Alternative Gift Wrap

Projects

Got presents to wrap? If so, do not be afraid to think outside the box when choosing the gift wrap. There are other creative ways to wrap presents besides the obvious gift wrapping paper or gift bags.

Some options to think about may be…

Towels

Find a pattern or print that matches the occasion.

Socks

Cozy socks add cushion to bottles of wine.

Pillowcases

A pillowcase stuffed with a holiday sweater- what could be better.

Newspaper/printed paper

Recycled text for a charming wrap.

Whether cutting back on paper or just being creative, alternative gift wraps are a fun twist on presenting a present. So, if running short on wrapping paper do not fret. Other options are available and may be appreciated even more as the wrap could be a bonus gift as well. Happy gifting!

Adding a Pop of Color to the Front Door for Curbside Appeal

Projects

While watching those fixer-upper home shows on television, I get inspired to do a little extra something around my own house. The most recent thing on my Honey Do List was to give a pop of color to our house. That meant changing the door color from a brown stain to a bright purple. Did I say purple? Yes, Purple!

Go bold or go home as they say. We’ll there was no where else to go. We were already home. But go bold we did. Regrets? No way! I LOVE it!

I chose purple because I love purple. It also goes with the flowers when they are in bloom in the yard. I chose a color of purple that complemented the house color as well. As there are so many shades of one color it is important to be sure that all colors work with each other. I got samples from the hardware store and looked at them with the house color. I also took a photo of the house and printed it on the copier. Then I cut out the door on my paper house and placed the color samples in the cut out door. This gave me any ‘idea’ of how the house might look with the color I chose.

I had always leaned on the “safe” side as far as colors go. Paint colors are so hard to choose. They never look exactly like the little paint sample. However, this time I decided to listen to those curb appeal shows and add a pop of color. I must say, I am very happy I did. A house needs a focal point and what better place to start than the front door. The point of entry and welcome.

That pop of color has made all the difference in the feel of our home. It has now a richness that it was missing before. It does not blend into the background anymore. It says, “I have personality, I am unique”. Amazing how much one tiny change can make such a difference.

Of course, if the purple had been horrible, the worst thing would have been another trip to the hardware store for a different color. One never knows until they try it. My husband did get a small sample of the paint and tried it on the door before investing money in the whole gallon. This is probably advisable as I said before, paint samples are never what they seem. Also, I might note that the color chosen should be a little brighter than desired as it will seem darker from the street view than it will up close.

Thanks again Honey for another job well done!

Spotlight on Recipes

Cooking, Projects

As I have grown older, I have found reading my recipes a bit more challenging. No, I do not need a new pair of eye glasses. My glasses are fine. That is not the problem at all. The problem is poor kitchen lighting.

The overhead lighting is not sufficient for reading recipes. Think of it like an office. One uses a desk lamp along with the overhead lighting. Hence, under cabinet lighting is the kitchen’s desk lamp.

With a simple request to my hubby, he was off to the hardware store. He came back with three under cabinet lights that plug in. I thought that would take up a lot of my outlets. Where would I plug in the mixer? He quickly educated me on electrical terms. Ever hear of the daisy chain? Me neither! According to Wikipedia, “In electrical and electronic engineering a daisy chain is a wiring scheme in which multiple devices are wired together in sequence or in a ring.” Brilliant! So the three lights are all hooked together and only one plug is inserted into the outlet. My husband even got an adapter with a switch that allows me to turn them all on together at the outlet. I also have the option to turn off the ones I do not want on. So I could use the lights individually if desired.

My husband had the lights up and working in no time at all. Now I can read the recipes without having to bend down and squint into the cookbook. Wow what a difference! Thanks honey!!!

Looking up from under cabinet – Lights are not visible straight on
Outlet Switch

Carving Pumpkins

Projects

Although a pumpkin is a great decoration untouched, a carved pumpkin is always fun. Every carved pumpkin acquires it’s own identity. Each carver becomes an artist. It is almost magical.

Pumpkins can be carved with a kitchen knife. However, when my kids were little I picked up a couple of special carving knives sold especially for carving pumpkins. These are an inexpensive purchase that has served us well over the years. I feel they go into the pumpkins easier, save dulling good knives, and are safer to use.

Pumpkin Carving Knife

The lighting of the pumpkin, which has now turned into a jack-o-lantern, can be done with candles. I have switched from candles to battery operated tea lights. In this way, I do not have to worry about fire hazards. This is especially true of this time of year in Southern California when the Santa Ana winds are blowing through.

Battery Operated Tea Light Candles

The ways one can carve a pumpkin are endless. Here are a few of my family’s creations over the years… HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Making Baby Quilts from My Children’s Baby Clothes

Projects

When my children were little I decided to save some of their special clothes to “some day” make a baby quilt. Well that “some day” finally happened. The clothes were cut into squares and a quilt was made for each of my children using the clothes they used to wear. Ah the memories!

