Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crackers About Crackers

I've had this recent surge of intake of crackers. I suppose it all started with a party I threw a couple of weeks ago during which I served some plain Carr crackers with cheese. Silly me purchased a Costco size box of crackers and we have yet to make it through 1/4 of the box.

Well, this dilemma compelled me to procure a ball of sumptuous cheese. Yummm....port wine cheese. Absolutely delicious!

So today, while perusing my latest issue of MaryJane's Farm magazine, I spotted some recipes for homemade crackers. What delight! What joy! I knew immediately I would make them post haste. And we did.

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We even used out fall shaped cookie cutters for some truly unique creations. They are almost too cute to eat. Almost, but not quite.

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I packaged about half the batch up to ship to James. These might just be something he will enjoy homemade. (He's my store bought foodie kind of guy.) Next I am debating between Crackers with Tamari sauce and pumpkin seeds or the Gingerbread Crackers. We shall see what ingredients I am able to locate at the health food store.

Meanwhile, I stole another idea from MaryJane. My mother took me to her store this summer (remember that whole trip? Fun!) and we marveled at the jars filled to the brim with buttons sorted by color. Now, MaryJane used them as decor in her store, but oh...how I wished I could display my buttons in such fashion. I recently found some smaller jars at Walmart (yes, I stepped foot inside Walmart...don't ask me why...I don't know...) and began sorting through my stash of buttons. My very own collection starts with four jars.

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I think I need more buttons. I picked four of the most vibrant colors that I owned the most of though. I figured a jar filled with white buttons wouldn't look as attractive as jars of pink, blue, green and red buttons. I love, love, love it though.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the simple wrap t-shirt I started sewing on. For some reason, my phone rang off the hook this afternoon. I can't really tell James to call me later either...so I took the call and put the shirt on hold til another day. I hope you all have a blessed evening. Please say a prayer for a dear friend of mine who should be having a baby today. She went into labor this morning.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chloe's Pink and Purple Doily

It's DONE! Well....almost.

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That is basically what it will look like, minus all the ends sticking out everywhere.

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I wove in ends for about an hour and a half today. At that point, my back ached and my fingers ached and I desperately needed a cup of tea and some chocolate. A well deserved reward, if I do say so myself. And I have to tell you that while crocheting this doily, my carpal tunnel did not act up once. Not once!

Afterward, I cut out a pattern for a wrap t-shirt. Missus SmartyPants informs me that my best style of t-shirts are the wrap kind...and since I can't seem to locate any in the stores I have resorted to sewing my own. I hope to have one done tomorrow. I bought fabric this past spring to make three but with my history of flops in the pattern department, I decided it best to make one first, and see how it goes from there.

By the way...Chloe stated upon seeing her doily, "Its PINK Mama!" short pause "And Purple!"

In other news, we missed the wedding Saturday. I just couldn't see myself driving 2 hours with a four year old and after the long drive, making her sit still through a long wedding service and reception and then shoving her back into the car for the two hour drive home. We were up late Friday night with some issues and so we just stayed home in our pajamas all day. Good thing too because a storm came through and I wouldn't have been pleased to be caught in it while driving. I did nothing spontaneous this weekend, I am sad to say. Maybe this week though...who knows! I can be spontaneous if I put my mind to it.

I must now exit the living room and head upstairs. I can hear the neighbors going at it again and I can't bear to listen to it a minute longer. Have a fabulous night everyone! I pray you experience true peace and an overabundance of joy today.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simple Pinafore

I am happy to announce that I finished the pinafore today. My excitement escalated as I remembered we have a wedding to attend tomorrow and this is kind of the "autumn season" and Chloe can wear her "thanksgiving" dress and pinafore. Oh hooray! I sometimes worry when I make her extra special dresses that we won't have enough opportunities to wear them. You can imagine my level of anticipation as I trudged along, sewing 9 (yes...9) buttonholes. 9 buttonholes equals 9 buttons. Goodness gracious but that's a lot of buttons for one pinafore. My poor fingers about fell off.

