Recent Work: Part 1

I have been meaning to post some little projects I've done these last few months. I'm so far behind on that that I now have enough to post it as a short series; so here's part one.
The program: book storage (high-parent's, low-children's), object display, and workspace for Noah. Atop of that was my desire to play around more with metal rods that I had begun working with in my Interior Architecture thesis project.  So I got some off-the-shelf brackets that I painted to match the wall, two depths of poplar and a block of aspen that I finished with linseed oil, and metal rods I bent into two different types of bookends.

Noah has definitely made good use of his desk. It is so sweet to see him sitting at his chair concentrating on his own art.


Family Pictures

A couple of weeks ago we had our first ever professional family pictures taken by the lovely Little Acorn Photography. You can go here to view the pictures. I am so happy with how they turned out. It's going to be difficult deciding which ones to order...I want them all!
I am so happy we decided to have these pictures taken. They did such a great job of documenting us as a family. I will cherish these pictures forever!

By the way, if anyone needs pictures taken you should definitely check them out. They are very reasonable, but more importantly they do a fantastic job!


Stockings Made With Love

This year we decided to make stockings for Noah and Olive. Since this is Olive's first Christmas she didn't yet have a stocking, and Noah, up until now, has had a miniature stocking. So, we thought it would be a special thing for them to have stockings handmade by their mom and dad. Hopefully something they'll cherish as they get older.
Noah's is made with a grey herringbone-type material on the outside and a fun Christmas-y plaid on the inside that folds over the top. We liked the fabric combination because it is masculine and something that will grow with him. Olive's is made with linen for the outside and a fun red and white gingham on the inside. We also did a cute applique on hers with a mustard felt. Nick designed the pattern of leaves and berries for the applique and I stitched the branches with grey thread. Her's too will be one that can grow with her. I'm thinking about hand-stitching their names somewhere on the stockings. I just haven't figured out where yet.


Fun Thrift Store Find

Last Friday I found this chair sitting outside at a local thrift store. It caught my attention right away. I knew we had to get it when I saw the price tag said ten bucks! It's in pretty good shape; the only noticeable wear on it is on the edge of the arms. It had a skirt around the bottom of it that Nick ripped off to expose the pretty wood legs underneath.


Inspiration for an Upcoming Birthday

Our little girl's first birthday is just a couple short months away, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas in between I know we are going to be busy! So, I've begun planning it already. This post is really more for me to put my ideas down on paper...er, the screen, but you know what I mean.
So, here goes. For colors I really like orange, pink, and teal. I found this adorable felt garland on etsy and think I'm going to make one myself.
I also love the pink and orange rock candy and the ribbon tied on the cake plate in this cute display.
I've asked my grandmother if she could knit a replica of this oh so cute cardigan. I think it would be perfect for Olive to wear with a long sleeved onesie and some leggings underneath!
I adore these tissue poms (and I already have some in our house in different colors), but I'm just wondering if they would be too much since we'll already have the garland.
I'm thinking these invitations would be too cute!...or at least something similar that Nick could come up with.
I love the patterns on these pinwheels.
We'll just have to see how it all comes together!


What a Hoot

We made this little guy for a sweet friend's baby shower. And now I want to make the kids each one for Christmas...and then maybe start selling them in the shop. He was so much fun to make and super easy too. And a really good use for scrap fabric.

Hope everyone's having a fun, sugar filled weekend. I'll give you a hint about what the kids are going to be dressed as for our church party tomorrow night...characters from a Grimm's fairytale. I'm kind of excited about it. Now we just have to finish their costumes!


Fun at the Fair

We went to the Alabama National Fair a few nights ago. It was the kids' first time going to a fair, and they had so much fun! We all rode the ferris wheel together and some other rides, watched a horse and a wolf show, walked through the petting zoo, and watched the circus performance-which was great! This fair was the best one I've ever been to. I was very impressed.

Nick and I had fun reminiscing about going to the fair when we were kids, and it's fun that we got to experience it with our own children!


A Sister and a Brother

These are pictures of Olive and Noah both at eight and a half months old. Can you tell they're brother and sister?


