crafting with kids

Kids love to craft.  They love to draw, glue, paint, cut, and all the rest.  I totally love it too.  And I love watching kids get excited at what they can make.  Teaching crafting is so different than teaching math.  In math there is definitely a right answer.  In crafting the only right answer is, "I love this".  At least that's my goal when I craft with kids.

The other day we had some friends come make some god's eyes with us.  Do you remember making those at summer camp?  We had a fun time, and everyone enjoyed the process, and the product. Success!

After crafting with my own girls on a regular basis, and teaching sewing, knitting, and crochet in a classroom setting, I've developed a few survival skills for crafting with kids. Go check them out over at Krystina's blog, Lollipops.

in love again with indoor plants

As a young adult, my main mode of decorating my living space was with plants.  They were my little friends.  I loved how alive they made a room look, and tending to them was so rewarding.  Then I had babies.  I discovered I couldn't tend to both babies and plants in an effective way, so the plants were either given away, or endured a slow death.

via emily henderson 

Well, I'm ready to start my indoor garden again.  There is so much amazing inspiration to get me excited to  start collecting and growing.  A great beginning place was this video by Emily Henderson,
styling an indoor garden video , she's just adorable, and I love her style.

Rubyellen's home, via A Beautiful Mess
Rubyellen's home, as featured on A Beautiful Mess is also great inspiration to get some new green life into my home.

via smile and wave
I just love how Rachel from Smile and Wave styles her home, and here she has a great collection of plants in her bedroom with wood and metal accents.  
She's so creative!

via a beautiful mess
This trio of hanging plants is so shiny and fresh!  Elsie has a whole how-to on how she made these vintage hanging bowls over at her blog A Beautiful Mess.

pillows {and thoughts} for a new year

Since the new year, I've been happily hooking away on these pillows here.  It's slightly overwhelming considering the endless color and pattern combinations you can make on a crocheted pillow. 

These pillows have taught me a few things about what I want for my little etsy shop this year.

One thing I discovered was that making large batches of things really exercised my creativity in a new way!  I was able to really explore and dig deeper, rather than feeling like I needed to move on to the next product idea on my list for fear of losing my creativity.  It was actually the opposite, where by making quantities of the same thing, I was getting even more ideas.

This new year I have some exciting products I plan on making, and I plan on making them in larger quantities!

an interview with sandi devenny {adalou}


I'm happy to introduce the sweet Sandi Devenny, of Adalou Vintage!  Unfortunately for me, she lives very far away, so instead of chatting with her over coffee to get to know her better, I decided to do a long distance interview instead.  By day, she illustrates for Hallmark cards.  By evening she is a busy mother, she authors the blog Adalou, and runs 2 etsy shops!

1.  What was the first blog you ever read?  When did you begin blogging and why?

I've always enjoyed reading blogs. I can't recall which was the first ever but, the first which I felt connected with and followed along was over at Frecklewonder by Jenny Mitchell. We met thru Flickr, while being pregnant with our kiddos (which are about the same age). I found her blog and loved that she wrote about general life and things she enjoyed doing which was an inspiration to me.

I didn't start blogging myself, until last year when I was asked if I blogged where I shared things. Every blog I read was about general life, which I greatly enjoyed, but I'm actually an introverted person so me writing about me, I wasn't so sure about this. I love hunting for design and illustrative inspiration so I started my blog by posting a few things I loved. I made every effort to post one new piece of inspiration a day as an ongoing place for my personal likes. I blogged not with the intent to have a huge following but in hopes to meet a few new friends who may enjoy the same things I did, and to offer up inspiration to others which I had found. I slowly added a bit of general life (me chit chatting and sharing life with my family) but I mainly hunt for research. I started sharing some of my personal collections which is a big part of who I am... a Collector. In return this helps keeps me be creative and inspired. 

