Posts tagged ‘gift ideas’

May 17, 2011

Spot fabric and a birthday

I’m feeling very nostalgic today – my Drake is 16 today! I’m pondering the precious memories of holding Drake & sitting for hours reading his little board books over and over and over and…  When he started speaking, he did so in sentences – “Read this.”  My precocious 9 month old would then grab his little book in his chunky little hands and put his little arms up.  I’d pick him up, plop him in my lap, snuggle close and begin.  Good Night Moon…  Spot… Goodnight Gorilla…  Hungry Caterpillar…  Winnie the Pooh...

I cherished those moments & this fabulous Spot fabric makes my heart full – just look at this monkey full of mischief and cuteness…  I’m not usually into commercialized fabrics, but this Spot fabric won my heart.

Almost too cute to cut into, but I’m excited to transform these fabrics into some more handmade cuteness:)

Happy Birthday to an amazing, talented, kind, wise, smart and incredibly fun son!!  I love you so much!

The Lord your God is with you.
   He is a hero who saves you.
      He happily rejoices over you,
         renews you with his love,
            and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:17

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March 29, 2011

Eureka Experience

Last year, I had a EUREKA experience about gift giving. For one thing, the gap between what I wanted to give and my budget widened last year when I made the leap from earning a paycheck to full-time homemaking. Additionally, I love unique, beautiful, handmade, quality, excellent and inspired creations. With many art, fashion, design, textile and decorating classes (and several degrees) under my belt, my taste runs toward the expensive, the artsy and the just plain different from every other Joe. Also, I was just plain tired of “Made in China,” big box retailers,  and the overly franchised everything – UGH!

Like I said, I had a moment.  It was one of those moments where you just want to pinch yourself really, really hard and ask “what is your problem?”  Why not make gifts? Okay, it’d been a few years since I’d sewn and I’m not feeling as artsy as I was say in college. But, it wouldn’t be “Made in China,” it would be unique, it would be personal, and it would be FUN!

And, then I got the brilliant idea of making things in fours.  With 8 nieces and 4 sons – easy math!  I’ve 4 nieces who are between the ages of 13 and 21, and 4 between ages 3 and 7.  This simple idea revolutionized my whole world and I was inspired (so much easier to do life when you’re inspired!).  Now instead of agonizing over what I’m going to get for so-and-so, I have a plan and I’m constantly finding tutorials, patterns and ideas for my next series of fours.

Last summer, I began my journey with four sundresses each with a matching doll dress for my younger nieces.  They were so cute I wanted to keep them all – my sons thought I was a little touched by that point. At that point, I realized my skill-level needs to dramatically increase to compete with the demands of my demanding & creative side….

Well before Thanksgiving, I’d my holiday gifts planned and I was so excited for the Season (a big coup for me). Christmas was probably the least stressful and more enjoyable I’ve had in years.  I’ll have to blog about Mermaid Land sometime in the future – it was grand!

I’ve started my next round of gifts for the older nieces and had earlier bookmarked a really fun pattern – here.  It’s a reversible purse so I needed fun fabrics….

The pattern was really easy to follow and I loved the results!

Please excuse the really old and ugly ironing board cover…  I’ve found some patterns to replace it, but that project is toward the bottom of the list right now:)

I’m really not sure 4 is enough….  I may have to make a few more for kicks!

How about you?  How are you breaking free today from the norm and finding freedom in the challenging and unchartered waters of your life?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a

March 3, 2011

Procrastination and Ispirazione di Carta

I’ve been inspired by exceptionally gorgeous paper from Florence, Italy. I received these beauties as a birthday gift several years ago, but haven’t had the moxie or motivation to cut into them. Procrastinating my correspondences (particularly thank you notes – yikes!) has forced me to seek inspiration and I didn’t have to look very far. Deep in the dark recesses of my closet, I discovered my pretty papers and found the incentive to get some long overdo letters finally written – rejoice!

How do you find the inspiration to do those tasks you’d rather procrastinate?

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1:12

February 24, 2011

Baby Gift Set & Comfort Food

Still battling the flu here with lots of attention, love and comfort foods. Homemade chicken noodle soup (homemade egg noodles), chicken and dumplings, pannekokens, egg salad sandwiches and warm chocolate chip cookies – do you see a trend? Eggs, I find, are very comforting and healing.

My mother requested a pair of baby booties to give as a gift today.