New in the Shop

We have recently added fabric scrap bundles to our shop. I saved every bit of scrap fabric for the last two and a half years in hopes that I would find some use for them. I have buckets full and have not done anything with them. So, I thought we could try to sell scrap bundles of coordinating fabric in our shop. It's a nice little bundle- the sizes of fabric are all different, but there's enough in the bundle to do some applique or some nice small scale patchwork quilting, or to even make some home made hair ties...the possibilities are endless. The best part is the bundles are only four dollars, and they come in a cute little cellophane bag all packaged up and ready to ship!


Practice Makes Perfect

I bought myself a little present at the store the other day...a cupcake decorating kit. It came with four different icing tips and eight disposable icing bags. I don't even know if I'm using the correct terminology, but hey, I'm new at this.
I've been starting to think about what I want to do for Olive's first birthday party. I know it's still more than three months away, but I like to start planning early. I had a lot of fun making Noah's birthday cake, so I decided that I want to make cupcakes for Olive's first birthday. And, I want them to be cute! I gave it a trial run for my ladies' Bible study, and this is how they turned out. Remember, this was my very first attempt!

I know I'm going to have to practice some more, but I guess it's a good excuse to make cupcakes!



Nick and I have always wanted to have a live/work space. It would be fantastic to be able to have our shop in the bottom floor with some great store front windows and then just walk upstairs to our living space. Well, we've been looking around downtown since we moved here trying to find a building that we could do this in and have been dreaming ever since. Here's a few pictures of some of the buildings.

We looked inside the second one today, and it was amazing. Nick and I couldn't stop talking about the possibilities for this building. It also has a gorgeous courtyard in the back and some amazing sky lights. We'll see...


A Beachy Birthday Cake

For Noah's third birthday this year I decided to make his birthday cake. I have always admired the way my Nana always made her children's birthday cakes- and they were always super cute and creative. I found my inspiration cake (because there's no way I would have come up with this myself) in a Parent's magazine. It was in a Luau party guide- perfect since we were having his birthday party at the Splash Pad. Here's how it turned out. It's obviously not perfect, but I was happy with it!

And, here's how I made it:
1. Make a cake! I used a box mix, duh! Separate the batter into two round cake pans and a small oven safe bowl (for the island). Let cakes cool completely before icing.
2. For the icing, again I used store bought icing because it made my life that much easier. Tint about 2/3 of the icing aqua blue, and the rest divide and tint into colors of your choice (for the swimsuits on the bears and the piping on the huts).
3. Once the cakes are cool, ice the first layer, then put the second one on top and ice that one. For the island you can ice with white icing or tint it to match the brown sugar. Sprinkle the iced island generously with brown sugar to look like sand. Note* The instructions said to use crushed shortbread cookies, but I forgot to buy those, so I improvised and used brown sugar.
4. Place the island on top of the cake and use remaining blue icing to make "waves" on the edge of the island. This helps blend the island in with the rest of the cake.
5. Decorate the cake! You can use colorful icing to put little swimsuits on the teddy grahams. For the huts, stick starburst candies together in the shape of a hut, and for the roof, use mini shreaded wheat cereal and finish with piped icing. Use peach rings for floats, swedish fish for fish, round peppermints for a beach ball, and jelly beans and nerds for the under water rocks along the bottom of the cake. I used green twizzlers and cut them into the shape of sea plants for the bottom of the cake as well.

This is a really fun cake to make with your kids. Noah had a blast helping me make it/eating all the candy while helping me make it. The only downside to it is you're left with all that extra candy...


Three Years Old

Today my little boy turns three years old. Wow. On the anniversary of his birth I think back to the day that my whole world changed and I became a mommy.

I am so thankful to God for you, my sweet Noah. You are such a blessing, and I pray every day that your life will be filled with good things, that you will love God and serve Him, and that you will grow into a strong, upright, kind, gentle, encouraging, loving person. Mommy and Daddy love you with all our hearts.


At the Lake

We had a wonderful time at the lake relaxing, boating, swimming, skiing, tubing, kayaking, playing games, singing songs, and catching up with family. The kiddos did great traveling- two plane rides to get there plus four hours of driving. Be on the look out for a future post about tips for traveling with two children under the age of three.
I always have so much fun with this side of my family. They are so full of energy, life, and creativity.

