New Christmas Dress

Being the only girl, among a sea of brothers, does have it's perks sometimes. Like, when Mama is sewing and would just LOVE to make another dress! I am so lucky my daughter is a girlie-girl and loves dresses. With three boys, she is my only chance at getting to dew really cute, sweet girl things. I'd love her just the same if she was a tom-boy, but I adore her love of dresses & frill.

I love my boys just as much, but there are only so many pants & t-shirts you can make before needing a dress fix. This little girl is as sweet as the candy on her dress. She's the resident peacekeeper, always getting along with everyone... and with a smile and giggle too. She loves dresses, especially one's made by Mama. I just love her so much! She'll be rocking this little number straight through to the New Year. {wow 2011 went by quickly!} Shhh, she has an equally cute one waiting patiently under the Christmas tree for her.


Cookie Day

We had a great weekend! I finished my Christmas shopping, I'm almost done with list of things to make, and I got to hang out with my little sister & niece. We fit a lot into one weekend, shopping, visits with cousins, zoo lights, cookie day and lots & lots of making of gifts. According to one excited, eight year old, we made 86 sugar cookies yesterday. He lost count of the toffee cookies and chocolate covered pretzels. I know his heart lies with those sugar cookies.

It's always this way, at this time of year. No matter how early I start planning ahead, we always have that final busy rush of activities. This year I'm just taking it one day at a time, enjoying the many things we are getting to do, and taking note of all the great, little things. The kids are beyond thrilled with the excitement of Santa's arrival, our first "snowfall" {a sprinkling of dust}, and making & wrapping of gifts. Doors have been shut in my face so many times this week, with a little voices coming from behind declaring,  STAY OUT! We are wrapping your presents!

Lots to do & lots to enjoy. I'm off to munch on some yummy chocolate covered pretzels now. Mmmmmm.


Visits with Santa

We are completely enjoying the last few days before Christmas here, including a trip to see Santa. Hope everyone is having a warm, happy, December.


Made Monday

Today I can share a Christmas gift that's been gifted over the weekend. December is really hard for blogging. I'm making TONS of stuff, but can't show any of it, so I don't ruin the surprise.  I made this little bear for an ever so sweet little boy. 

I think he turned out pretty cool with jointed limbs that move & can be posed. He's obviously more of a display bear/ gentle play for that reason, but the moving button jointed, arms & legs are just too fun. I'm hoping to get another one made up for my daughter before Christmas in white fur fabric. It has a fair amount of hand sewing, but I think I might just have time.. maybe. I also need to make an entire quilt for the oldest, before Christmas. I have not one stitch completed on that, so we shall see. I do think it's really cute that he asked for two things this year: a weaving loom and a handmade quilt from Mama. That's my boy!

If you want to make your own little bear, he's made using the, Bjorn Bjornson pattern in Wee Wonderfuls, 24 dolls to sew & love. I've made a few of the dolls in the book and he's my favorite so far. He was easier than I thought he's be also. bonus!


Holiday Knits

This is what I have been doing with my free time. I have lots of lots of knits to gift this holiday season. Many more still on my to-make list, along with lots & lots of sewing, but I'm making progress. I'm really proud of what I have been able to finish so far! It's more than I imagined completing when I made my original Christmas list. For all you family & friends lurking, I tried to photograph them so they are not very clearly shown... and you never know what may or may not be for you.  

I've also been working on fabric gift bags. I think that saying we will use "no" wrapping paper this year is unrealistic, but I was thinking if I make some of these bags for the next several years, probably in two years or so, we can be using all re-usable fabric wrap. Well, as long as I don't give them all away each year. haha! I know I've set this goal in the past. Maybe this is the year it works.

Ohhh, how I love this season!


