My 3 Monsters: Random Crafts of Kindness

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11.26.2013

Random Crafts of Kindness

Thanks to ConsumerCrafts.com for sponsoring today's post!




I was really excited a few weeks ago when  I was asked to participate in this fun Random Crafts of Kindness project from ConsumerCrafts.com.  I couldn't jump fast enough at the opportunity to use some great crafting supplies to create something to gift to someone as a Random Act of Kindness.  Picking a project was easy enough, I guess.  {Not really.  Every new page I looked at on the website gave me a new idea I wanted to try.}  Finally, I settled on making embroidered snowflake ornaments.

Embroidered Snowflake Ornament Tutorial at my3monsters.com
The hardest part was trying to hone in on just one person to make something for.  Our lives have been so very blessed this year by so many people -- our families, for sure, and our close friends.  We couldn't have made it through without them.  But there is one person who reached out to me and touched me so deeply that it literally changed my heart and taught me the single biggest lesson I have learned in quite a while. 

Many of you know that my husband was out of work from March through October.  That was rough for both of us.  It wasn't just the worries about how we were going to take care of our children financially, though those were very real.  It was hard trying to stay busy and keep life as normal as possible when all we really wanted to do a lot of the time was cry and give up.  We both did our very best to put our brave faces on every morning and find things to keep our hands busy and our minds off of our troubles. Some days were better than others, but whenever anyone asked me how we were doing, I invariably said, "It's fiiiine."  Of course it wasn't fine, but what use was it to complain?!  Or -- heaven forbid -- admit we needed help.  

One afternoon in particular I was really having a hard time.  We are deeply religious and our faith means everything to us, but on this day I was so over it.  I felt completely abandoned by everything that had ever brought me comfort before.  I didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone. I just wanted to mope and feel sorry for myself, I guess.  My phone rang and I saw on the caller ID that it was a casual friend from church who I have known for years.  Normally I don't mind talking to her, but on this day I WAS NOT going to answer that phone.  I was just sure she needed a favor from me and I was not in any mood to be helpful.  Something within me said, "You better answer that phone, you big baby,"  and so I picked it up right before it went to the answering machine, hoping it was her husband calling for Brent.

No such luck.  It was for me, but I was not expecting the conversation that was coming.  "How are you doing?" she asked.  Typical.  That's the go-to conversation starter, especially when people know you're going through something.  "We're fiiiine," I gave my standard reply.  "No.  I have been thinking about you all morning.  How are you really doing?"  I couldn't even reply because I was fighting back tears.  "What can we do to help?" she asked after several moments of silence.  "Nothing.  Things will work out.  They always do,"  I lied.  "Well, {my husband} and I are going to do something for you.  What do you need?"  What I wanted to say was, "Hope?  How about a reason to get out of bed tomorrow?  Or a job would be good.  We need a job.  Or $1200 to pay the mortgage. No one has any of those things to just give away."   What I did say through my tears was, "I really don't know.  Nothing.  It's so nice of you to think of us.  We'll be fine."  She just let me cry for a minute and I felt like an idiot, then she said, "We'll figure something out and I'll call you back later."  We ended the phone call with me saying, "Oh, please don't worry about us.  I'm just having a bad day.  We're fiiiine."  

Obviously she wasn't convinced because she showed up on my doorstep a few hours later and handed me an envelope full of money.  "It's not much, but we've been where you are and we just love you guys and we wish we could make this all go away for you," she said.  I cried, and thanked her, and cried, and apologized for crying.  She said, "Don't apologize for crying.  If you had called me yesterday I would have been the one crying on your shoulder."  As we talked I learned that she had just made a devastatingly hard decision about one of her children the day before.  She was at peace with it at that point, but the previous day had been difficult for her.  After she left I couldn't help thinking about what she had said -- If you had called me yesterday . . .   She hadn't meant anything by it, but it bugged me.  Why hadn't I called her yesterday?  Why was I so wrapped up in myself, wallowing in my own "misery", that I didn't think about the people around me?   That I didn't even think about the burdens everyone else is carrying?  Life isn't easy for any of us, really.  It's just different kinds of hard.