There's always fun to be had at the Lake!


Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Recently, I have read two different fav blogs of mine, here and here, that did a post on wrapping gifts...with wrapping paper not gift bags. I'm taking it as a sign that I need to throw out my large stash of gift bags that I have accumulated over that last few years. I don't know why I saved basically every single gift bag that I received- and there are many between wedding showers, baby showers, and birthdays. The thing is, I've gotten lazy, but I plan to change! I plan to take back the days that I used to love wrapping gifts and take pride in the end result. When I was younger, at Christmas time my family designated me the official "gift wrapper."

I've always loved opening a wrapped gift much more than just reaching into a gift bag. There's something extra special about a "brown paper package tied up with string." It's just plain fun. There's a sense of mystery and excitement and appreciation to the giver when opening a wrapped gift. So, today I am vowing that I will do my best to present gifts in a wrapped fashion or, at least, not in a silly 'ole gift bag. Goodwill better watch out, because their about to get a large donation of old gift bags!

Enjoy a few pictures of some pretty packages:


Sweet Dreams

Awhile back I promised that I would post pictures of our new place we call home. This is where my family sleeps:


A Few Things

The kids and I, along with my mom, are traveling to Minnesota via airplane next Saturday to visit our family for a whole week. I couldn't be more excited! I always look forward to seeing them, especially since it's only every few years that we get to. My grandparents have a cabin on a lake. The days there are filled with lounging in the hammock, swimming, boating, water skiing, playing games, and (probably my favorite) picking fresh vegetables from grandpa's garden to have for dinner. I love going to the lake. Noah was only eleven months old the last time we were there. He will have loads of fun playing with his cousins.
Noah's birthday party is the weekend after we get back. I always love planning his birthday, and this year it's going to be down by the river at the splash pad. This party will be fun. That's what the invitation says anyways. I still have much work to do in preparation for that.
I am finally going to be caught up on my orders this week. I made it my goal to be completely caught up before I leave for my trip. I only have two orders left. It will feel so good to be caught up, and I'm sure my customers will feel the same! I haven't been taking orders for the last couple of months because of the move, and I can't wait to get going on that again. We've got some new stuff up our sleeve for when we re-open the shop. I'm excited.
We got a new car. Hallelujah. We have been in need of something bigger since baby number two arrived in January, and we finally took the plunge. We've been driving around Nick's first car, a Ford Focus (ahem, can we say tiny?) since we got married, and it was great until we started having children. So, drum roll please, we got a 1997 Honda CRV. I know, it's actually older than our other car, but you would never know. It's in great shape and has fairly low mileage on it. The best part is that I can easily get the kids in and out of it without having to bend and twist in all sorts of strange ways. It's really great. I am loving it.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Do something fun, enjoy your family, play a game, go on a walk (when it's not a hundred degrees outside), and take in the beauty of God's creation.


Little Man

He pulled this little get-up together all by himself...pretty creative to use video tape boxes, don't you think? He's makes me laugh...


Half A Year Old

Little miss Olive Jane is six months old today- half a year has passed since the day of her birth! She is learning so many new things everyday and is growing up so fast. She now has her two bottom teeth and worked hard to get them. She can almost sit up on her own. She gets up on her hands and knees and mostly moves backwards, but every once in awhile she pops herself forward. So far, she's not a big fan of jarred baby food, but she loves to taste anything that we're eating. When she's really thinking about something she moves her hands in a gypsy-like fashion or like a hula dancer. My mom says that I did that when I was a baby. She has a new favorite toy that makes her laugh and squeal- it's a little monkey that squeaks. She has started to become wary of new people and always wants to be near her Mommy. I don't mind since I know how truly fast she will grow up and not want to be held all the time. She is a blessing and a joy to be with. We are so thankful for her sweet little life.