Hats for Homeless

 Sickness is running wild through our house. Yucky, energy draining, fever and cranky kids sickness. It was a LONG weekend, and yes, I do realize it's Tuesday. {sigh} One ER visit and four little sick kids later, I didn't even start most of what I wanted to complete over the weekend. I'm feeling a little discourages and now sick myself. {oh, double sigh}

The one thing I did finish were these hats. I decided about a month ago this year I would make hats for one of the local homeless shelter. These are all children's hats. Right now they have several families with kids living there. Last year we donated some gently used, children's clothing, but this year I wanted to do something a little more special. Something that was made "just for them". Six was the number I decided on after a little thinking about what I "realistically" had time to do it in. I also wanted to make it a little more special for my children. Something they would remember. They watched mama work hard to finish these, always telling them they were for children with no homes. It opened up so much to talk about with them while my needles clicked away.

Six was chosen because there are six members of our family.  The kids were suddenly awaken to the idea that kids, in this country, in this state, so very close to home... have no homes. I feel an overwhelming pain thinking about the parents. I'm sure not one of them ever thought,looking down at their sweet newborns,  someday my baby will be without a home. In no way do I think the hats are somehow magically altering their lives, it's just a little thing that I could do. I just hope it helps to keep them warm in our frigid Ohio winter.  Remind them that people out there still care! Each hat has a tag that says, "handmade, special JUST for you!".

The charity's are always saying how much hats, gloves & coats are needed. If anyone is looking to help out, please consider donating to your local homeless shelters. The items don't need to be expensive, handmade or even new. Every day we have a chance to help others, this is just my little way right now.

I'm exciting to be sending these off to their new owners tomorrow!


Just me

Today I was thinking about me. Well, me as a thirteen year old. Truth is, it seems like just yesterday. I was suddenly struck with the recollection of just how much things mattered to me. Just silly, little things compared to now, but to thirteen, fourteen year old Jessica, they were earth shattering important. I chuckled  to myself and then a second idea dawned on me. My eight year old is FAR closer to thirteen than I am these days. OMG, I will in a few short years have a thirteen year old of my very own. A few year after that a whole household of teens. How did I get so far from my teenage self with just a blink of an eye?  

Truth is things are not always happy & rosy for us. That's reality of life. I've butted heads far to often with a too close to thirteen year old boy of mine. I will say that every time I think I have this mothering thing down, something new comes up. I laugh now at my naivety of two child, Mama Jess. Oh how easy and simple all my solutions were. As a mama to four now, I see just how complicated things with a tribe of children, can get sometimes. This new pre-teen stage has me reassessing everything I thought I knew again, as does the realization the unknown part, never ends. Honestly what is motherhood other than reassessing, and learning as we go. Trying to hold our heads up when we are down and sharing our glow when we are up. 

The thing is, I want my kids to know thirteen year old Jess. I want them to realize I wasn't always the woman nagging them to be nice to their brother, or clean up their dirty socks. I want them to know my passions and experiences. I want them to know that I was once a thirteen year old girl, who thought her parents were silly and life had to be better, easier, more exciting... somewhere out there- over the rainbow. I want to connect. I've decided to make a new effort to try and relate and remember what it feels like to be a kid. Not just a tired, sometimes overworked mama with a mile long to do list. It's still there inside of me. 

One of the first things to let go of was my "adult" aversion to being photographed lately. {Let's just say 4 kids in 6-ish odd years is not the easiest on the figure} The other day I realized the kids don't see the extra baby weight I see right now. They see their mama who they love. I want them to have pictures to look back on with their mom. So they can chuckle and laugh and pick apart the my hair, and clothing style in 20 years. So, I've been letting the kids take pictures of me-whatever they want, silly, serious, fancy, often out of focus, and depending on the photographer, lacking me in the photo at all.  Sometimes I make silly faces, {oh how luc loves those}, sometimes I smile, but always it's me there. Real, genuine Mama!


Little bits of Christmas Past

Christmas has officially landed here. I have to say, not a minute too soon for me! I LOVE Christmas. I find it has a magical feeling about it. I feel energized, optimistic, and overall so lucky for the amazing people in my life. It's also a time I am reminded of those I have lost in this life. Holding little trinkets that they once held in their hands, this time every year. Putting special ornaments on the tree that I remember playing with when I was my children's age.

