Frazzled and Canned

I think I’m officially drained of all creative thought for the day, so please bear with me here. In fact, when I sat down to write this post, my confused and tired foot searched aimlessly under my desk for the foot pedal. And it just took me about 4 whole minutes to remember the word “foot pedal”, so I’m calling my brain officially frazzled as well.

ActivityTotes, handmade, alexander henry, vintage fabric

But!! I have goodies to share! I’ve been making these activity totes for some time now so they were the first thing on my make-for-the-shop list. I love how each of these has its own little character (or "flair" ala office space), so wanted to show them off. I hope you don’t mind a few excitedly rambling posts about frazzled brains and shameless self promotion for a few days. We’ll be back to real life here soon!


Speaking of not real life, I did take a "break" last night to deal with the pile of insistent tomatoes that resolutely threatened to march themselves right out to the compost pile if I did not can them that instant. So, they’re canned. And, I’m adding roma tomatoes to our gardening list next year in place of this year’s humongonoid yellow brandywines that are a nightmare to can (I’m talking 1 ½ to 2 pounds EACH!) They sure are pretty, though and make for a beautiful display of summer ripeness. Maybe we'll keep just one little bush...


Thank you for your tips and suggestions! I’ll share more placemat patterns/colors tomorrow, because photoshop and a frazzled mind do not mix.

Don’t forget to comment on this post to be eligible for my giveaway!




To say thank you, sweet peeps, for checking in on my little blog, I’d like to share a couple what(k)nots with you...


Firstly (and I’m so excited about these): a DIY placemat with a blank canvas center, ready for your little artist to adorn. I’ll also include a set of fabric markers so you’ll be all set for creative adventure!


Taping off the patchwork frame should keep that area scribble-less (if that’s what you’re into). I’ll continue to show an assortment of colors and patterns as the week progresses...pick your favorite if you win!


But wait...there’s more!!


This awesome book features some of my favorite crafty bloggers and a ton of fast, easy projects. It’s up for grabs as well!

So, seeing as how I’m jumping into this etsy thing completely clueless, I thought it would be prudent to glean some wisdom from you kind folks. If you’re an etsy seller, buyer, or online shopper in general, please leave a comment with your best tip/advice/words of wisdom for running an online shop. And if you’re none of the above (or don’t feel like talking shop), just tell me about your day!

Comment anytime between now and Friday and I will choose two random winners from the comments on this post on Friday, Oct 3rd (please let me know if you’d like the book or the placemat in the comment, too!)

But of course, you are all winners in my book! Thank you for all your encouraging words. And now, I’m off to sew sew sew some more!



tweets, announcement & giveaway!

Finally finished...


Introducing: the "flock together" quilt -- which will be listed in my soon-to-be, brand-spankin-new, can't-believe-I'm-going-to-do-it, etsy shop [scream]. The quilt measures 32" x 32", perfect for a playmat, stroller quilt, wall hanging, whatever. The embroidered birds are adapted from our favorite "Make a World" drawing book by Ed Emberley (heart you, Ed!!). And you can't really tell from the pics, but the birds sit atop the lightest, prettiest baby blue linen that I'm currently loving.


So, that's the elusive "limb" that these little birds, along with many other what(k)not items, will be going out on. I'm not quite sure what all this etsy shop business will entail, but I'm looking forward to the journey.


And to thank you, sweet peeps, for accompanying me in this blog space, I'm planning on giving away a little what(k)not sumthin sumthin. Not sure what it'll be yet, but I'll figure it out sometime before my intended October 1st grand opening (as grand as pushing an upload item button can be)! If I were clever, I'd figure out a way to upload you some punch n pie, too. 'Cause, every party is better with punch n pie (heart you, Cartman!).


Please check back for giveaway details, more shop what(k)nots and to wish me luck, 'cause I'll need whole lots of it!



Just a Peep


These little birds are about to go out on a limb, so to speak. They're all atwitter.


More deets (and peeps) to come!!!!


Fall Blog Soup

Tree Table Runner

It doesn't quite feel like fall here in PDX, but then summer has also lost its lazy, hazy, crazy edge. We're smack inbetween seasons, it seems.


I love fall's urgent reminder to enjoy the crunch of the fallen leaves before they become sloppy leaf stew (here in the pacific nw, at least) and it's crispy day reminder to please put a sweater on before you go outside, dear. And then there's the urge to can, freeze or put up in whatever way you can the fleeting bounty of summer.

Farm Table Runner

But again, we're not quite there yet. So, like other fall-minded bloggers, we took it upon ourselves to usher in the new season by making cookies in our pajamas, enjoying our new fall-inspired, double-sided table runner and sharing this favorite Carrot Orange soup recipe with other soup-minded bloggers today (thanks Jessica, for organizing this fun swap!!):

Carrot Orange Soup with Kale and Crispy Fall Air


2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
8-12 carrots (about 1 1/2 - 2 lbs), sliced into 1-inch pieces
[I used a mixture of red, yellow and purple carrots from our csa bin]
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
1 handful fresh kale, roughly torn (or other green such as chard or arugula)
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)

1. Heat butter in large stockpot on medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and saute for 2 minutes more.

2. Add carrots and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender, about 35 carrots minutes!!! (edited! sheesh, where's my head?)

3. Turn off heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (Or, transfer to a blender or food processor if you don't have an immersion blender).

