Friday, March 30, 2007

Clean Counter and Guacomole

Counter1 As promised for Get-Real Monday, here is my cleaned off counter! It wasn't too hard, just a few minutes work and putting things actually where they belong. Go figure! The hard part will be keeping it this way! Certainly a daily task.

I haven't done the kitchen table yet -- That won't be finished until we get the outside beds done and can plant our seedlings.

We are planning on using Square Foot Gardening (more info here) since it requires so little space and uses that space to the best advantage.

And - once the counter was cleaned off, look what happened!

Counter2 Daughter got her stool and her favorite cookbook and made some guacomole for she and Dad!

What a treat!

Cookbook (This is the Mom and Me Cookbook from DK. We love the simple instructions and all the great pictures.)

A Camping We Did Go

Camping was great! We packed up the car and went to a nearby State Park for three days and nights of adventure/planned boredom. Which brings a thought to my mind - How come at home, the cry of "What is there to do?" is often heard. Yet these same children outdoors either find a million things to do or can sit quietly and read or play a game for an endless length of time. One of life's little mysteries, I guess.

Campr1 We arrived, unloaded and set up the tent. Daughter promptly found a ladybug. Of Course. ;-)










Dinner that night was our traditional Camping Chili Stew which cooked over the fire while the children played on a nearby hill. As night came, the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped. Thankfully we were snug-bugs in our new sleeping bags. We bought them on Sale a few months ago and are as pleased as can be with how comfy and warm they are! They're mummy sacks rated for 0 degrees. Wow! Get in and zip up and you're instantly warm, especially if you zip it all the way to the top! While these are great, I can forsee that during our later spring and summer camping excursions, the bags will simply be used as a sleeping pad with a simple sheet on top.

Campbacon It was so chilly in the morning, that I had to practically force son outside to start the fire for breakfast. But soon bacon and pancakes were cooking and eaten!

After our dishes were cleaned up, the wind was still blowing and blowing. It was hard to get going, so we finally gave in and did the only reasonable thing we could do - got back in our sleeping bags!

Campbug1Here son and I are snuggled up trying to stay warm. We had a lot of fun all bundled up while we played a Bible game called Choose Your Clues. There are 50 cards with three categories of Person, Place or Thing. Then there are 20 clues to help you guess what the Person, Place or Thing is. One I remember is for Person - the clue is "I have something in common with blue jeans." We all went, "Huh?" After the person was guessed, we looked up the Scripture reference mentioned. Do you want to know what Matthew has in common with blue jeans? Read Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:13-17, Luke 5:27-32.

Campbug1a After we finally warmed up, we explored for a bit, had our lunch, and found some bamboo which kept the children busy for hours. Grilled hamburgers for dinner and to bed again. It wasn't as cold the second night, but we really do need to think about getting a bigger tent. It was plenty big when we bought it 16 years ago. Husband, our angel and I fit in it perfectly! But now 2 sons/young men, daughter, myself, and all our supplies are a bit like sardines when bedtime is near. Definitely something on our wishlist!

On our last day, older son corraled his brother into a game of chess and that kept them busy most of the morning. Fishing was on the agenda for the afternoon. A nice, quiet spot was found and the gear all brought out. You know what I like about fishing? All of the children, under 16, can fish and fish (without a license) and I cannot help them! I don't have a license and California says if I'm holding a pole, I'm fishing. So, older son helps sister with her hook, but other than that, they do everything for themselves and I get to sit in a nice shady spot and crochet, and crochet, and crochet! I've been following the No-End-In-Sight-Ripple-Along for weeks now and wanting to join in. But I have three WIP's already and so don't want to add another. What to do? Finish my WIP's! I got quite a bit done on one of them the past few days. Of course I'll take a photo and post it when I get it done - in time to enter in the County Fair?

Campwater Anyway - back to fishing. After fishing for awhile with no luck, everyone was about ready to give up. Then . . . . he showed himself. Him. THE fish. He was about 12 inches long, at least, maybe a bit more. Swimming just under the surface. So temptingly close, yet so cunningly far. ;-) They tried, and tried, and tried for over an hour to catch him. Daughter actually caught a moth that was in the water and her brother put it on her hook for her so she could use it as bait for the big fellow. If they cast near, he splashed far right. If they cast to the right, he came and splashed right in front of them. It really was like he was purposely eluding them. They finally, reluctantly, admitted defeat. :-(

By that time, we were all ready for home. We packed up the car, and headed home for a smoke-free dinner, real shower, comfy beds, and surprised Dad, who's been working all week. We'll certainly be planning our next campout. Hopefully for someplace new, and hopefully for sometime soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Get Real Monday . . . A Day Late

Yes, yes, I'm a little late with this. If I didn't do something because it was late, I wouldn't get anything done! Get it? In other words, even if it's late, it is still worth doing well. ;-)

I really like the theory behind Get Real - on the web, we choose the perfect items with the perfect backdrop and the most enhancing lighting, possibly leading to the impression that we have a perfect home and/or life. NOT true! We are all human, some have it a bit more organized and together than others, but we all have a weak spot. Or two. Or five.

