Kid Friendly Nativity

I really wanted to have a nativity set this year that the kids could play with. I scoured the internet and found several decent toy like options, but the prices were pretty high and the characters were caucasian. Maybe it’s a small thing, but I really prefer something more accurate in that regard. So then I looked on etsy and found some gorgeous hand felted sets that I LOVE, but cannot at this time afford. Last, I checked Pinterest and found lots of nativity sets made from wooden peg people. I decided that I could just make a set and here’s what I came up with.

The pegs came from Amazon and I soaked them in coffee to get the wood a little darker.


I painted them with milk paint, because my husband had some laying around and then drew on them with a sharpie pen. I sprayed some sort of finishing spray (again, stolen from my husband) on top so that the kids couldn’t scratch the paint off.nativity2 nativity3

I decided to make an extra little boy Jesus, because by the time the wisemen got to him he was two. I realize that peg is a little tall for a two year old, but it was as close as I could get with my options.nativity4 nativity5

I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The kids have been enjoying playing with them. Norah calls them all her babies! I can’t wait until next year when we are in our house and can have a good spot to keep them set up.


Queen Anne’s Lace

Summer may be the least inspiring time of the year for me. Maybe because it’s just too hot to do things or because I don’t love the colors of summer as much as other seasons. Whatever the case as soon as late summer hits my wheels start turning again. I see the Queen Anne’s lace all grey and dried up like skeletons next to the blooming goldenrod and know that the seasons are moving on. I see the sumac berries of deep, deep red and know that their leaves will be among the first to turn, easy to spot in their signature red. I see the trees heavy with growth and know that this growth must stop, lest it swallow the earth. And then in late summer, when I can see the signs that fall will come once again, my inspiration is reborn.

I also remember that I never did post about the Queen Anne’s Lace dye bath I did back during the summer. Oops. So here it is. And hopefully there will be more to come now that my soul seems to be waking up from a nice summer hibernation.

I was pretty blown away by the Queen Anne’s Lace. Sure, the book said it would give me some yellows, but it’s just hard to believe sometimes. It grows all over the place out here, so I didn’t have to go far to find some. I did have to get online and figure out exactly how to identify it, because I came home with what was very clearly two different plants.

I feel like this image is showing up a little warmer than what it looks in real life, but here it is.queen anne's lace

One of these is a scarf and the other is a bit of habotai. Both had been mordanted with alum.

Scrap Fabric Bean Bags

For some reason I got the itch a while back to make the kids some bean bags. There was a reason, I’m sure of it, but I have no idea what it was. I threw together some scraps, added some dried beans and there ya go.beanbag6 beanbag5 beanbag4 beanbag3 beanbag2 beanbag1



Baby Girl Turned 1!

A little over a month ago we celebrated one year with our sweet girl! She really was the gift that we needed, but just didn’t know it! I had fun putting together her party. I think first warrant a little extra effort and for crying out loud it was my first girl party. The theme was “You are my Sunshine”. I initially was thinking of the typical, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” But really the later part of that sort of irks me and then I realized that one of my favorite artists these days, JJ Heller, has another equally appropriate song: “You are the sunshine on rainy days. And if I have sunshine a rainbow is coming my way.” Ok, the truth is it doesn’t matter and probably no one at the party had a clue anyway. The only place the lyrics were used was on the window decoration and the favors. Now on with some photos.

I made a fabric bunting and my MIL made the window with photos. I’m planning to use them in Norah’s room when we get into our house.one10one2A little funny. The night after the party Carson says, “The tomato mozzarella skewers must have gone fast. I didn’t even get one.” Yeah, I totally forgot to get them out of the fridge! one1I made a ball pit out of pool noodles which I sliced with a bread knife and last year’s swimming pool that now has a leak. one7 one3We played pin the ray on the sunshine because what sort of game are you supposed to play at a sunshine party?one11one9After Silas’s mess of a cake I decided to go simple with Norah’s. It was lemon and lovely.one6And perhaps my favorite part is that the platter was my Mema’s, the Evelyn that Norah’s middle name came from. I knew I’d use it for her first cake the moment I found out I was having a girl. one5The birthday girl with her cake. I had decorated the high chair, but she had no intention of sitting in it! one14 one13I need to go back and see if I got a good picture of her outfit that day, because I made it. But, I want to go ahead and get this post published lest I lose it again, so maybe I’ll do a post about the outfit later this week.

