Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

H2O Ramblings

For quite some time now, I've been giving some thought to water conservation and the use of such a precious resource as relates to our home, for our personal use, for our corner of the world.

For about three days now, we've been fortunate to have rainfall. Intermittent though it maybe, it is still rain, and something we feel very thankful for. So it's especially during these rare times of rain that I am reminded how wonderful it would be if we would collect all the excess water which runs through our property from the roof and all along our fence next to the adjoining property. There was even an article in today's paper about an organization HarvestH2O based out of Santa Fe, NM which has so much useful information on rainwater harvesting. Reading the article I became aware that this is fast becoming a powerful movement. Much like a lot of organizations which encourage people to consume less and become more self-sustaining, this is another tool anyone can use to learn how to help our environment. I think I am going to contact our local 'green guy', who happens to be a professor at the local University on environmental science. I'll ask him if there are any groups here locally which are already organized for this agenda. It would be great to push our municipal government to come up with ways to help people interested in acquiring the containers for collecting rainwater. I'll have to wait until after Labor Day to contact him. Just stuff I think about at night when I can't fall asleep......

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Heart Your Blog Award


I received a wonderful award from Amy over at HomeAcre . This is the first time I am passed on an award, so I feel really grateful and blessed. This is new to me, so I'll just use the same format Amy used, I don't want to make any errors in passing it on: The rules state I must pass it on to seven other favorite blogs. It is hard to choose when there are so many wonderful blogs out there. But here is my list:

Gloria from Life in General
Gloria from En Busqueda
Keri from Quaint and Quirky
Deborah from Pictures, Pots, and Pens
Oiyi's from Oiyi's Crafts
Lisa from Eggs in Tomatoes
Diane from Tomato Soup Cake

Please accept this award from me and ...1. Put the logo on your blog.2. Link the person from whom you received your award.3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.4. Put the links of those blogs on to your blog.5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them!

I hope I've covered all the bases; don't want anyone to miss out on their award. I would pass it on to EVERYONE on my bloglist, but some of them have already received it from others as well. Enjoy!





Thursday, August 28, 2008

He is Risen

He is risen, a man of destiny;
The long awaited promise come to pass!
He is risen, my river of joy, my fountain of hope.
In his victory, history rewritten
The pain and sorrow, the means to an end.

To those who knew him, an answer to a prayer,
To those who would hear of him, a legacy of love.
He is risen, the keeper of my soul.
He is forever, even as all things cease to be.

I see his glory in all things renewed;
I sense his presence, when in the midst of chaos,
order prevails.
I sense his presence, when I cry, and ache, and yearn.
Because he is risen, nothing is impossible.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rainy Day Sewing

Oh, what a delightful and beautiful day today has been! It rained during the night, and then most of the morning and early afternoon. I think rainy days just bring out the best in me. Perhaps that's why it just felt right to finish up a project that was waiting for some finishing touches. It was a dress my M-I-L had cut from a pattern and sewn up the side seams and a facing on the dress, and the side seams and sleeves on the jacket. I think she got somewhat frustrated with the fabric, as it tends to unravel quite a bit. It just needed to be hemmed all around the jacket and sleeves as well as the sleeves on the dress. It really did look almost hopeless to me. I thought I surely could not make it look any better, and hesitated sewing on the fabric. But then, I had what to me, amounts to a stroke of genius! I took out some seam binding from my stash and decided to try it! Boy, I've never used something as simple as that, but let me say, it simplifies hemming and just gives such a wonderful 'finished' look to a garment. I can't sing its praises enough! I wasn't sure how to apply it, but I assumed it was pretty much like using bias tape. I also did some finishing on the seams with my serger. I know I really need to take some sewing classes, because everything I know, I just know from reading. I'd love to be taught by someone in a classroom environment. I just know there's lots of little tricks of the trade that I'm missing out on using and which would make my sewing so much better and more fun. It goes without saying that what I know about the use of my embroidery machine is also self-taught. I was supposed to take some user classes, but being that we live almost 3 hours from where we purchased the machine, it just never came to be. So for about four months the embroidery unit sat on a shelf, as I was afraid to take it out, afraid it might break. Until finally, I took a deep breath, and like the Nike commercial says 'just do it', so did I. Reading up on sewing and embroidery on the internet helps a lot, but I know there are techniques which can't be taught adequately unless you see them in person.

