Make & Give 2018, Day 16: Stitchers gonna stitch

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My first formal foray into slow stitching was a few years ago when I took a workshop at The City Quilter in NYC. There I met and became fast friends with two very talented women in the class, who are not only incredible stitchers but also gifted art quilters. After solid year of attending workshops, TCQ closed their shop doors. That didn’t stop us from meeting monthly in the City. Then one of the ladies decided to retire and move down South to be closer to family. That was rough on the group but we still get together when possible and correspond through snail and electronic mail.

I so miss our stitching time and talks in general. These gals are both fascinating and brilliant, quite accomplished in their respective fields of mathematics/biology and sociology. I am always in awe of their vast knowledge on every subject!

For them, I am gifting cotton embroidery floss I organically dyed in woad and in avocado pits, this summer. Also I am including to each, one of my pocket-sided, recycled denim notebooks.

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Happy Holidays my Stitch Buddies, “SBs”. Miss you both!

 

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Make & Give 2018, Day 15: Ready for Travel

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A few months ago, one of the directors at the nursery school where I work, told me how she still uses the shoe bags I made for her some 20+ years ago when my children attended the preschool. So that meant it was definitely time to sew up some new ones! I had this soft plaid flannel in my stash and serged up a pair for each of the directors. Tucked inside is one of my homemade breads and that really yummy hot chocolate mix that comes in the glass bottle. These ladies work sooooo hard all year long, I am wishing them some rest and relaxation over holiday break and when it comes time for travel they will have these trusty bags to store shoes or whatever!

 

Make & Give 2018, Day 14: Crackers with the children

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What a fun time we had this afternoon, this little sugar-plum fairy, her mom and me! Every few weeks, I visit this family from our school community and bring a seasonal craft for us to enjoy. The family has had a very rough year but thank goodness things are now on the up and up! In keeping with the holiday spirit, I thought it would be fun to make holiday crackers with the children. Turned out that the older 3 children had after school commitments, so the crafternoon included this sweetie, her mom and me. Ideally when I visit, this is a good time for their mom to take a much-needed rest but she was so excited and wanted to join in the making.

Having never made crackers before, I trolled for ideas on Pinterest. There were many inspiring posts but not many appropriate samples to make with very young children! I decided we should make 6 crackers, one for each family member. A friend had given me some perfectly sized cardboard boxes that I filled with supplies for each cracker, kit style. Inside each box was a paper roll (toilet paper tubes) that I had previously wrapped with colorful holiday gift wrap then gathered up one end and tied it with curling ribbon. Also in each box were the treats to stuff each cracker: peppermint candies, toy tops, small party horns, mini holiday rubber stamps, a shiny quarter and a small spiny rubber ball. All these items nicely packed the paper tube. My little preschool friend and her mom filled up all the crackers and I tied the other ends up with ribbon. I snapped this picture of little miss wearing the reindeer headbands I gave to her and to her mom. As a final treat, I gave her big package of holiday M & M’s which we then played with making red and green color patterns before she ate em all up! She is such a clever 3 year old! A fun time was had by all!

Make & Give 2018, Day 13: Story time

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Story time with children is a sacred time. I remember how we loved cuddling up with our children years ago to share a book together. There were morning reads, afternoon reads and of course bedtime reads. Our dear neighbor’s have a sweet little toddler and I know how good they are about spending that fun and oh so important time reading to him. Today’s M & G honors that tradition by including the Little Library, in board book format, from the beloved author/illustrator Jan Brett. Also there are adult and child-sized antler headbands to enjoy as story props during their read aloud! The homemade bread is for sharing afterwards. Enjoy these treasured moments, dear friends!

Make & Give 2018, Day 11: Church Dog

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The beautiful church that houses the nursery school where I teach, has a very special little lady who along with her Dad, the Reverend, take excellent care of their parishioners. I’m speaking of “Ellie” the Church Dog. She is one special pup!

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The role of a Church Dog holds no doubt numerous responsibilities but mainly I see Ellie as the sweet-faced steward of our hallway. She ever-so patiently watches our 2 year old children toddle past her gate and nary do we hear even a little whimper (although I definitely have heard her tail excitedly thumping on the floor!). So Santa left her a bag of doggie treats and a new lovey plush. She has been a very good girl this year!

Who are the dear fur babies in your life? Are they on Santa’s “Nice” list?!

Treat them well!

