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Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!



  • Using Coloring Pages for Another Craft


    What do you do when you finish a page in a coloring book for adults?  I was going to be flippant and say "You're an adult. You do whatever you want with it.", but now I'm curious about what you do with your own coloring books at home.  Do you stick pages on the fridge you own because you're an adult?  Use a page as a bookmark in a coffee table book on your grown-up coffee table? I decided to turn one of my coloring pages into a craft.  Here's a page I colored a while back.  It's a nice leafy-looking page from Natural Wonders.


    And here's my gratitude tree.


    I n case Pinterest hasn't told you, a gratitude tree is a fun Thanksgiving craft where you write down what you're thankful for on scraps of paper and then affix them to a branch.  I found this branch on the sidewalk while on a walk last week and brought it home just for this.  It's a little bit too large for our table, but my little girl thinks the seed pods look like bats and she loves it just as it is.  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces of paper with some scrapbooking paper and she's been practicing her handwriting while we think of all the things we're thankful for.  Last year, we did 3 or 4 leaves a day and it was a lot of fun.  I also really like emphasizing all the people we love and all the good things we have before the season of Christmas advertising and the subsequent begging for every toy in sight begins.  Look closely! There's a leaf on the right that says "Mom"!  She's thankful for me and I have it in writing now!


    So back to my coloring page.  It has leaves.  I have a tree. So  I cut out a few pieces of leaves.


    And wrote down a few things I am thankful for.


    And as for the rest of the paper?  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces.


    It's good to have a stash of leaves.  I've even gotten ahead of the game this year and added some yarn loops by threading a tapestry needle, pulling it through the paper, and tying the ends together in a knot.  You can use Christmas ornament hooks or a hot glue gun and it will work just as well.  Because we're all adults here, and (at least when it comes to crafting) we can do whatever we want.

    But for real, let me know what you do with your finished coloring sheets if you feel like sharing!

  • Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I love all the decorations. I like to drive around and look at everyone else’s decorated yards. I leave my decorations up until the day after Day of the Dead. I was looking for something quick and easy project to do. Something that I can work on in and out of the car this week while waiting in the carpool line at school or while waiting on after school activities. I went through all of my Leisure Art Books and found this cute Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin dishcloth in a book called A Dishcloth a Month.

    I was just finishing tucking in all my ends when my friend asked me if it was a new coaster for our table at the new knit shop. I said I had not planned on it but why not. It is slightly big for a coaster but it is really cute idea for decorating a table. So I am in the process of making a few more for our knit/crochet table. I am even going to crochet some without the Jack-O-Lantern face. You just follow the pattern and as if you had changed your color from orange to black. My favorite part I will only have four ends to run in or tuck in. Whichever way you want say it. You can even use brown for the stem instead of the green. Since it is fall I can keep the ones without faces through Thanksgiving. It’s a win! Win! I hope that you have had as much fun with this Jack-O-Lantern pattern as I have. I used 100% cotton. I am going to check and see if Sugar n Cream has a variegated fall colored yarn for some of my solid pumpkins. I think that would be really cute.


  • Thankful

    Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you're with loved ones and that you have many things to be thankful for.

    I'm feeling especially grateful this year for supportive family and friends.  And for the sale corner in my local yarn store.  And for Michaels weekly email coupons.  And my knit group.  And to my husband for taking pictures of me for posts.  And for my little girl even though she dislikes every hat I make for her.  And for people who graciously appreciate and use the handmade items I give them.

    And you. Thank you for reading and commenting and for letting me prattle on about my crafting misadventures.  It's so much fun to talk to you about so many fun things, and I'm grateful that I get to use this space to do so. 

    Where else can I talk about crocheting a turkey?

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Giving Thanks

    I'm thankful for many wonderful things in my life, but I thought I would make a list here about all of the craft-related things for which I'm truly and deeply grateful.

