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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Saturday, March 28, 2009

HR 875

I'm seeing a lot of people blogging about H.R. Bill 875. My perception is that this new effort by the government to control our food supply under the guise of 'food safety' is going to affect each and every one of us if it passes. It would affect even those of us who enjoy planting our own gardens for food and/or enjoyment. And of course even more affected would be the small farmers who sell their produce at Farmer's Markets and organic farms as well. Read: no more fresh fruit and veggies fresh from the fields. Those farmers would not be able to afford staying in business, only the large corporations would be winners in this.

H.R. 875:Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is a bill which I think every American should take the time to become informed about, because if as we fear it is not good for us, only in great numbers can we affect the outcome. It is another effort by the government to have more controls in our daily affairs, much like another bill: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

So, if after reading about it you wish to have a voice, then join others at this link .

While I admit I'm not big on getting involved in politics, this is just too important to sit by the wayside. I also feel it is important to stand behind those people who put in a lot of work to supply us with fresh produce. I for one wish to support the small farmers and organic farmers, even if only in this small way. Besides, it involves my 'meat and potatoes', those things close to my tummy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

From The Rose Garden

I had to bring these beauties indoors to enjoy their fragrance and beauty.

This is "Terracotta":


This is "Porcelain". Both were purchased as bare root years roses ago from a catalog.

They almost match the roses on the tablecloth!
I hope to have more blooms to show later on. For now these lone blooms will have to do.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Print Arrived!

In blog land, news travels fast. So when my Amiga Gloria wrote about her 300Th Post Giveaway, I was right there ready with a comment for a chance to win. Gloria, you see, is an Artist, and she was giving away a print of one of her lovely paintings. I love art just like anyone else, but I don't know how to create it, at least not the painting kind. I also wouldn't mind adding a little color and artwork to my decor. So this giveaway of hers gave her readers the chance to do just that. As it turns out, I was one of the lucky winners! Well, today it arrived! And this is her print of "Dancing Mermaid":


Another closeup. Isn't it gorgeous! I love the blue green colors, and the way she uses shading and shadows. You can almost see the motion of the water among the other mermaid's hair!

She also included this little medallion of one of her sculpted clay works.
Thank you Gloria! Your artwork is so very appreciated! I know a lot of work and thought goes into it, and yes, as such even a part of yourself.
I'm glad to be the owner of a Gloria original!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I saw this clip on another website and thought it was so cute!



Sometimes animals do teach us a thing or two!

Friday, March 20, 2009

H Back Apron

Edit: I felt it important to add and clarify that there is nothing wrong with the pattern as I bought it in its original state and size. It was in my efforts to enlarge the pattern to a plus size where the problem began. Plus, Mona is a petite form, so any thing I size 'up' will not fit her properly.

Last year I bought a vintage style "H-Back" apron from an Etsy seller. In fact, it's the lilac colored apron Mona is wearing right now. I thought I could recreate it, but unfortunately, I'm not good at copying patterns. This is a style that is hard to find in the vintage apron patterns archives of most of the sites that sell them. Then quite by accident, after joining the Apronista site, I came upon a lady who had made a similar apron based on her Grandmother's apron. I wrote the young lady, Elisa, and expressed how much I liked her apron. Well, in answer to a prayer, she offered to sell me her pattern! Since she had an Etsy site, it worked out perfect! Well, I did say I'm not good at drafting or changing patterns. So I'm afraid the results were not as good as I had hoped. In this photo, the pockets look uneven. But actually, the apron is not draped properly over Mona. I was trying to even out the front and back:
This is the back view with the feature I really like about these aprons- the "H" back. As you can see, I overcompensated on the length of the back. Underneath you can see the really nice apron I purchased from another Etsy seller.
Needless to say, I'm very disappointed, but I'm not giving up. I really, really want an apron from this pattern. I already have an idea of what changes I need to make, so I'm hoping the next one will be much better. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The March Garden

After the cool front we had a few days ago, it was really nice to be outside checking on the garden's progress. I can see that the rain mist really helped the Swiss chard. It looks so pretty and lush. If all goes well, since this is the first time we plant chard, I'd like a larger area to plant it in. This is such a small bedding frame. There's also a single little cayenne pepper plant in the middle.


This is not such a great picture, but I had to show the huge amount of 'epazote' growing smack in the middle of this square foot garden. It's growing along with that awful clover weed. I'm afraid of disturbing it, so I've allowed the weeds......for now. From one single plant of epazote we had growing last year, my Sweetie strew the seeds in this frame. I love using it for cooking our beans. It's supposed to aid in preventing embarrassing gas. Plus it really does give a delicious taste to the beans! The tree limb to the left is of an Olive tree. Hope we'll someday see it produce fruit. So in this frame we have cayenne, poblano, jalapeno, bell, a couple of habanero and banana peppers.

