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remnants of christmas...

Monday, December 28

it's time to start putting away all of the decorations.
but wait.
as i looked around the house this morning, i caught glimpses of items that re-tell the story of our christmas together this year...
here are a few of my favorites...

3 "petite" pumpkin loaves leftover from the 18+ i baked and gave as gifts.

leftover peanut butter & chocolate "truffles" (if you want to be fancy)
or pb "balls" if you want to keep it real...*wink*

the uneaten gingerbread houses clara & ema made
(gotta love the sam's gingerbread house kits...)

the ornaments i got for each girl this's an annual tradition.
JOY - because that's what ella brings me.
LOVE - because that's what ema is filled with.
FAITH - because clara continues to teach me.

my gift from ema - a homemade gingerbread cookie - wonderfully decorated
and still delightful even with the two broken arms. *wink*
(note to self: bake a more "crisp" version next time).

my gift from clara - a homemade book all about "ME"
(the "your" should've been spelled "you're"...*wink*)

i had no idea she was creating this.
remember the "paperbag albums"? she found an old one i had and used it as a template.
i was in tears christmas morning looking through it.

along with the pictures and creative journaling,
she even had everyone sign it in the back of the book....
what mom doesn't LOVE things like this...??? i put away the ornaments and pack up the decorations...
my heart is full.
i hope yours it too.

i love christmas...

Friday, December 25

"i love christmas"...

those were my thoughts last night as i lay on the couch @ midnight.
everything was quiet.
the christmas tree lights on.
pandora playing in the background.
such peace in my home.
tears in my eyes.
i felt so grateful.
grateful for all of my blessings.
for each of my children & the "magic" they bring to my life.
grateful for everything good.
& a prayer in my heart for little kate & her family.
and my thoughts of all of you...celebrating with your families & loved ones...

merry christmas...
happy holidays...
happy hanukkah...
happy kwanzaa...

it whatever capacity you celebrate...
i wish it to be merry...
and happy...
for you & your family.

holiday ooo's & xxx's,

magical birthday wishes...

Monday, December 21

when i got word from kim @ tomkatstudio birthday gifts/decor items were being gathered to send to kate for her 6th birthday...i knew immediately i wanted to be part of it.

but what in the world could/should i send?
i wanted it to be magical.
i wanted it to be special.
i wanted it to be something she could share.
AND something to keep all to herself.

i REALLY was at a loss.
what do you send a beautiful little girl who's about to turn 6 -
a little girl who's been through so much -
too much.
a little girl & her family who've demonstrated tremendous courage and who've touched the lives of so many people by sharing their personal journey.
a little girl who doesn't have much of an appetite.
a little girl who may or may not be feeling well enough to celebrate.
& a little girl who may or may not be in the hospital on her birthday.

and THEN...i was inspired by a photo from kate's blog.
it was a picture of kate blowing bubbles as part of her therapy.

that's it!
bubbles are perfect for a birthday party.
the more i thought about it,
the more i thought it was JUST the thing to send kate.

bubbles are magical all on their own.
but how do i make them "special"?
then i found this...

a beautiful, magical bubble wand...

but then what if kate was too exhausted to blow her own bubbles...

that's when i decided on sending kate her very own PINK bubble machine...
she could have a room filled with bubbles to share with everyone, if she wanted...that's magical.

so, i decided to send both.
a bubble machine for sharing bubbles with her family at home...OR with everyone at the hospital, a special beautiful bubble wand just for kate and of course some bubble solution.

since kate's birthday is the day after christmas, kim @ tomkatstudio created red & "pool blue" snowflake-themed birthday decorations for kate's birthday celebration. i knew i wanted the wrapping to match...

so, i swapped out the original bubble packaging on two bottles of bubbles, (one for kate, one for the bubble machine), wrapped up the pink bubble machine & butterfly bubble wand using blue ribbon & perfect red snowflake bows, threw in a pack of C batteries for the machine and put them in a box...

