Monday, December 1, 2008


I am so happy to announce the opening of my new Etsy shop, Apples in June. This shop has been in the works for the last six months and I'm so excited it's finally up and running and I can share it with you. I've always loved designing invitations, stationary and other paper goods but felt that the process can get really expensive for folks like me on a budget. So, I've designed a bunch of templates that I can customize with your information. I then email the templates to you to print at home. They're easy to print and assemble and I hope are an ecconomical, eco friendly and fun way to get custom paper goods. I'll be adding new templates often and hope to have everything from wedding invitations to birth announcements to custom stationary. The possibilities with these are pretty endless, just changing the type of paper they're printed on would make them totally different. Here's a sneak peak at a few things that are in the shop now. I really hope you have as much fun browsing the shop as I did putting it together!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Small Gifts

I'm full sail ahead on the advent calendar and hope to be able to show it to you all soon. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to put inside the calendar yet though. I really don't think I want to do candy, it seems like we're still wading through pounds of Halloween candy so we really don't need any more in the house. So, I need ideas for little gifts that I can stuff in the calendar. I'm thinking things that are $2 or less, like stickers, cars, etc. Does anyone have a traditional small gift that they put in their calendars or stockings? I would love to hear your ideas!

Vintage Illustration

I've been buying vintage records on ebay for awhile now, in the hopes of giving them to B for christmas. There's something so inspiring and magical about illustration from the 50's and 60's. The colors are wonderful and the line work fluid and loose. These are just a few of my favorites. I haven't found a record player yet so I haven't been able to listen to them, but just sitting and looking at them is just as fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New in Shop

Finally, a new print for the shop! There's a version in red and one in gold. I love how these turned out... They're kind of holiday-ish the more I look at them. See them both here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sneak Peak

A wee sneak peek at a super special project that I've been working on. The full reveal and a giveaway soon!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I just did some much needed updating to the "Must Reads" link list over there to the right. The list of blogs that I read everyday keeps growing and growing. So, if you have a moment check out some of those there blogs. They're all folks that I greatly admire for their talent and creativity.

Advent Calendars

I'm still in complete denial that the holidays are literally right around the corner. Even so, I've had advent calendars on the brain for awhile. I've really been wanting one for a few years now and I've decided this year I'm going to make it happen. I've been waffling back and forth as to if I want to make my own or just plunk down some cash for a nice wood one. I haven't seen too many cute, modern ones so I'm leaning towards crafting my own. There are definitely some really creative ideas out there.

Love, love, love this one, from Martha Stewart. I have no idea where I'd get all these perfectly coordinated socks but it's still such a great idea. Instructions are here.
This gorgeous calendar I found on Flickr was inspired by another Martha Stewart project here. It's by Laura Hartrich and I love her take on this project, this is such a beautiful wall display and would be perfect for those who don't have a mantle to hang anything on. (Me included)

While digging through photos on Flickr I stumbled on a great pool called Creative Advent Calendars. There is tons of inspiration and some really beautiful examples. Here's a few of my favorites.
I love the idea of packages in all shapes and sizes in this one by carambatack I think this would be especially interesting and fun for little ones, it would really feel like Christmas every day.
I adore the simplicity of this one by apfelbaum, what's even better I have everything on hand to make one like this. Has anyone else seen any great advent calendars out there?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Homemade Remedy for the Blahs

Man, I was in such a black mood yesterday. Well, to make up for my crankiness I thought I would share the recipe that helped raise my spirits. This is definitely not one for those who are carb conscious but sometimes you just need something that'll stick to your ribs and make you feel all warm and content. Here's what you'll need for these old-fashioned chicken and noodles:

1 small rotisserie chicken (I buy the pre-cooked ones from the grocery store, they always have great flavor and are a HUGE time savor. I use them for everything from soups to tacos.)
1 large container of chicken stock (You can substitute 2-3 cups homemade stock)
1 pkg of egg noodles (You can use any brand or style you like. I buy these homemade noodles that are made by local amish families, so yummy)
2 carrots chopped into bite size pieces
1 rib of celery chopped
1/2 of a small sweet onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (I always go a bit heavy on the pepper, it's the way my grandmother always made it, so I love peppery chicken soups!)

