Goodbye 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

photograph for purchase by Mala Lesbia

This year was a pretty good one for me while nothing major happened I have felt really content the whole year through - and that sometimes can be the best thing in the whole world. As every year comes to a close I usually look back and can see there was a theme or a lesson of sorts that I needed to work through. In 2011 I think it was taking personal risks and believing in myself in a different way by starting my Etsy shop and this blog, working from home so I could continue to have my kids apart of all my moments and mostly just realizing that failure isn't nearly as scary as never having tried. All of that led to many good things for 2012: not missing a beat with my boys, a thriving shop and getting to know so many of you through your blogs and mine.  It may sound corny but I work from home and raise little ones at home, so having this blog has really been more of a positive for me personally than I ever would have imagined. I am constantly inspired/amused/validated/moved/entertained by all of you and it truly has made 2012 a great year.

Do you feel 2012 provided you with any lessons or skills you can carry forward into the new year? I think my lesson for this year was working on understanding the true meaning of having boundaries for oneself as well as not losing sight of my goals.

Any big new years night plans? This is one night I like to just stay in and kick it old school watching the ball drop with a bottle of wine. Have a happy and safe new years eve friends!

Christmas Recap

Friday, December 28, 2012

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! As fun and festive as it is I know it can also be a time of stress, maybe induce a little anxiety either about money or family, or both. So I am hopeful it went as swimmingly and stress-free as possible for all. We had a pretty good holiday this year! It started with Fisher's birthday on the 23rd (one day early) where we went to a local favorite german restaurant that is filled with festivities: acordion player, fountains of fondue and singing waitstaff. Note to parents who don't have 15 year old children yet: if you act overly excited about your kids being able to learn to drive they apparently lose all interest. So someday if you find yourself feeling anxious about this milestone just act super excited about it. I keep asking Fisher if he wants to go get his permit and it's met with a resounding 'meh'.

As I mentioned before four-year olds really bring about the magic of Christmas for me, it's just such a sweet age where everything is so exciting. So I was none disappointed in seeing their joy in every aspect of the holidays. Though my image of watching their shining faces as they opened their gifts was swiftly dashed when I found they were pretty much done tearing open their present before I had even pulled my head out from under the tree and done passing out all the gifts. In the years prior it took hours for them to open their presents. Just getting the paper off was a struggle, then they would want to look at each one before moving on to the next. This year, not so much, I learned no matter how tightly wrapped in ribbons they can open a gift in under a nano second.

After present opening we went and saw Les Miserables. And that movie is what I am left thinking about most of my Christmas day (sorry kids). There are so many scenes I wish I could watch again. Especially because I was in the theater trying to cry quietly, which proved extremely difficult in a couple places. I can't wait to see it on DVD in the comfort of my home where I can let the emotional tour-de-force that it was carry me away. After Anne Hathaway's rendition of "I dreamed a dream" I turned to Fisher and bet him cold hard cash that she will undoubtedly walk away with an oscar. Soooo good. Has anyone else seen it yet? 2 6 4 Ohhhhh 1

I have been slow at getting back in the swing of things. I haven't gone this long between posting on here in a long time! But I have been a near catatonic state of lounging, realizing I was much more exhausted than I would allow myself to admit - apparently until after Christmas was over and I could admit such a thing.

PS I got my dutch oven! In white! And that really amazing/scary portrait oil painting from Fisher for Christmas - I love it!

Happy Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2012

I hope everyone has a peaceful, joyful, magical, rollicking good christmas! 

Ode To My Boy

Friday, December 21, 2012

My boy, Fisher's birthday is on Monday (I am thinking this will mostly likely be my last post until after Christmas - maybe), and while I write about M+L a lot, I don't often write about Fisher, it's only because as he gets older it feels like I should respect his privacy, not for lack of wanting to. But some things I will happily say out loud and how much I love and adore this boy is one of them. He says he doesn't read my blog, but I know sometimes he does because once in awhile he likes to inform me of my mistakes. If this is one of those times, this post is for you.

For everyone else, I hope you are reading this too and the world didn't end today! I also hope you have the merriest of holidays! How did the holidays sneak up on us so fast?!

