balance, beauty, good marriages, goodness, grace, great marriage, great marriage secrets, haPPY, health, pure goodness, wellness

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

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crafts, cross stitch, cross stitching, grace

Chrismons

crismon treeChrismon are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They were first made by Frances Kipps Spencer at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.  She also thought of the word Chrismon which is a combination of Christ and Monogram (meaning symbol).

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The simple symbols remind us of the story.

The ornaments remind of Grace and Goodness.

During Advent, our church decorates the sanctuary tree with white felt Chrismons.  Other years we have attended a church in another state and that tree also had Chrismons, however, those were made out of beads & pipe cleaners.

I cross stitched several of these ornaments years ago.  If I remember correctly, I have made this set three times to give away. As luck would have it, I did indeed make a set for our tree.   Each has Biblical meaning.20171214_212607_resized All of our ornaments were stitched with the same three colors of thread, same cloth and utilized the same small plastic frames.

We hang them every year on one of our trees.  This year the tall, tall skinny tree in the kitchen is decorated with German straw ornaments, Chrismons, antique chocolate candy molds and cinnamon ornaments.

Once the Chrismons come out of the box, or I spy them on the church tree…………it finally feels like Christmas.

Here’s to that happy feeling we all get while unpacking and seeing our treasured decorations.20171214_213706-1_resized

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

gift giving, gifts, goodness, grace

keeping you on pins & needles

I am sure you have been on pins & needles for a while now.  Did she or did she not achieve her goal of this year?  When will she give us an update?  Will she ever in a million years do something like this again?

2017 the year I proclaimed the year of the pincushion has come to a close. Thankfully.

Holy Toledo, I learned more than I ever imagined.  It took more time than I ever estimated.  My original goal was to cross stitch 12 pincushions for gifts.  I completed and gave 16.

I was able to give three of those beauties in person.

Now, before you fret, yes, I have a beautiful,  rather large pincushion of my own.  I have used it almost daily for quite a few years now.   I stitched the tower to remember our trip to Paris.

If you remember, here was my original challenged issued to me.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/

To make it even more interesting, I added another element, pins.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-good-luck-poke/

 

I used an entire bag of crushed walnut shells to fill each.  I had to go and buy a second bag to fill the last two.

All of the pins I glued beads onto were used and my button jar came in mighty handy this year.

What did I learn?

I still enjoy counted cross stitch.

I liked personalizing the pin keeps to each person.

I learned that I most likely will never, ever do a project like that again.  It requires a whole bunch of heart & soul and time & effort.

I wanted to lovingly, slowly stitch goodness into each, piece, however, the deadlines and mailing times sort of took the fun out of making each.

My plan was to stitch each cushion and fill it with grace and well wishes for the other person.  Not everyone is excited or appreciates handmade gifts nor do many understand the hours it takes to produce them.

I put more good karma, energy, time, effort, money into each than need be.

I figured out, that while I was not looking for a “proper thank you note”, of which I received four, I was secretly hoping for a personal connection.  A conversation.  Some type of tie to the person I gave the gift to.  A reason to talk and spend time with the person.  A way to jump-start a conversation that would linger and fill us each with a wonderful memory. That did not happen.

If I ever do a counted cross stitch piece for anyone other than family, I will most likely keep track and share the number of hours it took to complete.  Not to be boastful, but to share the time that was spent on that person. I came to realize that folks that do not do handiwork, have no concept or understanding of how long each project takes.

I learned for Christmas this year, I am buying gifts.

The only handmade gifts I am making are for our Grands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was going to say, I will most likely never cross stitch another pin cushion again.  However………I already have a person in mind (she herself is a beautiful cross stitcher) that I might like to make a pin cushion as a surprise in 2018.  We will see.

So here are a few of my 16.  Some, I forgot to take a picture.  One, I took a picture of the back and promptly deleted the front picture after it was already in the mail.  sigh.

Thanks for following along and keeping me company this past year.

I would dearly love to have a conversation about gift giving and making/giving handmade gifts.

