I did not enjoy Christmas "marketing" this year. I grew sick of the cries of "more, more, MORE!!!" coming from my television/radio/internet very early on. It was all just too much.


I have always tried to give handmade to close friends and family. My crazy schedule did not permit me to spend much time in my studio, but I was able to make a few things.

If you're looking for a few last-minute ideas, these might be just what you need!

Felted Mum + Scarf

A few months ago, I fell in love with this felted flower brooch, made and shared by Megan Reardon:

Until now, I haven't had the time (or motivation) to sit down and make one. I thought it would be perfect for my dear friend, Elly, who has stepped into the role of mother, comforter, and confidant for me since moving to Pennsylvania.

She has her own style and a flair for the unexpected accessory. I thought this brooch would look great on her.

I followed Megan's tutorial step-by-step. Materials required were:
  • high-quality felt
  • fabric glue
  • chipboard or cardboard
  • embroidery thread
And, lots of time. This is not a quick project!

I did omit the envelope on the back that Megan included on hers. Adorable, but not right for this gift. Instead, I did some simple embroidery on the back to further personalize the flower.

I actually wound up making two of these - one for Elly and one for my sweet neighbor. I paired Elly's with a black and white chevron infinity scarf and my neighbor's with a turquoise and white scarf.

The two items work together perfectly and make beautiful presentation. Great girlie gifts!

Handmade Labels

Another dear friend that I've made since arriving in Pennsylvania is Cristy. Pretty much my entire social calendar revolves around this girl. And... our hubbies really hit it off so that's an added bonus.

Talk about handmade Christmas... Cristy's fingers have been hard at work for months as she's knitted scarves and hats and dishcloths and more for all those she loves. I'm astounded at all she's accomplished!

It only seemed fitting to give her custom labels for her handmade wares.

For this project I used:
  • 100% linen fabric
  • Pellon paper-backed Wonder-Under
  • Inkjet printer

I love the natural, almost burlap, look of this linen.

I designed my art in Photoshop. The font is "Snow," available through CreativeMarket.com.

I cut a piece of Wonder Under to 8.5" x 11" and ironed it on to the back of my fabric on the bias. You can see in the photo that the fabric grain is on the diagonal. This prevents excessive fraying.

I then trimmed my fabric to the size of the Wonder Under and ran the sheet through my inkjet printer. Tip: if you're printing line art, change your printer settings to print 600 DPI or greater.

The results were exactly what I had hoped for.

I used a ruler to guide my rotary cutter as I cut out the individual labels (50 of them!). It was no quick task, but well worth the results.

When she is ready to use one, all she has to do it peel off the paper backing and iron on to her handmade item. She can finish off with an embroidered border, but it's not necessary. The bond is permanent.

I was so excited to give these small gifts because these are women who appreciate the art and personal meaning behind something handmade. It takes more thought and more care to create something from the heart.

This season is not about giving "more, more, MORE!"

Yet, in a way... it is.

Merry Christmas!

Progress has been very slow on the master bathroom. My husband has done everything by himself - except the plumbing! He's amazing! Unfortunately, there is risk associated with doing everything yourself and, sure enough, he hurt his dominant wrist. Despite the incredible pain, he's continued to plow on as he's able.

Additional delay has been caused by the cabinetry. The cabinets came in, but they were wrong! They have been reordered, but we're still another 4 weeks out.


Just in case you need a reminder, here's what we started with:

We (using the collective "we") gutted the entire room...

Added additional lighting (can lights and two vanities) and heating...

Closed off the door to the outside and added a water closet...

And expanded the shower and reworked the plumbing.

It still looks like a crazy mess, but, from this perspective, the improvements are tremendous already.

We have our tub ready to install, right in front of that lovely bay window. This is the tub and filler that we've ordered:

Next on the to-do list is tile for the shower and flooring.

Things are coming together, but we're still 5-6 weeks away from completion. It's going to be fantastic when all is done!! What a great start to the new year.

Every now and again, I have to write a post to remind myself why I blog.

I was interviewed a few months ago about my experience as a blogger and was asked about my goals.

My reply?

"I've read that the typical lifespan of a blog is about two years. I'd like to do what I can to defy that statistic."

However, as I approach my third anniversary, my posting has become less frequent... my motivation has diminished... my inspiration has been funneled into other priorities...

It may feel a bit as though I'm giving up.

But, truthfully, I love blogging. I love engaging with people across the globe. I love having a special place to record my projects.

I also love my family, my job, my friends, and life balance. Without life balance, I can't love anything with the intensity it deserves.

My priorities have demanded more of my time over these past few months so the blog has been put on the back-burner - to help preserve that precious life balance.

I live a creative life. I've never stopped living a creative life.

I look forward to catching up over the next few weeks and posting with more frequency as the new year arrives.

Wishing you peace and joy!

I have mixed emotions about Facebook. In fact, it can take you through your full range of emotions in one session... happy, sad, touched, annoyed, reflective, inspired...

But what I love about Facebook is reconnecting with old acquaintances and discovering where life has taken them.

Emily is one such acquaintance from high school. After reconnecting last year, I learned that she is an amazingly talented photographer. I've been in awe ever since.

