Always seems like everything is extra clean and organized right after Christmas.  All the blankets, quilts and pillow covers in the whole house are freshly washed;  plants are trimmed and watered; floors are washed; guest sheets and towels are washed and refolded, ready in the cabinet for the next housefull.  Now we have time to sit and enjoy our gifts, read our new books, look at the Christmas card pictures one more time.  Trips to the library suddenly become the best part of our week again, and we’re thinking of interesting things now to get us through the doldrums of winter:  new recipes, hot chocolate in pretty mugs, lists for 2016 accomplishments, notes to friends.

Happy New Year.  xo.



…..makes sweet Charlotte eleven years old.


(Our family has four birthdays from the end of September to the beginning of December. We are learning to slow down and enjoy each and everyone one of these wonderful celebrations :) )


Charlotte was our Thanksgiving Baby, arriving just in time for turkey and stuffing.

Charlotte has been a delight to our family from day one.  She was born with the rosiest rose lips and the chubbiest cheeks you can imagine on a baby.

She’s our crafter, sewist, get-it-done girl.  Ready to help, ready to laugh, be a friend, and care for her younger siblings.

Happy 11th Charlotte…..we love you! xo.

“I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” (Jani Ortlund)

The last of the figs are off the tree now.

(I’ve picked up my old SLR camera after using only my phone for quite some time.  It really does take better pictures, I think!)

Summer preserves are done and stored away in the pantry closet.

The last of the miniature roses are hanging on (despite the deer nibbling them).

I think we’re all a little ready for fall and the cooler afternoons it brings.  !  xo.

August is about here.

We’re squishing as much summer as we can into our last week before school starts:  as many pool invites as we can handle, a long trip to our favorite library, roller skating on the patio, and reading.  Lots of reading.

We’re up to our necks in heat and humidity, but it’s the nature of where we live and I guess we’re used to it.

I spent a lot of time this summer in the sewing room, trying out some new projects and working to improve some things I’d like to get better at.  I won’t post everything I made here, but here are some favorites.

The First Day Dress, for sweet Annie Bee. (I sew a lot for Annie.  The amount of sweet little patterns for girls is unending, isn’t it?)  She loves this dress in particular because it twirls!

Wish I had a better picture of this, but Annie was in the wedding of a very special and dear girl who has been serving our family since before Annie was born.  I had the unique priviledge of making her flower girl dress (used this pattern) and it really was such a treat.  Jane-Austen style, with a skirt overlaid in white gauze-y lace, and ballet slippers on her little feet.

A self-drafted pattern, made from some knit fabric I found on clearance at JoAnn.  (Scott makes me laugh when he photographs me modeling things.  And, the hair. Just noticed!  I mentioned humidity, right?)

Detail of a Harvest Top from Pattern Runway, for me.

And, a dress for Annie, from the Chic-Chic pattern that I’ve made so many times.

Here’s to August!


This pretty little lady turns FOUR tomorrow.

We’re feelin’ four every single minute.  When she meets someone new now, she first tells them she got a new haircut (“Miss Lilly cut it!”) and then she shares that it’s almost her birthday.

Annie is our sweet Bee, and we think four is gonna be a great year.  She’s totally into helping with whatever anyone is doing, conversations with complete strangers (which is entirely charming), almost (!) reading, keeping up with her big sisters, going to the beach, new bathing suits and dresses, Peg+Cat, new summer sandals, looking for birds’ nests in trees, kitty cats, the alphabet, Mr Rogers, playing in the creek, asking questions (lots!), and hugs.  Lots of those.

(Annie with her Great Gramma Jane, 2012)

I think every mama of large families has that one birth that they remember the most:  whether it was the easiest, most difficult, most anticipated, best doctor.

Annie’s birth was that “one” for me.  After the loss of several babies in a row, I was so happy to hold a baby.  There was a very long season of life where I wasn’t sure that would ever happen again, and I felt that the Lord was asking me to give that up and live in and enjoy my life as it was, not as I was hoping it would be.

And then, we were blessed with the prettiest baby girl that I never thought we’d meet.  It was such a gift to be able to deliver at a stand-alone birthing center, experience a water birth, have our dear friend Dawn help us as our doula, and to enjoy such an undeserved gift given to our family.

Happy Birthday, Annie Bee.  We’re all so glad you came to us four short years ago.


mama  xo

I finished up a lovely little shirt for Annie Bee this weekend.  It’s the Oliver + S Music Class Blouse, and it stitched up so sweetly that I am now craving a trip to one of my favorite local fabric shops to pick up another Oliver + S pattern for her.

“Annie, stand like a little girl.  Normal.”

Every wonderful thing you’ve heard about Oliver + S patterns is probably true.  I made this shirt years ago, but didn’t have nearly as much sewing experience and I do now and I didn’t like the way the shirt turned out.  I don’t know what it was, but I put the pattern down and promptly forgot about it until a couple weeks ago.  After agonizing over fabric for 4 days, I finally  just went with something and got it done.

“Annie, say your poem that you memorized!”

“Way down South where the bananas grow,

A grasshopper stepped on an Elephant’s toe.

The Elephant said, with tears in his eyes,

‘Pick on somebody your own size!’ ”

The detail instructions in this pattern are so understandable and make the shirt really something you’re glad you made.  Like box pleats on the sleeves!  I’ve always wanted to do a good box pleat, but never had instructions.

“Okay, Annie.  Now make a serious face!”

Happy Tuesday!  xo.

Filling these gray days with color, school, warm kitty cats, wiggly toddlers, pretty piano music, and comfort food.  Keeping warm ’til April, we are.



I always forget how much simply throwing in a little bit of color onto a pretty blank canvas can completely change a room.

I stitched up these pillow covers in short, reeeeallllly spaced far-apart chunks of time.  Beginning of summer:  pieced scraps together.  End of summer:  bought backing fabric.  Early fall:  quilted tops.  Today:  finally finished them with envelope backs (so easy!) after a trip to Ikea for the pillow forms.

It’s kind of a big surprise to finally get them done:  they had sat so long in my works-in-progress basket that I forgot about them until this weekend.  I made 4 covers, and supplemented with some other pillows covered in these pretty gray gingham covers I found at Ikea (impulse buy, no regrets).

(can you spot the hiding kitty?)

I’m so glad to have some pretty pillows now, that are a whole lot easier to wash.

Our cat looks thrilled, doesn’t he?

He is enjoying himself, I promise.  We have probably the best cat ever:  very forgiving (he often gets used as a pillow, is poked and prodded in very uncomfortable places, and gets his tail pulled almost daily), loves to be covered up with a blanket, loves people, and purrs really loud.

He stayed like that for almost 2 hours.  No kidding.

Happy weekend, everyone.  xo.

One of the ways I’m trying to use up every last ounce of summer before school starts (Monday!) is to sew as many Annie-dresses as I can, using fabric I have on the shelf already.

This is from a pattern I bought years ago from this little online pattern shop.   I’ve made the dress several times, and have really loved it.

(I made a slight alteration to the pattern to add buttons based on what I like in a crossover dress.)

I’ve also started just a little bit on Christmas gift-sewing.  My husband reminded me Christmas is in 5 months (haha!) and seeing as school will be a little bit busier this fall than past years, I thought I’d stitch up a few quick ideas while I had them on my mind.  This was one of them!  It turned out great, and I had just enough fabric for it.

Added some pockets for the inside.

And, I finally finished up our master-bed quilt!  Hip-hip-hooray!





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