Monday, February 29, 2016

More tea time table runners -- part 2

One of the prettier table runners
Last week, I shared pictures of a table runner I had made using children's vintage hankies.  It was a prototype for two more runners I wanted to make for my daughters.  Today (and this is a bit of a repost from 2012) I'm sharing photos of those prettier table runners.  First, the backstory:

Some years ago, my mother gave me a bag of vintage handkerchiefs.  Some had been mine as a child, some had been hers, and I think some are even older than that.  She had kept them in a fabric bag in a dresser drawer all those years.  I just don't believe in doing that with heirlooms -- stashing them away so that no one, not even the person who stashed them there,  ever sees them or enjoys them.   I had always wanted to put these hankies to some good use, and had actually planned to make them into a quilt. 

I was so determined to do this that I had found a free pattern I wanted to use and had even bought the fabric for the quilt.  I had even tried sewing several of the vintage hankies into the center of the quilt blocks.   But as much as I wanted to make the quilt, I just couldn't get enthused about the project or get off the ground with it.  I don't know if other people ever feel this way about projects, but sometimes I do.  It just wasn't looking as nice as I'd hoped, and -- truth be told -- was somewhat of a boring project.  (I hope my grandchildren never read this, as they are not allowed to use the "B" word at my house.)  So for awhile it just languished in a heap of UFOs and fabric. 

Then one year, I came up with the idea to use some of the hankies to make a table runner instead.  I wanted to make more of these for gifts, so I decided to use the kids' hankies that had been mine as a child in blocks for a sample table runner and see how it all worked out.  I decided to use the hankies as "doilies" or "napkins" under various tea-themed items such as teapots, teacups, etc. which I would applique out of coordinating fabric.  Well!  It took quite awhile, and some time on the part of several craft forum friends, to find enough motifs to use for the tea-themed items, but in the end, I ended up with more than enough ideas.  This was way more interesting than the quilt I had planned!

I made the runner for myself that summer of 2011,  and it turned out quite well even using the cartoon-themed hankies and the brighter colors.  It was a fun summer project.  (That would be  the runner that I showed pictures of last week for the link parties I joined in on.)

I planned to make two more tea-themed runners, one for each of my daughters, for Christmas that year.  The hankies for theirs are some of the prettier floral designs, plus others.   I managed to get one runner done in time for Christmas, and finished the second one in mid-January of 2012. These runners were the ones I'm showing here today...
One half of the runner
The other half of the runner
Now, for a closer look at the individual squares and their motifs and the hankies I used.
A pink teacup with blue saucer.  Love this pretty hankie!
A pink-frosted cupcake.  This is an unusual hankie.
A stack of teacups and a pretty paisley hankie
A rose-colored teakettle on an unusual hankie
Pretty aqua teapot on another paisley hankie
Teapot and teacup on a blue & white hankie
Hope you have enjoyed this look at more of my tea-themed table runners!  I am so happy to have found a use for those vintage hankies so they can be seen and admired.  And there are still more of them left for other fun projects.  In a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book I saw a wonderful idea for Hankie Blankies -- sort of throw-sized quilts made from vintage hankies -- and I hope to eventually make some of those for my granddaughters. 

I'm linking today with Sandi's No Place Like Home and Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party, as well as Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration.    Also linking with Share Your Cup Thursday and Vintage Charm.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Recipe reviews!

Blank printable recipe card from Graphic Garden
Last weekend I made two new recipes and combined them into one dessert.  It turned out fantastic!  I had seen Sandi's recipe for Banana Split Cake and wanted to try it for our church potluck.

 I did adapt the recipe just a tiny bit to make it a little lighter, but didn't change much.  The crust part called for 3/4 cup butter, and I tried cutting it to 1/2 cup, but that was not quite enough.  So I melted 2 more tablespoons and added them in.

And I did cut the amount of butter in half for the filling, and used 2 eggs (it called for 1 or 2) to make up for any difference.  It worked out just fine to use 1/2 cup butter; still tasted plenty rich.  (Some people have questioned the use of uncooked eggs in this dessert.  Sandi has had no problems with their use, so I went ahead and used them.  I do use good-quality eggs and felt it would probably be fine.   And it was.)

