Needle & thREAD

Good morning! Today, I'm so grateful to have Aimee from Living, Learning, and Loving Simply to share some sewing and good books with you. I'm up to my eyeballs in Nutcraker tutus. Look for the Nutcracker version of needle & thREAD next Friday (since Thursday is Thanksgiving). Many thanks to Aimee for a pretty great Christmas present idea!needle and thREAD
I belong to a bi-monthly Food Swap where a group of about 30 of us get together and trade homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods.  In November, our swap included crafts!  As I thought about what I wanted to make, I found a wonderful tutorial for handmade drying mats. Perfect for those dishes that come out of the dishwasher still damp or a pretty place for the hand-washing to dry. When Edie said that these are her "go-to" Christmas gift, I figured that these were worth making!
I bought two coordinating fabrics for each mat at JoAnn Fabrics and Hobby Lobby.  The reverse side is white terry cloth.  I had no idea that terry was so expensive!  9.99/yard at JoAnn, but it was Veteran's Day and I found a 60% off coupon! {That is one of the NICE parts of an iPhone...standing in line at a craft store and googling their site for a coupon and VOILA: they scan your phone and you save money!}
These were very simple to cut and sew. They are so pretty and nice that I ended up not swapping them, but keeping them to give as Christmas presents.
On the reading front, I love to keep a fiction and a non-fiction book going at the same time.  After months of fiction duds, I finally read one that I really enjoyed.  What could be better than a theme of brokenness and redemption, mentions of homeschooling, gardening and also a midwife?!  Stories where Love conquers rejection and pain and isolation are always a winner. I found A Language of Flowers at our library but had to wait a short time on a waiting list to receive it. I devoured it in two days.
For non-fiction, I am slowly savoring A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman.  If you haven't watched the darling trailer for it, you must! After reading the first two chapters, I started texting several local friends to see if they wanted to spend our upcoming January discussing this book together and what it will mean for each of us practically. From the back cover:
You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself
as an artist, but you are--in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether
poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover
the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world
with the courage to be who you most deeply are.
Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made
to do, it's about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify--
in a million little ways.

What have you been sewing lately? Or are you embroidering? Pulling a needle with thread through lovely fabric to make life more beautiful somehow? Would you share with us just a single photo and a brief description of what you're up to? Would you talk sewing and books with us? I'd love that so much.

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