Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heirloom Crochet Patterns

 I love crochet doilies. For as long as I can remember we have always had beautiful doilies, made by my mother, decorating our home. Now that I have a home of my own, I still love using doilies. They add a bit of old-fashioned, winsome charm to a room.
My mother found an old crochet patterns book at a Goodwill store for me when I was in my teens and I loved (and still do!) to look through it at all the old, beautiful patterns for doilies. I recently discovered that someone had taken the time to type many of them up and made them available online--for FREE. The website is Free Vintage Crochet. The ones from the book I have are listed by number ( for example: Number 7318).
Up until this year, I've never really tried my hand at doilies. I've crocheted since I was very young, but could never get the hang of small thread. Worsted and baby weight yarn were more my cup of tea. Now that I have more time on my hands I've gotten brave and decided to conquer my timidity towards small thread. I practiced with some small tablecloth motifs for a little bit, then summoned up my courage and attempted a pineapple doily. Now I'm in love!
 This is the doily pattern I used. I didn't make it an oval--I just made the six pineapples and didn't make the last two. It was much easier than I thought and so rewarding when I finished it.
  This is another really neat website with lots of free crochet patterns--many available in a free PDF format.

 Have fun and enjoy browsing through the patterns!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cadeau Knitwear

Head over to Cadeau Knitwear, a beautiful new knitting website started by my friend Aimee. Aimee is the wife of a minister and mama to three adorable girls and a crafter extraordinaire. I can't wait to see all that she will share in the coming months.
 This makes me want to get out my lace I'm working on and finish it! Grab a cup of tea, head over there, and let her know that Rebecca sent you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smocking and baby stuff :)

Here is a detail from a baby dress I made for a shower gift. It was so much fun to make. Hopefully I'll have pictures of the sweet little girl it was made for wearing it soon ;) This is the bodice before assembling the dress. The mama loved it!

And here is the baby...well, sort of :) you can't really see her very well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Neat day...

I've been on a home decor/houseplanning/remodeling kick lately. I'm really starting to wish for a house and I am finding all sorts of neat ideas to incorporate into it. Enjoy :)

Old-fashioned looking drawer pulls for a dishtowel rack. I love this idea. It makes me think of my great grandmother's house--she had drawer pulls just like that.

Produce baskets on the wall. Not only is it functional, it's downright pretty, too.  I love wire baskets.

As afar as sinks go, it doesn't get much lovelier than this. I'm still not sure though if I would like a single sink--I'm pretty spoiled to a double sink. I love the wicker baskets used as drawers and the gingham curtain used instead of cabinet doors. Realistically speaking though, it would be much easier to keep a baby out of a cabinet with doors than one with a curtian. :) So I'll just keep dreaming....

And last but not least, the ESSENTIAL accessory for every fashion-conscious milk-maid on her way out to the milking parlour:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls--from scratch

Here is my almost world-famous (at least around here) cinnamon roll recipe. It's super easy and almost fail-proof. I usually mix it in my KitchenAid mixer, but it is easy to mix by hand as well. The dough is soft and doesn't require much kneading. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls~

1/4 c. warm water
1  T fast acting yeast
2 T sugar

Mix and let stand 5 minutes. (Mixture will be frothy)

1/2 c boiling water
1 T butter
1 T sugar
1 t salt

Mix and let butter melt. Add 1/2 c cold water.  Add yeast mixture and 2 3/4 -- 3 c. flour, a little at a time. If using a mixer, let mix for a few minutes until the dough begins to stick to the beater and leave the sides of the bowl. If mixing by hand, knead until the dough is soft and elastic (about 5 mins). Cover and let rise til doubled, about 20 mins.

Photo A
Punch dough down.On a floured surface, press or roll dough to make an approx. 12x18 inch rectangle. Spread melted butter on rectangle and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. (photo A)

Starting with the long side, roll dough up, jelly-roll fashion and pinch to seal seam. Cut 1 1/2 inch slices (photo B) and place in buttered baking pans and let rise til doubled. (photo C)


Bake at 375 * F for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

For the glaze, I use a regular milk, powdered sugar and vanilla glaze, but I add a few tablespoons of very soft ( almost melted) cream cheese. I have no idea how much of what I use, I just keep adding til it tastes/looks right. Drizzle glaze over warm cinnamon rolls and expect them to disappear rapidly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One day....

 I will have an organized pantry...maybe not like this, but one can hope! :)

And last but not least.....this what I call a "lovely" could almost have a tea party in it! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Last weekend we spent in the country with my parents. The first night we were with my aunt and uncle (who introduced us two years ago!) while Jacob finished a flooring project for them he started two weeks ago.
  Saturday we spent with my family. Here are some glimpses of our day with them.

Daddy stacking, moving, and loading hay

Pwease can I sit on the wittle one?!

