mommyhood survival


straws on

tgif! phew am i happy it's friday today!  this week has been a long one and a big project i've been working on in the background has definitely been kicking my behind (don't worry, i'll fill you all in soon). i'm so ready for the weekend.  i wanted to pop in today and chat with you all about the demise of google reader and how you can all still follow luvinthemommyhood (& all your other fave blogs) easily.  so don't fret - there's lots of information out there to make this an easy transition for all of you using a service like google reader to read your blogs.

you may have noticed i spruced up the sidebar and added a few changes here and there to the blog. i hope you like them! there are new post dividers, handy links in the sidebar, the latest instagrams and latest pins as well! i also wanted to make it easy for you all to follow luvinthemommyhood in all formats. i want to make sure you're able to get our feed and still keep on reading. one thing to remember when reading this post is that both feedly and bloglovin' will easily move your google reader subscriptions over to their service. it really is simple and fast! you won't lose a thing!  but you have to act soon - google reader will be gone in under 3 weeks.

here's how you can follow luvinthemommyhood....

first up on the sidebar is our brand new free luvinthemommyhood newsletter! it's fun!  it also only comes once a month and is a handy recap of what went on the blog during that month.  i've been enjoying putting it together so if you'd like to sign up you can do so here at the link below:

second is one of the readers i've been using - bloglovin'.  it's been around for a long time and is easy and fun to use.  you can follow your friends and other blogs, get daily updates of the blogs you follow sent to you via email, see who's following you and follow them back, like things and read the full post right from bloglovin'.  it's easy, free and you can find our blog to follow on bloglovin' below:

next up is feedly.  i've really been enjoying feedly.  i like all the different functions, layouts and streamlined look of it.  i also like that i can just see "today's post" in a lovely and inspiring magazine style layout with social media icons built right in so i can share, like etc right from feedly. so handy! you can even pin!  i've been using feedly just a bit more than bloglovin' simply for the ease of the layout for me. i follow A TON of blogs and feedly makes it feel less overwhelming and definitely more fun to read vs the old google reader.  you can follow luvinthemommyhood's feed on feedly here:

last but not least there is always email.  you can subscribe to get our weekly posts via email through this link:

i hope that you'll find this post helpful and that you won't miss out on a thing.  here are some other helpful posts on moving your google readers subscriptions:

- how can i migrate from google reader to feedly?
- tips for google readers migrating to feedly
- how to move your google reader rss feed to bloglovin
- bloglovin' tutorial

which service have you been using?  do you prefer one over the other? why?  i'd love to hear your thoughts!

in the meantime have a wonderful and lovely weekend!  i hope it's filled with laughter, coffee, good friends, family and creative time - you deserve it! see you on monday! xoxo


it's all good book review
it's all good: delicious, easy recipes that will make you look good & feel great by gwyneth paltrow & julia turshen
so you may have guessed by the image of gwyneth paltrow above that this post is not about sewing. it's not about knitting either. but it is about me and also about something very important to me.  getting healthy - finally.  since this was the year i made a pact to do some selfish sewing, selfish knitting & take some time to shift my priorities for work/home etc i figured i should also take some time to actually find the elusive time to take better care of myself and finally make it a priority.  something that i haven't done since my first daughter was born.  you all know the story...when you become a mother everything changes. there is a shifting in your soul, in the core of your being and suddenly everything "you" becomes the last thing on your list.

it's all good book review

i spent last year trying to find the balance that would allow me time to nurture my creative self.  i discovered that to be a happier person i need a certain amount of time each day to mentally be creative and allow myself that and be ok with indulging in that need.  but what i seem to have forgotten was that in order to be able to have the energy, desire and sense of self to do this, work more hours than i care to admit, be a damn good mother and wife and then have some left over to physically care for myself has seem to gotten me lost.  i think part of my puzzle has been the caring for my "physical self" alongside my "mental self".  they go hand in hand. duh  i was so focused on my creative self and exploring it and writing about it that i have not had one drop left to focus on my physical self.

the physical self that has horrid back issues that make it hard for me to exercise, the self that suffers from very bad endometriosis, has had many surgeries, that is anemic, and that deals daily with many other ailments that i won't bore you with but that are very much a part of my life that i don't share on here because...well it's mostly a happy place and who the heck wants to hear me moan and groan everyday right? not  i'd rather chat with you all about fun stuff :)  it makes my day.

it's all good book review

but back to the reason of this post. i've finally reached a point of just not being happy with myself.  not my personality but my physical self.  i am tired of not having answers for issues and health concerns.  so between myself, my naturopathic physcician, and my family doctor i'm on a mission to take back control. something i find very important when dealing with my endometriosis especially. it can take control of your life and i find that any way i can find to take hold of the steering wheel of my own body it helps me to deal better with the side effects.

one of them is being on a stricter diet.  while i have always abided by an anti-inflammatory diet and watching what i eat it's just not working for me anymore.  i don't feel good.  so in my journey towards finding out some causes of my issues i've decided to dig deeper.  along with not eating wheat, i'm also eating dairy free and trying to avoid sugar.  i'm trying to rid my body of processed foods and eating whole. i'm not on paleo or any "diet plan", but am rather trying to eat for my body. these are all foods that cause my body issues and that i am sensitive to.  so for the last month i've rid these of my body and i feel so many changes already.  my mind feels clearer for one and my body is starting to feel better. some of the things that have been bothering me have started to go away.  the wheat/gluten is a big deal for me so it seems still so i'm in the process of getting tested for celiac disease as well.

this was phase one of my plan.  i'm back on a treatment plan that my naturopathic doc and i have done before that helps and are trying new things that are working.  but like anyone else who works closely with a naturopathic doctor and who suffers from a chronic illness, you know it's not easy work.  it takes time and commitment but the pay off is huge.  just look at my daughters.  other doctors told me that there was no other treatment left for me but pain meds. i tried everything let me tell you. they also told me i most likely would never have children. it was the darkest time of my life. one where i contemplated a hysterectomy to rid myself of the torment but realized there was one thing left i had not tried yet - a naturopath.  soon after meeting mine my life changed. i looked like a new person and felt like one. i met my now husband and got pregnant right away.  my endocrinologist could not believe the change in my body and i couldn't believe it myself.  it was crazy how much 6 months of hard work with her changed my whole life - body and spirit. truth be told i almost lost both of my girls. each time i got pregnant the doctors gave me the "you are most likely having a miscarriage speech & said there was nothing to be done and each time my naturopath balanced my wacky hormones, put me on bed rest and saved both of my girls. i don't care what anyone else says she gave me my babies and for that i owe her so very much.  she gave me hope and strength.

so i know gwyneth causes a love/hate reaction in most.  i happen to like her. i admit it. i think she's charming and you have to admit - she looks fabulous.  but besides from that her newest book "it's all good" spoke to me.  luckily my girls gave it to me for mother's day (thank you honey!) and within the first few chapters i resonated with what she wrote about.  it couldn't have come at a better time for me and where i am in my life. even though i'm eating better it doesn't miraculously make me enjoy yes, i don't enjoy cooking that much. it's no shocker. i am  learning to realize it's importance but that doesn't mean i'll ever choose it over sewing or if i've got a spare hour i sure as hell ain't using it in the kitchen but hey, that's just my opinion.

but this book makes me WANT to cook better when i do cook. the food is accessible. realistic. achievable. beautiful and most importantly healthy and family friendly.  i cannot say how much i am a sucker for beautiful books.  don't get me wrong - cook books are on the most part lovely but this book - this book sang to my aesthetic.  it's clean. there's white space - no clutter. the images take you away and i can't stop looking at it for inspiration and just for fun.  it's stunning and a wonderful addition to my cookbook library. only prob is i love it to much to stick in the dark pantry where my other cookbooks live. right now it lives on my coffee table where i can remind myself that it's not as hard as i think it is to make the change. the hardest few weeks are over and my body is beginning to adjust and find it's happy place. it's now time for the fun - the experimenting with new foods and recipes. new things to try not just for myself but also for my family.

it's all good book review
it's all good book review
it's all good book review

over the last 4 weeks i have also become a die hard green smoothie addict. i swear these smoothies and juices are like coffee to my body. and you all know how much i love my coffee. now instead of coffee with my lunch and the inevitable 3pm mood crash i have a green smoothie for lunch and feel great!  i've always had a hard time eating enough fruit and vegetables and now it's easy. one meal and done - yum!  the kids even LOVE them. my youngest asks for a green smoothie for lunch almost everyday now too.  it's great!

next up on my journey is exercise.  i enjoy exercise and don't do enough of it.  hardly any actually. with my hubbies hours, my insane work, the kids, extracurricular activities and life my workouts get lost at the end. i know there others out there who can more than relate. so to make it easier for myself i've decided to break up all my new changes into phases.  creative self, physical self (diet) and then physical self (exercise).  it's now time to add in the exercise.  this is the hardest one. with my back issues i'm limited but i need to start somewhere right?  new shoes was my start.  got myself fitted for some brand spankin' new runners and this week i'm starting fresh. no pressure.  no punishment - baby steps. i know myself well enough to know it has to be because i WANT to do it not because i HAVE to do it and i have to ENJOY what i'm doing to do. no goal weights, no workout plans just me getting back to being healthy. one. baby. step. at. a. time.
it's all good book review
it's all good: delicious, easy recipes that will make you look good & feel great by gwyneth paltrow & julia turshen
so gwyneth - thank you. thank you for being inspirational, for being brave and taking control of your health and for making it easier for me to take control of mine.  my body thanks you.  and thank you to all of you for being part of my journey. for being here alongside me with friendship and open arms during the last 5 years of my life.  i hope the journey only gets better from here. i love you guys <3

so...who's with me? anyone else on a health mission? any green smoothie recipes you love and recommend? other cookbooks?  stories to share? i'd love to hear so i don't feel like the only gal who bared my soul on the good ol' a little baring of the soul is good for everyone...right?

