What Valentine’s looks like after years of marriage, kids and turning 40.

handmade valentines www.theginghamstudio.com
simple handmade valentines


We had great start to the day. Everyone woke up somewhat happy {I have 2 tweens so I’ll take what I can get}, and we had a late night last night {see below}. I gave everyone candy and handmade cards. And my husband and I took the dog for a walk.


Valentine's Day after years of marriage, kid and turning 40 www.theginghamstudio.com
A treat to myself on Valentine’s Day


My son and I had an argument on the way to school about his valentines {which I don’t even care about}. Lesson learned, it’s ok if he just hands out candy and his name isn’t on it. In years past we have always done handmade valentines and not candy. So that is one expectation I have let go of, because 5th graders don’t really care either. So we apologized and forgave each other. He is more important to me than those ridiculous cheap valentines. Parenting is hard though.


Central Magnet Basketball www.theginghamstudio,com
High School Basketball


Spent last night at a basketball game and nervously watched, wanting them to win, and they did. {It was the first round of the District Tournament.} They have come so far after the last 4 years. After many years of being married to a coach I still understand very little about the sport. Winning means my husband will be spending time with his players instead of me. I’m so proud of the way he teaches and leads his boys. It took me years to get what it meant, but I’m so happy to find that place. #gotigers

Grocery shopping because there is not enough food in the house to feed my family. Unless you count the leftover pizza from last nights game, or cereal.

Driving my daughter from one event to the next when I hate being in the car. And that means I won’t be able to fix any dinner, so we will probably have sandwiches. Maybe if I’m feeling energetic I will cut heart shapes out of them {not likely}.

Here is the other side of the coin.

Treating myself to Starbucks while attempting to write out this blog post that wasn’t planned.

Grey rainy days.

When it comes to parts of my work I can work anywhere, anytime {i.e. Starbucks, the couch, in bed}. Or I can choose to be creative and make something {i.e. FREEDOM, being your own boss}.

When your husband send you this and it melts your heart {this is the only valentines gift I need}.


my husband knows me so well www.theginghamstudio.com
“I just called to say I love you” by Stevie Wonder


I get to have leftover pizza for lunch.  And I don’t have to cook tonight, which means no dishes.

I still get to spend time with all of my people at various times throughout my day. And I’m greeted with excitement at least from the dog.

My favorite part of the day or any day…Climbing into bed at night with the person I love the most on this planet and falling asleep with a book in my hand {pretty much happens every night as soon as my head hits the pillow}.

I think love really means doing the mundane and ordinary parts of life with LOTS of love, hope, forgiveness, and grace in our hearts. I hope you see glimpses of real love in the most normal parts of your day, today and every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day
















2018 word of the year & a manifesto

I want to spend 2018 feeling good in my own skin. www.theginghamstudio.com
2018 manifesto

If we were to sit down to coffee, preferably at a café in Paris, and you asked me what I wanted out of 2018, I would tell you that I want to feel like myself. Now, to be honest, I didn’t completely lose myself and 2017 was a good year. I really pushed myself and got out of my comfort zone. Now I want to get back to doing things that bring me pleasure and make me comfortable in my own skin.


The gingham studio show booth designed by Orangebox Celebrations. Holiday on the Hill, December 2017 www.theginghamstudio.com
the gingham studio show booth at Holiday on the Hill


After months of sewing, preparing and collaborating with Orangebox Celebrations {thanks, mom!}, I participated in 2 holiday shows. Being the introvert that I am, and having spent every waking moment consumed with these events, I was spent. I did learn so much about myself and my business and what I want in the future. The holidays came and I just wanted to hibernate. Since then I’ve been spending a lot of time resting, thinking, reading, dreaming, planning, being a mom, wife and creating space to breathe again.


grey gingham bags from the gingham studio - www.theginghamstudio.com
grey gingham bags with “bien dans sa peau” green embroidery


When I started thinking about what I wanted for 2018, all I could think about was finding the freedom to feel like me and have the confidence of having my insides and outsides match. The French call this bien dans sa peau, being comfortable in one’s own skin. Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, explains it this way,“For all her attention to what she wears and what she eats, a French woman is most defined by ease in being herself and the attractiveness of taking her pleasures”.


my art journal, 2018 bien dans sa peau manifesto www.theginghamstudio.com
make art for fun


2018 bien dans sa peau manifesto


create margin daily, monthly, yearly

create margin in my business to allow for growth and creativity

grow my business slowly and consistently

practice art making for future goals

make art for fun

automate daily tasks and shop online to decrease decision fatigue

batch tasks to be more effective, single tasking

faites simple {keep it simple}, always

nurture relationships with family and friends, have fun and laugh

connect with other makers in real life and online

encourage creativity in others and myself

observe joie de vivre {joy of everyday life}

listen to my body: what food, movement, rest does it need?

dress my body in clothes that I love and fit my body, personality, and lifestyle

drink more water and herbal tea

let go of extreme expectations, comparison and negative talk

spend time alone when I need it

stay hopeful in my faith: prayer, read scripture, journal

say no, and give myself space to make decisions

be mindful of what and how much I read and watch

only make goals for 3 months at a time, pay attention to the seasons


This may look like a long list, but these things are always on my mind so just writing them down helps me to feel more focused. Bien dans sa peau is about how I care for, nourish and clothe my body, mind and soul. Its about continuing that Paris state of mind, and joie de vivre {joy of everyday life}. Sarah Mae shared what her mother said about the French in her book Longing for Paris, “…the people seem so free, unencumbered by what others thought. They just lived and enjoyed life and food and conversation.” 

Do you have a word for 2018? Goals? Have you ever written a manifesto? I would love to hear what you are planning for the new year. Leave me a comment below.

à bientôt,



{If you want to read more on this topic, I shared some books that are a must for any francophile in this blog post.}