Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Easy Ribbed Scarf... Knitting WIP

Okay, so it's a bit wonky... well, it is my very first knitted thing ever. The fact that it is a little wonky doesn't really matter to me. I'm just excited that I've finally learned to knit.

And I must admit, it's not terribly difficult once you learn how to hold the needles. There is something soothing about the counting and the knitting and the purling. It relaxes me after a hectic day of troubleshooting computer errors.

Yes... sweet therapy. Predictable. Dependable. Knit. Knit. Knit. Then purl, purl. I don't have to think it through. And the beauty of it is that I don't have to have a tremendous amount of energy at the end of the day. I just pick up my needles and the rhythym reminds me to slow down... and breathe.

Tutorial here by Firefly.

I modified the tutorial a little by using a worsted weight wool blend yarn on size 8 needles.

And in case you need the basics on how to knit...

One more thing... introducing Cocoa! He's the latest addition to our family. We're in love!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Learning to Knit

***This entry has been updated. I linked you to the wrong knitting tutorial in the post below. I did use the Stitch Diva for a few tips, but I found that the videos were more helpful. The video tutorials are actually located here:


I stumbled upon the best knitting tutorial ever... it is a series of videos done by the Stitch Diva that shows EXTREMELY INDEPTH instructions and tips. I've been an avid crocheter for years, but never learned to knit. Mainly because I was never taught to knit - my grandmother taught me to crochet, but she never knit.

Sure, I've thought about learning to knit many times. But the instuctions in knitting books seemed a bit complicated, and quite frankly, made little sense to me. I am so glad I found this website. I literally learned to knit in under 30 minutes. REALLY.

I'm not an expert... yet. But with a little practice, I should be knitting well within the week. It's a simple process. And since I already crochet, the movements come quite naturally. Go ahead... give it a try:

This is what I've started knitting:

It's a very simple and easy to knit scarf. I'm loving it and I can hardly believe how easily it is coming together. I will post a photo of the project soon.

In the meantime, the Craft Addict is doing a fabulous giveaway on her blog this week - hurry on over, the contest ends December 12, 2008. You can click here to view her blog and post a comment to enter the contest. You will not want to miss this - the items above are included in the giveaway. Major crafty score! And an added bonus: she's giving a little shoutout to our favorite charities. Mine is 100x Missions which exists to glorify God through the care of orphans and the sharing of the good news of Christ around the world.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lost my crafty mojo?

Friends, I have a confession to make... I haven't been the least bit crafty in months. I know. A little depressing. I have several WIPs, but I'm having trouble getting back into the groove after my recent endeavors. Really and truly, I am just too tired.

I am enjoying my work, and my family is great about it. Everyone tries to pitch and do their part. My husband has even learned to do laundry (Woohoo!) I just find it hard to squeeze in time for crafting these days. And I do miss it. Really, I do.

I have managed to squeeze in time for cooking (we still like to eat, you know?) And I stumbled upon a couple of wonderful websites in my quest for good food:

Bob's Red Mill is an excellent site for grains, beans, flours, and all sorts of bread and muffin mixes. You can buy individual packages of their products, or buy in bulk for a substantial discount. Most things I've purchased have been in 25lb bags which I store in 5 or 2.5 gallon buckets with lids. It works out beautifully. Just be sure you have a place to store them - mine are stacked in a closet. If you decide to place an order, be sure you try the Apple Cinnamon & Grains Hot Cereal. It's more coarse in texture than oatmeal, and full of apple bits. My family loves it served with honey drizzled over the top. Yum!

The Fresh Loaf is a great site for amateur bread makers. I made this cornbread last night. It was soooo good! I used corn flour (no plain flour at all, just corn meal) from Bob's Red Mill and it was excellent. My husband said it was the best I had ever served, and that's saying something for him. He's really, really picky about his bread. FYI, corn flour is just corn meal that is ground very fine. Most corn meals are coarse in texture.

Psalm 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.

