cross stitch, friendship, gift giving, gifts, sewing

poke update

June is knocking on the door, six months into the new year & about 180 days into my sewing goal.

20170116_200943-1_resized_2I thought I would give you a quick update on20170414_202404-1_resized (1) my pin cushion project of 2017.

 

 

 

In case you need to catch up, zip over to this post.    I decided to stitch birthday pin cushions this year.

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

 

To date I have made & given 8 pin cushions.  Another one is sitting in a basket waiting for 20170427_100224_resized20170103_144545-1_resized (1)backing fabric and a new one is currently being stitched.

So we are almost 6 months into the year and I have 10 pin cushions almost under my belt.

 

 

Some observations so far this year:

  1.  I have not given one cushion in person. Giving hand-made gifts that you don’t get to see the person open, is over rated.  Most likely won’t do again (except my grands and family).
  2. I have a love of handmade stitchy gifts/projects, that is not the case with most everyone else.
  3. It is way more time (hours & hours, even a few days), energy, effort then I calculated.  Hard to stay motivated at times.  To mail in a timely fashion, I have to prepare and stitch a month or so before the person’s birthday.
  4. Making two the same is not that thrilling.
  5. I love choosing the perfect buttons.
  6. I have had to put some other larger counted cross stitch projects on the back burner, while I attempt to make all these pin cushions.
  7. Being thoughtful is at times, hard work.
    20170322_080402_resized

I think I needed this project to remind myself to be more kind and thoughtful towards others, even when I don’t feel like it.   A lesson I won’t soon forget.

I would love to hear what gifts you are making for friends.  Maybe we could encourage each other?

Please share,  in this together friends.

 

books, gift giving, gifts, good karma, Uncategorized

staff of life

This day is full of bluster.  Wind gusts that take your breath away.  Rain pouring so hard it blocks the light of noon day.  It is a loud day.  I can hear trees and bushes brushing the side of the house.

Instead of fighting it and complaining, I decided to lean into it.  I have on warm socks and a sweater.  I made a huge cup of strong, dark, rich coffee and stirred in a spoonful of homemade caramel sauce.  I turned on the twinkle lights and flipped the switch on all the battery operated candles.   I even whipped up a mixture for the diffuser (spruce, cinnamon and orange).  Smells like winter.

Perfect day to talk about bread.  artisan bread

About 4 1/2 years ago I bought this book.  I got the supplies needed.  Then I didn’t do it. Life somehow got mixed up in MY plans and the road detoured for a bit.

I have baked many, many, oodles really,  loaves of bread in my life time.  I wanted to try my hand at Artisan Bread.

Why on earth did I wait so long?

You know that moment when you are in an upscale restaurant and they serve a slice of bread with holes and has a really good flavor and “chew” to it?  The chef simply kisses the bread with a little fire and somehow elevates everything that is served near, beside or atop it.  Yeah, that bread.

I wanted/want to learn to make that perfect texture, great color, haphazard slices swiped into the top, smell of heaven on earth, mouth-watering looking and tasting staff of life.  This is my first loaf!!!  Seriously folks, this is what baking is about.   Man alive, I wish your screen was scratch n sniff.   This is the real deal.  Oh, sweet mawma!

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“In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.”
Janet Flanner, Paris Was Yesterday, 1925-1939

 

Once you mix the dough and let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or two or fourteen……..it takes HONESTLY 5 minutes to form it then you step away and allow it to do its thing.

I love the feel of the proofing cloth.  I love swirling the flour around with my hands.

The original recipe makes enough for four loaves.  I started with two.  It was easy peasy to divide.

Once I practice a bit more, we will share loaves with our friends and neighbors.  You can make a smaller loaf for a single friend or couple.  You can make a more generous size for a larger family.  As well as still making an amazing loaf for you and your spouse. 20170510_172200-1_resized

Baking a loaf of bread by spending 5 minutes.  What a lovely way to speak to your husband.  Yes, Mr. Right means that much to me.  I smiled to myself, the moment he walked in that back door.  His words,  “yum, smells like fresh-baked bread”.

That is why I bake bread.

That and the fact that it makes awesome toast.20170511_101744-1_resized

Gentle suggestion and nudge.  Buy the book.  Learn something new. Spend 5 minutes on making something for someone else.  You will be so proud of yourself.  Your family will be smitten with your new hobby.