Jacob learning to use the accumulator--an awesome invention that saves us from having to load the square  bales by hand.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Febreze and Charcoal

It is probably a good thing that we don't have any little ones yet, as my latest smoke smell battling strategy is a tad messy: charcoal.
 Last night after church Jacob and I made a Walmart run for charcoal and more Febreze and a few more candles. We took the couch all apart and I'm airing the cushions out on the porch today, and I've been saturating his recliner with Febreze every time I think about it.
 Things are getting better and you can only smell the smoke when you first walk in the door--it nearly knocks you off your feet, but it only takes a minute to get used to it.
Hopefully the charcoal will help absorb more of the smell. We have about 6 aluminum pans full of charcoal scattered throughout the apartment and Jacob place some in the return air vent of our A/C. So we shall see.
 We are having the in-laws over for supper tonight and I'm going to fry chicken. Hopefully it will lessen the smell, not multiply it :)

Beyond the Gates of Splendor

I have always loved Elisabeth Elliot. Her writings and stories have helped me through a lot.
 I watched the documentary "Beyond the Gates of Splendor" a few years ago and found it last week on .PLEASE NOTE: this is a secular site and I do not endorse it, its views, its sponsor's views, etc. This is just where I found the movie to re-watch.

  The sacrifice of the 5 missionary families is overwhelming. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the families to lose their husbands and fathers, and all of the questions that must have raged in their hearts afterwards.
Jim and Elisabeth Elliot

This is a tough documentary and is very true-to-life, so it is not for younger viewers. There is some nudity and violence.
 Below is the link for the movie.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just call me Smokey the Homemaker

Last Thursday I decided to make gumbo for supper. To some, gumbo in hot weather is unthinkable but I had to have some. I didn't really want the smoky, burnt smell that roux leaves in your house afterwards, especially since it is very hard to get fried smells gone from our apartment, so I bought some Tony Chachere roux mix. (It was great by the way, and it has no MSG or other things like that.) So, hurrah! no burned smell that will take days to disappear.
Or so I thought....
  Supper was delicious, and we decided to always use the roux mix. About halfway through, we realized I'd forgotten to put okra in it. Jacob loves okra in gumbo and I'd bought some especially for him. No problem, I'd just put some in and let it simmer on low and we could eat more later. (It is impossible to make a small pot of gumbo.) So I did.
  We had some errands to run after supper and we looking forward to more gumbo when we got home.
 When we were almost home--nearly four hours later--I realized that I had left the burner on under the gumbo!!!!!!!!! I had completely forgotten that I had turned the stove back on and so had Jacob.
 I expected fire trucks to be in front of our apartment when we got home but there were none. There WAS a smoky smell we could smell when we got out of our truck.
  We unlocked and opened our door and smoke billowed out. I ran to the stove, grabbed the pot and headed to the porch with it. There was smoke everywhere. We opened every door and window and turned on all the fans. It was awful.
I began cleaning and mopping and dusting, doing anything I could think of to try and lessen the smoke smell. Thankfully my wonderful in-laws showed up with box fans, carpet powder and Febreeze and we were able to make it til the next morning.
 Needless to say, all of our furniture is saturated with the smoke smell, not to mention our clothing, bedding, pillows, carpet--everything! 
 First thing Friday morning I went to the store and bought all kinds of smell-good stuff. I'm sure the cashier was amused at the wide array of candles and air fresheners that I had in my basket.
 I have never had anything quite this big and challenging to tackle before and I must admit when I woke up Friday I just wanted to cry and go home to Mama. I felt (and still do to a degree) so overwhelmed. If we were in the country, or had a yard, I would simply take everything outside and let it air in the sunshine. Mattress, sofa, recliner, etc. I did take our pillows onto the porch and some of our blankets and let them air.
 All this was made worse by the fact that we were leaving Friday evening for a mini-vacation to our deerlease with Jacob's parents. I had planned to spend Friday packing and preparing to leave. Now I had to re-wash everything that we were planning on taking with us. That meant towels, clothing, and bedding. Our suitcases were smokey. Everything was smokey and our home was a disaster area.
 It was good that we were able to get away from the smoke for a few days. We needed to get away anyway and the smoke incident made us appreciate our trip even more. Retail therapy (shopping!) helped quite a bit :)
 Everything is still smoky, and I have been cleaning ever since we got home. It's getting better, but I think a lot of it is that I'm just getting used it. :( Someone is going to lend us an air purifier so that should help and I'm going to send several of Jacob's suits to dry cleaner's this week and the rest next week.
  What I have I learned from this little ordeal? ALWAYS check the stove before you leave. Even if you know it's off, look again. And just because you use roux mix doesn't mean you won't have to deal with a smokey house.
 We are so thankful that the Lord protected our home and it was only smoke and not fire we are having to clean up after. We don't know why the smoke detector didn't go off, and I'm going to check the batteries today.
 So, if you have any suggestions on how to combat smoke smell, please, please, please, comment and share them with me.