Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
Thank you for being part of my little world... :)

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Me:

Me:

Sunday, February 27

Inspired: The CUTEST Pig Cupcakes!

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Are these pig cuppies making you smile?? They sure made me grin! I got this "Taste of Home" recipe magazine several months back at the checkout counter, and have always intended to make the piggies for fun one day. 

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The magazine has them on cookies, but if you know me, why would I make sugar cookies when I can make CUPCAKES??! 

So Noah and I got to work one snowy day, and assembled a batch of vanilla cake mix cuppies with pink homemade buttercream frosting. I purchased and assembled the necessary supplies:

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Needed:

1 package of pink strawberry wafer cookies
1 bag or partial bag of mini chocolate chips
1 bag or partial bag of butterscotch chips
1 bag or partial bag of large marshmallows
pink frosting (you can tint the store bought stuff pink if you want!)
1 batch of cupcakes, any flavor

Helpful Hints:

~ I don't spend time making the actual cupcake gourmet... you can just use the cake mix. The point of these is the piggy cuteness, not the cake itself.

~ For the marshmallows, I found that they looked better if I used my kitchen shears to cut them in half to be shorter. I just reshaped them after the cut and put the cut side down.

~ The butterscotch chips were a cute idea, but NOT convenient to implement. They didn't stay on the marshmallows without some help from a dab of icing. And at that point, if I was going to put a dot of pink frosting on the marshmallow, why not just make THAT the nostril? So I ended up putting frosting in a piping bag and piping on frosting nostrils instead of using the chips. You can see it both ways in my last photo, below, and decide for yourself. (And if you don't already know, a sturdy sandwich-sized Ziploc bag is a PERFECT piping bag. Just put 3/4ths of a cup of frosting in one, sip it up, then snip a tiny corner off of the bottom and pipe the frosting out of that hole.)

~ The strawberry wafers were NOT easy to cut. They didn't maintain themselves well... splitting apart all over the place. Must be because I used the cheap brand! So if you look again at the prep picture above, you'll see that I salvaged what I could. Some of the triangles are perfectly cut, others are half or even a quarter of the actual wafer, thickness-wise... and I just rolled with it. I had a MASSIVE "discard" pile by the end! Once the wafer (or partial wafer) was in the frosting on the pig, it held together fine. 

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And once all that nonsense was worked out (and my 3-year-old LONG gone from the "helping" part of it), we had a batch of reasonably cute replicas of that cute pig idea I was inspired to recreate from the Taste of Home magazine. 

Voila!

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And so.... With that inspired idea, we head into a new month this week!! Spring is FINALLY really close! (And March is the LAST MONTH for me to get things done before baby time comes. ACK!!!)

In the spirit of tackling the new month with purpose and vigor, I'm posting my to-do list here, all "cute'ed up" so that maybe it'll be fun for me to get to it and get things done.
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And with that, Noah is up from nap and I should go focus on the rest of my Sabbath with my boys... foster those sweet relationships in the moments I get with them....

Toodles!

Friday, February 25

33 Weeks...

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Halfway through my 33rd week, and despite a wee little cold that is messing with me, it's been a pretty good week. I actually like this level of pregnancy--- big enough to be OBVIOUSLY pregnant, fun to feel the baby move, but not SO huge that it just HURTS to be big... That's yet to come, still. The rolling out of bed like some awkward big beached whale... The waddling... 

But for now, I'm just a nice kind of round, mostly pretty comfy, and totally charmed by my baby girl bumping around nonstop. 

And that is me. Week 33.

Thursday, February 24

Featuring a Marvelous Fellow Photographer! Niki Strbian of Finland-- How Cool!

Hey folks! I promise that baby belly pic is coming... but I was really excited to get to introduce you to a photographer friend of mine when the opportunity came up, so today's post is going to be an interview, and that belly pic will come tomorrow. Seriously, this time. :)

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So I am blessed to have been allowed to get to know quite a few incredible photographers online, through our mutual passion for our work, and our constant efforts to get better and teach each other. Because of that, a group of us have expressed interest in  interviewing each other and "bragging" on the talents of our peers. It's fun for US, and kinda cool to talk about the photographic work that is going on all over the world. I mean, my first photographer interview here is a gal from FINLAND! Super cool! 

Anyway, without further ado, if you get a minute, stick around and meet Niki. 
Her studio name, officially, is Niki Strbian Valokuvaus. ("Valokuvaus" translates to photography in Finnish. Betcha didn't know that!)

She shoots out of Finland, and because of that, her vision is particularly unique to me, and therefore super inspiring. I swear the light up there is totally different from St. Louis light. Ahh!

