Personalized Wedding Gift

The customer was very happy to get this gift-wrapped personalized wedding gift. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The customer was very happy to get this gift-wrapped personalized wedding gift. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

“Dear Charlotte,Greetings on this Memorial day week end.  I spoke to you on the phone, you kindly revised my order and via. Yesterday I received the throw. It is ideal as is the packaging.  As you can imagine, I do thank you so very much. I will indeed recommend you broadly. Further i intend to go to your website and “browse!” smile. Warmly, Mary Jo”

Personalized Wedding Gift

We love hearing back from our customers and this personalized wedding gift is a wonderful example.

The customer had never ordered online so she was a little nervous about placing an online order. We not only took down all of her information but made sure her gift was carefully wrapped with her personalized gift card.

Inside, one of our best selling wedding and anniversary gifts, a personalized Country Double Wedding Ring quilt in a lap quilt throw size.

What makes Country Double Wedding Ring Quilt popular is that it includes a nice range of colors in the patchwork rings, easily making this handmade quilt flexible in any room decor. In addition, the double wedding rings can easily be personalized with custom embroidery:

Love the caption on this wedding quilt, don’t you? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Love the caption on this wedding quilt, don’t you? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This versatile handmade quilt also has loops on the back so Country Double Wedding Ring quilt can easily be used as a quilted wall hanging. When not threaded through curtain rods, the loops sit against the back of the quilt.

So glad this made Mary Jo happy and we look forward to hearing from her again soon!

Charlotte

Personalized Wedding Quilt Gift

Quotes are favorite ways to personalize a wedding quilt gift. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Quotes are favorite ways to personalize a wedding quilt gift. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Wedding Quilt Gift

There are a number of ways our customers personalize their quilt gifts. From adding custom names and special dates to choosing the custom embroidery font, personalized wedding quilt gifts have been a popular way to celebrate the special day.

However, our customers have found a couple more ways to personalize their wedding quilt gift.

First, they add a special saying or quote that either represents or is a favorite by the new couple. The quotes have varied from favorite Bible passages to sayings from the couple themselves, which adds a nice personalized touch to the wedding quilt.

There is a second way we have found our customers personalize their wedding quilt gift and that’s with the thread color they select. Although it’s more common to choose a color out of the wedding quilt, we have customers who also choose a couple and wedding’s color.

In this example, the customer chose a light blue for a forest green double wedding ring quilt, making the custom personalized embroidery stand out in contrast.

Free gift card included in our personalized wedding quilt gifts. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Free gift card included in our personalized wedding quilt gifts. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

For examples of other personalized double wedding ring quilts, check the photos posted with our Country Double Wedding Ring lap quilts, throws and quilted wall hangings.

Charlotte

Personalized Gift Wrapped Quilt Card

I added this honey bee to the gift card for a beekeeper. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I added this honey bee to the gift card for a beekeeper. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Gift Wrapped Quilt Card

There are so many ways to personalize a handmade quilt, from adding custom embroidery to personalizing the gift card with a photo or something unique.

All of our handmade quilts and gift kits are shipped with a free gift card. We also add a special gift card when we gift wrap and ship to a different destination.

In this particular case, the handmade quilt was a gift for a beekeeper so a little bee made its way to the gift card.

It would be something we would also add to a card on our custom beekeeper’s gift kit.

How does it look all together?

Handmade quilt gift-wrapped with the personalized card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Handmade quilt gift-wrapped with the personalized card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I have to confess, this is my favorite part of shipping, the gift-wrapping and adding the personalized gift card with your unique message.

Charlotte

Crazy Quilt Stitches Gift Set

The thread snips will come in quite handy with the embroidery stitches in this book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The thread snips will come in quite handy with the embroidery stitches in this book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Crazy Quilt Stitches Gift Set

Crazy Quilt Stitches by Dorothy Bond is a wonderful brand new collectible book for the quilter and embroiderer. There are so many little things that make this laminated 6.5x6.3 inch book special.

First, it’s laminated, which means the pages won’t wear out from getting repeatedly turned.

Secondly, the spiral binding makes it easy to turn pages and keep them at the page you need them to copy the embroidery stitch.

Finally, there are so many interesting embroidery stitches that can be used on a crazy quilt design.

The crazy quilt was made popular during Queen Victoria’s time and made use of fabric scraps set in blocks at all sorts of angles. The blocks where finished with embroidery.

