Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Word for 2011

I have read in the past couple of years, about bloggers choosing a 'word' for the new year. I have chosen a verse for the new year in the past, but am intrigued with the idea of choosing a word for the year.

A word that I want to focus on. To live. To become. To make a part of my heart and mind.

As I contemplated this idea, I saw a word that seemed to immediately fit. It's a word that already expressed a little flicker of hope in my heart. And a word that I believe will be 'faith in action' for me.

My word for 2011 is.....

It fits a special prayer request that I have for 2011. It fits our lives right now as we are newly transplanted to southern Indiana and still have much to learn and many new friends to make. It fits my mood when I arise in the mornings...greeting a brand new day full of possibilities. I usually anticipate each new day with hopes and plans.

Anticipation also shows that I am living by faith that God is going to work out His plans for me and my loved ones in the coming year. His plans will not be thwarted. And they will be good.

I love fresh, new starts. Mornings. New months. New beginnings.

So I am looking forward to 2011 with A N T I C I P A T I O N.
To see what the next chapters are in this story of our lives that God is writing.

What word might you choose for 2011?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My 'Sun' Room

When we first looked at this house in Evansville back in March, I immediately fell in love with this bedroom. It was green. Big window. 10 foot ceiling. White woodwork. I could picture it as our Den/Guest Room...but really it would be MY hang out room. I had a very happy feel about it!

Now that we are all settled in, it is still my favorite room! And I can tell that I shall really love it this winter because the morning sun streams in and makes it so warm and cozy. This morning I wished for time to just lay on the futon and soak up the warm sun (Chilly weather has def. arrived down south here!)
When we decided on this house, I also visualized myself in this cheery room having my morning time with the Lord. And that's exactly what I do.
Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks this room is warm and cheery. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun Little Crafties

Fall, fires in the fireplace, and Fridays put me in a crafting mood. Fall is definitely in the air here in southern Indiana! We enjoyed our 'first fire' of the season in the fireplace last night...so relaxing and cozy. And today is Friday! Here are a few things I've made this week.Our little great niece, Ruby Jane, is turning one year old tomorrow! So I celebrated her little precious self by making the above Bear card for her. I used my new Cricut for the 4th time ever, and was delighted with how nice it was for quickly coming up with circles, stars, and ovals. I saw this Bear on BHG.com as a puppet...so I changed up the colors and style a bit to make it a birthday card for Ruby. Happy Birthday little girl!
Then last night as the fire was going, I had a terrible itch to stitch. Finally decided on this sweet little felt bookmark. It isn't perfectly proportioned or stitched as it was my experiment, but it was so much fun, simple, and relaxing to make.
It has a top (the flower) and a bottom (the leaves) in one of my favorite color combinations. I had a turquoise ribbon which worked too. I plan to make more of these and will purchase some grossgrain ribbon, alittle wider, to use for the next ones. This would be a simple gift to make and mail in a b-day card. I love flat little gifties that can be mailed in a card.
Did I put you in the mood to craft?! The internet is full of ideas you can copy, if so!

Enjoy this last weekend in October....wishing my 2nd favorite month wasn't nearly gone!

Simple Joys to You!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pillow Talk ~ Up-cycling

Recently I wanted to make a pillow to jazz up our peaceful, serene bed. The aqua coverlet and light paisley pillow shams are just what I wanted...a beach cottage feel. And the green pillow is a great accent color. But just a little zip of pattern/color was still needed in my opinion. So I bought this amazing paisley fabric with all three of the colors I wanted for just a few dollars. Yay!I made a bolster pillow pretty easily, using a small plate as the template for the round ends, and then just sewing a rectangle of fabric to each of them, stuffing it, and whip stitching the opening closed. However, Little Paisley Pillow still needed some embellishments. Recently while wearing a favorite but older aqua knit shirt, I noticed it had a small hole in it. Bummer. But before putting it in the Goodwill pile, I realized it was the perfect color for embellishing this pillow! Ha!
I cut a strip from around the shirt, and it made a great 'band' around the pillow...off center made it more interesting. Then I took the aqua knit, a scrap of the paisley, and a scrap of another green (from my sewing bench project), and fashioned a fabric flower....gathered it in the middle a bit, and added a button. Two of those were the finishing touch. Loving the up-cycled embellishments and the splash of color on our bed!
With the remainder of the paisley fabric, I made a pillow cover for this little pillow that no longer matched our bedroom.
Two little circle-scraps-buttons-flowers for embellishment on it and....
Finis!! (My high school French still comes back to me now and then. Madame Steele would be pleased!)
Thank for sharing in my little project...hope you will think of some kind of up-cycling project you can do with a pretty but worn garment too!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

For the Little Red Hen in all of us...Fresh Baked Bread...Recipes and Hints

There's nothing like fall for getting a gal in the mood to bake, is there? And baking bread just seems to be the most delicious idea of all...especially when you have a pot of soup bubbling in the crockpot. At the request of my niece Kara, I am posting 2 of my favorite bread recipes along with a few helpful hints.I like to use my bread maker to do the kneading and the rising of the dough. I don't have alot of arm strength, so kneading dough is not fun and therapeutic for me! Therefore I put all of these ingredients in my bread machine and set it for the dough setting, which takes 90 minutes.