Feeding yourself, family and friends fresh bread.  Nothing feels more right.

Imagine yourself, offering a loaf of fresh-baked bread to your neighbor or your co-worker expecting a new baby.  Yes, it feels that good and more.

In this together friends,

ps.  If you stop by, I promise to share a slice or at least get a loaf baking so you can take it home with you.

 

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

poke

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?

 ANNOUNCING…

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?”

gift giving, gifts, Uncategorized

tag, you’re it

I gathered my supplies and a few minutes later, I have 10 cute gift tag made and ready to use. 20161205_094734-1_resized

Let me back up.  Last year after the big holiday season, I bought 10 plastic ornaments (lightweight and easy to mail) costing 9 cents each!  Honestly, you have to use your imagination during those 90% off sections of the stores.

I bought some glitter (using a coupon) and stick on letters (yes, on sale) and floor wax.

Then took the tops off the ornaments.  Swirled in about 1 Tablespoon of floor wax, poured out extra.  Poured in some glitter, tapped out excess and let dry.  Then stuck on a letter for each 20161205_111730_resizedrecipient.

Ta-Da!

Slipped a ribbon through the hook and tied onto each gift.

Once the gift is opened, paper tossed, the gift tags “magically” turn into Christmas ornaments.

Now, to tackle the glitter all over the counter and me.  🙂

Chat soon. 20161205_113522_resized

 

gift giving, gifts, grace, grandchildren, love, Uncategorized

oh deer, what do I hear

While putting away the Halloween decorations, tossing the carved pumpkins, eating the last of the roasted pumpkin seeds..I heard something.  I think………wait……..yes, I think it was a jingle bell.

Not only does Mrs. Claus have to start early, so does Grandma Daleen.

Last year, we found beautiful (and sturdy) advent calendars for the grands.  I tucked them away for this year.20161102_161101_resized

So we didn’t forget, I wrote on our kitchen calendar, November 1…….

 “send calendars to Z.A.C.”

This year, I stitched each a simple and sweet ornament.  I try to make something that is not breakable.  I want it to be cute and sweet, yet something even the parents would be okay with hanging on their tree.20161102_154558-1_resized

Um, yes, this is what grandmas are supposed to do.  They are suppose to make things for their grands.  Make cookies or an ornaments or a poem or a book or a quilt or a doll blanket or a car mat….whatever you can create… this is what all those years of practice were for.

Grandma’s tell their grands they love them with scratchy knit slippers (with treats tucked inside).  Grandma’s make silly bracelets or super capes.  Nanas and MeeMaws across the land make their super, secret, special cookies and put them in a special tin, just for their grands.  Great Grandma’s make personalized book marks for each little in her life.

You have time.  Get your creative juices flowing.

 I can promise you, no matter what you make, they will feel loved and of value.  Here’s the best part about making something for your grandchildren:  They will LOVE whatever you make.  They don’t criticize or judge.  They don’t point out your mistakes.  They are pure of heart.  Grand children just love that you made something for them. 

Here’s a peek behind the scenes:

I used a free pattern from    http://cutesycrafts.com/2013/12/felt-deer-and-fox-christmas-ornaments.html

Yes, I said free.  Good news, there are oodles of people on the” inter webs” who are sharing recipes and patterns for free!  Out of the goodness of their cotton pickin’ hearts.  Just because they want to share the love.   How’s that for lifting your spirits about mankind??

I used wool felt that I already had in my felt box. 20161102_154625-1_resized

I used thread  that I already had in my thread box.

20161102_154609_resizedI used ribbon that I already had in my ribbon box.

Scissors, needle and a couple pins.

A couple of hours later, TA -DA

Sweet, charming, adorable ornaments.  I stitched all sorts of crazy love and good karma into each.

Chop, Chop!

The time is now.

Please remember to make something with love for the sweet people in your life.

I would love to see and hear about what you are making for your grands or your niece, nephew, neighbor kiddo,  a little person that lives on your street.  You get the idea.

Instead of buying into the commercial notion that you have to purchase something , please take a moment, deep cleansing breath…… you can do this, make something with your very own hands.  I have faith in you.

