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  • Cross Stitch Gifts For Men

    Top Gifts To Cross Stitch Men

    Men can be hard to cross stitch for, but found some unique gift ideas for you! Stitch these designs and he is sure to love them, whether he loves hunting or sports, and whether he farms, works in an office, or served in the military. Get started on these unique cross stitch gifts for men today!

    1. A Set Of Stitched Sports Towels: These sport themed towels will be great for him to take to the gym or decorate the bathroom with. There's a design for him here whether he loves soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball, or even bodybuilding. Stitch one, or give the whole set. Give the man on your list these unique cross stitch towels from The Best of Terrie Lee Steinmeyer.

    Cross Stitch Sports Towels For Men

    2. A Picturesque Scene: Capture the beauty of nature with incredibly realistic detail that the outdoorsman or hunter will be sure to appreciate. This Beautiful cross stitch pieces will make handsome home decor for his den, study, living room, or cabin. Start on this beautiful cross stitch piece today with Wildlife Portraits.

    Cross Stitch Wildlife Portrait For Men

    3. A Witty Quote: Give the gift of wisdom this year with this quick-to-stitch piece. Any man will be sure to get a laugh out of it. Start cross stitching the perfect gifts for the men  on your list now with this easy ePattern.

    Witty Cross Stitch For Men

    4. A Christmas Coffee Set: The Chocolate-Peppermint Coffee Mix recipe stored in a jar with a cross stitch-embellished jar lid will surely perk up a friend during the hectic Christmas season. To add sweetness to your gift, include a few peppermint sticks for stirring the holiday blend. The perfect, easy gift for a man who loves coffee. Try out this unique gift idea now with the Christmas Coffee ePattern.

    Christmas Coffee Cross Stitch For Men

    5. A Patriotic Stitch: Remember those who fought to keep our flag flying with this patriotic cross stitch piece featuring American military men from 1776, 1812, 1848, 1861, and 1900. Patriotic men, or men who have served their country, will love this design. He will hang it up to show how proud he is to be an American! Start this historical cross stitch now with the Lest We Forget ePattern.

    Patriotic Cross Stitch For Men

    6. A Handy List Of Office Excuses: If there is a man on your list in the office, he will totally understand this witty gift. He will love to hang up this list of excuses in the break room or in his cubicle. Some excuses include "I'm waiting for an okay" and "That's the way we've always done it." Perfect for professional slacker - stitch this gift today with the Office Excuses ePattern.
    Office Excuses Cross Stitch For Men

    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Cross Stitch.

  • Happy 4th of July!


    I hope you're having a wonderful holiday with friends and family.  Thanks for always stopping by for crafting ideas.  Happy holidays!

    The patterns and recipes for these pictures can be found in the following links:
    The dishcloths are in Dishcloths and the dress is the Happy Day #2 pattern
    The American flag afghan is the All American Crochet Afghan pattern
    The recipe for the berry desert is in Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday
    Instructions for the wreath are in Deco Mesh Wreaths

  • Quick and Easy Patriotic Dishcloths for the 4th!

    Remember when I said I thought everything could be patriotic if you just made it red, white, and blue?  Well, I've been testing that theory out lately and I think I'm completely right.  I even have a collection of cottony crocheted things taking up half of my table to prove it!

    Here's three cheerful-looking Spiral dishcloths from Dishcloths.  They're pretty perky all by themselves, but when you put these three colors together it makes for a festive collection.  This would be a nice hostess gift if you're invited to any barbeques this summer.

    This is a modified version of the Lacy Stripe pattern from Dishcloths.  And even though there are color changes, I made most of this while watching my little girl splash around in the bathtub.  I wanted this to look like bunting, and I kind of wish I'd made the second row blue and somehow changed things to make this look just a bit stripier.  But I really love the red edging.

    And here's the Fast Favorite pattern from (where else?) Dishcloths.  Even though I've probably made this pattern at least twenty times, I never tried it with the three colors called for.  So here we are!  Fast and festive!

    And lastly, here's a festive sundress for you kitchen.  It's a dish soap bottle dress, but you can dress up just about anything.  I just used the Happy Day #2 pattern and alternated red and blue for the rows that called for a solid yarn, and subbed the white yarn for variegated.  And this can be used for a dishcloth, but I'd be a little mad at you if you did because I think this is too pretty for that.

    With all this red, white, and blue cotton over here, my place is starting to look pretty patriotic for July 4th?  What about you?  Have you ever changed up a pattern to make it look more fitting for a holiday?

