Thursday

Pom Pom Poofs - Fresh Living

Today's post is all about the the Pom Pom Poof.  Yes, the chunky yarn pom pom's that we made as kids, but now they are all grown up!  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, these Pom Pom Poof's are the perfect little bit of soft fluff to bring a little pretty love to your home.


The great news is they only take a few items and are low cost and best of all..easy to make!  To get ready, you want to gather some yarn.  I love to use chunky creams and light pinks.  Texture is where it is at!  You will need a pair of scissors and a small winding form (a plastic container lid, cardboard, chunk of wood, or your fingers).  If you are wanting to make a wreath, you can find the forms in the floral supply section of your local craft supply store.  


Materials

Chunky Yarn
Winding Form
Scissors
Wreath Form
Floral Sticks
Hot Glue
Vase
Silk Green Stems (optional)



To begin making a Pom Pom Poof, you take the end of the yarn and begin to wrap it around the form or your fingers.  The larger the form, the larger the poof.  Wrap around many times until it is thick like the picture above.  The more you wrap, the thicker the poof.  If you want to add a special wrap of extra color or texture to two-tone your poof, simply cut off the first yarn and wrap the new color on the same way until you've added an extra burst of color.  If you find variegated colored yarn...you have the perfect solution to extra two or three-toned poofs. 

Once you have it as thick as you want, cut the string leaving a 8 inch tail.  Cut a second string about 8 to 10 inches long.  Slip the string under the top layer of the wrapped string until it is centered.  Tie the cut piece in a double or triple knot around the top layer of the wrapped yarn.  Flip the winding form over and with a pair of scissors cut all of the strings apart.  Fluff.


Using your scissors trim the strings to the length you want the poof.  I usually trim off a half inch to even the strings and then I tip the poof upside down to layer the yarn pieces on the sides of the ball to give it a rounded look.  Remember these are more like Poofs and not perfectly smooth tight round pom's like you would have made as a kid.


To make the wreath, take your form and lay out your Pom Pom Poofs, mixing in different textures and colors.  using the long tie piece you used to secure your Pom Pom Poof before cutting, tie onto the form you have.  Fill it in all the way around once time, and then go back a second or third time to fill in and give a variety of length, texture and color!

To make the Pom Pom Poof Flowers, make your poofs and use hot glue to attach them to a flower stem which can be found in the floral section of your craft supply store.  Fluff and place in a vase.  Add a little greenery or a bunch of candies (in a clear vase)...however you use them, they are darling!



To make a garland, I used the chunkiest of yarn and braided a rope to attach my poofs to.  Tie on and fluff...hang and enjoy!  Their is no limit to how you can use these for birthdays, holidays, or a special spot in your home.  I'm going to hang my wreath in my master bath until summer.

To watch the full tutorial on how to make these Pom Pom Poof go to KUTV Fresh Living and watch today's segment OR go to my You Tube Channel and watch the video next week.


Wednesday

A Year in Review & Promises to Come

Happy New Year!  It's so hard to believe that another year has come and gone.   To be honest though, I am so happy for 2019 to be here.   I love to begin the new year with a light planning session where I can look back to the previous year..it's good and not so good parts, and then make plans for the next year.  


First a few of the good things of 2018!  We began the year with the birth of a new granddaughter, Miss Lila Rose.   It was also the year of a lot of travel and teaching!  I loved it all.   We were honored to win the International Quilt Market Merchandising Award in Portland (a dream come true) and then came the cover photo on Quilt Retailer!  



Oh, and who can forget those darling nine puppies all born while we were in Georgia teaching.  You know we couldn't let them all go, so our home was blessed with one big fluffy forever puppy, Little Bear.    I received contracts for my first book and fabric line.  Such a total dream come true.  It was also the beginning of Belle Prairie.








