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Heart-Felt Valentine
Heart-Felt Valentine

If you are of my generation you might remember felt boards used in classrooms.  They held letters, numbers and other felt cut-outs.


Heart-Felt Valentines were inspired using the same idea.  They allow the receiver to make and re-make their Valentine over and over again.


Materials: All materials are found at the craft store


·        1 card and envelope

·        1 self-adhesive piece of red felt

·        1 felt piece of the following colors: white, pink, purple

·        Valentine Stickers

·        Scissors or pinking sheers




1.      Trace the card on the self-adhesive felt.  Cut it out and stick onto front of card.

2.      Fold felt in half and cut out a heart shape out of pink, white and purple felt.

3.      Attach Valentine Stickers to one heart and the inside of the Valentine

4.      Now send or give your Heart-Felt Valentine to someone special.

Follow The Flowers
Follow The Flowers

Tip toe through the blooms of fresh cut flowers.  A pathway of petals can be easily assembled by making a floral luminary.  All that is required is a glass votive candle holder, glass glue, copper tubing and a few flowers.  


Now, follow the flowers to summer festivities. A votive candle can replace the flowers for nightime enjoyment.


Materials: (Makes one Floral Luminary)


  • 1 glass votive cup

  • (Optional) 1 glass drip protector (glass bobeche)- The bobeche is for decorative purposes only.

  • Glass Glue (available at hardware stores)

  • One 3-foot long copper tube, one-half inch in diameter

  • One copper tubing cap, one-half inch in diameter

  • 3 Stems of blue iris, or 3 stems or red gerberas, roses or dahlias; even 1 large yellow sunflower will sizzle up a walk way. (Option-1 votive candle)




  1. (Optional) Glue the glass drip protector onto the bottom of the glass votive cup.  The drip protector has a hole in it so dab the glue around the bottom perimeter of the glass votive cup.

  2. Glue the copper tubing cap onto the bottom center of the glass votive cup.

  3. To set up your luminary- insert the 3-foot long copper tubing into the ground.  Now set the glass votive cup with copper cap onto the copper tubing.  The copper cap slips onto the copper tubing perfectly.  

  4. Finally, fill the luminary with water and short stemmed fresh cut flowers!  Or, replace the flowers with a votive candle to light up a pathway.

Garden Potpourri
Garden Potpourri

Potpourri made with natural ingredients from the garden is fun, easy and not too expensive to create.  Potpourri is generally a mixture of dried blooms, herbs and fragrant leaves with aromatic essential oils added.


For the weary, potpourri can help vitalize one’s spirit or soothe the soul.  It can either be enjoyed in open containers or inserted into small cloth bags that fill drawers, hang in closets, creates great gifts and are easy to carry.


While many stores sell perfumed potpourri making your own is very satisfying and the ingredients and fragrance can be customized to suit ones’ fancy. 

Jill's Spicy Rose Potpourri

All the ingredients should be dried thoroughly prior to making. Potpourri works best when the flowers are lightly crushed but NOT ground.




  • 1 cup dried miniature pink roses

  • 1 cup dried miniature red roses

  • 1 cup dried cinnamon sticks

  • 1 cup dried orange peels (peel an orange and then slice the peel in lengths- allow to dry for about 10 days)

  • ½ cup dried and lightly crushed blue or purple statice

  • ¼ cup dried eucalyptus leaves

  • ¼ cup dried eucalyptus pods

  • ¼ cup dried birch pine cones 

  • ‘Essential’ rose oil

  • Large mixing bowl and spoon

  • Medium sized brown paper bag

  • Waxed paper

  • Several large paper clips




  1. Combine all the above ingredients, except for the rose oil, in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Now add approximately 20 to 30 drops of rose oil to the mixture and mix with a spoon.

  3. Line the bottom of a paper bag with waxed paper and place the potpourri into the bag. Seal the bag closed with paper clips.

  4. Store the potpourri filled bag in a dark, cool place for about 10 days to 2 weeks. Every other day gently stir the mixture.  This allows the ingredients and fragrance to blend evenly.

  5. After the drying period- place the Spicy Rose Potpourri in a decorative glass bowl or fill small cotton bags to permeate lingerie and linen drawers or hang in clothing closets.


Ingredients that Make Great Potpourri:

There are many more items for fabulous potpourri, this is just a beginning.


  • Dried Flowers:  Carnations, roses, hibiscus, lavender, sunflowers and violets

  • Dried Herbs: Chamomile, lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage

  • Dried leaves and pods: Eucalyptus leaves and pods, pine cones

  • Dried fruit peels: Orange peels

Make an American Flag
Make an American Flag

The emblem of the land I love 

The home of the free and the brave

(Grand Old Flag -George M. Cohan)


On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted our first national flag.  A flag was needed to show and promote national pride and unity during the War of Independence between the British and the American Colonies.  


The American flag remains a symbol of freedom.  You can knock us down, but you can not knock us out.  The horrific events on September 11, 2001, have again prompted many Americans to fly the flag as an expression of renewed patriotism and solidarity. 


As a result, American flags have been flying off store shelves, and many retailers and e-tailers are sold out.  You may even be on a wait list for one.  Instead of waiting, sew your own and give ‘Old Glory’ an even greater meaning.  With the holidays approaching, a homemade flag can even be an important, unique gift.  


