what will grow
what should rest
By replacing a couple of words, it’s also the perfect way to frame the new year. What needs to grow in 2016? What needs to rest? Thank you once again for the inspiration, Ellen! ♥
what will grow
what should rest
By replacing a couple of words, it’s also the perfect way to frame the new year. What needs to grow in 2016? What needs to rest? Thank you once again for the inspiration, Ellen! ♥
One of my favorite bloggers, Crafty Staci, designs and sells reversible coffee cup sleeve kits in her Etsy shop. They’re only $5 and come with instructions, two coordinating fabrics, insulated interfacing, elastic cord, buttons, and a tag. All you add is your own sewing thread and pins! They’re perfect to stitch up as gifts OR to give as is to people who love to sew. I gave a kit to my friend Faye when she was having surgery and needed some fun things to do during recovery, and I sent some to my niece Amanda because we love doing the same projects across the miles from Connecticut to Kansas. One of Amanda’s is below . . . so cute! They would also be fun for kids to sew as gifts for teachers or coaches. Please check out the wide variety of kits at Staci’s Etsy shop, and be sure to stop by her blog, too. Enjoy! ♥
Hello, friends! I haven’t posted OR answered my last set of comments OR read your blogs . . . I miss you! Life and work have just been a little crazy lately. I know you can all relate! But here is a quickie project I made for two sweet little girls to organize their hair accessories and necklaces in their new house. The frame is a hand-me-down from their great-grandmother, so we didn’t paint it, but it has plenty of color with ric-rac, headbands, barrettes, rubber bands, jewelry, and a little fabric flower a-la-mode. Thank you for taking a peek! ♥
Remember my Quilted Front Zippered Pouch? My friend Faye made this adorable version using two styles of Mickey Mouse fabric inside and out and gave it to ME! (She and her kids and grandkids are huge Disney World fans!) I just love it! Be sure to visit Noodlehead for easy, fun directions for this bag and many more. Simply click on the Tutorials page . . . but you’ll want to explore the rest of Anna’s blog, too! Thank you, Anna and Faye! ♥
What’s inside these upcycled scrapbook paper/washi tape/twine wrapped potato chip cans? Cookies! We received some lovely invitations for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so I made treats for hostess gifts. Here is a recipe my sons LOVED when they were little that’s no-fail and easy to transport. Enjoy, and I wish you a happy time of remembrance with your family and friends. ♥
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup butter
1 cup each sugar and brown sugar
1 teaspoon each baking powder, soda, salt, and vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups crisp rice cereal
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Stir in cereal. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Let stand one minute before removing from pan. Makes five dozen.
Recently I had the privilege of making a sweater teddy bear for Sharon of Gentlestitches, both shown in the photo below. Sharon sent a well-loved carousel-horse-print sweater all the way from Australia to Kansas, USA and wrote such a lovely post when her bear (now named Eddie!) arrived home. Here’s to bloggy friends near and far! ♥ P.S. Click here and here for more bear love.
When I saw a touching layout designed by Ellie on My Little Bunny Cupcake, I knew I’d found the perfect quote to put on my card when I give a fabric flower to a friend: Just living isn’t enough . . . one must also have freedom, sunshine, and a little flower. Thank you, Ellie and Hans Christian Andersen! ♥ P.S. My dress form is wearing my scarf crocheted by our bloggy friend Tamara. Isn’t it just lovely?
This Christmas I had the opportunity to help Darilyn of Thehighnotedotnet surprise her brother-in-law with a Kansas State University guy apron to wear while serving as the family chef. (See the tutorial tutorial here at The Purl Bee.) She was sweet enough to write a lovely blog post about it, complete with photos, that truly put a smile on my face. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Darilyn’s blog, please check out her creative projects! She also has a My Fave DIY’s page and an Etsy shop specializing in items made with vintage sheet music, like these paper Christmas trees that I used while making my snowflake garland last winter. Thank you, Darilyn! ♥
Look at the lovely ornament my sweet art-teacher-writer-friend Ginger gave me at church on Sunday! She twisted and turned a piece of wire into a heart surrounding my L-O-N-G name . . . thoughtfulness and handcrafting at its finest. And now, with Christmas Eve just one week away, I’m off to finish my end-of-year writing assignments, bake, and celebrate with my family. I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and happy, happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2014! ♥
Look what I got in the mail this week! My sweet bloggy friend Sharon of Gentlestitches sent these lovely, handmade pillow ornaments for my Christmas tree all the way from Victoria, Australia to Kansas, USA! I just love them! If you haven’t had a chance to visit Sharon’s blog yet, please go take a look . . . she even has a page full of free patterns! Thank you, dear Sharon! ♥
Did you love sleepovers when you were a little girl? They were my favorite! Last weekend some fun girls in my family drove in for a “Crafty Cousins Slumber Party.” We went out to eat, chatted, crafted, slept, ate breakfast casserole and cinnamon roll-ups, went to a big craft show (where my lovely daughter-in-law Shannon launched Shantilly!), and ended with lunch out with my dad. We made fabric flower brooches, Christmas cards (thanks Margo!) and earrings (thanks Karen!). If you heard laughter floating through the air Saturday night, now you know why. ♥