Now this pinafore doesn't look fancy or frilly but when pared with THE DRESS, it will look absolutely fabulous.

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I must be off now to locate the dress, if she is to wear it tomorrow. I also need to put some supper up in the crockpot so we have something delightfully warm to come home to tomorrow evening. Pray that I don't chicken out with this whole wedding thing. I've been looking forward to it since this couple became engaged quite a few months ago. I really want to go. I do. Its a long drive though...and you all know me and driving. Oh the agony of it all! Ah well. God is with me...who can stand against me? I shall not fear the terrible drivers. Though they cut me off I will have no fear. Okay...so I will have a little bit of fear...let's be honest here. But I will TRY to have no fear. And I shall enjoy a lovely wedding.

Have a adventurous weekend everyone! Do something entirely spontaneous. And don't forget to laugh. I will do the same...and tell you what I did come Monday. How about that? Good night all!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

This question overwhelmed my thoughts today, time and time again. What on earth could have possibly possessed me today to think I could tackle a project like this???? Okay...I must clarify...not the pinafore project (which is coming along nicely and I shall mention that in a bit) but rather the other project I started today. Should I have even started it? I guess that would be a better question to ask myself.

It all started this afternoon as I realized it was time to head to ballet and I couldn't very well haul my sewing machine along to finish the pinafore. I racked my brain to try and come up with an alternative project that would transport well. Lo and behold, the next project down on my craft to-do list after the pinafore is Chloe's birthday doily. (Yes...her fourth birthday...so I am a little late on my projects. I can admit it.)

"Ah-ha" I thought to myself. "Here is the perfect ballet project." I thought it might be nice of me to let Chloe pick out her own doily this year, seeing as how she will be the one displaying them in her house when she marries. Uh-oh. So, here is where things slid downhill in a hurry.

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What you see above was Chloe's method for picking out the doily she wanted. Quite different from what I anticipated, indeed. She climbed into the box, lifted the kitty toy high and flung the feather onto the pile of doily pattern books causing Twillerbee to come galloping from the other side of the room at full speed and slide across the pile of books. This, in turn, sent one of the books spinning out of the pile and Chloe immediately said, "that one." I picked up the book so she could look inside and she said, "No! That one!". (The one on the cover.)

Next came the biggest mistake I made today. "What color would you like, Chloe?"

"Pink and purple."

I started the pink and purple doily this evening at ballet.

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I got two rounds into the doily when that question first popped into my head. "What was I thinking?" After 7 rounds, the notion to discard the doily in the garbage can struck me...and I am not entirely convinced thats such a bad idea.

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So, you all know me and weaving in ends. Its a chore I rather abhor...so, I ask again...What On Earth Was I Thinking???

On a happier note, I started the pinafore today. Now I don't know why I thought I would be able to finish it today. Oh...maybe I do. I forgot today was errand day which lessons my crafting time substantially. But anyways...I did start it and am quite pleased with the progress. Little did I know that I would learn something new in the process. Tucks. They are completely different from pleats. Pleating instructions give you three lines. Two dotted lines and one solid line. You bring the two dotted lines together at the solid line and wa-la...you have a pleat. Tucks, on the other hand, just give you one line. Huh? I called my mom.

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She explained as best she could and I finally figured it out. Woo Hoo! I can now sew tucks quite skillfully. So, all I have left is the skirt of the pinafore and then the attachment of about a billion tiny buttons. Okay...slight exaggeration. More like 6-8 buttons. But...that is an awful lot of buttonholes to sew. Anyways, I hope to have something completed tomorrow to show you. A pinafore at least. (because I have a feeling the doily is going to take forever or, quite honestly, might not ever see the light of day again.

I leave you with a picture of packaged cookies!

