Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Two new barley bags

A family member's request for a new barley bag resulted in me making two new ones.  They came out well and I love the prints that I had on hand to use.   I most often use plaids, but this time I had prints so decided to use them as they were for girls.

Even though I've made many barley bags (nearly all for family) and have shared about them here at my kitchen table before, I must note that my post How to Make Barley Hot Packs, first posted in 2008, continues to be one of the most-read posts on the blog.  So I guess people are still interested in making them!

If you have never made a barley (or rice, or flax) bag, they are very simple to make and make nice gifts.  They are exceedingly helpful for aches and pains, cramps, labor, or just warming up on a cold winter night.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Progress on the December sampler


Just a quick update to show my progress!  Haven't had much time yet in September to work on this, but made quite a bit of progress in August.  Still hoping to finish by December ... The lettering is all cross stitch and is very quick and easy.  In the upper right corner there will be a little vignette of a fireplace, as well.  There's only a tiny amount of backstitching involved in this sampler, so that will be simple and quick too.

Monday, September 01, 2014

September Goals

This lovely graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.
Time to set goals for a new month!  Here are some of my September goals:

SEPTEMBER GOALS:
* Read through the September portion of the One-Year Devotional Bible.
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  -- I've already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering the questions
*  Read 4 chapters in The Power of a Godly Grandparent
* Continue to implement some of the ideas from the above book
* Finish re-reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
* Begin to implement some of the ideas and strategies from the above book
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Keep up with my Sunday School study -- The Heart of a Woman Who Prays
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times.
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night.
* Limit sugar.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week.
* Go to a ladies' retreat
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently
* Spend several hours updating my A-store.
* Do research for setting up an Etsy shop (I've already joined Etsy)
* Make at least a dozen items for sale at craft fairs.
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family.
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal
* Make gift tags from last year's Christmas cards.
* Make 2 barley bag hot packs
* Order materials for grandkids' homemade Christmas gifts
* Plan and complete several handcrafted gifts for September and November birthdays.
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad
* Sort out and declutter my dad's basement
* Have friends over for a meal

SEPTEMBER'S HEALTHY HABIT:  Nurture creativity

WORD FOR 2014: BALANCE

And now let's review and see how August went:
AUGUST  GOALS:
* Read through the August portion of the One-Year Devotional Bible  -- DONE!
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  -- I've already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering the questions -- not done, although I'm still working on it
*  Read 4 chapters in The Power of a Godly Grandparent  -- not done
* Continue to implement some of the ideas from the above book -- not done
* Finish re-reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode -- not done
* Begin to implement some of the ideas and strategies from the above book -- not done
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- just reviewed older ones; haven't learned the new ones I planned to, sadly.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- DONE!
* Keep up with my Sunday School study -- The Heart of a Woman Who Prays -- DONE!
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times  -- think I managed about 10 or 12 times
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night  -- not done
* Limit sugar -- not done
* Drink enough water each day -- not done
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done, though I have given it a good try
* Take an overnight getaway with my husband -- DONE!
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible -- DONE! (although it wasn't as often as I'd have liked)
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently -- not done
* Spend several hours updating my A-store -- not done
* Do research for setting up an Etsy shop (I've already joined Etsy) -- not done
* Make at least a dozen items for sale at craft fairs -- not done; I'm afraid it's not happening this year!
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Get together with old friends visiting from out of state -- DONE! (Managed this with two sets of friends!)
* Hopefully purchase a new computer -- DONE!
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- DONE!
* Make gift tags from last year's Christmas cards. -- not done
* Plan and complete several handcrafted gifts for August-September birthdays -- not done
* Sort out and declutter my dad's basement -- still working on this
* Get my eyes tested -- DONE!

As you can see, life has taken a very busy turn for me.  Only the Lord knows what September will bring, but I do know He would have me to take the important step of setting goals and that He will help me to accomplish that which is truly needful.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lovely leaves

The New Hampshire Troubadour, September 1950
No, of course it's not really foliage season up here yet.  We did see some colored leaves in the White Mountains last weekend, but only here and there in swampy areas.  The real foliage season is a month or so away. 

However, there are some lovely leaves here and there, and I found a couple of really different ones recently.

