Wednesday, December 28, 2011

~Pages, Amazon, and Swagbucks~

Whenever I visit a new blog, I look to see if they have an "About Me" page. It dawned on me that perhaps I should create such a page for my blog! So I did. :D For those reading my blog via feed readers, you'll have to click through to my blog to see it (look under my header).

And just for kicks, since we're talking "about me" here's a picture of me from Christmas. That my daughter took.

I'm thinking of getting her a kid's camera for her 3rd birthday, I think she'd have a lot of fun with it!

OK, back to the'll also see a page entitled "Affiliates". I have Amazon and Swagbucks listed. I've never sought to make money with my blog, but over the years I've been blogging I have posted links to Amazon multiple times. I figured that the links I post might as well be affiliate links. :) If you click through my blog with the links I've provided, a small percentage of your order will be credited to my account. Your order will remain private (I won't know who has ordered or what they purchased). It's something small, but I hope that if you have an Amazon order, you'll remember my link. I appreciate it! And I promise that I won't post links just to try to generate an income. I'll continue to post links as I find books/items that are of interest to me, and clearly note that the link I'm providing is an affiliate link.

Swagbucks. I can't believe I forgot to blog about this, but in August I got my KitchenAid mixer! Waaaaaahooo!!! It's amazing! I did it almost completely with Amazon gift cards I earned with my Swagbucks. If you haven't tried it out yet, do give it a try! It's fun, free, and easy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

~Happy Christmas Eve!~

My house smells like Christmas Eve - well at least what Yankee Candle thinks Christmas Eve smells like! It also smells like cinnamon rolls (breakfast tomorrow) and blueberry pie (dessert tomorrow).

There has been a flurry of cleaning, baking, cooking, and laundry, and now I am sitting down to enjoy a cup of peppermint tea.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Wow, I just cannot believe it is only five days until Christmas! Where has December gone????!!! I remember back to when I was growing up, and how five days till Christmas just seemed tortuously long. Now it's nothing.

This year we're staying home for Christmas. Maybe next year we'll make the trek to California for Christmas. We'll see! I want to go sooner than that though, because it has been too long since we've seen my family! :(

As Christmas nears, I'm thinking of my grandma more and missing her more. The last Christmas we went to California (2009) was her last Christmas here on earth. She always worked so hard to make Christmas special for her family! I think Christmas was her most favorite time of year! Now she's in heaven, with Jesus! The One Who we are celebrating, and she is with Him.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

~From T-Shirts to Jammies~

Awhile back, I made a pair of jammies for my daughter, from two of my husband's t-shirts.

I love the way they came out!

For the top, I used a vintage t-shirt pattern that I found at a thrift store. For the bottoms, I traced around a pair of leggings that my daughter had. Then I added hearts to each piece in contrasting colors! They kind of curl around the edges, and I like that.

The pattern cost $.10, I had the elastic, thread, and of course the t-shirts. One pair of jammies for $.10 is not bad at all! :D

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


In the summer, I am very careful about getting enough water! But in the winter, I don't pay enough attention to how much water I am drinking. With the cold weather, I want coffee (laced with sugar and cream), hot cocoa, and tea (with honey). But water? Not so much!

I have heard that your body needs as much water in the winter as in the summer, so just recently I decided to make sure I get my daily water. I have a 2-quart pitcher which I fill in the morning, and leave on the counter. It's a visual reminder to drink my water, and I don't have to keep a tally of how many glasses I've had. I often drink more than the 2 quarts, but at the very minimum I drink my 8 glasses of water each day.

One benefit I have just noticed, is that my skin is not so dry. A few weeks ago my hands were so dry that they cracked and started bleeding while I was out shopping. It was kind of embarrassing to be handing my money over to the cashier with blood all over my hands! Normally, at the onset of winter, my skin becomes dry and stays that way until spring. My hands crack and bleed, the skin around my eyes is so tight it's painful! I've still had to use lotion, but my skin is not painfully dry. I've tried what I thought was everything to help my dry skin, but apparently I was missing one thing: water!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

~Baby Gift~

Last night I had the privilege of attending a baby shower for a lady in our church. Since she is having a BOY I decided to make some gowns from the daddy's t-shirts. Thankfully he was willing to part with some of his t-shirts (unbeknownst to mommy!) and I came up with these three gowns:

It was a lot of fun to sew them! The one on the right was proving difficult for me to figure out how to cut, because no matter how I laid the pattern on the t-shirt, some of the design was going to end up in the seam allowance! Then I came up with the idea to use the contrasting t-shirt on the top of the gown and I was able to keep the whole design on the gown.