There is an angelic quality about her work.

There's an angelic quality about her heart, too.

Emily put together a very helpful post on her own blog this week about styling your entire family for photos (without breaking the bank!). Given this is the most beautiful time of year, I know many of you are planning your own photo sessions and thought you might find her advice helpful.

So, head on over to Here On Earth Photography to meet Emily. Your heart will be warmed and I know you'll leave inspired.

Happy Friday!

I had a rude awakening this summer.

"Mom, I want a pair of aviator sunglasses. Because they're cool. And because directors wear them."

{What?! Who is this little man and where is my baby?! When did he start to care about "cool?!"}

So, we scoured the entire mall to find the perfect pair and came out victorious by the little guy's standards. And he wears them. All. The. Time.

Fast forward to this past weekend... as I was cleaning up my flannel sheet scraps from my bean bag project, I was inspired to create a soft sunglasses case for his prized pair.

Look! Half of the work was already done for me! Here's the how-to.

Take a 9" x 9" square scrap, including the edge hem on one side. This will be the drawstring casing!

Cut the edges of the casing at an angle.

Fold the square in half, right edges together.

Sew a 1/2" hem down the long side and the bottom. Be sure to back stitch the beginning and end of your seam. I surged my edges, but this isn't necessary. This fabric doesn't really fray.

Turn the case right side out and insert your drawstring. I found a piece of leather to use as my drawstring. I added a wooden bead to cinch it tight.

Such a super easy and functional project! The soft fabric can be used as a cleaning cloth, too.

In closing, we'll leave you with our best "tough guy" faces...

Good grief. He looks like he's had practice. I look like an angry Elvis impersonator...

The throw pillows for my couches always seem to be on the floor.

And this drives me CRAYYYYY-ZEEEEEE.

It doesn't matter how much I complain. Yep, there they are. Back on the floor again...

Time to change my strategy and give those boys what they never knew they needed.

Bean bags!!!

I pinned this awesome bean bag cube from Ballard two years ago.

I've seen other inspirational designs, like these from Crate and Barrel:

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an awesome tutorial for bean bag cubes from Gina of The Shabby Creek Cottage. For my own bags, I followed her tutorial step-by-step - only opting to include a zipper closure, rather than closing everything up with a seam.

Before I cut any fabric, I tracked down the foam beads that I needed to fill the bags. I found the best deal from Walmart.com - so I ordered three boxes! The desk clerk was so confused as she tried to figure out what might be in these large boxes. They felt feather light!


I made two different sized cubes - 24 x 24 for the bigger boy and 18 x 18 for the younger. The larger cube took 1 1/2 bags of filler. The smaller bag took nearly a full bag of beans.

{By the way, these little beans have a mind of their own. I recommend enlisting the help of someone else when filling your bags!}

For my fabric, I used a soft, flannel twin-sized sheet (that I already had) for the smaller poof. If this is of interest to you, I think you can actually get two cubes out of one sheet! Talk about a bargain!

 And, here's the finished 18" cube! It's soft, slouchy, and totally portable for my little guy.

The 24" cube is HUGE! Much larger than I anticipated. But, Dylan loves it. I used some leftover decorator fabric that I had on hand.

I tried to get the guys to pose for a few pics.

That quickly dissolved into this...

And this...

{It was much less violent than it looks.}

Oh well.

For a total investment of around $20, there is no reason not to make your own. Happy (happier?) lounging days ahead!
When we were looking at homes online, before seeing them in person, we came up with a nickname for each property.

The nickname for this house?

"The Toilet House."

Any guess as to why?

Oh, geez. Where do I begin to highlight the weirdness of this room? The vacuous, sterile space? The 80's-tastic bar lighting? The toilet with no privacy? The door with a window that gives the neighbors a bird's eye view of said toilet?

The teeny-tiny shower opposite the HUGE, dated Jacuzzi tub? Peel and stick tile?

All along, we've felt that this room has the most potential, but it's a challenging space to design for. There are two skylights, a door to the back deck, and a bay window.

Over the past 6 months, we've had six or seven contractors come in to evaluate the space. We just felt that this was a project too big for us to take on alone. To date, we've only heard back from one contractor. His price tag? A whopping $40,000.

Now. We've built three homes and I just couldn't wrap my head around investing that much into this one space. So, we've waited and waited and called and called to find out what other estimates might be.

And... no. one. will. call. us. back.

Clearly, business is booming for contractors in our area.

Jesse's patience finally ran out last week. He started demolition and I came up with a layout that I think will work!

And, here is the current state of affairs.

{Pardon the mess...}

The massive tub and marble surround is gone.

The shower and toilet are gone and the framing is up for the walk-in, tiled shower. It will have a frameless glass door and half-wall.

And that super-awkward door to the back deck? Walled up!

This is my color inspiration for the space. We've already purchased the paint and I can't wait to crack it open!

The next step for us is plumbing - which we will NOT be doing ourselves. We hope to have someone in next week to work on that.

We're just figuring it out as we go, folks. Thanks goodness for YouTube.com, HGTV.com, and the DIYNetwork.com!