For my "Get Real" spot for Randi's Spring Clean Edition I had to choose my kitchen. It is the most used room and the room that seems to 'catch' all the stuff from anything that goes on in the house. And I will admit that the biggest offender (read- owner of most of the stuff/clutter) belongs to ME!


This is a picture of my kitchen table. Obviously we don't eat in the kitchen. We couldn't. When Husband first brought this table home, it was perfect, beautiful, and endeared visions of sitting by my window and reading, studying, or sipping Chai. Let's take a good, close look at reality.


Okay - going around clockwise from bottom left corner, we have: apron, sweater, sweatshirt and purse hanging from chair; other chair is piled with sewing box and dresses that are still in progress and a loaf of bread (??); on that edge of table are various scraps and WIP's from my felt stuff along with a punchneedle project that I bought and opened but don't have time to do yet; my lovely flower pot which is supposed to brighten the table, but which is lost amidst all the clutter; a bag of patterns that are in line to be used and our poor little knocked over scotty dogs; an empty box of Cadbury Chocolate Eggs with a bunny inside; and in the middle of the table all of our little greenhouses for starting our garden seedlings. Also, in the big picture above you can see our ice chest and box of foodstuffs still waiting to go camping, alongside husband's soda and the remains of the chicken feed in the sack which wouldn't fit in our bin.

This is what I face everytime I walk in my kitchen. Reminders of projects that need finishing, projects past that need to be cleaned up, and the promise of summer bounty - along with the reminder that we need to hurry up and get the outside ready for these little guys that are fast outgrowing their greenhouse.

My other spot is also in the kitchen. Kitchen counters seem to be a great Hot Spot for collecting clutter. We only have three small squares of counters in our kitchen, you would think I could work a little harder to keep them clean, but this one is at the edge and is where everyone puts everything just because it is near the traffic lane - the busy spot of the house.


Pencils, markers, stuffed animals, packing tape, bible, treasure box, wrappers from our greenhouses (see photo above ;-), pitcher, miscellaneous Tupperware, cups, empty water bottles, napkins, picture frame, used cilantro (i.e. stems in a bag), sunglasses, Tootsie Roll bank, solar reflector, bookends, and more that I don't even want to think about! I will get it cleaned up. I will. I WILL!

After we get back from camping. Promise. ;-)

Change of Plan

You know how you wake up one day with a plan? And the rest of the day, nothing goes according to that plan? Well, today was just such a day in our house.

Let's start at the beginning . . . . .

Sunday morning, I had the wonderful idea to drop everything for a few days and go camping. The children have been doing well with their schoolwork for a few weeks and the weather has been just beautiful - a great opportunity for a little reward. Besides, one of the beauties of homeschooling is that you can take it with you! Schoolwork is done just as easily in camp as at the kitchen table - with even more chance for real, hands-on discovery.

The Plan: Spend Sunday cleaning up and getting chores done, plan our meals and gather supplies. Monday load everything up in the car and after Piano lessons, head over the bridge for three days of camping. What could be easier? HA!!

Everything went great on Sunday - including all of husband's shirts ironed. Got all of our supplies out, and made our list of meals. We were set to go! The children had even cleaned out the car that afternoon. Wonderful!

I went out that evening to check the car and make sure it was locked, but my little key chain car door locker/unlocker-thingy wouldn't work. (That is a technical, patented term. Please ask permission before using. ;-) Why won't it work? Hmmmm . . . I climb in the car and put the key in the ignition. Nothing. And I do mean Nothing. No dashboard lights, no clicking, no Nothing. Dead Battery.

Okay, all is not lost. We will leave it all in the LORDs hand. He knows when and where we should be. And Husband can take a look in the morning and see what needs doing. Off to sleep we go.