In a big pot bring the chicken stock to a boil over medium/high heat. While you're waiting for the stock to boil get your chicken ready by pulling the meat of the bone and shredding the big pieces into bite-sized ones. I usually end of using about 2 cups of chicken but you can add as much or as little as you would like. After the stock comes to a boil add your carrots and let them cook about 5 minutes. Then add your celery and onion and cook another 5 min. Add your noodles and cook according to the package directions. These thick handmade ones usually take 20-25 minutes. After the noodles are tender add the chicken, the cream of chicken soup, garlic and onions powders, salt and pepper. I let this simmer over medium / low heat for another 15 min. until it's the consistency I want. I like my to be thicker but you can add more stock if you would like a thinner soup. I serve my noodles over buttery mashed potatoes but this is just as good on it's own. The best thing about this recipe is that it's so flexible. You can add really any veggie that you'd like (okra would be great, or leeks mmmm) so you can really customize it to your tastes. This really helped with the mid-week blues and today is much better. Although it could also be because it finally stopped raining and the sun is shining!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Creative Block

I fee like I've hit a brick wall today. I don't know if it's the dreary weather that's doing it but I just feel "blah". The day job has been sapping my energy and I'm just sitting here spinning my wheels and getting no-where. Even my computer has picked up on the mood around here and is refusing to send emails because my box is too full. And my office has gotten messy to the point that I'm digging through piles to find things, Time to clean. Ugh. I've got so many ideas running around in my head it seems like they've created a nice log-jam and absolutely nothing is getting through. Trying to manage the need to be creative to earn my paycheck and the want to be creative making my own things is usually a challenge that I enjoy but not today. I just want to curl up with a good book and not think about anything. Okay, I'm done whining for the day. Maybe some hot, homemade soup would do me some good. I think I'll make a trip to the store.

**Made some deliciously creamy chicken noodle soup and served it over mashed potatoes. Seriously the best cure for the mid-week blahs ever! The whole family agreed it was the perfect fare for this wet, cold day. **

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guest Blogging

A few weeks ago Jan from ScoutieGirl posted a "Help Wanted" ad on her blog asking for volunteers to be guest contributors on her blog. Being a big fan of this fanstastic blog I offered to help. Every week I'll be hosting "Supply Side" which will be dedicated to handmade, hard-to-find or unique crafting supplies. It's an awesome excuse for me to browse Etsy even more than I already do! So if anyone has ideas for posts, whether you've recently seen some really great handmade supplies or you're looking for some and want some help, shoot me an email at, I would love to hear from you! See my first post from today here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New in the Shop!

It's been way too long since anything new has hit the shop and I'm so excited about these pillow covers! I'm a little late for calendar season but better late than never! See them in the shop here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Some Knitting

I've been really productive the last few weeks finishing projects that were "on-the-cusp", that needed just a little time to pull the last bits together. This teeny tiny Baby Surprise Jacket and bootees was one of them. This isn't my first BSJ but it is my favorite so far. I think mostly due to it's tiny size (it's made for a newborn). This was knit for a very sweet girl that I work with who is expecting her first son sometime soon. I think making it for such a special person made it that much more special to me and it never felt like a chore working on it. The bootees are the "Roll Top Bootees" from the book "50 Baby Bootees to Knit". They were incredibly easy and a super fast addition to the jacket. While I love the colors of the yarn, which are perfect for fall babies the yarn itself left something to be desired. This is my second time using Panda Cotton and don't get me wrong it's amazingly soft and silky and has a wonderful little stretch to it, it's just so "splitty". You have to be ever diligent that you're not losing bits of the strand of yarn you're working with or you'll end up with random loops here and there. The twist is just so loose and doesn't like to stay twisted, probably because there's absolutely no grip to this yarn. No natural "burs" to keep it together.

