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Whether sewing, sketching, or painting, I enjoy the act of creating. This blog is where I post projects I’m working on, culinary creations, and various inspirations.

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First Birthday Party: Pancake Party / Duck Party!

For my son’s first birthday party, I kept it small, just family.

We did a duck-themed pancake party on a Saturday morning.

I found this wonderful resource for free party decorations: 

Wizz - the amazing kids parties wizzard

Just print and cut, and you’ve got great kid’s birthday party decorations—everything from place cards to pennants.

I just loved the cute duck party supplies. The kids and I also made some duck placemats. I drew the ducks in black marker and colored the beaks orange. Then I let the kids paint them yellow.

Pancake Birthday CakeCute Yellow Duck Gift WrappingFruit Spreak for Pancake Partyduck party decorationsTable set up for duck theme for first birthday partyPlacemat and placecards for duck theme party

Also, be sure to check out my daughter’s Baby Beluga party here. 

Baby Beluga Birthday Party

Hand-drawn baby beluga


Birthday parties are like a giant project: choosing a theme and then planning the food, activities, and party favors that go with the theme. I usually go crazy on Pintrest first, scouring the site for toddler party ideas, and then I scale back so I don’t make myself crazy. I enjoy putting the party together, but I also want to be able to enjoy the party itself and most importantly, experience my child enjoying the party.

For my daughter’s second birthday, we chose a Baby Beluga theme. Raffi was a favorite of mine from my childhood, and my children have enjoyed him just as much.

Baby Beluga Cupcake toppers

Baby beluga party craftBaby Beluga Party Favors


We decorated with blue and white. We served Goldfish crackers, open-faced cucumber sandwiches, blueberries, and Beluga cupcakes.


I also put out a simple craft for the kids. I cut out white beluga whales and bought some circle foam stickers at the craft store. The kids made a simple picture with a beluga whale and bubbles on dark blue card stock. We also put out some beach balls and a fishing game. We also put out some beach balls and a fishing game. 


For party favors, I put sidewalk chalk and lollipops in sand buckets. 

We kept it simple, and we all had fun!

Cupcake Topper

If you’d like your own Baby Beluga cupcake toppers, you can get them with an instant download here at my Etsy shop.


Baby Beluga Cupcake Topper Printable


“Baby Beluga” by Raffi

Welcome back: Home Is Where the Trains Are

Coffee and trains

I’ve taken a long hiatus from the blog while taking care of babies, writing blogs and articles for magazines and businesses, and most recently, moving overseas.

I’m ready to start back! What better time than when we’ve just moved and aren’t even settled into our new home in Barcelona.

We’ve got air mattresses on the floor, one pot to cook with in the kitchen, and my coffee is sitting on a box. But my three-year-old has his trains, so he’s home. And my four-year-old has her Legos, so she’s home.

While we’re waiting for all of our stuff to be shipped to us, we’re learning how much we really need.

Threads: The Making

Silk Statement Necklaces

Handmade Jewelry

When I was studying art at the University of Georgia, I attended a visiting artist lecture during which the artist told us he used to not like sharing his work with others. He said he was afraid people would see his hand in his work – his blood and sweat, his flaws. I related so strongly to this feeling. Maybe all artists feel this way starting out. I know I did. My sketchbook was like a secret diary I wanted to keep hidden. I cringed when I had to turn it in for a professor to review.

I remember another time during a critique our professor was interrupted. He told us to sit there and stare at our work for a minute. “That’s your punishment; or your reward,” he said.

I used to want to create art that was not about me, that did not reveal anything of myself. One day, I realized this is impossible. I remember another art teacher saying everything we create is a self-portrait. That really stuck with me.

Now, what I look for in my work – and in any artist’s work – is evidence of my/their hand. I want to see that organic, irregular, and dare I say – flawed quality. Of course, I still find myself striving for perfection, but in my finished work, I always find evidence of handwork. That’s what makes my work mine. That’s what makes any artist’s work his or her own. That’s what is admirable and precious about it.

And in that we are all connected, I appreciate owning handmade pieces by other artists, and I hope people enjoy owning my handmade works. I think people respond when they see themselves in a handmade object. They take it home to claim as their own – to hang on their wall or wear on their bodies. My pieces evolve from a representation of me to a representation of the wearer. That’s what I strive for. That, I believe, is the magic of art and craft.

necklace1Finished Silk Statement Necklace


Styles: On Motherhood and Shoes


People say when you become a parent everything changes, and I believed it. What I didn’t realize is that “everything” included my shoes.

A love for shoes runs in my family, starting with my grandmother, and it’s been passed down to my cousin and me. (With a stated goal of owning 200 pairs of shoes, my cousin is more dedicated than I am, but I have always loved my heels!)

Now, with a baby always in my arms, my hands are always full. Just buckling a pair of sandals can be too much for me now! So I set out to find a new pair of shoes with these criteria:

  • A small heel that adds some height and femininity while still maintaining comfort
  • An open toe and feminine straps – nothing too clunky
  • A slip-on shoe I can step into on my way out the door with a baby, diaper bag, keys, etc., and no free hands

After a little searching, I found these cute sandals from — just what I needed!

Sites: Alice in Wonderland at the Dallas Arboretum

White rabbit

The Dallas Arboretum put together a whimsical exhibit of Alice in Wonderland this summer. We went on a hot July day, but it was worth the heat to see the beautiful flower houses and the images depicting scenes from this classic story. If you haven’t been, you can brave the heat one day this month when admission is just $1 and see the exhibit in person. Here are a few photos from our visit:

White rabbit close-up

Flower house


Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts


Flower house

Tea party


Bites: Homemade Ice Cream with KitchenAid Mixer

Making Ice Cream with KitchenAid Mixer

It’s August, and we’re in the midst of triple-digit heat. The best remedy for these hot days is ice cream! (If I’m honest, I don’t need the excuse of triple-digit heat to eat ice cream! I’ll eat it any day of the year!)

While I’ll eat nearly any kind of ice cream, there’s something truly special about homemade ice cream — the freshness, the creaminess, the bold flavor that isn’t lost in preservatives and unnecessary ingredients, and the special feeling that it was made at home with care and smiles.

We tried out our KitchenAid ice cream attachment this summer for the first time. It takes a few steps to get to the final product, but it’s relatively easy. First, you have to freeze the ice cream bowl for 15 hours. You also have to make the batter and chill it for a bit in the refrigerator before you begin churning.

When you first make the ice cream, it is a little soupy but delicious. However, the next day, after it’s been in the freezer, it’s perfect. The ice cream is still fresh, and the consistency is perfect.

KitchenAid offers several recipes in the ice cream maker manual, and if you’ve lost yours, you can access it here online.

Vanilla Ice Cream with KitchenAid Mixer

We enjoyed simple vanilla ice cream with strawberries and hot fudge. Delicious!