Showing posts with label Valentines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentines. Show all posts

Monday, February 7, 2022

Busy Needle, Still Mind

Picking up needle and thread and creating a design lets me go into a special place in my mind. In some ways, I fight guilt, as many think of it as an indulgence or a useless art. But anything that allows your soul to rest and your mind to think of beautiful things cannot be a waste of time! Sometimes, every stitch is a prayer. Other times, I don't know where my mind goes. It just wafts away on billows of memories. I actually have the sensation of moving through time, in both directions!

ice on red berries winter xmas 2022
Nandina berries with ice during our cold snap

I love much about modern life, especially things like heartworm medicines for pets and the internet, but I miss that time is not given for handicrafts. I am glad that I have rescued pieces of lace and bits of quilts and other handmade goods from yesteryear. These things speak deeply to my heart. 

Here is a peek at my Valentine's Snowman. I'm sewing it into yet another "pinkeep" or "cabinet tuck" or "mini-pillow," whichever term you care to use. It will be finished by morning, because this is one of those doze-sew-read-doze kind of nights. 

Snowy Valentine Cross Stitch Snowman Chart

We had a bit of snow here, mainly in the mountains, but we in the foothills got some, too. I gathered some of it because it's very good for houseplants. "Poor Man's Fertilizer," the old-time farmers called it. The ivy in the bathroom enjoyed it very much and is putting out leaves from the boost it gave.

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces 2022

I drove up to the true beginning of the mountains and got a few snapshots. Gosh, haven't heard that term in awhile. "Snapshots."

I have the mantel decorated for mid-winter. It is quite plain, but in person there are touches of red that are very cheery, including the little wooden mushroom to the left. In the fireplace, a Holy Candle always burns. I took an entire bag of candles to Mass on Candlemas (Feb. 2nd) to be blessed.

Some of the nandina berries I plucked before the snow and ice came.

I should probably dig out more Valentine's decor. 

I hope you are all well and well-content during these wintry days. Even our Florida blog friends got a shocking blast of cold air!

I am very slow to go around to the blogs, and I apologize. I love to read them and to pray for my bloggie frens, but am still a bit down. 

Kind regards,

Holly, the Olde Dame

Monday, January 3, 2022

"In the Bleak Midwinter," Some Light!

I love that song, "In the Bleak Midwinter."

Oh, it's not midwinter yet, but it can feel like it when the Christmas lights come down and all seems dark. Even though the days are getting longer, January and February can still feel gloomy, especially in climes where it is cloudy and cold.  

I am extremely sensitive to light, or rather the lack of it. But even in the sunny desert, the winter days can feel dark. So, I always have a "substitute Christmas tree" ready for when the real tree comes down. I used to have a tall birdhouse on a turned table leg, but during the last move it disappeared, and so I am using a little birdcage I have, and reusing some "rice lights" or "fairy lights" that run off a USB plug. 

It uses negligible energy so it's on all day right now. I have a glittered bird's nest in there because I cannot yet let go of all the sparkle of Christmas! At night it gives a wonderful glow.

Morgy relaxing by the new display.

I saw on another bloggie fren's post that she has electric candles in her house year 'round. I am going to try for that idea, too! I hope some of the thrift stores will have some when they reopen this coming week.
And I am already at it with Valentine's decor. Just a bit! You might recall these items from last year, too.

We had a day of rain yesterday, unusual here. And then that cold front that's sweeping across the nation came in, and when the clouds lifted, there was snow on the mountains. 

I drove hubby up to the foothills and took some photos. We couldn't get close because the road had a gate across it. It's usually open.

Driving up to the foothills caused me to miss Mass at the parish I prefer. But God had a plan; Father Alex at the big parish had a homily I really needed to hear. It was about letting yourself feel joy, feel appreciation, despite the sadness in this world. To not feel guilt when seeking out joy and beauty. It's not a seesaw, where if you have peace and joy on one side, the other side tips up and dumps more sadness on the world! Well, he said it much better than I can. He feels that any happiness you have can help you reach out to others and combat darkness. "While you are biting into a piece of cake, don't let it turn to dust in your mouth because you think of the hungry children. Enjoy the cake and think of ways to help the hungry, and do it."