Happy Independence Day...a day late

I have been very slow on the blog posts lately, but that's because we are still getting settled in our new place and in our new life here in Montgomery (we have now been here for a little over a month). In addition to attempting to get caught up on orders from all the way back in March (which is a little hard to do when the fabric company still hasn't sent the fabric that was ordered back in April!), we have been trying to tackle the huge feat of organizing our "studio" as Nick likes to call it. We have a bedroom on the bottom floor of our apartment that is our work space, or I should say that we are trying to make it our work space. There is still much to be done. I'm hoping that Nick feels up to getting another book shelf to put up in there today. I'll post pictures once the organizing and putting away is complete, although it never really feels complete. I will be able to function so much better once that area is in shape!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day and took some time to reflect on all that it means to us. This picture is from an Independence Day a long time ago (22 years ago to be exact!). I'm the little blondie on the right if you can't tell. The other two cute little brunettes are my lovely cousins. We always had so much fun together, and we still do!
We spent the day worshiping, eating some delicious barbecue, lounging around, going to a baseball game, and watching the fireworks. It was grand.


Getting Settled

We've now been in our new apartment for almost a week. Man, oh man, moving is a huge job. I definitely never realized how much stuff we have. Wow.
I think we're starting to feel somewhat settled. There are still boxes to unpack and organizing to be done, but at least we can function. And hey, all those stairs to climb are free exercise! Woo hoo! It's really not bad at all. Someone told me today that each stair you climb adds six seconds to your life.
We are loving it here so far. Love being able to walk to more places and not have to get in the car and drive everywhere. We've walked to restaurants, the park, the baseball stadium, the water board, and the bank to name a few.
Today I took the kids to the zoo. It's less than five miles away! We were there for three hours. It was great! They have a really nice little playground with lots of shade. I'm sure we'll be going there a lot.
We will post pictures of the apartment soon!


Graduation Present... to myself

So today I bought myself a little graduation present... a brand spank'n new vehicle! More precisely: a bike, bought with graduation gift money. We currently own one car and do not want another, so we are very grateful that our new home is only one and a half miles from my work.  Thus, I will be able to stroll in through downtown Montgomery on this bad boy...
...sweaty but sleek. And on rainy days I'm sure my wonderful wife will give me a lift. She'll just be grateful for what pedaling will do for my glutes. On that thought, I think bicycles are pretty brilliant: they use the age old technology of the wheel and gears to increase the efficiency and efficacy of man-power, which is not only free, but clean and renewable! Thankfully they are coming back into fashion as a serious mode of transportation.
Anyways, this bike has great customer reviews and has been ranked at the top for commuter bikes, plus it is gorgeous. What sealed the deal for me was, of course, the classic lines, the integrated bell and lights, and the avocado fenders... so I decided to go for it, even though I couldn't take it for a test ride.
Its expected delivery day is my first day of work. I was hoping to have a few free days to practice and regain my 5th grade biking skills, but I'll probably just go for it as soon as it comes in. Now all I need is a helmet, a new pair of Tom's, and a couple toddler bike seats for the kids.



I am officially done!  Today was my graduation commencement that sealed the deal. I am now a college grad with degrees in Architecture and Interior Architecture.
The only person more ready for this day to come than I was my fantastic wife. Since our marriage the summer after my freshman year, she has managed to give birth and care for two children, run our little business and only income, babydarling, all while putting up with my intensive architectural education. Amazing... even a few professors during the CADC reception this afternoon congratulated Brooke and told her how instrumental she has been. These last five years have been pretty intense, and exhausting... but I would not change anything.
The work has paid off.  Now I can be paid for my work, and we can enjoy being young parents... we are now off to new and exciting things. Wish us luck!


Pure Joy

I am so incredibly thankful to God for my family.  It is such a wonderful thing to hear the words, "Mommy, I love you" come from a two year old. I try to soak up the conversations that I have with my little boy.  Just last night he was handing me a "present" and I asked him what it was.  He said, "It's a Cindewella dwess for you, and I'm the prince.  I will dance with you."  I cherish those moments.
It's an amazing thing to have a tiny little babe depend completely on you.  To be able to make her laugh and gurgle when I blow raspberries on her tummy.  To watch her grow and change so much in such a little bit of time.  To see her eyes light up and a big smile come across her face when she sees her daddy and her big brother.
Ah, motherhood. Tis a pure joy.
When I got out of bed this morning and came into the kitchen, I found a jar with beautiful flowers and a card next to it. It was the sweetest and most special card I have ever received.  I didn't realize it right away, but when I went into to kiss Nick on the cheek to say thank you, he asked if I looked on the back of the card.  I turned over the card and it said "hennstudio."  My sweet sweet husband stayed up last night and handmade me this card.  When I read those words now, I can hear his voice reading them to me.  It means so much for a wife to have the approval of her loving husband.  Thank you, my love, for everything.


