Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year!

Wishing everyone a super-sparkly New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Front Page!

My social climber dress was featured on the front page of etsy... and I missed it! Can you believe it?! However, thanks to the awesome flickr group Etsy Front Pagers I was able to see a screen shot of the lovely yellowy treasury... thank you Etsy Front Pagers!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

more dresses...

, originally uploaded by varenia.

In the process of putting together some color combos and designs with Piper's upcoming birthday in mind, I've come up with this dress... I love the new Amy Butler fabric with the Anna Maria Horner, makes it somehow more cheery and more spring-y. I don't know if this is exactly what I want for Piper's birthday, but it's close, especially the colors. Piper LOVES purple and orange. Especially together. Some may say she has her Mama's love of color.

I'll also post a photo of her Christmas dress soon, it turned out so cute... as for Apple, I made her a dress but she always has another plan. She opted for a t-shirt from Santa (pink of course) and a summer skirt. That's my Apple.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

silent night

silent night, originally uploaded by varenia.

We are continuing the festivities at full throttle today, gearing up for a cozy Christmas eve... plenty of cookie baking, story reading, and last minute preparations to finish. May all of your Christmases be magical and merry!

Monday, December 22, 2008

smiles & snuggles

first smiles...

Jack's been smiling on and off for a couple weeks, but they've been of the sporadic "catch-me-if-you-can" variety until today. Upon wakening and being charmed by both my sweet little love and the early morning light I grabbed my camera and was able to capture a few of these precious firsts.


Hey, Jack, would you like some ham with that cheese?!... Oh, that face. I thought for sure I'd be a mess at this age, as it means unofficially, of course, that the newborn stage is over. But when I see those smiles... I had also forgotten how amazing it is once babies are able to stay quietly alert during feedings. Although I loved those first nursings, they all ended up with Jack induced into the "newborn coma" and now he wants to nurse just to say hi to me, to stare at me, to have me hold him while we both say so much, and nothing at all, all at the same time.


Life is good.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

quilted baby blanket

quilted baby blanket, originally uploaded by varenia.

A gift for one of my sweet customers who has a new baby boy about the same age as Jack... It's really more of a patchwork blanket, than a "quilt", as there is no batting between the layers, but it is pretty thick as it's backed in super-soft vanilla fleece. I love how this turned out, and hope the new baby loves it, too.
all wrapped up
quilted blanket

Friday, December 12, 2008

what it's like

At least once a day I'm asked two questions: "How do you do it?!" and "What is life like with four kids so close in age?!"

The answer to the first question is simple: I don't. I would like to volunteer more at Rye's school, and in his classroom, but I know that that's really not possible for us right now, so I just try to juggle what I say "yes" to... I don't feel compelled to cook every meal myself-- Richard actually does more of the cooking in the evenings than I do, and on the weekends. I really just try to enjoy this fleeting, magical time of early childhood, even in the midst of meltdowns and diaper blowouts, because I figure the cooking and cleaning will always be there.

And the answer to what it's like? Of course it's ever-changing, but there are some constants that we can count on:

There's always someone there to comfort you when you're crying...

And on the flip side, if you're not crying, there's probably someone who can oblige with that, too...

... and we try to remember that even when we're not putting our best faces forward...

there's always beauty to be found in the messes that we've made.

Yes, some days are easier than others. But when all is said and done, and all four babes are tucked in at night, and the house is finally quiet, all I really know is that we've been truly blessed by these four kiddos, beyond any expectation that I ever could have had.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

spin, spin.... spin the blue circle

piper love.

pilgrims wear vespas

pilgrims wear vespas, originally uploaded by varenia.

yes, another of rye in his pilgrim hat... i couldn't resist. note i finally finished his scooter pants ;).


evergreen, originally uploaded by varenia.

skirts and such for the shop...

here, kitty kitty

here, kitty kitty, originally uploaded by varenia.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Getting so big! 2 months old now...

