Monday, April 30, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

a breath of fresh air

Today has been a much needed "buckle down and get it done" sewing day.  I'm really getting a lot accomplished.  At the moment, I'm finishing up another one of my wallets.  Since I made the first one in January, I've revised the pattern and added a layer of interfacing to make it thicker and more durable.  I also added a detachable lanyard, which turned it into a "run to the store" type of thing.  This is how it looks now:

It's the exact same pattern as before, but adding the interfacing really made a huge difference in the looks.  I absolutely love it and I have made several for family and friends. 

The one I am working on today is for a lady at our church.  She asked if I could make it big enough to fit her checkbook inside.  Of course I can!  So, I re-measured everything, made a new pattern and set to work.  I am really like how large it is, so I think I'm might have to make myself one to carry around in my purse.

I was told to surprise her with the fabric.  Here's what I chose:

I found this on clearance at Walmart for $2.50 a yard!  After making myself a skirt out of it, I decided that I loved it so much that I just had to get some more!  I hope she likes it!

When I have major sewing days, like today, I have to scatter breaks throughout my day so I won't get totally frazzled (which happens very easily...).  Can you other seamstresses relate?  So, earlier I decided to take the Canon and step outside for some fresh air.  I haven't taken pictures in quite some time, but I got some lovely ones today to make up for it!

 Mama's roses.  <3

 Does anyone else love onions as much as I do?

 Daisies :)

 The hay field...

 Don't you just love sunlight dancing in the trees?

 Green beans.  More fun to take pictures of than
they are to pick!

Flowers on the porch.

Oh, I just love home!  There's nowhere else I'd rather be!

Well, I guess my break is over and it's time to lock myself in the sewing room again.  With the wallet almost finished I am hoping to begin tackling the big project on my list: an outfit for my Grammy.  I'm using another outfit as a pattern, which I've done before, but for some reason I'm just a teeny bit apprehensive about it this time.  We shall see... :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

My book of Post-It notes :)

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am not the most organized person in the world, though I do try very hard!  I've found that the easiest way to keep myself on track is to write everything down on paper.  And I do mean, everything!  The problem is keeping up with it all!

I keep a large binder that sits on my desk that I use to hold things that I want to keep handy.  It's mostly filled with prayer lists, scripture studies, recipes, patterns, and other miscellaneous things that I stuff inside whenever I clean off my desk.  If you were to ever come across this binder and flip through the pages, one of the first things that you would notice is my obsession with Post-It notes.

It's true.  That's my confession of the day.  I absolutely love those wonderful, colorful squares of sticky paper.  Most of my personal space is littered with those handy colored squares, containing hastily scribbled to-do lists, reminders, and random thoughts or quotes.  Those little sticky notes are what help me keep my sanity.  My short-term memory is...well...shall we say, lacking!  However, they do tend to pile up, making the task of remembering where I put the one that I need rather difficult.  A bit more organized way of keeping up with things was definitely in order.

So, a few months ago, I began the process of putting together together a homemade daily/weekly/monthly planner to add to my binder.  I have found that I enjoy having my time planned out on paper, whether I actually follow it to the letter or not.  The satisfaction that comes from organization is worth the time spent putting it all down.  So, with this goal in mind, I set to work trying to decide what format to use.

I spent ridiculous amounts of time browsing through free printables that other lovely ladies have created and posted online, but I never seemed to find one that suited me.  I suppose that part of the problem was that I'm too practical.  The idea of printing off an new page for every single day didn't sit well with me.  Not that I'm a tree hugger, but it just seemed wasteful and it would also take up a lot of room!

So, I continued searching, and one day I found an idea on Pintrest.  (Don't you just love Pintrest?????)  After mulling it over for a while, I came up with a way to make it my own.  It involves the use of Post-It notes.  PERFECT!!!!!!

This was the original idea:

This functions as a To-Do/Project planner.  One side is labeled, "Urgent" and the other, "Not so urgent".  You can move the notes from one side to the other as deadlines near and then throw them away when they are completed. 

I decided that I could use the same principle for my daily planner:

Cute, chic, incredibly crafty, it most certainly is not, but sometimes you've just gotta use what you've got!  A little masking tape and markers and I had a daily planner.  I love this because I use the same pages over and over and just add new Post-It notes.  It also takes up a very small part of my binder so I can continue to use it for other things as well. 