*disclosure: i am an amazon associate but this book was not given to me for review.


it's spring break here where i live and let me tell you..never in my life would i have thought that i would dislike spring break. aiyayaya.  these are going to be 2 very long weeks.  my oldest has even drawn a calendar on her easel chalkboard counting down the days until school starts back up.  with the hubs busy with overtime it's not a season we can take a vacay in. so it's more of a torture having no school then a fun 2 weeks of holidays in our house. i guess that's just a reminder that i'm a grown up  gone are the days when i counted down on my own calendar until spring break started to go have fun with my friends and have no school.  it struck me as funny how similar the situations are but in reverse.  when you are little you love school and then you get older and don't want to go and can't wait for that brief but awesome break of fun. and now here i am again wishing there was school.  i think if my hubs could have holidays right now i may feel differently but this is my fate so i'm putting it bravely out there - i. don't. like. spring. break.  there, i said it. phew. i feel better now.

i'm still not 100% (waiting to see a specialist next month) so that's making it even harder to entertain these wee ones. top it off with fog, non stop rain pours and you've got a pretty crappy spring break. bleh.  i also  haven't been able to sew for weeks!  with being ill and also having had a procedure done on my upper back near my shoulder it's made it really hard to type, knit and even sew and has me pretty down in the dumps i must say.  i'm trying to do it in little stints now. i sewed the other day for about 15 mins and will do a tiny bit more today again.  so i apologize for the lack of sewing goodness on the blog lately.  there's been a lot of knitting going on around here but that's mostly due to me being unable to sew.  at least i can lay down and feel crappy and knit. it's a bit harder to do that while  i can't wait to be fully reunited with poppy though.  her and i have some new patterns in the works and this has sure slowed us down.

oh and did i mention we've been living in utter chaos?  yep. big time chaos.  you know when you redecorate and reorganize and your house turns into a bad episode of hoarders and you have no idea how it got that way? well that's my house. i can't even hardly get into my bedroom. plus my bed?  what's a bed?  mine's covered in 5 (i'm guessing), count em' 5 + loads of laundry...eeek!  i def need a fairy cleaning  we had a quick trip to the mainland last weekend and picked up a lot of new lovelies for our condo from ikea.  i can't wait to show you all my new office space.  i've now taken over our dining area and a good chunk of our living room.  oh gotta do what you gotta do right? the joys of condo living. you peeps without houses know what i mean right?

so the hubs and i have slowly been assembling ikea furniture after ikea furniture and watching non stop homeland (LOVE this show) and starting to get our lives back in order.  we're selling our old stuff to offset the cost of the new and also to make room for the new  so as the old pieces sell we assemble the new ones.  the kids and i definitely do not do well with this kind of living situation though.  it's sort of a weird feeling being in limbo. hopefully by the end of this weekend things will be in more of a normal state again.

airplanes built by my oldest and photographed by her as well
the girls and i have been playing a ton of lego (lego rocks!!!!) and also restaurant.  these are both good things to play while mom needs to be laying down (you so know that i can rock restaurant for at least an hour, people can lay down in restaurants right?).  i even designed a fancy menu for their restaurant and printed it out and binded it for them...haha.  yep, i'm hardcore that way. can't have a restaurant without a menu!  we also got to have some good cuddle times with my super adorbs nephew.  i loooooove this little guy.  i love that i get baby snuggles but then he goes  he makes me want more babies but then my oldest acts out and i snap out of it quickly.  i love the babies....older that's hard work.  2 is more than enough for me. in fact i think my soon to be 6 year old is the equivalent of 2-3 6yr olds in one she's a challenging one that one.  thankfully my youngest is very docile and calm so it balances out a tad.  oh who am i kidding - it's nuts in my there. i said it.  it's nuts. i'm surprised most days when i crawl into bed that i am still indeed alive. honestly.  i look around and think how the hell did i make it through today without a nervous breakdown?  or them killing me?  seriously.  being a mom is damn hard work.  damn hard work.  i think from now on spring break should be mom break.  all the moms could gather somewhere fabulous with lots of spa services, shopping, hot waiters, booze, beaches (whatever your thing) for a 2 week break from life.  ahhhhh....yessss....that sounds good.  waiter...another daiquiri please?  won't you join me?

who else is trying to survive spring break? is yours coming up soon?  what's going on in your home?  are you in a chaos zone too?  let's chat. it's friday and i am so excited the weekend is almost here!


everything is always better with cookies.  you know the age old saying when life gives you lemons make lemonade?  well i've been trying to make a few pitchers of lemonade the last few days and i figured it would be easier to deal with life's lemons if i had some chocolate chip cookies to eat with it.  now, if you know me and have been a reader of this blog you will know i don't bake much. i don't enjoy cooking most of the time but one thing i do like doing is making cookies. not all kinds of cookies though, chocolate chip cookies.  delicious comfort food. the melt in your mouth, soft, chewy goodness kind.  just what i needed.

i know some other pals of mine are having a rough week so this post goes out to you because i really wish i could pass these cookies right through the screen and cheer ya right up.  gluten free, guilt free, calorie free, what ever kind you gotta 'em.  but just in case my arm doesn't reach ya, here's the recipe if you'd like to make some yourself.  now i didn't come up with this recipe.  it's written on a wraggly, smeared, worn piece of paper that i've had hanging out of my lonely recipe organizer (that doesn't organize) forever.  i do not in any way claim this recipe as my own :)



- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda

heat oven to 375degrees.  beat butter, brown sugar and white sugar in a bowl. add in eggs and vanilla extract and mix again.

in another bowl mix your dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, salt).

gradually add your dry mixture into your butter mixture and beat again.

add your chocolate chips and whatever other yummies you might like.  i like to use my tbsp as a scoop for making the perfect sized cookies. bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes on a greased baking sheet until slightly browned. let cool and gobble those bad boys up! mmmmmmmmmmmmm! yum!

you know what else makes things better sometimes? flowers. especially the kind your hubby and little girl pick out and bring home for you.  so sweet and just what this momma needed.  i've been keeping them near "my spot" (or as my hubs likes to say "my sheldon" - if you watch big bang theory you'll know what we mean) on the couch where i work to brighten up the room and cheer me up.  i can't wait for spring when i can start planting on our little deck with fresh flowers, herbs and veggies. 

between the flowers and the cookies i hope the week gets better as it goes. i'm crossing my fingers for it.  and don't worry, i'm ok, just dealing with some health issues that have proven frustrating and have knocked me down for a bit. visits to the doctor, an er visit, and other things have just gotten me into a tizzy but i'm a fighter and damn if i'm gonna let those cookies go to waste :)

i hope the sun is shining wherever you are today and remember.........everything is always better with cookies :)

do you have a fave chocolate chip cookie recipe? i'm always on the hunt for a new one and i'd love if you share your go to cookie recipe :)  gluten free ones especially! what do you turn to when you're having a bad week? you always brighten my day when you leave a comment - come chat! 


i've got something exciting to share! a fair amount of you figured it out yesterday but to those who didn't yet my news it's a new website!!!  woot woot!  don't worry though, luvinthemommyhood is staying the same and i'll still be here.   i've created as a new site to brand all the work i do.  luvinthemommyhood will now be the blog component of very shannon.  it houses my sewing and knitting patterns and also the design work/book components that i dabble in as well.  it's been a long time coming and i'm sooooo excited about it!

