Wednesday, December 31, 2008


{here's to a pot-banging good time}

Monday, December 29, 2008


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


In all of the Christmas card craziness, I finally have a moment to show you what I've been working on! In addition to the frenzy of Christmas Card orders that I have been diligently filling, I have also been doing some Christmas decorating! Not at my own house, although I better get busy on that before my family rebels against me, but on a house that was a part of the Christmas House Tour in our town this year. The Christmas House Tour is a fundraiser where a team of volunteers get together to transform five houses in town into a holiday fantasies come true. Tickets are then sold for people to view the beautiful homes.

I was asked to design the room of a little girl who lives in one of the homes on the tour. This family moved into the home recently, so I was really starting with just a bed and a desk and the little girl's desire for pink and green. Here is a little tour of the (nearly) completed room.

The photos were taken at night (very late, just after the room was almost completed. The bed was not yet fluffed, but I was waiting for the next morning for that last minute detail) so the lighting was terrible. But the tour was to start the next day, so I had to snap some shots while I had the chance.

Here is the view as you just walk into the room. What you cannot see is that there is a little entry into the room created with white cotton panels from Ikea that were trimmed and swooped back with yards and yards pink ribbon, framing the room as you enter and mimicking the swoop of the curtains that frame the bed.

The bed was formally a bunk bed that the girl shared with her sister, so I had to hide the pegs on the posts where the top bunk once sat. This was done prettily and easily with ribbon balls and streamers. 

Above the bed, we painted the girl's monogram and created a canopy of sorts with tissue paper flowers courtesy of Martha Stewart crafts and at the end of the bed, figure skates are hung for Santa to fill with gifts and candy.

Next to the bed is a handpainted table and chairs made extra special with a wreath of fresh pine hung from the ceiling and lit with small lights for some extra shimmer and fantasy. When the fresh greens dry out, I have a plan to embellish the wreath with something more permanent.

To fill the wall beside the table, vintage paper dolls and lacing cards downloaded from The Crafty Crow's other blog Belladia , were framed and hung in a grouping. (thank you crafty crow!)

The little girl who lives in this room is both an accomplished figure skater and hockey player, so we set up this desk as a vanity for her to get ready for skating events and display her most treasured medals and awards, complete with inspirational messages tucked into her mirror.

Here is another view of the vanity area. The chair was covered with leftover fabric from curtains and bedskirt.

Finally, the piece de resistance - the tree! Covered in ribbon and tulle and little paper cones embellished with ribbons and fresh greens, it's a little girl's Christmas fantasy!

At the top of the tree sits an outgrown skate monogrammed and embellished for a lovely little skating princess (and rough and tumble hockey player, of course)! Thank you so much K for allowing me to invade your life and your bedroom for the past couple of weeks. It was such a pleasure to create your winter wonderland. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I know I've been MIA for many, many days now but I promise, I have a good excuse. No time for a complete post now, but this picture is a little hint of what I've been up to. More to come in the next day or two!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Warning: Once you begin making these little pine cone turkeys, you will not want to stop! There's something about the bend of the pipe cleaner and the cock of the feathers that gives each little turkey a personality of it's own. Before you know it, you'll have a whole gaggle of these guys to embellish your table on this Thursday!

We made our pine cone turkeys one year after a special tree in my mother-in-law's yard had to be trimmed back. We frantically gathered all of the pine cones and saved them away for future crafts. Of all the things we have made with those pine cones, this by far is my favorite.

I had planned on writing and photographing a full-fledged tutorial for this one, but let's be real. With Thanksgiving preparations and holiday card season converging upon me like a 1000 lb. weight, a tutorial is not in cards. But I will tell you how it's done. (just pretend it's a beautifully illustrated and written tutorial, OK. pretty please?)

A pine cone.
Stiff felt. (we used black because we had it on hand, any autumnal color will do)
Cardstock (we used burnt orange because we had some scraps of it lying around)
Brown Pipe Cleaner 
Hot glue
Tape or stapler

Step One: Cut a heart shape out of the felt. These will be the feet.
Step Two: Cut four or five long ovals out of the cardstock. Stack them on top of each other then fan them out from the top, keeping the bottoms stacked. Tape or staple together.
Step Three: Cut the pipe cleaner in half or in thirds (depending on the size of your pine cone).
Step Four: Position the pine cone onto the felt heart finding a spot where it balances fairly well.
Step Five: Hot glue pine cone to felt.
Step Six: Bend end of one piece of pipe cleaner to form head.
Step Seven: Position end of pipe cleaner into pine cone in a spot that makes sense. Hot glue in place.
Step Eight: Glue cardstock feathers to back of pine cone.

