Tuesday, April 29, 2008

~Crown for a Queen~

Well, last week I crowned myself queen, and left off making a crown for myself. Today I got a crown, whether I wanted it or not, and let me tell you, I didn't really want it! This crown is altogether different (and thankfully it is not gold) from what I would have liked.

*Sigh* I went to the dentist today to get a tooth looked at. Every great once in a while, I would bite down on something and have a sharp pain in my tooth. Two routine dental visits later, and the dentist still hadn't found anything...today they found a crack in my molar. Normally a cavity will cause the crack, but I didn't have a filling in that tooth.

So whatever caused the crack is unknown, and I now have a temporary crown. In two weeks I get my permanent crown. This is the most extensive dental work I've ever had done. I have four tiny little fillings in my back four molars that didn't even take numbing to do the work. (I always did wonder about the necessity of those fillings...)

Now I'm a true queen, since I have a crown!!! *Grin*

Monday, April 28, 2008

~Lemon-Lime Bars~

The cover of Better Homes & Gardens magazine this month showcases some delicious looking bars. And believe me, they are delicious, since I couldn't help but try them out! A family from our church invited us for Sunday dinner and I offered to bring these. This recipe makes a lot, and I was quite happy to leave most of them there, since I knew I would never eat them all (or shouldn't eat them all, I'm not quite sure which!)

2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
4 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel, divided
6 eggs
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
2 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar

1. Prepare Candied Citrus Slices or Strips, (see recipe), if desired. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy foil; set aside.

2. For crust, in large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Beat in 2 cups of the flour until crumbly. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon peel. Evenly press on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, for filling, in medium bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, remaining 1/2 cup flour, lemon juice, baking powder, and nutmeg. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in remaining lemon peel and the lime peel. Pour over hot crust. Bake 20 minutes more or until edges are browned and center appears set. Remove to rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours.

4. To serve, sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar. Lift from pan using foil; cut into bars. Add Candied Citrus Slices or Strips, if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days. Makes 16 to 20 bars.

5. Candied Citrus Slices: In large skillet combine 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar; bring to boiling. Add 2 lemons or 10 key limes, thinly sliced. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until just softened. Transfer to rack; cool.

6. Candied Citrus Strips: Cut strips of peel from 2 lemons or 2 limes. With spoon scrape away white pith. Cut into thin strips and cook in sugar mixture as above.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I hereby dub myself Queen of Long-Drawn-Out Projects in the Land of Procrastination. I'd make myself a crown, but it would probably take five or six years to get it completed, so I'll just settle for the title.

Last April, April 28th to be exact, I came home from the yarn store with this:

which soon became this:

But after many months it still wasn't finished. Jane finished her afghan in four weeks (and actually made another one shortly thereafter). I, however, did not work as quickly as she did. After a year, I finally realized that I just needed to buckle down and finish the last three color stripes. So I did.

And now I have a lovely afghan, which I am very pleased with. I am even crossing off an item on my 101 List. The actual list item says "Christmas" afghan, but I am giving myself the authority to make this afghan count towards the list item. I don't really want to make another afghan for quite awhile anyhow.

But really, the item that gives me the sparkliest jewel in my crown is my cross stitch project! When I was 16 years old, I started a set of counted cross stitch pictures, called "Pinky" and "Blue Bunny".

Two years ago, Blue Bunny looked like this:

But would it surprise you that, in fact, just a week ago, he still looked the same? It didn't surprise me, because I certainly hadn't been working on him. But I decided that it would be nice to have these two framed and on the wall instead of languishing in my sewing room closet. So tonight he looks like this (the flash washed the picture out a bit):

I've been working on him for about an hour a day, and as you can see, I'm making good progress on finishing it up!

While it is true that I haven't been working on this particular project for nearly sixteen years, I think of the set as one project. My 31-year-old heart doesn't pitter-patter exactly the same as my 16-year-old heart did over this project, but I do still like it! And I'll be glad to have it finished soon!

After this is finished, I think the oldest project in my house will be my quilt. I wonder sometimes if that will ever get finished! I started that one nearly 12 years ago. Yikes.

But I shall hold my head high and wear my crown proudly. After all, I do eventually finish my projects.

Image source for crown. All other images my own.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I'm very much looking forward to the full blooms of my lilacs in the back yard! Until then, I'll keep looking at the tiny, promising buds!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

~Gas prices~

Yesterday while I was out doing errands, Kevin called me and asked if I could stop and get gas if it was still "low" at $3.45. Most of the gas stations had gone up to almost $3.70 by then, but I did find one that was $3.42. The line was long, tempers were flaring as people "lost" their spot, and the lot was crazy with cars trying to drive every-which-way. To think that $3.42 was a good price, and we were willing to wait for it!

The rising gas prices certainly haven't kept us home from church and work, but it has put a damper on just running out for this or that. The rising gas prices are crazy! Have the prices changed your way of life any? And to what extent?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

~Another sunny day~

Oh, today was just beautiful! So sunny and warm and SPRINGY. I love spring. Why, it would be wonderful if all year were like this. Ok, so I guess I'd have to move for that to happen. Hmmmm...LOL

I met with a friend for coffee, and we had a nice visit. Then I went to a bookstore and browsed through some books. I came across a lovely, lovely book:

It is chock-full of adorable apron patterns. Oh what fun, fun, fun!!!

Speaking of aprons, I've been sewing up a storm, and will soon have a few aprons listed in my Etsy shop. I need to get some decent pictures taken first though.

This afternoon Kevin and I cleared out leaves and brush from around the yard. I'm so pleased that my perennials from last year are coming back nicely, and my bleeding hearts have blooms on them! So exciting! And lots of blooms on my lilacs too! I can't wait to see them! It looks like my pruning last spring did its job.