In looking for organization ideas on Pintrest and visiting various blogs, I found an idea that I am really excited about.  I have been blogging now for about a year and I absolutely love it!  No really, I love it!  However, so far my posts have been unplanned and rather sporadic.  I have decided that it is high time to change that.

So, I am now in the process of coming up with a schedule for my blog posts (yes, I'm using Post-It notes for this too! :).  I plan to begin using it May 1st.  This schedule contains recipes, tips, maybe eventually a few tutorials, scripture, and a few other things.  I'm really excited about getting started! 

To start with, I made sure to give myself plenty of flexibility (hence, the sticky notes!).  Sometimes my day goes slightly haywire and blog posts are the last thing on my mind, so this definitely isn't something that I plan to get stressed out over. 

In the future, I may be adding a few more things, but for now I'm just going to settle in to working off my "simple" schedule.

Now, that I have my planner made, I am enjoying that wonderful feeling of accomplishment that comes when everything that was planned for the day gets done, and then some!  I love it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

a little side dish

When it comes to food, I'll eat just about anything.  The only exceptions that I've come across so far are sushi, eggplants, and beets.  My mom once made beets when I was about 8 years old.  It was a rule that I had to eat two bites of them whether they appealled to me or not.  After eyeing the smelly, dark, jelly-ish looking stuff, I cautiously took a tiny bite.  My stomach promptly returned the morsel to my plate and Mama's never made them since.

Aside from these items, I am easy to please.  I love Italian food, Mexican food, French food, Chinese food, American food (aside from hot dogs, burgers and fries what exactly is American food?), I love it all.  I am also one of those annoying people that is constantly adding something spicy to whatever I'm cooking.  Oh yes, cayenne, spicy mustard, name it, I have probably thrown it in at some point.  Just give me a tall glass of water for a chaser and I'm set.

I can handle just about anything.  Within reason of course.  I'm not the type person who drinks hot sauce straight from the bottle nor do I aspire to be.  But my spicy limit is definately higher than the rest of my family.  They finally drew the line when I brought out the horseradish.

Ok.  We've established the fact that I like foods with a big kick to them, but I like the ones with little kicks too! 

Occasionally, I'll surf through the endless resources for recipes on the Internet and jot down some that I think the family will like.  We're always needing new side dishes to go with dinner, so that's usually what I try to find.  Several years ago, I ran across a recipe for potatoes.  I can't remember where it came from, but in all probability it was  At first I was a little hesitant to use it because after viewing the ingredients I wasn't sure how it would go over.  It sat in a drawer for a couple of months before I finally decided to give it a try.  To my pleasant suprise, everyone loved them!  Sarah has been begging me to make them for a week and I finally got around to it today, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Deviled Roasted Potatoes

Whisk together:
       2 Tbsp. olive oil
       2 Tbsp. dry mustard (prepared mustard works just as well)
       1 Tbsp. white vinegar
       2 tsp. kosher salt
       1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
       1/4 tsp. cayenne
       1/4 tsp. black pepper

Coat mixture on to 1 pound of cubed red potatoes.

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with a nonstick spray.  Place coated potatoes in a single layer on prepared pan and roast in a 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender.  (I had to cook them a bit longer today because I didn't cut my potatoes small enough.)

Don't they look delicious?  Trust me, they are!  All potato dishes seem to end up tasting the same, but these have just enough bite to them to make them stand out.  Don't just take my word for it.  Try them sometime!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm feeling rather blue...

Have you ever taken a good look at the clothes in your closet? I don't mean just when you're trying to decide what to wear, I'm mean throwing open the doors and taking a long, scrutinizing look. If you've never purposefully done this, you should. It's a eye opening experience.

I accidentally had this experience earlier today. I was mindlessly going about my business, taking down the dirty laundry and putting away the clean clothes, when suddenly, it struck me:

Most of the blouses that I was hanging up were blue.

Normally, this wouldn't seem so odd because it's a well known fact that I tend to unconsciously gravitate towards varying shades of blue as well as black. Not that blue is my favorite color (I don't have one! I know...shocking!), but I just like the way blue looks on me.

But today, I stepped back and took a good look at what was hanging in my closet. What I saw shocked me. Half of the blouses in my closet are blue! This is not an exaggeration. If you were to measure the space taken up by all of my blouses and then remove the blue ones, half of the original space would be empty.

