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A couple of weeks ago, Kim and I took upon ourselves a  colossal project for the teachers and staff at our local elementary school! The two of us are over teacher appreciation and I honestly can’t think of a more fun job to do for the PTA! Being former elementary school teachers ourselves, we knew how fun it could be to celebrate the half-way point of the year and to honor the teachers when they least expected it. So it was… a small breakfast filled with hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, and… wheat sacks. Wheat sacks you ask? They’re wonderful! Filled with wheat and a few drops of essential oil, these sacks can go in the microwave for a couple of minutes and they retain their heat long enough to soothe aching and tired muscles. And what teacher couldn’t use something like that to have around?

Well, thanks to our good friend and long-time supporter of YCMT, Megan of Brassy Apple put together a fabulous step-by-step tutorial on how to make these! They are VERY easy to do and you’ll have one done in no time. Now 75 of them? That’s another story! But it’s done! Big checkmark off my list! Click here to find Megan’s directions on how to make one!

After making a mountain of these therapy sacks, I swore I would not make another one for my entire life. Well, that didn’t last long! I started thinking about how fun it would be to add some embroidery designs to these!

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I knew the exact gift that I wanted to make for my mom and mother-in-law, as well as a few friends. It’s just that “little something” that I can give. They’re so quick and easy, and surely I have PLENTY of fabric to make 75 more. Just kidding.

So here are a couple I put together today! I used the “I Love U” applique and the “Swirly Heart” filled design. And just looking through all of the new Valentine designs at SWAK have given me plenty more ideas as well! Aren’t these fun?  

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OK, I’ll be the first to admit…I am not a cardmaker. I have always sat in awe at the way some out there can take scraps of paper, ribbons, and other card-making tools to create a masterpiece. My sister-in-law is one such person. She has always amazed me as she so lovingly makes and sends cards for all special occasions in our lives. I can’t bear to even throw them away. What treasures they are.

So when she came to visit us during the holidays, the two of us decided to play around with my machine. She could show me how proper placement and textures can add so much to a card, and I could show her how this machine of mine can work some magic! What fun! Here is a card we put together for Valentines! We used the raggedy heart line design to create a vintage-themed look.

This past week I’ve been thinking about how much fun it was to embroider onto paper. If you’ve never done it before, you ought to give it a try! It’s so easy to do, you’ll wonder why you’ve never tackled it before. In fact, we have a great tutorial in SWAK 101 on how to do this!

So today, here are a few cards that I had some fun making for some of my favorite valentines!

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You can see close-up pictures of each of these in the “I Made This” section of the site as well as on their individual product pages! The possibilities of embroidering your own cards are endless. Some designs work better than others on paper. When choosing a design, it usually works best to have something simple without a large area of fill. Have fun with your embroidery! Make your valentine something special!

Here is my final installment of reviewing some of my Christmas gift-giving ideas I did for the YCMT challenge! This post was originally made on December 14. Next week I have some fun Valentine ideas to share!

Kitchen Set for Grandma Honey!

I’ve been sewing up a storm the last couple of days! Here are a few pictures of what I am going to send to our grandma for Christmas. She is lovingly referred to by all the grandkids as “Grandma Honey.” She has a little playroom in her house just for the grandkids that has a play kitchen, a small table, chairs, stuffed animals, dollies, and more. I know she is going to love this play set and like I mentioned in the YCMT blog, I’m not sure who is going to love this more- the grandchildren or grandma!

I combined some different designs from SWAK into my Embird program to come up with the labeling on these chef hats. I made one adult size and two different sizes for children! I’m also making some felt food, but so far only have 3 of the cinnamon rolls done. They’re taking a bit more time than I expected, but the results are amazing! I can’t tell you how fun it was to drizzle that white “icing” onto the rolls!

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And then of course I’m making an adult sized duet apron and 2 coordinating children’s duet aprons as well. So fun!

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I’m also very excited about putting together a little recipe book that is actually “written” by all of the grandchildren. I am interviewing each one and asking them to tell me how to make their favorite recipe. I am typing it up in their words EXACTLY as they say it. For example, Jacob loves peanut butter on Ego waffles. (Yeah, don’t ask me to explain that one.) And so I’ve written up the cutest little recipe that will go in the book that is from his own words. I’ll then put a picture of him in there by the recipe that reads, “Peanut Butter Waffles by Chef Jacob.” I think/hope it will be something she’ll really treasure and a nice capstone to this themed gift.

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And Chef Katelyn shares how you make strawberry ice cream with a hammer! Wow! Martha, watch out!