And that's it! This project is super fast and super fun. The spaces in the pine cone can hold place cards to be used as place settings or you can just group a bunch together for a fun little display. The grouping is especially cute if you have pine cones in varied sizes.

We have used these as placecard holders for several years, varying how we use them each time. One year, we cut out cardstock into the same heart shapes as the felt feet and the kids wrote why they were thankful for each person who was joining us for dinner that year and glued the note to the bottom of the turkey. It was a fun little surprise and the kids were bursting with excitement waiting for the first person to discover the hidden message! (you can see our turkeys at each place setting in the photo below, quietly waiting for guests to arrive and discover the hidden messages of thanks).


With only a couple of days left, this is the perfect little project to keep your little ones busy while you take care of all the holiday prep. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've been neglecting you all and I'm sorry. But I promise that it's only because I'm diligently working on everyone's Holiday Cards. That gives me a pass, doesn't it?

In the meantime, here are some great Thanksgiving downloads from Martha. In true Martha fashion, these are beautiful ideas to make your holiday table extra special. The best part - they're quick and easy to make!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Back with another Thanksgiving tradition and this one is really fun!

I love to set a beautiful table, but it's also really important that the setting be personal and fun. Thanksgiving is all about family and our family is all about the kids. So each year, among the fancy napkins, shimmering candles and beautiful flowers, each person's setting is embellished with something handmade. We have done so many of these, that I will surely dig out at least one or two from past years to show you, but this year it will be this turkey, lovingly designed by Pumpkin and Petunia. Peanut is sure to help with some gluing and decorating as well! The turkey is made from brown paper bags (for the body), scrap pieces of paper (for the beak and legs) and finally, beautiful leaves from the weeping cherry tree in our front garden. He is a masterpiece of recycling and 9 and 7 year old ingenuity.

Each guest at our Thanksgiving table this year will have a turkey placed on his/her plate to admire and add to the decor. At the end of the day, he will serve as a treasured favor to be added to collections of handmade treasures from years past. We have quite a collection gathering in our Thanksgiving box and I love looking through them each year. The best part is that our guests of aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents look forward to these little creations as much as we do; adding them to their own collections as a fun little reminder of holidays together.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Seriously, is there a little jar that can preserve a seven year old girl's sense of self. Keep it for those moments that are sure to come where she'll need a heaping dose of it just to get by? I need to know. Right now so I can get my supplies and extract the goodness. Not all of it. I'll leave some for now and save the rest for later. I know, it's like I'm speaking in tongues right now, isn't it? But when you see what Petunia brought home from school yesterday, you'll understand.

Tucked innocently in her folder between math and spelling was this. A little paper, a one page diary by Petunia, about Petunia. As I scanned the sheet, at first treating it like any other school paper, the first thing that struck me was how well she knows herself. Sounds a bit odd to say. Who would know her better than her, right? But then think about if some asked you for two words that describe you - how quickly could you come up with them? How spot on would they be? Would you be afraid to be boastful? Take the easy, self-deprecating approach? Here's Petunia's answer: "honest and athletic." And you know what? She is honest and athletic. But that's not the part that got me. "Honest and athletic" was sweet and made me smile. Here's what made me cry. Here's what made me want to freeze this moment in time while I gather my canning supplies and prepare the kitchen. 

Three things I like about myself:
1. I am helpful.
2. I am beautiful.
3. and I care for others.

It breaks your heart in the best possible way. She is all of those things. And more. And the beauty of this moment is that she realizes that she's all of these things. So if I can bottle up the I am helpful and beautiful and I care for others, toss in a good dose of honest and athletic and save it for those moments when she's 16 and was left out of the group or 18 and her heart is broken or 21 and ready to go out into the world, please tell me how. She'll need it then. It could serve her well and I want to be ready with a big heaping dose.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


{Thankful board circa 2004}

We have a chalkboard in our kitchen that is quite literally the center of our universe. Anything important, and even a bunch of trivialities, make their way to "the chalkboard." (I use quotations here because that's how we refer to it, as if it's the only chalkboard on the planet.) So as Thanksgiving approached several years ago when Pumpkin and Petunia were still toddlers (preschool and pre-preschool, respectively), I thought it would be cute to record what each child was thankful for and the chalkboard was the natural place for such a list.  As a family, we gathered around the chalkboard and I asked each child what they were thankful for. Pumpkin, being the oldest took the lead and dictated his list as I recorded it verbatim. Petunia followed and the list was ceremoniously placed back on the wall in the kitchen. 

