Saturday, March 9, 2013

Groovy Crochet

A Retro Skirt for Cass

Truth - Cass could use some more dresses/skirts. Consequence - time to get busy!
In my search to find a pattern, I found myself at a very cool site - a blast from the past!

Quick - 
Who from the Delaware Valley area remembers... (?)

If you've got a passion for fashion,
you've got a craving for saving,
take the wheel of your automobile
and swing on down to... 

It's from a TV commercial in the early 70's for a south Jersey department store.
Picture several fashionably dressed ladies walking in a park, the fountain spurting into the air, and beautiful smiles on everyone's faces. I just loved when those ladies came onto the screen. It's one of those things that I'll NEVER forget. Recently I went to YouTube and found the jingle... it's since been the ring tone for my cell.

Back to the very cool site... 
There are such wonderful crocheted items there. Whether you could use some inspiration for a groovy project or you just want to take a trip in the Wayback machine,
check out this site  -----}  Groovy Crochet 

It'll have you "feelin' groo-vyyyyy... la la la la la la la"

The finished skirt using the "shell skirt & 
scarf pattern" by McCall's (1971)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pizza Night !

Hello friends!

It's been a long time, I know.

Like many of you, we have a fairly regular tradition here at our house. Fridays tend to be "pizza night". 

Quite a few years back now, I started making homemade. Hey, when you've got three pizza loving kids, you do what you gotta' do! What started out on cookie sheets, became a pizza stone, and finally a couple kinds of metal pizza pans. You should have seen my system for using the stone. I had a huge glass cutting board that I covered with corn meal. I used it like a pizza peel. A little heavy, but it worked! A few years ago, I found a metal pizza pan that I really liked. It's the kind with the holes in it for a crisper crust. 

I've played around with only a couple of crust recipes. I'm fortunate enough to have come across a good one early on. One thing that I do differently is substituting wheat flour for some of the white. I started this sometime this past year. My family is getting the goodness of whole wheat and they still really love it.

For the first step... make sure you have some lively yeast. Store it in the freezer to keep those little guys dormant until you need them. 
Add your yeast to some warm water. I run my tap until it feels pretty hot. By time it gets into the measuring cup, it cools. Figure, your body is 98.6, you can feel the heat of anything past that. You want your water to be somewhere around 110-115 degrees. Any hotter may kill them :-(

Tip: Add your sugar to the yeast - they love it.
       Just look at those bubbling beauties!

Combine the flours, salt, & yeast water. Drizzle in the oil.

Your dough should pull away from the sides and come together like this...

Knead the dough until "elastic" - it should bounce back when you press your finger into it.
Let it rise in a warm place until doubled - I set mine on top of the stove near the oven door while preheating to 450 degrees (F). 

We make three at a time. These are the best pans. The nonstick doesn't work anymore, probably due to the high heat used. The one closest to you is new, so that one works. For those that don't, I just spread a light coating of vegetable shortening over them.

About a cup of sauce for each pie.

Cover with some yummy mozzarella!
Don't forget to add your favorite toppings... finally sprinkle with oregano.

Bake it near the bottom of your oven for 8 minutes or so and finish up nearer to the top until the cheese starts to brown. 

Y U M ! ! !

CRUST RECIPE for 3 - 16 inch pies (able to be divided)
  • 6 3/4 C flour (I use 5 C white, 1 3/4 C whole wheat)
  • 1 T salt 
  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 1/4 C warm water
  • 3 T olive oil
T = tablespoon

Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy Christmas Project

SO, how's everyone doing getting ready for Christmas? Hopefully better than I am!
I thought I might take a moment to share with you a fairly quick and definitely simple idea for a handmade Christmas gift.

The No-quilt Quilted Christmas Ball

Maybe you've seen these around before... I think I recall seeing things like these in the past.
I've never made them, though. So, far I have these two pictured above and half of another one made.
Cass is also making one of her own to give. It's such a great little project that even an eleven year old can do without any real help.

