Friday, March 27, 2009

Totally Awesome Burp Cloths

A friend is about to become a grandmother for the first time! Luckily for me, it gives me an opportunity to make some great baby stuff. Searching around the net, I found this tutorial here . It's a great tutorial and a terrific idea! So simple, yet so useful. Best of all they are pretty, washable and super soft!

Thank you Jill for sharing the pattern and allowing me to post the link. Her blog is awesome... Go visit!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Be the spark...

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

The spouse of a co-worker passed away this week. She'd been ill for a while. At the funeral, the pastor talked about her illness, the effect it has on the patient, the family and friends. Then he talked about his perspective. How he saw not the illness, but their faith, in God and each other. He saw the love they shared. He saw the opportunity for everyone around them to see faith and love in action. He said he'd never once felt sorry for them. Distress, sadness, compassion, yes certainly. But never pity.

It was a powerful sermon and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful for my friend. I am grateful for the chance to see another perspective.

There is no reason to wait until you are in the midst of tragedy to be the love or to be the faith that will shine for others to see. There is a quote running rampant across the net: Be the spark, especially when it's dark (Mike Dooley).

The important part of that quote... Be the spark!

1 Corinthians 13:7
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


In March, two of my nieces celebrated birthdays... One is at the beginning of her adult life. So many choices, so much opportunity. I made a pin with symbols of things I wish for her... love, happiness, adventure, knowledge, excitement, security. ** Forgot to take a picture, dagnabit

The other, who is much younger, received a sweet little denim purse to hold all her treasures. I added her name to the embroidered flowers on the outside because it's always good to have stuff with your name on it :-) Inside are some happy frogs.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

I'm planning a girls day out today. It's going to be great! Probably a little shopping, a little lunching, hugs, tears, shared stories and a lot of laughing. Perfect for a Friday.

Wishing you a Happy Friday!

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shamrock Purse :-)

Recently, I found some really yummy orange fabric, that is to become my summer purse. There isn't enough of it to experiment so when I make it into a purse I need to know what I'm doing. And, I want to create my own, from design to embellishment. So, I decided to use some of my stash of bargain bin mystery content fabrics and this is the result.

I started with a drawing on paper, with notes about measurement and ideas. Then I began searching through the fabrics. When I found the scrap of shamrock fabric, I knew this could be fun. I paired it with a solid green, from a bargain bin. Originally, I wanted it to be reversible, so while the shamrock is repeated on the top inside, there is a different more casual fabric on the bottom. Due to an incorrect measurement, discovered too late in the fusing process, reversible is no longer possible. I knew I wanted to try beaded handles - I do love a good bead. The curvy top I have seen several places recently and really liked. Boxed bottom, for stability and to achieve the fluted shape I wanted.

I learned a lot. Several things that did not work and several more that did. I'm not quite up to a tutorial, but this is what I learned that is worth sharing, I think:

Double sided stiff fusible interfacing is the bomb. It gives the purse structure, but is still soft to the touch.

Sometimes, bargain bin fabric will not adhere to fusible interfacing.

Beaded handles are sparkly, but not all that comfortable.

Under the heading "Not intended for this use": Oval cord elastic and an old button make a right fine closure. Book rings, from the office supply store, are terrific substitutes for d-rings or other purse hardware. Bead findings stitched to the side of the purse, can hide necessary stitching to fix the measurement problem and be very decorative.

Under the heading "Reuse, repurpose, rejoice": The clear beads on the handles were two of a set of three Christmas bracelets on clearance in January. The ribbon is a sort of twill tape that I saved from a Christmas gift.

I had fun and I'm pleased with the results. My youngest said, with a touch of awe... "It looks profesional." Which is a terrific compliment!

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Life is as good as you want it to be...

I believe that life is good. I believe that happiness is possible for every single person. I believe that we can all achieve whatever we want.

It's easy to fall prey to the talking heads. They fill the TV, newspapers, radio, magazines with doom and gloom and make their fortunes on our fear. You're too... ________ (fill in the blank). No matter how you fill in the blank, the message is clear: you do not measure up, you are not good enough. But that is not truth, that is fear.

