Saturday, October 31, 2009

What A Doll!

Blogging is kind of like shopping.

If you are a shopper, like me, then you know how easy it is to walk into a store and see all kinds of things you did not know you needed or wanted before you stepped in.

Same with Blogland!

I was simply reading a happy blog, when she mentioned dolls. I love dolls, but haven't owned one for a very long time. So... sew... oh, no! One more project. LOL

The doll in the top picture came from Vintagericrac. She sells her patterns on Etsy... and I bought one! Can't wait to create a doll for all the holidays! (She also has BOY doll patterns; cute!) With clothes that you can change!

I am dreaming about little outfits that match the seasons... and letting her be the Queen of this shelf...

My friend Shannon came over and spent the day with me yesterday, and she falled-up that shelf up for me. (I won't tell you what she said about the accumulation of ten years' worth of dust!)

What a doll!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Superman's Sister

Everyone, your kindness and prayers were touches from God's heart to ours -

This morning, right before noon, the doctor's finally had to remove the respirator, and Mike's sister died within minutes. Thankfully, with no pain or suffering. Still, this sucks, does it not?

Your support, my blog friendys, has been great!

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the hornof my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

A Blog Junkie! Yippee!

It's true! I have become an official Blog Junkie!! And I love it!!!

What's not to love about it (well, okay, except the time it takes...)?

There are GIVEaways, gift ideas, sewing tips, friendships formed, encouraging words, delectable recipes...and OH so much MORE!

This morning, if you aren't busy whipping up some of the dahhhhling pillowcases I taught you yesterday ( fab Christmas gifts ), then head on over to some of these inspiring blogs I visited recently...

Blog Giveaway Contests...
Canton Village
has ONE, TWO, 3, FOUR, FiiiiiiiiiiiVVVVE quilter's-dream prizes. The picture at the top (which I borrowed) is just one of them! Go over there and drool and dream and cross your fingers!

Frenchie & Flea has a very fun giveaway that ENDS TODAY. Hurrry, get over there and see if you can win this from THEM & SUGAR....

Quilt Taffy doesn't exactly know what she will be giving away, so it will be a happy surprise to all of us! Every Thursday she features a giveaway, so mark your calendars!!!

ALSO... if you want some un-spooky treats, then check out THIS and THAT (different blogs on each of those two T words). And don't be scared... some of them are just cute --Candy Corn parfaits, pizzas, and cookies--! So cute you'll want to scream!

We all know what rushes in upon us after the end of October... Christmas thoughts! This little project can be stitched while you sit on your couch, stuffed like a turkey, LOUNGING in your pajamas, after the Thanksgiving feast... The gal over at MADE has a lot of cute ideas.

That's it for today! My birthday is still sweetly hanging on, and I must rush through homemaking so I can be all ready for my birthday Starbucks & Pedicure with my Sister-in-Law!

After today, you might become a blog junkie like me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Choose Life!

First off (before I teach you how to make the birthday pillowcase, at the bottom of this blog), thank you for all the prayers, comments, and emails. I appreciate you!

My husband and I have decided that if we ever get deathly sick, it's off to Mercy Hospital in Idaho that we will go. We've never seen such care, where the doctors have regular meetings with the family, often over 30 minutes! Unheard of in my neck of the woods, where the doctor is talking to you, but has one hand on the door knob.

We know Dotty had the greatest chance for recovery in this ICU. Still, after all this time, they will take her off the respirator tomorrow. They do not think she will make it, as she has only gotten worse, with no improvements of any kind.

With lots of free time over there, I read a book by a journalist who decided to uproot her life and live out her dream of graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. That choice caused her enthusiasm for daily living to flourish. This is what I want, to make choices that cause my heart, mind and soul to blossom in the blessings and trials the Lord gives; it's so easy to waste our minutes in discontentment or pity-parties - or even unforgiveness - isn't it? It gives real meaning to "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" Psalm 118:24.

