Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's a Matter of an Easy Neighbor Gift!

Are you finalizing your Christmas plans only to find a few friends who may not have made the list?  If so, here is a fun and easy gift you can put together rather quickly!

Making a Treat Bag from a Dish Towel:

I saw this gift option at my local sewing store.

The instructions are published by Brother.

I am blessed enough to have a  sewing machine that can do Machine Embroidery.  The Instructions from Brother direct you to embroider your design near your hem border.  If you do not have such a machine, you could cut a square of holiday fabric and applique it to the towel.  The design that I chose is an "Anita Goodesign" entitle "Christmas Pot Holders".

Fold up each edge and sew along the sides (at the 8" mark) with "Water Soluble Thread" in the needle and traditional thread in the bobbin. 

Next, open the corner of the towel and sew across it to form the corner (at 3 and 1/2 "). Press.

Using Safety pins, secure them from the inside of your Treat bag on the back and sides.  Turn the bag inside out and thread your ribbon through the 'loops'. 

Place all your fun goodies in the bag. I am including Bread (made from my Bread maker), Hot cocoa packets and a couple of ornaments for the recipients.

Bring the flap down over your treats and tie it up with the ribbon you have threaded through the safety pin loops.

The Instructions from Brother included a poem that should be attached. I didn't particularly care for their version so I decided to get poetic and write poem. 

"As we celebrate this Christmas Season
Let's remember that He is the reason.
He gave us life and the gift of choice.
He gave us redemption that we may hear his voice.
Like the gift of forgiveness, this bag can transform 
Just wet the seams to give it a new purpose to perform.
A towel will emerge where a treat bag once was
To serve you and yours, have a  Merry Christmas!"

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mary's Treasure Box....a new Christmas Tradition (Updated).

A few years ago, I wrote a post about a wonderful book called "Mary's Treasure Box" which depicts Mary (the Mother of the Savior) sharing memories with her Granddaughter.  After I published the post, the author of this wonderful book wrote the following comment on our Blog:

Carolyn Kramlich said...
"Christmas Greetings in 2013. I was so surprised to see that you too had made a treasure box like I did so many years ago. I'm Carolyn Kramlich, the author of Mary's Treasure Box. My book has been out of print for several years now, but I still find comments about it online. In fact, it is being republished in 2014-2015 by B & H Kids, a Baptist publishing house in Nashville...retooled with new illustrations.
I'm so thankful that you've kept Mary's story alive. My inspiration was a box in my basement where I had collected items from my own son's birth and childhood. I was suddenly struck with the thought that perhaps Mary was a sentimental mother like I am...and perhaps you are too. I'm so glad I saw your blog!  cwk"
Ms. Kramlich reached out to me again this year with the following information:
Carolyn Kramlich said...
"A new version of Mary's Treasure Box has been published by B&H Publishers in Nashville. If you go to my website, I have about 8 links to various book vendors that carry the book for as little as $9.99, but it doesn't look the same. The publishers and I decided to retool, revise, and re-illustrate the book to make it a little more kid friendly. The illustrator, Bruno Merz,worked with Max Lucado on his last children's book project so I'm in good company! I've also changed my pen name to C.E. Walz, which is my maiden name to honor my parents, both now deceased. Website:"

Making your own version of "Mary's Treasure Box":

I wanted to be authentic, so I found real Frankincense and Myrrh in this beautiful set sold at our local Catholic Supply Store.  I also found these online.  Most recently, I see that Deseret Book also has these in their stores. Don't wait until the last minute, I learned that I was lucky to have purchased the last set in my local store. 

Some of the items that are needed are boxes/containers for the Frankincense and Myrrh. Initially I found little cardboard boxes at my local craft store.  However, I came across these ring boxes that seemed to fit the story best. They were not very expensive either. The gold bracelet that is called for in this story is actually a hanging earring base that is intended for additional beads etc to be attached to it. (I have, however, cut off a small circle that was on the opposite side of the small circles that is intended for the earing hook to be attached too).  I guess that I felt it looked a little 'regal' with the other small circles still attached..  

I made "Treasure boxes" for each of my married children who have had little ones at home.  I placed Frankincense in one box and Myrrh in another.  I learned that I needed to put a rubber-band  on the round box as the lid easily slid off and the contents would spill.  (I gave my adult children instructions to remove it before the story was read to the grandchildren). 

You will also need a 'flute' (a small toy whistle), and wool.  

I took poly-fill (like you would put in a quilt or a pillow) and rubbed a sharpie marker in certain spots.  I them just rubbed the poly-fill against itself to make the grey wool.  In addition, you will need a piece of linen which I found in my fabric scraps.

The book essentially calls for 2 different bundles.  I put the stated items into squares of maroon and gold fabrics with blue and maroon ribbons (as shown in the original version of the book).  

Place both bundles in a wooden box (which I picked up at the craft store)

So, how did we read this book to our grandchildren in different parts of the country? I made a power-point with the pictures from the book.  I scheduled an on-line meeting (from a free service) so that they could see us.  

As we came to each point in the story where something was being spoken of, the children and their parents took the objects out of their bundles and experienced the story with actual items.  I think we all really liked the real Frankincense and Myrrh!

Since we read this to our Grandchildren on-line, we have purchased copies of this wonderful book for each of our Adult Children so that they can continue this tradition in their own homes.

However, if you wish to do this, start early.  It is worth the effort.   You can order the new version of Mary's Treasure Box here.  Merry Christmas!

Good luck!
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