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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

thirty days hath September

I always end up feeling shorted on the months that only have thirty days- it seems like a bit of a scramble at the end to fit everything in.  (You can imagine the trouble I have in Februrary...)

This month was no different, however as I look back over our pictures, I feel pretty pleased with all we crammed in, unfinished lists aside.  

- We hosted a Labor Day impromptu neighborhood pool party with two inflatable pools.  And suddenly, what used to make us look like weirdos is totally cool.  

- We all survived Arthur's first week of preschool and baked cookies to celebrate.  

- We went to Virginia to visit my family, our best friends, and Arthur's three favorite lady friends.  It was cool and fall-like and just the way to kick off the season. 

- We set up the tripod and took a few family pictures after I happened to need one and realized that the only decent pictures of the three of us were taken over a year ago.  Arthur was actually wearing his flag shirt in our last family photo as well, which may cause a bit of speculation about his wardrobe selection.  I promise he has at least three other shirts.  

- I tried out Hello Fresh, a service that delivers meal ingredients with recipes to your door.  It was amazing.  I can't stop thinking about how great it was and plotting when I can use it next.  I took lots of pictures of the whole process and am planning a thorough write up on that soon.  

If you can believe it, we also traveled to Texas, hired a shop helper, and redid the laundry room.  Not bad for only thirty days.  

I'm already pumped for October and ready to see what we can accomplish with that extra day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I like to think that Steve and I have perfected the art of a flannel scarf photo shoot in late summer. We have our go-to spots for the best backgrounds.  The boys each have a vest that matches the majority of the scarves.  We set the camera so that I can literally snap multiple pictures per second. After all, every second counts when you're roasting your family members.

So lest you look at the following photos and think that they were taken over the period of several hours, I would like to go on record and say that I took about 400 pictures during this particular session and the length of time between the first and the last was exactly 15 minutes.  But it was a dramatic 15 minutes...

The obligatory wave to the neighbors.  It seems like every year, someone new moves in next door.  I'm sure we're not scaring them off or anything.

"If I could just loosen this thing Mom wrapped around my neck, I'm sure I'd feel better..."

The wet noodle

"I know!  I'll pretend to be asleep in Dad's scarf!"

"No, really, I'm sleeping, guys."

"Are you still taking pictures of me in this blue scarf?!"

"Maybe if we climb this tree, we can get away from her..."

Done smiling

The good news is that we got plenty of lovely pictures as well.  I'll probably do a quick rundown of the scarf options this year in the next week or so, but they are all posted in the shop right now, if you'd like to see them sooner!

Friday, September 05, 2014

success is 95% attitude

In what can only be called a back-to-school miracle, I am blogging twice this week.  I'm still not sure if you should get used to this or not.  

So this was Arthur's first day of preschool.  He is obviously projecting an enviable level of confidence, and I think it served him well.  He came home every day sweaty, covered in paint, and exhausted.  Not just regular exhausted either.  One day, I had to wake him from his nap because it was almost dinner time.  After I had opened the curtains and spoken to him several times, he rolled over, looked me dead in the eye, and said, "I did not call you yet."  Yesterday, just to make sure I understood, he told me that he was going to sleep until dinner time and then all night and then all the next day too.  Translation: don't you dare wake me.  

I know how he feels.  Somehow preschool is exhausting to me too, and I'm not even going.  I find myself completely done for the day by 8 pm, unable to even carry on a conversation.  This morning, when I reminded Arthur that there is no school today, he announced that he would like to stay in his pajamas at home, all day.  And I thought, "You read my mind, kid."  

While Arthur has been busy learning Spanish and painting, I have worked my outstanding order list down to a very manageable size.  I've also been posting the new flannel scarves in the shop, sorting through the hundreds of pictures from our photo shoot last weekend.  There are some really awesome ones, and also some absolutely hilarious ones.  I will be doing a blog post with some of the outtakes next week- they're just too funny not to share.  