I have a counted cross stitch pattern, thread, and fabric all ready to begin January 1, 2018, for me!

Also, we have a new GRANDBABY on the way in 2018 so my hands will be flying as I make oodles of goodness for the new one in our life.

Here’s to accomplishing my goal and then some!  Setting a goal and working towards completion is very satisfying.

In the coming year, I hope you are planning and setting a goal or two of your own.  Would love to hear your plans.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gift giving, haPPY

4 things

When the calendar reads November and we are about to flip the page to December, inevitably, those words some of us dread are spoken aloud.

What would you like for Christmas?

For some, it is easy peasy and those kids/people can fill a sheet of college rule lined notebook paper and then turn it over and fill the back.  For other kids/people, it is a daunting task.

Sure, sure, we would all love:  World Peace, Food Banks Filled to overflowing, Animal Shelters turning away donations, because they have more than enough food, volunteers, and money……

However, for some of us who celebrate this holiday, in addition to giving and sharing with others and worthy causes, we would very much like to give each family member or friend a gift or two.

primitive_cottage_red_buffalo_plaid_lumberjack_heart_sticker-r925673d75f1240248ae6cb0f257daac8_v9w0n_8byvr_324We as the givers would really love to give them something that they would like.

Sure we give experiences. Yes, we make donations in people’s names and give to charity.  Yes, we try our very best to listen and then write down ideas that our people may want or need.  Thank you, Jesus, sometimes we find the “perfect” gift for the perfect person.

Often times its kids that have a hard time articulating exactly what they would like.  On the other hand, sometimes it’s husbands that have almost zero wishes.  Or adult children really don’t want to give people a list.

What would you like for your birthday and/or Christmas?  “I would like a pair of socks,  maybe a bag of potato chips.”

(This is just a hypothetical scenario.  I am not using names to protect the sad list makers of our lives.)

Seriously, it is tricky for said “giver”.  Today my plan is to purchase one pair of socks.  I can give him one sock for his birthday and one sock for Christmas.  Done.  (Just kidding)

Jeepers, Creepers!

I happen to have come across a brilliant, simple, easy peasy…lemon squeezie idea on momastry.com  She wrote down this little poem and asked her children to come up with & write down 4 things.  Everyone, no matter the age can write down 4 things.

That seems simple and doable.

Here’s the poem:

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A gentle suggestion, this year before you ask the question……….how about asking nicely, I just need you to write down 4 things?   simple.  easy peasy.

Here I’ll go first!

Something you want………I want a heavy duty, folding potato masher.

Something you need…….. I need Italian Roast coffee beans.

Something to wear…….. I would like a new gray sweater.

Something to read…… I would like a new cookbook.

Pretty painless and quick.  Oh sure, you can give more details like where to purchase or make an Amazon wishlist or give store names or websites…… The idea is to stick with 4 things.

Nothing overwhelming, not too time-consuming and pretty darn easy, for all of us.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon. christmas-buffalo-plaid-check-pillow-

 

 

 

 

 

Ps.  Full disclosure.  I borrowed this picture from google images.  Yes, I have white rocking chairs.  Yes, I took off the autumnal pillow covers I made.  I am still searching for Buffalo Plaid fabric to sew covers for my pillows.  Fingers crossed this weekend.

grace, healing, thankful

What is saving you today?

Life at times can be tricky.  It can feel tough and brutal.  Life feels hard sometimes. Life can be very loud.

It seems as though for the big huge troubles, we pause, pull up our bootstraps and face it head-on.  Not pleasant, however, we all have the ability to rise up and fight something big.

It’s the small things that add up & sneak up on you. You don’t realize how full your heart & soul & plate are until the tipping point and things start to topple over.

buffetBefore walking up to the buffet table, you actually are not physically starving.  Coffee sounds good, then you spy the potatoes & take a few.  Next, you notice the fruit.  Oh my,  look at that spinach quiche it is calling my name.  Wait!  I spy with my little eye, a freshly baked croissant.  Oh, cappuccino.  And just like that, my plate is piled high, I have both hands filled and I have to ask for help carrying my coffee back to my place.

