365 Day Photo Project – June

Well, once again I am really behind on photo and blog stuff. I’ve been so busy sewing and teaching myself new things that all computer related things have fallen to the wayside. Even though I still love having photographic documentation of my life, photography in general does not interest me as much as it used to. It’s been hard to find the motivation to get creative and I find myself using my phone to take a lot more pictures than my camera. At any rate, I’ve stuck with this project half the year so there’s no way I’m going to stop now! Here are my photos from June!


On Sunday we celebrated a belated Father’s Day with my dad and family. My dad is pretty hard to buy for, so I decided to be a little creative and give him more of an experience gift this year. Though now that I think about it, last year we gave him a Brewer day, also an experience gift, so I guess I wasn’t really that inventive this year. At any rate, I decided to take him fishing. Caden has been talking about fishing a lot (he does it in video games) and they couldn’t get this experience from anyone else we know, so it seemed perfect.

I ordered two Mickey Mouse fishing poles from Amazon – pretty much the only kid fishing pole made – and they sent me seven! I thought it was pretty hilarious, but considering three of the four poles we gave my dad are already broken, I’m thinking sending seven was not a mistake. They know how crappy the poles are!

We did some practice casting in the backyard for awhile. Caden was really good at it from the start, and Shepard just seemed confused.

Once we got everything set up and my dad gathered his supplies from the neighbor’s house, we headed to the lake. Originally I wasn’t planning on fishing, but then I started thinking about how much I loved it as a kid and decided to get a one day license. When I went into Fleet Farm I was informed that if it’s your first license you can get an annual license for only $5! I was pretty excited. I probably haven’t fished since I was about twelve, but I always did love it. And was pretty good at it. 🙂

The first lake we went to was pretty boring. Not a single nibble.

We gave up after about half an hour. Little kids don’t have much attention for something that isn’t actually happening.

The park where we were fishing just put in a new playground so we had to let the boys play awhile. Uncle Tyler was put in charge of Shepard and came carrying him back a minute later with trails of gum waving from his feet. Gross.

We went back to my parents’ for a delicious lunch and then this ice cream cake I made! My dad loves ice cream and I’ve never made an ice cream cake before, so it seemed like a fun challenge.

Grandpa and Shepard.

The layers! It had a peanut butter oreo crust, homemade double cookie dough ice cream, peanut butter sauce, more oreo crumbs, homemade salty peanut butter chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, and peanut butter cups. It was soooo good. I’m really regretting leaving the rest of it with my parents! I think I’ll share the recipe soon. Yum.

After relaxing for awhile we headed to a new lake where my dad guaranteed we would catch some fish.

Within two minutes I caught my first fish! And the competition began. I’m a really competitive fisherwoman. Really competitive.

Caden caught one right after me!

Shepard still seemed kind of confused, but he stuck with it a lot longer than I expected. Greg chose not to get a license, though I think if we go again I’m going to make him. It was a long night of just watching us!

Shepard’s first fish! It was the perfect size for him!

More fish!

They took their worm carrying duties very seriously.

Greg was forced to start taking fish off the line and worms on the hooks because I was too freaked out to do it. I love fishing, but I can’t handle actually touching things. Kind of a problem.

Caden’s eleventh fish. Apparently a very good sized one because my dad gave it to someone who was keeping fish instead of throwing it back like the rest.

Fun times!

We were at the lake for close to three hours! The final count was Caden eleven, me eight, Shepard one, and Grandpa one. Caden had an unfair advantage because we were down to one working pole for awhile and I let him use it. I tried catching bass for awhile with the big pole and frog lure, but didn’t have any luck. Anyway, it was an awesome day! Now that I have my annual license I’m ready to get back out there every weekend! I suppose it would help if I actually had my own pole. And wasn’t too scared to touch the things I catch. So hopefully my dad knows I’m serious and we ARE going back again. It was an awesome father’s day. Hooray for fishing!

