Sunday, March 29

my favorite things

Some of my favorite things - books and music. I decided to share a few that combine both my loves.

Love "The Sound of Music"? You'll love My Favorite Things - the illustrations were done by Renee Graef.

Any John Denver fans out there? Check out these illustrated by Christopher Canyon...

This Land is Your Land - a gorgeous fold-out in the middle. So much to look at every time we read it!

This song was sung at my baptism and my daughter's baptism. So sweet.

Saturday, March 28

tutu onesie

Another listing for my artfire shop. A tutu onesie dress with appliqued pink heart on the front.

Isn't my niece L a perfect model?! She isn't even a month old yet!!! SO cute.

Wednesday, March 25

seeing is believing

We've been visiting family in Michigan. My son has a new best friend!

His name is Leif and he is a seeing eye dog.

My mom and two of her four sisters have a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Both of my aunts have seeing eye dogs. I am so glad my son had the chance to spend time getting to know more about what a working dog can do. And I'm glad he had a chance to play and cuddle with a fun friend.

Want to learn more? Check them out here.

(ironically my son's name means "wolf lover" - and his bedtime snuggle animal is a dog.)

Sunday, March 22

thank you world

I would like my son to grow up with a view of the world that isn't just centered around the grandeur of the United States. Yes, we are blessed to live where we live. But there is so much more to be seen and appreciated!

Thank You World is one way to do that. It follows eight children around the world as they go through their similar but different days.

Wendy Anderson Halperin is a very detailed illustrator. Her books always have my son and I hunting for more! Have you ever seen her version of Ecclesiastes?

Her latest is on my birthday wish list...

Other great facts about her - she has illustrated numerous books for Cynthia Rylant (another all-time favorite author of mine!) and she lives in South Haven, Michigan. South Haven was my childhood getaway. AH... so lucky to live by the lake!

Thank you, Wendy - for all the amazing artwork you share with us through children's literature!

Friday, March 20

cherry blossoms

Today is my mom's birthday. I had thought this might be a good time to do an "all about how cool my mom is" post, but it would be too lengthy :) and I just don't have the time today. Too bad I didn't plan ahead and write it when I started thinking about it a month ago.

Anyway - in honor of her birthday, my son and I spent Abby's morning naptime creating her very own cherry blossom tree (without the fragrance, unfortunately). We started off with a framed canvas from the store. I painted my son's arm and hand and he printed the "tree" on the canvas. I would have preferred to let it dry, but we didn't have a lot of time so on to the next step - pastels for the sky/ grass. You can see my son's blue fingers from smearing the colors together in the sky.

In the midst of this, I cut some white, silver, light pink, and dark pink tissue paper squares. I put a bunch of glue dots all over the tree and we went to town crinkling, scrunching, and flower making.

Isn't the wrapping paper gorgeous? I can't wait to wrap it up and give it to her tonight!

Tuesday, March 17

watch out for leprechauns...

OH my goodness - is he not the cutest leprechaun you've ever seen?

He's wearing his lucky shirt, a new beard, and he's holding a pot of gold (Ball Jar with Reeses and Rolos, rainbow fabric for lid) for his preschool teachers.

Then he came home from preschool only to find leprechaun dust on the sidewalk. He raced upstairs to check on his pot of gold. I guess the leprechaun loves reading "Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato" as much as we do! Too bad we surprised him - the pot of gold was only missing one Rolo (I mean piece of gold)! Maybe he escaped out the window? He wasn't hiding in the nightstand...

Sunday, March 15

10 minutes...

Sometimes isn't that all we need... just ten more minutes???!!! This little boy and his pet hamster cram more adventure into ten minutes than is possible in our house!

We especially love it because it shows little snippets of our other favorites by her - Officer Buckle and Gloria and Good Night, Gorilla. SO creative, and a fun way for my son to make the author connection. He loves talking about how the books work together and how they are all by the same author!

I'm not sure I want to live in a neighborhood across from a zoo where the animals all try to sleep with the zookeeper, and where the neighbors have a rodent invasion every night before bedtime!

