Friday, November 29, 2013


Happy day after Thanksgiving, friends!  Wow, we had such a wonderful day, full of family, food and fun of course.  It is tradition in the Army that on Thanksgiving Day all the commanders serve meals to the soldiers who cannot make it home for the holiday.  I didn't think I'd be able to make it with Brian, the kids, and his parents because of all the cooking I'd be doing for our own dinner.  But I kind of thought, what the heck!  We put the turkey in a roaster instead of the oven, set a timer for it, prepped the rest of the dinner, and just left.  I'm so glad we did.  It was fun seeing Brian serving his soldiers.
And it brought back memories of visiting Brian while he was training on Thanksgiving and having his commander serve us at Ft. Benning.
He looks pretty sharp, right?

We got back with plenty of time to make our own dinner.  My mother-in-law did a lot of the cooking, so it was a team effort!  I got out all the nice china and silver that's been handed down from both sides of the family, and set the table, which is my favorite holiday chore.
 We had another soldier over that couldn't make it home to his family, so it felt like an even bigger family holiday.  I always worry when we do have a stray soldier over he/she will be disappointed with what I make- that it won't match up to his own family's meal.  But this soldier seemed very happy with the meal, and gladly took a big bag of leftovers home with him!

This morning we all moved a bit slowly, slept in a little, and just relaxed.  Brian and I made homemade donuts to round out the overeating that is the Thanksgiving holiday.  They were delicious.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  Today we're decking the halls for Christmas, listening to Christmas music, and thinking about going out for a matinee to see the new Disney movie.  Not a bad way to cap off a great day.  One day I'll get out my big girl camera again, and take real pictures, I promise.

*If you were thinking about ordering something from the shop, now's the time!  Take 20% all orders today through Monday with the coupon code "smallbiz."  Tomorrow is small business Saturday, so even if you don't buy from me, please consider an order from an etsy shop, or venture out to your own local community shops!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

manly gifts

 I don't normally do gift guides.  Mostly because I'm pretty clueless when it comes to creating them.  Gift giving doesn't come naturally to me, I really struggle to find the perfect something for everyone in my life.  Even my own husband can be difficult!  So I thought I'd share with you some of the gifts that I've either given Brian in the past, or that I know he'd like.  And hopefully you can find something on this list that your guy/father/brother might enjoy for a gift this year!
 Bow ties from The Director's Cabin on etsy.  I ordered this Dr. Who bow tie for Brian (he knows already) and a matching kid version for Fletcher! Their bow ties are so fun, and don't you know that bow ties are so popular right now!  And not just for hipsters, I promise.  There are Dr. Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, and superhero bow ties to be found in this shop, not to mention hair bands for the girls.  And they offer "do it yourself" bow ties that you tie, or pre-tied bow ties for the not so nimble fingered.
Is there anything more luxurious than cashmere wrapped around your neck?  I think men mostly miss out on the pleasure of cashmere.  But this really affordable cashmere tartan scarf is a perfect introduction for men!  Bonus points gift for those men with Scottish heritage.
One of my favorite purse/bag maker ever, Pansy Maiden, started a men's line called Alva DoRight recently.  She has a wide range of messenger, laptop, and backpacks that any man would love to carry. And they are all vegan, cruelty-free, and hand made.
I love Williams Sonoma.  I know, some of their stuff is pricey, but I have loved everything that I've ever purchased there.  And these two items happen to be really reasonable!  A cast-iron bacon press that really could not be cuter.  Sorry to transition from a vegan bag to a bacon press, but my husband loves bacon. And most men I know love bacon.  Apparently the bacon press helps the bacon cook more evenly, quickly, and keeps your bacon flat.  Which is a good thing?  I don't know.  What I do know is that it's super cute.  And ice sphere makers are really popular in our house.  Brian is a bourbon lover, so he likes to use the spheres for his drinks.  The spheres supposedly melt more slowly, while chilling the bourbon more quickly.  I think they just look cool, and that's probably the biggest draw.
And then of course, you could find a little Star Wars love in my shop!  I know my manly man loved them, even if they WERE embroidered.

Happy shopping, my friends!

Friday, November 15, 2013

project make something is put to bed

Here she is.  The very last project make something on my list, and I find it very fitting that I stitched up sweet home Chicago!  Fletcher loved this one and asked if it was snow or stars over Chicago.  I told him it could be either one with Chicago!  Although it's a lot harder to see stars than snow when you're downtown.

If you are new here and wondering what all this project make something is all about, then here are the details.  Last February I put out a post that I shared here, on Instagram, and on Facebook telling everyone that I would like to make something.  For anyone who wanted a something.  And send it in the mail, all for free.  It was a project that I dreamed up to keep my hands busy, and to keep me creating in a way that I enjoyed.  And making something new for each person who asked was just a joy for me. I tried very hard to accommodate all wishes and wants, and I got such great responses from a lot of people.  And roughly 90% of the people asking were complete strangers, some across the world from me.  And the thought that there are strangers across the world from me with little bits of me in their homes is such an amazing feeling!

I gave away around $2000 worth of handiwork, and spent over $150 on shipping costs.  And it all took me 9 months.  Like gestating a big project baby, ha!  I do not regret for one minute the cost, the time, the effort or the bloody finger tips (I need to buy a thimble).  I earned so much confidence in my work that I opened an etsy shop, and I'm so happy to report that it is doing well!  I have met people through this project that I am sure I will continue to keep in contact with for the rest of my life.  And giving away my work just made me happy in a way that I can't describe.  It was a joy, that's the best way I can say it.