Which brings me back to the dress; I felt a little embroidery couldn't hurt and would certainly serve to embellish. Plus I wanted to surprise my M-I-L and make the dress as nice as possible.

This is a 'before the embroidery' picture; "Mona" is a wee bit smaller than the dress, so the dress may look off-balance here:


Now, with a simple peacock design in matching colors

An overall shot of the dress on my dressform "Mona". BTW, Mona is a gift from a dear, sweet friend who bought her at the flea market. Thank you, Norma!


Now all I need is to add a pretty vintage clasp which I've ordered online. It should help keep the jacket front in place should she want to close it. A little bit of ironing should take care of any wrinkles. I can hardly wait to present the dress to my M-I-L! I hope she likes it.

No baking today, but sewing is almost as nice!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Victoria!


I received my issue of Victoria magazine today. It is my absolute favorite magazine in the world! Flipping through the pages, I feel renewed and refreshed, somehow. Energized, I guess you could say. There is such an ethereal beauty captured within its pages that is hard to describe. This issue promises to be a gem with a little segment in remembrance of artist Tasha Tudor, another one of my favorites!

It has a short article on soap making, which is another hobby I dearly want to pursue. Perhaps some day. And of course quilting, yet another of the fine arts I wish to someday be quite engaged in. Beautiful photography and content makes this issue one I will dearly treasure. And so, as I always do when I receive Victoria, I will brew myself a pot of tea, and sit and enjoy a good read.

The Best Fudge Brownies Ever

Recipe from King Arthur Flour:

1 cup (8 ounces) butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa

1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All -Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt*

2 cups (12 ounce bag) chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking powder


* Increase the salt to 1 teaspoon if you use unsalted butter.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just till it's hot, but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the butter and sugar a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Add the eggs, beating till smooth; then add the flour and chips, beating till well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out dry (though it may have a few crumbs clinging to it). The brownies should feel set both on the edges, and in the center. Remove them from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges with a table knife; this helps prevent the brownies from sinking in the center as they cool. Cool completely before cutting and serving. Yield: 2 dozen brownies.
(Note: I added walnuts to my recipe; you can also use pecans)

Living Room Journal


This is a corner of our living room. This picture was taken less than a year ago. Since then, few things have changed. However, things do change over time, and I may wish to remember how things once looked. The wall color will be different or the shrubbery showing through the window may or may not be the same, or even the furniture might be replaced. I decided to record this picture as a sort of 'room journal'. Someday I may wish to look back and remember how it used to look. Hmm....musings of a sleep deprived woman...finally, 50 posts!
It's very late. Another night of insomnia. Must get some sleep.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Brownies!

It rained today! After what seemed like decades of little to no rain, we were blessed with a good downpour this afternoon. I love dark, gloomy days, and if it's raining or cold, the better. It puts me in a baking mood! I have been wanting to try the King Arthur Flour Brownie Recipe, and today's rainy weather made it perfect for filling the house with the tantalizing aroma of baked goods. The recipe calls for a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, but I only had just over half a bag, so I improvised and used 4 squares of baking chocolate to make up for the rest. I also added walnuts, which the recipe does not call for. Brownies without nuts? I don't think so!



I think I'll go have a tall, icy cold glass of milk to wash them down with. I'll admit, I'm not crazy about milk, but with certain desserts, nothing else will do! It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so we'll have to see what other treat to bake up for then. I'm thinking some freshly baked loaves of bread would be nice. Then slather some butter on a couple of slices and drizzle with honey. Perfect to enjoy with some nice hot cream Earl Grey tea. We usually don't drink hot tea in the Summer, but if it's cloudy and overcast, we'll make believe it's cold outside!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Update On Blogger Issues

Well, it turns out in order to have the 'Layout' option which enabled me to retrieve my old template, I have to sign in with Firefox browser. I tried getting help on blogger, but they just never quite answered my questions. Then someone posted that using Firefox helped with their issues, so I tried it, and voila! I am just tickled pink that I got ALL my links back and all the little gadgets or widgets or whatever they're called. All in all, it was my beloved fellow bloggers' links that I felt so bad about losing. Like I said I would...I'm back!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'LL BE BACK!