  • Making a Patriotic Tutu

    I don't know why I feel the need to preface today's post with a disclaimer, but I do:

    I am not a tutu mom.

    I'm just not.  I pick out baby clothes that are not especially ruffly, I have weird rules about animal prints for my daughter, and when my little girl was an infant she never had one of those headbands with the enormous flower on top.  I like simple onesies and thrift store shorts and organic cotton unisex t-shirts.

    But it turns out I have a tutu daughter.

    I don't know if I should blame the aunts and grandparents for buying her pinkpinkpink merchandise, if I should rail against the insidious marketing monsters who have convinced my child that we have to read princess books every day, or if I should shrug my shoulders and accept that my sister's genetic predisposition to loving purses, shoes, and statement jewelry pieces have been passed on to my kid.  For the last couple of months, I've been choosing the last option.

    Whatever the cause, the girl's just fancy.

    Fancy little girls need crowns and bright pink clothes and princess figurines that are stored in glittery purses.  And tutus.

    So when I saw the book A Tutu for Every Occasion, I said a silent prayer of thanks that we made it 2 whole years without a tutu in the house and checked the shopping list for the Patriotic Tutu in time for Memorial Day next week.  I decided to skip the Patriotic Headband because my little creature has mixed feelings about headbands, and I also decided that rhinestones on the felt stars might still pose too much of a choking threat at this stage in the game. 

    Other than that, I made the tutu following the directions exactly.  I don't know if my sweet girl will wear this on Memorial Day or if she's going to wear it every day forever.  It's looking like it might be the latter.  But I liked the themes in A Tutu For Every Occasion, and I appreciated the clear instructions.

    It's pretty great for $20 of supplies and 30 minutes of work!

    And I must say, she looks so darn cute in her patriotic tutu.  She was absolutely delighted to see it when she woke up from her nap and immediately had to wear it all night.  She was more than willing to put it on again for a few more pictures the next day.

    If I could offer any advice about this quick little project, it would be to buy tulle.  Just tulle.  Not glitter tulle as the instructions call for.  Because glitter tulle sheds more glitter than I could have ever thought to dread.  And every time the tulle moves, glitter falls like a gentle snow.

    I put the tutu on a two-year-old, though, and the glitter blizzard has not been kind to our carpet. Still, our lovely little American enjoys her new 'skirt' and I had fun making it.  I think she'll get a lot of wear out of it this summer.

    It's almost enough to make me think about making the Princess Ensemble.....

  • 4th of July Picnic Dessert

    {Hey Everybody! Our Leisure Arts Food Editor, Celia Harkey, is guest blogging again today! She’s ready for 4th of July picnic food and offering up a free Patriotic Dessert recipe for you from our Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday cookbook!}
    When I plan for my 4th of July picnic, I start thinking of all the wonderful garden-fresh foods we have available to us. On my list every year – sweet corn, watermelon, and fresh berries. For me, fresh berries can only mean that sweet, juicy, and oh-so-delicious combination of blueberries and strawberries—perfect for every 4th of July picnic. Add creamy dairy, and you have the recipe for our Patriotic Dessert – a stars & stripes picnic of flavors (plus throw in some hot dogs, hamburgers, and a lotta barbecued ribs)! 

    Frances, a fellow LA’er, got my taste buds in the mood for fresh berries when she showed up at my desk with a bag of freshly picked blueberries that she and her husband David had grown. Can you ask for a better treat to snack on (except a bag of strawberries would have doubled my enjoyment!)? I hope you will search out your local market in time to make the Patriotic Dessert recipe given below. Any variety of fresh berries would be scrumptious, but for my 4th of July picnic, it has to be blueberries and strawberries – going for the red, white, and blue in true holiday spirit!

    The “berrylicious” Patriotic Dessert recipe is from a creative gift-giving flip book from Leisure Arts: one side has Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday; the other is Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas. This great combination of creative ways to make tasty recipes into gifts will come in handy for all occasions. For the 4th of July or any summertime invitation, you can showcase the Patriotic Dessert in a glass trifle bowl that will double as a hostess gift. 

    2 cups whipping cream
    2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    2 quarts fresh strawberries, halved
    2 quarts fresh blueberries
    Place a large bowl and beaters from an electric mixer in freezer until well chilled.
    2. In chilled bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract until fluffy. Gradually add whipped cream to cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth and stiff peaks form.
    3. For garnish, reserve about 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries.
    4. In a trifle bowl (we used a 5-inch-high x 8-inch diameter bowl) or large glass container, layer whipped cream mixture and remaining strawberries and blueberries, ending with whipped cream mixture.
    5. Garnish top with strawberry halves and blueberries to resemble a flag.
    6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Yield: about 16 servings

    While we are on the subject of tasty food gifts, look at these delish Red-White-And-Blue-Muffins with a hand-painted, decorative Flag Plate.

