Thursday, June 25, 2009

Creating Your Own Bias Tape!

Okay, the pictures below are not my best effort, but time is precious today, as my to-do list is miles long...

All I want you to see on the first picture is the vine on this quilt square (the curvy line). To make that vine and have it be uniform in size, I bought a handy-dandy doohicky that takes a 3/4" strip of fabric cut on the bias and turns it into "bias tape". (They have different sizes, so I suppose you'd have to cut the fabric wider or smaller, depending on your chosen size.)
Using this marvelous little tool is a snap, as you can see from my pictures.

After you've cut your fabric on the bias (diagonal, across the grain, cutting a point on the end), push it through the tool's opening , then iron it as you pull it out, slowly, a little at a time. That's it! If you have steam iron, be careful! Using a pair of tongs, I grasped the purple tool and pulled that way. Next time, I'll remove the water from my iron.

Here's the package, so that you can see what to look for in your fav fabric store.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Newest Treasure

This rolling gem was doing nothing but rusting on my dad's back patio. When I asked for it, he said, "Sure, for $350!" No way!!! My begging was relentless, so he gave me this old Schwinn for free. Well, not totally free; I have to take him chorizo-and-egg burritos once a month... for the rest of his life. So, in the long haul, he just might be getting more than the original asking price!

When I pulled this out of the back of my car, my bike-riding husband just shook his head. He cannot see the beauty of this blue babe as I can. I mean, look:

Rusted though it may be, it still makes that beautiful brrrrriiiiiingggggg like I remember as a kid.

And this ol' thing has a clamp-like jaw. Nothing will escape its power; even my sewing kit is safe within its grasp!

Only one of the three speeds work, and the brakes take some getting used to, as I have to push backwards on the pedals with pure thigh power to get them to stop. But they don't really stop... just rolls slower. It's not the safest bike on the planet, but it was fun riding my bike to the mailbox and tossing all my mail in the front wire basket. Yay for me and a new treasure!

When I look at this bike I smile. I can't help it. It reminds me of my childhood, but it also brings to mind Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

This bike, though old and rusty and only half working, is still functional. What it was created to do, it does. This vintage treasure will roll me along to any destination I choose, providing my leg muscles can keep up with it.

No matter how old we get, no matter how rusty our joints begin to feel, no matter if we begin to only move in one slow speed, we can still function for the Lord in the good works He has prepared for us.

So... keep rolling along!

Oh, and I almost forgot! On the net I discovered that water and balled-up aluminum foil will wipe away rust that is not too penetrated. Look below to see the one spot that worked...and it only took me two minutes to rub!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Think Happy Thoughts!

Despite Philippians 4:8 telling me to fill my mind with every good and kind and agreeable thought, my mind was meditating on the opposite. And do you know what happens when this way of thinking takes over? It turns us into complainers! Here's why:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45.
Once our hearts are at full capacity with mischievious thoughts, like a volcano packed with molten juices, they gotta blow --- and the flow of complaining thoughts and attitudes grow. In Hawaii I watched fresh, red-hot molten lava roll down into the sea, causing great steam to rise high in the air, and below, an island was being enlarged. Negative thinking enlarges our ability to complain and pushes out the ocean of good things we could chose to think about.
Gosh, and that word 'abundance' in that verse is really getting me. One of's definitions is "overflowing fullness." I knew it! Having an abundance of negative, unhappy thoughts hanging around is a sure sign of heart disease. I admit that it has attacked me! I have all the symptoms - times of depression, lack of zest, unhappy, lava-flow of complaint spurting out of my mouth...
Happy news - there is a cure! :)
It's time for me (and you???) to play The Glad Game! Did you ever see Disney's delightful movie Pollyanna? In it she plays this game where she always looks at the good side of things. For instance, one day the mission box arrived and instead of the desire of her heart - a doll - being inside, she reached in and pulled out crutches. Crutches?! Sensing his beloved daughter's disapointment, her dad gently instructed her in the ways of possessing a happy, positive mindset by pointing her thoughts to the happy side of the situation -- that they were healthy and didn't need to use crutches. See? Happy thoughts to be glad about! No moping for Pollyanna!
It's a learned process; just as complaining is. We have choices to make concerning our thoughts and actions and words...all day long. Linda Dillow, author of Calm My Anxious Heart (which is about learning contentment) says, "What we are on the inside, what we continually think about, eventually shows in our words, actions, and even our countenances."
If you go here , will let you read a lot of the first chapter. You'll want to be privy to Meredith's secrets to contentment, found on those free pages. It is worth your time!
All of this just goes to prove, once again and for always, that God's Word is true! What is on the heart, will eventually pop out of the mouth. Let's be full of it --- His truth and happy thoughts!

Friday, June 12, 2009


When I pulled into my driveway in the early light of this day, this is what I saw in my neighbor's yard (they have a daughter who just graduated high school).

