Recess! {In Which We Honor the Playful}

This past Fall, I found myself once again combing etsy for DIY gift-giving inspiration. My eldest niece is both a chemist and artist in her spare time and I discovered a wonderful way to combine her interests. This witty shop sells labels for crayons, pencils and markers that tell you the chemical formula to make each color. Brilliant, right? My inner science geek resurfaced for the first time since high school.

what's your formula?

After I got my set of 50 colored pencil labels, I stitched a crayon roll-up in which to carry them and got a few of my favorite Doodle Books. Here’s to a clever and creative gift!

art on the go! crayon roll upart on the go!I was on a roll (teehee) and made a few extra of these handy traveling cases. There are a few in the shop now, with more on their way!


This next new item I could say was inspired by either of my nieces, but in reality, it’s something I would have loved to keep had there been enough fabric to make a larger size. I found this adorable blue dot fabric in the holiday section of my local fabric store, and while it evokes thoughts of snow days, it’s to charming to keep stored away only for winter.  Since I had a limited amount of fabric leftover from my holiday gifts (and the crayon roll you see above), I decided to make these into child-sized placemats perfect for a tea party. There are matching coasters, which can be for grownups (I want to keep a set!) or used to accompany the placemats if you or your kiddo prefer.

Finally, each of the gals (my nieces) I so frequently mention had birthdays this past month. For the elder, I felt a full-sized apron would do her well during her frequent chemistry experiments. There is no reason we all must wear white lab coats, after all.  This was my first attempt at an apron this size without a pattern and I am quite pleased with it. Sure, it could be a tad shorter, but as far as kid things go, I figure things that are bigger just get to be kept for longer, right? Note, the younger niece is actually modeling the apron that is for her elder cousin. Normally very camera-shy, the Little Miss wouldn’t hold still, hence the action shots. Yes, her cousin’s name is embroidered below, and my brother promises to get a photo of the actual apron owner experimenting away for my own benefit and smiles.

Top Chef 2030







Little Miss (above) requested a purse this year. I made her one a year ago of which she was quite fond, but this time wanted to look for something that could be easily transported. The DIY goddesses were working in my favor, as the very next day I spotted this tutorial on Pinterest. It was so cute and sized so well for a wee one, that I couldn’t resist making two. I am not sure what a 7-year-old carries in her purse, but I gather the size will be sufficient for the majority of her appointments.

 bracelet purseWee

Of course, each of these voracious readers was also given a book or two for her birthday. What kind of Aunt would I be if not?  And just because I don’t have a photo of the tad older Little Miss in her apron, I do have one from her birthday week. She’s quite a rock star, no?

The Not As Little Miss

Finally, I have not forgotten my most awesome nephew. However, he’s hit an age (middle school-yikes!) where homemade gifts that interest him are few and far between. That said, I’m determined. So if anyone knows of any cool Playstation/Steeler/aloof preteen themed DIYs, please send them my way!




Your Table is Naked! {In Which We Update the Shoppe}

As I’ve stated, despite my absence, I have been sewing for you all and here’s the evidence. I bought some wonderful fabrics in the fall which were *finally* made into charming tea wallets and linens for you. While I have adored the ribbon-lined placemats in the shoppe (examples here and here), I thought I’d make a few casual sets for every day use (and to keep more money in your pocket books.).

dress up dinner

I was drawn to the fabric in these first two sets of placemats as the dark hues do not immediately offend an overly masculine eye, yet the swirls and twists of the branches keep the tone natural and warm. The placemat sets are pairs of a sort, with the main and contrast fabrics swapped in each. Now those of you with larger families or hosting tendencies can put them all together for an 8-piece set. You were waiting for that, right?

opposites attract

But wait, you want napkins as well?  Lucky for you, I have two coordinating sets: one in cocktail size and one for the dinner table. Plus, either size packs well into your lunch for an environmentally friendly wipe!

rustic napkins

rustic cocktail napkins






I have more, my dears, include some country chic tea wallets and new items for your young’uns. Visit me in a few days for more on each. Or, if you just can’t wait, a few are already in the shoppe.



A New Year {In Which We Recap Our Months of Silence}

Hello my dear friends!

At long last, how have you been? I am quite well, thank you. As you may have noticed, fall (and winter, for that matter) got away from me. The thing is I *was* sewing and crafting, I just failed to tell you all about it. For that, I am sorry and I will venture to make up for it here.