When family and friends arrived for Thanksgiving, the list was the centerpiece of the discussion and we all had fun seeing thanks through the eyes of toddlers. When it came time to decorate for Christmas, I cringed at the thought of erasing the chalkboard. The list was made on a whim and I hadn't really thought it through. How could I erase something that came straight from my children's hearts? What kind of monster was I?! Then I realized (duh!) that I could take a picture. So I got out the camera, took a shot or two of the list and had the photo developed (yes, it was that long ago). Only then when I had the photo of the list in hand, did I erase it from the board. 

Since then, every year the children make their thankful lists on the chalkboard. They are old enough now to write it themselves and we have added a third list these past couple of years for Peanut. This is the first year that she will understand well enough to dictate her thankfuls herself and we're really looking forward to hear what she has to say. My husband and I do write our own lists, but we hang them separately so as to not take up space on the chalkboard that the kids would like to fill. 

What I didn't realize that first year as I took a picture of the chalkboard before erasing the list was that these photos, now taken every year on the day we begin preparing the house for Christmas, would become one of the most meaningful records that our family keeps. Marking moments in time, seeing the constants on the list each year: grandparents, cousins, the beach. And the things that change as each child grows and matures: Rescue Heroes lose their spot to baseball; the Wiggles lose their spot to High School Musical. I cannot wait to see what the list holds this year; there are always some suprises. Personally, I am always thankful for children who value the people in their lives enough to always put them at the top of their lists.

Remember to link to or write about your family's traditions in the comments. I would love to hear all about the things that make this holiday special for you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I realized today that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. After I ran around the house screaming "I'm not ready! I'm not ready! How can this be?" (not really, but I wanted to), I started to organize my thoughts and put together a list. I host Thanksgiving for our family each year. I love to do it, despite the fact that this is the busiest time of year for Pumpkin Petunia. But it does make things interesting around here the week before between juggling holiday card orders, grocery shopping and preparing the house for guests.

Despite this hectic time of year, there are a couple of traditions that we have created with our children that I will always make time for; it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them. And because I am uber-organized this year (read: I am actually aware of the fact that Thanksgiving is almost upon us), I am thrilled to be able to share our family's traditions with you. Over the next week, I will be posting about the things that we do to make this holiday special for us and I would love to hear about the traditions that are part of your family's celebrations. If you have a blog, kindly link to your posts about Thanksgiving in the comments section of my posts or simply share your story right here in the comments. I would love to hear from you!


Veteran's Day is the perfect day for my children to think about and honor their grandfathers, both Korean War Veterans. Discussions and assemblies at school peak their curiosity and their questions are the perfect opportunity to ensure that the memory of these two men live on in their grandchildren.

My father served in the Navy and was very proud of his service to our country, completing his tour as a decorated hero. I have always been proud that he continued to serve this country throughout his life as a champion of workers rights, long after his years of Naval service were complete. A legacy that I strive to live up to every day.

His love of country led him to enlist in the Navy and after spending those years at sea, his love of the ocean led him away from his midwestern upbringing to Boston. Whenever we asked him why we did not live near our cousins, whom we missed dearly and looked forward to visiting every summer, he would always reply: "This is the place to be. If it weren't, we wouldn't be here." and as a young girl, that answer seemed more than sufficient. Of course now, I cannot imagine living more than a short ride to the beach, so I guess he was right. Every time in these two years since his passing that we head down to the National Cemetery where he was laid to rest, I am in awe of the beauty of the site. Despite the sadness that the cemetery represents, I am always glad that it exists as a fitting and worthy tribute to those who have given so much for this country.

My father-in-law, also a veteran of the Korean War, enlisted in the Army. I cannot begin to comprehend the horror that he must have experienced during his service. I just know that it affected him deeply throughout his life. His courage and experiences during the war earned him more medals than I have ever seen, other than those displayed in museums and galleries. To have these medals in our possession is a great honor and a reminder that much was given on behalf of this country. We took the medals out of storage to display in my son's room when he was still a toddler. When my own father saw the medals, he was deeply moved by the honors received by the man he never met. He said that he would like to be the one to prepare the medals for display in the case that we purchased and we of course said yes. To see my father take the time to properly highlight each medal in the case with such thought and care made me realize what a precious piece of our family history was being created. My son is slowly coming to understand the valor and sacrifice that this piece represents. That is likely the greatest legacy that could ever be handed down from two grandfathers to a grandson.

