Monday, January 31, 2011

The Homestead

A couple weeks ago, while we were in Birmingham for Adeline's party, I received this gift. My mother had sent it with Adeline's birthday present. I opened it and started crying.

This is my parent's home in Atmore. My mother had one of her favorite artists paint it for her and she had prints made for all the kids. I am so grateful for this print for many reasons, but it means so much now. My parents recently put the house on the market and this one act has made me face some of the things I was pushing back about my parents move.

They have been in Austin for two years now, but I still envision them "home." I have known that this day would come and I still dread the day their home sells. It will finalize their leaving my homestead for good. Again, I don't blame them for their choices. We all must follow our dreams, our passions, opportunity, but the thought of not having that place to go to sorrows my heart. It marks a chapter closed, so much of my life wrapped up in that chapter. It is quite hard to swallow.

As I continue to face the grief and acceptance that I must face, I will cherish this print - memories of the life we lived there, the people we love, and the family that is so dear to my heart. Thankfully, the home is only a structure and in reality I still have those memories, those people, and most importantly my family.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Scrap It Saturdays: Completed Vintage Modern Airplane

In this photo you can see the collages I made for his nursery - that the airplane was adapted from.

Well, you can see here that I kept the polka dot. I tried the solid green on the body of the plane like Doug suggested but I just didn't like it. He wasn't thrilled, but since it is longsleeves, the shirt won't be worn for long.

I did like the way it turned out and the iron-on interfacing - Oh, it makes it ten times easier. You can see here that I used a smaller satin stitch. This does take a little more time, but I liked the finished look. I did hand embroider the "2" on the shirt - which I probably wouldn't do again if I had to do it over. Regardless, I was pleased with the outcome and am excited about DC wearing it for his birthday party next month.

For directions, pattern, and giveaway info please scroll down.

Iron down your airplane pieces and then cut a piece of tearaway backing to cover the size of the plane. I used my spray adhesive to spray the t-shirt and backing together so they wouldn't move in the sewing process.

Here is an example of the backing after I was done.

I started out first using a satin stitch along the body of the airplane - you can see the body done here, but the wing is still raw.

I did the wings second - top wing first, then bottom wing. The tail was third and propeller was last. I also filled in the window frame stitching after drawing it out with an erasible marker. The "2" I free-handed with the same marker and then handstitched it.

You will see in the last photo the strings where I stopped and started sewing. Obviously I clipped all this away as well as a little frayed fabric from around some of the rounded corners. If you have never used your satin stitch before just take it slow and be especially careful around the corners. Another trick is the use a thread that is pretty close to the color of the applique. It is hard to see your mistakes that way.

I hope you enjoy the project as much as I did.

And now for the giveaway. I am giving away two applique kits - one with the airplane and one with the giraffe. These will be cut with interfacing on. All you will have to do is buy your t-shirt, peel back the topping on the interfacing, iron in place and sew. To enter:
1. follow my blog (mention that you have done this in the comment section here)
2. "like" me on facebook (mention that you have done this in the comment section here)
3. comment below stating what you would like for see for Scrap It Saturdays or which project has been your favorite thus far.
(do all three or just two and increase your chances of winning)
I'll announce the winners next Saturday.

All my applique patterns are now available for a nominal fee over at the shop. Please feel free to stop by to purchase. Thanks!

Happy Crafting!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday's Find

I LOVE this bag. I mean absoluetly, positively love it! Every time I see it come up in my favorites on Etsy I want to hop over and purchase it. Wish it were just that easy. Honestly, though all of drinka.b's things are just fabulous and I love the way she photographs her bags. Isn't it fun?

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the the airplane finale, 2 giveaways, and the pattern (so you can get started on your own).

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Lately I have really been trying to capture photos of the kids in their element. I mainly want to do this so I can remember what our life was like. So many of our moments are sweet - like this one where they were both enjoying one of their favorites at lunch, Mac and Cheese. (By the way, when did they get so big? I mean, Douglass Charles is now sitting at the big table and without a booster).

The two are really enjoying one another. Don't get me wrong, I am breaking up physical fights several times a day, but they really are true companions. I hope they always keep this closeness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do you...

have a list - you know that list of things you have been meaning to do/finish/start for quite a while now? If you don't, my hat is off to you. Sigh, my list, well it is too long. I have a set of pillows I started before Douglass Charles was born that need to be stuffed, a blog book from 2009 that still needs to be completed (so that I can start on 2010 - is it 2011? Oh, yeah, it is). I also have sewing projects I never completed, pictures I never ordered, closets I never cleaned out. Oh, and I forgot, I have been wanting to clean out/decorate my laundry room for more than five years now. This is just the short version of "my list." I have a few other things business wise that I need to get on, but honestly there are so many other fun things I'd rather be doing (thankfully tax season will not allow me to put that one off much longer).

