Farmhouse Gratitude Beads

When I was a little girl living on my grandparent's farm, my grandmother's gave me a gift that became a way of living and a true blessing in my life.  My Grandmother Dorothy was Catholic,  I was sprinkled with water to be baptized Catholic as well and was given a beautiful Rosary by her.  It was long, too long for a little girl to wear, but I so wanted to wear it.  It had shiny smooth black stoves, cut into angles to let the light bounce,  aged silver links, and at the tip, a black cameo rose cross.  I cherished that necklace, long before I knew it's lasting value.

I lived with my Grandma and Grandpa Lyke on their farm settled on the rolling hills on upstate New York.  They saved my life after my parent's divorce and taught me some of my greatest lessons.  Every night after the evening milking, we would sit together around her table and devour the sharpest white open faced grilled cheese sandwiches.  My stomach could never get enough of them. 

After we caught up on the adventures of the day, and a little Lawrence Welk, they would get me ready for bed.  One summer night my Grandmother pulled out the other Grandmother's Rosary and asked me to kneel down beside her.  She took my hands in her's with the glistening black beads around our hands and taught my how to pray.  She told me to hold one of the beads in my hand and think of something I was thankful for.  

I stumbled to think as a little girl of what I could say, but slowly the thoughts came.  I am thankful for, my dog Mitzi...the new calf,  for the sun, for my cousins...  The thoughts came to me as I took one bead after another.  She told me I would be finished with my prayer to God when I reached the Rose Cross.  Which I did night after night.  It became a practice that has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life.  It seems no matter how deep the struggle, I can always find something to be thankful for.   

One of the newest trends in Farmhouse Style decorating is simple wood bead garlands, commonly called Gratitude Bead Garlands.  You can find them in most decorating stores, hobby shops, and in my shop as well.   They can be hung as fireplace garlands, looped over vintage jars, draped over knobs and in small ways as necklaces and key rings.  

They are used in the same way my Grandma Lyke taught me, one bead = one gift.  Simple and sweet, we love them however they are used.  I strung a couple over my fireplace mantel, and added a few unpainted leaves for the fall season.  I draped a strand with the word "hope" over some Texas loved jars, and of course my Rose Gratitude Necklace, sits on my night stand.

To make a garland you need to find wood beads with a hole large enough to string twine through.  Yes, simple twine is all that is needed.  You can use yarn is you like, as well, you can paint or stain your beads!  There are so many variations that can be used to make yours personal to you or a season.  

Basically .... Wood Beads + Twine + Scissors = a Farmhouse Gratitude Bead Garland

After you have your materials, you will want to begin by making a tassel.  This will be the stop point for your beads as you begin to string them.  To make the tassel wrap the twine around your hand enough times to make a thick tassel.  Before you slip it off your hand, take the piece of twine the length you want your garland to be, and slip it through the twine that is wrapped around your hand.  Tie a knot at the top of the wrapped twine with the long piece that you are going to string your beads to.  Trim off the access tail.

Then take a piece about a foot long and leave a couple of inch tale out as you wrap the piece around the top of the tassel.  When you've wrapped it around enough to look secure and thick, knot the two ends tight to secure your tassel.  Snip the loop at the bottom and trim ends to look even.

Now it's time to string the beads onto your long piece of twine.  I like to use a plastic tapestry needle to help get the twine through the hole in the beads.  If you purchase one of our Farmhouse Gratitude Garland Kits the needle is included.   You can sometimes find them at a hobby shop.  If not, you can wrap a piece of tape around the end of the string to give it a little stability as it goes through the hole.

 I like to mix the sizes of the wood beads to give it a more rustic farmhouse style look, so I will string five to ten small beads and then add a medium bead and alternate big and small across the length of the garland.  When you have finished stringing your beads, leave a four to five inch tail of twine and make another tassel for the other end OR you can tie on a wood cross, plaque of wood, or any other embellishment that you like.  Tie it close to the last bead to keep your beads from sliding and showing gaps.

These garlands and gratitude bead necklaces are so simple and easy to make.  They make a perfect rainy day craft for hands of all ages.  As I mentioned, we do offer the kits on our website for both the Farmhouse Gratitude Garland and the Rose Gratitude Necklace.  They come with everything you need to make one of your own.  