So today, while I'm thinking about death, I'm also dwelling on life. Thanksgiving is coming up, and that means family and friends and gatherings. I want to enjoy every second of planning for the bustle. There are too many joys these next holiday months to not grasp them with thankfulness.

I will rejoice.

A choice.

My husband's sister chose to live without all of the above for the last 20 years. She lived alone, ignoring almost everyone, including her two sons. Sad. It could have been so different.

Our daily choices can embrace joy or shove it away...

Last week, I told you that when it wasn't my birthday I would teach you how to make this ~

I sewed this one as a Birthday pillowcase. They make great gifts! My linen closet is full of ones for other holidays, as well as just cute ones for everyday. At first this might seam hard and complicated (because the French seam process seems backwards), but once you sew one, all others will only take you about 30-45 minutes, start-to-finish.

The special thing about this pillowcase is that no raw edges show on the inside. Here's how you make it...

For one standard pillowcase:
  • Main fabric - 27" x 41" ~ I used birthday fabric. (If using fabric with words or patterns on it, cut the width 27" with the words showing how they do above, and the length the 41".)
  • Cuff fabric - 10" x 41"~ I used green dotted.
  • Trim fabric - 3" x 41" ~ I used white with black dots. (If you are going to ruffle the trim, then you will want to double the length.)
  1. Fold the trim fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together; press. (If you are going to ruffle the trim, do it now.)
  2. Layer all three fabrics, RIGHT SIDE UP, in this order: Cuff (on bottom), main (in middle), trim (on top), raw edges even.
  3. At the top, pin all these layers together.
  4. Take the bottom of the main fabric and roll it till it comes above the bottom edge of the cuff fabric.
  5. Bring the bottom edge of the cuff fabric up to the pinned top layers, and re-pin. It will look like a tube.

  6. Sew the pinned layers together using 1/4" seam, leaving side edges open (not sewn).
  7. Grab the inside and pull the right side out. (See, no raw edges showing on that cuff!)

  8. Fold it in half, wrong sides together, and press it flat.
  9. With wrong sides still together, though it seems backwards, sew the open side and bottom edges with a 1/4" seam.
  10. Turn WRONG SIDE out; press.
  11. With wrong sides still out, pin the bottom and one side that you just sewed and stitch a 3/8" seam.
  12. Turn right sides out - TA-DONE! (I did not have enough fabric to have the birthday words showing the way I like, so had to cut it the opposite of what I instructed you.)
  13. Rejoice that you have family and friends to sew gifts for!!!!
Choose life!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quilting Patience

Sewing like a madwoman, I finished this quilt #2 in the Schnibbles Club, before we fly to Superman's sister (see previous blog).

The first Schnibbles quilt I sewed was a mess, but it taught me perseverance. This one taught me PATIENCE.

When I sew quilts, I prefer to make up my own patterns - ones with no matching seams and really big squares, because patience is in short supply with my machine and me. However, with these Schnibbles patterns, the pieces, squares, everything, are small...smaller...smallest! Seams are needing to be matched continually. Ugh...and okay, I am willing to learn!

Since it's fun to be signed up for this club I want to joyously accomplish each quilt for the year's duration. Thus... patience is being learned!

The good thing about this is that while slowing patiently down (and stopping often to take deep breaths and remind myself of my commitment) my skills are actually improving! Who woulda thunk it?! It's pretty exciting to see corners match and points actually doing that - pointing!

This little quilt Cindy Loo Who turned out about 75% better than Winter White. Maybe even 78%!

Moral of this story?

Patience is a good thing, so quit being afraid to pray for it! :)

"And let patience have its perfect result,

so that you may be perfect and complete,

lacking in nothing."

~ James 1:4 ~

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh My Blogger Friends....

Superman's oldest sister has been in the hospital with pneumonia all week. She was supposed to be getting better....

She is not.

They are not thinking she is not going to live, and have her in a drug-induced coma.

Jehovah, God Almighty, Most High, Lord of Hosts, the One who keeps Israel (and us), knows.

