Monday, November 30, 2009

One Special Christmas

I've been thinking alot since Thanksgiving about meaningful gifts. I've come to realize over the years that the most meaningful gifts are the ones that people have made themselves. I know that sounds like a cliche, but it's true. Whether it's something knitted, sewn, baked, or fashioned from craft supplies, it always tugs at the heart strings. The one thing that comes in second to that is when you receive a gift that encourages you to be creative. When I was a teenager in high school (about 150 years ago in dog years), I had a fascination with doll houses. My parents and my two brothers built this doll house for me, including the furniture. My Mom sewed the curtains, crocheted doilies, braided rugs and even used the awful 70's bedspread from my room to make the doll canopy and bedspread. I have purchased all kinds of items since then and a wee little family moved in a couple of years ago, but the most precious items are those that my family made by hand. The doll house currently sits in my dining room below a picture that my Mom cross-stitched for me of a little girl leaning against a table filled with items set for tea. This picture was another gift made by loving hands. My Mom said that the little girl reminded her of my daughter who was small at that time. I hope this Christmas I can give meaningful gifts that people will remember for years to come. What are some of the most meaningful gifts you have received for Christmas?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quilt Giveaway!!!


Happy Saturday to all of you! I want to share a fun giveaway from Marie-Madeline Studio. You can enter to win one of these quilts by clicking on their link located on my side bar. They will tell you how to enter to win. Aren't they beautiful? If you have not been on their blog or website before, you are in for a special treat. A wonderful family with fabulous patterns and fabrics. You will enjoy it whether you sew/quilt or not. They are truly an inspiring family. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am thankful this year for many things but I must take a moment to thank all the friends and family who have been so supportive of my adventure into the world of blogging. Thank you to other bloggers who have extended their kind words of support. I have enjoyed dipping my toe into these waters and look forward to what the future holds. A verse to help you celebrate this most blessed of holidays, "Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." Ps. 95:1&2

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bright and Cheery

I want to share with you the quilt that currently hangs in my kitchen. It was made with reproduction 1930's fabrics and Moda's reproduction children's hankies. I ventured away from my usual shabby soft fabrics and did a quilt much brighter. Funny thing is, the more I play with color, the brighter my quilts are getting. Much like cooking, the more I cook, the bolder my recipes are getting. It's all so fun, isn't it?

It began raining here late tonight. The forecast calls for a mixture of snow and rain tomorrow. Though the weather makes it easier to stay inside and bake for Thanksgiving, it will still be rather dreary. It will be nice to have this quilt nearby to keep things cheerful as I work. Be blessed today, be joyfilled!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What's Important to You?

Today marks the kick-off of the holiday season. We will no sooner finish the Thanksgiving meal and Christmas will be upon us. I managed to get the groceries bought today and am about to tackle the cleaning. My son comes home from college tomorrow and my daughter will begin her break from highschool as well.
I love this time of year, but it also brings up that feeling of being on a hampster wheel with no way to jump off until after the first of the year. I will take to heart the words of scripture that hang in my kitchen and then I will really, truly, try to slow this season down and spend more time doing the things that matter. Can any of us remember what we received for Christmas last year? I can't. But I can remember the people I saw and the special times we shared. I remember the Christmas concerts at church and how everyone looked so nice dressed in their holiday best. I bet that next year at this time we still won't remember what we recieved under the tree, but we will remember the son or daughter who returned from war, the last Christmas we spent with Grandma, the fun we had baking with our children and the way that the sanctuary at church looked with all those decorations. The one thing we must remember at Christmas, above all else, is that God became man and spent time here on earth so that He could show us how much He loves us by sacrificing His life for ours as a randsom for our sins and He came back to life so that we might have eternal life with Him. All we have to do is believe that He did this for us and confess all our sins and shortcomings to Him and He will take it all. All the fear, disappointment, pain, illness and give us His peace and a life with Him when ours is finished here on earth. What a gift, what a Savior. May I keep this in my mind and heart as this holiday season begins.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just Pondering

It's just past 6:30pm and it's pitch black outside, yet another reminder that winter is on it's way. A beautiful sunny day in the mid 50's. Wednesday's forecast is predicting snow. I'm wondering how this will affect our Thanksgiving travelers. The wind has just picked up outside, it's alittle erie to be honest. So much left to do to get ready for the feast. I haven't even gone to the grocery store yet, or cleaned my house. I really want to sew, but can't seem to decide what to do. I could read but that doesn't seem very productive either. I guess you could say I'm feeling alittle out of sorts today. My dear friend, Amy, and I call this "feeling outside ourselves." I did go to the baby shower today and the elephant was a huge success. I love giving gifts to people, especially things I'm able to make myself. I hope all of you stop to reflect on all the things that you are thankful for this week, amist all the preparations. After a wonderful service this morning, I'm going to start this moment being thankful to Jesus for my salvation. How about you?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