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A dear reader left a wonderful comment about how to package cookies for shipment. These cookies won't budge! If they break...well...James will just have to eat them with a spoon! Have a delightful evening everyone! Smile from ear to ear and eat a piece of chocolate. It will do good for your heart.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aprons and Parchment Paper Cookies

Approximately two years ago, parchment paper and I were formally introduced. I am reluctant to inform you that I had not the privilege of knowing parchment paper, aside from the name, prior to this introduction. Sad because this stuff amazes me. Its paper. It doesn't melt. I can bake cookies on it all day long and not a single drop sticks. I never have to wash my cookie pans again. (So I splurged a couple of months ago and bought myself some good sheets.) Look at this...

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You simply cannot get a better golden brown if you painted it. Perfection! We baked Daddy's favorite cookies today. Oatmeal Scotchies. Yum!

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Now I just need to figure out a way to package and ship them to James without them crumbling into a million pieces. (Last year, I believe he ate them out of the ziplock baggie with a spoon.)

As many of you already know, we take tea every afternoon just as soon as Chloe wakes up from her nap and wipes the sleep from her eyes...which can take a few minutes and a few cuddles. While scouring the antique stores for some china recently, I allowed Chloe to pick out her very own tea cup. For the past three years I have let her use my own teacups so I thought she would love the idea of having her very own. I was right.

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And might I add that I think my daughter has superb taste in fine china. This gem cost a mere $10 (as compared to the regular prices of $45-$50 that this particular antique most often carries) and not only is it beautiful and matches the rest of my eclectic set splendidly, but its not quite full size. It really is a darling little teacup. How could I resist? Today I enjoyed a lovely Double Spice Chai black tea with a bowl of peaches and cream on the side. Yes. Real cream. Chloe takes her milk with chocolate in it now. Today she informed me it was no longer tea but rather coffee instead.

So, I did hope to have some thrifty aprons to show you today and I am proud to say that I do. I am excited about this little project because its been rattling around in my brain for over a year now.

I picked up an outdated dust ruffle and a sage green circular tablecloth from "Elijah's Barrel" about a year ago. (that's the free thrift store at our old church where I donated about half of my house over the past three years.) These two items kind of coordinated...so the idea churned in my head for an apron set. After a couple of attempts, I managed to complete them today.

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The peach floral fabric used to be the ruffle on the dust ruffle. I cut if off above the gathers so I could use the pre-existing stiches, saving me thread. I cut out the shape of the apron with the white fabric (the part of the dust ruffle that the mattress would sit on) and hemmed it on all edges. Then I attached the peach ruffle to the bottom, flipped it over and top stitched it. At the top edge of this seam, I attached the green ruffle (taken off the circular tablecloth above the ruffle seam) and also flipped it over. Since it hung so nicely, I didn't feel there was a need to top stitch the second ruffle. So cute and so easy. No gathering neccessary. I did sort of the same thing with the child's apron only I made this without a bib. I double folded the white to make a waistband.

I asked Chloe to model it for me, but she decided enough with the pictures and made me chase her for a solid five minutes. I gave up so this picture with a model on the run will have to do.

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On the agenda tomorrow is a pinafore I've been meaning to make for quite some time. Remember Chloe's thanksgiving dress from last year that I finished this year and she will be wearing next month? Yes...well that dress pattern included a pinafore and its sitting upstairs in my workbasket, ready for me to sew. Let's see if I can knock this thing out tomorrow.

Have a fantastic evening everyone. I hear some oatmeal scotchies and chamomile tea calling my name ever so softly. (Hey! I know what your thinking and they aren't packed yet which makes them free game. Also, they need to be taste tested before I send them to the most important man in my life. Wouldn't you agree? I mean...what if I left out the baking soda or something...)

Fat Cat

I find it fascinating and slightly funny how out of two sibling kitties, one is huge and the other is...well...just sorta normal. They informed me when I took the kitties into the vet that this phenomenon was perfectly acceptable. I just find it funny is all. I snapped a few pictures yesterday of the kitties which I thought I might show you.