I could not just stop there…

I just had to create a whole set!

So elated!

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3&4

February 17, 2011

Cake Stand

After so many close calls, my cake stand finally bit the dust today. Even yesterday, my tulip loving cats had attempted  to pull flowers out of the vase I’d placed on the stand.  Water and flowers and vase scattered, but the stand solidly and stoically stood firm.  Not today….  In my rush to get dishes put away and start lunch and finish school and get hockey jerseys dried (you get the picture), I dropped a jar of mayo from the cupboard and without even looking I knew my stand had met it’s demise.

The stand was a simple, clear glass, domed piece given to me by a dear friend as a wedding present. Since it also converted into a trifle bowl, it was incredibly useful and functional. I appreciate pieces like that! It proudly displayed and served many birthday cakes, freshly baked cookies, trifles, punch, scones and more.

“Thank you, dear cake stand. You served our family for well for many years (and thank you, Lisa, for the very considerate and lasting gift!)…”

Currently looking for some cake stand inspiration…

So pretty from Home Decorators, and the deep dome would probably even hide my beautiful Valentine tulips from my evil kitties…

Adore the simple and unique lines on this Michelangelo Masterpiece from Macy’s even though it lacks multifunction…

A grouping of smaller stands from Pottery Barn…. hmmmmm….

A little more ornate from Ebay….

Tried and true Anchor Hocking Cake Stand…  This is the one! It’s all versatility and function of my former stand, but with an even sleeker design – love!

And, the grand finale and a punch of color – how about this red number!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:111a

February 8, 2011

Fabric Inspiration

Isn’t this soooo adorable!!  Just bursting to become something sweet for a new wee babe… I’m inspired!

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

February 2, 2011

Doughnut Love

Yeast-raised, homemade doughnuts – what’s not to LOVE?  I’ve grown quite fond of yeast-based recipes that are begun the night before as is the case with these little scrumptious morning treats.  The original recipe is from The Pioneer Woman’s website (the post can be found here).  As I indicated, the dough is made the night before, placed in the fridge to slowly rise, and in the morning Viola! doughnut dough – YEAH, half the battle is won!

A little rolling…  A little cutting…

(I had to improvise a bit since my doughnut cutter has gone missing along with my pastry cutter…  A canning ring & salt shaker lid did the trick!)

A little time for the doughnuts to raise…

Fry the dough & glaze the doughnuts & bar the doors…..  Every time, I turn my back another dozen goes missing (I’m sensing a conspiracy here)…

One time, I only made a single batch.  With four growing boys, we nearly had mutiny here.  Now, I always double this recipe.

If you’ve looking for a special Valentine’s breakfast treat or a gift for someone you LOVE, homemade doughnuts made with love & sprinkled with red and pink confections are a delicious and thoughtful gift:)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.  1 Cor. 13:13

January 26, 2011

Handmade: Baby Gift

The birth of a new child is one of the most precious times in life.  The first few days are so fresh and surreal as time seems to stand still.  Then the frenzy begins…  The demands of a new baby and regular life are in daily, even moment to moment, conflict until a steady rhythm is finally achieved (although this is always a delicate balance often upset by growth spurts, tummy aches and teething). Those are beautiful days to be cherished and treasured.

For the new mom, it can be a veritable roller-coaster ride.  The elation of birth, the joy of family and friends, and the beauty beyond description of a newborn baby bring so much wealth to a mother’s soul.  Lack of sleep, recovery from birth and the awesome responsibility of a wee babe who needs her constant attention can weary even the most seasoned of mothers.

It’s a vital time for those who’ve gone before to band together provide their help and support, and to give back, in a way, to those who gave to them. In our congregation, we organize meals for these young families which are delivered warm each evening. New mothers are exceedingly blessed, lifted and loved through this practical service. The newest members of our congregation are watched and waited for, and upon hearing of their arrival the forces that be mobilize.

As life has it, these babies usually come during hectic times. Even though I’m usually juggling several things and putting out a few fires, I still love planning and preparing a meal so vivid are my memories of those days when we brought each of our 4 little ones home.  As a plan, I reminisce. I remember some of the best gifts I received during those days whether word or deed.  I remember the fuzzy, crazy days filled with newness and love. I remember the extreme lack of sleep and difficulties and struggles of nursing.