it took the hubby and i months to come up with a name and just when i was about to give up he came up with very shannon and it just fit.  he's very proud of himself ( swear he strutted around like a peacock for days bragging that he named the new site. hilarious.)  i feel like my style and aesthetic is very true to my personality and what you see is what you get about me so my work is always "very shannon" so to speak. so my new baby is live.  it's not 100% complete yet, i'm still tweaking and adding things, but it's up and running. 

a lot of you know i've been struggling with the identity of "luvinthemommyhood". not the blog itself but the name. a lot has changed in my life since the blog started way back when (boy do i feel old) and the name is one thing that i've always wanted to change. nobody spells it right, it's hard to explain to other people, people automatically split it up into 3-4 words....and so on.  it's been a constant thing that i've been thinking on for years.  so having very shannon gives me a way to simplify my work and speak more clearly about what it is that i do. luvinthemommyhood will still be my fave neighbourhood it just won't be the end all be all name for me. does that make sense? 

very shannon gives you all a quick and easy place to find all of my patterns for sale instead of searching for them on the blog.  soon you will be able to purchase them direct from very shannon itself. options are a good thing :)  it also gives you a great way to see what other work i've been up to and to use a streamlined contact form if you need to contact me.  i love the clean aesthetic of the new site and i'm so crushing on my light coral and grey header. so simple, but so very me.  i'm smitten and hope you all like it too.

you'll notice that my new patterns and pattern photos now will have the very shannon logo and color themes and they will all be posted on both luvinthemommyhood and on very shannon.  all my free tutorials for luvinthemommyhood will stay here in the mommyhood :)  so no confusing changes will be happening with any urls's, links or changes for my blog readers.  you basically just have a fun new place to come check out if you want to see more of what i'm up to throughout the year. it's an exciting new change for me and one that will allow me to work on some new exciting projects.  so stay tuned!

to those of you who sent me lovely messages yesterday - thanks for the luv! you guys are the best! i hope you all enjoyed the free yarnster hat pattern and don't worry if you are a sewer, i have 2 new free sewing tutorials/patterns coming up very, very soon for you as well!

so come on by very shannon and check it out and say hello!  what would you like to see added to the new site?  any thoughts?  hope you are all having a great day and again, thank you for all of your support and encouragement!  xoxoxo


it's a holiday where i live today - a new one called family day! such a great idea! so i'll see all you lovelies tomorrow because today i'm hanging with the cuties above and my hubs.  hope you all had a great weekend!

p.s. today is the last day to grab the sew fab e-pattern bundle before the sale is over :)

Maternity Sewing Tutorial Roundup 2012!!!!!

phew! it's finally here! i couldn't bear to let 2012 go by without our annual "maternity sewing tutorial roundup"!!!  and no, before you ask i'm not preggers. i just like being excited for all you lovely pregnant, glowing mommas out there and give you lots of inspiration for making your own maternity clothes during your pregnancy.

so have some fun! pin your faves, check out all these talented ladies tutorials and show your luv! and most of all...pass it around.  there are a ton of ladies out there who i know don't even know you can refashion or sew your own maternity clothes and are  i know i did with my first baby, i didn't even know how to sew yet but would have learned a heckuva lot sooner had i known i could make my own stylish maternity clothes without spending a fortune! congrats to all of you who are expecting or who are planning to be and happy sewing!!!!

maternity dress by cotton and curls
make a wrap dress by a beautiful mess
make a sundress from a beautiful mess
1.side tulip hemline tunic 2. maxi tank dress 3. maxi dress
oceanside knit dress by happy together

diy make a lace top from a beautiful mess
1. men's tee to striped top 2. men's loose tee to gathered top 3. top with elastic waistband
diy make a tunic from a beautiful mess
1. summer tunic 2. tied maternity top 3. ruched top 4. my favorite top 5.ruffle shoulder top

- turn a men's polo top into reversible maternity top from cotton & curls
- shirred maternity tunic top refashion

1. maternity jeans 2. maternity pants 3. diy maternity jeans 4. maternity jeans
diy prepster maternity skirt from growing home
1. very gathered maternity skirt 2. empire skirt
maxi skirt from elle apparel
1. super comfy stretchy maternity pencil skirt 2. comfy diy maternity skirts
- maternity jean skirt from mens shorts 

1. maternity bow belt 2. the bow belt 3. diy ruffled belly band
diy belly band from a beautiful mess
- stretch lace belt
- mad mim's sewing tutorials
- maternity swimsuit pattern alteration and maternity swimsuit sewing
- 5 new maternity patterns from burda style
- sew fearless's "sewing with a plan: a semi handmade maternity wardrobe"
- - awesome resource!!

megan neilsen maternity survival pack
- any and all of megan neilsen's wonderful maternity sewing patterns.

and our previous years maternity sewing tutorials roundups!!! yay!!! lots of goodies to be found in these giant roundups as well.


do you have a favorite maternity sewing tutorial that we haven't included in any of our roundups? let me know and i'll add your faves in the roundup above! i love this part! it's so fun to find new things! i hunted the web for my faves but that doesn't mean i won't love yours!  so grab a hot bevvie and come share!

We Interrupt This Program....

take a pic mom!
we interrupt this regularly scheduled program with some more pics of my girlies. i know...i know...2 days in a i just couldn't help myself and i have an excuse.  see that cutie patootie above? well she's sick. poor little thing had a really bad fever all day and by dinner time yesterday it was getting really bad and not responding to tylenol and she was just not well.  i took her to the walk in clinic who told me to go to the ER.  so that's where our little fam spent a good chunk of our evening. not fun. 

outtake from my upcoming pattern
 anyhoo she's ok, still has a fever but is hopefully on the mend.  so i'm curled up with her on the couch drawing pics and watching caillou today and hopefully i may sneak in some knitting.  i will be back soon with some winners, another fun giveaway and hopefully a new pattern so stick around peeps!

kept meaning to post this shot from sept :)
btw..totally off topic, is anyone else hopelessly addicted to the new show Nashville? omg! loving it! please say i'm not  anyone else loving the DRAMA and the music! yeehaw!  can't wait for this week's episode!

hope you all have a cuddle filled and crafty day.  thank you all so much for your supportive and oh so kind comments yesterday.  meant a lot to me and seriously helped me get through my day yesterday. big hugs to you all.

spur of the moment

i've been staring dreamily at my fabric stash these last few weeks wishing i had more time to sew. sometimes i think i spend more time on the computer talking about sewing than i do actually sewing. anyone else ever have one of those surreal moments?  sometimes i chat about it all so much that i feel like i did sew that day.  it's weird.  i'm hoping to change that though :)

i've been laying low the last week battling a horrible cold and it's really knocked me on my butt.  i think it was a sign that i need to sew  for real.  it was a sign that i got off balance again.  i lost that teeny bit of equilibrium i had found for about a minute the other month and got off track.  i've had so many projects in the works that involved tons of design and computer time that my knitting and sewing time has gone to the wayside. i know i need to make a change and i'm grateful that this time i caught myself getting off track now instead of in the xmas  that's a scary place that xmas crafting  this year i vow to go into it differently.

i also know there has been a ton of giveaways on here lately which was sort of accidental.  too many awesome prizes that i thought you would all LOVE and not enough weeks in the month.  but i think once a week is just too much for this gal.  so i'm taming it back to every other week or so to leave more room for me to me on here.  a girls gotta just write her thoughts now and then ya know?

i'm really excited about a lot of the upcoming projects i'm working on and hope that somewhere in the next few weeks that the creating vs computer time balance evens out a bit more again and that my kleenex finally wins the battle against my runny nose.

i finally got to work on my washi dress as well. finally.  big sigh.  i luuuuuurrrrve it! like really love it.  i love it so much that i stayed up very, very late in the worst part of my cold with tissue shoved up my nostrils so blowing my nose would not slow down or hinder my sewing process...muahaha...seriously.  honesty runs rampant now if it's too much for you..haha...i won't judge you.  the visual is awesome i know...and don't think i don't know you'd all do it too.  if you were sick and you truly were a die hard sewer you would so plug your nostrils with kleenex so you could get your sew on. yes you

i also love the washi so much i drove the almost finished dress over to my folks house and tried it on for them (can we say die hard sewer?) just to...ya the washi some more. i can't wait to show you all the bust darts!  i was proud of those darts.  no nipple points or wonky seams.  i took my time and they are purdy.  same with that neckline. ohhhh rae...the topstitching...i love it!  so fun!  but the most exciting news...i didn't need to do a full bust adjustment!  yessssssss!  i did make an xl though.  fits like a dream.  and no.  i'm not embarrassed at all to admit i made the xl.  this mommas got some boobies and is proud of it...muahahaha.  i figured i'd rather go for the xl then do a FBA.  staying away from that one till i have to.  i just need to hem and finish the armholes and i'm wearing that bad boy.
i got some awesome sewing time in on sunday during our modern sewing group as well and went full on spur of the moment sewing and made a whole quilt top and back!!! woot woot!  it was great fun.  i just went for it.  put the pedal to the metal and sewed that bad boy.  mind you it was a fast sew and super easy but i really wanted to have a go at some free motion quilting and wanted to do something modern and fun.

