Happy Friday and TGIF for sure.  First, thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my last post.  I've been thoughtfully chewing on them all even though I haven't responded to any of them yet.  I like to sit and stew on those kids of things for a little bit, plus yesterday was a little busy...

Gus started kindergarten yesterday!  I was afraid that he would be a nervous wreck and wouldn't get on the bus when it came and would cry, but he was 100% a-ok and hopped right on with our neighbors and off he went.  He was actually really excited and asked if we could go to the bus stop when he got up (and came down fully dressed) at 7am.  So once we got first day photos done and got him safely on the bus, Greta and I set off for home.  At then it got a little weird.

Here's the thing: I haven't been alone with a 2 1/2-year-old since Gus was that age, and that's when we had Greta.  I don't remember how to interact with a small person without having a larger person there talking and helping out.  I didn't realize how much Gus does around here until he was gone all day long!  I didn't realize how much Greta still needs help with some things because he always gets to it first.  He's trained in helping out and cleaning up....her not so much.

So now I'll have some time to teach her the things that Gus usually takes over.  This morning I asked her to go get me the kitchen towels to put in the laundry, and she had no idea what I was talking about, so I had to show her what to do.  She's so used to following him that it seems like she knows more than she does.  I'm just hoping she doesn't get bored without him home.  She's never not had him around, and she's never not been busy because he's gotten busier with friends and activities as he's gotten older.  She's always along for the ride.

I also realized that I'm going to have some more quiet time, and even more when Greta starts back at preschool next week (she is so flipping excited- she doesn't understand why she can't go NOW).  One thing Gus does not have is the ability to play by himself for very long.  He needs someone to play with, or he likes to play right near someone.  But Greta will disappear up in one of their rooms and play happily for a long time.  I got a lot of work done yesterday, which is good because I have a lot of shows coming up this season.  I cleaned up my office in order to try and get some new projects started, and I cut into some new fabric for scarves.

I enjoyed having some time to play, and I'm looking forward to having some alone time when Greta goes back to school.  In the meantime, I think we'll do a little cooking.  That girl needs to learn how to crack an egg.

Do I Stay Or Do I Go?

I've been struggling with this blog lately.

I've talked about this before, how it seems that, at least for the summer, bloggers and readers have taken an extended vacation from both blogging and reading, and I feel like I'm talking to myself in this space, which has left me feeling frustrated with continuing on.  The lack of comments and social media interaction, on which bloggers thrive, has left a little hole where my writing enthusiasm resides.  Tie in the fact that most posts are going the Pinterest route with a stylized pinnable graphic and top 5/top 20/best and worst/how-to themes abounding, I just don't feel like I can keep up and I'm feeling sour on the whole blogging process.

I love my little space here and my readers (for those of you still with me out there, hi!) but I'm feeling like it may be time to take a break from this blog.  I'm hoping to do several craft shows between now and the end of the year in order to help Milo and Molly get out there more in my community- a major business goal of mine.  In order to do that, and to also build a better shop presence online, I've been working really hard making new stock, which is a time-consuming but fun process.

Add to that the fact that my daily life is pretty routine: I am a mom at home with kids and we don't do a ton of interesting things because we are homebodies who are both thrifty and tired.  We aren't traveling to exotic places, we're not dining out in the hottest spots, we're not buying clothing to follow the trends; in fact, we're hardly out and about in out own community right now.  Going out to eat isn't even something we do very often.  So when I see posts about travel tips and the latest fashions, I don't feel like I have a whole lot to contribute to what's happening now.  I love my little life, but it's not exactly the stuff of awesome lifestyle blogging and I sometimes feel like the content is just not there.

And then I see blogs out there that I would like to be- the ones that have a simple, chic post day after day- but then I realize that a lot of those blogs are a team effort, with multiple authors and designers working on their product, and they do a beautiful job.  Whereas, it's just me over here, learning as I go and trying to come up with interesting posts but falling short.

