27 February 2010

remember that one time when i sort of decorated?


so, okay. let’s ignore the horrid faux metallic box thing that was a brilliant idea for like five minutes until the faux metallic part stopped sticking to the box part and the whole thing turned ghetto. also, let’s not think on the candles, which clearly should take two giant steps to our left, nor the notebook i maybe could have removed for this photo, and let's especially not focus on the tendrils of dust growing from the bottom of the table like stalactites. or possibly stalagmites.

normally i would google it, but today we really can’t be bothered by such things, because FOLKS. i have PORTRAITS up on MY ACTUAL WALLS.

now, if you are not getting how this is a big deal, then clearly you have never been to my house. i do not have a grown up house. the overwhelming majority of my furniture hails from the 80’s in various degrees of mismatch. it's homey and warm and tidy enough, but i have nothing going on in the way of a color scheme, and next to nothing gracing my walls. (i recognize the degree of irony present here, as i am a so-called photographer.)

but good news.


for my christmbirthasday, the ‘rents in law gave me a hl gift card which purchased these painted frames (50% off, yo). and with proper motivation (read: impending home inspection tuesday) i actually got around to mounting them on the walls. and it didn’t even take long.

unless you count the time i spent rearranging the frames and letters on the floor until the formation was perfect or i at least didn’t hate it, plus the time i spent measuring and hanging and adjusting the frames on the wall, in which case it took two minutes short of forever.




it kind of freaked me out for most of yesterday, to be honest. i’d be walking down the halls and hit this six foot stretch of wall and mildly panic that i was in someone else’s house. and they had pictures of my kids on their wall. but then i’d remember the four hours of arranging and measuring and hanging, and i’d be all, oh right. my bout with decorating.

carry on, then.


linking this post to the inspired room. as melissa so astutely said, while i appreciate a pretty house, a good life is one spent invested in people. hear, hear.

24 February 2010

softie doll love.

the theme of this week's youcapture challenge is shapes. i do love me some shapes.

no matter how many times it happens, i'm ever fascinated by the way a couple of ovals, some flowers, a stack of rectangles and a few oblong shapes can go from this


to this


with just a few hours of stitching and stuffing.

meet phoebe and millicent. they are besties, and like to play pirates and eat pb&j. when they're bored, they speak with british accents and throw tea parties with pretend crumpets. they are awfully fond of shenanigans.


these gals are up in my shop today; please do peek in and say hello.

and now for my favorite part of today!

**the giveaway**

want a custom softie all your own? i have a fresh stash of gorgeous european wool felt in myriad colors, and i'll happily make one according to the winner's preferences. to enter, please leave me a comment telling me what you'd name your doll (and why).

tweet, blog, or facebook this giveaway for extra entries. [per usual, all blog followers and facebook fans receive automatic entries into all 60piggies giveaways.]

entries will close monday at midnight est. the winner will be drawn at random.

bonne chance!

20 February 2010

reasons to love saturday.

1. the enchanted quality of a stack of freshly cut fabric. each piece hums with potential, waiting to become a smallish shift dress, a ruffled apron, a log cabin quilt. (and by a log cabin quilt i really mean the well-intentioned start of a log cabin quilt. i am exceptional at the starting of quilts.)



2. ed emberley's drawing manuals. they can fill a quiet hour, even if you already know how to draw. especially if you already know how to draw.


3. the lovely feeling (registering midway between deep fondness and nostalgia) one gets packaging up an apron made for a childhood friend.


4. 'tis the day i call my mum and dad.
[warning: missing my mum sometimes makes me dig up old baby books and whatnot.]

5. old baby books and whatnot.

our baby. 1976.

mum and me.


funny how i used to be cute.

back in the day.

6. voluntary learning. my file cabinet holds all manner of games i was forced to make i made with good cheer for a multitude of education courses. every now and then when elle lodges a boredom complaint, i pull one out and set her to work. laminated ed games are her personal cloud nine.

domino addition.

7. our adoption homestudy papers are finally all in. :) it's a small but significant leap closer.

happy saturday.

18 February 2010

the fine art of smooching.

beth's youcapture theme this week was kisses, so elle and i rigged up a homestyle photobooth in the sunroom (which, paradoxically, is rather coldish this time of year). we started off with strict adherence to the smooching motif, but things quickly veered off course.


[since the only thing my fellows appreciate less than being photographed is being kissed, the odds of photographing a kiss came out to roughly never in infinity. but as much as they duck and giggle and wriggle away, i shall keep trying to smooch those guys because i figure deep down inside they actually like that i try, plus also every now and then i get lucky and land one.]

the whole kissing bit got me thinking about how we express love 'round these here parts. for the younger two, especially, taking their temperature equals love. odd but true.

also, getting to crowd mom and dad's bed whilst reading bedtime stories equals love.

and mom suggesting you plop a hershey's kiss into your hot chocolate? nothing but love.

