12.20.2011

Russian Tea Mix::Recipe

Mother and I would sip a hot cup of what she called 'Russian Tea' on cold winter afternoons...
...and even today what joy it brings to even smell the spices of this mix. 
Many recipes of others were tasted...
...but this original recipe of mine is what I remember enjoying all those years ago.

It's a spiced, instant tea mix using instant tea, instant lemonade mix, Tang,
sugar, cloves and cinnamon...
...and I've created a free .pdf of the gift card you see in the photo above...
...for Piecework Treasures readers...
...to access by clicking Russian Tea Mix Recipe Card.

I love giving this mix as gifts at Christmas,
as well as enjoying a cup with my daughter on cold, winter afternoons.
~Lisa
Note:  Tang can be found in most grocery stores where the instant lemonade drink mixes are found.

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12.13.2011

Homemade/Handmade: Oh-so-easy Beaded Candy Canes


Our Christmas tree, a simple cedar tree harvested from our own land,
its long, airy, uplifted branches like outstretched angel's wings,
is simply adorned with white twinkling lights and homemade/handmade beaded candy canes Melissa, my youngest daughter, has made through the years.
She has over 60 beaded candy canes in all sorts of colors and designs
in her collection she joyfully shares with us,
and though a young adult now, she still enjoys making more each year.
It all began with a tea party she attended when she was a young child...
...where the children dressed up, drank hot tea and..
...the sweet homeschool mother used this book and the candy cane...
...to teach the children...
...the true meaning of Christmas.
-------------------

How to Make Oh-so-Easy Beaded Candy Canes:

Supplies Needed:
  • Chenille stems ~ aka pipe cleaners ~ cut in 6" lengths We buy ours in 12" lengths to make it even easier.
  • 11mm Tri-Beads ~ all different colors are fun

...we still use the old American Girl tin to store our beads...
...and 101 Dalmatian plate to organize while we create...
...these are always stored together...
 Begin by cutting chenille stems in 6" lengths..
...thread one bead and turn down the end of the chenille stem over the edge of the bead...
...this locks the bead on the stem without the need for glue...
 ...thread beads on stem...
...use your imagination...
 ...turn the chenille stem edge down over the last bead...
...then twist into a candy cane shape...
 ...and hang...
 A small child as well as an older adult will enjoy making this simple craft that turns out very pretty to may be a reminder of the candy cane's special meaning.
~Lisa

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11.28.2011

Burlap Window Treatments

My mother-in-law's 1970's era matchstick blinds overpowered her Florida room...
...after only updating the window treatments...
...what a difference!
This project began with the thought of simply changing out the dated green matchstick blinds for updated matchstick blinds, but totaling over $700, the cost was prohibitive so that prompted 'thinking-outside-the-box'.

My mother-in-law, who likes everyone to call her 'Granny', wanted:
  • a product she could see through, yet still have a feeling of privacy; 
  • she rarely, hardly ever, raised/lowered the blinds so they did not necessarily have to be adjustable;
  • this room is off her den via a sliding glass door, so she liked the idea of a brighter area that would also brighten her den....
...so I came up with the idea of simple stationary panels...
...made of unlined white burlap fabric....
(burlap is available in different colors)
  
...100% jute...
 
...serged on each side...
...turned down 1 1/2" at the top for a casing to accomodate a 7/16" tension rod...
(because these are stationary panels, the tension rods will make it easy to take the panels down and put them back up if access to the windows are needed)
...added a 3" sleeve to easily accomodate a 1 1/2" wood slat...
....taking good notes and measurements are critical....
....measure....
...re-measure....
...then measure again...
....my notes only make sense to me I'm sure!...
...this project was done long-distance...
...so there was no luxury of checking the fit as each panel was complete... 
 ...14 panels for 14 windows....
...did I mention that almost every single window was a different width...
...my husband cut the 1 1/2" slats for the bottom sleeves 1/2" less then the width of each panel...
...they fit nicely into the sleeves with 1/4" to spare on each side...
...this was important for the burlap to hang straight....
...each panel was ironed before installed...
...one more look...
(the long green blind to the left covers the storm door that will soon be replaced with a steel door)
Burlap may not be a fabric of choice for some, but it was a perfect choice for this application and Granny's needs.  As you can tell in some of the close-up views there are imperfections in its weave, but that only added to its charm in this room....and as for the economics of this update....
  • Fabric for 14 windows:  $45.00 (Wal-Mart & Hobby Lobby)
  • 14 Tension Rods:  $42.00 (Wal-Mart)
  • Slats cut to size:  $43.00 (Lowe's)
Total:  $130.00 for 14 windows measuring approximately 3' x 4' each = @$9.00/per window

So by being a little creative....I think it turned out well...
 ~Lisa

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11.15.2011

Walker Bag featured at Laura's Sewing Studio

I am most honored that Laura at Laura's Sewing Studio is featuring the Walker Bag I sewed using her design, on the home page of her website, as well as in her Hall of Fame

She included my story of the sweet elderly lady who has been so very grateful to receive this bag.  And there is a second postscript to this wonderful story, I received yet a second thank you from this sweet lady yesterday that closes with "...has made my illness and stay at home a lot better".  These Walker Bags are clearly needed and most appreciated by those who use a walker....

...and what began as a simple act of kindness to help a dear lady cope with a walker, has turned into such a blessing for me.  Thank you Laura...not only for your terrific design, pattern and instructions that you offer free-of-charge on your website, or that you genuinely care for those who are in need.... but also for support and encouragement you've given to me.
~Lisa

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11.10.2011

Cute Bean Bags with Personalized Tote

Ever conscious of fast approaching Christmas, I sewed up these two cute Numbered Bean Bag sets with Personalized Totes for the two little boys on our Christmas list.  My blogging friend Deb at Mountain Musings had written a post about the set she made and they were so adorable I knew it would be a great Christmas gift for a boy aged 4 and 2. 

The bean bags are a perfect size for little hands and the totes are lined with a toggled drawstring closure.  I found these toggles at my local Hancock Fabric Store.  Mary's Number Bean Bags Tutorial and Easy Drawstring Tote were well-done with lots of photos.   Each little bean bag held @1/3 cup dried black beans.

I wanted to personalize the bags for each boy and it was easy to type out a pattern using WordArt in Word.  To make it easier, I flipped the pattern backwards so the letters would be facing the right way once cut. 
On one bag I zig-zagged the letters after adhering with 'Wonder-Under':

...the other bag I blanket stitched aroud the letters using size 10 crochet thread:

This is the ABC pattern I used:


...and I've also worked one up in Google Docs for you to access the link here:  ABC Template

If you would like a copy of this template and have trouble accessing these files, I will be happy to send them to you as an e-mail attachment.  My e-mail address is:  pieceworktreasures@gmail.com

These turned out so cute and were a lot of fun to make.  I hope the little boys will have lots of fun playing with them!
~Lisa

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11.07.2011

Walker Bag update

Last week I wrote a post about completing this Walker Bag for a friend's mother...

...she sent a photo of it 'installed' and 'organized'...


 ...her mother was quite excited to be able to move around easier now and my friend wrote...

"Mom has already gotten her organizer - organized.  She has a place for every THING--the remote, two phones, scissors, fingernail clippers, kleenex, books, and her yarn!"

What a blessing to be able to help another in a such a practical, yet needful, way.
~Lisa

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11.03.2011

A 'Walker' Bag

A friend's mother recuperating from a broken leg, now required to use a walker for a minimum of three months, brought back memories of years ago when visiting an elderly lady who used a walker, watching her struggle with juggling her walker and her cordless phone.  She would sometimes wrap a plastic grocery bag around the handles as her 'carryall' but that also seemed clumsy and cumbersome.  Thanks to the wonderful world of internet of folks sharing with each other, I found a terrific pattern with photos and instructions at Laura's Sewing Studio
Using material on hand I completed this Walker Bag today
Front
Back
This is a really neat bag in that it is loaded with pockets....2 in the front, 3 in the back....and what you are unable to see in the flat photographs above....is a large one in the middle.
  I added some decorative stitching and used different colored buttons that worked well with the birdhouse and denim fabrics.  I am definitely keeping Laura's pattern on file and will use it again to make another Walker Bag if needed.
~Lisa
Postscript:
Since writing this original post the bag has been delivered to its recipient who could not be more delighted and excited.  Her daughter sent this photo and note and I also wrote an update post noted below:
***Walker Bag Update  post***
Installed, organized and much in use!
An excerpt from the daughter's 'thank you' note: 
"Mom has already gotten her organizer - organized. She has a place for every THING--the remote, two phones, scissors, fingernail clippers, kleenex, books, and her yarn!"

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10.31.2011

Oh-so-easy Polar Fleece Throw

With a nip in the air and winter right around the corner, who doesn’t like the thought of curling up in a soft polar fleece throw sipping a cup of hot chocolate in front of a warm fire. I love polar fleece and this is one of the easiest throws to make.  Other than the investment of a little time, the cost is nominal.

Supplies needed are:
1 1/3 yard of 60” wide polar fleece ~ this will measure approximately 48” x 60” when complete
ice pick
Size 10 ~ crochet thread
crochet hook ~ I used a size 9/1.40mm hook for this project

Wash and dry the fabric:
Pre-wash the polar fleece and dry in the dryer. This will not only make sure the fabric is clean, but also wash out the sizing and pre-shrink the material.

‘Square’ the fabric:
Even though 48” x 60” cannot technically be ‘squared’, that is what I call the process to straighten out all cut lines including cutting off the selvage edges. This plaid fabric was so easy to prepare as I simply followed the ‘lines’ printed in the fabric.

Prepare the holes for crochet:

The edging is crocheted directly into the polar fleece so to make the process easier I ‘pre-drill’ the holes with an ice-pick distancing each hole approximately 1/2” x 1/2” all around the fabric. The fabric is very forgiving so I eyeball my measurements, but it would be simple to pre-measure and mark with a fabric marker.

My simple pattern is:

Begin anywhere on a straight edge (not in a corner) and crochet 2 single-crochets (sc) in each hole with 3 chains (ch) between. The corner holes are crocheted with 2sc, 3ch, 3sc, 3ch, 2sc all in the same corner hole. Work your way around the entire fabric finishing off by joining the crochet with a chain and finish off.

The crocheted edge gives the polar fleece a pretty finish.
~Lisa

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9.15.2011

Christmas Gift Ideas

...I enjoy giving homemade gifts at Christmastime...
...and every year....
....Christmas seems to 'surprise' me....
....even though I think about it the whole year through...
...but this Christmas shall be different...
...because gift preparations began today....
....preserved Muscadine Jelly from our garden...

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