    The muffins have lots of goodies in them, including oats and buttermilk, and have a patriotic theme with maraschino cherries, vanilla or white chocolate chips, and fresh blueberries. Instructions for making the star-spangled plate with patterns and techniques are just one of many imaginative gifts in Best of Gifts of Good Taste/Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas. Sections in the all-year collection are: Quick Gifts, Tasty Gift Baskets, Friendship Gifts, Gifts by the Bagful, and Holiday Gifts. The Christmas collection has: Breads and Spreads, Cakes and Pies, Candies, Cookies and Bars, Sauces, Seasonings and Mixes, and Snacks and Sips.

    Order your copy of Best of Gifts of Good Taste/Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas today and have a Happy Independence Day!
  • Patriotic Craft Digital Download Patterns

    With a digital download pattern, you’ve still got time to get crafty on these fun little paint, plastic canvas, no-sew, and paper craft projects for the 4th of July!
    For a fun and inexpensive holiday decor accessory or gift, try out our digital download to paint Uncle Sam for Independence Day or any other patriotic occasion. Our design calls for Delta PermEnamel and Ceramcoat paints to be used on a readily available glass ivy bowl. Pattern and full instructions are included.
    Hurray for the red, white, and blue! And for our patriotic tissue box cover, too! Designed with Smyrna Cross Stitch stars and lots of stripes, this digital download is a spirited way to salute the Fourth of July or to honor friends and family in the military. The design is stitched using worsted weight yarn and 7 mesh plastic canvas.
    These little creations are easy to make and versatile to use. Try working the digital download designs on 7 or 10 mesh plastic canvas to decorate baskets, jars, wreaths, bags, and other items. They also can be made into package ties, plant pokes, magnets, coasters, and more.
    Show your pride in the red, white, and blue with our patriotic table runner! Created using a no-sew strip piecing method, it can also be draped across the table to serve as two place mats. Digital download includes patterns and full instructions.
    Pledge your allegiance to the land that you love with a stirring collage. Fashion a landscape with bits of paper torn from out-of-date magazines or advertising circulars, then add a sprinkling of words that express what America means to you. We placed ours in a store-bought mat and frame. Digital download includes pattern and full instructions.
    Affordable and portable, our instant digital download patterns are perfect for last minute patriotic crafts!
  • Patriotic Cross Stitch Digital Download Patterns!

    Looking for a patriotic cross stitch pattern to work on while you celebrate the 4th of July? I’ve found some great cross stitch ePatterns (digital download patterns) on
    Take a peek:
    Show how proud you are to be an American with this spirited, flag-waving sampler. The design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Tea-Dyed Irish Linen (28 count) and custom framed. The stitched wording says, “America, In God We Trust, Our Country, Our Destiny” and includes the alphabet and numbers.
    Show how proud you are to be an American! Remember those who fought to keep our flag flying with this patriotic cross stitch digital download featuring American military men from 1776, 1812, 1848, 1861, and 1900. Our design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Antique White Lugana (25 count) and custom framed.
    Show off Baby's true colors with this star-studded bib digital download. The patriotic pleaser is a snap to whip up in three all-American colors. The design was cross stitched on the 14 count insert of a denim bib. ALTERNATE PROJECT IDEA: Stitch the design on a length of any evenweave fabric and attach to a tote bag, a lunch box, or other item. If stitching on white fabric, substitute red or blue floss for white backstitching.
    Salute the broad stripes and bright stars of Old Glory by stitching our patriotic cross stitch digital download. It's great for Independence Day or during an election year. The design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Dirty Dublin Linen (28 count) and custom framed.
    Black fabric provides a dramatic background for this stately eagle, a proud symbol of our American heritage. The regal bird makes a fitting accent for your home on patriotic holidays -- or let your national spirit shine by displaying it all year through. The digital download was cross stitched on black Aida (16 count) and custom framed.
    Show your patriotism or support our military with this charming flag-themed cross stitch digital download. It will make the perfect addition to your July 4th decorations, too. This design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Antique White Lugana (25 count) and custom framed.
    These patriotic cross stitch pattern are inspiring me to pull out the needle and floss for the 4th of July! I love download patterns ’cause they’re affordable, portable, have no shipping fees, and you can get started stitching almost immediately! What more could you ask for!
  • 4th of July Party Food

    {Hey Everybody! We’ve got a guest blogger here on Everyday Life at Leisure for today! Welcome Celia Harkey, our Leisure Arts Food Editor! She’s all excited about 4th of July party food, and she’s got a free Peppermint Crunch Candy recipe for you from our Celebrating Party Foods cookbook!} 
    I enjoy patriotic holidays and I’m so looking forward to next week—Independence Day or, as most of us call it, the 4th of July! I love getting out all my red, white, and blue decorations, including large and small American flags, plus numerous other patriotic items to set the 4th of July party theme.

