Friday, January 29, 2010

Sewing up a storm


My quilt making progress was interrupted this week. But I didn’t mind one bit. These super-sweet rustic bears were a cinch to sew. It truly doesn’t get any easier than these.

I’m so tempted to sew on button eyes and embroider a curvy bear-ish smile and cutesy nose! But they’ll have to stay naked for a little while longer.


This Sunday at church, our children will be painting faces on theses bears and they will be distributed to a local children’s home. The Adullam House reaches out to children in our area whose parent(s) have been incarcerated, and they have many children living there at any given time. The needs are always great, but several local churches sponsor this amazing ministry.

Its important for us to realize that there is mission work to be done right here at home, as well as abroad. It’s also important for our children to be involved as we reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves. They are growing, and learning, and being shaped by their experiences each and everyday.

Okay, it’s time to get off my soap box and get on to the sewing…


I love seeing a big pile of fabric scraps!


And having the not-so-fun part of cutting behind me. (I must confess that I never enjoy the cutting.)


My favorite mug was filled many times. Sometimes coffee, sometimes tea.


Now this is fun!


Lots of little bears took shape this week.


And because I’d been a really good girl, a piece of Farmer Kim’s Apple Cake was my reward. Yum!

I’m so glad that the sweet lady who put this project together chose an easy pattern. I feel another beginner’s sewing tutorial coming on. Details are in the works and will be posted soon. This is an excellent pattern for a child’s first sewing project.

The winner is…


I am pleased to announce that both Ann and Stacey will be receiving this fun pattern. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Ann, I already have your address and will pop it in the mail today.

Stacey, please email me your address: melissasews(at)gmail(dot)com

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You are what you eat

CSA veggies

My mother always told me, “You are what you eat!”  But it wasn’t until the past few years that it began to hit home with me. What we eat fuels our bodies, and if we do not consume good fuel, our bodies will not perform properly. Our immune system will begin to suffer. Energy levels will plummet. What we eat really does make a difference in how we feel.

I love to see this weekly box of fruits and vegetables arrive!


Cooking good, wholesome meals for my family is rarely an elaborate affair.


I usually roast the veggies, or sauté them up with some butter, sea salt, and a little white wine.


And if I’m in need of a really easy and quick meal in minutes, there are usually organic brown eggs involved.


And bacon. The really good stuff without icky preservatives or artificial additives. We try to consume only natural, wholesome foods. It may cost a little more, but we reap the benefits 100-fold.


Even the kiddos agree that this is a meal sure to please the taste buds and the tummy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In the Kitchen: Frugal Tips

saving cheese 2

My grandmother was one of the most precious, influential people in my life. Like so many, she was touched by the Great Depression and it influenced how she lived her life.

She was a seamstress, sewing most of the clothes her daughters wore. She was a gardener, growing most of the food they ate. And she was always frugal. She had no choice. She often had to make do, or do without.

My grandmother, Nanny as we called her, passed that tradition down to my mother, and my mother passed it to me. I am grateful for the things I’ve learned from her.

saving cheese

Because of her wisdom and frugality, I know to buy cheese by the block. It keeps longer, and is much cheaper. If it grows a little mold on the edges, I know it doesn’t have to be thrown out. The outside edges can be cut off and discarded. The cheese in the middle is still good.

saving lettuce

I’ve also learned that leaving the core on a head of lettuce greatly improves it’s ability to keep. My lettuce lasts for at least a couple of weeks in the crisper. The wilt-y outside leaves may need to be discarded, but the middle leaves are often kept crisp and fresh if the core is left intact.

I have so many things to be thankful for. And I know, from Nanny’s wisdom, that if you waste not, you’ll want not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quilting supplies are here!


I was so excited when my package arrived from Create For Less.


It was packed to perfection. I’ve never seen a package so meticulously organized and carefully secured with air bubbles.


And the contents were enough to make any crafter’s heart skip a beat! Amazingly detailed quilting books for under $5 each, and patterns starting at .99 cents. Check out their clearance section people! Orders over $100 ship for free.


