from this day forward


Amy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard Wedding

one year,  two months and 9 days ago i got a phone call from amy.  “your son propsed!!”  words i had never expected to hear, but words that caused a bit of squealing, bouncing and waving of kermit arms.  kyle and amy had been together for so many years that she already felt like a daughter to me, and they seemed quite happy in their current life together that marriage was never an issue for me.  but…oh my, my heart grew 10 sizes that evening, so ready to embrace them as husband and wife.

i remember the night kyle came home telling me he had met the most beautiful girl in the world, nearly giddy telling me about her beautiful hair, her eyes, how much fun she was to be with.  and then i met her.  she came to a bonfire and timidly came inside to ask if she could please have a glass of water.  i turned to jeff  saying “this one is special…she’s a keeper”.  and she is.

the wedding was held in my parents back yard.  a simple, enchanting, intimate setting with only grandparents, parents and siblings sharing in the moment.  i was there early to set up chairs and pots of coleus that amy, her mother and i had planted and nutured.  kyle arrived with a smile that lit up the day and never wavered.  that smile was on his face the entire day.  my heart…oh my heart…is there any feeling better than knowing that your child is truly, deeply happy?

the ceremony was officiated by amy’s brother (as amy has done for his wedding 2 years earlier) and was so personal…so heartfelt, and their fur baby, ellie, was ring bearer.  but my favorite moment of the entire day was when, after exchanging vows and becoming mr. and mrs., kyle and amy stepped to the dinner bell and rang it in celebration.  it hadn’t been rung in years, but it pealed out in joy.  champagne flutes were raised in the comfort of air conditioning (did i mention it was in the 90’s???) and the newlyweds were off for photos and a bit of rest before the reception that evening.

Amy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard WeddingAmy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard Wedding

the reception was at denison university, in a quaint stone lodge.  the patio had seating  under a tent, open air, as well as some under a small grouping of trees.  friday was spent with the entire family joining together to decorate the space and we turned it into a magical place filled with light, candles, ferns and some of the 200 yards (!!) of bunting i made for the day.  bluegrass was played, dinner served, volleyball enjoyed and joy abounded.  i was honored when kyle and amy asked me to bake some of the cakes that were offered, as well as a special smaller one for their table, displayed on the vintage cake plate they had gifted me earlier.  it was a day of true celebration…no anxiety, no worries, just exactly perfect for kyle and amy.


so now they begin married life.  i wish them many, many more happy years together,  filled with love and adventure, don’t forget adventure!  my son now has a whole other family to love and support him, and i have a new daughter-in-law to cherish.  my heart is full.

Amy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard Wedding




the gifts of 2016

it seems all i heard myself say during the month of december was “i’m not ready”, and by the end of the month i found that i had mental lists constantly running through my head…all negative.  the lists of what I didn’t accomplish, didn’t bake, didn’t decorate, didn’t make time to visit with.  they were heavy lists, and i’ve decided to let them go.  i’m trading them in for lists of how many strangers i wished a happy holiday, how delicious the pizzelles were with my morning and evening coffee, how much i enjoyed each stitch in each gift i was able to make.  and of course the biggest list of all (and the one i usually ignore until november!)…the list for next year!!

to start the new year i want to share a few of the handmade gifts i managed to eek out in 2016.  the last of the gifts were just now opened due to scheduling conflicts, so i’m finally able to share them all.

first up….the turtles!  i had these planned for quite some time and actually had them completed quite early.  one for each great niece.  a big old floor pillow with personality.   hannah is a pink and purple sort of girly-girl who loves to dance, so for her…a pink and purple turtle with a bit of glittery fabric thrown in for fun.dscn7031

brooklynn is more of a whirlwind of action…karate kicks, ninja moves…that’s more her style.  so she got a blue and green turtle (there’s a bit of glitter…i couldn’t resist), with a surprise underneath.  the bottom of the turtle is girl super-hero fabric…super girl, wonder woman and batgirl.  no, the red doesn’t really “go” with the blue/green top, but does that really matter?  i hope it said to her “i get you…I know who you are”dscn7033you may not be able to tell from the pics, but these guys are BIG!  they stand about 10-12″ tall and from head to tail measure about 48-50″….perfect for propping you up for movie time.