I told Kevin that I've really been surprised (for my sister and now my friend) that the guys are willing to part with their t-shirts. Kevin said, "yeah, there's a real bond with your t-shirts." I laughed, but it is oh-so-true! Guys do have some sort of bond with their t-shirts that a gal just can't understand!

This time, I used a pattern for the gowns (rather than the free pattern/tutorial which I used last time). I think I like the cut better on these than for the free pattern, so if I make them again I'll stick with the pattern. I used McCall's pattern M6103, in size small (13-15 pounds). I hope I chose the right size - I didn't want to make the newborn size and have them fit for 2 minutes. :)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

~All Ready to Clean!~

Top: Tupperware cup with scrubby pad and cleaning toothbrushes, parmesan container with baking soda, all purpose cleaner, disinfectant, and window cleaner.
Bottom: Trash bags, Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap, Mr. Murphy's oil soap, and my essential oils I use in my cleaners.

I spent some time cleaning out my cleaning cabinet the other day, and making new batches of cleaners since I was out of them. It seems funny to clean my cleaners, but I had spilled baking soda in my caddy, and every time I set my bottles on the counter, they left a ring of baking soda behind. It's nice to have a clean caddy!

My cleaning cabinet.

I also made a double batch of laundry soap. I'm ready to clean!

Friday, December 02, 2011


...I do not remember lining the nativity scene up like this. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

~Hello, December~

Hello, December!

Where did the rest of the year go?

Right this minute: listening to my daughter sing "Happy birt-day to you" (she's supposed to be napping, I think today's "nap" is a bust), needing to go down to the basement and switch laundry, sipping hot chocolate (I got bit by the sugar bug over Thanksgiving. Sigh. Now I need to step.away.from.the.sugar.), and thinking about doing dishes.

Happy December! *Smiles*

Monday, November 07, 2011

~Opposites Attract~

I found this cute pattern on Pinterest a while back. I made one in solid red, for a gift. Then I pulled out some cotton yarn that I've had languishing in my yarn tote and decided it was perfect to make one with.

And then I didn't use it, and so I made a white and blue one and gave them as a gift. Once you figure out the pattern, these whip up so quickly!

They look complicated, but truth be told they are quite easy.

Pattern here. I'll be adding this project to my Ravelry page soon, with some notes on changes I made to the pattern.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

~Birthday Cake~

Thank you so much for the kind birthday wishes. I had a lovely day, I'll have to post some pictures later. Kevin unexpectedly had the day off so we spent the afternoon at the lake. It was a great family day! The weather was so nice {for November, that is} and we walked out to the lighthouse, and then afterwards spent some time browsing through a few shops.

My cake turned out so well. I'm sure I'll be making this cake {and frosting!} again in the future!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

~I think I shall eat a bowl of frosting for dinner...~

As I previously mentioned, I was considering making myself a birthday cake. Today being my birthday {35, just so you won't have to go through the archives to figure out...} I set to work on the cake/frosting. Popular opionion was that I ought to make the Posie Gets Cozy chocolate cake with "cloudburst" frosting.


What can I say? It sounds so odd to cook flour and milk and expect to come out with the fluffiest eveh frosting. But it works. I am waiting for the cake to come out of the oven (and of course cool). That cake better bake and cool fast...the frosting might start disappearing if it takes too long. ;-)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

~I Should Do This Every Day~

Tonight's scheduled dinner was Green Chicken Enchiladas, with made-from-scratch enchilada sauce. I decided to start earlier than my usual 5 pm and actually got my casserole made by 11:15 am.

I should do this every day. It was so incredibly easy to get dinner ready tonight--just turn the oven on and throw the casserole in!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

~Birthday Cake~

Have you ever made yourself a birthday cake? I never have, but I'm considering it this year. I'm vascillating between these two cakes:


Which do you think you'd make?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

~Pinterest: Failed Projects~

There are lots of awesome ideas on Pinterest. I love trying new things, but sometimes someones great idea for them doesn't work out so well for you. Here are some things that just didn't work out for me:

Turn a bar of soap into hand soap. I ended up with liquid my dad would deem "snail snot". LOL I read the comments on the blog post and it looks like the failure rate is pretty high. A lot of people had problems with it, so at least I wasn't the only one!

5-minute coffee cake (microwave cake). This was disappointing, the topping was good but the cake part was not appetizing.

Colored ice cubes for a toddler to "chase" in the tub. These melted in seconds, leaving the bathwater a murky brown. I had to drain the tub and start over.

So there you go. ;-) A few things I tried that didn't work out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

~Buttons Memories~

I love buttons. Buttons and swatches of fabric can bring back a flood of memories for me!

