Clarabelleandthehen's Blog

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16 June 17, 2016

Filed under: Birthday Wishes — clarabelleandthehen @ 1:07 pm


I’m in disbelief. I mean, wasn’t he JUST born? All parents say that, that it flies by–but there’s really no better gauge of how quickly time passes than watching babies grow into boys…and then men.

This year has just been weird. Hearing not one man’s voice in my house, but two. Wondering who is visiting, and then realizing it’s just that kid, Henry–who is no longer a kid. He still acts the part, mind you–there’s plenty of maturing left to do–but that small voice is gone for good.

I recall the bizarre feeling just after a baby is born…one that has been a literal part of you for nine months…and then within a matter a moments, that child is across the room from you being bathed and measured; no longer in your grasp, belonging to the world. A sort of “letting go” process begins, realizing your child isn’t, and never will be again, completely within reach. We release them to their own will, and God’s protection and provision.

And now he will venture further…16. Keys in hand…out of our sight completely at times. We will anxiously stand by, watching and waiting to see where the road of life will
take our boy.

Happy Birthday sweet Henry. We are so proud of who you are becoming, and love you more than words can express.

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My Clara is 12 April 1, 2016

Filed under: Birthday Wishes,Uncategorized — clarabelleandthehen @ 7:54 pm


It’s Birthday week…tomorrow this one will be 12.
It’s safe to say, she was blessed with plenty of personality!

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I really don’t know how it happened. The little girl I always dreamed of is almost a little girl no more. She brings me more joy than I ever could have imagined. She is absolutely hilarious, imaginative, sweet (most of the time), clever, she loves Jesus, she’s smart, she bangs on the drums, plays hoops in the driveway, still loves her matchbox cars and legos…

This girl is an original.

Keep on banging your drums to your own beat Clara Callaway Gage…couldn’t love you more! Happy Birthday!


Change December 29, 2015

Filed under: clarabelle & the hen,Uncategorized — clarabelleandthehen @ 9:10 pm

is good? That’s what they say. I’m adjusting. I started Kat in the Hat Designs before my children were born (Henry is 15 1/2), while I was working full-time at Cooking Light Magazine. Since then, I’ve had Clara who is now 11, moved to Knoxville, TN and back (where I worked for and CityView magazine, changed the business name to Clarabelle & the Hen, starting working with Garnet Hill Catalog and into an actual building that wasn’t my basement), seven years later moved to Tuscaloosa, after a couple years, down-sized the business, worked part-time at The Trunk, who carried Clarabelle goodies (where I re-lived my college days vicariously through the day-the-day tales from the precious collegiate’s I came to know and adore), and now a little more full-time at Harvest Select (yep, I work for a catfish company–doing marketing and creative and it’s super cool!)…all while maintaining Clarabelle, after an unfortunate happenstance which left me website-less for the past 6 months (don’t get me started on how THAT happened.)

The website is just about up and running again…a do-it-myself version that took untold hours and isn’t perfect or even close…but I am praying that folks will appreciate the years of labor and love that have gone into Clarabelle & the Hen–into each illustration, each concept. And I am proud to say, I think my little company really is one of the true originals of it’s kind, which means something to ME! 🙂 I love so much about this business and would love to whittle back to the basics again…just simple, cute knits (that’s why there’s LOTS of good stuff on sale…so you should check it out!) and spend my spare time (ha, right?) painting again (see FINE ART) on the site…which is a lost-love I haven’t had much time for in the past decade or so. Please visit us at

If you are reading this and have any suggestions I’m all ears…I’m ready to push CBH up one more mountain and see where where we can go…

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Coming Out of Hiding… September 6, 2015

Filed under: Life at Kat's House — clarabelleandthehen @ 5:48 pm

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I have been M.I.A. and gone from blogland. The last time I posted it was all about the hair. The hair saga started 1 year and 8 months ago. I think all the mangled hair has finally left the premises, but I’m still growing out bad layers. Safe to say that this chapter is for the most part, closed. Bigger fish to fry in life but I realized that I am terribly vain and my hair means far more to me than it should. I will, at least one time before I am TOO old, have long hair again. This I vow.