I love how he still clenches his little fists, but he is starting to reach out and swipe at things~ mostly my hair. Ouch.

Monday, December 1, 2008

ruffler blouse in mod dots

, originally uploaded by varenia.

New blouse for the shop... I can't decide how I like the sleeves best... this blouse has elasticized sleeves, and the mermaid ruffler has elbow length flare sleeves... Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I'm thankful for still having candy from Halloween... and going to the zoo and having a new baby brother! And I waiting for Thanksgiving and it's here now! I have another thing I'm thankful for... cause Grandma and Grandpa gives me ZooNooz every time!" ~ Rye, 5

"I'm thanksful for I love the cat, I'm thanksful for I love Jack! I'm thanksful for we got a new tv! I'm thanksful for we move into a new house." ~ Apple, 3

" 'Da ball." ~Piper, 1

" {insert soft cries here} " ~ Jack, 8 weeks

What are you thankful for this season?

*** special thanks to the Stepniak family for the sweet photos ***

Sunday, November 23, 2008

ruffler blouse in blushing mermaids

, originally uploaded by varenia.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

chocolate mint...

What a beautiful collection of browns and greens... how fun!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

bubble mini in rosegarden

bubble mini in rosegarden, originally uploaded by varenia.

My Piper.

This 21-month-old amazes and exhausts me. Usually at the same time. She is into everything... really. Everything. I've raised two toddlers before her and have worked with countless children this age, and I can honestly say I've rarely seen anything like it. So inquisitive, so insistent...

Usually Apple does at least 90% of my shop's modeling, because she's three, can follow directions, and loves getting dressed up. Oh, and she loves being "paid" to model (in the currency of lollipops, that is!) Apple has modeled so much, she has the routine down: wipe her hands clean, don't mess the clothing, set up the back drop, etc. What I didn't realize is how often Piper has watched us do this, and that Piper, too, had the whole routine down.

She was so excited when I asked her to try on this new bubble dress, she immediately started banging on the cabinet where I keep my camera, and then on the back door to be let out to model. It was so cute watching her trying to set the backdrop up, and dragging the quilt we use against it... and she was actually pretty agreeable during the photoshoot, and only ran away grinning a couple of times :)...

I guess my lesson learned today was that everyone should have the right to re-invent themselves each day. Even though I try really hard to refrain from "labeling" the children with attributes and characteristics, I find myself habitually bracing for battles and confrontations with my third little one. I guess because there have been so many. Yet today she showed herself to be so kind, cooperative, and just genuinely wanting to be a "part of"...

As she grows up sooo quickly it was an affirming reminder today that I need to be growing, too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

when pigs fly

flying pig, originally uploaded by varenia.

continued piggie obsession...

she needed a wing so she could fly.


focus, originally uploaded by varenia.

the makings of a blue cheetah...

Friday, November 7, 2008

HIp to be square

My creation, originally uploaded by varenia.

Square neck dress in wallflower... I love this neckline. I'll definitely be making more of these.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Four weeks old...

4 weeks old, originally uploaded by varenia.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


brothers, originally uploaded by varenia.


Ring-a-ring of rosies...

Pockets full of posies...

Ashes, ashes...

We all fall down!

Twirling in "spinning dresses" and ring-a-ring of rosies is occupying much of our days lately... So funny how the dynamic in the house has changed now that Rye is in school and the little girls rule the roost! Love them in their "sister pinnies" as Apple calls them... {Piper's hand-me-down pinnie is my own creation, and Apple's is from this lovely shop...}

Monday, October 27, 2008

the bubble mini

bubble mini in inkblot, originally uploaded by varenia.

I've been wanting to make some bubble dresses for a while now... and this poly-rayon jersey seemed perfect. So soft and has a wonderful drape to it. How cute would this be with boots and tights?! Piper loved modeling this, she just kept petting the fabric and saying "sofffff..." which is the 20-month-old version of "soft."
She gives it two-thumbs-up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

fall shift dress in blooming sky

fall shift dress in blooming sky, originally uploaded by varenia.