I recently went through my button jar to pull out a button for a project. The button was from an outfit my grandma made me for my 11th birthday. Somehow I ended up with three of the buttons in my button jar.

Here's my outfit:

I thought I was sooooo grown up!

When I got this outfit, my grandma lived in Ohio at the time and she flew in the night before my sister was born, which was the day after my birthday. My grandma's luggage got lost so the next day she wore my dad's bathrobe while she waited for her luggage to be found and delivered. She commented that she had my birthday present in her luggage, so my little 11-year-old heart fervently desired for her luggage to be found, and soon. Naturally, I was concerned about my present. The luggage was eventually delivered, and I sat on the bed and opened my gift, with my mom and baby sister right there. My grandma had made me two outfits - two jumpers and two blouses which were mix and match. I loved those outfits so much, and the fact that I could wear either blouse with either jumper! One of the blouses had little square buttons, and I loved those buttons so much. In the picture above you can see them if you click to make the picture larger.

I made my daughter a hair clip to go with her new pink jumper, and sewed the button in the middle:

If my grandma were still alive and in good health, I know she would make my daughter special dresses. But she taught me how to sew, and so I sew for my daughter using the skills she taught me. It was fun to use a button from something my grandma made for me, for my daughter.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

~Pink Jumper~

Last Thursday I started another jumper for my daughter, and finished it up by Saturday evening so she could wear it to church on Sunday.

I used McCall's 3737, which I was thinking I had purchased a year or so ago. However, I couldn't find it on McCall's site, and the copyright on the pattern is from 2002. So I most likely bought this pattern to make a jumper for my youngest sister (but never did).

I made view C, size 3.

The fabric is the softest ever baby corduroy. So soft. My mother-in-law sent it to me with the patterns and other sewing things that she sent me from her friend. There was just one yard, and I was so happy I was able to get this jumper out of it. The only thing I had to purchase was a zipper. I also bought some ribbon so I could sew bows on the tucks like the pattern suggests, but I couldn't get the bows tied right and I liked the way the jumper looked with the thrifted turtleneck I found to go with it, so I left it plain.

I would like to make my daughter several dresses, but I think I'll go back to size 2 for those. A jumper can get away with a little growing room but dresses look a little sad if they are too large!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

~Green Tea~

I recently read in a magazine that people who drink 8-10 cups of green tea daily get 30% fewer colds and flu than those who do not drink green tea.

So I'm supposed to chug down 10 cups of green tea day in and day out and I still have a 70% chance* of catching someone else's cold?

I want to take something with a better rate of return!

*Maybe someone who has a better handle on statistics could tell me the percentage of chance someone with 30% less chance of catching something would have? Statistic math confuses me. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Pinterest seems to be all the rage right now. I jumped in and put most of my bookmarks on it. If it ever goes away, I'll have problems finding things, but I guess that's life. ;) You can find my boards here.

I think Pinterest blurs the lines between what is ok to post on your personal blog and what isn't. For instance, I wouldn't normally post pictures from other people's blogs on my blog, but Pinterest somehow makes it ok to do. Hmmm. I saw a blog post with an extremely simple craft project on it and the blogger specified which pictures her readers could and couldn't pin on Pinterest. Normally, I am a rule follower extraordinaire, but that just brought out the imp in me and I so wanted to pin the pictures she said not to. I didn't, but I sure wanted to. LOL

So anyhow, Pinterest has been fun. I've found a lot of interesting things and I try not to waste too much time on it! Since being on Pinterest I've tried out the following recipes (click on the links for the original blog posts/recipes):

Chewy cookies...they sure are nice and chewy! One tray got left in the oven a little too long and the cookies were still chewy. The secret ingredient? a little bit of corn starch!

Lasagna Soup - this was awesome!

Hash browns for the freezer - these are good! I'd do it again if I ever remember...LOL You bake potates and then shred them, so they don't turn brown in the freezer. When you make them they taste like fried baked potatoes, a little different flavor and texture than your regular hash browns.

Healthy breakfast cookies:

It's far easier to find ooey-gooey dessert recipes on Pinterest, but I try not to pin too many of those because my aim is to make healthier food. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

~Fall Jumper~

On Saturday I made this jumper:

So my daughter could wear it on Sunday. For a seamstress, it's a nice problem to have when your daughter doesn't have many clothes for the season! It means that what I make is necessary and will get lots of wear!

Recognize the flannel? :-) I still have about 2 yards remaining, but I'll probably save it for another year!