2.  I just love your mini collections series.  What is your largest/favorite collection to date?

Collection... oh where to even begin... the mister and myself collect a lot of different things. One of our largest collections to date would be designer vinyl toy, which is somewhere over 700+ figures (action figures of various sorts). Currently they're in storage until we figure out another solution for displaying them about our tiny home. It's a toss up for favorite collections between, my vintage mugs, my Pez Dispensers (which tops somewhere over 500+) or my enamelware pieces. It's so hard to choose a favorite, I guess I just love them all.

3.  Your design/art resume history is very impressive! You have a degree in illustration, you were a designer at Carter's Clothes, and you presently work as an illustrator/designer at Hallmark.  It's no wonder that you are now designing blogs for clients.  Is this something you would like to do more of? 

I love interacting with people and thru my design and illustrative work I can do this. Since I do work a full time job and have my handfuls with my family and my small etsy shops, web design isn't on the top of my list currently. Not that I'm not available or open for business, because I surely am. But I take jobs case by case if I have time and when personal schedule allows such. If someone has an idea I'm always all ears.   


4.  Where do you find your artistic inspiration?

I love looking thru illustration books and magazines (we own a small collection of favorites). But recently I have found Pinterest to be such a great source for inspiration. The web is filled with so much creativity. Sometimes it's hard not to loose yourself in it all so when I'm stumped for ideas, I do turn to my family and friends for day to day inspiration.

5.  With such an awesome and full work schedule, what do you do when it's time to play?

Play... well I'm not to sure what some consider play but in my free time I really enjoy sewing. You can also find me hanging out with my family, thrifting, exploring outdoors, playing board games with friends or getting cozy on the couch with the mister, an ice cream sundae and a movie.   

Sandi, thanks so much for taking the time to tell us a bit more about yourself, you are one amazing woman!

Please go check out Sandi at Adalou, say "hi", and don't forget to peak into her shops to see what she's been collecting and creating!

lacking and looking for inspiration

My inspiration left me this week. All of a sudden. I'm not sure it had ever happened to this degree before, ever. I did not want to make anything. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to make. I just sat on the couch, looking into space, not interested in making at all. I was even thinking that I would stop making all together, forever. Just be done. Well, that was all ridiculous, really. Who was I kidding. I need to make. I just had to look back over my life to see how much making was a part of it.

It started coming back to me. Slowly, and in small amounts. I made a baby hat. Not my regular, tried and true baby hat. Something completely new and different. I just made it up as I went. I needed freedom.

Then I dug up the wooden hangars I had buried somewhere. I put some yarn on one. I liked it.

It's all baby steps. Next, I want to make a new beach blanket. Something simple. Something for me. Maybe even some new pajama pants out of my big stash of vintage sheets. For me.
Baby steps.

quotes to start off with

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like this one because when you start the new year off with a cold (like me), you have to believe that you have more than one chance to start off right.

via pinterest via sarah london textiles

And then there's my favorite for many different circumstances:

"baby steps"...{into the new year}

Bill Murray from "What about Bob"

via pinterest via dottie angel

I am excited for the new year, yes! But I am also planning on taking it one day at a time, with the best intentions on finishing strong. Sort of like when I am crocheting a granny square quilt. Oh sure, it's so fun and exciting to pick the colors and do a few squares, but when it comes to tying in all those loose ends, and you start to wonder if you really want the blanket after all. Then it's all about "baby steps" to finishing the blanket. And how happy you are when the blanket is done!

So maybe I'll call this year the "granny square baby steps year".

via pinterest via ravelry

random bits of this and that

I just had to share a few random bits too good to keep to myself!

1) My friend Ginger of Wienerdog Tricks has a large quantity of talents, including her ability to write real well (she is a professional professor, you know) and her seamstress abilities are top notch too! But I'm wondering if maybe she should have been a comedian. I'm not a big fan of vlogs (video blog posts). For some reason they usually embarrass me to watch them. But this vlog Ginger put together had me on the floor laughing my head off! Thanks for the entertainment, Ginger, and the inspiration to "go make something".