My new absolute favorite fabric... at least for this week.

autumn activities

autumn activities, originally uploaded by varenia.

Cozy indoors art...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


On the way to school...

He grunts with each step I take, faintly resembling the quacking of a duck...

No matter how many times I wrap him in the sling or cover him, he insists on one hand peeking out at all times...

Putting him in the sling each morning I can really gauge how much larger he's grown since the day before...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

shift dress in berry forest

shift dress in berry forest, originally uploaded by varenia.

More winter good-ness... heavy weight cotton dobby and a "lollipop" print?! Good times. Only two of these available in the shop...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

little party dress

party dress, originally uploaded by varenia.

I'm listing some one-of-a-kind creations while on maternity leave from my shop... and this is one of my favorites! It's a little big on Apple, but I love the contrast of the reds and greens, and of course that little keyhole closure in the back. Apple keeps insisting that the bows should go in the front, and who knows? Maybe I'll try that next time...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

you are my son-shine

What an amazing eight days!

Jack Sawyer surprised us all with a much-earlier-than-anticipated arrival on October 1. And it has been a roller-coaster of a week...

We were so blessed that our little guy was basically hearty and healthy, although plagued by some of the ailments that a lot of preemies face, primarily a minor heart condition and severe jaundice. It seems the heart condition is self-correcting, one more thing to be grateful for. And the jaundice... is slowly getting better. Ridding this poor little guy of excessive bilirubin until his liver is able to take over on it's own has been my only mission for the last four or five days. It's been so hard to have to leave him on his phototherapy and not carting him around as I'm so accustomed to doing, or snuggling him in the sling he loves so much.

This is part of our daily routine, a home visit from the nurse, and weighing, along with checking his bilirubin levels. After being threatened with admittance back to the hospital if his levels didn't come down drastically, I opted to bottle feed him in lieu of nursing for 24 hours, and it made a huge difference. Jack is now almost rid of his jaundice, and was actually able to go outside today for natural light therapy instead of phototherapy for a little while.

As for the rest of us, we're adjusting to life as a family of six, and eating up this little baby every chance we get. I have to negotiate with the children just to get a turn to hold my own kid! So much love for baby Jack...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

autumn spice

Now available in the shop! The "opposite" version will be listed soon, as well, with birds for sleeves and the leaves for the bodice. I love this one for Fall. What a great pumpkin patch dress!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

newest creations and third trimester rambles...

As my tummy grows bigger... and bigger... I'm finding it harder and harder to get anything done. Especially things that require foresight, like charging the batteries to my camera so I actually have photos to post. And a million other things. I really am trying to keep up with my blogging, but somehow it seems to slip away most of the time! I have a feeling after the little one comes home and Rye is more settled in kindergarten I'll be back to posting more often... Until then...

I've been doing some sewing. "Some" is quite the understatement, actually, as the rest of my house will attest too. But no complaints here! The shop has picked up quite a bit after a little summer slump, keeping me quite busy cutting and serging away, and I've been trying to complete some new fall dresses as well, which are almost done. The first of the batch is the fall shift in mint chocolate:

Richard and the children have been keeping busy as well, devoting every weekend to landscaping our new backyard. We took this pic right around the time we moved in:

And a little snippet of that corner of the yard now:

That's a Buddha's Belly variety of bamboo, and one of my absolute favorite new things in the yard. So pretty, it makes me smile every day. The other things making me smile are Sha & Ba (new pet turtles for the koi pond... we did have one casualty already, however, Turtle Parrot didn't make it...) and Tantu & Zen (aka "Animal") the koi. We're building quite the little ecosystem back there, and I must say all of the neighborhood animals are loving the water feature. I plan on posting some koi pond pics once the new pets get settled, they're still pretty skittish and getting used to their new home and the pond itself isn't quite finished. Almost.

I'll leave you now with a shot of Apple helping out... (who says 3-year-olds and large, sharp tools don't mix?!)...