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As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to share with you a few projects I made when I was a part of the “Thrifty Under 50″ challenge at YCMT. Here was my blog post from December 23. Yes, just 2 days before Christmas, and as you can tell from this post, time was of the essence!

Baking All Day…Not Really!

You know when you have the greatest of intentions and you just can’t pull it off? Well, I have a wonderful sourdough recipe that I planned on making for some of Mike’s co-workers and then wrapping the loaves up in these embroidered flour sack cloths. Well, when push came to shove, I just couldn’t do it. So off to the local bakery I went! And you know, it’s OK! Sometimes we have to just let go of the perfectionism that I’m sure we all face at one time or another, and know that letting go is PERFECTLY OK. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn time and time again. And guess what? I got down to the bakery and would you believe that all their sourdough was half off yesterday? Now that is called good luck. :)

 

So here are 4 loaves with the ever-so-cute gingerbread square from Homeberries at SWAK, and one loaf with another favorite- “Rejoice” by Needle in a Haystack.

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Though Christmas is now weeks behind us, I thought I’d share a few blog posts over the next few days that I had made on a blog I had created temporarily when I was part of the “Thrifty Under 50″ campaign that YCMT sponsored. Perhaps it will give you some insight into how I was making my holiday gift-giving list affordable. These same concepts can be utilized with just about any occasion in which you want to make a special gift for someone to give.

Here is my post from Wednesday, December 10. Enjoy!

It’s tough having my job…

Boy, being the site manager at SWAKembroidery can be pretty rough sometimes. Sitting at my desk drooling over all the beautiful designs coming in day after day, it’s no wonder I just can’t seem to get anything else done during my day. Dishes stay in the sink a little longer, daily vacuuming occurs not so daily anymore, and my to-do list of projects becomes that much taller. It’s a tough job, that’s for sure. But I guess somebody’s got to do it. ;)

 

So it was with no exception this week that this was a design I was going to do no matter what. I absolutely love it. Samplers are one of my favorite things to do because the stitch count is small and within no time at all, I have something gorgeous to decorate my home with or to put together a quick gift for a friend.

 

Here are a couple pictures of one of today’s projects:

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I am going to be giving this as a gift with the attached note:

We thank the Lord for dirty dishes,
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We’re eating very well.
With home and health and happiness,
We really shouldn’t fuss.
For by this stack of evidence
The Lord’s been good to us.

Merry Christmas!

You shared…and we have listened! Many of you have loved the way the point system has worked over at www.YouCanMakeThis.com. You have favored the idea that for every purchase you make, you have been rewarded with points in your accounts. Those points add up quickly and result in free products. While bonus designs worked nicely at SWAK, the day came when we decided that you should be able to choose which designs you wanted, since some pre-assigned bonus designs may have not been of interest to you. So with that bit of background, I am happy to let you know that we are implementing the new point system at SWAK!

Here is a short video for you to watch so you can understand more about how the system will work!

And the news gets even better! We want to help “jump-start” your points accounts, and so from now until Wednesday, January 7, you can earn TRIPLE points for your purchases!

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And don’t forget… you MUST log into your user account in order for points to be processed! Points are automatically entered through the system at time of purchase. However,  the triple points will be added to your account MANUALLY. You will see them in your account by Friday! Have fun!

What is your wish?

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One year ago, Kim sent each of her employees this beautiful ornament for Christmas. The outside of this ball reads, “WISHES”. Oh, how I love this ornament. There was an inpirational note to go along with it that challenged us to think about what wishes we had for the new year, write them down and place inside the ornament to read one year later. At that time I wrote down those things that were important to me regarding all areas of my life, including my family and work. How fun it was to open last week! Some things I accomplished with flying colors, and others I did not. Wonderful!

My husband and I started a family tradition several years ago with our children and it’s something I always look forward to at the end of each year. On the night before we take the Christmas tree down, we all have a “sleep-over” underneath the tree. Yes, even the parents! We play games, have treats, listen to the last of the Christmas music of the year and talk about our new “wishes” for the upcoming year. Oh, how fun it was to see my 6-year-old little guy really have to think and think and THINK over this one! For my 2-year-old, I decided I would be the one to make the wish for her….NO MORE DIAPERS! LOL!

I have some definite goals for my personal growth as a wife, mother, business woman, and friend. What are some of your wishes for the new year? Writing it down may only be the beginning, but it is a beginning, and for that alone, you should give yourself a pat on the back! Because after all, wishes…  

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