I have been working a part-time job on the strip (the hot spot at the University of Alabama)–at a store called The Trunk. I work with college-aged girls, selling collegiate stuff to Alabama fans (War Eagle!) and sorority girls. I get called ma’am all day long, and do a lot of math. But I have fallen in love with these sweet young girls and have realized how much I needed to be around people and not holed up in the basement all day long making t-shirts. Now I just hole up after two o’clock every day.

I just spent a bunch of money updating the shopping cart for my website at the behest of the company that manages my site, only for them to tell me 5 months later that their server would no longer support said shopping cart. So they kicked me off their server after ten years with their company. That’s why if you go to my website it’s M.I.A too. So I am presently trying to throw together a new website without having to sell my first-born in order to do so.

My children are growing up. Henry is 15 and driving the VEHICLE. Clara is 11 and shaving her legs. it’s all just too much.

Matt has been building more cool stuff…love the latest, a beautiful bed that I secretly hope will end up in Clara’s room 🙂

I attended something called 21 days of prayer at my church and it was AMAZE-BALLS. I did lots of reflecting on life, and obviously some praying and lots of good stuff came out of it…so I’m excited to see what’s in store for me and for my family.

And that’s all folks…for now. STAY TUNED!


Hair Affair May 6, 2014

Filed under: Life at Kat's House — clarabelleandthehen @ 9:43 pm

Picture 2



Yep. I’m vain. And I care way more about my hair than I EVER realized. My dad always said he was vain, and I guess the apple doesn’t fall far. Though he isn’t anymore…so perhaps, this too shall pass–but I have been forced to face my vanity square in the teeth (er, mirror) and be thankful for more important things…than good hair.

I had stick straight hair for most of my life…long, straight, healthy, thick hair. That is until my senior year of college when the first greys appeared. And in the first years post college when my dear friends did the intervention (you know who you are) and dragged me off to the salon for the hair color bondage I have been in since. (I give thanks to my mother for this–who was grey at 30. Again the apple doesn’t fall far.) Grey hair, babies, years…take with them sleek, straight hair. And replace it with wiry, unruly, sometimes wavy, sometimes straight hair, that can best be described as “witches hair”.  Thank goodness my broom could get me to the help I needed…stores like Ulta are a girls best friend for a wealth of grooming goop and straightening irons. Then off to the salon for Keratin Treatments (the best invention since cell phones)…and my hair was looking A-ok! For a while…

And then, as with everything good, they decided Keratin was bad for you.

I still have to fight back the tears. And they changed the formula. the precious. golden. formula.

And made it worthless. (Although they were still real proud of it, and continued to charge the 24k gold price).

So what did I do? I fell for a bad sales pitch. I’d heard of the Japanese Hair Straightening Treatment, and was told it cost around $600 and was a lengthy two-part process. I declined–even I am not THAT vain. But when this new salon someone recommended told me they could do it for $100 I should have known better. Nope. Vanity said “go for it.” She also said, “since my hair will be so sleek and shiny, lets chop some off!” to the tune of EIGHT INCHES. And now lets fry it up, electrocute it, melt it, DESTROY IT!

Wait. No one said that, did they ? BUT THAT’S WHAT THEY DID!!!! Think Elmer’s Glue hair when it’s wet, cotton candy…wait, synthetic doll hair, when it’s dry. Then go outside and take the weed wacker to it and chop it up real good to try and get the damaged stuff out of it (impossible since it’s ALL RUINED) and what do you get? MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! A really bad wig version of Rod Stewart’s hair. No, Beevus or Butthead’s hair.

Yes, I have had a massive pity party. And yes, I am ashamed of myself, as I have watched several close friends lose their beautiful hair to the ravages of chemotherapy and wear beautiful smiles of thanks and praise FOR LIFE, throughout.

My hair is growing healthier day by day…now 5 months since the electrocution… as is my attitude. I know this ordeal will one day be something to laugh about, and a tiny blip on life’s scale. Yes, I am so very thankful for my health, my friends return to health and learning what really matters.

