Monday, September 29, 2014

Tea Party With Friends

My daughters and I had a rather impromptu tea party with a couple of friends, where we all showed our sewing projects to each other and chatted about sewing and other handwork. It was fun to see what others were working on and it was fun to share tea and treats.

 Some of our tea parties can be rather  fancy... others quite simple, but all of them are fun.
 We had shortbread... made in a special decorative pan, so it was pretty.

Our friends brought some wonderful savory treats also that had egg and sausage. They were delicious, but I don't have a picture, sorry. :)

We enjoyed seeing crochet projects, quilt projects and more. It was nice to spend time together and get to know each other even better.
These are truffles. This was the first time we had tried making truffles... and they were pretty tasty. We put some blue sprinkles on them to decorate them a bit.  I hope to make truffles again this year... and become even better at it. :)

It can be fun to have a tea party and use some of those pretty dishes that tend to just look nice in the cabinet. This time, we used the regular items.. the Oneida teapot is one we use very often. In the winter it is usually full of hot tea at breakfast, and we all drink a cup of it. With the cooler temperatures in the evenings and mornings as we are in fall now, we are enjoying tea more often and soon the teapot will be full of tea at every breakfast again. :)

I hope you are enjoying your day and I am glad you took time to visit my blog.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finding A New Bible....

When I was a teenager, I saved my money and bought a good quality Bible.... for $37.50, which was the discounted price my church offered for ordering this particular Bible. That was a huge sum to me at the time (I still don't take such an amount for granted! :)  I bought an Oxford KJV  Bible with a cover made of Genuine East Indian Calf leather and pages that were made of India paper. I used that Bible through a one year Bible Institute  with very intensive Bible study and then four years of Bible college, and in life, teaching, studying and more.... and I loved it. It was a high quality Bible and the more I used it, the more I treasured it. I memorized from it and could even picture in my mind where the verse was on the page in my Bible.... and what color of ink I had used to underline it. :)  My Bible became pretty marked up as I highlighted, underlined, made notes and just really used it.  This Bible held up well to Bible drills where we would quickly search for a particular verse or passage.... and as it aged, it just "fit" my hand better and better. As I said, I treasured it.

 Eventually, that Bible started looking a bit tattered... and very used, but still I continued to use it... and this Bible got a LOT of use - every day... and sometimes many times every day. A page or two developed a tear... and the binding started to break... and a missionary from Bangladesh took that Bible and carefully fixed it using some special flexible book glue. I was shocked at how nice it was again after he fixed it.... I couldn't even find the tear in the page. Of course, I decided to buy some of that glue- I had to special order it as it was a special library glue and it wasn't cheap... it worked great though, and I continued to fix my Bible when it needed it... the missionary had shown me how to use a toothpick to apply the glue in small areas... and use wax paper between pages as it dried. Though I fixed the pages, I also continued using that Bible... searching and studying... in Sunday School, church, at home.. and more.

Some pages started to come out... and the page size reduced as the pages wore away... no, they weren't tearing.... they just wore down from so much use.
 I tried to fix pages... and did sometimes... but the more I used it, the more it wore away... especially areas that saw a lot of use.

Finally, the glue went bad... it stunk so much and I had to throw it out, but by then, it was getting harder and harder to fix the Bible - it was wearing out.

When using it, I had to be careful not to lose pages, but I still loved this Bible.

Finally, I realized it was time to buy a new Bible.
I looked and looked, but couldn't find one that I liked.  I mean, they were the "Bible", but they felt odd and were not what I wanted. I tried Christian bookstores... and looked at many Bibles, but I didn't like any of them. One big problem for me was that the new Bibles had pages where the print could be seen on the other side of the page... and it made it hard to read. I didn't know what to do. A lady at a small Christian bookstore tried to help me, but I rejected all of what she had. When I took my old Bible in to show her what I was looking for, she said she understood my problem.  She said I had a very nice Bible-a very expensively bound one... the India pages are thin, but opaque and they make it easier to read... they are not used much today and then only in very expensive Bibles. I had enjoyed years of use with a very nice Bible and I guess I was a bit "spoiled".  She did tell me that a more cheaply bound Bible would never have stood up to the hard use I had given it over the years. She also said they didn't make them like this anymore.