This is an orange tree my Sister and Brother-in-law gave us. Note the tiny little oranges already growing on the branches! It's supposed to be from a very sweet variety of orange.

This little wagon holds a pot of mint. So aromatic and pretty!

In this corner of the square foot garden is one of two lavender plants. I wanted something that would attract bees. I've never had very good luck with lavender. Maybe it's the heat. I do try not to overwater.

There you have it. A quick tour of a corner of our backyard garden.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two More Aprons

It sure does feel good to complete a project! In this case I just finished these two aprons. This green one was made using a pattern from "Sew Retro Aprons" by Cindy Taylor Oates. This view has the scalloped hem.

I really enjoyed working on this apron, and it sure gave me ample opportunity to practice sewing on 1/4 inch bias binding. I'd done the 1/2 inch before, which is a lot easier to apply. But this I think looks daintier and much better. I have to say, I believe this is the best apron I've made by far.



And this is the "Provence Apron" using an enlarged pattern from the book "A Is For Apron". It's a beautiful apron, but it was a pain to apply the 1/4 inch binding along the front yoke! I'm afraid I am not entirely pleased with the results. I do love the toile fabric, though! And the pockets sure are cute!

This is the back view. Beautiful apron, but I have to say the instructions were the worst I have ever encountered! They have you jumping back and forth between steps, and they just are not clear enough. I had to figure out some of the steps using my limited past sewing experience.

But it's funny in a way. I mean here I was recommending this book on an earlier post because of the beautiful pictures of the aprons. But it isn't until you actually get into a pattern to try and put it together that you can really make an informed judgement about the value of a book or pattern. I will definitely make this apron again, but I'll have to go a bit slower to make sure I get it right. Practice makes perfect, or so I hope.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Of Friendship and Surprises

Although my good friend Gloria had already written on her blog that she was sending me a print of her artwork, it was still a very nice surprise to receive this great and may I say 'autographed' postcard.


From her series of painted art called "Little Ladies of the Kitchen" this print clearly shows the little ladies in their full kitchen regalia:
And what better way to showcase their unique domestic personalities than with very pretty aprons! Each little lady has a name, but wait.....the one with the green dress is my namesake! What a wonderful gift indeed!!
Gloria, I do believe you've found another wonderful way to share your art.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

From My Friend Gloria

My good friend Gloria has graciously passed the Kreativ Blogger Award to me, and I am most thankful and thrilled to be included. I am to list seven things I love or which inspire me. And so as to continue in the sharing of this award, I am to pass it on to other bloggers and of course to let them know. So, as required, here is my list of things:

1. I love the smell of dirt after a rainfall.
2. love to see children flying their kites, makes me want to fly one also.
3. I love the way a garden perks up after a soft rainfall, and the way raindrops look on rose petals.
4. I love the smell of bread baking in the oven; or anything baking for that matter.
5. I am always inspired by blogs with pictures of sewing projects, especially aprons.
6. People who post recipes on their blogs always inspire me to want to create good food for my family.
7. People with talents such as artwork and crafting inspire me to want to learn new things.
I pass this award on to:
Shannon from A Maiden's Musings
Diane from Tomato Soup Cake and
That's all for now folks!! Gloria thank you very much!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just A Misty Day

Well, the weather channel would have you believe, and even local radar shots, that the rain came pouring down in our part of the state. It never did, at least not in our city. Some of the surrounding areas managed to get a little rain. We did get the cool temperatures though. I went outside to check on the Swiss chard, cilantro, and pepper plants we planted in the square foot gardens. They look so perky and happy! I think the fine mist we did manage to get is helping them nonetheless. Even the roses exude such a joyful pose! You know the look...the fine mist droplets collecting on the leaves. Just beautiful! I wish I could be outside just taking it all in, but I started coughing and felt rather chilly. So it's indoors for the remainder of the day. We took out our menudo soup from the freezer yesterday in anticipation of this cool front. It did taste good and warmed us up! I still have hopes for a good downpour in the days to come. But even a fine mist is a welcome sight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awaiting Rain

Today has been such a beautiful day, with very cloudy, overcast skies. Except for the humidity, I wish it was always like this. And so here we are ever hopeful for some much needed rain. Sweetie's been checking the radar, and it looks like it's not far off. We're supposed to get a cool front as well, with temperatures dropping to the 40's? At least to the 50's. Funny, but for the first time this year I saw the martins approach their birdhouse today. It's been quite warm and humid the past week, so this change in weather might affect them as well. Once this weather pattern passes, I'm fairly sure it will be hot days ahead from there on in. And I'm sure not looking forward to that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday

I found these videos on another blog and thought the message was worth repeating.