Here’s a more modern take of the crazy quilt concept, our Harvest Crazy Quilt:

Harvest Crazy Lap Quilt throw has some of the stitches in Dorothy Bond’s book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Harvest Crazy Lap Quilt throw has some of the stitches in Dorothy Bond’s book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Some embroidery stitches are classics. The daisy, for example, is a personal favorite and so useful for a variety of things including embellishment.

Dorothy Bond’s Crazy Quilt Stitches book features other stitches I have yet to try, which reminds me of bird feet.

Cretan is an interesting stitch I haven’t tried yet. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cretan is an interesting stitch I haven’t tried yet. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

On the back of the book copyright 1981, more embroidery inspiration for borders including butterflies.

Have to try the little spider in its web on the book back! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Have to try the little spider in its web on the book back! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

To make this into a gift set, we’ve added brand new thread snips, which make removing left over embroidery floss easy once it is tied off on the back.

As someone who has embroidered for many decades, I would love to get this Crazy Quilt Stitches set as a gift!

Charlotte

Personalized One Sheep Baby Quilt Gift

A matching sheet toy carries the gift-givers good wishes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A matching sheet toy carries the gift-givers good wishes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized One Sheep Baby Quilt Gift

Some baby quilt gifts take a little creativity to pull together, especially the free toy gift that we include to carry the givers best wishes. When it comes to One Sheep Two Sheep Baby Quilt, the decision is easy and obvious, although I still am particular about what kind of sheep toy we include.

Frankly this is one of my all-time favorite little sheep baby quilts and sheep toys. The sheep toy has movable arms and legs and a very soft pelt, similar to the soft, raised fur on the applique sheep on the handmade baby quilt.

Of all of the baby quilts we offer, this one is definitely in a 3-d vibe.

This little sheep toy has movable legs. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This little sheep toy has movable legs. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Our gift toys are also custom and unique so this is the only little toy sheep we currently have in stock to keep One Sheep Two Sheep Baby Quilt company.

Once I add the gift tag with the good wishes, I tuck the sheep toy inside the baby quilt to comfortably make the trip to its new home.

Tucking the toy sheep inside for its trip to its new home. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Tucking the toy sheep inside for its trip to its new home. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

And to finish off the shipping, I wrap the baby quilt and toy so the recipient knows this is a custom personalized gift just for her.

All wrapped up and ready to be shipped. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

All wrapped up and ready to be shipped. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The nice thing about One Sheep Two Sheep Baby Quilt is that it works for both girls and boys so it makes a nice baby shower gift.

Now off to shop for more sheep for my little quilt flock!

Charlotte

Personalized Pastel ABC Baby Quilt Gift

Adding a free gift toy to carry good wishes can be challenging. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Adding a free gift toy to carry good wishes can be challenging. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Pastel ABC Baby Quilt Gift

I have lost track of how many personalized baby quilts we have finished and shipped for this customer and it’s always fun to work with her.

This time it was a new grand niece and she wanted some suggestions for a “non-girly pink” baby quilt. After going through several options, we settled on Pastel ABC Baby Quilt, a customer favorite over the years for both boys and girls. Frankly it has also been a personal favorite when I give a baby gift quilt.

One of the frequent questions customers ask is how much of the baby’s name should be included. My answer is that is a matter of personal taste. We have some customers who add first, middle and last names, others who just include the first and middle names. In this case, the customer only added the first name but in a 2” font size, which is a nice way to celebrate the new family member.

Because she didn’t want pink, I suggested a matching lavender for one of the fabrics included in the baby quilt.

Once the name was settled, it’s my turn to make some choices about the free toy to include. Since she didn’t want anything pink I settled on this cute fabric mouse with only a pink nose to carry the customers good wishes.

The 4-inch white space at the bottom makes a good custom embroidery spot. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The 4-inch white space at the bottom makes a good custom embroidery spot. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Sometimes customers give me a hint on what to include, such as suggesting a cat or dog toy. Without a suggestion, I try to match something the customer has told me about the family. And yes, sometimes this step takes me the most time, it’s like going on a treasure hunt through the information I have heard to find something appropriate.

The nice thing about Pastel ABC Baby Quilt is that there are a lot of color options!

Charlotte

Personalized Furniture Refinishing Kit

We personalized this custom furniture refinishing kit with actual honey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

We personalized this custom furniture refinishing kit with actual honey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Furniture Refinishing Kit

Over the years, our customers have given our personalized furniture refinishing kits for a variety of occasions birthdays and Christmas gifts to housewarming, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. I may be wrong but this order was our first for a retirement gift and I thought as I was wrapping it to ship, what a perfect gift for someone about to start a new chapter in their life.

