Thursday, September 27, 2007


Read the pancake story on Susan Branch's site. It's a wonderful made me think of how even the smallest things can impact a child's life forever.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Thanks for all the well-wishes.

In the words of M.C. Hammer, we are too legit to quit.


I didn't think I'd be this nervous! Everyone is still asleep and the house is hushed. And I have a butterfly flapping its wings, flying between my stomach and my heart. I don't know why I'm so nervous. Maybe I'll be less so when everyone wakes up. I hear the shower going...Rich is up. He'll smile and kiss my forehead when he sees how nervous I am.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

wedding no. 2

In May of 1997 when Rich and I got married, we'd decided on a very sweet location on a historic property. It was really beautiful. The ceremony was outside and the reception was in the pretty yellow house. We hired a quartet of musicians to play for both the ceremony and reception. It was simple and nice.

What wasn't particularly important to us then was to be married in a church. It seemed like a lot of trouble and, really, I liked the convenience of having the ceremony and reception both in the same general area.

Now, ten years later, Rich and I have come back to the Church. And we are getting married in the Church tomorrow morning. It's going to be a very simple ceremony, followed by the regular daily noon mass. But for the two of us, it is a blessing of our union.

I went shopping yesterday for something to wear...I found exactly what I'd imagined at the 5th or 6th store. It's an ivory wool suit with a jacket that ties with a satin bow. Very sweet and Doris-Day retro.

I'll be busy today with a few last minute things, not to mention picking my parents up! My sister is driving them halfway sometime this afternoon. My father is still too weak to drive and my mother worries too much about things like flat tires and running out of gas and people driving "95 miles per hour!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

village houses past

As I work on this latest batch of houses, the most I've ever created at once, I found it useful to look back at the houses I've made in the past. I thought perhaps you might be interested in seeing them too.

I made a Flickr badge and put it in my sidebar. If you want to see all the houses, click on it and it'll take you to my Flickr Village Houses page.

Now back to happy house making!

Friday, September 21, 2007

happiness is...

Okay, do you remember that "Happiness Is..." song from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown? My sister played it on the piano (I never really got the hang of playing both hands together because my piano teacher fell asleep in the middle of most of my lessons.) We used to sing it since we had the sheet music with the lyrics in the piano bench. Here's the first verse, in case your memory needs a little help...

Happiness is finding a pencil
Pizza with sausage, telling the time
Happiness is learning to whistle
Tying your shoe for the very first time
Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band
And happiness is walking hand in hand

For me, this morning, happiness is...

creating a sweet little village of glittery houses. I have paint everywhere (including on my foot!) and I couldn't be happier. I started to get a little messy so I'm taking a little "walk away" break.

I'm working on this village for Silver Bella, which is quickly sneaking up on me as I mentioned in my last post. I'm so nervous about vendor night. I'm nervous that I'll show up with the same sort of thing that everyone else is selling. I'm nervous that I'll ship everything there only to have it get lost in the mail. I'm nervous that I won't be able to make the display as charming as I'd like it to be since I have to either ship or carry everything with me on the plane. I'm nervous that nobody will be interested in what I bring. I'm nervous that I'll unpack a heap of broken up things. Nervous, nervous, nervous.

But I'm not nervous when I'm making...I'm just so happy. When I'm fixing up these houses and (my very favorite part) decorating them with little people and animals, I feel just like little girl Amy playing. I hope that fun and love and care shows through and adds to the charm.

I'm going to start signing the houses. It feels a bit funny to do this but I've had lots of requests from customers who are starting a collection. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve to make these houses the best yet.

First I think I'll wash this layer of paint off all the places I missed in the sink and then head out to think ink store to fuss at the guy for selling me "Epson compatible" ink that is not recognized by my printer. And since he didn't have the yellow cartridge in stock, I have to go to store after store searching for it. I do hope I find it at the first place I stop. Staples says that they guarantee they have all the inks in stock but they are big fat liars who point to the tiny writing excluding them from having to stock my ink.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

paper frocks

You are not going to believe me but guess who finally managed to clear more than just a path through her studio.


It felt so good to wake up this morning with ideas about my first project already dancing in my head.

I signed up for Heather Rowley's dress swap. I woke up with an idea that made me so excited I could hardly wait to start at it. More on the idea later. But first, the dresses...

The idea was to use the images from vintage dress patterns as the template for the dresses. I resized the images, sometimes distorting them a little since the format was about 4" by 6". Even if the distortion looked strange on the dress pattern picture, it was fine for the cut out.

I added buttons and collars and sleeves and aprons, etc. My favorite of all of them is the one with the sparkly tulle overskirt. It turned out especially yummy.

Now Heather will make a garland of 5 dresses that others have made and send it back to me. Isn't that fun?!

This project really revved up my creativity. And that's a good thing because I have a lot of making to do between now and Silver Bella. I wish I could turn back time to earlier this summer when it seemed like something far off in the distance. Do I work well under pressure? We'll see.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I put the pro in procrastinator...

I'm supposed to be cleaning. You guessed it...the studio/workroom. I'm doing everything else under the sun. {including posting this}

About an hour ago I wrestled with the biggest chair ever made to push it out the door. I rolled it and then ended up Lucy-style wedged between the door and the chair in what seemed at the time like a permanent position. When I finally got myself loose and shoved that big chair out the door, I flopped down in the chair and declared it time for a break.

That was over an hour ago.
Heigh ho...Heigh's back to work I go.

Oh, but wouldn't it be nice to play in the leaves. There are none yet but soon. I can smell them catching on fire with color and getting crisp for proper foot crunching.
That's it...break over. I'm going back to work.

sweets frenzy and other things

I packed a lunch for Rich yesterday and snuck in this special treat. It's a candy bar with a love poem inside. Isn't that a wonderful idea?

He said it was a bit too much to eat after a full lunch so he shared it with his co-workers announcing to them first that he wanted to "Share his love". Can you imagine the expressions of these staid engineers?

Are you watching "The Truth About Food" series on Discovery Health? They are scientifically proving and disproving myths about food, dieting, etc. Last night was about kids' health and one experiment in particular has been on our minds since we watched it. A classroom of preschoolers were asked to taste dried mango slices and raisins and then asked to rate their appeal. They liked them about the same. A bowl each of the snacks was set out for snack time but the teacher restricted the raisin eating until after the whistle was blown. They could eat the mango slices anytime. The restriction ended up putting an emphasis on the raisins, as you can imagine, and by the end of the week, all but one sweet little girl was crazy about raisins. And I mean crazy! They were pushing each other to get at them and then eating them by the handfuls. They were even putting their whole heads in the bowl to eat as many as they could. It was insane.

It makes me think of Seth and his insatiable appetite for sweets. His well-meaning parents restrict his sweets intake constantly. And I can see it building his anticipation to the point of obsession. He even said to me once that when he grows up he wants to be a candymaker but he didn't want to sell it. He wanted to keep it all for himself. He went on to say that he'd build his house of candy and all the furniture too.

I'm not judging my brother and his wife. I know they are just trying to control his sweet tooth. Oh, and keep his teeth in his mouth. But I wonder if they might be more effective if they made it less of an issue.

Meanwhile, my brother, his wife, and Seth and Shelby are all living under my parents' roof while their house is built (not of candy, much to Seth's dismay). Seth is enjoying kindergarten very much although he likes to keep that business to himself. He has homework every night, which is a bit foreign to me. What kind of homework does a 5 year old have, you might ask? The other day he had to come up with pairs of rhyming words. And he had to bring an example of two rhyming things to school. He loved this assignment, so I'm told, and brought a rock and block with him to school the next day.

Update on dear ol' dad: He's feeling loads better. He has more energy and sounds like himself again. The diagnosis changed many times and is now settling on Hyperthyroidism. He goes next week for a test which entails taking a radioactive pill. One of the restrictions of this pill is that he has to stay away from Baby Shelby for 2 days while this pill is in his system. Radioactive Man. Maybe he should hold off on the test until closer to Halloween so that he'll have his costume all set.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

morning visits

This morning we awoke to sounds of someone on our roof.

"Is someone working on our house today?"

"Shouldn't be..."

We scramble from window to window, peering out to see if we can find someone on a ladder. No one to be found.

"Maybe it's Santa Claus" Rich said with a wink.

