Friday, January 29, 2010

The "Sweetheart Dinner" - Part 2: Sweet and Simple Centerpieces

My previous post was about gearing up for a Sweetheart Dinner of your own, with an idea for a festive runner to help set the mood. Today we're taking the decor another step further by adding a sweet and simple centerpiece. Here are a few ideas:

In the photo above, I've taken two goblets purchased at the dollar store and filled them with votive candles and Red Hots candies. Two layers of ribbon tied around the outside of the goblet was the finishing touch. It couldn't have been more simple or quick!

My friend Kris created these fun centerpieces last year. Aren't they adorable? You can find her directions here:

And lastly, my kiddos had a fun time creating these cookie bouquets with the help of the You Can Make This blog.

Simple to put together, fun to look at, yummy to eat!

What Valentine's traditions do you have in your family, and what fun Valentine centerpieces or table decor have you created? I'd love to hear about them or see them! Send me some photos---I'd love to show them!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The "Sweetheart Dinner" - Part 1

My sister Candice is the queen of traditions. Thanks to her, her grown children have some of the best memories, I'm sure! One of my favorite traditions of hers is the "Sweetheart Dinner" that she organizes every year near Valentine's Day. It's a time for the sweethearts in her life to visit and enjoy an evening of delicious food and being together. Special place settings are arranged, fine china is utilized, festive food is prepared, and proper etiquette is taught to the youngsters. What a fun tradition!

We have had our own "Sweetheart Dinner" at our house and the kids are always so excited when they get to actually use the fancy china and drink from the usually-forbidden goblets. And eating by candle-light makes it all the more special. Ambiance is everything, right?

Today, and in the next few days, I'll be sharing some sweet and simple ideas to help you prepare for a festive "Sweetheart Dinner" of your own.

First up is today is a simple pattern for creating a "Sweetheart" Table Runner to adorn your Valentine's Day Table (or any-time-of-the-year table) available at You Can Make This. And the good news? The pattern is free! Take advantage of this great offer, and get your table primed and ready for the sweethearts in your life!

(As an end note, the lovebirds image stitched onto the runner in the top photo is available for machine embroidery here at SWAK Embroidery. A hand-embroidery e-pattern is on it's way!)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Showin' a Little Love! V-day Pattern and Give-Away Opportunity

My friend, Michelle, of A Little Tipsy, is promoting some fun new ideas for "Showing a Little Love" as the big V-day quickly approaches. (Well, and you know, it's fun to have clever ideas for showing our love anytime throughout the year!)

I happen to be a sponsor for a give-away this week as part of her series. Head on over to her cute and fun blog to share or link up some lovin' ideas of your own, and for a chance to win this "Love is in the Air" door hanger! Grab her "Show a Little Love" button to join in the fun. And hurry quick, as the give-away closes on Thursday, January 21 at 2 p.m. MST.

If you want to create your own "Love is in the Air" pillow or door hanger, the hand-stitchery pattern is found here and here. The machine embroidery files in 4x4 and 5x7 sizes are found here.

Have fun, and get your lovin' on!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What My Gremlins Were Up To: The Mysterious Blue Square Revealed! Winners Announced!

I'm sure by now that many of you are curious about my boys' creativity in my kitchen while I was away! From the several comments that were made, I'm guessing you've either lived through teenage boys yourselves, or had mischievous brothers growing up! lol.

While I was out shopping one day during the holidays, I returned home to find a full-blown, half-court basketball game going on my kitchen! My two boys had so creatively thought to bring in the ladder from the garage, tape up their square "basketball hoop" and carry on like a couple of NBA superstars--shooting in and out and all around the furniture, wall hangings, and table centerpieces. Oh, was a good time. Fortunately for them, amidst their shooting and "stuffing" each other's shots, nothing was broken (this time!) and the painter's tape came off the wall quite easily. Whew! I guess it's true as the saying goes: "Boys will be boys..."

So each of you who figured that it had to be a basketball hoop or backboard of some sort are most definitely winners of your free pattern or download! I also loved your other imaginative ideas that it was a post for a Quidditch match, or a preview spot for the flat screen t.v. they might have been hoping for. You all win points for originality, and will be receiving free patterns as well! Look for them in your inbox within the next few days. Thanks for playing along, and I hope you enjoy your patterns! (I'd love to see what you do with them!)