When I think of all of the things I had on my to do list prior to retiring from my former full time job, refinishing furniture was on the top 20 of that list. It’s not so much that it is hard to do, it just takes time and patience to get it done correctly. When one is working full time, it is easy to rationalize putting a project like that off because it’s hard to carve out a length of time one can devote to working with wood.

In addition to personalizing the kind of Howard RestorAFinish added to this gift set, I added another special treat that the recipient can enjoy separate of the furniture refinishing kit. Imagining how the gift recipient would feel getting this furniture refinishing kit as a retirement gift and what it represents, I added a little jar of Bluebird Gardens honey to enjoy with her cup of tea as she sits back and admires the finished furniture project. Or contemplates what she wants to do with the project before she starts but realizes she doesn’t have to rush getting into it.

Either way, that’s what I like to do!

Charlotte

Pink Dogwood Tree Gift

My pink dogwood tree now in bloom, a gift from a dear friend. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My pink dogwood tree now in bloom, a gift from a dear friend. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Pink Dogwood Tree Gift

I like to give friends a tree in memory of a lost one. I have done so for decades, letting the recipient chose a tree that means something to them and the missing loved one and my making arrangements to either plant it for them, or finding someone to do so.

So it was with delight that a very dear friend surprised me with a pink dogwood tree many years ago. He knew I was systematically adding Missouri’s state tree, cornus florida, to my limestone hillside garden so he chose to give me “something extra special,” a pink dogwood tree.

I have to confess, at first I didn’t know if I would like the color. When I think of my garden colors pink doesn’t immediately come to mind but Sunbonnet Sues Handmade Quilt in pink does. One of my first ever handmade quilts was one my mother made out of Sunbonnet Sues in a variety of pink fabrics. But I digress.

About the same time that native dogwoods bloom, my garden is covered in a pink haze from another one of Missouri’s lovely spring-blooming trees, the Eastern Redbud.

Deciding I liked the sentiment expressed by the gift tree more than a matched garden, I planted the pink dogwood by the path leading to the front of my house so it could welcome me home as I pulled into my garage.

Similar to Missouri’s state tree, the pink dogwood has added color on petal edges. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Similar to Missouri’s state tree, the pink dogwood has added color on petal edges. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The pink dogwood tree pops out behind an evergreen hiding what is behind the pathway leading into my garden, a nice way to offer a little garden surprise.

The pink dogwoodf lower colors start out strong, then slowly fade to a lighter color before the blooms disappear.

Native white dogwoods are notoriously difficult to get established so I wasn’t sure how successfully the pink dogwood tree would settle in. We lived for several years with tree branches hitting me in the face as I walked by and a couple of branches reaching into an odd angle but that gave the tree character.

This year the pink dogwood tree branches are finally tall enough to reach over my head so I don’t have to duck every time I pass under it.

I planted the gift pink dogwood where it would welcome me home. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I planted the gift pink dogwood where it would welcome me home. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

From a personal perspective, this gift pink dogwood tree also reminds me of how much enjoyment a gift tree can give. I think of my friend every time I look at it, remembering the evenings of sharing hopes, dreams and wishes as well as a lot of gardening talk. Not only is a gift tree a lovely sentiment but I can attest the gift tree keeps on giving year after year.

Charlotte

Personalized Gift Basket with Ornament

One of our handblown glass bee ornaments topping this gift basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One of our handblown glass bee ornaments topping this gift basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Gift Basket with Ornament

My mother loved Christmas ornaments. She would pick them up at yard sales, thrift stores and Hallmark store sales after Christmas, storing them in a little hallway closet. Whenever someone would visit, or she had to thank someone, she would do it with a Christmas ornament.

My friend Margaret also started a nice tradition with ornaments. She gives one every year to a family member, writing the date on the bottom and selecting something that was memorable about that year.

The generosity of these two ladies inspired me to add one of our handmade, hand blown glass honey ornaments to the top of this gift basket.

The gift basket includes two jars of our Bluebird Gardens honey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The gift basket includes two jars of our Bluebird Gardens honey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The basket has two jars of honey, one as the bees made it, the second creamed honey. I added the graphic TEDXMissouriS&T is using to market their April 11, 2019 evening of ideas worth sharing since it gave the basket a nice back drop. And yes, I will be one of the speakers.