No, it’s not the Halloween kind of shocker . . . it’s the Wichita State University Shockers (as in a shock of wheat . . . click here to see our mascot, Wu Shock!). I had some fabric left over from the WSU apron I made for the fundraiser silent auction, so I made a half apron for one of my friends who is a huge fan and follower of WSU’s volleyball and basketball teams. The “Shockers” logo on the pocket is snipped from the same t-shirt that I used to get the Wu Shock for the bib of the original apron. The tutorial is from this post on Jona Giammalva’s amazingingly inspirational blog Stop Staring & Start Sewing, and the black/yellow fabrics are from my bloggy friend Laura’s LC’s Cottage Etsy shop. Here is the finished apron blowing in the Kansas wind! ♥
For my two year blog anniversary, I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world who you would like to have as next-door neighbors. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came from around the world! The blogger with the most nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some new treasures and return. This year’s winner was Staci of Crafty Staci, who decided to send her going-away dress from her wedding 22 years ago! She said, “It’s been stored under my bed ever since. I’d love to have it made into some things I could actually have out to enjoy, and red is still my favorite color, so that’s what I’ll be shipping to you.” I was so excited, and when this exquisite handmade dress arrived, my mind started spinning! So . . .today is the reveal! Here we go!
(1) I always like to start with a pillow, and the bodice of this dress was the perfect size to make a pillow cover for a 12 x 16 cushion. After detaching it from the skirt and shoulder straps and removing the boning, I traced and embroidered the logo from Staci’s blog and Etsy shop. Next, I put the pillow inside and nipped and tucked and pinned until I had a perfect fit, then took in the seams and stitched across the bottom. (The zipper is still in the back, just shortened a bit.) To fill in the armholes at the top, I made a lining with a coordinating floral fabric that could peek out at the corners, checked the fit again, pinned, then stitched the top closed. Then all I had to do was trim the seams, turn, press, and zip the pillow inside. I love that I got to showcase the lovely lace on both the front and back of the pillow!
(2) Next, I wanted to use part of the still-gathered skirt to make something to wear and decided on an apron! I found my inspiration on page 40 of my A is for Apron book by Nathalie Mornu which had a short skirt over a longer one. I used pieces from several different apron patterns along with some of my own ideas and two fun fabrics from my stash, and it came together perfectly. Here it is blowing in the wind on photo shoot day!
(3) When I saw the size and shape of the shoulder straps, I immediately thought of a bow clutch–one strap for the bag and one for the bow. However, this project turned out to be a little more challenging! I opened up one of the straps for the bag, made a lining from a coordinating fabric in my stash, and attempted to put in a zipper. Since the bottom was already closed up, that was a total fail! So I carefully removed the crooked zipper and simply blanket stitched the top and lining together, then added a button hole and vintage button for the closure. Next, I opened up the side seams and handstitched the other shoulder strap in on both sides, being careful not to catch the lining since I probably should have done this step first! (Since both pieces are padded, the seam was too thick for my machine.) Finally, I used another strip of the lining fabric to cinch the middle of the outer piece to form the bow. So . . . it’s not as perfect as I had envisioned . . . but maybe it will be cute for an evening event where the lights are low??? ♥
(4) The next step was to trim the hem from the skirt. With it, I made three of those fun “twist, coil, and stitch” flowers. I had a straw wreath and some red and green ribbon in my craft stash, so I wrapped the wreath, added green vintage buttons to the flowers, stitched the flowers onto the wreath, and added a coordinating green ribbon for hanging.
(5) Last but not least, I decided to make something kind of artsy and festive with a remaining piece of skirt fabric. I cut it into one-inch strips and made a pom-pom, then I hung it from ribbon on a gold wooden frame from my stash. I hope it will inspire the idea of “celebrating the everyday” as Staci lives her very creative life with her loved family and friends.
Thank you for being our good neighbor, dear Staci . . . and your package is in the mail! ♥
I had so much fun on Saturday at the Kansas Barn Sale! (See FB photos here.) We drove out to a beautiful farm near Hesston, Kansas where the organizers, Beki and Stacee, offered dozens of amazing art and vintage booths as well as live music and all kinds of delicious food. I made a purchase . . . a gorgeous pink hand-crocheted scarf made by one of the vendors, my friend Tamara of Crochet with Tamara (click here to see her posting about it on her blog) . . . aaaaaaaaand the pattern was designed by my friend Jill of Nice Piece of Work (click here to see some other versions)! How cool is THAT??? It was chilly enough to wear it around at the sale, and I got lots of lovely compliments on it. Thank you, Tamara and Jill! ♥
THANK YOU for helping me celebrate my second blog anniversary with another amazing outpouring of nominations for the Good Neighbor Award! For every blogger listed below, an avid reader (or more than one!) took time out of her busy schedule to send me an email telling me how much she would love to have you for a neighbor and why. Isn’t that just the most lovely compliment?
