Dec 8, 2010

gift set

A good friend placed an order for this gift set for the new parents of a baby girl.  
I love these fabrics!  
And I really enjoyed making this set.  

Baby Gift Set
Baby Bib, Burp Cloth, Toddler Bib, Washcloth, and appliqued Onesie

This gift was sent directly to the new parents, so it was wrapped and included a card with a message from the sender.

Please contact me if you are interested in a customized gift.
I enjoy creating special items, and will be happy to ship directly to the gift recipient.

Dec 3, 2010

fun, old-fashioned family Christmas

We started our fun, old-fashioned family Christmas this evening with a trip to a local tree farm, Delp Christmas Tree Farm.  It was the first time we had been there and it was a wonderful experience.  (Other than the fact that our "lovely" camera battery was "depleted" before I could capture everything I wanted to - even though it was fully charged when I left the house!)   Here's our story...

Jake left work a little early this evening, moved Ben's car seat into his truck, and the three of us squished together for a thirty minute drive north.  Once we arrived we got our instructions for choosing and cutting our tree and headed out into the fields.  I really underestimated how long it would take to choose our tree.  We kept finding a better one - just a little further down the row...  

When we finally realized it was starting to get dark and we needed to start home, we made a family decision and selected our perfect Christmas tree.  We took a couple of pictures (before the camera died), Jake cut the tree down, and we hopped in our truck to checkout.  Back at the office, a couple of nice guys shook our tree in the Shakee (love the name), wrapped it with the netting machine, and loaded back in the truck.

Then we went inside to pay for our tree and have some treats by the fire.  The folks inside were very friendly and visited with us - turns out they actually know the couple that used to run the tree farm in the town where I grew up (less than 2,000 people).  What a small world!

And after our fun, old-fashioned family Christmas tree experience, we headed to our local bar and grill for cheeseburgers & fries, a couple of beers, and time with friends.  We hope to decorate our tree over the weekend, so I look forward to sharing "after" pictures with you soon.

Enjoy the weekend!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention one of my favorite things about  
a beautiful sign at the entrance that says
Christmas begins with Christ

Dec 2, 2010

honey-baked chicken & family photos

That's what I made for dinner tonight.

It's super easy, budget-friendly, and tasty.  
Which makes it perfect for this time of year! 

Honey-Baked Chicken
from More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre (Excellent cookbook!)

Preheat oven to 350
Arrange in shallow baking pan, skin-side up:
1 - 3lb fryer, cut up (I usually just use thighs and drumstick I've caught on sale - like tonight.)
Combine and pour over
1/3 c margarine or butter, melted (I use butter)
1/3 c honey
2 T prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
Bake 11/4 hour, basting every 15 minutes, until chicken is tender and nicely browned.  Good served with rice
Serves 6


Chicken coated with combined ingredients

The final product

See!  It's so easy I only needed to show you three pictures.  (Maybe a couple more, but I forgot to take a picture each time I was basting.)  But you get the idea - it really is simple and delicious.  Ben ate the chicken off two of the drumsticks himself.  And I don't personally eat the skin, but the chicken itself is still full of flavor.  Enjoy!

Along with making a yummy dinner, 
I also managed to update some of our photos today.

Love our new pictures from Unruh Photography
The LOVE and family are from Back40Life.
This seemed to be the perfect place our nativity this year.

Dec 1, 2010

giveaway at marigold road

Did you see this new addition to the cotton tree?

Now you can enter to win one over at Marigold Road.

 And while you're there, make sure to take a minute to visit Marigold Road's shop.
Wonderful items!

Things have been super busy around our home since last week.
And I'm really feeling behind on so many things - including this blog.  :)
But I have lots of fun things to write and share over the next couple of weeks - please stick around.
Welcome to December!

Nov 30, 2010

red and green

Just in time for Christmas!

Perfect for your little elf.

Nov 28, 2010

giveaway winner

Thanks to all of you who entered the Thanksgiving giveaway!
 The winner of the cotton tree $20 shop credit is.....

#12 - catss99

I'll be emailing you with more details.


Nov 23, 2010

a little thanksgiving (giveaway)

Don't forget to enter my
Thanksgiving giveaway

$20 shop credit

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with...


and lots of this...

See you again Sunday!
I'll be spending the next few days enjoying time with family.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22, 2010

giving thanks

I am thankful for so many wonderful blessings in my life.

my husband
our son
our cozy home
good health
and moments like these...

 I am also thankful for all the great people who read my blog, 
and support my handmade shop.


And on that note - this is also my 100th blog post!
So let's celebrate with a little shop giveaway.

