Life is Worth Living

Dishtowel Embroidery is Not a Craft

Now most of you know that I am not a crafty person. Just the thought of beads and hot glue guns and decorative paper and stamps–and whatever else–gives me hives and my whole body revolts and my eyes bulge out and I can only think, “Where’s my coffee? Somebody, help.”

That said, there must be something out there that one can do that is not a craft, and I’ve discovered it: Dishtowel Embroidery.

Reasons Dishtowel Embroidery is a Not a Craft:

  1. There are no hot glue guns involved. Or anything sticky, syrupy, or sparkly.
  2. There are no beads. Or buttons or stickers or markers or crayons or paint.
  3. Absolutely no neat and pretty handwriting is required at all.
  4. In fact, no creativity is involved whatsoever. Just grab a flour-sack towel, a frame, a needle, and some thread. Then follow the pattern.
The Eldest’s embroidery.

Some of you might point out that a little creativity is actually required, as one must chose one’s thread colors. Well, you’re wrong. Just follow the colored patterns on the covers of those embroidery books at Hobby Lobby, if need be.

Copied the color scheme on Hobby Lobby book cover.

Benefits of Dishtowel Embroidery, Especially in the Wintertime

Of course there are benefits to embroidering these flour-sack dishtowels, and I’ll obligingly list them below for you.

  1. Embroidery provides a perfectly legitimate excuse to stay indoors on a freezing, cold day.
  2. One can listen to excellent audio books while embroidering, like Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham. (Hilarious.)
  3. One may still enjoy a large glass of wine while steadily stitching away in front of a roaring fire.
  4. Dishtowels make wonderful Christmas gifts. My boys even stitched one for that very purpose. (I guess even boys need an occasional break from wrestling, playing football and ping pong, tearing around the yard, and tormenting their sisters.)
  5. If one is feeling put out and incapable of producing productive work, one may simply hold the frame and stare at the unfinished pattern and appear to be in deep contemplation. This gives passersby the allusion that one is fearfully busy, which is sometimes necessary after a difficult day of yelling at redirecting the children.
  6. And did you know, that one’s feet can be massaged at the same time as one embroiders? Heavenly. (I hope my husband reads this.)

If you’ve never embroidered before, look into it. It’s the perfect thing for these upcoming colder months, and Hobby Lobby has everything you need.

These were all done by the children. The twins did the two outside towels, and my 7-year-old stitched the middle one. Merry Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa.

Life is Worth Living

Christmas Shopping!

Yes, we’re talking Christmas here, and it’s about the material side of things, too. Yikes! I intend to dedicate this post to Christmas shopping and Christmas gifts intentionally for two reasons:

  1. It is always a good idea to look closely at one’s finances well ahead of any purchases, especially in a season oftentimes fraught with expense. So for prudential budgeting purposes, our family actually does the bulk of our Christmas shopping in October.
  2. We also like to have our Christmas shopping done well in advance of Advent so that we can do precisely that: Advent. Who likes to rush around frantically shopping at the last minute? Not me, anyway. We prefer to attempt a slower, more prayerful awareness of the liturgical season.
Here are a couple of the little girls in their new dresses we gave them last year for Christmas.

That said, let’s look at a few things our family does for gifts.

Ah, but perhaps I should mention that we don’t do Santa Claus? On second thought, let’s not mention it and move on. Feel free to ask me to explain later, if you’re curious, and I will.

So on Christmas morning, after praying Lauds and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, our children open a few gifts from us. Our goal is to keep it simple, and so here’s what we typically give:

  1. A book
  2. An article of clothing
  3. And something else fun or useful

Now we have 7 children, and those three items add up and can be expensive, so we buy used things, if possible. For example, almost all the books are used, or I will purchase them months in advance from, say, Bethlehem Books when they have their half-off sales. Most of the clothing I purchase used too, at second-hand stores. The last “fun” gift, however, does get to be tricky and most often is not used.

Let me give you some examples of what our children will actually receive this very Christmas. (Should you happen to see the children, don’t tell them!)

The Youngest:

Second-hand dress from Once Upon a Child, used Jan Brett book purchased online, and a play skirt from Hobby Lobby

Next Girl Up:

Same as above.

The Third Youngest Girl will also receive much the same, except that instead of a play skirt, she will be getting some colorful notecards that I found on sale at Hobby Lobby. (She likes to do crafty things.)

The boys will also be receiving second-hand clothing from my cousin, the following books, which I purchased earlier this year at a Bethlehem Book sale, and one pellet gun, which they will all share.

The Eldest is getting a new dress–not used–and this book:

The Eldest loves everything Jane Austen.

Christmas Stockings and a Family Gift

Yes, we do Christmas stockings. Typically we put Christmas candy in the children’s Christmas stocking. This year I also purchased some Christmas-themed socks to stick in too.

And lastly, I purchased a Christmas puzzle as a family gift.

And what about me and my husband? Do we exchange gifts? Yes, and while I do have his gift purchased already, I cannot tell you what it is, for fear that he might actually look at this blog post.

Do You Have Any Christmas Gift Ideas?

Do any of you have any Christmas Gift ideas? If so, I’d love to hear about them. I suspect that some of you are very crafty and handy and might even be able to make Christmas gifts.