Well, this is just great and dandy! Wile trying to find a new 'look' I lost my original template, links, page elements, and I'm left with a quasi blog! If I sound exasperated it's because I am! Now I see why people switch from Blogger. I don't even have Layout available anymore. I tell you, maybe it's just as well. I spend entirely TOO much time on this thing! I have sewing and cleaning to do! So if anyone out there even reads this on a regular basis (I must add this because, you know, I don't want to sound all overly confident of a readership following) please allow me to say it may be a while afore you hear from me. I certainly have enjoyed reading everyone's blogs and only hope I can somehow recover your links. I have learned so much from EVERYONE who blogs, I feel as though I would be losing such valuable friends if I couldn't. So until a later time, I bid you farewell.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Milestone

I believe a male baby's first haircut is a milestone to be recorded for all time. This, like immunizations, is one of those first and necessary 'evils' which must be endured with all the stoic valor and strength of a gladiator. Like many things, at the very least, they can be an exercise in patience and trust. After all, sitting still for an adult wielding a razor apparatus which hums along at high speed would understandably make any child cringe. For that reason, I proudly present my Grandson Elias, who like his Father before him, sat like a veteran old timer at a barber shop for the first time in his life. Only this wasn't a traditional barber shop, but one of those new fandangled styling salons which caters to little ones desiring a new look, complete with little race cars to distract even the most fearful of kids. For Elias, however, it was the lollipop the stylist offered which did the job of calming his nerves:



Such a worried look on his face; but he persevered

And ta-da! He officially joins his Daddy in the haircut been there, done that club:

Cool as a cucumber, we can now enjoy a few rays of sun!

Esperando (A Ella)

La joven lloro, su cara llena
De tristeza;
Una parte de ella se perdia para siempre,
Ese autoestima tan necesario en la vida,
Asi que, no mas ciega fe en la humanidad
Y no mas de esa espera sin sentido,
Por la alegria que habia estado segura seria de ella.

Despues de esperar por horas,
Reflejo en el pasado,
En los meses y los anos de esperanza
Y anhelo,
De buscar en esos ojos por un rastro
De ternura,
De aceptacion, de amor.

Era su cumpleanos, uno mas que pasaba
"Estoy segura que ella llegara" se dijo
A si misma
"Hoy cumplo mis quince, un tiempo tan especial,
Tan importante para mi,
Como de seguro lo es para ella;
Muy pronto sere mujer, el tiempo pasa tan
Pronto. Me vera en una nueva luz; siendo que ya no soy
Una nina que se puede arrojar
A un lado. Yo soy, despues de todo, una renovacion de su
Vida. Ella vera
Eso, y por fin se sentira orgullosa."
Mas nunca llego, y la joven lloro.

Yo soy esa nina, hoy una mujer de cuarenta,
Y el dolor de ese dia, aun mora en
Mi corazon,
La esperanza de mi juventud nunca deja de ser.
Esa joven nunca desaparecio, ella atormenta todos
Mis pensamientos.
Un dia, yo se, ella descansara en paz.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Waiting

The young girl wept, her face full of sadness;
A part of herself was lost forever,
That self esteem so needed in life,
Hence; no more blind faith in humanity
And no more senseless waiting,
For the joy she was sure would be hers.

After waiting for hours,
She reflected on the past,
On the months and the years of hopeful longing,
Of searching in those eyes for a trace of tenderness,
Of acceptance, of love.

It was her birthday, one more gone by
"I'm sure she'll come by" she said to herself,
"Today I am fifteen, such a special time, so important to me,
As I'm sure it is to her;
I will soon be a woman, time goes by so fast. She will see
Me in a new light; as I am no longer a child to be cast
Aside. I am, after all, a renewal of her life. She will see
That, and finally be proud."
She never came by, and the young girl wept.

