Friday, October 29, 2010


 Pretty much everywhere you look in my house, you'll see roosters. I don't know why I love them so? This is just a peek at some of my happy hens. They are from all over the globe. I have some from Italy, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Mexico, and probably a few made in China :) I have to say my Italian roosters are by far my favs. I've had to tell my family and friends not to give me any more roosters because I've run out of room for them. We were watching Survivor last week and one tribe had won 2 chickens and a rooster in one of the challenges. They decided to eat one. They chose one of the chickens. I was yelling at the TV "eat the rooster you fools! All he does is wake you up early and you don't need him to have eggs!" Obviously there are people who don't know that you only need a rooster if you want more chickens :) 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Down.....and 4 (or more) to Go!

 With 8 Saturdays left until Christmas I have another project to cross off my list. I realized today that there will obviously be some things that I can't show on my blog because the recipients would see them and that would kind of spoil the surprise :) I have 4 more aprons to make and maybe a few more if I have the time to get them done in between sewing tiny felt dinosaurs and Cars pajamas. This is another one of my projects that I had previously cut out and placed into a large zip lock bag. It makes it sooo much easier to find the time to sew when I don't have to cut everything first. This apron is from McCalls M5551. I love all the pockets and that the straps run through casings in the sides of the apron. Makes it a bit more fun. The person who will be receiving this apron is not really a ruffles kind of girl and it's nice to have a pattern that is simple....but still special.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pancake perfection!

I don't order pancakes when we go out to breakfast....ever! It's not that I don't love pancakes....because I do! But, I'm always disappointed by the "spongie" texture. At home I've been a Bisquick girl for years but they are a bit "heavy" in my opinion and they soak up syrup and just get soggy. I have tried making them from scratch but haven't been happy with the results. I was about ready to give up on finding the perfect pancake recipe until I found this one on Let me just say that I have experienced pancake perfection! I even add blueberries to the recipe when I'm making them for the hubby. I, myself, am a pancake purist. Pancakes + butter + syrup = perfection! Why would you add anything else? (I'm a peanut butter, no jelly girl as well ) So without further ado:

Fluffy Pancakes
3/4 cup milk
2 tblsp white vinegar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tblsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tblsp butter, melted
cooking spray

Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with spatula and cook until light brown on the other side.
Top with butter and syrup and rejoice in carbohydrate bliss :)
Makes 12 pancakes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm sorry....but I've found someone new.....

 Dear blue plastic shoe box, I know that for the past few years you have sat beside me on the couch and carefully held my cross-stich projects and supplies without complaint even though you were really made to protect a pair of my beloved shoes. But the time has come for a change and my new sewing caddy was designed just for this purpose....

I've been working on all kinds of things for Christmas and birthdays lately and was looking at my fabric stash and I realized that there is fabric that I absolutley love, but I don't want to cut into it. (I know I'm weird, I have the same problem with some of my scrapbook paper) I'm afraid that I will mess it up and then I can't replace it. Well, I threw caution to the wind today and actually cut into my beloved red French country inspired fabric. As soon as I saw this wonderful free sewing caddy tutorial  I knew this was the fabric I wanted to use. It's cool and gloomy outside today, the perfect Sewing Saturday :) So here is the fruit of my labor. This sewing caddy has 5 pockets inside and 3 pockets outside. It was fun to make and I'm glad it had 1/2 inch seam allowances and not those annoying 1/4 seams! I think it will look alot better than the shoe box on my side table in the living room.  (sorry shoe box)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pressed for time...

A week ago we attended A Night of Film, an annual event that is put on by The Veracity Project (our very talented son-in-law is co-founder of the Veracity Project) and at one point during the evening, one of film directors made the statement that "if you want to inspire an artist....just give them a deadline". I don't consider myself and artist, but more a crafter, but for me the same holds true. There are things I feel like doing at a particular time, and others I leave for later. (That is probably why I have so many projects only 1/2 done ) I tell myself that I have plenty of time to get to it. Of course, I wait until the last minute and I'm always surprised by what I come up with when I'm down to the wire. I think I do some of my most creative thinking when I'm pressed for time. My dear friend Terri asked me a few weeks ago to make some blank "Thank you" cards to give to a friend of hers that is battling cancer. There will be a fund raiser event for her on Saturday and Terri thought it would be nice if her friend had some cards to use to thank all the people who have given their support. I made 2 each of 6 different designs. I don't know Terri's friend, but I know cancer. My niece just had a cancerous tumor removed from her thyroid. My best friend survived colon cancer. My mom survived cervical cancer. I lost my dad to lung cancer. I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer.  Cancer impacts us all. Pretty much everyone I know has had a loved one diagnosed with cancer or has had cancer themselves. There are wonderful people who suffer greatly in this life. It's hard to wrap your head around. I stopped trying to understand it. I find peace in my faith in Christ.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Halloweenieday Treat :)

