Showing posts with label gift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gift. Show all posts

September 18, 2016

Itching for Fall

All around me, people are itching for Fall to begin, in more ways than one. (Heat rash, anyone?!)

This summer has been a crazy hot one... and although I'm usually a little sad to be packing up swimsuits, the reality is that this summer was almost too hot to even go to the pool, so I find myself yearning for cool days constantly. The Peanut and I stayed inside more often than not, and we spent a lot of time at indoor play areas (those outdoor playgrounds get insanely HOT. I still don't know why more playgrounds aren't built in the shade.) 

I can remember walking past mall play areas thinking that even if I had kids, I probably wouldn't ever take them to such a loud crazy place. 

And yet, at least once I week, I find myself smiling as the Peanut clamors to get to the steps and slide, running around like he has a firecracker in his pants. 

I've eaten a lot of my words about motherhood in these past two years. I swore I'd never become a mommy blogger and yet you can read my first official mom blog post over here, where I air my confessions. I will be blogging regularly at Chattanooga City Moms Blog for at least the next six months, so be sure to subscribe to their posts if you don't want to miss out! There are quite a few of us contributors on the site, so it's been neat to read different local mom perspectives. Plus, it will give me a chance to be a mommy voice in the community, without turning Typing Sunflowers into the latest mom blog. 

Besides chaos, I'm still making stuff. Like these adorable vertebrae sweaters for ALL OF THE BABIES friends are having. (Seriously ya'll... is it something in the water?!)

I'm also still breaking stuff. Walter, my dear companion and iMac of the past six years, refuses to show me anything on his screen, and it's a costly repair. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to simply bury him somehow in the recycling bin. Until I can get Walter's second brain (aka, my backup hard drive) picked apart, I don't have many other photos to prove any other craftiness to you at the moment, but I can assure you, I've made more of those cardigans than I can count this summer.   

We are now mere days away from the official start of Fall. It's finally raining outside, there is a slight chill in the air, the Sailor is home watching British football (soccer) and the Peanut is sleeping soundly. I can feel the seasons changing. And that's always a good thing.

February 1, 2016


Yes, I know it's been forever. It's February already. 


I promise you, I haven't forgotten this blog. But you know the days run into other days, and there's a constant flow of meal prep, dishes, playtime, laundry, errands... and occasionally sleep. The Sailor arrived home for the holidays and has been home for all of January, so it seemed like our days were even fuller and busier. Every time I contemplated writing a blog post, the Peanut would bring me a book, hand outstretched, wanting me to read it to him. 

And really, who can deny such a cute kid a little reading session? 

So here I am, in the middle of his nap time, wondering where all of January went besides a blur of food, laundry and library books. 

Nevertheless, I did manage to accomplish a few crafty things. I also realized that even if I'm not posting every little detail, I'm still living life and making things. And that's what really makes me happy.

I threw my friend Tianna a baby shower! 

She hosted my book shower a little over a year and a half ago. Now, she's having twins! We ate lots of yummy food on vintage wares, and showered her with gifts galore. I made her yellow and grey baby cardigans like this one (I was so busy hosting that I forgot to get photos of my own gifts.)  

I'm also in the middle of making both myself and the Peanut new slippers. (I've finally gotten around to using the wool I bought in Idaho a year ago.) They are both these felt clogs. I remembered this week that I had the pattern for the children's version as well! Perfect timing since the Peanut rips his socks off and needs a pair of these for around the house. They knit up fast and I'm looking forward to throwing these in the laundry and watching them shrink to the right size.

I also finally finished this Through the Woods hat and cowl. I purchased a kit on Craftsy forever ago and then realized it never really gets cold enough here to wear such a thing, so I kept it in the 'to do' pile. Over the holidays, I worked on it and decided it's a perfect belated birthday gift for my pal in Idaho (where it gets cold enough to wear it!)  

It looks much better on, but since we are all recovering from nasty colds and constant nose blowing, I'll refrain from posting a photo of myself in it. (I've looked better... let's just leave it at that!

And once again, my local yarn store had the perfect wooden buttons to go with it. 

I also feel like I should report that we have the windows open and it's positively balmy outside. THIS is the reason we moved south. 

October 11, 2014

Crocheted Nurse Doll

Over the summer, while I was expecting the Peanut, I crocheted this little doll for my friend's soon-to-be-three-year-old. 

I stashed it into a package and as soon as I popped it into the post, I realized I never took any photos of the doll. The recipient's mama was happy to oblige when the gift arrived. 

The nurse doll comes with a crocheted baby, chart and stethoscope. Perhaps my favorite part? The booties that look like either blue clogs or those slippers operating room staff wear! My friend is a nurse, and just had her second baby about a year ago, so I thought this would be the perfect gift for the big sister. And apparently she loved it. Crocheted dolls are great --  you can't break 'em!

The pattern can be found for purchase here via download. I purchased a hard copy of the booklet at a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store earlier in the summer. 

