{the peas and their "sheepish" smiles}

I have been busy as a bee...sewing for art shows and preparing the peas for their sheep show in 4H. It's the Guys and Gals Lead and the show consists of the participants wearing outfits made from wool, leading their lambs around the arena, and modeling their outfit for the judges.

Thinking about being "green", we went to thrift store and shopped for wool sweaters that we could refashion.  We found a grey wool skirt and a load of sweaters.

I literally, had no idea what I would do.  I thought I would do some patchwork but honestly, until I put the scissors to everything...it just came as I went along.

I started with the grey skirt.  I cut off roughly 10" or so and added a ruffle hem.  Then, using the excess fabric I made a ruffle and sewed that onto the hem and added more of that ruffle to the green cardigan sweater.  With just a little bit left of that excess fabric, I made a rosette for a belt and also to add to her hat.  ZERO WASTE.  I used up every bit of what I cut off of the skirt.  And since I had no ideas on this skirt and just made it up as I went along - I am SUPER happy with how it turned out.  I wish it fit me.  I may need to pattern this because I just love the fit and flare!

The other outfit I knew I wanted a very full twirly skirt.  I cut patches of cottons and sweaters and pieced them together.  I couldn't put right sides together because the seams turned out REALLY bulky using the sweaters.  So instead, I just overlapped them and zigzagged across the outside to tack the edges down.  I wasn't sure how that would turn out but it worked great and you can't even tell the seams are on the outside.  Plus, the seams all lay so nice and flat - there was really no other way to do it I don't think.

I really wanted these outfits to have a vintage but modern spin and I think we achieved that.  We even found cute vintage wool hats at the thrift store.

Well, the show was last night and the peas had a blast.  We all did.  Ok, maybe not so much Sprout.  It was way past her bedtime AND she was kind of ticked that she wasn't showing.  There was a 3 year old class.  Next year Sprout, we promise!

My green pea showed with little lamb Carly, a tunis, and my little peachy pea showed with little lamb Allie, a suffolk.  Both lambs borrowed from two very sweet families.  The peas were happy to have the Gardener there to talk to some of the other Dads to get the low-down on sheep because they want some of their own asap.  Which means a lot of work and expenses - so we told the girls there has to be much research done before we make any commitments.  Owning livestock is a big responsibility you don't just jump into on a whim.  But the girls are old enough to take it on themselves and so we will just need to thoughtfully consider it .

So how did they do in their show?  Well, they are judged on their ability to control the animal, the animal itself with the majority of points based on the outfit and their modeling.

The peas took 1st and 2nd in their class!  We were so excited but the peas were OVER THE MOON!!  I thought it might be an issue that one beat the other one out but they were ok with that.  And their 4H advisor bought them a milkshake to celebrate.  THAT was heaven for these girls!!

Earlier in the week, one of the peas competed in the Pocket Pets program with her hamster and she took 5th place in that show.  (that's her below in her interview and then with her award).  They have gotten to miss some school, hang out with their friends, watch their friends win (wow!  our club has done awesome!) and eat fair food (oh sweet heaven, steak sandwiches and elephant ears, and rootbeer).  Sprout slept through most of it (note the pink boots - that's all she wears these days.  If I had pink cowgirl boots, it's all I would wear too!)

This was their first year and they have had made the most amazing memories - it's one of those things that as a parent, I know that this week will be something so special to them as they grow.  It's been a great experience for our family.

4H is everywhere!  Rural and Urban and they have tons of projects ranging from robotics to bicycles and sports, health and nutrition...not just livestock and animals.  It's a fantastic program and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out for your kids!

And now...maybe we can get back to a normal schedule somewhat.  Maybe.

{dirt don't hurt}

I am often reminded of how close I am to God when I just get close to the soil.  All of that dirt that sustains us.  Nourishes our bodies.  Feeds the roots of the trees that help clean the air we breathe.  Feeds my soul.

"Ecological Sustainability"

"Live within our means"

"Skin of the earth"

These words really grab at my heart.  I know, you're thinking - what the huh is she talking about?

The other evening, I was watching a special on PBS (we don't have cable TV, never will) on the Independent Lens - a movie called, Dirt, the Movie. It was based on the book titled Dirt, the Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan.

