July 31, 2009

braving the backyard! guest blogger :: shanna scott

If you have been following us any, you know that Shanna is a very good friend of ours, that just so happens to be handy with the camera too. She came over to take pictures of frames (for our etsy shop). While Arre helped her organize and pick frames to photograph, I wrangled 4 little girls inside. Annabelle (who is always very sweet and well behaved) and my 3. Afterwards we ordered sushi and had the guys pick it up. A couple of days later shanna sent this e-mail...she said I could post it :)
Since Kristen was (very) busy keeping 4 girls b/t the ages of 4 months and 4 years, and Arre was feverishly (literally b/c of the heat/humidity and impending thunderheads that were building) organizing the frames to be photographed, my camera lens caught a bit more detail than you two were aware of...

In case you weren't aware, my photography skills have developed to the point ; ) where I apparently now need an entourage of assistants (aka aggravations). Accompanying me on this shoot were one curious cat and 2 creepy crawlers.

The first creepy crawler was a really large prehistoric looking bug. I have no idea what type of bug it was, but I'm not a fan of it. I saw some other dead ones around the yard, but decided to spare y'all photos of that.

The cat. Curiousity (almost made me) kill(ed) the cat. Just kidding. I wouldn't do that but this cat, not unlike most others, was a pain in the rear. Sorry if y'all like cats. I lived w/ a really really devious little cat in college. It would purposefully (yes, purposefully - i know it!) pass gas while it was right next to me (in my face to be exact!), knock things over in my room and go back and do it again right after I picked them up, and hide under my bed and pounce/scratch my feet as I walked by. Since then, I'm really just not a fan of felines. Anyway, this cat was clearly jealous that the Stewart and James handcrafted frames were the star of the shoot instead of itself. It tried several strategies to sabotage the shoot.

It chewed my toes and the wooden peg for the frames several times. It purposefully knocked over a couple of the props that the frames were leaning up against. It was running through my legs as I was walking and almost tripped me several times. It tried to get in numerous photos. All of this is well documented.

Kristen, are you sure that you haven't been feeding this cat? Hmm...I seem to remember one friendly feline that took a liking to y'all's house on Hilltop where soon after you began feeding it and soon after that it gave birth next to your driveway.

Anyway, the cat is fired.

My final assistant was a very strange, albino looking furry bug. Yes, the bug was furry. White fur. You can see it in the photo.

Perhaps it is a chameleon bug b/c it was trying to disguise itself on a white frame. Who knows? Maybe an entymologist would. I've never seen a bug like this before. Well, I had to move on w/ the job so I flicked the bug off of the frame.. No worries, Kristen. The bug was not harmed. However, when it landed it sort of skidded across the black step and left a white trail - due to it's weird white fur, I assume.

In spite of the heat/humidity and rain clouds, the cat and bugs, and the issue of having to choose sushi rolls without a menu (Yeah, that's why 2 of the rolls tasted like cat food. Kristen could've fed those 2 to the cat.. Must get a to-go menu.) and 4 little ladies under 4, I'd say it was a success and the frames will sell like hot cakes on y'all's etsy.com store! :)

kristen again: here are some photos from mj's point of view while photo shoot was going on and then a sneak peek of what's to come on etsy. Hopefully it won't take me too long to get these photos up on etsy so you can buy, but with 3 little munchkins running around (well one, laying around)... it takes me a while! So i will be back on here (the blog) to let you know when they are up!! first...a couple of photos by MJ ...
annabelle & molly


and now for the etsy photos! (by shanna)

well.. you get the idea! Please check back for info on these frames being posted. If you already see one you have to have and want more info, then just leave me a comment and we'll arrange it :)
post by kristen & shanna

July 30, 2009

you have to take a breath...

when you are talking sometimes. Mary James learned this the other day when we were having this conversation (before our frame show to savannah)

me: have you packed your bag yet?
mj: welllll, ihaven'tpackedALLmystuffbecauseican'tbeside(decide)whatiamtakingtowearatnightbecausemollywillprolly(probably)wantthisnightgownifihavemineon, SOOOO,maybei'llbringmybarbieandthenwe'llseeifkaykayhasmycotbedreadyandmaybewecan {huge gasp for breath then a terrified look my way} mama - i had to stop talking!?
me: i know, sometimes you have to breath when you talk
mj: hmm {still confused}

well when i returned from the trip, I took MJ to her dreaded 4 year checkup (dreaded because of the # of shots she received) and didn't read this little bit of information until i was putting the papers away that i was handed. I really fell out of my chair when i read the last bit of info...