My broom awaits 🙂 Watch my “wig” flow in the wind…


She’s Double Digits. Oh My! April 13, 2014

Filed under: Birthday Wishes — clarabelleandthehen @ 10:30 pm


As is the typical Clara Gage birthday protocol, the festivities carry on for at least two days because her actual birthday never seems to be a good day for a party and then there’s Easter (the same week). This year WAS an exception! Her birthday fell on a Saturday–a perfectly acceptable day for a birthday party, and Easter is the latest it’s been since she was born–not until two weeks later. But as Clara is known to do, she finagled two days of celebrating anyway–turning her party into an over-nighter, beginning on Friday…and kicking things off with cupcakes at school.


ImageShe wanted a camping party…but no “glamping” for this girl. It was the real-deal, get-dirty, stay-outside kind of camping.


The party favors were flashlights and bandanas

ImageWe popped Jiffy Pop on the campfire–to little success. It says right on the package not to cook it this way, but we had to try!
Most of it burned, or didn’t pop at all, but we had fun trying.



Louise (Tweeze)


Emma Claire, Louise and Lakin

Added to the mix…Anna Scott, Mae Mae, Clara and Kendall. The sweetest little gaggle of girlies.
(I have never heard so much GIGGLING)

ImageBurgers on the grill…..and perhaps the biggest hit of all…the old-school bottled cokes. They were so excited about them.

We set up three tents. We also set up an outdoor movie projector and screen and they watched a movie (Despicable Me).

ImageBlowing out the candles was a group event. Lakin  instinctively blew them out the first time. Then it was anybody’s game.
I think we lit them ten times.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

The batteries on my camera died (just like they do EVERY YEAR) and I didn’t get any campfire/camping pics ): but they had a ball. Three lasted all night, three ended up in Clara’s bed…Lakin, Lou and Anna Scott. Pretty smart if you ask me!!!

We had a big breakfast early in the morning…



Clara opened sweet goodies (of course a couple of pairs of sqeaky clean new Converse 🙂

And now my baby girl is ten. She is a gift herself. A happy, silly, sweet, loving, precious child. She is adored.

Happy Birthday Clara.


The Apple Crate July 5, 2013

So I had this little wooden crate with an apple painted on it when I was a kid. My mom bought it from a store called the Crab Apple. It was next to a sandwich store that made the yummiest, cheesiest, greasiest pepperoni sandwich you ever tasted, that was my consolation prize for the clarinet lessons I had to take at the college to help me stay second chair in band (out of two chairs 🙂 Oh. I digress.

That’s when I became a saver. Every dollar ever given to me, even bill that slipped from a birthday card…went into that crate. It HAD to have 100 dollars in it at all times. If I had to spend a $7 on Clinque makeup to get the “FREE GIFT”, I wrote myself an I.O.U. and paid it back with the next babysitting job.

The trend has continued throughout my life. I have to keep a certain minimum in a savings account. And I’ve been been known to save for a big expenditure in a pickle jar. I have never, ever carried debt on a credit card.

So. Starting a business has brought with it many a sleepless night. Business debt is unavoidable. There are lot’s of expenses. It’s scary but if if goes well, there is reward. I have been blessed. Clarabelle & the Hen allowed me to be at home, have some freedom, do what I love and make some money too. But right now I feel like I need to do a little bit more. So hmmmm. WHAT TO DO!?

Well, you may  think I am crazy but I am soooo excited about this.
Aside from the painting I told you about yesterday I’ve been consigning stuff—actually I’ve done that for years. I send the kids clothes to a place in Birmingham. Mine too. But I’ve gone through tons and tons of Clarabelle & the Hen samples and really cleaned out. I’ve also been putting stuff on this local Craig’s List-type site—literally going nuts around here, cleaning out, finding stuff to sell. And actually having fun. Well as much fun as you can have being broke 🙂 I’m calling it my “debt diet”. In usual Kathryn-form, I’ve gotten all OCD about it but it sure does feel good when I save a chunk and send it to the credit card company. My goal is to first, cut up my business credit card, and only use a debit card, and then save a big stockpile and never get in this uneasy situation again.

