Coneflower Flourish Wildflower

We woke up this morning to crisp air and a momma deer on our back steps searching for breakfast, which for anyone in the mountains means it's fall.  We are exuberant this year to have fall come and to be home, in our home, where last year we were sleeping in our daughter's guest room and praying continually that our community would be spared from a wall of fire.  We spent all of September away from our home which makes this season, this year even more abundant.  Which make our next Flourish Botanical "sew" extra special.  

This month is the deeply blue little wonder of the field, the Coneflower.   This annual little button of blue is gives a burst of color to our Flourish Botanical Embroidery Collection.  Originating in England and spreading to Australia and around the globe, we all enjoy it's summer grace.

The Coneflower symbolizes abundance.  It was a gift to show compassion to those who had lost much through war.  In fact through WWI and WWII the only flower to survive the trenching and bombs was the Cornflower.   Which is why it was used as boutonnieres for veterans during parades.  I remember them on the lapels of the aged soldiers, decorated in their patriotic colors.  Though I didn't know the significance of the airy little blue petals, I loved to gather them up from the picnic tables in the park after the festivities were finished.

The Cornflower is a simple symbol of the abundant gifts we can find even through loss and the sustaining blessings we keep.  It is also, a simple stitch to add to your collection.  To print the pattern simply right click on ink image at the end of this post and print to your printer.  Trace the pattern onto your fabric with Frixion Pen.

The stitches are a simple woven back stitch, a few french knots for the centers of the flower and the thick straight stitches to make the layered blue petals.  Begin with stitching the stems, then the leaves, then the petals, the light blue center and then finish with a few french knots in the center.

Use simple ECRU thread to stitch the "abundance" and use a little steam over the design to remove the pen lines that may show.  All of the stitches are available on the Tweetle Dee You Tube Channel for you to review.

I know you will enjoy this little pop of blue to your Flourish Garden!  The next one will be available the first of October so get your blues out and stitch this sweet little "abundant" flower this week and remember to look for the abundant blessings in your own life.  We love you all and count you as one of ours.

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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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