I only used 2 bananas because I only had two, and I tossed the slices with lemon juice rather than simply sprinkling it over.  My cake was going to be chilled overnight and I didn't want to take any chances with the bananas getting brown.

Photo by Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage
The only other change I made was with the topping. The recipe calls for cherry pie filling, and Sandi also suggested sliced strawberries as an alternative.  But I had bags of frozen strawberries in the freezer from our strawberry-picking this summer and wanted to use them.  So I went looking for a  homemade strawberry pie filling recipe.  This Homemade Strawberry Pie Filling from Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life worked admirably.
Photo by Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life
Jocelyn's recipe calls for fresh strawberries, but mine were frozen.  So I thawed them enough so that they were sliceable.  Then I sliced up five cups' worth and used them in the recipe as directed.  When the filling was cooked, I cooled it completely at room temperature.  I then scraped the filling into a container and chilled it overnight to add to the dessert the next morning.

I assembled the dessert all the way through adding the banana layer and then the pineapple layer and then refrigerated it overnight. In the morning, I added cool whip and then the strawberry filling layer.

The dessert turned out perfectly and got great reviews from our potluck crowd and especially from my hubby.  The strawberry pie filling would work wonderfully in many other desserts, and if you visit Jocelyn's blog, you will be sure to find more great ideas for its use.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sometimes the simplest projects ...

... make a world of difference!  The above project may not look like much to you, and I admit it is pretty simple.  But it has sure made a difference in the way the top of my dresser looks.

My earring storage (for lack of a better word) has been bugging me for awhile now.  What I had was a nearly flat wooden container of sorts made from a piece of scrap wood and popsicle sticks, glued together by my then-7-year-old son many, many years ago.  He designed it with four compartments to hold earrings.  I have used it all these years even though he has told me numerous times to just throw it away.  I finally agree: sentiment can be carried too far. 

I kept my more seasonal earrings in a jewelry box and the ones I wear most often on this little wooden tray.  It's nearly impossible to keep it free of dust.  It was never designed to be a long-term earring organizer, but honestly, I am not one to shop for such an item.  This was working okay and I didn't have time to hunt for one.

One day, either on Pinterest or a blog, I forget which, I saw a nifty earring organizer made from plastic canvas in a picture frame.  I pinned it and forgot about it.  A couple of weeks ago I remembered it again,  and did find my pin.  I thought that I had both a picture frame and a piece of  plastic canvas on hand, but didn't have time to do anything about it right then. 

Yesterday I was dusting in the bedroom and just became really disgusted with that heap of dusty earrings.  I hunted up my picture frame, but couldn't find a whole piece of plastic canvas.  So, rather than give up on the whole project, I decided to improvise and just use the partial piece of canvas that I did have, without a frame, and see how that worked.

You can see that it worked admirably. 

When all of the earrings were in place, I needed a quick hanger.  I grabbed a piece of green satin ribbon that happened to be on my crafting desk, slipped it through a hole in the canvas, tied a knot and push-pinned it to the wall.  Easy!

And later that day when I walked into the bedroom, I could not believe the difference it made to have that earring clutter gone from the dresser.  Things looked so neat!  It honestly made a difference to the entire room. 

Yes, I admit I am easily amused.  Not to mention frugal.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Table runners with a tea theme

This is pretty much a repost of a "teatime table runner" I made from vintage hankies a few years back.  I have quite a collection of vintage hankies, and had thought I might make a quilt with them.  I decided to scale back and make a table runner instead.  I used a white-on-white print for the backing, then cut the hankies in half and hand-sewed them on to look like a folded napkin or doily.  Then I found or tweaked applique patterns of tea-themed items and placed one or several items on each "napkin or doily".   For this prototype project (I intended to make two more for gifts) I chose to use some children's cartoon-type hankies that had been mine as a child.  This meant that my appliques had to be in rather bright, crayon-type colors to complement the hankies.
One half of the runner
The second half of the runner
A teapot and teacup motif on a 3 Little Kittens hankie ~ I found inspiration for this motif on a child's vintage metal tea set.
A simple cup and saucer motif on a Donald Duck hankie
A cupcake on a small plate motif atop the second half of the Donald Duck hankie.  The cherry on the cupcake is a button.
A stack-of-teacups motif on a Daisy Duck hankie ~ I found inspiration for this motif on a greeting card.
A steaming-teakettle motif  on a Daisy Duck hankie
A simple teapot motif on the 3 Little Kittens hankie ~ the knob on top is a  button!
Hope you have enjoyed this look at my teatime table runner!  It was encouraging to me that I could figure out a project on my own like this and have it come out quite nice.  I know some people would frown on cutting up vintage hankies, but I found this a nice way to display and use them, especially these with the juvenile motifs that are not quite as pretty as the usual vintage hankies one sees.