That moment when you ask for help.  You instinctively know the moment has come to politely ask for assistance. We can’t do this alone.

That’s how I feel lately.

A friend’s son is sick.

Two friends are very, very sick.

I miss playing board games with my kids. I miss hanging out and talking.

I miss our grandkids.

I’ve baked a couple of times to take to friends.  My stash of sympathy cards is dwindling at an alarming rate. A couple of friends are in the hospital.  (I can’t be around germs, so I send cards.)  I need to replenish my “thinking of you cards”.

Working from home has its advantages for sure, however, sometimes just talking with the dog does not fill my need to chit-chat.  I miss dressing up, driving to work, checking in with co-workers, hearing about their day, eating lunch, teasing, banter etc.

I picked up my phone yesterday, I was going to send a text message to my friend ( I have two happy things to squeal and share about), then I remembered she doesn’t have a phone in heaven.

This time of year, the weather is dreary and it’s not easy to go out and work off some frustration through yard work.  It is pouring down rain as I type.  If we get a slight break in the liquid sunshine, my boots are ready….. I am headed out to rake leaves and breathe in some fresh air.

Yesterday, while listening to a podcast interview, Jen Hatmaker asked her guest the final question.

“What is saving you today”? 

 

I listened then I proceeded to answer it as well.

“What is saving me today”?

Mr. Right (fancy date night over the weekend, talking on the phone like high school kids,Date night_resized doing a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle in 3 hours, reading the same book or studying and then discussing together, stitching and talking while he makes juice every day…………my list goes on and on)

Floss Tube ( a group of worldwide cross stitchers who make videos and share their passion)

coffee cupCoffee

Counted cross stitch

I don’t really need finger shaking and rules right now.  Reading Psalms uplifts and psalm rockencourages me to move forward.  Even when the world seems all wackadoodle & topsy-turvy.

My Sweet Dog

my guilty pleasure, looking at “Hello” Magazine pictures online

Crocheting

Funny videos during medicine time

Reading the latest FBI thriller

Baking

holding handsHolding hands while wearing mittens/gloves on evening walks

 

So on this wet Tuesday,  my question to you friend is,

“What is saving you today”?

Maybe we can share answers & grace with each other?

Maybe by sharing we can smooth out the rough edges of this thing we call life?

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

health, mom's soap box, wellness

vinegar & nuts

Vinegar and Nuts.

What am I talking about?

Laundry of course.

In my ongoing quest to have sparkling clean laundry as well as NOT use chemicals…. I have a couple of new tips I want to share.  Of course, I would love to hear your all your ideas, please share your tips and suggestions.  I am always willing to try something new that aims towards good health.

Let’s jump in?

Yes, we all know that dryer sheets contain 9 Toxic chemicals and 3 of those known carcinogens (that means they cause cancer).   However, those little sheets of chemicals do a mighty good job at reducing static and that annoying cling.

Big sigh along with a sad face.

Alas, my friends, I have solutions galore (maybe not galore, but at least 3)!

Here is what I do instead;

One trick I figured out is that I use wool dryer balls.  They do an excellent job 3 seasons outdryer balls of the year.  That leaves us with those cold, static-filled winter months.

20171108_160244-1_resizedNext, I’ve added this little beauty.  Now, don’t get your fancy panties in a tangle, I used a bright-colored piece of fabric so I could find it easily when sorting dry clothes.  However, you can just as easily use safety pins on a single sock or an old washcloth.  The pins act as a lightning rod inside your dryer.  (Gentle note to readers: if by chance you don’t have any or you are saving your “fancy panties” for good and right this minute wearing old, dingy, faded, boring undies ………………for the love of everything wonderful in the world, throw your un-fancy undergarments to the curb (what I really mean is:  in the trash, no one wants to see a bunch of faded, broken elastic, sad-looking undergarments near the curb, no one. )

