Favorites on Friday - And Potty Training is NOT One of Them

The First Success....what happened? WHAAAA!!!!

Hey everybody.  Coming to you from Poopville, USA.  I am so frustrated!  This week we started the potty training process and for the last two days the twins have been doing so well.  In fact yesterday only one accident from Laurel and ZERO from Maisy.  Then came today.  I can't count the number of accidents (twins = lots of poo poo and pee pee) and Laurel is now refusing to go on the potty!  I just put them down for a nap and I have to say I am in tears ready to just give up.  I have tried to stay positive and give them a reward every single time they go.  Today I even offered a small reward if Laurel would just try....I am wondering if they just aren't ready?!  Any of you seasoned Mom's out there have any advice?  I am at the end of my rope.

I have some favorites, but they will have to wait until next Friday.  It was a night full of waking up babies and then a weird early rising from Norah so I am in need of a nap or at least a rest.

Hope you understand!

XXOO Hannah

The Making a Paper Doll Part 2 - Boy Doll Hair Options

We've had a couple of marathon nap days over here so I have been able to do a lot of work on the boy dolls which has been great!  These are the hairstyles I have decided on.  What do you think?  Do you see your suggestion here?  I think I did every suggestion (a little more conservative version of a faux hawk)

Would you like to see how I did it?

First, let me introduce you to my favorite tool:

Jeff tried to convince me years ago that I should get something like this, after doing a ton of research, finally in January I purchased one with some of my pattern money.  I have never looked back! This is the most amazing tool I've ever owned.  For any of you who love to draw and would like to try going digital, this is the tool for you (great for photo touch ups too).  This enables me to color/shade with perfect precision.   I love that I can create on the computer with any color combination imaginable. If I don't like something I just click the undo button and try something else.  I also love that there is no mess to clean up.  No paint, markers, pens to hide from the girls or hurry and put away when they wake up.  It is all right there on the computer screen ready when I am.  OK, let's continue

I use GIMP for all of my digital stuff.  It took a while to get used to but with the help of Jeff, I feel like I know it pretty well.  It is freeware so you can download it today and just play around.  I am told it is modeled after Photoshop, I do see a lot of similarities between this and my Photoshop Elements (that came free with the Intuos).

So here is our little bald man scanned into GIMP:

This is when I get to clean up the lines, etc.

Next I want to add some hair.  I already scanned in all of the drawn hairstyles so I choose one:

I uploaded it and cleaned it up, then made it into a transparent layer.  Now I open up bald man and this is what we get:

Bald no more!  If you look over in the right hand corner you can see two layers.  This is when I go in with my trusty Intuos pen and fix the hair to look a little more natural.  I don't like how it looked over his ear and the side looks a little skrewy.

This is what I ended up with for this hairstyle (sans eye and hair color...sorry just a bit scary looking):

Next I'll show you how I colored and shaded the dolls.  So close to having the boys done!

Maisy vs. The Rattlesnake

In late June, I went with the girls to visit my parents newly built home in the high desert landscape of Spanish Springs, NV.  On one of the first mornings there, Maisy and Laurel asked to go outside to play on Grandma's swing set.  

We headed down the stairs but by the time we got to the middle landing, Maisy was tired and wanted me to carry her the rest of the way down.  So I left Laurel at the middle landing and took Maisy down to the bottom of the stairs.  After depositing her, I headed back up to help Laurel down.  As I started going up I heard a "ts-ts-st-ts-st-" sound and then heard Maisy copy the sound with her own "ts-ts-st-ts-st".  I looked down and there was a smiling Maisy hands on her knees leaning into a not more than 10 feet away, coiled, ready-to-strike, diamond back rattlesnake!!!

I ran down, swooped her up and yelled for "MOM"!  My mom and brother Jordan came down with a gun and a shovel.  It took about twenty minutes but Jordan finally coaxed the snake (with the help of the shovel) away from the side of the house and then was brave enough to cut its head off with the shovel (that's right folks...sorry to any snake lovers out there).

 Jordan's wife Ruth and I screamed and took tons of pictures:

Don't worry I wasn't this close, I was using a telephoto lens

This gives you an idea of how long he was.  