...and then stuffed in some blue & red tissue as filler.

i've never felt more happy/excited to mail off a gift.
it satisfied every little detail i was trying to touch on...

i hope kate finds it magical.

i've never even met kate.
but i love her. i REALLY love her.
(as crazy as that sounds)
she has forever touched my life.
her family has touched my life.
and i'm grateful.

this feeling - year round...

Friday, December 18

ever have a feeling inside...warm fuzzies...genuine laughter...pure comfort?
a feeling you felt for just a moment but felt it so deeply you knew you never wanted it to go away?

i get these feelings sometimes when i come across inspired photos of home decor items.
it sounds silly...i know. but i think as a female, i'm always trying to convey that warm feeling in my home - so my children feel it - so that anyone who walks through my door can feel it.

these photos from stylemepretty (via grey likes weddings) took my breath away when i found them the other day.
because i found myself with that "feeling inside"...
i was moved to the point that i wanted to throw out every holiday decor item i have and re-create this mood...this ambience...

and although these are pictures of "holiday" items...
they convey a feeling i want in my house...not just through the holidays...but year round.

the wrapping...
the pompoms...
the glass...
the rosemary...
the mix of burlap, lace & yarn...

it's organic...

it's "home"...

what's "your" definition of "home"?
find what inspires YOU.
and surround yourself with whatever that is.

now...i'm off to finish holiday shopping & errands today.
looking forward to attending a company christmas party with j on saturday night.
and also looking forward to the fact that this is the girls' last day of school before holiday break. (i see gingerbread houses in the very near future)...*wink*

there's still time...

Thursday, December 17

i'm mailing off our family donation to "kate's crazy cool christmas"...

these are the things that give meaning to my holiday season.
i can't tell you how much this family/kate's story has touched my heart.

this is kate...
i can't help but be moved by those beautiful crystal blue eyes...

there's still time to send something if you'd like to be part of some magic this holiday season.
go to for more details...

christmas & curls

thought i'd share some pictures of ella's "christmas curls"...

this one is my favorite

funny little grin...

curls from another angle...
(look at her ear/headband...should've fixed that...*grumbling*)

sweet ella pie...

i adore her.

now...i must continue marking things off of my "to-do" list.
i'm sure ALL of our lists our long this holiday season...

can't wait to share some inspiration i came across's GORGEOUS!

cranberries + popcorn

Tuesday, December 15

sunday night i got out the cranberries & popcorn...

added a little needle & thread
along with some green gingham fabric scraps
to work a little popcorn & cranberry garland magic...

go ahead...get a little closer...


i've only done this a couple of times.
& it'd been a few years.
the girls were thrilled when i mentioned the possibility.
so we did it together.
we used whole cranberries this year.
i've also used craisins - they're a bit more "sticky" but still "oh so cute".

& keeping it real...
ema & i did our strands on sunday night while watching the grinch. clara was finishing her science project. so, it wasn't until monday night clara worked on hers).

so we DID do it together...kind of. *wink*

merry tuesday to you all...

ornament exchange favorites

Monday, December 14

good monday morning to everyone.

i'm so excited to be sharing some fun holiday ornaments with you.
these are handmade ornaments i created in the past for an annual ornament exchange i used to participate in.

8 to 10 of us girls would gather on a designated night to have dinner and exchange the surprise ornaments we'd been working on.
it was sO. mUcH. fUn!

these are a few of my favorites...(don't mind all of the fraying going on...didn't notice it until after i posted the pics...funny).

this one i created using some cute clipart, printable fabric & cute holiday fabric.
the blanket stitching, 3 silver bells, raffia, pinking shears
& some thick wire for hanging, were perfect finishing touches.
(lots of fraying going on in this one...did you notice? *wink*)

this cute little snowman was the beginning of my paperclay addiction.
the glitter, the red little heart & the gingham scarf are my favorite details.
i laminated the "happy holidays" sign in order to preserve it through the years. good call. *wink*
(& look at that lonesome string...dangling there by itself *wink*)

i got out the sculpey clay for this one!
this looks sooooo stinkin' real...seriously.
my favorite "key" touch to this was using shrink wrap to
make the lollipop look like the real thing.