    • I am thankful for grandmas who taught me to knit and crochet.  Working with yarn has always been a great way to express my creativity, and working a simple pattern when I'm stressed or anxious never fails to make me feel calm.  Those women gave me a big gift when they taught me how to keep my hands busy.
    • I am thankful for parents who didn't know it was weird to let an eleven-year-old knit in public (or at least they acted like they didn't), and who always encouraged me to explore interests that made me happy.
    • I am thankful for granny squares.
    • I am thankful to live near a really great local yarn store.  That's right next to a Starbucks. 
    • I am thankful for the knitting group in my area.  That meets in a place that sells lots of baked goods.
    • I am thankful for a husband who has stopped asking "When are you going to have all the needles?  How many sizes of knitting needles can there be?"
    • I am thankful for a beautiful little girl.  She is sweetness and joy and every day of my life is better because I know her.  I am also thankful for how quickly tiny baby items knit/crochet up (usually).
    • I am thankful that my beautiful little girl will keep those handknit hats on her head (again, usually).
    • I am thankful for Ravelry.  It's really made my year so much better. Seeing how other people use their yarn and patterns, and getting to talk to some of those people, has been absolutely awesome.
    • I am thankful for family and friends who appreciate the time and effort I put into handmade gifts, and who wear the hats and scarves and cowls with pride and enthusiasm.
    • I am thankful for alpaca.
    • I am thankful for the chance to talk to you here.  Carrying on and on about craft-related awesomeness and hearing your stories is, well, awesome.  I hope you're having a happy holiday with people you care about, and that you have much to be thankful for.
  • Celebrate Black Friday-Cyber Monday with Leisure Arts!

    Hope you’re having a splendid Thanksgiving long weekend! Now that you’re stuffed with turkey, dressing, and pie, are you ready to celebrate the season with a little creative online shopping? If so, go on over and join us on where the word for Black Friday-Cyber Monday is FREE, FREE, FREE!

    Just look at the good stuff we’re offering up:

    Free Thinkable Inkable Stamp!
    Paper crafters! It’s time to start on your Christmas Cards! Buy The Best of Stamp It! Cards (featuring over 500 designs) for inspiration and receive a Jumbo Thinkable Inkable - Celebration stamp with 8 huge phrases—free.

    Get Festive with 4 Free Cookbooks!
    The holidays are all about eating and giving! Why not combine the two? Buy either Creating the Happiest of Holidays or Creating the Happiest of Holidays, Book 2, and Leisure Arts will give you 4 free cookbooks containing a total of 271 holiday recipes!

    Buy 2 Books & Get a Free Knook Set!
    Start Knooking now! Buy any 2 Knook Books! And Leisure Arts will give you a Knook Beginner Set for free!

    Just CLICK HERE to get to the free stuff! Happy Shopping! Enjoy the rest of your holiday! Our celebration started at midnight on 11/24 and ends at midnight on 11/28! Don’t miss it!

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    Hope all of you are having a fabulous Thanksgiving Day! I’m up early baking…cornbread for dressing and two pies while everyone except The Cat sleeps in, so I thought I’d catch you up on my charity crocheting and my newest auction finds.

    I finished the Basket Weave hat from Noggins & Necks (which I just discovered is currently out of stock on the Leisure Arts website. Rest assured, more should be arriving soon from the printer!). I almost want to keep this hat for myself—it’s so wonderfully Thanksgivingy!

    Hoping to get some crochet time in today! I’ve started crocheting a new hat, also from Noggins & Necks

    …the 2-Stitch Hat. I’m really liking crocheting all of these hats in the round, and this is another one.

    Here’s a peek at my most recent treasures from the auction—some button hooks, eyewash cups, lots more salt and pepper shakers, some more Swanky Swigs, and some cobalt blue Shirley Temple emblazoned depression glass pieces. Oh, and there’s a green Sunflower pattern depression glass cake plate under the shakers in the back...I may dig it out and use it with Thanksgiving dinner.

    Got any ideas for displaying button hooks? I’m thinking about some sort of shadow box something…

    Check out my Shawnee Pottery winking owl shakers! Fun, fun, fun…

    I think these Tappan chef shakers might be my favorite find! They’re probably from the 1950s and darn cute!

    Anyway, gotta go…smells like something’s getting ready to come out of the oven. Gather your family and friends around you and have a marvelous day!

  • Embellished Tassels for the Holidays

    Leisure Arts in-house designer Anne and I are on an odd holiday project kick. We’re repurposing salt shakers and pie birds (sometimes the stuff I collect comes in handy!) with purchased tassels and some trimmings to create some really cool embellished tassels that you could use anywhere.

    Fall Tassel

    Imagine turning this tassel right from the store…

    …into this! Too easy! For a fun Fall tassel, Anne used a pumpkin salt shaker, a raffia tassel, some pretty trims, a length of ribbon, some craft glue, and a bead.

    All you do is:

    1. Glue some pretty trims around the top of the tassel. (Anne snipped off the top two rounds of our tassel before she glued on the trim.)