Options I've been toying around with for the past few days:

1. Stop blogging and call it a day.  Just pack it in and be done and move on.  3 1/2 years of blogging is pretty impressive, so I'm happy with what I've accomplished here.

2. Microblogging, using Instagram as a blog/diary format for quick but hopefully meaningful snapshots of my life.  One problem: I have the lousy old iphone whose camera is not exactly the best, making it hard to do a lot when I'm out.

3. Turning the blog's focus to Milo and Molly, the shop and products, focusing on what I'm working on and what's up and coming with glimpses into my process.

4. Random posting when I feel like it, with finds and link roundups taking the lead since these are fun and interesting for me.  The problem here is that readers wouldn't know when I would be posting, which I know can lead to a drop off in total readership.

5. Taking a break until the new year, drafting posts as I feel like writing and saving them up for when I come back.

When it comes down to it, I just don't know if I'm quite ready to let this go yet, but the fun of blogging is waning right now, compounded with the frustration that I can't produce the content I would really like to do.  Maybe a small break would be good.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and any thoughts you have on the state of blogging.  Also, how important is it to you that an Etsy seller have a blog?  The idea was that a blog helps the buyer get to know you, but with platforms like Instagram, do we need blogs to accomplish this still?  Help!

Good Reads: August.

I have a confession.  I had a pile of library books that I wanted to read and I consciously returned them all without touching them before their due date and with renewals available.  I know- shock and awe!  Here's the problem right now: if I read, then I don't get any work done because I'm buried in a book, and I can't afford to lose half a Saturday to a really awesome book because I'm getting a craft show roster going and I need stock.  So I've been trying to fill my time making stuff and I didn't want the temptation of novels around.  That being said, I did do some reading before my sweep, so let's see what was on the list this month.

Last month I read her newest, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and it was so good I sought out more from her.  This One is Mine is a tale of having it all and not realizing it.  Violet has a dream life with everything she could ever want but still isn't happy, and it takes her on an unexpected detour in her life.  By the end, a series of events come crashing together- combining the two main story lines Semple is weaving throughout the book.  This was a really good read and definitely offered perspective on other people's lives and how you never know how people are actually feeling.

Another repeat author from last month, Moriarty's style is to weave several stories together and you never quite know where she is going to end up.  In this one, we follow a small family whose roots are firmly entrenched in the tiny island they live on and the mystery they were involved in over 60 years ago.  When the matriarch of the family dies, true feelings and revelations are revealed, setting the scene for disaster at the anniversary party they throw to celebrate the mystery's beginning.  This one was slow to start but I got into it about halfway through.

So clearly I like to read authors in series.  Another one by Moriarty (I also had two others by her in my to-read pile, so that's why they had to go), I enjoyed this one more than the other.  In fact, I couldn't put it down.  Cecelia accidentally finds a letter written to her by her husband to be read only in the case of his death.  And while she promises herself she won't read it, eventually she does and her life is turned upside down.  This novel goes to show that once you know something, you can't un-know it, and it details just how hard it is to continue on when you're suddenly faced with a new reality.  Highly, highly recommend.

Rowell is another author who I binge-read this summer, last month reviewing Attachments.  This is a YA novel about twins heading off to college and being pulled in separate directions.  Cath is highly entrenched in the world of fanfic and is highly introverted.  She is trying to keep her family together- her mother having left when she was little- while balancing her course requirements, her fic page, and her growing attraction to Levi, who is arguably the sweetest male lead ever.  A very cute and fun read that goes quickly- this would be a great one to read as we wrap up summer and head back to school.

Another YA by Rowell, and this one is said to be her most popular, this story follows high schoolers Eleanor, new to town and clashes in every way imaginable, and Park, whose momentary kindness on the bus sets them off on an unexpected romance.  However, Eleanor's seriously bad home situation threatens to ruin all they have together, causing Park to come to the rescue and make a sacrifice to keep her safe.  Another great quick read, especially if you love young love.