so now comes the batting.  problem is i'm out of batting.  i need some recommendations from you fellow quilters.  do any of you order your batting online?  do you have a favorite brand and kind of batting?  is the shipping tons if you order it?  help???  i want to quilt this bad boy like yesterday. super excited about it.  i'm even thinking of doing up a quick tutorial for it so you can all make one too if you dig it which i hope ya do :)

let's chat creative time ladies.  have any of you been out of sorts with your creative balance?  what are you working on? how do you try to maintain your equilibrium? 

creating - fill in the blanks with me and you

once a year i get a kick out of doing one these kinds of posts.  i kinda dig 'em.  i learn a lot about you guys and i find that fun since you guys know a lot about me :)  after all, one of the most fun things about blogging is you readers and the relationships we all form and i don't want to be some reader crazy blogging glutton who only wants you to know about me and not care about any of you talented gals either. the spirit of some of my fave posts/comments lately i thought it would be fun to switch the questions up a bit for this season's and keep in the topic of creating. fun right?

image source pink pink peony
you ready?  yay!  simply copy & paste the following questions into your own blog post and change the words i have " " and bolded to your own answer.  when your post is done come back and link up your blog post in the comments below and that way we can all learn about each other :)  here goes....

* i'm longing to make "a new quilt" right now.

* i want to try "knitting" with some "brooklyn tweed" yarn.

* i wish i could sew with "liberty" fabric.

* i dream of making "my whole wardrobe".

* i keep track of my ideas by "writing them in notebooks".

* i'm inspired by "everything around me".

* i would love to meet "all my bloggy friends" in person.

* my favorite fiber is "wool".

* i like to sew with "cotton".

* my favorite color is "turquoise".

* i rock at "topstitching".

* i would like to learn how to make "more clothing for myself".

* i like to listen to "music" while i "sew".

* i bring my "knitting" everywhere.

* my favorite thing to "sew" is "kids clothes".

* my favorite thing to "knit" are "cowls".

* my crafting space is "somewhat organized".

* if i had my own crafting room it would be "white but still warm and inviting".

* i sew with "a pfaff".

* i like to "draw" "new designs".

* i can never get enough "photos".

* i adore "photography".

* i also enjoy "drawing" and "painting".

* i like to fill my shelves with "fabric, yarn and books".

* i create the best when i'm "at home in my pj's".

* i am currently excited for "rashida coleman hale's new fabric line - tsuru".

* right now i am "working on a new dress pattern".

* i love to watch "downton abbey & reality tv" while creating.

* my guilty pleasure when it comes to creating is "notebooks/journals".

* my current favorite music crush to listen to while creating is "the xx's".

"life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourself" 
~ george bernard shaw

have fun! i can't wait to read all of your answers.  feel free to add in your own questions too and if you want me to answer them let me know in the comments and i'll add them to mine.

35 is the new 25!

image via the light fantastic
yep, that's right....i'm 35 today.  it's my bday. i'm trying to embrace it but am having a hard time.  i won't  the mid's get me every  so i'm taking the day off to wrap my head around it and to of course, enjoy my bday :)  so far so good....

hope you all have a wonderful and special day today as well.  thank you so much to those who have spoiled me and also for all your lovely facebook bday wishes! luv you guys! see you tomorrow <3

it's time for a change...

it's time for a change.  a change is a gonna come to..........the ironing board monster!  that's right!  be gone you horrid creature!!!  i'm revamping my sewing wall ladies!!!!!! wahoo!!! seriously...i'm jumping up and down with excitement just writing about you see i work in a state of chaos everyday.  piles of chaos.  sometimes i can't find myself...LMAO!  i swear that ironing board monster is trying so hard to just gobble up my soul.  every time i get it cleared off i turn around and BAM - it's grown twice it's size again.  i think it's safe to admit i've outgrown my one ikea shelf.  i also have stuff hidden away in our bedroom on another shelf and in my closet.  the pictures you see below are on good days and bad days.  be warned though the top of my shelf is a hazard and looks worse than what i showed  yes. worse.  it's time...i'm donning my battle gear....saving all my pennies...and hijacking the ferry to get over to vancouver to head to ikea to save my sanity. 

the hazard on the top of the shelf.  there are books all behind that fabric too!
a good day
our poor kitchen table that is always in a state of changing chaos
the ironing board monster!
i've got plans that i've drawn out to reorganize this space and actually give me a real desk to work on and another desk to sew on.  with my back injury i need to have a chair to sit in and my couch just isn't gonna cut it anymore.  i'm also going to expand a wee bit into our living room..uh i promised the hubs that's as far as i would go.  let's hope i can stick to it.  i'm going to go up to the ceiling with storage and take every inch i can to organize, organize, organize.  i cannot wait!

i also have a dress form but i can't show you her...tee hee..and i use that hanger on the wall to store all my finished products or works in progress.  i'm thinking about getting another one...looks like i need
it's going to be so nice to sit down and sew or design without spending half an hour to clear a space. i will only need my ironing board when i need to iron!!! what?!! miracle!  i banish it from a worktop.  done.  i'm sick of staring at it all ugly and overflowing everyday.  ever since christmas i've been saving every single extra penny i could to afford to go and buy some new storage solutions.  i can't wait to show you all what i'm thinking of doing and to hear what you think!  i'll have my new space by the end of the month! yeehaw!!!!! because just looking at these pictures makes me feel

do you have a sewing wall or room?  what do you do to keep it organized?  do you have a favorite ikea or other product that you use to keep things under control? tips?  share, share, share! i'd love to see pics and posts on your sewing areas too!  i need all the inspiration i can get! c' us us!

finding inspiration in weird places

ecojot journals and workbooks
"Always do what you are afraid to do". Ralph Waldo Emerson

lately i've been thinking a lot about creativity and making it a priority in my everyday life.  i've been trying to find a way to make it a part of my daily routine and have it fit in without even thinking about it.  i want it to flow.  in doing so i've been noticing that i've been finding inspiration a lot more lately.  i think my eyes have always seen things in a fun way but i feel like they are opening even wider lately.  i'm not always sure what/where the things that have inspired me lately will fit in with projects i work on but they definitely play a huge role in whatever i'm whipping up.

one of the ways that i keep all these new thoughts, ideas and inspirations in order...ok...who am i somewhat of an order is to always, always, always have a notebook or a journal handy to write or sketch in.  i carry them with me always.  ask the purse is giant and i carry it and 2 knitting bags with me too!  i'm always sherping things around with me on the off chance a great idea will come to me.  i don't like saying "oh, if only i had a pen right now".  it makes me want to cry just thinking about it.

i carry around with me notebooks in a lot of different sizes and styles but my favorite ones are my "ecojot" journals and workbooks.  love them.  they are canadian made and are crafted from 100% post consumer waste and with vegetable dyes.  bonus is when you buy one of their jumbo journals they donate one to a child in need. how cool is that?  i also love their little workbooks.  they are soft covered and just perfect for slipping in a purse or tote. So sweet!  i strongly believe in buying notebooks that have a bit of whimsy and inspiration on the cover - if they are pretty & inspiring in themselves you are more likely to write in them :) one can never have enough notebooks and journals to write in :)
some of you know i've been reading "the creative habit" and that i've been loving it and slowly absorbing each page.  it's really made me aware of some of the items that have caught my interest lately. i though it would be fun to admit to you some of my latest inspiration crushes.  you see a few weeks ago i was laying in bed watching tv when i had a really bad cold.  the hubs turned off my laptop and sent me to bed to sleep.  do you think i could? nah...i was on creative overload!  i had found a live concert show of lionel richie of his new duets album "tuskegee".  seriously...i went nuts.  i love country music and i grew up listening to lionel richie so to pair his greatest hits up with my fave country singers was like a dream come true.  i was immediately exported to my "happy place".  i got so inspired.  i was singing my brains out and the hubs thought i had lost my mind.  all i wanted to do was draw and sketch.  and ever since then i've been listening to either the album in my car, or re-watching the concert on my computer.  either way i'm constantly knitting or sewing to this cd.  i even made the gals at my modern sewing group listen to"helloo...? is it me you're looking for?"...LMAO...sorry...i digress.

i know you're prolly thinking lionel richie? wth  but honestly...i haven't quite figured it all out yet myself. it's been such an interesting puzzle but pieces are slowly coming together and they have been super fun to try to analyze.  the music brings back happy memories of my childhood but also evokes a feeling of summer, patios and cold bevvies to me.  overall it just makes me happy. when it's on i do things i don't normally do.  like wake up in the morning like a happy person who bakes big fresh breakfasts and sings (now if you know me you know i am not a morning person, nor do i like to cook).  but lionel does that to me lately. it's been great at combating stress :)

i've really been struggling with conquering my creative fears too.  you know that bit of anxiety you get when you are about to design or create something new..."will it be good enough", "will people like it", "has it already been done better before", "maybe i just shouldn't bother" - as a creative person these are things i struggle with on a regular basis. i'm not scared to sew or design but there is always that little part of me that tries to talk me out of sharing these innermost thoughts.  the fear of rejection or of failing.  i've learned to embrace it and slowly to harness that energy into a positive one but it's not easy.  it's something i have to work on.  but just knowing that about myself now has helped me to push through that moment and to just go for it.  fabric can always be re bought and seams can always be ripped out.

