Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a bright and prosperous New Year. Having a prosperous year means many things to many people. It can be the joy in your life or a new job or change in other financial circumstances.

2011 has been a good year for my family. I have been out of work yet the time has been a blessing as it has afforded me time to be with my grandchildren, including the beautiful baby girl we welcomed in June. I have been able to pinch hit when the sitter cancelled and attend fun events that will make memories for all of us. My husband has enjoyed having me be here when he gets home from work (he rises before daylight and returns while the sun still shines.) we have taken off for walks or early movies and avoided the afternoon rush at Costco or the mall. It has been interesting....and while somewhat stressful, I would not trade the time spent with my loved ones.

I have also gotten in touch with my creativity, which had laid aside like a discarded rug for quite some time. Ideas are popping in my head that I will need to start writing down. Maybe this will be a fork in the road of sitting at a computer all day with a regimented schedule. I also love my volunteer work....something that has just grown so that I don't want to give that up either.

So for 2012....will I teach more sewing classes? Sew and sell more doll clothes or other fun accessories to pamper womanly needs or....get that desk job?  Time will tell and the Good Lord will reveal His plan for me soon enough.

In the meantime! Resolve to look at the bright side of 2011 and think of the opportunity waiting for you in 2012....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!



May the blessings of the seasons be upon you each day as we celebrate the joys of Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

And all through the house....

This Christmas has been a challenge with Emma and Ginger, our two adolescent cats. Just like other cats before them they instantly made way to make the space  underneath the tree their fort.  But unlike our other cats before them, they look upon the tree as their own personal mobile and like a child, enjoy reaching out to the splendors above. On a quiet evening spent relaxing below while we watched Christmas movies, they enjoyed open season on this new territory. I was horrified by this scene when I came upstairs after the movie. My husband laughed surprisingly and we both took to straightening up this playground but first I had to shoot pictures or the family would hardly believe the scope of this escapade and would put it all down to embellishing the story for the telling!  

                  

I found Ginger rolling around the Christmas tree skirt.                                                                                             How he moved this from under the tree remains a mystery!


Apparently they like lighthouses as much as I do!
  

Do they like Santa or just his jingle bell on the tip of the hat?


Emma loves being under the tree on her terms. Her new favorite game is batting around anything that moves so she can have the pleasure of watching the tree shake!


He is deciding which side he loves best on his delicate coat: the velvet or the satin!
Needless to say, there are no presents waiting under the tree yet.
However, both Emma and Ginger are learning the meaning of the word no. And, to  ease your minds on kitty safety, measures have been taken to protect them from mishap and mayhem. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hand-Me Down Pie Pans

My  Betty Crocker Cookbook, with its spine covered in duct tape has  seen my through  holidays and regular days so I don't have the heart to replace it.

Here is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe;
 you can't see them but there are spots on the pages from busy baking days gone by. 




This pie pan was my grandmother's. I love its unique shape and wonder how many different pies she baked in this pan. Maybe my mother helped her bake pies with this pan when she was a girl.

This Wearever deep dish pan belonged to my husband's grandmother.
 Looking inside, I wonder how many pieces of pie have been sliced in this aluminum pan.

This Pyrex pan is from my Grandmother. I struggled with the handles at first. Learning to make crust easily became one of my earliest baking frustrations as a bride. My sister baked a beautiful pie every week for her husband and for the longest time I couldn't follow in her footsteps for my husband. I tried old fashioned lard and then shortening to no avail. Next I thought how easy it would be to make the oil pastry. Wrong again. My neighbor helped me with this problem over tea during nap time for our girls.  Following her advice  using ice cubes in the water the recipe called for made it easier.  

Another Pyrex from Grandma, this one a simple 9" size, just right for the two of us.
 I didn't realize Pyrex held a place of honor  in a homemaker's kitchen for so many years until I discovered
the company incorporated in 1915. She likely replaces a pan here or there as the years went by. Knowing both women used these pans and kept them free from nicks and chips for many years I treasure them.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ruthie's New Drop Waisted Dress

 Here is Ruthie modeling one of the new dresses that I have been making. This is reminiscent of a time when dresses were made from feed sacks. I love the coordinating prints. It reminds me of when my grandmother told me they used every scrap during the depression era so nothing went to waste although creativity took the prize in a woman's sewing basket.