The next thing I did was order some makeup cloths from Amazon.  YouTube has several20171113_122106-1_resized (1) 20171113_114848-1_resized(thousand) I am sure, quick videos about how to make your own dryer sheets.  Here is what I do:  roll the makeup cloths (so they equally absorb the magic elixir), Add magic elixer….. better known as 1/2 cup white vinegar and 20 drops of essential oils, put cloths in a jar with a lid, make fancy label if you wish.  Done.  Just as you would with the chemical-laden dryer sheets, toss one of these gems into the dryer along with your load of clothing.  (Gentle Note to the reader:  Doesn’t magic elixir sound better than white vinegar and good smelling oils?  Also, when I say to toss one of these “gems” into the dryer…. I am referring to the dryer sheets, not actual gems.  That would be ridiculous. )

Now to the nuts part of this post.

laundry balls 1Again, yes, we all know that laundry detergent has some mighty powerful chemicals (yes, some are carcinogenic, yes, we all know what that means).

No, I do not use detergent.  Sure, I make my own laundry soap, however, 95% of the time I use laundry balls (about 4 years now.)

Enter my ongoing quest to do better. Trying something new to me.

Soap Nuts. 20171114_084640-1_resized

Soap Nuts are a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus Mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.

When agitated with water they release soap. ( Yes, safe for septic systems, yes, completely nut allergy safe.  Soap Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all.)

You add 3 or 4 soap nuts to the muslin bag and toss into the washer.  No chemicals, and yet somehow (magically) the laundry gets cleaned.  Yes, yes, I know the soap actually does the work, I just like using the word magical.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness, even in the laundry room. (insert happy face here!)

Chat soon.

 

beauty, gift giving, grandchildren, haPPY, Homemade gift, pure goodness, splurge

mad about hats

 

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I have been sewing, quilting, cross stitching since I was 12 years old.  I also took knitting lessons, twice.  (It was not the teacher, it was most likely the student.  I am not a knitter.)

I started learning to crochet on February 1, 2017.  Technically I am a beginner, however, my daughter in law thinks I can easily call myself an “Advanced Beginner”.

I like that.

Advanced Beginner.  You know that feeling when you have accomplished quite a bit and you are just about to move ahead to the next grade?  Excited, anxious to learn something new, yet feeling all puffed up about yourself with what you have already learned.

I think I will start a new hat today!  20170927_110716-1_resized

Then all of a sudden, some unkind, dreary, non-sparkly person says, “Enough with the hats, I think you got that, time to move on to something else.”

Actually, I like making hats.  OODLES and OODLES of hats!  I like to donate hats.  I like to make them for gifts.  I love to make them for my grands.  Yes, I am well aware that not everyone likes or uses handmade hats.  Secretly, I think everyone would feel special if someone made them a hat.  Just my opinion.

Our grands all live in very warm places.  So the amount of time they actually “need” a warm hat is not very long. I am okay with spending my time, money and effort on a hat for my grandchildren EVEN IF they only wear it one day!  How’s that for a granny who loves them?? They also like to play dress up and pretend that it is winter indoors sometimes.  That’s where having a hand crocheted hat from their granny comes in handy!

Hats work up fairly quickly and with each one or two, I am trying to learn a new stitch or a new method.  While making these, I learned how to make bigger, fluffier, pom poms. 20171022_122030-1_resized

I even had my own tags made.  The tags say, Splurge with my initials underneath.  I like the thought of splurging on fancy yarn to make something special for the grand little people in my life.20171024_201802-1-1_resized

On these hats, I learned the cluster stitch. 20171031_135009-1_resized

These booties were made for a new little girl & the hat for her big brother.  With these, I learned to crochet plaid.20171104_102636-1_resized_1

I like to celebrate with my friends when they tell me they are going to be a grandma.  I like to share in their happiness.  Making something makes me feel connected. Sewing or crocheting something with my hands does my soul good.  20171106_204031-1_resized

These are a gift for twin boys about to be born and a special one for their big brother.

It is a true honor to participate in historic traditions.  Makes even the silliest of hats seem worthy.

Love to hear what you are making with your hands to feed your soul and spirit.

Guess what I am going to start today?  🙂

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

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