Nov 29 2010

Sixty tea bags nicely organized in a Round Tea Bag Box
with sparkly ribbons and chocolate coins on top!

Have you discovered Walter Drake? What a GREAT catalog company. I have ordered bunches of “can’t live without” gadgets, organizers and gifts and have been pleased with everything I have ordered. Not only do the orders arrive very promptly, but on the rare occasion that there is a mistake, a correction is offered without hesitation. I don’t know how I found about Walter Drake, but I guess online as they have a very efficient catalog web site located here.

Once I was in the Walter Drake system, I started receiving wonderful paper catalogs and e-mails giving me special offers that are so good, they are hard to refuse. The selection, sales, reasonable regular prices and occasional offers of free shipping are really hard to pass up.

When I needed to make twenty hostess gifts this Thanksgiving, (Yes! Twenty!) I turned to Walter Drake to see what I could find to make a financially reasonable presentation. If you go to the web site and search for ROUND TEA BAG BOX or click here, you will see what I decided to purchase. What a bargain!

Regularly price at $7.99, each Round Tea Bag Box was on sale for $2.92 and I was able to take advantage of free shipping. Woo-Woo! So, I bought two widths of wire edge ribbon at Costco, one 1 1/2 ” gold sparkle and 2 1/2″ white with silver sparkle snowflakes. Each roll was tremendous at 50 yards, not feet, but YARDS for $6.50. I only needed one of each. Next, I bought little white gift bags at Michaels with a 40% off coupon making a package of 50 cost $11.99 instead of $19.99.  Then I bought a bag of gold foil chocolate coins, once again from COSTCO at $13.95 for a bag of a zillion and I was set, except for the tea.

I am having a love affair with Walter Drake. With my large
Round Tea Bag Box order, I even got a personal letter of
thanks for being a good customer. I don’t know whether to
be happy or embarrassed about buying so much…

Next I had to figure out the tea bags as I wanted to fill the Round Tea Bag Boxes. I went to two different grocery stores and between the two of them I was able to buy twelve different flavors on sale, five boxes of each at $2.50 a box.  I bought the kind that are wrapped in foil wrappers so they last longer if people don’t get to them right away. BUT! Be aware, that if you are going to use the large foil packs in your Round Tea Bag Boxes, the box will be a little short. In other words, the lid will not sit snugly on the top of the box and there will be a little space between the two.  Didn’t bother me as I decided to use the gold ribbon around the circumference of the box, with the white ribbon around the bottom and tied with a bow on top. These two ribbons held everything together nicely.

There are six sections to the Round Tea Bag Box. I chose
12 teas with 5 teabags of 2 flavors in each section.

I cut 4’2″ of the 1 1/2″ wide gold sparkle ribbon
and tied it around the box.

I cut 4’9″ of the 2 1/2″ wide white with silver sparkle
snowflakes ribbon, wrapped it bottom to top and tied a
big bow on top. Next, I cut a 4″ x 6″ index card into
thirds, cut the points off of two corners, wrote the
recipient’s name and tied it to the bow with a little bit
of white thread.

 Then I filled the white gifts bags with coins and used the gift
bag’s ribbon to tie them around the big white bow.

I had to make twenty of these, but if you just need to make one, think of how inexpensive it could be using things you probably have at home, especially if you love fabric. Cutting strips of fabric with your rotary cutter and tying it as I did the ribbon would make the gift nice and homey. But, even if you have to buy ribbon, this gift when finished was under $15.00. They were more like $13.50 each. I was happy. Now, I am just hoping all of my recipients are tea drinkers!

If you enjoy making gifts and want some good ideas, then
preview this book by hovering your mouse over this link:

A Gift of Herbs to Make Easy, Inexpensive & Thoughtful Gifts Using Herbs



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Nov 28 2010

I was happy to find this video on YouTube.com, not only because it give instructions on turning outdated garments into useful fashion, but also because it is one of a slew of YouTube sewing videos uploaded by teenagers who seem to have an avid interest in sewing and taking care of their needs.

So much fun to think our younger generations are learning to sew and create with fabric. See what you think! You just might end up making a “Scoodie” yourself!

Make a scarf with a hoodie…a SCOODIE!

For other Scoodie styles and directions, try clicking here, or here or here. Try making one and you’ll have lots of fun, gain something handy, be warm and enjoy the satisfaction of making something yourself!

Or, buy a readymade Scoodie provided by a talented artisan on “etsy” by clicking here.

To preview a more sophistcated Scoodie look,
hover your mouse over the link below:

Janska Hooded Scarf, Black, OS



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Nov 26 2010

Many elm trees were lost to Dutch Elm disease.
Too bad the poor elms couldn’t take a Bach Flower Remedy.
(For more about elm trees, click here.)

