Showing posts with label pillows and pillowcases. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pillows and pillowcases. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Harvest of Creative Possibilities and Fun

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and wonderful Fall Harvest of Thanksgiving, creative opportunities and fun!

And please, do not let me forget to share that as much as I love to create, and as much as I love to share and to give to others...

Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here

"Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

So, please just click on the above if you want to remember just how clever and fun this truly was..especially if you're younger than I am...or maybe even older than I am, or maybe just me..and don't remember the years this made the rounds and creative a bit of levity over the Thanksgiving shopping, cooking, gatherings, and clean up involved. Bit of post is link clickable to see the rest.

And the earlier part of this updated post was, of course, all about my doings over Halloween, and the meaning behind all of our various cultural celebrations!

Because, after all...
What fun it is to see the playful side of Halloween and have fun creating small themed gifts for others with Autumnal, Harvest, or Halloween birthdays! Some of my gifts feature 'traditional' Halloween themes, others are more harvest oriented items, and still others respectfully celebrate other cultures and traditions!

And having some cowboy boots fabric ..way back from 2005, I used that as well to make some fun pillows for October birthdays that seamlessly blend in with a variety of colors, themes or even holidays as well as a grandpup's quilt!!

And of course some of my own Paper+Fabric gift cards, these are four layers with collage on fronts and backs and machine sewn greetings on the interior pages.

And finally some upholstering off cuts..long narrow pieces..hmm...tiny little crossbody purses..perfect! And a lovely autumnal color, too!


With this left over marred Halloween panels of Daisy Kingdom fabric, I knew the missing edges or incorrect pieces would not keep me from makings some fun items for others!

 So out came the scissors, extra fabric for backing the aprons, the potholder hot mitts,the little puppy bandanna, a fun Halloween mice riding broomsticks and vacuum cleaners through the starry night sky puppy pillow and even some quickly appliques onto kitchen like fabric dish towels!

All were well received and are already in use..especially by my little grandpup who loved his simple minky covered empty water bottle chew toy,his puffy pillow and quickly tied fleece ribbon toys!

 And with a lot of family staying with us for from one to three plus weeks in early autumn last year, why not dye silk scarves with fiber reactive dyes outside when the weather was still nice and our energy levels high?

Great fun! Two days later we hung them from my loft rails to dry...wonderful harvest of homemade gifts for all!

But what about Halloween itself?  Why do we celebrate such a strange holiday and just how and when did it all begin???

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 (image courtesy of wikipedia)

The origins of Halloween, may have begun with Roman festivals of harvest, but is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)",which is derived from the Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end."

The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year, and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year. It is believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

All Saints Day, or All Hallows or Hallowmas, is a Christian feast day celebrated on November 1, or the first Sunday after Pentecost. It a day meant to honor all of the saints, both known and unknown. Because Halloween preceded this feast day, that day actually took it's name from this feast day and thus became "The Eve of All Hallows', and eventually 'Hallowe'en'.

In many of the Christian cultures, All Saints Day honors those who have attained beatific vision in heaven, while November 2, All Soul's Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not been so purified and entered heaven. In the tradition of using holy names taken from the Greek, early names such as All Hallowmas referred to hallowed or saintly, and mas, to the early Christian mass.

The Day of the Dead (Día de los Difuntos or Día de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and the Mexican immigrant community living in the United States. The holiday is based on the complicated blended cultures of their ancestors, the Aztec and Maya, and the Spanish invaders, layered with Catholicism.

For more than 500 years, the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead) presided over Aztec harvest rituals using fires and incense, costumes of animal skins, images of their dead and offerings of ceramics, personal goods, flowers and foods, drink and flowers.

The Aztec, Mayan and other indigenous traditions have enriched the Mexican's attitude about death. From these ancestors has come the knowledge that souls continue to exist after death, resting placidly in Mictlan, the land of the dead, not for judgment or resurrection; but for the day each year when they could return home to visit their loved ones.

Los Dias de Los Muertos is a time for remembering friends, family and ancestors. In the Mexican tradition, people die three deaths.

The first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when the space we occupy slowly loses its meaning. The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth, out of sight. The third death, the most definitive death, is "when there is no one left alive to remember us."

The act of preparing an altar by placing photographs, flowers, candles, favorite foods and drink of the loved one provides a special time to remember, and to transform grief into acceptance. The living invite the spirits of the family to return home for a few hours of laughter, tears and memories.

Once the night has passed, and the spirits have returned to their world, the ones remaining know that for another year they have triumphed in the struggle of life and that the only way to celebrate death is to live with courage.