Celebrating Handmade

I’ve been obsessed with the world of handmade lately. Obsessed. I’ve always been a big fan of crafty things and homemade gifts. Throughout my life I’ve gone through stages of jewelry making, sewing, photography collages, paper craft, graphic design, and more. Creativity has always been one of my greater strengths, but until recently I’ve never thought that much about OTHER people’s creativity. It’s this whole world out there that is amazing. People are so incredibly talented and blessed with amazing gifts. I’ve really been appreciating the awesomeness of this lately. In honor of what I’ve been obsessing over lately, I thought I’d share some of my favorite handmade shops.

 Jewelry is what first lured me to the world of handmade. Lisa Leonard is my all time favorite because her jewelry is all so unique and can be personalized in so many ways. I think I own at least ten of her necklaces, two or three bracelets, and a couple pairs of earrings. Above is the sundrop necklace, my favorite one to wear with anything (except mine have a C and S).
The Vintage Pearl is next on my list of incredible handmade jewelers. As each shop continues to evolve I find myself drawn to Vintage Pearl designs a lot more. I LOVE this bird necklace. I don’t yet own it, but I loooooove it. I’ve been drawn to birds for a long time and this color matches pretty much all my clothes. Love it.
Pangea Handmade is a local artist I discovered at an urban craft fair earlier this year. I love how all of her designs are kind of antique and vintage looking, which is something I’m really into right now. I own a handful of her jewelry already. The barn swallow bracelet above is one of my favorites. 
I’ve never bought anything from Gussy Sews, but I read all of her blog updates and love to hear about her views on handmade treasures. She makes all these cute little ruffled bags that I don’t really have a use for, but I think they’re cute nonetheless. I’m mostly just encouraged by how easily she turned her love of sewing into a genuine and very successful business. I hope I can eventually do the same. 
Old Ragdoll Cupboard is what sparked my huge obsession with primitive Raggedy Ann dolls a mere eleven months ago. I saw her booth at a craft fair and was amazed at how unique and cute all the dolls were. That’s where I bought my very first one. Her dolls tend to be a little less polished and actual ragdollish, but some of them are adorable.

Okay, I practically worship Raggedy Old Annie. She is an AMAZING dollmaker and the total inspiration for my own dolls. Two of her patterns (filled with very detailed instructions) are what got me started in my own business. Her dolls are so beautiful and filled with amazing details. I love every single one of them. And own like twelve of them, including the specially ordered family set Greg got me for Christmas last year. She is awesome.
This has been one of my newest stalkee’s. On facebook she posts all these pictures of amazing primitive animals she creates. I’m totally and completely in love with this elephant. I wish she still sold her patterns so I could make one on my own! So cute. I love the look of primitive dolls and toys. 
I first discovered some Bit ‘o Whimsy prints on Mackinac Island last summer. I didn’t buy any, but thought I’d be able to find more choices online. I was unsuccessful. Then by total accident earlier this week I found her on etsy! I love the way these mixed media prints look and feel like it’s something I’d never be able to replicate on my own. Definitely beyond my realm of creativity. It just so happens that this week she was having a buy one get one free 8×10 print free, so I ordered this one for myself. I love the message because I’ve been feeling lately that I’ve just learned to fly. This new world has been unlocked to me (by learning to sew) and I suddenly have an infinite amount of possibilities of what I can do with it. I love it.
Well, I could probably go on forever with some of the shops I’ve found most recently, but the ones above are my favorites so I’ll stop at that. It’s been so exciting learning how to sew and expand my own possibilities in the last few weeks. Annies are still my favorite and I really hope I can make a go of Hearstring Annie. So far I’ve only sold three dolls, one to my mom and one to my mother-in-law, so I don’t think those really count. 🙂 But I’m hoping for more as I continue to get my name out there. In the meantime, I’ve been having a lot of fun this week learning some new techniques on softies and stuffed animals. Above is the bird I made. I’m not too thrilled with my color choices, but at least it actually ended up looking like a bird!
Next I made a dachshund. I’ve had this pattern for weeks and finally worked up the courage to try all the new steps involved with this one. I think it turned out pretty well.
And finally a teddy bear! This is what he looked like before I did the paint staining. I really like the way he turned out and can’t wait to try some more bear designs. I collected teddy bears growing up (until Jack, my cat, peed all over my collection and I had to throw most of them out 🙁 ), and they still have a special place in my heart. 
Well, that’s it for my handmade celebration! For today. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll have much more to share in the coming months. Two of my favorite craft fairs are approaching, as well as a new one in Chicago I’m excited to check out, and I’m sure I’ll find plenty more to exclaim about. I love handmade! 🙂

Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day! This year we joined everyone up at Cedar Lake for the big family gathering. The weather was perfect, everyone was in good spirits, and it was a great day!

Caden was dancing with excitement to get in the water. I felt a little bad for him because he wanted to swim so badly, but nobody wanted to go in with him.

My boys. Greg is such a great dad. 🙂

Family paddle boat ride. Shepard was in the middle steering.

Greg’s dad and sister, Melissa.

Greg was talked in to getting in the water. Apparently all the boys wanted to do was jump off the dock for awhile.

After awhile Caden ventured out on his own. He loves swimming so much! I feel badly we haven’t gotten to any pools yet this year, though the weather hasn’t exactly been cooperative. Maybe later this week we can check something out.

Happy kid!

We went on the fast boat ride to watch the tubers. I feel like I would probably die if I went tubing.

Caden was really scared that they were going to fall off.

Back ashore, playing some giant dice game.

That didn’t last long.

Me and my gross allergy eyes. This has been the worst week of my life for allergies. Probably doesn’t help I spent all day every single day outside getting ready for and then working at my garage sale! I hope they go away soon because it’s completely unbearable.

Shepard was in such a silly mood all afternoon.

On board for the slow boat ride.

Caden was our captain.

My brother said the other day that pretty much everything Shepard does is the cutest thing ever. I have to agree. He is adorable.

Braiding Shepard’s hair. He really needs a haircut. I think he’s going to get his first official one sometime this week. No more baby hair. 🙁

I was about to pass out on the boat. Too much sun! You know me and my extreme sun avoidance! Oh well, it was fun. 🙂

Feeding the fish some oatmeal.

Shepard wanted to sit in the backseat on the way home so Grandpa agreed to squeeze into the two inches of space left after two carseats are put side by side. Craziness.

Back at the grandparents’ for a quick present opening.

Caden is pointing out where Shepard spilled pizza on the card and he wrote “PIZZA.”

Family resemblance?

Trying to get a father and sons picture at the end of the day. Turned out better than I expected!

Another one. Shepard, seriously. He just cracks me up.

For fun, last year’s picture.

And the year before.

And that’s the end of the day! I guess I shouldn’t speak for the father’s, but I think it was a pretty perfect father’s day!

Chicago Anniversary Vacation

Well, this really feels like old news now, but two weeks ago Greg and I went on a weekend getaway to Chicago to celebrate our seventh anniversary. I just now finished going through the photos from our trip. I’m so behind!!! The last week has been absolutely crazy getting ready for a garage sale, madly making 4th of July Annies, and getting ready for Father’s Day. So much to do! But I thought I’d take a quick break from all that to share the highlights from our trip!

In the van bright and early to bring the boys to Grandma’s house for the weekend. They were very excited about having two sleepovers in a row!

The weather forecast was pretty sure we were going to get rain the whole weekend. Of course, when so many of the things I planned on doing were outside! Instead of going straight to the city like we planned we made our first stop in Volo, Illinois at the Volo Auto Museum. It’s this really cool museum type of place where they store a bunch of vehicles that were used in movies. They also have tons of classic cars for sale and four huge antique malls. It was a nice place for both of us and our varied interests.

One of many Batman cars.

A replication of the first automobile (which no longer exists).