This is the door we use to go in and out of the above ground basement....he really liked the missionary's shoe

Here's the peanut gallery.  The girl's cousin Massey was so funny.  He knew there was going to be a show so he ran upstairs to get a box of cereal and then passed it around like popcorn to the twins. Love that Massey!

Brave Jordan getting a very mad snake far away from us.

I'll spare you a picture of the dead snake...Lets just say Jordan did a very good job of making sure it will never hurt anyone.  The rest of the trip and still once in a while Maisy will say "Snake broken"...or "Uncle Jordan broke the snake".  Yep Maise, the snake is broken....forever.

I think it will take a while to get the image of Maisy so close to that snake just smiling at it, not being afraid at all, out of my head...I still shudder when I think about it.  I am SO thankful nothing serious happened.  Jeff told me that he specifically prayed that morning that the girls would be OK and specifically that they would not get struck by a snake (we have seen two other snakes while visiting my parents so that's why he was specifically praying for this).  I am so thankful Maisy was protected.

Have you ever had a run-in with a snake?  Did you know that rattlesnakes are blind? It's true!

Favorites on Friday

I have a lot to share with you today...so many great things happening out there!  Let's get started shall we?

  For my birthday this year, I finally got the camera I've been salivating over for more than a year, a Canon T1i and I LOVE it (worth every single penny I've been saving for a while now)...I'm still learning how to use it (there is a lot to learn).  I found this ebook the other day from Rebecca Cooper, a wonderful blogger mom/family photographer and I have really learned a lot!  Very easy to understand even for a complete novice like me...and her blog is one of my new favorites.

Andrea is always doing something inspiring and wonderful and this is my latest MUST MAKE for the girls.

We have been thinking about doing this for a while now...as usual, Lindsay has put together a great post to help us get started.  Do any of you have a Family Mission Statement?  If so I'd love to hear it and even how you came up with it.

This just made me think...and this made me thankful for other mother bloggers. Thanks Sarah.

Loved this poem...a lot.

I think this upcycle would go great with Andrea's dress pattern above.

And this one from one of my favorites...seeing beauty.

That's all folks! Hope you enjoy and that your weekend is a good one.  I'll leave you with one of our new favorite pastimes over here:


XXOO Hannah

More Than You Probably Wanted to Know...

First of all, thanks to all of you who gave input on the boy hairstyles...very helpful.  I learned what a faux-hawk was which was pretty exciting!;)

In other news, one of my newest friends Mimi asked if she could do a little interview for Handmade News a couple of months ago.  I was happily surprised that anyone really cared that much to want to interview me.  Mimi asked some great questions that made me think.

Anyway, if you are interested you can check the full interview out HERE

While I'm at it, some other blogs have talked about the dolls HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

That's all for now folks....kind of boring...sorry...Here's a picture:

This is what I came into the other day... they were having a jumping dance party!  They took everything they could reach and put it into a joint pile of the floor...We're lucky, they still haven't figured out how to climb out of those cribs...soon though...very soon.

The Making of a Paper Doll Part 1 - And I Need Some Input from You!

Things have finally settled down enough around here that I enjoyed a few hours of drawing today while the girls slept.  I started work on the highly requested Boy Doll.  I think I'm going to call him Brother Doll (but would love to hear some ideas from you on that).

I thought I'd share some of the process with you as go:

So here is my final sketch...as you can see from my eraser marks, I was toying with shorter shorts and longer socks but ended up with this.  

Next step is to trace final lines using my trusty light board

Here he is...

However, as you can see, something is missing...the poor boy needs some HAIR

I came up with four styles:

Wavy, conservative


Afro...don't love this one..I will be tweaking and changing

this was inspired by my nieces favorite

I want to do FOUR more hairstyles.  As you know, I don't have any boys...so those of you who do or can think of any other styles that would be appropriate for a boy doll PLEASE share.  

To give you a little incentive,if I use a hairstyle you suggest, I will send you a FREE print-it-yourself boy doll with your suggested hairstyle.  Please don't be shy!

I don't want to forget....