Here is the car up close.... it is darrrrrling!

Is this the cutest paper job you've ever seen? I had to grab my camera and show you, because I've never seen post-its used before. Sooooo cute!! Think about it: You could use only a few and spell out words, like A B C magnets on a fridge (would work on large bathroom mirrors, too) - words like LOVE YOU or HUNK or SWEET SIXTEEN or YOU'RE 75 TODAY! The possibilities are endless. Oh what fun!

Have a fun day!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I Can Get Some Satisfaction

Okay, don't laugh. I'm slightly embarrassed to show these to the world, but.... (Promise me you'll double click the picture and look at it closer, so that at least you can see that what looks pink is actually red, etc.)

I just wanted you to see what I did with unlikable, but very usable scraps. Determination to use scraps, and nothing but the scraps, kept me from grabbing my keys, hopping in the car, and heading over to JoAnn's or Beverly's. There, I could run my fingers over the soft cottons, drool over the bouquet of colors and designs, and fill my cart to my heart's content. But what challenge would that be, hmmm???? (Not to mention, where would I get all the necessary money?)

The temptation to empty the my drawers into 33-gallon trash bags and haul all these bits and pieces of fabric to Goodwill on the way to said fabric stores was almost more than I could handle. However, I got a grip in time. I hope you do, too, and don't cave when your creative juices are wanting to pounce out of the bounds of the scraps before you.

Believe me, there is much satisfaction with using scraps and saving money. Oh.... but the day when I got to go shopping..... :)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A Sewing Party of One!!!

Happy Saturday!

I would love to sit and chat and upload a zillion pictures, but I am one busy gal in the sewing room! My little mini goal is to use up my drawers and drawers of scrap fabrics. There are sooooo many! If a total depression hits, I will stay out of utter despair by sewing, cuz I bet I have enough scraps to last me 2 years!!!

The downside is this: my fabs are not the updated milk-chocolate browns or gun-metal greys that I yearn after. No birds or owls to fly about on my quilts. Instead, it's old-fashioned (though I do love these colors, still) primary-colored polka dots and such.

However, I am thankful to have fabric to sew into incubator quilts for preemies. All summer, my plan is to use the fabs on hand and make as many of those 32" x 32" quilts that I can, using what has already been paid for. I'ts a labor of love and frugality.

One day, I will have used up every last inch of fabric in my stash, and then, oh then.....

Friday, June 05, 2009

Do You See What I See?


Already, I have picked two luscious green zuchinni. For last night's addition to chicken, I sliced them both thin, tossed them around in a saucepan with spices and a can of tomato sauce, topped them with cheddar, and easy-peasy-yummy.

The yellow crooked-neck is still growing, but they are my favorites, so it will be worth the wait.

And the tomatoes? The ones in this picture have already turned bright red and were picked and popped in my mouth. I grab them on my way to the pool, washing them as I swim! A great swimming snack!

But, anyhoo, I got online to tell you that I am still thinking about disciplining ourselves for godliness. Just this morning, I thought, "hmmmmm.... what can I do for this?" Then it came to me -- I will take a different name of God each day, focusing on His character.

For instance, today, thinking about my darling garden, I thought of how creative our Creator is. So, Name for the day? Creator. Today I will concentrate on much thanks, as I think it will be a natural outflow as I pay attention to all He created for our enjoyment and His purposes and glory. Like, right now, just from my window, I see roses in bloom -- many colors and fragrances - all unique, like us! And then, just looking at the pictures above - isn't it neat that He created food for us from plants - and they even give us a floral bouquet before the fruit comes!!! Thank You, Lord!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Fun With Basil

To begin having fun with basil, we must first begin with the foundation - homemade pita bread. Don't be frightened; it is very easy, especially if you have a bread maker, which I do (thank you, Aunt Joy, for not needing yours anymore)!!!

So, toss all this in your breadmaker or bowl, if mixing by hand:

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour (or all 3 cups can be white)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar or honey (I use Agava, 'cuz a healthy friend gave me some)
1 packet yeast or 2 tsp yeast from bulk
1 1/4 cup room-temp water
2 TBSP olive oil

If using a breadmaker, put it on the 'dough' cycle. If using bowl, lightly grease clean bowl, plop dough ball into it (after mixing and kneading it for 10 minutes), cover with towel, let rise till double.

Preheat your oven or BBQ (yes, this is how I cook just about everything in the summer, including muffins!) to 500 (my barbie got hotter; it was great).

Next, divide your dough into 8 pieces. Roll them into balls and we're going to flatten them out with a rolling pin to a 8" circles.

On a cookie sheet, place two of the rolled out balls and cook for 3 -4 min on each side. (The pictures show the oven and barbie open, but that was only to snap a shot...close them both when baking the pitas.) To me, the hot barbie worked best.