2 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;

16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;

20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

22 The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm back, and I'm ready.

I cannot believe that it has been nearly two months since my last post. As you can imagine, it's been a very busy summer for me. I returned to the corporate world after being at home with my baby girl for 18 months. Yeah, it was a rude awakening. But we've adjusted well.

You're probably wondering what is going on in my head lately. Truly, my focus is on obedience to God. He laid it on my heart to prepare for a famine, and that is what we've been doing for the last year. And I must say, with the current financial crisis, I'm feeling pretty good about the measures my family has taken to ensure that we don't go hungry - literally.

Friends, I believe with all my heart that we must, as a nation, return to our first love. To God Almighty. I have hope that we will experience revival in this nation. God is pouring out His Spirit upon His people in a powerful way. We will experience revival, or we will experience wrath. The choice is ours to make.

I encourage you to make your own preparations. Buy extra rice, beans, grains, and canned goods on your next shopping trip. What's it going to hurt? If I'm wrong, and you prepare - no big deal, you have extra food to eat. If I'm right, and you don't prepare - big problem, you watch your family go hungry.

And don't get me wrong, this is about so much more than stocking up on extra groceries. This is about obedience and submission. God loves us so much. Too much to leave us in sin. He will get our attention, and unfortunately, it usually takes suffering to wake us up. It's easy to get so wrapped up in ourselves and our routines that we end up shutting out our Creator.

Luke 11:10 (NIV)
10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Check out this link to my friend's hubpage. She lays out God's plan of salvation very simply. We all need Jesus. There's no reason to live without Him. What are you waiting for?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Seven Non-Negotiables

A friend sent me this link which spells out seven non-negotiables of living for God. Each point is relevant and necessary for the Christian faith, and backed up by scripture.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

God's Peace Be Upon You

Matthew 24:4-14

4Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,[a]' and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Philippians 4:4-9

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Put your trust in the Lord

2 Peter 2:1-9

1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kay Arthur's Message of Famine in America

I have had comments and questions concerning my post on Kay Arthur's message concerning famine in America.

To clarify, Kay warned that this country is in grave danger. She said it repeatedly and I got goosebumps every time she said it. She read many, many scriptures which warned that God will bring judgement upon a nation who sins against him. Judgement in the form of famine, plague, and sword. She didn't actually say that God is sending a famine upon this nation. What she did say was that we should all fall flat on our faces before him and repent. That we should pray fervently for our nation which is in GRAVE DANGER. That we pray His wrath would turn from us if we will humble ourselves and seek His face.

I wish her transcript would be published. She spoke the word of God powerfully and with authority- the message the Lord laid heavily on her heart to share. A message she admitted she did not want to bring - she brought it through weeping and great pain. She looked as though she could and would collapse at any moment - Satan did not want her to bring that message. She has posted a prayer guide on her website.

Please feel free to ask questions. I would encourage you to read God's word (Joel, Amos, Hosea, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel - all the prophets, really - Matthew 24, Revelation 18) and pray that he will give you wisdom and discernment - that He would lay His will upon our hearts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Praying for Our Nation

Kay Arthur has posted on her website a prayer guide for those willing to pray for our nation. I am including the link:

I also wanted to share a link to a video that is incredibly eye-opening. Take the time to view it. It concerns the world's food supply and how many of the foods we eat are now experiencing shortages. The worst is yet to come.

Pray... Repent... Prepare.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More about the famine

I am in the midst of preparing for the famine - both physically and spiritually. I have only a moment, but I wanted to share with you a link I found today. It relates to others who are being called by the Lord.

Pray for our nation... Seek His face... Repent. I am praying for you. Trust in the Lord. There is no reason to fear, He is with us. He will never leave us of forsake us. Put your hope in He who is mighty to save! Jesus Christ is Lord!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Prepare your hearts - prepare for a famine

The Lord spoke to me on June 28-29, 2008. I was not the only one he spoke to. I had the opportunity and tremendous blessing to attend the "Deeper Still" event in Atlanta, GA with Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. I had no idea how His very Word was about to change my life.