First step:
gather your supplies:
a 3 inch styrofoam ball,
(8) 3 inch squares fabric,
(16) 3 inch squares different fabric,
(16) 3 inch squares yet another fabric,
a mound of dressmaker pins (figure 2-4 pins per square)
and a nice, hot cup of tea ;)

push pin through center of wrong side of one of the (8) fabric squares

fold wrong sides together (in half)

now, make this on the ball, poking the pin into
what will be the center of your ball.
Be sure to affix another pin right about where
my thumb is holding the fabric
(into the ball, of course!)

place four triangles in total (other 4 will be used on bottom of ball)
continue by layering from a 16-fabric pile (8 for each 'side' of ball)
If you recall, I said 2 - 4 pins per square... that's because I try to be efficient with my pins (you can call it cheap). Some people like to pin down the corners of each triangle as they go. I find it just as easy to tack them under whilst I layer. 
It's not that difficult, even Cass seems to be handling it, so far. 
We'll see if she is able to keep up with that as the ball gets fuller.

once it looks like this, you'll start filling in between the white ones with more white ones
Remember, it's a circle, so don't place the next point directly between the existing two white points -
round your design!

Follow up with the third layer, 8 of the last fabric choice, layering between the previous fabrics, keeping the roundness as you go.
The last layer you may very well want to pin completely down on all points.

Your nearly finished ball should be somewhat symmetrical with the folds matching up fairly well from "side" to "side".
If you look carefully at my example below, you'll see just what I mean...
mine are perfect-LY WAY OFF !!!

Finally, get yourself a strip of fabric that when the raw edges are turned under, has a suitable width to cover the meeting place of the fabrics as well as all the pins that are there. Press the fabric before applying with hot glue. 
I plan to add a hanger of some sort to these and give them as ornaments.
I think they will make a great gift for bus drivers, mailmen and the like.

*****If this has been totally confusing for any of you... there is actually a good YouTube video of this project find it here *****

Remember that Christ has come to pay our ransom and that we need not feel guilt or shame lest we belittle what He has done for us. So, this season let us boldly pronounce the True meaning of Christmas to all those we meet!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Off to the races!

So, the other day I was browsing the local quilt shop's site. They mentioned something about cheering on quilters at the Jelly Roll Race. 

Jelly Roll Race? What's that, I wondered. Thus, the search began. 
I quickly came up with a great YouTube tutorial (here).
I was inspired. I could actually check off a Christmas present in the very near future! Not just any Christmas present... a handmade beautiful quilt!.

Next step was to find just the right fabric.
So, I popped over to  Green Fairy Quilts and narrowed it down to a few. My top pick was 'sold out', but I found it on

Here it is...

Holiday Medley, by Kansas Troubles Quilters for Moda

 And here's my messy floor!

it's got to be a little messy when you sew, right?

 Heading down the home stretch...

Crossed the finish line - hooray!

This top comes complete with a pair of feet
(and some fingers, too)

Complete quilt top - just like that!

So, what do you think? I kind of like it, myself.
And... I do believe that one of these days... I'll make another :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day is here!

Unless you've just crawled out from underneath of that proverbial rock, you well know that tomorrow is Election Day here in the good ole' U.S. of A.
Regardless of what some might think, it is important to exercise your right to vote, citizen!
Now, some of you might be downright sure of whom will receive your vote. THEN, there's those of you sitting on the fence (which CAN be a little uncomfortable to say the very least).
I know, I know I'm treading in rocky waters when it comes to discussing politics. However, I just want to think some things out loud with you to affirm my choice as well as helping you to decide. 

Okay, so you're still reading... that's good. We're all friends here :)
Let's look at a couple things that I can say with certainty in which I will not waiver in my opinion...

1.    Same Sex 'Marriage' - 
       a man following God's precepts in this regard is the way to go.
       God ordained marriage between a man and a woman, ONLY
       not because He made any mistake,but because it is His design.

2.     Abortion - 
        murder is murder. An unborn baby is a baby... (that's why we call him an "unborn baby"!)
        This argument is all well and good when an expectant mother is gunned down killing her and/or her unborn child. Justice is sought in the courts for both lives, being equally important.

3.     Welfare type benefits - 
        2 Thes 3:10 says if a man WILL NOT work, he SHALL NOT eat. 
        Of course this doesn't apply to those truly incapable of working. It is our job to care for the widows and orphans and the like.

4.    Borrowing - 
       "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
                                                               Proverbs 22:7
         and by the way, has anyone seen that commercial of a roomful of Chinese in a lecture with the speaker (in Chinese w/ subtitles) talking about how America now works for China? It's futuristic - 2036 AD. Very disturbing.