As a side note, I feel like I'm emerging from the 'newborn fog'. The Peanut is starting to give me a bit more time with both hands, and I hope to return to more regular blogging soon. In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me through fewer posts these days!

August 22, 2014

Gift Blankets

My mom used to say that a baby can never have too many blankets. I'm starting to think that is true. Even though it's summer, it seems that I have a blanket in the laundry daily. 

The only thing more fun than making a blanket as a gift for someone with a baby, is receiving one (or two!) in the mail as gifts for your own little one. 

I'm fortunate enough to have friends around the world... and even though not many of my pals actually knit and crochet, some of their mothers do. These two blankets made their way into our post box courtesy of some talented moms. 

I told my friends that I didn't have 'colors' picked out (see this post about the non-nursery) but that I wanted calm colors that reminded me of a safari (inspired by these critters.) 

Even though they are both totally different, I love the 'safari inspiration' in each of them!

June 4, 2014

Thank You Notes

One of my favorite parts of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is his Friday 'thank you notes'. Those of you who don't stay up that late, or who miss it on demand or online the next day, Jimmy takes a few minutes during the episode to write out thank you notes. Of course they're usually a joke -- he pokes fun at current topics of the week. 

But Jimmy has class... because it doesn't matter that he's being sarcastic and hilarious (he is a comedian, after all) he still remembers every Friday to pen his thank you notes.

I've noticed a trend in years that often times people don't bother anymore with thank you notes, especially for gifts. I can't tell you how many times I've sent a gift and never heard back from the recipient until I email or call to say 'Did you get my gift?

I wrote a post a little over a month ago where I mentioned my desire to get back into more handwritten correspondence. (I'm also a fan of holiday greetings if you missed that post. If only the mailman would pay me commission.) 

This morning I sat down to write out some long overdue thank you notes to friends who've given us early gifts for the Peanut. Most of the people had received an email from me to say that their gift had arrived safely in the mail, but I still like to follow-up with a real note. 

You don't have to love to write to send a thank you note... it's simply common courtesy, I believe. As a child, if I received a gift from anyone, my mom sat me down and had me write a thank you note within the week. Or I had the option to telephone the person. I wasn't big on chatting over the phone (still not really a fan...) so I usually went for the writing bit. 

Over the years, I have attended countless weddings, and I have always given a gift. Yet I can only count on one hand the number of thank you notes I've received in return. Now I know that wedding gift etiquette is constantly changing, but I'm pretty sure thank you notes (or at least some form of acknowledgement) are still in vogue. 

Yet I'm also noticing that thank you notes for other non-gift events appear to be alive and well here in the South. Last year, I hosted a wine and cheese party for a friend -- soon afterwards a thank you note from the birthday girl showed up on my doorstep. I cooked a friend a meal after she had a baby and received a thank you postcard in the mail within a week... and soon after I hosted a vintage dinner, I got an email from one of the participants who gushed over how lovely the evening was. Every one of my friends who has visited from afar has also sent thank you notes soon after their departure.

Maybe thank you notes are making a comeback! Who doesn't like to be thanked, after all? 

Writing your own thank you notes shouldn't be feared. Here are some tips to get you started: 

1. Have a stack of cards on hand. They don't have to say 'Thank You' on the front or the inside! Blank cards work fine, or even postcards can work. (These also make great gifts for people, especially at a bridal or baby shower. One of my friends purchased a stack of handmade cards for her sister-in-law's baby shower, addressed them with the gift-givers addresses and then stamped all of them for her. It made the whole process of actually sending the thank you notes, easier and faster for her sister-in-law!)

2. Make a list of gifts you get at a birthday party, wedding, baby shower, etc, along with the people who gave them to you. That way you can easily see who gave what gifts. Put a check mark besides the cards you've written already.

3. Set aside a few minutes a day or a block of time to actually write out the notes. If you have a huge list, like from a wedding, just do a few cards every day at the same time. Eventually you'll work your way through the list without feeling overwhelmed.

4. Make the notes personal! The note doesn't have to be eloquent or long, just try to incorporate a way you're going to use the gift, or how much your kiddo loves the toy and takes it everywhere with her. An added bonus especially if the person handmade you a gift: take a photo with your child or yourself using or wearing the gift and send it along with the note! Years ago, I made fleece hats for a friend's twin girls. I purposely made them big, so the girls could grow into them. She sent a thank you note right away, and then later on, I received another card in the mail with a photo of the girls wearing the hats -- totally melted my heart and made my day. You don't even have to bother printing a photo -- snap a pic on your phone and send it via email or text.

5. Above all else: acknowledge the event, gift or act of kindness in some way. You can always place a phone call instead, or send an email, as long as it's sincere! Or, if you see the giver, thank them IN PERSON. 

Finally, if you want to take it up a notch: If you are visiting friends from a distance and staying in their home, pay attention to what they would like or need. Send them a small gift to say thanks for letting you stay in their home... at the very least send a card. I often travel with a small stack of cards and will leave a personalized one for the hostess to find after I depart, along with some posh soap and some handmade washcloths, or a bottle of wine. 

