Thursday, April 30

Jamaica, anyone?

Ahhh.... I wish I was talking about my own trip to Jamaica, but alas - no. These towels were made for a honeymooning couple.

I found a tutorial that worked perfectly - I just added a custom monogram and their wedding date, put the pieces together, and they have just the right thing for their beach getaway!You fold the towel in thirds, roll it, put the long strap through the short strap - and it's ready to go. My son thought this was pretty cool, and I think with a little bit shorter strap it will be perfect for going to the pool & swim lessons this summer!

Wednesday, April 29

post-its pt.2

Ok. I have to admit it. I really do have a drawer full of post-it notes. Have you seen the "teacher" ones? There's ones that tell time, have word endings, money, and of course - the alphabet. Well today Conner was asking me why there was a "1" in the middle of a word. He meant a lower case l - but I can totally understand the confusion! I've been thinking for a while that I need to be more deliberate about using lower case letters too, but this pretty much solidified the thought. I've always thought it's easier to start with upper case letters, and I still hold to that thought - but you've got to learn it all eventually.

This idea isn't exactly a new one, it's just our little thing we had fun doing today. I got out my alphabet post-its, and stuck them on the wall. That's (one of) the great things about Post-Its - easy on, easy off. We talked about how each letter has a big (upper case) and a small (lower case). I made sure to use both terms. We looked at the pictures already on the Post-Its, and put them in alphabetical order.

Then as he ate his breakfast, I asked him if he wanted me to draw him some pictures of his own. He picked some words, some I came up with myself. Then I wrote the word (all lower case) and he matched up the word/picture with the letter on the wall. Luckily the words he picked were mostly things I could (kind of) draw. You might notice there is a snake AND a worm - I guess he can tell the difference??!! I consider myself creative, but NOT artistic!
Another great thing - they're high enough that my daughter can't reach them, but right at his eye level. I figure we'll add to it every so often, and when he gets bored, take them down and do something else.

Monday, April 27

pink pink and more pink

My friend in Arizona has two daughters, one of whom I have never met. (It's not easy or in the budget to just fly across country, sadly!) She said... something pink, something cool, and this is what I came up with. I wish you all could touch this fabric. It is so light and breezy, perfect for trying to make it through an Arizona summer.

Even better - I think this is the first bunch of buttons and buttonholes I have made where I didn't curse at any of them! YAHOO!

And an added bonus for having your friend (of over 20 years) sew something special for your daughters - matching fabric headbands. I had a little bit of extra fabric and remembered seeing this. So in no time at all, here they are.
Off to the post office tomorrow. They're coming, A!

Sunday, April 26

noah's ark

It rained and rained and rained today.
Then the sun came out.
We didn't see a rainbow, probably because we were busy inside - celebrating with my niece. Today was her baptism day.

In her honor - a couple Noah's Ark books for you to discover...

Noah's Ark - by Peter Spier - as usual for him there are VERY detailed illustrations. It is a little bit more harsh (?) about the story, but it really draws you in. Yeah - it's a Caldecott Award winner too!

Noah's Ark - by Jerry Pinkney - gorgoeus sweeping illustrations with a yellow tone to them, capturing the majesty of God's creation. Yeah - it's a Caldecott Honor Award winner too.

In the Shadow of the Ark
- by Anne Provoost - this one is for grown-ups. Just another way to look at the story. I found it absolutely fascinating.

On Noah's Ark - by Jan Brett - she is one of the best at telling a story within a story. Her framed illustrations add a whole extra dimension to the story.

Noah's Wife - by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso - have you ever wondered how the plants made it through the flood? Well, Noah's wife gathered them all, of course! It adds a nice twist to the traditional telling, and answers some of my questions!

We're All in the Same Boat - by Zachary R. Shapiro - Noah encourages all the animals to get along. It's alphabetical and adorable!

Hope you have a sunny week!

Saturday, April 25

new logo

Check out my new business logo!

My friend Toni takes gorgeous photographs, and on top of that she did a "little" design work for me. It was something I had hand-sketched, and she took that and ran with it. Here's the before...
and after...
Don't you love the "btt" on the petal on the right? Funny how it looks like my initials, BH, huh? Much better than the viney thing I had going before.

Thanks, Toni!

Thursday, April 23

rock a bye baby

Check out this adorable doll cradle. It was one of my daughter's birthday presents. And you betcha - it was handmade by her uncle. Doesn't he rock?? (he'll make you one for a small fee. contact me for details. His business is called Rustic Ridge Woodworking.)