Giveaway Winner: Congratulations czamama! You are the winner of the holiday print giveaway!!! 

Friday, November 7, 2008


A couple of fun new holiday prints and a giveaway! Just comment here and tell me which print applies to you or your children and I will randomly draw a winner on Monday. Have you been very, very good or have you honestly tried? Let me know! The prize? The print of your choice of course!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Today's the day.

Just back from the polls. You can hear all about my experiences here via the Motherhood's "Moms Call in the Vote" initiative by clicking on the play button of the audio feed below. 

Then head over to The Motherhood to hear about the experiences of other Moms across the country as they vote in this historic election.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


After much begging and pleading and countless tales of woe, I have decided to extend the early bird discount on holiday cards through November 7th! Ok, so there was no actual begging, but there would have been if I wasn't such a pushover.

The fact is, I understand how hard it can be to get it together for holiday cards. The weather needs to cooperate, the children need to cooperate and all the stars and planets need to be aligned in that perfect "i need to take a great photo" formation before it can all come together. And that's not even to mention the cooperation needed from the cold and flu season gods!

So there you have it, one whole extra week to place your holiday card order. But remember, an ordinary photo can become an extraordinary card, so don't hold back on those shots that you're on the fence about. Send them along - you just may be surprised with what we come up with!

In the meantime, you can browse all of our holiday cards designs here. Now get to it!

Friday, October 31, 2008


So, is everyone ready for the big night?!!!? 

I'm still trying to get my house in order, not only for tonight but for the big party tomorrow. As usual, I allowed myself to become consumed with grand plans and was completely unrealistic about how much time I actually have to pull it all together (what with life and kids and a small matter of holiday card season!).  So I'm trying to take deep breaths and systematically do one thing at a time. Let's hope it works! If not hey, it's Halloween, aren't there supposed to be cobwebs in the corners and half-hung decorations?

Luckily, I do have time to offer you a couple of treats in honor of the big holiday! Just in case you're running around crazy at the last minute like me and most of the moms in America. First, as you're organizing your Halloween candy (or just running out to buy it!), don't forget about the many ghouls and goblins with food allergies. Be sure to pick up some allergy-free treats and keep them in a  separate container (for a list of safe treats, go here). And to let the worried parents of these children know that you have safe offerings for their little goblins, you can print out a sign like the one pictured above to hang on your door (download sign here). These parents will be forever grateful that you took the time to think of their little ones. Halloween can be a very scary day for parents of children with serious food allergies and not just because of all the werewolves and vampires roaming about!

Now that you have the candy taken care of, you may need a few Halloween cards for special neighbors, family and friends and maybe a little goblin or two. No time to run to the store? Not to worry. You can download this adorable little card from Blackapple. Just print it out and you have a hip, adorable card perfect for the occasion! I adore the illustration and the little ghosts on the back.

Haven't decorated yet? (boy you are behind schedule!) Print and hang this sweet (get it - sweet?) candy corn garland from Skip to My Lou and see my halloween printables post for more easy and fun decorations!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I would like dozens of cupcakes lovingly displayed on this cake
stand please.

Thank you
very much. ♥

Monday, October 27, 2008


Well it was a blustery Sunday afternoon but everyone persevered and as you can see, the photo shoot went great (despite Pumpkin's head cold and the huge scratch on Peanut's nose - thank you, photoshop). 

If you are in the Boston area, or are planning to be here, there are two things you must do.

1. Call photographer Amy Riley. She is beyond fantastic and talented and wonderful with children. 

2. Go to Brewster Gardens in Plymouth. It's a glorious location with so many beautiful little spots for photos. And the best part is that it is actually quite small, so it's not overwhelming. Oh, and the stream is perfect for leaf races!

I can't resist a shot like this! (bad mommy). But not to worry, daddy came to the rescue.

Not only did we get great shots of all three children together (for the first time ever!), but Amy captured their individual personalities beautifully as well. I'll give you a peek at those tomorrow.

I know, I know. But indulge me, ok? Just roll your eyes and pretend to be interested - I'll be none the wiser


I plan my meals for the week on Monday. I know it's odd, since Monday is actually a part of the week I'm planning for and reason tells you that my meals should already be planned. The reality is that in the dinner department, it is actually a huge victory that I actually plan meals at all. So if you're like me and just planning meals for the week, I have the best ever Halloween meal. What makes it so great? It has the best of all worlds: quick, delicious, nutritious and fun!

