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!

gifts, grandchildren, haPPY, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

fairy magic

All grandgirlies turning five years old, NEED a tooth fairy pillow.

I embroidered this sweet pillow with a fairy and she has a bit of sparkle to her magical wings.  I chose happy fabric to sew with and of course added snazzy buttons and ribbons. 20170308_152704-1_resized_1

20170308_152758_resized_1For the picture, I tucked in some money.  However, I am not the tooth fairy, so it only comes with a lucky penny slipped into the pocket. (side note, Papa Bruce “helps” with the magic by collecting dollar coins and sharing.)

Oh, and one other secret bit of magic.  I sent a little, tiny fairy door to the parents (wrapped in brown paper of course).  One night when the girls are 20170307_120616_resizedfast asleep, the parents will hide and “install” the fairy door and dust the step with glitter to be “discovered” at some time or another.

Grands bring out the magic in all of us.

Hope you choose to be the magician in someone’ s life.

gifts, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

birthday sewing

I GOT the call!

Grandma Daleen, “I would like a cooking apron for my birthday, please.”

Makes my heart sing and then:

  1.  Rub hands together in anticipation.
  2.  Go to fabric store and find “owl” fabric.
  3.  Prepare a large and wonderful cup of coffee.
  4.  Turn on the light & plug in the string of flying pig lights in the sewing room & turn on sewing machine.
  5.  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. 20170308_083943-1_resized

Early this morning, a box was mailed several states away.  Oodles of wrapped birthday surprises.  A little gift for her sister as well.

20170308_083537_resizedMr. 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.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

health, sewing, Uncategorized

pesky plastic

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 coffeecoffee

warm, fluffy socks

small project bag

common sense

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.impossibly-cute-puppy-8

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.20170305_094230-1_resized

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)

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness.

Chat soon.

grateful, husband, sewing, Uncategorized

feels like home

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.

20170131_122036_resized_1This 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.

These20170131_122023_resized_1 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.

20170221_110052_resizedI 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.  20170221_102349_resized

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.

What one thing makes you house feel like a home?

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

cooking, food review, friends, friendship, pure goodness, sewing, Uncategorized

Guest Author, Chef Natalie

It gives me much happiness to introduce to you,  my guest author, Chef Natalie.20161220_131129_resized_1

I wrote about our adventures in a previous post.   https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/5-star-soup-10-star-chef/

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 20161220_090844_resizedsmoothie. 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 20161220_105041-1_resized_1crossont 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.

20161220_124152_resizedPizelles 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 I20161220_125817_resized_1 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 20161220_131653-1_resizedwere 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 20161220_115822_resized_1people 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 20161220_144736_resized_2easy to make. It was good for my first time using a real sewing 20161220_155827_resized_1machine. 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.

 

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?”