It takes bees visiting about 40,000 flowers to collect the nectar and dehydrate it into one teaspoon of honey. To make 20 ounces of honey, the number of flowers they have to visit is in the billions.

The basket is for a silent auction to benefit our local Extension Council.

Here’s the gift basket all together! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Here’s the gift basket all together! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I have to confess, one of my cats took a swipe or two at the dangling ornament before it made it safely out of the house but short of that, the flying bee over the basket seems quite appropriate.

Charlotte

Personalized Gardening Starter Kit

Donated personalized gardening starter kit to a spring conference. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Donated personalized gardening starter kit to a spring conference. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Gardening Starter Kit

This spring I was one of the speakers at a state beekeeping conference focused on planting natives for bees. It’s hard to cover the topic without discussing the fundamentals of gardening, especially the need for good healthy soil. Knowing the conference would have a silent auction, I quickly made up this personalized gardening starter kit with an excellent Fundamentals of Gardening book; handmade gardening soap; gardening claws and, for a special treat, a little jar of honey that took bees visiting 100,000 flowers to make.

In addition, I shared seeds from two of my favorite plants, Cushaw pumpkins, the native North American pumpkin that most likely was at the first Thanksgiving, as well as zinnias. The zinnias are not native but they are so easy to grow and provide wonderful pollen and nectar for a variety of pollinators. For a beginning gardener, zinnias are a guaranteed win.

Alice, the silent auction winner, came up to me at the end of the conference to tell me how delighted she was with her gardening starter kit. Her son had squirreled away her yard sale gardening book so she bid on the starter kit for the book. Her family, however, is excited about the gardening claws. Her husband wants to scratch the dog with the claws and another family member thinks they would be excellent for a Halloween costume. So glad to hear they have found many other handy uses for the gardening claws!

I warned Alice the soap will last a long time so not to be thrown off by the small size. She said she will be happy to have something handy as soon as she gets in from the garden and ,in terms of the honey, she has very specific plans for that and they don’t involve sharing.

Enjoy your gardening starter kit, Alice and let me know how the seeds do in your garden!

Charlotte

What's In a Name?

Pre-printed labels add a nice personalized touch to something handmade. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Pre-printed labels add a nice personalized touch to something handmade. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

What’s In a Name?

One of the easiest ways to personalize a gift is to add a name. In the case of Bluebird Gardens-made items, we add our signature patented logo label with a ladybug on the back of our items. The quilts are shipped with a care guide and certificate of authenticity, which gives our customers an extra assurance that they know the original source of their items.

Periodically someone asks us how to personalize a gift without them having a pre-printed label. That’s easy, have a local embroidery shop embroider a name and special date on fabric you can then make into a label.

You can make your own labels with personalized embroidery. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

You can make your own labels with personalized embroidery. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Last week, we helped a customer making her own first quilt personalize the gift for her granddaughter by suggesting she include the granddaughter’s name in the quilt, like we did in this custom reversible t-shirt quilt we make.

She is also going to have a label made out of custom embroidery with her name and date to add to the back of the custom quilt.

Add a name with custom embroidery in a custom quilt center. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add a name with custom embroidery in a custom quilt center. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Even if you are making the quilt for yourself, make sure to add a label with your name and date on it. The information adds value to the quilt and will make it even more special to your family and friends if you give it as a personalized gift.

Charlotte

Personalized Pastel ABC Baby Quilt Gift Card

Pastel ABC gift card.jpg

Personalized Pastel ABC Baby Quilt Gift Card

There are many ways to personalize a gift baby quilt. We can add custom embroidery, print off a photo to add and add embroidery to the back side.

Another way to personalize this Pastel ABC Baby Quilt is to make a custom gift card. One of our customers took a photo of the baby recipient and made a gift card. This example is a photo of the custom embroidery. Between the two ideas, I like the one about taking a photo of the baby and having the gift card made out of the photo. It would be a lovely way to personalize the the baby quilt, don’t you think?

Charlotte

Personalized Ornaments

A sweet ballerina mouse ornament personalized for the receiver. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A sweet ballerina mouse ornament personalized for the receiver. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Ornaments

The month after Christmas is a good time to shop for ornaments you want to personalize as gifts. Whether you are buying new ornaments or pre-loved ornaments from thrift shops, look for ornaments that mean something to the recipient that you can easily customize.