This attitude of fear is spreading. At work, at church, at school, in a restaurant, in the checkout line -- the talk is fear, negativity, sorrow.

I have found myself being affected by all this negativity, despite my absolute knowing that life is good. Have you ever noticed... when you are looking for bad, it draws it ever nearer, and you find it everywhere? But, when you no longer look for the bad, it slips farther and farther away?

I am taking back my happiness. I decide how I feel; I evaluate what is right for me; I will not allow others to tell me to be afraid. Right now, this minute and every minute going forward, I'm in charge of me.

Yet another lovely Irish Blessing, from me to you...

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite Book

A little off my theme of the week, but...

I rarely read a book more than once. There are three main reasons for that: First, I like to be surprised when I'm reading. I don't like formula books, much, because once you know the author, you know what is coming. Second, I'm not the sort who wants to memorize a book. I prefer to absorb and remember the essence or flavor or feeling of a book. Finally, there are just so many unread books waiting for me. So a book has to be really, really something for a second read.

This is one of those books for me. Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Soltice. There is just something about this story that really speaks to me. It is not in any great hurry, nor does it have spectacular special effects or a neatly packaged moral. It is a gentle unfolding of some genuine, interesting characters and their life events. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Irish Clip - Are you sensing a theme this week?

Well, how could I resist? The themed beads, the chance for a new clip, weakness for all things Irish...

I may have mentioned it before, but I really like these clips. Movement, sound, sparkle... All good things in my book. I made this one a little longer, to accomodate all the different beads and add few non-themed beads for balance. I like the length. Such a happy discovery.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

Also in honor of St. Patrick's Day, a recipe for yummy bread. Like all recipes I can only tell you I think it delcious. You will have to try it to find out.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. It is a very wet batter. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes at 325 degrees. It is done when a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, like a cake. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. If you leave it in the pan, it will be moist on the bottom.

I actually make it year round, not just St. Patrick's Day :-) It's quick and easy and tastes even better on the second day.

Hope you enjoy it as much as our family :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Sewing :-)

My husband's family is Irish and I'm a wannabe, so in honor of the upcoming holiday I made chair covers and place mats :-)

Our chairs are classic 1950's with metal frame and padded vinyl back and seats. They've been well loved, but are the most comfortable chairs, so I spruce them up with covers for the top. Some are holiday themed and some match the kitchen. (The chair cover is folded up to allow viewing of both sides of the place mat.)

To make the chair covers fit our chairs, I laid the chair back down on a piece of newspaper, traced loosely around the shape. I then cut it out 1/2" from the traced line, for seam allowance, (except the hem, which is a 1 1/2" longer than the traced line.) I cut out two pieces, sew around the outside, press the hem and sew it. Simple and quick!

The place mats, are three layers of muslin, sandwiched between two coordinating fabrics. One is themed, the other in a pin dot, but I added a shamrock I cut out from the chair cover fabric. Because I planned to fray the edge of the place mat, I left the raw edge of the shamrock and stitched around the edge about a quarter inch in. I added the shamrock to the pin dot first, stacked the fabric, pinned and sewed a 5/8" all around the outside. Snipped around the outside and washed to enhance the fraying. It measures 14 x 18.

Both projects are quick and easy. I warn you, if you haven't tried fraying before, it's addictive.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Home Made Ice Pack

Fair Warning: I am not a medical professional. I am not recommending treatment of any kind to anyone. I do not take responsibility for anything that might happen to you, your family, your pets, or your possessions.

My kids are athletic. They occasionally need to ice this or that. After trying to work with frozen peas and other homemade remedies, or commercial packs, I've found something that works great for us.

We use equal parts water and rubbing alcohol in good strong zipper seal freezer bags. I put one cup of each into a gallon bag, sealed up good and tight. Then into another gallon bag, sealed up good and tight. I slip this into a simple open ended bag made from a towel, for when the super cold is too cold against the skin.

The alcohol keeps the water from freezing solid and you end up with a stiff slushy concoction that molds to your injured body part.

As I said, it works great for us. Some people are concerned about the toxicity of the alcohol (hence the warning at the top), but my kids are not so little anymore and I don't have this worry. Plus, I've tried all the non-toxic or low-toxic stuff I could find and nothing works as well for us.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blog on...