In a few short days you will turn 15 years old. On one hand it seems like eons ago that you were a little baby, on the other it seems time has moved too swiftly and years have stacked upon each of us in no time at all. I see you turning an age I can still feel so vividly lives inside myself - it's crazy, dog. Something I didn't know when I was that age is that part of you will always feel not too far from it, so with that it feels monumental and it is, 15 is 15! You can start driving!! Wha what?!

15 to me is also three short years before you are 18 (sniff, sniff). 15 to me is when I, ehem, started making choices that weren't always in my best interest. 15 always sounded like a scary milestone to me as a parent. But when I look at you all I really feel is love and pride, not fear. I love who you are, not only as my child but as a person. I am honored to have you in my life whether you were my child or not, but the fact that you are makes my heart soar to the highest of heights. When I hear the phrase heart strings I automatically picture the two of us and think of a billion glistening strings attached from my heart to yours. They extend to infinity and reach in every direction and they constantly pull me, make me look at myself and how my actions and reactions affect you and your heart. It was just the two of us for so long, taking trips by train across the states, looking out from the top of the empire state building, singing and dancing to Elvis and watching Moulin Rouge and Toy Story over and over again.

And of course as you head to adulthood I see that cute little boy with his Elvis doll and perpetual flip-flops and I would love to cast a net out that stretched underneath you at all times in case you fall. And you will. But I will fall with you and I will quietly or loudly stretch out my hand to help you up, whichever you need. I would love to give you wings so you could fly around the world and dip and dive into each continent and every country to experience all the beauty in the world because you deserve that much and more. I simultaneously wish I could protect you from everything in the world and wish for you to experience everything in the world. In the end I just want you to know that no matter how old you get I've got your back - in fact I will probably be hovering over it, sorry about that. And I will find joy in your joy and always be proud and always, always love you.

No matter how old you get there are new things to learn and one thing I have learned is that parents often think of themselves as the shapers of their children, teaching them between right and wrong. And that is true, there must be limits and boundaries and lessons, and that is part of my role as a parent. However, you are also my teacher and I have learned so much from you. I know I am a better person because of you. I know your heart is vast and your mind is wise, and I hope only that I continue to grow with you to be what you need (like finding the correct amount of hovering in which to do). Because the moment you were born, it was clear you were exactly what I needed, the night you were born and we laid in my bed all snuggled up on Christmas eve it was like my soul was just waiting for you and my whole world was exactly as it was meant to be. So thank you for being my boy, thank you for being the funniest person I know(thank you for still thinking I am funny too), thank you for being the best big brother two little guys could ask for, thank you for letting me be your mama. And happy, happy birthday to the most wonderful human I know. xo

Make: Mason Jar Tree Snowglobes

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I saw these tree globes at the beginning of the season and I thought they were so cute and would make sweet little gifts to those people you don't know what on earth to get them. I also thought there's no way I am paying $28.00 for one when I know I can make that myself! I made these ones for about $10 each which is a splurge because I bought really lovely antique mason jars and trees - I know they could be made for much less. I also bought a giant bag of "snow" because apparently they only sell giant bags of fake snow. But for my two dollars I am fairly certain I can make snow globes every year for the rest of my life, or I can mail you some (seriously I would; though if you think glitter is bad it has nothing on fake snow).

So this is about as easy of a DIY as you can get and that's what I am into, simple diys. It took me all of about 1 minute to make these ones. What you need is a mason jar, glue gun or other glue substance that will hold strong, a bottle brush tree, and some fake snow. And all you do is glue your tree to the lid, add snow and screw on lid. Twenty-eight dollars, hahahaha.

Photo Diary: Will The Real Santa Claus Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yesterday I woke up and what did I see? Snow! It didn't last long and it didn't stick but it's a bit of a Christmas miracle all the same. We never get snow here around this time of year (when you really want it to snow). With serious motivation to get out and about with the snow falling and not to fall behind on my holiday agenda we set off downtown to take a visit to Santaland, a.k.a. the basement of Macy's. Now when I was girl Santaland was on the 10th floor and boasted a monorail train ride which took you for a few spins around the cotton-ball filled ceiling. The lines were long, but so worth it. I felt a little sad my kids wouldn't get that same "A Christmas Story" experience (without the kick the down the slide of course), but I am pretty convinced that the Santa we visited was the real deal.