 Well, I felt very sad as I wanted "my" Bible and not a new one. It was all God's Word... and yet, I had treasured my copy of the scripture... and it was such a dear friend and so easy to use.

My husband and son gave me money for Christmas one year to buy a new Bible... I think they gave me $65.00. We looked at new Bibles and I still couldn't find what I wanted - even among the expensive ones, so I started checking on ebay for Bibles from several years ago, thinking they were better quality and hoping I might find something similar to mine.  After several weeks of daily watching, I found one... one that was very similar to my old one and we bought it... for $67.50, I think. A lot of money, but what is more important than God's Word, right?

 When it came, I looked through it and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was easy to read... the pages looked like my old Bible's pages - only in better shape.

Eventually, we realized that it was almost the SAME Bible!! It was also published by Oxford... The leather cover was black and I really liked the brown cover better, but it was a great Bible and I was excited.

 After I checked it further,  I realized that the pages were EXACTLY the same! Page 897 has the start of Ezekiel 43 in BOTH Bibles... and the words are in the same place on the page as in my old Bible.  What fun to discover this! :)

After buying this Bible, I started reading through it and used a blue highlighter that year... the next year, I used a green highlighter... and yellow fits in there too.

 The "new" Bible was not a red letter edition, but I found that I liked the all black letters as well... or maybe even better.

As I marked up my "new" Bible, I drew closer to the Lord and found that I was discovering things in a new way as I started with an unmarked Bible.
 Now, I have used my "new" Bible for a few years... not sure how many - maybe 4 or so... and it is wearing a bit - of course, it was already about 30 years old when I bought it! :)

I have been very happy with it...

Once in a while, though, I pull out my old Bible and read it... and what a joy to see again the notes showing what God was teaching me at the time.
Both Bibles are kept and used... and I found a nice Bible for sale at a library book sale... and I bought it. I have learned what a treasure old Bibles are... I don't mean for collecting purposes... I mean for using. So, I am saving the one that I bought... it is the one I plan to use when this one wears out.

We had given our children new Bibles at various times... now we look for older Bibles at book sales and garage sales and give them a better quality bound one, which should last for many years. I don't find the good older copies often, but I DO find them... so many people just don't treasure the Bible... or use it.  I found one beautiful copy at a garage sale and it was from the estate of a woman who had simply displayed it on a shelf... and it was in almost perfect condition....for $2.00. They are out there, but it will take work to find them... it is a treasure hunt. :)

By the way, I know many are now using electronic "Bibles"... and that is okay, but for me, I want a hard copy of God's Word... and I want to "hide it" in my heart. Our Bibles are meant to be used... not just to sit on a shelf and collect dust. We are so blessed to have more than one copy of God's Word in our homes.... and there are those, even in authority, who would like to take that privilege away from us...  we need to use the Bible and get to know it daily, and if the Bible is ever outlawed here as it has been in other countries, what is hidden in our hearts can never be taken away from us.

Thank you for visiting today... I hope you have a good day... and that you enjoy fellowship with God today. :)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Tea In The Garden...

We wanted to have tea in the garden... it was a lovely morning, quiet and peaceful, with a perfect temperature and the sun felt so nice. Tea in the garden sounded like a great idea. My daughter and I went out to the deck in the backyard. The deck overlooks the gardens and is near the pine trees... it is a beautiful setting even though it is in the city.

 The thing I had forgotten; however, is that we are in the process of getting ready to paint the deck.... and the deck furniture is all out in the yard. There was no chair or bench or table to use....

It was a very short time, but the sun was wonderful to feel and the temperature was about 71 degrees - just beautiful. We were going to just drink a cup of tea in the kitchen, but we were drawn to the backyard.
 Thankfully, the garden still has many beauties growing, so we walked about, carrying our tea...
 The Alstroemeria is blooming again and is so pretty. This was a gift for me from my husband earlier this year... and it has settled in nicely now.
 We had tried to use the deck table, which was out under the pines, but there were no seats and as you can see by the level of the tea in the cup, the table wasn't level either.