I ♥ the pockets! They have elastic at the top, so cute! I purchased the pattern on sale for $1.50 a few weeks ago, and had all the fabric and notions for this jumper. I know I said this before, but I just love it when I have all the materials and notions for a project! :) My mother-in-law gave me the denim a few years back, and it has certainly come in handy for quite a few projects. I only have about 1/3 of a yard left now.

I used McCall's M6154, view B (shown on the left), size 3.

(image above from McCall's site)

Size 2 fits just right/is getting snug, so I moved to size 3. However, 3 seems to be a little big, but I don't want to drop down to size 2 because I want the clothes I make to last all winter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

~Flannel Jammies~

With cool weather here, warm jammies are a necessity! And since my daughter is potty trained now, the zip-up pajamas just don't work very well any longer. I used some flannel I've had forever, in fact my mom got it when I was a teenager to make a flannel jumper for herself. It's my guess that she's glad now that that jumper never happened. ;-) Anyhow, for some reason I've always regarded this flannel as too good to use for pajamas, because it was originally intended for outerwear. But I really needed something warm for my daughter so I decided to use it!

I used Butterick B4910, view B. I made size 3 but had to shorten the legs by 5" and the arms by about 3". But I needed the torso width and length, so it worked out. I decided to try my best to get the plaid to match up, but not to fret over it. So it did take a little extra time, and I'm pleased that the plaid matches as well as it does. Flannel shifts around and the plaid was wonky in places.

I love it when I have all the materials on hand for a project. I had every thing I needed to sew these pajamas! Pattern, fabric, and all notions!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Our weather turned suddenly and now we're in full-blown fall. The calendar may not say "fall" yet but our weather certainly does!

And so I've been making soup. So far in the week and a half that it has been cool, I've made three pots of soup. White Chili, Lasagna Soup, and Chicken Noodle Soup. I jokingly told my husband that I was going to start a blog called "365 Days of Soup". Soup is not Kevin's favorite meal (thus the teasing), but he really enjoyed the lasagna soup!

Today I had to turn the heater on for the first time. I was going to tough it out but when I got up it was 65 degrees in the house and 20 minutes later it was 64. The downward trend convinced me to turn it on.

So far today I've had two cups of coffee and two cups of tea. I do love tea! :) I always drink way more tea in the colder months.

Well, we had a nice summer! I'm sorry to see it go, and I'm trying to embrace fall! Our summer was very busy, and full of blessings from our wonderful Lord. We had some hardships also, but God proved faithful through those as well.

May your fall be full of blessings! Have a wonderful day! :)

Friday, September 09, 2011

~Thank you, and a winner!~

Thank you for all the kind comments on my bloggy birthday/anniversary post. :) Everyone who posted (including those past the "cut off" date) were entered in the contest.


The winner is Sara1977! Please send me an email with your address and soon this will be on its way to you:

A reversible market bag and notebook with stitched cover!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

~Tie-Top Beanie~

I've done a few projects with knits, and there's no turning back now! Knits are not hard or scary!

My latest knit project, a tie-top beanie hat (free pattern link):

For my little nephew (due at the end of this month). But here it is on a dolly:

It matches one of the gowns I made. :-)

~Six Year Bloggy Birthday!~

Six years ago today, I started my blog! I couldn't come up with a blog title, so my husband said, "What about Tammy's Times?" And thus it has been all these years! *Smiles*

When I first started blogging, the only digital camera I had was a digital video recorder which also took still pictures. They weren't very high quality:

My other option was to take pictures with film, get it developed and then scan the picture in. Or, I could scan the object, as I did here:

My blogging content and style have changed over the years, just as I have changed. I got a digital camera, then another one, so the pictures now are higher-quality. But not professional, like some bloggers. I haven't been offered a book deal, but I don't think I would want one either! (And what would I write that would fill a book?) Blogging for me has been a little hobby on the side, nothing that I ever desire to turn into a business. Blogging has been something I've enjoyed very much, and I'm so glad that when I talked about starting a blog my husband said, "Go for it!"

And now, my dear readers, I have a little something for you. Well, ONE of you, that is! It's a surprise! If you'd like to play along, just leave me a comment, making sure that there is a way to reach you if I draw your name! It's a small way to thank you for hanging out with me here in my "corner of the web"! I'll draw the winner on the 6th!

Friday, September 02, 2011

~Green Beans~

We have pole beans planted in our garden this year. At first we thought they weren't going to produce much, but as the summer has progressed, they keep producing more and more. I've been canning them, in quart jars since I've run out of pints.

Yesterday morning I took my coffee out on the front porch with my beans that needed snapping.

