Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

Every year I tell myself I’m going to start early on Christmas gifts next year.
And I do.
I really do.
I start.
But somewhere along March or April…
other things begin to crowd out the unfinished gifts list…


I’ve been working hard on Christmas gifts for friends and family…

Some I’ve made using photography, some are sewn, some are quilted, and some are beaded…I can only post a few pics from the ones that have already opened their gifts, but I can’t wait to show you in the coming weeks, all the different fun projects.

For now, here are a few beaded gifts I had fun making…



This green and gold set was for a friend.  I just loved her reaction when she opened her little gift box.  That’s really what makes it all worth the time and effort – knowing they liked it and will enjoy wearing it.







This pink & silver & clear set was fun to make, too.

I use glass beads because I like the feel of them.


I tie them together with some ribbon and tulle.



These blues feel great…they’re a nice heavy glass and have the look of stone.


I’ve made some others, but those will have to wait because they won’t be opened until Christmas day, along with other sewn handmade gifts which I can’t wait to show you as soon as their recipients have opened them!  🙂

The rest of this week I won’t be working on crafts or gifts any more… Now it’s time to stop and enjoy the friends and family that come to visit, and to cherish the FaceTime calls with precious ones that live in other places.  I’m so thankful that we can see them even if it’s on the computer screen.  Their dear faces, smiling at us.  We’ll soon see them, too, in the next few weeks and months.

Take time to enjoy your loved ones this week.  Time is the greatest of gifts, anyway.

Happy Christmas week!



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Baking bread is just wonderful….


It’s therapeutic for me mixing, kneading, waiting for the dough to rise…




The house smells so good while the bread is baking…




And then you get to enjoy the bread – in my case, I’m giving it to a friend, along with jars of homemade preserves.

I have to say, I love giving homemade food gifts to friends – the look
on their faces,
I can just tell they appreciate it and I’ve brought some joy to their day.

That makes my day!



Here’s the recipe:

Italian Bread

In a bowl, stir:
1 cup warm water
1 Tb sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast
Let stand about five minutes, until it’s foamy.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
Add to the bowl:
the yeast mixture and
2 Tb olive oil
Stir with a wooden spoon
Add up to 1/2 cup of flour until it forms a dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise for one hour, until doubled.

Head oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly oil the surface of a baking sheet with olive oil.
On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough and begin to
shape dough, long and tapered as in photo above.
I finished shaping it on the baking sheet so it would be easier to move.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 20 minutes.

Use a serrated knife to make three slits in the surface of the loaf,
about 1/4 inch deep each.
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool for a bit.
If you like warm bread, slice it while it’s still warm,
spread some butter and honey, or jam,
and Enjoy!

Have fun today.

Bake some bread. 😊


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I went to the Farmers Market this week and found they had baskets of tomatoes for $1!

I bought three and went home excited about making tomato jam.

I had never tasted tomato jam until just last year, and I thought it was so delicious, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before, or that it wasn’t everywhere, in every super market, next to strawberry jam or blueberry jelly!  I felt deprived…

So when I saw those tomatoes, I immediately thought, “I could make some jam!  I mean, how hard could it be?



Five hours later, after peeling five pounds of tomatoes, simmering & stirring the pot, checking the consistency countless times, I wondered if this “soup” was ever going to turn into “jam”.

I decided to go sit down, after all, I’d been standing in the kitchen for hours (I already had met my 10,000 steps quota and it was only 5pm!).  While I was checking my emails and Instagram, I fell asleep…

Next thing I know I smelled a hint of something burning… I jumped out of the chair and ran to the kitchen, exclaiming, “no, no, no…!”

I stirred the pot and realized the bottom was starting to stick, but it wasn’t burned!  I tasted it quickly, hoping there was no burnt taste…

Oh, I have to tell you, I breathed a sigh and was so thankful that it tasted fine!  It was still really, REALLY hot from those red chile flakes, but it was delicious.

I grabbed the jars and filled three of them with about four tablespoons left over.  That’s it!  Three pints from FIVE pounds of tomatoes!  I had to laugh…


I was so proud of myself.

For years, (since I first got married and went to college in a rural area), I’d wanted to try canning and I finally did it.

It only took a couple decades.

Now, the jars sit it on my kitchen shelves and I can’t wait until next week when I can go to the Farmers Market, buy whatever is in season, and try canning again!

I can almost see it…my kitchen shelves stocked with colorful jars, filled with all kinds of good food.

Of course, what will really happen is that I’ll end up giving these jars away in pretty gift baskets…

…But I love to do that, too!

So it’s a win/win situation 😊

Enjoy summer bounty,


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My husband brought me roses recently…

There was no special occasion…

He just wanted to brighten my day,
Remind me that he loves me.

I’ve been dealing with some personal things lately,
needing to intentionally focus on the Lord
and not on my frustrations/problems/pain…
It’s not easy, nor a five-minute, “Ok, I’ve got it” type of thing…
It’s a constant, giving-it-over-to-God, type of thing,
an act of the will that says, “I trust in you, Lord”.

I am blessed, more than most people;
I’m always aware of that,
and I try not to take it for granted.
Even right after my mother passed away,
I kept reminding myself that I was blessed to have
such a mother for 23 years…most people don’t even have
that blessing.
You see, there’s always something to be thankful for.
I grieved, but at the same time, I knew that I had been blessed.

I don’t know why I wrote all this… I just let myself type
and stopped deleting entire sentences.
I guess I’ll hit the “publish” button and not worry too much
whether someone will find it boring, objectionable, or read it at all.

I thank the Lord for a fresh new week ahead, “with no mistakes in in”,
as Anne Shirley would say, and I look forward to all the blessings
God has in store. 🙂

Have a blessed week!