We walked through the strange animatronic Santaland to get to "the north pole" and before I realized we were at our destination Luca had ran ahead where I found him and Santa embraced in a moment of magic that immediately brought tears to my eyes (and my almost-15 year old sons, Fishers, eyes too, it was that stinking cute!). Santa held him close and rocked him in his arms for about a full minute, at least - it was long enough for me to break out my dlsr and adjust the settings to get that snapshot. Santa just snuggled him and let the moment be and play out - allowing Luca have what was obviously the best meeting in his life (look at that little hand holding Santa so tight!). He then turned his attention to Milo and gave him a jolly greeting and they all sang jingle bells together.

Once they sat on Santa's lap for the "what do you want for Christmas" conversation the first words out of their mouth was "I love you Santa" and there was no politically correct aversion to this honesty of emotion, such as a hearty "hohoho" or changing the subject back to what they want for Christmas, Santa in kind held them and said, "Oh, Santa loves you two so much! You are such wonderful children, you have made Santa so happy with your visit today." It was so sweet and genuine I am thinking he just might be the real Santa. Last year on our visit to (fake) Santa the pictures I captured were of him sleeping on his throne while we were waiting in line for his "break" to be over. Not this Santa, he had a twinkle in his eyes and a heart that I am pretty convinced could travel the globe in one evenings time. It completely warmed my heart not simply because he was so kind to my children but because I am sure he makes every child feel so special and wonderful and I imagine there are some that really need to know that they are loved and will long treasure that kind of love being so generously shown to them. My M+L are still all aglow with what was for sure the best day of their life and constantly reminding me that Santa loves them. So if you are looking for the real Santa Claus I am pretty sure he is hanging out here in Portland in the basement of Macy's. I definitely made sure to let the elves know what a wonderful Santa they had.

After our magical little visit the walk out ended with a letter station to write letters to Santa which M+L dictated for me after drawing pictures (very lightly in pencil) of what they want for christmas. We ended the adventure with a little shopping and walking to take in the city's tree and decorations. I love seeing the city all dressed-up, and I really love seeing my three boys holding hands whilst walking down the street. How does that song go? It's the most wonderful time of the year . . . I have had that line running through my head since. Four year olds make Christmas extra magical and wonderful me thinks.

Make: Chalkboard Gift Tags

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Now that I am done with all my "before christmas" work I feel like Christmas is just around the corner. Why does time insist on going so fast?  I have a pretty extensive list of all the things I want to enjoy before the week is up and I have come to realize my love for routine has turned into a chronological order in which I need to do them. With that I find myself liking to stick to "traditions" I made by having done one such thing or another one year and then trapped myself into the habit of having to do it exactly the same every year thereafter. One of these thing I love doing, that I know many people dread, is wrapping presents. Where it gets weird is that I have to watch Christmas Vacation while wrapping my presents; it can't (in my mind) be any other movie. I also have to have personalized gift tags as though, if I skip it one year people are going to disappointed with my obvious failure to accomplish making my own gift tags. Oh the webs we weave...

One of my favorites is just printing out little photos of people and sticking them on their presents. It makes it real easy when you wake up at 6 am (which I do, I am always the first up on Christmas. Another "tradition" I have branded myself with) to hand out the gifts - no reading required. This year I ran across all these little wooden ornaments in my christmas decor that I have accumulated throughout the years. They had been being re-packed away forever so I decided to finally do something with them to avoid repacking them again (or tossing them out). Because I knew painting them to hang on the tree was not going to happen, I have officially been a mother for almost 15 years - I have so been there and done that.

So, not getting too creative but changing it up a bit I painted them with chalkboard paint and stuck them on presents for gift tags. This is a "at your own risk" project, obviously the names could be easily rubbed off - to prevent any mix-ups I only put them on presents I knew I could identify if any curious fingers got the best of me. Giving actual step-by-step instructions seems a bit superfluous but I will say I used a couple coats because the wood is so porous and I let them dry for about any hour before I started any ribbon tying or chalk writing. 