Despite being productive all week the weekend has been pretty counterproductive. The munchkin had a stomach bug and I seemed to be feeling some of it yesterday, so most of the day was spent watching many many cooking shows that had slowly been filling up my DVR. So, I guess in a way it was productive, I know have a long list of new things to cook and an even longer grocery list.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Patterns

I've been dreaming about coordinated Christmas patterns for awhile and I finally had some time to get them out of my brain and onto the computer. I've ordered some Spoonflower swatches so we'll see how they turn out. I'm thinking little craft packs of swatches would be fun for the shop. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Trio of Terrariums

The weather today isn't exactly the best for taking pictures but I was just too excited about these to wait for better picture-taking weather! I've been obsessing about terrariums for awhile. There's something just so magical about them, which I understand is kind of wacky. I've been coveting one for myself for awhile, specifically one from Made by Mavis. She has some amazingly gorgeous terrariums in her shop. Unfortunately funds are limited so I decided to try and make my own. While mine aren't quite as nice I'm thrilled to bits with them! For about $16 I was able to make three of them. The moss was free and pulled right out of my side yard, as were the rocks and soil. I bought some activated carbon from a pet store and found the jars at the thrift shop for $.99 a piece. The best part I think are the tiny ceramic mushrooms that I bought from Mudpuppy, here. How stinkin' cute are those!? If these keep doing well and don't die (like every houseplant I've ever had!) I really want to make more for Christmas gifts. It's just so wonderful to come into my office in the morning for the work day and see these little happy bits of green.

It's rainy and dreary just like outside in the tiny terrarium today.
Look! I have a slug friend! He crawled out into the open for the first time today much to my surprise! He must have been in the soil that I dug up under the moss. I was really quite worried about him until I did some slug research and found that he should actually thrive in this environment. I really think he needs a name...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend in Pictures

As far as weekends go this one was pretty good...

Halloween lollipop cookies were made. They were rather droopy
looking but tasted
Then again, you can't really go wrong with anything on a stick.

Leaves were swept off the deck,
Sparkly shoes were scored at a garage sale for 50 cents,
Halloween PJs were made for my little witch,

and gratuitous pug pictures were taken.

Pretty successful I think. The husband and I were even able to have some time alone, which didn't happen hardly ever when we lived in Chicago. We saw a hockey game with my brother and even went to a movie. Wow, when I write it all down, this weekend was pretty jam-packed. No wonder I'm ready for bed.

No progress was made on the shop but there was a lot of shop-related thinking and I think I have some good ideas for new stuff. The house is finally shaping up enough where I think I can start focusing on making things again.

Thanks so much to all who responded to my last post. If anything, I'm just so glad I'm not the only one who has had trouble with responding to comments on blogger. Hopefully they'll come up with a solution in the future. In the meantime, I suppose we'll all make do. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cry for Help!

So, I'm normally really good with teaching myself how to use new computer programs and up until recently I would have said I'm pretty web savvy. But now, I'm crying "Uncle" and admitting I need help. For the life of me I cannot figure out a good way to respond to comments left on this here blog. It really means so much to me when folks stop by to read my ramblings and I want to be able to say "Thank You!" and respond to the great stories, or just kind comments that you leave. So, for anyone who is familiar with blogger, How is the heck do I respond to comments!? 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

These are the Moments...

...That make me so proud to be a mom. I was working on my cross stitch project one night while we were having family TV time and Brodi asked me ever so sweetly if I would teach her how to "sew". I thought my heart was going to burst. I got so excited that I ran out and bought her her own plastic hoop, some inexpensive muslin and a few blunt tapestry needles. Her attention span is pretty short but she has so much fun sewing just like mommy. We're working just on remembering to go back through the same side we just brought the needle through but she's making progress and I can't tell you how fun it is to sit and sew on the floor together! I tie the embroidery floss to the needle so she doesn't have to worry about the thread coming out, I figure we'll work on threading the needle at a later date! Just when I think she's got too much of her daddy's wild nature she goes and suprises me, I love that we can share these little quiet momments occastionally and I hope there are many many more to come.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweetly Brilliant

I've started one of these.
Such an amazing idea to write down all those funny little things that kids say and throw them in a jar to be revisited later when those magical moments have been forgotten. Or, as Brooke says they're good for a chuckle when you're having a crummy day. I just have a few slips of paper so far but it's already made me more mindful of the limited number of days we have with our children. It goes so fast and some of these things are just too precious to get lost in whirlwind.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Open for Business!

The shop is finally back up and running. There's nothing new as of yet but I promise new things will be coming soon. We're battling the flu here in addition to unpacking and my day job has really picked up with tons of work, so much to my disappointment crafting has taken a bit of a backseat. Hopefully it's not for long!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

Actually, it's been quite relaxing today sitting at my desk with the window open and listening to the raindrops falling through the trees right outside. It's been raining pretty much nonstop for the last few days, so I still don't have any pretty pictures to show you. Soon, I'm hoping, although the weatherman says the rain is sticking around at least for another day.