Only I cut the ends with a pair of kitchen scissors. I can't be the first genius to think of this...(heh, heh) but it sure works so much faster than a knife!

There. Coffee finished and beans all cut and ready to can. And it was relaxing to sit with my feet in the sun, with my daughter nearby coloring with her sidewalk chalk.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

~Canning streak~

Well. I did it. I broke my streak for this summer.

My 147th jar of canned goods did not seal.

We'll enjoy my un-canned grean beans for dinner tonight. :D


I keep seeing something on crafting blogs and crafty sites that just really bothers me.

Maybe I'm silly. Or maybe I'm too "honest". Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy.

But why is it ok to walk into a store and walk out with craft project materials, without paying for anything?

Do you know what I'm talking about?

Paint chips.

And more...

The pictures above are more than, "I was painting the kitchen and couldn't decide on which color to paint so I have a lot of paint chips. I think I'll make something with the extra paint chips I have."

So. Do tell me. Am I being silly? Do you think it's ok to take paint chips for whatever the project might be?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

~The last day of...August?~

Wow...this summer has flown by! I can't believe that tomorrow we'll turn the calendar page to September.

I've been up to my ears in tomatoes. We've heard that this year hasn't been a good year for tomatoes. While our tomatoes did get hit with blight, the tomato plants kept on producing and our 15 plants have produced so many tomatoes that I've been canning constantly for the last few weeks! I'll have to do a separate canning post in the near future. This summer (so far!) I've put up over 130 jars of produce.

After all my canning, I was desperate for jars and was so thankful to find someone on Craigslist that was selling some. I was second in line for them, but the first person never showed up so I got a call from the lady who was selling them. When she called I dropped everything and got there as fast as I could!

Now that September is nearly here, I'm looking forward to finishing up our summer activities and jumping into fall!

Monday, August 22, 2011

~Baby Gift #3~

My sister was given her baby shower last Saturday, and thankfully my package arrived at her mother-in-law's in time for her to open my present at the shower. She told me when she opened the card, she said, "Who's Tammy?" LOL

For this present, I was sneaky, oh-so-sneaky! She is having a BOY and so I sent my brother-in-law a message, asking him to send me some of his t-shirts. He sent me three of his t-shirts.

And this is what I came up with:

Three little baby gowns.

I didn't know the signficance of any of the shirts, but the one on the left is the t-shirt my brother-in-law was wearing when he proposed to my sister. Cue the "awwws": awwwwwwwwwww. LOL (It has my dad's company logo on the left shoulder, which I covered for the sake of privacy. My sister was also working at that company at the time.)

I used this pattern. The sleeves seemed a bit wide and long when compared to baby gowns I had from my daughter. So I shortened them and made them a little narrower. I used a special knit stitch to attach the binding (instructions for binding not included with this pattern/tutorial). Can I just say that I love my new machine? I do. A lot! It has so many nice stitch options! My old machine would have just sucked the knit fabric right into the throat plate.

Knit stitch I used for the binding:

My brother-in-law wears small/medium size shirts so I had to get some extra t-shirts to make the sleeves and contrasting binding. I went to a thrift store when they had their $1 clothes day. I happened to have thread that matched all three of these (six colors of thread) and all the elastic I needed.

And then, because I'm such an awesome aunt, this little outfit too:

Oh, yes, I do. ;) I saw the shirt at Meijer and I just couldn't resist. The pants they had to "match" didn't go at all, so I went to the fabric store and found fabric that matched perfectly! I used Rae's baby pants pattern. I added a cuff that can be turned up:

or down if more length is needed:

I am so happy that I got to make these little things for my coming nephew!

Friday, August 19, 2011


My daughter and I went blueberry picking recently. I picked a gorgeous day, with a slight wind and warm weather (not hot). Couldn't have picked a better day for blueberry picking, though we were picking at the tail end of the season, so the blueberry bushes were a little thin.

But still, I brought home enough blueberries to put 6 quarts in the freezer, to eat fresh, and to make blueberry focaccia with. Yum.

This week I checked out Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey from our library. It's a delightful story about Little Sal and her mother picking blueberries. Bears are involved, but no one gets hurt. ;) The first few pages reminded me so much of our recent blueberry picking excursion!

My Little Sal had her own bucket.

And ate all her blueberries out of her bucket.

Then noticed that Mommy had a lot of blueberries in her bucket, and it was so much easier to just grab handfuls of blueberries out of Mommy's bucket!

But Mommy pointed to the blueberry bushes and told Little Sal to eat her own blueberries, as Mommy was picking blueberries to put up for next winter!

From there the stories do not parallel, after all, I kept my Little Sal with me, and we didn't come across any bears!