Okay, so it's been a busy week. Spring break, events to attend, roof repairs, busy time at work... You get the idea, and I'm sure can relate. Because it's been busy, I haven't been posting and I miss it. It's not like I've kept this blog all that long, but I really missed it.

Today, one of my children competed in a large group contest music event. We, of course, went to listen. There were dozens of schools competing. These young musicians are pretty amazing. They work hard for weeks and sometimes months to perfect their pieces, then stand in front of several adjudicators, and perform, nerves and all. Wow.

We are currently enjoying warm breezy weather. I sat outside today after our group's performance enjoying the sun, the breeze and the scenery.

Conversation, laughter, whispered secrets... High fives, hugs, hand shakes, fist bumps... Strolling, hand holding, running for the bus... Celebration, disappointment, frustration, patience, excitement...

Love is all around us and we've only to open our hearts to see it.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I learned to sew from my mother, who didn't love it and my grandmother, who did. Funny as it seems, I learned more from my mother. One important thing, perhaps the most important, I didn't really understand at the time.

My mother didn't waste time because she didn't enjoy sewing. The quickest way to be done is to get started. That kind of attitude is very freeing. You don't worry if it's the right fabric for the task, if you have the right color thread, what to do when the pattern calls for a 9" zipper and you have a 7", or if your skills are up to the task. You just go for it - with what you have right now and it seemed to work out.

I was drawn to sewing, but I wanted perfection and would get frustrated and set it aside for periods of time. But, I was drawn to it and kept coming back. In time, I learned to love sewing, but only when I gave up trying to make what I thought other people would think 'perfect'. Perfect is in the eye of the beholder. Only when you create for your eye can you achieve anything close to perfection. This is the thing I didn't understand at the time, but realize I learned from my mom's approach to sewing.

So, thanks to my Mom, who didn't love to sew but taught me anyway, now I can't imagine my life without it. It is soothing, and satisfying in ways that I'm not sure I can fully describe.

I recently re-discovered this book, a gift from my grandmother in the 70's, who recognized the seamstress lurking deep in my soul, I think. It was way over my head at 10, but was a great resource. It was pretty fun to read through again. Amazing really how much useful, good information this little book contains. It's a three ring binder, with tabbed sections like 'layout and cut a pattern'; 'tailor a jacket'; 'fit your pattern'. Thanks to my mom's mom from whom I received my sewing gene.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Reflections on Growth Opportunities...

It's quiet in the house right now and I'm enjoying the time to poke around on the Internet. From the first time I discovered it, to this day, this minute, I remain in awe of the world wide web. What an amazing gift!

I loved being a student, from the very beginning and never grew out of it. I still get excited at back to school time, even though I'm not enrolled in school. Someone else said it, better than I, but the more I know, the more I have to learn. Sometimes I go where the whim takes me, sometimes I go where I think I have the most 'growth potential'. The possibilities are endless and exciting.

These days, the net is one of my favorite tools to expand my universe. Such easy access to any topic imaginable. Last fall it occurred to me how little I knew of the 'cyber community', some of which, I'll be honest, is scary for me. Along with all the great, wonderful stuff, there is some that is not. But, being afraid is very often a sign of a 'growth opportunity' for me, so I've been pushing myself to explore.

Last fall I joined a 'social networking' site, something you hear much negativity about, and was a source of concern for me as a parent. It's interesting, fun, and yet another way to connect with my children. And, turns out, in the millions of other people on that site, are several members of my family and lots friends from all over.

One day in January, I was looking for a new lunch bag for work. (Okay, really, I've been looking for a new lunch bag for some time. But that could be an entire post of it's own, so I'll leave it for later...) I searched the net without much luck and finally decided to enter the unknown and look at some blog entries. Till this point, my only experience with blogs was the one our Pastor used to follow updates on a building project or mission trips. I had a huge OhMyGosh moment. From one site to another, I was blown away by the creativity and fun shared so generously on these blogs.

It's amazing, truly amazing (do you hear the angel chorus singing?) what is out there. I just want to say thanks to all the bloggers for sharing their stories. Like the books in the library, I'll never get to the end, but I will have fun trying :-)