While we were in Dallas teaching  we received word that our entire town was evacuated for fire.  We had left our son home alone, and he had to evacuate alone.  It was one of my nightmares in real time.  As a mom you always worry when you are away, but this helplessness was beyond anything I could have imagined.  The fires and evacuation lasted over two weeks and we watched as those fires came within a few hundred feet from our homes.  We prayed hard and hoped for the best, and were so grateful to return home with no homes lost.  

A week after returning, we were then evacuated for another two weeks because of Hurricane Rosa and the fear of mudslides.  Our yard and home were trenched and sandbagged...windows boarded up and everything left once again....and the mountain held and we came home.  This was an entire month of 2018 spent praying, because there wasn't much else we could do.  Tweetle Dee had to sit, no orders could be processed during our busiest season.  Oh my, I seriously can hardly believe how crazy that experience was.  


Fall ended and winter set in with two huge back to back conferences, teaching everything I love...and fighting off bronchitis.   Did I mention the three weeks of pneumonia in February?  This meant I had to be extra careful to get sleep and not stress.  We were blessed to come home a week before Thanksgiving with 178 orders to paint and frustrated customers who for the most part, patiently waited for us to ship their orders.   We made the decision to shut down the Tweetle Dee Shop during our busiest season to catch up.  It meant lost revenue, but it was the only way we could fill our orders from the months time we were away.


I think it goes without saying, that 2018 was a year of extreme growth for me.  I pride myself with being able to do most anything and handle it with grace....but this past year taught me a lot about myself.  I learned, that as much as I love to say yes, I needed to learn how to say no.   I needed to admit to myself most of all that I couldn't handle it all myself.

In a very blessed way, it allowed me to re-evaluate what was most important to me personally and for Tweetle Dee.  That forced month away from my home and Tweetle Dee gave me the break I needed (but didn't want) to figure out the path I wanted to take for me and my business that I love.

I read Rachel Hollis's book "Girl, Wash Your Face" while I was also watching our mountain burn...and man did it give me the kick in the rear I needed.  I learned how important it is to make promises to yourself and keep them no matter what.  Basically, if you can't keep a promise to yourself...who can you keep them for?  I grabbed a paper (the back of a bank deposit slip I had in the car) and wrote down five things I knew I needed to do for myself.  You know, the things you always put off.

They were to;

1.  No more Diet Coke.
2.  Prayer and scripture reading first in the morning.
3.  Move everyday.
4.  Temple once a month.
5.  Journal daily.  

You know what?  I kept them and boy has it made a huge difference for me as I ended 2018 to already be doing the things I have known I needed to do for myself and always found an excuse to push off.   With everything else in chaos and our of my hands, I had the chance to put some things in order that needed to be in order.  

And for Tweetle Dee?  It helped me figure out the direction for 2019.  I am so excited for this coming year.  There are so many new firsts coming this year!!!  My first book and first fabric line are being worked on now and will be out this year.  Truly, a dream come true.  I'm learning a ton and loving it.  There is a new website in the works which will help me to manage orders in a much better way for our customers happiness and my happiness!  AND...new products that I am sooo excited to add to our shop.  There is much more...but I'll save those "promises" for later.  I have them written down just like I wrote down those personal five on the bank slip and have them clearly visible daily.  

I'm not sure why 2018 was such a tough year.  I guess I needed it and for that I am thankful!  Happy New Year and let's get this party started 2019!!!



Thursday

DIY Winter Forest Village

At Christmas time I love my home to be filled with lots of Christmas trees and one of my favorites are the simple Swedish Trees.  If you're lucky enough to find them this time of year...let's just say they cost more than they should.  


I found an easy and inexpensive way to make your own little forest of Christmas trees...and it is a fun family project too.  I found the materials for this project in my canning cupboard and at my local Hobby Lobby.


Materials

Small Jelly Jars
Styrofoam Block
Wood Dowels the Size of a Small Pencil
Colored Stain
Hot Glue Gun
Make It Christmas - Tree Branches ($2.99 per pack)
Make It Christmas - Snowballs ($1.99 per bag)
Wire Snips



1.  Cut a small piece of Styrofoam off the block and hot glue it into the bottom of your jelly jar.  (Make sure the piece is small enough that you will have side room for your snowballs.)