Monday morning dawns and Husband is off to get a new battery with daughter at his side. After a few hours, a voltage meter, some tools, a few choice words, a battery charger, and another trip to the store, the car is well and whole and ready for our adventure. Except that two things have happened in the meantime. Dear son and I are both feeling extremely sluggish - bed is VERY inviting, AND the rain clouds have moved in. Son, who has been laboriously pouring over a weather forecasting book for the past few days says, "Ah, Cirrus Clouds a few days ago. Yup, now it's rain." Thanks. A Lot.

What DID we do? We drug ourselves to piano lessons, picked up a pizza on the way home, and watched the rain fall from the sheltered warmth of the bedroom as we snuggled up and watched "Gus."

All our gear is still sitting and waiting. Maybe we'll go tomorrow. Maybe we'll go next week. Whenever we go, I know that "If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." James 4:15


I couldn't resist adding this photo of daughter. It was taken on one of our camping trips last year.

While everyone was packing up, she found a ladybug which she coaxed onto the stick.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hello, My Name is . . . . .

. . . . Denise, and I'm a pattern-a-holic.

I don't mean to be, really. I don't know what comes over me. I can look through all the pattern books and see nothing I really want -- but then let those same patterns go on sale for $0.99 or $1.99 and suddenly I don't have enough paper to keep track of my want list!

And it's not like I don't have a variety of patterns, either. Because I've got it all. From Men's shirts and pajamas, to costume patterns I used to make capes for the boys, to every imaginable type of dress for daughter - except for anything with zippers! I don't do zippers. We just don't get along. I've tried a few times since my dismal failure 18 or so years ago, but it just hasn't worked out between the two of us. Although now even a zipper on a pattern can't stop me since I've figured out how to convert zipper patterns to ones that button!! I have all types of animal, apron, bag, organizer, and puppet patterns, not that I've ever made a puppet, but they're cute and one day I might want to, right? You DO see, don't you? I haven't made a dress for myself for a few years, but does that stop me from buying patterns still? Not on your life! Some day the perfect combination of fabric + pattern + mood will strike and BAM! I'll have another dress. But how can I do that if I don't have just that right pattern I saw 5 years ago?

That's my other reason for collecting patterns - and a good one, too. Did you know they don't care if a pattern is your favorite or not. When they want to, they can just stop making it. No notification, no warning. One day you blissfully walk into the fabric store determined to finally buy that pattern you've been looking at for so long and make something from it - or even worse, it's your most used pattern and you need a new one or a bigger size - only to discover that it is no longer in the pattern book. Not in the drawer. It's been Discontinued!

So, back to my pattern gathering. My newest weakness, problem, brilliant idea is to buy the desired pattern in multiple sizes so that I am prepared for any possibility. You can see how this expands my list expotentially.

At this particular time, I won't go into the patterns I've bought on-line through specialty shops and e-Bay, and I certainly won't mention garage sales! (A memorable one is a box of about 50 patterns for $5.00!)

What do I do with all these patterns? There's the problem of storage. I don't have "A Spot", so they are in this box here and that bag there, patterns I'm currently using and patterns that are in line (that have fabric & notions already purchased and ready to go) - which also means that there are times I buy a duplicate pattern because I forgot I have it already. You know, if you like it once, it is sure to catch your eye again!

Is there hope for me? Am I alone? Will I ever recover? Or should I just give in and relish, delight and dream of all the things I can make "One Day"?


p.s. This isn't all of the patterns I own. Just the ones I could get out without too much trouble. ;-)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sweetly Resting

100_0312 A photo from our first trip to Hawaii a few years ago goes along perfectly with the hymn that I've been singing all week, "In the Rifted Rock I'm Resting." A small nook worn away in this rock wall was the perfect place for these little plants to sprout and grow. Sheltered within this cleft, safe from storms and winds, its roots are secure.

Too frequently lately, I have not been seeking the shelter of the Rock that was cleft for me, Jesus. I have been distracted and hurried. I've felt there was no point to my day. I've felt there was no way I could do all that needed doing. Hopeless about our progress with school, swayed and bent by any frustrations, I was just plain tired of feeling not in control and at the whim of whatever circumstances happened to appear that day, that hour, that moment.

Why did I not recognize it sooner? Why did I not see that I was being blown and tossed about by circumstances and emotions, with doubts and worries, because I was not seeking the refuge of my Rock, the Lord Jesus. All throughout scripture we are given the promise of shelter:

  • "For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever; I will trust in the covert of thy wings." Psalm 61
  • "The eternal God is thy refuge" Deut. 33:27
  • "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour." 2 Samuel 22:2-3
  • "The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9
  • "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
  • " . . in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge." Psalm 57:1
  • "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:7-8
  • Psalm 71, 91, 94, 104, 142, Proverbs 14, Isaiah 4, 25, 28, Jeremiah 16, Hebrews 6 and so much more!
  • In Numbers 35 and Joshua 20& 21 the Israelites are told how to set up the Cities of Refuge for those in need of shelter and protection. The rules were specific that as long as they were in the Cities of Refuge, they were safe from harm and those seeking to destroy them. If they set foot outside of the City, then they were vulnerable to attack. What a perfect picture of the Lord Jesus.

