Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions, Hello 2011

Every year I stop and reflect on all that has happened and all that I want to make happen in the New Year.  My ritual has evolved over the years, I used to write a single sentence to myself with a resolution that I wanted to keep, such as "fit into jeans from 5 years ago" which never seemed to happen.

Now that we have a little guy we choose to stay in on New Year's Eve.  Honestly I never really cared for going out and celebrating with everyone, although I do love the fireworks that Philadelphia puts on at midnight, but I don't love the drunken guys shouting in my ears or the frigid night air.   So I take New Years eve as a moment to settle in with a nice pot of tea and 2 sheets of paper.  One is to write a letter to my little guy about all the things that have happened in the past year.  We are only on year 2 of this tradition but I hope to carry this through as something that I can give to my son when he is older.

The other sheet is to write a letter to myself about all the things I want to accomplish in my New Year.  Last year that included starting my own business so I could continue to stay home with my son.  This year this happened and so my new letter will have to include new goals and hopes for this coming year.  I never place any time constraints but I find that at the end of each year the things which I have written down have almost always come to pass.  The simple intention of setting my place for the new year makes these things stay with me and happen.

This year I think my letter will start off with some more business plans and some personal plans as well like a nice vacation to europe and maybe another little person in our tonight I will be dreaming and kissing my sweetheart a midnight.

What are your New Year's dreams?

Lovebird steals a kiss by Baby Jives

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holly Day Silhouette Ornament

When I was a penniless art student I started a holiday tradition with my family and friends. Each year I would create a handmade ornament for all the special people in my life as a way to celebrate and remember that year.  Now every year I love more than anything taking out those ornaments that I have created myself and collected from other artists over the years and decking out my tree with memories.

This year I am adding one more memory to my tree, a silhouette of our little guy - and I may not want to put this one away come January...or February...or March.  I've made one for our tree and then one for each of the grandparents because I know they'd love to hang one on their trees too.

Now go take a profile shot of someone special in your life and follow along with me to create a wonderful holiday memory....

Step 1.  Take a photograph of your someone special in profile and if you can include a little bit of their eyelashes it will be perfect.  Print it out - mine was approximately 3 inches tall - then glue your image down to a piece of black cardstock and use your exacto knife to cut around the image as shown above and then curve the bottom to finish.  You can remove the photo if you didn't use too much glue or simply flip the image over and use the other side to display.

Step 2. Cut an oval out of medium weight cardstock.  I actually used an empty breakfast bar box (which my son is addicted to, a memory for this year) but you could use decorative cardstock for something fancier.  

Step 3. Create your scalloped base for the ornament.  Lay your image and the oval you have cut out on a piece of cardstock and draw a scalloped edge around the oval.  I love the imperfection of a handmade edge - just go for it.  Then cut out the edge with an exacto blade.

Step 4.  You are almost done!  Glue down your profile to the oval and the oval edging (if you made one) then down to your scalloped base.  Now take a micro-hole punch and punch a hole in the center of each scallop.  Then choose a nice piece of ribbon, embroidery floss, or yarn (my choice) and weave it through.  Finally tie a knot in the top and you are ready to hang your new memory on your tree.

Enjoy, this is part of the Holly Day Blog Hop from Etsy Moms - leave a comment on this post and read below to find out how you can win a basket full of goodies from Etsy Moms!

And now continue on the Holly Day blog hop with a post from Baby Swank...

Etsy Mom Holly Day Blog Hop

Check out all of the fabulous holiday-themed projects, gift ideas, and more from our wonderful EtsyMom Blog Hop Contributors from around the world!!
Here's how it works:
1. Hop through each of the blogs listed above to get fabulous holiday inspiration and leave a comment. If you are starting at a blog in the middle of the Hop, start back at the EtsyMom Blog. You may have to scroll down a bit on the blogs to find the Blog Hop posts as the week progresses.
2. Leave a comment on the EtsyMom Blog post between now and December 11, 2010.
3. Enter to win our giveaway by doing any of the following. For each thing you do, you will be entered into the drawing one more time:

~Leave a comment on the EtsyMom Blog post between now and December 11, 2010.
~Leave a comment on the Holly Day Blog Hop posts for any of the blogs listed above between Dec 5 and Dec 11, 2010.
~Join the EtsyMom Blog email list (fill out the form in the right hand column).
~Become a follower of the EtsyMom Blog! Just click the "Follow" button in the lower right column.
~"Like" the EtsyMom Facebook Page.