Oh well, at least I am writing it down here. Maybe, just maybe I can check a few things off this year. I guess we shall see. What is on your list?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I have a love affair with french fries. They have always been one of my absolute favorite foods. I honestly don't know if I could ever give them up. But... the thing about french fries, they just don't like me. Too many and I find my hips spreading and my tummy starting to expand.

But if you are like me there are a few things that absolutely need to be paired with fries - like a juicy hamburger on the grill or a sloppy BBQ sandwhich. So, I set out to make our fries at home a little more healthy. I used to buy a bag of ready made fries and bake them in the oven. Then I realized that the fries were actually fried before they were frozen - no saving calories there.

Thank God for the Food Network. It is amazing how much I have learned from watching this channel. I don't recall which show I watched that pulled me in the roasting potoatoes direction, but it stuck with me and my little family has been enjoying baked fries ever since.

All I do is chop up my potatoes, with skins on - the thickness of a fry I would like - toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes on 425 until golden brown (tip: if you decide to do this, spray your baking sheet with a little cooking spray first so the potatoes won't stick). And there you have it, one of my fave foods - on the healthier side.


Monday, January 24, 2011

30 years ago...

I wore this dress. It is amazing to me how some styles are timeless (especially in the South). It is also special to share it with my little girl!

Charlotte was very excited to wear this dress and I mainly took these photographs for her Nanna - since she sent us the dress as well as another one as a gift for Christmas. Funny how the small things mean so much. Thanks, Nanna, for saving all the sweet things you dressed us in when we were young. Charlotte and I are both enjoying them thoroughly.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scrap It Saturdays: Vintage Modern Airplane

Well, there is no denying that airplanes are quite a favorite around our house. Doug's dream is to one day become a pilot and it seems he passed down his passion for airplanes to his namesake. Douglass Charles LOVES airplanes and I guess that is good because his room is decorated in a variety of vintage style planes. Actually, the airplane graphic I used for this project was adapted from some collage airplane artwork I did for his nursery.

Since his 2nd birthday is right around the corner - and the theme is airplanes (of course) - I decided we would start off with a plane applique.

I finally purchased some iron on interfacing (which you can see here) and I can already tell it is going to make all the difference.

Everything is cut out and ready to sew on, but this applique is going to be a little more complicated as you can see. There are several pieces and figuring out placement, colors, etc. was a little more challenging.You will also see that I have drawn a line for the window area of the plane. My plan is to just stitch a line over that area so you can tell what it is supposed to be.

Lastly, the final applique may turn out to look a little different from this one. Doug checked out the image for me last night and his only complaint was the polka dot fabric I used for the body - too girly I guess (can't imagine why). Thankfully I have the same color in a solid.

So be sure to check back next week for the finished product, the applique pattern and directions, and a giveaway. It should be fun!

Happy Weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday's Find

I am a true Southern gal and us Southern gals, well, we like our monograms. How perfect is this one and on handmade painted pottery, too? Adriel Originals has a variety of beautifully painted pottery. From birthday plates to personalized sillohuetes, she has so many wonderful things. I really want them all. You can check out her designs here.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Scrap It Saturdays - this time I am working on a project for Douglass Charles.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

did you know?

that I have printable valentine and party items available in my shop. Check it out and let me know what you think of these new stickers. I can't wait to put my valentine goodies together now. :)

Click here to look around!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

food inspiration (and a good recipe)

If you can't tell already I get a lot of creative satisfaction from food - looking at food, making food, sharing food, and eating food. So last week, when the light was coming in through the window and highlighting the colors in the cabbage, the cucumber, and the broccoli I couldn't help but whip out the camera.

I shared this recipe for egg rolls last year - you can find it here - but I failed to photograph the process. This time around I didn't use the meat, but I have learned a trick since last sharing the recipe with you. Since these are a little messy and time consuming I have started freezing them. A tip for making them easier to thaw - if you decide to go to the trouble of making them - is to place them on a cookie sheet individually and let them freeze overnight. Remove the next day and place them in bags. I put four to a bag (two for Doug and two for me) for each use. When you pull them out to thaw, take them out of the bag and place them individually on a tray. Once they are thawed you can fry them up.

Oh, and the cucumbers, I had to photograph them because they were pretty - AND it was the first time I had used the slicing blade on my new food processor. So fun, pretty, AND easy! Why did I wait so long to get one?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dress Slacks

Today I put on my Ann Taylor, brown, wool herringbone slacks. It was the first time this year. I styled them with a basic black turtleneck, my peep toe black pumps, and a long beaded necklace. A simple, but professional look and wearing it made me miss the professional Alison who once existed way back when. The feeling surprised me and caught me a bit off guard. I don't really miss the professional schedule, the extra hours, the pressures of a job with too many tasks and not enough time to fill. The salary that never seemed to quite add up to the amount of work I was accomplishing. Besides, I am doing what I have always wanted to do - staying home with my little ones.