Let me tell you, I am a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. I was redeemed when I was sixteen years old. And other than the day I arose from the watery grave of baptism, I have never felt his presence and affirmation in my life the way I felt it that weekend. It lingers still. It grows even.

The Lord spoke His Word through Kay Arthur. She warned that this country is in grave danger if we do not repent from our sin and seek His face. It was a message that she brought through great difficulty - she had been physically ill as she labored to prepare herself to bring God's message. She wept as she spoke His Words to our hearts. We wept with her.

And now, those called by the Lord to do so are preparing for a famine, and praying for the repentance of our people and ourselves. You see, the Lord has been stirring in my heart for some time now that a famine is coming. My husband and I have been talking about it for over a year, and we've been preparing for it for about 8 months.

My best friend and I sat up until the wee morning hours, before Kay's message, discussing this very thing. She had experienced the Lord's stirring in her heart concerning a famine as well. We were completely blown away when Kay Arthur's message confirmed everything we'd discussed and prayed about that very morning. She gave us scriptures to back up the message the Lord spoke through her. We have received a fresh touch from the Lord, and we are forever changed.

And no, I'm not crazy. I'm not special. I'm an ordinary person living in an extraordinary time touched by our supernatural God. To disobey Him at a time like this would surely be foolish, even fatal. And while we pray for the repentence of our people, and that the wrath of God would pass and our country be spared destruction, we prepare for the worst. It is not God's desire to bring calamity on a nation - our nation. He desires our hearts and our submission and our reverence.

I would encourage you to pray and read God's Word for yourselves. I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have concerning this post. I wish I could share with you the entire message and every single scripture Kay shared with us, but I can't. Read Matthew 24 and 25. The books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Amos, and Revelation. Let this be a time of revival for us. I'm praying for you.

If you don't have a Bible, go to to read God's Word for yourself.

Ezekiel 40:4
"Look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here."

Ezekiel 12
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
3 "Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. 4 During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. 5 While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. 6 Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel."

7 So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.

8 In the morning the word of the LORD came to me: 9 "Son of man, did not that rebellious house of Israel ask you, 'What are you doing?'

10 "Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and the whole house of Israel who are there.' 11 Say to them, 'I am a sign to you.'
"As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives.

12 "The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land. 13 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die. 14 I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword.

15 "They will know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the LORD."

17 The word of the LORD came to me: 18 "Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water. 19 Say to the people of the land: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who live there. 20 The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD.' "

21 The word of the LORD came to me: 22 "Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: 'The days go by and every vision comes to nothing'? 23 Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.' Say to them, 'The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled. 24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel. 25 But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious house, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "

26 The word of the LORD came to me: 27 "Son of man, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.'

28 "Therefore say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "

Ezekiel 14
1 Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front of me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 3 "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? 4 Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the LORD will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry. 5 I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.'
6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!

7 " 'When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the LORD will answer him myself. 8 I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

9 " 'And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They will bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him. 11 Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "

Judgment Inescapable
12 The word of the LORD came to me: 13 "Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, 14 even if these three men—Noah, Daniel [a] and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.
15 "Or if I send wild beasts through that country and they leave it childless and it becomes desolate so that no one can pass through it because of the beasts, 16 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land would be desolate.

17 "Or if I bring a sword against that country and say, 'Let the sword pass throughout the land,' and I kill its men and their animals, 18 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.

19 "Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out my wrath upon it through bloodshed, killing its men and their animals, 20 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness.

21 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals! 22 Yet there will be some survivors—sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will come to you, and when you see their conduct and their actions, you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought upon Jerusalem—every disaster I have brought upon it. 23 You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause, declares the Sovereign LORD."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Old Wooden Spools

I had a chance to do a bit of thrifting over the weekend. I could rummage through flea markets and yard sales until the cows come home. There's such a rewarding feeling in finding a rare jewel amidst a sea of junk. It makes me happy.