Good thing Officer Buckle and Gloria are there to keep everyone safe!

Enjoy a good book - snuggle up with your favorite tonight!

Saturday, March 14

first item listed

My first listing - an Easter onesie dress.

Check it out
. I'm so excited. I've got to go sew some more!

Friday, March 13

be the thread...the business

My business is evolving. It started out almost two years ago as a little dream called "Sew Personalized". It has expanded from personalized children's blankets to include toys, clothing, baby gear, and numerous other personalized items. I have had SO much fun making custom items for my friends and family. I was blogging about my items as I made them.

It is time to grow again. I am going to start selling items on Art Fire. I still REALLY want to do custom orders for my customers, so I will definitely keep doing that. But I have fun creating brand new stuff and I want to be able to share that with the world!
I am also reminded how much I love teaching. I held a workshop for some friends a few days ago and I had so much fun sharing my love of fabric with them and helping them create something special.

So I am taking the name be the thread and claiming it for my business. I have merged the old blog with this one.

I want to encourage you to be the thread too.
be the thread - become a stronger person by hosting your own in-home workshop (locally of course!) and learning a new skill.
be the thread - design something with me - creative custom orders are still near and dear to my heart. Those can be done long distance too. The internet is a beautiful thing!
be the thread - so many opportunities to use the beautiful materials available (and I'm not just talking about thread here folks - there are so many gorgeous fabrics, embroidery designs, ric-rac, ribbons, need I go on...?)

be the thread - sewn into something beautiful, strong, and creative.
Official launch date - April 10th.

spring spirit

I'm SO ready for spring! I am an April baby, and I swear that is part of what makes me come alive every spring. I have decided that Friday, April 10th is my official launch date for my artfire site. So a lot of sewing is going to happen between now and then. Keep checking back here for previews!! (and maybe a good deal or two!)

My son's St. Patrick's Day shirt - I think it needs a little something more... maybe "LUCKY" across the front of the shamrock?

My daughter's little onesie for the day. She's pretty lucky too, wouldn't you agree?

This is the start of a little Easter fun. I have some carrot fabric that is going to be a skirt for it, and then of course I have the required bunny ears. When I was little I collected bunny stuff, so I have a large collection of stuffed bunny rabbits. That will be a fun photo shoot, I'm sure!

So - we're getting ready for spring around here. Now, if someone would please tell the thermometer it's ok to hit 50 on a regular basis....

Wednesday, March 11


It's this new place I heard about from jumpupanddown. I'm not sure what I'll do, how much I'll list, etc. etc. But I decided what better time and PRICE to jump on and see what selling magic I can make.
Only one way to find out!

be the thread - I'm not sure what I'm going to list there. hmm... today is for computer planning, details, and figuring it out. Then off to create and list this weekend!

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Monday, March 9


I've been busy getting to know my new brother (as in the sewing machine). And my new niece, born last Tuesday. I've also been busy trying to get a few orders together for my business. Along with regular mommy & household & wife stuff, that hasn't left me a lot of time for creating new.

I did realize I had finished another music block for my son, so that's my show-off for today.

My new niece's quilt is finished too, but in the excitement of getting together everything to go meet her, I forgot my camera battery in the charger. AACKK. What was I thinking??! SO hopefully I will be able to go back up again in the next week or two and get some pictures of my adorable niece & her older sister on their two quilts seen here before they were completed.

Sunday, March 8

snuggle with a book

A blog is a house for my thoughts and pictures.
A sewing machine is a house for thread and needles.
What kind of special house do you have?

I decided to start a new feature on my blog - Snuggle With a Book Sunday. This is the first installment - A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman. It is a favorite from my childhood.
My son and I were talking about habitats the other day and he said "a cup is a habitat for milk mommy"... and I knew he was ready for this book. Not only does it explore homes around the world, it explores homes for animals and homes you make up in your mind. The illustrations give you so much to look at each time - we're always finding more each time we read it.

What book did you read today?