Beware of the following superstitions of olde!

• Many people used to consider that owls would dive down to eat the souls of the dying on Halloween. They believed that if you pulled your own pockets out, and left them hanging, the dying would be safe. (Good to know, especially the next time you get caught with your pockets hanging out from the dryer!)

• To ward off evil spirits on Halloween, bury all the animal bones in your front yard, or even put a picture of an animal very close to your doorway. (I'll assume they mean collected wishbones and leftovers from Thanksgiving for the burials, and not those of anyone else, for the photos.)

• People used to believe you could walk around your house three times backwards before sunset on Halloween, and that would take care of all evil. (Next time you can't find the kids for dinner, remember you're keeping your family safe at the same time.)

• It has been said if a bat flies into your house on Halloween, it is a sign that ghosts or spirits are very nearer, and maybe they are in your home and let the bat in. (Living in the country, I've had bats in my house on several occasions. My friends claim they live in my own 'belfry', as well.)

• People used to believe that if bats are out early on Halloween, and they fly around playfully, then good weather is to come. (The bats in my belfry are beyond playful. I've been known to be borderline manic.)

• If a bat flies around your house three times on Halloween, death is very soon to come. (Doesn't this negate the good luck of the above?)

• It could be the spirit of a dead loved one watching you, if you watch a spider on Halloween. (And if you're watching, do so respectfully, and don't squish them!)

• Going in for what was once called a 'dumb' supper, meaning that nobody will talk while having supper, encourages the spirits to come to the table. (Well, not only is that term antiquated and not p.c., most families today with teenagers suffer from this predicament, so it's no wonder that most teenagers appear possessed.)

• It is believed that if an unmarried girl keeps a rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, it is quite likely that on that very night, she would dream of her future husband. (If you have young daughter's, check their pillows tonight and remove those sixpence.)

• It is said that if you hear someone's footsteps behind you on the Halloween night, you should not turn back because it may be a dead following you. And if you commit the mistake of looking back, it is likely that you might join the dead very soon. (You just can't win on this one. I'm staying home and wearing ear plugs.)

• People believe that if on the Halloween night, a girl carrying a lamp in her hand goes to a spring of water, she will see the reflection of her life partner in water. (This sounds dangerous to me, especially if you believe in the superstition just above, and the one following you is already dead. Sure wouldn't want him for my life partner.)

• People have a superstition that if an unmarried girl carries a broken egg in a glass and takes it to a spring of water, she will be able to catch the glimpse of not just her future husband, by mixing some spring water in the glass, but also she can see the reflection of her future kids.

(OK, this is just too much. Now we are being followed by the dead, stuck with them for life and sharing common ghouls.)

• There is the old saying that "black cats are bad luck". It was once believed that black cats were the devil, or consumed by evil spirits. (I've had several black cats, I loved them dearly, they slept with me every night. Time for an exorcism. Now, do I exorcise all black cats or just me?)

• People used to believe that Satan was a nut-gatherer. Nuts were also used as magic charms on the day of Halloween festival. (At this point, I'm feeling nutty. I think the exorcism has to be on me.)

• If you put your clothes on inside out as well as outside walk backwards on Halloween night. At midnight you will see a witch in the sky. People used to believe witches were the devil, or that they were consumed by evil. (I've been known to do both, on a fairly consistent basis. No wonder I run into so many witchy people and was gifted with a sign that says "If the broom fits, ride it"! It fit and I do.

• There is also an old saying "if the flame on your candle goes out on Halloween celebration; it gives you the meaning that you are with a ghost". (Stocking up on matches, lighters, and battery powered lanterns)

• If you ring a bell on Halloween it will frighten evil spirits away. (Ding!)

Free Ideas and Tutorials for Making Magic of  Your Own: 


Make Halloween Banners or Prayer Flags:

My little trio of holiday flags, given as an October gift.  These simple burlap and felt banners can be seen as prayer flags for those in their colorful costumes and festive spirit and not those darker aspects of this season that so many shy away from.

Making Magical Devil's Club Lip Balm in Alaska

One of the things I most love to do while I am in Alaska, is to be able to take small bits of spare time, and do creative and unusual things...and often using free, recycled or inexpensive ingredients. One of them one year, was to learn how to make lip gloss using native materials....many of them indigenous to southeast Alaska.

