Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Scripture





"The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and
increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD 
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40: 28-31


Wishing you a Sunday of renewal,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Julie & Julia









julie_and_julia.jpg


Last night I watched Julie & Julia again.  I can't help myself, I love it.  It always leaves me wanting to cook Beef Bourguignon and anything made with butter.   I love the clothes from that time period, how they are feminine and not revealing.  How they let you see the person, not the parts that should be covered.  I think this role is the best of Meryl Streep's acting career.  I enjoy Amy Adams as well, finding her a very believable and authentic actress.

I really enjoy cooking.  I've had to adjust my quantities since my son left for college.  His senior year, I had a bunch of his friends over every Thursday for lunch.  I had a lot of fun cooking for them.  They were often my food testers as I would try new recipes.  I have a picture of all the boys and myself that my friend Missy took on one of our last lunch days before graduation.  I haven't cooked as much recently as I should and so I've been trying to get back into it again.  I find that when I meal plan for the week days things run a lot smoother at home.  On the weekends I will try out new things.  Last Saturday I spent all day in the kitchen baking a cake, cookies, banana bread, challah and chicken chili.  I think my husband and daughter thought I had lost my mind.   I'm thinking about tackling the Beef Bourguignon today.  How about you, what's cooking?

Joyfully,

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Kitchen



I'm inviting you today on a tour of my kitchen.  I've really enjoyed its transformation and thought I would share it with you.  After my son left for college this past fall I decided I needed a project.  My kitchen at the time was painted red and as much as I liked it, it was too dark for a house that doesn't get much sunlight.  So I had it painted a pretty yellow.  Then the fun part began.  First I made new valance from Aunt Gracie fabric and a big yellow buffalo check fabric I had in my stash.



My friend Nancy sells the cutest oilcloth in her cafe and so I bought some to liven up the counter tops.  The magnetic knife holder project came from The Farm Chicks website.  It's so much fun working with those knives!  I just love my pink mixer, I'm convinced every girl should own one.



My little baking area is one of my favorite spots.  I saw the idea to use the teacups as scoops a couple of years ago in a magazine.  They certainly draw attention from visitors.  I was thrilled to find the pink capped spice set on one of my excursions.  Two of the caps were black so I bought some paint and mixed the colors to match the other ones and you would never know the difference.  The pink measuring bowl is from Longaberger.  Every year they have some new pink pieces for breast cancer awareness and I can hardly wait each year to see what's next.



This little beauty sits by my stove.  My friend Diane and I picked these up when we were "junking" together.  She got a pink one and I got the yellow.  She has graciously agreed to swap with me so I'll be making a change soon.  My next project for this kitchen is to find a better island.  I'd like one made from a dresser, painted pink, with butcher block on top.  I just need to find the right pieces.  So much fun and my husband doesn't mind the pink!  I'd also like to find a vintage cookie jar that goes with my theme.  So far, all the ones I like are way out of my price range.  I can wait, the thrill of the hunt is as fun as decorating, don't you think?

My God bless the work of your hands today!

Joyfully,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Bundle of Blessings!

This is Kai, he is the new grandson of my dear friend, Nancy. He was born last Tuesday. This photo just takes my breath away. What an absolute gift from God he is. Congratulations Amanda and Raj! I am reminded of the verse,

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I
was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be"...
Psalm 139:13-16
With joyful thanksgiving,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Gift To Myself


I found a box waiting for me yesterday. I had forgotten that I had ordered myself a gift for my birthday. I have been looking for an affordable dress form and found one at Etsy. Very fun to have it come on my birthday. I put it in my sewing room with a vintage dress I found at the Junk Bonanza in Minn. in the fall. My Mom-in-law gave me the crocheted apron years ago and I had the fun pearls from one of my excursions. I can see that this little vignette is going to change often. I also want to share with you the little doll dress and form that I bought last year at my friend, Nancy's store. It sits on top my fabric cabinet. I just think it's so cute! I hope your Wednesday is bringing you peace and blessings!

With joy,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birthday Wishes


Today is my 48th birthday, I can hardly believe it! Don't be late to the party! It's SUNNY here and WARM so you won't need your sweater. I'll bring the silly party hats and noise makers. We'll sip lemonade and eat white cake with pink buttercream frosting. Then we'll play pin the tail on the donkey, freeze tag and drop the clothespins into the milk bottles. There won't be any gifts though, because all of you are a gift from God to me.

Giving thanks for you today!

Monday, January 18, 2010

From My Daybook

Outside my window... you guessed it, cold snow, grey sky, no sun...

