last chance...

a quick reminder that this is the last chance to make any orders before the holidays. anything purchased after tomorrow (the 18th) will not ship out until after the new year. a special thank you also to holly becker from decor8 for featuring my mushroom on her etsy holiday gift guide this week. it was in such lovely company on an always lovely blog. thanks!!

St. Lucia...

i went to a beautiful swedish st. lucia (sankta lucia) festival last friday (not my photos). it was ion a lovely church on the meory campus... so beautifully decorated for christmas. it was a local volunteer choir, it's memebers of mostly swedish descent. the songs were in swedish and english... but i prefered the swedish, especially a beautiful rendition of "o holy night" by the director maria lindberg-kransmo, and also the traditional sankta maria song. wonderful! if christmas was just moments like that, it would be enough for me.

there was also a swedish christmas market yesterday, where i got to enjoy more singing while drinking coffee and eating ginger cookies... again, heaven. very nice swedish market as well. i bought a lovely st. lucia image made from bobbin lace, a traditional lace making practice. i have never heard of this technique? the artist, susanne howard was there and nicely explained it to us. add this to my list of textile art i would love to learn.

as you can probably guess i am a little bit obsessed with all things swedish... having to do with christmas, especially! watching the lucia festival and hearing the director talk about being picked as lucia herself as a child, made me wish i had grown up with more traditions like this. my family is primarily of german background... my grandmother grew up in a house with german speaking parents, but all this has been lost. i really know very little about the customs that would have been so important to my family before me, which is a little bit sad. i'm glad to see others holding onto these traditions and passing them down. what about you? do you have celebrations you hold dear and still practice each year? or have you made your own?

holiday garland...

i was happy to see that etsy is playing my felt garland tutorial again this year. i guess they liked it... it was fun for me to do, although i was sooo nervous! i'm such a naturally shy person. i can't believe that was a year ago... how much things have changed since then!

work in progress...

i'm working on a pair of pigeons for a client in brooklyn. this is my second attempt at a pattern... the first didn't work out to well. i really love making new patterns, though it can turn into a long and frustrating process. mostly, for me, this occurs because i have so little time to focus. the title to this post refers not only to the pigeons but myself. i feel like such a constant work in progress. i am in awe of the artists i know who have small children... some smaller than mine... who are able to accomplish so much more than i do. yes, this is the first year of homeschooling my older son, and carting the younger to preschool three mornings a week. i haven't been able to find the right balance yet between meeting my childrens needs and my own needs/wants. i find myself wanting to work more, but wonder if the timing is just not right. i have mostly been working with vintage patterns, which i love to do and are good for improving my technical and creative skills. I really want to start making more of my own patterns... like i have done with my birds. i have so many ideas but i am hesitant i guess to really work on them. maybe that has nothing to do with time, but my own insecurities as an artist? the same thing that keeps me from really promoting my work? it's hard to say becasue i have not been doing this very long and have never really had that freedom with time. hopefully in the next year i will start to figure these things out. that's what new years are for right? new beginnings for a work in progress like me.

new mushroom ornaments in the shop. another shop update tomorrow!

it's beginning to look a lot like...

well, you know the rest. i'm sure a lot of you who celebrate christmas are busy doing the same thing. i couldn't resist sharing some christmas tinkering going on at my house. this little-ish elf is working slowly by herself... the other big elf in the house prefers to bah humbug as i go merrily along, while the two littlest elves like to rearrange everything behind me. like i said, slow going. we will get our tree soon though!

i also wanted to share another crafty little project with you. i made the mosaic over the fire place for the holidays. it is another super easy project that brings much glee (at least to me)... thanks to miss "dottie angel" for the inspiration! she is truly the master of bringing crafty glee into the home. i used a bunch of canvas frames from the art store, some of my favorite fabrics and felt (i hoard in my stash and never want to actually use), my vintage doilies, my ever (not so) trusty glue gun (lot's of very un-merry words usually involved), and a staple gun. voila. that sound like a lot, but if you are the crafty sort, you probably have most of this (i had it all already). if not i'm sure you can get creative. i simply stapled the fabrics to the frame, glued on some doilies, or felt in holiday patterns, and added a vintage painting i found for 4 dollars and painted the frame white. hurray for crafty holiday goodness!