[right here, the makings of a perfect cup of peppermint cocoa. the kids prefer milk of the bovine variety, and i like to sneak in a bit of coconut creme creamer. delightful.]

the best hot chocolate.


and while we're on the subject of kisses, i'd be remiss not to mention a particularly poignant part of the blogosphere: kissesfromkatie. katie's posts tend to make me cry, and her perspective shakes me. take a looksee sometime.

happy thursday, friends.


16 February 2010

glitter and humiliation. and stuff.

so i was only recently introduced to the wonder of frozen fog. sounds fake, right? but it turns out that not only is this phenomenon real, it's visually stunning.

with nary a cloud in sight, 'snow' crystalizes out of thin air and clings to the trees, roof tops, fence posts. i could actually be fond of winter when it's all twinkle and lucency.

frost fingers.

meanwhile, a fair dumping of actual snow has had us holed up indoors with soups and games and extra quilts.

i used to be good at this.

[and speaking of games, it tends to not be a good idea to announce that you were once the Undeafeated Grandmaster of Connect Four, as this rash confidence just might precipitate a humiliating loss to your nine year old. hypothetically.]

also? i have just surfaced from eleven hours of tax forms and schedules and publications, but i was reminded that in spite of my wholehearted and enthusiastic disdain for tax filing, we did have an income last year. i'm thankful for that.

also also? mere gratefulness no longer cuts it. awareness of my blessings only counts for something if i share my more than enough with people who do not have enough. medicine. clean water. rice. hope.

hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. you wait and watch and work: you don't give up. {anne lamott}

hold me to that, my friends. this skin of apathy is too tight and i'm itching to outgrow it.

13 February 2010


go squeeze your somebodies.


11 February 2010

work. kind of.

it feels like cheating, calling this work.

on a good day, my m├ętier includes a bit of homeschooling




architectural engineering (in primary colors, of course)


appointments with photoshop and etsy and flickr and webmail (but apparently not with dusting my keyboard...yikes)


the making of happy, zany things

in stitches.

and enjoying this rowdy crew (which is hands down the best line item of my job description).





i hope to take a very late retirement.

* * *

come join us over at beth's you capture for this week's theme: work. (or in my case, pretend-work. it's all good.)

09 February 2010


last weekend was my sister* kristin's birthday. she has not yet embraced her age, so i shall leave that part undisclosed, but we had a rolicking good time. (tattoos! baptisms! red velvet cake!)

i was pretty stoked about her gift, i must say, so i did what i generally do when stoked with giftage and immortalised it in a photo.


where to begin. the soap? ah, the soap. the soap is handmade and so fragrant with the scent of ripe fruit that i was thisclose to eating it. in fact, we drove through a veritable blizzard to get to kristin's place, and i was all, don't worry folks. if we get stranded in some ditch for two days, we can totally live off of my soap.

[soap from dulcet apothecary on etsy. you can't go wrong with the raspberry creme, pomegranate, or apricot&oatmeal.]

the smallish tote i made from rachel's friendship bag tutorial. its self-standing trick is clever, and allows this bag to easily double as a desk-containerish-box-thingy. you know, for stray paper clips and stuff.

* * *

in other news, i drew a name at random for the necklace below. jena of organizing mommy, it's your lucky day!

also: thank you all who left me a note sharing bits of the stories behind meaningful dates in your lives. so many of your entries made my breath catch...such stark loss, and such sweeping joy. sometimes this life is so huge and intense it's almost unbearable. i'm fairly certain this is part of why God surrounds us with other people whose hearts carry the overflow we can't begin to hold alone.

and now i am off to finish sewing and then hang with the kiddos, who are loving this snow day.

happy tuesday, friends.

*so technically, kristin is the hubby's sister, but she's this rare brand of amazing and so i like to conveniently allow people to believe we hail from the same gene pool. nobody can actually read this, right?

05 February 2010

'to love would be an awfully big adventure.' -peter pan

the earth outside my windows is gathering snow, the fat, feathery kind that makes me think, inexplicably, of soap flakes. it's mighty clean out there.

inside we have light and the warmth of coffee cups, and a smallish gal who can't wait till i get up each morning so she can press her nose into my stomach and hug me.

february isn't half bad.

in other news, i have a few new pieces up in my shop, and this one in particular i am just in love with. so much so that i'm itching to give one away.

etched on my heart.


i love the simplicity of a date. it could signify an upcoming wedding or the day you first laid eyes on your beloved, or it could commemorate the life of someone dear to you. i'd also be happy to stamp a name or phrase if you'd prefer.

would you like one for yourself? for your valentine, or a friend, or your favorite aunt? i'll draw a name at random on monday at midnight (est) for one lucky reader.