I'd forgotten how quiet and slow it is here in Iowa. It's not heaven but it's pretty close. I kind of feel like I'm on an extended vacation and it's been a little hard to get back into the swing of things. There's just something in the air that's just so calming and I find myself just sitting and doing absolutely nothing for long periods of time. It feels quite wonderful. No sirens, no buses or trains, just rain and an owl that lives in the tree outside. It's really perfect.

Tomorrow will be for unpacking my office/craft room, and putting the finishing touches on the paint. Although, I'm thinking the soft gray I chose for the walls may be a little too calm and relaxing. We'll see. I'll have to get your opinion when I can take some photos. Thank you so much for the well wishes and the welcome back! I missed you all here in blogland. It feels good to be connected again!

Talk soon...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lots of Boxes and No Microwave

I've been absent from this blog for much longer than I had originally intended. It seems that moving to another state is a much bigger undertaking than I thought. Even though we had plenty of forewarning, lots of packing waited until the last possible minute. The moving itself was a comedy of errors. The movers were an hour late, not everything fit into the truck (one of those things being our microwave which I've missed more than I ever would have thought), and we were late to the bank to close on our house. It was such a mess. But, it's behind us and we have ourselves an adorable new house. It needs some work and I'm going to try to chronicle some of our efforts here in making this house a cozy home. Right now there are still tons of boxes to unpack so I probably won't have the shop up and running for another week or so. I hope to at least be back with a proper post with pictures in the next few days. I received some new goodies in the mail that I need to share!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Right Now I'm Loving...

Cross stitch. It all started with this post from The Small Object Steno Pad. I had finished packing away all of my yarn and fabric which was pretty sad and I needed something crafty to keep me busy for the next few weeks before moving. This came along at just the right moment. I rushed over to the cottonblue Etsy shop and snatched up this kit...
How awesome is this!? The red work is right up my alley and the idea of cross stitched patchwork is just so perfect. I hadn't done any cross stitch since I was about 11 or 12 but it was easy to pick back up and I've been really enjoying it's company. It's been such a refreshing and wonderfully meditative thing to work on in my spare moments which are too few right now for any other larger projects. This kit is designed by Perrette Samouiloff for A la Pensee.
There are some really beautiful kits in the collection and this won't be the last one that I do. Sadly cottonblue doesn't have any more of these kits left but you can order them directly from the A la Pensee shop. Most of the patterns also give the option of ordering just the chart instead of the full kit which is nice.

Here's some other great cross stitchery that I found poking around Etsy...
Wall Wear by Neawear here. LOVE the white stitching on dark fabric, so beautiful.

More beautiful red work, by aidatwentytwo here.

This is just freakin' hilarious... by thepinksamurai here.
Um, wow, is all I have to say about everything in the emilypeacocktapestry shop.
So all this has got me thinking about some wall hangings for my shop and maybe even some kits.
It sounds wonderfully fun to me... Another project to add to the list!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thank you Paper and Stitch!

Brittni from Paper and Stitch was so kind as to
feature the shop on her blog the other day. I love the blog, Brittni has a great design sense and I always like the beautiful things she features.

I'm so horrible, I completely forgot to post a huge thank you also to Irene from Bloesem for featuring me awhile ago. I was so pleasantly surprised to see myself on her blog! It's one that I read daily and am constantly inspired by, so it was just awesome to be featured. Thank you so so much Irene!
I'm so sorry I didn't post that thank you sooner... My brain has been scrambled mush for the last month. We've decided to move back to our hometown in Iowa, so needless to say things have been stressful, what with house buying, packing and dealing with our job situations. Chicago has been amazing for us but we've taken a second look at our priorities and have decided that Iowa is the best place for us to raise our family. We miss being close to our family and friends and miss the simple things, like big open spaces for running and kite flying, seeing the stars and catching lightning bugs. It's hard to do that in the city, not impossible but hard. Some people do very well in the city with families, we've just decided it's not for us right now.

We'll hopefully be moving the first week of September and I'll close the shop for that week so we can get settled in. I've got some new things in the works for the shop that I'm really excited about and some new prints that will have to wait to be listed until then.

I'll be back on the blog in the next day or two to share with you my latest obsession...

Sunday, August 10, 2008