When they hold and touch the gift you made, they will hold your love in their hands. It’s that simple. Really.  Nothing deep.  Just pure love for your grandchildren.

I look forward to hearing how you packaged cocoa or simple krispee treats.  I would love to hear what book you bought to go along with the glitter book marker you made.

This year, let’s share and lift each other’s spirits.

We all could use a little extra love this season.

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gift giving, gifts, grandchildren, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

busy bags

Another one of our amazing, smart, funny, goofy, silly, adorable grands’ is having a birthday!!! 20160920_075749_resized

We try to find gifts that help the parents, not hinder their tough job.  We still aim for gifts that are fun and silly for the kiddos.  Sure, sure, we sometimes send “build your own planet” kits with paint & string and boy howdy, that was a messy job for the parents. However, on the whole, we try and think through what we give to the “littles” in our life.

While the parents gave us (much appreciated) gentle suggestions, I was left wondering, how on earth will they keep all those pieces in one place?  Yesterday, while wrapping gifts, in place of wrapping paper, I sewed a drawstring bag.  That way, once he opens the gift, the bag can be re-used as storage for all those pieces.

One of the gifts I made was a set of “Busy Bags”.  While making the set for a birthday gift, I also made two other sets to give to the other grands as well.  I ordered the zippered bags from amazon. I filled with things to occupy little minds & hands.  While waiting in the car pool lane for sister to get out of school or waiting in a restaurant for their grilled cheese sammy to be served, this might help the arduous process of waiting.

You can find oodles of ideas and suggestions as to what you can fill the Busy Bags with on Pinterest.

I hope that they leave the Busy Bags in the car.  Not a toy for in the house to loose pieces here and there.  Just a special treat to use when out and about and in need of a distraction.

 

They could sew a lace around a fish or string a necklace.  They could choose to make a bracelet out of pipe cleaners and pasta.   Or they could choose to create something cool with Popsicle sticks with Velcro circles.  (I bought the colorful craft sticks at the craft store and ordered the stick on Velcro circles from amazon)  One of the Busy Bags contains Army men for the little guy in our life.  To count or line up or whatever.

While we wish a million bits of goodness for a very Happy Birthday to Cooper, we also want to keep in mind that helping the parents keep track of those million bits will be a gift unto itself.

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Being a parent is tough, tricky and exasperating.  It is also fun, silly, happy and rewarding. We want to be in the category of grandparents who help the process, not create more mess.

 

gift giving, gifts, goodness, grace, grandchildren, haPPY, Uncategorized

fancy that

Our grands live a million miles away from us.  Well, it seems like a million miles.

That means all the goodies and surprises we mail have to go into a box with lots of packing supplies.  What that really means is all the ribbons and bows are crushed and look rather dull, drab, dumpy & smooshed by the time they get to the special short people.

We just mailed a box this morning.  Someone sweet is turning 6 years old.  We wanted to be in on the celebration.

So while this someone special is girlie girl through and through, she loves space and planets and stars and animals. 20160807_134753_resized So space books and a book on becoming a Veterinarian went into the box.  NASA flash cards and a planet kit went into the box next to earrings and headbands and a fancy polka dot girlie skirt. 20160805_204746_resized

I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of ideas.  I need fancy “bows” and “ribbons” that won’t get crushed.  I want creative and fun and happy and charming.

Every time I walk by those huge silk flower displays that scream 70% off?  If it fits my under 50 cent criteria, I buy one or two.  I have a box at home, just for ribbons and flowers and such.

When I spy stickers 50% off, I buy a sheet of letters and numbers.

You know those thin wooden letters that go on sale now and then?  I buy them and then fancy them up a bit with paint I have at home.

Oh goodness, I never throw away those purple stretchy bags that mini potatoes come in.  Little sisters love purple!20160807_131833_resized

Don’t forget the bulk section of the grocery store.  While you are buying baking soda, almonds and lentils……find the candy section and buy 6 glorious Butterfly gummies or a little bag of sour gummy worms.

I promise, if you put on your thinking cap, you will spend less than $5.00 for oodles and oodles of decorations for your packages.  Heck, they are even fancy enough to put on packages you hand deliver.

Sweet surprises for sweet girls and their sweet little sisters are amazingly fun to decorate.

Fancy that?

Chat tomorrow.