Some lore:

"When snow flies, rain falls, you see a bird on the wing, or breath is visible the first 10 days of January, so too will especial fortune and hope mark the days of the coming year."

Twelfth Night is coming! I will put up my usual post about it this week, maybe tomorrow. Don't forget to buy a new corn broom, if you can! Brooms are rather prominent in a lot of old lore.

Practical lore: 

525,600 minutes in a year! How many can you spare to help others and treat yourself kindly? 

This year, if you want to do so, get an inexpensive "planner" and on each date, write the weather, and if you feel inclined, write something you thought, or that you did. You will be glad you did, at the end of next year!

FOR THE DISORGANIZED: Get a very large box, if you are a disorganized person such as I. Get one of those photocopy boxes. Into the box, throw everything you think you might need, paperwork-wise. Receipts, notes you jot down, mail that you received. Keep it all in that box, if it has no other designated place. I used to have to dig through it constantly, but now my skills have improved and I am just comforted by it and don't often have to go rustling through it for something important. The box idea has helped a lot of young folks out on their own for the first time.

Thank'ee for stopping by! Do you know any New Year lore? What's on your mind today?

Kind regards,
Holly, The Olde Dame

Sunday, February 14, 2021

If You Didn't Get A Valentine Today... is one for you.

pretty antique valentine

For the love of blogging!

Happy Valentine's Day from me to you!

    Kind regards,

    Holly, The Merry Olde Dame

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Golden Age of Blogging...Arising Again?

Cloudy days are rare here, and they usually place me into an introspective mood. I was thinking about blogging, how it was in the early days, how there seems (I hope) to be a resurgence, and then more thinking about Facebook versus blogging. I'll save that last thought for another post.

One of the fun things in the early days of blogs was the giveaways. They added so much excitement to the community. During the time blogs were really hoppin', there were giveaways in abundance. Sometimes they were held to encourage commenting, and sometimes just to reward faithful readers, and sometimes just  because the blogger was so generous-natured. 

I am noticing that on Facebook, in some of the groups, there are giveaways happening. I think the "Groups" are following along a track similar to what happened in blogs, but I will boast here that I do not think Groups will ever equal the true community of blogging. 

I was happy to see a giveaway on a BLOG the other day! It made me smile, thinking of the heyday and how fun those times were, and how strongly blogging is rebounding.

I like to comment on blogs (one childhood nickname was "Loud Mouth Lime" due to my spouting off constantly) - just to add in my little bit of knowledge, chit-chat, or support. But a comment left did enter me into a giveaway, and I won, over at Acorn Hollow! What a wonderful bounty: Hooked pillow that is an absolute heirloom, hooked heart box with delicious chocolates (even shared with hubby), let me add here all wrapped so beautifully, fuzzy socks I put on immediately, and fussy-cut vintage Valentines. As someone obssesed with paper items, I can't tell you what a thrill the Valentines gave me! It is all so lovely.

Just take a look:

Lovely Valentine's red wrapping

BUNNY ALERT: An heirloom of my house now, in pride of place on the mantel

Two of the dear Valentines
Thank you, Cathy, of Acorn Hollow! Charming name for a very charming blog! If you admire hooked rugs and love sweet blogs like I do, please visit Acorn Hollow. Her work is beautiful, and just wait until you see her new workroom devoted to her rugs. 

