Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's Morning On The Lake

This was the view this morning out my bedroom window.  Seeing this as I sit and do some Bible study is such a joy.  Only God could create such beautiful colors.

I spent 5 days last week helping my daughter and son-in-law clean out his parents house.  Both of them have passed away in the last year; they left behind a huge house - huge - filled with lots of interesting things.  They both had hobbies that took a lot of space.  His father loved model trains and had a big room filled with tracks and trains.  His mother was a crafter and did pretty much everything.  She loved ceramics and had 4 kilns.  She had tons of molds and both finished and unfinished pieces.  She collected dolls and made dolls.  She did needlepoint and counted cross stitch and knitted.  I didn't know her but I think she must also have enjoyed yard sales and auctions.  We found this Japanes made toy sewing machine (WWII era) with a price tag of $8 on it.  It's pretty dirty but the hand crank still moves.

I cleaned it up a bit today ( this is a before picture) and did a little research on it.  I didn't find much but I'm going to take it to the shop later this week to have a belt put on and see if I can figure out how to thread it and what kind of needle to use.

We also found a few interesting magazines - at least interesting to stitchers.

I couldn't find much information on this magazine either.  It's called The Designer and is dated January 1900.  It shows patterns inside and has other articles of interest to ladies - horticulture for instance.  We also found a Butterick pattern book from 1925.

I've gained some new to me counted cross stitch books along with some more embroidery thread.  Since I found a going-out-of-business sale last year I now have about 3/4 of all the DMC threads and multiples of many.

One of the things I learned from helping out with the closing of this home is that I need to do some more serious downsizing!  I don't want my children to be left wondering what might be worthy of keeping and what can be given away.  My advice to you and to me as well is label, label, label.  If it belonged to great-grandma Mary - put a label on it.  We know to do that with quilts but do it with everything else - dishes, jewelry, photos.  Your children will bless you for it!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tammy 4 All Seasons - Summer and Winter Here!

Back when I was in my early thirties I used to do counted cross stitch all the time.  That was thirty years ago - but it came back to me quickly when I started working on Winter, a vintage pattern by Brooke Nolan of BrooksBooksPublishing.  I gathered up my fabric, my q snap frame, my Readers, my Beam N Read light, my DMC thread, my needle and my thimble and got to work.  Seriously, I don't remember it taking all that stuff when I was younger but with age and time....I couldn't sew any more without my Readers or my Beam N Read or my q snap frame.  I've always used a needle and thread and thimble but the other stuff - lifesavers, truly.  So, many thanks to our sponsors who manufacture some amazing products.

When I first saw this pattern I knew right away I wanted to make an evening purse.  Somehow the richness of the pattern shouted "let's dress up!"  I used an Aida cloth that has a shot of gold threads through it and it was perfect for what I wanted.

I added some rhinestones - one on the shawl collar and one in the center of some of the snowflakes.

I had a long string of pearls, not real of course, that were my mothers.  The clasp was broken so they were the perfect thing to use as a shoulder strap.

I love the way it looks here next to some family pictures and my mother's clock (complete with a ribbon she won for one of her quilts hanging from the side)....and with the pearls I wore to my 50th anniversary reception.

But can't you just picture it with my black shawl.....a real treasure that came from China Town in New York City several years ago.  So fun!

We were also lucky enough to get a pattern from Cori Blunt of Chitter Chatter Designs.  I chose Summer....but I confess I bought all of her patterns and all of Brooke's.  I just loved them so much I couldn't choose!

Cori's pinny is designed to go with a Tammy Bag sewing bag.  Of course that wouldn't work with my Winter so....I just sat down and did another cross stitch.  This time I chose Summer.  I confess my poor fingers aren't used to so much hand stitching so they're a bit sore but I can hardly wait to do the rest of these adorable designs.  And since I bought the pinny patterns I can make a pinny to go with all of them - win, win!

I had a little piece of of a teal wool that I thought would be perfect for the little bird.

The ruffle is a bright teal print that blends perfectly.  I chose to put a little pocket on the back made out of batting...that way I could tuck my thimble in it and/or it will hold a needle or two.  And I copied an idea from one of our bloggers on Friday and put a tab so that it will hang over the clasp.

And how about this adorable Summer!  The touch of gingham on the bag, the swim cap, the starfish...I just love it!

I changed the colors a little...went from red to a rosy pink and from blue to teal to go with the fabric I had chosen.