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you want to become." Steve Jobs

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life." Steve Jobs

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." Steve Jobs

i recently read theses quotes from steve jobs and they have really resonated with me during this time that i've been trying to figure out where to go with my creativity.  to find out if i have it in me to go further and what path to take and if i have the strength to just let myself follow it.  so when i read these boy did they strike a chord. i read them daily.  i try to say the first quote to myself whenever i get confused or frustrated.  it helps me to focus and feel calm.  but then i go and get excited over something like this little color strip i found on a package of toilet paper in our bathroom.  i was peeing (sorry for the TMI) and looked over and saw this:

and went "ohhhhhh...purdy!".  i love the color palette!  the chartreuse to light grey/ was just so pretty in a weird way.  it's hard to see all the tones but they are all lovely on their own and together. i cut it out and ran into the living room to show my hubby.  i was literally jumping around with excitement and he just looked at me with utter confusion on his face.  it was hilarious.  it hit me then how fun it is to find inspiration in weird places.  i mean i never would have thought that a piece of plastic toilet paper wrapper could conjure up a new quilt design in my head but it did.  so thank you toilet paper :)

img src for 1, 2 & 4 and img src for 3.
i've also been obsessing over annie.  i grew up watching this movie all the time and even dressed up as annie for halloween once.  my grandma is a wonderful sewer and she made me the best annie costume ever. to this day it was my favorite halloween costume. it's been so fun to watch this movie with my daughter now and see her singing and dancing along to it.  at first read you may think it's annie herself that i've been enjoying and her clothing but it's's grace (daddy warbucks assistant) and miss hannigan who i cannot get out of my mind.  it's the contrast of prim and proper and wild and seductive. both women wear a lot of the same fabrics but evoke totally different personalities.  miss hannigan (carol burnett whom i adore) in her sultry slips and sassy dresses and then grace (ann reinking) in her feminine slips with well...graceful dresses.

both 2 very different women but both make me want to jump into the film and don their attire.  wouldn't it be a riot?  just let your hair go wild and embrace your brazenness with miss hannigan style or tighten up a bun, put on a pretty underslip and twirl around in the ultimate feminine dress of that time period ala grace?  i think it's the gemini in me that adores each character equally.  and yes miss hannigan is not a nice woman but she is likable. a very interesting combo if you ask me. i see it as miss hannigan wishes she was more like grace and grace wishes she was more wild like miss hannigan and isn't that true for a lot of us in life?  the other side of the coin always looks better but it's learning to embrace the side we are on that is the toughest journey but also the most inspiring one.  it's learning to balance it and to find the real "you".

i know i've gone off on a huge tangent on i'm prolly totally making a giant ass of myself but whatevs.  what's the point of blogging if i can't be honest and talk about what i feel like right? in all honesty though i really thought it would be fun to hear some of your thoughts on this subject and to continue our conversations from these other posts:

- the creative habit - do you have one?
- finding balance in my daily routine
- struggling to find time to be creative

i know i'm not alone tell...what strange places have you been finding inspiration from lately?  do you always carry a notebook with you?  what fears do you have when it comes to your creativity?  i'd love to hear about them.  i've got cappuccinos with your name on it...come pull up a chair and let's chat <3

the creative habit - do you have one?

the other week i wrote about my search for finding a bit of balance in my daily routine and also about my struggle with the need to be creative and the ability to find time for that everyday so i stay sane.  while writing those posts i've been reading a bit online looking for other sources that people have found that helped them to find a way to put their artistic souls to use daily. i read more than one post recommending the book "the creative habit" by twyla tharp.  i reserved a copy from my local library and finally got my hands on it.  to say i've been enjoying it thus far has been an understatement.  i want to photocopy parts of it and hang them on my walls to keep me on

as a creative and artistic person who struggles daily to find the right time/place for me to flex those muscles this book really hits home for me.  it helps to give me the confidence in the fact that i NEED those few hours each day to let myself be shannon and to focus solely on being creative in whatever way i need to that day.  whether it's writing, sewing, knitting, designing, name it i need to get a bit of it out of me each day.  if i don't i become a very unhappy and let's just say...frustrated momma.  it all jumbles up my mind and makes me feel somewhat i know that sounds a bit off the rockers but that's what it honestly feels like to me.  

the creative habit by twyla tharp
i'll think about it all day...that idea that i had...when can i sketch it out, when can i sew it, when can i photograph it, what it will look like, be styled like, who will wear it or use it..and so on.  it keeps me up at night if i don't let some of it out each day.  it's like those science experiment volcano's...if you just keep filling me up with ideas i will fizzle  the book has cemented to me that it is ok to have a creative routine and it's encouraged.  it's ok to find me time to do this in a part of a day that is not, when my mind is fresh, alert and raring to go instead of a shell of itself that's all confused and jumbled.  in fact it just creates more ideas and i love the adrenaline of that.

when i get rundown and tired and it's 10:00 at night and i've just sat down to finally be creative it's not always a positive outcome.  it's only a small portion of what i could be creating if i actually allowed myself  "guilt free" time during the waking hours to be artistic.  the kids can still be with me, they can participate, they don't have to be babysat by the tv - in fact they sometimes feed off of my creative energy.  i hope that it allows them to bring that into their own lives.  that somewhere down the line they will choose to sew, knit, draw, color, paint, take a photo etc..and incorporate those creative skills into their everyday lives.

the reason why i'm redesigning my sewing
heck i used it when i was hairdresser and i used it when i was an administrative assistant for years.  i was a master at color coding, prettying up files and could make a darn nice looking spreadsheet and presentation.  i used my creativity to solve problems, work more efficiently and think outside of the box when others couldn't in a non-creative environment.  any chance i got to be creative i took it.  i couldn't help myself and not once did i feel guilty.  in fact, i felt empowered by my skill set. so why now, as a mother, when we need to be our most creative, do i feel guilty about it?  is it because i am my own boss?  that i think i should be doing boring chores instead?  why is it so hard for some of us to find the balance?  why can't i let go of all the preconceived notions that i should be this perfect  homemaker?  why does a stay at home mom have to have a stigma attached to it that our homes must be perfect and we basically exist like stepford wives to cater to every ones needs but our own?  i could go on but i think you get the point. 

sometimes (more often than nought) i choose to sketch or sew over washing the dishes, i'll choose to play with the kids over laundry, i'll knit over dusting - does that make me a bad stay at home mom? no, but sometimes society makes you feel that way.  i've made a conscious decision that i have to let a few things "not be perfect". i'm not a good housekeeper.  my home is not dirty or unsafe, it's still relatively tidy but i have in the last few weeks learned a new skill of pushing my time blocking even further.  instead of just time blocking my creative time for me and the kids, i now time block my dinner making and chore doing time.  so far it's going pretty well.  we use our microwave timer.  i've now figured out which time of day works the best for me to be creative that the kids are happy to play independently or with each other and what times works best for me to feel fulfilled to happily..ok somewhat some chores done and cook dinner.  you all know i don't enjoy cooking or cleaning so having these now be an existent part of each day's schedule has helped me find it not so stressful.

the sketchbooks and notebooks always by my side.
i now know that from 4 - 5:30 it is strictly clean up and cooking time.  the kids help and they hear the timer go off.   the same with my creative time.  some days it could be from 1-2 or 2-3 it all depends on how the kids are doing, what moods we are all in and how much i feel like making that day.  i ask them how they will feel if mommy does this and would they like to join in or do a different task and then we set the timer. when the timer is done i am all theirs to play with and then we set the timer again to let us know when it's time to clean up. 