I spent more than a little while perusing the goods. And I guess I’m all out of excuses, I’ll have to finish that quilt now!


I ended up with everything I need to complete my first quilt:

505 Spray and Fix (easier than using safety pins to baste)

Warm and Natural Batting (full size – I bought 2!)

Laundry Basket quilt templates (for use later – they were cheap!)

2.5” Binding Buddy template

Coats and Clark machine quilting thread (must be purchased in increments of 3, but excellent pricing)

Several patterns and quilting books


I spent my morning soaking up sunshine and got a little head start on my spring cleaning. All of the bed linens, winter quilts, blankets, and rugs are washed and clean. Clothes that no longer fit the children are being sorted into piles for Goodwill and friends who can use them. For me, this is a good time of year to do a bit of purging. Time to simplify. It feels great.


If you would like to receive a copy of this oh-so-fun pattern, Animal Friends by Valori Wells Designs, just leave a comment on this post. I’ll choose a winner on Friday, January 29, 2009. International comments are welcome here. (I’m thinking of you, Ann!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Signs of Spring

SL in the hammock

This is one of the biggest reasons why I love living in Alabama.


Early figs make an appearance in January.

blue skies 

The sky is blue and the weather is often mild.

budding apple tree

The apple trees are beginning to bud.

green in the tree

Little peeks of green are tucked all around.

garden wellies

Time to break out the garden boots once again.

boat 2

This weather is just right for fishing.

Ennis fishing  

A horseshoe left by the previous owner has grown into this tree.


It’s a good day to be outside.

  SL stick collecting

Collecting sticks.

Daniel in the hammock


SL in the hammock 2

Taking turns in the hammock.

SL looking up

Watching the birds migrate home.

migrating birds

Saddened that the previous inhabitant of our home grew too weak to harvest her fruit. We will reap the fruits of her labor this year, and try to honor the work that she’s done.

overwintering herbs

Happy that most of my herbs overwintered nicely.


Grateful for this still, peaceful moment in my day.


Thinking we won’t be needing kindling anymore.


And how it won’t be easy to explain that to my sweet babe.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorite Places: Montgomery, Alabama


If you ever find yourself in Montgomery, Alabama, do yourself a favor and head on over to Eastbrook Flea Market and Antique Mall. It’s one of my absolute favorite places to treasure hunt.

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But, before you decide to hit the three vast floors that make up Eastbrook, you’ll need a little sustenance.

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Just a few doors down lies the best authentic Thai restaurant on the planet. The Green Papaya.

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Fabulous spring rolls with sweet peanut sauce.

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The most amazing Tofu Pad Thai you’ll ever put in your mouth. It’s a local legend.

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When you’ve had you’ll fill, you’ll be ready to walk it off on the best antiquing adventure our city has to offer. Eastbrook is comprised of hundreds of “booths” where locals offer their goods for sale.

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My favorite booth is #67, pictured above. It is stuffed to the brim with books. Hardbacks are $3, and paperbacks are $1. Heaven!

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You never know what you’re going to find. Check out this unique tea cup and saucer.

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Take a closer look. A geisha is revealed when it is held up to light!

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A crate of old vinyl records.

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Beautiful vintage silver buttons.

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I loved this old stoneware windmill.

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And I longed to bring this French Country china home with me. I’m usually just admiring the goods. Window shopping. Such fun!

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An old tapestry pillow. And a rooster lamp that would have looked right at home on my sewing table. Don’t you think?

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More gorgeous china and old books. Sigh.

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It was unbearably hard to resist this sweet birdfeeder.

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Old baby carriages, dolls and a doll quilt, and toy oven.

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Have you ever seen one of these? It’s a mourning ring. So sad.

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More lovely china. I really like the square plates and the colors.

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It’s rare that I leave without a few books, but this day I exercised incredible restraint. I’m waiting in line with my single treasure.

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Two dollars for a beautiful framed and embroidered landscape? Sold!