Tutorial Tuesday #14 - Paper Doily Banners

I guess you could say that these colorful paper doilies have kind of become my signature look over the years. 

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They all started about eight years ago when I whipped up about 400 of them to hang in my store. We got so many complements on them and loved them so much that they became a permanent fixture at Strawberry Patches.

How happy are these?

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I love how you can coordinate your colors and themes to your room or party by the scrapbook paper or fabric you select.

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Here's how I made them:

Start with a large paper doily (or 400🤣) and separate into individual sheets. You can purchase paper doilies at craft stores, party stores or on Amazon.

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You will want to use a large doily because you will be folding it either in half or as in the case of the top photo, over by a third.

You will also need an assortment of fabrics, scrapbook paper or wrapping paper large enough to cover the solid center portion of the doily.

In addition you will need a glue stick, scissors, and twine. I had the cute tassel trim from Hobby Lobby and glued one on the point of each doily but this is completely optional.

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Using the solid center portion of one doily as a pattern, cut the shape from your paper or fabric. You will want to cover that solid area of the doily (see below).

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Using a glue stick, attach the paper or fabric to the doily, fold and wrap over the twine. Add a bit of glue to secure. That's it! You can space them as close together as you like and if you fold them in half they are double sided - looking the same on the front and back. I love the festive look they add to a space.

Let me know if you try these, I'd love to see photos!

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #13 - Ornament Wreaths


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Today I wanted to share with you some ideas for making wreaths using glass ornaments. This is such a fun project and a great way to use ornaments found on clearance, at thrift stores and at yard and rummage sales. I tend to collect ornaments as I find them throughout the year then add just a few key ornaments that completes the story I'm trying to tell.

Supplies: You'll need lots of round glass ornaments in various sizes. It's best to keep with just a few colors then add a couple of interesting ornaments to help with your theme. You'll need a glue gun with lots of glue sticks, a Styrofoam ring in any size and some wire or ribbon to make a hanger for the back. Remember that your wreath will end up bigger than the Styrofoam because of the ornaments that extend beyond the edges of the wreath.

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To Get Started: Lay out your ornaments to get an idea of placement and colors. I start by gluing ornaments around the outside of the Styrofoam ring and some smaller ones toward the inside. Once I have a general idea of placement I remove the metal caps from the tops of the ornaments and apply hot glue to the part of the glass ornament where the metal cap was removed. While the glue is hot, carefully press it into the Styrofoam, holding it for a few seconds until it begins to cool and set. The heat from the glue should melt a hole into the ring. You may need to poke a small hole into the Styrofoam first if your Styrofoam isn't melting. This will vary depending on the type of ring you are using. Continue layering ornaments, filling in gaps and placing key ornaments around the top of the wreath. You will notice on my wreaths that the part of the ornament where I removed the metal cap doesn't show. Only the decorative novelty ornaments have their caps left on and those are mostly placed on the tops of the wreaths. 

Where to Shop for Novelty Ornaments: I've found that Micheal's has the best selection of novelty ornaments and you can pick them up just before and after Christmas for 50%-70% off or at a discount anytime with their coupon. World Market and Hobby Lobby are also good places to look as well as Home Goods during certain holidays. Hobby Lobby has Christmas out about seven or eight months out of the year and they also have a good selection of plain ornaments in bulk by color. 

On the Valentine wreath below I knew I wanted reds, pinks and whites with just a touch of black. The red, pink and white ornaments were purchased after Christmas on clearance and the blacks were on super sale after Halloween. I just added a couple of inexpensive Hobby Lobby heart ornaments and the champagne and cake ornaments from Michael's added a romantic feel.

This wreath started with a glittery heart shaped wreath purchased at Hobby Lobby instead of a circle. You can see a bit of the red heart showing in the photo below.

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I was going for a French patisserie look with this next one. I was lucky to find a croissant, Eiffel Tower, macaroon and other bakery related ornaments on clearance at Michael's just before Christmas.