my sister (turtle girl grandmother) has eyed my messenger bag for quite some time…offering to take it off my hands, so i made her one of her own.  it’s amy butler’s first messenger bag pattern…a very simple bag with a pocket flap.  i use mine all the time and it’s just right.  once i made it i decided she needed a heigh-ho laptop sleeve to match, so she got a set.dscn7046picking out the buttons was, of course, my favorite part of the project.  at one point i think i had every button in the studio spread out across the rug…and that’s a whole lotta buttons!

dscn7043sister also got a kerchief shawl.  i can’t sit and watch a movie without picking up a knitting project.  i made one for myself first to test the pattern and then made hers…after blocking i’ve decided that if i make this pattern again i’ll add an extra repeat since it feels a bit short when i wrap it around my neck.


last year elizabeth made recipe towels using a spoonflower tutorial here on the blog.  i knew then that i wanted to make some too.  instead of using a single recipe, i stole borrowed some the favorite family recipes…ones that even the grandsons would know…mostly handwritten (i think each side had one printed recipe) and had fabric printed at spoonflower.  i made towels for everyone, 18 in all!  every generation got a towel…even the great granddaughters and i have a few left that just need hemming in case there is ever a towel emergency.


dscn7041i saved my favorite project…or shall i say my latest sewing addiction…for last.  the rope bowl craze has been happening for a while now but i seem to show up a bit late at these sorts of things.  i’ve had the clothesline in my studio closet forever (planned on making a bag with it), but it wasn’t until days before christmas that i pulled it out and began my first bowl.  jeff walked in to find me forming the bottom and asked what i was making…actually it was more “what are you making NOW?” and i replied “a bowl”…he didn’t even comment, just walked out.  but nothing would dampen my enthusiasm for this project.  i’ve seen them made with fabric strips covering the rope, with ribbon accents, but i had yarn…plenty of yarn, so that’s what i used.  iI didn’t try to make the accents symmetrical, i just added them whenever i felt the urge to add color.  i also started out with the standard loop handle, but tried what i call “the casserole handle” on one and loved it!  some are lightweight rope, some are a bit stiffer…i’m still trying to find just the perfect clothesline because i’m hoping to make a LARGE basket for myself and need it to stand up to a bit of weight.  have you tried these?  OMG…you must!  the process is so easy and the possibilities are endless (unlike the clothesline…i ran out a couple of times and had to make emergency trips to the hardware!)

so that was 2016…i can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.  what’s on your list for the year?




66 years

this past saturday  (sept. 17) was my parent’s wedding anniversary….number 66!!  over 3/4 of their lives have been spent together as man and wife.  and part of me wants to stop right there.  i mean, doesn’t that just about say all that needs to be said?  but of course i’ll say more!


those sixty-six years brought three children, eight grandchildren and so far, two great-granddaughters. they built a family business together, dad served the public as a township trustee for over 30 years, while mom served by working polls.  there were amazing camping trips (taken in a handcrafted trailer that dad built), ball games, piano recitals, boy and girl scout adventures and more square dances than you can shake a stick at.

i’ve tried to calculate the meals they’ve shared, the number of colds they’ve suffered through together, how many nights they couldn’t sleep until they talked through their day…but there is no calculator for those things.  but is there a secret?  they haven’t shared that yet, but from my viewpoint it must be truly liking the person you are with, whether they are wearing their angelic halo or their devil horns.

we have truly been blessed as their children to be a part of those sixty-six years…to have them as our role models in life…to have that bar set high, and yet know that it can be done because they have done it.

congratulations dad and mom.


the very bumpy bus ride…or, where have i been?

the last few months have been bumpy.  life has been filled with traffic jams, potholes and even a couple of spike strips thrown in to trip me up.  yep…all car references….it’s who i am…that’s how i roll.

along the route there have also been some major high notes.  times when the engine purred and all cylinders were hitting in rhythm.  so my plan is to just allow those bumpy days (and nights!) to fade away in the rearview mirror and concentrate on the high notes.