I am thinking... seriously about getting some major sewing done today

I am thankful for... Origins ginger body lotion on dry winter skin

I am wearing... white t-shirt, spring blue sweater and jeans

I am remembering... how wonderful girlfriends are

I am going... to lock myself in my sewing room

I am currently reading... The Mark of the Lion series

I am hoping... to do a little antiquing later this week

On my mind... do I take out some cupboards in my kitchen to put in some open shelving?

Noticing that... It's really quiet around here, where's Max?

Pondering these words... "Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Ps. 90:1&2

From the kitchen... Earl Grey tea and Kathi's Poppy Seed Cake.

Around the house... Doing laundry, noticing that my wardrobe needs some brightening up

One of my favorite things~ The red toile wallpaper in my dining room that shows two dogs together

From my picture journal...

My friend Sally's dog Lizzie
The sweetest girl ever...

With gratitude,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Sunny Sunday


The sun is shining today. You know you've been without it for a while when you run outside to stand in it before it goes away again. I know this little guy was happy to be having lunch on his porch. The sunshine reminds me that God is still working through all the sunless and snowy days, preparing the earth for the glorious arrival of spring. I discovered one of my foxglove plants half tucked under snow, sprouting some green, reaching for the sun. I hope you are having a restful Sunday!

Be blessed,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Max

Max is sulking today. He found out the vet wants him to participate in their "Biggest Loser Program". He thought he was quite fit, but he tips the scales at a whomping 104 pounds. When the vet said he needed to lose some weight, I thought, "Yeah, so do the rest of us after those holiday goodies..." He's not real pleased that he has to be weighed every month (who would be!) but doesn't he look eager to earn free vacinations? Poor thing, it just keeps getting worse...

Be blessed today,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Graceful Garden


Thank you for all your supportive comments yesterday. I feel so much better today and I know it was the prayers of you wonderful bloggers. I dove into cutting out the t-shirt quilts I'm making and also started praising and thanking God for various things in my life and for who He is and that was like a salve on a wound. I need to practice that more often.

Another bright spot yesterday was the arrival of a package from Denise Sheehan of "A Graceful Stitch". In it was her beautiful book, "The Graceful Garden". You won't believe the projects and the photography. It was an absolute treat to sit with this book on a cold winter's day, thinking and dreaming of the quilts and gardens that lie ahead. I have to tell those of you who are starting out in applique that this book has one of the most comprehensive, step by step how-to's (with pictures) on applique that I have ever come across. Since I'm going to be tackling the "Snowbound" quilt that I mentioned earlier this week, I know this will be a big help to me. If you want to try applique but don't want to do a big quilt, there is a pretty tablerunner in the book that would be a great project. Thank you Denise, I love it!

With joy,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ponderings

Do you ever have a day where you're just feeling blue? Where if someone looks at you funny you just might burst into tears? That's me today. I wish I could say why but I really don't know. That's the beauty of being female. We can just feel blue, look blue, be blue for no apparent reason at all. Men are baffled by this. Children just stay away hoping not to catch it. So, I bought myself some flowers, but it didn't help. This too shall pass. I just need to stay away from Ben & Jerry's or tomorrow I'll be feeling worse...

With joy regardless of my mood,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Quilts


I was swapping out quilts in my kitchen and decided to put up the snowman quilt I made a couple of years ago. It is a combination of snowball and nine-patch blocks. I wish you could see the quilting on this. Sue, who did the quilting used a micro-stiple around the actual snowmen. It makes them pop from the fabric. Very fun! I decided it was time to stop being in denial that we have more cold months here in Michigan than warm months. It's time to make a new winter quilt. Anne over at Bunny Hill Designs has a free pattern of the month called "Snowbound" which makes an adorable quilt. She already has the first block done so stop over there to take a look. I'm up for the Snowbound challenge. Heading back into denial now...

Stay warm & toasty!
Joyfully,

Monday, January 11, 2010

From My Daybook


FOR TODAY... from Renee's Daybook

Outside my window... Morning is trying to break through the cold winter sky

I am thinking... about my son and how I so enjoy the man he is becoming

I am thankful for... my health and praying for my friend who is struggling with cancer

I am wearing... workout clothes

I am remembering... When my husband and I first dated, so long ago, and that sweet time

I am going... to the gym as soon as I'm finished here :)

I am currently reading... finished "The Help" this weekend, so good! Will start "The Mark of the Lion" Series

I am hoping... to sew today

On my mind... better meal planning and creative snack ideas

Noticing that... I love a clean house!

Pondering these words... "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3 22-23

From the kitchen... the smell of coffee

Around the house... nothing but the sound of the washing machine

One of my favorite things~ how I wake up on Monday morning with the songs from yesterday's church service playing in my head

From my picture journal...

My friend, Diane and I, with Serena of the Farm Chicks
at the Junk Bonanza this past fall...