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On each of your wreaths you'll want to keep the colors somewhat related. On this one I knew I wanted soft muted tones in blush and soft whites and creams. I felt fortunate to find french themed ornaments in the colors I wanted. Because the Eiffel Tower and large cake had a bit of gold on them I worked some gold throughout the entire wreath. You just need to be a bit flexible with the final color scheme since your selection of novelty ornaments will probably be limited.  Although the large cake ornament was probably intended as a wedding cake I felt like it worked here. The same for the smaller birthday cake. You may need to think slightly outside the box when selecting ornaments. 

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I thought it would be fun to insert some floral moss for an added touch of spring in this Easter wreath.

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Again the ornaments were all purchased at a discount except for the three bunnies and carrot. By selecting pastel colors these Christmas ornaments suddenly took on a very springy look.

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Notice I pulled colors from the bunny into the round ornaments that I selected. The carrot was kind of an odd ball but I thought the bunny needed a carrot. 😉

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I ended up wiring a green wispy wreath behind this wreath for an even bigger, bolder look.

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This Halloween wreath is slightly smaller than the wreaths above. I already had many of the tiny ornaments for this one and I wrapped the Styrofoam wreath with a vintage tinsel garland before gluing on the ornaments. You can see the garland peaking out through the spaces between the ornaments and I like the texture and sparkle that it adds. You could do this same wrapping technique for any of these wreaths.

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Well, as you can see, you can make these wreaths for any holiday or occasion. I think they would be fun in school or team colors, for the front door for a bridal or baby shower, for the Fourth of July and of course for Christmas or New Years. The only limitation is your imagination and your luck in finding the perfect ornaments. 

Happy hunting! 

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 

 

 


Favorites Friday - Faux Tree Potting Hack

Here's my new favorite trick that I discovered just this week! It now seems so obvious that I wonder why I hadn't thought of it myself.

Over the past month I've been working on cozying up our home and recently purchased a couple of faux trees for some added greenery. 

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The fiddle leaf fig above is from QVC (currently sold out). It was such a great price but it needed a pot and even in the chunky basket that I had purchased last year at Kirkland's it looked a little bare just plopped in there. While shopping at Nell Hills earlier this week I noticed that their designers had used wreaths around the tops of the pots on some of their potted plants. Since I had several wreaths that I wasn't using, I came home and tried it and loved the look.

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Here's a faux fig tree that I potted in an olive bucket from Hobby Lobby with a slightly smaller 6" boxwood wreath at the top.

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Both boxwood wreaths are from Purple Rose Home and I love how wispy they are - perfect for this look. You could also insert a few trailing picks into a regular wreath and achieve a similar look.

A potted tree without the wreath...

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with the wreath

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and the added tree.

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I thought this was such a great idea that I just had to share it with you all. 

What are you doing to cozy-up your home? 

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Tutorial Tuesday #13 - Taffy Sundaes

These sundaes are so much fun to make and will last for years. I think they add a real fun factor to almost any tabletop decor. 

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Although I’m showing red, pink and white sundaes here for Valentines Day you can make them in any color combination, for any season.  

I buy my salt water taffy from Oriental Trading Company and love that you can purchase big bags by color. Although you probably won’t be eating the taffy (unless you have left overs or have a sweet tooth like me) know that they are soft and fresh and are really good. I appreciate that they arrive within a few days of ordering.

The first thing you’ll need to do is gather your containers. I’ve purchased sundae glasses at thrift stores and rummage sales. You can usually find them during the summer months at Walmart and dollar stores. Don’t limit yourselves to traditional old fashioned sundae glasses though. Here are some other ideas. 

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After selecting your container, measure the width of the opening and buy Styrofoam balls that size. For the clear glass dishes I wanted to fill the bottoms with coordinated candies and not see the bottom of the Styrofoam through the glass so I cut the balls in half with a serrated knife.  On the black and white dishes I left the Styrofoam balls whole which helped eliminate the need to glue onto the more expensive dish.