I got about three or four chapters into this one before I had to give up on it.  The story of Louis, a teacher who has just lost his job and lost his way, decides to move to New York City and takes a room with an odd gentleman.  Louis wants to live in the style of Gatsby and other great gentleman characters, but he is living in the 1990s.  I had a really hard time getting into this- the story just seemed to ramble and was a little odd so I just brought it back.  It wasn't worth the effort.

What have you been reading lately?  Any suggestions?  Can you see why I had to bring all those books back?

Tips and Tricks to Fall Asleep Faster.

I don't know about you, but this is pretty much a constant in my life.  By the end of the day I am legit exhausted, and yet, when the lights go out, my mind starts spinning.  I'll reflect on the day, make a mental list of all the things I have to do the next day, obsessively worry about things that will probably never happen, or just lay there because I'm actually not as tired as I thought I was.  I can actually stress myself out doing this, which makes it worse and then I'm awake even longer.  Also, I am a true night owl- I am much more productive later at night so I can't generally go to bed too early or the wheels will just be spinning for even longer than normal.

For those of us whose brains have decided to run the hamster wheel once the lights go out, here's a few things I've been trying that seem to help:

Write it Out

When I have a huge amount of tasks/errands/ideas/to dos running through my head that I need to remember for the next day (or next few weeks even) I sit down and make notes and lists of everything I can think of that I need to remember.  By writing it down, I can stop worrying about trying to remember it by the next day, which seems to help my mind relax a little bit.  I also keep a notepad by the bed so I can write things down that pop up once the lights go out.

Get Up

If I find that I am really awake and getting worked up about things then I will actually get up and do something.  I'll get my computer and clear out my inbox.  I'll work on a book that I've been enjoying.  I'll do some small chores or go upstairs to my office and make something small.  Anything to give myself a little bit more activity to wear myself out a little bit more.  Like I said, I'm a night owl, so I think there are just days that I have energy to spare later in the day and I need to use it up before trying to sleep.


If you really are tired and just want to lay still, you might want to try a guided mediation.  This generally involves some calming music with a soothing voice encouraging you to relax, let your muscles loose, and let your thoughts go.  You can find several sequences on You Tube, or you can look for a CD on Amazon or in a local store.  What's great is that this can be done anywhere- on the couch, on the floor, while lying in bed- and you can do it with headphones so you don't disturb anyone else.


This is basically a form of mediation since you are guiding your brain to think of just one thing, but I've found it is helpful to count numbers.  Just start at one and keep going, and when you notice your mind wandering off, as you know it will, pull it back.  It helps to visualize the number to bring focus to your mind.  Eventually I think my mind gets bored of this and allows itself to drift off to sleep.


You know they say to limit your screen time before going to bed because it can stimulate your brain, so a great alternative is reading.  Reading is not only relaxing because it pulls you into the story and hopefully helps you forget your running task list for awhile, but it also tires your eyes which can signal your brain that it's time to sleep.  However, if you are a Reader, like me, and have a particularly good book, this one can do the opposite because then you want to know what happens next and you just keep going.  Then it's 1am and you're really tired.

Cool Off Your Room

New England has been enjoying some perfectly crisp autumn evenings this August, which has been perfect for open-window sleeping.  I love being just a little bit chilly and being able to cover up with the blanket, as opposed to being a little warm and not having covers.  There's something about snuggling under a blanket that just aids with sleep, am I right?  When it's warmer and humid, we use the air conditioning to dry out the air and make it comfortably cool for sleeping.

Do you have a hamster wheel spinning in your head at night?  What do you do to help yourself stop the thoughts and get some sleep?

Life Lately.

Happy Friday!  How has your week been?

