Make & Give 2018, Day 25: Busy hands, full heart!

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And here we are, dear making and giving friends, it’s Day 25 of my annual 25 Days of Make & Give! The above photo shows one small space of making from just one afternoon. As you can well imagine, there have been sewing, stitching, and embellishing sessions a plenty the last few months! What I always do know, and I don’t use the word ‘always’ often, is that when my hands are busy making for others my heart is always full! I am hoping that it is the same experience for you.

I thank all those who have taken the time to follow, read and comment on my holiday posts. It is my intent to share my ideas, makes and gives in order to encourage creative inspiration within and beyond my community of makers.

My wishes to all are for a very Merry Christmas and a New Year that is filled with good health, happiness and making!

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Make & Give 2018, Day 24: Lifting Spirits

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Day 24 of my 25 Days of Make & Give is traditionally all about lifting the spirits of those who are unwell, their families, friends and the devoted professionals that care for them in the Emergency Room at St Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, CT. In this M & G, I am joined by my beautiful and compassionate family. Thanks always to the charge nurse, Diane, who generously allows us to visit patients every Christmas Eve. A nurse takes us through the wards and finds the patients who are up for a quick visit. We slip in and out of rooms and gift the bedridden with little wrapped presents. Tonight, we stopped by nurses stations and passed out reindeer antlers to the staff. Nurses, PAs and technicians were all smiles to put on a little jingle! In the rooms, we greeted patients of all ages. We wished them better health and a Merry Christmas on this solemn night.

Make & Give 2018: Day 23…Annual Sewing Student Allumnae Holiday Open House!

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Every year I offer up free Open Studio time for my sewing student alumnae on the Sunday before Christmas. We share an afternoon of relaxing and fun holiday sewing and crafting. This is one of my favorite days of the season!

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Cousins pic…love!

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Plus a most-beloved mother and daughter team of creatives. Special guests daughter Tess and college bud Mike, fresh in from LaLa Land, who dropped in for the photo!IMG_7532

Collaged dyed clothes pins…

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We stitched canvas gift tags, made holiday crackers, fringed scarves and collaged clothes pins! I was so happy to see these wonderful gals, catch up on their lives and make handmades. Everyone departed all chilled out, with a bag of holiday gifts and a smile!

Make & Give 2018, Day 22: Hands down!

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Here she is, a sister like no other! She’s simply the best, hands down! Today we celebrated a lovely but very different kind of family Christmas. Our Mom & Dad aren’t able to travel distance much anymore, so we siblings decided it best to bring Christmas to them. And we did just that. After all the good eating was done, we did our gift exchanging. As most of you know, I’m still very much a newbie knitter and my projects have been good basics that I’m learning and growing from. So this is the first time I have had the courage to gift a hand knit! Years ago my sister crocheted me some beautiful wash cloths and I have always wanted to return the favor! For this little number above, I used the pattern on the Purl Bee, the Purl Soho blog. The yarn is 100% cotton that I dyed in an indigo sugar vat this past autumn, in a workshop at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. The yarn is soooo soft and on closer inspection you can see the lovely blue, white and natural variations in color. It’s certainly not much but its a start and hopefully my gifted hand knits will grow in type, number and complexity. SO here’s to you Lynn, you are one heck of a sister and dear friend. I am truly blessed!

Make & Give 2018, Day 21: Scarves a plenty!

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Every year I happily cut up and fringe 15 yards worth of printed fleece for all the baristas at the 4 different Starbucks locations in my hometown. These sweet folks provide my favorite hot beverage every day.

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Many have said, why don’t you just buy an espresso machine! And I must say that I have entertained that idea. But it’s become kind of ritual for me to stop at Starbucks after I leave my preschool on my way home to begin my afternoon of sewing lessons or homework from my college classes.

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It’s that time in between for me, that transition from one part of my day to another, that is my coffee stop. Not to mention a very much-needed caffeine jolt to help me through the rest of the afternoon and evening!

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I love the responses I always get my from “my” baristas(!) when I hand over the bags of scarves: “ooooo, you remembered me!” or “thank goodness for this scarf, it’s so cold when the door opens” or my favorite, “my daughter/sister/mom took last year’s scarf, I’m keeping this one for myself!”

Thank you one and all, dear coffee-making wonders that you are, Merry Christmas and I see you tomorrow for the usual!

Make & Give 2018, Day 20: Comfort & Joy

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We are up to Day 20 already and there’s still so much Making & Giving to go! So friends, today we are doubling down! What you have here are makes going out to two great ladies who are all about giving comfort and joy to all they come into contact! Their boundless love and service knows no end! I have wrapped their goodies in dyed fabric pieces and thought you would all enjoy a look-see! Again, the process was ice dyeing, which is a summertime passion project for me! I love how unpredictable and fluid the results always are! Fabric is an ideal choice for gift wrap, give it a go if you haven’t already; it’s so amendable to odd-shaped parcels and so soft and textural in appearance!

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Make & Give 2018, Day 19:Winter Journals

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Winter Solstice is only a couple of days away and to celebrate I made these elegant journal covers. Using my go-to canvas weight of choice, 7 oz., I sewed a lining of thin cotton batting to the inside giving them a quilted feel. The layered felted centerpiece is hand stitched in place. I can’t tell you how much I adore those tiny ivory bottle brush trees! Threaded through the spine of the journal pad tucked inside is a length of raw silk to which I attached a sparkly tag and a frosted pine cone and red berry embellishment.

I am gifting two of these lovelies to the directors of the Squam Retreats: Meg and Elizabeth. These two women fully dedicate their efforts to bring attendees the most thoughtful and artistically inspired workshop and activity experiences each Spring and Fall. I am ever grateful to them for this gift of time and space to reflect, restore and create. I am wishing them both a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Make & Give, Day 18: Original Squammies

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I attended my first Squam Art Retreat, Holderness NH, in Spring 2016. For many years I had read rave reviews about this incredible artistically transformative, biannual art retreat and decided to attend. This would be a first for me in many ways. I never attended Squam. I didn’t know anyone who was attending and therefore didn’t have any roomies. Lastly, I didn’t know how to knit (not that that’s a requirement but most attendees do knit). Well, I am so happy and grateful to report that I met for-life friends there and two of whom who were cabin mates that year taught me how to knit!  In 2019, I feel so fortunate to be attending my 3rd Squam and will be rooming with one of the OS. Even though my “Original Squammies (OS)” live out-of-state, we keep in touch via social media and chat occasionally. I so miss my creative friends but every time I pick up my knitting needles, I drift back to our first meetings and fun times together!

For them, I made the denim recycled pocket-sized journals and included some pretty fabulous Japanese thread snips from Cohana.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year dear OSs….looking forward to our knit talks in 2019!

Make & Give 2018, Day 17: Support your local knitting mentor!

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Back at Spring Squam 2017 my two roomies set me up with yarn and all the necessary supplies and taught me how to knit! It was a glorious few days and then I came home and well…I needed help! And help was found in my LYS in the form of a master knitter and now friend, Laura. She is truly a gifted knitter, so incredibly talented and yes uber patient with this still very much a newbie knitter! Today I stopped by the shop to have her check on my current WIP and help me cast on a cowl and we had a nice sit, knit and chat! She’s the best and I’m so grateful to her for her knowledge and friendship!

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Laura is my M & G today. I gifted her with a large cotton tea towel that I ice dyed over the summer, see above, as well an egg” themed cloth bag filled with goodies. Did I mention she also raises hens! She’s a wonder! Don’t forget to celebrate your creative mentors!!

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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