You know those feelings you get when something really excites you and motivates you and encourages you and inspires you?  Dirt does that for me.  Growing up, I remember being very small and walking with my Dad and Grandfather on my grandparents farm down in their woods.  I remember my Grandfather pointing out wildflowers to me and talking about the trees.  I fell so deeply in love with the sounds and smells of nature and it has always excited my heart.  God created everything we need.  Our  every need can be found in the dirt beneath our feet and all around us.  Our earth has it all.

When I went to college and majored in environment and natural resources, I would be absolutely giddy being so immersed in everything that has to do with the outdoors.  As a parent, I know that part of my job is to teach my children about the God that gave us life and all of His creation.  Most of our life together as a family revolves around having our hands in dirt, our feet on a trail, exposing our lungs to wonderful fresh air.

{“Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,”} Dr. Joel Weinstock

Dirt is good for you.  Good for your immune system.  Necessary for our food supply.  One of the quotes I loved from this film was "live within our means".  In everything.

We live in this gotta have it now society.  'Kids these days' think that when they get out of school, they will have the house, the car, all the furnishings, the job, the gadgets - everything right now.  Whatever happened to working for it?  Saving and earning?  In this gotta have it now society, we often overlook how that lifestyle degrades our environment.

Living within our means, ecologically speaking, means that we can't continue with our massive industrial farming ways.  We have to nurture the soil.  Bring the ways of the past back.  Think about sustainable living.  Live simply.  Teach our kids where our food comes from.  Plant a garden.  Compost.  Buy local foods.  Support the small family farmer.  Drive our car less.  Turn off the TV more.  Go outside.  Be engaged in nature.  Appreciate.  Give thanks.  Slow down.

When I think about these things I think clear back to that time when I was a kid.  When those feelings about being outdoors so excited me and still do.  When I would dream about the man I would marry someday, I dreamed how he would share in that love of the outdoors. He would be a cross between a cowboy and a farmer.  God brought exactly that man to me.  Exactly the life He planned for me.  And I am so thankful for the bounties that lie outside my own backdoor that He provides for my family.

What about you?  What do you think about sustainable living?  What things do you do as a family that help to promote sustainable living?

Check out the trailer for the movie here...I hope you love it as much as I did.

xoxo,

Trish

Meet Jayne, Isaac and Becky of Honeyrun Farm {and enter the giveaway!}

Here at Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs - we are big supporters of local agriculture.  It's green.  It's good for you.  It's good for your neighbors.  It's good for the community.

My very own gardener, my husband, supplies us with loads of fresh goodies all year long.  Just tonight, we enjoyed sugar snap peas at dinner that we froze from our harvest.

Recently, I exhibited at the North Market and had the opportunity to connect with Jayne Barnes from Honeyrun Farms who produces amazing soaps and honey and more...

I asked Jayne if she'd write a guest post for me and she was kind enough to do so.  I thought it would be a great way to gently nudge you all to seek out Community Supported Agriculture programs in your own town and to buy local.  In the middle of winter - just reading about their operation makes me want to go bake some biscuits and smother them in her wonderful honey.

Let me introduce you to...{don't forget to read the entire post here - there is an awesome giveaway at the end of this post}

Honeyrun Farm was started in 2006, but the idea began much earlier when I was in college at Wittenberg University.  My roomate, Becky Barnes, grew up on a large grain farm, while I had grown up on a small dairy farm.  We both loved our farm backgrounds, and knew we wanted to eventually end up on a farm.

We always toyed around with the idea of farming together, but weren't quite sure how it could happen.  We both did the 9-5 office scene for a while... but it just didn't fit either of us.  Long story made short... after a few years, I married her brother... and now we are partners in a small produce/honey/flower farm!

Becky is the produce farmer and makes her full time living growing produce and selling it at Columbus farmer's markets, restaurants, and in 2010- through her CSA.  My husband Isaac is the beekeeper and keeps 60 hives of bees... spending all summer working to keep them healthy, extracting honey, building equipment (he also works as a high school science teacher during the school year).  I help with the bees whenever possible, and also grow fresh flowers for sale at markets and for weddings, grow greenhouse herbs and flowers in the Spring, and make handcrafted soap using herbs grown on the farm, as well as our beeswax and honey.