Halloweenieday...isn't that a fun word? I'm borrowing it from my friend Regena. A few weeks ago I won (yes....I actually won something other than 2nd place in a poster contest at the library when I was in second grade) these 3 fat quarters of Halloween fabric from Shawnee's Flirty Apron Swap! Although I'm not fan of the scary side of  Halloween, I do enjoy the fun costumes and pumpkins and all that. I thought it would be fun to use the fabric to make these cute little treat bags for our grandsons. I'm going to make popcorn balls and add a few little toys to each one and give them to the boys on Halloween. You can download this easy free pattern here. With 2 fat quarters you end up with 4 little fully lined bags. The ribbon handles should actually be a bit thicker, but I didn't have any that wide and I was impatient to finish them. I think they are cute anyway :) These would be really cute for Christmas as well, maybe to add a few sweet treats and a gift card?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We're in the single digits now.....

It's hard to believe that we are down to 9 Saturdays until Christmas.(OK...don't send me any hate emails....I didn't invent the calendar.....)  Maybe it's just because I'm getting older, but months seem to fly by these days. Seems like we just celebrated the 4th of July and here we are looking forward to all the year end holidays. I don't know about anyone else, but as I've mentioned before, I am doing my very best to really curb my spending and that includes my crafting addiction hobbies. I've been going through my craft drawers and digging out projects that I've had for years and never actually done anything with. This adorable snowman peeking out of a window is from a kit I bought on ebay years ago. I like to set the ebay filter to "ending soonest" and then check out the cross stitch kits and booklets that only have a few minutes left. Depending on the time of day or night, you can pick things up that have no bids for a buck or two at the last minute. I've done this with just about anything, rubber stamps, scrapbook supplies, etc. I finished my new little friend here and I'm going to use him as the center of a quilted pillow for my living room. When I rediscovered all that fabric during the summer, this stack of Christmas fabric was in there too. It was left over from the stockings I made over 20 years ago. I love the way being on a tight budget is really forcing me to be more creative and use things in ways I normally wouldn't have thought of.  Anyone else have any budget friendly holiday ideas?

Monday, October 18, 2010

They're only little....for a little while :)

 It's drizzly and overcast outside so that makes it a perfect day to have a pajama jam! I've been enjoying some yummy coffee that Jose made for me before he left for work today along with some wonderful pumpkin cranberry bread I baked this morning. It's about 2:30pm right now and I"m still wearing my jammies while I sew some jammies for David. His birthday is November 22nd and I'm working on a Dinosaur gift theme for him. If you've read some of my earlier posts, you'll remember that he talks about his 2 dinosaurs. He even acts like he's moving 2 very heavy objects around :) When I
saw this flannel with sets of 2 dinosaurs on it I knew I had to have it for my David! He'll get these jammies for his birthday along with another orange dinosaur to play with. The monkey jammies are one of his Christmas gifts. His mom calls him "Monkey" so that fabric was also an easy choice. We currently have 4 grandsons. I realize that the "cute factor" with boys only last while they are little. What I mean by that is with boys the time comes a lot sooner than girls when they don't want to wear "cute" anything anymore. They want something that looks more masculine. So for now, I'm enjoying that our boys are all still "little" and they get excited when they get new jammies from Nana. I need to attach the buttons and make the button holes on these two and then it's another project done! . Next up......Lightning McQueen and Mater jammies for my 2 oldest grandsons. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who you callin' a "Fat Quarter"?