Happy spring! *Smiles*

Friday, April 18, 2008

~They're back!!!~

The birds, that is! There are a few brave birds that stick around for the winter, but for the most part, they all head south. Now that it is warmer (yay!!!) they are coming back. I am sitting in my dining room with the windows open and I can hear their cheerful songs. Every once in a while I can hear goldfinches and cardinals, my two favorites.

I would have a bird feeder, but the sparrows clean me out on a daily basis. I like sparrows too - they are a cute little bird! - but when they are coming in droves I just can't pay for all the sparrows in my zip code to eat! I think I will put out a goldfinch feeder though and see what happens.

I have a special place in my heart for birds, I can't exactly explain why. But my heart thrills to hear them singing! I'm so glad they're back now!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

~For a friend~

Ever since I have seen the "Disappearing Nine-Patch" quilts around the sewing blogs, I have wanted to make one. The perfect opportunity came when my friend was having a baby shower. Only thing--I didn't quite finish it in time for the shower. Oh well...a little late was just fine. The baby still isn't here anyhow! :-)

Do you know who Paddington Bear is? I didn't. Since I'm not "up" on all the cartoons and characters, I asked the lady in the fabric store who Paddington Bear was. According to her, everyone should know who he is. (Well, excuse me!)

Paddington Bear
Paddington Bear

So one drizzly, gray afternoon, I snipped away with my scissors:

And then I made my nine patches. Each nine patch had a blue center square.

(And then I forgot to take any more pictures of the process! LOL)

After making the nine patches, you cut them in fourths, and then sew them back together again (tutorial found here). You can sew them randomly, as this quilter did (scroll down), or you can sew them in a pattern, like this. I chose to sew them into a pattern.

And this is the finished quilt! I really adore this quilt. It was a very fun project.

I finished it off by tying it with embroidery floss. Hand quilting would have been nice, but I wanted to get it to my friend before her son is in college! ;-)

While I was making this quilt, I was thinking of Hawaiian quilting. When American missionaries went to the Hawaiian islands, one of the things they did was teach the women to quilt. The Hawaiian women thought that the whole process of cutting and restructuring the fabric was a serious waste of time and fabric. So they came up with their own style of quilting.

(Image source)

I'm sure the Hawaiians would have thought this quilt even more laborious than the missionaries patterns! First you cut and sew, then you cut and sew again! But it is much faster to do it this way, then it would be to sew all those little rectangles and tiny squares together!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

~O! Say But I'm Glad~

This morning as I was putting my groceries away, I started singing this song:

There is a song in my heart today,
Something I never had;
Jesus has taken my sins away,
O! say, but I’m glad.

O! say, but I’m glad, I’m glad,
O! say, but I’m glad,
Jesus has come and my cup’s overrun;
O! say, but I’m glad.

To listen to the song, click here.

And why, you ask, was I singing this song? It took me a second to realize, then I smiled. I had purchased gladiolus on sale, and I was going to plant them! Glads...I'm glad...get it? :-)

I hope they bloom as pretty as the package label! This is my first time to plant summer bulbs. Last year, I made the mistake of waiting until after the last frost date to start working out in my flower beds. Well, then I had a lot of work to do before I could start planting anything! As the weather permits, I'm going to get outside and work in the soil!

Today is a darkish day. I think it is supposed to rain sometime this afternoon. At least it isn't snow (though I hear that is coming our way later this week!).

Have a GLAD day!!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

~Around the corner~

Spring is peeking around the corner, holding out a little bit on us here in Michigan. But she is definitely on her way!


Lilac buds:

Saturday, April 05, 2008


While I was blog hopping this week, I saw a recipe for snickerdoodles. This morning as I was ironing, I kept thinking about snickerdoodles, and since anything is better than ironing, espcially something to do with cookies, I took a break and made a batch.

Of course, I couldn't remember where I saw the recipe, so I had to find my own. I turned to my favorite recipe site: www.recipezaar.com and found this recipe:

1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream shortening, sugar and eggs.
Sift together and stir in flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts.
Roll in mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in medium to hot (400 degrees) oven until lightly brown but still soft. These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out with crinkled tops.

They just melt in your mouth! So good! I can't remember ever having a snickerdoodle before. The whole batch is not staying in my house...I'm going to pass on the goodness (and calories! LOL) to some of my neighbors!

Friday, April 04, 2008

~Candle Giveaway~

The lovely Mrs. U is hosting a candle giveaway! Click here for more details!

I am excited for Mrs. U, as she and her husband are starting their second adoption! Mrs. U has a link on her blog that will take you to Old Virginia Candles--all proceeds she receives from this affilation will be going towards their adoption. Please keep her in mind if you are planning on purchasing candles!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

~Home Fragrance, the healthy way~

Last December I read Mrs. Cat's article on the dangers of air fresheners. While air fresheners were used on occasion at our house it wasn't something I was spraying about the house on a daily basis. Still, I was concerned, so I decided to do something about it.

Last week (obviously it took me a while to do something about it!) I was at the health food store, and I purchased a natural air freshener. You can find out more about the one I purchased at www.miarose.com. I bought the "Vibrant Vanilla". The contents are: "An environmentally-safe biodegradable, concentrated liquid, derived from a perfect blend of pure essential oils, distilled from the peels of citrus fruit and vanilla beans, nothing else." It does the job well! ONE spray is all you need - and as the label says, there are up to 2000 sprays in the 4.6 fl. oz. bottle. Much better than other air fresheners, in fact, and now I won't need to worry about the side effects of the chemicals.

This year I have been slowly (oh-so-very-slowly!) replacing some of these hazardous household products with more "green" products. My goal is not to become a tree-hugger, but to have a healthy home environment!