2.  Cut your wood dowels into 8 to 10" pieces.  Run one end through a pencil sharpener to make a point for the top of the tree.   Stain dowels with your favorite stain color.  I used weathered oak for mine.  Let dry.


3.  Take the center of a piece of the Make It Christmas tree branches and wrap around the tree twice.  Straighten out flat.  Repeat five times up the trunk.



4.  Use your wire snips to trim the ends of the trees.  Go from large at the bottom to small at the top.  Straighten your branches again.

5.  Push your trunk straight into the Styrofoam piece so the trunk stands tall.  Pull out and squirt a bit of hot glue into the hole and push the trunk back into the hole. Hold in place until cool and firm.  


6.  Fill your jelly cups with the Make It Christmas snowballs and your Swedish Trees are done!




I LOVE these little trees.   I placed two of these in each window of my house along with our Light of Christ candles.  They look so traditional and give a little Christmas cheer to a usually un-decorated place in my house.  I'm making a few more this weekend to give to friends and family. 




Tuesday

Grandma’s Sugar Cream Cookies

Today's gift in the Twelve Days of Giving is our most requested recipe, which happens to be my Grandmother's Sugar Cream Cookie Recipe!  I am not exaggerating when I say it is the best roll out sugar cookie recipe in the land.  Perfectly soft, yet able to handle frosting and all the decorating you want to add.  It is sweet, but not too sweet which pairs perfectly with butter cream frosting. The best frosting for good sugar cookies!

 
Some cookies look pretty, but don't taste so great...and there are those that are so yummy you can't forget them.  Which is why this is the most requested recipe I have.  Anyone who has joined us for Christmas and participated in our decorating party on Christmas Eve has wanted this recipe and a tray of cookies to go home with.  Thank heavens for Grandma's who knew how to make everything sooo yum!  The secret is in the cream...shh!

Grandma's Sugar Cream Cookies

2 Eggs
2 Cups of White Sugar
1 Cup of Melted Butter

Mix the eggs and sugar in a mixer and slowly add the melted butter.

1 Cup of Sour Cream
1 Tsp. Baking Soda

Mix the sour cream and the baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside for five minutes.  The baking soda will puff the sour cream making it super fluffy. (Best secret grandma ever shared!)

1/2 Teas. Salt
2 Teas. Real Vanilla

Add to egg/butter mixture and mix until incorporated.  Add the sour cream and fold in.  

3 to 4 - ish Cups of Flour

Add the flour to this mixture one cup at a time.  You want the dough to hold together and feel like soft and slightly sticky.  Too much flour and the cookies will be "bready".  Too little and they will be flat.  I've made these cookies my whole life in cities all across the country and the amounts of flour vary depending on humidity and what ever magic in in the air.  So add one cup at a time until it is perfect.  Refrigerate for one hour.  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment baking sheets.  Lightly flour your counter surface.  Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness.  Cut lots of fun shapes and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, watching for slight browning on the edges.  

Remove from oven and let cool on a rack until room temperature for frosting!

Grandma's Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Butter Flavored Crisco
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
4 ish Cups of Powdered Sugar
4 Tbs. Milk

Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add sugar one cup at a time beating well on medium speed.  Scrape sides of bottom of the bowl often.  When all the sugar has been mixed the icing will appear to be dry.  Then it is time to add the milk, beating on high until light and fluffy.  

Keep frosting covered with a damp cloth until you are ready to decorate.  Frosting will keep in the fridge.  Re-whip before using again to get extra fluff.  Frost cookies and sprinkle to your hearts content!

(For cakes use two extra teas. of milk for a thinner consistency.)

This recipe has been our family's tradition since I was a child and we only make them once a year for this reason.  I love the shortbread style sugar cookies on the blogs for sure, but this rolled out cookie and it's frosting heaped with sprinkles is one of the best gifts Christmas has to give.  