Abiding in the shadow of his wings, resting within the rock, my days have an order and a peace that passeth understanding.

I have this hymn printed and placed in my kitchen so that I am able to sing and focus on what is true and pure while I go about my chores. It was written by Mary D. James in 1875 at the age of 65 years old. She must have known about hiding within the Rock. She started teaching Sunday School to younger children at the age of 13 years old, and visiting them at their homes during the week also, taking gifts and baked goods that her mother had made. What a life of service she must have had.

If you are not familiar with this hymn, then I hope you are blessed by these words. If you've heard it before, I hope the remembrance of it brings the sweet peace that only sheltering in the LORD can give.

Sweetly Resting

In the rifted Rock I’m resting;
Safely sheltered, I abide.
There no foes nor storms molest me,
While within the cleft I hide.

Now I’m resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me.
Jesus, blessèd Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

Long pursued by sin and Satan,
Weary, sad, I longed for rest.
Then I found this heav’nly shelter,
Opened in my Savior’s breast.

Now I’m resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me.
Jesus, blessèd Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

Peace which passeth understanding,
Joy the world can never give,
Now in Jesus I am finding;
In His smiles of love I live.

Now I’m resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me.
Jesus, blessèd Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

In the rifted Rock I’ll hide me
Till the storms of life are past;
All secure in this blest refuge,
Heeding not the fiercest blast.

Now I’m resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me.
Jesus, blessèd Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sewing Seeds in the Mail


Done, Done, Done!

It was a lot of fun making these and now they are on their way to Randi.

Please check her site and see all the other great skirts that are making their way to Africa at the end of the month.

Thank you, Randi for letting us be a part of blessing others!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Quilling Fun

Did you know that with just a few simple tools you and your children can have fun and make some sweet and beautiful artwork?

Quilling is the name of a centuries old paper craft also known as Paper Filigree. All quilling designs are based upon a handful of easily learned shapes. How you combine these basic shapes into a "picture" can be as simple or as fancy as your imagination allows.

Hquill Last night the children pulled out the Quilling Kit that I had bought awhile ago and, on their own, made a few little things. Son made this great flower, and daughter made the little bunny!

Quill1 * * * * * * * * *

These are very simple little designs, easily made with a little bit of care and patience.

The more intricate designs are just stunning -- I stare at them and think "That is PAPER?"


If you are interested in learning more about this great family craft, here are some resources to get you started:


The quilled calendar above is from the North American Quilling Guild Web-site.


This little duck on the water was created by daughter this morning from the Little Critters kit made by Lake City Craft Co. and purchased at Create-For-Less)

And I just couldn't resist putting up this fun "Quill-A-Day" calendar.

Please take a minute to browse through the sites above (and no, I am in no way affiliated with them and receive nothing from them) and even if you don't give Quilling a try, at least you will know what it is, and appreciate the work that goes into some of the beautiful artwork you may see in the future!

Blessings to you!

Create For Less


If you didn't know it already March is National Craft Month!!

In honor of that, I thought I would pass along the link for this really neat crafting site. Create-For-Less.

Do you Knit, Crochet? Yep, they got it. Latch hook and Punch Embroidery? Yep, that too. Felting, Quilling, Scrapbooking, and much more. If you can make it, they probably have the supplies for it.

So what are you making to celebrate?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Diary of Three Dresses, part 4

Hello again, Ladies! Henrietta and I have been busy, busy. We are making progress on our dresses, as well as a few other projects that have found their way to the sewing table! But our focus today is . . . . . Sleeves! Six of them to be exact!


Here we have the sleeve bands all pinned together and ready to be sewn.


They've been pressed and Henrietta has them all pinned in place on the proper sleeves. Back to the sewing machine!


Isn't Miss Hen so sweet? She watches over everything. Here she's making sure that the seam is straight and that the pins are pulled out before the needle sews over them.


Now it's time for the gathering stitches at the sleeve cap. Diligent Hen is there, too!


Pinning and Pressing is the name of this game. Luckily Henrietta is an experienced hedgehog. She learned to sew at her dear mothers' knee - well, little foot. (Do hedgehogs have knees?)


