Saturday, May 31, 2008

~Cranford~


I just finished watching Cranford today. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The setting is Cranford, a small town in England which, in the 1840's, has remained untouched by the modern ways of London. The townsfolk are quite proud of this, and make efforts to remain so.

The movie centers around the women of the village, who are quite up-to-date on all their neighbors.



If you like movies such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, you will like this movie! I laughed and cried through it. I would say more, but I certainly don't want to ruin the plot for you if you haven't already seen it!

Images from pbs.org, see link above.

Friday, May 30, 2008

~Cheerfulness~

The other day I swung through the drive-through of McDonald's, because it was nearly 2 p.m., and of course I was starving. I paid, then pulled up to the second window to get my hamburger. A little old granny was working at the window. When I say little and old, I do mean little and old.

I don't know what her life's circumstances are that require her to work at McDonald's in her twilight years, but whatever they are, she's meeting the challenge with cheerfulness! My goodness, that dear lady just made my day! She was so cute, just smiling away, barely able to reach across the window opening to give me my burger! She told me to "come again soon" and if I knew her hours, I just might go again!

When I'm old I do hope I'm as cheerful as she is. I guess I'd better get to working on it now, eh?

Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Image from mcdonalds.com.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

~What Katy Did~

Years ago, my sisters and I stumbled across the book What Katy Did. It was a charming tale, and we enjoyed it immensely!

As I've mentioned before, I sometimes get the hankering to reread books that I enjoyed when I was younger. Usually they are classics, and usually I gain a lot more from the rereading than I did from the original reading.

What Katy Did is the story of a young girl named Katy, who is motherless, along with her five siblings. She is the oldest, and at the age of 12, quite scatter-brained and not very kind to her younger siblings. She is also negligent in the area of obedience, and one day her disobedience cost her dearly. For four years she finds herself bedridden, and for a good portion of that time, in pain. Through the advice of a cousin (also an invalid) she sees her time of recovery as a time to refine her character.

The book, authored by Susan Coolidge, was copyrighted in 1872, so it is a little glimpse into what life was like during that time period. The book was followed by What Katy Did at School, and What Katy Did Next, both of which I have read, and plan on rereading soon. Very charming books!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

~WIP-less Wednesday~

Wow, I still don't have a knitting project going! *taking my temperature* What is wrong with me??? I have projects I want to do, but I suppose I've been lazy in the evenings and just haven't felt like starting them. You know, starting a project, especially a knitting project, is the hardest part for me. I really don't like casting on and counting and recounting to make sure I have the right amount of stitches, then knit the first row or two, tear out, and then repeat several times over. Yes, that's usually how my projects get started.

So next week I hope to have an actual WIP to show! :-)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

~Today~

A few things I did today:

I had French Vanilla roast coffee with my breakfast.
It made the whole house smell good!
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A little laundry to start off my housework...
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I flipped the breaker while drying my hair. I don't really know why, since there were only two things running in the house.
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A little jaunt to the doctor's for a check up. Everything's fine.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Home again, home again. I made out my menu and shopping list.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Back out to the store.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And now...fixing dinner.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

After dinner, I'm going to plant these herbs:



Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

~Riding the Wave~

Petunia Waves, that is. Or, more correctly, Wave Petunias.

Last summer, I grew Wave Petunias in my side flower bed. They grew so well! I was so impressed with them. Not only are they easy to care for, they spread like crazy, and fill in the area in which they're planted.

Today we planted red Wave Petunias across the front of the house, and partially down the side. I am very much looking forward to the pop of color these will provide!

We have also begun a war with the voles which are occupying our yard. Down with the voles!!! These little rodents have wreaked havoc in our flower beds and lawn! Just a little mouse poison down their holes, and I hope that will be enough! Oh, these pesky creatures just make our lawn look awful! And last summer, they attacked my impatiens, slowly killing off sections of plants. I thought I had lost my greenish thumb!

The lady at the nursery told us that we needed to get rid of them because they are rodents and multiply very fast. So, so sorry to be killing anything! But it is bye, bye voles! No more tasty tulip bulbs for you!!! No more roots either! Just eat the pretty green poison please!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

~Taking a Knitting Class~

I've been going through my 101 List trying to get things done. I have less than a year left to accomplish my list! Eeks...

OK, so some of the items on my list are just not going to happen. One of which is: #89 - Take a knitting class. When I wrote out my 101 List, I was a fairly new knitter, and there was a lovely yarn shop which offered classes for a decent price. I anticipated taking a class there.