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This is Twillerbee. I cannot, for the life of me, get this kitty to purr. I hold her for at least 30 minutes at a time, petting her all the while and nope...not one single run. But Chloe, on the other hand, simple places her hand on Twillerbee's head and the motor starts roaring. I don't get it. I really don't. Chloe cannot be called "gentile" in her handling of Twillerbee and yet this kitty prefers her to all others. She follows her to bed at night and chooses to sleep not more than a foot away from Chloe all night long.

Bumblebee, in contrast, won't go near Chloe. And interestingly enough, he purrs on contact.

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But he's fat! Really fat!

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He is my chunky lovebug. Who doesn't love a chubby purring kitty on their lap? Even his face resembles a cabbage patch doll.

Now I leave you with a picture of Pattycakes. Precious Pattycakes. Still hanging on and living the life of luxery. I am amazed at how tolerant she has become in her old age. She not only allows the kitties within a 2 ft radius of herself, but she also purrs when Chloe pets her. WHOA! What? Yes...the snooty kitty has finally decided any petting is better than no petting at all. Will the wonders never cease?

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Have a fabulous day everyone. I am off to shower, plan a menu for the week and work on school with Chloe. Hopefully I will finish my apron project this afternoon to show you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Routines

Routines are important. Especially for someone like me. I thrive off routines. I tried living with just a to-do list recently (because a certain someone in my household poked fun at my routines) but I found I just can't get things done without my routine. A schedule that tells me exactly when I am supposed to do what. Today we plunged back into our routine and I am a much happier person for it.

We spent this past weekend at my friend Karen's house. They recently purchased spiffy new countertops for their new home and we felt the need to break them in proper with a scrumptious batch of chocolate drenched eclairs. While we worked, Chloe dressed up and put on a ballet show for us.

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And in the only picture we got this weekend of the two of us I posed in my pajamas. Now, before your jaw drops from shock, keep in mind that Sunday was rainy, wet and downright miserable in my neck of the woods so we spent the entire day in jammies...aside from the couple of hours we spent at church. It felt glorious to lounge in pajamas all day.

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Chloe recently received a package in the mail from her Daddy. What joy spread across her face as she anxiously tore it open as quickly as her little fingers could fly.

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Magic Marbles. What fun! Thank you Daddy. She loves these things (and, incidentally, so do the kitties).

Okay. So, I haven't shown you all anything I have made recently. That is due, in part, to the fact that I haven't made much. Chaos took over my life and I allowed it to reign for much too long. I regained control today (thanks to my reestablished routine) and was not only able to finish a little hat I started crocheting for a new niece but I also photographed a special little gift I created a while back. First, let me show you what I created.

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That, my friends, is a dolly diaper bag, created just for Chloe for Christmas. I didn't use a pattern for this bag. Woooo Hooo! I just HAD to show you all because of that fact. I even went so far as to add four various sized pockets on the inside of the bag. I do wish I possessed the foresight to purchase contrasting fabric for the lining, but hey! When you don't know for sure what you are going to create you can't really plan ahead that well, now can you?

What will be inserted in the bag? Well, what else goes into a dolly diaper bag but some dolly diapers!

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Another attempt at patternless sewing. Okay...if truth be told, I actually created my own pattern for those diapers. It took a few tries, but I now have a paper pattern (college-ruled notebook paper) so I can sew up many more diapers in the future. So, technically...not patternless since I used my own pattern. But hey...close enough, right?

Lastly I leave you with some pictures of a darling little hat I crocheted for my new niece my brother is adopting. My original plan was to crochet her my Summer Meadows Dress Ensemble but alas...the dreaded carpal tunnel disallowed me that pleasure so the hat alone must suffice. This I crocheted in size 10 DMC Baroque thread and some vintage pink size 30 thread from my stash. I left off the last round on the flowers so they appear to be tiny rosebuds. How precious! I can't wait to see pictures of this hat on my darling new niece.