Will you please join me in praying for her and all the hearts involved in her life?

Thank you; I knew you would!!!

We have shared with her the only way to get to heaven, through Jesus' dying and resurrection... for us... for our every save us from what we surely deserved... because of God's own wonderful love and our Savior Jesus' willingness to obey His/our Father's will... However.... did she hear, heed, believe? In her coma state, even, the Holy Spirit of God can whisper His truth to her heart. I've been praying He does. Great is His faithfulness!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"
(John 3:16).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Good morning, Good Mor-o-or-orning! (sing it)

This morning, my Post Birthday Day, I have been catching up on a few emails and blogs. And I'm laughing my head off.

Since all my birthday pictures are not ready to show, I am going to link you up to some funny things, and I'm giving you a front row seat, right in the center, too!!!! (Just click on the highlighted words.) So, take five to giggle...

HA -- Cow Stalkers. (I love this blogger!)

haHA -- Don't Honk at old People! (Only 33 seconds long.)

Take time to enjoy life today!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Birthday Winner!!!

Hello to you on my BIRTHDAY!

It's been the funnest day ever, and I have gone non-stop. It's days like this that connect the Happy to Birthday. And actually, not just this day, my birthday Eve was wonderful, too, and it's just been a week of fun. This doesn't always happen, but I love it when one surprise piles upon another. Don't you?

So, before I head to the couch with Superman, to crash and bask in the fun memories, I must tell you the winner of my Birthday Eve Giveaway....


It's you, Sandra!!! Congratulations and thanks for playing along!!!

Thank you to all of you for all the Happy Birthday cheer!
You made it my birthday special!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Happy Birthday Eve Giveaway!

How do I love my BIRTHDAY, let me count the ways....

1. Lunches with friends.

2. Surprises that come in the mail, delivering the happiest cheer for birthday girls!

3. Cards filled with sonnets of love, hysterical humor, and many happy words, lined up on the piano.

4. My oldest son BBQing his famous tri tip for the celebratory dinner, with all my
little family -- Superman, Noah, Amy, Tim -- surrounding me like stars in on a
midsummer's night.

5. Being fearfully and wonderfully made. Now, I admit that sometimes that "fearfully" seems to me to be the parts that are frightening to see in the mirror! But!!! It's not about that at all! Our wonderful Creator was forming us into just the person He wanted us to be. All of it for a purpose and His glory. I'm amazed my heart knows how to beat on its own, or that my body has defense organisms to fight off invaders, and the process of watching the healing process when I get cut is astounding. I mean, scabs are such a neat God-performed band-aid!!! Ever think of that, or all the other trillion things that our bodies do... without any of our input or help?

Well, God knows us and it was He who knit us in our mother's womb. You can read all about it in Psalm 139, and I hope you do. It's the BIRTHDAY PSALM! (It is 'cuz I said so.) :)

6 . Carrot Cake.

The list could go on, reaching around the world and tying a huge adorable bow! But, today's not my birthday, only my Birthday Eve. A friend is taking me for a late lunch, and she always showers me with presents, so that is three yummy things right there -- friendship, food, frolicking with birthday wrap, to unwrap my surprises! Can't wait!!!

7. Sharing the "happy"! The standard-sized pillowcase in the photo is what I made (and will teach you when it's not my Birthday Eve) and am going to mail to a happy winner. All you have to do is leave a comment. You can leave a verse, say "Happy Birthday", or tell me about why you love Birthdays. Add to my list.... I will pick the random winner tomorrow evening! Hope you win!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

This, That, & Pie! Oh, my!


If you were faked out by the clouds hovering over my rooftop this morning, you are not alone! Looked like rain, ended up with toasty sunshine. Either way, I was going to be in from it, cleaning, ironing, baking, sewing...

When the sun decked the clouds and sent them out of the ring, I knew it was time for a little rain of my own -- on my fake indoor ficus. The beauty of a fake one is, of course, no fallen leaves to have to bend over and pick up. The un-beauty is that those unreal leaves are the biggest collectors of dust I've ever seen!