Bach Flower Remedies have been important to me since I began to use them in the 1980s. During that time, I became aware of energy healing, working to change the frequencies at which the body and emotions operate. The Bach Remedies have been a big help to me as I have found that they are gentle guides to making life go more smoothly.

Bach Flower Remedies are liquids in dropper bottles.

This is the perfect time of year to mention the “Elm” remedy in particularly. It is one of my favorites and seems to readjust my perceptions of panic when I feel overwhelmed with a big project upon which I am working while attending to all of the other life demands. A couple drops under the tongue, and my perceptions of an inability to complete required tasks dissipate. I can then focus on matter at hand without distraction.

Much like homeopathic preparations, Bach Flower Remedies gently nudge your energy flows to more controlled, sustained harmonic levels. They just give your “battery” a little jump start to get back in gear. Much has been written about the remedies because they have been in use and studied since the 1930s, first formulated and tested by Dr. Edward Bach.

This review is from Amazon, written by Rebecca. It is found under the “The Bach Flower Remedies” listing:

Have you ever noticed how your mood is instantly elevated when you inhale the scent of a rose deeply and with purpose. The world seems like a better place instantly. Rose oil has a frequency of around 320 MHz. Flowers are beautiful on their own and can lift your mood with their fragrance or with their petals blowing in the breeze in nature.

So, what other secrets do flowers conceal? Apparently, they can help us to change our emotional state. The scent of roses is said to dispel anger, or so I have read! In this book, flowers are celebrated as natural healers which can help us return to a healthful state.

Our emotions can at times manifest themselves as a health issue and greatly affect our bodies. Dr. Edward Bach (1897-1936) believed that physical illness was a manifestation of emotional imbalance. He believed we can heal and balance the body with nontoxic methods.

For a preview, hover your mouse over this link:

The Bach Flower Remedies

A short overview of the life and work of the
renown Dr. Edward Bach.



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Nov 25 2010

The Santa Sock Doll
An inexpensive endearment from the 1940s

Before mass advertising turned us into mass consumers, many things were made at home with love. Most women knew how to sew and many men did as well. Often, there was more time than money. Just as often, there wasn’t much time, but people weren’t toxic with chemicals and poor food. They had more energy with fewer complaints because they ate nutritious, natural foods that fueled the body, not lined the pockets of big business. With more energy, they were able to work long hours to make the things they needed whenever possible.

It is important to get back to eating those nutrient dense foods today. It is also important to take time to create and give to our loved ones objects of caring and love. We need to reassess what is important to us. Is emotionally leaving a child behind, so to speak, to fend for themselves while we work two jobs just to have the latest car model is the better thing to do?. Or, would it be better to ride the bus even, and spend that time with the family, while financially paring down “wants to needs.” It’s just a thought. It’s something worth mulling over, because once one realizes that everything we do is a choice, we can take better control of our lives. In really thinking about what is important to us, we can redefine our priorities and make sure our lives are the best for what we want out of them!

So, for me, creating has become very important as an affirmation of my life plan. And, it seems, the patterns used by people whose values mirror my own speak loudly to me.  I just love old patterns and styles that solidly ground me to a frugal use of money and time for what I, and those I love, get out of it. A bigger bang for the buck, is what I’m talkin’ about!

With that all in mind, Sunbonnet Smart is pleased that soon we will be presenting the first of our Sunbonnet Smart Patterns. We hope everyone will be able to afford buying our patterns to make something useful and share a gift of love. Sunbonnet Smart Patterns will be available for the 1970s price of 99cents for a pdf download you print out yourself. Low cost, great style with easy access is what Sunbonnet Smart is all about. That and enjoying the process of life.

Check back with us often and jump into the fun!

Sock Dolls are a fun “blast from the past.”
If making one of these inexpensive bundles of
love interests you, just hover your mouse over
the link below to preview this book:

Adorable Sock Dolls to Make & Love



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Nov 24 2010

 

December 2010

3rd- 7 pm
4th- 3 pm, 7 pm
5th- 1 pm, 5 pm
10th- 7 pm
11th- 1 pm, 5 pm
12th- 1 pm, 5 pm

 

Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center
Montgomery College, Rockville MD

 

For Tickets ($17-$22): call 240-567-5301
or click here
For More Information: call 301-762-1757



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Nov 23 2010

Gluing a piece of sandpaper onto a square board makes a nice working surface.

I find a sandpaper board indepensible when I am quilting. The sandpaper has tack and holds small pieces in place for laying out the whole motif. Not only will the pieces stay in place rather than scooting around while I’m working, but the whole assembly can be picked up and moved from one working area to another without disturbing the order. It’s very handy for either hand piecing or machine as it allows me to sit with the family at various locations, easily relocating as needed without picking up all the pieces individually.