as a dreamer and someone who gets "lost" in my thoughts and creative happy place at times this has really helped  me to stay on track.  we're aren't perfect at it and it's not successful everyday - i am human, but i am trying to find something that works for my little family and my hubbies busy schedule that still allows me to be someone outside of just a mommy and a wife.  i still want to be me.  i still have dreams and goals aside from loving them with all my heart.  i think it makes me a happier momma and a happier wife.  i hope that it teaches them to work hard for their dreams and to do what makes their soul happy because i know that when i'm not being creative my soul is not fulfilled and i'm not myself.  instead i'm just a shell of who i am and boy does that creative energy torture me at night.  i know you all know that tingling feeling you get in your hands..that need to create and make.  it's amazing but it's also haunting when you aren't able to use it to it's fullest.  i guess it really is like training - you need to flex it, strengthen it, make it grow and feed it and nurture it and once you've done that you don't want to starve it or let it shrink - it hurts your body, your mind and your soul if you do.

that's why we're working on my sewing space as well in my little condo. my space to create in is limited and also a friggin'  i spent a lot of time about a year and a half ago designing my "sewing wall".  to say i have outgrown it is an understatement. i need to do some serious revamping of my poor sewing wall. i've got big plans in progress and i'm saving up every little penny i can to make it happen.  the more organized and cleaner my creative space is the faster and more efficient i am when i do get precious time to work in it.  right now it's not working for me.  it's cluttered and stressful and just a gong  the pics above with all the fabric are of my ironing board monster.  he's overflowing and  but for now, it's all i've got but it is going to get better.  soon...soon, i hope to have it be more functional and a happier space for me, my husband and my kids to all use in our tiny home.

in the meantime i've got a sick wee one here with what we are hoping is not the croup.  she gets it every year since she was a baby at this time of year so we're crossing our fingers it's just a normal cough. poor thing.  so i'm off to take care of her today and hoping that my baby girl doesn't it get it as well.

what are your thoughts?  what do you do to encourage a creative habit in your home?  when do you set aside "me" time for yourself? how do you fit it into your daily schedule?  i'd love to chat about this with you guys, i find it so interesting to hear so many different points of view and how differently we all work and create.  coffee's on...<3

snippets of sewing...& my thoughts

i attempted to get a lot of sewing done this weekend.  it didn't happen.  but what i did get done was fun and even though i had made a "to sew list" i got distracted and whipped up a partially finished new project for me!  but wouldn't ya know...right when i was getting some good sewing mojo on the hubs leaves the wee one with me napping and a few minutes after he walks out the door she wakes up. darn it.  sewing time over.  i'm already dreaming of next weekend.  those unfinished projects are already haunting me :)

because we rent and live in our condo i have what used to be our dining room for a sewing wall (first pic above) and the area (shown shown directly above) where our table now is as a makeshift workspace that i use only on saturdays when the hubs takes the kids out for a few hours so momma can work.  the ironing board monster is always looming and storing odds and ends, stacks of fabric, books, equipment, name it...the ironing board monster holds onto it.  all that stuff on the table there is usually on my ironing board and as you can see in the first pic of this post that ironing board is already quite full.  oh how i dream of a sewing room with real day, one day...but for's chaos in a somewhat organized fashion.  i just clean off the ironing board when i need to work and move it all onto the table.  not ideal but you gotta do what you gotta do. or as tim gunn says "make it work".

and speaking of project runway (my fave show), i've been hooked on project runway allstars and keep forgetting to show you all my autographed pic of mondo :P  yes, mondo guerra. i love mondo.  he's one of my fave project runway designers and when my pal alex was in the states last fall she saw him at macy's and even though she doesn't watch the show she stood in line to get this for me cause she knows how big a fan i am. so sweet!  thank you again alex...xoxox.  needless to say mondo is on my shelf right next to my sewing machine reminding me to think outside the box, be creative and stay true to myself.  i find him and his style very inspiring.  yes, again, i'm a 

remember last week when i told you a special parcel had arrived from a friend?  well let me tell you...what a wonderful surprise!!!  anna from the awesome blog noodlehead and i were chatting and we got to talking about fabrics and i was moaning and groaning about how i always have to order online for prints i like and never have a budget to buy any unless i know what the project is for and she said she was getting rid of scraps and would i like them?  heck ya i would!!!!

so i was expecting a wee envelope with..well, scraps.  what came was a big ol'box filled with fabric deliciousness.  seriously.  i'm still drooling.....i can't even put them away on my fabric shelf because they are all just too lovely to look at.  anna - i heart you and you are sooooooo awesome!!!! thank you soooooo much! sincerely and straight from the heart.  fabric makes me cry i love it so.  sometimes i don't even want to sew with it, i just want to look at it.  wanna see what she sent me?

and there was real scraps in there too!  i feel so blessed. that's not even all the little goodies she sent!  i now need to find time to sew with them all!  i've been struggling with  juggling everything the last few weeks and it's been weighing on my mind a lot lately.  how to fit it all in, find time to just be mommy, be a wife, clean the house, blog, write, design, sew, knit, keep projects organized...and the list goes on.

i think we all, as moms, and especially creative moms, find this especially difficult.  creative energy comes on even when you aren't asking for it.  i know for me it's strong and drives me nuts until i either make something, draw, sew, write it down, knit...whatever it hands will tingle with excitement until i...well....just create.  it may sound weird to some, but i've been like this my whole life.  i wake up in the night filled with ideas and thoughts and have to get up and jot them down.  i can be driving to preschool and feel a strong urge to pull over the car to take a pic or draw an idea of a new project out.  i love this about myself but i also sometimes find it very hard to control when life is busy or hectic.  i need to find time to push those thoughts further and allow them to become reality.  they can't always just sit on a page waiting or folded on my ironing board begging to be sewn...sometimes they just need "to be".  how to always find the time is my current dilemma.  the more i create the more thoughts i have and the more energy that i need to get out.  it just takes over.

it's tough leaving most of it for saturday and then when saturday comes to not be able to finish...aiyahahaa..then it leave me here writing to all of you about  i used to sew at night but man, when i get to 8 or 9pm i haven't even started blogging yet and the house needs tidying and i find if i sew tired (which i always am at this time) i just mess it up.  i used to sew when it was nap time but now my oldest daughter wants my full on attention during the babies nap time so that makes it hard to sew then too.  i also get really distracted and cannot focus when the wee ones are running under foot when i'm trying to sew during the day so that brings me back to saturdays which is a new work in progress in our house.  but then isn't life a work in progress? i'm sure i'll find some semblance of an answer soon but in the meantime i thought it would be fun to hear your thoughts on the subject.

do any of you have the same issue? what do you do to help fit that time in to create?  time blocking helps me but i feel like i need to start doing more than that. let's chat, i think this is a topic that a lot of you deal with daily and i'm sure we all have some tidbits of wisdom to share with each other.  coffee's on :)

playing hookie...& some blog housekeeping

i'm taking a wee bit of a break today to go rock my new bangs...i'm feelin' it  what do you think? keeping in line with the "i'm pampering myself to try to forget all the concussion, back injury, stomach bugs and lady probs that i've been dealing with since october" i got my hair cut the other night and asked my amazing hairdresser (who's leaving me to go on a 6mth sabbatical across france..wahhhhh!!!) to give me some rockin' mom hair and she sure did.  i love it.  i'm also playing a bit of hookie today to do a fun photoshoot for my upcoming sewing pattern/tutorial that i'm biting the bullet and releasing for sale! i'm excited and nervous all at the same time. ohhhhh...i cannot wait for you all to see it!  my lovely pal jane richmond is modelling for me again and she's just gonna look so stylin' in it!  for all you awesome ladies who so kindly offered to pattern test for me it's coming. i'm hoping to have it out to you today so get those sewing machines ready :)

i also figured that since our knit alongs are just so awesomely (word?) fun that i better make it a bit easier for you peeps to find them (and me too)!  it sure was fun for me to look back and see all the knitting that has gone on since june of last year! wowsa how time flies!!!  if you look on the sidebar now you will find a "luvinthemommyhood knit alongs" button that you can click on that will take you to the post that i give you a sneak peek of above.  please feel free to comment and let me know if i'm missing anything you'd like to see added to the list.  it's a work in progress and sort of a hub for our kal's so i'm always open for input.

what have you all been up to this week?  i love the feeling after a new haircut...i just wish i really could sleep upright without moving so i could keep my awesome haircut in immaculate condition.  anyone else recently made a "hair change"?  what are you crafting this week?  share, share...i'm dying to hear what's been going on.  happy thursday!  that means it's almost friday..woot woot!

moms in the mommyhood - cynthia mann

we've got a new moms in the mommyhood today!  i'm super excited to bring this series back and to start off 2012 with the uber-talented lady behind both fabricworm and birch fabrics - cynthia mann!  this wife and momma of 2 is a super busy multi-tasker running both fabricworm - an online fabric shop, and birch fabrics - her organic fabric line and brick/mortar fabric shop of the same name! wowsa!  seriously...this is one talented and amazing woman.  it's an honor to have her as one of our luvinthemommyhood sponsors and as our newest mom in the mommyhood!  so excited for you all to read our fun little interview - cynthia is truly inspiring and it's been so great getting to know her. so grab a cup of coffee, put the wee ones down for a nap and let's all get to know cynthia!