Two things have changed: I have a little more knitting under my belt, and the LYS (local yarn shop) closed its doors. There are other LYS's around, but they charge an exorbitant amount for the classes, and they require you to purchase all your materials for the class there. I can understand the latter, but not the first. If they really want to encourage people to learn to knit/learn new knitting skills, why do they have to charge so much?

So I've made the decision to not complete this goal on my list. At least, not unless the class meets my criteria: fairly inexpensive and interesting !

Image source

Saturday, May 24, 2008

~Hummus Soup~

Tonight for dinner, I made Hummus Surprise Soup, following Michelle's recipe. The only change to the recipe I made was to leave out the teaspoon of salt. I figured that it would have enough salt in it from the canned beans and chicken broth (and it did).

This soup was oh-so-tasty! It hinted of the soup I enjoyed as a teenager at my next door neighbors, who were from India. It wasn't quite the same, but very similar. I served it with the cilantro and lime juice on top. If you make it, definitely make sure to serve it with cilantro and lime juice! We had pita bread on the side.

Mmmmm, mmmmm, good! I've been looking for some good vegetarian meals to serve every once in a while, and this will be on my menu again! (You can also make the soup with meat if you wish.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


On another note, I had to run out to the store tonight specifically for the cilantro. I never have any luck with storing cilantro for any length of time, so I try to either have the dish with cilantro in it at the beginning of the week (right after I do my shopping), or if it is at the end of the week, just plan on running out for cilantro. Tonight it crossed my mind to check on the proper storage, and see if I could get it to last longer. Here is what I found, according to www.IndiaCurry.com:

How to store fresh Cilantro (Coriander Leafs)?

Short term (5 to 10 days)
Store Cilantro same as if you would store flowers. Collect Cilantro in a bundle where the stems are facing in the same direction. Tie the bundle with a thread. Cut the end of the bundle with a sharp knife. Find a short vase. Fill the vase with plain water. Put the Cilantro bundle in the vase. Now find a brown paper bag. The paper bag should be big enough to cover the bundle and the vase. Invert the paper bag over the the cilantro. This will provide appropriate humidity around the leafs. The open portion of the bag will provide room for enough air circulation. Put the contraption in the refrigerator.

Mid term (Up to 60 days)
Pick and collect all the leafs. Get an ice cube tray. Stuff every ice cube cavity with the cilantro leafs. Add just enough water. Freeze for two days.

After two days, removes the cilantro cubes and transfer them into a freezer zip-lock bag. Store the Zip-lock bag in the freezer. Use as needed.

Long term (Up to six months)
Collect Cilantro in a bundle where the stems are facing in the same direction. Tie the bundle with a rubber band. Find a medium size brown paper bag. Poke holes every two inches. These holes will provide air circulation. Put the bundle in the paper bag. Gather the the paper bag opening around the end of the bundle. Put a rubber band around the paper bag opening so it is holding the bundle inside. Let the paper bag sit in the basement for about a week. After the leafs are dry, just shaking will let all the leafs lose from the stems. Store the dried leafs in an air tight glass jar.


Image Source

~Stationery~

From around the web, free stationery to print:

Susan Branch (Stationery pictured at left is from this link.)
Multimedia Design by Sandy - She has a lot of different designs to print!
If you like music, it would be cute to print out music sheets and write your letter on them!
Hallmark has some nice templates
Graphic Garden Stationery and Note paper

Now what to do with all this stationery? Write someone a letter, of course! You can either print out the stationery and hand write your letter (some of these sites have the option of printing with lines or without lines), or you can print the stationery and then run it through the printer again with your typed letter. Send someone a surprise through the mail! Tuck a note into your husband's lunch. Write a letter to a shut-in...so many possibilities!

And...do you want to know how to differentiate "stationery" and "stationary"? The stuff you write on has an "e" at the end...for "envelope"...because that's what you put stationery in! *Smiles*

Friday, May 23, 2008

~I love the whole world...~

This is Kevin's favorite commercial. We have TiVo, never watch live TV so we don't have to watch commercials, and yet Kevin watches this Discovery channel ad each time he sees it. *Smiles*



If it seems like I've been doing a fair bit of advertising lately, never fear...it is all free and unsolicited from the companies that I've been writing about.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

~Amy Butler Bag~

Last summer, Ruth at Sew Chic posted a "Pay it Forward Meme" and I signed up to participate. The idea was that when you sign up, Ruth would send three people a gift in the mail. Each person on the receiving end would do the same for three people. And so on. I was blessed to receive my gift in the mail last Friday! A bag made by Ruth with Amy Butler fabric. How fun! I don't know about other seamstresses, but for me, it is enjoyable and much appreciated to get a gift that was handmade by someone. It makes it very special.

