By Cee Cee – Review & GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Becoming a part of the handmade community, I have met the neatest people. By Cee Cee founder, owner, and seamstress extraordinaire Candi Carr is one of those people.

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Candi is a Rochester, NY children’s clothing designer. This woman knows kid fashion! She has the most adorable collection of dresses, tutus, and accessories for little girls and really fun clothing for boys! I first met Candi through my Moms group. Her first role is Mama to two beautiful children, surely where she draws inspiration for her creations.

Look at this cuteness!

Look at this cuteness!

From princess dress-up to custom birthday crowns, By Cee Cee has you covered (literally). Her clothing is whimsical and fun, and we love whimsical and fun :). I love that Candi is very candid about her work. She blogs right on their page, chit chatting about some of her creations or whatever is on her mind. She even gives us a tour of her studio on her page. I love seeing inside an artisans’ space, don’t you? It’s like a peek inside their mind.

Candi created some spectacular holiday dresses for our girls at Christmastime. I saw one of By Cee Cee’s designs in a similar fabric on display at Fairport Pharmacy & Gift Shop where you can find Candi’s designs among other local artisans’ art and other creations. I asked By Cee Cee if she could whip up something similar for the girls & she went above and beyond by coordinating the dresses but not making identical copies, giving the designs a customized finish. Photographed by the lovely Jessica LK Photography, the result was darling and SO MUCH FUN!

Copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013

Dress: By Cee Cee, Bow: Carter’s Image copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013

Copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013

Dresses: By Cee Cee, Leggings: Target Image copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013

In addition to the Fairport Pharmacy & Gift Shop, you can find By Cee Cee’s designs at the Cheshire Union Gift Shop. As always, you can shop online or visit her Facebook page for the latest whimsy.

Just in time for Easter, or, if not Easter, just in time for Spring (should it ever arrive here in Upstate NY!), By Cee Cee is giving away a gift certificate valued at $25 toward any custom clothing item from her shop to one lucky Whimsical Sweet reader! Choose from endless possibilities to adorn your young lad or lass with something unique and special.

 

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Good luck, faithful readers! 2014 will bring much more fun!!

Ladybug Walnuts

This winter has been rough. Long, cold, snowy.

Sometimes, as a stay-at-home parent to three littles, you have to resort to some pretty imaginative stuff.

Last week, with the umpteenth cold virus or whatever overrunning our homestead, we had to do just that. Our fellow homeschooling friends gave us some walnuts last fall and we’ve been gnawing away at them steadily since but we have quite a few left. I racked my Mom-brain and got the idea to transform them into ladybugs. After seeing some flutter around the windows these last few days, we learned a bit about these delicate insects and took to the painting table.

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We read the book, “Bugs Are Insects” by Anne Rockwell, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins, from the “Let’s Read And Find Out Science” series. (We love this series of books!) As always, I prefer to use DecoArt Americana paints, so used Primary Red and Lamp (Ebony) Black for this simple project. One of the things I liked best was that this activity catered to all three ages of our children (5 1/2, 4, & 2). That is a rarity!

First, I shelled the walnuts carefully not to break the shell.

Second, I prepped the table & kids (acrylics are quite permanent once dry) & let them paint the red base coat onto the outer walnut shell. Let base coat dry.

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Third, they painted black dots over the dried red paint. They can be as creative as they would like. Perhaps some ladybugs have stripes?!

Finally, after allowing the paint to completely dry, we coated the ladybug walnuts with a layer of DecoArt DuraClear Satin Varnish, a polyurethane sealant that will protect the paint from chipping as well as finish the paint nicely.

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The kids thought this process was really neat, especially our oldest daughter who is very much into learning how things work & categorizing creatures around us. The fact that ladybugs have an external skeleton made them perfect candidates to paint on walnuts! Our children were fascinated.

What’s your go-to craft with your kids?

For more snowed-in/rainy day ideas that aren’t mine, visit my Pinterest board “Kids Crafts“.

 

 

EIEIO Photography

Meet Chelse Thompson of EIEIO Photography.

