happy thanksgiving!

we hosted our first family thanksgiving at our house this year! i had lots of fun planning out the table decor (almost as much fun/of as much importance to me as the food!) and kept it pretty cheap too. i was so proud of my little tablescape:
-green placemats from target (embellished with a bit of scrap ribbon), $5ish each
-two table runners from target (used sideways as placemats, bought last minute on clearance!), $10 each
-square bamboo tray, wedding gift
-pumpkin pie plate with lid, birthday gift several years ago originally from crate & barrel
-my favorite not-quite-white dishes from target (noticing a theme?!), $30 for an 8 place setting
-fall bouquet of flowers, $25 at harris teeter
-scattered leaves, free from my in-law's yard

it all looked much more finished once we got the pretty glasses and handmade ric-rack napkins in place. (please forgive the creepy smile, you gotta love the "stand and pose with your accomplishment" picture when you are days away from turning 26, not in first grade anymore!)
as a note of irony, the shirt i'm wearing in this picture is also from target. ok, so i'm realizing my dependence on target for all things inexpensive and cute! m made a completely amazing baked turkey and three (!!!) pumpkin pies- he is definitely the cook in this family... for which i'm definitely paying the consequence according to my bathroom scale!

happy thanksgiving!


a successful party & leftover cupcakes!

our little girl's first birthday party came and left this weekend, an event i have been planning for in my head since i was pregnant with her! all day the day before i mixed four boxes of cake mix and 5 tubs of frosting into 53 cupcakes of various sizes and various pink-ness. i have to say that there's nothing quite as happy and birthday-ey as a big bowl of pink icing! we finished things off with a generous shaking of polka dot sprinkles, and this is what greeted people as they walked into the dining room:
i had to let a few things go in the name of sanity [& in the name of getting it all done!] but i did finish the one thing that was the most important to me of all the things i wanted to make for the party: the banner.
and i am so happy with how it turned out!

as is becoming my tradition, i started making it the week before the party and fell into the trap of thinking oh, i have plenty of time to finish it! then i ended up sewing the last few letters into place just 30 minutes or so before the guests walked through the door. luckily, our families are really cool, and my sister in law was the first one there- she understands the over-optimism of what we can realistically get done that strikes us ladies sometimes, and also understood my excitement at getting it done! my other sister provided the pan for the ginormous cupcake cake [by way of borrowing from another friend] and saved us the expense of buying it to likely only use it once. i'm telling you- cool families!

the mix of our immediate families plus four friends [and two children] that we count as family made for the perfect mix! perfect amount of guests. perfect conversation. perfect love for our sweet daughter.
and one perfectly happy, perfectly pink birthday girl.


we have a winner!

thanks to a random number generator [ my husband... "hey honey, pick a number between 1 and 6 when you have no idea what i'm talking about..."]

and the winner is...

courtney rowe! step right up and claim your prize! [erm, i'll bring it to you at church.]

thank you all so much for participating! i had so much fun waiting to see who would comment that i think there might be a christmas giveaway in this blog's future as well.


no, seriously!

this is your chance to say hello! i want to hear from you... yes you! don't be shy!

click here if you'd like to enter the necklace giveaway and to see a picture of it. just click "comment" and tell me you're here... how you take your coffee... what size shoe you wear... whatever is on your mind!

it's not too late! i'll be picking a winner tonight or first thing in the morning.


necklace giveaway!

this sweet little pendant told me today that it wants to come live at the happy home of one of you readers:
it is handmade with a round pearl and two tiny shells set in a round resin pendant, surrounded by tiny little shimmery gold beads!
to enter, just leave a comment on this post, or click the little button that says "follow" on the right hand sidebar which will also keep you updated on each new post. anyone who comments or follows will be entered- if you do both, i'll enter you twice! just send a little hello so i know you out there in the little blog universe. i will draw a winner sometime next week!


cute projects!

i have to admit that my streak of crafty inspiration that was finally enough to get me to jump up and get things done came from perusing a few new diy/crafty blogs that i came across (i think from googling "sunburst mirror tutorials" but that's another story...). now i have a new list of awesome projects on my backburner (like i needed another one, right?) and a fresh excitement from looking through some awesome things people are coming up with! here are some of the blogs and projects i want to try out:

beautiful and cheap decorative white pumpkins from shanty2chic (i love how she talks about spray painting "the cheap off" of something!)
apple crate bookshelf from funky junky interiors

spindle lamp also from shanty2chic (spindles are those things that hold up the hand rails on your staircase).

this entire kitchen from life in grace (love the blue cabinets!)

a-dor-a-ble (!!!!) giant clothespin chalkboard, also from shanty2chic (i want to try this one out so badly, i think it could make a great christmas present!)

super cute burlap letter banner also by life in grace

i just realized that most of this list is black and cream in some form- i guess it is part of the "shabby chic" thing? except for the kitchen... i am love love loving all of that bright color! if you click the link and see the before picture, the transformation is really amazing. reading all these blogs written by professional decorators is going to get me in trouble if i'm not careful!


how stella got her craft back.