Surprisingly, no one knows with absolute certainty who designed and made the first American flag.  Common legend credits the construction of the first flag to the talents of Betsy Ross.  Ross was a widow running her own struggling upholstery business when General George Washington showed her a rough drawing of the flag that included six-pointed stars.  Instead, Ross demonstrated how to cut a five-pointed star in just a single cut.  Impressed by her handy work, George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross, members of the Continental Congress, enlisted Betsy to make our first flag.  It included thirteen five-pointed stars.  The meeting took place in Ross’ home in late May 1776.  It was declared “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”  


Our Stars and Stripes have evolved over the last 250 years.  On August 21, 1959, President Eisenhower gave an executive order for the arrangement of 50 stars in nine rows staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.  Our current, 27th version of the flag became official on July 4th, 1960, after Hawaii was admitted to the union.

Sew Your Own Stars and Stripes

You don’t need to be an expert seamstress to sew your own flag, but Natalia Spilmon who is a professional seamstress generously donated her time to stitch our American flag.  Natalia is a Russian immigrant who has lived in this country for just 3 years.  She said sewing the flag made her feel more connected to her newly acquired American roots.


Time: 12 hours

Cost: $35.00 - $40.00


Materials: (makes 3' x 5' flag approximately)


  • 1 3/4 yards 44” wide red 100% red cotton 

  • 2 3/4 yards 44" wide white 100% cotton 

  • 1 yard 44" wide blue 100% cotton

  • Red, white, blue, invisible thread 

  • Two half-inch grommets

  • Fabric chalk and pencil

  • 2” by 2” piece of cardboard

  • Sharp scissors

  • Sewing machine

  • Iron 

  • Optional, sewing machine with computerized embroidery feature

Note: Polyester or flag weight nylon could also be used to construct flag.




Cut the following stripes:

  • 3 White stripes – 63.5” by 4.25” 

  • 3 Red stripes – 63.5” by 4.25” 

  • 4 Red stripes - 43" by 4.25" 

  • 3 White stripes - 43" by 4.25" 

  • 1 white strip - 40" by 8" 

  • 1 blue piece 22.5" by 21" (flag’s union)

  • 2 white pieces 22.5" by 21" (for stars)


Assembly of Stripes: 

  1. Set up sewing machine with white thread on top and red in bobbin. 

  2. Starting with a red stripe, join 43" long stripes with ¾” seam.  Make sure a red stripe is the first and thirteenth stripe, with alternating red and white stripes in between.

  3. Set 43” stripes aside.  Join 63" long stripes as you did the 43” stripes, but start with a white stripe and end with a red stripe. 

  4. On top seam of all stripes, trim away white seam allowance, on next seam trim away red and continue alternating until all seams are trimmed.

  5. Turn under and iron down wider seam allowances.  Sew all red flat felled seams first (red thread on top, white in bobbin).  Then sew all white flat felled seams; change thread (white on top, red in bobbin). 

  6. Finish top raw edge of 43”red stripe, and bottom raw edge of 63” stripe, by folding edges under ¼” then ¼” again.  Sew flat with 2 rows of stitching to create felt looking flat seams.


Sewing 5-Point Stars:

  1. Sandwich and pin blue 22.5” by 21” piece (this is the union of the flag), between 2 white 22.5” by 21” pieces.

  2. Make a grid for star placement (these are measurements for the center of each star), by first measuring and marking with pencil or fabric chalk, 2” down from top right corner and 2.5” left of where blue union will meet stripes.  

  3. Now measure and mark centers for 6 stars in horizontal row, 3.25” apart.  (All to the left of the first star.)

  4. The next row of stars starts 4” to the left of where blue union will meet stripes and 2” below the first row of stars.  Repeat step 3, this time marking centers of just 5 stars.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 alternately for 9 rows of stars.

  6. Trace star template on cardboard and cut out.

  7. Place center of star template on center of first star.  With white thread in tom and bobbin, stitch around template.  Do this for all 50 stars.

  8. Cut away white fabric around stars.  Careful not to cut blue union fabric.

  9. Zigzag stitch around edges of each star.

  10. Finish top edge of union by turning and pressing seam under ¼” and ¼” again.  Sew 2 rows of stitching to create felt looking flat seam.

*If a computerized embroidery sewing machine is available, embroider stars onto union in pattern stated above. 


Attaching Union, Stripes and Grommets:

  1. Attach blue union to 43" stripes. Use blue thread for top and bobbin.

  2. Trim stripe section of seam allowance. Fold under blue seam allowance and stitch down.  Use blue thread on top and invisible thread in bobbin.

  3. Join 63.5" long striped section to the blue union and shorter striped section.  Create flat felled seam by trimming white seam allowance.  Change machine thread to correspond with colors you are sewing (white bobbin and blue or red top).

  4. Hem outer edge of flag by folding and pressing under 1/2" and then 1”.  Use invisible thread for top and bobbin.  Finish with 2 rows of stitching like all other finished edges.

  5. At both ends 8” ends of the 40” by 8” white strip, fold and press under 2”.  Fold the strip in half lengthwise and fold each edge into the middle.  Sandwich the raw edge of flag inside folded strip and stitch into place.  Place another row of stitching ¼” inside from the original stitching for extra strength.

  6. Attach grommets on the white band at top and bottom.  Follow directions on grommet package.

  7. Attach flag to flag pole and display your flag proudly.


Fly Your Flag Regularly and Correctly

Important Do’s when flying Old Glory:


  1. It is the universal custom to display the national flag only from sunrise to sunset. The U.S. flag may be displayed at night, if lit with lights, when a patriotic effect is desired.

  2. Display the U.S. flag on all days that weather permits, but especially on national and state holidays. 

  3. Always hoist the U.S. flag briskly, and lower it ceremoniously.




Natalia Spilmon-

Natalia’s Elegant Tailoring

Mt. View, CA



Eddie’s Quilting Bee

264 Castro Street

Mt. View, CA



Jo-Ann Fabrics

308 Walnut Street

Redwood City, CA


Make Your Own American Flag!

By Debbie Colgrove


My best,

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