It truly is delightful, for me, to follow the blogs I do, and read and see their posts. Some may think that their days or their gardens or their thoughts or crafts aren't "interesting" enough for a blog or worthy of a post, but I assure you, I read them with great interest and learn many things, am reminded of many things (my mind will go a mile a minute on the memories I recall), and take joy in the "small things" written about, photographed, and shared. And I am hardly alone! There is a whole army of us out there, who really enjoy the special sharing done on blogs. And once again, our ranks are growing!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

DIY Beaded Easter Egg, Some Pretty Roses, and Free Printable Valentine's Tags

From The Merry Olde Dame's Almanac:

Forecast for February 1 - 7, 2021: Wishes for a peaceful week ahead, with scattered bursts of laughter and sprinkles of delight, followed by strong gusts of good fortune and contentment.

red and pink fresh roses

The roses above are from a birthday bouquet. After admiring them, I drove from church to church in our parish and laid a bloom at the feet of each statue of my Queen of Heaven. What a delightful drive!

I am mingling Valentine's decor with Easter decor now...I made this egg by simply glueing on, with a "fast-grab" white glue, seeds beads onto a papier mache egg. I do a small section at a time, placing some glue down, picking up one bead at a time with a toothpick (I blunt the end) that was dipped in glue or beeswax. While the glue is wet, you can slide the beads around a bit and get them into position with the toothpick's other end.

diy huichol style beaded seed bead egg Easter craft

It is therapeutic, methodical work, but very easy, so that it can be done while listening to music, podcasts, or television. I am going to try to depict a pansy next. I love their little whisker-faced blooms! I planted their little cousins, Johnny Jump-ups, earlier. Just scattered the seeds and am hoping they will come up.

Here are some free printable tags featuring the wonderful artists of yesteryear. They might be cute for decorating. As usual, use this Google Drive LINK <--- for this large file, so that it isn't compressed and so it will print out the right size.

Anyone else decorating or crafting this week? 

diy free printable Valentine's valentines tags digital

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Bee Mine Cross Stitch is Finished! And...Free Valentine's Day Images!

etsy shop themerryoldedame cross stitch chart bee mine 2021

I loved creating and stitching this. It's that durned charting that gets me. I have a new charting program and it's smarter than I am. The learning curve for this olde grey mare is very steep indeed. I have the chart up in my Etsy shop <---Link 

Now I'm working on charting up some little Free Bees charts (freebies, ha ha) that make cute Petite Pinkeeps or Tiny Tucks. I just binge watch on an old phone or listen to Christmas music (I know, I know, it's weird to love to listen to Christmas music all year) and stitch the "littles" up.

In the meantime, here are a few "single" Valentine's images to save, free, gratis, no strings attached. Why single tags? Well, it's all email now, texting, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc. Maybe someone has a friend, child, or grandchild who would like a digital Valentine. In years past, I sold many digital printable Valentines. With COVID, nothing sold this year. Classroom Valentines are just not happening this year! So, I'm thinking some free Valentines for viewing on a phone or screen might be just the ticket for our strange times.

I'll put up a few antique images, vintage images, and modern images below.

Right-click to save! 

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    Holly, The Merry Olde Dame

I don't like clowns but the Victorian "jester" kids were cute...Clowns proper make me scream, run away, and just feel very anxious...I had a colleague (teacher) who taught kindergarten, and she would dress up as a blankety-blank CLOWN for the first day of school. I was astounded. As if the first day was not bad enough...but a very hefty lady in a garish outfit, huge red shoes, and badly applied clown makeup scarred some of those wee ones for life...
Oh gosh the boy doggie doesn't look happy...he doesn't like "mushy" stuff...
This one is Lily of the Valley...
For the Crazy Cat Lady (CCL) we all know (yes, yes, I'm one)...would also be good for your weird artist friend (we ALL have a weird artist friend, admit it)...
For the Horsey Set. I was "horse crazy" at age 10...would have loved this Valentine...
Another one for the CCL set...or those who are "just PLANE crazy."

Kokeshi style...
LOVE the puns on the old classroom Valentines...

So cute, you can see where to bend her and she would stand up...

Cute hangtag...