 I decided to enter a sewing competition over at Mommy By Day Crafter By Night. I am participating in Week 4, Anything Goes. I found this delightful pattern in Dressing Up Dolly by Lorine Mason. It has been fun to use my stash for some of the outfits in this book that offers full sized patterns. Check out the competition on Ashley's blog. While you are there, become a follower; she has great ideas!

Here is a view of the back...
lots of good details on this dress.

I love the detail of the borders and buttons too! Clean finishing and good fashion sense.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude




This month in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have focused on gratitude. What a rewarding project that has been an unexpected surprise. It relieves stress and gives me a more patient attitude. I found that when I truly look for good things I find how wonderfully blessed I truly am.  So I am going to begin Journaling things that I am thankful for. It is not a new idea, I know there are books written on the merits, plain books I can purchase to fill with my own thoughts and there are books with guidelines inside. What is new though is my attitude toward gratitude and the timing for me to take this on. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! I enjoyed a wonderful day with family around the table. I am so thankful for my family. We are blessed with good health, a nice home and plenty of food on the table every day. I am grateful for simple things like acorns on the ground, a child's smile, dinner in the kitchen, a good book and listening to music.  I love having my grandchildren drop by unexpectedly or spend the night watching a Disney movie with popcorn. How wonderful it is to have the love of my family and friends. God has bestowed many gifts on me. Who can ask for more?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Apron A Day....

Thanksgiving is a time that I find myself in the kitchen baking, cooking and reminiscing about days gone by. I remember others in the kitchen with me. As a child the kitchen was filled with the aroma of pies baking, yams being peeled and watching my mother stuff the turkey. An important part of any holiday was the apron. Mom had plenty of aprons. Cobbler aprons, hostess aprons and special embroidered gingham aprons made by my grandmother. I liked her aprons.

An important gift to new brides when I was a little girl was an apron. When the first of my sisters got married when I was ten, there were plenty of lovely aprons among the gifts. The lovely aprons gave way to simple butcher style aprons that were simple to make with no frills. I am happy to see retro-styled aprons tucked among the folds of my blog friends posts. I see them in gift shops, and craft fairs. I see them in thrift shops being snapped up by women too young to remember the apron days gone by yet cherish the style and practical beauty that is added to day to day cooking.

Here is my new apron that I made for Thanksgiving. I will wear it proudly in honor of all those who will be with me in the kitchen, if only in spirit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Crescents....


Sweet Potato Crescent RollsThanksgiving wouldn't be the same if I didn't make these Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls. Ten years ago I bought my KitchenAid stand mixer. It is one of my favorite toys in the kitchen. I returned to my bread making with my shiny white beauty guiding me in my search for new holiday recipes that would not break our traditions. I found this recipe on Land O'Lake's website. The picture temped me! The rich color says harvest and I thought about how much fun it would be for a child to peel apart those layers, eating them one by one. They are easy to make and they are quick because I made them after work one night. My grandson called me this past summer to tell me he missed Thanksgiving. He asked me if I would make those good rolls with the crescents. I told him of course I would and he responded that he was relieved because he just loves those rolls. It is nice to think these rolls are part of his memories. He has helped me make these rolls a time or two. Watching his little hands roll these crescents is a good memory for me too. He will be 8 next week, reminding me how quickly children grow. Yes, these rolls will be in the bread basket once again this year and all the years ahead. This tradition will be part of the family for many years to come.  Give them a try. You can get this easy recipe right here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thirty Days of Giving...



I took on the Thirty Day Challenge But what can I give every day this month that will make a difference? Money? Friendship? Time? Support? November is nearly half over and I am still thinking about it! Pondering this thirty day giving challenge, I wonder what I have given that is going to make a difference. If I just give money, how will I know it really makes a difference? Donations are often fraught with administrative fees. Some organizations have great marketing programs, (also spendy) that are pretty good at convincing us that their organization is the one that makes the biggest impact. How do we really know that!