 Still, it was a beautiful morning to be out in the garden, so we did a "walking tea party".  Hmmm, a bit different from the norm, but it worked.

After walking and looking at some of the garden, we settled on sitting on the deck step to finish our tea.  My daughter has been sick and we stayed home from church, as we had a short outing the day before and didn't want to overdo things for her.  This little bit of time outside helped... and then we went in and she was able to rest in bed. Sometimes the early morning freshness is just so helpful. For those of you praying for her/us, thank you... she is doing SO much better.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Haircuts For the Girls...

My girls both wanted to have their hair cut.... it was getting long and harder to manage... we all love long hair and do not plan to have short hair, but once in a while, it is fun to have a haircut... and it makes it easier to handle.

Both of them have beautiful hair... and they wear it in beautiful ways. This daughter's hair is fine and thin... the waves are only because she had had it braided or curled - it really doesn't hold a curl well, and she would like it to. She has learned to work with it though and she puts it in so many attractive styles.  :)  Her hair had become very thin at the ends and dry and it really needed some help. It sure looks beautiful here in this picture, though! :)

I am not a professional hair stylist, by ANY means. My only training has been in the actual trial and error. I started by giving my brothers haircuts when I was about 14 years old or so... and have always cut the hair of my husband and children, so I have had a LOT of practice. :)  I go to get my hair cut and I watch to glean ideas and hints.

I cut a total of about 7" off ... and did some layering... then did a face framing for the front.... I just learned that part on my last haircut. :)

She LOVES it... and it is much easier to care for...and she can enjoy leaving it down more now.
 This daughter has very thick and full hair. When pulled back, her ponytail is about 3 times the diameter of her sister's. She has a LOT of hair and it is very pretty. She doesn't do as many things with her hair as her sister, but is learning more and more. It was long and had become hard to deal with because of how thick it is.... it would snarl sometimes or would just take so long to brush out nicely. She had also stopped wearing it down much because of this. She wanted it cut because she had come to dread brushing it or putting it up.

 I took about 6" off of her hair, and tapered it a bit, not much. I also did a modified face framing for her.
 She loves it and it really is cute on her...

Both girls can still pull their hair back, they can still braid it or wear it down.  Both found it odd to brush their hair and come to the end of their hair so quickly after it was cut.... 6 and 7 inches is quite a difference.

Here is the hair that I cut off from both girls... it was a lot. :)

When we set things up in the entryway to cut hair, my husband said, "You're going to cut their hair???!!!  NOOOO!!! I LOVE their long hair." Now, actually, he was not forbidding this at all, but just had some trouble letting the hair go. :) 

He liked their haircuts and was glad their hair is still long, but it was a bit painful for him to see it go. The hair continues to grow.... we don't cut it often and this was a more drastic cut than usual, but it was a help to them.

Sad to see that beautiful hair go, but the difference has been good for both of my girls. I know I enjoy a fresh cut to my hair... it can lift my spirits a bit and make it easier to fix.
It can also sometimes be hard to get used to. This time, they both just loved it.

The boys are asking again WHEN I will be cutting their hair... it wasn't that long ago... but the time is getting close again. It is nice to have their hair stay nice and neat and trimmed, so I will probably be doing theirs pretty soon also.

Thank you for stopping by... it was so nice to have you visit and I hope you have a wonderful day. :)

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

This is my Basic Homemade Bread Recipe.... I have said I would post it and now I am, but I am so sorry that it has taken me so long.....  Anyway, here it is now. This is my basic recipe... I change this recipe to make all kinds of breads... regular bread, Cinnamon Raisin, Potato, Maple Vanilla, Herb, White Cheddar/Rosemary, Apple Bread, and more. I use this to make pizza crust, calzones, cinnamon rolls, sub sandwich bread and more.  I love having a basic recipe that is so easy to adapt.