Don't you just love pretty things? They make my heart sing! When I get a pretty stack of fabric or finish knitting one of these cupcakes, I like to leave them out and enjoy them as I walk through my kitchen. Even if the day is gloomy outside, I can get my heart singing inside. I hope that you can enjoy today doing something or looking at something that makes your heart sing. If you would like to know where I got the pattern for the cupcake, leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. Have a joyful Saturday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Elephant in the Room

A break from Pretty Room pictures to show you the sewing project I was working on this week. This elephant is for a baby shower that I am going to this weekend. The wonderful woman it's for is doing a jungle theme and has picked out many of these fabrics for the baby boy's room. I finished the quilt and then felt it needed more, so I made the carrier for the back and filled it with burp cloths and receiving blankets. There is a pocket on the other side that is not visible. It was fun to make. Today's verse "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, November 19, 2009

There's One More...

How is Thursday in your neck-of-the-woods? Oh my, it's cold and dreary in southwest Michigan. Makes you want to cook something comforting, drink something hot and caloric, and curl up with a good book (or a good stack of fabric!). I apologize for this picture turning out alittle dark. Believe it or not, I had a bunch of lights on, and it was even sunny when I took it, but our house sits in a direction where we don't get much sunlight inside. I'm surprised we don't have moss growing on the walls. Most of my house is yellow or a cheerful wallpaper, but alas, I went with MOSS green in the pretty room. Back to my door. I found this at the flea market that meets at a local fairground nearby. I just loved that someone put a shelf on top and painted in pink. The little angel holds a banner that says, "Dream". I do alot of dreaming in this room. Today seems like a good day for curling up and dreaming. Be blessed today, be thankful...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Pink Door

Happy Wednesday to everyone! Another pretty room post. I want to share with you a focal point of this room, my unusual coffee table. I found this pink door on an antiquing jaunt. It was an unusually small size and the shop owner thinks that it was a door located underneath stairs. I immediately pictured a coffee table out of it. We have a wonderful shop in our area called, "Another Man's Treasure" and I comissioned Sharon, the owner, to make a table for me. Sharon is a very talented artist who makes wonderful pieces from discarded furniture. Didn't she do a wonderful job? I asked her to leave the hardware intact and if you look closely you can see the handle on the right. You can also see Max, our golden, on the left who somehow manages to get into many a photo...
So my obession with doors continues. A verse to ponder today, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7&8 Have a joyfilled day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Pretty Room

I have a love of old, worn, pretty things. I like to think about where these things might have come from and the people that had these items. We have a room in our house called "The Pretty Room" it's really for us girls. The boys have their man-cave that reflects their love of baseball, and we have The Pretty Room. This week while I'm working on a new sewing project, and before I can show it to you, I thought I'd show you some fun things in this room. One of my favorite things is the verse on the beam it is Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of our God stands forever." When I am in there, it reminds me of what's important in life. I love old screen doors. I wish we would still use them. We had a metal screen door when I was growing up. I can remember summers and the sound that door made when my brothers ran in and out to play. I like the sound the door made, a happy sound announcing the arrival of someone. I daydream about this screen door. Was it on a farm house? Or an old victorian with a wrap-around porch? Wherever it stood, I hope it made that happy sound for someone. I hope too, that they enjoyed Isaiah 40:8 as much as I do.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

...and my book addiction...

Okay, yesterday I showed you the fabric cabinet. Today I will come clean and share the book/pattern cabinet. I will not, however, open the doors. I will say that there is more ideas, patterns, books and supplies than I will ever be able to accomplish in my lifetime.

I really enjoy my sewing room and will share more pictures later. My friend, Diane, suggested that I move the dining room into the old formal living room and use the dining area for my sewing room. What a great idea! The dining room only gets used a handful of times each year so it was easy to switch. My sewing room has a slider in it so I get lots of natural light and I put up some pretty track lighting as well. This room is right off the kitchen and it's so easy to be working on a project while things are simmering away on the stove. I can also leave things out on my cutting board to return to later. I love it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Fabric Addiction

Today was a beautiful fall day, sun was shining brightly and I thought a little field trip might be in order. So, Joyce and I decided to venture to Shipshewana, the Amish community about 45 minutes south of us. What a great drive, great conversation. We wanted to go look at fabric at two wonderful stores there. Well, as you can see from the picture, I NEED MORE FABRIC! What I think I need is addiction counseling. This is crazy! Does it look like I need anymore fabric? I bought a pattern book too...glad you can't see the book cabinet. Sad thing is, if I went through and looked, I might have the fabric I just purchased, it has happened before. So clearly I need to take a good look at my issues. We did enjoy ourselves, and we had a wonderful lunch at my favorite "Garden Gate Cafe" the only thing missing was my friend, Nancy, who owns the darling place. It's all about cupcakes there, from desserts to decor. She honestly makes the best cupcakes I've ever had. Cupcakes, fabric and friends, now that's a great day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remembering Casey

It was one year ago yesterday that we lost our beloved Casey to cancer. We found out on a Friday and by Tuesday she was gone. She is shown here on the left, she was only seven years old. I learned alot from that experience. First, God certainly blesses us with animals. They give a love that is indescribable, even when they are chewing our shoes (and quilts). Secondly, when you notice any behavior or sense anything out of the ordinary, call your vet and insist on them being seen. Thirdly, God provides always (should have listed that first). We got Max (on right) a year before Casey passed. He was a rescue and came to us very well trained, and eager to please and love. He is eight years old and is a wholloping 100 pounds. He is in a constant state of motion and acts more like a two year old. He keeps us busy, just what we needed. My dear friend Diane let us bury Casey's ashes on her beautiful property in a garden designed especially for her pets. I read two verses that day while Diane planted lilies on her grave. Genesis 1:24 "And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures, according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to it's kind," And it was so." and Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." I remember her today and thank the Lord for the gift that she was.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I want to share with you a few of my favorite things. A beautiful fall day, the sound of turning bible pages in church, watermelon sour patch, a stack of beautiful fabric, the feel of yarn as you knit, buffalo chicken dip, the white sand of Siesta Key, wrap dresses, peonies and hydrangeas, watching my son turn a double play, latte, breakfast food, the smell of a new book, the sound of my daughters guitar and her lovely voice, bluebirds, a path in the woods, Christmas ornaments, cream cheese frosting, old doors, my husband praying, rosy cheeks, mittens, crocheted hankies, cameos, pink high heels, morning sunrise, electric violins, a soft quilt, our dog's soft fur, being able to praise and worship freely, the hugs and laughter of good friends...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Touch of Whimsy

I was thinking today about the simple things in life that I enjoy and wanted to share with you one of my favorite things. I love embroidered tea towels. I find them charming with just the right touch of whimsy. In recent years the art of hand stitchery has returned. I think in our busy hectic world, people feel the urge to return to the simplier times. I'm always impressed by those women who took the time to make something so precious for themselves or as a gift for others. I collect towels like this one and often use them. They make me smile when I'm doing the rather mundane tasks in my kitchen. I urge you to try this hobby. I'm reminded a the Bible verse in Proverbs 31:13. "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands." Very fulfilling.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yummy Food For Fall Days

It's a bit brisk here in southwest Michigan today. I good day for a pot of white chicken chili. I found this recipe on line and it's our new family favorite. Even my daughter who doesn't like chili loves this! I do not have the author's name, but I'd hug her if I did!

White Chicken Chili
2-3 chicken breasts
1 tbs. oil
1 onion chopped
14 oz. chicken broth
2 - 151/2 oz. cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 - 4 oz. cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dryed oregano
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Bake the chicken breasts for 45 min. in a 350 degree oven. Cool and shred chicken. Heat oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add broth, beans, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add chicken and simmer 30 minutes. Add sour cream, whipping cream and cheese. Heat until combined about 5 min.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From Joyce's Hands

Yesterday I shared the bunny I made for my friend Joyce. Today I want to share with you a gift that she made for me. Joyce is a talented knitter/sewer/crafter. Isn't this little sweater garland adorable?! I just love it. It hangs in my sewing room. I'd like to say that it covers my fabric stash, but as you can see, that's not the case. This pattern comes from the book, "Weekend Knitting", by Melanie Falick. It has wonderful projects, photos, recipes and other fun tidbits. Enjoy! Today, stop and thank the Lord for the wonderful friends that bless your life!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bunny Business

Happy Monday to you! I wanted to share a fun project that I did recently. This bunny was a birthday gift for my dear friend. I had so much fun making it. It was a nice switch from quilting. I believe it's always good to try something new and I had not made anything like this before. It was challenging working with such little pieces, but the finished product was so rewarding!

This bunny came from the book, "Sew Sunny Homestyle" by Tone Finnager. It's a beautiful book and even if you don't sew, you can get alot of decorating ideas from it. The pictures are just dreamy. My friends like to tease me about the sound I make when I see something that speaks to me (I'm sure many of you creative people can relate...) and this book just about put me over the top. I so enjoyed the look on my friend's face when she opened her bunny. That is the best part you know, giving joy to others!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lazy Sunday Afternoons

I just love a good Sunday afternoon nap, church is over, lunch is done and everyone is off doing their own thing. Apparently that includes our dog who decided that our bed was the ultimate resting place. Well, I really should be straightening up my sewing room anyway...

My First Post

After reading so many wonderful blogs from creative people around the globe, I decided to ease the aching in my chest and venture into the unknown. I join the list of wonderful souls who have been blessed with the gift of working with our hands and hearts. I have been a quilter, knitter and crafter for many years. Most of all, I am a sinner saved by grace by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I strive to live my life each day for Him and though I may not do my best at all times, He is there to strengthen and encourage me along the way. I am so grateful that He has given me something to do with my hands that give me such joy and allow me the opportunity to bless others. I am looking forward to seeing where blogging will take me, I hope that you will come along on the journey...have a blessed Sunday!