Do I Look Like Santa? Imagination + Costume Bin = Our Summer

Both of my girls have been BIG into dress-up this summer! And it is getting hilariously whacky and fun! It started off as putting on a princess dress and claiming to be… a princess. But lately, their imaginations and costume bins are taking them to amazing pretend-play places!

July Dress-Up Photo Gallery

Super Hero
My Super J!!
“Me Moana!”
Poppy from Trolls
“If ever you see Poppy, the funnest troll in Troll Village, it’s just me your daughter, Josephine.”
My favorite nerd!
“Do I look like a Viking?” Yes. Yes you do!
honey bee costume
My honeybee!
“If ever you see a scary monster. Don’t be frightened. It’s just me your daughter Josephine.”
“Do I look like Santa?” Nailed it!
If ever you see my family out and about this summer and we’re hanging out with a gnome, don’t be surprised, that’s just our daughter Josephine.

Crowns For All Occasions

Want to enhance your kids’ dress up bins? Well, there are always pen&thimble crowns like these that helped transform Phee into Maui and Jasmine. And the one that helped Ivy…eat a bagel poolside. Find your new favorite bagel-eating accessory HERE!

DIY Costume Accessories

Or if you’re looking for a DIY project to help you cool off on a hot day, check out these pins in my craft and DIY board on Pinterest:

DIY Felt Gnome Hat:

DIY Troll Hair Headbands:

DIY Origami Paper Crown:

DIY Color-Your-Own Paper Glasses:

Summer is For Stitches

Poison Ivy isn’t the only thing I’ve gotten into this summer! I’ve also been sewing my heart out! (See what I’ve been working on at gillianstitches)

But I haven’t been cooped up in the studio! No… I’m out in the backyard, on the deck while the girls splash in the paddling pool, long car rides across 5 states, at the breakfast table, even in bed watching Netflix! This summer, I have taken sewing away from the machine and to… well, everywhere else!

English Paper Piecing

I’m working on a giant English Paper Piecing (EPP) project. For those who don’t know it is a technique of sewing quilts by hand using paper backing to stabilize your fabric and thus making your fabric easier to piece together.

From this…

To this…

Taking papers out..

Ta Da! One 12″ quilt block done!

Hand Embroidery

We took a long car trip across 5 states and 1100 miles with our two kids under 5 years-old. They had Netflix downloads, my husband had the wheel, and I had hand embroidery (I had the best deal of everyone).

Since I was cooped up in a car, I decided to stitch up some nature with these garden boxes. It was so fun to stitch and when I didn’t know what to do with an empty box, I took suggestions on Instagram! Stuck in a car collaborating with other creatives — it was heaven!

garden box hand embroidery

Do you like to get your craft on in the summer? What do you like to do? Tell me in the comments below!

Want To Stitch With Me?

Have you ever wanted to pick up a portable craft like embroidery or EPP to keep your hands busy while you schlep the little ones here and there? Let’s make a little crafty mom club! I’d love to help you get started! First, follow me on Instagram @gillianstitches and send me a message letting me know that you want to stitch with me!

Table Tales — Stories and Snacks

I hear you. You want sets! It took a number of custom orders for me to realize it, but I get it now! So in the past week, I’ve started adding placemat and napkin sets to the shop. And I’m especially excited about these first offerings because they promise to bring whimsical tales to your next snack or meal!


When you sit down for lunch, why not tell a tale of a couple of bears who went camping or a girl who took a basket to her grandma’s house and met a wolf on the way… These aren’t just placemat sets; they’re stories to share, lessons to learn, and imaginations ignited. Find your little bear cub or brave traveller a story set HERE.


And as always, these placemats and cloth napkins are easy to care for and made with love and care.

My business is based on my dual desires to 1) add cheer to childhood and 2) ease the frustrations of parenthood. Children love bright colors and whimsical items that are *theirs.* Parents love baby and kid goods that are thoughtful, easy to care for, and made to last. I strive to offer both in every fabric print I pull, every design I create, and every offering in my shop.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of love 9

I want to give you more of what you want! What other sets would you like to see? Visit my shop HERE and let me know what YOU want! I was thinking of combining crowns and necklaces for birthday gifts, coordinating bibs and teething toys. What would you pair with a feeding bib — a napkin or a placemat or something else? Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

I hope you have a wonderful story-filled week!


The Best Tick Protection For The Worst Tick Season

I’m going to start this off by admitting something shocking. I’m not super into the essential oil trend. My friends swear by oils, and swear by and and love the results oils have brought to their lives. But I’m definitely going to reach into my medicine cabinet for ibuprofen when I have a headache. Just how I roll. I roll without a rollerball. Get it? Essential oil mixers know what I’m talking about! 😉

Anyway… this is actually about ticks. This spring (having only seen one tick previously in my lifetime), I have tweezed a tick embedded in my knee, removed a tick crawling in my youngest’s hair, and have seen 4 additional ticks — in my yard, on my picnic blanket, on my back deck. MY DECK YOU GUYS! My deck is supposed to be my safe way to enjoy nature without being all up in the nature. But those creepers are encroaching on my safe space. I HATE THEM!


They are out there in huge numbers thanks to climate change, a huge acorn season in 2016, and other reasons you can read about here in this Huffington Post article. I hadn’t ever used tick spray before, so I did what any other freaked out mom would do after tweezing a tick out of my knee, I turned to Facebook for commiseration and advice. I got responses ranging from essential oils to sprays with DEET to tick tubes.

Was I surprised when countless friends suggested I use peppermint oil and lemon oils to keep ticks off my kids? Nope! Not at all! Was I about to consider that advice? Actually, YES! I will happily and proudly lather my kids in anything from pepermint oils to DEET if it will protect their bodies and developing brains from Lyme disease which could really take a toll! (See signs and symptoms here). But I settled on this spray — not because of the ingredients, but because it was determined to be the most effective protection against mosquitos and ticks per Consumer Reports research and ratings. Sold!

tick safety tips, tick checks

I’m also looking into getting our yard treated. Because these girls LOVE to play outside. I was talking to some parents at pre-K about all the ticks and someone understandably said she was hesitant to treat her yard and spray her kids because chemicals determined “safe” now may be determined to not be so safe later on. I get it. But I’m going with our safest option now. And aside from never letting them go outside this spring and summer, which I really really wish was a real option, that means spraying and yard treatments to help keep ticks at bay.

Ticks prevention

But we’re all different and that’s why all these different options are available. Whatever you choose to do to battle ticks this summer — move to a new state, never leave the house, spray, tick tubes, essential oils, pants tucked into your socks — I do recommend that you incorporate a daily tick check into your day if you live where ticks might be. I just strip and check the girls immediately upon entering the house. Especially checking behind their knees, behind their ears, armpits, bathing suit areas, and hair. So far the spray seems to be keeping the ticks off of us. OMG! Did I just jinx it?

embroidery in nature

I’ll let you know how our tick drama progresses. Real talk, I’m one more tick encounter away from becoming a shut-in.

PS. If you are not yet on the shut-in tick protection plan, check out our carry-all pouches for toting toys, snacks, and art utensils, even first aid, while on-the-go this spring and summer!