Thank you, dear reader, for clicking on this post today! May your own day be full of thanks. 

April 21, 2014

The In-Between Projects, Project

After whizzing my way through the zoo, I realized I didn't have another knitting or crochet project to start. Dishcloth 101 to the rescue. 

Long live the humble dishcloth!

I'm in the process of sorting out the office/craft room (AKA the Princess Pad as the Sailor affectionately refers to it...) Craft rooms and the supplies therein always need a good sorting. I can never remember what I have, so I've been reorganizing stuff where I can easily see it and therefore use it. 

I'm also realizing that eventually the little Peanut is going to have to sleep somewhere besides our room. So, I'm clearing out and making space and stash-busting of course.

Last year, just before we moved, I purchased three giant skeins of cotton yarn on sale. Don't ask me why... it's not like there aren't yarn stores here. I think I figured I'd need a go-to project as soon as we got to our destination. 

I didn't. I had plenty of other yarn in the pile. And so that yarn has sat on a shelf, patiently waiting for a project. 

I've scoured Ravelry for projects and nothing jumped out at me. I finally decided to simply stock up on dishcloths to use and to give away as gifts. So, now that I'm in between projects, dishcloths are the perfect excuse to use the yarn and to do some easy knitting and crochet in the evenings while catching up on TV.

Who knows, some of these may even end up as burp cloths.
What's your go-to in-between projects, project?

February 12, 2014

Homemade Lavender Pillows

Our neighbors used to have this amazing lilac bush. Every day, as my mom walked me to the bus stop, I would get a glorious whiff of these amazing flowers. I was always a little disappointed when the bush stopped flowering and the smell faded. Every now and again, I smell lilac in the air, and I'm right back at the location where I grew up, without a care in the world.

Lilac may not always be in season, but my other favorite calming 'L' fragrance can be: lavender. 

There are numerous lotions and potions and candles on the market with the smell of lavender to both calm the senses and to help you sleep. I decided to make my own little sleep pillow with dried lavender. You can too!

All you need is some leftover fabric, dried lavender, a funnel and some simple sewing skills. I machine-stitched a square with the right sides together, leaving a small hole open in the top. You can leave a bigger hole at the top to pour in the lavender. The bigger the hole, the easier it is to turn the fabric right side out (I don't know why I always forget this part, no matter what I'm sewing!)

Pour the lavender into the pillow. I used a chopstick to ease the lavender down, but a pencil or knife would also work.

Once the lavender is in the pillow, hand stitch the hole closed and you're done! 

Some people keep these under their pillows, or between the cover and the pillow itself. I keep mine on my nightstand and make sure to take a few deep breaths of lavender each night before I head off to dreamland.* 

These are fast and easy to whip up for yourself or as gifts for other people. Just be sure the lavender is kept away from the other spices. See the note below...

* In all honesty, I'm not so sure if my pillow actually works. Theoretically, it should though! You see, when I got the lavender, I purchased it in bulk with a bunch of other spices, including curry powder at a farmer's market during a trip over the holidays. The spices were in their own little plastic zip bags... and they stayed that way for about a week until I unpacked them at home. Spices have no scent boundaries... and I'm pretty sure I get a slight whiff of curry powder every time I inhale the lavender pillow. Next time, the spices do not get to mingle. 

June 2, 2013

The Sheep

A few weeks back, I wrote a post on several yarn works in progress, where you may have seen a glimpse of the headless knit sheep. A few days ago, I mentioned gift-giving and I showed off a little handmade yarn card. Thankfully I didn't reveal the actual gift, because apparently the recipient actually does read this blog! 

Yesterday, my friend from school days had her first baby shower, and she got to keep this awesome sheep pillow. Now you get to finally see the sheep, in all of his glory.

After I finished my little (um let's say, BIG) sheep friend, I sat with him on the couch and wondered if I could actually give him away. Sheep are quite cuddly, especially when made with knit bobbles. 

I had never knit bobbles before, and even though I was tempted to try to convert the pattern into crocheted bobbles, I stuck with the knitted ones. I do think crocheted ones would have been faster and perhaps easier, but I'm glad I tried something new.

I modified the pattern slightly by totally over-stuffing this thing. I think it was meant to lay like a pillow, but I wanted my sheep to stand up on his own. I also crocheted four legs instead of knitting the two long ones. Having only two legs looked funny since he wouldn't be laying on his side. (Not that you can actually see his legs, since he's rather rotund.

My friend chose a sheep theme for her nursery, so of course the pillow fits perfectly. 

The sheep, getting a bath before getting stuffed.

I wanted to also give my friend something she could use right away, since apparently newborns don't really need giant over-stuffed sheep pillows for sleeping.

On the other hand, my mother has always told me that you can never have too many blankets for a newborn. At her suggestion, I picked out a grass green color for the blanket. The cream colored one on the right was a baby gift for another friend.

I managed to find a little sheep applique for the corner of the blanket.

There's even more sheep to show, but I'll post the rest of the flock later this week.