Share about this Blog Hop on your own blog, posting a link to this page.
Share about this Blog Hop on Facebook, posting a link to this page.
Share about this Blog Hop on a message board or forum, posting a link to this page.
To let us know you've done these things, please come back to the EtsyMom Blog post and leave a comment for each thing you did.
Sorry - you cannot enter the giveaway here on my blog.

On December 11, 2010 we'll choose a winner using the Random Integer Generator from The winner will receive this super sweet gift basket full of handmade holiday goodies, including:
a pair of Turquoise Earrings from
a lampwork bead bracelet by
sterling silver and Swarovski pearl/crystal holiday earrings by
a cream colored cotton scarf given by
a raincloud ornament from
a matching splat mat and baby bib from
two pair of earrings from

a gift pack of over 30 pages of vintage paper ephemera by
a lovely sustainable stocking from
a set of holly jolly gift tags from
a set of toddler pajamas in a style of the winner's choice from
a $15 gift certificate from
A gift certificate from

A Custom copper heart necklace from

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Crafty Handmade Holiday

This post is part of the series A Crafty Holiday put together by Angela of the Artists House where bloggers have been posting about what and why they are doing for a handmade holiday.  You can see a great post from yesterday by Gina Hief and tomorrow visit Three Ravens for more.

Now here's my story....
I can no longer sit on my sofa.  It’s not that I don’t want to, I am no longer allowed to - my son has turned it into a freeway inhabited by his fleet of cars and trucks.  I don’t think I have actually purchased a single matchbox car or tonka truck, even though we have over 30.  I am grateful for the gifts but coming downstairs every morning to a house full of STUFF makes me feel claustraphobic.  So this year the only things I am bringing into my life are the things that bring me joy.  What can make me smile when I step on it the morning?  A handmade toy - something made with love and attention to detail that is lacking in mass produced items.

Here are a few things I would love to get for the little guy in my life:
1. Baby Deck Chair by Board Games
2. Toy Boats by Friendly Faries
3. Shinkansen Bullet Train Shirt by Namu
4. Robot Blocks Toy Set by Woodmouse

When I buy handmade I know that I am supporting someone who loves what they do.  Somehow when my house is littered with handmade toys I do not feel claustrophobic, instead I feel like my life is filled with cheerful clutter. I smile when I pick up my sons handmade wooden boats and place them back by the bathtub.  I enjoy dusting off the artwork I have accumulated through the years.  I relish washing the ceramic mugs my hubby and I drink out of every morning - we each have our favorite handmade one (well maybe relish is a bit strong, but you catch my drift).  

And for my bigger guy some fun things:
1. Computer Terminal Retro 80s Fridge Magnet by Moddy Boy 80
2. Bear Cup by Mie Kongo
3. Repurposed wooden clock portable amp/ipod speaker by Rdallum
4. Dewey the Itty Bitty Robot Embroidery by Naomi Cayne

I will also admit that buying handmade is a little bit of a selfish act – because I know that no one else is going to be giving my gift.  I am going to stand out as the thoughtful gifter who sought out that amazingly unique item for someone I loved.  So I hope you all have a wonderful handmade holiday - what would you like to find in your stocking?

ps.  Santa, if you are reading this - here are a few hints for me - I've been a very good girl this year!