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Nov 21 2010

The doll’s pose and positioning are perfectly
tied to her expression, making her seem lifelike.
This little girl has a cherished friend.

Some readers will wince when they read my Dad summed “it all up” one day after participating as a co-op adult at my child’s day care center. He said, “You can talk this gender stuff all you want to. The facts are, when it’s time for indoor recess, all of the little boys scramble to get to the trucks and all the little girls run to play with the dolls.”

As far as my Dad was concerned, end of story. And, I had to understand his point, because even now, I would choose relating to a doll over running to play with a truck. For me, the nurturing of a little human, although a model for one, would always trump a mode of transportation. Call me crazy…

The comfort of “someone smaller than you” to a child must be related to their reliance on someone being lower on the importance pecking order of bigness. To a child’s eye big equals power equals importance. A child is comforted by being bigger than another little person and being able to have that little person near at all times, also doing what the child says and what they want. Tea party today? No complaints are heard. Cut off all your hair and write on your face with a crayon? Not a word. Must be comforting, even at that age, to be in control of such an agreeable playmate.

Going for a walk.

With my love for fabric, the crowning reason for my doll attraction has always been that little doll people have little doll clothes to be styled and sewn. And it is much faster to sew itty bitty clothes than real size people clothes while the doll never gets fussy about color or fit. In addition, preparing a doll and wardrobe allows you to gift a child, should the unannounced need arise. What better present than a dolls and their clothes made to order by loving hands?

In January, 1960, life was good for these two little “girls.”

There are countless photos of children with their dolls filling up all of the years since photography began in 1839. But amazingly, there are many photos of adult women playing with dolls as well: some apparently feathering the nest for babies yet to be born, preparing for holiday gift giving or just plain enjoying the process for themselves.

From the inscription on this photo, these two
are looking forward to a baby’s arrival.

Dolls are a big part of Sunbonnet Smart as their clothes and accessories are great companions, both during their planning and construction and later when they bask in the love of all who admired them. Dolls are associated with the feminine gender and so, as with many accomplishments of women, need solid recognition for the part they play to enrich our lives.

Home from college and remembering good times?

Dolls have always fulfilled their obligations to please without regard to price or composition. The simplest rag doll stands shoulder to shoulder with the highest priced novelty dolls from fancy collections sitting in glass cases. All dolls, no matter their mark or maker can cradle the head of a child and offer comfort to an older person whose children have moved away. A doll, that little person in the beautiful form of a human being, is one of life’s little treasures.

Grammies can always do the hard things like getting socks on.

Today’s introduction to Sunbonnet Smart’s love for dolls and all of their trappings is the beginning of sharing the joy of dolls and doll making. We have lots of surprises in the works that will allow you to inexpensively download patterns to create dolls for that favorite child or child still within you.

Keep checking back, and those of you who have signed up on the e-mail list will get the news first! So, be there or be square!

If you have an interest in this remarkable volume of doll
lore, hover you mouse over the following link for a preview:

The Ultimate Doll Book



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Nov 19 2010

For those in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, don’t miss this chance to see “Quilters, a Musical.”



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Nov 18 2010

With the holidays coming up,
it’s time to practice crowd control.

If you haven’t figured out how to descend on someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, and if you have the barbarian hordes descending on your home, it’s time to realize your power to control the day and adjust the festivities to your own level of comfort. Setting boundaries and limits to what you will and will not do can help you feel less overwhelmed. Rhetorically speaking, taking a few stiff belts of your favorite beverage can help temper the anticipation of relatives arriving with their boatload of comments, complaints and “suggestions.” But, without resorting to intoxicants, some directed forethought and well placed lifelines to sanity will encourage you to feel like a model hostess, thereby resisting impulses to slip out the kitchen back door when no one is looking.

One may take solace in the fact that relatives are an age-old problem as shown by the vintage postcard displayed below. If you are dreading the onslaught this Thanksgiving, no reason to feel like you are The Lone Ranger. These post cards were mass produced by the thousands for the general public over a hundred years ago so you know you are not the first and, odds are, will not be the last.

An age old problem with a simple solution?

In-laws truly present a special set of obligations and a special set of problems. It is interesting that in life, because of blood relations, you are expected to interact with people on a continual basis that you would never seek out for a sustained friendship. I have stood talking to my relatives and inwardly thought, “You know, if I met you at a party, I would be so turned off by your pompous arrogance, that I would never speak with you again.” Just inwardly acknowledging that I have rejected them for friendship has helped me step back from saying something I might regret. I have risen to the occasion a little easier, with less inward stress, because this related individual has been deposed as “not worthy.”

Are overbearing relatives the ruination of your holidays?