The magic is there, even for this silly 30 years old "adult". I get to experience the beauty & joy through my kids eye's all over again. My most prized decorations are those once owned by family & friends before me. I hope that they will grace the homes of my son's and daughter someday, along with the handmade items we've added to the mix. Someday, I want them to pick up an ornament and think, remember how Mom always loved this one best, or this silly thing, I remember making this with Mom. Sometimes trinkets are just a way to remind us to remember. Remember the great times, remember the bad. Keep the memories in your heart and hold on to the love that we have.


New Quilt

Just finished this for the baby & couldn't be happier. He's quickly outgrowing the baby blankets I've made him {gasp}. It's so strange to have his little feet... and legs, stick out of blankets that once {wasn't it just yesterday?} seemed enormous for his little body. {although to appease my sister here, I must say he was 9.5lbs at birth, so never "that" tiny.}

It is backed with a nice, soft, blue flannel and cotton batting = super warm, but not super heavy. I started & finished it in a few hours the other night. It's actually just a really cool fabric, ABC print {by designer, Jenn Ski} that I quilted. No sewing blocks at all. I'm really happy with the binding, and think the colors show showcase the print, perfectly. I subtly embroidered his name so that he will always know it is, 100% for him and only him. You need to remind fourth children of this sometimes, as they get lots of things that once belonged to the siblings.

This is one Christmas present ready to be wrapped up and put under the tree!



Life is what you make it. So why not make it beautiful, lovely, make it grand. Make it happy. Just make it, for you! I spent years angry at the world. Just kinda fluttering by where the wind blew me. I was miserable... and lonely. One day, I woke up and decided "I" was going to lead my life. I was going to stop being angry, blaming people, and feeling sad. I was in charge of my destiny. I would create the life I wanted. I can say with perfect honesty, I've never looked back! My life is so full of love & happiness now. That said, I still have bad days {sometimes years}, I waver a bit and think I have no control. The truth is there are things in life that no one has control over. Sometimes, things just happen-good or bad, it is, as it is.

Life is what you make it. A dandelion "weed", becomes a treasure for mama, in a child's eye's. A piece of paper, an endless opportunity at creativity. Or, you could look at it as a weed, or a simple sheet of white paper, nothing more, nothing less. Some tough moments in our life have taught me compassion, and gratitude. With the thanksgiving holiday, just passed, I've reassessed all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for. I am living the life I always wanted, a houseful of children, with lots & lots of love to go around. A career, making. I am a maker-whether I am sewing, painting or knitting, or growing babies, I am always making. Life works in spells, right now I am making less, and spending more time with family. Some days I wish I had just a little more time. One day when I have hours a day to just sit and make, I'll most likely be missing the rhythm of our days now. With all it's noise, messy meals, and tiny hands to kiss & hold. I am so very thankful right now.

 Life is what you make of it. Just go where the day takes you. 


{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Join in @ Soulemama.


Happy Thanksgiving

I'm so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life-big & small. I'm feeling so blessed today!


more knitting

I've been knitting up a storm these past few months, for Christmas. I'm saving my sewing projects for last since they can be done a little quicker than the knits. Although I have a long list of sewing too-quilts, dresses, dolls, coasters... In the meantime, lots & lots of wash clothes have been coming off my needles. I think they make a nice, useful gift when paired with some fabulous handmade soap. {My absolute favorite is from Honeyrun Farms, local to Columbus. try the honey too it's amazing!}.

Hand knit washcloths take something simple& often, not even thought about, and makes it a little special. I have a special bowl that I like to eat out of. It's nothing fancy, just pretty with a petal shaped rim {actually picked up at the thrift store for less than $1}. Food just seems to taste better when eaten in it. It takes something that is often rushed through & makes it {just a little} more special. My pile to be gifted is growing, and growing.


Tree Lighting


All bundled up warm, we went to the local Christmas Tree lighting, over the weekend. It's one of my favorite winter activities!  All the favorites were present, Santa, a huge Christmas tree, fireworks {the kids are watching them above}, nutcrackers, gingerbread men, marching bands. This year, they added giant, helium parade balloons too. A great time was had by all! We finished the night up with bagels at Panera and headed for home. A few of the kids drifting off to sleep before we arrived... maybe sugarplums danced in their dreams?