We use organic methods to grow our crops and in raising our bees.  If we do need to treat the produce due to risking complete crop failure we will always tell the customer.  We also welcome visitors to the farm for tours.

In 2010, Becky will be offering a produce CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.)  Participants are able to buy a share of the produce from the farm for an annual fee, and in exchange receive a weekly bag of fresh seasonal produce. This way, the customer is able to share in the bounty of harvest, while also weathering the seasonal fluctuations of availability with the farmer. It will run from June 12- October 23.

Shares can be picked up at Pearl, Clintonville, and Worthington markets.  The cost for 20 weeks is $400.  Email Becky at honeyrun.produce@gmail.com for more information.

One of the best ways to support local agriculture is to support your local farmer's markets.  Talk to the farmers and ask how they grow their crops.  Buy from several farmers (not just the big, well-established ones!).  Encourage your local grocery store to buy local products (even if they cost a bit more!).  Grow your own vegetables in your backyard... it will surely give you a sense of the hard work that goes into large scale produce farming!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NJOUpnAdYo]

Want to see more on Honey Run Farm...go to You Tube and type in their farm name.  You'll find a fantastic video done by their alma mater.  (I would have loaded it here but its 10 minutes long and was taking too long to load - but you will want to see it.  It's really great!)

Jayne has also been kind enough to offer a giveaway of her wonderful items for one of YOU!

To enter, simply visit Honeyrun Farm's website and then come back here and share what your favorite item over there is...leave it in the comment section.  Our trusty random number generator will choose a lucky winner to receive this wonderful gift basket full of honey, soaps, and a beeswax candle.  How sweet is that?!  The contest will be open until January 20th - 10pm EST (open for our US friends only - sorry to our friends up north and across the pond).

Thanks Jayne!  Be sure to visit the Barnes family and pick up some of Jaynes wonderful soaps while you are there!

xoxo,

Trish

Crisp, Colorful, Cold

Just a few words to describe "here" lately. The weather went from summer to winter in the blink of an eye.

Last Sunday, we went with our church to enjoy the Apple Butter Festival at our church camp.

It was a beautiful day.  The last one we have had this week.

It was crisp, colorful and a bit cold.

The apple butter was delish!  The crafts were  fantastic.

I talked to a lady in her 80's who makes rag rugs.  She said it takes her 4-8 days to make a rug that was maybe  4'x3' or 5'x4', over 18 yards of fabric cut into 1 inch strips and she sells them, for $25-$35!  What a bargain, really!  They were so beautiful and I so enjoyed talking with her.

We ate apple dumplings.

We watched the process and smelled the aromas of apple butter cooking in the outdoor kettle.

We listened to the most amazing bluegrass music - talent like that is truly a gift from God.  Acoustic guitars, violins, mandolins, and more - their sounds whispered into the breeze and just made you want to hum along.

The fire inside the cabin was warm and crowded.

My girls said they were happy.  Me too.  They really enjoyed hanging out with friends from church.

And little pea - she rode in the backpack almost all day - happy as a clam.

Can you smell the apple butter in these pictures?  Hear the leaves crunching under the horses hooves?  And the bluegrass music wafting through the air and tickled laughter all around?

It was a good day.  God don't make no junk.

Our day in pictures, our joy to share.

the most wonderful hayride I've ever been on

little pea, i love your wonderment

ok, yes.  i took a lot of photos on the hayride.  funny thing is, i never looked through the viewfinder for any of them.  just hold it up and clicked away so I wouldn't miss any of the sights.

the two peas

the two peas

the ride through the woods was magical

the sun dancing on the falling the leaves

yep!

pumpkin painting

scarecrow building

will you marry me?  isn't this creative?

Happy Fall!

xoxo,

Trish  (ps  keep your eyes peeled here - I'm moving to a Typepad blog soon.  More features and room to grow - I'll let you know when I'm ready for you to visit me there! )

{i love the gardener}

The view from the back end of our garden looking down our sledding hill into the pasture I love the gardener.   I can say that because I do, truly, madly, deeply. The gardener, my husband, has been working hard lately at making sure we have a wonderful harvest this summer and fall. He has planted a variety of delicious vegetables for us and we can’t wait to enjoy them.