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I’m working on a quilt for one of my sweet granddaughters!

The fabric is so cute!

I’ve had it for years and when I found it this past week, I realized it would be perfect for this quilt!

I love the colors, the fabrics, (they’re so soft!).

I just love how the all look together!


I didn’t want to cut the squares into tiny pieces,  so I sewed them onto 2″ strips.


I debated which pattern to use and decided to make it simple and just framed the 5″ squares:

I finished the quilt top and now am getting it ready for quilting by hand.  I would do it on my sewing machine but I like the look of hand stitching and I have a hard time quilting something that large on my machine.

I can’t wait to finish it and give it to my granddaughter! 😊

Have a great weekend!


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I’ve been sewing lately…

Tiny little garments for my two granddaughters…  so much fun!!

Today I wanted to post about one of the easiest projects I’ve done so far–
Burp Cloths


It was fast, easy, and I think they turned out cute.

I bought some flour sacks at Walmart,
I think I paid $5 for this set of 5:


They were large enough to cut in half and it still turned out to be a generous size for a burp cloth.

That means I got 2 burp cloths out of each flour sack towel —
so you can make 10 out of that set of 5!


I cut a piece of quilt batting the size of the center of the burp cloth.
After I measured it and cut it, then I placed it on the center of the flour sack towel.


Cutting the flour sack towel was easy because the fold lines were exactly on the center–
I didn’t even have to measure it!


Here’s a picture of the flour sack towel cut in half – the one on the left is done,
and the one on the right is just ready for the batting & fabric piece.


As soon as I cut the flour sack in half, I serged the long edges.
The shorter edges were already hemmed, so I didn’t have to do anything there.
I serged the edges of the print cotton fabric I was going to sew
in the center of the burp cloth,
Then I centered it on the flour sack, right over the batting,
I pinned it down,
and sewed it down each long edge:


Then I sewed 2 lines down the long edges,
just like the store-bought burp clothes have.

I wasn’t too picky about it.
I did pin the edges down before I sewed
and that kept the fabric & batting down nicely.



I tuned down the short edges and sewed a hem very close to the edge.
I ironed it once everything was sewn.






My daughter chose the rose fabric from a stash of fat quarters,
but it wasn’t long enough so I added a coordinating fabric at each end.

I thought it looked even nicer than the other burp cloth because the two fabrics
looked so nice together.




Because of the large size of the flour sacks, these burp cloths turn out
larger than the store-bought ones.
That was something I really liked.
We’ve used them already and it worked well because of their larger size.
It was a quick project and I look forward to making more like these.
I’ve made some bibs, tiny dresses, bonnets, blankets…
can’t wait to share those with you in the coming days.  🙂

Happy sewing!


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I had the opportunity to prepare some fun gift bags for the Pastors’ Wives who attended a conference recently.




It was fun crafting all the little goodies inside…




I made lots of these, and somehow I can’t find the photo I took
of the table at conference, set up with all the bags.
They looked so pretty!
So here’s just a small group of them…



The bags were filled with goodies like hand sanitizer and a nail file from
Bath & Body Works, mints, candies, and the other items were handmade
little goodies…


This little purse was made from double-sided scrapbook paper.



I used a variety of papers that I had on hand
and made lots & lots of these.



I received one just like this years ago
and I saved it because I knew I wanted to use it
as a pattern someday.




They were fun to make…





I put a miniature chocolate piece in each one.
Every woman must have chocolate in her purse, right?!




The “handles” were made from a small piece of ribbon,
and tiny pieces of velcro were glued for a “closure”.

I think the ladies liked it  🙂


Another little thing I put in the bags:



These little miniature grocery bags also held a surprise…




Inside each bag, I tucked in a tea bag.




Some of the bags were white, and some were just like
the brown paper bags you get at the grocery store.
($2 for 20).

I used an ink pad to age all the edges on both the bags
and the little card that had the tea cup.



I thought the ladies would love a nice cup of tea
while at the three-day conference.
Maybe they’d curl up at night and have some tea
while reading a book or watching a favorite movie.




Here are a few closeups of the details…




I printed out 20 images per sheet
of a beautiful tea cup,
then cut them apart to fit nicely on the bag.


I used a clear glitter paint tube ($2)
to highlight the tea cup and add some sparkle.




I cut a tiny piece of lace from yards I got at the Thrift Store (40 cents for 10 yards!!)
and added a tiny flower and a gem stone in the center.




This is the back of the envelope.
I used a new stamp I got for $1.50.


The earrings were simple & easy to make
and they were actually the quickest of all the projects.



I cut some pretty cardstock paper into 2″x3″,
stamped them with a fun little stamp,
and then used a tiny whole punch in order to
slip the earrings on.




The earrings were made with pearlized glass beads.
The craft store had a 50% off sale on the beads so it worked out well.




Finally, the first thing the ladies saw in the bag,
were the bookmarks…




The verse was carefully chosen with these ladies in mind.
(Click image to enlarge)




I bought a container of flowers (with a 40% off coupon).
These flowers are in the Scrapbook section of the crafts store
and can be used in many different projects.




I glued some of the flowers on a separate piece of scrapbook paper,
while others I layered together (a small one on top of a larger one)
for added dimension and color.




I used the clear glitter here also for more sparkle.





Here’s the back of the bookmark:




I used a beautiful stamp from the “Heidi Swapp” collection.
This is just a small section of the large stamp.















It was fun putting it all together and filling the bags
with all the different goodies.
Some of the ladies came up to me during the conference
and expressed how grateful they were for all the little gifts.
That made all the time & effort worthwhile.


Have a great, fun week filled with creativity  🙂




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