These cheeks

and those eye lashes

and this beautiful mess

and that smile

and this face

and that determination and focus

and those little, busy hands

and that sometimes I wish I had more hands

and that confidence

and this joy

and her care free love for life

and her sense of style

how she doesn't care who's around...she WILL dance

and those curls

and their utter silliness

and that Grandpa came all the way down the stairs and Scout closed the gate for him...

to play Frisbee.

Favorites on Friday

I loved this poem about one of my favorite flowers
My sister has been busy again with some adorable clippies
Great shrinky dink idea for your girls favorite pets from mmm crafts
This was a great reminder that we are ALL artists from Sarah Markley
I will do this butterfly collage one day from the Idea Room...I WILL!
Some laundry wisdom from one of my favorites Cally at Calico
I have been loving Chris' Little Mama Series over at Pickup Some Creativity

These are a few favorites from this fun week with Jeff's family:

Catching some air with Mom and Uncle Phillip (she LOVED it)

After a hike to a beautiful waterfall that we just learned about (why am I the only one who looks like she just ran a marathon?)!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Growing a Girl - Book Review and Guest Post by Kristen Allred Ridge

I want to introduce you to Kristen:

 I've known Kristen now for about 7 years and we've probably talked in person about five times.  But I always feel when we do get the opportunity to talk that we seem to just pick up where we left off years earlier.  She is the kind of person I know I'd never get bored talking with.  She is full of insight, wisdom and candor.  I hope you'll enjoy what she has to say as much as I always do.  

So without further interruption, here's Kristen:

What does it mean to grow a girl? I have often compared my daughters to flowers blooming, and so the title of this book fits right in with that beautiful imagery. Today I hope to persuade you to read Growing a Girl at some point, but more than that I hope to share some of my thoughts on one of the book's major points, and to take a look at your own style of mothering and see what you can improve about it.

I now have three daughters to raise, and I think a lot about how I can raise them to be strong individuals, strong women, that aren’t overly affected by America’s stereotypes of women.

Before you read further, let me explain one thing. This is not a book written by a woman who does not like men, or who thinks that girls should be like boys, or who thinks that girls are the same as boys, or who thinks that girls are better than boys. None of the above. She feels that girls should be girls.

I have purposely never aligned myself with the ideologies or movements of feminism, either liberal or radical, because of the polarizing, negative connotations most people associate them with. I also don’t believe in trading one set of stereotypes for another, which is what I feel the feminist movement does.

That said, I have the desire to raise girls who are self-reliant, competent, smart, energetic, who can “wear a velvet dress to the ballet and still climb to the treetops,” and who have been taught to recognize and counteract our culture’s gender bias. In a nutshell, I want them to know what true beauty is, for knowing that will make all the difference in their lives.

If all of this makes you think, "Ummm...what other type of girl is there?" then this post may not be for you. Raising daughters like this with complete and utter ease, at least to me, would have required me to have had a mother who was at peace with her femininity and beauty and helped me obtain a healthy gender identity. That, I did not have. So has begun my quest to figure this mystery out for myself, so that my daughters don't have to fight tooth and nail to obtain it when they are grown.

The author of this book offers dozens of strategies, and practical, useful counsel for how parents can help their daughters develop their identity, and thus their femininity, by developing a strong individuality. Her basic argument is, “Let Girls Be Girls.”

Here’s the outline of her book:
1) Why the biggest difference between girls and boys is how we treat them—and how to help your daughter find joy in being a girl.
2) How to listen to the story of a daughter’s life—and teach her to honor what she knows and feels.
3) How to champion a daughter’s self-reliance and teach her to be safe—without scaring her.
4) How to find and use role models to enrich a daughter’s sense of self.
5) How to show and tell the story of sexism–and counter our culture’s narrow views of women and men.
6) How to teach your daughter to see beyond ideals of perfect beauty–and celebrate her beautiful self.
7) How to discover your daughter’s strengths as a learner and build on her natural interest in math, science, and computers.

Points 2, 3, and 6 are the most important ones to me at this time--I have a four year old, two year old, and three month old--all girls.

Since Hannah's blog has a major theme of beauty, I choose # 6 to discuss for a few moments: Seeing beyond ideals of perfect beauty and helping your daughter celebrate her beautiful self. What a task!