Food is one of those things that is really important to us. That sounds strange because, duh, like isn’t food important to everyone? What I mean is food quality. How food sustains us. Nourishes us. Takes care of us.

Maybe we’ve talked about this before but it’s been on my mind again lately. Food. On both sides of our family, we have a high rate of cancer. Not a good family history to have. I have always been pretty conscientious about what I feed us meaning trying to eat whole foods.

Our sugar snaps are already getting big!  Can't wait!

Fresh foods that I can identify. You know what I mean? Honestly, my husband and I are a lot more “junk food junkies” than I probably care to admit but we’ve been so careful with our children and what we feed them. I have tried to feed my kids quick crummy foods once in awhile out of convenience and dog-gone it if they’ll have nothing to do with it! They love sugar of course – ice cream, etc but they would so rather eat ice cream with strawberries on top rather than chocolate any day.

There is comfort in knowing that they know where their food comes from. They know the cows across the street are beef cows and they know the difference between black angus and jerseys. They know that local foods are better for the environment because they travel less distance, use less energy in getting from farm to our table. They know that fresh whole foods will make them strong and keep them healthy.

I was reading some reviews for a book from Mariel Hemingway called Mariels Kitchen. It looks like a great cookbook. She talks about how her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and that with a strict diet he went into remission. Now, I don’t know that we can say that diet alone can “cure” cancer but it makes sense that the garbage we ingest can trigger things to go awry in our bodies. I think we’ve all read about girls going into puberty at early ages and finger pointing at hormones in our meat and dairy products or plastics. Doesn’t it make sense that the fewer chemicals, antibiotics and hormones we ingest – the purer the foods we eat, just keeps us healthier, right?

And so it’s something that is important to our family.  Seems like in our family, you are born with that passion for good food. We had some corn on the cob the other night and cut some off the cob to serve the baby.

MMM! Corn on the cob!

She would have nothing to do with it! She just kept pointing at the girls who were eating their corn. So, I handed her an entire cob and with the widest mouth she just took a huge crunchy bite of corn! It was so funny! How did she know how to eat it? She loved it!

Tonight, neighbors next to the park where my husband is a park ranger called us at home because they had something for him to pick up. My husband came walking in the door with a HUGE heaping mound of organic strawberries. Unbelievable! Everybody dug in instantly, including the baby who couldn’t stop screaming for more!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I am relishing my twins being on swim team right now. An hour and 15 minutes of free time for me 3 times a week. I LOVE IT! I just sit pool side and read, chat with new friends, and read blogs on my iphone. I NEVER, EVER, ever never, never ever, get free time like that. 7 days a week, 18 hours a day usually, I’m doing something for someone, cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, nursing a baby, taking care of kids with homework and bath time and cleaning up toy rooms, and running a business, and being a landlord, and oh my gosh, the list goes on and on and on. And it’s no different than any of you, right? We all do it. Over schedule, over commit, multi-task til the cows come home. So swim team is the greatest blessing ever! And my girls are loving it.

I am rambling aren’t I? The whole reason I brought up swim team was actually because I’m reading a book called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. She relates her families move from Arizona to Virginia and their foray into feeding their family with local foods as much as they can. It’s a great read and I very highly recommend it!

Sewing? Oh yes, plenty of that going on always. I have some new designs I’ll share with you next post. A new backpack that I STILL have not perfected (how in the heck do you attach the zipper placket to the gusset and not have any seams show?), a hobo bag, and a few other gems. I have trunk shows booked already for June, July and August. And I’m getting some great feedback and encouraging words from some of these textile mills. I’m very hopeful that I’ll have my own fabric line soon. Oh, so very, very hopeful. It can’t come a day too soon for our little family!

Always very thankful and in awe of God’s grace in our lives. Surrounded by miracles all around us. Ain’t it grand?

