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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crochet, friends, haPPY, Homemade gift, sewing, Uncategorized

oh boy!

There are people whom one loves immediately and for ever.  Even to know they are alive in the world with one is quite enough.  Nancy Spain

I am not a fan of attending baby or bridal showers.

Yes, I have hosted several.  Yes, I always R.S.V.P and yes, I will be attending.  Yes, I take a gift and yes, I thank the hostess for including me.

That being said, let me explain.  First, after being a career Army wife, just imagine how many baby showers one is invited to?  Seriously, think of all the young families and how many children they have.  Each of those families is away from their home town friends and kinsfolk, so Army wives step in and fill that gap.  You attend.  You just do.  You help them celebrate, you are their “family” so you show up with a smile.

Second, I loath the goofy , often times embarrassing parlor games.

Third, I never really enjoyed putting on stockings,  the traditional pumps or sandals depending on the time of year, the pretty party dress to walk around someones’ living room, sit like a lady for 2.5 hours and drink weak coffee out of a proper cup and saucer with 99% of the people I have never met.

Fourth ( and this is just me grumbling), I can’t have the sugar laden punch and for some reason, often times said punch is served with globs of floating colorful sherbet.  I can’t have the amazing, lush,  array of desserts that are always, always served.

Most weird feeling  of all, the opening of the gifts.

Let’s talk gifts, shall we?

I have done handiwork since I was 12 years old.  I have practiced sewing, quilting, embroidery and as of the last 3 months, I am learning to crochet.  I feel compelled to do my very, very best and make something with my own hands to give as an offering.  The idea of a shower is to SHOWER the recipient with love & goodness.  I want to be part of the celebration and join in the tradition of giving handwork made with love.  I have been practicing for so long, that when the time comes to offer up a beautifully wrapped surprise I want the person to feel bathed in Grace with what I have made.   I want them to know that they were thought about and I started making something just for them weeks, often times, months prior to the party.   (Who knew it would take me so long to crochet a baby blanket?) 20170428_111916-1_resized (1)

Here’s where the awkward part comes in, it’s not you, it’s me people, really.

I honesty want to make gifts for some folks.  However, when said gift is opened in front of 28 other people who exclaim, “You MADE that”?  It is a tad weird feeling.  My face feels hot.  My hands start sweating. 20170428_111810-1_resized

 No, I did not make it to impress you or to “show off”.  No, I don’t really want to make something for your twice removed cousin, I don’t even know you, let alone your cousin.  (Whom I am sure is very nice.)  No, I don’t sew for money.  I’m truly sorry you “hate’ me for making something.  THEN, to top it off, I never really know a sincere, pleasant way of saying, “Oh, your present of a “gift card” will be so nice for them to go to the store and buy something they want.”

I just want to take a moment out of my life and make something from my heart. I want to give a gift, just not the opening in front of people thing.

I was graciously invited to attend a baby shower.  At first so excited to be included on their list of friends, then the worry about attending set in……… this past weekend I went and golly gee, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

With the exception for my own daughter in law, I have not been to a shower in a few years.

The food.   Holy Guacamole!!!!    There was a Nacho Bar!!  Really great choices and you got to build your own. In essence, no one cared what you put on your creation, no one gave a hoot if you ate meat or not, liked hot peppers or not.  It was a WONDERFUL idea and so dang TASTY!

Yes, there was a glorious dessert table, chocolate fountain and candy bar….there was also a gorgeous array of fruit to choose from.  Glory be, something for everyone.  dessert bar

From the invitations to the decorations, all was charming and well thought out.  Very festive and felt so happy.   Everyone attending was friendly and a pleasure to be around.

Huge news!  There was only one game and it was more of an interview of the parents to guess each other’s answers.  So sweet and kind, nothing rude or embarrassing.  It was fun to listen and watch, very entertaining.20170429_105336-1_resized

Good gravy, I even wore a cute outfit of jeans, sassy shoes and fun jewelry.  No stockings or stuffy proper dress! (My girlfriend challenged me to take a selfie.  Seriously, this selfie “thing” is a weird hobby.  I did take the picture, pretty sure it won’t become a habit.  ha)

When it came time for my present, the gift opening still felt a bit awkward.  My cheeks blushed and my hands felt sticky.   I thought about it on the way home.

Grown up Girl, Light bulb moment!!!!!!! Listen to this pearl.

You know, I love those parents-to-be so much, I don’t honestly care what others think.  How’s that for personal growth????

 I wanted them to know, I was trying my very best to make several homemade gifts for their new sweet babe.  It wasn’t about what others thought.  It was about my heart & soul and wanting to lift them up in celebration.  It was about showering them with love.

I’ve been practicing for over 40 years with needle and thread.  I got the call!  These are the moments I have been working towards, learning new, even stitches.  I have a reason to wash my hands, warm up the sewing machine, buy some yarn and get a move on.

Their sweet baby boy will be having his birthday sometime in June.  That gives me plenty of time to hand stitch a “welcome to the world” gift.  Oh, you know, each stitch will be made with love and prayers for that new baby and parents.