This was odd, but of course we had to get our picture taken with him.

Took this picture for my dad. I remember watching Blues Brothers with him many, many times.

Took this picture for my brother. Johnny Cash’s Git-Tar Car.

Ghostbusters car.

The truck Heath Ledger drove in Dark Knight. I took about a hundred other pictures of cars, but it’s kind of boring… So enough of this.
With storms still looming in the forecast, we went to the Garfield Park Conservatory next. This was my favorite part of the trip. We were both pleasantly surprised at how big and beautiful it was. When we were in college we spent a lot of time at Olbrich Park in Madison and this is very similar. But way better. At least on the inside.

If you’re ever near Chicago and looking for something free to do, I definitely recommend this. We were pretty much the only people in the whole place too. It was very nice.

That night we ate at a place near our hotel called Al’s Beef. Greg got the beef.

I had a chicken sandwich (surprise, surprise) and we shared fries smothered in a chipotle sauce. Normally I can take or leave fries; they’re really not my favorite thing. But I discovered they taste pretty amazing when covered in something this trip! All the food here was very good!

On Saturday we headed in to the city. All of our plans were a little more complicated because the outdoor concert we planned our trip around that night changed venues at the last minute and the rules for the new pavilion were a lot more strict. So instead of taking the train in as planned we drove to a lot where we could stay all day for only $5. It worked out really well.

Our first stop was Navy Pier, because that’s where people go in Chicago. Though I’m not really sure why. That was my second time there and thought it was kind of boring both times. This time was slightly more interesting because we saw a naked man get arrested by about ten police officers a few benches down from where we decided to rest…

I was kind of cranky because my feet hurt so early in the day. With another forecast of storms we were also carrying our coats and umbrellas all day. I wasn’t planning on that extra weight and it was annoying! At least it wasn’t too hot out. Lots of walking, though. I ended up getting 22,000 steps in that day!

We were really stumped on where to eat for lunch. So many choices, but we didn’t want to waste a meal on a bad restaurant. I researched a ton of great places ahead of time and then we got there and realized everything was just too far away. So we made a spontaneous decision to eat at a place called Bub City. I’m glad we did because everything was amazing! We had some stuffed jalapenos for an appetizer – yum. Greg got this super pork sandwich and waffle fries.

I had a turkey club sandwich and delicious tater tots. Everything was sooo good and we were completely stuffed. That was our only meal of the day.
Afterward we walked to the French Market. It was the one neat looking thing I really wanted to do, but it turned out to be kind of a let down. They had a lot of food for sale, but most of it would have needed to be cooked first! So I satisfied myself with a cannoli instead. 

Then back to Millennium Park to see The Bean.

There was a cute little park behind it where we relaxed for awhile. And then it finally started to rain. I was kind of a little relieved that we didn’t carry our gear around all day for nothing!

There was nothing else we were really wanting to do, so we found our way back to the van and rested for about an hour. It was pouring that entire time, so I’m glad we got to a good place for it. Finally we headed out to the Guster/Dispatch concert. The reason we were in Chicago in the first place. I don’t really have much to say about the concert. We were in a crazy long line forever. Umbrellas were prohibited items, so even though it was pouring, all those people had to toss their umbrellas if they wanted to get in. Once inside everyone was immediately drunk. We left after Guster played since that’s all we cared about. And that was Saturday!

On Sunday we (Greg) slept in and then headed home. We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and then waited for the boys to come home. They were both very happy to have some afternoon relaxation time with daddy! Anyway, it was a nice little getaway. Overall, Chicago doesn’t really appeal to me and I probably won’t want to go back for awhile, but it was still nice to spend some time with Greg and no distractions. It was a very good anniversary!

Grandpa’s Birthday at the Mallard’s Game

On Friday night we went to a Madison Mallard’s baseball game for my father-in-law, Steve’s, birthday. We all went to a game for the first time last year and it was so much fun we wanted to make it a summer tradition.