    In addition to the patriotic sparkle, summer is a fun time to have a delicious variety of hot and cold party food to share with friends, family, and neighbors. Leisure Arts’ Celebrating cookbook series includes Celebrating Party Foods—an enjoyable assortment of foods with fun themes as well as hostess tips and decorating ideas.

    One of my favorites is a Christmas Open House celebration that you could use for 4th of July. WHHHHAAAAT??? I can just hear you now, “Christmas party food for 4th of July?” The best thing about the Celebrating Party Foods cookbook is its entertaining collection of 13 menus, each with a tasty selection of recipes for party food and Success with Parties tips. So what am I going to do to change Christmas into patriotic! It’s much easier than you might think!

    The Holiday Open House chapter, with 21 recipes, includes some of the following party food: Hot and Sweet Tidbits, Festive Cheese Ball, charcoal-grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Jezebel Sauce, Party Meatballs, Peppermint Crunch Candy, Cheesecake Bites, Chocolate-Coconut Cream Fudge, Merry Cherry Cocktails, and ice-cold Sparkling Fruit Tea. So to transform Christmas into 4th of July, just think patriotic red, white, and blue!

    A sweet, cinnamon- and chili-flavored appetizer is Hot and Sweet Tidbits. This is a perfect crunchy snack to nibble in the cool shade with a glass of ice-cold Sparkling Fruit Tea. The tidbits are made with cereal, nuts, popcorn, and seasonings and then red and green candy-coated chocolate pieces are added before serving. To change from one season to another, just substitute summertime red, white, and blue candy-coated chocolate pieces—it’s that easy.

    The Festive Cheese Ball is a tasty blend of Parmesan and cream cheeses with bits of celery and carrots for a touch of crunch. This flavorful spread is shaped into a ball and decorated with green, red, and yellow sweet pepper cutouts to resemble a Christmas ornament. From ornament to patriotic only requires a few changes! Press the cheese mixture into a star-shaped container lined with plastic wrap. After chilling, turn the cheese mold out onto a blue serving plate and decorate with finely chopped sweet red pepper and yellow pepper stars cut out with a small star-shaped aspic or cookie cutter.

    A quick and easy treat to make is the Peppermint Crunch Candy (see recipe below). These sweets are shown in the book in red, white, and green candy cups on a Christmas-theme plate. 

    Changing them to fit into your 4th of July party takes no extra time at all! Make the candies in patriotic-themed paper candy cups.


    24 ounces vanilla candy coating
    26 vanilla sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
    Crushed peppermint candy
    Place about 5-1/2 dozen paper candy cups on baking sheets; set aside.
    2. Melt candy coating in top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Fold cookie pieces into melted candy coating.
    3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of mixture into candy cups. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over tops before candy coating hardens.
    4. Chill about 15 minutes or until candy is firm.
    5. Store in a cool place.
    Yield: about 5-1/2 dozen candies

    Wasn’t it easy to make the Peppermint Crunch Candy? Then you should know that hosting parties for lots of different occasions will be a breeze for even the novice cook with this collection of 13 themed menus and 101 party food recipes. Celebrating Party Foods offers entertainment for all age groups, parties include a sweet baby shower, elegant chocolate party, holiday open house [that’s our 4th of July re-do!], wine and cheese party, bridal shower, girls’ night pasta party, casual meal for sports fans, teen fiesta, child’s birthday party, Halloween party, kids’ Christmas party, New Year’s brunch, and a book club luncheon. Some plans call for a variety of snacks and sweets, while others feature a complete dinner. Each provides a starter menu with kitchen-tested recipes plus ideas to enhance the fun. General cooking tips and advice for Success with Parties are included. Easy? And bonus—You can order the downloadable e-version of Celebrating Party Foods right now and be planning for your 4th of July party tomorrow!
  • Patriotic ePatterns to Crochet for the 4th of July