Aprons and bibs to keep you and the small one tidyTo be brief, I was spending much of my time in the fall prepping for Christmas. Not only did I try to hand make as many gifts for which I had time, but I also was in a sewing and embroidery frenzy to prepare for my first ever vendor fair. I’ve included a few pictures of my little table set up with some of the holiday goodies I made.

Let it Snow

The fair was generally a success and a wonderful networking and learning opportunity. Vendors from Northern Virginia came to sell their goods and to support local businesses. I ended up being the only purely craft table in the bunch and found it a great occasion to introduce new people to the world of Etsy, let alone my shoppe. While I can’t say I sold a great deal, I am happy to say I got over my jitters of first time vendor-ing and am eager to participate in another community event.

Fall also was a busy season of weddings both for me and my lovely customers.  As you’ve seen before, I love to embroider antique handkerchiefs for brides and their grooms. Some like to carry a hanky with their bouquets or as a pocket square, while others may just tuck it away in as a keepsake to share with their children one day. When I embroider a one for a friend, I have no intention for her to use it in a specific manner, but only hope it will act a personal token to show my elation at her happiness. I’ve had the pleasure of embroidering handkerchiefs for very dear friends and lovely customers. Some have been for brides and grooms, some for honored attendants, and some to note the anniversary of the day that love was first pronounced. I’ve included a few of my favorites for you. If you know someone getting married, approaching a significant milestone, or if you’d just like to give your father personalized handkerchiefs because he’s awesome (that’s what I did), I would love to work with you. Feel free to contact me or read more about custom handkerchief orders at my etsy site.

embroidery sketchembroidered hanky for Maid of Honor






Oatmeal Carmelitas {In which We Return to Our Roots}

You didn’t believe me when I said there’d be another update soon, did you?  Fess up, I won’t be upset.  In fact, I completely understand.  But, I’ve turned over a productive leaf in the name of my blog, so here we are.

Most of my friends knew me as an avid baker long before they knew me as any sort of stitcher.  When I realized I’ve been mostly hiding that part of me from you, I thought I’d share a recipe or two.  What follows are the instructions for one of my favorite sweets, that happens to also be just about the easiest thing to make from scratch.  I’ve brought them in (sans nuts) to my students for parties, made them for dear friends, and passed around the recipe to countless others.  I promise, any novice will create a tasty treat from this recipe.

Oatmeal Carmelitas: A tasty, chewy, addictive treat

ingredients, oatmeal carmelitasIngredients:

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Cups Dry Oats
  • 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)
  • 1 Cup Caramel Topping (found near the ice cream section of most grocery stores.  The small Smuckers is the exact amount).
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan.
2.  Combine the first four ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, baking sode and salt) with the melted butter in a large bowl.  Mix until ingredients clump a bit.
all mixed up3.  Press about 1/2 of the mixture into the greased pan, making sure to cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.
4.  Take the bottom crust out of the oven.  While it is hot, carefully sprinkle on the chocolate chips and nuts.  Then pour the cup of caramel over the mixture.
pour it on
5.  Sprinkle the remaining flour/oat/sugar mixture over top, pressing down gently to form a top crust.  Don’t worry as much if this layer doesn’t cover every bit of the inner mixture.
6.  Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown.  Cool completely and enjoy!
Carmelitas ready to eat!
 The meager helping you see below is what was left after I remembered to take a picture a few days later.  Did I mentioned I cooked these just in time for Irene to hit DC?  Seemed like healthy provisions.
<3What's left

Welcome Back {In which we update, at long last}

I’ve been silent for quite some time, and I apologize to the few of you concerned with the well-being of my blog.  I do so appreciate your reading and commenting and sharing with kindred spirits!  Now, I’ve said it before, but I have multiple blogs on the docket, so you can expect updates at a steady speed.

To start, (or to finish, in a way), I hope the last weeks of summer found you relaxing, enjoying a lovely novel and time with friends and family.  I was happy to partake in the above with Teddy R. and DB3, The Help by Kathryn Stockett and March by Geraldine Brooks, and a trip to California for the wedding of two dear friends.  Shout out to my sister for providing me with the fantastic reading material!

Relaxing for me generally includes crafting on the couch, with perhaps a bit of Buffy or the BBC (Thank you, Lauren C., for introducing me to Downton Abbey!) to keep me company.  I recently went through a Mod Podge, paper crafting mania and came up with new sets of ceramic coasters.