Xoxo, Trish

Happy Little Chefs Birthday Party 101

I know it’s taken me awhile to get back to sharing all the details from the girls party. I have had a lot going on. Dealing with a husband who has been in training a lot lately and our crazy schedules. I mean, seriously, he came home with band-aids on his wrists because they got cut up while they were in defensive tactics practicing handcuffing. Playing a bit rough aren’t we boys? I’ve been working like mad on fabric designs and trying to decide on what to present for my first line, planning for Quilt Market including things like little giveaways, booth design, and of course, product! I have an appointment with one of the fabric companies on the first day of Market to present my designs so I’m super excited that truly, this Fall, I may have my very own line! That would be a dream come true! And the baby, well, she finally got up and crawled this week and started to pull herself up to a stand all within days of each other. So, keeping up with her just got a whole lot harder. So, as I do all day while I’m working either on campus or in my studio, I’m usually listening to music on my iphone. Quite frankly, as my husband says, I’m addicted to it. My iphone is never far from my hand – I do love it. And I like to share what I’m listening to because it inspires me and keeps me focused through the day. Lately it’s been Mercy Me and one of my favorites of the week has been a song called “Bring the Rain”.   I love this song, especially when I have had an especially trying week, and it just makes me feel stronger. You’ll love it, check it out.

Little Chefs…oh yes! The twins had a great 8th birthday party. I’ll give you my “Party 101” details on what we did and maybe you’ll find some ideas to use for the next party you host. First, we sent out invitations on little note cards that looked like recipe cards and said something about good food, add friends, mix well for a great birthday celebration. We added 3D cupcake stickers to them.

The party roomFor each girl, I made them an apron and an apron for their American Girl doll.  (You can find your own on my etsy site).   I just used up scraps from my scrap basket and other old fabrics. I added a pocket for each girl and appliquéd their initial on the front panel. As each girl arrived, my girls gave them their aprons to put on.

Once everyone was here, we got started on making our lunch. I used little Dixie cups to put each serving of ingredient for each girl. We made chicken enchiladas and I just brought out each ingredient one at a time and had them add, mix and then stuff their tortillas. We put them in one big casserole and then left them to bake.

While lunch was cooking, we decorated cupcakes. I had purchased treat boxes that held 4 cupcakes per box. We had mounds of different types of candies and frostings so they could decorate their treats. I must say, a lot of candy did not make it to the cupcakes but got eaten instead! They loved getting to be creative. I gave them a few ideas and they were off and running. I had set the table with 2 sets of tablecloths. The bottom layer was a vinyl tablecloth we keep. The top was a plastic disposable table covering. When they were all done with the baking and cupcake decorating…I left the entire mess on the table and just wrapped it up in the table covering and tossed the whole thing. It was great! Then, underneath, I had a nice clean table ready for lunch. The girls went off and played for about 10 minutes while I set the table and got the rest of the food out.

I had just a simple centerpiece which consisted of wooden spoons with the chicken enchilada recipe attached. This was one of the favors the girls took home. I also had playdough thinking we would make mini treats for the dolls but we ran out of time so they just took that home with them. I had treat bags to pack their aprons in as well that had cupcakes on them and pretty much their favors were their apron sets.

After lunch, we did an egg relay race. They had to balance a plastic easter egg on a spoon and go on a course through our house. They were nuts doing this and had a lot of fun. We opened gifts and then they played out in the girls playhouse for a bit and that was it. 2 ½ hours went by really fast and my girls said they had a great time.

So as I sit here trying to write this I can hear the baby up in her bed, NOT sleeping because she has just learned to stand and so guess what she’s doing besides sleeping…oh yes, standing in bed and talking. I can’t even lay her down, she instantly rolls over and grabs the rails to pull up. Any suggestions? This is short lived right because it’s a new trick? The other two are running around this afternoon avoiding chores. Of course, they are grounded today for being sassy yesterday and so today they have no privileges and have to clean all day. I’ve never seen anyone procrastinate or drag out a task longer than these two – their little “craft” area looks like a bomb went off. And when I told my little pea this, she said to me, “So! SO does your room!” Man! This is why they are in trouble for the sassing! Actually mine is quite clean right now for once…but I do need to get back down there.

stroller-quilt-and-blockHere’s a quilt I made this morning and a purse being sent out tomorrow for orders. I’m working next on one my patterns – cute little kitty cat thing. I’ll show you that sometime soon! Within 3 weeks, I’ll have 3 patterns ready to go out to testers and I have only a few bodies to edit and test for me. If anybody else is interested in being a pattern tester for me, let me know asap! Ciao, Trisholivia-in-kiwi-floral

Amy Butler at the Bloomsbury Loft

Look at the smile on my face. Does that say it all or what?! I have other photos of myself with this big of a smile. My college graduation. My wedding day. The birth of my children. And this. Ranks right up there :>)

Amy Butler has been a huge inspiration to me over the last several years. She lives about 30 minutes from my home and I first read about her in Country Living magazine and then found that ebay was loaded with handmade items utilizing her fabrics and I was enthralled with the colors and designs. She is really the reason why the sewing industry is where it is today and she has brought it to a whole other level that is bringing in new and younger sewers every day. She is just a class act all the way, in every way.

