I love to bake.
I could spend all day in a quiet kitchen,
measuring, mixing, pouring, baking.
Working in the back of Sprinkles?
Dream job.
Working at Heather and Heather's dream bakery?
Super dream job.

Lately, I haven't had much time with the oven.
On top of that, all of my cookbooks are in storage.

So I have been turning to blogs for new recipes.
Some are awesome.

Some are a huge, giant, disastrous failure.

It is as if perhaps a few key steps or ingredients were
omitted from the post.

Like the mother in law who doesn't give
the full recipe to her daughter in law, so
mom's cooking will always be the best.

I had a recipe in my bookmark folder that was
calling out to me. It looked dark and different.
I was up for the challenge.

After buying new ingredients,
measuring, weighing, mixing, pouring, baking,
dreaming and imagining how wonderful it will taste,
then taking that first bite,
gagging, gagging, gagging,
then dumping everything in the trash.
For reals.
This cake was not my friend.
I really, really wanted it to be.
It is friends with so many people.
Who can do no wrong.
It however, had other plans.
I was not invited to the clique.

So I started over with cake mix and this doctoring up.

Thought it would be good with the frosting that was
meant for the thrown in the garbage cake.
Dumped that right on top of the failure.
Gagging, gagging, gagging.
Dark chocolate hot mess.
0% root beer taste.

Decided to make buttercream and
used root beer instead of milk.
It was...
Added root beer gummies on top so at least it looked cute.
Took it to the church picnic.
Did not win a prize.
But perhaps that is what I get for making a new recipe instead
of the trusty Toffee Crack.
(Which, by the way I have been off for a month.

So desperate for some sort of culinary success and in
need of a side dish, I tried this recipe.
My new favorite dip.
I am not even an olive girl.
Sort of hate them actually.
But in this bowl of awesomeness
I love them.
Plus, it is pretty and colorful.
The bowl was scraped clean.
The root beer fiasco was redeemed.

Thanks Marta for saving the day!

I am so excited for you to meet Terri of

Sew Fantastic.

I adore everything she makes and she pretty much has my dream fabric stash. You would not believe the rare and out of print fabrics she has. Can you say "jealousy"? A five minute shopping spree in her fabric closet would be almost better than winning the lottery.

"Hello to everyone at Joy's Hope. My name is Terri , I am a mother to one beautiful angel named Sophia, and wife to a wonderful husband named Rob. I started sewing at 15 teaching myself from library books and sewing on a vintage green and white Singer machine. From then on I was hooked, and 15 years later I am the owner of a great creative outlet called Sew-Fantastic. I started my shop about 2 years ago when I was pregnant, looking for a way to be able and stay home more with my little girl. I discovered Etsy last October and I am truly in love. Etsy as well as the blogging world, have been creative outlets for me, as well as my inspiration that comes from my family. I am truly blessed with everything I have been given and hope that I to can make a difference in someone's life the same way mine has been impacted through my blessings. I hope that everyone here finds their creative outlet and inspiration the same way I have, it really is a wonderful feeling to make something with your very own hands."

It all began with crayon wallets.
Beautifully designed, carefully crafted and charming.
I am thinking that my crazy monkey Lucy might even be able to occupy herself for lets say, at least two minutes when armed with this cuteness.

This is pretty much my favorite boy fabric. What little guy wouldn't want to be awesome at guitar and art?
Did I mention that they are machine washable?
That is honey to a mother's ears.
Especially one with stain removal OCD.
(Not like I know anyone with that problem....)

Her newest addition is the Sketcher Wallet.
Perfect for the tween who has outgrown the crayon phase, but still has the passion to create.
I wouldn't even mind sketching in style.
I truly believe that you are never too old to color.

This classic and funky Designer Carryall Clutch will save my sanity during the next few months. Moving, appointments, remodeling and general chaos can all be contained within it's stitched goodness.

A place for everything, and everything in it's place.
Plus a matching pen to boot.
She had me at hello.

This week Terri is offering
two winners their choice of

Can you say hooray?

How can you win?
(Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.)

1. Visit Sew Fantastic.
Come back and tell me what your fave item it.
2. Make a purchase from her shop.
3. Visit her blog.
Leave some comment love.

A winner will be drawn on Friday, September 4th at noon.

I don't think I have ever gone this long without some sort of post.
I honestly thought it was a day or two. Not a week!
I am a person who likes routines.
(a.k.a. needs, requires, freaks out without them)
Selling this house has thrown all routines out of the window.
Crafting, blogging, napping.

We sold our house.
In a week.
In this housing market.
For reals.
I am still trying to let it all sink in.
The second we signed the papers,
out came the sewing machine
and the dumb bird charm packs.
Another quilt is nearly finished.
Order and routines are restored to our lives.


So who is the happy new recipient of the Mixed Media Mama prints?
Click here to see if it is you.
(All I can say is... yum.)

It is May 2007.
I don't sew.
But I heart handmade.
I am peeking through the custom boutique resells on Ebay and
come across a dress made with The. Best. Fabric. Ever.
I am obsessed.
I find out the name.
I google it.
I click on a link.
For a website that I have never heard of.
Within a day I am ordering fabric.
Within a week I am sewing.
Nothing is ever the same.