She shared one of her current favorite images for this little interview:
 But if you're anything like me, that little taste is NOT gonna do it for you. If you want to see the full scope of her work, sneak over to her website, http://nikistrbian.com, and her blog, http://www.nikistrbian.com/blog, and prepare to ooh and ahh. Seriously, pay attention to the light she gets!

Niki was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work and her passions. It was incredibly fun to know more about her on my end... I think we'd be grand friends in real life (I mean, did you SEE her self-portrait? SO fun!)

Ten Questions With Niki Strbian

About your chosen image, shown above…
1) Why do you love this image?

Because it was created in an instant, because it tells about my love for hats and accessories and because it shows how photography enriched my life in so many ways. Not only I get to meet so many great people, not only families share their love for each other in front of me (even in such reserved country as Finland). On top of that photography taught me that there is nothing like bad weather. I used to be a sunshine junkie, but now I know that every minute of every day, independent of the weather conditions, there is something worth capturing out there. So I better get my butt out and capture it.

2) What were your settings with this image?
ISO 800, f/2,2, 1/2500 shot with 50/1.4

About photography…
3) What do you love about photography?

Everything. Anything. Connection with my clients. The excitement of finding locations. Seeing the light everywhere. Meeting the coolest people. Being free. Rocking 7 days old newborn babies in my arms. Making people happy. Creating memories that will last generations. Having a job that makes sense even for 5 year olds.

[Amen, Niki.... Just--- AMEN. I love the way you worded that!]

4) What type of photography do you specialize in and why?
I specialize in newborn and children photography and in boudoir photography. Photographing a newborn is every time such a special experience. They are so tender and fragile and delicate, but at the same time strong. I love children, I love playing with them and children usually love me. I could not photograph landscape because I would be utterly bored. Children are everywhere, they don't stop to pose, so you don't have half hour to think about the perfect shot. It's not like photographing Angelina Jolie where you tell her to sit down and be beautiful and she does. With children you have a split of a second if you are lucky. And I love the excitement of it. Maybe that's why I enjoy boudoir as the total opposite kind of portrait photography. I enjoy making every woman feel beautiful and bringing out the lioness in her.

5) What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?
Reading and actively spending time with my family. Reading is a dangerous activity, when I take a book into my hands, I fall through her pages into the story and I only emerge at the end of it. Hungry, thirsty and sleep deprived, and realize that I have a family too. So I only can afford reading once in a while. but with my family we go to school for circus artists, we ski in winter and swim and trek in summer.

[Okay. I need to know more about this school for circus artists. That completely captures my imagination!! And I am a book devourer, too!]

6) Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by my clients' homes, hobbies and life styles. I am inspired a lot by fairy tales and movies and very much by my fellow photographers.

7) Who are some of your favorite singers/bands?
Luis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald

[Squee! Me too!! Nice!]

8) What is your favorite movie of all time?
This is a tough question. We watch every year before Xmas Love Actually, but I adore Disney movies and The Flight Across the Cuckoo Nest. And a handful of Czech movies and Slovak movies too. I don't really have a favorite movie, but I do like Al Pacino movies and Jack Nicholson's earlier movies. And Meryl Streep in just about anything.

9) What would your ideal day be like?
photoshoot with a large fun family in their castle and on their vineyard and end up with a great dinner (four or five course, black truffle pasta and full bodied wine) with all the people I love. So it would be a laaaaaarge company. Oh and a midnight walk with my husband along a secluded beach. And maybe a drawing from my kids portraying our family.

[Awesome! My answer to that question involves Italy, too. Meetcha there someday??]

10) If you weren't a photographer, what other profession would you like to pursue?
I would not want to be anything else than a photographer. This is my dream that I never knew I had.

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Such a neat photographer, that Niki.
Seriously, if you haven't popped over to her blog yet, now's the time. Check out my FAVORITE most recent shoot of hers here: Malena Has A Birthday by Niki Strbian... And if you are on Facebook, you can find her here: Niki Strbian Facebook Fan Page.

I got to answer these same questions, so when my interview gets posted on my friend's blog, I'll let y'all know where you can find it. Deal?
Anyhoo... Now I have the itch to travel to Finland. Anyone else?

Tuesday, February 22

A Little Ol' Valentine's Rewind...

Sat during Noah's nap and edited most of February's photos... I'm kinda caught up!Unheard of! 

So since it's only a week late, a few snaps of the way Noah and I started our Valentine's Day last week. 