Any pre-holiday traditions you will be engaging in this week?

Photo Diary: Tree

Monday, December 17, 2012


What a devastating weekend. What happened on Friday has left my heart heavy, my mind angry and my soul very sad. My thoughts and wishes continue to be focused on those that are affected by such grief and loss. My hope is that we will work towards changing our values to see that this does not continue to happen; I hope beyond everything that it never does again.

I pulled a couple almost all-nighters at the end of the week in order to get all of my holiday orders completed and did so by saturday afternoon (phew!). I was anxious to get them done and spend the rest of the holidays focused on my little ones.  We made finishing touches to the tree and some homemade ornaments (with glitter of course) and I snuggled them up in their christmas pjs and watched all the old christmas shows I had been recording throughout the weeks and eating chocolate covered popcorn.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Hope you all were able to find a little solace in your weekend as well. looking forward to a bright and merry week ahead! xo

The Gift Of Giving | Doctors Without Boarders |

Friday, December 14, 2012

Images via Doctors Without Boarders

Doctors without boarders is another one of my favorite charities. This organization works in over 70 countries providing medical treatment to those in need. There is not much more I can say other than the work they do is vast and so vital to so many around the world. You can donate as much or as little as you are able. Often a few dollars can make the difference in someone having a life saving medication, with that it seems even a small donation just might save a life. Personally I think that is worth a forfeiting a latte here or there.

Happy Weekend Everyone! I am hoping to get a lot of work done so I might be able to move on to the other things next week, like visits with santa and looking at lights and finding carolers and making cookies. . . xo

Make: These Things | DIY Round Up |

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I know, I know, there are just so many great projects and so little time, but I couldn't help passing on a few I have come across recently. These are all tutorials so if you click the links you can find instructions on how-to.

If time allows I am definitely going to be making those shape sticks for my M+L's stockings. So simple, yet such a great idea! The simple ideas are usually the best ones. I love those little elephant hooks and now that I have accepted my love of sparkly animals, I am not afraid to say it. Cutting the plastic animals looks like it'd be the hardest part, but the rest, easy peasy. And if you have the time I think it would make a really cool gift. I don't know about you but I always end up with one present left and a pile of wrong-sized wrapping paper scraps and have to get creative right about the time I am totally over getting creative. This stamped paper just might come to rescue if you find yourself in the same situation, or if you just like to make your own gift wrap, because it's a super cute idea! Gift tags are one thing that I really do like to make sure to personalize during the holidays, I think I've have just done it for so long it just feels wrong if I don't. Yelle came up with a great way to do so using pretty stationary paper and a typewriter. I absolutely love the look of hers. Soooo if you happen to have a shiny and sparkly animal obsession like me, you can go crazy pillaging your kids plastic animals and painting them up to make ornaments. It might be a nice little lesson on reusing and recycling with your kids too. I seriously love this last diy. How incredibly cute are the chalkboard painted blocks?! I don't know if I will get to this project before christmas but it is one I will be tackling in the near future!

Are you handmaking any gifts this year or have any special holiday diy's you are working on?

Thoughts Of Love and Peace

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yesterday as I was readying my post for today I kept hearing this string of sirens, later I was prompted by a facebook post to turn on the news. You may have heard there was a mall shooting here in Portland, someone with a giant gun wildly aiming at holiday shoppers; luckily it sounds like his gun jammed but sadly there were still 2 casualties before it did. After that my DIY round-up post seemed a little superficial to me in the moment. Events such as this make me feel terribly sad, makes my stomach turn and twist in knots. To know it was so very close to my home, and just being here, in my lovely, creative, progressive, peaceful and mostly passive city, during the holidays of course makes it more difficult to absorb - though no act such as this is worse or more devastating than the next. No matter where or what time of year, they are all equally horrendous. Truly things like this just shouldn't happen.   My heart aches for the victims and their families, the witnesses who didn't know what was going on just out doing some holiday shopping or working to make ends meet; I can't imagine. So, instead, I just wanted to take the time today to send thoughts of love and peace into the world.