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You may need to sculpt the Styrofoam slightly so it fits securely into the top of your container.

Fill the clear glass containers with candies of your choice.

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Then you simply start hot gluing the taffy onto the Styrofoam, one at a time, beginning where the styrofoam meets the glass, working your way to the top of the Styrofoam ball. I glued white taffy around the top to look like whip cream. The cherry is a gum ball. I added fun straws (cut to size) for a pop of contrasting color. 

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That’s it. How easy!

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Favorites Friday - Containing Myself

Today I wanted to share with you a decorating trick that I've been having fun with for the past few weeks.

Containers.

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I recently found these wire baskets at Hobby Lobby and have been having so much fun using them in my table and counter top decor.

I'm a big fan of using trays under displays to give them importance but these baskets...😍... I love how you can curate a collection of ordinary, somewhat related items, and it just seems to elevate them to an interesting display all while adding color, texture and interest to an area. 

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I shared the box below from Joanne Fabrics recently and it's what started the whole "container" idea.

If you're like me, your cupboards and closets are full of unused treasures that are just hidden away. Why not pull them out and display them in an interesting box or basket?

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Your display is easily moved and feels somehow cohesive when corralled by the container.

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I know I can feel overwhelmed by the thought of decorating a big space and these little vignettes are just so much more doable.

I hope this post gives you some ideas and inspiration on how to cozy up your space.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne
 


Tutorial Tuesday #12 - Frosted Felt Conversation Heart Cookies

I love making frosted sugar cookies for Valentines Day, but after all the sugar overload from the holidays I really didn't want the temptation of more sweets around. So this year I decided to make my cookies from wool felt. 

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(My darling chippy metal cake stand was purchased here.)

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You can make these fun cookies from wool, felt or my favorite, wool felt. You'll just need a fabric that doesn't fray since all the raw edges are left exposed.

I know many of you will have what you need to make this project but for those who may need some supplies, here's where I buy my wool felt. Many of you know Barri from Bareroots and her adorable original stitchery patterns and kits. Barri not only carries complete kits, but also has a great selection of wool felt and all the general necessities for stitching on wool felt. 

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I need to tell you that I am not an expert on stitching on wool. Lots of you have more experience so please be gentle. Tinysmile

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I'm just going to share with you what I found to work best for me. Do share with us any additional tips that work for you in the comment section below.

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First off, I want you to know that I always prewash my wool felt. Since it's a blend of wool and rayon (percentages will vary with colors) it will fluff up just slightly when washed. I personally like the look of washed wool felt - it's no so flat and perfect looking. To wash I just run it under warm water then lay it flat to dry.

The biggest challenge when working with wool felt is that you can't see though it like you can with most regular fabrics. Getting your stitchery design onto the felt can be a challenge. I've tried several methods; tracing the design onto tissue paper and waxed paper, both with less than the desired results. Because you stitch through the traced lines the paper wants to tear as you stitch and makes it difficult to see what you're doing.

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I ended up going over all the stitches a second time and that was just too time consuming. I settled on tracing the words onto lightweight tearway stabilizer. The stabilizer stayed in one piece until my stitches were complete then I gently tore the stabilizer away and picked the residue out from under the stitches.

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This took no time at all and I liked the results when I was done. If you have done any machine  embroidery or applique, you probably already have non fusible tearway stabilizer on hand.

You can also just draw your letters free hand onto the small felt heart with a chalk or washout pen if you like your handwriting. I needed the help of a pattern so typed up some letters using a font that I liked and included it here: Download Conversation hearts here

Although you can just cut a heart from folded paper I've also included the heart pattern here mostly for size :Download Hearts pattern here

You'll want your smaller heart to be about 1/4" to 3/8" smaller than the larger heart all the way around. Less than perfect is perfect! Wink

I used either three strands of embroidery floss or #8 perle cotton for this project, depending on the colors that I had.

