This weekend we enjoyed some time with Jeff’s parents, we got the house back in order from last weekend’s birthday party and today, I had the honor of attending a beautiful memorial for one of my oldest and dearest friend’s mother, who passed away  last week after a long battle with cancer. It was touching and quite surreal to be there. This friend and I have known each other since middle school and although I didn’t know her mother well, being there to celebrate her mother’s life and hug and cry with her really touched my soul. I sat next to my other dear childhood friend throughout the service, her five-week old baby cradled close in her arms, and the emotions I was feeling were so very strong. It was something else. I can’t quite put my feelings into words, at least not eloquently. Never the less, I was honored to be there and hear stories about a life well lived and loved.

-joining Karen for Weekends.

Portrait Project

33/52eloise: We planted this sunflower months ago from a seed in a cup, we got at library storytime. This week it finally bloomed. It felt a bit symbolic to me, waiting to bloom a week after you turned two. The reminder that you are growing and blossoming as well as the world around you. Blossom and grow my little one, just not too quickly.

-joining jodi and the 52 project!

Portrait Project

“A Two Year Old”
A two-year old is so many things
a tiny discoverer of butterfly wings.
A hugger of teddies, a sweet sleepy head. 
And someone to dream for in bright years ahead. 
A special new person who right from the start, 
has a place in the family and a coarse in your heart.
And just when you think you’ve learned all the things, 
that you dear daughter is, and the joy that she brings,
a hug or a grin comes with such a sweet surprise, 
that love finds you smiling with tears in your eyes. 

-joining Jodi for the 52 project!

Weekending: Second Birthday Edition!

More birthday fun was had as it spilled into this weekend. We had a pretty large party with lots of family and lots of friends. I think at times it was a bit overwhelming for Ellie (she did NOT want to blow out candles or have people sing Happy Birthday to her) but she enjoyed her one on one times with many of her friends and family members. There were lots of smiles and busy play and presents this year took on a new, much more exciting meaning too. It was a lovely day with so many wonderful friends and family to celebrate with.
2 wreathThe “Two” wreath I made up-cycling from last year’s. Ellie is a big Sendak fan (Where The Wild Things Are, The Night Kitchen and One Was Johnny are some of her favorite books), so I felt a watercolor “Max” would be perfect.
the houseA shot of our little house decked out for the party. I printed out Ellie’s Monthly Photos from 12 months to 24 months and hung them banner style in the main room.
carouselI could not get a decent shot of the centerpiece I made (so forgive the darkness in this photo). I worked on this centerpiece for weeks to get it right. Last year, my mom made hot air balloons as the centerpiece and this year, since one of Ellie’s most favorite things is riding the carousel and another favorite book of hers is Up and Down The Merry-Go-Round, I thought I’d try to recreate a little merry-go-round for her.
horseysI bought blank wooden horses from here and sanded them till their edges were smooth and rounded, wood burned the designs on each of them and then used watercolors to paint them. Lastly, I sealed them with a non toxic sealant and rubbed them down with beeswax so give them a softer texture. I was very happy how they turned out and Ellie has been carrying them around all weekend (they aren’t attached to the carousel).
The carousel on the other hand was a lot more difficult to figure out. The base was just a round wooden blank clock piece I found at the craft store. I used an old lamp shade, cut it in half and mod-podged a whole bunch of fabric scraps to it. Then I sewed a mini tent for the top, attached that to the lamp shade and made a banner for the very top out of felt and fabric. Everything is attached to the base by a simple wooden dowel. I hot glued some straws to the wooden base and attached ribbons to each of them. Then I placed the horses in front of the straws to make it look like they were attached. It ended up a bit on the crooked side, but I think it still worked. Ellie loved it, so I guess that’s all that matters right?
the whole set upAnother angle.
mac and cheeseWe had a little mac and cheese bar for the little ones (with all of Ellie’s favorite veggies like peas and broccoli) and a make your own sandwich station outside.
ribbonsA line full of fabric scraps to brighten it up outside.
tentsWith one of last years tee pee’s making an encore appearance, we had books and balls and musical instruments and tunnels and two sensory bins to keep the kiddos busy.
cupcakesAnd Jeff worked overtime the night before, cooking 75 carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. We were all frosting, minutes before guests arrived (and no, we didn’t have 75 people. We just wanted to make sure we had seconds. This recipe was so delicious thanks Shannon)!

