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  • The Creative Kitchen

    The newest addition to the Leisure Arts Gifts of Good Taste series is now available—The Creative Kitchen, and it’s filled with over 100 food gifts to make and give.

    Give, as in maybe give to those in need of a little comfort, support, or recognition? Giving doesn’t necessarily mean just handing your donation off to a charity. It can simply mean giving of yourself to the people around you, giving a little of your time, your cooking skills, your creativity…and our pretty new book can help you do just that!

    While gift ideas and recipes for all sorts of special occasions abound in The Creative Kitchen, here are just a few of my favs for gifting those special people:

    Share a little Spiced Cranberry Tea and sympathy with a friend.

    Gift a young adult moving into a first apartment with a Coffee Lover’s Basket.

    Make your co-workers’ day by showing up for a breakfast meeting with Orange-Oatmeal Rolls.

    Say a thoughtful thank you with Spiced Fruit Ravioli Cookies.

    Honor a teacher with Turtle Brownies in a one-of-a-kind tin.

    Offer a Garden Chicken Casserole to a grieving family, to the new folks that just moved in next door, or to a working mom who needs a night off.

    Pack a fall picnic for a young couple with a thermos of Cheesy Corn Chowder and all in fixins in a basket and let them get away from it all for a while.

    Got a guy suffering from job stress? Gift him with his very own happy hour with Smoky Cheese Bites, sausage, cheese, and wine.

    Treat the teens to a movie night with Rum Popcorn, Almond Caramel Corn, candy, and a new video.

    Support a friend’s healthy eating goals with Yogurt Cheese Spread and Guilt-Free Snack Chips.

    Or just spread the love around with this perfect “I thought of you today” gift of crackers, Roasted Pecans, and Pecan Butter Spread.

  • August Challenge: Charitable Creativity

    The kids are on their way back to school (do I hear a sigh of relief out there?) and maybe you’ve got a little more time on your hands. Why not think about doing something for somebody else? That’s our challenge to you this month: Whip out those hooks, needles, yarns, threads, fabrics, and sewing machines—and get creative for charity!

    For example, one of the charities that the Leisure Arts employees have supported since 2007 is the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Knitting for Noggins Program. (Did you check out the photo of the crocheted hats I donated one year? I was trying for one a month but didn’t make it…) Last year, the knitters and crocheters on our staff donated around 251 handmade hats to be distributed to Arkansas Children’s Hospital patients! This year, we hope to do even better!

    Are you ready to start stitching up some scarves, hats, afghans, shawls, or even quilts to benefit some folks who need a little help? If so, follow along on the blog the next few days ’cause I’m going to share some inspiration and maybe give away a few books to some of you charitably-minded creative folks!

  • Celebrate Christmas in July with Knitting

    It‘s never too early to get started on your Christmas knitting! I thought you might like a few ideas for some little projects to carry around with you to work on this summer:

    Grab a copy of Holiday Knit Dishcloths by Katherine Satterfield and knit up a bunch of Christmas Tree, Saint Nick, and Dashing Snowman cloths for everybody on your list. Nobody ever has too many dishcloths, and these Christmas-themed, hand-knitted dishcloths work up quickly and make perfect little gifts.

    Knitting + Beading = Beautiful! With Beaded Ornaments to Knit, you can create simply beautiful decorations for Christmas or to display year-round, and they make thoughtful gifts for special friends and family members.

    Those famed stockings from The Night Before Christmas story were surely hung by the chimney with care by dedicated knitters! If you’d like to knit up special, keepsake stockings for your family and friends, I’ve got some great options to share:

    If you’re looking for a whole book of knit stocking patterns, take a look at The Stockings Were Knit by Mickey Landau. It offers up 8 designs with something for everybody—including the family pets.

    Check out the Nordic Stocking and the Trees Stocking from A Cuff Above by Cynthia Guggemos! The great thing about this book is that not only do you get two festive stocking patterns, you get 21 other patterns for socks, legwarmers, and slippers that would also make excellent gifts.

    My complaint about stocking stuffing on Christmas Eve has always been that the stockings just weren’t big enough. These two oversized Stocking designs from Knit with Deborah Norville would definitely solve that problem.

    And how cute are these knitted Bears? Also from Knit with Deborah Norville, they’re all made from the same pattern using different yarn weights. What little kid wouldn’t be thrilled to find one of them stuffed in a stocking?

    The ultimate knitting gift giver needs a copy of Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: A Charity Guide for Knitters. In addition to including heartwarming ideas for sharing your knitting with the folks who need most, the book features 18 knit projects specially designed to brighten the lives of men, women, children, and infants who face illness or other difficult situations—hats, mittens, socks, and more!

    Okay folks, get busy and tend to your Christmas knitting!

  • Road Trip!

    Are you planning a road trip? Pack your bags! Leisure Arts has the perfect take-along knit projects. Hit the road with best-selling author Debbie Macomber! As Debbie takes to the road at the end of April (knitting all the way) on the tour for her new novel, A Turn in the Road, Leisure Arts is launching our newest addition to our Knit Along series, Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: A Turn in the Road—the companion knit pattern book to Debbie novel.

    Featuring 18 portable projects inspired by the book, Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: A Turn in the Road offers up a beautiful beaded wedding set (including bag, garter, veil, and fingerless gloves), socks, a stylish textured shawl, a lace scarf, spa cloth and soap sack, a baby booties and bonnet set, a baby blanket with flowers and rainbow colors, balls for baby or Fido, cable hat and mittens, a cowl, comfy cable slippers, and an accessory clutch. These small projects are great for stitching on the go by car or plane, bus or train!

    Check out a few of the “travel”-related projects (after all, our feet were made for walking—the cheapest mode of travel…)

    And just so you know, Debbie donates all the proceeds from the sales of her Leisure Arts Knit Along books to her favorite charities, including Warm Up America! and World Vision. (We’ve included two squares in Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: A Turn in the Road for you to knit up for your favorite charity!)

  • Last Minute Winter Hats

    The groundhog may not have seen his shadow on Feb. 2 (indicating an early spring), but I missed three days of work last week because of snow! To me, that means there’s still time to make hats and wear them this winter…

    Have you seen the three newest and cutest Leisure Arts knit/crochet hat books?

    Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family to Knit or Crochet

    Got stars in your eyes, teenagers in your house, or little kids with cold ears? My teenage daughters really like the hats the celebrities are wearing these days—those casual-yet-confident slouchy beanies worn by lots of big movie, television, and rock stars when they’re out and about. You can knit or crochet your own with these 14 patterns by Lisa Gentry (7 to crochet in one book and 7 to knit in the other. Too fun!

    In All Caps!

    You gotta love this collection of crocheted headgear from designer Drew Emborsky, also known as The Crochet Dude, famous for his wildly popular blog, magazine features, books, and television appearances. His six designs—each perfect for the woman who loves original style.

    I can’t wait to get started on my last minute winter hats, and it’s never to soon to start stitching up a few extra hats for charity!

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