Thursday, September 30, 2010

family resemblance

The other day at the library an elderly man chatted with us a while, made a comment about what a remarkable little boy Alfredo is, and then said "He doesn't look like you."

It was an innocent enough comment. And I know that it's the thought that crosses lots of minds when they meet us. Perhaps when they hear Alfredo call me Amy instead of Mommy they get even more confused.

It's nobody's business. I know that. I don't owe anyone an explanation, especially not a stranger whom we'll most likely never see again. And although it is  remarkable, the story of how we came to be a family is long and complicated.

But when this man stated aloud what is obvious to the whole of the world, but not at all to my sweet little boy, I looked quickly at him to see if he heard it too. The man said it so plainly, so matter-of-factly. "He doesn't look like you." Did Alfredo hear it? Did he understand? If he didn't this time, will he someday look at me and see our differences? Will he ever, even for a tiny second, question the source of our love when that same question is on every new face he meets?

My prayer for him is that he knows in the way you know that the sky is blue and the grass green. The way you know that each breath you breathe is there now and will be there for the next breathe, God willing. I pray that he knows how completely lovable he is. And how it has not the single bit to do with how he looks or how I look.

I hope our story and the glimpse into our life, my heart, and our love will help prepare you for those of life's moments when you see a family whose roots are not obvious, whose traits are not mirrored so clearly that you can tell just by looking at them how their story began. Pause and consider please that this family is no less one. Not one single bit. Pause and consider please that what is so obvious to you might not yet be to all the little members of that family.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Art Bliss

I went to Art Bliss last weekend and it was so much fun.

Here's a picture of me in my first class:

Making glass beads! Can you believe it??? 

And look how beautiful they are! Well, at least they are beautiful to me. They are far from perfect...

Especially this one, which I've named Lumpy.

Kerry Bogert, world famous glass art bead maker, taught the class. And she is such a natural teacher and wonderful person. Her passion for her art shines and it was a joy to learn the craft from her. I hope I can take a class from her again. 

After making glass beads all day, I took a class from the amazing Lesley Venable

I made this beautiful pendant.

She and Tom (Art Husband) are so much fun to be around and Lesley is such a completely generous artist and teacher, sharing everything she knows openly. I loved getting to know her and being her student for the evening.

And then on Sunday, I took a class from the incomparable Deryn Mentock and made this:

I stuck my finger in there so you could appreciate just how tiny this is!

See that tiny screw and those teeny eyelets, and especially that silver rivet holding her crown on...we learned how to do all that and more! We made our own rivets! 

Like Kerry and Lesley, Deryn is a generous artist who shares her knowledge, love, and talent liberally. 

By the end of the day, I was completely exhausted and couldn't finish the piece properly. Lori, the nice girl behind me, made a clasp for me (Yes, we made those too!) and I didn't make the chain links to make a proper necklace for it. But I love it so much. I love everything I made. 

And just look at what I bought...

From Deryn Mentock, this beautiful necklace...

I can't tell you how much I love it. It is just so meaningful to me and it looks so lovely paired with the beautiful necklace Kristin made for me

And I bought this bag from my new friend Sandy 
(no blog but I'm trying to convince her to come to Silver Bella as a vendor, if not a student)

Just look at the luscious details...

Help me convince her to sell her bags at Silver Bella...

Monday, September 27, 2010

idea no. 7 & a giveaway

Piper Wise shares a fabulous idea for adding color to your embroidery.

And guess what? You could win this adorable little shirt. It's size Girls XS and has the words "Birthday Girl" embroidered along with an adorable little party duck. Head on over to Piper's blog to put your name in the virtual hat.

Good luck!

Friday, September 24, 2010

idea no. 6: halloween banner

Embroider this fun Halloween banner featured in the magazine! Change up the colors for a twist...or color in the squares using Piper's trick.

p.s. Over 15,000 readers so far in just over a week...will you help me spread the word about my Inspired Ideas Magazine?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

idea 5: pom pom sheep

I think these little pom pom sheep would make the sweetest little ornaments! You could make a bunch and them tie them on your holiday packages!

Click here for the how-to.

Big Rock Candy Mountain

My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to cozy up in bed and listen over the monitor to Rich and Alfredo getting ready for bed. They sing and read books and tell jokes. And it is just the sweetest thing. Last night I listened in amazement to Alfredo singing this whole song to Rich. We made a movie of it to share (he sings really softly in parts) I hope you like it...

scenes from this good morning

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

idea 4: mini-notebooks

I love this idea that sweet Kellie Dykast shares with us in the stitched up on your sewing machine! Kellie made up a bunch to add in baby shower favor bags.

I wonder if I have time to make 6 dozen or so for Halloween...I also wonder if our house would be egged if we give out sweet little notebooks instead of candy.

Maybe I'll just make up a bunch and keep them all over for jotting notes.

Click here to find the article in the magazine.

p.s. If you'd like to add a flipping magazine (that doesn't sound right!) to your sidebar, like the one on mine, with a link to the magazine, that would be so nice. Let's spread the news! Just send me an email at amy (at) and I'll send you the code.

Monday, September 20, 2010

KokoNoelle buttons!

KokoNoelle is doing a giveaway to celebrate the magazine's launch...Just look at these super cool buttons! Go hop on over and leave a message on their blog. Good luck!

idea no. 3: cigar box stages

 I've had this idea running around in my head for a while and I'm so happy to share it with you in the magazine.

I'm especially pleased with how the real wood floors, fashioned from wooden coffee stirrers turned out. For wider planks, you can use popsicle sticks!

And wouldn't it be fun to hang these stages on the wall and change the show when the mood strikes?