Updated 12/14:

When I posted this a few days ago I felt sad and disconcerted that this happened, I also felt grateful that the gun jammed and more lives weren't lost. I also spent a lot of time hoping that this wouldn't happen again. Sadly, today, as we all know, it did - in an elementary school in Connecticut which is other peoples home state, their home town, in a school, where so many lives were lost, so many children. I am so deeply sadden for them, my heart is heavy and I wish that that meant I was carrying some of the pain for others but I know that it doesn't. This is an unfathomable event that no parent or community should have to endure.

Personally, I am also deeply saddened for our country and ashamed that real preventative measures continue not to be taken; when one of these shootings happen we are always informed that "this isn't the time to talk about gun reform" (or the lack of access to mental health care) seems to me it is exactly when we should be talking about it, better yet, enacting it. As Americans we have been dealing with war politics and terrorism and pointing fingers at other countries for their extremist and violent behaviors. Yes, suicide bombing is terrible and non-sensical but so is continuing to allow people to obtain military grade weaponry and shoot up theaters and schools and malls. That is also terrorism. This "right to bare arms" is terrorizing people just living their daily lives. I do not accept this. As an American,  as a mother, as a human being, I do accept that these event keep happening. In fact I absolutely disagree with these high powered guns that can murder several people in a moment being touted as a "right." I think our right to be and feel safe simply trumps the right to have guns.

I never had intentions of using this blog as a platform for political debates because I don't want to alienate my readers. But if I alienate someone because they believe that it's more important to have a semi-automatic rifle in their possession than these families, and we, as human beings have the right to enjoy a movie, or attend a day of elementary school safely, or do a little holiday shopping without finding themselves facing a shooter, or the fear of finding ourselves in the middle of gunfire, or worse yet hearing that their loved one was lost for no reason at all, well, I am okay with that.

With that said and the events of today, it is a helpless feeling we are left with. What could have been done is being discussed by expert panels on news stations. As is why someone would do this. We may not ever know the real intentions of a person who obviously was not in a healthy state of mind, and in the end, I don't see how it even matters. But we can figure out what needs to be done to keep this from happening. If you are interested here is a petition that you can sign electronically to begin the process of enacting federal gun law reform. You can find it here and visit here. If you have any other petitions that you know of to help a movement progress towards preventing such tragedies in the future please link in the comments.

Give: Quiet | Holiday Gift Guide With Erin of LIke/Want/Need |

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Well, today I am pretty excited because I have the magnificent, funny, lovely, witty and charming Erin from Like/Want/Need.  Erin put together this beautiful collection of gifts with her stellar shopping skills and her thoughtful heart for those who might need a little "me time." xoxo Erin, thanks for being here!

* * *

Hello! I'm Erin from like / want / need and the lovely Christine has asked me to share a little something with you. Now, I know Christine is a DIY maven, but I'm afraid I'm more of a "buyer" than a "maker." But in an effort to give experiences over material gifts this holiday season, I've decided to do a little round-up of small, cosy ways you can give someone close to you the ultimate gift: quiet. The holidays are notoriously a crazy time, I think all of us could benefit from a healthy dose of quiet-time. Here are a few tried and true ways to bestow some much needed relaxation on a friend (or yourself!).

I'd say that a giant, comfy blanket is a necessity for everyday life, but it certainly comes in handy when you're trying to relax. Curl up with a good book (Dylan Thomas always reminds me of Christmas, since my dad and I would read "A Child's Christmas in Wales" growing up), put on some soft classical music (say what you will about cheesy compilation CDs, this one is actually pretty legit. It's a good beginner's guide to classical), and light a ton of tea candles to set the mood. I'm totally smitten by that coffee mug with a spoon in the handle, and a nice, hot cup of tea will help anyone stop and just be for a while (and I had to get a Paris reference in here somehow). 

You can also show up to an overwhelmed friend's house, point them to the nearest couch (comfy blanket non-negotiable), and do a load of laundry or a sink full of dishes for them. This has the simultaneous effect of relaxing them entirely and making you a saint. Win-win.

Thank you again for having me, Christine! Okay gang, spill: how do you find time to relax during the holidays? 