see....look closely and you can see the glare of the shrink wrap on the "lollipop".
sO cUtE!

if you are considering making some handmade ornaments this year, i hope these give you just the inspiration you need to get going...

only 10 more days left before we gather with our families and celebrate our blessings together.

holiday hugs & kisses to you all!

fluffy white christmas inspiration

Wednesday, December 9

oh my.
such delicious eye candy i stumbled upon yesterday.
what's candy if you don't share it?
so here you go...

this is from yespleaseblog and there are more delightful pictures & even the design concept
just look at those gorgeous colors.
look at the meringue topiary. (brilliant)
love the greens and whites together - with the splashes of earthy browns from the goodies & greenery.
just beautiful.

(thanks for the inspiration kelly...your site has been added to my blog list).

enjoy -
& have a wonderfully delicious wednesday.

tomkatstudio holiday card inspiration...

Tuesday, December 8

i've been creating holiday cards, among other things...
thought i'd share the latest i did for my aunt & her family.
i took the picture on thanksgiving...remember? from this post?

the christmas tree inspiration came from tomkatstudio - thanks kim. hope you don't mind that i recreated it. your printable invitation is SO cute....i couldn't help myself.

holiday hugs to you all...

3 different themes - 1 color scheme

Monday, December 7

i've been asked to help plan a baby shower for a friend, ally.
she's expecting her very 1st girl! (she's got two little boys already).

needless to say...
we are all VERY excited to add some "sugar & spice" to a very testosterone-filled home...*wink*

i was given these colors to work with:
i was told to keep it simple since we're so short on time. (the shower is going to be held on january're pressed for time to come up with a theme and create an invite to send out).

with a color palette to guide me and my realization that this is a "winter shower", here's a peek at my "brain-storming/creativity process" of creating the invites and ultimately...the final theme for the shower.

thanks to @littlepinkbox on twitter, i first came across THIS invite from tinyprints with the whole idea of hosting a "feathering her nest" baby shower. (where have i been because apparently this has been done before but this was completely new to me?).

cute, right?
the original invite from tinyprints had a "masculine" feel to them so i had to "girl-ify" them.
just a little squiggly nest i created in adobe illustrator & i swapped out the blue egg for a pink one.
and all of the requested color elements were used.

but wait.
i couldn't help but think of using a cute little sheep for the theme because the colors
were so perfect.
so i created this - also using adobe illustrator.

omgoodness. is the little sheep not just the cutest thing you've ever seen?!
remember...the scarf is because this is a "winter shower" but you could easily remove it for a "spring shower"?
i'm so proud of that delicious little creature i created. i could eat it up.
i had visions of doing everything "cotton" related - from decor to favors.
*clearing throat very loudly to indicate something so clever about to be mentioned*....
"how about pink cotton candy as favors"? GET. OUT.

but then....

ally & her mom shared with me a few "key" facts
- the crib in the nursery is black
- she's using the penelope bedding from potterybarn kids.
- THIS white vinyl wall cling is going in the nursery.
- she loves white branches
- she loves polka dots

i was completely inspired.

i went right to work in creating yet a 3rd invitation to include the white wall cling & incorporating the birds/polka dots from the aforementioned bedding.


i've received "approval" to place the order.
thanks for all of your help vic. (and ally).
i'm so completely satisfied with how they all turned out.
3 VERY DIFFERENT shower themes...all from one color scheme!
(hey...that rhymed...*snickering*) planning, decorating strategies & favors await!

hope this inspires you -
have a MAGICAL monday...