if you have fun holiday decor or projects to share, please do! my comment section is looking a bit spare these days, and i'm wondering if everyone has vanished? hello?

p.s. you might want to measure before hanging, or you can just go willy nilly like i do. i swear it doesn't look so crooked in person:) i'm sure i will add more to it next year to even things out... i ran out of canvas.. i guess you never know what "gleeful" objects may show up though!

new listings...

just a quick update to let you know i relisted a camel and donkey in the shop. this will be the last grey donkey... sadly, since it was recycled, i only had enough of this lovely material for one more. i will list some more mushrooms and some trees as well this week. the holidays are coming fast! i'm not really doing custom orders right now, but i'm always happy to take suggestions (especially while i'm looking for ideas for the shop). just let me know if there is something you have had your heart set on.

a little holiday craftiness...

i surprised my children this morning with a little holiday craftiness... an advent garland. i have been planning this for a while now, but if you know me, you know that means i didn't do one bit of work on it until last night. i tend to plan things out in my brain forever, but put off the actual work until necessary. luckily, it was a pretty easy project (that doesn't mean it wasn't a late night though). it is made from simple bags with a solid front and patterned back. the solid color is stamped with a number, and the bag holds a treat for each day. once it has been emptied, the bag is turned from the number side to the patterned side... making a pretty garland!

i should have gotten this together and posted it last week as a tutorial, but if you are interested, here are the basics...

gather your materials. i used mostly scraps i already have for the backing pieces, along with some inexpensive dish towels i had bought from ikea. i also use material from ikea for the red colored solid side... they are actually red curtains they had on sale for hardly anything! you can buy fabric or be clever with recycling what you already have. i cut my squares to be 5 1/2 inches squares, to make it easy to match up front and back.

then, i simply folded the top edge of each square down slightly, pinned it and sewed across the top to make a neat edge (i only folded once to make it easy). i then pinned two squares together, right sides facing in and sewed around the edge...

once the edge is sewn up, you simply turn them inside out and you have a bag (you could make yours drawstring if you want to get fancier;)...

i then stamped each one with number stamps i purchased, using a permanent ink pen (martha stewart) to make it neater, instead of a stamp pad...

then it's just a matter of hanging some clothes line, and using some clothes pins to hang them up...

and of course filling them with goodies for your little ones (mine share a bag each day that has two treats in it, including mini candy canes, chocolate coins and chocolate santas for christmas eve)!

i told you it was easy!

... look for mushroom ornaments in the shop later today, and more goodies as the week goes on.

happy thanksgiving...

i hope that all of you (americans) have a wonderful turkey day tomorrow. even if you don't eat turkey (like me) you can still celebrate the holiday... a (hopefully) relaxing day with friends and family. if you are looking for a fun little turkey craft project, may i suggest this etsy tutorial i did last year with winsome hollow. it's very simple, even (careful) children can do it. it might be a nice turkey day project. it is also a cute table decoration/gift for little ones. it sounds like i'm trying to sell it doesn't it? i guess it's a force of habit when it comes to anything etsy:)

i want to just take a moment and say how thankful i am for you. really, i'm thankful that anyone reads this blog. in a huge sea of blogs, i am humbled that you visit my little corner of the ocean. thank you.

xoxox cary

little penguin...

a new little penguin in the shop today. i love these little guys, they have such quirky personalities. they do take quite a bit of time to make... lot's of little details. i'm trying to keep my fingers busy sewing, but a lot of love and attention goes into each one, which also means a lot of time. i can't do it any other way though. every stitch is important to me. my creations will never be perfect but each one is an individual. that's what i love about handmade. as much as you strive for "perfection", it is the imperfections that make them truly special.

getting very excited for the holidays around here! i hope you are all having a wonderful thanksgiving week.

** for the etsy listing, i'm using the photos i already have from another penguin i made. i don't usually like to do this, but it has been so cloudy here i can't get any clear photos. the picture above is the actual penguin.

inspiration... thursday?