Almost Done

I am posting this from the digital resource lab in the Ralph Brown Draughon Library where I am working on my thesis book (which was supposed to be turned in at 1:00 today... oops). Needing a little break from staring at InDesign, I came across this picture on the class folder and thought I would share it. This was my climactic thesis presentation a couple weeks ago... fun.  I am at the end of a five-year saga.  I graduate in 9 days, and all I have to do is finish my thesis book (I just reached page 91), complete a design project for Parametric Modeling, begin/finish a full scale mock-up for an independent study, and reformat my boards into a competition entry. At least the end is near... and now I will get back to work.



This semester I've been doing an independent study with one of my favorite architecture professors. The subject matter was completely open to what I desired to investigate, so I turned it into an opportunity to design and develop a product to add to our now latent shop, HENNstudio.
To include a research component, I began by assembling a quick collection of flat-packed designed objects.  Flat-packing is of interest to me because our business completely relies on shipping.  Flatness has both economic and environmental benefits for shipping.  The mobile we sell on babydarling, for example, has a shipping thickness of about 1/2 inch.
For the research, I was less interested in IKEA-type assemblies, and more interested in maneuvers such as tailoring, bending, and folding.  Instead of relying on a multitude of small parts and hardware, these take advantage of material properties and rely on very few and simple steps for the customer to turn the 2-dimensional cutout into a spatial object.  I thought I would share a few fun designs:
This is a spread from the catalog I intended to produce... I decided it wouldn't leave enough time for design. This is one of my favorites: the Piegato designed by Matthias Ries Design Office in Berlin.  The powder coated sheet of laser-cut steel is shipped completely flat. The customer then bends by hand, along perforations, the desired number of shelves with ease. The entire process, including mounting with simple screws, takes only a few minutes.

Above are a couple other examples of products that use bending. I adore the Real Good Chair.  The powder-coated steel ships flat and folds along laser-cut lines to create a dynamic and comfortable chair. "As skinny as a supermodel, yet far more sturdy." There is a fantastic little documentary on the chair that I would recommend.

Above are just a few more fun designed objects I happened to come across. Enjoy.
1. belkiz feedaway : portable feeding chair
2. unless coral lampshade
3. sara paculdo's flatchair
4. fuchs+funke's papton chair
5. josh jakus's floppy basket
6. fozzils


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I've been wanting to work on some new pictures of the kids to put up in our new apartment. We are going to have a whole lot more wall space than we do now in our little trailer, so I'm excited for us to take on the challenge of finding art/taking pictures to put up when we move in! Here's a few of my new favorites.


We have a new niece!

Our little niece Casey Grace was born this morning and we can't wait to meet her! She weighs 10 lbs. 11 oz.! We'll be heading to FL next weekend to visit Nick's family. Nick's sister Alicia and her husband now have three daughters, Alyssa, Brianna, and Casey. ABC...cute! So now Noah and Olive have a new baby cousin! Olive and Casey are only three and a half months apart. It will be fun to watch them all grow up.


We've moved...

...not to Montgomery, yet, but from wordpress to blogspot. We originally chose to blog with wordpress because it seemed to be more customizable. Wordpress's downfall for us, however, was that it does not support Google Friend Connect with which the rest of the blog world stays connected. I actually emailed wordpress to ask them about adding it as a widget, and they said they were thinking about it. Soon after, they added one that would allow people to subscribe through email... I guess that was their solution. Well, here we are. We can now follow and be followed and finally feel like part of the blog community. The page is a little cleaner and less chubby now anyways. I've copied and pasted the posts from wordpress... but comments were left behind (sorry to those who commented). Anyways, enjoy the "new" blog.