a new year, a new space...





happy new year! i'm starting out the year by trying out a new shop for my goods. when i joined etsy 6 years ago it was still a very new and exciting place. most people had never even heard of the site when i told them about it. i loved being a part of the movement to bring back handmade (or at least bring about awareness of it). it was truly a community there, and i met so many amazing artists. i lived in brooklyn and was able to visit etsy headquarters in person, even making a video for them there and doing a live tutorial another time. i really treasure the space it provided for me and my work. i love that it is so well known now. almost everyone knows what etsy is, and now most people ask me if i have a shop there when i mention the work i do. it seems silly i guess to say that i am moving elsewhere but i have to admit it is just not a fit for me right now. i don't have the time to devote to creating a large store, which etsy can now easily support and encourages. it is no longer a space just for small artists creating each item by their own hand. i can't really compete with the sheer number of stores there, let alone shops that have their designs produced by someone else. i mostly felt lost there (i remember the days when you could list something and then watch it show up on the front page!). for now i will keep my shop open, and list some custom order cake toppers there. i'm still lucky to have people find me through etsy, and i do still like many things about the site. also examples of my past work are all there still. i have decided to try listing a few of my creations at big cartel. i will continue to share here when i can, but i also post daily on instagram and share my works in progress there. i hope you will take a moment to visit both sites. they are both in the link bar above as well. thanks!

women make...



i've been thinking a lot about creation, art, blogging, and so on. the usual things i guess. i haven't been blogging much, and frankly it is because it can feel rather pointless. there are so many bloggers out there that if you aren't one of the big ones your voice rarely gets heard. i also questioned whether what i have to say really matters enough for it to even make a difference? i wrote before about giving up this blog, but couldn't quite let go. my creative energy has been stretched thin though, and sewing and making things is the main reason i have always blogged here. i share a lot about my family and day to day life as well, but lately it has been easier to do that in photos and written tidbits on instagram. i've also made some amazing connections there, with other like minded women especially. with women who struggle with the same questions i do. it is a nice refuge for me when i need a quick moment during the day to do something for myself. i find inspiration, support and acceptance. it's much different than most other social media experiences i've had. yesterday, i posted the photo above, with the following caption...

Thinking about what to do with these today and why I so often put off creating when it always feeds my soul? When I feel lost, why do I avoid what actually helps me feel better? It's so easy to trivialize making and creating, but I guess it's easy to trivialize a lot of things.

These are the things i am thinking a lot about. my life at the moment is about homeschooling two older children while trying to meet the demands of a very demanding toddler (who really would prefer to have my attention 100% of the day). i feel drained most days. my free moments are rare and usually come at nap time (thank god for nap time) when i try to take a break, finish household tasks and devote time to the older kids needs. evenings are pretty much the same, except i'm even more tired and do not have the aid of coffee. i tell myself i will work or create something but it often gets pushed aside in favor of housework, or frankly, doing nothing. i love to sew and work on other projects, but it is still work. it requires me to have time and energy to do it. i can't really make enough to keep a shop full these days, so i'm left wondering "is there a point to it?" it is easy as women to trivialize these sorts of creative endeavors. even if we are talented or simply just enjoy doing it, we can easily say it isn't important. if i make small animals just for the sake of making them is there a value in that? even when i am selling them i will never get paid the kind of money my husband does for the same amount of time spent working. yet, if i let it go and other women continue to do the same, what happens to those skills? i think about all the women before me who spent countless hours sewing by hand, out of necessity, or love, or both. i'm tied to those women. their labors may go unrecognized or unknown but didn't they have value? the day to day labors of women of all different kinds is what makes the world work. where would we be without that history?

my background education is in feminist theory, particularly women filmmakers and artists. i've always been fascinated by the history of women in general though, especially the everyday lives that women lead. of course i admire those women who dared to step outside of the normal realm of society to do amazing things and push for a better life and more opportunities for all women. i am grateful for that. i would never argue that a woman's place is in the home. really though, we all live in a  home of some kind, women and men, and those spaces do have a special value. also, historically women's roles have revolved around the home, the care of others, and day to day tasks that make up living. it is so easy to dismiss the work of normal women (inside the home or out). we know the things that women do are often necessary but they are also often trivialized. if i ever go back to the academic world my focus would be on women and everyday art. i love the things that women make both practical and beautiful, and often both. how we express ourselves creatively has such value, whether we call ourselves "artists" or not. just because something doesn't have a monetary value or even look like "art" doesn't mean there isn't value in making it.