Anyway, this jewel was amongst my treasures. I just love old wooden spools. And as if these beauties weren't treasure enough, they came in a gorgeous vintage mason jar. I couldn't possibly have resisted these. I considered it my reward for having survived my first week back at work in almost 2 years. Whew! I earned them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Anonymous Anniversary Artwork

My husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last month. This is what he gave me, which made the silver engraved money clip I gave him seem small and insignificant. You see, this man of mine doesn't care the least little bit about art. But he knows how much I enjoy it. And red. Oh, how I adore the color red. I use punches of red and black throughout my home. They're such dramatic hues... must be the drama queen coming out in me.

This painting was done by a local artist for Gallery East, one of my favorite places to peruse. I'd love to tell you who did it, but the truth is, I don't know. My husband didn't think to ask when he bought it, and the signature is completely illegible. I'll have to take this photo with me when I visit the gallery again and ask. In the meantime, I love to sit back and admire this somewhat anonymous work of art.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hair Bow Making - A Southern Tradition

You've probably seen pictures of Sara Lynn and you may have noticed that she always has a bow in her hair. Not only do they look nice, but they're super easy to use for keeping her hair out of her face. These use alligator clips (salon style clips you can purchase in your local beauty supply store) and take only a few minutes to make. Really simple. Really easy to make. The pinwheel style bows are my favorite (pictured above). I whipped these up in about half an hour this evening to match a few new outfits in Sara Lynn's closet.

Tutorial here. On this site there are 30+ tutorials for making different styles of hair bows and clips. Some are very elaborate - turkey motifs for Thanksgiving, pumpkin clippies for Halloween, and Minnie Mouse ears to name a few. If you're into girly hair things, this is the place for you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Yummy! As promised, I made a pineapple upside down cake last week. This is an easy recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake that uses a cast iron skillet. Recipe here. I did modify the recipe slightly. I used fresh pineapple, and half the butter and brown sugar for the pineapple mixture, and it turned out great. It was still really rich.

My heart is heavy as I blog today. I started a new job today. I'll be working for the same firm I worked for before I had Sara Lynn, so I'll be working with wonderful people I know and love. But I will miss these precious months I've been at home with my little one. She started at Montessori today, and she loved it. What a relief!!! Daniel will be attending a daytime summer camp program at our local YMCA, and I'm sure he'll be happy there.

Please be patient with me as I'm sure my presence here will become more sporadic. I intend to continue sewing, cooking, crocheting, gardening and everything else I love to do, it'll just be on an irregular basis. And of coarse, I'll continue sharing my creations and my world with you. It's been a wonderful experience, this world of blogging. Thank you for all of your encouragement and support over the past few months. God bless you for your kindnesses.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cafe Curtain Completion

Yes, I'm doing my happy dance about these curtains. Not only am I happy that I'm done, but I'm also happy with the way they turned out. Which gives me a reason to celebrate! I hate to admit it, but my projects don't always come out the way I hope they will.

We've been in the midst of a master bathroom remodeling project that is finally coming to an end. It's been a LONG road travelling upstairs to use the bathroom and take our showers, but the wait was definitely worth the end result.

If you look really closely, you'll notice that we're missing the little ceramic circle with a "C" for "Cold", compliments of Sara Lynn. I don't know how that mischievous baby girl managed to get it off, but she did, and promptly threw it on the floor. Into a million little pieces it went. Such is the life of a mother. It's always something. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tomorrow will be our official Daddy Day. He's spent so much time and energy working for us, remodeling our home, and lavishing us with affection. Tomorrow will be a day all his own. To do, or not to do, anything he wants. We're wishing you and yours a wonderful Father's Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nanny's Banana Nut Bread

One of my most prized possessions is an old cookbook I inherited from my grandmother. It's full of wonderful recipes that my "Nanny" cooked for us all the time. The pages are tattered and stained by years of use, and that's one of the things that makes it so special to me. Seriously, I can remember eating at my Nanny's house more often than eating at our own home while growing up. That said, I'm sure my memories are biased by my fondness of my grandmother and how much I miss her.