A Woodland Wonderland Mural for Samantha

After the tofurkey was done and the presents were bought on Etsy, Joe and I geared up to paint a mural for a very special little girl here in Philadelphia.  So after 2 days of hard work I am excited to present to you the final pictures from Samantha's Woodland Wonderland.  Filled with little animal families, this mural got the seal of approval from Samantha when she toddled into the room and started going around with a huge smile saying "Mommy - Babeee" and petting all her new friends. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A woodland wonderland mural

I have been neglecting the blog because I have been blessed with lots of work lately.  I am currently getting ready to start two murals here in Philadelphia for private clients and I wanted to share an image of one with you today.  So without further ado I give you the design for Samantha's Woodland Wonderland.  The client really wanted to feature animal families so there are lots of little pairings.  The best part was when I showed the mural design to Samantha (who is not yet 2) she pointed to the animals and said "baby...mama" over and over with a huge grin.  Now that's why I do this!  The painting will start this week and then I will post some pictures of the completed project.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Psst, I am having my first sale at the Baby Jives store - starting tomorrow, 11/25 at 4pm all ready-made mobiles will be 10% off and there will be free shipping on select items.   The sale runs until 11/29 at 11pm.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A little bird told me - a Giveaway starts today!

I  wanted to let you know that I am doing a Giveaway this week on the blog City of Dionne. Visit the post and leave a comment letting me know which colors you would love to see in my shop and you may win a custom "a little bird told me" single bird on a branch. The winners will be posted next week on her blog - so check back in.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

If you are like me, there are some days when getting your child to eat vegetables can be a bit challenging.  I'll admit somedays I count Gavril consuming veggie Pirate Booty as eating his greens.  My kid, like most, is a carb-o-holic and would pretty much consume crackers all day if I would let him.  That's why I love making muffins.  They are the perfect place to hide his vegetables - or supplement if he's having one of those days where he will gladly eat his broccoli, avocado, and carrots (he does actually eat them).

Here are the muffins I tend to make once fall hits and little man loves to help me cook them - he gets to do the flour and spices.  This is a recipe that I adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin.  I would guess that each muffin has about the equivalent of 3 tbsps of pumpkin, not bad.   I have even tried them with a cup of shredded carrots or zucchini mixed in - up the veggies and the yum quotient.

Have fun cooking - we did!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat  pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup shredded zucchini or carrots (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners or grease. Then combine flours, spices, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Beat egg in a medium bowl then mix in brown sugar, then pumpkin puree, oil and milk until well combined.  Add shredded zucchini or carrots if using.

Mix the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix - this will cause your muffins to lose their tenderness.  Stir in the pecans and raisins or chocolate.

Divide mixture into muffin cups and then bake for 15-17 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  These also freeze well so you can keep on hand for a daily snack.  Happy Baking!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Raining on Ohdeedoh

I was cruising around the web tonight and found out that Ohdeedoh did a nice little post featuring Rainclouds on Etsy and mentioned my raincloud mobiles.  You can see mine and the rest of the wonderful bunch here on Ohdeedoh

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - DIY little Engineer and his Train Costume

Since little man is obsessed with trains and really does engineer everything in our lives, we figured this costume was perfect for this year.  We even went to a Halloween parade last night and got our picture taken by a local newspaper - I guess DIY does stand out even with all the fancy costumes sold at Target nowadays.

It was a ridiculously easy DIY - all I had to make was a little red bandana (you could even buy one) and then we had the overalls, train hat and blue thermal. Then I drew out the engine and caboose onto a sheet of cardboard for Daddy to cut out and paint (since I was too busy with lots of orders this week), we punched some holes and strung it around our necks.  And voila - the train is ready to hit the tracks for collecting treats tonight.  Little man got an early start with a lollipop this morning.

And as an added bonus little man was already "driving" his trains around the house today, he got the engine and put it around his neck and then choo-chooed through our downstairs.  So he even has a new toy.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Giving Thanks

Sorry I've been a little out of touch lately - between running the business which is really starting to take off and running after the munchkin I am finding my days FULL!!!!  It is full of wonderful stuff and I feel blessed to be doing both, but it is full nonetheless.