I have found myself super duper busy making inventory- finally!  I have been in a major work slump for months and I haven't spent much time in my office trying to do anything.  But I've signed up for a few shows and events this fall and before the holidays, so I'm trying to build up what I have to bring.  So, I've been busy turning circles into earrings and strips into keychains:

Three dozen of each and counting.  I still need to make more fabric baskets, bags, scarves, and so on, but it feels good to be working again.  I'm hoping it will be a profitable, busy holiday season this year.  I'd also like to try and do an open house here at home for local friends who have shown interest in what I make- like a wine and cheese evening.  I'm thinking that Small Business Saturday would be a good day, so it's time to do some planning.  My work to-do lists are getting out of control.

Gus starts kindergarten next week (!!!) so we took a ride over to his new school to check out the playground.  Greta starts back at preschool the week after that, so we're trying to get into a better getting-ready-for-bed-early routine so we don't have two little zombies.

We had a bear wander right through our backyard- walked right by our deck and then into the neighbors' yard- just seconds before I was planning on taking the dog out for her morning loo.  She saw it and went bananas, but then recovered pretty quickly, as you can see.  Bears are really common where we live, for some reason, even though it's pretty thickly residential.  This one was tagged, so they know about it and we're pretty much advised to just leave them alone.

And we've been trying to enjoy what has turned out to be a relatively cool August here in Connecticut.  We've been eating dinner out on the deck a lot, and we're still working on burning down a huge pile of firewood left over from The October Snowstorm (its official name around here), so we've been doing weekend fire pits in the backyard.  Last weekend I even needed a sweater while we were out there.

What have you been up to lately?  Anyone been spending more time out in cooler weather?  Have any exciting bear sightings?  Happy weekend!

To see more, follow me on Instagram!

Easy Crowd-Pleasing Food.

I love to cook, though I'm not one of those people who likes to go into super-intricate processes or uses odd and hard-to-find ingredients for the dishes I make.  While I'm certainly not afraid of multi-step dishes, I'm a huge fan of easy-to-make foods that seem more complicated than they really are.  They are generally crowd pleasers that make you look awesome because people think you slaved over it, when really all you did was mix a few things together (if that).

My friend Kelly from The Pretty Bee posted this recipe for homemade Chex mix, her version being vegan and gluten-free to work around her child's food allergies.  Just looking at the pictures made me want some- Chex mix was always a favorite snack, but I've been trying really hard to eliminate as much processed snack food as I can (It's hard! We're always on the go.) so I haven't had it in a really long time- eons, to be specific.  I knew I had to make it, and her recipe was so simple.  On my next trip out I picked up the corn and rice Chex and came right home to add seasonings.  There is a recipe right on the box for it, but it called for seasoned salt (and what's in that?) so I decided to a little of this from one recipe, and a little of that from the other.  Here's what I ended up with:

Suffice it to say, it's already gone.  Neither child really took to it (what??) so I had the bag to myself.

I mixed up two cups each of corn and rice Chex, broke up some pretzels I already had in the cabinet, and then in thinking about what else was in traditional Chex mix, I broke up some garlic bagel chips I realized we had (it was fated, I tell you).  I melted 1/4 cup (four tablespoons) of unsalted butter and mixed it with 1 teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, plus a teaspoon and a half of Kosher salt (too much- next time I'll use only one teaspoon), and about 10-12 shakes of Worcestershire sauce.  I poured that over the dry ingredients, stirred it up, and spread it out over a jelly roll pan and baked it at 250 degrees for 45 minutes.  The kitchen smelled heavenly and the mix itself turned out delicious- just about exactly like the real thing, and I know everything that's in it.  Funny enough, even with this mix, I still ended up eating all the Chex first, leaving the pretzels and bagel chips behind.  This is a perfect recipe for impressing at parties.

Another pair of recipes came from a blog post I saw for peach galette (a rustic, open-faced pie/tart) and a pin for roasted peaches.  Well, when I got home from the grocery store I realized I didn't have pie dough like I thought I did to make the galette, and I wasn't going to take the time to make some right then, but I did find a sheet of puff pastry hidden in the freezer so I got to work:

This peach tart-thing is simply the unfolded pastry dough, layered with sliced fresh peaches sprinkled with organic sugar, and the crust sprayed with coconut oil to help it brown.  I baked it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  It was better hot than cold, but it was still really good cold.