per usual, if you follow this blog (yonder right) or are a fan of sweetTea on facebook, your name is automatically entered in all giveaways.

you may gain extra entries in the following ways:
-leave me a comment telling me what date you'd choose and why
-share a link to this post on facebook, twitter, or in your blog (please let me know you've done this in the comment section below)


and now, a quote from arguably the most memorable love story of all time:

'The Queen's Pride was his ship, and he loved her. (That was the way his sentences always went: It is raining today and I love you. My cold is better and I love you. Say hello to Horse and I love you. Like that.)'

if you are the first person to name the novel (or author) that quote heralds from, i'll give you an extra three entries. no googling (or other search-engining) allowed; i'm trusting you, folks. :)

**update 2/9: congratulations, jena of organizing mommy! your name was selected for this necklace. i'll be contacting you to discuss the details.**

ALSO: the quote hails from the princess bride (by william goldman). a few of you correctly identified it (rock on!); i gave amanda three extra entries for being the first.

04 February 2010


i tell my boys quite frequently: there will BE no grousing in your late teens about how we have a paltry two photographs of you and roughly thirty-eight million of your sister, and how your therapist agrees that this is clearly indicative of Favoritism And General Injustice and as such, any and all misery or woe you sustain in life will have this early grievance at its root.

because PEOPLE.

the reality here is that when i bust out my camera (or, okay, sometimes i'm wearing it already), my older three dive for cover while the youngest cheerfully humors me.

clearly a case of It's Not My Fault, right?

* * *

so i'm playing along at beth's you capture challenge, this week's assignment being faces. can we all guess which lone face my camera captured?

Photo Of Elle Number Thirty-Eight-Million-One


and to atone for the fact that i only have one face to share here, i've processed this image several different ways. i always marvel at how variation in coloring can alter the mood of a photograph.



i really do have four children. i promise.

02 February 2010

you will spend the afternoon making paper fortune cookies.

as fiercely as i hanker for some krabby patty valentines, these fortune cookies are even better. or, well, almost as good. honesty is the best policy.


this year i'm making some for the kiddos, plus helping my third grader craft a whole batch for his class. (how serendipitous is it when your kid inherits your yen for paper crafting? very, i say. so very very.)

paper fortune cookies are charming and simple and can even hold a bit of customized humor as well. in other words, the perfect stand-in for a cardboard valentine.

and grab your glue guns; i'm feeling a tutorial coming on.

ingredients: scissors, a cd, pen, white paper, other paper, and either double-sided tape or a hot glue gun.

1. first, write up your fortunes and lucky numbers.


in the photo above, the first is for one of my children, the second an example for when the recipient is a classmate. if you're crafting for a child's class, i'd recommend printing them from your computer (and remember to add 'from' and your child's name).

sidenote: here's a sprinkling of my favorite fortunes:
The love of your life is a small, bespectacled man named Rajiv.
The answers you seek are in Norway.
A closed mouth gathers no feet.

but moving along.

2. on the back of your decorative paper, trace the cd to form a large circle.


3. cut that baby out.


4. pinch the circle in half, creasing just the center.


i personally like to pinch the wrong sides together (above), even though it's counter-intuitive in light of the next step. somehow it works out better for me. but you may want to pinch it inside out, like so:


5. depending on your pinching preference, you'll end up with one of the following:

see the x's i added via the magic that is photoshop? we'll be joining those spots together, so place a piece of double-sided tape or a dot of hot glue on one of those guys.

6. press together.


7. so. every tutorial has a tricky part. this here is it.

gently fold the paper in half along the pinch-crease you formed in step whatever-that-was-up-there. four. in step four.

8. release and ADD IN YOUR FORTUNE. trust me: you will be very sad indeed if you glue this little guy together and then realize that you left out the fortune part of the fortune cookie. not that i would know this from experience.

after ADDING IN YOUR FORTUNE (did you add in your fortune? please do it now), dab a bit of hot glue or tape near the crease and press the sides together again.

9. voila.


insider tip: these cookies look fantastic in any paper, so no need to go out and buy schmancy scrapbooking paper. above, we have pages from pretty magazines and an old novel, a paper bag, and notebook paper. i'd also recommend leftover fabric; that's next up on my list.

anyhoo, that's it. enjoy!

ps ooh! please leave me a zany fortune in the comment section if you feel so inclined.

happy tuesday.


easily amused.

so i spent the afternoon making heart-shaped bokeh.

more with the hearts.

groovy, eh?

quick primer: bokeh is lens blur, or the quality of the out-of-focus areas in a photograph.

turns out you can make a ghetto lens hood and shape your bokeh any which way you'd like:

custom bokeh.

i am totally doing shamrocks come march.