A handful of people did not reach out to me after I sent them something, but the overwhelming majority of people seemed so grateful and complimentary to my efforts.  I received a lot of thank you's on Instagram and Facebook, a couple of thank you notes in the mail, and even a thank you present in return!  I loved hearing back on how everyone responded to their something, and it was mostly an extremely positive experience.

I don't think I'll ever forget the 9 months of my life that I spent making things for strangers and loved ones.  It is one of the best gifts I have ever given myself.  And so I want to say THANK YOU to all who participated.  I sound like a broken record, but it was a JOY.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I know I've written about Brian's penchant to just decide we're going to go on an adventure spur of the moment before.  He had Monday off from work because of Veteran's Day, but the littles had school.  After he brought them home from school, he announced we would have an afternoon adventure.  I thought about all the stitching I needed to be doing, all the laundry, all the cleaning.  And I almost sat the adventure out.  But I knew I'd regret it.  And I would have!

We all packed into the car and headed to St. Louis to go visit the arch.  Brian and I had been before, years ago when we were passing through the area.  But we had never taken the littles, despite them always being so excited to see it whenever we're near the city.  We had never told them that you could go up to the top of the arch, but once we clued them in, they were all for it!  Fletcher especially was excited, racing forward along the path to the arch, and circling back to us.  Rowan strolled along, eating a snack, and not understanding the urgency.
She was pretty impressed once we were right under it.  If you've never been to the arch, there is a museum in the underground area that is worth a visit.  And if you've never ridden to the top, let me tell you it's not for anyone with claustrophobia.  You ride to the top in a circular, barrel-like elevator that takes 4 minutes to get to the top.  There are seats in it, and it's not tall enough to stand in.  The littles thought it was awesome.  Like a rocket ship, they decided.
But the views from the top are worth the ride!  As long as you aren't afraid of heights.  Fletcher could have stayed up there all day, looking at the cars going back and forth, pointing out different buildings and structures, and watching barges glide on the river.  But Rowan only wanted so much before she was done.  And when that girl is done, she is DONE.
Papa's adventures always work out and seem magical.  I love that he has this spontaneous nature that I just don't possess.  Because these memories?  They are my favorite kind.

Monday, November 11, 2013

veteran's day

Although I have a long line of veterans in my family, I'm not sure that Veteran's Day would mean much to me if my spouse weren't serving in our military.  It's easy to take veterans for granted if you aren't impacted in a personal way by them.  It's easy to just assume that someone out there will take care of us and protect us should the worst happen.  It's easy to go to bed each night and forget that there are thousands of soldiers not sleeping in their own beds tonight because they are across the world, working to keep our lifestyle intact, here in America.  It's easy to forget just what they give up every single day to serve our country.  Unless it's your own soldier in some other bed across the world from you.  Then it's impossible to forget.  It's impossible to take for granted.  It's impossible.

So thank you.  Thank you Brian, for your continued service that now spans over two decades.  Thank you to all the men and women who have served.  I won't forget your sacrifice.  It's impossible for me to forget.

In honor of Veteran's Day, I am donating 25% of ALL sales from my etsy shop today to Homes for Our Troops.  They are a disabled veterans charity that coordinates the building of handicapped accessible homes, and then gives them to disabled veterans and their families.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

a little Christmas in the shop

Hi friends!  I just wanted to do a quick update on my etsy shop!  It's been doing really well, and I so appreciate the orders that any of you have put in.  It's been a pleasure to make something with my hands that people actually find worth their money.  That's a real honor, guys.

As we get on towards Christmas/Christmas shopping time, I will be adding a few little items.  I recently added this Elf quote ornament that promptly sold out, but I will be adding more of them later this week.
And just today I added a couple of plush ornaments.  A little birdie and a little penguin!  Only $12 each, and completely hand done with soft felt and silk blend fill.
And of course I LOVE doing any custom orders.  Those are my favorite, knowing I am making something very specific that you will hopefully love.

I hope you have a second to go visit my shop, and I would love to make you a little something this Christmas!
Click HERE to find a great Christmas gift, and start knocking those names off your list!

Friday, November 1, 2013


I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!  Ours was very rainy, wet, and chilly.  So I unfortunately do not have any pictures of actual trick or treating.  Luckily there was a preschool costume parade at the school, so I got to watch and play paparazzi for my kiddos.  Fletcher decided long ago that he would be a dalek from Dr. Who for Halloween.  I decided it was time to hang up my homemade costume hat for that one, but then found out it was nearly impossible to BUY a dalek costume.  So Brian took that one on his shoulders and came up with something pretty great.  Rowan also decided a while ago to be a princess bride.  Luckily my neighbor had a bride costume already.  Unluckily, it was a size 8 and I needed to temporarily make it fit a size 3.  So I made alterations, but didn't have to make her costume from scratch.  Both littles were very pleased with their costumes.
Rowan just didn't want to wear her veil, so she carried it instead.  Fletcher got tired of the helmet and his plunger and whisk while he was trick or treating, too.  And some people confused him with a waffle or chocolate chip cookie.  Or they just had no idea what the heck he was.  He didn't seem to mind, and he still got plenty of candy.

We all went to bed exhausted and full of sugar.  It's tradition.