Then last night with dinner I caramelized some peaches, going off of a pin I found on Pinterest, but when I clicked the link it wouldn't let me view it because it might lead to something naughty.  Naughty peaches.  Anyway, the pin luckily had a small amount of directions in the caption, so I halved four of them and spread them out on a lined baking sheet, filling the centers with a small amount of butter and brown sugar- just enough to fill the hollow from the pit.  I baked them at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes (in the toaster oven even!) and they came out so soft and sweet.  My only failure here was that I didn't have any vanilla ice cream to serve them with.  But imagine when you serve dishes of perfectly scooped vanilla bean ice cream topped with one of these golden peaches.  They'll think you slaved!  But you didn't!  I love that. At least that's the way it plays out in my head.  In reality, I ate two for dessert when everyone else got up to go do something else.  Seems I'm just cooking for myself around here lately.

Have you been cooking anything deceptively simple lately?  Anyone else gone gaga over peaches this week?  How's the weekend shaping up- doing anything fun?  We'll be hanging around here doing our usual, which will hopefully involve a fire pit one night.  Have a good weekend!

Useful or Beautiful.

Lately I feel as if I am in a move-out-of-the-house-soon phase.  If you've ever made a sizable move, you probably know what I mean: that is the time to weed out all the crap you don't want to pay someone to carry to a new place, and you have to do it at an almost frenzied pace.  Most of us have said crap: the junk drawer full of actual junk, the piles that never quite get sifted through (just moved around from table to table), that bin of stuff that you could never find a place for, that bin of stuff that's sentimental and can't get rid of, the pile of clothes you don't like anymore or don't fit, but one day might again.  I feel like in the past few weeks I have been finding that we have that stuff everywhere, and I find myself wasting time getting it under control.

"Waste" may not be the correct word for it because it is actually neatening and organizing the house and making space for things we do need, but I get sucked into projects I didn't intend to do that day.  I'll be going about my business doing something ordinary, like putting away the groceries, when I come to our snack cabinet so full I can't get the newly purchased stuff in it and realize, a) we have too much food, and b) half the boxes have one thing left in them, or c) we have two open bags/boxes of the same thing.  So it then takes 10, 15, 20 minutes to get everything in order, consolidate, break down packaging, and clean the shelf that somehow has become extremely crumby.  But it's this routine five times over in one day in different spaces.

As I'm doing this, though, I feel really good about getting rid of the stuff, especially the stuff we have absolutely no use for.  People give us things or I find things at the dump or we buy new things without clearing out the old and we become overrun, and I'm hoping that by realizing this now, we can set ourselves on a good path to not just bringing in something because it might be of use to us one day.  As William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful," and I am going to work on this.

No more bringing home free knickknacks because it might maybe look nice on a shelf.  Time to clean out the clothes where the hanger is still backwards from the year before, that don't fit, or we don't like.  Work on taking a better inventory of what foods we have and what we need before shopping so I'm not buying the same things when we don't actually need them (hello, three boxes of Corn Flakes).  If it isn't currently useful (or hasn't been for a long time), it's going to go.  If we don't like it, it's going to go.  It would be nice to have some empty space in the house that can just stay empty. So I'm going to keep working on tasks like I'm moving somewhere else even though I'm not, and there are no plans to on the horizon, just because it's going to help us keep a more orderly home.

Do you ever get a moving-cleaning feeling?  Are you overrun with useless stuff?  What do you do to keep it under control?

TGIF: Pinterest Style.

It's the end of another crazy busy week! Can anyone else believe how fast this summer is going? Didn't August just start??  Let's slow down a little bit and check out some Pinterest picks.

I'm trying to convince my husband that we need to finish the space over the garage so I could have a workspace with a separate entrance.  He's totally on board (in his head) so expect to see the finished product in about 10 years or so.  But seriously, look how nicely this over-the-garage space is.  If it's big enough to hold a bed, it's big enough to hold my cutting table and some fabric.