Another Blog

I had a post all ready to go about Norah’s birthday party, but it’s gone missing. I thought it was saved, but apparently not. Boo. Maybe it’s just lost in cyber space and will turn up tomorrow. Not likely. So until I find time to redo it here’s a piece of news for you. I’ve started a new blog. Because, you know, I need another blog to neglect! The new blog is where I’ll be posting photos of our house in progress. I’m not sure if anyone else will be that interested in it, but I kind of want to document it for myself. And don’t worry, I don’t expect the neglecting of that blog to interfere in anyway with the neglecting of this blog 😉  

Here’s the link to Beech Haus

The Ugliest Cake I’ve Ever Made

Not exactly sure what prompted my absence from the blog, but it probably had something to do with the three small people in my life. Like the one that is currently standing beside me with a book whining or the one across the room saying, “Mama watch me hoola hoop!”. I can kindle and I can Ipad, but get on the lap top and you would think I had put out a “Anybody need anything right now?” sign!

So anyway, the ugliest cake I’ve ever made. It was Silas’s birthday back in May and I decided to try and use only natural coloring in the cake. My blue turned out a bit more gray and then the strawberry filling sort of leaked through because it was warm out and I should have let the icing set between each layer because it was mostly whipped cream and the cake layers just wanted to slide off…. well, here’s the end product.


Since it was gray I made some darker icing to speckle on top, added a dump truck full of chocolate chunks and wa la! Better, but still ugly.


On the back side you can see the strawberry filling seeping out and the stick that was holding the layers on! At least it tasted all right. And, I’m pretty sure the birthday boy didn’t mind.

I really didn’t do a whole lot for this party. It was at a park, so I just figured the playground was the activity and the trees were the decoration! Here are a few more pictures from the party.


Silas loves this little bike!


What a cute two year old!


More coming soon!



Kids Clothing Week part 1

When KCW announced that they would have a theme this go round and that it would be “Mini Me” I was like, “I don’t want to be constrained by a theme!” And when I read that you didn’t have to do anything with the theme if you didn’t want to, I was all, “Well, maybe I want to!” Naturally. 

So as I pondered it I decided to go the route of repurposing clothing of mine and Carson’s for the kids. We’ve got an interesting stash of things that don’t fit anymore we don’t wear anymore. It’s all stuff that fit before we moved to Tanzania and has been sitting in storage in case we could still wear it when we returned. Uh huh. 3 babies later, I don’t think so. So here is my first completed outfit for the week.


These pictures are dark because children were sleeping and lights were off. This first one is a Gap button up.


And this shirt, oh I love this shirt. It’s J Crew. I have no idea where I got it, but it had seen better days. The sleeves had stains from my art teacher days and even if I were to ever fit into it again I think it would be shorter than I like.


Using the Oliver+S school photo dress pattern and a pair of leggings that fit well as a jumping point, this is what these pieces became.





It’s getting harder and harder to photograph this on the move model!


Oh I love those cheeks!


There are several things I will do differently if I repeat this, which I just might. For starters the button on the back needs to be closer to the top. I ended up having to put a hook and loop in under the collar to keep it from gapping open. I also should have put interfacing in the peter pan collar so it doesn’t flip up. I’d also really like to try doing an asymmetrical peter pan collar. The way I ended up doing the back of this one has me thinking about that.


And if you consider doing this yourself here are some things to consider when choosing a shirt to repurpose:

1- How big is the shirt and how big a size are you making. I used a Gap medium and made size 6-12 months.

2- What is the structure of the shirt? If there are seams in the back, like mine had this will affect how you cut out your pieces and if you have enough fabric.

3- Is the fabric directional. Mine was, though it’s not terribly obvious. I was able to cut all my pieces out going the same direction.



Hot Air Balloon Peasant Top

This is the top that I mostly made on the last day of Kids Clothes Week. I had finished all but the hand stitching on the applique which I finished up Monday morning. Naturally, it is Friday before I manage to take pictures and post. 🙂

I love all the things I made for KCW, but this one really expresses my true aesthetic more than the others. The very neutral base fabric, with just a small pop of muted tones, throw in a little imperfect hand stitching and I am smitten.