HAAA really... thanks for the post warning! And it wasn't as if they were trying to mask it by saying..your child may be a bit verbal, etc. it's just "this age child talks too much" it's the most true piece of information i have ever read regarding my children.
The psychological part of this is almost just as hilarious.. read that section. who writes these things?! Maybe if i let her walk ahead of the family on walks it will slow down some. I somehow doubt it, but we'll take a big talker over a bathroom word rhymer any day :)

post by kristen

July 29, 2009

s t e w a r t & j a m e s ♥ savannah!

When we have an out of town show, we never know what to expect, but Savannah (far)exceeded our expectations. We could not have asked for a better host (see sister below), sitter (see my mom below pretending to also be a German? waitress), and best of all - our customers!!

our 9 month pregnant hostess with my nephew (oh, and her little boy)..

my mom, the baby sitter & server(?) She was fired after telling someone to get "their own wine" just kidding, but she really would do that so we suggested she just watch the kids.

setting up...
putting out.. (frames that is)

letting go...
Every time we have a production, Arre & I fall in love with certain frames and are so sad to see them go. We understand that we make them to sell them, but still...sometimes it's so hard to let go! This is the exact (if not more dramatic) story of the frame below. While Arre kept from shedding a tear, she walked over to the Isabel's house (who purchased the frame) and was relieved that her favorite this time will, in fact, have a good home.

working.... (if that's what you want to call it ;))

creating....my soon-to-be niece's initials on this cute frame (by arre)

smiling...(our 3rd S&J team member)

chilling... (mills holding down the fort outside with cousin and uncle)


this one's for you Ashley... (laying out frames so she could decide how to do a wall of them!) Can't wait to see the final display!

chatting.... about our fun day!

thank you for the support and love savannah!! We plan to make this an annual one! Look forward to seeing everyone next year (maybe even sooner!)

kristen & arre

post by kristen

July 19, 2009

with our show right around the corner...

(in four days, to be exact) Savannah has been on my mind. A year and half ago when my sister announced she and her husband and child (cute William) were moving to Savannah, i was so excited! While their former home of Atlanta was a good bit of a shorter and easier trip for us, Savannah is a fun place to visit! So, a few months after their move, we packed up and made a trip to visit. I hate to call my kids bad but that's exactly what Molly was. She refused to sleep, was not nice to any of the other kids, and acted like a royal brat. In her defense, a few days after we got back to town, we realized she had a pretty bad ear infection so we'll go with that reason for the behavior. But there was one funny moment with her cousin, William that made us laugh and forgive her behavior (for the moment). We caught it on video...And while I will be leaving (a much more grown up) Molly & Mary James with their grandmother next week for the show, Mills will be coming along. And I promise Kelley, she will renew your faith in my kids. But just a reminder for the cute side of Molly that trip..here's a quick clip (doesn't she look like a baby (and William too?!))

post by kristen

July 16, 2009

sneak peek

savannah here we come!

July 15, 2009

princess tea party

I really ♥ birthday parties..I really do! Good thing I now get to plan 5 a year (yes that includes me - I even plan my own parties :)) This one was especially fun. Mary James has always loved the attention a party brings, but this year she really understood that it was getting closer and waiting and planning was so fun! I have had to tell her (for the past month) how many times she would have to go to sleep and wake up before the real day, but it was worth seeing the excitement on her face! I think it's fair to say that everyone was pleased and so was my wallet! We did lots of borrowing, creating, cooking, and planning to pull it off for only $78, but we did it! I have to say it was the easiest party I have planned!

Here's your "how to" on the perfect (in my and mj's opinion) princess tea party...

We started about a month out (now, I do realize this isn't feasible for many people, but it's fun so really..why not?!) You know the date, so get it going early. First we started with hand made invitations ($0)- this is the real $$ saver for me.

I already had card stock on hand, so we used that, printed out the info on the computer, punched 2 holes in it, and stamped mj's name on a ribbon and poked (and taped on the back) the ends of the ribbon through the holes.

MJ was creating her own card one day and wrote her name (which she very recently learned) at the top instead of stamping and it was just as adorable (if not more so). So...if you don't have stamps, have your child write their name at the top (backwards letters and all) and chances are, they will want to color in all the circles too!

Next we cut hearts($0)....lots of hearts. I know if you have kids, you have a stack of construction paper around, so pull it out! While I cut, she and molly colored some of the hearts.
I also happened to have a really big roll of this pink ribbon and used every last bit of it on decorations and invitations. This actually provided at least a week's worth of arts & crafts time to get it all done. When I cut the hearts out (the way we all know how to cut hearts..fold the piece of paper in half and cut) I also added two slits in the paper (for the ribbon to run through) and taped the heart to the ribbon.