Friday, September 17, 2010

idea no. 2: kitty cat treat bag

My wonderful friend Charlotte Lyons shares how to make this very fun kitty cat treat bag, just right for collecting all of Halloween night's treats.

Click here to see the magazine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

a word from our sponsors...

Thank you all so very much for your kind words about the magazine. It was indeed a lot of work and what fueled me through was the thought of you opening it and loving it. I'm so glad...that you love it.

It's free...isn't that nice? And do you know who helped make it free for you? My wonderful advertisers. They each took a chance with me, signing up to advertise in a publication that didn't even exist. And they helped cover the cost of the magazine so that I could give it to you free of cost. If you'd like to thank them, won't you skip on over to their sites?

Just look at what great things you'll find:
Charlotte just added a new series of new paintings. She personalized this one for Alfredo as a gift. I love her stitching projects too. Click on over to see.

Are you looking for all cotton rick rack to make the flowers featured in the magazine? Look at this vintage rick rack in orchid available at Primrose Design. While you're there be sure to check out her offering of vintage embroidery designs!

There are still a few spaces available at Silver Bella in Omaha this November. I'll be there...won't you come too? Click here.

Look at this amazing trim found over at Dishy Vintage? I'm thinking it would be so pretty as an embellishment to your embroidery project!

This kit from every jot and tittle looks so lovely to me...won't it make the sweetest little book?

I think this Halloween faux mirror, available over at Bayberry Cove, is a scream!

Saucy just whipped up some over-the-top fabulous Halloween themed charm bracelets...find them here.

Look at these fabulous composition appliques found over at Rachel and Pia's Cottage.

Linda offers fun kits like this one...check out her blog.

KokoNoelle offers beautiful handmade buttons in porcelain and special! This one's my favorite.

This coconut milk and honey lotion from Moonvine Organics sounds so lovely to me.

I own a bling cuff by Beth Quinn like this one and I love it. I get compliments whenever I wear it!

And be sure to check these friends and leave a comment:

Goodness Recycled

Lisa Super

Alexa Lett

idea no. 1: decorated sugar cubes

My sweet friend Sasha Libby, aka Saucy, shares how she makes the most amazing decorated sugar cubes for autumn.

Won't they be so wonderful to plop into your afternoon tea? One lump or two, my dear?

And check out this fabulous idea Saucy has for packaging the decorated sugar cubes for gift giving...

She filled a jar halfway with a mixture of white table sugar that she added a couple of teaspoons of confetti sugar into. The confetti sugar was an "autumn mix" and you can find it with the cake decorating supplies at your grocery store. Having the layer of sugar in the bottom makes a stable little area for the sugar cubes to sit. You can slide them in place and they won't rattle and roll around in there too much.

On special occasions when Saucy was little, her mother added fancy confetti sugars that she found in Europe in beautiful pinks and blues and purples to regular white sugar. It was Saucy's job to stir the fancy sugar, can you imagine that? At Christmas now, Saucy adds red and green sugars into her white sugar. She jars it up and takes them as hostess gifts... people go crazy for it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

inspired ideas...

Do you know how you feel when you are sure that you are giving someone a really wonderful that is going to make them squeal (and possibly even wet their pants) in excitement.

And you sit there trying not to scream "Open it!"

Come on...Open it!

(click on the image above...and I really hope you like it)

Having trouble view it? Go here instead.


remember that old ketchup commercial...

well, I'm wrapping things up and I'm just a little behind.

As your mother always told you, patience is a virtue...

meet me here at 3

I have something exciting to show you!

3 o'clock EST

Thursday, September 9, 2010

pretty shoes

A brand new Nordstrom Rack just opened in my neighborhood. I was out last night (getting a haircut) and decided to swing in to see if I could find a little something for my little niece Shelby's birthday. She's turning 4 this weekend (but we might have to miss the party...Alfredo's cold has taken a turn down Ewwww Street)

But just look at these shoes I scored for her...

These beauties are normally about $70 so I was so happy to find them in the $30 range.

I just wish they made them in my size...

You can get some on sale at Nordstrom online for your little girl too.

p.s. Thanks for the heads up about the poisonous Chinese Lanterns! They are now safely on a high shelf.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Sorry for the stumper...the fish's name is Lion. I'm not sure what made me think that someone might guess it. I'll have another (better) contest soon.

They had these lovely Chinese Lanterns at my grocery store and I just couldn't resist. I'll bet you know someone else who can't resist them...everytime I look, Alfredo is dangerously close to squeezing them to pieces. Yesterday when I told him to stop what he was doing he said "But they are just so crumply!"

I'm hard at work getting the magazine ready...I'm aiming for next week but that deadline is fast approaching. And poor Alfredo has come down with some sort of Summer cold or bout of allergies...all he wants to do is cuddle up.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Alfredo got this fish for his birthday way back in January. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea because, well, what if he didn't live long. Fish don't typically live very long, right? That's been my experience.

I've done my best, feeding and changing water rather regularly. Lo and behold, here we are nine months later and he's doing great.

I decided to move him on up to the East side, in a deluxe apartment in the skyyyyyYy.

He moved out of his ugly uninspired plastic bowl into this very lovely glass fishbowl. I think he likes it. In a couple of weeks, his new friends Snail One and Snail Two will move in too. They need some algae growth first.

For now, he seems to be digging his happy new home.

What's our fish's name? If you can guess, you'll get a gift.

p.s. Lots of interest in the skirt I was wearing a couple of posts ago. To be honest, I'm wearing that same skirt pretty much continuously these days. It's from Matilda Jane...I'm totally in love with this company. I'm hoping my friends at the cottage will host a trunk show.