What deviously creative things have your children been up to? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


When asking about what I do with embroidery or sewing, I've had a few friends respond to me before that they are just not creative. Have you ever felt that way? I know that I have about various things. While stitching and sewing may sometimes come sort of easily to me, there are other things that certainly do not.

As I've thought more about my friends' comments, however, I have to differ with their thoughts. I have found myself somewhat envious of the things they do create. Each and every one is creative in her own way. One friend who has said this is extremely creative in her cooking--making delicious meals for her family and friends in the neighborhood who are in need. And, she creates a haven of a home---it's always so calm and welcoming to be there.

Another friend creates peace in her home through her organizational talents and structure. Her kids put things where they belong and are familiar with their daily routines and schedule. Her home runs smoothly and peaceably as a result of her creation of organization.

And yet, another friend creates fun and joy for the rest of us through her sense of humor and enthusiasm for life. I always feel motivated and uplifted after being around her or reading her blog---she just knows intuitively how to create happiness in others.

If you've ever felt un-creative, think again. I love this message that is found on YouTube. No matter your religious beliefs, this message about creating is inspirational to all who believe in a Higher Power. May we all realize the power within us to create.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Have My Gremlins Been Up To? Guess, and Win an E-Pattern or Machine Embroidery Download of Your Choice

So, my little darlings are creative buggers...I'll give them that. While I was out shopping recently and my kids were all home during the holiday break, I returned home to find that my gremlins had added this lovely blue square to my kitchen wall.

Thankfully, they had the good sense to use painter's tape as opposed to masking tape or duct tape, so I should count my blessings, right? (Oh, my!)

Any guesses as to what they were up to while I was away? If you can accurately determine their creative intentions, you can win any E-pattern of your choice, or any single machine embroidery download of your choice! All correct answers will win!

Click here to view the E-patterns or machine embroidery downloads available, then come back and leave me a comment. In your comment, let me know your best guess as to what my kiddos had been up to, along with the pattern or download name of your choice. And don't forget to leave me an email address so I can contact you if your email is not in your profile.

You have until midnight on Saturday, January 16 to comment, so start thinking like a couple of teenage boys, and guess away!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Look Back on the Holiday Highlights of 2009

Happy New Year, everyone! For some reason, I am so excited about 2010...Perhaps the number itself just sounds good to me; perhaps I'm excited to put the first part of the 2000's behind me. I don't know, but I'm looking forward to a terrific year, as I'm sure you are!

However, before I launch forward with both feet into the month of January, I just have to take a quick backwards glance and share a few top highlights of the holidays with you...

*The annual reading of the Nativity on Christmas Eve. Each family member gets to play a part (Dad is usually, well-- always, the narrator), and seldom is it a remotely reverent event, no matter how hard we may try. Inevitably somebody cracks a joke or pulls a goofy face, and everyone is giggling throughout. It is never a dull affair, and serves as memorable tradition. You can see here a Wise Man, Mary, Joseph, and below that our Angel.

*Our visit from Santa! Yup---he was standing in our family room on Christmas eve, and he left us a photo of himself on our computer desktop. The little kids couldn't believe it! Wow, was that ever a magical highlight!

*Treasured gifts, packages, and ornaments from friends near and far...

*Our "Friendship Door". We began the tradition of hanging our Christmas cards on the door to our garage years ago. It is a happy spot in our home during the holidays. Each time we leave the house, we are reminded of many friends and loved ones that have touched our lives for the good.

*Our Christmas Day Treasure Hunt. Not sure how or why it got started, but for the last several years my hubby has put together a hunt for a family gift that the kids have to find somewhere in the house. The kiddos look forward to this every year, and their squeals of delight as they decipher the clues have made it worth the bother. This year's find was Rock Band 2 in the back of our van. Nothing like a little rock and roll for quality family bonding.

*Food, games, and fireworks on New Year's Eve with extended family.

*Seeing the results of the New Year's Elf in action. I counted 17 pairs of shoes that he filled at my sister's house! Whew! He had a busy night. ;)

*Falling snow, and snowman on New Year's Day.

What would the holidays be without traditions and family? Those are the ingredients that truly make our memories rich and joyful. I hope you each have fond memories to look back on in the year 2009, and great hope to look forward to in the year 2010.

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