Wheat and Honey Bread

1 and 2/3 cups tepid water
2 t. butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 t. salt
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
2 t. active dry yeast

(Hint: I like to add more fiber and nutrition by substituting about 1/4 cup wheat germ and flax meal [together in the same 1/4 cup] for 1/4 cup of the white flour. Adds beautiful color and a nice nutty flavor.)

Let the bread machine do it's thing. (Hint: check on the bread maker as it mixes. If the corner ingredients don't get mixed in well, help it out with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. And if the dough seems alittle too dry, add a teaspoon of water).

Once the dough cycle has finished, take the dough out onto a pastry cloth dusted with flour or onto waxed paper dusted with flour. I like to cut the dough into 3 equal parts and form 3 cute little artisan-style loaves...oval and not too fat as they will swell when they rise for the last time. Then I take a sharp knife and cut 3-4 diagonal slices about 1/4 inch into the dough. Looks nice! Put the three loaves on a baking stone or on cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper if possible or just greased.) Cover with a clean tea towel and let them rise again til they are nearly double in size. (Hint: if I am in a hurry, I let them rise about 30 minutes then go ahead and bake them knowing they will rise more in the hot oven). Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. You will know the bread is done when it is browned and when you can tap the top and it sounds a bit hollow. Take out out of the oven and rub a stick of butter over the hot tops. Will give the bread a moist, shiny, buttery appearance and taste! Enjoy one loaf today, freeze a loaf for later if you like, and most importantly, wrap up one loaf to give to a neighbor or friend. :) Homemade bread is a powerful hug and hello to those around us.

#2 Moist Cheddar Bread

1 1/4 cup tepid (room temp) water
2 cups whole wheat flour (if you don't have this, use all white flour)
2 cups white flour (to which I once again substitute about 1/4 cup Wheat Germ and Flax Meal for 1/4 cup of the white flour.)
1 cup shredded cheese
2 T. sugar
1t. salt
1 3/4 t. yeast

Again, layer all of these ingredients in your bread machine pan. Do not let the yeast come in contact with the water. Just make a 1/4 deep well in the dry ingredients at the top and put the yeast in that.

Send it through the dough cycle, checking the dough during the first 10 minutes to make sure it isn't too dry and is mixing together well.

When it completes the cycle, follow the above instructions for baking it.

There...now YOU, like the Little Red Hen, can bake an incredibly tasty loaf or 2 or 3 of homemade bread.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Country Living Fair Part 1

What a wonderful weekend I had! My dear, longtime friend Lori and I went to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, OH. Such a treat!
Lori and I have been friends ever since our first borns were babies. Now those first borns are 22, married to wonderful spouses, and Lori is a first time Nana!
The weather was so perfect...low 70s and sunny. Lori had been praying for great weather, and Jesus graciously granted it!
There were DROVES of people there! At 10am when the gates opened, we all made an orderly beeline for the fair!
These beautiful vintage cups and saucers caught my eye...just $4 a set too! But I settled for a photo of them since I have plenty at home. The fair was a mixture of Vintage Flea Market finds, antiques, and lovely handmade crafts.
Aren't these handmade tidbit trays/cake plates so sweet!! I've made one myself and just love it.
Awww....a Chenille snowman! Chenille was sooooo popular among the artisans at the fair. So many things made from chenille among the booths.
The Fairy Garden Booth was extra sweet. I wanted one of these at my house! Tiny little gardens with cute little hidden treasures.

This craft was unique...an old quilt piece was the background for embroideried words, photos, and buttons, etc. for embellishments.
Lunchtime! We decided to eat around 11:30am. So. Glad. The line grew to a very long length by the time we finished eating! This food booth was featured in the Country Living Magazine and it completely lived up to their raves!
The. Best. Pulled Pork Sandwich. EVER!!!

This is your first taste of the wonderful things we saw, ate, smelled, heard, and enjoyed at the Country Living Fair! Watch for Part 2 to come in the next couple of days. I promise there will be LOTS more cute, handmade crafts to show, and most are easy enough to do at home.

