Quick 'n Cute Coffee Fabric Gift Box

Uncles, co-workers, brothers...it's hard to find, much less make, gifts for men. I made two of these baskets in one afternoon. I think any coffee drinker, whether man or woman, would like this collapsible fabric basket filled with coffees, mugs and sweets that is homemade especially for them by you!

Approx. 6"x6"x5" high fabric coffee basket.
One side says, "Espresso and chocolates. Say no more!"
It's collapsible & washable.

The fabric is from the "Cafe Americano" (yes, my artwork/ fabric collection!) manufactured by Wilmington Prints, which can be purchased at many nice quilt shops around the US and Canada or online. The fabric collection has delicious organic hues of espresso brown, luscious swirled cream, ripe coffee bean red and a touch of leaf green.

Click on this link for the free pattern and instructions to this cute little box. http://nancymink.blogspot.com/p/fabric-box_27.html

  • 3 Fat Quarters of various fabric patterns (I "fussy cut" out of 1/2 yd. of the border fabric for the sides, a fat quarter of the all-over coffee beans for the inside lining and a fat quarter of the brown stripe for the bottom/side)
  • 1/4 yd (or 1 package) of single-side fusible firm stabilizer
  • lightweight Velcro dots or cut strips
  • 2 large buttons for decoration

Click here to order fabric online at the Fat Quarter Shop.
There is also a matching apron that you can sew. Combine this with the fabric box for an extra special homemade gift. The fabric panel has everything, including the directions to make this apron, the coffee cup pockets and ties.
Apron made from one "Cafe Americano" panel.

Walking Among the Geese

Canadian Geese at the Tualatin River Ntl. Wildlife Refuge
Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be gorgeous. Not only did we have have our feast, but we also were able to get outside to enjoy mostly sunny and warmish days. To walk off a bit of the mincemeat pie, we took a short drive to the recently built Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge.

Tualatin River Ntl. Wildlife Refuge

This refuge was completed only a few years ago. It is in the center of a 712 square mile watershed, with over 200 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and 25 species of amphibians.

Osprey flying over the refuge (photo by Rick Leinen)
Bald Eagle (photo by Susan Faye)
Red-winged Blackbird

Stellar Jay

Geese flying overhead. Mt. Hood is in the background.

The viewing blind.
Clouds rolled in with a few sprinkles as we were leaving.

The benches and signs are works of art.
There are many nice walking paths with plenty of benches along the way.
Tualatin River National Refuge
 We took a 2 mile round trip path that follows the river to a viewing station. All of this is free for now. I read where they may charge a small fee soon. It is a first class wildlife sanctuary and one I don't mind supporting. I hope all of you that live in or visit northwest Oregon will get a chance to see this beautiful area that is filled with wildlife all year.

Keeping Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful for blessings. It's also an anxious time for many women with so much to do in preparation for the big Thanksgiving feast. Will there be enough energy left for black Friday?

Early Christmas Shopping (ps...those are "A Peaceful Christmas" dishes
which I designed. You can purchase them online...amazon.com - A Peaceful Christmas by Nancy E. Mink
Speaking of energy, I finally cleaned out my fridge to make room for a 28 pound turkey. Did I mention that is just for my husband and I this year?

Thanksgiving is my husband's favorite holiday. He makes it his mission to find the biggest turkey at the grocer's. I don't mind; the only difference between cooking that or a small turkey is the time in the oven. I've learned to plan and cook as much ahead of time as possible. Almost all of the side dishes and pies are made the day before and then heated in the oven while the turkey rests. The only last minute cooking is the gravy and rolls. I almost always forget the rolls!

I even have freezer boxes and bags waiting to be filled with leftovers. I prepare frozen "TV dinners" from much of the leftover food which comes in handy during busy holiday days or when work deadlines are looming. Of course, enough leftovers are kept handy for those delicious Thanksgiving weekend sandwiches. I'm not sure, but I may like the leftovers more than the main meal!

I get to enjoy Thanksgiving morning; a leisurely coffee by the fire and then a dip in the hot tub. Then, the turkey gets a good rubdown with spices and placed into the oven before a walk in the countryside. 

A walk through our Christmas trees
Thanksgiving day starts our holiday Scrabble tournament, too. It is the world series...7 games from Thanksgiving through Christmas with winner takes all! I look forward to stormy evenings when we play Scrabble by the light of the Christmas tree with a cup of hot cider.

So, you see, Thanksgiving with just the two of us isn't lonely. We keep traditions alive...some old, some new. It has become a time to look forward to.

I hope that whether you have one or thirty people to be with at Thanksgiving, you will form your own traditions to make this a time to look forward to each year.