A couple of weeks later, I went to hobby lobby and picked up dowels ($1.99) & wooden dowel caps($1.47), pink balloons, white candles (for cupcakes), pink candles for the chandelier($6 50% off), paper for party hats($13 you could probably do this for much less)- & 30 yards of tulle ($30 on sale). all for $58. Really, this was my main expense... the tulle will be reused for years to come - having 3 girls, I can't tell you how many times I have thought - only if i had some pink tulle! :) Now I do!

Once I arrived home and dumped it all on my dining room table... we made the wands!

the table cloth was not on my dining room table, but on the actual tables used for the party - it was one my great grandmother made!

I fit a wooden caps onto the top of the dowel. I save ribbon from gifts the girls get and i have a LOT! I always wondered if I would ever need it...in comes the princess party - i cut 3 pieces of ribbon about the length of the dowel and just tied them onto the end. voila! princess wand!

2 weeks out: (until a couple days before the party, I just took my time on this one): i made the hats...I found this template on the internet, printed it out, and put it on my 20" square paper i bought at hobby lobby and traced around it (but made it as big as could fit on my paper). cut it out, then stapled the toole at the top corner, wrapped it into a cone shape, stapled, then stapled elastic to the insides to hold the hats on the kid's heads. I tore some kraft paper in a strip and stamped each princess's name on it, glued it on.

1 1/2 weeks out: decorate!! I hung the tulle just because I had time that day- of course, you can do this whenever..but it makes the day of - much less stressful and who doesn't want hot pink tulle hanging in your living room for a week?! (jim for one)

One week out: I made the cupcakes (Betty Crocker in the box) and froze them. I have always done this for birthdays (with cakes too) and no one is any the wiser! I just wrap them in plastic wrap and freezer bags really well. MJ and I then mixed red food coloring in our store bought frosting to make the "perfect" pink and stuck it back in it's container in the fridge. The next day (because I can only handle so much baking in 1 day), we made the thumbprint cookies and froze them.

This is the first time I had ever frozen these cookies and they were delish! (if anyone wants recipe ask - but it's just your basic thumbprint recipe and icing is powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, light corn syrup)

5 days out: we bought 4 loaves of bread and used a heart cookie cutter and cut the bread - stored it in ziplocs. This made 40 (20 pimento cheese, 20 peanut butter & jelly) sandwiches which is a little over the top, but who wants to run out?! (sandwiches were assembled morning of the party) And it's great to have leftover sandwiches on hand - which, surprisingly, we only had 6 leftover!! Hungry bunch...

3 days out: pimento cheese (while I do realize that most kids don't love pimento cheese.. MJ does... so I made them and mostly, the moms (and mj) ate them. I love this recipe...easy and yummy.. (also makes a good dip)

~1 8oz. block cream cheese
~4 cups shredded sharp cheese
~1 teaspoon garlic salt
~1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
~3/4 cup duke's mayo
~7 oz. jar (drained) diced pimentos

Also-set up table and chairs (borrowed from our church) and practiced a table setting (for the fun of it)
tea cup sets are handed down from my grandmother & great grandmother..thank goodness because i own exactly 1 tea cup from my china set.

I cut about 1/2 a yard square of tulle for these chairs..wrapped it around the chair, and put one of the girls' small pony tail holders to hold it in the back

1 day out: blew up balloons all throughout the day (there were 35 so it took me a while) and tied ribbon on them. The girls loved it - I had no idea that balloons were such entertainment, even Mills smiled, gurgled, & stared while I blew them up. That night I took the cookies & cupcakes out of the freezer to thaw.

morning of party: woke up in princess costume because the excitement was just too much!

-tied balloons to rails on the front steps

the party was in the morning, had it not been - these balloons would have been long gone! The party was over by 11:30 a.m. and half had popped by the end because of the sun (i guess!) but they looked cute when everyone arrived!

-Took mother-in-law up on idea to take the girls in the morning while i got ready..
-Iced cupcakes, made all sandwiches, set them out on pretty tiered trays.

all cupcakes had a candle in them per mary james' request for everyone to blow out a candleSet the table, iced down waters, cokes, diet cokes (for mamas) and had time to sit down for 20 minutes.
- party time!

these hearts were hung a few days early, but I threw them over the rope just out of molly's reach until party time
here come the princesses

If awards were handed out, Annabelle would've one most adorable..by far!

love it! this isn't molly's cup of tea - pardon the pun

photo by s.scott

post by kristen
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