Friday

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.





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