4. Return heat to medium-high. Add orange juice and bring to a boil. Add kale and let wilt about 2-3 minutes then remove from heat and season with salt & pepper. Garnish with parsley or cilantro (I plop a cube of frozen, pre-chopped parsley into the mixture during its last boil.

5. Enjoy fall!


before + after


Move over rainbow chard quilt...I'm feeling an heirloom tomato-inspired quilt coming on!!!


I took advantage of today's typical pre-fall murk to roast these sunny yellow tomatoes that have been giving me the evil eye for the past week. There's an avalanche more to follow (come back, sun!), so I'll likely freeze this batch in preparation for mid-winter tomato-less drear.


And 'cause the oven was warm, we feasted on our favorite berry cobbler (although I hesitate to use that word because it doesn't seem very cobbler-ish to me, but the recipe insists) with summer-picked blueberries.


And now, back to "work" on a project I'm getting super giddy about. Will share soon!


Pouty Kitty Appeasements


Kitty's forlorn. Her tendency as of late to cry/howl at 3am has found her exiled to backyard overnight campouts instead of our nice warm bed and snuggly necks to cuddle up within, her obvious preference. We love and adore her, but I've done my time with the middle-of-the-night-pacing-the-floor-getting-baby-back-to-sleep routine that I'm not about to revisit with this overly mew-y 18-year-old(!)


So for now, we're enjoying our sleep wonderful sleep before welcoming her back inside once the nighttime temps turn nippy.

To make it up to her, the kids and I made her these catnip toys.


The kids drew their designs with fabric markers on scrap linen pieces and picked out a backing fabric (and in Esme's case, fringe). I cut them out and sewed the pieces together leaving room to stuff with fiberfill and catnip. Fast and easy (which is what craft time has been about these days).


Is kitty appeased? You be the judge:


[And no worries as to kitty's health. We ruled out medical issues when after her first few not-so-sweet midnight serenades a quick pat on the head produced a most contented little fuzzy grey purr machine. We thus concluded that she was incorrigibly lonely. Sigh]


Ahh, Farm


Some pics from the lovely farm party we attended this weekend. I just gotta say: if you're gonna turn four on Portland's most perfect-est weather day in September, this is the place to do it.



We partied 4-year-old style: ate cupcakes, boarded a hay ride, picked strawberries, picked corn (read: set free on an all-you-can-eat strawberry + corn field smorgasboard),



raced through corn three times our height and rode our hay limosine back to a mega-fest of lunch-y yumminess. A perfect day of sun, full bellies and happy hearts. HB, SB!!!


These are some tomatos that I stitched up for the little farm-loving Bday girl (aside our over-achiever of a garden tomato). Super easy! (ARGGG - the martha stewart website isn't cooperating right now otherwise I'd link to the tutorial. Just google "martha stewart tomatoe pincushion" to find it! Or is it tomato? I'm having a Dan Quayle moment, sorry).



Teeth n Totes

Esme Angler Fish

This was a tough day: Miss Esme is sprouting her very last baby tooth and letting everyone within screaming vicinity know that it hurts. And I hurt for her. But between the howls and monkey clings and throw-herself-on-the-floor tantrums, I couldn’t stop kissing both my babies’ sweet heads today. Because I have them to kiss and I’m here to kiss them and I’m so appreciative of that.

Party Bags

I made up these drawstring favor bags for a little friend’s 4th birthday party this coming weekend. They’re based on the farmer’s market totes that I made this spring, which my kids never wear but that I now use myself and find handy dandy for stuff like cell phones and lip balm in the diaper bag. Cuz you know, someone’s gotta use em. But I digress…

Party Bag Print

I’ll be living vicariously through the farm party this weekend: hay rides, u-pick flowers, late season berries, SUN!! Impossibilities for mid-february birthday celebrations such as ours. So this last little jaunt in the farm-y fields will be ever so appreciated.

Happy weekend everyone, and hopes and prayers to our Texan friends that Ike simmers his bad self down.


a simile, a metaphor, and a thank you


My blog is like Holden’s home haircut: it’s choppy, it’s too long in some places, too short in others, and it seems to emit an overall incoherence in general. But, it’s homemade, it comes from the heart, and it offers a little bit of practicality and a little bit of humor to our day.

And like Holden making his way into a world that for the most part couldn’t care less about his haircut, it feels so nice when people acknowledge the tidbits and “whatknot” that I send out via my blog.

All this is to say: thank you Simply, for acknowledging my little blog with this super sweet Kindred Spirit award. In my imaginary perfect world (very similar to the bygone days of yesteryear but with laptops and cuisinarts), we’d be able to hang out, chat, drink tea, eat cookies and connect as moms, women, and human beings face to face. You’d definitely be invited to my imaginary book club.

I feel a connection in some way to all the blogs that I read over there on my blogroll (and many others that I haven't had a chance to update in my bloglines), so please consider yourself invited to my tea party as well!


T-Rex Does PDX, Domo Style


T-Rex took a tour of Portland in hopes of making a new domo friend (don’t worry little domos, T-Rex doesn’t bite).

First obligatory stop, Saint Cupcake (domo's most recent visit) for a photo op…which turned out to be closed (drat drat drat).


So, off to Mio Gelato instead to tame our beastly chocolate cravings.


T-Rex was getting a little antsy, so we set him free on the town. And my oh my oh my, what trouble a miniature carnivorous dinosaur can get into in the hoity toity district of Pearl.




I swear, we can’t take this dinosaur anywhere.