Thursday, December 3

have you noticed the link in my side bar?

i've been following this story for some time now and it totally pulls at my heartstrings. i first heard about kate's story from rhonna's site when she mentioned "cards for kate". i have since seen it several other places now. kim @ tomkatstudio created the logo above and posted it on her site to help spread the word. i think it's an amazingly cool idea for this family to embark on - all while feeling the sting of heartache in their own lives. it's truly inspirational.

kate will also be celebrating her 6th birthday this month. (december 26th). kim @ tomkatstudio is putting together some things to help her celebrate. if you'd like to help out with that as well, go to kim's site and email her for more information.

so there you go.
two different things you can choose to be involved in...
all for one special little girl.

for the "kate's cool christmas"...go here.
"enter site" and click on the "christmas" link.

i know i'll be participating with my own family. i encourage you to do the same.

have a beautiful thursday.

get your "holiday simmer" on...

Wednesday, December 2

gather these few ingredients together and you're minutes away from getting your "holiday simmer" on...*wink*

seriously. i've found this to be one of my most favorite and most simple ways of inviting the "holiday spirit" into my home. It fills the air with a most wonderful scent. the best part only takes minutes, few ingredients & little effort.

for those of you who've tried this...have you got yours going yet this holiday season?
for those who are new to this & curious...keep reading.

here's what you'll need:
3 orange slices
5-6 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks

here's what you do:
- fill a small saucepan with water
- add the ingredients listed above
- bring the saucepan to a boil
- reduce to simmer
- simmer for as long as you want & continue to replenish water as needed

although this is wonderful as is...feel free to get creative with this.
change up the amounts of the ingredients to suit your taste/smell.
and then get crazy and add your favorite spices.
i happen to love nutmeg and vanilla so i added those for some extra goodness.
and i love the look of the peel from a red apple - so i threw that in there too. even looks pretty simmering on the stove?

the BEST part?
you can package up the simple ingredients & include a list of instructions to share with neighbors/friends/family/teachers/bus's a simple holiday gift.
it's easy.
it's thoughtful.
and it's a great way to help jump start the holiday spirit...

here we go again...

Tuesday, December 1

uh oh...

the "creative bug" has bitten me again...
i'm on the search for some fun inspiration for an upcoming baby shower i've been asked to help throw.

how cute is this cake from pinkcakebox -

must gather my ideas for the invitations, do a rough draft, have them "approved", send them off for printing and start putting it all together...

no pressure. *wink*
i LOVE this kind of stuff.'s totally bugging me that i haven't changed my blog header yet to reflect the NEW upcoming holiday season. but hey...the new holiday music i've got pumpin' is good...huh?

and i MUST mention a huge THANK YOU to sara over at partyperfect.

she featured ella's birthday party on her blog today... sara is a former art director for martha stewart baby and kids magazines...hello! she shares lots of fun ideas on her site and she currently designs for hicks paper goods. (part of whitney english company). i'm completely flattered...thanks again sara. now....go check out her site...

thanksgiving 2009

Saturday, November 28

what a day.
what a BEAUTIFUL day.
clear skies & sunshine.
high's in the low 70's.

first...the pumpkin cupcakes i made...
inspired by (see this post).

ella riding "junebug"
ema at ella's side and kalie holding junebug steady.
yes...i was very nervous when i realized susan had put ella on the horse.
i mean look how little ella is compared to how monstrous the horse is...

but she looked so darn cute up in the saddle. doesn't she?
one handed...what's up with that? like she's been riding her whole life! *wink*

the only picture i got of ema all day.
she was mad. she did NOT want her picture taken.
she wanted to be doing what clara was doing...

this is what clara was doing.
she recently learned to canter with junebug and now that's all she thinks about.
and this was my only picture of clara all day...

ella playing "peek-a-boo"

one-handed "peek-a-boo"
her other hand was occupied with the dog toy she was carrying.

holly & madison
lovin' madi's lips!

todd, chrystal, cody & cooper

ron & wendy

susan, dan, nate, kalie & beau
(& the canines...cutter & bruiser)

my fave picture of the day...

no pictures of me or j this year.
nonetheless, we had a nice day out at susan and dan's.
we appreciate them hosting the thanksgiving dinner this year.
lots of good food and good company.

i hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend as well - with your friends/family/loved ones.

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