    Are you ready to start waving your American flag? Looking for a pretty patriotic crochet pattern to work on over the 4th of July holidays? Check out our downloadable ePatterns. These instant download designs are perfect for when you don’t want to wait for a pattern to come in the mail, plus they’re affordable ‘cause there are no shipping fees!
    Here are a few of my favorite patriotic ePatterns to crochet:
    The star-spangled bow tie on this adorable crocheted bear reflects his American heritage. Made popular during the term of President Theodore Roosevelt, the teddy bear has become an American favorite. For an old-fashioned look, we gave our bear an embroidered face and used wooden buttons to accent his movable arms and legs. What a lovable, huggable bear! It is crocheted using two strands of worsted weight yarn and a size H (5.00 mm) hook. We gave our bear an American flag to celebrate the day!

    Baby will be a Yankee Doodle doll in these patriotic American flag booties! Made using bedspread weight cotton thread (size 10), each bootie features red and white stripes and embroidered stars on the blue tops and soles. For a comfy touch, we sewed socks inside the footies to keep them snug on wee feet. We used a size 6 (1.80 mm) steel crochet hook.
    Patriotic pride isn't just for the 4th of July! You can showcase the red, white, and blue throughout the year with this all-American afghan. Star shapes dominate the airy center of each of the 7"-inch squares in this afghan; the striped edging is worked in Double Crochet Stitches. The afghan is crocheted using worsted weight yarn and a size I (5.50 mm) hook.
    Give a rousing salute to independence by displaying our patriotic granny square coverlet. Rustic shades of red, white, and blue, combined with a star-like center in each square, reflect our pride in Old Glory. It is crocheted using worsted weight yarn and a size G (4.00 mm) hook.
    Patriotic pride isn't just for the 4th of July! You can showcase the red, white, and blue throughout the year with this all-American afghan. Imagine looking up into the dark night at a sea of stars that range in brightness. That's what this afghan resembles with its two square motifs that alternate the placement of red and white stitches. The afghan is crocheted using worsted weight yarn and a size I (5.50 mm) hook. The plush blue fringe seems to extend the night sky.
    As a rousing salute to Old Glory, our patriotic pillow commemorates America's independence on the Fourth of July and throughout the year. This American flag pillow is crocheted using worsted weight yarn and a size H hook. Eight buttons create the circle of stars.
    With its bold stripes and field of star motifs, this throw pays tribute to the American flag. What a spirited accent for your decor on patriotic days or all through the year! The afghan is crocheted using worsted weight yarn and a size J (6.00 mm) hook.
    With these crochet ePatterns, you can have a great project to work on in time for the 4th of July holiday and a finished design that shows off your patriotism all year around!
  • Memorial Day Dessert Recipes

    Got any exciting Memorial Day plans for this long holiday weekend? We’re having a picnic, and I’ve been selected by my family to bring the desserts! To that end, I’ve once again been studying dessert recipe possibilities from our Leisure Arts cookbooks!
    To go with the Memorial Day theme, I think I’ve settled on two dessert recipes from our Family Living Horray For Cookouts $1.00 cookbook—a Patriotic Dessert featuring fresh strawberries and blueberries plus our Patriotic Cake that gets its all-American flair from red and blue fruit-flavored gelatins. Yum!
    Get yourself a copy of Family Living Hooray For Cookouts! Besides my favorite dessert recipes, it has 100 recipes for everything from casual to classic and sweet to savory. Check out the details…you might find another recipe that you need for your own Memorial Day celebration:
    “Meals shared in the Great Outdoors have a lot going for them—good tastes, good friends, great atmosphere. Families and friends relish their time together, relaxing and munching on their favorite simple foods. Here are 100 recipes for sauces and sides to serve with hot dogs or steak, chicken or pork, and sweets to complete the meals. Recipes include Hubcap Burgers, Southwestern Steak, Cowboy Barbecue Sauce, Easy Hot Dog Relish, Grilled Meat Seasoning, Favorite Fish Fry Seasoning, Reuben Spread, Spicy Beer Mustard, Tex-Mex Ketchup, Lemon Pepper Basting Sauce, Black Bean Dip, Tangy Peach Salsa, Rosemary Chicken Potato Salad, Rainbow Fruit Salad, S’More Cookies, Patriotic Cake, and other favorites.”
    And the cool thing is, Family Living Hooray For Cookouts is also available as an eBook, so you can download it right now—just in time for holiday cooking—for only 50 cents! Can’t beat that!
    Happy Memorial Day, y’all!

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