Matilda’s First Communion


Saturday was her big day!  After preparing all year (all her life really), Matilda received Jesus for the first time.  She kept saying, “I can’t believe I can take the Eucharist now!”  Then she asked if we can go to daily Mass this week.


And of course we celebrated after with a party and lots of food!

“This is the wonderful truth, my dear friends: the Word, which became flesh two thousand years ago, is present today in the Eucharist.” -St. Pope John Paul II


And I tried oh so hard to finish her Icon before her Saturday, but I’m kinda a busy lady and didn’t get it done.  One day soon though!

*For those asking about her dress, I didn’t get a lot of pictures because of the hustle and bustle of the day and the rain.  I’ll take more later.  I made the dress using an Oliver + S Pattern, the Fairy Tale Dress with tulip capped sleeves.  I would have liked to use a different pattern like Garden Party from Oliver + S or Olivine from Clever Charlotte, but I let Matilda pick everything.  She did a great job I think!  The silk sash really made the dress!


Clothes for Henry

*Warning: This is a sewing post.  If you don’t sew or don’t care about sewing, back slowly away from this blog post.*

A couple of years ago, I gave away all, and I mean all, our newborn through 12 month old baby boy clothes.  I thought after 6 kids, we were done.  Well God had other plans!  And of course, kid #7 is a boy.  I’m not so sure he’d like all of his baby pictures to be him in hand-me-down girl clothes.

I began shopping around online for cute, organic knit baby clothes.  I found plenty.  But none of them got along with our clothing budget. 🙂 I then started shopping for organic knit fabric.  Oh my goodness there are sooooo many cute prints out there, and all very affordable!


I found quite a few prints at Fabricworm.  The Birch Organic knits are so soft…perfect for baby pants!  The pattern I used is from Brindille & Twig.  This was my first foray into sewing with knit.  I don’t have a serger (but will one day darnit!) but was surprised to find that the stretch stitch on my Pfaff machine worked wonderfully.  I’m kicking myself for not sewing with knit earlier!


It took me a few tries to get good at sewing the pants.  I made another set at a bigger size (not pictured) that came out much better than my first set.  I love how the pants turned out!  They took me about 15 minutes to sew and look like they will fit over cloth diapers just fine.  I even made a couple of pairs for Stella (and fit her big ol’ cloth diapers)!  I’m sure they’ll end up on instagram at some point soon.  The pants pair well with solid color onesies or t-shirts.  Or maybe I can be adventurous and sew up some onesies!


I also made a few one piece outfits for the little man.  Jason hates one pieces with snaps, especially in the middle of the night while he’s changing diapers.  I happened to have an old Ottobre magazine (I really need to renew my subscription to this wonderful magazine!!).  This particular pattern was from the spring 2011 issue.  I made one change and sewed in a strip of fabric behind the zipper so that none of the zipper rubs against the baby’s skin.


The fabric I used to bind the neck, arm, and leg holes stretched a bit more than I would have liked.  Again, this is all because I’m very, very new at sewing with knits!  Henry will just have to deal with bell bottoms for a bit.

And I still have plenty of knit fabric left to make more pants for the growing baby!  Now I just have to break out my knitting needles and make a few cardigans for the fall/winter and he’ll be all set.


Humble Dwelling Rosaries

I like to make things…a lot.  Over the years I’ve taught myself how to knit (it’s the gateway craft), sew, quilt, and paint.  I’ve recently added a new skill to that list.  Rosary making!


Let me give a little backstory about how I started doing the very fulfilling craft.


It’s a tradition for us to get a special rosary for each kid as they make their First Communion.  We’ve done this with two children so far.  With Liam and Jack I searched far and wide and found these beautiful clay rosaries that they love.  I’ve written about them before.  Sadly, since these rosaries are no longer being made, I was at a loss.  Matilda’s First Communion is this year, and I couldn’t find a rosary that I thought would be perfect for her.


Matilda suggested that I make her one.  So we scoured bead websites, watched multiple videos, and I went for it.  I failed…a lot.  My first few rosaries were, well, ugly to say the least.  But I kept trying and kept getting better.  I learned where the good rosary parts are sold and what my style is.  I found that I really enjoyed the process.  And by enjoy, I mean I can’t stop.  Rosary making is such a relaxing process for me.  Selecting beads, finding really well made crucifixes, unrolling spools and spools of wire, I love it all!


I ended up with a large number of rosaries, so Humble Dwelling Handcrafted Rosaries was born!  All because of a suggestion by my 8 year old daughter.