You may have noticed on the right side of my blog there is a link for National Tie One On Day. I will be organizing a Saturday sewing day at our church for any of the ladies that would like to sew an apron to give away on November 24th. I found a great free online PDF file for this apron that takes less than a yard of fabric and less than 1 hour to sew! I wanted to be sure that this apron would be a good first project for the ladies that are new to sewing as well as be an apron they'd be proud to give as a gift. I timed myself and from cutting to finishing it only took 45 minutes! The pattern calls for 1/2 yd of one fabric and a "fat quarter" of another. I'll admit that I had to google the term "fat quarter". I think I've mentioned before that I am not a quilter.....and clearly quilters have some secret terms all their own. Turns out that a fat quarter is a piece of fabric that measures 18" x 22" ( 1/2 of a 1/2 yard rectangle). Who knew? So after 41 years of sewing, once again I've learned something new :) When I saw this pattern I was concerned that it wouldn't fit someone of ample stature, such as myself...but it totally does! Both fabrics I used are from the Dill Blossom collection by Robert Kaufman. It was only $3.98 a yd at M & L Yardage. This apron cost less than $4.00 to make and I still have enough of the base fabric to make another one! That's one big FAT deal!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wasqually Wabbit!

His Mommy took this picture this morning. He's a fan of the hat & gloves!

"Be vewy vewy quiet......we're huntin' wabbits" This fun fleece hat and mittens totally remind me of Elmer Fudd from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons!  I made these this morning from McCalls pattern #M5253. I followed the pattern pretty much "as is" except that I fully lined the inside of the hat. I wanted it to be nice and soft and very warm on his little head :) My "so so big" grandson David (almost 3 years old) is traveling with his parents to Michigan next week to visit his dad's side of the family. His Grandpa Dave (whom he is named after) is a very accomplished hunter. So I thought it would be cute if David had this cute hunting inspired hat. David himself is quite the animal lover. The only reason he would hunt for anything would be to pet it :) He loves "bumbies" (his word for rabbits). And he's in luck because at his Nana Sherry's farm a litter of "bumbies" has recently been born! This is going to be such a wonderful time for the Michigan side of the family to spend some time with David. I know that David is going to be so excited and so full of stories to tell me when he comes home from his big adventure. I'm going to miss them all like crazy, but the fact that they ( and our son's family as well ) call California home is one of our biggest blessings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out of the Box :)

This was a busy morning for me. Had a bit of running around to do and didn't get home until almost 3:00pm. Over the past few weeks I've been using little pockets of time to cut out some of the projects I need to get done. I put the cut fabric & patterns into large zip lock bags until I'm ready to sew. Although my sewing time was limited today, I was still able to grab one of those bags and complete this cute napkin "box". It is sized to fit regular paper table napkins but you could really use it for anything you want. I used the same 3 fabrics that I used in the Fall apron. This is the first time I've made one of these and you can find the free pattern here. As far as patterns go, this one might as well have been written in Hieroglyphics. I'm not a quilter (and I don't speak quilt), so maybe you quilters could understand the directions, but I pretty much just had to "wing it". Thank goodness I could at least understand the measurements to cut the pieces! This is the first of the free patterns that I really have to say was not user friendly, for me at least. I've been trying out some really fun free patterns thanks to my crafty friend Amy! She keeps telling me about all these cool links and new things to try. This has turned out to be a very dangerous rewarding new friendship :) My apron package is ready to ship out  now and this will be the last apron swap I participate in - at least for a while. The best part of apron swapping for me has been meeting Amy and Regena! These 2 lovely ladies have me laughing out loud on a daily basis :) The 3 of us just seemed to share the same sense of humor and love of crafting. We didn't become friends because we were swap partners - we each had different partners. We got to know each other through blog postings on the apron swap blogsite. I know there are those of you who are blog readers, but never post a comment or get involved in things like these swaps...but let me encourage you to get "out of the box" and jump in! Every blog writer enjoys reading the comments left for them. You'll never know what new friendships are waiting for you and what new things you'll learn!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Let's get cozy up in here!

I seem to be working on multiple projects at the same time these days even though I have my list of what needs to be done first. I try to be a "list" person, but clearly, that is not my gift. The first few years I owned my beautiful red (of course) leather Franklin Covey planner, it spent it's days and nights in the trunk of my car. Except for the few times a year that I took out the old months pages and put in the coming months pages and wrote a few very important notes  that I certainly didn't want to forget :) At least now that I am a full time domestic goddess, my planner stays in the house with me and I actually open it from time to time and write down a few things. My list of crafts to complete is in there too.
Here's another one I can check off as complete. This
is a coffee cup cozy that will be one of the "tuck ins" for the Fall Apron Swap I'm doing. This pattern is a free download that you can find here.  I also finished a Debbie Mum cross stitch bow for our entryway that has cute black polka dot chickens on it! I've had it in my cross stitch patterns for years and finally decided to make it for myself. Even Jose said he loved it and loved where I hung it. That makes me happy :) So I finished the coffee "cozy" and I managed to add to the "cozy" factor of our home as well. That's a good week in my book!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Dishes are done...Dude"