1. cloudy and rainy vases, 2. Untitled, 3. Love for tins, 4. best trash find!, 5. winter conifer, 6. for the love of autumn shrine, 7. Hans Wegner - wishbone chair in blue, 8. ...era uma vez, 9. cones, 10. Untitled, 11. pomegranate seeds, 12. Untitled, 13. used to ..., 14. curves, 15. keeping the time by breaking with gold part II, 16. deer2, 17. gifted with flowers, 18. our sunny hallway, 19. Cooper's Shop (1847), Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, 20. wip wednesday :: rainbow blanket, 21. walnut linen doll, 22. 365 days of mug shots, 23. forsaken no more..., 24. Birdalope linen pillow

maybe i should change the name of this series? wednesdays are hard. i probably do need a lot of inspiration on these days. today it is a thursday though... my one day a week set aside for nothing:) i like this day. no school, no classes. nothing scheduled but perhaps a park day, if we feel like it. or not. whatever. a stay in your pajamas all morning, and drink coffee, and read, and sew, and play kind of day. they don't always turn out to be perfect days... but at least there is the hope and the prospect. it is something to look forward to. everyone should have that. happy thursday... or whatever day you have for this... do you have special day like this? i hope so!

camels for christmas...

or anytime really. a sweet and simple little fellow, made from wool and alpaca fur (i think, i have had it for quite a bit and can't remember!). the little saddle is made from a vintage doily... doily love continues! this will be in the shop later today... after i recharge my camera battery, which died half way through uploading. oops. it's been one of those weeks.

a penguin and some trees up next! is etsy slow right now, or is it just me? oh well. i'm having fun making these little goodies!

** in the shop now!

i decided to finish the little tree i started. it is listed in the shop now. i'm keeping it at a more accessible price (i hope?), to give my shop a little bit of a range. i think it is a simple, sweet little tree and it's made from wool and cotton, with a hand painted base and vintage button. more to come in different styles and colors.

inspiration wednesday (yes it's been awhile)...

1. rise and shine, 2. Little Bouquet, 3. leaf crown, 4. surrounded, 5. 8.30, 6. sunset, 7. traversing leaves, 8. Untitled, 9. fall loves., 10. leaves, 11. Untitled, 12. sunlit leaves, 13. swan dwelling., 14. leaf, 15. baby hats and baby toes, 16. banana oat muffins, 17. Wedding No. 99, 18. Fieldmouse messenger, 19. Paper Toy Tintin, 20. ., 21. Untitled, 22. Pumpkin Patch, 23. autumn storm 024hc, 24. golden, 25. marigold dyeing, 26. 1920's Dress, 27. abandoned, 28. The yellow cabinet, 29. Yarn love, 30. The sky, the sea, the waves & the beach, 31. blackbird forest, 32. cornflower blue, 33. scrap buckets, 34. it all ready is better!, 35. wed2, 36. shelving

i cannot believe how long the fall is here in georgia (didn't i say that about the spring?). the leaves have been changing color since september and are still going! the colors are amazing and there are still so many trees to go. except for all the rain (boo) the world looks so beautiful right now (yay). my favorite time of year... except i am sooo looking forward to christmas this year. the last few years have been very humbug, which isn't like me at all. this year, i am already excited. i even bought my christmas cards this week! i never plan early for anything either! we want to decorate the yard with lights, but going to the hardware store and looking at all those extension cords and lights made me realize it looks a lot easier than it is. yikes! well, until then, i get to enjoy a glorious yard full of red, yellow and gold!

a lot of work, a lot of coffee, a lot of distractions...

i have been working this past week on my new winter collection. slow going as usual, with two little ones. i kept my project in the kitchen and tried to work here and there when the children were occupied (my son took the last photo along with a million others. i don't usually let him use my camera, so he was very happily distracted). this little grey donkey is made from a vintage pattern, that i adapted a little to make it more seasonal. i love the idea of the humble little donkey. i tried to capture a sweetness, and the image of the donkey as both a companion and helpmate to humans. i made some little trinkets for the baskets that will come with him, but they can be removed and seasonal nature items like evergreen or berries can be added. i plan to make a little brown donkey an white one as well... but next up, i think will be a penguin. or maybe a deer? or my tree project i have abandoned? too many ideas and not enough time!