One of the easiest ways to personalize an ornament is to date it and note why you are giving it with the story on a little added tag. A friend gives her nieces and nephews a dated ornament with a story every year so by the time they are leaving home they have a nice set of Christmas ornaments for their own tree with childhood memories attached. Literally.

This particular Christmas ornament was picked up because it was for a fellow ballerina who had a family member dancing in a “Nutcracker” production.

This charming ornament is holding a nutcracker. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This charming ornament is holding a nutcracker. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Since the recipient is also a beekeeper, it was pretty easy to personalize this charming Christmas ornament. Do you see it?

No one had to date this one to know who was getting it!

Add a little bee to personalize this ornament for a beekeeper. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add a little bee to personalize this ornament for a beekeeper. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Another way to easily personalize an ornament is to add a date and the location of where something happened. The location is a good trigger for the memory attached to the ornament.

If the ornament like this pink ballerina needs a defining addition, head to your local hobby shop and see if there is a miniature you can add to the ornament.

Since three is the charm I added another bee on the foot. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Since three is the charm I added another bee on the foot. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

If the ornament marks a special event such as a wedding or anniversary, considering picking up an ornament display hangar so that it can be enjoyed all year around.

One last bee on the back of the ornament. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One last bee on the back of the ornament. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

If giving ornaments every year to family members, it is helpful to keep a list of what ornaments you have given so that you don’t duplicate the memory.

Have you ever given Christmas ornaments as personalized gifts?

Charlotte

Personalized Photo Book Marks

dog book marks.jpg

Personalized Photo Book Marks

Here’s another way to use the magnetic book mark idea for personalized gifts, especially if you need a last minute gift idea. Print off favorite photos and make them into a magnetic book mark the size of a card that can also be personalized inside.

I’m giving family members books this year and printed these photos off their Facebook page. I really like the one of the Beagles fighting over the purple food bowl, it well represents them!

I tested the size and these could also make nice Christmas cards. I would add a line on the back explaining what they are and cut them to fit envelopes if you plan to mail them.

Attaching magnet pieces inside turn these cards into book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Attaching magnet pieces inside turn these cards into book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I also made one for myself from one of my favorite photos of my cat sitting in her window basket. Wouldn’t a whole set of cards that can be used as book marks come in handy? I’m thinking I need of set of cats in different poses.

Every time I see this photo it reminds me I need to print off more of the snow scenes to make book mark cards. I have a lovely set of photos from an early snow storm that would be nice to enjoy again and again.

Love this photo of my cat in her window basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Love this photo of my cat in her window basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

For avid readers on your gift list, a box of 8 or 10 different magnet book marks with a favorite saying written or printed inside would make a lovely gift for any occasion. Since making some of these for my own use, I find that I use them quickly and could use more!

Charlotte



Give the Gift of Classes

A gift certificate to basic beekeeping classes by  Rolla Bee Club.  (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A gift certificate to basic beekeeping classes by Rolla Bee Club. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Give the Gift of Classes

Of all of the personalized gift suggestions over the years, this is one that continues to surprise people once they give it: the gift of classes.

It may not seem like the fanciest present to place under the tree but it can be if you place it inside a fancy box with a big bow. You can also give an item associated with the class and attach the gift certificate that says you are getting this class with the specific date so you need this item.

The one caveat is make sure the person getting the class wanted to learn about the particular topic, whether it be photography,, skiing or beekeeping. As the Rolla Bee Club signs up students for the 2019 basic beekeeping classes, we are asking the gift giver if the person has expressed an interest in beekeeping and all have confirmed that has been on their bucket list.

If you are not sure where to find classes, check with your local University extension office, many offer a variety of classes during the year.

Local vocational technical schools also have adult winter classes for the general public, that is where I have found the photography classes.

Recent studies show that learning something new is a confirmed way to keep our brains healthy and growing, which leads to a longer, more fulfilling life. Now that’s a gift everyone should appreciate!

Charlotte

Personalized Quilt Gift Tag

A fun touch with this gift quilt, the gift tag matches! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A fun touch with this gift quilt, the gift tag matches! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Quilt Gift Tag

There are a number of ways to personalize a gift quilt. The most popular way is to custom embroider a variety of things including someone’s name, special date, a quote or add a photo printed onto fabric.

When it is a quilt purchased by someone as a gift, we try to make the gift tag special and in this case, we managed to match the gift tag to the quilt itself. Our gift tag featured red trillium flowers, one of several wildflowers featured in our Cottage Wildflowers quilt.