Call me strange, but for some reason this bothers me. I guess it's because it proves that I have no imagination whatsoever when it comes to fashion. I can't help it that I like blue clothes, in fact, the blouse and even the skirt I am wearing at the moment happen to be blue, but something simply must be done! I suppose I am going to have to forbid myself to buy anything blue for at least a year. That should give me enough time to add some variety to my wardrobe! I hope...

At least now that I am aware of the "problem" I can try to switch things up a bit from day to day. We'll see how that goes! With 50% of my closet consisting of blue, I might have to make a chart telling me what colors to wear on what day to prevent my wearing blue every day of the week, which I am sure I've done before and never realized it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

a bit of encouragement

 They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
  they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
 they shall run and not be weary;
  they shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:31 ESV)

Monday, April 16, 2012

history of a friendship

Friendship is born at that moment when one person
says to another, "What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one."

C.S. Lewis


Today, I have been going through a lot of old pictures.  Not an easy task, considering that Mama or I have always had a camera glued to our hand.  But, I braved the massive piles of photo albums that are slowly falling apart and the stack of CD's that we have managed to burn ever since we got our first digital camera in 2003, and had a wonderful time traveling down memory lane.

This is something that I do quite often.  I'm not really sure why.  I suppose I just really enjoy remembering "how things used to be".  And let me tell you, how things used to be and how they are today are very different.  Not in a bad way, it's just different.  Different house, different town, different church, different people, etc.  For me to look back approximately 7 years is almost like looking into a completely different lifetime.  I'm sure this is something that everyone can relate to.

However, in looking at all of the differences between then and now, there was one thing that stuck out to me that really hasn't changed much at all:

...the presence of this lovely face.

I think that most of us have at least one friend, one person outside of our family circle who we trust with absolutely everything.  I count myself very blessed to have such a friend and to have had her for so long!  At the risk of being mushy, I must say that I love Jen so very much and I am so thankful for her.  I honestly don't know what I'd do without her and I don't tell her that nearly as often as I should.

Jen and I have known each other since 1998.  (As my niece, Haley, would say, "The NINE-TEEN HUNDreds????  Are you KIDDING me????????)  Believe it or not, we met when our parents signed us up for the homeschool basketball team when we were seven.  I think they did it simply so that they could be entertained once a week by watching a bunch of six and seven years olds toddle around the court, randomly stopping to put our hands on our hips and yell, "You're doing it wrong!".

After that horrific experience (I found out very quickly that I was not to be the basketball star that my mother was...) we saw each other occasionally as we both participated in community plays and then, after my family joined the homeschool group, our friendship really began to flourish.

We're both approximately 11 years old here.

Christmas 2003

Fourteen years later, I can honestly say that Jen has taught me a lot, whether she meant to or not.  For instance, she introduced and gave me an appreciation for slapstick comedy and showed me that it really is possible to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one night after swimming 6 races in a swim meet and driving for and hour and a half.  Ok, so I watched it through half-closed eyes, but I stayed mostly awake!

All kidding aside, I really have learned a lot just by being around and watching her. 

At the beginning of our friendship, I suppose you could say that we were the odd-balls out.  We just happened to be weirder than the other weird homeschool kids (scary thought, isn't it!) and were sort of left to ourselves most of the time.  While I furiously tried everything I could possibly think of to make myself fit in, Jen just sat back, watched, and happily went on with her weird ways.   I'll never forget her looking at me and saying, "You know, I just don't understand why you think it matters that much."

It took about seven years for that to sink in to my thick skull, but it finally did!

Trying to avoid boredom while our younger siblings
were rehearsing their play - 2003. 

2003 - Me in the infamous purple dress and Jen in
the coveted blue dress.

I suppose there comes a time for all of us, when we're growing up, for us to find out who our friends really are.  That time came for me just before my thirteenth birthday.  I remember it like it was yesterday, and yet I couldn't really tell you how it happened.  It just did.  All of a sudden, I looked around and everyone was gone.

Except Jen.

Let me tell you, God knew that He was going to have to find an incredible person who would put up with my highs and lows and in-betweens and survive it, and He found her!  If anyone were to ever ask me what a true friend looks like, I would immediately point them to Ms. Jennifer Elise.  It's safe to say that everything I know about being a friend to someone else, I learned from her, though I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to manage it as easily as she does.