the other day i read a blog post by a man admiring the work his wife did to raise their children. it wasn't patronizing in any way or encouraging all women to do that work necessarily, but he was pointing out the value that he appreciated and saw go unrecognized. one of the comments to this post was by a man who questioned the inherent value in having children. his argument was that he didn't see the big deal about making a baby because "any thirteen year old girl could do it". that dismissal struck me strongly and stuck with me. the things that women create are so easily dismissed that even making a person is considered no big deal! i see this a lot when it comes to motherhood. women are looked down on for staying home with their kids. you must not be very intelligent or ambitious if you chose to spend your time with children is the assumption. breastfeeding is seen as something gross or vulgar that should be hidden, after all isn't "man"made formula just as good or better than woman made breast milk? all that got me thinking about the term 'man made' and what it means if you say 'woman made' instead? i looked at the hashtag on instagram for #womanmade and it mostly involved sandwiches?! really?obviously there has been a tremendous handmade movement in recent years. more and more people, men and women, are finding value in the things that are created by hand. we are recognizing and trying to relearn or hold onto those skills passed down for so long, as well as creating new ones. women i think especially have found value in this movement. yet... i still struggle with this issue and i see other women doing so as well. i still feel uncomfortable at times trying to explain the things i create to other people. i know it can seem unimportant, especially if i can't claim fame or fortune from it. again, i admire the women who have achieved that but what about the rest of us, who sew or knit in the spare moments we can find just because we enjoy it? what about the handmade gifts or projects around the home or made with children? these creations have value too.

so, all of this is a long winded way of saying i thought i would start writing about some of these issues again, here on my blog and on instagram. if you would like to share some of your creative work on instagram i hope you will tag it #womenmake. i chose this over "woman made' because i think it sounds much more active and ongoing. i wanted to capture the spirit of creating in the everyday. tagging something as "made" can seem so final, and maybe make you feel it has to be important and finished. i like the idea of women making things all the time, when they can find the time or feel moved to make it! women make a lot of things. we make clothes, we make crafts, we make meals, we make pictures, we make homes, we make art from nature, we make children, we make things out of wood and clay and cloth and paint, we make old things useful or beautiful again, we make this world work! i want it to include all kinds of women, not just mothers or certain kinds of mothers. how you chose to live your life isn't really the point, it all has value. the things you make have value. hopefully we can support each other in this movement and recognize that value in each other and ourselves. i know i am mostly blogging into a void right now, but this will be a lot about finding out more about the things i'm interested and hopefully someone else may find it interesting too.


hiking...


someone else to do the baby wearing!


one of my favorite things to do is go for a hike. i love being outside, surrounded by trees instead of cars. it feels so good. hiking with children is not always easy, especially when they are small. my oldest, jack henry, was a great hiker from a very early age. he just liked to be constantly moving, so we could set him on a path and he would just keeping going! he climbed a mountain at a year and a half! then came sidney. oh boy, she did not like to hike at all. it was fine as long as we could carry her in the back pack but when she got too heavy it became an arduous experience trying to get her to walk. just mention the word "hike" and she would start to whine. we started calling them "nature walks" to try to fool her but she caught on pretty quickly. distracting her helped. reading about plants and animals along the way. finding interesting things to look for, bringing friends along, all of these helped somewhat. it really has only been the last year or so that she finally started to like it (or at least accept that it was inevitable). of course that was the time tess came along! luckily she loves being outside. it is her favorite thing to do. she is not such a big fan of the carrier though and obviously is not ready to walk the trails very far yet (she likes to stop and stand on every single rock, you can imagine how long that takes!). so, we still have a few years of slow going ahead of us. it is worth it though. it is good for me and it is good for them. i want them to value nature and hopefully continue to choose to be out in it. it is not always the peaceful experience i imagine when heading out the door but i'm always glad we do it. i think maybe some hiking dates with my husband may help too!

do you hike with your little ones, or your older children/teenagers? is it a family tradition? one you grew up with? we didn't do any camping when i was little but i have very fond memories of some beautiful hikes we took, both in california where i grew up and in kentucky where we visited family every year. i hope to take my kids to visit some of those same places too.

these are all photos from our hike last weekend, except the last one which is from our daily hike around the neighborhood! we are looking hopefully for signs of fall!






deer cake topper...







i recently completed a new cake topper for the shop. i listed it in both shops actually, you can find it in little love blue and prairie seed. i am so happy with how it turned out. i love the groom in his little herringbone suit and pinstripes and bow tie (my daughter's idea). i love the bride in white wool and japanese floral linen and vintage lace veil. the stand is a little taller than i have made in the past too. they would make such a lovely statement on top of a cake and in your home afterwards for years to come. they are also just fun to display regardless if you are getting married at the moment. i had a client who recently bought a giraffe cake topper as a present for a sister who loves giraffes and was so pleased with it. the giraffes are available for custom order, i have made about 4 of them so far and each one comes out beautiful and unique. i also have plans for a series of new animal pairs that i have started working on!







tess turns one...