When making a baby quilt from baby clothes be sure to save enough clothes to make a good sized quilt. Remember, the clothes are small and only so many squares can be made from one little outfit. Also, be sure to use pockets and embellishments such as bows and patches. They add interest and function as well. A future child might like to stick something in that pocket after all.

Keeping Bows and 3-D butterflies
Pocket
Pocket

I made my quilts simple and just cut squares in the same size. I arranged them to my liking and then sandwhiched batting in-between the top and the soft flannel backing I chose. I then quilted them via stitch in the ditch or quilting as close to the seam as possible around all sides of the squares. I did the quilting by hand. This is my preferred method. I can relax on the sofa and quilt and I feel I have more control as well. I learned to hand quilt through the excellent book That Perfect Stitch The Secrets of Fine Hand Quilting by Roxanne McElroy. I also use the Roxanne thimble when quilting. It has an opening for the fingernail with a little lip on top. After quilting I attached the binding made from the same material as the backing material. Voila!

Roxanne Thimble

Decorating for Fall with Pumpkins

Projects

Decorating for fall with pumpkins does not have to mean carving up a pumpkin. Pumpkins can leave an elegant accent to a table or buffet. Pumpkins are a fall staple and can come out in October and stay through November making great Thanksgiving statement pieces.

Source: thevspotblog.com

I love the elegant white “Cinderella” pumpkins. Simply purchase a white pumpkin and find a satin or velvet ribbon in a color of choice and a jewel or ornament to give it some sparkle. This very easy and simple idea looks quite expensive.

Source: anitafaraboverubies.com

This gorgeous design of pumpkins, greens, pine cones, candles, etc… set on a table runner makes for a very festive table. I can already smell the turkey baking in the oven and friends and family coming through the door. This idea is oozing with warmth.

Source: thedailybasics.com

Another very simple idea, this time the pumpkin is used as a vase. Keep the colors of the arrangement in the same family to make it sophisticated. Placed on a piece of wood for a natural feel.

Source: https://www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/mhplibrary/holidays/diy-pumpkin-decorating?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=OG_OMP_BC.COM_DSA_F20_CPC_TD&utm_term=pumpkin&utm_content=OPL_KEY_SRCHPNB_DSA%20-%20Pumpkin

I love the orange mum pumpkin. Since pumpkins are orange this works well to keep it natural yet the mums give the pumpkin a new texture and lovely smell. I am not such a fan of the yellow daisy pumpkin. I would perhaps choose white flowers instead.

Source: https://www.thesitsgirls.com/diy/fall-craft-fabric-pumpkins/

I thought this tutorial was brilliant. A little fabric cinched together with a running stitch and filled with stuffing and a pumpkin is born. These can be made more elegant depending on the fabric chosen. A country pumpkin could also be made with a lovely gingham fabric. A longer, flowing ribbon might also be a nice touch.

Source: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-pumpkins

This is just an adorable little knitted pumpkin. I could also see this as a “Cinderella” pumpkin in white. A great decoration for households with children.

Happy Fall!

Knitting Blankets One Square at a Time

Projects

Knitting a blanket may seem overwhelming but it does not have to be. Knitting a blanket can actually be a great project for the beginning knitter. Just take it one square at a time.

I found a wonderful pattern to knit a blanket and learn new patterns at the same time. The blanket is made up of twelve squares of different stitch patterns. The idea being to complete one a month. It only takes a day or two (depending on your commitment) to make a block, so this can be done much faster. All patterns only use the basic knit and pearl stitches. No adding or dropping stitches. No fancy stuff at all. However, the squares are beautiful. If this pattern can not be found there is no need to despair. Any knit patterns can be used to make uniform blocks for a blanket.

I chose to make my blanket larger than the one in the pattern by adding duplicate squares. I enjoyed making this blanket because it was satisfying to finish a square in such a short amount of time and is great to work on a little at a time. I am actually in the process of making a second one. This one will be larger yet and I am making it in one color instead of the multi-colored blanket that I made the first time around.

Assortment of squares for my next blanket

The squares are then sized using a steam iron and crocheted together. Crochet! Do not panic! I do not crochet. However, I found easy instructions to crochet the squares together. Believe me, if I can do it, it can not be that difficult. Give it a try. Happy Knitting!

Single Crochet Border

SOURCES: Pattern found at: Knit Simple Magazine Holiday 2017 issue Square-of-the-Month Knit-Along Pattern.

How to Crochet Knitted Squares Together can be found at: http://www.ehow.com/how_12097392_crochet-knitted-squares-together.html

How to Crochet a Border Around Any Knitting Project: http://www.thesprucecrafts.com/single-crochet-around-a-knitting-project-2115856