crafts, cross stitch, friends, Uncategorized

a good luck poke

The pincushion tomato was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era.  Folklore tomato-pin-cushionteaches us, that by placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits.  If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust.  The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose – a place to store pins.

20170102_213250-1_resizedI made this lavender pincushion in 1972.  I was 10 years old and this was my first project in my sewing 4H club. I am not sure the light purple blob has any good luck or not.  I can say, with certainly, it has kept all evil spirits away from my sewing basket for more than 40 years.

In theory it is a sweet idea, however, it doesn’t work. The pins don’t stay pushed in.   The material is double-knit, the filling feels like cotton batting, and it doesn’t have any weight to speak of. I made it using a canning jar lid and ring.

A pin cushion that doesn’t work, isn’t very useful.  However, I have kept it all these years because it makes me smile to remember the beginning.  It doesn’t work, but for some reason, it whet my appetite for more to come.

You all remember my 2017 goal of making a pin cushion for every sweet person I need a gift for?

You thought I was kidding?  No, not kidding.  I am on a mission to make  at least 12 pincushions this year.  Let me be clear:  pincushions that are equally pretty & useful. While I do wish for them to be keepsakes (and full of good luck), I honestly don’t want them20170102_213305_resized stuck in the bottom of someone’s sewing basket never to see the light of day.  It is my hope that the cushions will be poked over and over and over again.  I hope they are loved and used and become worn with happy use.

First pin cushion of 2017 is finished!!!!  She also comes with her own designer pins.

I made several pins last night.  I wanted to include something unique or pretty or charming to poke into each cushion. Some look like dragonflies, some have hearts, a few have stars, while the rest are glass stacked beads.

My first pin cushion this year,  is for a retirement gift.  The recipient is a crafter and does lovely work with beads.  I thought it might be the perfect small gift to offer up as a celebration.  I wanted to make something special.

I ask you, who among us wouldn’t want to receive a hand stitched cushion with our initial highlighted?

In addition to using buttons from my button jar, I stitched good karma, love, prayers, kindness and oodles of good luck into this piece.  I am sending it off into the world stuffed with pure goodness (also known in some circles as crushed walnut shells). I also included a loop for her scissors to be tied with a ribbon.

May this new year be a time of bathing others in small gifts of thoughtfulness.


In this together, friends.

We could all use a little poke to remind us to be more thoughtful.

crafts, cross stitch, gift giving, gifts, sewing, Uncategorized


I have decided to stick it to my friends this coming year.  Just kidding, well no, not really.

I have decided to make pin cushions for every single man, woman and child I know.

What does that mean?


2017 will be……… the year of the pin cushion!

I know, right?  You can feel the excitement, the enthusiasm.  The air seems electric.

Would you like to know what brought this on?

One gift.

springtime-messenger-coverI decided to make a beautiful pin cushion for a retirement gift.  I have gathered the thread colors, the linen, antique buttons and the pattern.  Next, I needed the filling.

Of course you already know that you can’t just stuff a pin cushion with fluffy fibers.

So, I went looking for crushed walnut shells. Yes, they are the perfect solution.

The weight of the crushed shells keep the pin cushion in place during use.  Perfect reason number 2?  The crushed walnut shell texture keeps the pins & needles sharp.

My local quilt shop has 4 ounce bags of shells for $7.00.  Because I think I will need two bags to fill my pin cushion, It seems rather pricey for filling.

I should be able to do better.  um.

Enter a national chain pet store.  They sell crushed walnut shells for the flooring of desert dwelling animals.

So, I bought a 5 quart bag (weighs about 8 pounds) for $10.00. 20161204_092943_resized

Quite a bargain.

I was tickled to purchase such a HUGE bag, for such a good price.

Now, the trick is to make enough pin cushions for birthdays, retirement gifts, thinking of you surprises, just because gifts, a gift for the UPS man……… that my “fabulous” frugal buy ends up being well worth the money.

I am rather puffed up about my great find.

I am anxious to begin stitching & filling.

However, if this blog post encourages your creative juices and you too, want to make beautiful pin cushions……….

I will gladly share the bounty.  Seems there is enough for everyone and then some.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS.  please act surprised when you receive your pin cushion next year.  “Oh gee, I wonder what she filled it with?”

crafts, cross stitching, Uncategorized

slight switch

I recently read about a sweet little girl.  Whenever she saw something, instead of pointing and saying “look”.  From the beginning, her parents taught her to say, “behold” and use her hand instead of pointing with one finger.  Adorable.