She was at a meet and greet event at the Bloomsbury Loft last night. Check out these sweet little treats they served – I brought these home for my girls. cookies I think I was one of the first ones there for at least 20 minutes or so and I had the wonderful opportunity to actually have a nice long conversation with her about my aspirations, the business, her history and how she got started…it was really wonderful. She was generous in her time and advice, warm, sincere, and very gracious. I was so excited to go and meet her and I was not disappointed. She offered to help me out as I prepare to hopefully go to the Spring Quilt Market and I left there feeling truly energized that I CAN achieve success in this business. I loved hearing her tell her story about bookhow she got started because it really made me believe in myself – that this dream is really achievable. I purchased one of her books, Little Stitches for Little Ones, and she signed it for me. Thank you Amy, it was such a pleasure.

About 5 am this morning, after I crawled back in bed after nursing the baby, my husband rolled over and put his head on my hip and said, “Are you still excited?”. I said, “Yes!”. He said I wiggled all night long and just laughed at me. I wasn’t dreaming about the evening I had just had but I was actually dreaming about my 3 girls. Nature and nurture.

My one pea, who is such an amazing creative artist. She picks up bottle caps from the sidewalk and general junk all over the place and then makes little sculptures and works of art. She amazes me in the depth of her imagination and what she pulls together. One day, she got into my beads (I used to make jewelry) and when I found her with all my expensive findings, she showed me that she had made the most beautiful pair of earrings to give to my mother. I couldn’t be mad at her. I couldn’t believe that a 6 year old could find all of those things and put them together the way she did with no instruction or help. And the other peas, she’s got such raw natural talent. She can look at a thumbnail picture from one of her magazines and recreate it and every detail in large scale perfectly. Wonderful artwork. And then I watch the baby and I am amazed at her dexterity at just 9 months. The way that she uses her index finger and thumb to delicately manipulate and pick up objects, wow. She has spent most of her life in my sewing studio either playing in the room or sitting on my lap while I’m at my machine. I think she will actually be the most amazing artist of us all. I just see it in her eyes.

And that’s why I was wiggling in my sleep. Because I have felt led to where I am today. Because I feel that nature and nurture in myself from what I can just naturally do and what I have been taught by my grandparents, great aunt, mother, father and teachers. Because I have always been encouraged in my art and crafting even when I didn’t want to do it. Because at this time in my life, this feels right. Because when I think about my girls and the talents that they have already, I know that artistic ability is both nature and nurture. They have watched me and also their amazing Aunt (who shares her talent with the kids and takes them to museums and draws with them. check her out here and here and here) and yet they have incredible talent that they were just born with. And so my dreams last night were of my future and all I could see was my 3 girls succeeding far more than I ever will.

But this just feels right. I had been feeling paralyzed. I had been praying for guidance. But I woke today feeling energized, and encouraged, and I feel hopeful. And ready. I am really ready to try.

Today, my kids were off school and we went to COSI, our local science museum. They love this place! In one of the exhibit areas, there was a needlepoint on the wall. It said, “HOPE. 1) A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectations of its fulfillment 2) to have confidence 3) Trust. Reliance.” I love this. And so I will. Hope.

I have a busy week ahead of me with my twins birthday coming up and a party this Saturday. I have 6 more aprons sets to make for their party just yet and tonight one peas said she wants a “sleuth kit”. They love mysteries and love the mystery in the Kit Kittredge and Nancy Drew movies. So any ideas? How do I make a “sleuth kit”? Seriously need some help on this one. A compass? A magnifying glass? Notepad and pencil of course. My husband being in law enforcement said he’d bring home some crime scene tape and might have a few other things he could come up with but…I need some ideas here! What would you put in it? And I only have a few more days to come up with this…kit. Which requires, you guessed it, a very specific bag to hold it all in. More sewing!

