Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcoming Baby

Sweet friends of ours are expecting a new baby in a couple of weeks. What a joy to help celebrate such an exciting time! We had fun giving them this little baby bag I stitched up.

Inside was this snuggly baby quilt just waiting to be wrapped around a little one. It was so much fun to put this one together with its happy little whales.

It is also nice to be reminded of a simple truth.


The Regency Dress

Part of the birthday surprise was this Regency dress I have been working on in secret. It is a Sense & Sensibility pattern that has been picked up by Simplicity (Number 4055).

Lots of sweet details here like sleeve binding, overlays, and trim. It took some time, but the reward?

"Mom, I feel just like Jane Austen!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's My Party

Amazingly enough, our sweet girl is turning 18 tomorrow. We celebrated with a Sock Hop on Saturday night and had a blast. A bunch of cool cats came to rock around the clock and eat at the Doo Wop Diner.

We moved out furniture to make a dance floor and played tons of 50's music. There were hula hoops and yo-yos, Slinkys and Silly Putty. We did the Stroll, the Twist, the Limbo, the Hand Jive and more. Wow! That was really good exercise!

All of our guests were such good sports as they scrounged around for 50's attire. It was pretty simple for the guys with their rolled-up jeans and white t-shirts. Some even put various rectangular items in their sleeves. It was fun to discover what they'd used, a cassette tape, a deck of cards, and even a box of Sucrets.

The girls were beyond charming in their circle skirts as they be-bopped and doo-wopped the night away.

One brave individual even served as our resident nerd. His Kick Me sign was quite a umm, kick in the pants. What a guy!

The cute cake was another masterpiece by Aunt Lynn, and Unc cooked a million hot dogs. Coke and root beer floats rounded out the treats, and we were all stuffed.

It was a really fun night, and we were fortunate that the only casualty (that we have discovered thus far) was a flower pot that got smashed. Relatively minor, in the scope of things. We are so blessed by the friends our children have chosen. They are truly a great group of young people, and we enjoy having them in our home.

It was so much fun, what do you say we do it again? I'm thinking an 80's party would be outrageous. I really wish I'd hung on to my parachute pants and banana clips. Man...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Creating a Monogram

DIY Bride has a wonderful tutorial on creating a monogram in Microsoft Word. I have used this technique many times to create patterns for making my favorite embroidered pillowcases.

Especially useful are the instructions on how to create text boxes with no fill and no line, which enables you to overlap the boxes and manipulate the distance between letters. You are all probably well-informed about those skills, but it was helpful to me in my technologically-challenged state.

For instance, I cannot figure out a way to insert one of my monograms into this post. I can, however, upload a photo. So, there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More to Come

Postings have been a bit scarce around here this week, but rest assured. There's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. Details to follow. It's going to be fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Counting Blessings

I've been eagerly anticipating our Christmas visit with my sister and her family for several weeks now. They are due to arrive on Christmas Eve and will be with us until New Year's Eve. We will get to celebrate Christmas and my youngest nephew's first birthday while they are here. Hooray!

Just a few days ago I learned that they would be zipping in for a fast stopover this weekend. The occasion was a somber one, a death in my brother-in-law's family, but we were thrilled to be available to babysit. I had a very sweet call from Speedy Boy requesting a sleepover on Friday night, and we just loved having him here.

We spent our Saturday watching the boys with Grandma while Mom and Dad attended the funeral and spent time with family. It was such a sweet time, totally unexpected and unplanned. I loved every minute.

Even though the visit was way too short, we can let them go in the morning because we know they will soon return for the Christmas visit we've been planning. This one was a bonus, and I'm counting it as my first Thanksgiving blessing.

I'm also thinking that there are probably a lot of other things in my life that are unexpected and unplanned which could be considered surprises as well. Somehow a suprise has a more pleasant connotation for me than an unplanned event.

All too often I find myself saying no to things just because the spur-of-the-moment nature of the request makes me uncomfortable. I really need to know what's on the schedule. It's my personality. It's the way God made me. It may also keep me from enjoying potentially fantastic opportunities.

It may be in my head, but if I think in these terms I can maintain a bit more of a positive attitude. Perhaps I'll be able to find joy in these surprises as I found joy in this weekend. Who knows? I might have even more blessings to count.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

They're Coming!

One more day 'til the boys are at Oui Oui's house!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

This time of year is when I really enjoy candles. Dark comes so much earlier that eating by candlelight is always an option. A scented candle gives a room such a homey feeling with its fragrance and soft light.

Some time ago I shared an idea for cleaning melted wax out of votive candle holders. Simply put the holders into the freezer for a few minutes. Take them out and use a butter knife or similar object to pop the wax right out. It works wonderfully.