I have really enjoyed using this bag! There are so many different colors in it, that it goes with a lot of things I have. I wore my new skirt to church last night (with the pink sweater and shoes) and this bag just completed the outfit!

And a note to the three people who signed up under me - your gifts will probably be to you in about a month! (I do have 365 days after all! ;-) )

Thank you, Ruth!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

~WIP Wednesday~

Today's "WIP" is actually a "FO" (Finished Object). I was going to post pictures of a pattern and some cut out pieces, but then I sat down and started sewing. This skirt goes together so quickly, there was no need to stop!



Simplicity 3881


I don't have any knitting projects going right now, which I will soon rectify! =)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

~Yard Sales aren't for Me~

One of the items on my 101 List is to go through the paper, list out the yard sales, and hit the sales. Well, mission accomplished. I came home with nothing. And burned lots of gas doing it. Yard sales just aren't for me!

Why?
***People have yard sales primarily to get rid of the junk they've collected around their house. OOOooooh, sign me up! Can I buy your junk?
***When I go to yard sales, I find that I'm searching for that one perfect "thing" to buy. If I didn't know I needed it three minutes previously, do I really "need" it now?
***I have to try clothes on before buying, so there's no sense in looking for clothes.
***I just really don't like digging through other people's things.
***I feel awkward leaving the sale without buying anything. Obviously that doesn't guilt me into buying stuff, but still.
***I dislike clutter. I work hard to keep the clutter out of my house. So why do I want to go around and collect it?

I realize that you can score great deals at yard sales! We have before - we got a cedar chest for $5 a few years back! Kevin refinished it and it turned out beautiful! But the whole yard-saling process just isn't for me! I think I'll leave the yard sales for those who want to go to them! ;-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

~Daybook~

I found an interesting meme ("Daybook") last week, and thought I'd participate! It looks like a lot of fun!


May 19th
Outside My Window...the sun is shining oh, so brightly! I was very excited to hear on the news that we're warming up this week!

I am thinking...I need a better system for planning menus. I've been married nearly 8 years and yet I still struggle with this area.

I am thankful for...the sun shining today! the lilacs blooming in my yard! the Lord's faithfulness to me!

From the kitchen...I have beans soaking for dinner. We'll have a simple and healthy dinner of beans and rice tonight.

I am wearing...a khaki skirt, pink t-shirt and cream sweater.

I am creating...later on today I'm going to restart a lace knitting project I was struggling with yesterday. I will conquer the pattern! =)

I am going...no errands today...I do my grocery shopping on Tuesdays, so I'll put together my menu and list tonight.

I am reading...What Katy Did, a delightful old children's book.

I am hoping...the weather lady was right! =)

I am hearing...cardinals and goldfinches, which reminds me I need to get a goldfinch feeder when I do my shopping tomorrow.

Around the house...I'll probably do a quick pick-up this afternoon.

One of my favorite things...polk-dots! I enjoyed wearing my polka-dot sweater and matching shoes to church yesterday.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Tuesday, shopping. I'm not really sure what the rest of the week holds.

Here is picture thought I am sharing
...

My peace lily is finally blooming again! After not blooming for over a year...I was happy indeed to see my plant blooming!

For more Daybook entries, visit The Simple Woman.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

~Sealing Wax~

A few years ago, I bought a seal and some sealing wax with part of my birthday money.

I have enjoyed using it to adorn letters and thank you notes I send out. It adds a special touch that a sticker just can't do! I don't use it every time I write a letter, but I do enjoy using it!

All you need is sealing wax, a seal, and a match or lighter:



Light the sealing wax, and allow the wick to burn so that a little wax pools around the wick:



Drip, drip, drip:



Now press the seal into the wax, holding it in place until the wax sets up:



and now you have a pretty envelope!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

~Another Apron~

Just now listed in my Etsy shop:

~Rivulet~

Heather, at Knit or Knot, has just published her first knitting pattern - a lace scarf - and it is free! Click here to see the scarf. It is so pretty! I would love to make this, it just might become a WIP soon!

Friday, May 16, 2008

~Aprons!~

Just listed in my Etsy shop:

A reversible apron, so fun!


Mother-daughter aprons:


a half apron using a vintage apron print:

~Penmanship~

Quite a while ago, I came across this totally cool company, called Fontifier that will make a font out of your own handwriting! I would love to do this. Think how easy it would be to write personal notes? LOL I could type it all out and it would look like I wrote it. Hmmm...

My penmanship has ranged from terrible to beautiful all throughout my life. Up till junior high, it was awful. I remember when I was 16 years old, that I practiced and practiced my penmanship. During that period, my writing was very neat and text-book perfect. Since then, the neatness level has gone up and down. Right now it's on a downward slope, but it can be extremely neat if I want it to be!