5.     Quality of the Man - 
         Which man more holds to principles that set him above others? 
          Will the man you choose more concerned with the perception of our country or the perception of himself?
         Will the man you choose be more or less likely to be concerned with talk show appearances & beer SUMMITS  (not picnics!) on the White House back patio?
          How about his VP? Is he well-mannered?  Would he use profanity in front of the entire county? 
         (yes, Chris Christie, you also are guilty of this, SO knock it off!)

So, as for the economy... great economic strategists battle over what to do. Although, the whole borrowing thing should be enough said about that. I mean how high DO numbers go? I don't want to find out! 
Personally, if you can't tell after reading this far, I know how I will vote - based on my few points as well as the fact that after 4 years of unfulfilled economic promises, it's time for a new guy to give it a go. 
Mr. Obama at least fibbed once, that's plain to see - he IS seeking re-election yet did NOT fix the economy
“If I don’t have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one‑term proposition.” - Barack Obama (

Hoping I didn't REALLY offend anyone, I'm done. Ready for bed, Ready for a new day. Rest assured God's choice will be in office this January to serve whatever purpose He has in store for us!
Remember, we are blessed and privileged to be in this great land, 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sunbonnet Sue & Overalls Sam

Howdy all!
I got to do a little sewing yesterday. It was great to get "Jan" out and get her humming again. Yup, THAT's it! "Jan". Do you remember I had asked the question of what to name my New Home when I first got it? Well, just now as I was typing that sentence, it came to me - Janome was the actual manufacturer sooooo, JAN short for Janome! 

The name "Flora" popped into my head yesterday (out of nowhere), however Cass' 1980's Singer is getting that name. It's plain white , so we dressed it up with some floral and dragonfly stickers. It's a whole 'bunch' cuter now!

About the Sunbonnets - a month or so ago I got the nudge to try my hand at a little embroidery. I have a quilting magazine that's all about Sunbonnet Sue and figured it a good spot to look for something to trace. It was. I picked this bouquet holding couple, traced and stitched it up using the outline, lazy daisy, and I think it's called the wheat stitch. I even took the liberty of a little extra detailing like Sue's bonnet band and apron trim, as well as giving Sam a pocket & flower and the little wheat at the bottom of his pant leg (to coordinate with his life's love).

Sewing yesterday consisted of strip piecing various fabrics to frame out this cute couple. Nothing too elaborate - but BOY, is it CUTE!

After a little squaring up, I think it'll be a wall hanging, maybe a pillow. We'll see!
Thanks for reading. Have a blessed day!
Bye, all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not Your Mother's Baked Beans

So, I've never been a fan of baked beans. Don't care enough for the thick-ish sweet sauce to withstand the starchy beans. For the most part it's no kidneys, no limas, not even butter beans however cute the name may be. However, I must say I know that your tastes change as you age. Take onions for instance, never used to get'em to my lips. Now, how can you have a hoagie without them and have it taste nearly as good? And of course they're wonderful in a salad... back to the beans..

I caved in some years back now and started making chili for my family. A friend of mine makes hers nice and loose with hardly any beans. I modeled mine after that somewhat. Nice and loose with yummy tomatoes (another item I've recently come to enjoy), but I switched up the kidney beans for small white beans - much more tolerable!

Now, for the 'baked beans'. My sister-in-law's husband just loved his co-worker's wife's beans. Pfeww! What a sentence!  Anyway, he loved them so much that he got the recipe. We were visiting this past Sunday and they served them. They were good - not your mother's baked beans. They're kind of like a chili but sweet and with BACON!


I did make a couple of adjustments like decreasing the sugar, changing the beans and subbing out canned baked beans for beans and extra ketchup.
Here's the final product:

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. bacon
1 large onion
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C ketchup
3 T vinegar
1 can pinto beans w/ liquid
1 can small white beans w/ liquid
1 can small pink beans w/ liquid
1 can french style green beans w/ liquid

In a large dutch oven (I used my 12 inch cast iron deep skillet), cook bacon until crisp, add the hambuger and cook thoroughly, add onion and cook until translucent. Drain well.
Add to meat mixture the brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar and all of the beans.
Stir to combine.
Cover and put it in the oven at 350* F for an hour.

There ya' have it!

p.s. Let me know what ya' think about 'em!