When I read many of the self help guidelines for getting along with relatives on the Internet, such as “How to Get Along with Relatives” found here or “Family Parties: Getting Along with Relatives or Anyone Else” found at this site, I am reminded that it is important to remember I can’t change other people, I can only change myself. But, one thing these self-help sites don’t emphasize enough is when you take responsibility for maintaining your own self control and discipline, do not feel responsible for everyone’s behavior as well.

For instance, don’t beat yourself up emotionally because you could not, on the spot without any warning, find the right phrase to diffuse Aunt Harriet’s unneeded comments about Cousin Mitzie’s couch potato husband, Bob, who’s lost another job. Don’t take responsibility for lifting that lead balloon out of the air.  You’ve fixed the dinner, washed the crystal and polished the silver. You don’t also have to be a stand up comedienne “just in from Las Vegas” delivering the perfect one liner to make everyone happy again.

No! Just smile and pass the sweet potatoes.

If Aunt Harriet is going to bomb, let her. If Cousin Mitzie is offended, let her cover for Bob one more time, she’s used to it. The point is, as hostess, you don’t have to be a psychiatrist to the group for the dinner to go well. Save yourself the effort because odds are, no one will appreciate your “interfering” anyway. No one will think you said just the right thing anyway. And, if you shield yourself from getting hooked into the action, it will be easier to relax and enjoy the rest of the day and rest of the family.

So! Like I said, smile and pass the sweet potatoes.



And, if you need a reminder as to how involved family
relationships can become, here is a 1991 episode of
TV’s Roseanne with a family Thanksgiving get-together.

 

The Relationship Cure is highly recommended. If it
interests you, hover your mouse over this link:

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships

“This is the best book on relationships I have ever read — a truly impressive tour-de-force. John Gottman has discovered the Rosetta Stone of relationships. He has decoded the subtle secrets contained in our moment-to-moment communications. By introducing the simple yet amazingly powerful concept of the “bid,” he provides a remarkable set of tools for relationship repair. By the middle of the second chapter you’re likely to say to yourself, “Oh, so that’s what’s happening in my relationship with my partner (or colleague, boss, or sister), and now I know what to do about it.”
– Daniel B. Wile, Ph.D.,author of After the Fight: Using Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship



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Nov 16 2010

It seems many homeless people have pets to
cuddle for mutual warmth and comfort.

Homeless. If you live in any kind of urban setting, you must have seen homeless people. People who live on the streets, trying to figure out how to survive another day obtaining the basics of food, water and shelter. The indigent poor and the “by choice” freedom seekers: there have always been those who lived outside of society’s demands for a regular job. There have always been those that preferred the freedom to choose a living experience, even if that selection lacked security and comfort. Now, however, the numbers have increased significantly and the face of homeless people has changed. In addition to those who might be considered a little off beat, we find families with children experiencing urban survival in its rawest form.

Homeless is like old age. You can’t begin to know what it is like until you have experienced it, stared it in the face and realized, up close and personal, it has happened to you. Homeless is something that happens to others, until you realize, putting two and two together, that with the mortgage crisis, you are just a stone’s throw away yourself. Not a pleasant feeling. And the belief that friends and family will sustain you in your crisis lasts only as long as the last phone call telling you they have problems of their own and “can’t help right now, maybe later.”

The prospect is startling. The realization daunting and the means to remedy the situation can be illusive and far in the future. Where at one time, I, myself, would have thought homeless people unconditionally mentally ill, without direction and just plain “should have planned better,” now I have a compassion that daily reminds me, “There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.”

In today’s economic climate, it is good to consider the possibility of being homeless, yourself. Whereas, in better times, it was pro-active to plan for only vacations and retirement, now it is also prudent to examine the “what if” of being without shelter or the means to feed oneself and one’s family. Even if your mortgage is paid in full, the possibility of bio-hazards and social upheavals cycle the options closer than ever before. It is better to think of solutions and alternatives before you need them and figure you never will, than the other way around. As my Marine husband was taught in Boot Camp at Parris Island, S.C.: “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

With all of this in mind, why not examine the situation for yourself, as it relates to you? And, for those of you who can relate, all too well, to what I am talking about, let this be your guide that you are not alone and have a compassionate ear leaning toward you. Discussing possibilities and options will familiarize you with realities while leaving you better prepared, should things turn out unpleasantly.

For an introduction, here is The Shelters and Soup Kitchens Directory listing facilities in the United States offering aid and sustenance to those who need it. You will surely find a facility near you. And, now being proactive about your own possible homelessness, you might want to consider donating goods, services, time or money to insure life saving options are there, should you ever need them.

A compassionate trucker interviews a homeless couple.

To preview this moving book, hover your mouse over this link:

The Visible Poor: Homelessness in the United States



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