It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas cross stitch sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

The Christmas tree has been up for a few weeks now.  Cooler weather has settled into central California.  Sweet holiday stitching has begun.  And it’s really beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas around here.

I’m planning on as little hustle and bustle as possible this year.  I just want to relax…..and enjoy every moment…..and soak up every memory.  The older I get, the more I want the holidays to be a calm, simple and peaceful time.

Sweet Emma has continued to hit lots of “speed bumps” with her health but her amazing attitude and ability to be happy no matter what is thrown her way is an inspiration to me.  That dog is my HERO and the perfect role model for how to live a truly happy life!

I hope your holiday season is full of peace, joy and magic!



The Color Map

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on Spoonflower fabric color sample
We’ve been having such a great week around here!  Emma bounced back after hitting a wicked rough patch in her cancer battle, Baxter kept me company as I watched a zillion lessons about how to do surface pattern design in Illustrator, I made my very first repeating pattern EVER…..it was incredibly ugly…..but I DID IT!  And I am soooo very proud of my ugly pattern!  And the cherry on top of an already great week…..this beautifulllll Color Map arrived from Spoonflower.  It’s a yard of fabric with 1500 different color swatches printed on it that you use as a guide when designing fabric on your computer.  How fun is that???!!!  Now I’m ready to attempt to design some non-ugly fabrics!  Eeeeeek!  Wish me luck and I’ll definitely keep you updated on my progress!



Being A Dog

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels snuggling close up
Emma had a big check-up at Davis a few days ago and as always, she exhibited her signature blend of sweetness, bravery, wisdom and mellow enthusiasm.  We learned that the chemo isn’t working but that’s not surprising…..we already knew that it usually isn’t effective for her type of cancer.  But we had to at least give it a try.  On the bright side, the cancer has only gotten slightly worse since her last big check-up two months ago.  The oncologists think that she could have a few more good months with us but we’re still hoping for a miracle and that she’ll defy the odds!  We will probably try some acupuncture and holistic supplements too…….but for now, Emma is going to spend her days being a dog, NOT a cancer patient.  And that’s just fine with her!

Go Team Emma!


P.S.  Emma used her fuzzy, baby brother, Baxter as a pillow on the long car ride home from Davis and I’m not biased at all but I’m pretty sure that this is the cutest picture in the history of EVER!


Dollhouse Lane

Dollhouse collection inspiration board
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was dreaming up plans for an entire, little dollhouse neighborhood and here they are!  After I finish the beachy Cavalier Cottage and decorate it in shades of orange, aqua, lime and gray, I want to build that little tudor dollhouse and decorate it in pastel pink and green, shabby chic style…..it will be called Princess Emma’s Palace…….and then I want to build a replica of that classic, southern house and decorate it in neutrals…….that one will be called Baxter’s Bungalow.

And then I want to decorate the houses for the holidays and of course each house will have it’s own style of holiday decor!  How ridiculously cute would that be?!

Nevermind the fact that I’m already in the process of building a dollhouse bakery and I’ve been gathering supplies for a dollhouse winery……I’m dreaming big!  And turning my little neighborhood into a little town!




I had planned on spending last week working on my dollhouse…..and sewing…..and designing things in Illustrator…..and telling you all about my plans for an entire dollhouse neighborhood…..and spending the week doing girly, crafty things while John was on a guy-ish, camping type surf trip…..but somehow he managed to convince me to come along after he said he’d rent a Glamper for me and the dogs!  I had two days to get ready and I’m not really a spur of the moment kind of girl but sometimes it’s fun to live outside your comfort zone!
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in lounge chair
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels playing in ocean

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel beauty shot close up

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on picnic table at the beach
Emma and Baxter LOVED Glamping at the beach!  They played in the water, frolicked in the sand and intently watched the world go by from their perch on top of the picnic table.  John LOVED Glamping too!  He surfed every day and made campfires and grilled dinner for us every night.  And I LOVED seeing everyone have so much fun.  But I also really, really, REALLY LOVE high speed internet, Netflix, being really clean and all of the other luxuries of modern life that are harder to come by while Glamping.  We had so much fun but I’m so happy to be back home…..and so happy that my feet are no longer covered in dirt!  I’m an “Indoor Girl” at heart and proud of it!



Cavalier Cottage

Orchid dollhouse kit by Greenleaf kit bash in progress
 After sitting neglected and ignored in a box for over a year since our cross-country move from Florida to California last summer, this sweet little dollhouse is finally getting the love and attention it deserves.

It was a great distraction from all of the stuff that’s going on with Emma.  I spent several days installing beadboard on the walls…..cutting about a zillion popsicle sticks for the “hardwood” floor and “plank” ceiling……..
Kit bashed Orchid dollhouse kit by Greenleaf in progress
And painting and priming my heart out before I ended up in bed for a week with a wicked, little cold.
White washed Orchid dollhouse by Greenleaf in progress
But I’m feeling all better now and ready to get back to work on the Cavalier Cottage!
I know it looks very, VERY white right now but I’m dreaming up ideas for all sorts of sweet and colorful accessories.  This is my “Inspiration Board” for the cottage decor…..
Orange, aqua, green, grey mood board
In my mind, the cottage is in a beautiful little beach town like Carmel, California or Martha’s Vineyard……

It’s going to be light and airy and beachy….