 The bread has raised... it is ready to shape into loaves...
 Sometimes, I don't get to it quickly enough... and it keeps raising.... :)
 Here is the assortment of bread I made from one bread making time.
There are 2 regular loaves of bread - one is quite small, also 4 loaves of sub sandwich bread (hoagie bread) and a braided loaf experiment, just for fun. :)

By the way, this is an extra large batch of bread.... the recipe below would need to be doubled to do this much.
 After shaping the loaves, I put butter all over all but the regular loaves. I have done it on the regular loaves of bread before, BUT have found that it is a fire hazard. :(  The bread raised up high enough that the butter melted off the side... thankfully we caught it before a fire.... so now we don't do it on regular loaves of bread. If you like, you can put butter on the hot bread when it comes out of the oven. I don't do that, but it would be good. :)
 Sub sandwich bread....  you can see my post on making sub sandwiches here.....
Homemade Sub Sandwiches

When the bread comes out of the oven, cool on racks - cover with a cloth while cooling to prevent bread from drying out.

It is easy to make breadsticks from the same recipe..... see how to do it here:

Homemade Breadsticks With Herbed Butter


                        Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

3 pkgs yeast (3 Tablespoons)
10-14 cups flour 
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees)

I use an Electrolux mixer and I put the 10 cups of flour, yeast, salt in the bowl and stir with a spoon. Then add the butter and water (If you want to add other ingredients to make special breads, do it here.) and turn the mixer on.... mixing with the dough hook and adding more flour until dough isn't too sticky (the amount varies depending on many things and you get used to how much flour you like).... then knead it in the mixer for about 2-4 more minutes. 

Let rise in the bowl. After it rises, shape into loaves and put into greased loaf pans. Let rise again. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans right away and cool on wire racks... cover the bread with a dish towel while cooling, to hold in moisture. Enjoy.       Note: hot bread with butter tastes great - and hot bread with butter and jam tastes even better!!! :) 
Makes 4 loaves. 

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Mom, Will You Snuggle With Me?

Mom, will you snuggle with me? We have had sickness in our home (for several weeks) and recently my youngest has been pretty sick.... and she has been asking me often, "Will you snuggle with me?"  What can I say to that? Do I remind her that I am sick also and so very tired? Do I tell her that I am behind on blog work?... that I have schoolwork to grade?.... that I need to make nutritious meals?... get vitamins out... research remedies.... spend time with other sick kids.... the house is a mess?  Do I remind her that we have had sick people here for weeks and I am tired and weary?... that I have Adrenal issues and need to rest and am not getting it because of all that is going on, and that I haven't slept much at night because of coughing for hours?  Of course not!!!!  What do I do?  I snuggle my precious sick daughter.... and I thank God I can do that.... and that she wants me to. What a blessing.

I am also thankful that the fever is not high anymore and the low grade fevers are also almost gone... I am thankful that she teased her brother a tiny bit yesterday even though she still wasn't feeling well.... it was such an improvement over her staying silent on the sofa.  I am thankful that not everyone has been sick at same time (although sometimes it seems it would be better to get it over with all at once! :)   I am thankful that I am awake today and can even think again instead of frantically researching, trying, praying.....   I am thankful that my coughing is less painful.... and that the others in the family who are still coughing, are getting better and having a bit more energy.

We still have lots of cups and glasses sitting around, there are still lots of dishes on the counter, we still hear lots of coughing from some family members, the laundry is still backed up, we are not totally well, BUT there is great improvement and I am so thankful. The coughing has lessened enough that it isn't constant.... I hadn't realized what a blessing it is to hear quiet rather than constant coughing.  My daughter is starting to ask for food... after so many days of not eating, she is getting hungry... so far, she has only had liquids, although I just gave her a tiny bit (like a teaspoon) of yogurt. I am thankful that she isn't needing to keep the dishpan handy for an upset stomach. (This is a dishpan we use for sickness or cleaning... not for dishes.) It has been her constant companion for a while. We are all getting better.... what a blessing.