Wednesday, March 4

reverse applique

Hip hip hooray! I finally figured it out. I won't go in to the details of why I'm so slow and why it took me so long. Let's just say I finally figured out where to put the stabilizer so the shirt didn't get all stretched and goofy looking. Either that or my new brother really is working some magic. *haha*

I think my new niece will love this! I can't wait to meet here on Saturday!!!

your turn!!!

A couple friends of mine wanted to give t-shirt making a try. Didn't they do a great job?

Adorable polka dot cupcake with felt heart on top.

Three guitars for her "rock star".
Plus a little heart "tattoo" of flames on the sleeve.

Silly sock monkeys for her silly monkey.

full of words

This is the Wordfull Wednesday for me! I am always full of words, but get me started on children’s books and you’re really in trouble. haha.

A few signs of my sickness…
1. I decorated the nursery & kids’ bathroom with children’s picture book art. (Maybe another day I’ll post nursery pictures if you’re all interested.)
2. We’re planning our summer vacation around a trip to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (in Amherst, Massachusetts).
3. Did I mention I have over 2500 children’s books in my house?

So I have a lot to say about children’s books. Where should I start?

I learned to REALLY read when I was about four years old. I had been holding books “the right way” since I was about 6 months old (according to my mom). Having children of my own, I find that hard to believe. But what mom says must be right?! My first book that I could “really” read was “Away go the Boats”. My mom kept it (of course) and looking at it now, I can’t help but feel bad that my mom had to hear it as many times as she did! (But I think that’s true of most early reader books.) I don’t have a lot of specific memories of my early reading days, (other than a lot of Richard Scarry) but I do know my love of books quickly grew to all the “girly” standards – Little House, Anne of Green Gables, and the beloved Little Women.
Teaching my four-year-old son to read is quite a challenge. I wasn’t sure he’d ever pick up a book on his own. He is the typical active, physical boy – and when he was younger story time always revolved around food times or being in the car. Those were the only times he seemed to sit down long enough! I kept on encouraging literacy whenever I could – from LeapFrog letters on the fridge, to the Letter Factory movie, to books, magazines, road signs - and all the print in between. I have been looking for letters, making rhyming words, telling silly stories, and exploring reading with him everywhere we go. Now he chooses to read before naptime, lays down on the floor of the library for a closer look, and often asks to re-read his favorites like the Eileen Christelow “5 Little Monkeys” and “My Truck is Stuck”. It truly became one more reminder of how it all happens on the child’s timeline. Not when you want it, not when you expect it – but reading does come alive.

A list of favorite books from my own childhood, from my teaching years, from my children’s years … that’s another blog for another time. How could I pick a favorite? To pick just one would be to negate all the other wonderfuls. It’s too hard for me to choose! How about a few favorite authors on my brain right now…
-Verna Aardema
-Tomie dePaola
-Leo Lionni
-Kevin Henkes
-Mem Fox
-Virginia Lee Burton
-Lois Ehlert
-Don Freeman
-Cynthia Rylant
-Audrey Wood
-Patricia Polacco
-Chris Van Allsburg
-Allen Say

ok. I better stop now.

So I leave you with a quote from Anna Quindlen…
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”

Monday, March 2

birthday invites

When I make cards, I usually just kind of throw all my supplies out there for the theme and then sort through until an idea comes to me. Not a perfect solution, but it works for me.

My daughter's 1st birthday is coming up in early April, and we're going with a "blooming flower garden" theme. So I got out floral stamps, punches, and got busy.
(I had already printed out the words I wanted for the inside.)

Here's the inside - a pop-up garden swirl.

My Cuttlebug dies haven't gotten a good thorough work-out since I got them at Christmas. Time to put them to use! I got busy and cut and glued and cut and glued.

And here is my garden. I am going to put her sweet face in the middle of the circle flower. Then off the invites go!

Sunday, March 1


I'm feeling a little blue today. Sad blue. My son and I have just been cranky today. So I put myself in time-out. Hubby dearest has my daughter, and the crazy boy is sleeping.

I went looking for a little happy blue.

I found this beautiful delphinium on the grounds of a castle in Scotland two years ago. Isn't the blue just gorgeous?

Tell me spring is coming, PLEASE!!!