This is continue on the original post at:Making Magical Devil's Club Lip Balm in Alaska

And for the intuitive world of the unseen but often not unknown check out some of my favorite magical, mystical, and for me deeply spiritual parts of my world that connect to doing good for myself and I do good for others..after all, we are all connected by mysterious internets of endless possibilities!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Gratitude and Giving Forward

After a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving, my heart is filled to the brim with such gratitude.

But I look around me at the far bigger picture. I look at the world and the people in it and there is still so much that needs to done, to be helped, to manifest in our hearts to bring our world back to the garden of all possibilities where good prevails.

We had our own lovely Thanksgiving holiday. But how many others are so blessed with even our own abundance???

So, as busy as I am, a new grandmother again, first a beautiful little granddaughter last year and now a little grandson to visit, have visit, and adore,  a husband and son returning from the hunt with meat for the winter.  (And that my kind hearted and perhaps vegetarian friends) means cutting and my kitchen. ...on the busiest after Thanksgiving day of the year!

We ran a quick errand first thing in the morning..I needed Christmas lights, why do they always burn out even when brand new???, he needed a replacement drill for work..half price is half price. We are lifelong savers, as well as makers.

We avoided the crowds, the hassles, and all that ruins giving and gratitude by giving to others instead. Food to share with others, good things to send home to those who are too busy to shop or cook, gifts created when the need is seen..over and over, again.

Does my own heart such good and since we will all be busy in December, I did three months worth in two. Get it all done, but with a happy and not a grumbly heart.


Such fun, these past months, making and making for him, as well as still fitting in dozens and dozens of blankets and quilts for charitable giving. I do my best to maintain balance ;-)

Magic or burrito pillowcase: tutorial:

So giving quilts and blankets for him, pillows etc.for his mama, pillowcases for use in classes and even use at the hospital.

Most of these made long before, but not most not yet shared, here. Flannel is such a favorite of mine. I cannot seem to stop making gifts for others. And then if I find new homes for them, if they are not needed as originally planned.

And fleece! How I love to make fleece blankets, now. For dozens and dozens I will never meet and never know. Such a blessing to have a giving heart and two working hands.

Here, I am making fleece blankets for one of the charitable groups I work with...Alexia's Cozy Covers in Salem, Oregon. After a day where we made 25 fleece blanket kits (on each of two days as 50 total were needed so they could make several each) for a foster home program where several dozen boys live in post foster care transitional housing. They hold a craft night where many, many gifts can be them..using these kits that we provide all of the materials and a head start.

 Here, I take fleece fabric..purchased super inexpensively at Joann's big 60% off sale, and then when I discovered that my group throws away fleece scraps, I took home bag after bag of those and either turned them into small baby blankets with fleece scrap bindings, as well. Or I combined pieces of scraps and turned them into strip blankets!

These are then, pinned together with safety pins all around, fringe is cut, and they are packed up as kits for the 18+ year olds who no longer qualify for foster care and live in this housing, to make as tied blankets for themselves..or hopefully as gifts for others.

And many other crafters's come in and do other projects, as well. One of our most awesome man quilters, who also crochets baby blankets for us, also is a fabulous woodworker, so he is bringing in unpainted wooden ornaments he has made and the post teens will be able to make those and so many other various crafts, as well!!!

Lots of baby blankets from my scraps, but I'm betting they have friends, even on the street or in other group homes with babies and children who need gifts, warmth, comfort and love that blankets can give.

 I couldn't come up with enough satin binding to edge these simple but oh, so very soft fleece or minky baby blankets, so I just used scraps..cut them in nice binding sizes and sewed them fraying edges to even need to turn under. Fabulously simple!!

Quilts of course, always in progress. But we just can't create them quickly enough or give as kits for non sewers without machines and a lot more volunteer and crafting time. This big cragt night project is all done in one very long time period when everyone is available to make and take! But quilts in my own time, always going on. Just because. You know how that is ;-)

Wonderful projects, and such a wonderful, wonderful feeling to use scraps and inexpensive purchases to give to others!!!!

Blessings for us, and blessings payed forward as well. It doesn't get any better than that!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares her creative and healing  journey from Alaska to Oregon. Wildcrafting and the textiles arts... sewing, quilting, and creating prayer flags. Join me as I add my healing energies to changing our little project, one gift of sharing from my heart, at a time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Always Sewing and Quilting

Always! Every day. Rain or Shine.
Sleep or not. Busy or busier!
I just love it all!!

So, yes, I've been having fun! And when I'm not outside doing tons of yard work..all of the autumnal pruning has begun, all of the weeding, all of the watering during our exceptionally unusual Oregon drought...I'm inside and sewing in the morning while it's still cool and the windows are all open.

