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