In the meantime....Simple Joys my friends!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Slow Cooker Soup, Homemade Bread, and Grandma's Spice Tins

Thursday was a chilly day and I had to work that afternoon. So I decided to put Slow Cooker Tomato Soup in the crockpot for dinner. It's a Weight Watcher's recipe and is 0 points! I layered in fresh spinach leaves, 2 sliced carrots, 2 celery stems sliced, 28 ounces of stewed tomatoes that I gave a whirl to in the blender first, 4 cups of chicken broth, a chopped onion, and some basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Set it on high for about 5 hours.Of course homemade soup begs to be accompanied by homemade bread. Oh how I L O V E homemade bread. Today's bread du jour was French Bread with a cup of whole wheat flour added for nutrition. I make the dough in my bread maker, then divide it into 3 cute little artisan loaves to rise and bake in the oven.
And here are the warm little cuties...I take a stick of butter and rub over the hot crust just til the crust is soft and buttery. And since there were 3 loaves, I wrapped up 1 loaf to give to a neighbor I had not yet met on our street.
The soup smelled like Italian goodness when we walked in the door after work. Even my 12 year old son ate it cheerfully and said it was 'not too bad.' THAT'S a complement about homemade soup from a 12 year old boy. : ) We ate the leftovers today, but I added 1/2 pound of ground beef and it was even tastier. Plus more filling.
In other news, autumn seems to have arrived in the past week here in Indiana. Yippee! We even finally had some rain on Friday. So needed. So I've started to decorate for fall just a bit. This past weekend I inherited my sweet Grandma's antique spice tins and bottles. So here are some of them on my sweet little window-ledge-scape in the kitchen.
And I put the others here on my oak china hutch by my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. I love all things vintage and really think I should have been born in the '30s. :)
So that is what is happening at my house lately...what about yours? Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mom's Spartan Singer circa 50s or early 60s

When my folks moved here last week, I spied this favorite old sewing machine. It was my mom's back in the 50s or 60s. And when I was about 8 or 9 years old, Mama taught me to use it.
I made so many Barbie clothes with this machine! And began my DIY home decorating as I made pillows and blankets for Barbie's apartment. BTW, Barbie's apartment was a chair. The seat of the chair was her bedroom, and underneath the chair was her living area and kitchen. Making up her house was the BEST part of playing Barbies.
By the time I was in high school, I started sewing clothes for myself on this simple little machine. Many an afternoon I spent down in our basement, sewing a new dress or top and listening to the local Easy Listening station. That music, today, still takes me right back to our basement in Salina, KS where I sewed my little heart out.
Mom let me take this machine to college as well. I don't know how I managed to go to school full time, work 1-2 jobs, and sew an occasional dress or gift, but I did. And now, this sweet little 'Belle' has come back to me and sits proudly on my recently refinished 1950s sewing table. Happy sigh. Simple joys. Sweet Life.

Stay tuned for new sewing adventures with 'Belle' and I.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Favorite Kitchen Gadget

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite kitchen tools. A chopper/cutter/mixer thing.

It makes nice, quick work out of homemade salsa or Pico de Gallo. (Hope I spelled that right. Too tired to check.) Cut your peppers, onions, and tomatoes into one inch chunks and pop into a good sized bowl.
The cutter/chopper/thing scoops up the veggies and with a scissor like motion it cuts them into smaller pieces. You continue to cut until the veggies are the size that you desire.
See the delicious juicy garden ripened tomatoes?! Thank the Lord for friends with gardens!
Chop, chop, chop. I can smell the cilantro and lime juice!
In just a few minutes of time, I have a bowl full of fresh Pico. My tongue is sweating just thinking about the treat in store for my mouth with some grilled fajitas in just a bit. Do you like my favorite gadget? Christmas is coming and this would be a fun thing to add to your gift idea list! Pampered Chef makes them but I got mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (with a coupon) for about $15.

Bon Appetite!! : ) And happy Saturday night!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Fresh Bouquet of Cilantro

My blog has been regrettably neglected for about 9 months. :) But I am BACK!! Perhaps I can learn more about blog design and be less frustrated in the coming weeks. At any rate, I wanted to share an idea with you that I've enjoyed putting to use today. I purchased a lovely bunch of Cilantro at the grocery store in preparation for the Fish Tacos I planned for tonight's supper. One of my magazines suggested that a good way to keep your fresh herbs in good shape...AND enjoy their scent all week long...is to put them in a vase of water and enjoy them on your kitchen counter! Isn't that a splendid idea? So I cut their stems a bit so they could absorb the water better, and plopped them into a glass of fresh water. You are to change the water daily. The smell of Cilantro is one of my favorite scents! So having it on my stove top this week will be a little piece of heaven. Mmmmm. It was so easy to pull out a handful of stems tonight at dinner, rinse them, pat dry and cut them up with kitchen shears. The fresh salsa in which they went was delish. Garden fresh. The Lime-Cilantro candle at the top of this page was a find from Marshalls or TJ Maxx. It. Smells. Heavenly. Mmhmm. So, keep this in mind when you want to buy fresh herbs, or bring in some from your own herb garden. They make a lovely--and simple--bouquet. :o) Blessings, Donna

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