This was the recipe she used for Banana Nut Bread. Both she and my mother (who is also a fabulous cook) made it often, and since I began running my own household, I now make it every time I have extra bananas that need to be used. Super moist on the inside, and crusty good on the outside, it is definitely a family favorite.

Banana Nut Bread

3 ripe bananas

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 c. self rising flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat bananas, oil, and eggs until bananas are mashed. Add dry ingredients and beat just until mixed. Fold in nuts. Bake about 50 minutes or until deep golden brown. Makes 2 loaves or 1 tube pan.

Can you tell that I've had tons of fresh fruit in the house this week? All that's left is the pineapple I just sliced up yesterday. I feel a pineapple upside-down cake coming on... I've been in Betty Crocker mode lately, no doubt.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

This is soooo good. And it was a really simple recipe. I had never made my own shortcake before, but after making this easy recipe, I'll never buy store-bought shortcake again. It took all of 5 minutes to whip up the batter. Really.

Recipe here. The only modification to the original recipe I made was to bake it in muffin tins for 10 minutes. Individual servings mean no complaining about who got the biggest piece. My boys can be crazy ridiculous when it comes to dessert.

And this is what my little sweetie does while I cook. It can be rather difficult to navigate my kitchen with every single pot, pan, and lid decorating the floor. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

And to update you on Daniel's t-ball progress, his team lost the championship game last night. But 2nd place isn't too shabby, if you ask me. Both teams played their hearts out and it was a really good game. I'm still a touch hoarse from all the "woohoo-ing" I did.

I'll leave you with a picture from our last night of Vacation Bible School (which was tonight, actually.) There's my boy (pretending to snap my picture) with my man. A handsome pair, those two.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Crazy Little Fruit Tree

We inherited this crazy little fruit tree when we bought our house. The previous owner told us that it produced three kinds of fruit: apricots, peaches, and something else (I forget.) I didn't believe her until this spring...

When it produced peaches (1st photo) and apricots (2nd photo). I haven't identified a third fruit, but I'm still looking. Everyday, Daniel asks if he can he try a peach. Finally, I relented and let him sample the first fruit of the season. It was still a little sour, but in another week or so, they should be perfect.

I'm sorry about the lack of sewing related posts lately, but I just can't seem to find the time. I'm spending my days trying to soak up every moment I can with both of my children knowing that this season will only last a short while.

Daniel's t-ball team has been in 2nd place this season, and tournaments have just begun. We're also in the midst of Vacation Bible School at church. The theme is "Game-On!" and we're having so much fun learning and laughing together. God is good!

Friday, June 6, 2008

River Rats

We all love to play on the river. This is our favorite spot. We found the perfect tree to hang a rope from. Could you blame a boy for loving the water?

Woohoo! Daniel and his friend had a blast swinging from that rope... they were so worn out that they slept until 9:00am this morning!

And my baby loves the sand. She particularly loves to smear it all over everyone and everything (including herself.) We have so much fun playing together on the water. It's our family therapy.
And it occurred to my husband that I don't appear in many photos. I'm usually behind the camera (which is where I prefer to be!) So he snapped one of Sara Lynn and I. I don't suppose it would make me happy to look back in 10 years and realize that there aren't any photos of me and my babies. We'll have to work on that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fresh Out of Bed

My son has been getting used to life without school days. Summer Break. Kid Heaven. Every morning, he gets straight out of bed, puts his clothes on, and heads out the door. He's a busy boy. He catches frogs, plays on the fort, jumps on the trampoline, rides his bike, and has kid company over. He's a handsome little fellow, isn't he? I made him slow down just long enough to flash his pretty smile at his adoring mommy.

