Grandma Daleen, “I would like a cooking apron for my birthday, please.”
Makes my heart sing and then:
Rub hands together in anticipation.
Go to fabric store and find “owl” fabric.
Prepare a large and wonderful cup of coffee.
Turn on the light & plug in the string of flying pig lights in the sewing room & turn on sewing machine.
Give the dog a cookie and say to her, “let’s get this done”.
When a perfect grandgirlie is about to turn 5 years old, this Grandma’s need to jump into action.
Early this morning, a box was mailed several states away. Oodles of wrapped birthday surprises. A little gift for her sister as well.
Mr. Right said, hey, I never got a gift when it was my brother or sisters birthday. I said, you never had a Grandma like me!!!
Does the owl apron have a jingle bell sewn inside you ask? OF COURSE it has a jingle bell. Makes little chefs want to twirl, jump, hop & twist to see if they can make the bell jingle. Does it have a jingle bell? Such a silly question.
What comes with apron you ask? Um, (felt) food of course. A chef has to be able to cook and prepare all sorts of goodies.
This gift comes complete with Sushi, pancakes, eggs, a donut, peanut butter and jelly on toast, 3 kinds of pasta and an ice cream sandwich.
The perfect feast for a Birthday girl!
Tomorrow, I’ll share the tooth fairy pillow I sewed for her as well.
When this grandma “get’s the call” she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work.
A friend sent me a text early this Sunday morning:
Sparkle of the Day
“Our Lord has made the best gifts the most common.”
Oh, that’s not only sparkly but so juicy.
I’m going to savor that all day long.
..the most common…..
a cup of coffee
warm, fluffy socks
small project bag
Here’s a thought, a common bag. I use it every single day, sometimes, several times a day. Very common in my world.
100% cotton fabric, one zipper, two buttons, nothing too flashy, just a bag to store my current project in while I am not working on it. Takes me about 45 minutes to sew one. Easy, common. Actually, I have sewed and given so many, I have lost count.
I have sewed them for college kiddos. I have made them for make up bags, travel bags, zipper bags full of birthday goodies, bag to take to the hospital, bags to hold crochet hooks, bags to hold a sleeping mask and lavender and on the list goes. All made and given as gifts.
I have not made one for myself. Seriously? No. I have not taken the time to sew one of these beauties for myself.
One night, as I sat and worked on a project. I thought… why on earth are you still using a zip lock PLASTIC bag for your supplies? I guess I am like everyone else, we get so comfortable using and seeing something day after day, we forget to “see” where we need to make some changes.
**********Side note: If you want to skip the next few paragraphs where I talk about bisphenol A and how it is one reason I became so sick, I totally understand. Life is messy and you don’t always want to be reminded of the messy. I will insert a picture of a cute puppy so you can skip down to the part about sewing & happy & common sense.
In the last four years, among 101 other things, one thing we have had to eliminate in our life is plastic (read that as bisphenol A) . BPA is a weak synthetic estrogen and is one of the things that caused me to be diagnosed with “that which will not be named”.
Sounds easy enough. Just don’t use it. Simple.
The following is sarcasm: “What? Me? Oh, we stopped using all plastic. We store our ketchup and mustard in clay pots in the basement. No, we don’t own a refrigerator that is made with plastic. What do we brush our teeth with, you ask? We use a hand carved, with a wooden handle and boar bristle toothbrushes.”
Really? Good for you! That is tricky, hard and all-encompassing. We are still trying to get rid of as much as possible.
Roll up your cotton sleeves and let’s do this!
Okay, no more plastic ice-cube trays. No more plastic shower curtain liners. Toss all the plastic storage containers. Plastic measuring spoons. Plastic container your laundry soap is stored in, next to your plastic laundry basket. Plastic silverware on a picnic. Plastic yarn needle. Toss those disposable diapers of your grandchildren. My cell phone has a plastic case. Does your organic make up come in a plastic container? Plastic scoop I used to measure out chicken feed. Plastic tape measure (my grandma had a cloth one.) I use a plastic ruler to measure fabric. Plastic containers my spring plants were grown in. Plastic bag I use to buy/measure out my bulk food. Plastic on my sneakers. Plastic container my coffee beans are ground in. The useful plastic zip bags we use to store everything in……
…. I am pausing to take a DEEP CLEANSING BREATH.