We got there early to have a little birthday party with cupcakes and presents. The boys were both so excited to give Grandpa their handmade cards!

Caden made Grandpa a whole book! He picked out seven sheets of construction paper and I sewed them together to make it more authentic. I seriously thought he’d be bored with it by page four, but he diligently spent the entire morning working on it – and then wanted to make another! It was adorable how proud of it he was. 🙂

He filled it with all of his favorite activities to do with Grandpa, the ABC’s, a lot of pictures of him and Shepard throwing rocks in water, and lots of hearts.

Showing it off to Aunt Melissa next.

Shepard’s sleep schedule has been pretty wacky this week because he’s pretty much given up naps, but still needs them, and has been staying up later and getting up earlier almost every day. He fell asleep on the way to the game and was a little confused when we got there. Nothing is better than Daddy snuggles, though! (except maybe mommy snuggles?)

At the game! We all started by getting our meals. I decided to break from traditional ballpark food and got a BBBBLT. Which had like twelve slices of bacon on it, bacon mayo, lettuce, tomato, and a pile of cheese curds. I wish I had taken a picture, but my hands were too messy for it. I like Mallard’s games because they have so many more unique food options. Freshly made things too, not just overpriced, fairly gross food that you find at the bigger stadiums.

I was really trying to get a nice picture of all four of them, but Shepard kept stealing the show.

Funny kid.

Sucking on peanuts. Both boys were so awesome during the whole game. I wish they were so happy and well behaved during the day when it’s just the three of us! I’m kind of thinking the secret might be allowing them to eat nonstop like they did during the game! Hot dogs, hamburgers, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and candy. They were content!

Shepard spitting his sunflower seeds out was kind of hilarious. And really gross. Melissa and I were both covered in spit. I took my camera out yesterday and realized the whole lens had dried spit stains on it. Disgusting! But pretty funny at the time. He definitely has some power!

Greg and I. I think Greg was the only one actually watching the game. We were in the front row, which is neat, but I have a hard time paying attention.

And finally Caden and I. Looking very sleepy! Anyway, it was a great night and hopefully a very happy birthday for Grandpa!

365 Day Photo Project – May

I’m late again! It’s been another super busy week with very little computer time. Which is good, for many reasons, but I’m also extremely behind in all photo related things, which is very frustrating! But here it is – my photos for May!

That’s it for May! Such a busy and event filled month. I kind of feel like I should put a little disclaimer in here that not every single picture in this project is taken by me. Like the ones that I’m in. 🙂 But I feel like this project is more a personal reflection on what my year has held, so even if I didn’t take the picture myself, it’s still important to the overall story. Just to make that clear. I felt like I was cheating by posting some pictures that I didn’t actually shoot. 🙂

And in other news…

So I’ve decided that I’m not above begging. I started Heartstring Annie last month and have yet to make a single sale. It’s starting to feel a little discouraging. How do you build a customer base without putting a lot of money into advertising? I know everything takes time, but I feel like I’ve already run out of ways to reach new people. So since I seem to be getting a lot more traffic on this blog I thought I’d post this little blurb to ask (beg) some new people to at least look into what I’ve been making lately. I’m pretty proud of this last batch! Thank you. 🙂

Heartstring Annie on Facebook

Heartstring Annie on Etsy

So Much To Catch Up On…

May is almost over and it’s been such a busy month! I’ve tried starting blog posts multiple times, but was having a lot of trouble uploading photos so I gave up. Apparently all I needed to do was restart Firefox. Anyway, here is a mismatched collection of events from life around here in the last couple of weeks.