They grow up so fast. I'm struck by how tall he is from time to time. Where did my little baby boy go? He is maturing into a considerate and caring young man. I pray over him at night where he can hear me. I often pray (pretty much every prayer)that he'll grow up to be a man of God. When he was about 3-years-old, a friend of mine casually asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up. He very seriously told her, "A man of God." I love that boy. My cup runs over.

Daniel's Talent

During the last week of school, Daniel's class put on a talent show. My boy chose "Catching Frogs" as his talent. I can just hear his teacher asking him, "Daniel, what are you good at?" And Daniel saying, "Catching frogs!" He's had ORFF music lessons, taken Taekwondo, played t-ball, and done Abracadoodle (art). And still, his talent is of the amphibious sort! Classic.

We've really enjoyed Montessori this year (1st grade.) Daniel had fabulous teachers. So fabulous, in fact, that Daniel was able to bring baby frogs to school that he'd caught the night before.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cafe Curtains

I'm ashamed to admit how long I've had this fabric... let's just say I've had it for a while. I got it for 50% off at Hancock's Fabric. If you know me personally, you know how much I love red when it comes to my home decor. I picked this fabric to make cafe curtains for a HUGE bay window in my master bathroom. I'm leaving about a 10 inch space uncovered at the top of the window to let light spill into the room. I also sewed a very generous hem (1 foot indeed) to keep it interesting from the outside of the house. This window is very visible from my patio.

This toile is a delightful print of a woman washing her clothes in a creek while her children play happily alongside her. I really like it and I can't wait to see it hung. I'll be sure to show you when I'm finished and it's hanging in my bathroom. I've sewn 3 panels that are 60" x 42" each (whew!) Only 5 more to go... Ugh! Better get sewing...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Provencal Tuna Salad

WOW!!! This is a great tuna salad recipe. Like every recipe in The Splendid Table's: How to Eat Supper, this is so different. It's full of capers, olives, grape tomatoes, dill weed, and fresh lemon juice... fabulous. It's almost unbelievable that tuna can taste SOOOO good. If you only buy one more cookbook in your lifetime, this one needs to be it. This book has caused my blog to appear to be a cooking blog, which it's not (usually!) I just can't seem to help myself - good things were meant to be shared.

****Recipe here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Butterick B5019 - Girl's Apron Dress

Forgive me for these not so charming photos. It's late and there is zero natural light, so these will have to do. I just finished up this cute little apron dress for Sara Lynn - she's sleeping now, otherwise I'd have her model it for you.

These are fabrics I got on sale at Hobby Lobby (can you believe it?!) I'm absolutely loving the turquoise, pink, and green. Let me start by saying this was a very easy to sew pattern. What wasn't so easy was making my own bias tape for the first time. It took as long to make the tape as it did to sew the dress! But I think the results were worth it. I used this tutorial from Martha Stewart and a Dritz brand 1 in. bias tape maker.

I've shied away from patterns with bias tape in the past because I don't love the solid colored bias tapes that are commercially available. But when I stumbled across the tutorial above, I knew I must take the plunge. Really, it's as easy to finish seams as it is to create and use your own bias tape (in my humble opinion.) But every now and then, it's nice to try something different.

About the actual pattern... I feel I must disclose that it looks ENORMOUS for a size 2 (which is what I sewed.) I know that Butterick patterns run a bit on the large side, but I wonder if my sweetie will have to wait until next year to get any use out of this one. I'll let you know how her first "fitting" goes.

****Here's how the dress fits my little one... I think the length is okay...

But the neck hole is WAY too big for her right now. She's tall and thin. Usually a 2T fits her perfectly, but next time I will definitely cut the neck hole MUCH smaller. Hope this helps you!

Monday, May 26, 2008

ABC's about Me

I was tagged by Varenia to do the ABCs about me. Here are the rules. Tag the ABCs about you. Each player then tags 3 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

A- Attached or single: Attached

B- Best Friend: I know this is corny, but my husband really is my BEST friend!