2) My other friend, Toni, (another multi-talented friend) just posted on her blog Porridge some darling pictures of some of her kids and all of my kids hanging out together. We were honored to be guests at their house this Thanksgiving, and Toni's camera is never too far out of reach. She not only cooks a fabulous feast, but takes amazing portraits! Thanks for sharing these, Toni!

3) The Stitch Market begins Tomorrow! This will be our 4th annual Holiday Boutique hosted by (another talented friend!!) Lindsey of The Pleated Poppy! If you live nearby, grab your friends and come join us for local handmade goodies, and a sip of wine!!

Thursday Dec. 1st 6pm - 9pm & Friday Dec. 2nd 10am - 2pm.
We have a great line up of almost 20 vendors selling amazing gifts for the holidays!

an etsy treaury for fall

hapiness = yarn

My hook has been flying lately. And I have been happy as a clam! All the color combination possibilities, all the patterns. We are sure to be cozy this fall.

The ulitmate in crochet happiness is sitting on my front porch in the sun, or on my upstairs couch, gazing out my picture window, or watching a movie next to my husband, with a hook in my hand and a basket of yarn by my side.

This little guy is stuffed now, but soon all those lovely colors will be wonderful creations, and it will be time to fill him up again.

Oh, and never mind the messy condition all those balls are in. I'm too busy sitting in the sun crocheting to bother rolling them up nicely. I'll have to do that some other time.

krystina of lollipops *interviewed*

I had the pleasure of interviewing the sweet Krystina of lollipops.
I have actually known Krystina for about 4 years now.
Her girls attend the same school that my girls attend.
(classical education/part time home school).
But it wasn't until the last couple of years that we have discovered our new commonality:
we're both mother's who own our own craft business.

Krystina is such a kind, peaceful soul.
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her over the years,
and am pleased to introduce her to you all!

what was the first blog you read, and when did you decide you needed your own blog? Lisa Leonard's blog, listed from her biz card. I was intrigued because we were attending the same Linkchurch and she seemed like such a talented gal, so smart, and yes, I fell in love with her blog and jewelry :)
I didn't think I could do anything like that until she and Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy encouraged me to do so for building a presence in the online handmade community and for sales and marketing. It started off lemon drops and lollipops and I simplified it to lollipops. It really has taken on a life of it's own!

can you describe your blog in 6 words or less? oh boy, ok, um... full of inspiration, family, and handmade love

what do you think the top 3 things are that a blogger can give to her readers? 1. eye candy -this is needed to draw the audience in for the first impression 2. originality -if my blog looks and or sounds just like the pioneer woman's or simple mom then I am not needed. I am a stickler for copy cats it's a pet peeve of mine, it really gets me going. "be yourself and you won't have any competition." 3. something of value either amazing photos, great writing, neat tutorials, tips, or all of the above -a reason for people to read and return to your blog.

what 3 things would you tell your best friend to avoid when keeping a blog? 1. do not copy as previously mentioned 2. don't make it difficult to interact with - make everything easy for the reader i.e. easy to subscribe via rss, easy to tweet your posts, easy to find by putting blog address on everything twitter, facebook, etsy, in emails and easy to comment -no comment moderation, no captcha code to type in. 3. don't worry about numbers - followers, analytics etc do what you love and things will move upwards.

you have many talents beyond blogging krystina. the most obvious being paper crafts and photography. how have these evolved with your blog? Well, thank you so much Emily :) I guess these are the things my blog is, my photography and cards are like the structure and my family and life are the paint full of color. My photography has become more in the moment, less staged, I am finding that a random thing like my morning cup of coffee paints a more interesting picture and blog post than a perfectly shot landscape - the cup of coffee is more meaningful. Things that make up our everyday life are more interesting then staged, fake scenes. My cards take on new flavors every month or so that flow with my inspiration. My home is beige and white -never would have guessed, right? My feelings come out through inspiration and style onto my cards and paper, these evolve as I find new pretty things around me seen in my "what i love wednesdays".

Thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog Emily!