after a fairly extremely long hiatus from the blog, the studio and most things creative, i think i’m back on the right road and my mojo is riding shotgun!  in the coming weeks i’ll be sharing the few things that i’ve managed to create since april, a few things that are coming up soon and some highlights from the very best event of the summer…no, the year, the wedding of my middle born son and his (now officially “our”) lovely amy.

yes, the amazing snapdragon studios photographer extraordinaire married my son kyle.  she’s felt like family since they began dating 9 years ago…but it’s official…i have a daughter-in-law….which makes me the mother-in-law and i sincerely hope that i can be one that she’ll cherish as much as i cherish her (and not the one of movie and standup fame!).  picture evidence of said event is not quite ready (meaning i can’t make up my mind which prints to order and am seriously thinking i’ll end up purchasing them all!!), but not to worry…i WILL be sharing them along with my memories of one of the hottest days of the summer (in which the bride never broke a sweat!).

there will be some first time sews to share, new patterns news, a pattern hack or two, and perhaps even a late summer sale….and did i mention some wedding photos?? i think i may have mentioned that wedding in passing.

my road may still be bumpy at times, but right now i feel like cruising….and i hope you’ll come along for the ride!




oooo, baby, baby

i’m getting back into the studio more and more lately, and as threatened promised, i decided to do some fun sewing in between the mock ups and pattern development.  i had a perfect excuse as my niece was expecting a baby girl early in march.  she arrived on march 4th (by the way, that is also her grandmothers birthday!!) and my first glimpse of her was to be easter sunday.

i chose a commercial pattern going with simplicity 8098 because i love every single view, both boy and girl.  it has a vintage sort of feel to it.


then i headed to “the stash”.  my stash is really quite modest, but i found yardage that i had been saving for a ‘small person’ and decided it was just girly enough without being too fru-fru.  it’s a lecien fabric called folk tale by natalie lymer of cinderberry stitches.  it’s probably no longer available (because i like it of course…if i hated it, it would be in every fabric store in the nation!)  i picked up some coordinating fabric for the bodice and ruffle, some pearl snaps and was off.

being used to making full size human clothing, i marveled at the small pieces.  it’s been a while since i’ve sewn for little ones.  but it was a nice change of pace (no bust adjustment!!).


while i’m not thrilled with the pictures, i was pretty pleased with the romper.

yesterday i met the newest hannah of the family.  since i already have a 4 year old great niece named hannah, i’m calling the new one “double h” (yes, last name begins with h)until i can come up with a better nickname (no one wants to be “big hannah” or “little hannah”…worse yet, “old hannah” and “young hannah”).  she’s a wee bit of a girl, and i never did see her with her eyes open, but she’s beautiful.  i sort of doubt that the romper will fit her until next winter since she’s so small, but you never know!!


welcome little “double h”….i’ll be here if you ever want a special dress, some warm hand knit socks or some wee little mittens!


happily ever after

i want to share some more non-sewing news.  i’ve been wanting to share since january, but at first it wasn’t really my news to share….and then february happened (or didn’t).  the world now knows and plans are  falling into place…it’s time to announce.  (drum roll)  my son kyle, and my photographer amy are engaged!!! (kermit arms and emoticons!!!)

actually, she was his girlfriend long before she became my photographer.  they’ve been together for quite some time, and i must admit that she’s felt like a daughter from very early on.  we’ve laughed that we never quite know how to introduce each other…”my son’s girlfriend” seemed pretty lame after a few years…and “my boyfriend’s mother” made me feel like there was always “more to the story and i’ll tell you all about it later”.  problem solved!!

the call that announced the news was definitely unexpected, but quite happily received. she’s been with us long enough (and through just about every conceivable happiness and catastrophe) that she knows what she’s getting into as far as the “in-laws” go.  if she hasn’t run to the hills screaming by this time we’ve either grown on her or she’s learned how to turn a blind eye.

a june wedding is planned.  an extremely private outdoor ceremony at my parents home, followed by an evening reception at a rustic lodge on the university campus.  it’s going to be lovely (i’ve seen the dress and it’s perfection….if i had to name it i would name it amy!).  and as for my son?  he’s quite pleased with himself and i’m very happy for them both.  “he liked it and he’s gonna put a ring on it” (yes indeed, i just said that!!)