I am that girl, now a woman of forty,
And the pain of that day, still dwells in my heart,
The hope of my youth never ceases to be.
That girl never vanished, she haunts all my thoughts
One day, I know, she will rest in peace.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Sewing Project

This week I finally finished a sewing project I had mentioned on another post. I kept putting it off, and now I know why. The high chair cushion set was very hard to sew. I knew that going in because I had already made one for Elias in another type of fabric, sort of a muslin trial run. However, that first one I didn't quilt, and even so it was a pain to work on. Well, this one I did manage to squeeze in a little bit of quilting, but it was not one of my best works, I'll admit. I've only made one quilt ever before, and it was a small quilt for my chi Cocoa. It wasn't so hard to do because it was all straight lines and flat fabric. But this cushion set had curves, and I also applied piping. It was...challenging. But I finished it and I'm glad I did. This is how the finished product looks on Elias' high chair:


This part took a while to complete, although it's not difficult to make your own piping:

This is the back which has an elasticized band that goes over chair back.
A view of all three components of the project. And did I mention how many needles I broke? Five! I think I might have used too much batting.
It feels good to complete work that is on standby. Now perhaps I can get on with making my domestic wardrobe. And of course there will be pictures of that. Who knows, maybe even one of me modeling!?

Monday, August 4, 2008

At Abuelita's House

This weekend had us spending a wonderful time with our Grandson. What a treat for us! What a blessing from our dear Lord, making us Abuelitos! There's nothing like it in the world. Here, Elias is enjoying a few of his toys. He has barely started taking his first steps, so we set up some quilts to cushion any falls on the hard tile. In fact, it was on this trip while visiting his other Grandmother that he took his first steps by himself. He is still working on it though. I suspect next time we see him, he'll have us chasing after him at a good clip.




This is how an airplane flies!


Little working hands keeping busy in Abuelita's sewing room. This is how it's done to scatter little odds and ends; the more mess, the better. But you need Grandma around to supervise.



And then, all too soon, it was time to say goodbye! Already, I am missing him terribly! Oh, such is life: greetings and goodbyes! We simply have to plan for another visit soon!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Domestic Style

Living in a hot sometimes humid climate is somewhat difficult for me. In fact, it is the only reason I would consider moving away from this area. Being a gal who can sweat profusely, I tend to avoid being outdoors when the temperatures reach high numbers. Especially when they reach triple digits, as can often happen in my neck of the woods. It is a rather dry environment, but often rather than not, we get stung with such humidity that it makes those high temperatures reach dangerous heat indexes. I love to be outdoors tending to my plants, but during the Summer, I stay indoors too much. And I don't like that. Another factor that contributes to my staying indoors a lot, is that I really don't like to wear anything but the most comfortable of clothes outside. In my case at least, that translates to looking frumpy and disheveled. Why? Because if I wear the clothes that I ordinarily wear 'in public', as in when I go shopping and running errands, I would be sweating even more. Those would be my 'dressy' clothes: princess line blouses- amply sized, cotton tops, and denim or chinos capris or pants. Sometimes even dresses will do the job of getting me to go out and about. Then again perhaps it's just my perception. I associate those nicer clothes with being only for going out. I'm afraid I have succumbed to the notion that to stay cool and comfortable I must wear flowing breezy tunics, scrubs, and shorts. Housework and gardening can really work up a sweat. So I set forth to sew for myself a whole plethora of tops based on a Simplicity pattern which is now out of print, but is similar to this: http://www.butterick.com/item/B6601.htm??tab=large_sizes&page=3. This Butterick pattern shows a dress style, but the Simplicity version also had a view of a much shorter top, with same exact construction. Note the HUGE pockets! That is the one feature I felt I absolutely needed to carry out my chores around the house. I also included in my domestic wardrobe basic hospital scrubs, both the top and pants. I had a ball selecting bright colorful cotton prints. However, I think the time has come for a change. I need to infuse my style with something more feminine but still comfortable.

Which brings me to this post. I would love to know what types of clothes other women wear to feel comfortable but confident around the house tending to their duties. By confident, I mean that you wouldn't hesitate to answer the doorbell wondering if you looked presentable. I do like to sew for myself, and enjoy using cottons and linens in my fabric selections. I probably should narrow my search for Summer styles. Winters here are very mild and comfortable, so heavier fabrics would be fine. It's never freezing cold, and if so, only for a very short while. I know there is a 'look' for me somewhere. In fact, I'm already leaning to wearing vintage housecoat dresses with a beautiful apron on top. M-U-S-T B-E-G-I-N to cut out and sew my vintage patterns! For now, I am still in search mode.

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