Have a joyfilled day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Merry Mice

I received a wonderful package in the mail yesterday. When I opened the box these little sweetie pies were looking up at me!! I had inquired of Sue at Not The Good Scissors! about these ornaments that her Mom makes and she graciously sent me some! The detail on the mice is amazing. I just love all the kind and generous people I've met blogging. Thank you Sue for making my day!

Aren't they the cutest things ever? I have loved Christmas mice since I was a small child. There is something so whimsical about them. My imagination has them taking tea while knitting tiny scarves and sharing cupcake recipes with each other. One of my goals for this year is to applique a quilt with a Christmas mouse. I'm drafting the pattern in my head, hope it makes it to the drawing board. With these little ladies encouraging me, maybe it will get done after all. Be a gift to someone today!

Still smiling,

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Issues (some of them...)

Yesterday, Teresa, at Meadowbrook Farms did a post on "to purge or not to purge" which is always the million dollar question. I thought I would share some of my "issues" with you. The birds, above, started out as two I inherited from my Grandma. I now have 27. I felt like I was dishonoring her memory if I saw one and let it pass. Geez. Well, if I ever have a baby shower and need a center piece for 27 tables...

My daughter started collecting salt & pepper shakers as a way to stay entertained while I scoured flea markets. This pair is my favorite.

Here are more of my favorites. I won't tell you how many we now have. It's embarrassing.

Holt Howard Pixieware is the newest collection. I totally blame my friend, Diane, because she said I should do it and I usually listen to her. Diane, please don't be jumping off any bridges soon...

One of my favorites is this Hazel Atlas Crinoline dish set. It sits in a glass-front cupboard in my kitchen and I can pretend I live back in time when I look at them. They make me smile. How about you, what is your "issue"?

Showers of blessings,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Blog Home!

Yea, you found me! Max and I would like to welcome you to "Sewn With Grace" formally known as "The Graceful Stitch". We're looking forward to more sewing, crafting, cooking and thoughts on life and faith as we enter 2010. May you be a blessing today!

With joy,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blueberry French Toast


My son returned to college today but not before I fed him, that's what we Mom's do right? This recipe came from my friend, Kathy. Very simple and very good. Even with the pitiful looking blueberries available right now. Enjoy!

Blueberry French Toast

Ingredients:
1 (1 pound) loaf italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used croissants)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, diced
1 cup blueberries
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup

Sauce:
1 cup white sugar
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup blueberries
1 tbs. butter

Place half of the bread cubes in a lightly greased 9x13 in. baking pan. Sprinkle cream cheese on top of bread cubes. Top with 1 cup blueberries and remaining bread. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and maple syrup. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove pan from refrigerator 30 min. before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min. Uncover pan and bake for additional 30 min, until golden brown and center is set.

To make sauce: In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, add water. Boil over medium heat for 3 min, stirring constantly. Stir in blueberries and reduce heat. Simmer 8 to 10 min., or until the berries have burst. Stir in butter until melted. Serve the sauce over squares of french toast.

Be blessed today,

Monday, January 4, 2010

From My Daybook

For Today... from Renee's Daybook

Outside my window... very cold, snowy day

I am thinking... about the sewing projects I want to do, instead of what I need to do

I am thankful for... all the Christmas decorations being put away

I am wearing... jeans, white t-shirt and black sweater

I am remembering... our vacation trips to Siesta Key and the warm feel of white sand between my toes

I am going... to go to Target soon

I am currently reading... "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

I am hoping... to bake cookies for my son to take back to college with him

On my mind... what God wants me to do with the gifts He has given me

Noticing that... I'm getting closer to 50 and still have the same things on my mind

Pondering these words... "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1Peter4:10

From the kitchen... marinating flank steak so I can stand in a foot of snow at the grill to make my son's favorite meal.

Around the house... laundry and MUST CLEAN BATHROOMS (I think there's something alive in the kids tub...)

One of my favorite things~ ginger-peach tea

From my picture journal... a scrimmage on Parent's day at my son's college, this past fall

If you would like to see some wonderful daybook entries, visit Dawn at 4:53am or go to the Simple Woman's Daybook, here, to make your own.

With joy,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Putting Away Christmas

I spent the day putting away Christmas. It has officially left and I'm feeling a little sad. The only items remaining are the wreaths on my doors, hence the picture of my back porch. My daughter will go back to high school on Monday and my son will return to college on Tuesday and I'm missing everyone being together already. I am very grateful for the time we had but greedily would like more. The kids keep telling me how bare the house looks now and I have to agree. Christmas always adds such sparkle and shine and now we are back to watching dog hair roll like tumbleweed across the floors. I would love your ideas on how to decorate for the winter months.

Be blessed friends!