May 14th – Greg’s 29th Birthday

 So even though I haven’t hit it myself yet, twenty-nine feels like kind of a big birthday. Like you only have one year left of the fun life left. Which is slightly ridiculous since we decided to have kids so young and I often feel like we’re waiting until our early forties when the boys are out of the house to finally live that fun life. But still, it sort of feels like a doomsday birthday to me. Greg doesn’t feel that way, though, so I guess I’ll expand on this subject more in five months when my big 2-9 comes around. 🙂

To nobody’s shock, Caden wasn’t in the best of moods that night. Maybe it’s just from the busyness of the last month combined with staying up later every night (my kids suddenly realized they could talk and joke as long as they want before falling asleep), but he’s been over the top emotional and cranky lately. He really can be a very sweet kid sometimes, but he has a lot of days like this. Anyway, I thought this series of photos was fairly amusing.

Nothing like some presents to bring out a smile. 🙂 Greg was pretty lucky this year. He usually gets a lot of clothes, shoes, and practical gifts for his birthday because he doesn’t shop for himself any other time of the year. This year I decided to do all fun presents for a change. Above is an A1 Dry Rub that Caden picked out himself to give Daddy. (Caden is OBSESSED with A1.)

Against my better judgement I gave him three Nerf “blasters” to play with together.

And the big one – a 3DS XL.

Greg decided instead of a birthday dessert he wanted two homemade pizzas that would more than fill him up. So I made an ultimate bbq chicken and buffalo pizzas. So delicious.

Yummy, buffalo. The BBQ was awesome, though. Always my favorite.

That night there were some crazy storm clouds rolling through. I don’t think it ever actually rained by us, but the clouds were incredible. We sat on the deck and watched them for a long time.

Jumping on the Bed
Jumping on beds has become a new favorite past time for my kids. We’ve also reached that time of year when they never ever wear clothes. 
Fun pictures. 🙂

Minnesota Mini Vacation

Last weekend, my best friend Dianne, who lives in Washington DC, was in Minneapolis for a few days visiting her mom and grandparents. I haven’t seen her since Christmas and was itching for a reason to go back to my favorite stores in MN, so I took a little two day mini vacation. It was great doing some shopping and just hanging out with Dianne. We’ve been friends our whole lives and even though we email almost every day, actually being together in person is always a lot of fun. I think my favorite part of the weekend was going thrift shopping with the ladies. I made out the best with lots of super cheap Annie supplies, books, jeans, and actual Raggedy Ann dolls! It was fun. The worst part of the trip – realizing our car needs some serious help. I was totally freaked out that it was going to permanently break down at any moment while I was on my own. Definitely not fun!
Caden’s Last Day of Preschool
Another big milestone – Caden finished his year of preschool! I can’t believe how fast the time went. He seemed like such a little boy when he started last fall and now he’s writing words, counting to 300, asking eight million questions a day, reading the clocks, and always informing me about things he’s learned each week. He’s grown so much this year and I’m so incredibly proud of him. Even in just the last month I’ve had so many people tell me how much he’s been coming out of his shell. Even though he has NO problem talking at home, he’s always very self conscious of his speech problems and had a super hard time finding the confidence to join in with other kids at school. But he’s finally coming out of his shell and is a lot more comfortable being himself. I’m so happy for him. 🙂
He was pretty excited to take pictures with this sign. I don’t usually get so much cooperation from him at photo shoot time!

So Much Sewing!

As you know, I started Heartstring Annie a few weeks ago and continue to at least be thinking about doll making pretty much all the time. I’m having so much fun (maybe a little too much) finding interesting vintage accessories that I can put on themed dolls. I now have enough accessories for probably two hundred dolls, so I better get sewing!!! The second half of this month was mostly spent working on more gift dolls, though. Hopefully next week, when life settles down again, I’ll start on more for the shop.