Ahhh . . . there now! The sleeve bands are all pressed and pinned and ready for sewing down by hand. That's a job we like to do in the evening. It's very restful and relaxing before climbing into bed! Is it just me, or does Miss Hen look a bit proud?


Here's what we have so far: Three lined bodices with banded collars, three banded sleeves and one pieced skirt edging.

Tomorrow we (Hen and I) will bring you up to date on all we've been doing -- sleeves, pockets and extra projects, too!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Green Chili and Hominy Soup

Mexicansoup An easy and delicious soup that I made last week. I have a great Sunset Mexican Cook Book that I've used a few times already this year to make soups which kind of inspired this soup. Sunday, I was tired, we'd been out most of the day, and I wanted something easy for dinner. Luckily I had gotten some meat out of the freezer earlier that day. A quick check of the cupboard and the idea for this soup came to me -- similar to some others I've made, but then again not.

This recipe makes a full 6 quart stockpot of soup. Adjust as you see fit. Also, my husband likes meaty soups. You are free to use less meat or even no meat to suit your family/budget.

Hen's Green Chili & Hominy Soup

  • 2.5 pounds boneless pork or beef, cut into 1" cubes
  • vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 6-10 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • large can (28 oz.) each of Diced Tomatoes, Green Chili Enchilada Sauce, Hominy
  • 1 quart water
  • 1-2 t. Cumin, adjust to taste
  • 1t. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 T. beef bouillion or beef soup base

Add a bit of oil to large stockpot and heat to med-high/high. Brown meat, a little at a time, in hot oil. (You want to sear and brown the meat quickly - this is why small batches are essential - keep it moving in the pot.) Remove browned meat from pan (place in bowl until later) and let pan get hot again before adding another batch of meat. Repeat until all meat is browned. Then, with all meat in reserved bowl, add the chopped garlic and onion to stockpot with just a bit of oil. Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, until they start to brown. At this point, reduce heat to just above medium and add remaining ingredients, along with reserved meat, to stockpot. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to med-low and allow to simmer uncovered for 1 hour. (You want it gently bubbling, not actively boiling) Taste the broth and add more seasonings if necessary.

The soup is shown sprinkled with cheddar cheese and the cornbread I made. Warmed corn or flour tortillas would also be nice.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Diary of Three Dresses, part 3

Day 2, continued.

Yes, yes, the pieced strip was sewn upside down! And, I hope you won't think less of me, but I actually threw myself down on the floor and cried/laughed! HOW could I not have noticed it? I think I was so pleased with myself for coming up with such a creative solution that I was in La-La-Land until I was pressing it at the ironing board. It was stitched AND the seam zig-zagged to finish it off, so I had quite a bit of time for reflection on my mistake while the seam ripper was busy doing it's job. Here is the comleted piece, sewn Correctly!


Okay - now that that trauma is over, let's have no more! (Stop! Reality check. I did cut out the doggie and the purple dresses the same way, so I'll have to piece a strip for the purple dress, too!! Note: I could go to the store and get more fabric for it, but friend liked the pieced doggie part and thought her daughter would enjoy a dress with that extra something on it as well - which is actually great because I haven't done anything "quilt-ey" for a few years and I really enjoyed the piecing part -- NOT the ripping apart - but getting out my mat and ruler and rotary cutter and planning the little squares was a fun way to spend the afternoon.)

On to the Collars!!


Sorry for the dark pictures, I was working on these at night and figured this was better than the picture with the flash which just washed everything out. These are the three collars with the first part of the contrast edging pinned in place. Off to the sewing machine!


Remaining contrast edge pieces now pinned in place. What's next?


The collar linings are pinned and sewn and now the collars are done! Aren't they sweet? Now, onto the the bodices and linings. (I like sewing several dresses at a time because I love doing it assembly-line style. I don't have to use as much brain power - and if you will note the above mistakes, I need all the brain power I can get! - and it is much more productive for me. I can get two or three dresses done in just a little bit more time than a single dress takes.)


These bodices are fully lined (It just makes a much nicer finished product even if I'm not following the pattern :-) so there are two bodice pieces for each dress.

I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of pinning the bodice/collar/lining together, but friend was over for the evening and we were sewing and chatting and I forgot. :-(


When the bodices were done, I went to bed. Thank you, Henrietta, for keeping me on track!

Purple Bath

Purple_1 Yesterday was quite a day for daughter. Not that she had a lot to do, but we were generally busy and she tries hard to keep up with her brothers. Toward the afternoon, I could tell by her voice that she had had it and was in need of some refreshing.

