Saturday, July 30, 2011


Congratulations to my Christmas in July Winner:

Baby Ford
Stay tuned for more fun stuff coming this month - like Back to School must haves and a few more wonderful summertime recipes! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011


If I could I would have all kinds of fruit bearing trees in my yard and it just so happens that we do have one. Doug planted a series of trees in our yard when we first moved in. They were just saplings and we got a variety from The Arbor Foundation. The problem was we weren't sure what our variety included. Doug noticed these pretty little things last year on the tree and he and the kids ate a few. We have been pretty certain that it was a crabapple tree, but I finally did a small bit of research just this past week and we had our suspicions confirmed. So while I don't have a multitude of fruit bearing trees I can enjoy this one - not to mention it's blossoms are beautiful in Spring and these little baby "apples" are pleasing to both the eye and palette.

Happy Friday and be sure to check back tomorrow when I announce the winner of my Christmas in July contest!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

to cinch...

to cinch...

or not to cinch?

This was the question I posed to Doug after I completed this dress. So... I want to know, what do you think. I have a very pear shaped figure so cinching is not always that flattering. You won't hurt my feelings, I honestly want to know. What do you think?

and here is the little item that is causing me all the questions.
And for documention purposes - yes, I made the dress and the belt. My first ever project for me with NO pattern. Before you are too impressed, look closely. It is a grown up version of a pillow case dress. Yep! With a few darts for my womanly figure and some altering around my waiste and nice birthing hips. :) It was fun, and now I am glad I have it finished so I can enjoy it before summer's end.

Don't forget to comment on the cinching so I can clear these questions in my silly mind. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

a LOST superhero

Many of you know I am the oldest of six children. This meant many things, but I spent many an afternoon, evening, car ride, etc. helping my mother entertain little ones. I started making up stories about the kids things, animals, scenarios and they always thoroughly enjoyed them. My mother also made this a regular habit - probably where I came up with the idea - giving us many wonderful stories about tangle rats, our pets, and her own experiences as a little girl with big brothers.

I still find myself from time to time conjuring up stories about little things and from time to time I will jot them down. So when a friend left his little superhero one afternoon after playing I came up with this story to humor him upon the superhero's return.

Feel free to use the story if you ever find yourself in the same prediciment - returning a lost toy (filling in the specefics where you may).

Letter From A Lost Superhero:
by Alison M. English
Copyright 2011

I have been on a long journey through the neighborhood. After you left the English house on Thursday night I very quickly realized that I wasn’t with you. I was a little scared, but not really. I am a super hero after all. So after an evening of being fought over by Charlotte and Douglass Charles I decided it was time to venture out on my own to find you.

I got up bright and early Friday morning. It was a bit rainy, but I was determined, determined to return to you. I sat out on foot hoping that maybe, just maybe there was some way I could jump on a car, ride a dog, or even talk a bird into flying me home.

I do believe I would have been there Saturday, but after trusting a very devious squirrel I found myself on quite the detour. That silly squirrel swore to me that she knew the way – she described your play set, the front porch, and cows in the pasture to a “t.” Nonetheless, by the end of the day Saturday I found myself on the other side of the golf course, near the pool, and even further from you than before.

Finally this morning I found myself in the graces of a very pudgy cat and with some coaxing she agreed to return me the our part of the neighborhood. We took golf course trails and before we knew it I recognized the main street where we live.
I walked the rest of the way and knowing that I couldn’t get into the house I felt sure someone would find me here, in the mailbox, waiting for you. It has been a long, hard journey and I am one tired superhero, but I am so glad I found my way back to your beloved room.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I don't know what we were doing this particular morning - probably lounging around - but the kiddos jumped up into my chair and Mo followed after. They were all too cute - so I had to snap a picture. Hope you enjoy your week - it is our last official week of summer and then it is back to work for daddy. Have I mentioned that I am spoiled... yep, I think I have. :)
Happy Monday!

Friday, July 22, 2011

blueberry muffins {aka polka dot muffins}

 My dear friend growing up, Emily, gave this recipe to me at a recipe shower a few of the ladies threw for me when I got married. I have been making them ever since, but hadn't pulled out the recipe in quite sometime. It is a delicious one - sweet, soft batter that turns into a very tasty muffin. My favorite is the sprinkling of sugar on top of the batter just before it goes in the oven - giving a bit of a sweet crunch on top when finished.
 I did take a que from my favorite cook, Ina Gartin, and having some oranges on hand added the zest of one orange to the batter. I am calling it my "secret ingredient." There is a reason why Ina Gartin is the famous Barefoot Contessa, has a Food Network show, and makes lots of money selling her cookbooks. She knows what she is talking about and that orange zest, well, it just added a delicious element to an already wonderful recipe. Delish!

So, I will banter on no more... Here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Blueberry Muffins
2 1/2 cups flour + extra
1 cup sugar + extra
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cups (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 cups of blueberries
(I have used frozen, but fresh is best)
secret ingredient: zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour tins. Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter, add egss and beat. Add other moise ingredients. Stir until moistened. Roll blueberries in flour (I rarely do this, but they do ten to fall to the bottom if you don't). Fold in blueberries. Put in muffin tins and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Bon Apetite!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{polka dots}

Ahhh, if you have been to the store lately and attempted to pick up a pint of blueberries you have discovered that even though they are in season, they are not cheap. Thankfully we have friends (aka Suzie) who have families who have 20 or so HUGE bushes in a Christmas tree farm that produce more blueberries than they can use - so we were invited to come pick.