But it occurred to me that seemingly rock-solid business gigs can come and go, and it also occurred to me that I don’t ever want to go back to work for a yucky boss again. Don’t get me started. And so I was sort of wondering what else I could do….that’s where the painting came in….but Lordy…how many paintings would I have to paint?

Anyway. I started going to this bible study and right off the bat clicked with this girl named Angie. We both went to Auburn so that was the initial connection. And as it seems to go with everyone I meet, the convo goes like this:
Other Person “when did you graduate?”
Me: “oh, I’m sure, way before you”
OP: usually….I graduated  in 1998 or something equally as hard to hear
But in this case, Angie said it! and as it turned out, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, she was OLDER than ME. But when she told me her age, I literally almost fell on the floor. Check her out:
Picture 1

This girl is 51 years old. NEVER done botox. No surgery. (Angie, PLEASE don’t be mad at me, you are FLIPPING BEAUTIFUL and don’t look a day over 35, and If I were you I’d be shouting my age from the rooftops). And by the way, I’m very obviously jealous.

Anyway, we ended up going to lunch and she told me she needed a graphic designer to help her with her business. Well, pretty cool, huh? Fancy that. Another way to earn some $. But she started telling me about her business. She had worked in Real Estate, Marketing, been a major career girl. Her husband is an architect. When the economy crashed, they BOTH lost their jobs. A friend told her about the company she was working for. Rodan & Fields. You’ve heard of it. The Proactiv people. Obviously a genius product. I use it. I’ve been using it for years. The friend suggested she go to work for them too. Angie thought her friend was nuts. Doing WHAT?

But when her friend shared her story, Angie started listening. As did I.

In a nutshell, R&F (who are two female dermatologists who still have private practices even though they are KABILLIONAIRES) saw a need for people beyond teenagers with acne. People were saying, why aren’t you treating wrinkles, adult acne, sensitive skin etc? So they started a high end skin care line and sold it through Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom etc. It instantly became a top seller…because it truly works. These are products that dermatologists are using in their practices like Obagi, which I also use…that I have to admit, are PRICEY…that are getting the same results, use the same ingredients, but they are sold at a lower price point. And the best part is, they are formulated to cause less irritation. (When I started using Obagi, my face looked like roadkill–no lie).

But they realized they could do even better if they created a direct-selling model. They also really want to help people improve their skin, and to share the wealth. I know, it sounds like baloney—but lets get real, these chicks don’t need any more money. The key is getting on the horn, calling your friends, telling them about these amazing products (Look at Angie! Look at the success of Proactiv! And if that doesn’t convince you…when you buy the products there is a 60-day MONEY BACK guarantee. For real! Send back the EMPTY JARS if you don’t like what you used, for an exchange or your money back. WHO DOES THAT?)

If you become a product seller, you get all the tools you need…a website, your samples etc (a small start-up investment that you earn back quickly, I promise you)–and at the same time, bring in business partners to sell with you–and you will watch your sales grow exponentially over time.

Long story short…Angie, has been doing this for only three years and she is driving a free Lexus. Bigger wow— she only works about 20-30 hours a week. You can work as much or as little as you like, depending on how much money you want to make. And if you decide you decide it isn’t for you, can you stop at any time. You will have SO much support…an amazing team to help you. Angie is showing me the ropes and you will die when you hear some of the success stories. I kid you not, there is a 27 year old school teacher who is now making over a million bucks a year.

Check out my site: and all of the great products. Try the great tool to assess your skins needs.

I’m gonna try it and I’m not a huge risk taker. I just don’t see much risk, but a ton to gain. My biggest concern is that apparently you have to talk on the phone a lot 🙂 lol. I can hear you all now…”welp. Kathryn won’t be driving any Lexus. haha. BUT I’M GONNA GET BETTER ABOUT THAT!!!!!!!! And I’m gonna look like Angie too 🙂 In my new Lexus. All young and pretty. Watch and see!

I’ll keep ya’ll posted! Wish me luck 🙂 Oh, and if you want to try a miracle scrub and night serum send me your address!

Kathryn Gage
Clarabelle & the Hen