I've also inserted a YouTube video here for those who need a refresher on how to do a backstitch for the words. (This is not my voice or video).

After stitching the words onto the small heart I used a blanket stitch to attach the small heart to the larger heart then connected the two large hearts using a blanket stitch. I stuffed the heart lightly before closing. Here's a refresher on the blanket Stitch: 

If you're still with me, know that typing this tutorial took way more time than actually making the hearts. I hope you found it helpful and that it encourages you to try some hand embroidery. It's a great cozy up to the fire project for the cold winter months ahead.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Tutorial Tuesday # 11 (On Wednesday) - Faux Trees

Since we were snowed in over the weekend, I thought it would be a good time to try a DIY project that I'd had supplies for since way before Christmas. Natalie from the Vintageporch on Instagram shared how she made trees from faux olive branches from Hobby Lobby and since I had everything I needed I thought I'd give them a try.

Here's Natalie's dog Chester with the olive tree she made. If you don't follow Natalie you definitely should. Not only is she super sweet and talented, but I think she is one of the funniest gals on Instagram. Natalie always brightens my day.

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Since so many of my little flocked Christmas trees came wrapped in burlap this year I thought it would be fun to do an olive tree wrapped in burlap, kind of bare root style, if you will. You could totally put them in terra cotta, an olive bucket or a decorative pot, whatever fits your style.

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Here's the same tree in a metal planter that I had

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and an olive bucket from Hobby Lobby.

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You will need three olive stems from Hobby Lobby, (with the 50% off discount they came to $10.50 for the three and they measured about 24" long), a plastic pot to "plant" them in, and a decorative container or a square of burlap just large enough to wrap around and cover the plastic container.

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You will also need plaster of Paris, a small block of Styrofoam, floral wire and floral tape, white glue, paint and coffee grounds.

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To start:

Bundle the three stems together and wire them together securely using 28 or 30 gauge floral wire.

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Next wrap the stems with the floral tape covering the wire.

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Hot glue a piece of Styrofoam in the center of your plastic container and once cool insert the olive stems into the center of the Styrofoam.

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This will keep the stems upright and centered while you add the plaster of Paris.

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Fill your container to the top with the plaster, following the directions on the package. Allow to thoroughly dry. I decided to try and add a bit of texture to the stem so I coated it with white glue and sprinkled the wet glue with coffee grounds. I liked the darker color and the added texture that the grounds created. After that was completely dry I painted the stems with a bit of dark green and burnt umber acrylic paint. You could eliminate this step but I just liked how it added some character and realism to the tree trunk.

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If you cover the base with burlap there is no need to paint the plaster, but if you want the look of exposed dirt, paint the plaster with glue then sprinkle more coffee grounds on the wet surface for the look of potting soil. You can also add paint as you did on the stems and even some moss if you'd like.

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If you are wrapping the base with burlap, add just a bit of stuffing around the pot then tie the burlap with jute twine around the stem. I didn't take of photo of this next step, but you will want to apply the coffee grounds to the stem and paint it before wrapping the base in burlap.

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I had so much fun making the olive tree that I decided to try making a lemon tree from stems I found at Kirkland's. I did this tree exactly like the olive tree and love the pop of color that the fruit adds.

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I hope you found this tutorial helpful and I would love to know if you try these. These little trees create such a bright and cheery spot in your home, especially this time of year when our homes seem to suffer from the wintertime blahs.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Tabletop Tuesday - Transitioning from the Holidays into Winter

After the trees are down and Christmas is packed away, I typically like to decorate our main dining table for winter. The house always seems so bare and blah and honestly, the thought of tackling the entire house seems overwhelming to me. Somehow a six foot table just seems more doable. 