Photo Diary: Weekend Productions

Monday, December 10, 2012

One great thing about blogging is that every now and again it can reveal parts of yourself you maybe didn't realize existed. I am not sure if this qualifies being put in the great revelation department but I am seeing through my blog that I have a serious affinity for glitter and woodland creatures.

This weekend I finally did a little holiday decorating and busted out several orders. I have to admit it can be alarming seeing orders coming in at the rate they do during this time of year,(as embroidery is many wondrous things, it is also really time consuming). So it was really great finally getting a couple big stacks ready for the mailman. Now I officially have a big dent in my orders and another 30 hours of weekend movie watching under my belt.

I placed some online orders of my own for christmas present gathering and even did a little shopping out in the land of the living. My kids are "done" - that's in quotes because I always find more and more stuff to get them, they are way too easy to shop for. M+L have always gotten wooden, waldorfy type toys, like blocks and trains and puzzles, felt food and animals - no guns, no noisy contraptions, no blinking lights, just toys that stimulate the imagination. It's been pretty easy considering they weren't much exposed to all the wonders of plastic goodness in the world and were happy with my selections, but this year they know what they want. So I put my parenting ideals and shop-small-businesses morals aside and bought what was on their wish list. Milo wanted a Baby Alive, the one that "eats, pees and poops." I can justify this by the fact that he wants a doll. Of course this doll only says mommy and is 100% geared towards girls, which I find quite irritating and makes me not want to support a company that promotes ridiculous gender stereotypes, but all he wants is this doll, so he gets to be a mommy for christmas. Luca wants a giant plastic dinosaur that is made by a giant plastic company. But Luca is convinced that he is going to be a T-rex when he grows up and every time he says it: Mama, when I am a T-rex someday you can come to my house in the forest . . ., my heart melts into a giant puddle, so he, of course, got his dinosaur. Then I did the unthinkable, the unimaginable and also bought them a kindle fire hd for christmas. Yep, as I was talking to one of the guys about which tablet to get my four year olds, and he gave me that "look," I realized, I am one of those parents that buys tablets for their toddlers. Eek! I bought my older, Fisher, a present he doesn't want to nurture an interest he doesn't have, or as I like to say an interest he does't know he has yet. Awesome I know.  (I got him lots of other stuff he actually does want too.)

Happy Hanukkah! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and checked off some things on your merry to-do list - hopefully fun things like putting up the tree, drinking cocoa and gazing at holiday lights.

Make: Sparkle Stickers

Friday, December 7, 2012

Here is another really simple diy: sparkle stickers. To make these I used printable round stickers like these, glue and of course some glitter. I painted on a thin layer of glue on the sticker (be sure to stay inside the lines so you can easily peel them back later) and then gave it a good heathy sprinkle of glitter. Allow the stickers to dry over night and get to stickin'; I like to use them as envelope stickers for holiday cards or on packages to make your own pretty wrapping. {holiday cards shown can be printed for free; find them here }.

I hope everybody has a great weekend! I plan to barricade myself in my house and work all weekend. The great thing about my work being embroidery is I can watch lots of movies while I work. I am thinking it's time to break out a few holiday favorites. I also got my son the new batman movie as his "big" advent calendar gift, so I imagine we will be watching that this weekend too. Last on my to-do list is to press the "check out" button on some online shopping orders, my carts are getting full! Do you all have any weekend plans? xo

House Tour | Vintage Swedish Flat |

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I love how the emptiness of this flat allows for your imagination to wander, yet, there is just enough within it to show off how entirely charming it is. Have you seen that movie another earth? I just recently watched it, and, well, if there is "another earth" and my body double is up there, I hope she is living a charmed little life in "another sweden" in a sweet little place such as this spending her days lingering at sidewalk cafes and traipsing around wearing cute little sundresses and heels. Of course I wouldn't trade in my charmed little life here with my leggings and boots and adorable children which is why I have to imagine it in this parallel universe sort of way. Where do you live in your parallel universe?

PS I should mention if you haven't seen that movie it's nothing like my comparison here, it's much more of the melancholy variety.
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