Here it is in her bedroom, photographed with the quilt from her bed. (My mom made her that tulip quilt before she was born.)
I covered the foam mattress in a dark blue swirly fabric. Why? Because I love blue and had a bunch of it in my stash, and I looooove the look of blue and white.

Here is one of her dolls in the bed, covered in a little piece of fleece. I did stitch her name on the little pillow, but these details are just temporary. I'm planning on something bigger and better. Something classier, for sure!

My mom said she thinks she has another tulip square. I know the perfect home for it!!!!

Tuesday, April 21


My son is starting to really figure it all out. Letters make words. Words tell stories. You can make letters and words, too!!!

So - I grabbed my handy dandy stash of lined Post-Its (he picked the color) and then we sat down to write a greeting for the front door. Letter by letter, he did it! He had to underline it for emphasis of course.
This is a card he made the other day "for mom and dad". It is now hanging on the fridge. Oh, and yeah - the C in the top left corner was him signing the card. Too much work to write out his whole name! (Plus, I guess he was running out of room anyway.)
And the Post-It note that may just about get saved for eternity... (right now it's on my bedroom door.)
I can't wait to see what else he'll come up with. I'm excited to write little notes with him and surprise each other by sticking them all over the place. How long will this phase last? I've got a drawer full of Post-its... I'm ready!

Monday, April 20

ocean expansion

Well, I originally made a fishing set for my son for his birthday. My friend has her own magnetic fishing pole, but had an even better idea. Why not expand the ocean? There's more than fish, right???!

So I started with a couple of starfish.

Every ocean needs a shark or two, right? I was playing around with the design a little. I can't decide which one I like better. I'm guessing the one on top will hold up a little better, but I love the more realistic teeth on the one on the bottom!

Add a pair of octopuses (octopi, octopods - whatever plural you prefer)...
Two jellyfish...

And finish off the set with a few fish. I couldn't resist. They're so bright and colorful and easy to do.

I think her boys will love them! Happy fishing!!

Now off to the store for more magnets... time to expand my son's ocean collection, too! I'm thinking I might need to make another batch for ArtFire... the only problem is the fishing pole. Hmmmm... we'll see.

Sunday, April 19

time to plant something!

The slow pitter patter of raindrops outside today helps me look forward to the coming weeks - I know that the green grass is growing and it is almost time for me to get out into the garden. Unfortunately, I am really good at the dreaming, and mildly good at the planting. I'm not so good at the follow-through of weeding and garden maintenance in the fall. So - when all else fails, I grab a wonderful garden book. Enjoy a few of these as you wait for the flowers to grow in your yard!

Allison's Zinnia - this is the fiction one in the bunch today. It's just a fun book that goes through different people giving and receiving flowers in alphabetical order.

The Tiny Seed - I guess they're reissuing this with bigger better collages. Yay for Eric Carle! It is such a fun trip for a bunch of seeds, and my son loves watching what happens to all of them.

Planting a Rainbow - Lois Ehlert is always good for a bright, colorful look at the world. In this book, she goes through the rainbow of colors and has numerous items for all. Gorgeous.

A Seed is Sleepy - this popped up on Amazon when I was searching for the link for The Tiny Seed. I've got to try and find this one. Sounds interesting!

Saturday, April 18

swingset in a day

Here's our recipe for a swingset in a day...

Start with great plans... drawn up by one uncle and presented to a special four year old on his birthday (2-1/2 months ago)
Bring a ton of lumber, swingset braces, etc. etc. etc....
Put it all together over the course of a day and what do you have?
A ledge for "storefront" business, a balance beam, a climbing wall, a slide, two swings, a steering wheel, a ladder, and a spot for a firefighter's pole to be installed later.

best quote of the day... (from the neighbor)
"Are you guys Amish or something?"

It wasn't really a barn-raising, but we got it done in one day.
Thanks to the uncles and grandpa for their help!! YOU GUYS ROCK!

Friday, April 17


I love daffodils. So bright and cheerful, so resilient to the obnoxious changing weather of an Illinois April. They grow in big bunches in fields across the Arboretum that we visit often. I think they make for the perfect photo shoot.
Except that I have to convince the two kids of that! This is pretty much the only shot of both of them together where she wasn't screaming and crying. It was getting close to naptime, but seriously - just one cute little smile for the camera, WITH your brother?
I'm pretty happy with how the single shots turned out, though.

She was (of course) watching Conner. When is he going to learn to stand BEHIND me when I have the camera?!

Of course, he's not exactly the one to remember the lens either. Here he is, looking up at my mom holding Abby who was screaming.