It's also had me thinking a lot about how often we give thanks.  In my daily life I find I am often too busy worrying about the little details to stop and focus on what is truly important - being thankful for all those little details.  So today I am giving thanks.

I am thankful for the people in my life who support me: my husband who wakes up 1/2 hour before me to get my son so I can sleep a little longer in the morning and who does so much to make my life happier, my parents who taught me that I need to make my own decisions and have supported me in every choice I've ever made - good and bad,  my sister who always tell me the truth and makes me laugh with hilarious pictures of her dog dressed up as santa claus or a police officer (his halloween costume last year).  I am thankful for all the other families in our lives who have become a second family to ours.  I am thankful for the wonderful neighbors in my life who we stop and talk with on a daily basis and who make living in our home a genuine pleasure.  I am thankful for the people who have chosen to buy my artwork and mobiles thereby allowing me the freedom and time to stay home with my son full-time.  I am thankful for the blessings in my life and for the opportunities that are given to me.  I am also thankful for all the hardships in my life that allow me to understand that life is not always easy and which have helped me to develop empathy and understanding.  

"More than Enough" by Jahjehan Bath Ives (aka me)
This just a little bit of what I am thankful for today in my life.

What are you thankful for in your life?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just Breathe

So I am resting up a bit after my first craft show this weekend at the Highlands Mansion in Fort Washington, PA.  I am working on a bunch of custom orders and so this week I will simply post a link to the lovely treasury I created called Just Breathe...take a look and enjoy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

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Mondays without little man

So the past few Mondays little man has been sent up the river to stay with Grandma and Grandpa - overnight!   I've been really busy getting ready for my first craft show and my parents offered to do this to help me out.   It's been so wonderful of my parents to take him and I am completely grateful that he has such comfort and trust with them that he will willingly stay there without us and have a wonderful time. 

So this is simply a post to say thank you.  Thank you to all the grandparents out there who give their time, hearts, and energy to making our jobs as parents a little easier.  We love you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall is almost here

Little man and Daddy trick or treating at Urban Outfitters

Fall is almost here and I am getting excited to make little man's Halloween costume for this year.  Last year I think I was still adjusting to the sleep deprived nature of being a mom so the only thing I managed to crank out was a jack-o-lantern trick or treat bag made from an orange cotton Urban Outfitters bag (thanks to Joe!).  Oh and I sewed a little red heart onto Gavril's skeleton sweats with his little black Converse sneaks.  Doesn't he look like one of the bullies from the Karate Kid movie?

This year little man is all about trains so I think an engineer costume is in order.  He has the perfect little striped overalls with a little bandana and then I think I am going to make him an "oil-can" trick or treat bag out of felt and a little engineer's hat.  Then I am thinking of making some sort of shirts for Joe and I with trains on them so we'll his vehicles... We'll see how much I can get done, I do get a little break after the Highlands Craft Show.

See more musings by other bloggers on fall at Scoutie Girl

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goldfish swim along merrily and hum a happy tune

So little man has been up at Grandma and Grandpa's house since yesterday enabling me to get a lot of stuff done in the studio.  I have been thinking of a new mobile for a while featuring everyone's first pet - the goldfish.  So two days later I have a new mobile design and some photographs to share.  Now I must get back to work because I am getting ready for my first craft show in less than two weeks at the Highlands Mansion in Ft Washington.  If you are in the area come and see me - here's a link  for more info and a $1 off coupon for admission

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rainbarrels can be beautiful

So I wanted to share little side project that I just finished last weekend - a painted rain barrel for the Manayunk Eco Arts Festival which will take place the weekend of September 25th.  You can get more info about the festival here

I was inspired by the canal which runs through Manayunk to make frogs leap and lily pads float across my barrel and the beautiful weather we had provided the perfect excuse to paint outside.  Here are two pics which I took quickly before I delivered the barrel.  The best part is that after the festival I get to keep the barrel and install it to collect rainwater for my garden!  Unless someone wants to buy it - then I'll totally sell it...and make another for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fish are swimming around