You opened Fabricworm before you created your 100% organic fabric line Birch Fabrics and opened your brick/mortar shop of the same name.  How & why did you go about creating Fabricworm and do you have any tips for others looking to start an online fabric shop?

I created Fabricworm mainly because I was finding it difficult to find great designs in fabric online, and I when I did find one, it always seemed to be sold out. I would go on mad hunts for particular hard to find fabrics to sew things for my boys, like pajamas, bedding, etc. It was at that time that I decided that it would be a great business to start. However since I started Fabricworm the internet has completely changed for fabric buying. Modern fabrics are now dominating the craft scene and there are so many more options for buying these fabrics than ever before. For someone interested in starting their own fabric shop, I would recommend starting on Etsy or even better start small by buying a few bolts and cutting yardage at your local swap meet. In fact I just thought of that, and it’s a pretty great idea!

 I love the name of your online fabric shop. What's the story behind the name Fabricworm?

Aw, thanks Shannon! The story behind the name Fabricworm is that I truly consider myself a fabric addict. I was struggling to come up with a catchy name. I knew I wanted fabric to be a part of the name, and I started considering what other people that are addicted to particular things call themselves. The term “bookworm” immediately came to mind. I realized, it’s a shame there isn’t a term for fabric addicts or sewing addicts, since it seemed like there should be, I gave it my own name “fabricworm”. I think it works great!

My favorite thing about your fabric shop is that you carry modern quilting fabrics, Japanese import fabrics, retro fabrics and contemporary fabrics as well as notions and trims.  I drool all over my laptop whenever I visit it.  What led you to focus on this area of fabrics?

Modern fabrics and especially Japanese import fabrics were really the driving force behind why I started an online fabric store and a brick and mortar store. I’ve never been able to find Japanese import fabrics anywhere in my local shops and I was always drooling over them online. That’s when I decided to sell them both online and in my shop.

I respect and value the creation of fabric lines such as yours - Birch Fabrics, that is a 100% organic fabric line printed with low impact dyes.  What was your thought process when developing the creation of Birch Fabrics - and what led you to its creation?

Thank you so much! Birch Fabrics actually was almost immediately in the works after I opened The reason was that I was so passionate about organic fabric, and I was trying desperately to find any printed organic fabric that was 44” wide for baby clothes, blankets, etc. to make gifts for friends and clothes for my children. Since I had a fabric shop, I was hoping I would find them and be able to carry them, but also use them in my own sewing projects. I asked all of my reps and they all had the same answer. They just didn’t exist. I started researching beyond the manufactures that I was buying from and started researching organic fabrics globally. That’s when I discovered that I could produce them myself. It took me about 1 year to get my first collection in stores and we’ve been working hard at it ever since. We’ve now produced 6 successful collections and have 2 more on the way in February, 2 more in March, and another in June. We expect to produce about 7-8 organic collections a year.

What was the hardest part for you in the development of Birch Fabrics?  What roadblocks if any did you encounter and how did you overcome them?

The hardest part was the getting over the initial investment. I had to put everything that I had in to Birch Fabrics, and it was a huge risk. I have been so fortunate to have a family that supports me and never second guessed what I was doing. Their faith and belief in me, is why I get to do what I love today. There were a few roadblocks, but these exist in all forms of manufacturing. Colors not being exactly what you expected, or major delays in shipping. These can be frustrating but are a part of the process that I’ve become much more comfortable with now.

commute by birch fabrics
Where do you draw your inspiration from for Birch Fabrics?

My inspiration really comes from all around me, but mostly nature and my childhood. I love mid century modern design, and always find myself gravitating toward retro and vintage styles. I’m always inspired by Japanese fabrics and I my palette is almost always garnered from my childhood. I was looking at commute the other day and realized that it was the same colors as the wallpaper in my kitchen growing up. When I was young I had all of the crayons colors memorized. I’ve just been into color as long as I can remember. My mom was a great help because she new the names of every color for every shade, and I must have got that from her. I remember asking her “what color is this?”, “what color is that?”

Birch Organic Crib Bumper Woodcut Floral
You've also created a line of organic crib bedding called Birch Organic!  What prompted you to develop these as well as the Birch Fabric Line? 

This seemed like a natural evolution for the company to take. In our store in Paso Robles, we have a lot of young moms coming in that love the organic fabrics and would like to have crib bedding, but don’t know how to sew. We also felt that since it was so hard to find cute organic fabrics, it’s probably hard to find cute organic crib bedding.

Ok...spill the beans...are you are a morning, afternoon or late night sewer?

Jason, Keaton, Anderson and Cynthia
I am an all day sewer! I am the type of sewer that can’t leave a project until it’s finished. Usually that means if I start at 2pm, I’m still sewing at 1am. Hence I don’t get to the sewing machine much anymore. It’s kind of sad, but my boys are older now, and home made clothes by mom aren’t the coolest thing. I sure wish they were!

I'm sure we are all dying to know how in the heck do you balance running Fabricworm and Birch Fabrics at the same time as well as being a mommy to Anderson and Keaton and wife to hubby Jason?

It is tough at times, but things are a lot better now than they were. In this past year I've hired more associates, and handed over a lot of my daily tasks for Fabricworm to my newly promoted Manager, Andrea. Likely if you buy from Fabricworm, you've.had the pleasure of emailing or speaking with her. Jason is a huge help also. He manages all the website updates for Birch Fabrics and helps with advertising graphics, and of course also helps me design many of Birch Fabrics' designs.

I love to crank the tunes while I'm sewing do you sew listening to music, tv or just languish in the silence? If music or tv what are your top 5 to play? 

I love to listen to music and sew, these would be a few favorites: Death Cab for Cutie, Pheonix, Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes (too many favorites to list, I'm not even sure if these are the top 5!)

next stop by monaluna for birch fabrics

If you could design your dream fabric what would it be and what would you make with it?

This is a tough question. I would really like to design a whole collection around my 2 month backpacking tour through Europe, but it’s just a much to broad concept for a collection. If I did, I’d use the fabric to remodel the inside of our vintage trailer. I’m excited for our Next Stop... collection by Monaluna coming in March though, because it’s going to make great fabric for this purpose!

circa 50 by monaluna for birch fabrics
You're fabric lines have a definite retro vibe with a bit of this evident in your own home and styling’s as well?  How would you describe your own personal style? 

I would describe my own home as mid century modern with contemporary touches. It s a 1960 ranch house, but we've given it a lot of modern day upgrades.

Who is your design icon?  Who do you find the most inspiring at the moment in this wonderful creative community of ours?

It's really impossible for me to pick just one. I guess if I had to it would be Lotta Jansdotter. When I was living in San Francisco and working at Anthropologie about 10 years ago I used to walk over to her studio on Polk St. It was only open on Weds from 1-4pm as I recall. She was so sweet and just working away in this tiny little studio selling her silk screened tea towels and painted ceramics. I remember just thinking, "Wow! She is the coolest little lady"! and of course her artwork was stunning! She has just recently launched her first fabric collection, and of course it's a huge hit.

But I also love and admire the works of Alexander Girard, Charley Harper, Shinzi Katoh, Etsuko Furuya, and of course Monaluna and Dan Stiles!

storyboek two by birch fabrics
 What tips do you have for other moms looking to open their own businesses and go after their dreams?

I would tell them to talk to family and friends about their ideas, but don't get discouraged if they aren't as positive about your ideas as you might be. Don't let it get you down. The most important thing you can do is your research. I spent several months researching my field, and had 10 years of history buying fabric online. I didn't let anyone discourage me, because I was confident in what I knew and had researched.

I love shopping for fabric online.  Do you run across customers fearful of ordering fabric online?  What is your advice to them to have a successful online fabric shopping experience?

it's interesting, my surprise has really been the confidence in our buyers. We rarely come across a customer that is afraid to purchase online. We get an occasional phone order, but for the most part our customer base is made up of frequent online fabric buyers.

How has the fabric business changed for you now operating a brick/mortar shop as well as an online one?

Having the brick and mortar store has changed the business in the fact that we now get to physically see and touch our customers projects, for both me and my associates, this had made our business feel much more personal and more accomplished at the same time.