    2. Tie a loop of ribbon around the top of the tassel, run ends of ribbon up through the pumpkin, and out through the holes the salt comes out of. Run the ends through a bead and tie a knot to secure.

    Christmas Tassel

    Does this little pink pie bird say Christmas to you? Well, it didn't to me until I took it to Anne and told her what I wanted…

    And how cool is this Pie Bird Tassel (or pretty Christmas Ornament) now?

    You can whip one up in no time yourself with a pie bird, a store-bought tassel, some pretty trim, ribbons, red and green scrap felt, a hole punch, red thread, craft glue, and two sizes of beads.

    1. Glue some pretty trim around the top of the tassel.

    2. Loop some ribbon through the loop of the tassel, up through the pie bird, and out through the hole in the pie bird's mouth. Run the ends through a bead and tie a knot to secure.

    3. Anne made our pie bird even more Christmasy by tying a ribbon around its neck and gluing on a handmade holly sprig. To make the holly, cut some holly leaves from green felt and use a hole punch to make berries from red felt. Using red sewing thread, sew red beads to the berries and tack the berries to the leaves.

  • The Turkey Collection

    When I said I was looking for an interesting Thanksgiving-themed collection to feature on the blog, Leisure Arts in-house designer Becky immediately thought of her friend in Georgia—Lori Wright!

    Lori collects turkeys. “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” says Lori, “and early in our married life—some 32 years ago—we decided to stay at home for Thanksgiving…”

    “…and I purchased a turkey gravy bowl which was impractical for serving gravy, but it looked good on the table. After that, I began to notice that there were are a lot of turkeys out there, and my collection took on a life of its own.”

    Now, during the holiday season, turkeys are everywhere at Lori’s house:

    On the chair…

    On the table…

    On mugs…(I love these mugs!)...

    On a towel…

    On the doorknob…

    And on the walls…Lori says, “One of my favorites is the large turkey platter featured in this photo. It was a gift to my late mother-in-law some 45 years ago, who in turn regifted it to me some 25 years ago when she discovered my penchant for turkeys (after all I married her son ;)!). It was given to her by her brother-in-law—who at that time was a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church and was stationed in the Vatican; thus, it is of Italian origin—which also happens to be partially true for me. It stays on the wall in my kitchen year round.”

    Check out some close-ups of some of the other turkeys in Lori’s collection:

    What fun! Many thanks to Lori for sharing her delightful collection!

    How about a turkey to start your own collection? Add a touch of whimsy to your Thanksgiving décor with this Pumpkin Turkey Craft Pattern from Leisure Arts. The kids will love it!

  • Leisure Arts’ Favorite Thanksgiving Pies

    {Hey Everybody! We’ve got a guest blogger here on Everyday Life at Leisure for today! Welcome Celia Harkey, our Leisure Arts Food Editor!}

    I am convinced that Thanksgiving is not lost, even though the last of the Halloween sale items have barely disappeared and now Christmas gets our attention in retail stores. When you want to really think about giving thanks for our bounty of food, just go to the grocery store.

    Granted, most of the local Mom and Pop stores carry mostly basics – and believe me, basics are the foundation of any Thanksgiving Dinner. Then, there are the specialty food stores with savory and sweet sauces, spiced nuts and crackers, smoked brined turkeys, beautiful salads and soufflés (are you getting just a little hungry now?). The megastores provide even more selection of food and other staples for a special dinner. I just caught myself wanting to mention china vs. paper plates, cloth vs. paper napkins, serving family-style or buffet-style, but you would need to put on a pot of coffee and have a little time to read and contemplate!

    To rein myself in from starting my own menu and grocery list, let’s narrow our focus to the one thing that confirms the Thanksgiving meal has been a true success – DESSERTS! Uh oh, that’s another big topic not to be covered in one blog post. So taking one more belt-tightening (hmmm, need to keep that in mind), let’s get to the heart of Thanksgiving desserts – yummy, creamy, fruity, crunchy, and delicious pies.

    Again, my fellow Leisure Arts employees have weighed (oops, another thing to think about) in on their favorites pies and a little more. See how their top favorite pies match up to yours.