This just seems like it would be handy. When I have an extra $10 to throw to the wind...I'll throw it Fontifier's way! ;-)

This post is not sponsored by Fontifier.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

~Memory Wire Bracelet~

Memory wire + pretty pink glass beads =



This was such a fun project! It is very simple and, depending on the beads you use, doesn't cost that much! Memory wire can be found with the wires in the beading supplies. I wrapped the wire twice around my wrist, with a little overlapping. The weight of the beads cause the wire to relax a little, so you'll get a much wider bracelet than just the plain wire indicates.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

~WIP Wednesday~

My WIP's (works in progress) haven't been very WIPpy...I finished a few big projects and haven't really been working on much of anything. But I do have these afghan squares that I finished here and there:



My counted cross stitch is slowly coming along. All I have left is backstitching:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

~Coronation~

I went to the dentist today and got my permanent crown put in. Normally, it takes 5 minutes, or so says the dentist. Lucky me, mine took almost 40 minutes! For some reason it was too high, so my bite wouldn't have been even. So with much work, I now have a new tooth! It hurt to chew on my temporary crown, so I was very pleased when I ate lunch to find that my tooth is fine now! I'm glad this ordeal is over! I know that many people have to have extensive work done on their teeth, and that this doesn't touch a candle to the work some have to have, so I'll be thankful that my next dental visit isn't till July, and that's just for a cleaning!

Image source

~Tea~

Quite possibly the world's best tea:


stashtea.com


a favorite standby:



and a new-to-me tea:


twiningsusa.com


My morning ritual includes a steaming cup of tea, perhaps two if I'm in the mood. With just a little Stevia, and maybe some cream, each of these teas are a good way to start my day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

~Ready to Weed!~

Last Saturday, I answered the phone, and it was my mom.

"Hi, Tammy, How are you?"

"Fine, how are you?"

"Oh, fine. What are you doing today?"

(Didn't I just talk to her for nearly an hour yesterday???) "Oh, we're doing ___"

"Could I talk to Kevin?"

Aha! So that's why she called!

So of course there was a husband to be pestered, but my husband doesn't give away secrets, so I had no clue what was going on. *grin* It was still fun to pester him though! ;-)

Today I checked my mail and there was a package addressed to me!



Oh my goodness! Lovely, lovely gloves to garden in! They fit perfectly too!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

~Growing, blooming, and beautifying!~

Lilacs:





Tulips:





Glads:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

~Matryoshka Nesting Doll~

My mother-in-law recenty went to Alaska, and while she was there, she bought me a nesting doll. I have loved these since I was a child and first saw one.



I love opening them, one by one. Will they ever stop opening?



Yes. They do. And the littlest one is so tiny, see how small she looks sitting on this quarter?

Friday, May 09, 2008

~Walking~

Last night we went for a walk. We walked, and walked, and walked, until I thought my legs were going to fall off we walked so long. Surely we had gone ten miles or more...

...then when we came home I logged into mapmywalk.com and discovered that we had walked exactly 1.36 miles. Hmmmm.

Maybe I need to walk some more.

Monday, May 05, 2008

~Revolution Money Exchange~

Well, I've seen several bloggers post about Revolution Money Exchange, but I didn't really pay any attention until today!

What is it? It is like Paypal, without the fees. One potential drawback I can see is that you can only use it if both parties have an account with Revolution Money Exchange--but the more people that start using it the more popular it will be! I'll be adding it as a payment option on my Etsy shop.

Sign up now through May 15th, and receive $25 into your account! How awesome is that? If you sign up through me, I'll receive $10. How awesome is that? ;-)


Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

Friday, May 02, 2008

~From My Mother's Heart: Heartache~

Heartache comes in all shapes and forms. Some heartache is caused by people: what they do or say against you. Other heartache comes through the death of a loved one. Heartache can come from dashed dreams. No matter the ache, we have One Who can help us, and I know that my mother has leaned on the Lord as her help, and it shows in her life! One thing that God has impressed on me over the last year is that heartache comes to everyone at one point or another through their lives. My mother wrote this article for me to publish on my blog, and I hope and pray that it will be a help and a blessing to my readers.

When People Hurt You, God Will Help You

Over the past months, our family has dealt with heartbreak in ways we have not had to in the past. As I was thinking about the hurt we have experienced, I wondered if sharing some of it, and the ways in which God has shown Himself faithful might be an encouragement to someone else who is going through tough times. Then, when I actually thought about trying to write something down, I realized how hard it would be to share without specifically telling details that could be hurtful to some of the people involved. So while this little article doesn’t tell you about what it is that we are going through, I will tell you this: in pain and heartbreak, I have found God to be faithful, and I am learning you can praise God with a broken heart.