The quilt is being given as a gift to a sister with a lovely dedication in the matching gift tag.

And the buyer?

They also get a special treat, do you see it packed in with the quilt?

Another surprise added for the buyer, do you see it? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Another surprise added for the buyer, do you see it? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

We included one of our honey seed saver packs, wrapped in plastic, as a holiday gift for the buyer.

Our honey see saver packs include Bluebird Gardens honey in a plastic container and small wood honey dipper; the blue mesh bag can be used to dry seeds, which then can be stored in the empty plastic container to plant next year. The more plants we have blooming, the healthier our bees will be.

We hope both buyer and gift recipient enjoy their gifts!

Charlotte

Gift Idea Framed Newspaper Article

framed newspaper.jpg

Gift Idea Framed Newspaper Article

If you’ve look around at your local businesses, and been in business yourself, you know that starting up any business takes a tremendous amount of time and energy, so much so that something as simple as your ribbon-cutting can end up as a torn page out of the newspaper with your full intention of getting it framed to hang on your store wall.

That’s why getting the ribbon cutting photo of one of your favorite local businesses is a simple but thoughtful personalized gift.

We know how special people think our custom scrapbook quilts are with photos so anything that has someone’s photo can be made into a personalized gift.

In this case, it’s a local winery where I get to spend an evening every month or so with friends, enjoying a wonderful meal and learning what wine to pear with different dishes.

I added a white piece of paper to the back so we can all write a short personal dedication.

back of gift photo.jpg

Once we all get to sign it, we will personally deliver the photo to the business with our collective thanks for all of the work the owners and staff put into their mostly monthly wine-pairings.

Meramec vineyards staff.jpg

Sure it’s what they do as part of their business but having the ribbon-cutting article framed is something they probably haven’t had time to do yet.

Other new business owners have shared how much this meant to them so trust me, it’s a great gift idea that will be much appreciated!

Charlotte

Catnip Butterfly Cat Toys

Bob testing a pile of butterfly catnip toys. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Bob testing a pile of butterfly catnip toys. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Catnip Butterfly Cat Toys

When you live in a family that has dogs and cats, pet toys are on the gift list. For many years, I have made our family catnip toys with freshly-dried catnip from my garden and inspiration for the design from the garden as well.

Last year, my handmade felt catnip toy gifts were butterflies. I was inspired by working on Missouri’s Master Pollinator Steward program, a six-week course designed to help people interested in helping pollinators such as butterflies.

To make butterfly catnip toys, the design is simple. The toy needs the wings and a place to add the catnip.

Basic buttterfly catnip toy pattern made out of felt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Basic buttterfly catnip toy pattern made out of felt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Different-colored butterfly pieces ready to sew. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Different-colored butterfly pieces ready to sew. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Stitch the black portion on three sides and leave one side open to easily stuff the dried catnip.

Add catnip to the center piece once it’s stitched on three sides. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add catnip to the center piece once it’s stitched on three sides. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

These are so easy to make. Once stuffed, stitch the last side shut. Don’t stuff them too full, you just need enough to give the black center a little pouf or rise.

Butterfly catnip toys with catnip.jpg

Here they are all finished and ready for a test.

Store finished catnip toys in plastic away from inquisitive paws. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Store finished catnip toys in plastic away from inquisitive paws. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My family gift catnip toys are thoroughly tested by my cats. Actually I have to store them in plastic and place them on the top shelf of a cabinet to keep my cats from volunteering to test them.

Uh-oh, Bob looks like he wants ALL of them! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Uh-oh, Bob looks like he wants ALL of them! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Fun to see the handmade catnip butterfly cat toys unpacked but Bob was not supposed to get all of them!

Charlotte

Shipping First Granddaughter Gift

Personalized pink rag quilt gift set ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized pink rag quilt gift set ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Shipping First Granddaughter Gift Baby Quilt

There are few things more exciting than hearing a grandfather describe the arrival of his first grandson or, in this case, granddaughter. The excitement, joy, awe - yes, awe, is all in the voice as they describe the child’s name, when she was born, how much she weighed…

Over the years, we have been honored to ship baby crib quilt gift sets to many granddaughters and grandsons, some who we know still have their quilts because we have also spruced a few up over the years.