I absolutely LOVED the neutral decor that I did this year for Christmas and wasn't quite ready to jump right into the Valentines Day reds and pinks, so I decided to go with a more neutral palette for this transitional tablescape; pulling in natural elements along with tarnished silver and winter whites.   

I found this wooden box on clearance after Christmas at Joanne Fabrics. It had wood dividers so I asked Bill to remove them so I could fill it with plates, candles and silver flatware. I added a faux narcissus that I found at Target for just the slightest nod to Spring.

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            Look #1 - December 28th, 2018

I carried out the vintage postcard and photograph theme from Christmas at each place setting.

 

The wooden chargers and napkins are from Home Goods and my plates are by Pioneer Woman for Walmart. My older twig placemats are from World Market. You can see from the photo below that almost everything is exactly the same as in my Christmas tablescape, proving that you don't have to always buy new pieces. By just adding or subtracting a few key pieces you can get a whole new look without spending much money. 

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I added a few eucalyptus sprigs among the existing cedar for some added texture. 

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        Completed look #1 - December 28th, 2018

I was happy with the way the table looked until I was asked to join some other Instagram accounts for a tour featuring table top decor that showed how we tradition from holiday into winter. I started thinking my table may look too Christmasy, so I subtracted some silver and added winter fruit - citrus. (You can take the gal out of California, but you can't take the California outta the gal). Smileyface

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Did you know that you can't buy ordinary white grapefruit in Kansas? Well, at least I couldn't. I searched three stores and could only find pink grapefruit and I hated how the pink of the grapefruit looked with the yellow lemons so...

CUTIES!! (See how the cuties and grapefruit pull from the pillows on the two chairs in the living room? A happy accident!)

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               Look #2 - January 4th, 2019

Coincidentally I had previously ordered melon striped towels from William Sonoma and they arrived the day I did the photo shoot. I love when things like that happen - another happy accident.

Then... we had a snow storm and I was stuck inside for two days and needed a project, so I created a lemon tree from some lemon branches from Kirklands. (I'll do a blog post on Wednesday to show you how I made this tree along with an olive tree if you're interested).

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         Final look #3 - January 12th, 2019

All in all, I'm very pleased with the way my final look turned out and the best part was that the only real expense was the fruit (which I have been enjoying).

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can cozy up your home for the winter months ahead, but a word of caution: Tablescapes tend to have a mind of their own and can change - often!

Encourage one another,

Suzanne
 

 


Favorites Friday - Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

Jumping on here really quick to share a current favorite with you all.

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I feel like everyone may already know about this, but just in case you don't, you NEED to try it! I love it on avocado toast and bagels with cream cheese. It just makes ordinary seem so...extra! Lot's of garlic flavor and sooo yum. I even used it as a stocking stuffer at Christmas last year.

Let me know if you've tried it and how you use it. I'd love to know.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Favorites Friday - French Farmhouse Napkins

This is a Friday feature where I share some of my favorite finds.

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I know I'm probably opening up a big ol' can of worms here because we all know that no two Home Goods have the same inventory and sometimes finding what you want at your HG store can be challenging, but I'm just so thrilled with these cloth napkins that I had to share. (Whatever floats your boat, right?)

Anyway, If you're a cloth napkin kind of gal like me you may want to be on the look out for these darling ruffled French Farmhouse styled cotton napkins from Home Goods.

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If you've been following along with my Tabletop Tuesday posts over on Instagram you know how I love to set a pretty table which always includes cloth napkins. The problem is, most cloth napkins need to be ironed. Since these are made of a flour sack type fabric they have a very relaxed, casual feel and best of all they look fantastic right out of the dryer!

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These measure 19" X 19", are 100% cotton and a pack of 12 is just $16.99 - that's just a little over $1.40 each! (I hate to admit that I've paid as much as $9 for one napkin at Pottery Barn and they always have to be ironed!) Cry


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For me, these fabulous cloth napkins are a game changer. I just wanted you to know.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne