Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blogging Break

Please excuse me from bloggy land while we take a quick vacation and visit with our son finishing up his army field medic training- be back soon!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hanging Pictures Straight Tip

I have a few pictures that I just can't get to hang straight. It seems like every time I look at them I have to go over and fiddle with them- trying to get it right. It's these little annoyances that drive me bonkers. I certainly don't need any help in that area and I have the doctor bills to prove it. Well, enough is enough.
I had some removable putty (from an office supply store) that I use in teaching my church children's group... and the head swirled a bit and out popped this idea:

Move in on the annoying-forever-tilting frame and take a bit of putty, stick it under one corner of said frame. Adjust your picture as you like it and give it a firm push- it won't move again- no more fiddling- unless your in a country band ;oD

You can't see it unless you smash your face- or your camera- against the wall!

Way back when I said I'd show a few of the pictures that I put together using out of date calendar pictures and frames from Hobby Lobby. Here is one that is part of a collage in my front room. I really love how this one turned out probably because I LOVE the picture; a mother seeking blessings for her crippled son. Aren't the prayers you offer up for your children some of the sweetest, most sincere prayers that you ever utter? They are for me. I'm grateful there is a loving God to hear them!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Here's my garden. I've literally only pulled four weeds this entire summer. We have had a nasty battle with the bugs though!

The family garden has been much more work. I helped plant part of it- other than that my wonderful hubby has done it all. I'd say he is working part time as a vegetable farmer! We've had some problems with more foliage than produce- so, we've (he's) been cutting back on the greenery and hoping for more food.

Let's see if I can remember what is planted out there; watermelon, cantaloupe, asparagus, potatoes, onions, bell peppers (three colors), tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, dill, pumpkins, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, and peas. Some things are definitely growing better then others but sure is nice to eat garden fresh produce!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Wooden Box Make Over

A few weeks ago I found this little wooden box at the Salvation Army for $1. As I looked around for other treasures I was so excited to see that they had finally lowered their prices on furniture. They are normally so high! Then I ran in this week to see if they had anything new and they had raised their prices up again- ugh!

I mean if you can buy the cheap particle board furniture, new, cheaper at WalMart than your prices for cheap particle board furniture are too high! Not that I am shopping for cheap particle board... but still.

Well, a little crafting always makes me feel better. I did a little spray paint magic on the box (Ivory, Rustoleum). I glued on a $2 Michaels embellishment from the wood craft section. Sanded it and here it is (much better, no?). Now I need to find it a permanent resting spot.

This post has been recently added to Metamophisis Monday- they have tons of cool makeovers!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good bye Acne

I don't know what it is about living in Texas that freaks my skin out but ever since we moved here I've had adult acne-so not cool! I didn't even have breakouts as a teen (other than a random one here or there)! Dealing with wrinkles and acne at the same time is almost worth whining about! I purchased this stuff, ester C serum, at the health food store, it's supposed to be a moisturizer, but I haven't hardly had a pimple since. Big smiles! It costs a little $16 but it lasts forever. It feels like you are putting egg whites on your face. I only use it before bed because during the day it flakes and messes up your make up. But I am totally happy using it at night and totally thrilled with my skin in the morning.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Child's Scrapbook Poster

Not much crafting is going on around here as I get ready for our seven energetic teen visitors. I'm setting up extra mirrors around the house just in case two bathrooms and two bedroom mirrors aren't enough.

I did throw this little poster together for my daughter's room. My older daughter started this project- so, I didn't have to make the patchwork background. I just added some scrapbook embellishments, etc. The colors aren't quite right- no florescent pink!!- just a nice bright pink. My little girl loves HER poster.

Little brother waiting for his room to be done....

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Ordinary Day

I just finished reading "Mrs. Miniver". The book is written as England is entering World War II. The Englishmen are evacuating children to the country, standing in line to pick up their gas masks, and attending first aid classes. Mrs Miniver said one of the lessons to be learned "was an appreciation of the value of dullness."

I've been thinking about that.

So, today I am thankful for routine humdrum days. An ordinary day like yesterday. A day when I watched the old film "The Duchess of Idaho" with the kids. When I mowed the lawn and helped chase a rabbit out of the garden. When I scrubbed the bathroom clean. A day when the greatest drama was an overcooked apple crisp. Sigh. Life is good.

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A Happy Note

Isn't it great when your kids make you a gift?! I wish I could save them all (I wish I would have saved more of the ones my older children made for me). Now I have a scrapbook with some of my favorite notes and pictures from the kids- nothing fancy just art work taped on acid free paper. Maybe I'll even add photos of some of the larger, bulkier items. I wish there was some way to capture the magical total love freely given from my very own child, don't you?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Texas Caviar

Our local grocery store handed out this recipe and it's a winner!

1 c. Canyon Foods Garlic Essence Vinaigrette (or a good vinaigrette that has
seven peeled, whole garlic cloves dropped in and allowed to sit for
a few days before using)
1 fresh red or green bell pepper, diced (about 1 c.)
1 c. fresh chopped celery
1 c. finely chopped sweet or red onion (I use about 1/3 c.)
1 can (16 oz)black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (12 oz) corn kernels, drained

Combine vinaigrette with bell pepper, celery and onion in a large bowl.
Rinse and drain beans and corn. Toss with vegetable mixture
Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

May make with a variety of different vegetables.

Add 12 oz. of cooked shrimp for a main course variation.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Faking the Double Layer Look

Allrighty, it was 105 last Wednesday and that means I'm NOT layering my shirts- no matter how thin they are! A friend suggested making a "fake" layer and that appealed to me.

Simply find a square of fabric and zig zag around the edges. Using a piece of fabric fusing tape (for hems) fold the top down about an inch towards the back. Iron in place.

If you are going to add the crochet edge be sure to push the fusible tape right into the fold this will help to stop fraying later.

Stop here if you don't want the crocheted edge and skip to the "attaching the fake piece" part of this post.

If you'd like a crocheted edge continue:

Use a pencil and lightly mark every 1/4 inch. Use your tiny scrap booking hole punch to make holes on each mark. I used a #10 yarn.

Crochet an edge by stitching one single crochet, one chain stitch, one single crochet, one chain stitch all across the folded edge. Make sure to catch the punched hole with each single crochet stitch. To make a scalloped edge add one extra chain and turn- then work your way back across the edge following this pattern.

two single stitches
one half double stitch
three triple stitches
one half double stitch
then begin again

Attach your "fake" layer:

Put on garment you want to wear with the fake piece. Mark where you want the fake piece placed. Remove garment (OK- that was a duh) and sew either snaps or hook and hoop fasteners in place.

You can use the fake piece with more than one shirt if you want. You can interchange different fake pieces if you make them the same size and sew the attaching notions in the same place on each fake piece and shirt....

Better than sweating to death, and cheaper too.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yummy Apple Pie

Our kind friends invited us to pick some apples. I just couldn't let them go to waste. Sweet hubby did the picking and I did the baking. This isn't the prettiest (but it is probably the yummiest) pie I've ever made. So easy and delicious! The crust was super flaky.

Yesterday, I also finished reading Thrush Green by Miss Read. Isn't that the coolest pen name?! It was written in the 1930's I think. Anyways, I'd heard many a rave review and so I read it. It's a gentle story from a simpler time. It wasn't a "can't put down" read by any means. But it was a nice story.

You really should try this pie- little hint: you make a caramel sauce that you pour over the apples and yet it doesn't taste all caramelly- just so GOOD.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

New Blouse

Every time I've been in Hancock's this summer I've stopped to look at this fabric. It is just so cheerful. I decided to try making a blouse... and it actually turned out OK. I really hesitate to sew clothes because I'm a better shopper than a seamstress. I can buy it cheaper and it will actually fit and look good. But since I really liked this fabric I decided to ignore all the warning whistles in my head! I used Simplicity Pattern 6807 and altered it- not making the gathers in the back, just a dart on each shoulder blade. This isn't a true cotton and it has some stretch to it- which is really good because this pattern is supposed to be for knits only... hah! I think I'm experiencing some sort of late (really late) teenage rebellious streak- I just love breaking sewing "rules".

What have you made lately?

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Friday, July 10, 2009

New Blogs for Entertaining Kids

My kids have reached the boredom phase of the summer. The since-I'm-bored-I-think-I'll-entertain-myself-by-annoying & teasing-someone-else-stage (also known as the watch-mommy-pull-her-hair-out-stage).

I'm all for "entertain yourself" parenting. But I think its healthy to offer a new idea now and then. I found this new blog full of activities to do with the kids. Most of them are very inexpensive and looked like things that kids would love!! The more recent posts are more time intense than her earlier posts- just a tip for finding what meets the needs of your family.

Here is another wonderful list of 77 boredom busters. Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gift for a Friend

Am I the only one that can't create for someone else? It seems like every project that I make that is for someone else is subject to Murphy's Law in full force- everything goes wrong! I started three days early to put this basket together for a friend's birthday. The gift box I was going to use was too small for the soaps that I found. So, I had to find a new container.