    #4, 5, 6, 7 . . . . Favorite Thanksgiving Pies

    Good Grief, where did all these pie eaters come from? The Top 3 Pies were easy to determine, but I received a huge variety of dessert mentions that all sound yummy. Let’s name those first: Cheesecake and Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake – sounds like some folks don’t go straight for the pies after all. And the pies, Sweet Potato, Lemon Meringue, Cherry, Black Cherry Fluff, 4 layer delight (pecan crust, cream cheese layer, chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream), buttermilk pie, and French silk pie. The most unique desserts mentioned are Créme Schnitten and Schaum Rollen. These are Austrian specialties Hermine’s mother made at Thanksgiving using homemade puff pastry and a vanilla custard in one and whipped cream or a fluffy cooked meringue for the other.

    #3 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies

    What a better way to think of fall than with an apple pie? Jacob says, “Anything my mom makes is amazing,” and he was the first to call for apples. Then Lindsay told me, “I make the BEST homemade apple pie in the history of the world (and I’m totally not exaggerating). Even my grandma used to say it was the best apple pie she’s ever had!” So now I am looking for a recipe, just must have a bite of that pie – isn’t that what you’re thinking? Keep reading and watch for photos of Lindsay's apple pie.

    #2 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies

    Okay, this is where the dilemma starts. Lots of folks answered “pumpkin and pecan”. Does that mean they have to have both of them? Which piece do they ask for first? Do they take “just a small piece of both”? Do you want vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on that? (read on – these folks are serious about their pie) When you mention favorite pie, I have found that my good friends here at Leisure Arts are very, very specific about the brand of shortening in the crust, the brand of corn syrup – some light and some dark, and most opinionated about what goes on top of that slice of pie! So, this Thanksgiving you might want to give special thanks for the guest who says “Surprise me – I like them all”. Since one has to be the second favorite pie this year, it will be pumpkin. Remember those folks I mentioned above? They also like cream cheese pumpkin, pumpkin dessert squares, pumpkin ice cream pie, and pumpkin martini (sorry, that’s not a pie, but still qualifies for the menu).

    #1 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies

    Hmmm, doesn’t a piece of pie sound good right now? I will end the suspense and tell you that PECAN PIE hit the top of the chart. Mind you, these folks want a certain brand of corn syrup in their pecan pie, really like cream cheese pecan pie, chocolate chip pecan pie, and chocolate bourbon pecan pie. To even make it more interesting, Frances has made mini pies. I’m liking that idea since surely you can have more than one if they’re minis. A personal note, my husband the Official Taster always picks pecan pie, and he wants it cold out of fridge with a mound of whipped cream on top – go figure!

    Lindsay’s Apple Pie

    (Crust recipe makes 2 double crust, deep-dish pies.)

    4 cups all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1-3/4 cup vegetable shortening
    1/2 cup water
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1 large egg white

    Apple Filling
    4 pounds apples (MacIntosh and Granny Smith) or about 16 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples
    1 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon all purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    pinch each of ground cloves and nutmeg
    2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
    sugar to sprinkle on top

    For crust, sift flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Add shortening; mix with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. In a small bowl, mix water, vinegar, and egg white. Add to flour mixture; toss with a fork until mixture starts to form a dough. Press dough into 4 balls. Flatten each ball into a circle; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill balls of dough at least 1 hour or may be frozen until ready to use. Two portions of dough will be remaining for another pie.

    For apple filling, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl; stir until well coated.

    Roll out one portion of chilled dough to fit a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with extra dough extending over edge for crimping. Spoon apples into crust. Place butter pieces on apples. Roll out a second portion of chilled dough for top crust. Place over apples. Roll pie dough up and over top crust around edges of pie plate. Press dough with fingers to crimp edges. Sprinkle sugar over dough. This is a very juicy pie, so place a jelly-roll pan with sides under pie plate on the rack below. Bake pie in a preheated 375° oven for 15 minutes in bottom half of oven. Decrease temperature to 350°; bake 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble. Loosely cover pie during baking with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too quickly. Carefully remove pie from oven; place on a wire rack to cool 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    How about a pictorial walk through on Lindsay’s pie prep?

    Chill dough on lightly floured surface.

    Roll dough larger than pie plate with floured rolling pin.

    Place dough in pie plate with dough extending over edge of pie plate.

    Trim excess dough, leaving enough for crimped edges.

    Combine apples with sugar and spices.

    Spoon apple mixture into crust. It will be very full!

    Roll out top crust.

    Place top crust over apples.

    Roll excess dough up onto edge of pie plate.

    Crimp edges of dough.

    Cut slits in top crust.

    Time to eat!!!

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