This was such a fun project and I can't say a big enough thank you to Mary of I Piece 2-Mary for keeping us so organized, or to Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt for doing all the work that it takes to get sponsors and to dream up the ideas that we all love so much.  And to our sponsors...
BEAM N READ ( led light)
Brooke's Books ( seasonal vintage counted cross stitch designs)
Chitter Chatter ( applique and embroidered pinnies)
DMC ( heads and aida cloth)
H.A.KIDD ( monaco fabric)
MsAppleHeart ( Tammy Bag Pattern)
READERS ( best readers on the market for those who need to see their patterns
up close and personal) 
SNAP SOURCE  ( great gadget for adding snaps to our bags)
Yarn TREE  ( q-snaps)

Without these people many of us would be struggling along with less than ideal conditions for doing the stitching we love so much.

Thank you so very much for stopping by and following along with this hop - your comments are so cherished.  Please be sure you visit the other bloggers today, and in the rest of the hop.

January 12, 2015

Stitchin By the Lake (you are here)

January 13, 2015

Cheryl Wilkinson will post to Ipiece2-Mary

January 14, 2015

January 15, 2015

Julia Plunkett will post on Sewwequilt
It Seams To Be Sew

January 19, 2015

January 20, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tammy 4 All Seasons

There's another great blog hop coming!

Brooke Nolan designed some adorable counted cross stitch patterns and Cori Blunt came up with the cutest pinnies...they attach to the Tammy Bag and are complete with a needle holder and thread or thimble holder.  Of course the four seasons vintage theme was dreamed up by Madame Samm!

Each participant chose one of four vintage patterns from Brooke, all drawn to represent the four seasons, and one pinnie pattern from Cori, also designed to represent the seasons.  Some of our bloggers had never done counted cross stitch and others of us did it years and years...and years ago!  It's going to be fun to see how they/we did.  :)  The fun begins tomorrow so hop along with us!

January 9, 2015

January 12, 2015

January 13, 2015

Cheryl Wilkinson will post to Ipiece2-Mary

January 14, 2015

January 15, 2015

Amy Whitaker will post on Ipiece2-Mary
January 16, 2015

Julia Plunkett will post on Sewwequilt

January 19, 2015

January 20, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 1 - Day 3

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It's a great feeling to have things tidied up but I'm wearing myself out.  :)  I'm thinking of posting this sign in a few areas - think my husband would notice?

This morning while my sheets were being laundered I cleaned off the shelves above the washer and dryer.  My laundry "room" is a closet in my kitchen so there are a few things on the shelves that aren't strictly laundry but are more for convenience - batteries, the apple corder and mandolin slicer...things like that.  When  I finished that I decided to scrub the fronts of some of my kitchen cabinets (the ones we open the most that get the dirtiest) with a paste made of one part oil and two parts baking soda.  It takes some elbow grease but it gets those grimy places nice and clean.  I put together two chicken and spaghetti casseroles at the same time - one for dinner and one for the freezer.  I had boiled a whole chicken yesterday so I used the breasts for the casseroles and will use the rest in a chicken pot pie tomorrow.  We will get at least four meals, maybe five from the two casseroles and three meals from the pot pie.  That's a bargain for one chicken!

Then I tackled the medicine closet(s) in the hall - that was what was next on my list.  I have one very tiny, very narrow closet where most of my first aid type things are kept.  I had to enlist my husband's help, again, but of course that meant we had to clean out the shelf under his bathroom sink at the same time.  I love it when that happens.  :)

I use plastic bins which makes things so much easier to find.  I rearranged a little, changed some labels and threw away outdated stuff.  I also have one shelf in another closet that's more for medicine and vitamins.

More plastic bins, more labels, and the most often used vitamins left out on the shelf.  This way I can tell at a glance which of those I need to stock up on.

And now my reward...a cup of herb tea and a little stitching before we go to church.  I switched from a 6" round hoop to the qsnap hoop and I'm really liking it.  You can still see the lines of the round hoop but those will iron out when I'm finished.

This is Summer (if you want the pattern check out Sew We Quilt - all the information is there).  I changed the red to a rich pink on the swimsuit and umbrella to go with a fabric I've chosen for my Tammy Bag.  Isn't it going to be beautiful?  I think so!

Is anybody keeping up with my cleaning frenzy by doing your own?  I'd sure love some company.  :)

January 1 - Day Two Update

A couple of you e-mailed me yesterday and asked me about dehydrating vegetables and fruits.  I absolutely love doing it and it's so handy to have things stored without taking up refrigerator space.  I use the Excalibur Dehydrator; in my opinion it's the best brand out there.

I added a link above to Amazon, which is where I got mine.  When I bought mine it came with a book, not just a pamphlet type explanation.  If it doesn't any more then you really should buy one.  I recently bought a new one from Dehydrate 2 Store.  It's a great book with lots of tips and recipes.  Her website is excellent as well - she has videos you can watch if you're interested.  Also if you're buying, add the Dehydrator Sheets here - they're cheap and worth having for the small things that might fall through the regular sheets.

