needle & thREAD (and a recipe and a giveaway)



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Today is back-to-normal day. The tree is still up and will remain so through the weekend, squeezing every last bit of sparkly lights out of the twelve days of Christmas. But the secular world will do as it does and insist on its own way. Local children return to school today. The dance studio is open. Mike commutes in to his office with everyone else who works in our nation's capital. There's grocery shopping to do (and it doesn't involve a list for three giant celebrations in a row;-)..

I'm going to hit the gym first.

And then, as the weather turns sharply colder and we settle in to see how this typical hard-to-predict storm does its thing, I will sew. Today's sewing will be a few hand towels to stack in my foyer bathroom. We had a our fair share of fun witht he the making and giving of embellished towels over Christmas this year. And I made two for us. They look so pretty! To take the sting out packing away all our pretties, I thought some fresh "everyday" towels would be fun. I have some Heather Bailey fabric that will go nicely in there. I'll whip them up this afternoon. All this towel embellishing has certainly allowed me to practice some quilting skills. I've learned a lot about "stitching in the ditch." I plan to get to Mary Beth's quilt next week.

For the rest of this week, there are some flannel pjs begging to be had. I hope I have enough flannel. These girls keep growing! I'm planning on cutting Oliver + S sleepover pajamas tomorrow. I'm very much hoping tomorrow is a snow day and flannel pajama sewing seems so appropriate.

I have several new books going just now. The first is a book of body care recipes. Over the last year, I've become very committed to watching what I put on my body as carefully as I do what I put in my body. I've switched all my makeup to this brand (which I dearly love) and I'm making sure that soaps, shampoos, lotions and such are truly "clean." I enjoy mixing bath and body concoctions and played with several recipes of my own to give as gifts. This book offers me some fresh ideas. Several of you wrote to tell me how much you liked my detox bath recipe last week. Below, I'm sharing a simple one from the book. I chose this one because it requires nothing to special in the ingredients department and very little prep time.

I've gotten the sewing room tidied to a point where it doesn't look like Santa's elves had a drunken party in there. The goal before I sew today is to completely clear the desk. Then, the laptop will go on the desk. My iPhone will go on the desk. And there they will live except for designated writing times (laptop) and voice conversations (phone). There are too many people in my life who require my face-to-face fulltime attention for me to be clicking around much at all. I know there are excellent tools to be had in my computer, iPad, and iPhone and I'm grateful for them. I just don't want to be married to them. I think it was easier to achieve healthy balance when computers were tethered in our homes. I appreciate portability, but by anchoring mine I hope to give myself time to pause and consider my options before engaging.

Along those lines, remember way back when I told you about Rachel Macy Stafford's new book, Hands Free Mama? It's here! I think the subtitle sums it up nicely: A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to-do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters. Sounds like a maifesto for the new year:-).

I have an extra copy of Hands Free Mama. Leave me a comment and let me know what your sewing resolutions are for the year, or what you're planning to read, or how you're going to live a little more "hands free" (or any combination of those resolutions) and you'll be entered to win the book. Winner announced next week!

needle and thREAD


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. Tell me about it in the contents or leave a link to your blog. I'll be happy to come by and visit!

You can get your own needle & thREAD button here in your choice of several happy colors.


Flowers and Spice Stress-Relieving Milky Bath Salts

This is warming, calming, de-stressing bath blend for the high-strung person who has a tendency to feel chilled all the time. It helps relieve muscle aches while simultaneously softening skin. 

1/2 cup Epsom salt

1/2 cup powdered whole or nonfat milk

2 drops each of the follwing essential oils: vanialla, rose otto or geranium, cardamom

Pour the Epsom salt and the powdered milk together directly under running bath water. Add the essential oils immediately before stepping into the tup. Swish the water with your hands to mix.

Relax. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes.