I went out this morning to see if my miniature daffodils were coming up . . . and they ARE! They were a gift from two of my very favorite teacher friends, Carla and Denise, two springs ago. I love it that these beautiful blooms don’t mind that the mulch is weathered, the sun hasn’t been out much lately, and the latest snow just now disappeared from the ground. They just do what they’re meant to do, symbolizing all that is right with the world. And now I’m off to finish a big writing assignment (YAY!), have a rather . . . er . . . unusual date night (dinner out followed by Good Friday Service followed by KU Sweet Sixteen basketball!), finish Ally’s first communion dress tomorrow, and enjoy Easter service, friends, and family on Sunday. I wish all of you a happy, happy weekend too! ♥
So, ever since my Bag O’ Bunnies post, all my sewing buddies have been making bunnies out of their fabric and ribbon scraps! And some of my blogging friends, too, like Something to Ponder About and Sew Much Choice! I’ve been giving them away in small baskets as hostess gifts and have a big basketful of them by the fireplace, but I decided to gift the rest in handmade bags. I’m sure everyone already has a favorite method for making drawstring bags, but just in case, here’s mine:
(1) Cut out fabric in a square or rectangle of the desired size.
(2) Decorate the half that will be on the front with embroidery, applique, painting, or other crafty skills. I love to embroider and needed a road-trip project last weekend, so here is my design.
(3) Fold the bag in half right sides together.
(4) Stitch the side and bottom EXCEPT (and this is important!) for leaving an opening in the seam two or three inches from the top.
(5) Press open the seam, and press under 1/4 inch on the top of the bag.
(6) Turn the top to the inside and stitch it to the bag all the way around, making sure your stitching is below the opening in the seam.
(7) Turn the bag right-side out and press.
(8) Using a safety pin, thread ribbon or cord through the opening and tie the ends. (Click photo below for close-up.)
(9) Stuff bag with bunnies . . . you’re done! ♥
When I meet my amazing daughters-in-law or gal pals for coffee or lunch, I love to take them a little handmade gift. My newest craze is these little spring bunnies made from fabric scraps! You can find the pattern and tutorial from Angie on The Little Fabric Blog. Thank you, Angie! P.S. The lovely tulips are a gift from our recent houseguest and friend, Nancy. The table mat is here, and the photo star on the wall is here. ♥
Allyson chose Butterick 3350 with sleeves, scalloped neckline, and straight hem.
I’ll admit I’m a tiny bit nervous about working with and on two such important dresses, but I’m excited about it, too!
And I have a cheerleader! My dear friend Faye transformed her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress into the stunning First Communion dress below for her adorable granddaughter, and she’s only a phone call away if I need advice and encouragement.
Watch for the big reveal in April . . . and wish me luck! ♥
Remember the beautiful birthday cards I received a week ago today? The fabric postcard is framed (Laura wrote a how-to post about it and I even commented . . . never knowing what she was up to! ), twenty are on my photo mobile, and the rest are displayed in a beautiful bowl. Thank you again for the wonderful surprise! ♥
My newest Shop Love! artists made two of my Christmas and birthday gifts this year!
Their friend and colleague (my art teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany!) sent me this adorable chicken from Zuliganz and these gorgeous felt-ball earrings (made by the same artist who created the measuring tape earrings Tiffany gave me last spring) from Wired for Impact.
This husband/wife team sell their creations locally in the St. Louis area and at their Unboxed Art Etsy Shop in support of causes near and dear to their hearts.
We had our “Walker Family Christmas” yesterday, and when my daughter-in-law Shannon walked in with this cute owl tin, little did I know that a surprise birthday party was inside! A few weeks ago, Shannon secretly emailed as many of my blogging friends as she could and invited them to join in a card shower for my birthday today, and W-O-W, was I ever showered! I stayed up until all hours last night reading and shedding some tears over the beautiful cards and sweet messages from all over the world. I can’t thank Shannon enough for this incredibly thoughtful gesture, and I can’t thank YOU enough for being my wonderful friends and encouragers. As this card that Shannon made for me says, “One kind word can warm three winter months.” New Year blessings to all of you, with love from Pillows A-La-Mode. ♥
I’m SO fond of my blogging friend Josée of Cul de Sac! She’s always so kind and encouraging about my sewing and crafting projects, and once she even sent me a box of laces as a surprise gift! Her blog is full of amazing creativity, too . . . and when I found out she has an Etsy shop, I couldn’t wait to visit it! I chose this adorable necktie clutch, which a special girl in my family will LOVE for her birthday this year! Josée also creates lots of other purse, tote bag, and pouch designs as well as dolls, mittens, scarves, and iPad sleeves, using upcycled materials whenever possible. Oh, and she sent me some “Chocolatey Chai” herbal tea bags, a coupon, and a sweet note along with my purchase . . . totally unexpected “extras”! Please check out Josée’s shop from this post or anytime on my Shop Love! page above. Thank you, Josée! ♥
As you know, it has been raining surprises in my mailbox lately! Then my doorbell rang, and it was my friend and faithful Pillows A-La-Mode reader Audrey with a container of her world-famous bierocks . . . “just because.” They’re BEAUTIFUL to look at and MOUTHWATERING to taste! She was also gracious enough to send me her recipe to share with my blogging friends. Click the link below for a printable pdf, and prepare to be amazed! Thank you, Audrey! ♥ P.S. Update: For those new to this dish, a bierock is a mixture of beef, cabbage, and other goodies baked in a pocket of bread dough. Mmmmmm . . .