I also like to put seasonally appropriate objects in the bottoms of my votive holders. Right now there are popcorn kernels in the holders of our harvest tablescape. I sometimes use small stones or glass beads. Just choose non-flammable items, please! This tactic also makes clean-up much easier as the wax will often pop right out since the objects prevent it from adhering to the candle holder.

Another idea I recently discovered is to put one-half inch of water into the votive cups before lighting the candles. The water will do the same thing as it keeps the wax from sticking to the holder and eliminates the need for clean-up.

Enjoy the season and your candlelit evenings!

Check out more great ideas at Rocks in My Dryer.

Apron Surprise

Several years ago, a precious elderly cousin gave me a sweet little apron she had made as a young woman. Using that vintage apron as a pattern, I spent part of the morning working on this fun version.

Anything with rick rack is automatically considered adorable in my book, but I think this apron is particularly so. The rounded edge with points on the side is a little flirty and decidedly feminine.

The generous front pocket is lined with a coordinating fabric. Gotta love that contrast!

You might notice the small red button just below the waistband. Is it for decoration or function? Less noticeable is a buttonhole in the lower corner. What in the world? Button them up and see.

Shazam! Our cute little apron is now a charming bonnet. Granted, most of us don't have much need for bonnets these days, but I just love the fact that it transforms this way.

Can't you see the practicality of such a garment? Women would put on a bonnet to visit a friend or attend church and have an apron on hand to help prepare food or do other tasks when they arrived. Who doesn't love a roomy pocket to stash small items?

Besides, any job is a little more enjoyable when you're wearing a cute apron.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Boys in the Fall

photos by Leanna B.

Monday, November 10, 2008


There's a joy I know dancing in my soul
And it comes from being with You
It's unbelievable how my heart is full
And it comes from knowing the truth
That I am complete in You

~Andy Chrisman, from the album One
Listen here.

Repeat After Me

We will not have animals in our house. We will not have animals in our house.

This is pitiful.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Birthday Boy

Today we celebrate the incredible life of our own personal superhero. When it comes to packing a bazillion books, he is faster than a speeding bullet. When there are pickle jars to open or wood to cut, he is definitely more powerful than a locomotive.

After all, just how many men are able to repair a toilet in a single lunch hour?

He is a multi-faceted guy with an intriguing personality and quick wit. His humor is, umm... legendary. A full-time job keeps him busy, but he also manages to run our home business, disciple our family, do work on the farm, and encourage us all. This birthday cake symbolizes his passionate love of music and exceptional talent in that area.

Our celebration indicates our passionate love for him. You are a phenomenon, Kev! Happy, happy birthday! Superman's got nothing on you, Babe!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fall Felicity

  • Pansies
  • Cool mornings
  • Picking up pecans
  • Afternoons in the sunshine
  • The leaves, the leaves, the leaves
  • Holiday anticipation
  • Candy corn
  • Acorns in their caps
  • Pumpkins
  • Early bedtime
What's not to love?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Toys Worth Buying

Today's topic for Works for Me Wednesday from Rocks In My Dryer concerns the toys that are worth buying. You know, the ones with which our kids actually play.

My children are older now, and their "toys" are quite different. Does an iTunes giftcard or a paintball gun actually count as a toy?

The things that have endured in our home have been the classics. We still have a container of wooden blocks that we pull out when we have little ones here. They have always been a favorite.

For our boys, we have seen sports equipment go the distance. They still think a football is an incredible gift. We never had a gaming system, but they loved the Backyard computer games, especially Backyard Football and Backyard Baseball. Any imaginary battle involved a light saber, so they still consider those essential.

Our daughter always enjoyed playing with Barbies, of course. She also liked to get craft kits which came with all the supplies needed for a project. These were great because they were consumable.

They all enjoyed their play kitchen and concocted many kinds of goodies there. We also had an indoor playhouse that got a lot of use for many years. It had a small slide on the side that was apparently tons of fun.

The cold, hard reality is that our children played with very few toys. Even as I asked them about this topic today, they were hard-pressed to recall many specific toys they truly enjoyed for any length of time. I honestly believe their best times were spent imagining great adventures in our backyard and building blanket forts or reading good books indoors when it was cold or rainy.

Those were the days.

My Savior My God

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my Savior

I take him at his word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
For him to be my Savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, my Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God he was, my God he is
My God he's always gonna be

Aaron Shust, from the album, Anything Worth Saying

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Little Things

It doesn't take something major to put a little bit of happy into a morning.

November means some of the year's best fun is on its way, and the appearance of Celestial Seasonings Holiday Teas is just one indication. Gingerbread Spice is my absolute favorite, but you'd better grab it now because it is only available through Christmas.

Eagerly anticipating an aromatic cupful while getting ready for this Monday morning, I was inspired to make a pan of yummy cinnamon rolls for my sweet family.

I hope these put a little bit of happy into their morning.

May they at least ease the pain of the Binomial Theorem. I think I need another cup of tea.