Hello Birdie!Twister, anyone?






Cute, eh? There are more in the shoppe, but for those of you feeling crafty, you can find a fantastic tutorial at Style Me Pretty.  They really are quite simple and just require a bit of patience during the cutting and sealant stage.

Postcards from AbroadBursting Fireworks


I can hear my Dad thinking, wait, that’s *all* she did this summer?  Don’t worry, I had custom orders (hankies, mostly), to keep me stitching away and gifts for some lovely brides.  Also, at long last, I did a bit of baking again.  Check out the yummy goodies that will be featured in an upcoming post:

yum yum yum

I also had the chance to restock in wonderful autumn fabrics, which will be making their way into the shop in the coming weeks.  And let’s not forget that Halloween will be kicking off my favorite holiday season very soon!  Last year, David and I dressed as George Michael Bluth and Maebe Funke from Arrested Development.  I think it’ll be hard to top that one this year.  Any suggestions?

And because everyone loves a beautiful bride.  xxxo

<3 <3 <3all ready











My Baby Love {Baby Bibs}

Hello my friends!  Is it hot enough for you yet?  Teddy and I have been doing our best to stay cool, which generally means keeping all of the blinds closes and hiding indoors.  It is not the most fun way to spend a day, but we do enjoy our popsicles!

mmmm Puppy Custard!

In the meantime, I’ve worked on a few custom orders and new baby bibs to get in the shop.  With a friend due any moment and another one just announcing her pregnancy, I am ready for these kiddos!

mmm cherries on topEach bib has an embroidered embellishment to make them more special for your little one!  They also close with a pearl snap so tiny hands don’t pull them off mid-meal.

Giddy Up Cowgirl!I love that this one can be used for your cowboy or cowgirl.  It would go great for a child who loves Toy Story as much as me!  Like Buzz better?  So does my niece, and if she still needed bibs, I’d send her this one.

Monkey AroundThough we’ll all love my friend’s baby due next year no matter what, I so hope she has a girl so I can stitch her one of these.  For as long as I’ve known her, she’s gone banana for monkeys (yes, I just wrote that).   Though, if it’s a boy, I’ve got plenty of options as well!

Oh won't you be my teddy bear?lady bugs n daisys







As for those custom orders: a vender apron for Hearts On My Sleeve – If you are in the DC area, Cate frequents the Silver Spring crafts fair, look out for her booth! —  And two vintage hankies embroidered for a dear customer’s in-laws.  I love that they have a special phrase that has lasted all these years.

Hearts On My Sleeve!happy anniversary





Now I’m off to the Isle of Palms for Ms. J’s bachelorette!   It’ll only be 100 degrees, rather than the 115 we’ve got in D.C.



High Tea {Tea Wallets Galore!}

Well folks, it seems y’all like the tea wallets. I’m just so pleased with this news! They’ve made great gift card holders, business card keepsakes and of course, tea protectors already. And I thought they were just so great, I made a plenty more.

time for tea?tea time


tea wallet

hiding a gift card?

tea time

Check out all of the fun florals and colors! I haven’t been able to decide which is my favorite. Can you? Oh-and there is at least one that can act as a more masculine card holder if you know of some hesitant male tea lovers.  There are many more in the shoppe, but you’ll have to check for yourself!

This past weekend, I also had the great pleasure of doing a reading at my dear friend, Kate’s, wedding to her charming Adam.  Below are the hankies I embroidered for them as a little extra offering on their special day.  You can order you own personalized handkerchiefs (vintage and new) by convo-ing me on etsy!

bridal hankyAnd for the groom, I veered away from the lace . . .

wedding bellsxox!


When do we tea off? {Tea Wallets at the Open}

A long overdue update!

I am so glad to have just added tea wallets to the shoppe.  These little accessories are perfect for those like me who drink tea incessantly and are often hoping for more options than the restaurants have to offer.  Each wallet has four pockets that can hold your tea bags, sweetener, or even credit and business cards.  I can also attest they are great gift card holders!  ;-)

paisley tea wallet

pink tea cups

Don’t worry guys, I’ll have some more gender neutral designs up there soon, and maybe one in this fabric?

Let’s not forget the *intentional* typo in the title of this post (so you can relax now, Dad). Dad and one of my big bros were in town this past weekend to go to their favorite sporting event, The U.S. {Golf} Open.   And in case you missed it, an adorable Irish lad won and this fantastic *UCLA* freshman was the top amateur!  Way to represent, my peeps!



A Month of Celebrations {birthdays, weddings, and dads}

Hello my friends!

There I went and disappeared again. Sigh! I hope you all have managed to keep cool through all of this heat! Teddy Roosevelt and I have been hanging in the shade and working on our presents for our favorite people. My dear friend Kristina was the first of the June birthdays, and I was very excited to stitch up this embroidered vintage hanky for her. She and her fiance are moving back to California very soon and I hope this little accessory will remind her of those who’ll miss her greatly in the District. Until then, we’re having a blast planning her bridal events and watching as many Jane Austen and the Bronte adaptations we can find (okay, and some Bravo).

personalized vintage hanky

Aside from other wonderful friends (the two J’s-ahem), my most favorite nephew, and my best sister, my Dad has his birthday mere days before the celebration of all of our dads.  For what I gather has been his entire adult life, my Dad has carried a handkerchief in his back pocket.  It seemed more than fitting to get some less lacy hankies and stitch some personalized ones for him.  So now he can show off not only ones with his monogram, but also a Pittsburgh Steelers hanky and a bright golf one.  Silly me forgot to take the pictures before giving them to him, so I’ll have to depend on Mom to send them asap.  I really am *so* thrilled with out my satin stitch has improved!  Yay for practice!

Another birthday worth noting is that of my Grandma Kirchner (Cassie), who has the same birthday as my sister.  If she were still living, Grandma would have turned 108 on June 12th!  As it is, she lived a very healthy life up until she was 95.  So happy birthday Grandma!

Oh, and just for Denise, I *have* to mention that is was her that came up with the name for the store.  I initially suggested Cassie and Joanna’s, but it didn’t flow as well.  Denise came up with the great change to Cassie Quinlan.  Sorry for not giving proper credit sooner, sis!



Not Only For The Royals {Weddings and Special Orders}

As I mentioned yesterday, my recent virtual silence was due in large part to some very special custom orders (and a few gifts).

Now that I am in my late 20′s, I find myself invited to more and more friends’ weddings.  I’m thrilled with this progression, as it generally includes multiple fun parties with wonderful people (as those are the only kind with which I associate).  Recently, my first “grownup” friend to become engaged, K., had her bridal shower and bachelorette.  As the bride is quite a foodie, the kitchen themed shower came as no surprise.  Knowing her lovely taste well and that she is a sewer herself, I figured she and her fiance would appreciate a set of placemats for their new home.  I fell in love with this gorgeous fabric and knew it would be perfect for the two.

sweet nectar

Okay, seriously, don’t you love this sweet hummingbird and his pals? Don’t worry, I *loaded* up on this fabric and will have some bits to share with you soon.  - ^

I don’t think I can properly express how tickled I’ve been by the warm reception to my shoppe, not only from family and friends, but fellow crafters and artists.  The support my fellow crafters offer one another on these internets we love is truly special.  While I started this project as an outlet for myself, I now have gotten much more unexpected pleasures in the way of community.  Each day I find myself browsing and commenting on the discussions amongst the “English Geeks of Etsy,” or sharing tips and ideas with crafters from near and far.  Just the other day, I noted to David the change in my most visited sites according to our friend, Chrome (hint: Anthro has been replaced).

This brings me to a bit on a wonderfully kind customer and amazing photographer, alittlebitsarah.  By some twist of fate, this well published and basically famous (!) artist found my little store and requested a custom handkerchief for her pending nuptials. From the start I did not have the type of base handkerchief she was looking for, yet we worked together to get a wonderful result.  Ms. Elizabeth Sarah was gracious enough to allow me much creative license (I created the design based on multiple drawings she and I’d researched), despite this being for a very important day.  And even when we hit a snag (literally!), she was patient and so appreciative of my work.  After a multitude of messages to one another on the design, colors, and our admiration of each other’s work, my favorite piece of embroidery I’ve done yet was born.

for a special day

something old or new?And didn’t she find the loveliest vintage hanky?  I must insist you visit Elizabeth Sarah’s flickr account and blog now.  Really, aside from being a lovely person, she is an uber-talented photographer.  I have to admit, I am more than a bit tickled that she said such nice things about my work!

I’m off to do some more embroidery.  Speaking of, has anyone else entered this contest?  I just started my entry!