I want to make a difference in people's lives; not with my name in lights but individually in a quiet unassuming way. I can't help but think of that starfish poem where the young man throwing the starfish back into the ocean to save their lives. An older man asked why he would do this when there were so many starfish on the miles and miles of the beach...the young man replied "It made a difference for that one." Imagine making a difference one person at a time. While there are so many in need, helping one person leads to another person helping two people and so it grows. I believe one person can make a difference, one day at a time. It may take longer than the thirty day challenge, but going along this way will make a difference to others and to me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You Veterans!


Take a few minutes this Veterans’ Day and thank a veteran. My husband served in the Marines as his father before him. My four brothers served in the Army, three of them were paratroopers who jumped out of “perfectly good airplanes,” as they would often say.
My Dad was unable to serve in the armed forces. On a given Tuesday evening when I was a little girl, my father would open a box from the dry cleaners and pull out a crisp white shirt, put on his suit and tie and head over to the Vet’s Hospital to visit the vets. I am proud of my father’s service to others. Even though he could not serve, he honored the men who served our country by giving his time to those who could.
As I write of this, I am reminded of the countless vets from every war who never came back: “All gave some, Some gave all.”

Thank you to all who served and continue to serve.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corp.

For 236 years the few and the proud have served our country. Many think only of the battles fought but I think of the men today who individually signed on to serve and protect our nation. My 89 year old  Father-in-law was in the Radar Battalion in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  He earned a Purple Heart but never talks about it.  He doesn't talk about the fighting either. He has maintained that he likes to focus on the good time. I think he is one of the bravest men I know.

My husband joined the Marines in 1969. I was devastated. He was my high school sweetheart and I just could not bear the thought of  him leaving during the Vietnam war. The draft was still being enforced and while his service could be deferred while he was in college he chose to enlist. He was not called to battle, for that I thank God.

Both men honor the Both are proud they served and I believe that sets them apart. The way they stand, the discipline, the stick-to-it-iveness is amazing.

The Commandant of the Marines sent a special message that I found on Facebook today. If you know a Marine in active duty, thank him for his service! If you know a Marine veteran, honor them too!

Semper Fidelis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

 I took a pledge to spend 30 days of giving.  What can I give as one person in the cog of a much larger wheel? As I think of this my heart shouts that I can give time. Time for others is a tremendous gift for young mothers who need time for themselves. They have so much on their plates and when the babysitter can't come, it is a blessing to have someone step in and say I will take your child. I will welcome them and make them feel loved.  I like to give this time to my daughters when I can. I know that I would do this whether being challenged or not. However, when a child is teething or needs a  hug when they crash and burn it takes patience to take time to smile and give a child what they need right now. It is easy to be busy and when children are around that changes what we want to get done for the day. I like to remember the words to a song I like from Steven Curtis Chapman: "You are changing the world, one little heartbeat at a time..." small but mighty changes to my agenda are powerful when it comes to the love we give a child.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Beans....

I follow many a blog and one blog leads me to another....a few days back I found Musings of a Housewife and found myself enjoying her menu planning and recipes. Sometimes I just can't decide what to make for dinner. Is anyone else in the same boat? I found her recipes practical and healthy with simple things I have on hand. This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole is just what I have in mind for a day like today! It was super easy to make and while it was cooking I just enjoyed that wonderful aroma of delicious dinner is on the way smell that fills the kitchen. It was a hit with my husband too so this recipe is now encased in a clear page protector and will reside in my special make again binder!  Check out Jo-Lynne's blog and try out this recipe! http://www.musingsofahousewife.com/2011/10/cheesy-chicken-and-rice-casserole.html

Enjoy~

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Farmgirl Gourmet - Delicious Recipes for the Home Cook: Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Farmgirl Gourmet - Delicious Recipes for the Home Cook: Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte

This is a great fall treat! Check out this link so you can make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home! Serve it in your favorite cup and saucer and you will feel like  you are out in the most comfortable coffee spot in town!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Live View of the Running Ribbon

Here is a live action shot of the Susan G Komen for the Cure Running Ribbon. When I see this logo I think of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! October 2003 was the year I celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness every day from my annual mammogram on October 2nd to my Lumpectomy Surgery on the 27th. Whew I was busy that month and thereafter until January 23, 2004 when I completed my final radiation treatment.  After that, I slowed down enough to let the impact of it all sink in.          Now I just try to give back so that others may reach that day of realizing that they survived!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pink Bird of Hope