But before I tell you the rest, I have to tell you a story. A few years ago, the LORD was so good to me and opened my eyes to the condition of my relationship with my daughter. I knew early on how different she was both in needs and personality from my sons. I noticed time and again how she was seeking attention, approval, and affection from others. It forced me to reason "why?" The simple, and very hard, truth was that she did not have a strong relationship with me. Certainly we were a family and I loved her dearly - but what was special about our relationship that was different from just family or from her brothers? She was placated with toys or videos while I worked with her brothers on school work. She was told she was too little when she would offer to help me, because I did not take the time or give that extra bit of patience that would have allowed her to help me and in the process know that she was worth that extra effort. Plain and simple, I did not have her heart. And without her heart, I would be unable to keep her as the precious jewel she is - I would not be able to prevent her from becoming a common cubic zirconia.

She is now eight years old, almost nine, and while we still struggle with selfishness and sharing (I still do too :-) I know now that I have her heart. She is my helper in all things and likes being mini-Mom. When she needs attention, affection, comfort , a snuggle, or help, she comes to me and knows that she will receive it. I set a goal for her and have used that to help me. I have to have a goal, otherwise how will I know if I am staying on the right path? How will I know which direction to take or be able to judge properly those things which so easily side-track me or us as a family? It isn't always easy, but I have learned to keep the goal in mind - the goal of keeping her heart safe until the day she is ready to give it to another in marriage.

So, yesterday when she was in need of refreshment, I gave her a hug and led her into the bathroom. With the warm water filling the tub, armed with her goggles and snokel, and the little color tablets making the water purple, she played for almost an hour. I was a bit envious, thinking how I'd like someone to make me a purple bath now and then. She knew she was loved. She knew she was important to me. She knew I cared enough about her to take the time to do something special for her. And the sweet hug and kiss I got when she was finally out and dressed was priceless.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Diary of Three Dresses, part 2

What a time we have had!!

You remember, of course, that we were short of fabric to cut the whole collar for daughter's doggie dress. What I ended up doing is just making two pattern pieces from the one and having the collar pieced instead of in one piece cut on fold. Just fine, nobody will really notice unless they look closely, and her hair will be covering it most of the time anyway. No problem!

Well, as I was cutting out the pink fabric, I discovered an even larger mistake I made! I believe I mentioned how I was going to just make the skirt longer to accomodate daughter's unstoppable growth -- and I did. At least on the back of the skirt. I cut the front just regular, on the pattern line. ARRGGHHHHH!!

What to do, what to do?? Brilliant flash of inspiration! I have plenty of scraps - I'll just do some fancy piecing around the bottom to make up for those three lost inches and it will be great! I got the new border/fill pieced and sewn onto the solid bottom edge of the skirt -- except do you notice another problem?


That's okay, I'll give you some time to figure it out.

Diary of Three Dresses, part 1

The time has come, oh children, to talk of other things; Of patterns and pinning, of sewing and seams . . . .

Two nights ago Hen and I started our new project - making two dresses (one for daughter and one for a friend.) We pinned and cut until both of our backs ached!


Henrietta was wonderful - working tirelessly - even though she was on the verge of losing all her pins! (Actually it was kind of a blessing that she was losing all her pins since Dear Son 2 had some time on his hands and decided to 'dress' Henrietta with a whole box full of pins arranged in a rainbow. But she really doesn't like to talk about it, so let's just forget I mentioned anything. ;-)

We did run into a little snag in that daughter is growing. (They do that, don't they?) And since I lengthened the dress skirt by a few inches, I did not have enough fabric for the collar, by a few inches. Grrrrr. Not a problem really - Off to the fabric store we go! I bought the fabric (blue doggie, above) several months ago, so I really knew the store would no longer have any - but I was hoping. And we both love it so much, I'm kicking myself for not automatically buying extra. (see How to Buy Fabric from A Dress A Day) But, we can't change yesterday, so we must deal with today.

As suspected, the store no longer had our sweet doggie fabric, but they did have this --


Too springy and delicious to resist. And at $7.99 a yard for the pink ($5.60 at 30% off) it was a bit of a splurge, since I am terribly frugal about fabric and generally never pay more than $4.00 a yard with sales and 40-50% off coupons. Most everything that I sew for daughter ends up costing less than $15. But I digress . . . . .

