can find, and I love the hunt for something really good!

Last night I decided Emma needed a new dress. I went fabric shopping in my studio and found this cute cupcake monkey fabric with some coordinating pink polkadot cotton. There's a funny story behind this monkey fabric. I saw the same print but in flannel when I was pregnant but before I knew what we were having. I knew if it was a girl, I wanted to get it to use in a quilt. Right after we found out that our baby was going to be an Emmabelle, I went back to Joanns and couldn't find the fabric. I cried in the flannel aisle. Oh, hormones! An employee rushed to my aide and found a bolt for me :)

you can see it in the upper right corner of this picture :)

Isn't it funny to get sentimental about silly things? I guess it's a mom thing. I'm attached to that monkey fabric in a way that probably nobody else is, haha! So it was perfect for her pretty little dress. It took about 3 hours to make.

Emma likes it because it matches her favorite necklaces. I like it because it makes me happy to make her pretty things. I also like that I have about a yard and a half left of that monkey fabric ;) I'll probably have to cut a tiny piece off and put it in her baby book. <3

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vintage Sheet Quilt, part 1!

I've been collecting vintage linens at yard sales and thrift shops since early last summer, hoping that someday I'd have the time to make a pretty quilt from them. It's hard to make time to commit to such large projects these days as my sweet little girl is now in her "MAMA MAMA MAMA" phase :) On a whim I pulled them out last week and started cutting squares. These sheets are so very large, it's impossible to measure them out and cut in bulk, so I cut each one using my square templates. I felt like maybe this was a little amateur-ish of me, but after reading that Miss Sparkle Power herself cuts her squares by hand ;) I knew it was okay to cut each square individually. I've never had anyone teach me how to do these things so I'm always worried if I'm doing it right or not! I ended up with 100 4.5" squares, and while my Belle was asleep this week I arranged my squares, sewed them all up, did lots and lots of ironing, lots of bobbin winding, lots of pinning, and finished the quilt top!

vintage sheet quilt top :)

Does anybody else use sticky notes to help keep things straight and organized while quilting? My memory is so terrible and since becoming a mommy I've also become quite scatterbrained, I don't know what I'd do without my heart sticky notes. I use them to help me keep track of rows, measurements, fabric direction, etc. LOVE them. Just make sure you don't sew over your notes. oops! :)

I taped a big sheet to the floor (remember to sweep first!) ;) and used some white flannel as my batting (I heard that it's a nice way to make a lightweight quilt, but again, I'm not sure if this is what the "pros" do) :) with help from my hubby I got the quilt top on and everything appeared straight, so I held my breath and started pinning. I started using safety pins but then I ran out. I would have gone to get more but I was trying to finish this during a naptime, so I just grabbed my pins and used them to finish the rest. No project of mine is complete without blood. My right thumb was the victim this time. I pinned every square, some of them twice, so that's over 100 pins. Only one injury is pretty good, right!? ;) Once everything appeared pinned and in place, I drew lines using my little pink ruler and purple quilting pen and started stitching away. Stuffing a 40 inch by 40 inch 3 layered blanket through my machine was a booger, and there's another lesson to learn here: clean your workspace first!... it's so pretty to have a cluttered desk, but it's not very practical at all. Let's just say the quilt made room for itself by pushing everything else on the floor, including a little box of pins. Oops...

(My husband got me this Lalaloopsy doll for Christmas and she happily sits on my desk... unless I'm sewing. and then she's hangs out on the floor.)

Part 2 to come soon. :) Naptimes last for only so long, you know! What fun would it be if my chicky slept for long enough for me to finish a quilt?!... :)