** next post i will share some halloween/birthday photos!

lovely day...

i spent a lovely, mellow day with the kids yesterday. we have been taking it easy lately. just trying to enjoy time together. i always have so much anxiety about what we "should" be doing, that it can be easy to forget to enjoy what we are doing. sid drew a face on her pumpkin and then i carved it for her. i like the sweet happy face she made. she liked finding the seeds and roasting them in the oven. the kids took it upon themselves to pick flowers from the yard, and now we have these little lovelies to look at around the house. i love how they naturally bring things from the outside world in. we have these beautiful little collections of nature around the house. we have also started reading the secret garden together. a wonderful book, that is new to me as well. reading together is one of our most favorite activities. i'm trying to learn to let go a little, and learn to say yes more. to accept happiness as it comes, not how i want it to be.

thanks for all your kid thoughts yesterday. much love to you all.

i ran across this little online benefit that is going on to raise money to buy a special van for a special little boy and his mother.... wheels for henry. it looks like many etsians are participating. i wish i had some items in my shop, or i would have too. you can help out by buying something handmade. a great way to support a special cause and handmade as well! i hope you will check it out.

little objects, large memories...

today is the birthday of my oldest son, reece. he should be eight years old. even though eight years ago i couldn't imagine the pain ever, ever going away... today i look back and i am surprised that i was right. i guess, in some small part of me i thought or hoped it would eventually fade away. it doesn't.

yes, you learn to live with it. you learn to feel all the other other emotions besides sadness again, but it does not go away. maybe on his 20th, or 40th, or 60th birthday i will say something different. today, though, i still get tears when i think of him. not just on his birthday, but any day i allow myself to think of him. i don't dwell anymore but there are little moments... seeing my kids run through the park with an older friend for instance, i'll suddenly realize with surprise that they could all be mine. that is the hardest thing i guess. knowing in my heart i have three... but everyone else only sees two. i am a mom to three, but although my house is filled to the brim with the noises, and toys, and clothes on the floor and just the sheer essence of two of them, very little is evident of the third one.

when a child dies before birth, he is so very real to you. he is still your child and always will be. his presence was so very strong and unique to me, but sadly to so few others. when he was gone, i was left with so little... a perfect shell i found in the water while pregnant with him and held onto for luck. the tiny footprints taken at birth. so very few mementos, they don't even fill up the little silk box they give you to hold them. i still treasure them to this day though. i take them out on his birthday and hold them in my hand to feel closer. they are so small... but they carry such weight in my heart. just as he did. just as he still does. though my house may be a little bit emptier, my heart is still full.

happy birthday reece thomas. i love you. always.

thanks so much for the wonderful support you always give me, dear friends, and for the forum to share these thoughts. i know you will think of me with kindness when you read this, and more importantly you will think of my son. that means more than anything. it is a precious gift. i am going to close this post to comments not because i don't want to hear from you, just because i know it is hard to find the words to write something... and your kind thoughts are enough.

xoxoxo, cary

mountain weekend...

we took a lovely trip to the mountains last weekend for my husband's birthday (courtesy of his very generous parents). We stayed in a lodge, and had a wonderful time. the leaves were really coming out... you could just watch them popping with color. we took some great hikes, one ending at a waterfall. we also discovered our three year old loves nature... but not hiking so much. i'm hoping she will outgrow this. we all love to hike. she has no problem walking around the city, but stick her near a nature path (or even just mention it) and suddenly her legs are too tired to take one step!

i also discovered i am rather obsessive about taking mushroom pictures. "help mommy find more mushrooms!" was a nice way to distract Sid, but it really was for me. i can't seem to stop! my husband found it a bit much. (i have a million different ones, and i will slowly add them to my flickr... mostly for my own enjoyment).

but it is a much more enjoyable hobby than "please don't kill yourself on that ladder!". this was actually in our room at the lodge... maybe better for older kids.

i hope you are enjoying your fall so far!

** more shop updates coming after i finish up a million custom orders. i'll let you know. i will stop taking special orders after next friday (the 23rd), so get them in now. i have decided the holidays are always just too hectic for me to take anymore. i have a lot of winter items planned though!!