I am sure you are thinking about a thousand and one other pieces of plastic that I didn’t mention. Oh, she forgot…..
Depending on where you live and work, you’re likely to be exposed to many plastic products every day. Food and beverage containers, some disposable plates, and toiletry bottles are all plastic and all are made from chemicals. Research suggests that all plastics may leach chemicals if they’re scratched or heated. Research also strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in these products, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may cause cancer in people.
enough, if you want to learn more , I am sure you know how to use Google. Just type in why/how bisphenol A…aka… BPA causes cancer.
***********For no reason at all, except that puppies are adorable, here is the promised photo of an impossibly cute puppy.
Hi, I am glad you found the cute puppy.
One more time, Sparkle of the Day,
“Our Lord has made the best gifts the most common.”
A picture of a puppy on verdant grass. Common
Beautiful brown puppy eyes. Common
Common sense. Sewing a useful cotton bag.
I used my noodle and I sewed myself a pretty project bag out of 100% cotton fabric. (yes, I know the zipper and buttons are plastic…..progress not perfection)
Not only do curtains add privacy and warmth to a room, there is a certain something that you can’t quite put your finger on. I think it is sound? A solid sound, sort of grounded I guess?
When you walk through a new home to look at the rooms, you can hear a slight echo. It doesn’t feel homey, yet.
I have a military, wife, friend who once asked me, “How long before you live in a house, until it feels like your home”?
I first thought the answer was time. Then I thought maybe cleaning. Once you clean or paint every square inch of the house or rake every single area of lawn, it feels like your home. Then, I sort of decided it was when you went away on vacation and came back to your home. We are closing in on one whole year in our new home. I think I want to add the word curtains, to my list of things that makes it feel like home.
This map fabric makes me smile every single time I see it. It is the perfect window treatment for two small windows in our library. Stacks of maps, books, a library table….. oh, I get giddy just thinking about it.
No, I did not purchase the expensive Roman shades.
These curtains are a snap. I sewed them in a giant circle.
Then used 3 inexpensive spring rods for each. (Let’s hear it for Spring Rods!! The under rated, not so glamorous piece of metal that makes curtains easy peasy.) Ta-Da!
Finished and mighty happy. A bonus, I didn’t think of the glorious warm color they throw when the sun shines behind them. Warm, beautiful and makes you want to sit a while and read a book.
Next, the great room windows. Much to my surprise, same huge open room, two different size windows. I had Mr. Right put the curtain rod up a little farther out on the right hand side…..gives the illusion of a bit bigger window. The “matchy matchy” part of my brain is satisfied.
I love Buffalo Plaid. Seriously, I SWOON over Buffalo Plaid. My grandfather had a black and red hunting jacket in Buffalo plaid. I love the boldness and yet at the same time, the traditional feel.
I did not love the prices I was seeing for plain, straight curtains to purchase. So to satisfy the frugal part of my brain, I ordered fabric ( 1/4 the cost of the finished curtains that I fell in love with.) I spent some time at the sewing machine and hemmed those beauties. (Side note: I bought the rods and curtain hangers from a big box hardware store. Simple and exactly what I had envisioned.)
Once hung (Full credit to Mr. Right, not one cuss word during the hanging of the curtain rods), they add a certain warmth & yes, by golly those curtains somehow magically make the room more like home.
I know, a home is a continual process. It is always evolving, changing, adding this or that.
However, having the curtains hung makes the “old Army wife in me” feel like it is home.
Housekeeping: Because my guest is under 18 years of age, I have asked and was granted permission of her parents to share some pictures.
I am delighted to share this post with you my kind hearted & charming readers.
Please leave a positive, uplifting comment, send my guest Good Karma and by all means please share this post on your blog or on Social Media. Thank you, kindly. I appreciate your kind feedback and I know for sure, she will.
I have this funny feeling, we are all in on the ground floor of ……. something pretty special.
Please welcome my friend, Chef Natalie!
Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m 10 years old and I love to cook. I started cooking with my mom when I was 3. I love helping my mom cook and I love seeing people like my food.
I spent the best day ever at Miss. Daleens house. We started the day by making a delicious smoothie. It was a banana, strawberry, spinach, lime juice, chia seeds and coconut smoothie. I got to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a coco jack. we used the meat scraper to get all of the meat. The tools that we used to open the coconut were so much safer than using a knife and a hammer which did not work out for me before. I had to get 3 stiches! Oww! Once we were not hangry any more we made palmiers. p.s hangry means your so hungry that your grumpy. The palmiers are like a light fluffy crossont covered in sugar. They were my favorite cookie of all because they were sweet but not too sweet. They were super easy but looked like you spent hours on them.
Next we made the dough for Daleens Famous molasses cookies. While that was chillin we tried facon! Its coconut, tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. It tasted surprisingly like bacon. After that the dough was chilled so we scooped it into marble size balls. We baked them for 14 minutes. Once all those were finished we moved onto the pizelles which tasted wonderful.
Pizelles are like a flat pretty waffle cone. But it was not a cone. They can be flat or you can wrap them around a wooden cone shaped mold but you have to wrap it around when it comes out of the burning hot pizzelle iron. It was really hot. I think I burnt of 3 layers of my skin! Even though it hurt, in the end it was all worth it. For my family I filled them with ice-cream and put whipped cream on top. We loved them. You can also fill with ricotta and powdered sugar mix. For a fancy vibe you can add whipped cream on top. They were delicious and beautiful.
Ok time for a break, Im getting hangry again. Lets have lunch. For lunch we made vegetable bisque and cheese crackers by putting parmesan on a baking tray with parchment paper and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes. The soup and the cheese crackers together were fenomenal. We laughed talked and had a good time. We
talked about presentation for our food and how important it is because people eat with their eyes first. Also you need to put some of the ingredients in your food on top so if people are allergic to something they can see it on top and know they cant eat it. You have to be careful of allergies when your cooking for other people. Ask them ahead of time if they have any allergies and stay away from those things. For example nuts are a very common allergy
Back to work.
First we did the dishes and cleaned up. Into the sewing room to make the last thing, pot holders. We made a practice one and then made my mom two. They were so easy to make. It was good for my first time using a real sewing machine. Its cool to see how it works. Miss Daleen taught me a little bit about the parts. Its important to iron so you have clean
sewing lines and it looks more professional. Later when my mom came home I gave the pot holders to her for an early Christmas present. She loved them so much
All in all it was a great day hangin out with my best pal Miss Daleen. Hope we can do it again soon.
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?
I 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.
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.
PS. please act surprised when you receive your pin cushion next year. “Oh gee, I wonder what she filled it with?”
Mary Walkley was 20 years old in 1863 when she passed away. She was a seamstress in West London for a court dressmaker named Madame Elise. This shop catered to the most fashionable ladies in London society.
From what I gather, she lived in deplorable conditions. She worked/lived in a crowded house with 28 others. In order to meet their exacting demands, the seamstresses worked from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm. With very short dinner and tea breaks. They slept two to very small beds.
The gowns and pieces of clothing they produced were breathtaking. Beautiful, stunning, really pieces of art work. Craftsmanship second to none. The question is, would she have been an exquisite seamstress in a whimsical, light filled, large sewing room all to herself?
I raise my thimble up to Mary! Here’s to you Mary and all that you created. You are remembered.
Yesterday, I spent a little time in my sewing room. Adding a bit more whimsy. I stenciled words above the window. I made “curtains”. I used a branch that had been a curtain rod in our old dining room & lavender that I just harvested from our garden.
I am mighty grateful to have my very own room to sew, quilt, embroider, stitch to my hearts content. I have no deadline. I can stop for dinner or tea whenever I choose. Oh yes, I can and have stayed up until 11:00 pm creating something, yet I don’t have to.
As I sit in my sewing chair, I can glance out that window. I will always see the words above. A gentle nudge to always remember to live in gratitude.
Another one of our amazing, smart, funny, goofy, silly, adorable grands’ is having a birthday!!!
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.
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.