Messy Christmas

December 2013 was the Christmas I was bald. I’d spent most of the year fighting breast cancer, undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Saying it was a tough year is an understatement. My usual upbeat energy was little to non-existent; as was our budget. So, for Christmas presents I came up with something a little different.


I took my then three-year-old son to pick out fabric paints and ordered packs of nice white tea towels. I stained them an off-white color, literally using bags of brewed tea, and each day, I set up a few blank “canvases” in the backyard on an easel for S to paint.

We would sing songs, talk about the colors, and listen to the birds while he painted. And we would talk about what we loved about the people we were painting the towels for.

After a week of painting, we folded them neatly into kraft paper-sleeved boxes and wrapped them with a message that summed up so much of what our family had been feeling that year:


“Life is messy, but it can still be beautiful.”

“Handmade with love by Sebastian.”


The overall effect was simple but meaningful, and honestly, the memories I made with him while painting them were the greatest gift of all.


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The Elephant in the Room

I always struggle with white elephant gifts. It’s a conundrum–it has to be something I wouldn’t mind getting, it should be (mostly) work-appropriate, and it has to have a little bit of fun attached.

Well, my white elephant gift this year had a lot of things attached.

Chocolate, candy, a little message…


Because you really can’t go wrong with any of those.

Happy gifting and stealing, everyone!!

Side one:

Do good and plenty of what you love and the payday will be sweet, mounds of money or not. Take five when you need it; they can be lifesavers. You might make 100 grand, but it doesn’t take shopping sprees or apartments on 5th Avenue to have a sweet life.”

Side two: “But it does take a lot of THIS:”

Cue Starbucks gift card. 😉

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On Writing

Nothing in life worth having comes easy. All I have to do is look at these two faces to be reminded of that. I guess I should include myself in that, too. Five years ago, I didn’t know if I’d be here or not, and that lit a fire in me that I wish everyone could know — without having to face cancer or any other trauma.

This whole bringing-a-lifelong-dream-to-fruition thing is definitely not easy either, but it’s because I’ve had enough miracles in my life, these two included, that I know it can/will happen. I feel it. The no’s are turning into “not right nows” and those are turning into “Love it, but make some edits [here] and [here].” There’s even been a couple, “After revisions, I’d love to read it again.”

It’s all worth it — even the no’s — because each “no” brings me closer to my “yes.” And one day I believe there will be a “yes.” Just look at these three faces, and I think you’ll see it, too.

#herestotheoneswhodream #herestotheoneswhowork #kidlit #picturebooks #author #writer #survivor

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A Tree Skirt for a Super Fan

I was thrilled when my friend, a super Star Wars fan and all-around super person, commissioned me to make him and his family a custom-themed Christmas tree skirt. After a number of different sketches, I landed on a design that would allow for four tree skirts in one.

There’s a light side, a dark side, and the back side has a licensed print with both. The design includes two separate quilted parts: one a Death Star; the other a Millennium Falcon. Both parts were pieced together from my original design, bound with black bias tape, embellished with a few appliqué details. They tie together with black grosgrain ribbon.

It was a really fun project, and the best part was he loved it. It makes me happy to make things that make others happy!

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Sketch Before Sew

A custom Christmas tree skirt for a friend who’s so cool is in a galaxy far, far away.

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Craft Like a Hurricane

Everyone deals with stress differently. Some stress-eat. Others stress-sleep. Me? I stress-clean, stress-organize, and stress-craft.

In the 24 hours before Hurricane Irma hit, I went Kon Mari method ALL OVER THIS PLACE, and then I completed two “someday” craft projects, and got a good start on number three.

We were very lucky to come out mostly unscathed, and I just know the crafting and super organized house had something to do with it. 😉

{Up-cycled mini-jars as pin cushions}

{Bedding for antique babydoll crib}

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Sew Much To Do

I’ve been busy–writing, momming, wife-ing, and starting a new job. Sew Sew has had to sit back a little bit, but here are two quick shop updates:

1. With such a positive response to the laptop/tablet sleeves I made for my personal computer, I’m now offering them for sale in my Etsy shop. Check ’em out!

2. I’ve been making adjustments to my Sew Sew Sensory Sheets based on feedback from beta testers and fabric availability, and therefore, I will have some new shop updates coming soon! In the meantime, Sew Sew Sensory Sheets can be pre-ordered but will have a 3-4 week wait time.

Thank you Sew Sew much for your understanding!

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