Update on my friend and her husband after undergoing some complications from his surgery, is now home and doing better. Thanks for your prayers…his one hour surgery turned quite complicated and we are so glad that he is now on the mend.

I’ll be back late next week with photos from the birthday girls shindig! They are so excited to have all their friends over and play and cook with their dolls. Do you get the feeling that I like it too? Still a kid at heart I guess!

The race is on...American Girl "closet makeover" contest!

So we are off and running on this idea of inspiring you to clean those closets and convert them into a great play space. I had to add new photos of ours. You know my kids didn't have school last week because of the snow and ice...missed 4 days of school. (deep breath. finding my happy place...hot cocoa in hand, ok...I'm there). My girls were hard at work rearranging things. We have new beds (don't ask where all the stuff is that was on the shelves - most of it is in the babies room. They said they don't need those other toys anymore. Shocking, I know.) 100_2659

We have new bedroom spaces complete with their dog house and cat house100_2661

100_2656

and a new kitchen space. Looks good doesn't it?

100_2651 100_2648

Well, I started on making the aprons for their party. These are the doll favors and then the big girls get matching aprons. I'll post those later.

Not only will the super Mom who posts a comment / photo of your makeover get that cute little bag, we are adding in a special little apron with a Valentine theme. Hurry though because the "closet makeover" contest will end on February 7th.  (See our last few posting for our "closet makeover" contest)

I can't believe they are turning 8 years old already...rodeo-2this was taken when they were 2. They are still just as adorable and sweet and the greatest miracle we could have ever wished for. Thank you God for entrusting their lives into my hands and for these days we have to share and delight in all that they are. They bring such much happiness to our lives. (especially when they are in school - I'm just kidding...sort of! :>) !

SO...that's it! Get to work!!! And hey...if you want to buy your own set of party favor aprons, you're in luck! I have a listing on my etsy site. You can buy individual aprons or the whole set for a discounted price! Have fun with your makeovers. The "two peas" can't wait to see the results!

Big Mac Attacks and American Girls

OK…so you know how some days are like a roller coaster? That’s the day I had yesterday. Up. Down. Up. Down. Exhausting because I’m Irish and I typically have a short fuse so I was really tired at the end of the day. Tired anyway because ah…hello?! The baby, still waking a lot at night. Whole other story. big-macLet’s begin. I have a special place in my heart for Big Macs, Big and Tasty’s…burgers and fries in general. And of course, Coca Cola. Fountain. I can do canned drinks but will drive out of my way to get a fountain drink. So, baby(s) #1 and #2, the twins. I gained 36# while pregnant with them. A week after they arrived, I had lost 31#. I thought, THIS is great! Baby #3, the singleton, I gained a “gulp”, 45ish#. Whateva. A week after she arrived I had lost…10#. And gradually I lost 3# here, 2# there…really slow. Mind you, I didn’t lift a finger to exercise. Not watching what I eat so I was content to think that eventually, when I was through this baby stage, I’d get back to my mountain biking and hiking regime. At 16# over prepregnancy weight – I stalled out. Stayed there for months.

Then 7 weeks ago, the baby starts teething and revs up her nursing demands greatly. My appetite goes crazy. I’m eatin’ big macs and whatever other garbage I can find…love cheese, breads…just eating in general. Favorite entertainment. I get on the scale yesterday. GASP! Prepregnancy weight on the nose! Bingo baby! I’m lovin’ this. I can eat whatever I want, do nothing AND lose weight. This may possibly be the greatest moment in my life. Seriously, you’re jealous, aren’t you? (smirk! Wink! Wink!) This was one of the up’s of the day’s roller coaster.

I decide to pop over to campus and work for a few hours. I have an event coming up next week. I wanted to clean off my desk which had a mountain of mail on it and I needed to make 2 phone calls. I decide to take the baby. I have my office all set with nursery stuff so off we go. She does great the first 30 minutes and then decides, um, today, I must be held by Mom or I will scream and annoy everyone in the office. Ugh! She never acts like this. Truly. She’s an angel. This was quite rare. Do you know how hard it is to type on a computer with a baby in your lap? It looks likoljlkjsfdk like thisdkjlkjda. Looks like that. Yep. Then crisis. An invoice unpaid. Who ordered what when where’s the PO? Dang, spent 30+ minutes figuring out the company double billed us and they were at fault. And then, a bank statement for a student organization – they had charged over the course of several years, $560 in “service fees” and we now owed them $4. Seriously?! Theft I cry and call the bank to straighten this out on behalf of our students. Baby still demanding Momma, desk still piled high with mail. Phone calls not yet made. After 2 hours and 40 minutes, I get my phone calls made and leave my desk a mess and leave. This was the down.