C-Cake or Pie: Cake. But pie is good, too. I pretty much love all things sweet. Especially CHOCOLATE!

D-Day: Saturdays when we get to take the boat out. I love to be out on the water with my babies. They love it, too. Except the little one really doesn't like the boat motor when it's above idle speed! (We're hoping she'll get over it soon - this is her first "boating season")

E- Essential Item: A pacifier - for the little one, of coarse! Our pediatrician said that it's time to begin "weening" her off of it, but we all dread the process. She's quite attached to it, and quite fussy without it.

F- Favorite Color: Lately? Any shade of blue, especially turquoise. And pink, too. And brown... Oh, it's too hard to pick just one, isn't it?

G-Gummi Bears or Worms: Neither. However, I do like gummy peaches. Although I haven't had one in forever.

H-Home town: Montgomery, Alabama (Yes, I live in my hometown! We've lived other places before, but we love it here.)

I- Indulgences: COFFEE. Starbucks is my favorite, but I brew my own Dunkin' Donuts coffee at home. It's really good, too.

J- January or July?: July. Although, it was a little hard to choose. My son's birthday is in July, and my daughter's birthday is in January. Both months are pretty high on my list. July won out because we can do the boating thing.

K-Kids: Daniel - almost 7 years old, and Sara Lynn - 16 months old

L-Life is incomplete without: my family

M- Marriage Date: May 31st, 1997 (11 years this Saturday!!!)

N- Number of Siblings: one, a younger brother

O- Oranges or Apples: apples

P- Phobias or Fears: Bugs and snakes and rodents of any kind. My husband actually had to kill a snake in the backyard this afternoon. I've had goosebumps ever since!

Q- Quote: The Bible- "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

R- Reason To Smile: sunny days relaxing on my patio, laughing babies, digging in the dirt, cooking (but not the cleaning it up part), my husband coming home from work, a finished sewing project.

S- Season: Spring and Fall (but I REALLY do love them all! It's such a blessing to have the changing of the seasons. I can't imagine how boring it would be to have the climate remain a constant temperature!)

T- Tag Three: Aima, Lera, and Ann!

U- Unknown fact about me: I'm a sloppy seamstress... I just trim my threads and throw them down. I'll vacuum them up, eventually!

V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: Just had grilled chicken and Italian sausage for dinner. Yummy! Love the veggies, too - ate roasted asparagus and new potatoes as well. I guess you could call me a foodie.

W- Worst Habit: Probably the whole messy seamstress thing. Nobody really knows this about me. I'm a total neat freak! I just hate to slow down while I'm in the rhythm of sewing. Needless to say, the door to my studio is usually closed!

Y-Your favorite food: Anything fresh. Asparagus, squash, mushrooms, pineapple, blueberries, baby spinach. I could go on and on.

Z: Zodiac Sign: Libra.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pink Oleander

My oleander is in full bloom - I wish you were here to see it! All I can smell is Spring when I walk out my door in the mornings. This is my favorite time of year. But then again, I say that every Autumn, too.

God sure new what He was doing when he made the seasons change. I think it keeps us in awe of His creation. How boring it would be if it were always hot or cold, or even in between! I just adore the first few buds of Spring, or the changing of the leaves in Fall. It never gets old, does it?

And on a sewing note, I just got a new ruffler foot that I'll be trying out on my Kenmore 19233 today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Fresh Produce

My dear sweet neighbor invited me to enjoy some of her garden's bounty. During Sara Lynn's nap yesterday, I was able to get my hands dirty picking these beauties: onions, radishes, yellow squash, and zucchini.

I've been contemplating planting a garden of my own this year. I finally talked my husband into helping me get the ground ready. I'm hoping we can get started this weekend - woohoo!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Britches and Bloomers: Cropped

As promised, I made some more of Jackie Clark's Britches and Bloomers. I'm loving this simple little pattern. This time I took a few inches off the length and made cropped pants for Sara Lynn.