Ever since Bats and Cobwebs (a/k/a bowtie pasta and mozarella) was featured in Everyday Food Magazine, it has been a staple in our house. Not just for Halloween (although we wouldn't have Halloween without it) but as a hearty meal all winter long.  You can find the recipe here (serves 4, I always double it to serve our family of 5 with leftovers).

The best part is that you can make it ahead during the day and then just pop it in the oven to bake about a half hour before mealtime. No crazy preparation while you're getting ready for trick or treating!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

VOTE FOR _______________________.

For months now I've been trying to score I Wish I Could Vote shirts for my kids. Months. They never have the right combination of sizes and with shipping costs, I can't justify making separate purchases as each size is stocked. Well, I still haven't found shirts for my kids, but in an unexpected turn of events, I scored a shirt for me and my husband! I found myself procrastinating on the Gap website when suddenly I hear this great song! I click back over to the window I just minimized and there they were: Vote for ___________ shirts. The music, the scrolling list of fillers for the blank, it got me. Big time.

So I called the store and they informed me that yes, they did have the shirts. They just arrived this morning and each store only received thirty shirts. Yes! I called just in time (i'm not obsessing, really i'm not) and our shirts are on hold for us to swing by this evening after parent teacher conferences.

Seems like my VOTE t-shirt luck has finally turned. Off to try my luck on the kids' shirts again!

P.S. Head over to the to hear the song and see the ad. And here for buttons and celebrity video snips.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The insanely talented woman behind Grosgrainfabulous creates these beautiful pieces of art to giveaway! Go here to enter the Marie-Therese Gown Giveway just in time for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sunday, October 19, 2008


The Gal to Gal Foundation, an organization that I have been involved with through Wish Upon a Necklace for several years, is currently holding their second annual Virtual Walk! The Gal to Gal Foundation is dedicated to providing resources and support for women with stage IV breast cancer. I am in awe of the women involved in this foundation; they are nothing less than a dream team of dedication and good intentions.

The Virtual Walk is taking place from October 1st - October 31st and walkers will travel cross the country from Boston to San Fransisco, making stops in many major cities along the way. To participate, simply go to, have some fun designing your gal and join the walk with a $5 donation. You can join the Pumpkin Petunia team or start a team of your own and then follow your progress in the support of women battling breast cancer.

This year I am dedicating my walk to two lovely and courageous women, Donna and Alicia, who are currently fighting their own battles with breast cancer. Their positive spirit is an inspiration and I have no doubt that they in this to win. ♥

Friday, October 17, 2008


Here are a few fun projects to keep you busy this weekend!

Sewing Stars has generously provided the template for this adorable skeleton decoration.

Allsorts has a template for a great Halloween banner. I love how she strings it on ric rak! You could print these letters on any color paper and use them for any and every occasion.

And no holiday would be complete without a little Martha! There are so many templates on Martha's site to choose from, but I particularly like these fun noisemakers  (template here).

There are so many more I want to share, but I think this will keep you busy for a bit!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Over the weekend I was flipping through some boxes of old photos and came across this picture of my great grandmother. Look familiar? She's the image of Peanut isn't she? Or I should say, Peanut is the image of her. It's like this photo was taken just last year, and that's my kitchen floor, and that door in the back ground looks just like the door to my pantry...

OK, you've got me! This is Peanut! And it is my kitchen floor (but don't look too closely, please. I'd like to think it was freshly mopped, but who knows!). We took this picture last November to show her first black eye. You can see it if you look very closely at the left eye (well, her right, your left). The old photo conversion hides the black eye nicely though, don't you think?

So, I'm sure you're not too impressed. There are likely hundreds of Photoshop actions that can achieve this old photo effect. But here's the big reveal. This was NOT done in Photoshop. You do not need Photoshop or any photo editing software to achieve this effect. 

All you have to do is go to this website and be prepared to burn up about an hour turning all of your new photos into old ones! Oh, it only takes a couple of seconds for the conversion, but once you get started, it's impossible to stop!

The site is in Japanese, but the process is pretty self-explanatory. Browse for your photo, click the button below it and the conversion will appear in the space below that. Click on the blue button above the converted photo to save to your computer.

Have fun! But please no hatemail complaining that you just burned up your whole morning playing with this. You have been sufficiently warned, now your fate (and your procrastination) is in your own hands!