What has been the most enjoyable part so far of owning your own brick/mortar fabric shop?

Seeing customers projects and learning about what they are sewing. Also getting to know my sweet staff. I've made a lot of new friends and I love every bit of what I do!

 What is your favorite thing to sew and why?

My favorite thing to sew is baby pajama pants, the reason is because it’s the one thing that I  can sew in less than 20 minutes. And I never get frustrated:)

I named my sewing machine Poppy & will admit she is like my 3rd child....what kind of sewing machine/serger do you use and does yours have a name too?

Ive never named my machines.  I grew up sewing on a 1960 avocado green Sears Kenmore, Japanese made and was a great machine. I only recently gave it back to my mom. I now sew mostly on a Hello Kitty Janome that I bought because the Pfaff I bought intimidates me too much. I'm still just a novice sewer, even though I've been sewing for 20+ years.

thank you so much cynthia! it's been such a pleasure!  i can't wait to get sewing this year with all your wonderful fabrics and of course, buy them from your wonderful shop!  you are just so inpsiring my dear!!!  you guys can find all things cynthia below:


birch fabrics:

if you are new to the mommyhood, our "moms in the mommyhood" posts feature a new mom who currently has their own business (doesn't matter what kind). we try to sit down and have a virtual cup of coffee and ask them all the fun, little questions that we are dying to know. we also try to get a glimpse into their lives and what it's like to have your own business and be the boss of your kids at the same time. we are always on the lookout for new moms to feature. if you know someone or you would like to be featured in this spot, please send us an email at don't be shy - we can't wait to meet you!

Keeping It Organized - Tiny Prints "Lifeplanner" Review!

one of the questions i get asked the most is "how do you do it all?" and the answer i most commonly give is "i don't sleep much and i try to stay organized".  how do i stay organized?  i use an organizer. yep, not a cell phone or blackberry or computer program - an actual organizer.  it keeps track of my appointments, play dates, birthdays and most importantly - my blog!  i keep all my notes, ideas, blogging calendar, goals, to do's etc...all in one easy accessible place.  it's always right beside me and i'm always using it.  i like being able to hold it in my hands, that it's not electronic and does not require batteries.  i can sketch, jot down ideas, and much more with ease.

so when tiny prints contacted me about doing a review of one of their products i jumped at the chance - firstly because i love their shop and secondly because i have been eyeing up their organizers for months.  i scooped my fave one up without blinking an eye.  i knew i wanted a week-at-a-glance on the go lifeplanner by the fabulous designer erin condren.  i adore the modern lines, customizable covers, and overall graphic styling of her organizers.  it has a hard laminate cover with sturdy pages inside.  it's ringbound (yay!) and the monthly tabs on the side are a life saver!  i was one happy momma.

when my organizer arrived i have to say it was pretty close to when fabric/yarn show up at my door.  i squealed, did a happy dance and freaked out my kids with my excitement over an inanimate object.  i now accost anyone who comes in my home to show it to them.  LOVE it!  it is the organizer of my dreams. puts my old one to embarassing shame.  i will never...EVER...go back :)  wanna know what's inside?

*sturdy laminate plastic cover  *ringbound  *monthly tabs  *sealeable pocket  *folder pocket  *gift labels  *stickers  *specials dates section  *days of the week split by morning/day/night  *month at a glance  *year at a glance  *party invites  *lots of space for notes, memos, to do's & goals and more!!!!

wanna see?

i love the inspiring quotes....

the yummy stickers...

perfect for adding some color to your day...


and to mark all those special dates!

i like having the option of month at a glance pages...or seeing my mornings, days & nights with room to keep track of goals & to do's as well!

there's also space to organize all my papers, receipts....

and a special spot to keep other items safe...

that came filled with fun goodies!

i LOVE being able to keep it together.....well..sometimes that is :)  i am a mommy after all.  life is never "kept together" all the!

but it's fun to try to stay on top of things and have the tool that helps me function day to day to be pretty darn cute and lovely to look at to boot!

bonus is while you are shopping over at tiny prints you can also drool over their gorgeous shop filled with:

greeting & holiday cards...

party invitations...

address labels...

and birth a ton more fabulous lovelies!

this momma gives tiny prints two thumbs up!  so whatcha waiting for?  go get organized and head on over to tiny prints and use coupon code "PLAN1011" to save 10% off your order!  they also have a great 3 day cyber sale on as well.  happy shopping!

do you use a personal organizer?  are you a month by month or week by week kinda girl?  what's your fave way to keep your days organized? do you have tips to share?  i'm always looking for more ways to keep life simple :) 

neighbourhood cleaning time

i wake up thinking this a few times a  sometimes it even happens if the hubs is in a really good mood he'll tidy up in the morning before i those days.  but today's blog post actually doesn't have to do with the cleaning...or lacktherof..of my home.  it's about my other home.

Source: via BethAnn on Pinterest

i need your help.  you see once/twice a year i do a little survey for luvinthemommyhood to see how things are going in our little neighbourhood. sort of like a town meeting if you like.  pretend i'm the mayor and you all get a say on how your neighbourhood is run, cleaned and is functioning.  a town hall meeting of sorts :)

i know you hear the word survey and it's like bahhhhhh..."close"...and you are all super busy ladies (& gents) but i would be over the moon if you could take a few mins to answer a few quick questions.  honestly..they aren't hard or long and i would be super duper thankful.

you can fill out the survey here:

that wasn't so hard was it?'re all done and tomorrow i'll be back with some fun stuff instead of boring ol'housework!  funny thing is that when i was looking for pics for this post i got bit by the apron bug really bad and now must run to go find the perfect pattern to whip up for myself.  can you believe i've never made myself an apron?? must get on that stat.  along with the 3-4 loads of laundry that need folding, the 2 that need washing, the vacuum that needs emptying along with the dirty carpet that needs vacuuming, the bathrooms that need scrubbed, the kitchen floor that needs mopped and all the toys that need to be put away that are strewn across the condo.  oh's a good!  i think i'll go sip some coffee and knit instead :)

Source: via Terri on Pinterest

thanks for helping out ladies! you guys rock!  i'm sending imaginary maid service to all of you today :)  how was your halloween?  what's your favorite retro poster?  do you have a go to saying that you use when it comes to housecleaning?  a fave apron pattern you wanna share?  c'mon over and chat :)

Momma's got a boo boo...

momma's got a boo boo.  for those of you who follow my facebook page you may  have heard me ranting about the foolishness of hitting my silly head not once...but twice with my trunk door on friday afternoon.  seriously...i am a clumsy dork.  don't ask me how i did it twice, it's humiliating...i know..but i blame it all on my car and not on myself.  needless to say i hit myself really hard.  so hard that by later that night i was not a happy camper. 

i finally inspected my head and was freaked out to find some cuts/scratches from the trunk door.  damn you car!  don't you know i have sheat to do!  how dare you bonk me really hard twice and expect me to feel dandy as candy!  my car...whose name is vroom vroom veronica by the way (you know how i love to name things) and i are NOT on speaking terms.  i fear our relationship will be scarred forever.  how could she leave me standing stunned staring at my hand over and over checking for blood in the grocery store parking lot?  friggin give her gas and drive her...i mean i know i could clean  her more but honestly, what more can a car ask for?

so by saturday i was a gong show mess.  dizzy, nauseous and a crying fool.  i missed my knit night, screwed up my hubs exam studying schedule and pretty much slept away the day.  before you ask i went to the doctor at the walk in clinic who quickly dismissed me telling me i hit my head and to go rest.  old fart.  just for the record i detest old, grumpy rude doctors.  especially when one is a crying, throbbing head of a mess.  what ever happened to compassion buddy?

anyways, sorry for this weird ol' rant of a post but long story short...i will be absent (sort of) today and maybe tomorrow while i heal my bonked head and attempt to take care of my kidlets until my eyes focus better and i stop feeling so gosh darn off balance.  i don't dare sew for fear of messing up my projects big time so i've been knitting up a storm to try to cheer myself up. i agree with my pal sarah that i think i need a helmet and also yes amy, i think this shirt would be fitting as well :P

*updated to add (09/27/2011): i went to my family doctor today and found out i did indeed get a concussion and now have post concussion syndrome. i'm feeling pretty crappy so taking a few more days off. thanks for all your comments and well wishes.  you guys are so sweet :)

i hope you all had a wonderful weekend that was injury free and filled with fun and crafting galore!  are you clumsy like me too?  i'd love to feel less like a dork so if you have a funny, clumsy story to share please do.  it would make me feel sooooo much better :)  i promise the coffee's on and there's a warm, cozy seat here for ya...come chat!