I found this little Pink Bird of Hope at my local Hallmarks shop one day and decided this would be my annual October Breast Cancer Month treat. She is so tiny, just barely an inch.
My bird is reminiscent of the Bluebird of Happiness.
 I gave the Blue bird to a good friend of mine for a birthday gift because it reminded me of all the times we've spent together shopping ,gabbing and enjoying a leisurely lunch. As I look upon my Pink Bird of Happiness I am reminded of my good friends and family who provided such joy and support when I was undergoing my cancer treatment eight years ago...and for all days in between. This little treasure is a gem so valuable for the reminder of all the gifts God has given me. Sometimes it is the simplest gifts of love and support that mean the most.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Breast Cancer....looking back to day one of the "journey"

Here is a picture of me...
 taken this past summer on my birthday
 with my husband and tow of our grandchildren!
Today I am celebrating my 8th anniversary as a Breast Cancer Survivor! Thinking about that day gives me pause to reflect on everything that diagnosis meant to me. I was so surprised! Not angry, worried or emotional, just surprise. Maybe shock is really the word.

I worked hard to prove it didn't bother me and that things were just as they were the day before. I did not want to be perceived as a victim or a weepy woman that was going to yo to pieces. I wanted to be strong and to show that I believed I would make it onto the other side of that mountainous journey they call Breast Cancer! But, I had a hard time waiting because I am the woman who wants to know everything now...the whole picture and know what I had to do to get through it. However, wait I did because the cancer crew just envelopes you in their net and you simply get on their circuit that takes you from one meeting to another over and over. I could not see what this treatment would look like and in my mind, I wanted to see it and get it done. Scared? No....just ready for it to all be behind me.

I forgot one thing though...cancer is like grief, in that you have to actually go through it to come out on the other side. You go through each day and the day after. You just do.....and I made it! I still think of the whole experience; it was quite a journey, but I made it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall!

Ah, fall is in the air, the night was cool, the air crisp and fog blanketed the fields this morning as my grandson played soccer. He commented tonight that he enjoyed watching the fog disappear while he played his game. He is so observant, so vibrant in his descriptions that some days it is hard to believe that in a mere month he will be eight years old. He is wise in his youth, wise in ways we can no longer be because he has the curiosity and interest of a child. Every day is fresh with new things to discover. His interest in nature is so inspiring to me as it reminds me how important it is to live in the present and enjoy life in the now!  What a joy it is to spend time with him and see things new again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ah....Road Rage-ous Driving!



I had an interesting road rage encounter with a mailman today...apparently I went ahead of my turn at a 4 way stop so he followed me closer and closer, swerving back and forth to get my attention...he had  my full attention, believe me! He kept raising his hand in a raging manner for nearly a mile when we got to the stop sign. He pulled up next to me and just screamed! And screamed some more. I had no idea what he was saying but I felt every word like a slap to my face. I kept saying I was sorry, using apologetic gestures as sincerely as I could beyond getting out of the car. He just ranted and raged, finally waving me away as if he swatted a fly before turning the corner in the direction of the post office.  I had to go to a doctor appointment but afterwards I stopped by the post office and spoke to the manager. Apparently this postman carried his anger to the workplace as the manager had already heard about it. I mentioned that I made a mistake by turning out of turn but the postman's behavior was unbecoming of anyone wearing the uniform of a government agency. I proceeded to tell him what had occurred and his jaw dropped! He indicated that this postman has had issues with anger; it wasn't the first time! He assured me he was going to call the fellow's supervisor at the post office the man was based out of. He said this behavior had to stop. The manager also said he makes mistakes himself and that he was sorry that this had happened. I was sorry I missed my turn in line, it was unintentional but seriously that man's behavior carried things too far. Good grief! They know the guy has anger problems! I know people who would love to have his job who have no anger problems.....


I believe there is too much anger in society today. Kindness and a little patience go a long way. Practicing it in the car is a pretty good idea and keeps a little more civility on the roadways!



Monday, October 3, 2011

Purse Week Contest

Last week I told you that I entered Grace's Sling Bag in the Purse Week contest. I did not make the top ten but it was a good experience just getting the nerve to enter the contest. The 10 making the finals are very nice. You can vote for the top ten here on A Lemon Squeezy Home.