Way back before a friend came to my rescue, I used to wipe those leaves one at a time. Yes. I. Did.

But now, the new, the improved, the smartest way ever to clean those fake ficus'... Introducing... Your hose!

Yep, it's too good to be true, but believe it. All you have to do to get dust-free leaves is drag the plant outside into the sunshine, point your hose on them, and let it rain! Literally, it takes about one minute to squirt the tree, then let the wind and warmth be the towel.


On purpose I surrounded my ironing stack in black. That pile of clothes stands for all the jobs we wives and moms have inside our homes, but put off doing because we'd rather be doing something other than THAT. Like...

The above is going to be a fall tablecloth for my darling round patio table. It's so cute, and when I finish the tablecloth, I will set the table out there and invite you to see it.

But, THAT is for another day. Today, Galatians 5:13 reminds me to "serve one another with love." And that's what I've been doing - changing sheets, folding laundry, mopping floors, and even attacking those shirts and pants of Superman's -- serving with love. "She does him good and not harm all her days" (Proverbs 31:12).

As I've mentioned many times in my blogs, I consider homemaking a high calling. Except for emptying the dishwasher, I love everything about this God-given role. If you are privileged to be a wife and mom, then put your heart into it, and serve with love.

& Pie!...

In an email this morning there was a blurb on pumpkin being good for your heart. Since a friend had also sent this fact (with a recipe for something I will whip up and share another day), I knew I needed pumpkin.

For my health.

If my heart needs pumpkin, then pumpkin it shall have!

The recipe for the above pie is on the Libby's can... WITH ONE SMALL CHANGE...

Instead of a full 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, use 1 1/4 cup of the milk (save the rest for brushing on crust, if you plan on making a fancy edging) and 1/4 cup of the pictured Butterscotch Carmel sauce.

And all of this, that, & pie will be served with a glad heart!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn Apple Dumple

A is for Apple.

Apple is for Autumn Apple Dumple!

Autumn Apple Dumple is Addicting!

It's easy. and it's going to become your fall favorite!

Here we go!

Preheat oven to 450.

For the sweetened crust you will need to put the following ingredients into a food processor with the steel blade: (This is the only pie crust I can make successfully, every single time. If I can, you can, too, so get excited.)

* 1 cup flour
* 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp white sugar
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
* 1 stick butter or margarine, cold (not softened), cut into thin slices

Now, put the lid on your processor and whiz them together, one pulse at a time, till the butter is little bee-bee sizes. (Be careful not to over blend.)

Once that is done, pour in *2 Tbsp ice-cold water* and pulse the whole mix again, till it just begins to form a ball; pie crust refuses to submit to perfection unless it is handled with gentle care.

And that's all there is to that! (Keep the processor out, you're going to use it - unwashed - in a minute or two.)

Toss ample flour onto a bread board; grab your favorite rolling pin (mine was my granny's), and roll the crust out in a 12" circle.

Place the crust on a lightly greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. For my Dumple, I line my cookie sheet with parchment paper. It makes it easier to lift off and put on a plate.

Into the processor, mix the following:

* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp nutmeg
* 1/4 pecans, chopped as fine or course as you prefer
* 1 tsp flour
* 2 Tbsp butter or margarine, cold

This will be mixed with your two peeled, pared, and cored apples. I used one green and one red, just for fun. The peels can be left on if you want your Dumple to look like autumn leaves have fallen upon it. :)

Stir the apples and mix until they are thoroughly hugging each other, then dump onto your awaiting pie crust.

If you look in the upper left-hand corner, you will see that I just kind of roll the edges like a pizza crust. It keeps the juices from flowing out.

Place in oven for 20 minutes, or till the crust is a delicious autumn brown. If you want the crust to be shiny-ish, before you put it in the oven beat an egg with a bit of milk and brush it on the rolled up edges of the crust. It'll look better but it won't taste any better. :)

Or, if you want to make a dumpling instead of a dumple, then roll into two 6" circles and place the crust in a small, deep bowl. Then, pull the crust around the apples and cinch the top. I haven't tried this, because the Dumple is easier, but it should work just fine. Let me know if you do it this way.