Then when cutting out the fabric for the liner in this basket I messed up twice before getting it right (I mean, come on, it's only 3 rectangles and two squares!). I did a little silk ribbon embroidery for a sachet bag but after remaking the third rose three times I junked the piece and left that portion of the gift out.... what is up with this?

Then because of using the basket instead of the smaller box I needed another item to fill the basket. Now I was on a time limit and dashed to Tuesday Morning to see a sign up on the front door that it was closed for the week.... what?!... so, I put the kids back in the car and we dashed to the mall and the brand new Ulta store- we ran inside to find that it hadn't opened it's doors yet- just the sign was up.... so, bath and body works to the rescue!

I am totally amazed by people that make things and sell them! I'd be a mental mess and my nervous twitching would make it even harder to craft... oh, well. Maybe someday.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Garden Fresh Fried Zucchini

The garden has started to produce and sweet hubby made this for dinner. Yummy, tender fried zucchini. So good.

Just slice up your zucchini.
Dip in milk.
Dip in 1/2 c. flour mixed with 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper
Dip in bowl with two beaten eggs
Dip in Italian flavored bread crumbs.
Fry in hot oil or shortening three to four minutes on each side or until brown.

Cool- it's amazing how long these retain their heat!

Then devour. Some like them dipped in Ranch Dressing. I liked mine plain.

I want to try making them by eliminating the flour dip and eggs- just dipping them in milk, bread crumbs, and frying.... mmmm, I'll have to try that.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Reading

We've been going to the library every Monday morning this summer. Here are two books that I have really enjoyed (you can get them both at Amazon):

Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Children From Birth to Seven
I heard about this book on the Salt and Chocolate Blog. This is a book about the Waldorf method of raising & teaching children. I didn't agree with everything in the book but there were so many wonderful ideas that I love that it is definitely worth reading. One idea was to set up a nature shelf where children can display the treasures they have found on their outdoor excursions. There are a bunch of ideas to encourage imaginative play. There were a few general references to a religion associated with the Waldorf method that differ from my beliefs, but it was interesting to see another point of view.

Creative Family by Amanda Soule. This book is FILLED with ways to make daily creativity happen in your home. She talks about everything from setting up a "studio" to creative ways to display the art. Her ideas are simple and affordable... not the overwhelming- I can't believe how far I fall short as a parent-variety.

Both books have wonderful ideas about nurturing children. I highly recommend checking them out.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

The following is a bit of a rant and not overly positive. Feel free to skip it if you're not in the mood.

With the celebrating of the fourth I've been pondering on the state of this nation. So much of what I see brings me sadness. This is supposed to be a country of freedom and yet the current national government has taken away so many freedoms- and put in place so many outrageous programs. I've lived in a country with socialized medicine- it's awful! I don't care what the media tells you- when the government steps in quality of care and quality of life go downhill fast! You can't ask the government to take over a personal responsibility without giving up your freedom.

I happen to be a descendant of John Hancock- the one that signed his name in large letters on the Declaration of Independence so that the king of England could read his name without his spectacles on. So, maybe the love of this nation and freedom runs in my blood. I feel a need to take a stand. To say what is in my heart. To pray for this nation. To make a difference. I'm not sure how to do that yet. But I feel the need. (This is not to say that many immigrants don't also love and care for this country- because they can and do; often because they know exactly how it is to live without them).

This is my blog- so, my politics. You can share your opinion on your blog- and I am grateful for that freedom. Just remembered that if you are going to express your political opinion someone, a father, brother, or sister died to give you that freedom. You have no business using the freedoms that are still left in this country unless you are willing to fight and die to keep it free for the next generation- just as millions did for you.

Pray for America.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Homemade Cleaner

Today I tried out a simple homemade cleaner that was a mix of equal parts Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap and water.

I tried it out in the bathroom (I know big shock I was cleaning) and it gave a nice, spot free shine to the chrome. I also had some- very ugly- red tub crayon stains on the bottom of my shower that have been there for ages.... even custodial strength cleaners from Home Depot didn't phase them. This stuff cleaned them right off. It didn't do much with my hard well water stains but I haven't found anything that works on that (even scrubbing with a pumice stone) .... any suggestions?

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blissful Blueberry Buckle

Couldn't pass up trying this recipe. If a dessert has fruit in it there are pretty good odds I'll love it. This is kind of a cross between a coffee cake and a cobbler. It would be extra nice served warm with a scoop of Breyer's all natural vanilla ice cream.

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