Here is a pretty poplar leaf I found at the beach on Tuesday.  I love the variety of colors!

See all the colors?  Brown, yellow, orange, red, green  -- all in one leaf!  If you look closely near the outer top edge, you can even see some bluish-lavender spots!
And I found this oak leaf yesterday, at the end of my own driveway.  It's so unusual ... almost looks handcrafted.  Which, in a sense, it is!
Isn't this unusual?  I love the faded, transparent-looking red and then the colored leaf tips -- some dark red and then the one bronzy greenish-brown. 
More, and prettier leaves, are sure to follow, but for now these harbingers of the season will whet my appetite for fall.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A finished vintage project


The cloth, folded.  The somewhat busy background is my little glass-topped crafting desk with some fall cards already in place under the glass.
 My crafting this summer has been sporadic and simple.  This little project is particularly simple, but I did enjoy working on it.

I've mentioned before how I've been cleaning out some of the storage areas at my dad's house.  Well, in the linen closet I came upon this homespun-type square cloth.  I think it was supposed to be a dishcloth -- I think I remember my mother possibly using something similar.  I did use it for a dishcloth for a few days before deciding it deserved a better fate than that.

It occurred to me that it might make a nice cloth to go under a centerpiece, sort of the way one would use a doily.  I decided to add a crocheted edging.  For a starting point on my edging, I used this tutorial: Sweet Crocheted Wash Cloth Edging from Linda at Prairie Flower Farm.  I used some lustrous ivory-colored perle cotton from a long-ago stash of my mother's.  (She didn't crochet, but years ago she had me make some crocheted trim for several dresses she sewed for herself.  I didn't realize just how much perle cotton she had stashed away until I found this!)  For a crochet hook, I needed something smallish but was in a huge hurry -- we were leaving for an overnight getaway -- and couldn't find my larger steel hooks.  So I used a hook of my great-grandmother's, which looks like ivory but I think is actually celluloid, so worn I can't read the size.  It worked fine with the perle cotton and made me feel very much as if I was carrying on a needleworking tradition.
Of course the cloth really looks nicer under a larger item.  But for a quick photo, I used this sweet green alabaster box that a dear friend gave me.
I was pleased with the finished project.  It goes well in my kitchen and dining area and I can see myself using it often -- even as part of Christmas decor.  It's currently on my kitchen island under a basket of apples!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Heavenly Filled Strawberries

Photo from Taste of Home
 Yes, I know.  Mid-to-late August is not really strawberry season.  But strawberries were on sale for $1.77 a box at our local supermarket this past week, so a strawberry dessert was indicated for Sunday's church potluck.  (Some of us joke that you can always tell what's on sale that week by what we bring to the potluck!)

Browsing a back issue of Country Woman magazine, I had come across this recipe for Heavenly Filled Strawberries.  So when I saw strawberries in the sale flyer for $1.77, I knew what I would make with them.  The berries have crosswise slits cut in the tips and are then filled with a simple cream cheese mixture -- I used 8 ounces cream cheese [the recipe calls for 11 ounces], a half cup of powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  I would have liked to pipe the mixture into the berries but didn't have an icing bag.  I did the trick of putting the filling into a zip-top plastic bag and cutting off a corner, and filling the strawberries that way.  Also, I substituted chocolate sprinkles for the grated chocolate.  It looked very bit as nice and was easier and cheaper. 

These looked very impressive arranged on a square plate and they went over very well at the potluck dessert table.  If you happen to find a good price on strawberries and need a dessert for a summer event, I highly recommend these!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pineapple Coconut Molded Salad


Photo from Taste of Home
Although I don't make them often,  every now and then it's sort of fun to make a nice molded salad.  This one, Pineapple and Coconut Molded Salad, which I made for our potluck lunch at church a few weeks ago, was different and delicious.   I found the recipe in an older issue of Country Woman magazine, where it was a winner in a contest for gelatin recipes.  Made with unflavored gelatin so the nice flavors of pineapple and coconut are really showcased, it was a hit.


I served this as a dessert and filled the center with a mixture of pineapple tidbits and mango cubes to add more color and tropical flavor.  If you also enjoy making a nice molded salad from time to time, this is a nice summery one to try!