My favorite things to dehydrate are frozen hash brown potatoes (I use them along with 2 or 3 fresh potatoes in my potato soup, carrots, celery, onion, apples, pears, pineapple and blueberries.  Yes, you can dehydrate frozen things.  You can dehydrate canned vegetables but frozen are better because canning loses some of the nutrients and frozen maintains more of the good stuff.  Sweet potatoes can be rehydrated and used for mashed sweet potatoes (delicious!) or sweet potato casserole.  I've also done squash but I only use it in soup - I throw in a handful when I make vegetable soup.  My grandchildren love the apples and pineapple as snacks.  You can rehydrate blueberries and use them in muffins.

Properly stored dehydrated foods can be kept for years.  I usually just put mine in jars with a tight fitting lid and they last for over a year that way.  If I think it's going to be longer I put an oxygen absorber in and then put the lid on.  That's one of those things that will pull the oxygen out of the air in a sealed container.

It might interest you to know that in Biblical times dehydration was about the only way to store food long term.  Their desert temperatures allowed them to do that easily.  Some wheat that was about 2000 years old was found several years ago and scientists were able to sprout it - amazing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 1 - Day Two

I read your suggestions yesterday and added a few of my own.  One task at a time I'll get it all done!  Yesterday I cleaned out old makeup and the medicine cabinet above my sink.  I also drug out a big picnic basket I keep in my sun room.  It hadn't been opened in over a year I know.  Doggone it, more old photographs!  I thought my kids had gotten all of them when they sorted and divided them last summer just before our anniversary reception.

Actually none of them were quite this old, or quite this pretty.  :)  I threw away lots of old broken frames, the envelopes that photos come in from the developer, and cardboard inserts from old frames.  And, for goodness sake, in with those old photos I found some VIPs...very important papers!  Don't ask me how or why but both of my parents' death certificates were in there.  I.  Have.  No.  Idea.

I moved on to the sewing room and cleaned out two cubbies of "things I want to make soon."  Some of them I had the fabric and pattern, some were just patterns, one was even one pillowcase with all the stuff for the matching one.  Gracious.

Today...Day Two.  I have what I lovingly call a "farmhouse kitchen."  That means I have little storage so everything on display in my kitchen is something that can be useful.  This is my husband's grandmother's "buffet."  I have no idea what a buffet really is but that's what she called it.

Last week I took all my jars off and dusted the whole piece.  I also got out the Orange Glow and shined it up - I love the scent of that!  These jars - I prefer the antique blue ones but don't have enough for everything - hold all kinds of things.  On the top row I have staples like flour, sugar, corn meal, etc.  The second shelf is mostly dehydrated things.  I love to dehydrate vegetables and fruits so there I have hash brown potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, green beans. okra, corn, apples, pears, pineapple.  There might be a jar or two of jelly also.  The bottom shelf is for spices and things like garlic slices, cinnamon/sugar, shrimp boil spices...and on the right are herbs like basil, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder.  Oh and a few sweet potatoes in the middle - my husband's favorite vegetable!  And of course everything is labeled.  What a timesaver that is when I'm searching for something in particular.

Below all that are six drawers - that's what I tackled today.  The top two are junk drawers and I'd show you those but really, they are junk drawers.  Just organized junk drawers today.  The others hold things like lids for my pots, supplies for my food saver, my small mixer and the attachments, and in one of them a few wine glasses.  I might need those quickly so they're close to the refrigerator.  :)  Since two of them were junk drawers I had to enlist my husband's help to explain what some of that stuff was.  Which led to him cleaning our our "hardware" tubbies in the hall closet.  What a deal that was.  :)

Also on top of my refrigerator I keep two baskets.  One holds chips and snacks like that.  I've checked all the dates and made sure they were closed good and lined up like little soldiers.  The other basket is this one.

Those are "lock and lock" containers.  They hold three different kinds of crackers; the other is for a few cookies.  You could use any container with a tight lid but honestly this idea is one of my very favorites.  The crackers stay fresher and everything is neater.

And last there was this little shelf tucked away in a narrow place where nothing else fits.

I took everything off and wiped down the shelves.  I sorted through the cookbooks and got rid of a lot.  Well, a few.  Two, I got rid of two.  The clear bins hold other staples that I don't use quite as often...baking soda, confectioners sugar, etc.  The bread baskets on top hold extra napkins.  Again - labeled.  I'm a whiz with labels!

So that's it for today.  I'm headed for my stitching chair and some cross stitch.  I earned it.

Tomorrow....Day Three....I'll do the medicine closet in the hall and maybe the linen closet.  On Day Four I plan to tackle the coat closet.  Yuck.  And if I'm really brave and really persuasive on Day Five I hope to enlist my husband to work on his closets.  Pray for me.