We've really been through a lot together.  Laughter, tears, pain.  I'll never forget pushing her down the hall in her wheelchair after her foot surgery and ramming her foot into the corner.  We both cried for about 15 minutes.  Then of course, there was the time I fell out of the tree, the time we nearly collapsed with laughter after I stepped on my skirt and nearly lost it while on stage in front of a huge audience, the time she nearly fainted when we had to dissect a starfish (I didn't feel sorry for her because I was to busy being irritated that she got out of the icky mess and wondering why I didn't think of the fainting idea first...), the time we choreographed an entire dance routine to the Larry Boy theme song in her living room, oh yeah, and the time I practically handed her first place in the spelling bee because I forgot to say "capital A" when asked to spell "America".

2009 - We managed to talk one of Jen's brothers into
being our photographer. ;)

Over the years, we've become virtually inseparable.  So what if we now live about one and half hours from each other?  When you've got cell phones, email and Facebook, anything is possible!

Our conversations usually cover just about everything.  And by everything, I do mean everything.  It's so nice to have someone to whom you can say virtually anything that pops into your head, whether it be silly, serious, theological, spiritual, emotional or otherwise, and they won't write you off as a total psychopath.  Of course, this is probably because we usually feel pretty much the same about just about everything.  I'm sure there are some exceptions, but I can't think of any!  I'll never forget the first time we sat down and had our first, serious, woman to woman talk.  I think we were probably thirteen or fourteen and after it was over, we leaned back, looked at each other and said, "Wow, this is pretty cool!"

2009 - 17 years old and ready for graduation!

May 2009 - If you've never been to a homeschool graduation,
you've got no idea what you're missing!

Today, we're still weird and going strong!  We both look a little different than we used to, our teeth are straighter, we learned how to fix our hair, wear make-up, and we both wear glasses.  Hopefully, we're also a little more mature than we used to be, but otherwise, things haven't changed much.  Topics of conversation have changed a bit, but 2 1/2 - 3 hour phone calls are still the norm.  The inside jokes are still just as funny, and we still love embarrasing the "little ones" even though they aren't so little anymore.  (It's a whole lot easier to embarrass 6 ft tall little brothers than it was to embarrass the 4 ft ones!)

Now, that we're both rapidly approaching our twenty-first birthdays, I have to sit back and wonder what my life would have been like without Jen.  Honestly, I can't imagine it.  She's been the best friend that this quirky homeschooled girl could have ever asked for and I wouldn't give her up for the world.

I love you, Jen!  And I look forward to a lifetime of friendship, because, as the saying goes:

"We will always be friends - you know to much!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

sister schemes...

Oh yeah.  It's a scheme that Sarah and I have been working on for quite some time now, but it took an afternoon of being home alone and a serious case of boredom for us to finally take action. 

What is our evil plot?

I'm not telling!  Well, not yet anyways. 

So far, it's still a work in progress and until we get things figured out, I'm keeping the details to myself.

However, kind-hearted as I am, I will give you a few hints!

Hint #1:  We are currently floating in a sea of denim.  Don't believe me?  You seriously have to wade through all of the blue jeans to get from one end of the upstairs family room to the other!

Hint #2:  We had to rearrange the sewing room in order to accommodate our scheme.

Hint #3:  We have spent most of the day cutting, and ripping seams.

And that being said, until further notice, my lips are sealed!

Monday, April 9, 2012

my restful monday ;)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend of celebrating the Resurrection of our Saviour.  We had a wonderful time with family and friends as we participated in the many traditions of this celebration, beginning with a Passover meal on Friday and ending with a beautiful service on Sunday morning. 


My week and a half break from posting has been refreshing and also very busy.  After days filled with intense cleaning, cooking, sewing, fence painting, piano lessons, and then, of course, all of the activity of the Resurrection weekend, I am enjoying my first day of chill time and I intend to use it to the fullest advantage by doing absolutely nothing aside from the normal daily duties.  The fact is, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself since I don't have a to-do list staring me in the face and telling me what to do!

I began my day by waking up early (shocking, considering I am anything BUT a morning person, especially on Mondays!) to see the Duggar family on the Today Show.  I was hoping for a new baby announcement from Josh and Anna seeing as how it's been almost a year since little Michael James was born, but I guessed wrong.  I was a little disappointed, but I suppose I'll get over it. ;)
Now, after my morning ritual of coffee and a book along with some quality time with my dear piano, a few phone calls and other various things, I am looking forward to spending the rest of my day doing whatever pops into my head.  Oh, happy day! 
I just couldn't help posting one picture from our family cook-out
this weekend!  Our Mollie Grace is growing up so fast!