I decided then and there that I wanted to be more like my friend.  I wanted to pick myself up out of my own emotional muck and see what I could do for others.  I wanted to think of myself less and throw myself into serving others.  I'm not perfect.  I'll never even be as good as my friend is at it, but I'm trying and I am a much happier person for it.  I'll never tell who it was because she would be mortified if anyone knew.  She's that amazing kind of person who doesn't do nice things for the recognition. I really wanted to make her a little gift so she knows that I have been thinking about her, too, and that she has changed my life.

Phew!  Enough of that!  Let's talk crafts now.  I'm much more comfortable talking crafts.   These embroidered snowflake ornaments are so easy you could make a bunch for all the people who have touched your life, too. 

Embroidered Snowflake Ornament Tutorial at my3monsters.com

 Supplies:

2-3 skeins embroidery floss {I used white, but you could use any color or combination of colors you prefer}
embroidery needles
1/4 yd. canvas fabric
hot glue gun and glue sticks

Step 1:  Prepare your Fabric

Cut your canvas fabric into 8x8 inch squares.  These don't need to be perfectly square.  You just want to make sure you have plenty of extra fabric around the edges so you won't run into trouble trying to center your finished designs.  

Next, if you're super artistic, draw out your snowflake shapes lightly in chalk or pencil onto the right side of each piece of fabric.  If you're more of a perfectionist {like me}, you can google "free snowflake embroidery patterns" and find a ton of ideas.  I didn't end up following the patterns exactly, but I felt much better using them as a jumping off point.  Just print out the patterns you like, rub chalk on the back of the pattern, carefully lay the pattern in the center of your fabric, then trace the outline with a pencil. 

Embroidered Snowflake Ornament Tutorial at my3monsters.com
Step 2:  Embroider your Snowflakes

What I loved so much about this project is how creative you can be!  There are a multitude of different embroidery stitches you can use to make each snowflake unique.  Once you have outlined the basic shape that you traced, you can go back and add more detail in and around the shape until you're happy with the way it looks.  I'm no expert at embroidery -- just make things up as you go!  Here's how the basic pattern in step 1 ended up:

Embroidered Snowflake Ornament Tutorial at my3monsters.com
I love french knots -- you can never add too many of them, in my humble opinion.  

Step 3:  Add the Finishing Touches

Once I was happy with the embroidery, I adjusted my design to make sure it was centered in the embroidery hoop and the fabric was pulled taut all the way around. Also make sure that the screw of the hoop is at the top of your embroidered design.  Then tighten up the embroidery hoop and trim off the excess fabric, leaving about 1/2" all the way around.  Using hot glue, fold that excess fabric around to the back of the frame and adhere it to the wood.  

Cut a piece of grosgrain ribbon about 6" long to form a loop for hanging the ornament.  Attach each end of the ribbon to the front of the hoop with hot glue right in front of the screw that holds the hoop closed.  Then tie a small bow out of the ribbon and adhere it to the hoop at the base of the hanging loop.

Embroidered Snowflake Ornament Tutorial at my3monsters.com

Easy-cheesy, and so fun!  You can't really mess it up, which is my favorite kind of craft.  We all have wonderful people in our lives.  Who would you create a Random Craft of Kindness for this holiday season?  Here are some projects other bloggers created to inspire you:





You can find ConsumerCrafts here:
Blog: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/



This post is sponsored by ConsumerCrafts.com as a part of a Blueprint Social Campaign. I received product and compensation for sharing my experience with my own craft project and tutorial in my own words.  All opinions are 100% my own.

2 comments:

  1. What a lovely post! The story about your friend was very inspiring. It makes me want to be a better friend! And your ornaments are beautiful as well!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Your nice comment just made my day!

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