this picture was taken several years ago, but since they never seem to age it’s still one of my favorites.  i’m officially a MOG!!


saying goodbye

saturday morning my family said goodbye to my father-in-law, jim ventura.  he was 92 years old and the last few years had not been good for him.  while we are relieved to know that he is no longer lost or suffering, that does not make it easier to say goodbye.

jim was a part of my life for 40 years, my father-in-law for 38 of them.  we didn’t always see eye to eye.  at times i think we were competing for my husbands favor.  but he mellowed and i matured and we found our common ground.  strangely, we hit our stride when his alzheimer’s became worse.  at times, not remembering that i was a daughter-in-law, we would have long conversations about our lives.  he would ask if i was married, if i had children and when i showed him pictures of my sons (the grandsons he could no longer remember) he declared them “handsome young men”…”lucky to have me as a mother”.

i will be absent for a little while, taking time to be with family, remembering jim.

jim ventura

equal time rule

lest you think there is only one small girl in my life, i bring you equal time for hannah!!  i’ve always wanted to nickname her “frank” because of her big ‘blue eyes’, but it never really stuck.  perhaps a better name for her would be “star”….this girl loves to perform!!

last year at her tap recital she was the consummate performer on stage, nailing each step and glowing in the spotlight.  afterward she accepted her bouquets with the grace of an accomplished broadway actress.  a bit of humility blended with the knowledge that she belonged on that stage.

while bug lives to be the daring young girl on the flying trapeze, hannah will sing and dance her way into your heart, take a bow, and instruct you to exclaim “bravo”!  she’s the dress up girl, the one who knows the value of fluttering eyelashes, and i’m convinced that i’ll be spending considerable time exclaiming bravo in the coming years.


the men in her life (my father, her father) are wrapped around her 4 year old finger.  (notice the tiara and wings??)

and her great aunt is quite the fan as well.  maybe i should start now and form a fan club!!


equal press time hannah dear…your adoring public awaits your next performance!



happy birthday bug

for the past 4 years i’ve had a weekly playdate.  there’s a bit of an age difference…at least chronologically (some would argue that emotionally we’re spot on!).  my great niece, whom i lovingly call “bug” has spent one day each week keeping me company, taking me on grand adventures, teaching me all about the world.  i’ve had the honor and privilege of watching her grow from the wee tot she was 4 years ago to the lovely young girl she is today.

today, bug turns 6 years old…and i’m taking a few minutes to look back over the changes from that first day together.

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from chubby cheeks and pigtails to the outdoor loving adventurer.


to the scooter riding super girl….happy birthday bug!!

aunt kim

A simple advent calendar

When I was growing up, our Advent calendar was a little wall hanging with pockets. The top was a snowcovered house and there was a little mouse that we moved from pocket to pocket as we neared Christmas.

My parents still put that calendar out every year, so this year I started thinking about some ways to celebrate Advent at our house and remind us to take time to enjoy the season. I came across this post on A Beautiful Mess and decided to do something similar.


We have some sections of weathered fencing left over from fencing our backyard, so I pulled a few boards off of one scrap piece and cut them to length. My tree is about 3 1/2 feet high and the “branches” are about 12″, 15″ and 21″ or so.

I knew I didn’t want the kids to have chocolate every day (a whole month of daily chocolate might be enough to make me put them out with the cat), and I also didn’t want to amass 24 (x 2 kids, so 48, ugh) little toys to unwrap every day, so I settled on activities that we can do together each day, scheduling the activities to coincide with my work schedule and other obligations.


I glued and stapled regular sized clothespins to the boards and used a big punch to make red and green paper “ornaments” that I wrote activities on. Each day we’ll take down that day’s ornament, do the activity and replace it with a pretty metallic paper ornament as we count down to Christmas. 


If you’re looking for ideas of what to do with your kids, here’s a post I wrote for our library listing many of the activities we will be doing. Some of them are specific to our area, but most communities have similar things going on at this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving! We’re thankful to all of you who take the time to stop over to our corner of the internet.