So now our count is up to three dresses - We'll cut out the pink, figure out something to do about daughter's doggie dress collar, and be back soon with our next installment.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Blanket for Baby K



The pictures don't nearly show how sweet this little blanket is! One side is the softest shade of pink fuzzy imprinted velvet-like fabric, the other is a bold pink nursery rhyme toile. I made it 36" square.

I finished the binding on it last night -- and the LORD was surely good to me! I didn't measure the binding as I was cutting the strips and piecing them. I never do. I just kind of eyeball "Yeah, that looks about enough" So I start pinning the binding onto the blanket, getting closer and closer to the other end and I start thinking "This isn't going to be enough!!" But I pressed on . . . . and wouldn't you know it, when I made it all the way around to the beginning again, my two ends overlapped by 1/4". Can you believe that? I think it's totally amazing!

And then dear husband, in his own sweet way, told me to put a label on it. ("Didn't you spend money for things to make labels? Then use it and put one on there!" "Yes, dear." ;-) I told the children that the label makes it look like somebody actually made it. LOL!!

The great label making tutorial that I used can be found at Fresh Vintage.

Showing Off

While taking pictures of the new blanket for Great-Niece KNW, I thought I would take some photos of a quilt I made for daughter a few years ago -- I love how it turned out so this goes under the category of purely showing off, but you'll bear with me, won't you?

Rquilt1 Rquilt2

Brights! Hot Pinks! Bright Green! Fabulous Turquoise! and a nice staid purple floral to anchor it all.

The pattern is Woven Ribbons from the book Fat Quarter Quilts . I made this during my lovely but brief stint as a member of the local quilting guild. As I recall, this was one of the All-Nighters -- bring your fabric and machine (and iron and all necessary cutting implements) and cut and piece until you're done or ready to go home. It was a LOT of fun. And like so many of the groups on-line, it is so interesting to see how so many different people "see" such differences in the same pattern.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

So Much, So Little

Spring Sunday. Dear husband is usually at work but he is staying home today. We'll take this opportunity to go out and look at a house. It's on a little bit of land, out where the city hasn't reached yet. Not that we are planning on moving or anything. But we do like to look at other houses and dream and plan . . . . . "now the boys could do this here and the Hoosier goes over there and out back is the perfect spot for . . " Do you do that? It breaks up the monotony of days and it usually gives me a fresh vision for our own home.

Yesterday was spent catching up on some things. I worked on the other two skirts for Sewing Seeds, made a curtain for the hall closet door - a project that has been waiting for me for three weeks and when I finally get to it it's finished in an hour! I made a little gingerbread man felt cookie as a prototype (he's adorable!), concocted a delicious soup for dinner (the recipe will follow soon), and finally machine quilted a little blanket for my new grand-niece. I'll post pictures of each during the next week.

Today, besides looking at the house, I hope to sew the binding onto the little quilted blanket, hem the Sewing Seeds skirts, and possibly get mostly through making a few new pairs of pantaloons for daughter. Oh, and all three boys need haircuts, too.

I pray that your Sunday is productive or restful or whatever you need it to be. And most of all I pray that you may be found in Jesus, the only one with the power over life and death.

Philippians 3

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Best Brownies

We've been making these brownies for over a decade now. They are an easy treat that I can have in the oven in no time when guests are on their way, or something I make late at night when everyone has a desire for some dessert and there is no dessert to be found! They are delicious, chocolate-satisfying, and versatile, too.

Best Fudge Brownies

Prepare your pan - and this will determine what kind of brownies you have. A true 9x13 pan will give you thinner brownies. I have one that measures about 8x12 that gives me brownies like in the picture - just over an inch thick. For thicker brownies use a 7x11 pan (but I wouldn't go any smaller than that otherwise your brownies will be too thick and take longer to cook through to the middle.) Okay - back to the beginning. Prepare your chosen pan by buttering it. Turn oven to 325F.

In mixing bowl melt 1 cup of butter, either in microwave or double boiler style over boiling pot of water. When melted, stir in 12 T. cocoa powder with a wooden spoon (I think this may be about 1/3 c., but I've measured it this way for so long it is just habit now ;-) {Oh, by the way - it looks totally delicious at this point, just silky chocolate! For a little fun, offer a taste to the children and see how they like it - just a tiny finger dip though! My children only went for this one time - after that they always asked "Have you added the sugar yet?" } Now add 2 cups of sugar, stirring until mixed well. Stir in 1 t. vanilla and 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg in thoroughly before adding the next one. At this point, you may add a good spoonful of peanut butter to the batter (about 1/2 c.), which not only adds flavor to the brownies, but makes them thicker and chewier too. YUMMM! Then add 1 cup of flour, again mixing well.

