Sunday, August 19, 2012


Life has changed here... I will no longer be posting on Piccolina Designs blog. 

For more posts, see the new blog at: House of Little Tomato


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My New Neighbor, Mr. Frog.

The family and I recently built a farmhouse. On a farm.

It is bit of a change from suburban living.

[Enter the frog]

In this record-breaking heat, I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time watering plants. The other day, I went to turn off the spigot when I saw movement and quickly pulled my hand back. This little guy greeted me there and I thought, "Well this is new."

He let me turn off the water and even stayed long enough for me to come back out with the camera for a little photo session. I found him to be a charming fellow.

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks later. 

I woke up, walked into the bathroom to use the restroom (mind you, this is on the second floor) and a new frog decided to introduce himself...  by jumping at my rear-end from the inside of the toilet bowl. He then escaped out of the toilet and began manically jumping around the floor. 

I, understandably, ran screaming. 

A few minutes later, after the hyperventilation stopped, I took a hand-towel, coaxed him into the towel, and released him into the flower bed. 

I am now that paranoid woman who inspects toilets thoroughly before use.

And I don't find Mr. Frog quite so charming anymore.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Peacock Tutu

I have a thing for peacocks. Our zoo has peacocks roaming free, and I cannot remember a visit , from my own as a child and now as a parent, without the sounds of peacocks calling. I hear they are excellent at eating bugs and deterring snakes, but husband won't entertain owning a couple...  yet. {Wink}.

I decided I wanted to make a tutu with a train reminiscent of a peacock tail. If I can swing it, it will be Little Tomato's Halloween costume this year... though she has a mind of her own, so we'll see how far I get with that one.

Getting to it:

... Using the brown, cream, gold, and copper tones for the body of the tutu, I 'sculpted' the tulle from a standard tutu length front to a long train in the back, adding accent tulle streaks of green in the train and small splashes of copper and blue at the eye feather locations. Then, to add a little fancy, peacock feathers and brown organza ribbon bows to the tutu. I was pleased with the end result, though it took a little reworking here and there.

The end result:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Reading Recommendations

There is something special about holiday traditions. Every year I watch A Christmas Story. I don't really watch it anymore, but rather listen to it on an endless loop while decorating or baking or wrapping presents. But nonetheless, the DVD is out every year.

The same applies to holiday books.

Every year, my mother would give me books for Christmas. Usually a book or two for my reading level, but I always received a beautifully illustrated hardcover children's book which had an inscription written in the front cover and dated. We follow the same tradition of books with Little Tomato.

Now entering the month of December, my favorite holiday books are making the scene. Reading by the fireplace is optional, however the hot cocoa is required:

Author- Lauren Thompson
Illustrator- Jon Muth
Image Credit: ziggityzoom

This book has become a new favorite around here. I am a sucker for anything illustrated by Jon Muth; not only do you have frame-worthy illustrations, but the stories are almost guaranteed to be spectacular.

Author- Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator- Bagram Ibatouilline
image credit:
Beautiful illustrations and a simple story of compassion and love for others.

Author- Susan Wojciechowski
Illustrator- PJ Lynch
image credit:

This is my favorite Christmas book of all time. If I could own only one Christmas book, this would be it.

A sad, reclusive woodcarver is visited by a widow and her son. They are new to the town, and she has realized that her family nativity set is gone. She asks the woodcarver to make her a new set before Christmas. He grumpily accepts the job, and is visited the following week by the widow and her son- the boy wants to watch him carve. As the woodcarver works, the boy teaches him about his nativity set- each figure and why it was special. Slowly, as each visit approaches, the woodcarver is softened by the kindness of the widow and the joy of the boy. The illustrations are warm and heartfelt and the story is lyrical and poignant.

My recommendation: Get an early edition! The newest edition has done a hatchet job on the illustrations, both shrinking and cropping them. I was beyond disappointed to see this. The 1995, 1998 and 2000 editions look to have the full sized illustrations.

Other noteworthy holiday reads:

Do you have any favorite Christmas books? 
Christmas Traditions?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review: Press Here by Herve Tullet

Little Tomato has a new favorite book: "Press Here" by Herve Tullet.

The book starts with a simple yellow dot and the instructions, "Press Here." Each page instructs the reader to interact with the dots. Whether by pressing, rubbing, shaking or clapping, each action causes a reaction on the following pages. Little Tomato is squealing with glee at the end, as she is clapping as hard as she can.

Check out the video on Chronicle Books.

Note to parents: If your children have a hard time 'powering down' at night, this may not be good bedtime book material. It is by no means sleep-inducing.


Littlest Tomato

Nope, not a sister. Just this little doll I whipped up the other day.

Littlest Tomato

She has been complete for some time, but I was completely stuck on how to dress her. So, dejected, she has been moping about my sewing room willing me to 'clothe her in cuteness'. Finally inspiration struck in the unfortunate chocolate stain on a cute Little Tomato shirt. While the shirt was ruined, the soft jersey ruffles on the arms were pristine and just begging to be repurposed. So I grabbed the scissors and away I went! 

So, finally making her debut, Littlest Tomato! In her party dress and pigtails, she is ready for fabulousness. Her 'likes' are tea parties with all the girly trimmings, balloons, carousel rides, polaroid cameras, and Little Tomato. They're buds. :)

If you are interested in making your own, check out Wee Wonderfuls by Hillary Lang. It is a great resource with a variety of plush patterns, not just variations of the same doll. Littlest Tomato was constructed with similar techniques, but I created my own pattern for her. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hello Again

Apologies for the silent treatment from my corner of the blogosphere (yes, against my better judgement, I used the word 'blogosphere'). Truth is, it has been a chaotic 2011 with few crafty projects in the works. So, what has been keeping us so busy? Well...

We are moving.

To this:

A farm! 

The past several months have been full of planning, designing, preparing our house for sale, and of course the miserable summer heat wave that has plagued the midwest. While I will be sad to see our house go, as I am very fond of our home, I cannot wait to dig in the dirt and enjoy evenings of cool breezes and cicada songs from a screened in porch. 

A couple of projects I was able to squeeze in and some house sneak peeks are forthcoming. :)