Anthro does it again!  Pretty, pretty wooden beads layered on simple chain.  This would be so nice dressed up or dressed down and the neutral colors make it super-versatile.

Yes, please.  This looks like such a simple yet perfect taco for a quick and easy dinner, and I'm sure the mix of flavors would be amazing.  Plus, it's vegetarian, which is a win for the non-meat eaters (we'll add some chicken over here).

How to tie your scarf with sophistication- actually 7 different ways if you click the link.  I'm always looking to spruce up my scarf tying, and it seems we are going to be into scarf weather sooner rather than later.  (And actually, this link to help for clothing woes is wildly helpful. Thanks, Buzzfeed!)

Holy gorgeous cabin kitchen, Batman!  I love everything about this, especially the hood vent on the stone-faced chimney.  I'm hoping there is more counter space (and a sink?) if you continue to pan to the right, but what an amazing space for entertaining.  If you click the link, there are 63 other gorgeous kitchens to peruse.  You're welcome.

This is going to come in handy around here one day.  Offering up random chores that need to be done for a small amount of coin is a great idea, and once the kids can sufficiently read and understand what money is and does for them (toys!), this is going to happen.

I hope you all have a great weekend- anyone have any interesting plans?  I think we'll just be hanging around for the most part, which is the norm around here.  It's just nice when everyone's home together.

To see what else I pin, feel free to follow me!

Follow me on Bloglovin'

Back to School.

Can you believe it's almost that time again?  If you walk into any big-box store, you see it everywhere: back to school is here!  School supplies overflow the aisles, shiny new backpacks and lunchboxes abound in every style imaginable, and teachers everywhere start to dread the rapidly ending vacation; the peace and quiet so greatly deserved after a completely packed year.

My favorite part of teaching was the supplies, to be perfectly honest.  I've always had a thing for office/school supplies.  Staples is one of the more exciting places I can go, and I would honestly have every style and color of Post-It Notes available if I could justify it.  I would probably make a great office manager just on those facts alone.  But really, I loved being able to buy everything shiny and new that I needed for my classroom to make it run just as I wanted it to.  Then the inevitable happens- you're back in the building dragging everything out of storage, cleaning up the room, labeling everything you've so happily purchased with name tags, and making the classroom just so.  The professional development starts and team meetings and before you know it the kids are walking in the door and you're super nervous to stand up and talk to these terrifying small people.  Or maybe that was just me.

This year I am on the other side of the back to school mania- I am the parent.  And while Gus and Greta have happily attended their small preschool, Gus is now off to kindergarten with roughly 99 other little boys and girls he's never met, in a new classroom in a big school.  This will be an interesting year, for sure, but if I'm lucky we'll get a supply list soon and I can go and do my favorite thing once again.

The goal of this post was actually to be a Friday Finds, school-themed, but I found so much cool stuff I ended up making a treasury (above). See all those fantastic items here.  If you want more, may I suggest the following:

This super-cool leather lunchbag from Marble Hill Studio, which I think would be awesome for man-teachers.
Customizable pencils from Rowhouse 14.  I have several sets of these, and I just ordered Gus a set with his name on them as a new kindergartener gift.  And trust me when I say, teachers everywhere would love these.

You have to know that chalkboards are totally IN right now, and this one made of reclaimed wood by Hurd and Honey is just gorgeous.

I have a serious thing for folding rulers, and this collection from Splendid Junk Vintage is right up my alley.

And for those times you just really need to take a midday break, may I suggest this lovely nap mat from Sewn Natural.  Mandatory napping is something I could totally get into.

Where are you with back to school time?  Do you teach?  Are you a student, or do you have some hanging around your house?  Are you done with school and never looking back?  (But seriously, nap anyone?)

Have a great Friday and a happy weekend!  If you have any great plans, please share!