Your Autumn Apple Dumple is ready to serve. I pull out my mom's old fall dishes, carefully pour and swirl Mrs. Richardson's caramel sauce on the plate (like a real chef, then set a slice of the Dumple on top. MMmmmmmmmmMmmmmm!!!!

...for breakfast or dessert or afternoon coffee/tea...

Bon Appetit!!! (Oh, be sure to say that with Julia Child's/Meryl Streep's accent; so much more fun to say, that way!)

P.S. Cute little Aimee thought I was a genius, which I loved and wished I was, but alas.. the idea for making all of this came from a recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa books. I just adapted her recipe to my likings and tada! So... no genius here, but that pie crust is the easiest and most-fool proof one I know of!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eat Like a Rabbit!!

OK... in a bit, I have a secret to tell. But for right now...

There's Romaine and spinach to be chopped into a salad, so I can eat like a rabbit and refuel for more hopping around the home (and blogs)!

Our garden spot is nothing special, as you can see. It's just plain ol' dirt space, but,oh... the rewards of my husband's labor. He plants, I eat. Now... could there be a better plan than that?!

Now I have to tell you the secret.

This is gonna be like an article in those old True Confessions magazines that were around when I was a kid (are they still out there?).

Clearing my throat...

Pride, that sneaky rat, crept into my heart when I was editing the above picture. Or, rather, wanting to edit the above picture.

You see that gray on our wall, where our powerful sprinklers are slowly eroding the stucco? And the ratty bamboo sun shield? I didn't want you to see them. It was just too much reality. But what is this besides pride?

I 'fessed up for one big reason --- because as women, we can easily put off being hospitable till our homes are "perfect". Or we won't go to social gatherings (I'm really guilty of this one) because we aren't "perfect". Now, I hate admitting any of this, but how are you and I going to cheer one another onward if we aren't truthful with one another?

So, let's learn a lesson from the eroding stucco of my west wall -- we are not perfect, life is not perfect, but we can have perfectly lovely fellowship with one another because of our imperfections (knowing we're all alike). And, if you know Jesus, the Perfect Savior, then what more do we need as a reason to gather and have fun and enjoy the days on earth that God has given?

Do not let your imperfections erode fellowship and hospitality from your life!

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand that we might walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10)! Let's march onward! :)

Okay, back to eating like a rabbit and gardens and salads...
Dinner tonight is going to be a simple garden salad with chicken and a few of my favorite toppings.

As I type, my chicken is cooking. My favorite spice for this is...

My favorite salad dressing, along the lines of Good Seasons Italian, is this...

First combine all the dry ingredients into a jar (one that has a lid).

1 1/2 Tbsp basil, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt
3/4 Tbsp dill
3/4 Tbsp rosemary, and paprika
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
Dash cayenne pepper

Then, to make the dressing, combine the following:
1 1/2 Tbsp of the above mix with 1/4 cup vinegar (I often use balsamic. Shake.
Add 2 1/2 Tbsp water and 3/4 cup olive oil (or canola). Shake.
Ta-da & yum!

(I have got to learn how to hold the camera STILL!! Blurry pictures, go away!)

This upcoming week I will be posting some comforting autumn recipes, so be sure to hop back often, and bring a friend or two along... The more the merrier!

This is a hint of the quilt I'll be working on while cooking up a storm...No, not a storm, a cool autumn breeze. Yeah, I like that better, don't you? So, pull your hair back and let's get ready to spend some time in the kitchen together! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still Yakking...

Yes, I am still yakking about my BFF Getaway! I can't help myself, because today, besides showing you some fun things from around my house, and a spatula-licking good recipe I created, I want to share something with you...

Come close, and look at this...