Please pick up your button above to display on your blog (if you wish). Nothing is required. I just want you to know that you’ve made a big impression on someone (or many someones!) and that we’re all grateful you’re sharing your life with us. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand . . . the blog with the MOST nominations is . . . Crafty Staci! Click here to read about your prize, Staci, and if you choose to accept it, please email me and I’ll send you my mailing address to get the ball rolling. CONGRATULATIONS! ♥
It has been SO much fun to get SO many email nominations for the Good Neighbor Award this week! I’ll be posting the results this Sunday, September 22, so you still have time to send me the names of your favorite neighborly bloggers! Click here for details . . . and remember that the blog with the MOST nominations wins a prize like the one below! (Click here for a description . . . all made from last year’s winner’s beautiful but no-longer-needed sundress!) Also, I got an email from author/blogger Geraldine Hartman of Veggies, Yarns & Tails and she is offering Kindle versions of ALL of her books for FREE this Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to check them out! (Remember . . . you don’t have to own a Kindle–you can download the app here for your smartphone, tablet, or PC.) Thank you, Geraldine! ♥
AWARD: Simply put, the Good Neighbor Award is for someone you’ve met in the blogging world you wish could be your real-life neighbor. To nominate a blogger, simply email me (to keep it a surprise!) at firstname.lastname@example.org, including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. Is it to cook, sew, craft, shop, or write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea? Nominees will receive the award button on my second blogiversary, Sunday, September 22. (Click here to read about last year’s nominations!)
GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures and return. (Click here and here to read about last year’s winner!) Thank YOU for being MY good neighbors the past two years, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥
I wanted to make a special hostess gift for our granddaughter Katy’s other grandmother . . . a wonderful, fun-loving lady who hosted Katy’s first birthday party earlier this month. When I read this sweet post and tutorial by Kim of Craft•Create•Connect, I knew I’d found just the right one . . . a tiny bottle vase in which to display a little flower Katy lovingly picks or a pretty leaf or feather she finds. Simply find or purchase a glass bottle (this one was less than $2 at Michaels), attach one or more charms around the neck (I used raffia-covered wire), and you’re done! And how lucky was I to find this adorable little “K” charm??? Thank you for all you do for the family we both love, dear Lydia! ♥
Believe it or not, I’d baked so many goodies before our family reunion weekend that one treat remained in the freezer after everyone was gone! So, I decided to take them to a baseball game tailgate party we attended Saturday afternoon with a bunch of our fun friends. To make them more finger-food friendly, I cut and rewrapped the bars individually in pinked parchment, tied them with baker’s twine, put them in a bowl, and returned them to the freezer until time to leave (since Kansas is HOT this time of year!). Then I added a little sign . . . and it worked! ♥
Seven-Layer Cookie Bars
Melt 1 stick of butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Then add the following layers:
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
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:
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!
|Lydia is the lovely, fun mother of our beautiful daughter-in-law Danielle. The first time I met Lydia, she gave me this gorgeous scarf she’d knitted from variegated green ribbon. I love it and wear it often!|
|Our adorable granddaughter Miranda drew this picture of Dave and me that hangs on our frig. I love how petite I look . . . Dave can lift me with one hand! 🙂|
|Greg painted this landscape in college. We’ve always loved it, and it’s perfect in the entryway of our “new” home.|
|My mom quilted this festive table topper, which I love to put on the coffee table when I get out the autumn decorations.|
|One of my second-graders, Shy’ann, drew these pictures of Dave and me after Dave started volunteering in our classroom. She was pretty excited to know that I framed them and put them on top of my frig!|
|I LOVE this basket created by our amazing art-teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany. And I’m not the only one to admire it! The last time Ally and I were making crafts, she got it off the counter and said, “Now I want to make one of THESE!” 🙂|
|Our little Tyler made these great coasters for us last Christmas . . . with a “little” help from his sweet mom Jen.|
|Our lovely daughter-in-law Vickie painted this beautiful picture for me. She is definitely a woman of many talents!|
|Our lovely daughter-in-law Mary Ann has a delightful and talented mom and dad who made these one-of-a-kind birds out of stones and driftwood they found along Lake Erie and gave them out to all the guests at Mary Ann and Joel’s wedding reception. Can’t you just tell what they’re thinking?|
|Our adorable granddaughters Allyson and Kira made this colorful plate for me for Mother’s Day. I always put it out the first day of spring!|
|My friend Kelly made this beautiful bracelet for me when we taught together at Frances Willard Elementary School. It goes with everything, and I wear it all the time.|
|My brother David took this photo in Galveston. He’s amazing!|