g parents

Unfortunately, I did not get a great picture of the birthday girl in her handmade Gramma dress.

dancingBut it was adorable on and Ellie loved the pockets and I’m so grateful I have a mom who can sew up a special birthday dress- she’s amazing!

peggiesWe sent everyone home with a little hand-painted birthday gnome.
ta daRealizing days before that we had more children coming than I had anticipated and therefore was short on gnomes, I’m thankful I am connected to an amazing online community and Claudia was able to send me out more little blank peg dolls just in time for me to finish these guys for the party.

It was a really wonderful day and I hope one that Ellie will remember, or at least enjoy seeing pictures of later on.
The rest of the weekend was a nice one. We had Nana and Papa with us (they are here for two weeks staying in the next town over). We enjoyed some time at the beach, played with new birthday toys and Ellie really enjoyed seeing the super moon and reading about the moon (a new fascination these days).
super moon date

moon books

*those lovely wooden moon toys are from here.

-joining Pumpkin Sunrise for Weekends.

Summer Swapping

This summer between the preparations for Ellie’s birthday party (this Saturday) and the numerous other orders I’ve been working on for my store, I was able to squeeze in two blogger swaps too. The first swap was really me, begging another blogger to let me buy one of her beautiful hand carved stamps after seeing her make several on her blog. (I met Jenny through a previous blogger swap. Ellie and I sent goodies to her youngest daughter for a children’s swap) She was wonderfully sweet and offered up a trade. A couple of her incredible stamps for some of my peg dolls. A family of six peg dolls to be exact. I was so excited for this swap and painting her adorable family was so much fun!
jennys pegs
Unfortunately, I never got some great photos of the peg family, but hop on over to Jenny’s blog for plenty of great action shots.


more stamp

I received Jenny’s beautiful stamps soon after I sent these guys off. They are so well made and lovely and now I’ll have something very special to stamp on my Etsy store purchase bags and cards. Thank you so much Jenny. These stamps will be treasured dearly!

The other swap I was in was Amanda’s summer blogger swap. I had participated previously and sent a package to a lovely blogger and received the most amazing package from this wonderful blogger (I still use most of her swap goodies on a daily basis). This time around, I got a very inspirational blogger who I had been following here and there prior to the swap. I was a little intimidated about making things for her because her blog is just so full of beauty and inspiration. I wasn’t sure my skills could measure up. But, I tried to make a few things I thought she would enjoy.
swapI stuck with a  light purpley color scheme because I noticed she mentioned the color purple a lot. I knew she enjoyed being in the kitchen so I made her some lemon salt from lemons in our garden. Homemade granola and a hot pad too. I also made a matching fabric coaster too for those cups of tea.
artTracey uses beautiful quotes a lot on her blog and I really wanted to incorporate one of them into something special for her. I took one of my favorites and painted her a picture with watercolor and pen of some of (what I perceived) were her favorite things; knitting and a fig tree (she mentions both many times on her blog).
And last but not least, I wanted to make a little something for her grand-daughter Emerson. It seemed like Emerson was a big part of Tracey’s life and I wanted to recognize that. (I also absolutely loved when Christina sent Ellie some handmade things in the last blogger swap). I thought it was only right to paint Emerson in the horse t-shirt Tracey bought from Cory,since I’ve met Cory in person a few times (blogger world go round). :)
I’ve already heard from Tracey and I’m so thankful she likes everything. It was certainly a joy to make all of these things for her and to get to know her a little better through her blog. I think that is really the best part of these swaps, getting to know people all over the country. It’s a strange sort of pen pal kind of thing and it really is wonderful making things and receiving things from new friends. I’m excited to receive my gift, hopefully soon.