No matter what your views are, it never hurts to be informed with facts.

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

Musn't forget to set our clocks to Daylight Saving Time, which officially begins on the second Sunday in March at 2 am. So tonight, before retiring, a quick 'spring forward' of the clock will ensure that timing is correct when we awaken. Nothing to worry about until the first Sunday in November also at 2 am when we 'fall back' to Standard Time. And yes, I always do have to ask myself, is it Springtime so I can 'spring forward' one hour, or is it now the Fall, so I can 'fall back' in time. Now I'm not too clear on the whole 'savings' part though. I guess I'll just take "their" word for it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Amish Friendsip Bread

About a year ago, a friend of mine here in town shared a most delicious loaf of sweet cake, along with a recipe and some starter. It was labeled with the name of some patron saint, and the instructions had you passing the recipe and the starter along to other people. The one given to me was called "Pan del Padre Pio", but I'm convinced the recipe is the same one being passed online called "Amish Friendship Bread". The only difference was that the "Padre Pio" recipe included a lot of pagan mystique to it, such as you had to stir with a wooden spoon, you HAD to give it to three other people, and you could only make it ONCE in your lifetime. It also included some ominous threat of good luck if you passed it on, but not so good if you didn't. Kind of like a chain letter. As it turns out, I lost the recipe, and when I called my friend for it again, she too had misplaced it. Well, a few days ago I came upon a wonderful blog called Little Birdie Secrets . I was so happy to see that she had posted the recipe! So of course, I wrote the author of said blog to ask for permission to post the recipe and the pictures she had posted. Jessica was kind enough to allow me to do just that. I wanted to post it on my blog so perhaps more people who had never heard of it would see how scrumptious it looks!

The pictures belong to Ms. Jessica, but I just had to show how delicious the bread looks, especially since it takes 10 days before you can bake a loaf from the starter. I started my 'starter' yesterday, so I won't have a picture to share for some time. But this is how the loaf looks. Isn't it a tempting sight? If you're wondering why it takes 10 days, I would venture to guess that it's about how long it takes for a starter to grow strong and mature. Time gives bread dough or batter depth and flavor.
So without further ado, here is the recipe for Amish Friendship Bread, as shared with us by Little Birdie Secrets .
If you are starting the bread yourself combine 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup sugar in a zip-top bag and squeeze it together until mixed in. This is day 1. Continue with the rest of normal instructions.Note: Do not refrigerate the starter. Keep it at room temperature.
Amish Friendship Bread
Day 1: Receive starter from a friend.
Day 2-5: Mush closed bag twice a day.
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Mush bag.
Day 7-9: Mush bag and release air twice a day.
Day 10: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.
This is the day you make your bread.First measure three 1 cup starters and put them in three separate bags. Save one for yourself and give the other two to friends.Pour remaining batter into a large bowl and add the following ingredients:1 cup oil2 cups flour1 cup sugar1/2 cup milk3 eggs1 tsp. vanilla1 1/2 tsp. baking powder1 tsp. cinnamon1/2 tsp. salt1/2 tsp. baking soda1 large box instant vanilla pudding Mix ingredients well. In a bowl, mix together 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. Grease two loaf pans. Pour batter into loaf pans, and sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake at 35o degrees for 40-50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. This does really well in the freezer.
I hope I didn't miss anything. I think the recipe is easy to make and well worth saving for future use and to share with friends. And don't worry, there are no attached required feats with this recipe. Use at your leisure, and as you wish. But certainly, do enjoy it! Thank you Jessica for sharing with us!

Family Time

We were so blessed this past weekend because our Son and his family visited us from San Antonio. It sure was nice to see our little Elias again!
We took him to the mall so he could choose a stuffed toy from the "Build A Bear" store. He wasn't too keen, and turned down all the bears, until his Mommy reminded him how much he liked Buzz Lightyear and Woody and Bullseye from the ''Toy Story'' movie. So he opted for a stuffed horse. But first he had to place a little heart in his toy. With a little help from his Daddy he was shown where to find the heart:

The next two pictures are out of order, but here he is holding his completed horse "BullsEye". He's even got his own cowboy hat like Woody! Now his toy "Woody" has his horse to ride! Elias also has a stuffed "Buzz Lightyear".

This is how the store lady stuffed the toy with this machine.
It was nifty how the open seam was 'sewn' together. All they do is pull some strings which are placed in the factory in such a way that they shut tight with a few twists and loops. I thought it was so neat!

Of course, a fun trip out is not complete without a ride in the merry go round. We hope to do this again next time he visits!

After all that fun and excitement, a nice bowl of ice cream is in order and a good treat!

We must do this again soon Elias!

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