If you love bags, as all girls do, check out the Flickr group  page and pick a favorite that inspires you to make a new one for you or a gift!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Grace's New Purse

When my husband and I took Grace and Luke to the Oregon Coast this summer we stopped at the Center Diamond Fabrics store in Cannon Beach. Grace fell in love with Amy Butler's Birdie Sling Bag so naturally a project was born! Look at the fabrics we picked out!

I signed and dated the lining for her!

Making the pockets!  This fabric is by Anna Marie Horner.
 Grace likes it so well we ordered more from Center Diamond for a skirt.

Moda Bliss is the top and sling handle and the body is Odyssea by Momo for Moda

Here is the final project! She loves this bag. She chose this bag over a backpack.
  A wise choice for a maturing young lady!

I entered this purse in the Purse Week Contest...check out the other entries on their Flickr Site!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Luke's Dinosaur Quilt

T
                             Here is my first large quilt project, finished earlier this year.
 I found this wonderful pattern in the January/February issue of Fons&Porter Quilting Magazine.  http://www.fonsandporter.com/index.html the panel was designed by Michele Wojcinski for Avlyn Fabrics.

Luke is as high as he can be displaying his finished quilt. I was slow getting started on this project. I searched everywhere for this dinosaur panel in the middle but I finally found it bugfabric.com. I wasn't able to find the coordinating Fossil prints so I went to a favorite local quilt shop, http://www.aheartlikeyours.com/ and fell in love with these batik prints.  As I got started my simple lap sized quilt grew until it fit his double bed. I am linking up with Sew Many ways today for So Darn Crafty linky party...check out all the great ideas!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Random quote for a Tuesday.....



"He respects Owl, because you can't help respecting anybody who can spell Tuesday, even if he doesn't spell it right." - A.A. Milne


I didn't know Winnie the Pooh growing up and maybe that is a good thing. I am not sure I would have appreciated his 'wisdom' as much as I do now.  Fun, whimsy, innocence and wit...
who can ask for more when we live in such a serious world.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget....


Lady Liberty stands greeting all who comes to America.
 In the background stands the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center
 before the inconceivable and horrific terror attack of September 11, 2001.
What a glorious picture.
Preview
A memorable, hopeful moment.
Among the rubble of the unimaginable that our "Flag was still still there."
Thank you to all the heroes of September 11, 2001.
To all the families who lost a loved one, we have not forgotten.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ruthie's new shrug!

Meet Ruthie, my very own American Girl doll. She is wearing her new shrug, crocheted by
yours truly. I thought I would make this in time for fall.
I chose a crisp white baby soft yarn to accentuate the
trim on her "feed sack" dress, lovingly made by
 Kit Kittredge's mother. If you have read the books or
seen the movies about Kit, you will know that Kit is Ruthie's best friend.  They lived in the time of the Great Depression, when my mother was a girl. Mrs. Kittredge made lovely dresses out of the printed sacks, the same type of sacks my grandmother made tea towels and, most likely aprons. It was good quality cotton and women made good use of everything in those times to contribute to making their homes a haven and keep the family clothed. I could have listened to my mother and grandmother talk forever about those times as I was so curious!

I look forward to making more sweaters for Ruthie....I have a long navy blue one I will share with you after I get the buttons sewn on and her matching jeans and t-shirt sewn!  (I downloaded the pattern from the web so many months ago I will research where I got it so that I can give proper credit to the pattern designer.

Don't forget to enter the drawing for an eye shadow bundle from Mary Kay...the contest ends next Thursday, September 15th!

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Burpies for a cause

I spent one morning with these ladies sewing flannel burp cloths. It was fun and it felt great to see the pile of 70+ burpies when we finished about 90 minutes later. Fun, fellowship and lots of goodies baked by my dear sister Judy who is third from the left in the back row. All the burpies were taken to Catholic Charities 
for a special program that mentors young moms to be.
I hope to be invited back for the next sewing session!
Smiling and visiting while we sewed, Judy is shown in the background picking up our finished projects and giving us fresh-cut burpies ready to sew. Having some of the group cutting, pressing and fetching whatever we needed made short work out of yards and yards of flannel!  Good coffee and the camaraderie made it all the more special.