Make & Give 2018: Day 10 of 25, Making & Baking

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Well now that was both a fun and tasty way to spend the afternoon! May I present the first round of holiday baking:  Orange Pecan Cranberry Breads. They will be dispatched asap to 7 most deserving homes!

What’s in your oven today?!

Make & Give 2018, Day 9 of 25: Community

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One Sunday morning during October as I walked out of Mass, a woman unknown to me began to walk alongside me. As we walked up the steep hill from the Chapel, we talked about Father’s homily. At one point, I said, “Excuse me, my name is Elizabeth.” She stopped walking and with a smile told me her name and how she had been attending this Mass for years and no one had ever introduced themselves to her. Imagine! Every week since we usually see each other after Services and pick up where we left off from when last we met. I know now she is a middle school English Literature teacher in a nearby urban school. We have now shared many a conversation on religion and education. She is a lovely and fascinating woman. A new friend in my spiritual community.

For her I gifted one of my recycled denim note pads. Recently I was going through my denim jean stash, yes that is a thing (!), I noticed how beautiful the insides of the jeans were constructed. I loved how different manufacturers used different color threads for straight sewing and serging the inner and outer leg seams. When I gave her the cloth-covered notepad and explained how she is Day 9 of M & G, she smiled and said this is the perfect gift for her. She is always taking notes as she reads and that she in turn will give forward a kindness to someone. She got it! To see how she quickly understood my goal of M & G and is now inspired to pay it forward, is just the thing that keeps me going with this season of making and giving!

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Make & Give 2018, Day 8 of 25: Big, Open Heart

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A month ago, we were traveling out of town to celebrate the opening of a friend’s new gallery and wanted to bring a bouquet of fresh flowers. We decided to stop at our local Whole Foods Market. Looking at all the offerings in the floral department, I gathered up a few bunches of flowers and asked if someone could wrap them up for us. “Miss C” stepped out from behind the counter and offered to help. First she pointed to a couple of my flower choices and said that she would stay away from them as it was a bitter cold day, like today(!), and they would not travel well. She asked me if this was a special occasion and could I describe the event and recipient. Miss C was so thoughtful and knowledgeable about her floral recommendations. She assembled such a vibrant, unique and abundant bouquet. What a presentation it made! We were so grateful for all her input, creativity and effort! So today, I stopped back to see Miss C to properly thank her. I gave her one of my fringed fleece scarves, which I hope protects her from the freezing cold air that was blowing through the nearby store entrance. Also I gifted her with one of my hand stitched heart pins (see photo below of the heart pins in process), which seemed appropriate as Miss C is someone with a very big and open heart!

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Make & Give 2018- Day 7 of 25: Kindred Spirit

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I have had the honor and privilege of collaborating with a kindred spirit who is a real Renaissance woman! She is a fine artist/painter, expert gardener/landscape designer, amazing cook, hostess and healer. We are a creative team. Our recent workshops this Fall, hosted in her welcoming home, have been mindful and spirited! During our worskhop, I teach a Slow Stitching class and she offers a guided meditation.The chemistry amongst our attendess is apparent and contagious! It is a day to celebrate art and wellness. I love how our areas of creativity compliment each other. I am so grateful for her friendship and generous spirit. Oh and did I also mention she also raises some 15 egg laying hens! Yup and about those eggs…well they are pretty fabulous! For her, I sewed up a sweet lil “egg” project bag that holds a autographed copy of the new issue of “Where Women Create” by Jo Packham and a lovely scented “Create” candle. I am wishing her some down time post holiday where she can rest, restore, recharge and continue to explore and all her amazing talents!

Make & Give 2018, Day 6 of 25: Notes to Dye for!

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The nursery school where I work is housed in a beautiful old church downtown on our town green. It is such a gift to walk on its hallowed grounds, through its heavy wooden  doors and cloistered hallways. Each morning as I walk past the church offices on my way down to our classroom, I exchange greetings and pleasantries with the fine women who manage with ease all the daily activities for the church. Last winter, one day after school, I had a conversation with one of these gals and we came to discover our mutual interest in organic fabric dyeing. Since then we have shared our trials and tribulations, successes and happy accidents. She has said that she is eager to learn more about the different types of dyes and I have happily shared my own growing knowledge with her. For today’s make and give, I have assembled a kit including madder dye powder and  all the necessary mordants for her to try. I also included copies of all my reference materials, recipe and notes for her consideration. Isn’t it just the best to make a friend who shares your creative interests! I’m wishing her the best of luck with setting up her dye bath and cannot wait to see her bounty of dyed goodies!

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