And that is all there is to it - complete with pockets for stuffing!!! However, I mostly just smoosh mine down and use it as a pizza crust... yummers! Beautiful!

I make two favorite pizzas on these.

One is the typical tomato paste, garlic granules and crushed oregano, garden basil, olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, goat cheese, freshly grated Parmesan.

But my second favorite is barbecue sauce, garlic granules and crushed oregano, garden rosemary, shredded chicken, mushrooms, mozzarella... and, sometimes, salsa - ole!
Just heat this in the oven, toaster oven, or barbie....and eat up!

And now.... I AM HUNGRY!!!! Off to fix my pizza lunch! C U tomorrow....

P. S. Be sure to read my blog below on growing basil. :)

These are the sweet basil growing in my backyard; beautiful, aren't they? You may be noticing the delicate white flowers and little green clumps at the tips of the leaves; though they are sweet little things, they will cause my plants to seed out if I don't treat them as the intruders they are. If I leave them to themselves, long spindles will shoot out, and then my basil will stop growing. Can't have that! Not being a master gardener, I am not sure if basil prefers cooler weather or what, but one thing I have learned from summer's past is that if I just snip off those tips, my basil will grow till the frosts come. And that I like!

Do not think for one tiny minute that I just snip these off and toss them aside. Oh, no! I make sure there are basil leaves included in the snippings, because I then march them into the kitchen, give them a good bath, slice them coquettishly thin, and lay them atop my homemade pizza.

Also, towards the end of summer, when the plants are flourishing and taking up too much space, I merely take my snippers and cut off huge branches. Taking a ribbon, I then tie them together at the stems and hang them upside down from my empty closet pole (no, not
that kind of pole - the one that you hang your clothes on!!!). When all the leaves are good and dried and crinkled up like raisins, I gently pull the leaves off, crushing them a bit in the palms of my hands, and place them in a baggie or old spice jar -- all set for winter!!!

"Go to the ant...observe her ways and be wise...which having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8).

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Planning For Success!

After grocery shopping this morning, I was all excited to get on this blog and tell you about how proud of myself I was for buying good food that would set me up for success in my summer's lose & tone plan. In the cool air of the early morn, i had walked my three miles, and this was just another cheery boost to Day 1 of my summer's goals (even that I set goals is a big hurrah, 'cuz it is very unlike me).

I was wanting to share with you one verse, about discipline not be joyful, till afterwards, but God veered me off the track a bit, so that He could remind me of something even more important...and it is this: "...discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and {also} for the {life} to come" (1 Timothy 4:7b-8).

Most of us needing to lose & tone already know how to eat right and what exercises will buff our bods. But, do we know how to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness? Here's what one online commentator had to say, "Genuine godliness is the life of faith strengthened by training in the Word of God." I liked this.

So, while we're nourishing our bodies with healthy foods, let's also, DAILY... A LOT (stuffing yourself or binging is acceptable practice, here), nourish our heart, soul, and mind on the eternal Words of God -- read our Bibles, meditate on scripture, personalize it into prayer, memorize it (oh, you can too!), live and obey it by the power of God's Holy Spirit. This kind of training will profit us now...and forever. Amen! :)

Remember, with the lose & tone, that it's the "afterward" that yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness, which means... keep at it! Press on, by faith, looking unto Jesus!!!

We're in this together!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Oh, What God Can Do!!!

I took this picture so that you could see that a garden can be planted anywhere! Its vibrant greenery makes your landscape happy, while at the same time providing luscious crops! We've had these strawberries planted here for quite a few years, 6 or 7, I think. In the winter, they look like they are just going to up and leave us, but come spring, they just perk right back up and produce produce! :)

Every time I pick these beautiful, red berries, I am in awe of our Creator! No big bang could've caused this. No way! Did you know that each strawberry has a count of @200 seeds? In one little strawberry!!! Aren't you glad we don't have to pick them out, as we do watermelon?

When you go to pick strawberries, you have to pretend you are Sherlock Holmes - because strawberries are masters at hiding! Look at this plant. Do you see anything red growing on it?


But if you move around the leaves and look under them - surprise!!!!

Did you know that one medium-sized strawberry holds within its membranes @ 25% of our daily vitamin C intake? That is one powerful punch to pop in one's mouth! Yahooo!

It is said that these beautiful bubbas bolster memory, too. So, eat a bowlful and you will remember all the important things I just taught you about them!!! :)

All spring, I have been gathering berries and putting them in a Ziplock in the freezer. They are kind of like pennies.... a few here and there add up to a big savings! And so, tomorrow I am hoping to try a new strawberry jam recipe. A friend gave me a jar of her's and the color was the most inviting red and the flavor and texture were divoon - better than any of mine. So, tomorrow I will begin a new adventure in jam making with a new recipe.... I'll take pictures and share it all with you!!!! C U then, then!

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork." Psalm 19:1.