birthdays galore

wyatts birthday

amelias birthday

birthday girl


chasing gma

sweet thing

fun weekend


Birthday parties galore this weekend! Swimming lessons with Daddy at the community pool. Lots of friends, old and new. And a great evening dinner and walk with the grandparents.

How was your weekend?

*I’ll be in and out of this space depending on how my oral surgery goes on wednesday. Wish me luck!
Also, I have a peg doll tutorial <eek!> and a giveaway happening over on this fantastic blog. Check it out!

– Weekending with Pumpkin Sunrise.


Late June Garden and other bits

june garden

The garden is flourishing. All of a sudden, things just seem to be taking off. We have corn (that we are attempting to pollinate by hand), lots of kale (once again), tomatoes that are finally showing some buds, a few carrots and some broccoli and pumpkins galore! Plus, Jeff’s hop vine is growing pretty steadily too.




garden late june

As you can see, I pulled out all that kale in the first garden box. It now has a new home with a man who traded us for the flower box. It’s so much fun eating from the garden. Tonight we had home-grown swiss chard, kale and spinach tossed into a pasta dish. The best!
miss rumphius

I just finished making another story telling set for my etsy shop. It’s one of my favorite all time children’s books, Miss Rumphius. It was so much fun making this little set. I almost want to keep it for myself.
miss rumphius too


She even has a pocket on the opposite side to peek out of (or to keep your lupine seeds).

belugaI’m lucky to belong to a few wonderful online communities of incredible artisans of children’s toys and lucky enough to sometimes get toys for trade. Ellie received a beautiful wooden Beluga whale in the mail this week. I’m as smitten with the whale as she is. It’s a beautifully handcrafted toy and Ellie has been thrilled that her fish and mermaid have a new friend. You can check out Allison’s shop here. There are so many fantastic artisans out there. I’m hoping one day to be able to make these little wooden creatures too. They are just so magical.
fishy friends


baby beluga

She also made the connection that her beluga whale was in a book too. We’ve been singing lots of Baby Beluga around these parts.

So that’s what’s happening in these late days of June…. Tomorrow is my birthday and then next week I go in for some oral surgery to hopefully fix some tooth aches as well as a lot of sinus trouble I’ve been having. Wish me luck. I may not be in this space very much next week but I’ll try to at least make it for next week’s portrait project.

Tree Block Fun

So I’ve had it in my mind to buy Ellie some tree blocks for her birthday this year. I had seen a few sets online and although they were rather pricey, I loved the look and thought of her building with earthy tree blocks and so I thought I would buy them. Something kept me from doing it though. And then our neighbor’s tree lost a large branch in a wind storm a few weeks ago. The branch had the most beautiful bark and I had it in my head to maybe make our own. I had my Dad drag the large branch over to our yard and there it sat for another week. We rent our house and with it comes a weekly gardening service to trim trees and mow the lawn. Well, the gardeners were here a couple of weeks ago and decided they would cut that large branch down to smaller chunks and take it away with them. I stopped them before they loaded the smaller logs up in their truck. “Wait, I’m saving that!” I ran out to them! I think they thought I was nuts but I was thankful they cut it into log sized pieces. Well, that very same week, I stumbled upon this post by Dawn about making your own tree blocks and it really inspired me that I could do this and make Ellie her own tree blocks. With some help from my strong husband and his wood working tools, we worked together to cut up some smaller block like sizes for Ellie and then I spent the next day or so, sanding the edges on each piece and finishing them with a bit of beeswax and jojoba oil to make them shine. They turned out lovely and it was almost therapeutic, sanding and waxing into the wee hours of the night after Ellie went to sleep.
I saved myself a lot of money by making these myself and even though it was a process, it was a fulfilling process, that I thoroughly enjoyed. (As you can see, I couldn’t wait for Ellie’s birthday to give them to her).
tree block 1



waxing all




Weekending: Summer Solstice Edition!

“When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow’rs aflush,—then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,—
To walk with Nature heart by heart,
Till wearied out at last I lie
Where some sweet stream steals singing by
A mossy bank; where violets vie
In color with the summer sky,—
Or take my rod and line and hook,
And wander to some darkling brook,
Where all day long the willows dream,
And idly droop to kiss the stream,
And there to loll from morn till night—
Unheeding nibble, run, or bite—
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
The birds’ song and the water’s drone,
The humming bee’s low monotone,
The murmur of the passing breeze,
And all the sounds akin to these,
That make a man in summer time
Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.
Joy springs all radiant in my breast;
Though pauper poor, than king more blest,
The tide beats in my soul so strong
That happiness breaks forth in song,
And rings aloud the welkin blue
With all the songs I ever knew.
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.” 
– In Summer Time by Paul Dunbar 1872-1906

summer time banner

strawberry smoothie

farmers market goodness

solstice dinner

gma love

butterfly exhibit

zebra striped

more butterfly

orange butterfly


more butterfly

white butterfly


you caught one!