The last time I was called upon to deliver a meal, I wanted to add a little gift. I had some baby yarn and found this pattern on Lion Yarn’s website and I knit. Knitting a gift affords one a lot of time to prayerfully ponder the recipient which I did with each stitch. For me, there is a joy unspeakable in creating something uniquely special and personal. Since the baby girl had an older brother, I also created a busy gift for him which hopefully would bring him joy and be helpful for mom (I was completely enamoured with busy gifts for my older sons when the littler ones were born!).  I decided on a crayon roll similar to the one I made for my little guy inspired by this tutorial and this tutorial.

All projects are a learning experience.  As a whole, I loved how the sweater turned out, but would definitely change a few things next time I use the pattern. I would convert the pattern to circular needles so it would be a more seamless design.  What do you think?  What is your new baby tradition?  Do you have a go-to baby gift?

Oh, yes – I also made a pink gingham (it’s just a phase) bag for the gifts…

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

January 18, 2011

Handmade

Handmade…  *Sigh* Just the word, brings a simple smile to my face and a warmness in my heart.  I’ve had a life-long infatuation with all things handmade.  I was blessed with a grandma and a nana who created beautiful handmade gifts for us children, especially for Christmas, and a mother who was always creating and coordinating gifts for baby showers and weddings.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman who knitted, crocheted, quilted and sewed.  Each year, we each received hand-knit, woolen slippers from her.  She quilted bed covers for my parents.  But, the best gift of all, she taught my sister and I to crochet at a young age.  If there was a crochet hook and yarn around, we could easily be occupied for hours creating and designing clothes for our barbies and dolls.  I inherited her travel sewing machine which served me well in making costumes and clothes for my sons.

My Nana is an artist.  Her handmade gifts tended to be hand-painted with delightful whimsy and pizzaz.  Each year, we received hand-painted ornaments each year a new theme and design.  Her gifts also were always wrapped in her signature, Christmas themed cloth bags.  Being the granddaughter of a tailor, my Nana could sew just about anything.  She created much of my mother’s clothes, and later created dresses for my sisters and me.  Even though she is very shaky now, she’s still crocheting gifts for charities, babies and friends.  Her greatest gift to me is she taught me to sew.

My mother is a brainy, Rennaissiance women who knits, sews, quilts, spins, crochets, needlepoints, and more.  If there’s a hand-craft, she’s done it (some she enjoys far better than others).  She’s always creating something whether it’s handknit socks for my dad, or a quilt for a new baby.  Her greatest gift to me is her example of giving something uniquely special and heart-felt.

I’ve a beautiful, handmade legacy which I hope continues into the next generations.  My hope is as I highlight my handmade creations that it’ll inspire and even spark a passion for all things handmade.  As I work to build my Etsy shop, I’d like also to feature some of the stunning work others artisans on Etsy have crafted.

These are a few of my favorite things (click images for link):

Are you feeling the LOVE?

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  Proverbs 21:24

May 8, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Color Burst

Breakfast in Bed this year should be a BURST of COLOR! Color makes me delirious with happiness. I love the British spelling of colour (a little random, I know). I delight in reading paint-chip colors. I dream in color – brilliant blueberries, vibrant violets to rosy red roses. I stare in child-like wonder at brand new boxes of crayola crayons imagining all the possibilities….

(This fantastically fun photo is from flicker.) Breakfast in Bed Color Burst should include the basic elements: a pretty teacup, cloth napkins, a serving tray, and, of course, breakfast.A full spectrum of pretty teacups from The Teapot Shoppe….a colorful array of red tea options from The Republic of Tea

a rainbow of cloth napkins from Jupiter’s Child….

How about a plateful of technicolor pancakes inspired by Every Food Fits?

Or duplicate this edible masterpiece from Whisk Kid….

Breakfast in Bed wouldn’t be complete without a brightly colored serving tray from Crate and Barrel.

But the piece de resistance would be brilliantly painted artwork made with LOVE for Mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day to my gorgeous and colorful Mom. As I age, I hope to be as generous and confident and creative as you (and pretty, too). You live with your arms open wider than anyone I know. To my spectacular sisters, each a dramatic and independent color, you remind me of our mother with your humongous hearts and bold beauty – you inspire me like no one else. To my mother-in-law, a veritable rainbow, you have loved me as your own – I’m truly blessed. And, to my jazzy friends, who are incredible mums and exceptional women, you encourage me and teach me and challenge me. Wishing you all a full-spectrum of blessings and joy on Mother’s Day and beyond!!