Ahhh... a smile! Yay!

Hope you had a gorgeous spring day like we did!!!!

Wednesday, April 15

sock monkey fun

I was having a little too much fun with sock monkeys today.

I did the whole frayed edge applique thing on a yellow onesie, with just a simple smiling monkey. Cute, huh?

This was my son's favorite so I'm brewing up a little something special for him. Hopefully I can share that tomorrow. For now, I used this monkey on a burp cloth and on a onesie.

Hop on over and grab this little guy before someone else does!

Tuesday, April 14

custom princess, pt 2

You may remember my niece's adorable princess bedroom - princess pillow, princess quilt - well, this is the latest addition to her princess collection. (We're not quite out of fabric yet, so watch out - more may be coming!)

It is a bucket hat, complete with velcro chin strap. The brim of the hat is three layers - the crown fabric is repeated on the top and bottom layers, but the middle layer is pink, white and silver swirly stars.

The other little darling? She's getting a new toy!

I tried out a slightly smaller block at her mom's request. I think I may have to stick with the new size! I also added a new fabric - it's white with little grippy dots on it. I bought it once thinking I was going to try and make a few booties. That didn't happen. But I think it is another great texture to add for the baby to play with. It also seemed to work out well with the polka dot ribbon, don't you think?

Her baptism is coming up too.

So I've put together the perfect combo - a hooded towel with a rainbow on it and Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney.

Sunday, April 12

happy Easter...

and phew. The weekend is almost over. It's been a busy one!

We enjoyed a lovely meal of ham, pineapple salsa, scalloped potatoes, peas, fruit salad with poppyseed dressing, and chocolate fondue for dessert. Loved it all - but also loved the pretty bright blue egg next to the daffodil in the centerpiece. As always, loved the time with family - especially my aunt and brother who flew in from far away.

Thought I'd take a quick trip down memory lane...

This is me at my first Easter. I was 1 year old.

This is my daughter at her first Easter. She is also one year old. So, basically - I was bigger all around. Taller, bigger head, longer arms, and chubbier everything. My baby is such a little peanut! I was also (barely) walking, my daughter isn't quite there yet. Soon enough, I know.

Hope you all had a blessed day.

easter reading

Happy Easter everyone! Since I did bunnies last week, I decided to pick a couple different Easter favorites of ours...

Do you like Easter candy? What's your favorite? Are you a Peeps fan? Personally, I go for the chocolate Cadbury eggs. Yummmm.
Well Owen's favorite is his marshmallow chick. "It was the same color as his favorite yellow blanket." Whatever your choice is today, I hope you enjoy Owen's Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes too!

We also love to dye Easter eggs with my parents. So naturally, one of our favorites this Easter season has been I Need an Easter Egg! about a bunny hunting for the perfect egg.

Hope you have a wonderful time with your family today. Enjoy a good book or two!!!

Saturday, April 11

smocking party dresses

This post should really be titled "SHOUT OUT TO MY AWESOME MOM". She can smock up a storm.

This is my daughter's Easter dress, part 2. (She has so many pretty dresses she's wearing one to church and one to the meal.)

She has a pleating machine, but all the embroidery on top was done by hand. Do you see the ribbon woven in the handwork?

Cute little bow in the back of course.

This is my daughter's birthday party dress. Once again, pleating machine, but otherwise - all hand embroidered. Bunnies and flowers. Perfect for my little spring girl!

Did you see the piping along the top edge? And check out the poofy sleeves below. My mom even had a slip for her to wear underneath!

OH, and yeah, she did this all with major magnification on a CCTV. She rocks. I've got her stubborn side, just not all the patience. Thanks mom for all your hard work to make TWO beautiful dresses!!

party time!

So... I have this friend who is a fondant queen. (see sugarfest 09 for more details.)
She generously gave of her time and helped me make a ton of fondant flowers. I made butter recipe chocolate cupcakes, frosted them, and then stuck the flowers on top. Cute huh? It gets better...

So after I finished the cupcakes, I still had a ton of fondant flowers. (on purpose. I planned this. just follow along...)

So I dipped a bunch of little pretzel sticks in green chocolate. I then attached them to a bunch of flowers.

And voila - a flower garden fit for a 1 year old!

There were five petal flowers (just like the shape of the cake) and then tulips - all in a variety of colors.

One brother-in-law and my father-in-law weren't able to be here for the party, but we sent home a few extra fondant flowers and cupcakes for them to enjoy. Even better, we have leftovers for the rest of the upcoming week!