When our boys were young, we didn’t care for the word “sucks” so we changed the word to “hoovers” like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.  None the wiser, that is the word they used.  It wasn’t until they were older did they understand just how “creative” their parents were.  ha

I have a friend who didn’t care for her children using the word, “but”. So she replaced it with the word, “however”.  You can imagine, how that played out.  Now, as adults they still use the word “however”.  Adorable, silly, however, got the job done. 20161019_111108-1-2_resized

A year or so ago, visiting Victoria B.C.,  I was in a stitching shop and fell in love with a Sampler pattern. I loved the look, the colors and the shape, however, I did not care to stitch one of the words.20161019_134311-1_resized

While I mean absolutely no disrespect to Carl Von Clausewitz, whom is credited with this partial quote of his, I had to be creative & 20161019_111436-1_resizedchange it.  Otherwise, forever cringe each and every time I saw this piece.

WIP… work in progress, Wednesday report:  Day four of working on this new project, with a stitch here and there on 30 count Irish linen, I am sailing right along and smiling not cringing with each tiny stitch.

Love to hear about a project that you are working on, maybe made a slight change to.  Sort of an internet show n tell.  We can and will build each other up and cheer each other on.

Making time in my day to work on something so fine and calming is good for my soul.  Every stitch is good for my mental health. Somehow, the thread and rhythm of pulling the needle through, the counting…… counter acts the ugly and stress that we all feel and hear.


In this together, here’s to our good mental health.

Chat tomorrow.




crafts, cross stitch, Uncategorized


With all the ugly horror going on and focusing on the bad… I needed, I craved, my heart ached to remember some glorious trips we took in France.

I am in need of the good memories to flood my mind. I am trying to replace some nightmare images with good.

Through the ugly, I needed to calm my soul and remember, re-live the amazing and wonderful trips our family experienced.

I wanted to remember the small toss-away cameras we bought for our young boys.  For the first time ever they got to take their very own photographs.

I needed to remember Mr. Right running the stairs to the top of the Eiffel tower, trying to beat our elevator.

The people were so kind to us.  In Northern France, we were treated extremely well.  Our children were adored.

The ceramic sales person talking to Son #1 and explaining in French how much the fish shaped plates were. (side note, I bought 12 dinner plates and still use them)

I remember, speaking French (poorly), trying to buy French Bread in a bakery and the kind man behind the counter, with a huge smile,  said in English to me…. “in France we just call it bread” hahaha

I know just on the other side of grief and sadness are delightful memories of many, many  wonderful memories.

The art that filled our heart and soul and changed our lives forever.  The sites we visited and learned so much from.

The very moment we saw lightening strike the angel Gabriel atop Château St. Michele.

20151117_223324-2I found this cross stitch pattern.  It is a Blackbird Design and offered as a free pattern. I used left over 32 count linen.

This week I am stitching and remembering.  I am stitching and sending positive energy to France.  I am stitching and sending oodles of prayers and good karma and warm wishes to the people of France.

The people and experiences of our time in France changed our lives forever.  We are a better family, better individuals because of all that we saw and lived.

The very least I can do is


France, I thank you for your part in my journey.


bath, crafts, sachets

Bath sachets

I made 10 of these today.  Can you tell, I am filling up my gift giving supply?  I like to have a few baskets of goodies to “shop” from. Last week was the Fancy Fizzies today, little bath sachets.  They are little bags filled to the brim with all sorts of pure goodness.  Oh, and I made a couple for myself as well.

20150514_125137“Several minutes before getting into the tub, swish one of these little beauties around in the hot bath water to scent it and the bathroom with heavenly fragrance.  Afterward, hang the bag from the faucet until next time.  Each sachet is good for several baths.”20150514_134219

I learned how to make these little lovelies from a book that was given to me back in the 80’s. (still has the birthday card taped in the back.)   Sometimes, you receive a gift and use it over and over and over and over.  It is a well-loved book.  I have learned so much from its pages.

for each muslin bag (30 cents you need: 20150514_123135

1 ounce of rolled oats

1/2 ounce dried lemon peel

1/2 ounce dried orange peel

4 bay leaves

2 heaping Tablespoons of dried lavender

2 heaping Tablespoons of dried Rosemary

The recipe calls for dried rose petals.  Oppsie, I forgot those this time.

20150514_124415Divide the ingredients among the bags.  Draw the string closed, tie in a knot, add a charming tag and you are ready to give as a gift.

The aroma is divine.  It washes over you as you are filling them.  The encouragement to take a lovely bath envelopes you in a sort of magical tug. Somehow, filling the sachets makes me happy.  I know exactly what is going in them.  I want to make a thoughtful gift using high quality ingredients to give to my family and friends.

It is a super easy and lovely gift to make.  You can most certainly dehydrate the peels yourself.  Of course you can grow and dry your own lavender and rosemary.  However, if you can’t, just stop by a shop with bulk foods.  Enough rosemary for 10 bags came to 41 cents.  So this project can be reasonably priced as well as lovely.

Soak your troubles away.