In the past, I have prayed for someone who was hurting, that they would feel God’s loving arms wrapped around them. I didn’t know what that felt like, but now I actually do. It is amazing. I have felt absolute peace in the middle of the storm. That is from God alone. People without God in their lives might say He is a crutch, but He is so much more than that. When you are going through your most difficult trial, run to God. Don’t stop pleading with Him until you have the peace in your heart that you need. You will know when He gives it to you. He alone can give it. Some days will be better than others. I think those must be the days we choose to do things God’s way. And no matter what the trial is, there is always something to thank Him for. The Bible says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Psalm 68:19). It is a human tendency to focus on the trial, when God loads us with blessings everyday. The more time you spend praising God, the lighter your heart will be, and the more you will feel your burden being lifted. The trouble may still be there, but you can actually experience joy in the midst of the trial. It is supernatural. There is only one explanation for it: God is good!

When People Don't Understand, God is There to Listen

I was talking with a friend, and she said, “What you are going through is really not that big of a deal.” It is true that I am not grieving over the death of a loved one. (Oh, Dear God, I pray for those who are, that You would comfort their hearts.) My friend had experienced the crushing blow of having her husband divorce her when she still wanted the marriage to last, then she married again, and realized she had made a terrible mistake, and experienced a second divorce. She has also stood by and helplessly watched as her daughter married and divorced twice, and she has had to say goodbye to both of her parents who have passed away. From her perspective, I can see why my trials seemed trite, but to to me, the pain has been real, and at times, excruciating, though not anywhere near what she has endured. Her comment was innocent, nonetheless, it hurt. I have no condemnation for her. What I desired from her was love, understanding, and comfort. Her response was a great reminder to me, too, to be compassionate with others when they have struggles in their lives, even if what they are going through doesn’t seem like “that big of a deal” to me.

Many people have had to deal with pain far more intense than anything I have had in my life, and I do not mean in any way to act pretentious about how I am dealing with the struggles God has allowed me to have. In fact the opposite is true. God alone knows what we can handle, and the Bible tells us that He will not give us a trial greater than we can bear. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our God is so good!

A Lesson in Thankfulness

I enjoy digging spiritual lessons out of everyday living, so with that in mind, I am sharing something that happened a couple of weeks ago.

I was sweeping the floor when my husband came home. He greeted me and said, "Oh, I brought you a gift. It's in the car. I'll go get it." I kept sweeping the floor, wondering all the while about this gift. I thought, "I'll bet he bought me a pair of earrings. Now I am really glad I didn't go ahead and buy the pair I was looking at the other day. It's so much nicer to get them from him. No.... I had better not set myself up for disappointment. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12a). It could be something "practical" that I need. I hope not!"

My husband came back into the house holding a small bag. "Maybe it is the earrings", I thought to myself. But then he said, "I was in the hardware store, and I thought of you, so here you go." One side of the hardware store he mentioned has a real nice gift shop in it that I like to shop in, so I thought, "OK, it's not earrings, but maybe a candle or some other nice thing for the house." He handed me the bag, and just walked past me and sat down at the computer. I thought, "That's funny. Isn't he going to watch me open my gift?" I started to say something about it, but then I felt silly, demanding an audience, so I reached my hand into the crumpled plastic bag, and pulled out......... a vegetable brush!!! I am laughing now, but at the moment, my heart sank as I held the nice, shiny, white brush in my hands. It was something I needed, and I did appreciate it, but he said he brought me a gift, and I didn't think a scrub brush qualified as a gift from my husband. I set it on the window sill in front of my sink.

Later on that evening, I thought about the scene earlier on, and wondered what if anything could be gained spiritually from the incident. Here is what I came up with. Often we have hopes for how things should be in life and we don't get what we want, or what we think we should have. We are disappointed with what we do get, but God gives us what we need. He knows what is best for us. He knows the hurts, disappointments, trials and pains will help us in the long run. Naturally, we don't desire those things. We want all good things (like jewelry!!)

When I got up the next morning, I saw that brush sitting there, and I was able to say, "Thank you, God, for giving me what I need in my life, even though a lot of what is going on right now makes no sense to me, and is very disappointing to me. The brush would not have been my choice of a gift, just as the heartache and difficult circumstances we’ve endured are not, but You are always good and you give me what I need." I am pretty sure that each time I scrub vegetables, I will be reminded of that!

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

~From my garden~


Tulips and Lily-of-the-Valley