flower garden

flower garden ellie size

mama and ellie

We had one lovely Summer Solstice weekend! Full of new summer banners, strawberry/spinach smoothies in the morn, fresh fruit and veggies with a visit to the farmers market. Jeff cooked a solstice chicken on the grill for dinner Saturday and my parents came over to enjoy it with us. We had a beautiful sunday visit to the Natural History Museum where we caught the wonderful new butterfly house exhibit. I thought it was pretty magical being surrounded by all those butterflies. Ellie and Jeff weren’t so sure. They do make for some fantastic photos though. There was also a new “camping exhibit” perfect for the littlest of children. There were tree blocks to play with, dramatic play set ups and all sorts of buttons and nobs to push, pull and turn. Ellie had a blast! Then we finished the weekend up by planting flowers in our new box. Would you believe a man gave us this beautiful handmade flower box for free after I gave him a hearty helping of our kale?! A perfect weekend to ring in the summer! On to more crafting this week and lots of laundry (that didn’t get done this weekend) and then my birthday this Friday! Happy Summer to you!! Hope your weekend was a lovely one!
p.s. Thanks Jeff for capturing some sweet moments between Ellie and I this weekend!

-joining in with weekending over at Pumpkin Sunrise. 

Portrait Project


eloise: Dressed in your special sweater and your favorite bee pants, we walk down to the neighborhood park. You are usually pushing one of your babies or wooden animals in your stroller. I ask you if you want to slide? No. How about climb? No. “Swing Mama.” You say. “Squeaky? no.” You point to the swing that Mama doesn’t mind pushing you in (the others are VERY loud and squeaky). I push you. “High Mama.” You say. I push a little harder and you throw your head back into the wind and give me a happy, thankful smile.

-joining Jodi for the 52 project.

Things I’m Grateful For

For the second year in a row now, one of my oldest and dearest friend’s and I are practicing a gratitude ritual. We email each other every Friday with three single lines. Three things we are each grateful for. When I first approached her with the idea I felt a bit silly. I had read how practicing a gratitude journal or something along those lines was good for maintaining a healthy, balanced life. But saying these things to another person felt weird, like I was bragging or showing off. But as soon as we got started, I loved it. It never feels like bragging, in fact, it feels humble to reflect on the things I have to be grateful for each week. It also brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart to read my friend’s gratitude list each week. I feel honored knowing some of her most treasured moments and it brings even more gratitude to my life. I’m grateful for the weekly reminders to be fully present in this life. So with this in mind, I thought I’d express some gratitudes here for the month of June. You are welcome to play along too. I’d love to hear or see what you’re grateful for this month too. Link up or leave a comment with your gratitudes.

mama sun

Getting ready for the solstice this weekend, the official changing of the seasons!

cardsReceiving thoughtful cards from dear friends.
new peg dollsCrafting out the time to create, daily (The Little Prince Peg Doll and Mini Mat and my Miss Rumphius).

truck girlA well-rounded little one, who enjoys trucks and dinosaurs just as much as she likes Frozen.
peg walk

The daily surprise of who gets the coveted walk in the stroller.
june gardenA flourishing June garden
cloverAfternoon walks in the park
with this childWith this spunky kid.

readingGetting to watch these two spend time together.
gratefulOh, I am grateful indeed.


Ana meet Ellie

So Ellie got this adorable blue sweater from her Gramma a few weekends ago while we were in Santa Barbara for the Ocean Festival. Ellie hasn’t taken this sweater off in weeks. She wants to constantly wear her “Gramma sweater”, for naps, on walks in 70 degree weather. Ellie’s lucky we live so close to the beach breeze that’s been coming in every afternoon. Her sweater is getting lots of wear. Well, the other night it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet made an Ellie peg doll. The first thought that came to mind was how sweet a little Ellie peg doll with a blue sweater would be. And when I get ideas like this in my head, it’s hard to stop my hands from going to work.

meet ellie

Meet Ellie Peg Doll. She’s outfitted in the panda sleep shirt I made her months ago and her new bee pants she was handed down by her little buddy Summer (another piece of clothing she is coveting lately).

the sweaterAnd here she is adorned in her turquoise sweater. I used little scraps of wool felt to create the sweater, even including the white pockets she loves so much.

right view

left viewI added a little tiny button that I secured onto the sweater as well, for the finishing touch. I am rather taken with the whole thing myself.

Ellie seemed to be pretty impressed with the whole thing. She looked it over. She smiled at it and chatted with Ellie Peg doll and then when she tried to pull her hood over her head and realized I had sewn it down, she threw poor Ellie Peg Doll across the room and then proceeded to throw herself on the floor. (Note to self: when making replicas of my daughter in peg form, it is pertinent to replicate EVERY single detail, including a working hood. Thankfully, I only got the happy photos on camera). After we talked about her being upset because Ellie peg doll had no hood, I asked her if she would like to introduce Ellie Peg Doll to the rest of her wooden collection. And in cuteness overload, she marched right over to her table, picked up her good friend Ana (from Frozen of course) and the best of friends were made.
ellie meets ellie

look its elllie

its me!

ellies happy

me and her

reaching for her

ellie meet ana


they were friends