It’s going to have working lights, gingerbread trim, a fireplace that flickers and yes…..those French doors open to let in the ocean breezes!

And I’m already dreaming up ideas for two more houses to make an adorable little neighborhood!  I’ll tell you all about those next time!



Roller Coaster

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel laying on floor

A lot can happen in a few short weeks in the world of a cancer patient……we’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and our minds are still spinning from all of it.  I can’t even remember how many times we went up, down and all around on this crazy cancer roller coaster since I shared my last Pupdate on Emma.  We went from being certain that she just had radiation side effects……to being certain that the cancer was back…..to being pretty sure that it wasn’t a cancer recurrence and thinking we had a miracle…..to finding out that the surgery unfortunately failed and now we’re very concerned but not 100% certain that the cancer has returned…..it’s all completely exhausting and confusing and overwhelming.

Emma started chemotherapy last week and she’ll get one injection every three weeks.  But don’t worry…..dogs don’t get the same horrible side effects that people do from chemo.  Emma is as happy as can be and she has no idea that she’s sick.  She doesn’t have a care in the world!

Right now we’re in “wait and see” mode.  The oncologists aren’t quite sure what’s going on…..they all have pow wows and talk about how unique Emma’s case is.  Soooo, we just have to wait and see how she responds to treatment over the next few weeks and then reassess the situation.

It’s hard to stay calm, cool and collected but I’m trying to Live Like Emma and just enjoy every second of life and every second that we’re together!



Happy SeptEMMA!

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel napping on fuzzy blanket
Happy SeptEMMA everybody!  You know how I love to rename months and since Emma’s half birthday is on the 13th and this month is all about her recovery, the month has been renamed in her honor!

The trip to Davis was exhausting and stressful but we just keep reminding ourselves how lucky we are to live a few short hours from one of the best veterinary hospitals in the world.  I won’t go into all of the gory details but let’s just say Emma’s mouth and throat were a disastrous mess…..much worse than we originally thought.  The surgeon did a great job but Emma is still at high risk for lots of complications over the next few weeks.

But the great news is that Emma has no idea how sick she is!  She’s happier than she’s been in weeks and wants to get back to her day job of being a spoiled puppers instead of playing the role of cancer patient recovering from surgery.

And now we wait for the biopsy results to come back……the oncologist thought it looked like radiation side effects when she saw Emma two weeks ago…..but the surgeon who just saw her thought it looked like cancer.  Sooooo…..I’m on pins and needles for the next week waiting for results to come back……but I’ll just keep trying to move forward, enjoy life and remain hopeful!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…..It’s learning to dance in the rain.”



Here We Go Again!

Close up of blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

We’re off on another “adventure” to Davis Vet Hospital in just a couple hours!  Emma started drooling heavily from the “cancer side” of her face a few weeks ago and after lots of appointments and tests and anxious waiting we finally found out what the problem is…..she has a hole in the roof of her mouth where the tumor used to be…….but it doesn’t look like the cancer is back!  I never thought I’d be happy to say my baby girl has a painful hole in her mouth and she’s getting surgery to fix it in two days…..but it’s way better than hearing the words “cancer recurrence!”

We’ve packed all of our road trip essentials for our little three day trip…..yoga pants, cross stitch supplies, NetFlix, Illustrator classes, doodling supplies, red wine, Emma and Baxter’s favorite toys and lots of homemade food that I made during a “cooking-palooza” yesterday.

Sooooo……here we go again fighting another battle that cancer has thrown at us but we’re ready to fight with everything we’ve got.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog!”

Go Team Emma!


Recharging Our Batteries

My Mom finally came to visit me in California last week!  It was the first time she’s visited since I moved here a year ago and Emma and Baxter were thrilled to see their Grandma!  And they were even more thrilled when they found out we were going on a little vacation with Grandma to Carmel, California! Yayyyyy – ROAD TRIP!!!!
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on outdoor patio in Carmel, California
Dogs need a chance to re-charge their batteries too and I don’t think anyone would disagree that Emma DESERVES to be spoiled after everything she’s been through this year!

Carmel is such a magical place – adorable little cottages that look like dollhouses out of a fairytale…..beautiful beaches with happy dogs running everywhere…..and the people…..oh my gosh…..I’ve never encountered so many incredibly joyful and warm and friendly people in my life!  And it’s sooooo incredibly dog friendly!  It was one of those rare places where I felt more alive and energized and inspired just by being there!