Love to hear what you have made for a baby or bridal shower.  Please don’t keep me in suspense.  Please tell me there are others out there who make something with their hands to celebrate life and love!

What are you making a new baby in your life? I would love to swap ideas.

Oh, boy!

crochet, Homemade gift, Uncategorized

do over

Mistakes happen, all the time.  Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who makes goofy lou-lous and then I talk to my dog and she assures me, humans make mistakes.  Dog? Never make mistakes, just humans.  snort

In this world of social media we conveniently “forget” to share the OOPS, the mistakes, the Mulligan pictures.   I sort of wish more people would share the goof ups.  I think it would make me feel more normal.

Currently,  I am thick into “learning to crochet”.  I am figuring out a new stitch or process every couple of days. 20170208_154540-2_resized_1-1

In the olden days, If I was stuck or confused or made a mistake,  I would walk down the street to my grandma’s house or aunt’s house or a kind elderly neighbor.  As if by magic, every person over 50 knew how to do some type of handicraft.

Once, when I was in college, I was taking an evening class and there was a 50 something gal in the class.  One night, I waited until after class was over and shyly asked her if she could help me.  Oh no, not about the class study, no, I’ve got that.  I needed help and I thought maybe she could teach me how to make an embroidered French knot?  (My heart was racing and dramatic music was drumming in my ears.)

I had my supplies with me, needle threaded and ready to go. She didn’t make a big deal out of it.  Just said, sure, dropped her purse and book bag and got right to it.  I will show you a couple of times, until you understand.  It took less than 3 minutes.  I still make the French knots the same way.  I can still hear her kind, non-judgmental voice.  I can sort of still hear the “relief” in her voice.  The sound of…French Knots?  Oh, that’s easy peasy.  This college learning stuff is way more difficult.  French Knots, I’ve got this”.

I am well over the 50 mark and not many of my acquaintances or friends do much handwork.  Sure there is a Master Knitter here and an amazing quilter there…….just……

I am sort of tempted to go to an Assisted Living place and ask if anyone over 70 could help me with a crocheted Shell stitch!

Today, I can’t find anyone who stitches in my neighborhood or circle.  I’ve turned to YouTube videos to help teach me. If I can’t understand their teaching methods, I move on to someone else.

20170213_130302-1_resized_2I learned the “puff” stitch.  Easy, very showy20170213_115424_resized_1

I learned the reverse single crochet stitch. Twisty, A bit tricky, worth reviewing the video 17 times.

20170211_215102-1_resized_1Changing yarn colors was/is a bit different,yet somehow, I am pushing forward.

Then came the shell stitch.  WHOMP, WHOMP, WAAAAAAA

Today, I am unwinding the entire thing.  Finding a new video to watch over and over.  The elusive shell stitch.  I want it and I want it bad.

How hard can this be?  Apparently, for me, pretty dang hard.

a-life-spent-making-mistakes-is-not-only-more-honorableWith each round I crochet, it gets a bit more “off” a bit more wonky.  Sigh.  This isn’t calm and relaxing.  This is frustrating and I can feel my blood pressure rising.  Yet, I refuse to cuss!  I won’t.

I put it down yesterday.  I baked instead.  Baking I can do.

The prettiest, pale pink, soft yarn.  I paid extra because I just loved the feel.

Seriously, at this rate, if I keep going, some baby’s head will have to be the size of an oval shaped 15 pound watermelon.  Let’s face facts, that won’t be good for anyone. 20170215_082030-1_resized

drats.

In this together, friends.

Onward.

PS. I made a really fancy sign…...

Will trade a beautiful loaf of homemade baked bread ….. for the shell stitch crochet lesson.20170207_131803-1_resized_2

gifts, good karma, good marriages, haPPY, Homemade gift, Uncategorized

chop, chop, lollipop

Hello February!  Such a beautiful thing to say.  In our family, January has always been a tough, ugly, tricky month.  2017 was no different.

On to the fresh, clean slate of February.  Valentine’s day isn’t too far away.  It’s time for love and smooches and lollipops, of course.

I tied the sign, filled a jar and gave this to Mr. Right.20170131_154015-1_resized

Start with making the tag.  Next, fill whatever size (I used plastic) jar with bubble gum or suckers.  I thought Blow Pop suckers was silly, sweet and funny.

This is such an easy way to remind your Mr. Right, you love him and you are thinking about him.  You do send him to work with silly things he can share with co-workers, right?

Um, yeah, take the time.  How on earth do you think this thing called marriage is going to thrive and swirl?  You gotta feed it, girlfriend.  YES, even after 35 years of being married.

Yes, I know you are very “busy”.  You are going to tell me, “he knows I love him, I am lucky, I don’t have to show him.”

wrong.

Everyone needs to be reminded that they are loved.   It feels good.

It is HAPPY all stuffed into a jar!

That’s why this project is so dang tootin’ easy, quick and full of goodness!

Chop, Chop, Lollipop!  

Fill and give a jar of goodness, TODAY!!

In this together, friend.