Prim crow getting in on the act...

Baby penguin...And I'll leave it at that. NOTHING can successfully come after a BABY PENGUIN.

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Little Love Banner Free Printable

Here is a thrifty one-sheet banner to print that spells out "LOVE." Might be cute printed out, maybe grubbed on the edges, or sweetened with mica or metallic ink, and tacked on a shelf edge or across the top of an armoire. 

I had the pink version up on my old blog, and have added a tan and black raggedy version.

Use the links to make sure you get the full, uncompressed file, stored in the Google cloud. 

I'm still working on my Strawberry Bunny cross stitch designs. I've got the second one nearly stitched. Where I slow down is translating the actual stitchery to chart form. I dread that part! I like the stitching part best. Of course, I remember when charts were made using graph paper and an old Underwood typewriter!

We had our first foggy day of the year today. It's a rare event and was very exciting to those who have lived hereabouts their whole lives.

Pink Link

Tan Link

diy cardstock banner valentines free freebie printable digital

free printable valentines love banner diy

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    Holly, The Merry Olde Dame

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Get Ready for Valentine's Day with These Free Tags to Embellish

It's not too early to begin the Valentine's Day crafts. Not with how time flies by so quickly! It seems I barely get in gear and the holiday -- any holiday -- is upon me. 

Here are some little tags to embellish. Each sheet prints out on a regular letter-sized piece of cardstock or paper.

One set is just plain, waiting to be cut out and embellished by your scraps, buttons, and bits. Punch a hole and add some twine or ribbon. LINK!

Free diy valentine cards designs printables
One set is already "decorated," but certainly it could be fun to add on some lace, rhinestones, string, flowers, G L I T T E R (or mica, I have a jar of it somewhere around here), or what have you. Now I am second-guessing the glitter idea, although I have so many pretty glitters. I just recalled that some scientists think it very bad for the environment. I do hate to think of some earthworm biting down on a piece. I don't think they can spit it out. Or a plankton swallowing some. Maybe I'll just use mica from now on. LINK!

free Victorian valentines valentine's cards tags to print out
One page is old Victorian images, to be cut out and glued on with whatever you have on hand, too. I enjoy fussy-cuts but not everyone does. I found I liked them very much once I had the right scissors (slim, small ones, very sharp). Does anyone remember the awful elementary school scissors of yesteryear? Impossible! Those rounded tips, and such poor machining, with the blades wallowing around a loose rivet. They chewed the paper, not cut it. Yet we managed to create many a pretty thing with them. In fifth grade were were allowed to have the "pointed" version. Not much better, but we felt very grown up. LINK!

free printable victorian vintage clip art designs diy valentines valentine's
Use the links, please, so that you get the uncompressed files. Blogger compresses large files, and sometimes they won't print the right size. The links are stored on Google Drive, safe. Get them while they're hot, because I might pull the blank ones down after a week or so.

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    Holly, The Merry Olde Dame - Not Always Merry, but Always Olde

Monday, January 18, 2021

Finished Wall Garland from Cardboard Scrap for Valentine's Day

I finished my little cardboard hearts garland (blog post HERE about sewing cardboard hearts). It is very quick to do. I deconstructed some inexpensive trim from Hobby Lobby and used the flat ribbon part of the trim to glue the hearts on, and the frizzled threads to further embellish the hearts. It's very quick if you use hot glue. I always have my trusty magnifying glass (second picture) nearby. I can't remember if it came from Hobby Lobby, too, or Michaels, or Tuesday Morning. It is metal with chippy, creamy paint, prim-looking.