Rich was about to go out the front door to investigate when he called for me. "Come look at this" he said.

And there at our front steps was a little bird with a long beak. And this bird wouldn't move. Rich came within a foot of the sweet little bird and still it didn't move. All through our morning getting-readies we'd peak out to see if little bird was there and sure enough, he was.

Meanwhile, nobody was on our house, or any house in the neighborhood for that matter, even though we heard distinct walking sounds and even some hammering. Oh, and also the sound of a ladder landing on the house. I'm glad Rich was here to hear all this too.

So there you are...2 mysteries to ponder today. Santa Claus on our roof and a bird stalking us.

Ann told me that they had a little bird visit them in the cottage yesterday. And she had a heck of a time escorting him to the door. Seems he was as delighted with all their vintage finds as I am when I'm there. Or maybe he mistook their sweet little nest pins for home. Can you believe these adorable little handmade pins are just $6 each?! Click here to get your own from the Cottage.

Monday, September 17, 2007

just encountered

I don't know if I have the words to explain what happened to us this weekend. We'd signed up for what we thought was a marriage retreat. Ahh, retreat. Relaxation? Isn't that what comes into your mind?

What we got instead was a fully recharged marriage. We feel so connected and so excited to stay this way. It was a very powerful weekend.

When it ended yesterday afternoon, we were physically exhausted. It seemed like we'd been away for a full week or longer instead of just a weekend.

Maybe after I've collected my thoughts better and reflected more, I'll be able to speak more articulately about it. But for now I just wanted to tell you that it was the best weekend of our lives. And I am so happily married I could burst.

This is where we went.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm just popping on to let you know that Women Take Wing, an organization to help women realize their dreams, is now accepting applications. If you are an entrepreneur, at whatever level of success, I hope you'll join us there. It's a great group but it'd be even better with you along with us.

a little excited

Half of the Club Little House boxes went out yesterday...the other half will head out today. Whew! It's a lot of work bundling it all up. I have to say I am beyond excited for the members to get their packages. Some will arrive as early as today...whoopee! And I can't wait to share with you all the littles...unbelievable!

This picture is of one of the submissions from the very first round. Isn't it sweet? I think I'll use Charlie again as a model for this round.

Off to tape up boxes and label them and put them out for my fedex guy. He almost fell over when he saw the tower of boxes waiting for him yesterday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the things you'll do to avoid cleaning

I had great intentions, as you saw, on Monday. Clean and clean and clean.

And, guess what...I did clean. But right smack in the middle of cleaning, I made up a new, very unnecessary project.

You see, the wall above the mantel had some soot stains from some candles burned ages ago. Oh, I need to clean those, I thought. I took out my super dooper Mr. Clean sponge (which I love very much) Well, in my zeal to tackle this long abandoned and ignored but now suddenly vitally important sooty problem, I took the paint off the wall. I don't know what I uncovered...drywall? who knows. But what I do know is that what was uncovered was uglier by far than soot. And, as you know, soot is ugly.

So this is what I did smack dab in the middle of serious cleaning...

A wispy watercolored sky and landscape to serve as a backdrop for my miniature village. I just got the chalkware houses this week and they are among my very favorite things in the whole wide world.

If you're wondering why I was cleaning so much or rather putting off cleaning so much, my friends Pam, Lorraine and Pat all came over today to help me put together packages for the current Club Little House...48 participants each sending in 12 items. You do the math, I'm too tired to even blink my eyes.

It didn't even matter one iota that I'd cleaned because the house was completely trashed with all the Club Little House goings on. Here, see for yourself...

Monday, September 10, 2007

on becoming number 2 fan

Oh, what a lazy, lazy weekend. I managed to clean just one room. And that was the easiest to clean in the whole house.

Most of yesterday was spent watching the Redskins win their first game of the season. It was very exciting. There were a few plays that were particularly exciting to Rich. He jumped up and down and hoot and hollared and even threw pillows into the air. The foam finger I bought at training camp came in handy. Uh. Pun not intended.

I delighted Rich by talking breadbaskets and 2 minute drills and debating whether they should run it or go for a field goal. I don't really know what I'm talking about but I like to think that I add to his overall good football watching experience.

Today I'm going to clean and clean and clean. Do you believe me?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

tomorrow, tomorrow...

I really, really meant to work on my studio this week. Alas, here it is Thursday and the door remained closed all week...except for the occasional opening to toss something in.

Today will fill up quickly...orders in the morning, bills to pay, and off to the doctor's in the afternoon. And I think I may need to dash off to the cottage to deliver some cards to them.

There's always tomorrow. Oh, a procrastinator's all time favorite word....tomorrow.

Once the room is straightened, I will get busy making things (and making messes). One thing I need to make is a batch of button bracelets.

I made all of these a long time ago and they've since sold. I stopped making them for a few is that some terrible person came into the cottage (on my watch!) and nabbed (stole!) a whole box of them at once. That combined with a few other rotten things took all the wind from my sails as far as making button bracelets was concerned. That was a very long time ago. And lately Ann and Linda have gotten a bunch of requests for them. One little girl wanted to pick one out for her birthday and was so sad when there were none to be picked. So I think I'm ready to make a few button bracelets again. I think I may offer them just at the cottage instead of through Inspire Co. We'll see...

I also need to get busy making glittery houses! Oh, I have the very best collection of little things now to go with them! I'm so excited to get started.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Yesterday was lots of fun. My mother cried when she saw us at the door...and the shouts of joy from Seth were pure love.

I brought a lollipop each for Seth and Maggie. They licked on them all day, covering them with plastic afterward. Maggie still has quite a bit of hers but Seth's is nearly gone.

It was good to see Daddy. Poor thing, he's so tired of being sick. And just plain so tired too. My mother said that yesterday was his best day yet. That's very good. Here's to each day being better than the day before...all the way until he's himself again!

Seth and Maggie found a minnow bucket by the creek and spent a lot of time casting it out in hopes of finding a cute little buddy in there. They caught one, with plenty help from Maggie's big brother, John. They paraded inside, John at the lead, to scare the wits out of everyone with it. Luckily, I was holding baby Shelby so I was spared.

We also covered the driveway with a maze of chalk outlined streets. Seth just got his training wheels removed from his bike and you wouldn't believe what a pro he is. Maggie rode her tricycle and sometimes pretended to be the police. She also tried to avoid being run over by Seth, who really seemed to want to run her over.

Today is Seth's first day of kindergarten. He's in the same classroom I was in, 31 years ago. I told him about lucky tray day and that seemed to get him the most excited. Did you have lucky tray day at school? It was a day I'd look forward to for weeks ahead. One of the trays in the stack of trays was marked on the bottom with an x. If you got that tray, you would get a free ice cream or some other special treat. Plus you'd get all the fame of being the one with the lucky tray that day.

I never did get it. Not even once.

Seth and I looked through the patch of clover to find a four-leaved one to improve his chances but we never found one. Seth tried very hard, and even counted the same leaves twice trying to convince me the 3 leaves I saw were really 4. You can't cheat Lady Luck, mister.

I missed Seth by minutes when I called this morning to wish him last minute well wishes. I hope he loves school and I really hope that school nurtures his natural curiousity and creativity.

Maggie starts preschool next week. It's hard to believe these little ones are turning into such bigger little ones. Here's a picture of Shelby, Seth's little sister, who'll be 1 next week.

Monday, September 3, 2007

how I'm spending my labor day

Monday morning's not so bad when you wake up and realize it's just as good as another Sunday!

We're off bright and early this morning to drive 3 hours to surprise my family. My father's still feeling weak. He sounded so weak on the phone when I talked to him. The diagnosis has changed to Lyme Disease. And would you believe it? They think the tick got him on our camping trip. Ding dong dang it! We're hoping that since they caught it rather early he won't have lasting effects. I know lots of people who have Lyme disease and it has changed their lives...healthy, young people.

We're driving the cute little convertible and we're stopping first for a nice cup of coffee (since I'm fresh out!)

Happy Labor Day, everybody! Don't do a bit of labor if you can help it.

I hope you like this random picture from a storybook I have. It's one of my favorites. I especially love the caption.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

they're live...

Check it out...


Click the image to be delivered to the cottage's brand new virtual shop's door! Happy Shopping!

p.s. If you're having trouble getting in, try this link which'll take you directly to the online shop.