Go share some happy!

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gifts, grateful, Homemade gift, Uncategorized

rolled up goodness

Yesterday, in the hustle of getting dinner ready, the mail arrived.

A box.  A surprise.  My name written on the outside.   I spy my niece’s name as the sender.

wipe hands on dish towel

smile

push back curly hair out of eyes

rub hands together with glee

keep smiling

start unwrapping

giddy with anticipation

read letter

tear up

keep smiling

oh my goodness, the handiwork, the beautiful purple, the shine, the thought

She made me a beautiful necklace and earring set.20160617_103510-1

It get’s better.

Her note:

Dear Aunt Daleen, I made this necklace and earrings set for you.  The beads are made of paper and markers, rolled up, glued then sealed with nail polish. Inside each bead is a though of you.  Something we love, thankful for or remember about you.  Mom, Dad and I each wrote on them for you. 

She went on to tell me what they wrote.  Then ended the note by saying:

.….The mothers of my students liked the one’s we made for mother’s Day.  My mother loves hers as well.   enjoy, with love, J

20160617_103518I gotta tell you, this is a show stopper.

As I run the beads through my fingers I am smiling.  I am remembering all the good times and things we have done together.  I feel the smoothness.  All linked together.

I am so grateful, thankful and appreciative.

A charming and heartfelt gift to make. A treasure to receive.  Humbled to wear.

Heartfelt thanks dear sweet niece, how lovely of you to think of me and make something so beautiful and special.  A keepsake.

Today, as I scurry around our home, doing chores and such, I am wearing a beautiful necklace & earrings of pure goodness.

Have I mentioned lately….what a lucky girl I am?

I am.  I really am a lucky girl.

Smiling

 

 

 

gift giving, gifts, happy marriage, Homemade gift, husband, Uncategorized

short & sweet

Every single year for over 30 years I have baked shortbread on or about the 11th of December.  Mr. Right’s birthday is the 12th.

I use my shortbread rolling pins.  I use the best ingredients I can find.  I will say that the shortbread I baked while living in Germany was by far the best ever.  I think the flour and the unsalted, organic butter were the secret.20151211_100611-1_resized (1)

Homeschool lesson for today:  Shortbread originated in Scotland.  First recipe printed in 1736 by Mrs. McLintock.  It is a type of cookie made from one part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts flour.20151211_100003-1_resized

Each year, I bake the cookies, cool them completely, wash every single bowl and utensil I used.  While I am washing, I open every window in the house to air out the delicious cookie smell.  I use cookie parchment and wrap the cookies into a tin.  Then I wrap them in Birthday paper and tie with a fancy ribbon.  Then I have to wait for the next day for him to open his surprise gifts.

Every single year, when he comes to that gift, he feels the weight and says, “Gee, I wonder what this is?”  He unwraps, takes off the tin lid and selects the perfect taste tester.  He takes a bit, closes his eyes, smiles and says, “this is the best shortbread I have ever tasted”.

Now, I don’t know if it is the best ever shortbread, however  I do know, no matter what is going on, weather I was healthy or not, busy or not………….the shortbread gets made.  Once, he was out of the country with the Army and I had to mail it early.  I have no idea what the heck it looked like when he received it.  It may have been just cookie dust in a tin, however he said it was the best he had ever had.

Somehow his Shortbread gift has become a tradition.  It reminds him of his grandmother.  He savors the taste.  He only eats one a day.

EEE GADS , I adore that man.  I would do just about anything for him and if baking a batch of shortbread once a year makes him happy…..

Oh sure, I could buy him any number of things. Lord knows I have tried to find the perfect gift to celebrate him.

It always, always comes back to one batch of perfectly made shortbread just for him.20151211_103439-1_resized

He knows he is loved and adored.  His grands tell him.  His grown kiddos tell him.  The dog reminds him how much he is loved.  Baking the perfect shortbread is one way I remind him over and over and over how much I love him.

Oh that and a beautiful, delicious, Blackberry Cobbler for dessert.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Right.  20151212_134136_resized_3

 

grandchildren, Homemade gift, love

Grand #3

There once was a little boy named Cooper.  Today, our family celebrates his FIRST birthday!

We have been plotting and planning.  The day has arrived.  We have all said, we can’t believe how quick the year has flown by.

Cooper has a curious and adventurous spirit.

He loves to go on hikes.

Camping was so much fun.

Walking on the beach.

Going to Hockey games.

Feeding his dog treats.

Figuring out how things work.

We knew we had to make something perfect for him.  20150927_171828-1

So we bought sandpaper, stain, varnish and gadgets and locks and things kids would like to figure out.

20150928_080836We cut out letters from sandpaper and glued it on.  To help save his parents hardwood floors, we put little felt circles on the back corners.

Papa used his drill and screw driver.20150928_080746-1

Then we wrapped it up in silly paper.  Of course we got him other things to show him that we love him.

Heck, we love that kiddo every single day.

Today, well today we celebrate!

Happy Birthday, Cooper Troy. imagejpeg_0 (5)

You are loved beyond imagine.