Because of that one dumb little turquoise bird,
(which is so weird considering I don't even like birds)
and the fabric line that goes out of print as soon as I fall in love with it.
So thank you Urban Chiks.
Your Summer in the City line changed my life.
Now if only I could get my hands on some more for less than a million dollars.
Or go back in a time machine and buy bolts and bolts of it.
For now I will just cuddle my lowly charm pack and try to think of ways I could somehow multiply it.

Even sweet Janey is in on my bird fever.
She rocked her Lassie Girl pinnie and
matching grin today at the DMV.

Yes, I could eat her.
Yes, she is always this happy.

P.S. If you have any of this ridiculous fabric and want to be my best friend forever and ever and ever and ever let me know. Seriously. Best friend. Forever.

I would like you to meet the wonderful and amazing
Chrissie Grace of Mixed Media Mama.
How I wish I could sit in her studio and soak in all of her abundant and vast creativity.
I bet you will want to also.

"Hello lovely Joy's Hope posse!
My name is Chrissie Grace and I am a mixed-media artist living in Florida with my awesome husband and five crazy and beautiful kids.
I dabble in everything; from mosiacs to painting and collage to quilting and sewing. I'm on my third book published by Northlight, and I love the process of writing books as well!
I believe that God has blessed me with not just an artistic talent, but more importantly, a passion and love for what I do. Making art simply makes me happy, and I'm so happy to share what I do with you.
My etsy shop rotates constantly with original paintings, mixed-media prints, and my fiber wall hangings. Thanks for taking the time to check it out. My hope is that you will find something that inspires you or makes you smile.:)

What if each one of us took this to heart each day?

My simple answer:
there is no such thing as too much.

This is the first print I saw from Chrissie.
It is so true, profound and simple to carry out.

This one encourages me as well as makes me cry a bit.
What a responsibility we have as mothers.
I am working on these ten daily.

This is her newest creation.
A stunning coloring book.
For kids and adults alike.
I love to doodle and I can imagine how peaceful it would be to sit down with my colored pencil set from my college art class (the one the kids cannot ever, ever, ever touch) and add my own spin to her cheerful designs.

Chrissie is graciously offering the winner three prints from her shop as well as the recently released coloring book.


How can you win?
(remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.)

Come back here and tell me your favorite item.
2. Visit her blog.
Leave some comment love.
3. Become a follower of her blog.
4. Take some time by yourself.
Create something. Anything.
5. Send an unexpected card to someone
who could use a little sunshine.

Entries will close at noon Pacific time on
Friday August 28th.

Good thing we had a girl.
we thought that we were cool and indie enough to pull of the name
Carson Carson.

When our sweet church secretary found out she cried.
Not because she laughed so hard, but because she was HORRIFIED that anyone would do that to a poor child.

Perhaps our minds have changed after 99.9% of people polled have agreed.
I have a feeling that the .01% that liked the name were just too nice to say otherwise.

So that's the answer to my riddle.
Yes, we are the biggest dorks ever.
But even dorks sometimes think they aren't.

Who won the fun Good Day Shop giveaway?
Click here to see if it is you.

On a side note,
I think I need to get the next size of
clothing out of the attic for miss crop top...

I have always been a camper.
a tent camper.
none of this RV fake camping nonsense.
my first trip was when I was six months old.
I am sure it was awesome.
we were one of those couples who swore
"when we have kids we will still camp!!!"
and judged those who rented cabins.

but then we were camping when Halley was a baby and I was pregnant
(puking in the woods dozens of times a day) with Lucy.
a freak rainstorm flooded our tent.
it was not awesome.
we considered leaving the tent and heading home in the middle of the night.
instead we piled into the car with our wet dog and tried to sleep.
the next year we rented a cabin.

so when my sis in law got the great idea to camp with all
of the cousins this summer I said yes.
then thought...
for reals?
where is my cabin?
my internet?
clean sheets?

who have I become???

sequoia is breathtaking.
we could spend a month there and still not come close to seeing all of it's wonders.

eight kids.
five and under.
can you say NOISY?
here is my public apology to the young child-free couple who camped next to us. I think that their plans for a family have just been extended by a few dozen years.

Jason's sister lives in Turkey during the year and comes to
California each summer for an extended visit.
There is really nothing like cousins. Despite the miles apart, each the girls see each other they pick right back up where they left off. It is so beautiful.

For the first time our girls were out of the stroller and actually hiking on their own.
A minute after this shot we saw a bear.
Right next to us.

Janey was not impressed.

The girls had their first experience fishing.
I filled their tackle boxes with candy.
This mom does not do worms.
Or hooks.

Lulu picked a Star Wars fishing pole.
Big points with her father for that choice.

I suppose it was more casting, less fishing, since we had no bait and there were no fish.
They didn't seem to mind.

The water was snow run off.
I couldn't even get my feet wet it was so cold.
My happy-every-single-second-of-the-day child loved it.

I wish I lived in a meadow like this.
In my opinion Queen Anne's lace is the most beautiful weed.
I would welcome it in my backyard.

Is this the cutest bear bait you have ever seen?
Don't mock the St. Pat's pj's.
We are Irish the other 364 days of the year too.

This night owl went to bed at eight each night with the girls.
Look at the view from my sleeping bag.
No phone.
No tv.
No internet.
Just us under the stars marveling at God's amazing creation.

Maybe we will just sell our house and live in a tent forever.
It sure was an amazing week.

I can honestly say that I am a camper again.
As long as the rain stays away.