Noah got THESE for breakfast:

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Along with pink milk (a Lambson family tradition-- one Noah was a bit wary about until I gave him the fun straw. Then he was willing to try just about anything I put in that cup!)
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And I? Well....*sniff*, this was MY low-carb Valentine's Brekky:
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(But at least it was the appropriate colors for the holiday, right?)

Week 34 belly shot coming tomorrow.... Hope you guys are having a good week so far!

Friday, February 18

Work Spaces... And Randomness.

The gals at 2Peas had a fun thread going about what your work space looks like this very minute--- no cheating, no tidying up first...

And I'm always up for revealing the TRUTH about this life o' mine, so I got up right them and snapped a few shots of my most-used work spaces... My desk, my sewing table, and my sideboard in the dining room (used for all my work things).

Ready for the TRUTH?

The Desk:
Not too bad, actually!
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The Sewing Table:
Eek. This poor table really fluctuate between looking like this, and being clean and ready for work. Currently... well.... it's not-so-pretty.
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And The Sideboard: 
This buffet is usually used solely for my Emily Southerland Photography things-- files, equipment, packaging materials, business cards, etc... But in the off-season, the craftiness in my life is spilling over. Yikes. I SWEAR I had this thing looking AMAZING the day before my Flower Party... but since then, it's drifted back to disarray... So sad!
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And a close-up of the prettiest part of the mess--- my Lucy-Quilt-in-Progress:
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I mean well... I try to get things back in their place... But gosh. I mostly fail. Especially as a tired, unmotivated preggy girl. *shrug*

Anyone up for revealing THEIR workspaces? Blog it, share it in comments here... I'd LOVE to see. They're fun!

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In other randomness... I'm surviving this gestational diabetes diet with the help of sugar free candy. It's a life-savor for those moments I HAVE to have something sweet in between meals/snacks.  I'm finding that the Russell Stover stuff-- toffee squares and peanut butter crunch pieces-- are particularly happy. And the usual side effects of too much sugar free candy aren't getting to me yet because I still try to limit my intake, and let's face it-- pregnant women can use the help. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's probably best that you remain ignorant. It's NOT a dinner conversation. :) :)

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Current TV/Netflix addiction: 
The four seasons of Prison Break

I didn't want to love this show--- the concept of a show detailing a breakout from prison seemed okay enough for one season... But the idea that a show could continue to be called "Prison Break" after the breakout seemed silly... and I decided long ago to just avoid the show altogether. 

But MAN.... now that I'm in the 4th season, I am so glad I gave it a chance finally. Ludicrous or not, implausibilities that always arise from these types of shows, it's just been FUN to get lost in the thriller/crime/escape/gorgeous genius main character plotlines... Makes me feel like I'm getting lost in Alias or 24 again. So I am unabashedly a HUGE fan now. I'm in it to the end now. (17 more episodes, and I can get my life back!)
 
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The weather has been AMAZING this week, and we get to end the week with a road trip to Rocheport, MO for a little belated Valentine's Day getaway. My brother and sister-in-law treated us to a bed and breakfast gift certificate for Christmas, as well as a GC for a local restaurant there, so we're letting Grandma and Grandpa have some Noah time, and we're going to lose ourselves in the charming little riverfront town. Shops, trails, and some time away from LIFE should be just what we need... and add to it this beautiful weather and we have a PERFECT WEEKEND planned. Hooray!

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With that randomness, I'm outta here.... Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 15

32 Weeks: Trying to Keep Ahold of The Present

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The heart and snowflake set is still up in my sunroom, so a belly shot using it seemed appropriate. This was my Valentine's Day outfit yesterday... I LOVE that the weather is nice enough this week for short sleeves. 

At 32 weeks, I am working on savoring the little things I have come to take for granted with my one child being 3 instead of a newborn. Those things I am 8 weeks from losing again for a time... Things like:

* Sleeping in my comfy warm bed from 12:00 am-7:30 am every night... No interruptions... no anxiety about my child waking and being hard to get back to sleep. 

* A lovely, predictable afternoon nap schedule: the boy goes down by 2:00, and usually doesn't rouse til 5. In that time, I can nap myself (oh sweet luxury!) or get so many things done. And I don't need a baby monitor, really. Noah calls for me when he wakes. 

* A kiddo that feeds himself at mealtimes. So I can eat at the SAME TIME as him, and not later when the food is cold. 

* One poopy diaper a day, if that. Which means we use maybe 4 diapers a day, tops. 

* A child that can mostly TELL me what's wrong, and how to fix it. 

* The flexibility to run errands with Noah--- he gets in and out of his own carseat, never cries in the backseat of the car while we're driving, walks by himself without having to be carried, and has patience to endure most boring errands without needing bribes or feeding breaks.