$20 shop credit
There are four ways to enter.  
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

1. Share something you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

2. Follow the cotton tree with GoogleFriends (on sidebar)
If you already follow, leave a comment saying you already do.

3. Follow the cotton tree on Twitter 
If you already follow on Twitter, leave a comment saying you already do.

4. Blog about it and/or Tweet about it.

Giveaway ends and winner will be announced sometime next Sunday, November 28.

Nov 19, 2010


When I think about Jake and me, and what I treasure, I immediately think of our letters.  Letters we wrote to each other over the course of a summer.  We hadn't even been dating for a year when Jake left for an internship in Alaska.  It was the longest summer of my life!

 Alaska is a big place, and he was in a remote area with limited access to a telephone or computer.  So we stayed in touch the old-fashioned way with letters - handwritten on paper and mailed with a stamp on an addressed envelope.  I looked forward to the mail delivery each day, but it wasn't until we got married that I realized how much I treasured those letters.  They are a part of our history together.  We often wrote about our daily happenings (not too exciting) but we also shared dreams and hopes for the future.  

I also have to tell you that Jake had always planned to head to the wilderness and live a very isolated life.  You know - at one with nature, hunting and gathering, survival skills, etc.  Kind of like Jeremiah Johnson.  :)  So when he boarded that plane in Kansas City with his wilderness gear and his guitar, I was a little nervous he might just stay in Alaska.  But he didn't.  He actually decided that civilization wasn't so bad - in small amounts of course.  I was so happy that my mountain man returned home to Kansas.

Fast forward seven years and here we are - celebrating five years of marriage.
It's been full of excitement, love, and change.
I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband.
 Happy anniversary!

I love you Jake!

Nov 17, 2010

gobble gobble

Our day was cold and rainy with a few snowflakes mixed in.  Not the kind of weather that makes you feel like leaving the house, but early this morning Ben and I headed to a playgroup.  Some of our friends invited us to meet at their church for a Thanksgiving craft session.  It was really fun (and organized)!  Even though I was dressed like I wasn't planning to leave the house, I am glad we decided to hop in the car and take part.

There were three craft projects for the kids...

handprint turkeys
(Ben and I forgot to add the details with markers)

 paper plate pumpkin pies 
(with real cinnamon and a magnet on back)
say that fast ten times!  :)  this was my favorite one.

and pilgrim hats

Then the kids were served the cutest snacks - homemade, chocolate cookie turkeys along with popcorn and dried cranberries.  Wish I had thought to take a picture.  Ben LOVED it all!  In fact, he was the last one at the table - still eating - when we had to start picking up.  :)  I think that boy is going to LOVE Thanksgiving this year!

Two of my favorite Ben lines right now...
"Gobble, gobble" 
(when prompted with "what does the turkey say?")
"Santa's closet" 
(that's what he calls our Santa Claus movie)  It's the sweetest!

and one of my favorite things in our house right now...
 a personalized refrigerator


Nov 16, 2010

populus deltoides

What is Populus deltoides you ask?  Well, it's the Latin name for the Cottonwood Tree, which also happens to be the State Tree of Kansas.  And why am I using Latin?  Well, how often do I get a chance to use my limited knowledge of Latin I learned in college?  Not very often.  :) 

Many people might disagree with me, but I find cottonwoods to be beautiful trees. They are not an ornamental tree to place in your front yard or display in a botanical garden, but across the Kansas landscape they are spectacular.  The leaves are a gorgeous green, and they shimmer in the wind.  And when the Kansas winds blow, the leaves shake and make the most wonderful rustling sound.  In the fall, the leaves turn a lovely color of yellow and sparkle in the sunlight.  A little difficult to capture in a picture (at least with my camera), but I did attempt to this afternoon.

Ben woke from his nap a little early, so we hopped in the car with juice, pretzels and jackets, and headed for a drive in the country.  Standing outside, listening to the leaves move in the wind, and watching the last of the yellow leaves shimmer before falling to the ground was truly peaceful.


It's also appropriate that I'm writing about cottonwood trees because they helped me create my shop name - the cotton tree.  I have lived in Kansas my whole life, and I love it.  But it's taken me a while to realize that.  In fact, as a teenager my plan was to be a successful architect on the east coast.  Obviously that isn't the path I have taken!  When I decided to open an Etsy shop last year, I was having a tough time coming up with a name that I liked and wasn't already taken.  I wanted a name that meant something to me and represented the products I was making and selling.  Eventually I decided upon the cotton tree.  It was everything I loved - sewing with cotton fabrics, living in Kansas, enjoying the outdoors, and living in a small town - simply put.  And guess what?  The name was available.  Perfect! 

I hope to continue to share more about me, my shop and the blog in the future.  
It's fun to share a little "history".