I did go on to make two more of these runners, using some of the prettier hankies in my collection.  I gave them to my daughters as gifts, and was thankful I had taken the time to learn how best to put the runners together, since I was sort of making this project up as I went along.  Maybe another time I can share photos of those runners.

I'm linking up today with Sandi's No Place Like Home and with Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party, along with Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration and A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson's Share Your Cup Thursday.  Also linking today with Vintage Charm.
Be sure and visit these lovely blogs and then visit some of the posts that have been linked up there.  You'll find much to inspire you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Photo from Pixabay
Over the years, I've thought back many times to my Ancient History class from 9th grade.  And now, it really is ancient history!  The old building where I attended high school was woefully inadequate in many ways,  but it definitely had character.   Every classroom, as far as I know, had what was called a teachers' closet, where reference books, folders of worksheets, and much, much more resided.  Mrs. Potter's closet was literally overflowing.  When she opened the door to retrieve something needed during a lesson, items threatened to topple off the shelves and out the closet door.  Her desk top and desk drawers seemed much the same, but it was the closet that really stayed in my memory.

I was fourteen and not given to deep thinking.  But as the school year went by, I came to see Mrs. Potter's overflowing closet as analogous to her overflowing brain and cluttered memory.  Most of the time in that class it was just facts, facts, facts.  But at least once or twice a lesson, some fascinating historical tidbit would slip out and overflow into what she was teaching.  She had a soft, light voice and taught in a lecture format, with very little class discussion.  So it was easy to be lulled into sleepiness or daydreaming.  But then one would miss the good stuff!

I thought about that class again this morning.  In front of the chair where I most often have my quiet time, a footstool resides.  I don't think I have ever put my feet on it, but it tends to become a repository for my lap desk and current projects.  Last night I was tired and didn't take the time to put everything away that I might have.  So when I came to my chair in the early morning, this is what I saw:
Sorry for the photo quality.  Still dark outside and I took the photo with my Kindle.  But you get the picture!
Yes.  An overflowing footstool.  And as I looked at this pile of stuff, it occurred to me this is a good picture of my life right now.

Needlework project thumped on top right where I left it last night.  (This is destined to be a hot mat for my gift stash.)  You can tell I didn't work on this until the end of the day.

At the right, my grocery list waits to be filled in.

In the middle, the paper with the colorful striped edge is ten resolutions for caregivers.  Need to review that one often.

Under that, toward the bottom of the picture, with a small checkerboard edge showing,  is my weekly schedule.  Couldn't function without this comprehensive picture of my week.

To the left, my as-yet empty to-do list for the day.  This would be filled in as soon as I finish my Bible reading, study, and prayer time.

Under that, you can just see a list with a bit of blue showing at the top center of the photo.  That's my ongoing to-do list of tasks that need to be completed.

My Bible, notebook and prayer journal were waiting on a shelf to the side and of course I turned to them first.  Then I put away the needlework as I should have done last night.

So yes, a full-to-overflowing footstool.  And a full-to-overflowing plate.  But, just like staying awake in Mrs. Potter's history class was rewarded with an interesting historical nugget from time to time,  I know if I keep my priorities right and my eyes open, there will be blessings that overflow in the extreme busyness of life.  So I'm planning to pay attention.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Prize-winning peanut butter dessert!