Here are the dolls I made for Caden’s preschool teachers. Two of them have vintage alphabet cards in their hands, one has a vintage number playing card, and one has an apple in her hand and an apple charm on her dress. So cute! I love the one on the far right. 🙂
Then I made a slightly bigger doll for Caden’s speech teacher, who he adores and has done so much to help him in the last two years. She seems to really like cats and has pictures of orange cats in her classroom, so I decided to make more of a cat themed Annie than teacher. I was so excited to find an orange cat C card to go with her!
When I started this sewing thing all I was interested in was making Annies. But now that I pretty much have that process down, I’m starting to get a lot more excited about what other possibilities are out there. Pretty much anything, right?! I picked up a few sewing magazines and have been madly searching pinterest for easy sewing projects that appealed to me. The thing I liked the most was a journal cover. I love journals and have two sitting on my desk at all times, so this seemed like the perfect project. I was finally able to do it last night and I love the way it turned out! I see a lot of journals with covers in my gift giving future… 😉 Next on my project list are stuffed animals. I have a pattern for a very simple giraffe and then a more complex dog. Hopefully I can start on those this week.
Memorial Weekend
 Which finally brings us to this weekend! Greg decided to have his own MN mini vacation and headed up there with some of his friends on Saturday morning. I wanted to have more of a fun day with the boys, so we decided to check out this huge weekly flea market in Princeton. It was a pretty cool thing, but probably something you shouldn’t take young children to. They were actually much better behaved than I expected, but it was hard to really look at things when I was constantly checking to make sure they were still next to me. We finally gave up, bought some mini donuts, and played on the playground for awhile. Then we stopped at another playground on the way home for a good hour and a half. And finally, dinner at Burger King. 
Oh yes, on Saturday night we also made Fluffernutter Bars (above). I kind of improvised a recipe and combined a bunch of peanut butter sandwich cookies, peanut butter cups, and mini marshmallows with melted marshmallows and peanut butter chips, topped with milk chocolate. They were delicious. I ate WAY too many.
On Sunday the boys went with Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Mel to Cedar Lake for Dock Day. I decided to stay home and get A LOT of stuff done. It was probably my most productive weekend in years!!! Not as relaxing as I had hoped, but the house is much cleaner, I got a big project done, I learned to sew a book cover, I baked a few things, and I watched two movies. Pretty successful day!
This morning I went to get the boys and we headed to the Memorial Day parade. It was a cold and misty morning, but I’m glad we went. It’s good to honor the veterans that show up for those things. They deserve it.
The Upcoming Week
We have one more busy week until things will settle down a little bit. Tomorrow is mine and Greg’s 7th anniversary! We’re going to Madison for a nice dinner to celebrate. Then this weekend we’re going to Chicago for a little getaway. I’ve been really excited about it, but still have so many details to figure out. It should be a ton of fun, though. 🙂 
Besides that, Caden has just three more speech sessions left and then it is officially our summer! I’ve got my list going of fun things to do this year and I plan to make the most of it. My kids are growing up way too quickly and I want to do as much as I can with them while they’re still interested. It should be fun. 🙂
Happy May! Hopefully my next post won’t be so busy and long!

Just Launched: Heartstring Annie!

I have some exciting news! After a few weeks of working madly, I am officially opening my very own etsy shop Heartstring Annie! Most of you probably didn’t realize quite how serious I was about making Annies, but I’ve begun and now I can’t stop! I finished up my first one less than a month ago and have made twenty-eight more since then. Hopefully this is just the beginning of many, many more to come!

In this first month I’ve realized that I most enjoy making Annies with specific people in mind. I like fitting the fabric and theme of the dolls to what a certain recipient might like. For example, I made Annie and grandson sets for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. I also made a set for Caden and Shepard’s godmothers. My friend Liz, who loves Alice in Wonderland, got a mom and son set with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Now that I finished up enough to stock the shop a little I’m going to make alphabet and number themed Annies to give to Caden’s teachers as end of the year thank you presents. I also plan on making dolls to go along with each upcoming holiday and season. In the next few weeks I’d like to start some patriotic and 4th of July Annies. I’ve been busier than ever in the last few weeks, but I love it and I’m really excited to see what becomes of this little business.

You can find Hearstring Annie at:


You can find my Heartstring Annie facebook page at:


And you can find a new blog at:


Check it out!