It gets so hot in the sewing nook and my design floor loft that I really can't do much unless it's a rush project like hemming a 95% rayon and 5% spandex long and very lovely dress for a daughter who is off to a wedding and needed it 6" shorter soon as possible. It's a beautiful dress and deserved the best job that I could possibly do.....I wanted to serge the hem with an overcast stitch and then hem it up just a bit after that.

Serger went belly up first thing. Bought a new upper cutting blade...still did not cut and store was not helpful. Husband worked and worked on it..still working on it.

So borrowed a serger from a lovely blessing of a neighbor... and got it done. No photo, after all dressing up for special occasions has to wait for the event photos and the dress is not mine to show. Just mine to sew!

But...pillows, lots of those, plus two fabulous these and hated giving them away ;-) pillowcases (complete with the inside wonderful pillows themselves)  an entire set of three curtain panels that made a wonderful curtain with lovely Lotta Jansdotter fabric, a quilt finished in jewel toned flannels..begun a very long time ago... and another one's medallion fabric blocks laid out for sewing a bit of quilting this month!. Added into the mix, more baby diapers from scratch with the cute little inner flannel blankets for ..well, you know, and finally, a fleece blanket fall and winter are on their way..drought or not drought!

Oh and this little easy sweetie for a little one in crisis or have to have a baby blessing wrap of some kind!

Yes, August was quite busy! You don't even want to see the yard work that I accomplished but my husband worked a lot harder than I did, trust me!

Stress relief every single one. Trust me. With people in and out of hospitals, nursing homes, and family members all busy as can be, we are a doing family in all ways! Can do and do. That's how I deal with stress. The rest of the time, yoga, meditation, and trying to stay out of the ice cream and potato chips as much as I can....

Now, to get ready for Wednesday when our Mid-Valley Quilt Guild (MVQG) presents its annual charity quilting day we call Bolt to Bed. We take fabric (off the bolt or from our scraps and the guilds scraps) we all gather together all day from early in the morning until way past dinnertime, we have tables of things to do, learn, and work on and we make as much as we possibly can for charitable donation!

Am I remembering that I volunteered to set up and work with a table for Making Fidget Quilts for Alzheimer's Patients???

Oh, yes. I did. I also made an artsy fidget quilt and have another one started as examples for the art quilters among us. And maybe, I'll get a simpler one that doesn't take extra time like mine to create for donation to local nursing homes.

I don't just think I can.
I do ;-)

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares her creative and healing  journey from Alaska to Oregon. Wildcrafting and the textiles arts... sewing, quilting, and creating prayer flags. Join me as I add my healing energies to changing our little project, one gift of sharing from my heart, at a time.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blessing Quilts and Baby Blankets

Shown above:

6 completed projects for Alexia's Cozy Covers donations for foster babies and children

New site link for Cozy Covers:

4 quilts pieced and/or quilts with backings also selected and sized and ready to be finished over the summer and into the fall for either Alexia's or the Mid-Valley Quilt Guild.

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friggatriskaidekaphobia Day!

For those that suffer from "triskaidekaphobia", the fear of the number 13, or friggatriskaidekaphobia, a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th, you'd best beware of all of the other ill omens and myths surrounding this day of great portent of impending doom. 

And besides being Friday the 13th, it is also a FULL MOON! June's full moon is known as the 'Strawberry Moon'. It was named, as most full moons are, by the Algonquin tribe of Indians of North America. This same full moon in June is often referred to, in Europe, as the Rose Moon. The North American version came about because of the comparatively short season for harvesting strawberries which arrives each year during the month of June. By the same token, of course, June is the month of the flowering of many beautiful roses and buzzing bees that create honey. So, many refer to it as the "honey moon" and not just because of the prevalence of June brides.

What makes this year's June full moon so rare is that it coincides with the perigee, which is the point at which the moon is closest to the Earth, making it appear larger in the sky. The moon reached fullness shortly after midnight Eastern, but will still be nearly full tonight. Moonrise tonight is 8:30 p.m. Eastern.   Full moons on Friday the 13th aren't particularly rare, occurring every couple of years, but the last time it happened with June's "honey moon" was in 1919.

And a Full Moon On Friday The 13th Won't Happen Again Until 2049!!!

Here's hoping you all have a good day with no ill omens of any kind, and an even better weekend eating strawberries and smelling the sweet honey aroma of roses.