As my regular readers know, we have a potluck lunch every Sunday at church.  Our schedule goes like this: 9:45 -- Sunday School; 11:00 -- morning worship service; 12:15 or thereabouts -- potluck lunch; 1:30 -- afternoon service.  With yesterday being Valentine's Day, we cooked up a men's dessert contest.  The ladies -- or anyone, actually, who hadn't made a dessert for the contest -- got to be the judges.  My friend, Chris, made up judging sheets for the judges to use and labeled each dessert with a number, rather than the baker's name, to make it fair.  I believe the categories were Best Tasting, Most Original, Best Presentation, and Most Romantic.

I am happy to share the exciting news that my dear hubby, Mr. T, won the "Best Tasting" category in the contest with his frozen peanut butter dessert.  Even more exciting, I am going to share the recipe with all of you!


12 ice cream sandwiches
 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (Mr. T used the lower-fat Neufchatel)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar
16 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed (divided use)
Toppings and sprinkles of choice

In a medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and the peanut butter with an electric beater.  Add the milk gradually, then beat in the powdered sugar.  Fold in 8 ounces of the whipped topping (approximately half of the container) and whip thoroughly. 

Place the ice cream sandwiches in the bottom of a 13X9-inch pan, cutting and trimming them to fit the pan.  (Mr. T used a foil pan.)  Spread the peanut butter mixture over the ice cream sandwiches in the pan.  Freeze for 15-20 minutes, then spread the remaining whipped topping over the peanut butter layer.

Top with whatever you like for sprinkles and toppings.  Mr. T drew a heart shape with chocolate syrup and sprinkled Valentine sprinkles in the center of the heart.  He then added a different variety of Valentine sprinkles over the rest of the whipped topping.

But you could use caramel syrup, toffee bits, chocolate sprinkles, chopped peanut butter cups or anything else you like.

Have fun with this recipe!

I am sharing today with Sandi's No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage,  Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party,  Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration, and Share Your Cup Thursday.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

This lovely image is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.
Mr. T and I would like to wish all of my readers and friends a very happy Valentine's Day!

A couple of days ago as I was praying, I came to the page in my prayer journal titled, "God, You are Love."  I thought the Scriptures and thoughts I have listed on that page would be perfect to share with all of you today.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  (John 3:16)

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."  (Jeremiah 31:3)

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love: and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."  (1 John 4:16)

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."  (1 John 4:10)

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God."  (1 John 3:1)

God is love, and He has loved us with an everlasting love.  That is why He sent His Son to die for us.

"As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you:  continue ye in My love."  (John 15:9)

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  (John 15:13)

"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."  (Ephesians 3:19)

The precious words from a hymn come to mind: 

"O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!"

~ S. Trevor Francis

This Valentine's Day, may you know the deep, deep love of Jesus in a very real way!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A few of my vintage Valentines

Today I thought I would just take a minute to share a few of my vintage Valentine cards with all of you.  Many of these may have been shared before, but new readers visit all the time and so I will take the liberty of posting these Valentines again.
This candy box is so sweet!
Cute kids' valentine
This puppy makes a fun Valentine gift!
A friendly farm boy
Playing dress-up
More kids playing dress-up.  I love the cowgirl's boots!

Vintage Valentine from a dear friend
This is a favorite from my collection.  The heart is flocked and glittery both.
 Hope you've enjoyed seeing  these fun vintage treasures!  I am linking up today with the following parties:  No Place Like Home, Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party, Roses of InspirationShare Your Cup Thursday, and Vintage Charm.  Many lovely links have been shared at these parties, so go and visit!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Simple Valentine decor

A Valentine-y hutch shelf, just simple with the same old ironstone and silver plus a card by Mrs. Smith and a plate of "cookies" to make it more festive.
Today I'll show just a few photos (well, maybe more than a few) of my simple decorating for Valentine's Day.  Even though it's a day longer this year, February is still a short month and so this decor will stay up for the month.
Very simple dining room table centerpiece
A closer (though blurry) look at the felt heart made by my friend J.
My granddaughter and I made these heart-trimmed book page banners a few years ago; there's one for each of the three dining room windows.
I made this "Love" banner many years ago and it's only paper but is still holding up.  Don't mind the clutter in the corner cupboard shelf behind it!
Some felt Valentine cookies in an antique dish
Framed Tasha Tudor calendar art in the front hallway
This year's February ribbon board
A keepsake from years ago.  My hubby and I were off on a nursing home ministry, something we did weekly and had to skip supper to do.  Our youngest daughter, a high school student at the time, fixed a Valentine supper for us to come back to!
A tag I made a few years back to commemorate the same daughter's skating afternoon with her grampa (who was 75 at the time!)
Reverse side of the tag.  I'd hoped to make a tag for every month as I was so enjoying it, but life has become so busy!
Hope you've enjoyed these simple ideas.  I'm linking up today with Sandi's No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage, and with Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party.  Also linking with these parties: Roses of Inspiration and Share Your Cup Thursday.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Trivial pursuits

An unexpected snowstorm this morning has given me more time at home than I thought I'd have today.  Do you ever find that when you're given an unexpected gift of time, you have trouble figuring out to do with it?  I finished my quiet time early with the intent of heading out to do the grocery shopping.  As it became light out, however, I realized it was snowing quite steadily.

I've been puttering ever since at various tasks, the most important of which would be my Sunday School lesson.

Image from
I'm all set with the lesson for this Sunday, but I have to work ahead as it often takes me a couple of weeks to prepare.   And it often takes close to a month for our class of ladies to work our way through a lesson together.  I hope that everyone else is learning as much as I am!  And yes, I realize that learning and applying are two different things, and both are necessary for true spiritual growth.

Another thing I did was to put together my Valentine ribbon board.  This is something I try to do every February ... display some of my vintage Valentines as well as other special items from this season.  I've got all the items in place, just need to hang the board in the front hallway.  And I will do a post, probably next week, on my simple Valentine decorating.
This is from 2010, I think.  This year's is more sparse.
I'm also working on making tags from 2014's Christmas cards, always an inspiring task while snow falls outside the dormer window in which my little crafting desk is located.
Again, these are from a previous year.  I'm just getting started with this year's.
And I'm also planning, if time allows, to put together a little sample craft for a "Christmas club" I'm helping out with at a local library.  I'll share pictures when I get it figured out.

I think I'll make a Baked Fish Chowder for supper, and maybe some Iron Skillet Biscuits to go along with it.  My hubby dearly loves the biscuits from that recipe!

Lastly, I've been looking for a chance to slip in these pictures of a rather random sewing project I recently completed: simple pillows for a kitchen rocker.  We have, in our kitchen, a somewhat shabby rocking chair with chippy green paint.  When my grandmother gave it to me, the seat was missing, and my then-12-year-old son and I wove a red and white checkerboard replacement out of macrame cord.  (My kitchen has a strawberry theme.)  I've been reluctant to repaint that chair -- although it certainly could use it and in fact needs more help than that -- because I'm pretty sure my grandmother painted it herself.  Anyway, over time the seat got less comfortable so I padded it with a couple of pillows.  These were small square pillows made from washcloths trimmed with cotton fringe.   (Anyone recognize that as a home decor project from the 1960s?)  Someone had given these pillows, made from red washcloths with ecru fringe, to my mother as a gift.  There was literally no place in my parents' house where red pillows would look even remotely at home, so my mother passed them on to me.  They have lived in that rocker, with time out for occasional washing, ever since.  But they had just given out.  Flat, stained, ugly pillows that I cringed at every time I noticed them, which wasn't terribly often.  I knew I had to replace them, and I thought the best choice would be to make some more washcloth pillows.  So "washcloths for pillows" has been an item on my shopping list for awhile, but I never had time to browse that aisle in Walmart.

One day I was cruising past the clearance section and came upon a package of five microfiber "bar mop towels" in two nice shades of green.  Inspiration struck, and within a week I had carved out the time to make my pillows.
This is the darker green, though it doesn't appear all that dark in this photo.  See below for one of each.
I made each pillow out of two shades of green, so I can have two darker green pillows, two lighter green pillows, or one of each.
The colors are a bit truer-to-life in this lower picture.  My camera is so random at times!  One never knows what it will do.
Are they perfect?  No.  Will they stay pouffy?  Probably not.  Do they serve the purpose and look as good as I need them to look?  A resounding YES!

The rocker itself will have to be a project for another day.

I've taken the fish out to thaw, and fed the wood furnace.  The snow continues to fall.  Now back to tag making!