Dobbs Ferry Cowl

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
What does one do when it's 115+ degrees out? Hunker down inside and knit cowls that you can't wear for several months because it's so blasting hot. At least that's what I do. Since I'm not busy stitching up little tees anymore, I decided to break out the knitting needles and work on some fun little projects. Starting with this {free} pattern by Lion Brand :

Admittedly, I'm a little late on the cowl train. Because I'm obsessed with all things "sweatery" (you should see my closet - doesn't work well for a desert dweller) and because I have a winter trip to London scheduled with my BFF, I decided to give this a try.

My mom taught me to knit when I was a little girl but because I've always got my hands in a thousand other projects, I've never advanced past that beginner stage. Now that I've taken a break from my little business, I decided to bust out the needles again. This cowl took me just a few hours to make and it was so easy. If I can do it, anyone can.

Because the pattern calls for three strands of chunky yarn knit together, it is rather heavy and bulky. I like it though. It creates some nice warmth and of course some added flair to a basic outfit.

I'm a little proud of how it turned out (please excuse the dorky pictures). Since I have a ton of this yarn left, I'm currently working on this cowl (longer and lighter). I'll let you know how it turns out.

PS - baby chicks arrive next week!! Stay tuned...

Back to School

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Both boys are back in school now. Finley started pre-K last week and Oliver started preschool today. It's really bittersweet for me. They are growing up so fast - it breaks my heart.

I'm not going to lie though, it's very nice to have a little time to myself and the boys *really* need the break from each other. When Finley started school last week, they immediately started to get along better and my sanity was somewhat restored. We'll see how long that lasts ;)

Have your kids started back to school yet?

(Oliver's super cool little airplane shirt is from Lil Blue Boo)

Super Simple Play Dough

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Although play dough recipes have been around forever, I recently discovered how easy it is to make and am constantly whipping up new batches in cool colors for the boys. Just in case you live under a rock like I do and don't know how easy it is, I thought I'd share the recipe.

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
food coloring

Put the first four ingredients in a sauce pan (it's good to have a cute little helper for this part). Add the water and mix well. Add your food coloring and mix. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Stir for 3-5 minutes until the play dough forms a clump. I know it's done when there are no wet/shiny spots left on the dough. Set it on the counter to cool. Once it's cooled enough to handle it, knead it for a minute or so until it's nice and smooth. (I usually make up two pans of at a time so we can have two different colors). You can store the play dough in ziploc bags or tupperware.

Voila! At least a good hour of entertainment for your kiddos! (You're welcome).

Clearly, Oliver *really* gets into the play dough.

Wildflowers Photography Workshop for Parents

Monday, August 8, 2011
This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking a beginning photography workshop for parents by Joy of Wildflowers Photography. I somehow stumbled upon Joy's website a few months back and literally spent hours pouring over her blog posts. Her photos are absolutely unbelievable - they are so rich and full of stories and emotions.

Joy happens to live in the town that I grew up in so I left the boys at home with my husband and made the drive out to California.

{These are some of the photos I took at the workshop}

If you want to know how to get into manual mode on your camera and you happen to live in Southern California, you should jump at the chance to attend if she offers this workshop again. I've been shooting in manual mode since I got the camera but I learned so many things that I need to work on.

For part of the workshop, we went into Joy's backyard where she has a zillion little areas that I'm sure are a photographer's dream. There were about 20 of us crammed in and shooting in this little corner of her backyard but the set up was so fun. Joy and her husband were on hand the entire time to help us with exposure issues and answer questions.

As if the day weren't perfect enough, they had baby chicks on hand for us to photograph! Perfect practice for our new little girls coming in a few weeks. The darling little models were so fun to watch with the chicks and they handled them remarkably well.

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do but this workshop gave me fabulous tools to help me get started as well as loads of inspiration and an important reminder as to why I want to document the special, fleeting moments in Finley and Oliver's lives.

If you have a chance, be sure to check out Wildflowers Photography. Give yourself plenty of time... you'll thank me, I promise.

Hanging up my Needle and Thread

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I am hanging up my needle and thread and putting out the "closed" sign on my Finley and Oliver shop. It's been an amazing few years but it's time for me to move on. As my boys are getting older and business is growing, I'm finding that the struggle for balance is becoming too overwhelming.

This was a tough decision but I'm looking forward to creating for creativity's sake and spending more time around the house and garden (stay tuned for details on an upcoming bee hive and hopefully a pair of goats!). I will be more active here on the blog and am looking forward to sharing some fun tutorials and even some of my original designs (Mr. Cupcake, anyone?).

Print by Sarah Abbott

A HUGE and heartfelt thank you to all of my wonderful customers. Your support, encouragement, and loyalty has been extraordinary and I am honored to have your kiddos sporting my little tees.

 In the meantime, everything in the shop is marked way down and ready to ship. Once it's gone it's gone. (I also have a pretty big inventory of American Apparel blanks that I'm willing to sell below wholesale pricing. If anyone is interested in them, email me at and I can send you a list of my inventory).

Coop Envy

Monday, August 1, 2011
I have a major case of coop envy. Don't get me wrong. Our current coop is great. It's got plenty of space and is more than adequate to keep the girls happy. However, I've been doing a bit of chicken coop window shopping online and am absolutely blown away at some of the designs out there. If money were no object and I could have the coop of my dreams (I mean my chickens' dreams), I'd probably choose one of these...

I am completely in love with this roof top garden chicken coop by Kippen House. Not only is the design modern and fresh, the coop is completely functional and has several features that I wish we had incorporated into the coop we built.

Next up we have the Nogg chicken coop. Don't be fooled - it looks tiny but can house 2-4 chickens quite comfortably. I love the beautiful (and slightly humorous), clean design of this.

The Breed Retreat by Frederik Roije absolutely blows me away. Seriously? If my chickens lived in a coop like this, they'd have to make room for me because I'd be moving in.

And how cool is this coop designed by Mitchell Snyder and Shelley Martin? I adore everything about it. The modern design, cool colors, and roof top garden.

A chicken can dream, right?