I had the HARDEST time getting pictures of that girl today. She's lightening fast. Most pictures turned out blurry like the one above.

I realized I had to be resourceful if I was going to get good shots. All it took was a little ice cream.

Yummy! She just had to hold the spoon herself.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rolled Hem Presser Foot Review

I've had this rolled hem foot (aka hemmer foot) for a while now. Unfortunately, I have yet to master the art of the rolled hem. Try as I might, I can never seem to produce consistant hems with this foot. I end up with fabric peeking through, or either I don't roll enough fabric through and the hem comes loose.

I really want to be able to use this foot. It is MUCH faster than doing a narrow hem (so I'm told.) I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've spent a total of 90 minutes fidgeting with the fabric and the foot trying to figure out where I'm going wrong... and I still can't produce a consistant hem.

See what I mean? Sometimes it's beautiful, and sometimes it's not. I found a great tutorial here that explains how to use this foot. I hope you have better luck with it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Souper Supper

Not a day has gone by that I haven't had The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper in my hands since it arrived on my doorstep. This is the best cookbook I've ever read - and I have lots of them. It reads like a good book. Full of facts, tips, and stories, this book begs you to keep reading it. I sat down for 2 hours the first night I had it and made a grocery list a mile long.

Every recipe in this book makes my mouth water, and they're completely doable recipes. I mean normal, non-chef human beings can make these meals. Lynne and Sally put a modern twist on old recipes from around the world when creating this cookbook. I gotta say, it's a keeper! They encourage fresh, organic ingredients when possible, and use flavor boosters (they call it umami) that really bring out the flavors in these dishes.

Umm, Mmm... We're having Soup of Fresh Greens and Alphabets for dinner tonight. (I used tiny shells because I didn't have alphabet pasta, and I used baby spinach instead of escarole.) It's absolutely divine.

Whose kid is that?

Today was Sara Lynn's last day of preschool before the summer break begins. I was blessed to be able to spend the day with her and her little friends. But I gotta say, she acted so silly with me there! It's fun to see them and their reactions when their routine is a little off.

She must have pulled that stinkin' pony tail down 1000 times! At one point, I was so tired of putting it back in that I let her walk around looking like Cousin It (remember him from that old show The Adam's Family?) And if you'll notice, there's no diaper cover on her. She dirtied it as we were walking out the door this morning. It's always something, isn't it?

And as if she weren't already being silly enough, she claimed the blocks bucket and wore it as a helmet for the remainder of the morning. She had to have worn it for at least an hour. It was so funny! She walked, and talked (gibberish, of coarse), and played with the bucket over her head.

She even put blocks in it and then tried to wear it that way. I just love little ones... especially that silly little girl right there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Old Alabama Town

I recently had the opportunity to join my son and his class on a fieldtrip to Old Alabama Town located in dowtown Montgomery, Alabama. This is the neatest place - it's like taking a step back in time. Old Alabama Town is actually a few blocks worth of fully restored homes and businesses from the 19th and 20th centuries.

There was a real blacksmith who showed us how his craft would have been practiced over 100 years ago. Everything was authentic: his tools, clothing, and shop were exactly as they would have been back in the late 1800's.

Our tour guide was particularly knowledgeable. He took us through the process of getting cotton from the fields and into the gin. He showed us how corn and wheat were milled, and we were able to see how wool was spun into yarn by a little old lady using a spindle. Very interesting stuff.

I've never seen a flower this color before. There's no telling how old it is... it was behind one of those big historic homes. I believe it is a camelia. It was so bright, it appeared to be glow-in-the-dark flourescent orange.

I think these boys experienced information overload. As soon as the tour ended, we hit the playground which is right behind the camera. I hate I didn't snap any pictures of the playground because it's really awesome. It's one of the best playgrounds in Montgomery, and I never knew it was there. We'll definitely be going back. If you're in the area, this place is definitely worth checking out.