We pranced around town and ate at wonderful little outdoor restaurants with twinkling lights and went to an amazing dog boutique and in the evenings we hung out in the hotel lounge which was full of dogs and people who were laughing and dancing and singing…..
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in dog store in Carmel, California
But my absolute favorite part of the trip was taking Emma and Baxter to the beach.  Emma grew up at the beach…..she lived at the beach for seven years before we moved to central Cali last summer…..Emma is a beach girl at heart…..but she hasn’t been to the beach since we moved to Cali.  She was so beyond excited to be at the beach again and I couldn’t wipe the ridiculously huge smile off my face as she ran around like a puppy and rolled in the sand and played in the water.  Pure bliss!
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel exploring beach in Carmel, California
And precious little Baxter was cautious and slightly confused by his first trip to the beach but bravely tackled this new adventure because he had his big sister at his side.  And then he collapsed because the beach is exhausting business for a sweet, little puppers!
Baxter the blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel napping
And I’m already planning a few return visits to my new favorite place on earth……maybe a weekend in October to see how they decorate for Halloween…..and definitely a weekend in December because I HAVE to see how the decorate for Christmas…..and maybe we’ll need to go back for my birthday in JENuary……and I think you get the point.  I’d move there in a heartbeat if I could!  It’s paradise!

Baxter the blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


Economy Block Quilt

So there are definitely benefits of being on “blog hiatus” for a few months……I have tons of projects that I’ve been working on that I haven’t told you about yet!  I got completely caught up in the Economy Block Along craze that took over Instagram back in JENuary.  Did you see it?  Did you get pulled into the vortex too?

I planned on making a mini-quilt but I became so obsessed with fussy cutting center squares and picking the perfect fabrics for the outer squares that it seemed to grow uncontrollably.  And seriously….don’t those little foxes totally remind you of Baxter???  I’m convinced that Baxter needs a monocle, a snazzy, argyle sweater vest and a fedora now!
Quilt squares cut for scrappy economy block quilt
It was one of those projects where I got so into it when I was working on it that I would forget to do trivial things like eat or take the dogs out to potty. I even did the unthinkable and cut into some of my favorite fabrics that I’d been hoarding forever!  I spent many chilly, winter afternoons cutting and sewing all of my pastel squares while watching NetFlix and sipping on the occasional champagne mini.  Pure bliss…..
Pastel, scrappy economy block quilt progress
And before I knew it, it was done!  It never became a neglected Work In Progress that got dropped the second I came up with a new idea.  That’s how much I LOVE this quilt!
My points and quilting are totally wonky and I certainly will never win any awards for precision piecing but who cares?  I’ll just live by the theory that the imperfections give it lots of character!
Pastel, scrappy economy block quilt
And of course, it was promptly claimed by Baxter.  Sweet dreams little buddy!  Enjoy YOUR new quilt!
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on economy block quilt


P.S. – You can find the tutorial for the Economy Block Quilt on Rita’s blog, Red Pepper Quilts.

P.S. #2 – I’m watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on NetFlix.

P.S. #3 – What’s JENuary you ask?  My birthday is in the month formerly known as January.  I have claimed the month as my own and re-named it JENuary as I believe in celebrating my birthday all month long.  Especially, since it was my 40th birthday this year!


Hello World

Belle and Buttercup mood board

Hello there!  I’m so glad you stopped by!  A lot of you already know me from my old blog or from my old online shop or from social media but since this is the first blog post on my brand new blog I felt like it needed to be an introduction for those of you who don’t know me…..or a bit of a re-introduction and update on what I’ve been up to for the rest of you!

I’m Jenny.  I live in sunny, central California surrounded by orange groves and vineyards with a view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  I’m here with John, my sweetie of 13 years who is an F-15 Fighter pilot, three dogs, Emma, Sammy and Baxter and two cats, Cassi and Bailey.  I’m an introverted, homebody who has always loved to make things.  We came out to California last summer for John’s dream job after spending 13 years living at the beach in Florida and we LOVE it here!

I was a practicing veterinarian for 10 years, ran an online quilt shop, Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop for 4 years and now I’m having fun reinventing myself all over again.  The plan right now is to start designing and creating things……patterns, fabric, paper goods…..who knows!  I’m just going to see where this adventure takes me and enjoy the journey!

I love fabric, sewing, quilting, cross stitch, embroidery, dollhouses, painting, running, red wine, baking, Italian food, raw cookie dough, peanut butter cups, Hello Kitty, the color pink, pajama pants, Staycations, NetFlix tv show marathons, getting packages and cards in the mail, searching for creative inspiration online, Susan Branch’s artwork, snow, anything autumn-y and animals……especially Cavalier King Charles Spaniels!

The name Belle and Buttercup has a very special meaning to me.  They are the names of the dog Moms of my two beloved Cavs.  Emma’s Mom was named Belle and Baxter’s Mom is named Buttercup.

So far this has been a big year for me! I turned 40 in January…..or JENuary as I like to call it….then I closed my online quilt shop to start my new creative venture and promptly came down with all sorts of colds and the flu and then disaster struck…..we found out that Emma, my sweet 8 year old Cav has cancer.  She bravely and happily endured a month of radiation treatment and countless other tests and procedures and is now happily snoozing the day away and snoring at my feet.  Emma is my hero and she’s the perfect role model on how to live a happy life!  Go Team Emma!

I’m now spending my days learning Illustrator, working on designing cross stitch patterns and trying to figure out what I’m going to be when I grow up.

I’m so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy this little peek into my world!

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