I try to use the best rosary parts I can find.  Most of my beads are fair trade and eco friendly, meaning they are obtained using a process that respects people and the earth.  A fair price is paid to all of the craftspeople, vendors, and co-ops that these beads are purchased from.


There is an “heirloom” section in my shop as well.  These rosaries are made with crucifixes and centerpieces that are pure bronze.  Each bronze piece is hand cast using antique molds.  The chain is pure copper that has a patina to match the bronze parts.  These rosaries are made to be kept within families for generations.

So please stop by Humble Dwelling and have a look around!  I add new items every one or two weeks, so check back often!

Toy Story

I’ve noticed that while my kids love all types of toys, the more simple toys tend to have staying power. Simple building blocks, stacking cups, and wooden colorful toys get played with almost every day here.

Knowing that, a couple of years ago, I made these toys for my now three year old. I bought the wood pieces from Casey’s Wood Products and painted them with soy based paint. Finally I finished them with bees wax.

I think the whole project cost around $15, which is pretty good for very loved toys!

Shop closing sale!

I’m closing my Etsy shop, Sunshine & Mud.  Turns out homeschooling 5 kids and taking care of various pets added with general housework doesn’t leave me much time for an Etsy shop…especially if I want a least a little bit of downtime!

So if you’d like some awesome fabric for 40% off, use the coupon code CLOSE13 at checkout for your discount!


The best blog ever!

Jack, the almost 7 year old, just started his own blog.  Well, he asked me to make a website to share all the books he writes.  And oh are they sweet!!  I’ve put two books on his site so far, and I’ll try to update every Monday.  That kid has story telling talent!

So visit Swell Kids’ Books and tell Jack what you think about his work!

Let them eat more cake!

I haven’t updated cakes in a while and we have a lot of birthdays around here!  Oddly enough, the search term I get the most on this blog is “Diesel 10 cake.”  Who knew Diesel 10 is still popular?!  Well, there aren’t any trains in these cakes, but here you go…

IMG_5792First is Matilda’s 5th birthday cake.  Mo Willems is huge in this house.  We just can’t get enough of the Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny and the rest of the gang.  So I thought it would be fun to make and Elephant and Piggie cake with the Pigeon making an appearance of course!  I simply made a sheet cake then “drew” the picture on the white icing with a butter knife.  I then colored it in using various icing tips.

IMG_5999Next up is Grover.  Grover is Matthew’s absolute favorite!  The look on Matthew’s face was priceless when he saw this Grover cake.  This has to be one of the easiest cakes I’ve made so far with the exception of Hello Kitty cake.  The kids don’t even ask for gifts for their birthdays anymore…they just ask for cakes!  Win!

IMG_6045This isn’t a cake, but since we’re doing birthdays around here, our Athena just turned 1.  She weighs in at over 100lbs, but as you can see, she still thinks she’s a tiny puppy.  This was her pounce ready stance as she was trying to attack the water coming from the hose.

Be Mine

Yes, yes, I know I’m doing the same Valentine cards that we did last year, but they’re fun!  And I love seeing how much the kids grew in just one year.  Here are a few outtakes from this year…

IMG_5619She kept talking as usual, so it was hard to get a picture.

IMG_5627He was angry because he wanted to be in Matilda’s picture.

IMG_5633He kept making silly faces and both of his front teeth are about to come out.  The resulting picture made him look kinda scary!

IMG_5649I think  it’s impossible for Jack  to look at the camera and smile at the same time!

IMG_5675Final result!

IMG_5630Matthew’s sans sucker.

IMG_5670And finally, here’s our Valentine card to Daddy.  Heart footprints.  I wrote the name and age of each kid on the heart.

IMG_5673Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vintage meets geek


I love pairing old, vintage style crafting with something unconventional.  I had the perfect opportunity to do this when a friend of mine from high school met an awesome lady and they decided to get married.  I wanted to make them something they can use in the new home they are making together, but I also wanted it to shout “Jeremy and Stephanie!!”


Since Jeremy and Stephanie are huge Star Trek fans, I decided to make them some trekkie tea towels.  Since I’ve seen every single episode of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, I knew exactly what I wanted the towels to say.  Above, I just had to use Jean Luc’s love of Early Grey.  I mean how could I not?!  It’s a tea towel!

IMG_5614For the other tea towel, I opted for a little Klingon drink (although I most often think of Jadzia Dax when I hear raktajino).

Wishing Jeremy and Stephanie many happy years! Qapla!

***Sorry for the abundance of wrinkles.  I’m not much for ironing. 🙂 ***Now let’s see how long until I actually mail the gift.  Hey, it’s all boxed up!  I’m just waiting for the new address!  And I won’t mention how long ago they actually got married.  Better late than never!!!