Head over to Ann Taylor LOFT. My favorite store. I was meeting up with my friend Jill. Jill had tried on a pair of pants I was going to return to LOFT and she loved them and wanted to buy them. They were more on sale than when I bought them so we were meeting at the store for me to return and Jill to buy them at the reduced price. Ladies, do you love deals?! Ok, brace yourself. I bought them on clearance for like $23. Jill paid…drum roll please…$4.88 PLUS 25% off that price. Oh yes…you heard correctly. We both start digging through the clearance section and doing a happy dance. I find THE deal of the day. A gorgeous deep blue with bell sleeved suit jacket. Originally, $119. On sale for….$7.41. Are you kidding me?! This was the big top of the hill coming down the roller coaster thrill of the day. A little retail therapy does wonders, doesn’t it? Insane good deals over there. This was the Whoo hoo of the day! I know, you are all giving me virtual high fives right now, I feel the vibe. It’s a good thing.

Then, I get home, get an email from my graphic designer with the cover options for my pattern line. An up moment. I heart them. They are perfect. My husband named the line (top secret for now! :>) and we both love the designs. The down side, to get started, the initial run of these will actually put us in the hole. It will take 3 prints before we break even and start to see a profit. Down down down. We decide to stop on the tracks and take a break to figure this one out. Anybody got any good business advice for us? It’s gonna happen…we just need to do a bit more planning.

Problem is, Quilt Market is right around the corner. May. We may not make it. The next market to try and get signed by a distributor is in the Fall in Houston. Way more expensive to go to. Hmmm…we’ve said it before, please pray for us as we figure out where we are being led and what to do with this business. I feel like we’ve hit a wall at full speed. End of roller coaster. That was the “Big Mac attack” of my day.

American GirlsThe “American Girl” part of my day…this is a long post, sorry. I have a lot to get off my chest (heave a sigh). My girls have been saving money from birthdays, first communion and Christmas plus allowance. They decided they wanted to buy themselves a new American Girl doll. Ok, so if you have kids into this you know, this is not cheap. The doll they want is $95. I have a $10 coupon to use. And we offer to give them $10 for their birthday in February. That puts one peas within $2 of having enough money and the other pea within $4. They beg to do laundry. I pay them 50 cents per basket. american girlThe dolls they picked out arrived yesterday and I put them in my closet. They are super excited.  The peas share a bedroom and they each have a ton of American Girl stuff already. We talked them into giving up some of the million toys they had outgrown and to clear off the bottom of their closet and they could “build” a “bedroom” for their dolls, hang pictures on the wall, etc. So here’s the result. My husband added some Christmas lights we were going to throw out to light it all up. They LOVE it. And now, several of their friends have decided to do the same. Cool idea, eh? Anyway, the jist is, I’m proud of them for saving their money to buy their own doll. Proud of them for doing such a super job at earning their allowance by working around the house. Proud of them for respecting and taking such good care of what they own. They are really good girls. I don’t know how that happened but they are surely, super special little things. I heart them big time :>)

And now, today…is the first morning in a LONG LONG LONG time I have had no real pressure to do anything. Of course, I have an order to do an entire baby set.  Large bag, nursing cover, diaper wipes case, changing pad. No biggie…I’ll get it done this weekend. It’s for my husbands cousin. I can’t wait to show it off to you later. I picked pretty little pink French wallpaper and stripes print with birds for their brand new Laura Jane. AND I just sent out a few things from some older orders…here’s a peek at one of them. Chloe with accessory bagI’ll get the rest loaded over on my portfolio later. Dial up…stinks. Can’t wait until someday we actually get internet service out here “in the country”…ohh, puulease!

Gonna also load a few "ready to go" items over in my etsy shop later. Check it out!

Ciao, TRP