And thank you for supporting this new little dream of mine by caring enough to read this. 🙂 

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! I really wanted to write this post yesterday, but I just couldn’t force myself to stay up past 10:30 to work on it. It’s been a very exhausting weekend! It’s been a very exhausting month, actually. I’ve been really busy working on something which I will (hopefully) announce later today. 🙂

Anyway! Mother’s Day – it was really nice this year. Very low key and relaxing. I really enjoyed being able to just spend time with my family at our homes, just hanging out.

Because we were out late on Saturday night the boys actually slept until almost 8:00 – a miracle! (Except that they also appear to be sleeping in that late today, when Caden needs to be at school at 8:00 – not fair!) I wanted to have a delicious, but very easy breakfast, so I picked up a bunch of fancy donuts and pastries at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. Of course I ate two of those pastries before I ever got home! But I definitely enjoyed my chocolate croissant on Mother’s Day.

I got the boys gigantic sprinkled donuts, which Greg made them split. Good stuff, though. I pretty much ate carbs and only carbs all weekend. And then I looked at these pictures last night and realized I seriously need to lose some weight! So this was my last hoorah.

FYI, when you’re about to have tons of pictures taken of you, you should probably put on some makeup. Oh well. Here are my babies giving me my special presents.

Caden and Daddy made me a button picture of Caden and I holding hands!! I thought it was pretty funny when I opened it – I can’t believe Greg sewed something! Who knew. It was very sweet and I’ll treasure it forever. 🙂

The card Caden made me with a small, medium, and large real life looking hearts.

Shepard’s cards for me. He was in quite the silly photogenic mood yesterday.

Button picture from Shepard!

Shepard is quite excited about this!

I got a pink shelf that I really wanted to hang near my sewing area. I’m slowly pulling it all together.

And a sun umbrella so I can spend more time outside without getting cranky. 🙂 I know most of the world does not agree with my feelings, but I seriously HATE being out in the hot sun with no relief. Summer weather is my least favorite. I hate being hot. Hopefully with this portable shade I’ll feel more inclined to go out!

And a candle (that came with the shelf) that the boys spent ten minutes passing back and forth and smelling.

There we go – ready for the day and looking a little better! 🙂 Time for my annual mother sons photo shoot. It was too cold to do it outside this year. Stupid Wisconsin weather only knows how to be super cold or super hot. We hardly ever have those perfect in between days anymore.

We went to my in-law’s house for brunch. The boys had to have some piano time. 
The mothers and (young) children sitting together. 
I got a San Francisco tour guide book so I can start planning for our vacation in August!
And a Raggedy Ann book! My sister-in-law also gave me a really pretty pot filled with plants. Hopefully I can keep them alive! Every year I say I’m going to do better, and I’m pretty sure every year I do worse. 
Typical sight! Caden managed to slyly fit in a lot of screen time this Mother’s Day!
After digging through all of my mother-in-law’s craft supplies and taking a bunch of things, we headed over to my parents’ for the rest of the night. I gave both grandmas an Annie and Caden and Shepard Andy set. And both aunts/godmothers got an Annie and respective child set. Fun times!
So I’ve been sick all week. It started with a weird cold and turned into a major cough. It’s worst at night and I’ve barely been getting any sleep. Pretty sure I’m keeping Greg up too. Anyway, we got there yesterday and my mom immediately made me some tea. Why did I never once think about that all week?? Moms definitely come in handy!!
Time for a photo shoot here too. Gracie insisted on being in all the pictures too.
Grandma with all her daughters and grandsons. These dogs NEVER leave her side. 
Grandma kisses.
I decided to make nice with my mom’s cat, Oscar. He usually hides the second the boys walk in the house, but he let me pet him for a long time yesterday. I tried to get pictures with my kitties earlier in the day, but apparently even though they want to be on my lap every possible second, they do NOT like to be photographed there.
And finally back home with two last pictures from the boys. It was a very nice day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms, grandmas, aunts, godmothers, sisters, and daughters out there!