The main fabric is a cotton that I picked up at Hancock’s on super sale on MLK day. I think it was 2 something a yard. I’m not even sure what it is except that it is 100% cotton. It was next to the muslins, but looks so different and was the only one that seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. Perhaps it is just a looser woven muslin. I don’t know, but I love the loose nubby texture going on.Image

The fabrics for two of the balloons are Hello Pilgrim Jewels in two different color ways. The largest balloon is a scrap of silk that I dyed eons ago in college.

I really enjoyed KCW. It was a great motivator to make some things for Norah, and hopefully next time around I’ll make some things for the boys as well.

KCW Day 5- School Photo Dress

Today is actually Day 7, the last day of the challenge, but this dress was finished on Day 5, hence the title.

So, I love how this dress turned out! I wanted to used this beautiful brown wool suiting that I had, but I was concerned about it irritating the little girl’s skin. It’s not terribly rough, but I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable. The bodice of the dress is lined so that wasn’t a problem, but the sleeves and neck are not. I opted to use some very soft voile for the lining, the sleeves, and the neck. I was going for the look of a jumper over a blouse and I think it worked out pretty nicely. There is another option for this dress that I actually prefer with a looser sleeve and a not gathered neck. I decided to go with this view because I felt it looked more like a blouse under a dress. I’m happy with how it turned out.


There is one thing I would have liked to have done differently. I would love to see this dress with a peter pan collar. I knew it would take more time to get it all figured out and this was my first time using this pattern so I went ahead and did it as written. Here’s the back.


One of the reasons I wanted to make this dress was for the invisible zipper. I don’t love following patterns, but Oliver + S patterns are so well written and often include techniques and explanations you don’t see in other patterns. Anyway, I know I have put in an invisible zipper before (it might have been about 8 years ago), but a few weeks ago when I attempted one on a pillow cover I ended up with a big mess which is now buried at the bottom of the fabric bin! If it hadn’t been some of my natural dyed fabric I probably would have chopped it up for scraps, but instead I determined that I must be doing something wrong and put it away until I had time to figure out what that was! There is some puckering around the zipper from the stretch of the wool, but I don’t think it looked as bad on her as it does in that photo.

Here’s a shot of the kangaroo pocket. My seams didn’t line up perfectly on this, but I didn’t stress over it, because I know that it’s never going to just lay flat when she’s wearing it. Lot of mistakes get covered up by children who are too busy to slow down!Image

Now here is Norah in the dress. She seemed to be pretty comfortable in it and it didn’t restrict her movement at all.Image

Unfortunately all the pictures of her standing in it were quite blurry. She was more wobbly than normal during the photo shoot. Here’s one of the blurry shots so you can see how the dress fits.Image

I’ve got at least one more post coming to show you what I finished up last night and possibly another if I get in a quick little hour project sometime today.

KCW Day 6- Little Folks Dress with Gathering Pocket

Day 3 and 4 were a bust for various reasons, but day 5 I made a comeback and finished the School Photo Dress! Unfortunately, I am not showing that to you just yet, because I want to get pictures of it on Norah. Instead, this post is about another little dress that I finished up today. It was actually pretty well along before KCW, but it’s just been hanging on the wall until I could find the motivation to finish it. Today, I put on the pocket, hemmed the sleeves and bottom of the dress, and traded out the button I had previously put on it.

I sort of drafted my own pattern for this. I started from a basic peasant dress pattern and made adjustments to put in the yoke and the button back. Here’s the front.


The inspiration for the pocket was little girls everywhere lifting their skirts to gather shells or rocks or acorns. There is elastic along the top so it can actually hold a bit more than if it were just totally flat.

Heres the back.


I’ve been having a lot of fun with several fabrics from the Little Folks collection that I picked up after Christmas. The sleeve fabric is actually Joel Dewberry and I think it works really nicely in this dress. I think it’s from the Heirloom collection, but don’t quote me on that.


The first button I put on was a cream cut-out octagon and it was so very pretty, but it was difficult to slide the ribbon loop over. This one will be much easier in use. Hopefully this will fit Norah this summer, but I’m not too worried about when it fits her. There’s bound to be a day she can where it in just about any month. After all, it was 63 on this February 1st in Tennessee!