apparently, all it takes is a whiff of an inspiring mood and 2 completely baby-free hours for me to finally accomplish some sewing craftiness! sewing is one of those things that i just really can't do unless the baby is in bed... the sewing machine is downstairs in the basement, and the ironing board is upstairs with the bedrooms, so i'm constantly running back and forth to iron on appliques and back down two flights to the basement to sew them. so, when kenna went to bed last night, i turned into a little crafting elf, sneaking through the house making things while she slept!

i remember so many people saying right before she was born to enjoy it now, you'll never have time for 'that stuff' after the baby comes... i always thought it was a pretty insensitive and discouraging thing to say. i knew a baby would be time-consuming, but crafting is my stress-relief and hobby! granted, now that she's here [even almost a year later] i have much less 'free time' and she definitely keeps me busy, but i've also found that you truly do make time for things that you enjoy, whatever they may be.

it also helps a lot to have a super encouraging and supportive husband like i do, who is happy to do other stuff and give me time to create! he's been totally instrumental in watching kenna, especially when i'm preparing for a craft show, and doing everything he can to give me space to be creative.


this is what i was able to accomplish last night! i came up the stairs with these three things in my arms and just felt so good to have made them all, beginning to end, in about 2 hours!
a couch pillow, working towards replacing those boring brown ones behind it, and introducing more colors! this one was so simple to make, since it's a pillow and not a pillow cover [ie: you can't remove it from the pillow for washing, etc... the stuffing is in there for good.] cut out two squares, sew them together, turn right side out, and stuff until fat and huggy. easy peasy! why didn't i make some of these sooner?
a pillow cover! which means it's removable. it took a little bit longer to make since i did the little applique leaf details and you have to do the back in two pieces, but still pretty easy. i had been looking at a few pillow covers on etsy, but some of them cost upwards of $75!!! i'm glad i didn't spend that much, this wasn't that hard to make. maybe i'll do a tutorial! i just kind-of winged mine [of course] but here's a really good pillow cover tutorial.
the last thing i did was a little window curtain for our over-the-sink kitchen window. our kitchen is so dark, and this actually cuts a little more of the light, but it was one of the only ways i could think to add some color in there. it turned out pretty cute and could not have been easier! it's really just a rectangle of fabric that fits the window [i didn't even really cut it, it's just a 1/4th of a yard that happened to fit perfectly!] hemmed and attached to the rod with little clip rings [found the rings and the curtain rod on the cheap at target and world market]!
granted, for an experienced seamstress these are all basically just hemmed squares/rectangles, but for someone like me who is still getting over a slight fear of the sewing machine and has, in fact, sewn through her own finger [accidentally] in the last 10 months, i feel pretty accomplished! yay!


last craft show.

this upcoming weekend i have my last craft show of the season, a craft & bake sale amonst the lovely ladies of southeastern. it is also the last craft show i'll be doing under my original business name, ellebee studio, which is bittersweet for me- after which i'll take some time to craft just to get some of our family projects done and to determine what direction leaf & letter should really go, even if it's just to continue blogging for fun. i'm hoping to sell out all of my remaining products at this show [i guess every crafter has a little piece of them that dreams of having a sell-out show!] so that i can start clean and fresh. after this show, i'll also be posting any product that is left in the etsy shop at some super great prices, and probably close down the old blog.

one fun part of clearing out inventory is that i plan to give some of them away as gifts to some family and friends! the first on my list are some dot bibs that i made for my last show:
these are such fun to make, i have already gifted a few [in a couple of slightly different incarnations] to some brand-new little wee ones in my life. seeing as how i have a friend who just recently had triplets [you can see their adorable pictures on her sister's amazing photography site] and another friend who is currently pregnant with her second [!!!!] set of twins, i'm planning that these will hopefully have a new happy home soon.

i may even pop a little monogram on them like i did kenna's. so, if you're reading here, consider your surprise spoiled!


color + pattern.

i' ve been going stir crazy in a weird way recently... wanting to rearrange all the furniture, paint things, hang more things on the walls, and i think it's coming down to the fact that our living room currently looks like this:
neutral. blank. plain. boring, honestly.

we live in a rental, so i don't feel comfortable busting out a wild paint color for the walls, so i've turned into this little squirrel, running around moving things from room to room. i've gone a little crazy spray painting a few random things, am working on re-upholstering a bench for the dining room, and we even painted the dining room chairs green. i had my hubby build us a small bookshelf that i promptly painted bright orange [photos to come!].

though i think neutral can be done artfully and beautifully well, i guess it just feels strange to live in tan-ville when what really inspires me is color! pattern! stripes and prints! how can i get rid of all the solid browns and blacks? i want things to [gasp!] not match as much. i want a little more of this:
[photos via red shoes]
i love how multiple walls are not only painted multiple different [bold!] colors in that kitchen photo, but also there's a wall of patterned wallpaper too! [photos via anna maria horner]

so in that vein, today i broke down and bought a yard of joel dewberry's orange damask fabric [which i've been stalking for months ]with a specific project in mind:
and i think when i finally get my little world all colored/patterned/printed up, i will wish i was wearing something like this with my perpetual tshirt and jeans!


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