DIY cardboard paper hearts wall garland with trim

magnifying glass paper valentines hearts garland hanging

Glue the hearts along the ribbon or string by using two points on the back of each heart, near the top but just slightly below the notch of the heart. That way, the ribbon or string will not show between the upper humps of each heart, but will still lie nicely against the wall.

do it yourself inexpensive Valentine's valentines heart garland hanging

I use map pins on my walls, each painted with a bit of acrylic paint to exactly match the wall colors. That way, they almost disappear when viewed.

paper cardboard scrap hearts easy wall garland

Inspiration and time finally coalesced and I am busy cross-stitching a little series of what I call "Strawberry Bunnies." Sometimes, I have to give myself permission to create without worrying about what others will think of my ideas! Tomorrow I'll post a sneak peek of the first chart as it's being stitched. It is such a lift to be cross stitching again. I can barely wait until "stitchin' time" each evening after the chores are done.

    Kind regards,

    Holly, The Merry Olde Dame

Friday, January 8, 2021

Computer Goes Kaput, And Portable Sachet Making

It started with a funny little noise, a noise of the disk whirring when there was no reason for it. Then the whirring added a tick-tick-tick sound, and the screen would freeze, and a disk error would pop up and require the computer to go through lengthy "checks" which always ended with the funny noise and the tick-tick-tick sound.

And then, the computer was no least for now.

Luckily, I have an external hard drive I keep updated. But it is very difficult for me to do techie tasks and set up a new computer (as in "new old" computer). I had on hand three of the same kind of all-in-one computer that were the choice of a school where I taught a few years ago. I saw the abuse and bumbling the machines withstood, and got these three when another school district upgraded. Unfortunately, of the three, the one I was using is no more, but this "new" one might, just might, also last a couple of years. The other one is set up for my husband. For $50 each, I am happy with them. I have spent 10 times that on fancy computers that didn't last three years, and I'm not doing that anymore! I don't mind being behind the times computer-wise.

But it is working well enough! So now I get the treat of going to various blogs and seeing all the news and musings!

My husband had his first cataract surgery three days ago (on his birthday, no less). He really didn't want to do it, but now he is extremely pleased. I feel it will help him be more involved in life. He was getting very shut down...While waiting at various doctors' offices and the surgery center, I had plenty of time to do some stitching. 

diy easy heart lavender sachet cloth

easy do it yourself cloth velvet sachet for Valentines's day

Valentine's Day lavender sachets from velvet ribbon inexpensive

cute quick diy sewn sachets

sachets sewn and easy to make

I also made two little hand-quilted coasters out of cotton fabric scraps and cotton batting (shown under the sachets), and another scrap bag heart sachet, this one with beading. Then I started on some little sachets made from velvet ribbon. I just cut a length of ribbon, remove the wiring, fold and stitch. I'm stuffing them with lavender. I use culinary lavender, both to make sure it has no nasty chemicals and because I've noticed the culinary lavender seems stronger.

I like to chew a bit of it to keep my breath fresh. I use clove and fennel the same way.

Hoping everyone had a good week (and a non-kaput computer).

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Handsewn Scrapbag Heart

I can't face a house with no decorations when the Christmas decorations come down. It looks too empty and lonely, but I don't like to go full-Valentines too soon, either. So I go with what I call "early Winter" decor, which is natural and pastel tones on hearts and sachets mixed with cold-blooming florals like snowdrops. I also have some solar-powered "fairy lights" in jars (see end of post) I sit around the house. I was surprised that my husband is very fond of the jar I put where he can see it at night. He says it cheers him to see it if he awakens. simple sewn hearts from scraps

do it yourself small sewn hearts from scraps and trim

diy simple sweet scrap bag hearts

I like these scrap-bag hearts because they give me a chance to paw through my little snippets of materials and strange little bits of trim, beads, and trinkets. I find things I had forgotten completely!

These are very quick to stitch and they don't take much stuffing or lavender to fill out nicely. If you back them with a calico or with Valentines colors, you can flip them over and get double-duty from them. Use any small heart shape for a template. I think the naive style makes them so enjoyable to create. Wobbles and wiggles just add to the simple charm.

One of the solar-powered fairy jars: 

solar fairy lights in an old canning jar mason bell jar

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly