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.

Your Second Birthday

perpetual calendar

You woke up around 7am. Downstairs, your table was dressed up with special birthday things. A perpetual calendar with the today’s date. And a birthday gnome sitting on top, his crown magically very similar to your birthday crown.


A new Mama-made farm play mat. A wooden airplane, a Mama-made “Two” t-shirt to go with your birthday crown from last year and the very special Mama-made Busy Book all wrapped up.
she likes it!You opened your busy book and seemed to love it. Pointing out the pictures and each pages function.
kite pageYou carried the kite from the kite page with you all morning and even tried to take it to the library, but Mama thought it was a safer idea to leave it home.
the train

dressing ellie


Then you went back over to the table to explore your new farm play mat.

a frogYou put the pigs to sleep and you talked about all the vegetables and fruits in the garden.

birthday peg doll

It seemed to tickle you that the birthday gnome was wearing the same crown as you).
photoWe took your monthly photo after we had all gotten dressed.
the winnerAnd then we were off to the library for storytime to meet your friend Summer and her Mommy.
story time


slide fun

We had a few “two-year-old” struggles while out and about. Maybe a little too much fun.  By the end of the morning, you were over-tired and very grumpy. So a nap was had.

And when you woke up, your very favorite people in the world were there to greet you, Gramma and Grandpa. We enjoyed lunch and you got to ride the merry-go-round at our local mall. We ate dinner together and then ended the evening with your very first ice cream cone (you’ve had licks of ice cream before but never a whole cone to yourself. You were thrilled).
first cone


A warm bath when we got home, goodbyes to the grandparents and bedtime after that. A very busy, somewhat emotional and partly challenging, joyful, happy first day of being two years old.
Happy Birthday Eloise Harper!

What 2 Has in Store…

I lay here in the dark next to her sleeping body. My mind returns to two years earlier. At 11:02 pm, I had only begun the long arduous journey of birthing my precious girl. I can still remember those tough bits and pieces. Contractions in the hallway of the hospital, working so hard to make it though the night and into the morning and back into the night again. And then just like that, she was here and I was a mother and Jeff was a father and we never slept again (well, Jeff slept again). The first year went by so quickly. Smiles, cooing, long walks having her tiny body pressed up against mine in the carrier, crawling, walking, talking, playing…And now here we are two years later. This beautiful, smart, challenging, amazing child- a two-year old. Some days we struggle with finding our rhythm. We spend so much time together, morning, noon and night, I am right there with her. Most days we enjoy each others company. She makes me laugh and tickles me with joy. I’m finding, the days of being pressed close in a carrier are fading away. She’ll tells me she doesn’t want to be picked up. She’ll hold my hand instead. She’s a two-year old. Her legs are longer, her body stronger. Words spill out of her mouth quicker than thoughts go into her head. Her eyes light up with amazement at the world around her. She takes everything in and tried to understand it. She’s still very cautious about the people and the things in her world. But, every once in a while, she gets off my lap and jumps head first into whatever excites her.

It’s almost midnight. Two years ago, I had twenty plus more hours to go till her sweet face made its appearance. Oh what a glorious ride these two years have been. I’m certainly looking forward to what 2 has in store.



almost two


It was my Dad’s birthday this weekend so we spent most of the weekend with him and my family. Some Sprinkles cupcakes, some beer and pizza at a local restaurant, some running around chasing Ellie and some frisbee with the whole family at the park down the street. It was a very nice weekend. Now, finishing up for Ellie’s birthday on the 5th, Nana and Papa flying in on Friday and Saturday the big Birthday Bash.

gpa and ellie 1


funny gpa





beautiful baby

running with ut

climbing trees

*weekending with pumpkin sunrise

Portrait Project

31/52eloise: A few days shy of two years old and this picture tells a story… You are silly. You are moody. You are loving. You are slow to warm up but full of life and joy for those you are comfortable with. You are strong-willed and smart. You sing songs and you love to dance and move. You swing and always ask to be pushed higher. You want to balance along the walls and sometimes don’t want to hold my hand. You talk to our dogs and tell them stories about your day. You love your Grandma so fiercely, you sometimes forget your Mama is here too. You delight in carousels and pinwheels and trains and kitty kats. You shower me with kisses and hugs but can push me away just as fast. I love every bit of this almost two-year old. From the frowns to the smiles. You are my sunshine girl.

-joining Jodi for the 52 project.