But lets face it, I did trade in my dress slacks for a pair of yoga paints, some socks, and a pullover hoody. I traded in my long hours of office work and time at my desk for preparing breakfast, lunch, and supper everyday, laundry, whiney babies, and discipline, and pulling all nighters with a new born. I swapped scheduling and attending important meetings for reading time with the kiddos and scheduling playdates with friends. I traded a salary for coupon clipping and sale shopping with no salary to come by. Lets face it, the dress pants, they are a lot more glamorous - or so they seem. But I will say, that despite the yoga pants, the cries of my babies, and the discipline, I get to see the absolute joy on my children's faces every morning when they are excited about oatmeal, making cookies, a playdate in the park, or simple dancing with mommy in the living room. I miss my herringbone pants and the person I got to be in them, but I will say there is much more gratification in my children's smiles than the pat on the back at work for a job well done. I feel privileged that I get to be at home - sacrifices and all - and I know not all women get to do that.

And when I really start missing the professional Alison I just remind myself, I can wear those herringbone pants again one day. God knows I wouldn't want to miss this time in my life - just for the sake of my feeling just a little more important. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


This weekend we celebrated another little princess in our life - Adeline, my niece, turned three. Happy Birthday, sweet girl! We love you and hope you had a WONDERFUL birthday!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scrap It Saturdays: Pink Giraffe Part 2

So my little red-head was quite pleased with my first Scrap it Saturdays project. She wouldn't take it off after our little photoshoot - which made her momma very happy.

I kept it very simple - no embellishments, just the figure and I didn't even use a satin stitch as you will see in the photo below. I did this for two reasons: The first, it snowed and we were trapped in our home so I was unable to get the necessary supplies. The second reason, I thought the project would be better being simple the first go around. So... scroll down for the directions and template and if you want ideas/patterns for the pants - just shoot me an email to I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. :) And I would love to hear if you recreate this idea (and share pictures please!)

iron on interfacing (can find at any fabric store)*
Spray adhesive

Preparing your shirt and applique for sewing. You will want to cut out the iron on interfacing to match your giraffe and iron together. Once put together take your spray adhesive and spray the interfacing side of the giraffe. Place on your t-shirt sticky side down.

Once you have placed it, I also like to pin a few areas just to be safe. Pick an area and sew around the edge of your applique. And snap, you are done! This will fray a bit once washed, but will still look very cute. Charlotte's pictures show a slightly frayed edge because I washed it

*Tip, if you have interfacing but it is not iron on, you can use the spray adhesive and spray your fabric and place the interfacing to the back. It works - because I did it here (no supplies, remember) - but I recommend the iron on interfacing. It works much better and stays in place.

Pretty easy if you ask me - just a simple straight stitch will do it every time!

This pattern is now available for sale - for a nominal fee - over at my shop. Please stop by there to purchase. Thanks!

And for those of you interested, you can find the kit available in the shop for purchase! Be sure to check back next Thursday for my first project for the boys! :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday's Find

I am a sucker for shoes, but little, itty, bitty baby shoes... yes please! Aren't these adorable? This sweet little Etsy shop has so many adorable options and some of the cutest little boots. So when you get a chance hop on over to check out Gracious May's sweet little feet!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

two by two...

My friend Tally contacted me back in November needing invitations for her little Noah's second birthday party. What is more appropriate than Noah's Ark? Tally had mentioned after Noah was born that she one day wanted my Noah's Ark collection for one of his parties one day. So... when she contacted me I was more than happy to help her out.

Tally is quite the stylist and her little ensemble came together better than I could have imagined. From Noah's shirt done by Twinkie Boutique, to the animal print used in the gift tags, to the adorable smash cake by Amyland Cake Co., the theme couldn't have come together more beautifully. The party was held at a local carousel near her home and the kids faces were painted, food was had, and the children had a wonderful time. I can't tell you how pleased I was to be a part of this project. Bravo to Tally on such a beautiful job and Happy Birthday to sweet Noah! Your momma outdid herself!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day 2011

Forgive my evening post, but we have been quite a blurr over at the English Household. The snow came a fallin' as predicted and we have been enjoying our snow day. I finally got a minute to sit down and download photos - near a warm fire, watching Auburn football no doubt (hubby is the fan, I cheer for the Roll Tide! - but I am making an execption today and stating Warm Damn Eagle!)

For this South Alabama girl I truly don't even know how to prepare for snow. We stopped by Target Saturday night just to pick up a couple pairs of gloves because I didn't have any for the kids. And as you can see by our mismatched, too small clothing, I don't have much to dress the kiddos in either. Nonetheless, we doubled up on pants, socks, shirts and sweaters and layered enough to keep everyone warm enough to enjoy the glorious white stuff.

I must say the snow was much more fun this year. Charlotte was SO into it and loved every minute of it. Douglass Charles wasn't too sure of not having sure feet, but given a solid surface he was happy as a clam.

I was having so much fun I was threatening to head down the street and sled down some of our hills with the neighborhood boys. Not too sure how they would have felt about that, but I know I would have had a wonderful time - or killed myself. :)

Be sure to check back Wednesday. I have the cutest birthday party to share with you!