What I wanted to share was that you can carry fun along on your trips! Yes, indeedy! Notice the autumn-colored mini tablecloth and plastic blue wine glasses. It's the little things that make life grand. We actually tote our fun with us, and we have throughout the years. Since suitcases now have wheels, it's a breeze to get our goodies from our homes, to my car (I am always our chauffeur), and into our hotel room. I share this with you because you might not have ever thought of this, and I don't want you to ever miss out again! :)

Autumn is popping up for a surprise visit; see...

These are narcissus. In a few more weeks Superman and I will have their precious white and yellow flowers all over the yard. Did you know that if you keep cutting them, say, for bouquets, they will reproduce like rabbits? If you are diligent to cut them, they are diligent to keep giving you new blooms. That's how it is in my yard, anyway. Hot spring days always chase them away, but till then... that's months and months of darling beauty and fragrance!

(No need to wipe your glasses; the picture is a blurry one.)

On a side-note whim, I want to share with you about Liz's Made-Up-Myself Choc Frost. Not having all the ingredients for a certain recipe is no reason to give up the effort - just concoct your own! Like I did....

It's always 12 o'clock somewhere, so eat up!

This recipe is definitely going to be adding cheer to the next cookbook I write! (NO, you won't find the other one on Amazon. Rats! I created it for my sister's real estate biz so she could give it away to clients.)

Have a joyful-heart day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two Best Friends!

Liz and Shannon

A new fall best friend!

Having a best friend is the most wonderful thing in the world! Shannon and I have been BFFs for a very long time... almost 28 years!!! Lucky us is all I can say!

Do you have a best friend? If you do, of course I want to hear all about it! If you don't, then I encourage you to let God hear all about it. He knows who you need and will hook you up. Really! When I first became a Christian I had a heart-to-heart with the Lord about friends, asking Him to pick some for me. To this day, most of us are still friends, though Shannon and I play and yak the most together. She's been my best friend for such a yummy long time that we are like sisters! (That just made me think of that song in White Christmas about

Shannon and I are honest injuns with one another, proving that "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy" Proverbs 27:6. It is plain ol' refreshing and helpful, even when it hurts.

Back in the day, when our friendship was just budding, we would even hang up on each other...let the Lord deal with us... and call each other back and talk about it. Yep, that's real freedom of love in a friendship and I hope your life does not lack this.

Anyhoo, the two of us just returned from our annual BFF Getaway trip. When we began, maybe 17 years ago (have to figure up the years one of these days), we went for a quick day trip. Too short, too short, we bellowed. So, we upped it to overnight. Too short, too short, we bellowed. And so we expanded the nights to two. :) And this trip, Shannon said, "Do you think we should add a third night next year?" I'm still laughing over that because it just proves that we are fun together!!!

Here are some of the pictures we took in Cambria....

We pulled into a parking lot at a winery (don't know the name), took a picture, then she gave me my early birthday present. I'll give you hints: Brighton, hangs on neck, charms can be added... she had a queen's crown charm already on it for moi - the Queen of Fun!

This blurry picture is in our little patio area. Our tradition is that her very nice and talented husband makes our first lunch - egg sandwiches, diet sodas, BBQ chips, sometimes pretzels (but not this time).

Our favorite store is Birds of a Feather. Darling and kind Bonnie owns and runs it. She greets you with a smile and cheery conversation. Her ribbon selection, as you can see, is wonderful! Everything in her store is a site to behold...Go visit her; she will like that - and so will you!

There's all kind of cute in Cambria! (Shan, Emily saw these pics and said, "She is a cutie-patootie!! Yep!!!)

Tired of my pictures yet??? :)

Our favorite dream home over there! Isn't it scrumptious? I could sit out there and blog my heart out!!!

How could we resist?

His and his wife's pumpkin farm...and our newest friend!

These two quaint sites were on our way home...

The inside of stores wasn't all we saw.... lol

I'm wishing you would share your fun best friend stories with me!

Bye for now... kiss the fun of fall as you walk by it each day!