We're looking forward to a very low-key weekend here.  A few errands, a few chores.  Hopefully lots of time at home.  I'm making Polenta Skillet Eggs with Chorizo for dinner tonight and I've stashed some surprise ice cream treats in the freezer.  Mainly, I just want to celebrate that we made it through the week and regain enough stamina to do it all over again.  Isn't that what weekends are for?  

Monday, September 01, 2014

brave enough

We're enjoying the long weekend here.  Arthur loves to ask before bed if Steve will get to stay home the next day, and we both love it when the answer is "yes".  I was explaining that Steve does not have to go back to work until Tuesday, when Arthur goes to school.  His first day of school, to be exact.

A: Where will you be when Baba is at work and I'm at school?

me: I'll be right here at our house.

A: You be lonely?

me: ....well...yes.

And all at once it hit me- motherhood is an exercise in loneliness.  From the moment I see my children's sweet faces on that screen, I will start being lonely for them and it will just get worse and worse as the years go on.

It's different with Steve, thankfully.  No matter how much I miss him while he's at work or wherever he is- he always comes back to me.  In the end, just like the beginning, it will be the two of us, together.

Not so with children.  They leave you and leave you a little more each year.  And that is as it should be, but it still is daunting to think about all that leaving.

I still haven't been a parent for very long- 16 months now- but I find myself constantly thinking, "I don't know if I'm brave enough to be a mother."  I think this when I picture dropping Arthur off at school for the first time, when I see him almost get squished under a falling piece of furniture, when I think about having to deal with loose teeth.  To be perfectly honest, a big part of me thought that the bravery was in the getting- the hoops to jump through and flights to catch and navigating a foreign country.  But that wasn't it at all.  The bravery must lie in the letting go, a little bit each day.

On Friday, we ran errands all morning before meeting Steve for lunch.  Arthur wore a sticker that he found in a recent fabric delivery that says "JACKPOT!  You got the end of the bolt."  He wore it with pride and a lot of people noticed it.  I found myself giggling at the irony and wanting to give him a JACKPOT! sticker to wear every day. We really hit it big with that kid.

Here's to all the moms (and dads) who need an extra bit of bravery this week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jill's Wedding

When I look through photos to compose a blog post these days, I usually find that there are tons of pictures of my (incredibly cute) child and almost none of anything I've made.  My work schedule these days includes sewing and cutting frantically during nap time and then packaging everything up after dark, so it's not like I have a lot of completed projects sitting around here.  

The good news is that there are other people out there taking pictures of my work!  I got a lovely email a few weeks ago from a bride that I'd worked with and she and her photographer, Gavin Wade, were kind enough to let me use the pictures.  

I have had numerous requests lately for a groom's tie that is different than the groomsmen ties, but this is the first time I've seen the final result and I love it!  The groomsmen ties are the ever-popular mint green pique and the groom is wearing a custom solid coral tie.  You can see even more pictures from Jill's wedding here on Gavin's blog.

Aside from making wedding dreams come true, I've also been busy with requests for graduation gifts and father's day gifts this month.  I still have a few new patterns to add to my summer tie collection, before turning my attention to the fall.  It won't be long now before Steve and Arthur will be out in the front yard, posing for scarf photos while it's 90 degrees (I think they're both secretly excited!).  

We're gearing up for the 4th of July and all the fun that entails.  Wearing red, white, and blue!  Putting the flag out on the front porch!  Cookouts with homemade barbecue sauce!  

I can hardly wait.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

summer thoughts, mostly on food

I have a special love for summer rain showers.  It's stormy outside right now and it feels like the perfect prelude to the weekend after a busy, busy week.  

The good news is, I'm caught up on orders.  The good news also is, we barely have any plans for the weekend, except for the plan to sneak away for some hours while Arthur enjoys my mom's company.  I'm feeling that kind of ease that comes with summer- playing outside until the last bit of daylight, making ice cream, reading magazines just because.  I'm claiming a summer break, even though I have a business and a toddler and there is no real break to either of those items in sight.  