{Charlotte also affectionately calls blueberries polka dots. I am not sure why, except for the fact that when we add them to receipes their round little blue selves look like dots in whatever batter we add them too. :)}

I invited my good friend Anna and her boys to come along. I knew her boys loved blueberries as much as my two do and I thought they would have a good time.

Thankfully, Suzie got to come out for a bit (shhh... she wasn't supposed to be out there since she was on bed rest) and the weather was relatively mild for a July morning. Anna and I picked for an hour or so while the kids ate their fill and played like crazy. Afterwards we headed to the pool to burn off our blueberry high.

Thanks to Suzie and her family for once again allowing us to partake in all their blueberry goodness. Stay tuned for a wonderful recipe tomorrow - one of the many ways we used all those delicious berries.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

three little goldfish

So I began this little smocked dress right around Easter and I finally completed it. I have been wanting to use this goldfish pattern for quite some time and I also knew that I wanted to do something for Charlotte in purple - she looks so good in that color. The poor girl has been watching me work on this dress for months and I can't tell you how many times she asked me when it was going to be done.

Obviously I wanted to finish it before summer was over - fish aren't the most appropriate animal for the fall months - but my fingers are about to become pretty busy smocking three little flower girl dresses for Charlotte and two of her cousins for my sister Sarah's wedding.

Even though it took me a good three months, Charlotte was thrilled with the outcome and so was I. Now to get my fingers ready for my next big project. Lets just hope I can move a little more quickly - three dresses in three months vs. one dress in three. I'm thinking I better be on my toes. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

project nursery

 Photography by Split Second Photography

So Suzie, my photographer - and friend - had a sweet little boy yesterday evening. Suzie, like so many of you had quite the journey in getting her precious boy and she and I became friends right about the time those trials began. I am not just thrilled, but elated about her little guy's birth.

 She is also one of my biggest supporters - not just in encouraging me, but she is probably one of my most frequent customers. So... with our history, and our friendship, I wanted to do something special for her. She decided to go with a transportation theme for the nursery and we all know I have a few things in that department in my little line of goodies. One thing I didn't have, that her nursery bedding did, was a vintage truck. And that, is where the idea for my truck graphic came from.

So you will be seeing these little prints in the shop very soon - as well as a whole line of things with that little truck on it. And in the meantime, I would love to know, what are some things you
would like to see in a print?

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm in love...

 with the little freckles that are sprinkled over my girl's face.
"Kisses from the sun" we tell her and she smiles whenever we mention them.

 her little toothy grin - always setting those two front teeth out in front. Precious!

 these chocolate brown eyes. Seriously, who wouldn't be?

 and his smirky grin. Makes me think he is up to something. :)

 Charlotte's true smile and the life that exudes her.
She has so much spunk. I hope she never loses it!

 My little jokester, always looking for a good laugh.
Also hope this never changes.

that DC is Doug's shadow... this boy is all about his daddy.
And might I mention that I am also loving having his daddy home.
I am one spoiled girl!

Happy Friday! Hope you are finding plenty to love - or love on - this summer!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

{envelope liner tutorial}

I know I have mentioned how easy this is, but after a customer ordered a digital invitation and wanted the liner too I realized that I had some explaining to do. I thought it would be fun for you, and great for future customers - who either want to add to their order on their own or use my liners. Regardless, envelope liners are fun and oh so easy so here we go...

You will need:
1. scrapbook paper/printed paper/decorative wrapping paper
2. envelopes
3. liner template (I use some from here)
4. pencil/pen
5. stick glue

First trace your template onto your paper. On an 8.5x11 inch sheet
I can fit two length wise.
Cut out your liners (I normally stack three or four pages together.
It helps cut down on time - like when I cut out 125 for a customer - YIKES!)

Fold your liner over and glue the back side of your paper to
 the inside of the envelope - just the top portion shown. It will stay in place.
Apply glue liberally all over. Press firmly to top and hold.

An there you have it - ready to go.


Monday, July 11, 2011

a sweet little bumble bee...

started this whole theme. So far it has been a really great seller. From the honeycomb pattern to the buzzing little bee, it just makes me smile. Thanks to Suzie for taking such great photos so that I can now offer it as a party package - see here. And have I mentioned how in love I am with this color yellow on the blog (I think I have). Stay tuned, I have a nursery project post, a tutorial, a wonderful recipe, and some personal kiddo posts coming soon. Oh, and don't forget to submit your photos for the Christmas in July contest starting the 15th (more info here). Happy Monday!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Christmas in July!

Yes, it is Christmas in July over at The English Pea Studio.
I am offering a Complimentary Custom Party Pack
to one lucky winner. Pretty awesome, huh?
So you wanna know how you can win?

First, be sure to "like" The English Pea on facebook -

Second, to enter send me a picture of the child or person who you want to honor - be sure to include their name (only first names will be listed)
(birthday or event must be between September 1st and January 31st (2012)).
Send picture to

This picture will be posted on facebook, for two weeks starting July 15th (will run through the 29th).
The picture who has the most "likes" WINS!
Not too shabby, huh? Hope you enjoy this fun contest and may the best picture win!

Party Pack includes:
16 4.25x5.5 invitations with coordinating envelopes (liners included)
24 3" round cupcake toppers ready to assemble
1 5x7 Welcome sign
24 3" round gift tags ready to assemble
16 Thank you notes with coordinating envelopes