She’s a wife and a mother to two lovely children. She’s eclectic and fun & it shows in her unique work! It’s difficult to choose what I like most about Chelse as she has so many amazing qualities about her photography and her persona. She gets the job done efficiently but makes you feel at home during a shoot. Her creative ideas will surprise you. She is a passionate photographer who will not disappoint. Session after session, whether I know her subjects or not, emotions are touched by the beautiful essence she displays in her photos.

EIEIO Photography often surrounds the subject in nature so the raw beauty is able to shine brightly. Chelse has an eye for surroundings, for lighting and creativity. From brides to babies, she works angles that will transform your moments into outstanding photographs. If you can’t imagine it, Chelse can. Her work is inventive and it’s simply lovely to watch unfold. Chelse’s studio adapts to the needs of the session as well – she’s not afraid to utilize an adorable prop and has the ultimate collection of backdrops to choose from!

Another special attribute about EIEIO Photography is their blog. Chelse and her team like to feature local businesses to give them the spotlight for a bit. It’s nice to have a photographer become an integral part of her community. I was fortunate enough to have Chelse photograph some of sweet whimsy designs’ playable art. Chelse featured a wonderful blog about myself and my growing business. I continue to receive compliments on my business cards and shop listing photos due to EIEIO’s stunning work. She made my peg dolls look like celebrities!

 

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I have fallen in love with her latest venture, A Year In The Life series. Chelse will capture your family in your element, in your home or favorite place, just being you. Life moves so fast sometimes that we fail to realize the every day beauty that takes place. EIEIO will come to you & make that day special by simply photographing your moments, your time together as a family. Have a peek at the love and imagine yourself and your family embracing the day-to-day:

A Day In The Life

Chelse is graciously offering The Whimsical Sweet readers special pricing as well as a FREE 8×10 print with your session!

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EIEIO Photography is a fabulous choice for family photography. Enjoy your session with Chelse and take pleasure in the every day.

Follow EIEIO Photography on Facebook to view the latest photography.

Hi There!

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I haven’t been around in a while … in a long while.

I’ve been that crazy-kind-of-busy we get, you know, when it feels like there’s a million and one things to do but only twenty-four hours in a day to do them? And we need sleep, and we need to eat, and brush our teeth, and …

I want you to know I didn’t forget about us. I also want you to know there is so much to tell you!

About sweet whimsy designs.

About homeschool. (Why does autocorrect not think “homeschool” is a word? Then again, autocorrect does not think “autocorrect” is a word. Get it together, autocorrect!)

About my friends who have good things to share.

About life.

I’ll be back soon. I promise.

This Is Homeschool: 01.16.14

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We’ve been spending lots of days in our jammies (you’ve got that right – full days in pajamas – simply because we can). Between multiple illnesses among us and the freezing cold temps outside, why bother getting dressed?! Today, being a ‘recovery’ day, we decided to stay in our pj’s & do things like play cards, dye noodle necklaces (post coming soon), read, & do workbooks and a few other projects.

We love playing cards for so many reasons. As homeschoolers, it teaches us various concepts such as numbers, taking turns, strategy, planning ahead…and as a family, it brings us together for some time, usually a long time, and teaches patience as well as how to win and how to lose.

Crazy 8′s (pictured) is a great game for little ones. Also, Go Fish, Old Maid, & Speed are fun, age-appropriate games to play with preschoolers & kindergartners. The kids love playing card games & learn in the process: a win-win! Who knew a little play could lead to such enrichment?!

What are some of your favorite family-friendly card games? Do share, please!

Jessica LK Photography

Our Christmas card this year still has me in awe. (Forgive the poor quality of this first photo; it is a snapshot of our card taken by myself. The quality of the actual card was lovely.)

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One brisk day in November, we rounded up the Sweet kids and met with Jessica Kemp, the master behind the lens of Jessica LK Photography.

Jessica had the stellar idea to join us at the Strong National Museum of Play, our local children’s museum, which would have never crossed my mind. It is a perfect location for a photo shoot, especially with children! The carousel, the brick wall, the old fashioned diner…all fun and whimsical backdrops for our holiday photos (or any photos, for that matter).

Thank you to By Cee Cee for outfitting our girls with beautiful dresses.

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All images copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013. Girls dresses: By Cee Cee.

We aren’t very good about taking family photos. We have done it formally only once before, and that was when we only had two children. Jessica made us feel right at home, in the vast museum, which must not be easy to do. However, it came naturally to her. She is clearly meant to be with camera in hand. She whisked the kids in a few settings, added us here and there, and we had a lot of fun in the process. We could see the moments taking place, yet we had no idea her eye would turn them into something magical.

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Just look at these captures.

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Image: copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013. Bowtie: Tiny Chaos

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The fact that the children didn’t know Jessica upon shooting made for some very intruiging photos. We were melted by the expressions she captured in our childrens’ faces. There aren’t even words to describe these looks, these expressions.

I love the attention Jessica Kemp pays to detail. At one point she moved some poinsettias into the shot, which added a little festive flair. From the actual shoot to the editing afterward, Jessica LK Photography is a true professional. Browse her website and you will see, she clearly loves what she does, and it shines through in every photograph she makes. The photos you will see can draw you in. It’s as if you want to get to know these people pictured, but you’ve never met them in your life.

Captivating.

From newborn sessions to weddings, she can and does do it all. She even has boudoir sessions available - mighty tempting for the upcoming Hallmark holiday. Her sessions are very affordable and her work, simply gorgeous. One photo is more stunning than the next. It will be difficult for you to choose a favorite, as it was for us. Plan on ooh-ing and aah-ing over your photos when your session is complete. We know we sure did!

We are grateful for Jessica’s time with us and hope to have her create beautiful work for us in the future.

Jessica LK Photography is graciously offering The Whimsical Sweet’s readers a custom timeline cover for those sessions booked in January, February, or March. Perfect timing for Valentine’s Day and Easter photo sessions! Thank you, Jessica!

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Full disclosure: Jessica LK Photography provided us with a mini photo session and images. Girls dresses provided by By Cee Cee. All opinions are my own. All images are copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013.

Patience Is Key

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Several times throughout my time as a mother, conversations have come up regarding different parenting styles. Should you co-sleep or cry it out? Should you breast-feed or bottle feed? Should you go natural or have a medicated birth? When it’s time for potty training, do we try boot camp or let them learn on their own? The list goes on…

It has been my experience that I always choose the long road. I’ve had three natural births (including two decently long labors lasting over 24 hours and a shoulder dystocia baby), we co-sleep, I’ve breastfed each of our three babies until they were at least one year old, and we homeschool. We let our kids potty ‘train’ in their own time (which we have really lucked out at so far!) & our discipline methods are few. It seems as though we have created work for ourselves, but I truly believe it will make a difference in the long run.

Everything requires patience. It takes longer to learn how to breastfeed your baby than it does to mix a bottle. It takes more time to sleep with your baby or rock your baby to sleep each night than it does to cry it out. Natural birth takes more work and waiting patiently for that baby to come may take longer than you would like, but it’s worth it! It’s always worth it. Your children are worth it.

Patience doesn’t come easily around our home these days. Juggling all life has to offer while raising children is hard work.

Hopefully our children will, in turn, learn that patience. Patience is a very important quality to hold throughout life. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have much. However, what I do have is most often spent on our children, and I have to remind myself of this on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

I realize this post will fire up some defensive parents, but relax. I’m not judging those who don’t do what I do. We are all unique and to each his own. The only difference between you & I is a little patience.

I would like to show my experiences, that what you think may be harder at first glance may actually be easier in the long run.

You see, natural birth often leads to healthy babies, which often lead to healthy bonding, which also often means successful breastfeeding which often leads to a sleepy baby. Don’t you think this is a good start to life, if you can help it? Wouldn’t you imagine children are much more likely to have happy childhoods if this is the way they begin? It seems like so much less frustration and annoyance if the anxiety is lessened by living this way.

It doesn’t stop there (And here is where I need to be reminded most these days). Remaining patient while raising our children hopefully teaches them to be kind and gentle, patient and understanding.

Once again, obviously we will all live how we need to live. And we all will love the way we need to love. A little patience certainly has never hurt anyone. In fact, patience is key.