Around our house, movie phrases have worked their way into our everyday language. We borrowed the "Dishes are done...Dude" from the movie Don't tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead (which is a comedy...not a scarey movie) We use it to mean pretty much any task that we have completed. Other phrases we use alot is "I do not think that means what you think it means" from the movie Princess Bride or "are you sure about those 5 minutes?" from My Cousin Vinny. I could go on and on for hours with this. We laugh sometimes about how our conversations would
totally be different  without our fun movie lines. A few weeks ago I mentioned that I signed up for another apron swap with a fall theme. Well on Monday I received my Secret partner's info. She says that she loves all things fall. So I went shopping yesterday and found this great fabric with sunflowers, wheat, pumpkins, and apples with highlights of thin metalic gold. It seemed perfect! The colors are so rich and deep! Then I used red polka dots to add some fun and used the same golden yellow of the sunflowers for the lining. The apron is completely reversable! This super cute Retro apron pattern is a free download that you can find here. It's such a girlie pattern. I
love that the neck and waist ties slip through button holes and are secured with a knot. Just a little thing makes the pattern unique! This pattern (including cutting and sewing) took me about 4 hours to complete. Now I have to get the "tuck ins" done and then wait for the appropriate date to ship my package. But for now.....
Dishes are done.....Dude!

Monday, October 4, 2010

When did it happen?

The Birthday Girl :)
 There are alot of things that I just don't want to forget. But aparently there are also alot of things I just can't remember. It's amazing really how life changes in subtle little ways day by day. Things change a lot of times, without us really noticing or taking the time to make of note of it. Like when was the last time we had "story time" with our kids at bedtime? (They are 30 and 27 years old now )Why didn't we read a book together that night? Were they wanting to read their own books? Did we get home late from soccer practice or tumbling class? I don't remember. I do remember the book that was their favorite and they wanted it read to them night after night and because they knew the story so well I couldn't cheat and skip a page (even if Mommy was tired). Yep...Lamont the Lonely Monster was their absolute fav! And what does this have to do with my Mom's birthday? Well I was thinking about how everyone (even people at church) call her "Oma" instead of her name which is Dorothy. Oma means Grandma in German as well as in Dutch. She became Oma the day Brandon was born. Back then, I still called her Mom. But these days I find myself calling her Oma right along with everyone else :)

Just as I became Nana, the day Elijah was born. Nothing stays the same.  It happens Birthday cards and such.... Jose and I are Papa and Nana now. As far as the kids know, those are our names and you know what? That's totally OK with me :) We celebrated Oma's 74th birthday yesterday at my brother's house. 3 of her 4 great-grandsons helped her blow out her candle (which has become quite the tradition now for all our birthdays) It was really lovely to have everyone in the family together and we all  had a great time. This was a day I will certainly not forget! :)

For her birthday I made Oma another little Russian doll :)

Friday, October 1, 2010


 It's October 1st! So many exciting things happening in October! Today is my Mom's birthday (Happy Birthday Mom :) and she just got home last night from her annual trip to visit family in Germany. Today is the day I get to change out my cute monthly kitchen towel :) For anyone who is interested in making these yourselves, they are from the Leisure Arts Leaflet 3004 Handy Hand Towels Thru the Year (dated 1997 and I found mine on eBay). These could be used as a fun teaching tool for homeschoolers to let the children change out the months as the year passes. On October 13, 1976 Jose asked me to be his girlfriend :) Obviously...I said "yes"! October also means its time to plan our trip to Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch with the little ones. I love taking pictures of them in flannel shirts (yes....I realize that this is California and the poor kids are unusally sweating by the time we're done....) And of course, there's Halloween. I don't love the scarey side of Halloween. But I do love seeing the boys in costumes and seeing the delight in their eyes as they go trick or treating! They have absolutely no idea why people are giving them candy for saying "Trick or Treat", but they love it!

Tanaka Farms 2009- Elijah, Caleb & David :) I think Elijah picked a good one!