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Tomorrow I plan on sewing up some aprons for my mother. (a grandmother/granddaughter set) More on that tomorrow though, hopefully including pictures of finished projects. This project will have a thrifty twist to it and I can't wait to share it with you all. In the meantime, have a fabulous evening. And remember...routines are our friends! They remind us to do what we are supposed to do without being so pushy as a to-do list.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Silly Game

I love using my imagination. I would have to say that I am "big" on imagination. I try to teach Chloe to use her imagination too. One of the ways we do this is to create games or stories while driving in the car. Oh, the fun we have on car rides in our car.

Tonight we played one of our usual games...we call it The Silly Game. Here is how it goes.

Mama: Your silly.
Chloe: Your a silly couch.
Mama: Your a silly lightbulb.
Chloe: Your a silly flower.
Mama: Your a silly tree.
Chloe: Your a silly leaf.
Mama: Your a silly movie.
Chloe: Your a silly computer.

And on and on it goes until at last Chloe informs me,

"Its hard being all those things. I'm tired."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My God is Able

To say that this month has been a trying month would be the understatement of the year. My emotions have been pulled so tight that I fear they will soon snap. I cling to my Savior and His Word because I can't do anything else.

After a tough week last week, I restfully sighed to myself this past Sunday afternoon. My very own car nested in my driveway with a brand, new engine inside. It felt good to sit behind her wheel once again. Chloe needed to start her seizure medication Monday morning. Yes, the neurologist started her on medication and so, if all goes well with this medication, the seizures will stop. They have to be stopped. Yes, I breathed...and sighed again...and thanked the Lord Jesus for some calm times.

Two hours later, I received a heart-wrenching phone call from my mother stating that my oldest brother was missing.

I almost didn't believe her but the slight shake in her voice as she described the situation let me know that this was, indeed, real. My brother works on a mountain as ski patrol and also as part of the Search and Rescue squad. He works the bike trails in the summer time. Sunday, he was marking out the trails for a bike race later that day and had driven an ATV up the mountain at about 7:00am. He last checked in at about 9:30am.

The phone call from my mother arrived at 10:30 at night (my time) and he had been missing since 12:00 that afternoon. My mother asked me to pray. I cried instead. I found myself unable to formulate words. The only semblance of a prayer I could muster was "Please, God...let them find him." I didn't know what else to do, so I picked up the phone and through my tears I informed a good friend of mine what was going on. She prayed for me right then and there on the phone and then asked if she could come over. I said yes.

My dear friend sat with me until the phone call came at 2:30 am stating my brother had been found. The Air Force had brought over a helicopter to help in the search. They found him wandering on a road, throwing rocks off the side to prepare for the bike race. His ATV was about 100 yards away down the side of the mountain. Apparently, he laid there for 12-14 hours unconscious.

This week we have learned that my brother suffered some brain damage from his head injury. He remembers everything Friday night and prior. He has no memory since Friday night and is unable to make new memories. I was able to call him today and finally speak with him. It felt so good just to hear his voice. He sounded completely normal. He asked about Chloe's seizures and I told him the latest of what was going on. He asked about James deployment and thought it was neat that James gets to see us on the web camera every day. He even asked about our car and if we were ever able to get that situation worked out. I had a normal conversation with my brother and it felt good.

He will not remember this conversation.

I do not understand everything in life. Why a four year old child will suffer multiple seizures and no one knows why. Why a healthy man could crash an ATV off the side of a mountain and suffer brain damage with short term memory loss. Why I am left alone to endure all these trials while my loving husband is deployed. I don't understand these things.

I do, however, understand one thing. My God is able to see me through. My God is able to hold me up. My God is able sustain me, comfort me, grow me, draw me. My God is able to use my brother's accident and injury for His glory. My God is able to use my daughter's life story to draw others to himself. My God is able to provide a brand new engine for my car at no charge to me. My God is able to send friends along when I need them most. I have a great God! He is able to do that which we cannot do for ourselves. In the midst of yet another storm, I cling to Him. I cling to His promises. I cling on for dear life, because I cannot do this on my own. He will see me through. He is more than able, of that I am sure.