I've been sewing, wildcrafting, raising my three little 'babies' and transitioning them from small bins to bigger ones and making sure the' older two girl's are never left out! The little girls are getting in their tail feathers which makes me laugh and remember my mom who passed last August after 8 very long years of our taking care of her with Alzheimer's Disease. My mom always talked about swishing her tail feathers when she was all dolled up with a nice outfit and some lipstick. Guess, my little girls are doing the same! Doing the chicken dance for sure!

And for me, it's "Frugal Friday!"

When I'm too busy or too tired or distracted for a long sewing day, I find a leftover "orphan" quilt block and make a little pillow. This little hand-sewn sunflower was just the right size for a tiny pillow and the perfect complement for my antique chair and a quilt. And best of all, I made it all in about 20 minutes using the pre-made block, adding it to a self folding back piece and creating a little inside pillow for the fluffing. Everything out of muslin, no fuss, no muss, and almost no cost as it was all made from leftover and scraps!

Also found, this fabulous bird nest. Once of the prettiest we've found (other than the really cool unusually shaped ones!) The birds used moss, ferns, flower stems with a flower still attached, and beautiful bits and pieces of grasses and stems.  I can never resist bringing nature inside once things are no longer in use by their builders! Thank you little bird friends. I love displaying your nest on my table!
My three little chickens, Edith, Dorothy, and Little Nell, are growing so quickly, they more than doubled in size in the three weeks that we've had them. I've gotten them used to hand feeding ..well, perhaps too used to, they see me coming and started Hugh Jackson bouncing trying to reach the screening, aiming for my hand with hope of it bringing gifts of food!  Oh, my. I'm spoiling them already.

Yes, that's right, my two big girls, Penelope and Matilda,  come up onto the deck and get handouts, too!  Our chickens are our free range friends who go into the safety of a coop at night. But love to follow us around and get handouts during the day. The big girls have come up to the little girls bin when I put it outside on the deck for sunning themselves but so far, have not shown much interest in their soon to be coop sisters.

I do love my chickens..and I don't mean for dinner!


Friday is Frigga's Day.... Frigg, or Frigga.... was an ancient Scandinavian fertility and love goddess, equivalent to the Roman Venus, who had been worshiped on the sixth day of the week. Early Christians believed that Frigga was a witch and any Friday was the witches' Sabbath. For them, Friday the 13th was neither silly, nor a joke. For them, it was a day that caused anxiety... if not outright terror.

For those that suffer from "triskaidekaphobia", it is the irrational fear of the number 13. But if you suffer from the fear of the date itself, Friday the 13th, then you suffer from " friggatriskaidekaphobia", a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.
The origin of the association of this day as being a day of 'bad luck , like most mythological symbology, has altered with time. But common Biblical beliefs link it to a variety of symbols. Biblical referencing most commonly link it to Friday, the day of Jesus Christ's crucifixion, the beginning of the Great Flood, Eves' offering of the apple to Adam, the day that Noah faced the Great Flood, or the Last Supper, at which Judas Iscariot was said to have been the 13th guest to sit down at the table. Judas later betrayed Jesus, leading to Jesus' crucifixion.

This led to the fear of having 13 guests at a dinner table foretold that one of them would die within the year. This also led to the superstition that the first person to rise from the table, or the last one to be seated, was an ill omen and created the concept of all waiting to be seated at the same time, standing up at the same time, or breaking groups into smaller tables to avoid the seating of 13.

Eventually, by the late 19th century, people went out of their way to avoid anything associated with the number 13...whether it was hotel rooms, desks, cars, floors of a building, rungs of a ladder, or steps on the stairs. These 'ill omens' led to the avoidance of even using these numbers in many places, and led to the renumbering (without the number 12) of hotel rooms, floors and so forth.
Other fear of Friday beliefs include:

  • Needleworking: "I knew an old lady who, if she had nearly completed a piece of needlework on a Thursday, would put it aside unfinished, and set a few stitches in her next undertaking, that she might not be obliged either to begin the new task on Friday or to remain idle for a day." (1883)
  • Giving Birth: "A child born on Friday is doomed to misfortune." (1846)
  • Getting Married: "As to Friday, a couple married on that day are doomed to a cat-and-dog life." (1879)
  • Recovering from Illness: "If you have been ill, don't get up for the first time on Friday." (1923)
  • Moving: "Don't move on a Friday, or you won't stay there very long." (1982)
  • Starting a New Job: "Servants who go into their situations on Friday, never go to stay."(1923) ....and my favorite.....
  • Hearing News: "If you hear anything on a Friday, it gives you another wrinkle on your face, and adds a year to your age." (1883)

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!