To watch me make one of these, tune into KUTV Fresh Living and watch the four of us have fun creating a gratitude bead garland.  I hope this has inspired you to add a little bit of light and thankfulness to your life.  It truly is a daily gift.

Read more »

Labor Day Sale

Can you believe it is the end of the summer?  We can't here especially with the 95 degree temps out there and the long sunsets.  Regardless of where you live or how hot it is, the calendar says its Labor Day which means it's time for our annual Labor Day Sale!  For this week only all orders in The Shop are 20% off!!!

Lone Star Barn Quilt

We are looking forward to a long weekend with time at the lake with snow cones and the sounds of kids splashing it all up one last time!  We hope you have a fabulous time with your friends and family.  Go to The Shop and get you barn quilts, embroidery kits, patterns and supplies with 20% off through Sunday, September 8th.  

Remember to Celebrate, Dream and Create everyday!
Read more »


Breakfast Cookies - Fresh Living

This summer our family went on a bit of a diet change with going gluten free and incorporating more live, fresh foods to our diet and less processed foods, including sweets.  One of our favorite on the go breakfast treats that has been used as a substitute for doughnuts, pancakes, or pastries are these super yummy Breakfast Cookies!

Yes, I said cookies!  When you make a change in the way you eat, you get creative in adding substitutions so you don't feel like you are giving much up.  What is so great about these Breakfast Cookies is they are vegan, gluten free and can store in your fridge or freezer for the mornings you are running out the door or the times when everyone else is eating a sweet treat and you are wanting something that is yummy and healthy.

The basic recipe base is quick cooking oats and organic butters such as almond, peanut or apple.  The sweetener comes from mashed banana and maple syrup.  This is a great base with no dairy or animal products in them.  What you add to create your own variations can be what is in season such as lemon and blueberries (which was fabulous at girls camp) or pumpkiny like the Oat & Pumpkin version I have below.  you can add flax seeds, nuts, fruits or any other variations.  They bake for 15 minutes and are a simple way to get in something healthy when you are in a rush or out of your kitchen.

Cocoa Berry Breakfast Cookies

1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup smashed banana
2 Tbs. Maple Syrup
1 Tbs Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Apple Butter
1/2 Cup Dried Berries
1/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix butters, maple syrup and banana together in a mixer bowl.  Mix in oats.  Add berries and chocolate chip and mix until it all sticks together.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon a golf ball size amount onto the parchment paper and flatten out the dough to a cookie shape.  

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and let cool on the pan for 10 minuets.  Store in fridge for one week or in the freezer for three weeks.  Bring out for a yummy quick breakfast!

Oat & Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie

1 Cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 cup Almond Butter
1/2 Cup Smashed Pumpkin
1/4 Apple Butter
3 Tbs. Maple Syrup
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Golden Raisins
1/4 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 Teas Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix butters, pumpkin pie spice, salt, maple syrup and banana together in a mixer bowl.  Mix in oats.  Add raisins and pumpkin seeds. Mix until it all sticks together.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon a golf ball size amount onto the parchment paper and flatten out the dough to a cookie shape.  

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and let cool on the pan for 10 minuets.  Store in fridge for one week or in the freezer for three weeks.  Bring out for a yummy quick breakfast!

I hope you try these for a little break from the typical cereal, toast, or heavy breakfast treats.  Serve them with fresh fruit, a little vanilla yogurt and you have a special morning treat for your family.   I made these for the Young Women at camp this summer with both a gluten free version and a non-gluten free version and guess which ones they ate up first?  The vegan, gluten free ones were all gone by the time breakfast time was over.  I made them ahead and used them right before a hike....and they stayed happy and full till the afternoon.

To catch today's Fresh Living segment follow The Link and see how easy they are to make and enjoy!  

Read more »


Fall Workshop Registration

We are so excited to announce the date for our Tweetle Dee Fall Workshop!  This is our favorite workshop of the year with the fall leaves and wildflowers in the meadow...and a whole day to paint and visit with our friends.  The registration is live on Our Site today!

This is our paint anything workshop at our home just steps away from the wood shop where frames can be custom made, barn quilts finished and a few other magical surprises as well.  The registration fee covers everything you need to paint a complete 22" barn quilt, materials and lunch too. If you want to paint a larger barn quilt or multiples, there are additional costs which can be paid the day of the workshop.

