Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bean Bag Compresses

A few years ago, I made a bean bag compress for my grandmother to help soothe her aches and pains and warm her up on a cold day.  When I visited her over the holidays, I noticed she is still using the bag but it has seen better days. When I got home, I made her a new one. And while I was at it, I made myself one.

The process is easy. All you need is:

Two 12-inch squares of sturdy fabric
2 pounds of dry beans
1 pound of dry rice
2 Tbsp of herbs such as thyme, mint, cloves, lavender, etc. (you can substitute 25 drops of essential oil)

With right sides together, stitch three sides of the square to form a pocket. Turn right side out. Mix the beans, rice, and herbs in a large bowl. Scoop the mixture into the bag and sew the fourth side shut. Heat the bag in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and use to bring comfort to the body. The herbs make a lovely fragrance!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cooking with Family

One of my fondest memories about my childhood is the time I spent in the kitchen with my mom and grandmother (now age 95). As a young mom, my daughter was also a member of the kitchen staff both at home and at her grandmother's and great-grandmother's. It thrills me that this tradition is continuing in my daughter's kitchen now that she is a mom. I was invited over for a kitchen craft day with her and her son this week. Here are some of the things we made: I especially love the gingerbread sock monkey my daughter made.

Here's the little apprentice chef busy at work:

This is the gingerbread the house we made. Hansel is alone with the witch now since the smallest chef ate Gretel.

Since this is my second year to participate in this marathon cook off, it is now an annual event that I enjoy immensely and look forward to each holiday season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fingerless Gloves

These are for accident-prone people who have no fingers. Not really. They are for those who need to text or use their phone on cold days. The phone doesn't "feel" the cloth of a glove, so best use your ungloved fingers for that.

They also come in handy for wearing indoors like I do when I'm typing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Gift-giving Ideas

Instead of buying stuff for folks on your holiday list this year, why not think outside the gift-wrapped shirt box and make something for them? Most people enjoy getting a handmade item from someone. It shows that someone took the time to actually sit down and think of you. The energy and love of the creative person is in that object.

Okay, so you aren't very crafty (although there are plenty of ideas on this blog). Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. My daughter-in-law had a party last weekend and invited guests to come see (and purchase) her exquisite hand-made jewelry. You could try some of these unique ideas:
  • Everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
  • Gym membership? It's appropriate for those who are thinking about some health improvement.
  • Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
  • If you are in Nashville, give a certificate to Wheel Fix It Mobile Vehicle Maintenance and Repair 615-496-2544.
  • Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on a foreign-made electronic device? Perhaps that gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
  • There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants—all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
  • How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
  • Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
  • Could someone's computer could use a tune-up? Find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
  • Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
  • Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Seven More Crocheted Hats This Year

My grandkids requested three of these hats.

You know me—I can't stop once I get on a roll—so I made a Buzz Lightyear hat for another one of my four 2-year-old grandsons and an Iron Giant for another 2-year-old grandson.

Then, my 10-year-old grandson, who originally said he didn't want a hat this year, decided he would like to grow a beard—thus, the sixth hat.

Then, while I was in South Carolina over the Thanksgiving holidays, another 2-year-old grandson needed a Lightning McQueen hat.

Seven hats and counting. I've gotten two more requests from people who have seen my grand-kids wearing these. You want one? Let me know.