* Noah's attention span is so much longer-- this is amazing at church and at times I have my own to-do list to tackle.

* Being untethered to a breastfeeding schedule-- so I can go play at a girls' night sometimes, or do photo sessions back-to-back... Travel away from the kids for longer than a few hours.

* Did I mention the luxury of sleep??


I am trying so hard to remember that these treasures are finite--- that I only have a few more weeks to revel in them, to take advantage of them. Every time I start to feel guilty about a nap, or about handing my iTouch to Noah as he lounges in the bed next to me in the morning, so I can doze for 25 more minutes, I try to remember to let that guilt slip away--- to let the finite joy of that luxury be okay for just a little while longer.

Because change is on the horizon, and I will be losing life as I know it when this baby girl comes. And it will be a "new normal" that will be MARVELOUS in a million ways... But different. And absolutely a loss of freedom for a time. 

So for now... At 32 weeks... I have approximately eight weeks to indulge in extra ZZZ's... In the flexibility of toting a 3-year-old around the city... And in the liberty of being a mama of ONE, instead of two. 
I'm working on loving these last weeks, even in spite of the gestational diabetes, the ongoing breast infections, and the lingering winter... And for the most part, I'm succeeding. 

Here's to a great rest of this week!


Sunday, February 13

My Valentine Boy

Last year, I had a reluctant Cupid...So cute, and SO two-years-old... This year, I got a few more minutes out of him, even though it was still a major workout for my preggy self. 

It amazes me how much more I can love this kiddo week after week... Amazes me. Incredible to think that having a second one only makes MORE love possible. 

That's the best kind of Valentine--- my family. My beloved, sweet family. My Joe, my Noah, my baby girl... My true loves. 

From us to you, Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy about a gazillion of my favorite shots from Noah's Valentine's photo session.... They make me smile!

{Joe was my Snowflake Maker, just another one of his incredible skills.}
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Thursday, February 10

How To Make A T-Shirt Fabric Flower: Tutorial Time!

For my birthday two summers ago, I got a lovely little gift card to Anthropologie, and treated myself to two hair clips that looked like these:

 
They were a bit pricey, as Anthro stuff tends to be-- $15 apiece, and after months of wearing them and pondering them and KNOWING I could make them myself somehow, I finally took some time to actually dissect the flower (not LITERALLY, but close! I poked and prodded that thing until I was SURE it'd fall apart!), and I came up with a reasonably similar version.

This tutorial is going to share that process with you, so you can make a flower that looks like THIS:
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Pretty close, right? Cute!

T-Shirt Fabric Flower Supply List
1/4 + yard of t-shirt fabric, also called cotton knit interlocking
paper to make a template
scissors
straight pins
felt in a matching or complimentary color
glue (I use either Tacky Glue or hot glue)
hair accessory to complete the flower (headband, clip, pin)

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So to begin, you will need a little bit of t-shirt fabric. You can use an old t-shirt you actually have, or you can go to the fabric store and get some cotton knit interlocking (the official name of this fabric). Ask your friendly fabric store employee for help if you're a fabric store rookie. You can get by with 1/4 yard if you only want to try this out with one or two flowers. Or you can get more if you are feeling ambitious and want to make several. 

You'll also need some felt and some kind of hair clip, pin, headband, etc. 

Step One: 
Make a flower template. This doesn't have to be super precise, but is should have 5-6 petals. You can see I just used scrap paper. My flower is approx. 3"-3.5" across.

(P.S. Ew, gross-- forgive my dingy college-era mini-ironing board that is the backdrop for these photos. It is old and not-so-pretty. I apologize!)
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Step Two:
Cut a stack of these flowers. Some of you might want to trace the template... But I am lazy and HATE pen lines, so I just stacked my fabric two layers deep and cut around the template while it was pinned. You need nine total flowers, though this stack shows 11 (can't have too many extras, right??).

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Step Three:
Cut a felt circle in a coordinating or complimentary color, about 2.5" or 3" across.

Take your first flower and fold it in half.
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And then in half again.
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Do this with your first four petals, and arrange them so their corners all meet in the center of the felt circle.
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Step Four:
You can do the assembling in one of three ways. I've done all three, and truly have no preference. You can use:
1. Tacky Glue
2. Hot glue gun
3. Thread

In this tutorial, you'll see both glue techniques.

Glue the petals onto the felt. Then glue the folded flap to itself. (This pic shows Tacky Glue).
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Step Five:
Now fold four more petals the same way, and glue them in a second layer, but semi-perpendicular to the first layer. Okay, too hard to explain, let me show you. (This pic shows glue gun glue). Add all four petals onto the layer this way, and once again glue the top flap of the folded petal to itself.
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Step Six:
Fluff up your two-layered flower to begin seeing what the final product will look like.

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See the sides? Lots of fun texture from the multiple folds and layers!
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Step Seven:
Now for the center. Take a petal and fold it in half. This time, instead of folding it again, you are going to roll it into a sort of cone, with the fold being the narrow part of the cone and the petals being the wide part:
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You're making a rosebud type of effect, shown here:
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Step Eight:
I actually trimmed about 1/2" off of the bottom of this rosebud cone, but you don't have to. You then GOB it with glue (perhaps hot glue is best here, or thread. Tacky Glue might not hold this last petal well enough for you to wait for it to dry)... And place the rosebud, bottom tip down, into the center of your flower.
(I'm mushing it down in there pretty hard, if you can't tell.)
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Step Nine:
We need to fluff up this flower in a more permanent way now, otherwise you'll have two flat layers and a sticking-up rosebud. So we are going to attach parts of the top layer of petals to the rosebud, to bring up the petals to the same level as the rosebud. Like this:

Glue dots in place:
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Petals now attached to rosebud:
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Step Ten:
If you want, you can do this gluing petals to each other thing in other places to bring more body to the flower, or you can call it good just the way it is.

If you are ready to finish, you just need to attach your preferred hair accessory to the felt circle on the back.

Headband: If you want this to go on a headband, cut another felt circle and use a glue gun to glue the flower on top of the headband. Ring the second felt circle with glue and attach it to the first felt circle, with the headband sandwiched between. Don't be skimpy with the glue!

Hair Clip: Sew or glue your clip onto the flower back, centered on your felt circle.

Pin: Sew the pin onto the back, centered on your felt circle.

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And VOILA! You have your own Anthropologie-style T-Shirt Fabric Flower! The fabric won't fray, and the color will stay fresh, and you'll be hip and ready to go!

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Ta da!

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To enjoy my other flower tutorial,  the handmade singed fabric flowers, click HERE. Remember, if you get crafty and make some of these, blog it and let me know via comment or email. Also, you can email me a photo of your flowers and I'll blog about you in a future post and link to your blog if you like! Fun, right?

Flower Party!

This winter is killing us, right?? With gray blahness outside and the same scenery inside day ofter day, it seemed time for SOMETHING to shake up this ICK. so I decided to throw a Flower Party. Nothing big, definitely nothing elaborate--- funds are always a bit low in January/February, so I couldn't deck the halls or cater to the nines... But I figured a few piles of fun fabric, some cute flower ideas to share with the gang, and a potluck dessert bar would be enough to keep a gang of girls entertained for one evening. 

Since becoming a Flower Addict, that ever-present bloom in my hair, I've scoured the Internet for tutorials and ideas for making flowers, both because it saves a bit of money, and also because it is so darn satisfying to make something frou-frou and pretty out of relatively little supplies. I LOVE this hobby! 

So I got the girls together and let the fun begin--- starting with some small talk and treats, then moving on to the teaching and demonstration of three or four different fabric flowers... And spending the rest of our evening cutting, sewing, gluing, re-teaching, sharing, laughing, and ultimately walking away with two or three new fabric flowers in everyone's possession. 

As always, I have photos... These aren't AMAZING--- all taken with my flash, since the party was in the evening... But the fun is in the details. Check out the piles of scraps, the yummy food all the girls brought (how sad/funny that the day after I found out I had gestational diabetes was the day we had this dessert bar. ACK!)
And check out the flowers coming out of these girls' hard work! SO cool!

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Such a great way to break up this winter! I really loved how the whole thing came together, and REALLY need to have crafty parties more often. Seriously. 

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And if any readers out there are wishing they could have made a fabric flower or two with me, I am DELIGHTED to tell you that only EIGHT months after taking the photos, I finally got my butt in gear and prepared a fabric flower tutorial for you guys to try on your own. Seriously. It only took FOREVER to get motivated and get it done. Look for that tutorial later today, and think of it as your own personal invite to an online flower party. Feel free to check out my other flower tutorial from last year, here, and if you end up making any lovelies from my tutorials, blog it and leave me a comment! I'd love to see what you're making! You can even email me a photo or two of your finished products and I'll blog them  and post a link back to you. Fun, right?

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Okay, off to go WRITE that tutorial. Look for it later today! And GET THEE SOME FABRIC and get creative. We HAVE to survive this February somehow!!