We hope you can all make it.  It really is the best workshop of the year!  Go to Our site today and register....share with your friends and let's make it the best event ever!!!

Read more »


Embroidery Hoop Weaving

One of the best parts of my job is getting to try new things and though I am not new to weaving (see previous posts), making a weaving loom on an embroidery hoop was completely new to me!  After testing it out, I am in love with this form of weaving.  If you have used a loom before, you know that it can be somewhat precise with a little bit of randomness, but when you create a loom out of a simple embroidery hoop, all of your weaving becomes random!  Which you know if my thing.

Randomness with tons of texture is really my thing....just saying!

To create a round Embroidery Hoop Weaving you will need a simple wood embroidery hoop that you can pick up at any craft shop and some yarn or string.  That is the beginning of something fabulous!  You will want you yarn or string to be thin so it will disappear into your weaving and not stand out between "stitches".

1.  To begin, take the outer hoop off and set aside.

2.  Tie a simple double knot to the top of the hoop with the lightweight yarn or string.  Make sure to leave a two to three inch tail for later.

3.  Wrap 4 or 5 yards of yarn/string around a shuttle and cut off of the skein.  I used a make shift shuttle (a glue stick).  You want it small so you can work it around the inside of a tiny hoop.

4.  To begin wrapping you go across the hoop to the opposite of where you ties it on and holding it tightly, wrap the string under the hoop.

5.   You are going to bring the shuttle of string up to the top and off to the right about one inch from where you began, and go across the top holding tight.  Wrap it under the hoop and...

6.  ...cross over the center and go under one inch to the left of the first loop.  In essence you are making figure eights all the way around the hoop going over and then under keeping the yarn tight.

7.  Continue wrapping the yarn/string every inch until you get to your starting point.  The center will look like a messy "Cats's Craddle".  It's ok!

8.  After you arrive back at the starting point take the shuttle and wrap it around the middle cluster of yarn.  Think it like a clock center that you are going to wrap the string around several times at a 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock time place.  Pull tight.  This will bring all of the threads into the center.

9.  Once you have wrapped the string around the center a few times, pull the string up to your starting point and knot the string to the tail from the beginning knot.

10.  Trim off any access and tightly push the outer round of the hoop onto the inner warped loom!  Yes, it is now a loom not an embroidery hoop.  So cool huh!

I always begin my weaving with a pretty center.  I find it best to either use the same yarn/string you used for the warp or another thin yarn.  Use a yarn needle (available at any yarn supplier) and knot the end of the threaded yarn to the the back of one of the spokes.  This will secure it.  

Bring the needle up and do a simple over and under each of the warp strings to create a small woven circle.  You can make it larger if you like, but I usually keep mine to about the size of a dime or quarter.

Once you have your center secured, wrap the end  of the yarn piece under a spoke and you are ready to add more.  I love to use wool roving in my weaving.  The colors and poofy textures make the piece extra special and fill in gaps quite quickly.  You can finds wool roving on Amazon or at most craft stores.  It will come in a ball which can be unwound and separated to get the thickness or width you desire.  

To make this yellow wool center, I used a simple Tabby method of looping the wool over and under alternating spokes, tucking and poofing it up to get the look I desired.  This is what I mean by randomness.  You can play with different yarns and wool, fabric too to make your weaving unique to you!

Here I added a thick grey yarn by tucking the end under a spoke and coming up to the front.  Once I had my yarn on the top of the weaving, I wrapped it around each spoke with a simple loose knot and then after a few rows, I skipped every other spoke to give it a larger stitch.  No needle needed!

For the next layer, I made a wood shuttle and strung some thick variegated yarn through the weaving by going over and under each spoke.  As I went around I used my fingers to push the layers close together which created a cool fan type pattern.

I continued to do this with the blue yarn and will finish this one tonight with some of the thick wool white roving as a braid around the outside.  Weaving is one of those arts that is simple, but takes a little faith.  When you begin you will for sure think you are doing something wrong because it "won't look right".  Trust me, I know.  Every weaving I feel that way until I keep going and then it magically takes shape.

I hope this has inspired you to take out one of your unused embroidery hoops and your bin of wool yarn and make something fabulous!  You can watch my KUTV Fresh Living segment to see a hands on tutorial for how to warp your hoop into a loom!  I'll post the link as soon as I have it.  

Read more »