Awhile back I wrote a post about my blogging friend Laura of As Time Goes . . . Buy and how she inspired me to do the Good Neighbor Award project and refashion for my one year blog anniversary. Laura has been traveling, and I’ve been sewing, but she’s home, and I’m finished . . . so today is the reveal! Laura, your coat is now on my “What Can You Make With A . . .” page, and your package is in the mail! I was able to make:
- A pillow . . . of course!
- A fabric flower with beads from a vintage earring in the center
- A coffee cup cozy
- A tissue cozy (Thank you, Little Bit Funky!)
- Two jacket-sleeve notecard pouches
- A Chanel pouch makeover
- An embroidery-hoop wall hanging with Laura’s blog name
- A framed fabric-under-glass for writing notes, menus, or welcome messages for guests
- A garment dust jacket for one of Laura’s lovely outfits (Thank you, Schlosser Designs!)
- A tote bag with a jacket pocket on each side and a braided leather belt handle
- And, last but not least, all the leftover bits made into mini-bunting! ♥
A common recent lunch-with-friends topic is how to know when it’s time to make a change—any kind of change. Most of us comment that we’re extra content with our lives right now, but we remember some of the big, sometimes scary changes we’ve made in the past and know that we may have to make new ones someday, too. Although a big part of the conversation is about prayer, we also marvel at the way inspiring quotes or words from songs and poems—whether funny or serious—often come our way just when we need them. I love this “chic chick” question (it’s on a pillow!), and another friend shared a “chapter” quote she keeps on her bulletin board. Here they are . . . just in case this is a bit of the inspiration YOU need today. ♥
My crafty friend Debbie gave me a fun gift. . . a sample of her new Halloween treat bag! Isn’t he cute??? Mine is filled with paper to use as a decoration, and he looks right at home beside my bowl of giant fabric candy corn! I’m going to try my best to make some for our trick-or-treaters this year. Thank you, Debbie! ♥ P.S. If you love owls, remember that you can get a free David Bromstad owl art print by following the link you’ll find here!
In my spare moments this week, I’ve been standing at the kitchen island turning the scrapbook paper circles I cut out on our recent road trip into garland for my class reunion this weekend. The first string I made was plain blue and gold, but I decided to have fun with this one and add some designs. Oh, and I also found some pretty blue and gold fabrics for the tables. It seems like only yesterday that we were wearing these colors for our high school activities! But I love “now” WAY more, don’t you? ♥
One of my teacher/writing group friends just got her first publication acceptance, so I wanted to give her a gift that includes the dragonfly on her business cards. I traced the dragonfly on a small scrap of sheer fabric, triple-folded it for strength, and embroidered over the lines. Then I cut it out and glued the body onto a flower on the cover of one of my mini-notebooks, leaving the wings free. Oh, and I wrote a message for her to discover on the first page. I’m SO happy for Pam! ♥
Two of my good friends have birthdays today, which is also our state’s birthday. So, for their Year of Homemade Gifts cards, I trolled the internet for Kansas symbols to cut and paste and came up with this design. While it’s doubtful that any of my readers are in the same situation, perhaps you have friends and family whose birthdays fall on other “obscure” holidays. Click here for ideas! (Today is also National Cornchip Day, so it’s not too late to celebrate, but I’m sorry to report that you’ve already missed National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day this year.)
Thanksgiving is the big holiday around our house. We love having our kids, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends join us. Besides catching up on each others’ lives and eating (alot!), we usually end up doing something crafty in the afternoon. Last year it was playdough! I’m including my no-fail recipe for homemade dough, which got us through hundreds of rainy days and school projects through the years, but our guests made the ones in the gallery below with a 24-pack of the storebought brand.
Homemade Playdough: Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 t cream of tarter, 1 T cooking oil, and a few drops of food coloring in a pan. Cook on top of the stove, stirring constantly, until everything pulls together. Dump onto counter and knead. Store in covered container. ♥
“Taking the time to create something by hand is the highest honor you can give any one thing.”
(Sara Carter in notthekitchensink)
I love walking through the rooms of our home and taking a moment to notice all the fun and beautiful things our family and friends have created. Here are a dozen . . . more to come in future posts!