Although most of our baby crib quilts are custom and unique, we also personalize in a custom unique way. Some people will have us custom embroider just the first name, or the first and middle name. This grandfather chose the later along with the details of the grand arrival: date of birth, weight and height.

Wrapped in bubble wrap only for the journey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Wrapped in bubble wrap only for the journey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A pink bear toy delivers the special messages. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A pink bear toy delivers the special messages. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

And to celebrate the grand occasion, I included a little note to proud grandpa.

Shipping pink baby quilt gift.jpg

These rag baby crib quilts were made in USA. We still have another pink rag baby crib quilt in stock with green accents. Grandpa wanted one that was all pink so that’s what we selected for him.

What wonderful adventures are ahead for both of them!

Charlotte

Handmade Book Marks

A traditional metal heart book mark can be handmade as well as card book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A traditional metal heart book mark can be handmade as well as card book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Handmade Book Marks

There is a current retail report showing there has been a shift away from E-books back to traditional books. I am not surprised. Even though I love my portable electronic book for traveling, I prefer a book in hand when I’m home, especially ones with lovely illustrations and photographs. Yes, that means gardening books although there are other topics that have similar appeal such as recipe books.

If you give books as gifts like the American Encyclopaedia of Cooking, or if you just need a simple thoughtful gift idea, try making handmade book marks. I have made and given them over the years and regardless of what books include them, the thank you notes I have received have been all about the simple handmade book marks that were included.

There are a couple of basic handmade book mark designs: the pop up book mark and the one that lies flat on the page. Regardless of the kind you make, you will need one basic ingredient: magnets. You can recycle some of those on your refrigerator as long as you have two that attach to each other or buy a roll of magnet strips that can be easily cut into pieces available at most craft stores.

Handmade Card Book Marks

The easiest ones to make are the ones out of existing cards. Pick a card with a lovey sentiment you want to re-read, it’s a great way to repurpose thank you notes.

A roll of magnets that can be cut are easy to use. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A roll of magnets that can be cut are easy to use. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cut two pieces of magnets. Mine are about half an inch wide. You can cut them larger if you want more attaching power but be careful, if the magnets are too big they will tear the book page.

Once cut, remove the paper backing and attach to one side of the card. Add the second magnet piece to the first one; remove the paper backing and fold the card, that will ensure that the magnet pieces meet.

I leave the attached magnets in a book as a book mark to allow the glue to dry on the magnets.

Attach magnets to opposite sides inside the card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Attach magnets to opposite sides inside the card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

That’s it. Once the magnets are dry, the card can nicely be used to mark the last page you read or a favorite page you want to read again.

You can also make your own cards, then attach the magnets for personalized gifts. As an avid reader, I would love to have a set of these I can easily tuck into my reading pile.

The thank you card now can easily be used as a book mark. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The thank you card now can easily be used as a book mark. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Handmade Pop Up Book Marks

These are a great Thanksgiving weekend project for kids of all ages. Kids can cut photos out of magazines, attach printed photos onto card stock and cut out designs from last year’s Christmas cards to make into handmade pop up book marks.

The one on the right was made out of a favorite little frog prince magnet.

See how handmade pop up book marks work as well as metal ones. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

See how handmade pop up book marks work as well as metal ones. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Once the designs are cut, glue the design to folded cardboard card stock so that the card stock fold will wrap around a book page.

For the frog prince, I glued the frog so that the tip of his crown sticks up over where the cardboard cart stock folds over. I also left some card stock at the bottom to demonstrate that would be a good place to add someone’s name; there is room inside for writing as well.

Cut the card stock to compliment the design. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cut the card stock to compliment the design. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Once the card stock was cut, I added once piece of the magnet under the top side. After leaving it to dry for a few minutes, I added the second magnet piece to the first one.

Add second magnet piece to the attached first one. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add second magnet piece to the attached first one. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Remove the protective paper and fold the card back to the original shape so that the magnet strip will glue to the bottom piece.

Attached magnet pieces hold the book mark in place. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Attached magnet pieces hold the book mark in place. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

After allowing the magnet glue to dry, here it is, finished and ready for duty. If I wanted less card stock at the bottom, I could have applied the magnet strips to the bottom of the frog. I left the extra white card stock to demonstrate leaving space for adding a favorite saying or dedication.

My finished frog prince book mark where his crown will stick up over the book rim. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My finished frog prince book mark where his crown will stick up over the book rim. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Can you see the possibilities now? Imagine what you can do after printing family photos. Fun to make and even better to give away!

Charlotte