Cooking in the summer is my favorite thing, even though I miss the soup.  But I love preparing our food early in the day while the kitchen is still cool and then serving meals just warm or at room temperature.  I don't feel like everything needs to be hot and somehow that takes a lot of pressure off.  

I've been craving meatless meals more often with the hot weather and have tried out some fantastic new recipes.  If this were 2012, I'd have lovely photos of each of them.  As it so happens, I have exactly zero photos of any of them, but I'm not going to let that stop me from sharing the recipes- 

        -Zucchini-Potato Casserole: really more of a tian than a casserole and absolutely delicious.  The thin slices of potato and vegetables melt together into something magic.  

       - White Bean and Artichoke Salad: Steve and I actually can't figure out what makes this salad so good.  We also can't figure out how to stop eating it.  I make several adjustments to the recipe: switch green pepper for yellow or orange, and skip the olives and mint.  

      - Grilled Mexican Street Corn: This recipe is from Shauna Niequist's book Bread and Wine, which was recommended by a dear friend.  I loved the book, have loved every recipe that I've tried out of it, and love that I think of my friend every time I flip it open.  It is like a novel with recipes- honestly, I can't think of a better literary genre.  I'd love to do a whole book review sometime... we'll see.  But the corn!  Sweet and savory and just what I want to be eating on a hot day.  

So that's what we've been eating.  We're growing herbs and cherry tomatoes on the patio and lots and lots of rosemary in the surrounding beds.  Arthur is slowly learning the patience of a gardener and we've actually had a handful of tomatoes make it to orangish-red before being picked.  

Happy weekend, friends.  I hope that you find yourself in a lounge chair with a cool drink!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May is just an excuse to party

It should be noted that I still often find myself composing blog posts in my head.  It should also be noted that I am currently blogging in a bit of a panic, as I realized that I had only posted once in the whole glorious month of May and I couldn't really believe that about myself.  

Since we last chatted, we have been living it up over here.  We celebrated mother's day and my birthday on back to back weekends and I had such a good time that I almost felt guilty about it.  Almost.  Steve loves me so well and he is teaching Arthur to do the same.  Those two took me out for lovely meals and frozen yogurt and surprised me with a framed photo and M & M's.  Arthur signed his "A" in a card that said "Happy Birthday Mom" on the front and I was unprepared for how that would make me tear right up with joy.  

Steve and I also went on an amazing, five hour long date.  It was exactly as wonderful as that sounds and we're already plotting how we can do it again.  We sipped lattes (sipped, I tell you!) and dreamed about the future, did a little shopping, and ate lunch outside.  I've found myself, in the weeks since, trying to remember that feeling- of nowhere to be and the cool morning air and a warm drink shared with my sweetheart.  

We also took a family vacation to the beach to celebrate nine years of marriage.  We actually stayed at this very same beach condo last year for our anniversary as well, about three weeks after we returned home from Taiwan.  It was so much fun this year to compare everything to last year and see how far we've come as a family.  (Arthur speaks English now!  He's almost potty trained!  We sleep most of the night!)

Taking a few days off for vacation meant that I was unusually busy with shop work the week before we left. I have four new bow tie fabrics (including two florals, which I'm super stoked about) waiting to be sewn into samples, a project I'm hoping to complete in June.  I'm also playing around with a new tie shape- something a bit slimmer in nature.  I was inspired by the bow ties on the most recent season of Downton Abbey and have been wanting to offer something similar in the shop.  

If May was the month of celebrations, June is shaping up to be the month of visitors!  We always host a lot of visitors in the summer and I can't wait for everyone to start arriving.  The June issue of Country Living has about 20 homemade ice cream and gelato recipes and I'm looking for an excuse to try them all!


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