So I am on a mobile designing binge. Since it's summer and most people are traveling and not thinking about making large paintings in their kids rooms, I thought I'd put some free time to use making some new mobile designs. I also think I was inspired by the many trips to places with water we have been taking this summer in my new design. Gavril also is fascinated by fish whenever we see them so it was a natural next design. So I present to you - the fish mobile! Locally I've got some at the Nesting House and virtually I am getting them photographed and posted to the new esty shop, asap. I am still trying to decide whether they should have eyes or not. Thoughts...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My shop on Etsy is finally "open"

So it's a small start with only a few items but I am making new stuff and adding it as soon as I can. Until then please check out my new shop on Etsy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Nesting House is done!!!

So after three days of hard work Joe and I finished the mural at the Nesting House. We documented the process as we went along ... when we had a moment to pick up something besides a paint brush. So here goes

Day One

Day Two

Day Three - Finished

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Nesting House begins

We are starting a new mural at the Nesting House in Mount Airy, PA. We start painting this weekend ...more pictures to be posted then. Until then enjoy our rendering - we'll see how things change as it goes on the wall.

The Nesting House is a wonderful new space started by Jen Kinka and Meredith Jacoby, two local moms. The store will carry cloth diapers, kids clothes, baby gear, and toys(both new and gently used), and handmade items (I'll be making a few bird mobiles for them).

Here's who they are in their own words, "The Nesting House is a unique retail store offering a variety of high-quality new and gently used items geared towards the needs of newborn and toddlers. The Nesting House aims to uphold a mission of social and environmental stewardship by supporting small business artisans, selling only non-toxic, fair trade new items and by helping to encourage the general public to purchase recycled goods whenever possible. In addition to our retail, we are proud to offer a small community space designed for family-centered groups, classes and gatherings." You can see more about them at

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The website is up!

I have finally finished the website for Baby Jives Murals. You can visit us at to see more mural work and find out how you can get a custom mural painted in your little ones' room.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Accidentally Vegan Banana Muffins

So this morning I went to make a batch of banana oat bran muffins and I usually tweak any recipe a little bit but this morning distracted by Gavril crawling over to try and open up the dishwasher, I left out the eggs. I didn't notice this until later when I was eating the first of some very yummy banana muffins filled with nice little chunks of banana and missing a lot of sugar and thought they were denser than usual-- more like a dense gooey cake than a muffin. And then I thought, hmmm did I add the eggs? A quick check of my trash can confirmed what my infant addled brain could not - there were no egg shells. I had made accidentally successful and quite delicious vegan banana chunky monkey muffins - as I later dubbed them. They were dense, moist and delicious and with all that banana my husband commented that they almost tasted a bit like eating the batter but without the raw factor. Yummy!

So if you'd like to try them here's my recipe...enjoy and be warned they are pretty addictive. Also check back because they were so sweet that I am thinking I may make a batch without the sugar (even though it was minimal) and just use bananas and applesauce to sweeten them so Gavril can devour them as a healthy no-sugar treat.

Chunky Monkey Bran Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) earth's best buttery stick
3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 medium bananas - 1 really brown to mash and 1 spotty brown to slice
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
optional -- add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, raisins, or coconut if you want

**consider using organic ingredients where you can - it's good for you and the earth**

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line or grease 12 muffin cups.

Combine the whole wheat flour, oat bran, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl. Melt the buttery stick in a small saucepan or in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. In a large bowl mash the really ripe banana and then combine with the melted buttery stick, applesauce, and brown sugar. Then slice the other banana into the bowl - slice into quarters lengthwise then 1/2 inch chunks. Mix this in with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just blended.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown and set - don't over bake and don't worry if it's still a bit moist in the center there are no eggs so you don't have to worry. Cool the muffins in pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.