I have SO much to do.... and I will get to it.... sometime. For right now.... my daughter wants me to go and snuggle with her, so that is what I am going to do.  :)  Thank you for visiting.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Castoff Becomes Shabby Chic Cabinet

One day, we saw an old cabinet thrown out beside the road.... a castaway put out for trash.  One door was totally off and broken so much that it was completely unusable. The back panels were loose or off. It was not in good shape. Since we really needed a cabinet at the time, and had no money for one, my husband consented to go to pick it up with our boys.

My husband was reluctant and was sure I wouldn't be able to do anything with it.... like I said, it was in pretty rough condition.  I regret that I don't have any pictures of it when we first brought it home.

I am quite creative and not afraid to take on a difficult project, but I was a bit overwhelmed with this one. The door (the left one as you are facing the cabinet), was in several pieces and we weren't even sure that all of the pieces were there.

A glue gun is such a wonderful invention, so I got that out... and a lot of long glue sticks.... also some paints and fabric.

First, we tried to piece the door together - one of my sons helped me with the project - he was probably about 12 or so at the time. After some trial and error, we realized that all of the major pieces of the door were there, BUT there would be areas where the damage was so big, that it would be pretty ugly, but we just put it together the best we could. The damage was ugly... Hmmm, what to do.....

I finally figured out that a cutout of the fabric would cover most of the damage, if I did it just right. So The bottom fabric section on the left door, covers some broken wood... and a LOT of hot glue. Then I made matching pieces for the other side....

The people who owned it before me, had apparently whitewashed it a bit... and then stenciled bright purple flowers.... and bright green leaves.... it was way too bright and gaudy for me.

  I experimented and finally used some white stencil paint to paint over the stencils a couple of times.... and was able to tone down the bright purple and green.

 The doors had purple and white gingham fabric that was faded and discolored, so after ripping it out, I replaced it with some floral upholstery fabric. I used hot glue to hold it in place and gathered it as I went.

I really loved the curve of the top of the cabinet... and of the doors... and felt this cabinet was worth trying to save.
 Here you can see one of the cracks in the door.... there were many. Some of the cracks were so bad and there was so much wood missing, that I filled it with wood skewers and filled in hot glue around them to hold it all together. My son and I laughed about all of the glue we put on/in that door. I don't know how many of those long glue sticks I used, but it was a lot of them. :)

You can also see some of the stencil that I toned down w/ white paint.
 The one crack came all the way from the top and went down the door... you can see a bit of it here.  The flower medallion is there to help hide the damage....
The back of the cabinet was off in places and that had to be nailed and screwed into place, which also helped to stabilize the cabinet.

 The inside didn't have shelves when we got it, so my husband cut a couple and later on we added another.

This cabinet was my sewing, craft, and more cabinet for years... and it was packed. It held a lot of stuff.... and made it look pretty. :) It was a "Shabby Chic" style, which fit well in our home.

By the way, one day I sold an item on Craigslist and listed it as "Shabby Chic". When a lady called about it, he asked her if she was interested in the Shabby Chick item. She laughed and laughed... and we all enjoyed the humor of it and my husband and I still laugh about it.... it was a new term for him at that time.  :)
 The amount of money I had to put out to repair/rebuild/re-do this cabinet was.............. zero!  I had the fabric, lots of glue sticks and paint already on hand. The wood for the shelves was from plywood we had saved in the garage, in case we needed it.
This project turned out so nicely.... and we were pleased with it... and even my husband liked to show it off when we had company.

The funny thing is that the fabric I used to cover up the problems... to hide the damage.... became a major part of the appeal of this cabinet.  The cabinet would not be nearly as nice without the fun design on it..... and it was only there because it needed to cover something up. The original plan for the cabinet worked for the people who had it before us, but needing to repair the damage led to a real beauty being allowed to shine from this cabinet. Also, the extremely damaged door became strong in the repair and worked well.

I am reminded that God does that with our lives... we have damage.... we need to be repaired.... we have been cast off by others, yet God sees a way to make us into something special.... and His plan is perfect. He can turn what would have been "ugly" into something beautiful... and we can trust Him... the question is.... will we?  His plan will lead to beauty in a life that we could never plan out by ourselves. He can work in our lives to create beauty.... and even strength.

"But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. " Job 23:10

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