Thank you, Krystina, for sharing here!!!
You can visit Krystina at lolllipops
and her shop!

stacy lynn designs *interviewed*

i have this awesome friend i'd love for you to meet.
i've known her for over 15 years and have enjoyed every minute of it!
we love to surf together, sew together, but my favorite is the laughing together.
this friend of mine is funny!!
she is the most humble, generous person i know.
i have always admired her sewing genius and her sense of stlye.

let me introduce to you, stacy, of
stacy lynn designs...

1) tell us who you are? I'm Stacy Lynn, if you say it with a southern accent.. it sounds better. When I was little and heard the "lynn" part... I was usually in trouble. Oh and I am a hypocrite... a vegetarian who makes leather bags? I married my favorite boy 11 years ago. We are getting used to our new existence here in Santa Barbara after 15 wonderful years in Santa Cruz. Making things is part of my daily life. If it is not with my sewing machine, then it is in the kitchen, the garden, and now with the world of technology... it is also on the computer.

2) my 1st experience selling something I made? When we were small.. my best friend and I spent all our allowance on beads, made some awful jewelry and had a "jewelry sale". Thanks to some nice neighbors.. we sold a few. We promptly closed up shop and spent all our profits of bubble gum.

3) my style, where do I get inspired? The style I am and the style I want to be are two different things. Weather I buy something new or old I seem to modify it in some way, and I am not talking about hemming jeans (since we all need to do that). I love colors, but always seem to buy black, brown, green. My favorite black dress has lasted for 4 years. I can dress it up with a cute colored cardigan and sandals or boots, or dress it down with flip flops and wear to the beach or a weekend camping. I love fashion and I live for function.

4) most challenging for your business so far? any advice for someone starting out? It has been said there is no new music, only remakes. It is hard sometimes to follow through with a "new" idea. You have to believe that your new twist is unique. Advice - do it even if people say it has been done, because sometimes the best results morph along the way. Your end product will be as unique as you are.

5) what keeps you wanting to create? The unexpected! If you have an idea.. go for it! Accidental tangents can be the most fun.

stacy's latest projects include recycled leather handbags and accessories, full and flirty skirts, ruffly aprons, and anything else her creative mind dreams up.

thank you so much, stacy, for stopping in and meeting everyone!

{books &} Little House on the Prairie

how many times have you read {the little house on the prairie} series?
when was the last time?
i still remember very fondly those quiet hours in my cozy space out on the prairie.
the world you get transported to when your involved in a good book is priceless.

Becca (bright haven)

the simple, yet feminine look of the prairie is a big part of me.
the prairie look has inspired so much of our style throughout history.
i find myself always drawn to those little floral calico's and modest lines.
there's a sort of humility to life on the prairie that is so wonderful.

i read {little house} when i was young, third or fourth grade maybe.
then i read them aloud to my girls when they were only 3 & 6,
and they were both glued to my side chapter after chapter.
now my oldest is reading them for the first time to herself.

there are so many amazing books out there
i sometimes grow faint with excitement of wanting to read them all, right now!
good books are like good food. they feed your mind and make it big and strong.
and likewise, bad, mindless books can make your mind lazy and fat.

i hope for children {of all ages} to feast on the best of the best!

laughing and stenciling

what a super fun time i had the other night at my buddy ginger's house!
she was celebrating the end of a very busy season for her
by having a handful of crafty friends over to learn along with her the art of freezer paper stenciling.

ginger may possibly be the funniest person i've ever met.
i don't know if i stopped laughing the entire night!
we had a fabulous meal, a fun tour of her studio,
and learned a new (totally doable) craft.

i have seen this craft recently explained on emily sparks blog
(who is very adorably pregnant).
and i'm sure there are a hundred other tutorials out there.
although, i really do enjoy the in person tutorial, myself.

knowing i was just going to be learning,
i decide to make a few very simple patches to sew on to my girls' library bags.
the girls were pleased.

thanks ginger for the fun night! and kristina for showing us all how!!