Merry Christmas 
xoxo

Saturday

Twelve Days of Giving - Christmas Eve Delivery

The best part of the holidays is the gift of giving & we have been so blessed this year by all of you that we wanted to give each of you a gift.  If you are following me on Facebook or Instagram you know we have been giving away one gift each day, but today's gift is for everyone!  I wanted to share the free download for our Christmas Eve Delivery Pillow which also comes with the template for our Holly and Ivy Pillow.  We wish you the happiest of holidays and happy stitching! 

It's time to begin decking the halls and one of my favorite quick projects for adding a big pop of color and warmth are wool appliqued pillows.  If you can cut, glue and go up and down with a needle you can make these!  I have three patterns for you, Swiss Cross, Holly and Ivy, and Christmas Eve Special Delivery.



DIY Wool Christmas Pillows

I have three patterns for you to choose from...or you can make all three!  For these pillows you will need - 
  • 1 yard of wool felt per pillow
  • 16 " pillow form
  • scraps of wool 
  • pom poms for the wreath pillow
  • needle and embroidery hoop
  • scissors
  • fabric marker for tracing
  • embroidery floss to match your wool
  • Aleen's No-Sew Fabric Glue
  • free downloadable pattern from TD Christmas Wool Pillow Pattern Templates

Christmas Eve Delivery Wool Applique Pillow

The first step to making these pillows is of course to gather your wool scraps and cut out the pieces.  I use a fabric marker to trace out my pattern on the wool.  If you are tracing a directional piece such as the truck you will need to trace it in reverse so the most colorful side of the wool shows.  To get the template pieces for these three pillows click on the link above.

Once your templates are cut out you need to place them on the pillow cover.  To make the pillow cover cut a wide strip of the wool 17" wide by 36" long.  This will make a envelope style pillow cover with no need for a zipper or button.  This type of pillow cover works especially great for heavy fabrics such as wool.  Lay your pillow form in the middle of the strip to see where your front borders will be and mark with pins. 


Now it's time to adhere your wool scraps to the pillow front.  Turn your pillow cover right side up and center your design pieces in the marked off front square according to the pattern.  Turn the pieces wrong side up and glue a small strip of Aleene's No-Sew Fabric Glue about 1/4" from the edges and glue onto the pillow background where it belongs. Lightly press into the fabric and let dry.  Continue with the rest of the pieces.


To stitch down the edges of the wool felt pieces, you take a coordinating embroidery floss and stitch a simple tack stitch all the way around.  Your stitches should be about a half inch apart.  Tack down all the edges.  Now let's make the pillow....


To make the pillow cover cut a wide strip of the wool 17" wide by 36" long.  This will make a envelope style pillow cover with no need for a zipper or button.  This type of pillow cover works especially great for heavy fabrics such as wool.  



Fold the left over fabric over the back and pin or clip down wrong sides out.  You can either hand-stitch the sides together or use your trusty sewing machine to make a running stitch up the sides about a 1/4 inch from the edge.  Sew all the way up both sides and turn right side out.  Your pillow cover is now done!  Stuff with your pillow form and fluff.


To make the wreath pillow you will need a 1/4 yard of two different green wool scraps to give a contrast.  Once the front square of my pillow cover was marked, I found a small round salad plate and marked a circle to use as a template for my leaves.  After cutting all of the leaves out, I took them to my sewing machine and using a bright green thread, I stitched a vein into each one.  Then I layered them in different directions and glued them down.  I glued the pom-poms on with Aileen's Fabric Glue as well.


In total these three pillows (Swiss Cross, Holly and Ivy, and Christmas Eve Delivery) took about two hours to put together.  I had my kiddos help glue the pieces on and stitch down the edges.  I like getting them involved with decorating for the holidays.  If you have any questions about these pillows, send me an email and I'll be happy to answer them!  

I hope you have a fun stitching these together and go follow the Twelve Days of Giving on Instagram and Facebook for even more fun and giveaways.  Happy Holidays!!!



 
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