At this point you could be done and they make wonderful brownies by themselves - OR you could add whatever kinds of chips/nuts you have on hand or your heart desires. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Milk Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, Peanut Butter Chips, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, etc.

Fold your extras into the batter and spread in pan. Bake at 325F for 28-35 minutes, depending on your pan and how you like your brownies - longer for smaller pan, shorter for larger pan - Brownies are done when the top is dry and center is mostly firm to the touch - a little give but not a gooey give, okay?


(Originally published @

Friday, March 9, 2007

This Is My Father's World

One of our favorites (we have several, as you'll eventually learn ;-) which was brought to mind on our outdoor excursion yesterday.

This was written by Maltbie D. Babcock, a physically active man who loved to be outdoors, he also played several instruments, and might have become a musician if he had not entered the ministry. He had the habit of taking early morning walks to the top of a hill north of Lockport, New York where he was pastoring at the time. From the hill he had a full view of Lake Ontario and the surrounding countryside. He would tell his wife, "I'm going out to see my Father's world." It was on one of these early morning walks that Mr. Babcock was inspired to write the words to this hymn, although he never heard it sung. He died on a trip to the Holy Land at the age of 43. His wife published many of his writings after his death, and a volume of his poems contained this treasure.

This Is My Father's World

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wroght.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise. This is my Father's world: he shines in all that's fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world. Oh, let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world: the battle is not done: Jesus who died shall be satisfied and earth and Heav'n be one.

This is my Father's world, dreaming I see His face. I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry "The Lord is in this place." This is my Father's world, from the shining courts above, The Beloved One, His Only Son, came -- a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father's world, should my heart be ever sad? The Lord is King -- let the heavens ring. God reigns -- let the earth be glad. This is my Father's world. Now closer to Heaven bound, for dear to God is the earth Christ trod. No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father's world. I walk a desert lone. In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known. This is my Father's world, a wanderer I may roam. Whate're my lot, it matters not, my heart is still at home.

Babcock_md_2 "Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world. It is not an idea in the air but feet on the ground going God's way. It is not an exotic to be kept under glass, but a hardy plant to bear twelve months of fruits in all kinds of weather. Fidelity to duty is its root and branch. Nothing we can say to the Lord, no calling Him by great or dear names, can take the place of the plain doing of His will. We may cry out about the beauty of eating bread with Him in His kingdom, but it is wasted breath and a rootless hope unless we plow and plant in His kingdom here and now. To remember Him at His table and to forget Him at ours, is to have invested in bad securities. There is no substitute for plain, every-day goodness."

Maltbie Davenport Babcock, 1858-1901

(Originally published @

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Henrietta's Day Out

Hello Again! So nice to have you back. Let's see what's been happening here with our Henrietta.

As you may know, she worked steadily on through a ruffle-ly dress and then helped whip up a set of aprons. Now I hope she's ready for a bit of fun!

She's decided to take a trip to the fabric shoppe to see what lovely things they have, what projects will go on her wish list and if there are any wonderful new books, patterns, yarns, or papers. You understand, dear, don't you?

Quietly strolling and browsing through the patterns -- Oh, Look! The children have found something! How cute, a fluffy chicken. Adorable. The children pushed on the chicken wing -- AAHHHH! WHAT is it Doing? It's chasing our Miss Hen!

Run, Hen! Run!

It keeps chasing her and playing this annoying polka song! Will she be able to get away?

It looks as though Henrietta is gaining some ground, if she can only keep it up for just a bit longer!

Oh, to be met with trials like this when one simply wants to enjoy the pleasantries of a visit to the shoppes!

Ahhh, a hiding place at last.

Oh, now, this is so much pleasanter and peaceful. What treasures Miss Henrietta could make with these!

After the adventures at the fabric shoppe, how about a bite of lunch, Hen? I know a little out of the way place nearby.

Lunch is ordered and Hen is getting out her napkin. She is, after all, a very proper and tidy hedgehog.

Well, isn't this nice? Just the right size for a petite pincushion. And she nibbles so daintily!

And now wash it all down with just a sip of refreshment.

What shall we do next? Oh, I know the perfect way to end the day. Come along, Henrietta!

The pleasures of nature are always able to soothe the soul if one will just stop long enough to listen and enjoy -- the cool of the grass, the warmth of the sun, the songs of our bird friends, the brightness and pleasant scent of the flowers, and the wonderful fellowship with friends and our LORD who created them all.

(Originally published @