My four-year-old is constantly dancing, singing, and performing. She insists that a real lady never wears pants. As you can see in the picture above...she is wrestling on the grass in a dress. She asks me daily if I will put make-up on her. She is always talking about being beautiful. This is not the little girl I was---so at times I look at her and think, "Who ARE you?"

In a nutshell, to her, beauty is most definitely skin deep. While she is too young to really understand much yet, I have found a few ways to teach her what beauty is really all about. I share two of them today.

Use stories. Some already illustrate a healthy sense of beauty, others don't. Whether you pick one that does or not, you can almost always easily share your message with your daughter, even if it is by helping her to challenge what the story appears to teach.

Cinderella is one of our favorites. My daughter loves to discuss how Cinderella was dressed in rags and dirty clothes while her stepmother and sisters were dressed in fancy, beautiful clothes, yet Cinderella was the beautiful one because she was kind, patient, and resourceful. Even when Cinderella is able to finally be dressed in a gorgeous gown that outdoes everyone else at the ball---it isn't her outward beauty that Prince Charming remembers.

In fact, he remembers so little of how she looked that night that he has to use a shoe to find her. And once he finds her, she is once again dressed in tattered rags. Is he disappointed with her because of her ugly clothing? No, on the contrary, he is ecstatic to have found the girl who captured his heart, likely by her personality and spirit.

It is commonplace and easy to read traditional fairy tales and see only the negative, but I have learned that a story can mean so many different things--so much depends on what you focus on. There are not many pieces of literature out there that can only be interpreted one way. Use the stories that your daughter loves, and explore them!

Let your daughter help you with her photo album or scrapbook. 
It is really delightful to have your daughter participate in building the story of her life. The many faces, activities, and every day events that are recorded with photos are perfect opportunities to talk about her own, unique, beautiful self. 

How do you teach your daughter to celebrate her beautiful self?

Turning a Thrift Store Frame into Something Special - Leafy Tree Top Frame TUTORIAL

This is kind of a fun day for me. One of my favorite bloggers Shannon from luvinthemommyhood invited me to be part of her Babyhood Bonanza.

click on the button above to see all of the amazing guest tutorials

 If you haven't gone over for a visit you must go check out all of the great tutorials.  Great for you if you are expecting or have a new little one and also great gift ideas!
If you are new to Lily&Thistle, I welcome you.  I hope you will feel free to have a look around follow along if you'd like.

OK, on to the tutorial.  Today I'll show you how to take an inexpensive thrift store picture frame and turn it into something beautiful for your nursery or little ones' bedroom.  Also, I'm offering the print pictured for free...just scroll down to download it and print it out!

Go to your local thrift store (or your garage) and find a frame (I found a frame and a mat). You can usually find a pretty good quality frame for around two dollars.

My mat was a little large for my frame so I simply traced the back insert and cut my mat to fit.

Enjoy the magic and wonder of spray paint and paint both the frame and mat.

A whole new frame...almost.  We'll be needing those cupcake papers soon...you'll see...and the cherry blossoms.

If you choose to go with the print I'm offering below, you can embellish it a bit using those cupcake papers.  Just fold your cupcake paper into thirds and cut the top off....ta da! you now have a really cute skirt!

Now you can use some inexpensive acrylic paint (you know the kind in the 98 cent bottles at Walmart?) and paint your mat the color you'd like...mine was robin egg blue.

Here's a close up of the new textured skirt...I just used glue dots to adhere it.

After you put everything together, get your trusty hot glue gun out (or your glue of choice) and then adhere a branch or two (or whatever decoration you'd like) to your frame....almost done.

On the back of your frame (if you'd like it to hang from a ribbon) just use thumb tacks and tack it to the back on both sides.

Done and done!  Enjoy!

A word about the print:  I have always loved this particular adaptation from  this poem.  In fact as a young girl, I made a special frame for it at our church's girls camp.  As a mother of three girls, princesses will probably be a big part of life.  I want my girls to remember and to know that they truly are and always will be princesses in a very real way.  I think this poem expresses that perfectly.  I hope you will enjoy (also, if you'd like the hair and skin personalized in this picture, let me know and I'll change them for you for a small fee).

click HERE to download and print