well, i guess i should say turned one! we had the sweetest little family party for tess in july and she absolutely loved it! she never tired of all the attention, singing, gift giving, or fun. i'm not sure my other two made it through their first birthday without a little bit of overload but tess was a trooper!

tess at one is such a funny little imp. she knows what she wants and is very good at letting you know too. she is strong willed and afraid of very little. she charges head first into most things (sometimes literally). she is not only walking but running, though she spends most mornings making papa walk around with her and hold her hand;) her favorite animal is the cat and a lot of her talking consists of meowing... it's hilarious! she does tell charlie he is a "good dog" though. she is switching to one nap now, right in the middle of the day, which can make the evenings feel long. she is a bed hog and rolls and rolls all over the big bed, wanting the space all to herself. her favorite thing is going outside. too bad the mosquitoes are so horrendous this year or she would just live out there. she shews them away with her little hand, saying "ow". she can stack blocks very high, and knows to run to the window to watch someone leave. she will play in water of any kind endlessly, crying when you take her out, no matter how long it has been. i'm looking forward to fall, and seeing all the ways that tess changes over the next few months.

then..

now...

here are all three of my babes at one!





what a blessed mama i am;)

a teeny tiny elephant...



a teeny tiny elephant that can fit in the palm of your hand! i've always wanted to make such a tiny one, and little miss tess has been gifting me with some long naps lately. i'm enjoying sewing again this summer. the kids are enjoying reading and playing and i get to sew. i like summer! except for mosquitoes. summer would be nearly perfect without those guys around. we took a nice little trip to the beach also and i will share photos soon. you can follow me on instagram, where i post daily but i do have some new things planned for this space. this week tess turns one.... eeep! how did that happen?!


look who's busy walking these days!

p.s. i'm sure you know by now but google reader has shut down. i'm using bloglovin' and it is was super easy to transfer all my favorite blogs over.

tess at 11 months...







tess is 11 months today

11 month old tess is going through so many changes. i think she can sense how much herself because suddenly she is nursing like a newborn again. she is extra cuddly when she is not busy exploring the world away from me. she alternates between needing me right there and wanting to do it herself! she has started to take her first tentative steps on her own and likes to make a big production out of it, throwing her arms in the air dramatically before she tries. we all cheer like mad and she loves it. she is so serious about everything but genuinely goofy at heart, which makes everything she does even funnier. she points at what she wants and points to herself and screams "ahhhhhhhhh" until you give it to her. if you don't? watch out, she likes to throw herself on the ground and scream or possibly bite you for it! she will then give you kisses and hugs to say sorry. she is getting so good at communicating even with her few words. new words include... dog, cat, up, yeah, nini (night night), niiiiiii (noooo!) and of course the names of all her beloved family. i can't believe all the changes, and i can't wait to see what the next month brings. it's been a wonderful, challenging, terrific almost year so far!

some more of tess from recent weeks....









june is aps awareness month...



many people aren't aware of what aps or antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is. i certainly wasn't until i was told i had it. after my first son was stillborn i was told i would probably never have an answer, that it was just "one of those things" that sometimes happens. sadly, many women never find an answer for the loss of a baby ,but more and more many late term losses or multiple miscarriages can sometimes be explained (some dr.'s believe aps can be attributed to 25% of these cases). i was tested for numerous possibilities and it was found i have aps, an autoimmune disorder that effects the blood. specifically, my body recognizes the placenta as something foreign and attacks it by causing clots which cuts off nutrients to the baby. it also causes an increase in complications like preeclampsia, which i had with my third baby. aps was discovered fairly recently, and treatment for it even more recently. if my mother had a had it it there is a good chance i would not be here. i wish i had known i had it before pregnancy, and i'm sad that i had to lose a baby to find out i did. i'm so grateful that i do know and that i can be treated. i have gone on to have three more beautiful children because of that. aps also effects a lot of people, men included, outside of pregnancy. it makes you at a much greater risk for blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, heart attacks and strokes. since it can be such a serious illness, and since losing my son because of it i want to be a part of spreading awareness about this disorder. if you would like to find out more, you can visit www.apsfa.org.

memorial day...



happy memorial day, happy beginning of summer! i hope you are hanging out in the backyard (or front yard, or park, or pool) on a big old blanket like we are. enjoy it, it goes so fast!







market season...



yay for farmer's market season! i'm so excited to start our weekly ritual of visiting the market as a family. fresh produce, meeting friends, climbing trees, eating popcicles, hanging out on a blanket in the grass... it feels like summer! after a the first few weeks were rainy, it was nice to have a lovely day. here are a few photos of sid with her  good friend who came along. photos with tessa were taken by my sister katy, with much thanks! 






katy and i will be at the market selling our wares a few times this season. life is so busy with three kids but it is fun to do! maybe we will see you there!