Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scrabble tile sentiments

I saw a neat decorating idea when Q and I were at an antique store recently. One of the booths was selling Scrabble letter tiles and holders. They wrote out a phrase with them and put it with a few other table decorations. With a sale going on, I didn't think they cost too much, but one phrase and holder alone would have cost me a few dollars.

Well, a few days ago, I saw a Scrabble game at my favorite thrift store in town and it was only 25 cents! To decorate with these letters was going to be a steal compared to the antique store price. I just love a good deal, don't you?

Here are a few of the ones I have put around the house...(oh, and I still have lots of letters left!)

A simple "I love you" sits in front of our wedding picture.

I have this one on the window ledge above my kitchen sink. I don't know how many times it's already reminded me to pray about something or someone--so it's been a great thing!

I've placed this one next to a couple of ceramic pumpkins and a fall candle. I just love it!

Keep your eye out on a great deal on a Scrabble game...or you can use the one you've got hidden away in your closet if you're not currently playing it. Hope this gives you a fun and simple decorating idea for your home.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Q's juggling blocks

Just thought I'd tell you a bit about how I made Q's "Cares in the Air" juggling blocks. I found the idea in a book called Denyse Schmidt Quilts. It is one of the easier projects in the book. Quilting is one of those things I've always admired others doing, but never thought I'd give it a try (like knitting, but I'm still lovin' it!). Doing a simple project like these blocks has given me confidence to try another quilting project in the future.

The first thing I did was cut out the pieces according to the measurements in the book. Then, I spread them out so that I could see how to stitch the pieces together.

Next, I stitched the short sides of the frame first, then stitched the long sides. They looked like this:

I stitched on a 4-1/2 by 4-1/2 square lining to the back of each patch work square as well as to the backs. Then each front piece was stitched to a back piece right sides facing. The back pieces were cut out of the same striped fabric as the squares in the center of each front piece. And speaking of fabric, I used recycled t-shirts, a kitchen towel and a place mat (the striped fabric) to put these together. I wanted these blocks to be bright as they are tossed in the air.

At the end of stitching both sides together, about an inch or so was left unstitched for turning. Each block was filled with about 2/3 cup of dried lentils. Then, I stitched the blocks closed by hand.

I made this simple drawstring bag from recycled denim fabric to store the juggling blocks. Q really likes these blocks I made for him. He likes the feel of them as they are a bit heavier than juggling balls. I also think he might be able to use these with children's ministry in the future--and the kids would love it!

I did a short video on his juggling skills with the blocks I made him. There's even some background music, cuz' you just have to have it sometimes! Enjoy.:)

video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

From me to Q on his birthday

We just celebrated Quentin's birthday this past weekend. It is a tradition that I make him a meal and dessert of his choosing. This year though, I didn't let him choose his dessert. He kept wondering what I was doing, but I told him over and over again not to worry because I knew he would love it! For the longest time, he's been asking me to make rice pudding, so he was delighted to have this for breakfast.

I put some in a crystal bowl and sprinkled cinnamon and nutmeg on top. I left out the raisins since he's not a big fan of them. Here's the recipe in case you want to try it out yourself...

Creamy Rice Pudding (from Allrecipes.com)

3/4 cup uncooked white rice (short grain makes for a creamier consistency)
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. In another saucepan, combine 1-1/2 cups cooked rice, 1-1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm.

After a lunch of eggs, bacon, toast and fruit, I presented this gift to him:

This was his main gift wrapped in a blanket! We sometimes joke around about wrapping presents in blankets because one his first gifts to me was actually wrapped in a blanket. I just had to do this back to him.:)

Inside the blanket were these three books. Q has been reading a lot on how to be self-sufficient and he's been teaching me some things along the way. He is currently enjoying these books: The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, Just in Case by Kathy Harrison and The Backyard Homestead edited by Carleen Madigan. I found all of them on Amazon.com.

I wanted to give him something hand made so I tried quilting for the first time in this simple project. I made a set of juggling squares for my Q. I will tell you where I got the instructions and how I did it in my next post. You can do it, too!:)

Stay tuned....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

For the Sunday School girls

Something fun and exciting arrived at our Sunday School girls' homes this week:

This "for girls only" invitation tells the young ladies about the Sunday afternoon party we will be having next week. To make the invitations, I glued this festive scrap booking paper onto the front of each card. I used round letter stickers and buttons to add the final touch. Each card had different letter stickers and button placement.

In my rubber stamp box, I found a clear stamp set that I forgot I had. I stamped this sentiment onto the back of each card next to the hand written invitation:

I can't wait to have the girls over in a week! I am in the midst of planning a special lunch (with dessert, of course!), craft and game. It will be lots of fun and I'll make sure to tell you all about it next week! :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Origami Heart

I held onto this heart for a while before I had to spend it. It was just too cute!

One of our Sunday School girls, Sophia, showed me hers, so I asked her to show me how to do it. I was impressed with what she did, so I found a website that explains how to do this design plus several more. Go here to check it out!

I also found The Buck Book (Klutz Press) by Anne Akers Johnson at the local thrift store for 25 cents! Origami with a dollar bill is great fun for kids of all ages. It's a fun thing to do to pass the time or to creatively present a money gift.

Have fun! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

God provides some free meat!

A couple of days ago, our friend, Tony, called Q and asked him if he would like to have some deer meat. So after lunch, Q was on his way to another town to get it.

The way Tony got the deer was unusual...he was driving down a road when the car in front of him hit the deer head on. The guy drove off and Tony pulled over to check it out. He touched the deer and he stood straight up. Then, he took out his knife and slit his throat. He was able to find a park ranger to ask if he could have it. Tony is an avid hunter, but who would have thought that he would come home with a deer this way? He worked as fast as he could with the time that he had to prepare the meat, but he couldn't finish it.

My awesome husband worked for a few hours cutting the meat so that we could freeze it. He had never done this before but had watched videos on how to do it. I think he did a great job!

While he worked, I went to my sewing room and worked on a project. Every now and then I came out to see how he was doing. The smell of the blood and meat was strong for me so I lit a candle!

This cooler was full of meat--praise the Lord!

Q pulled out the meat grinder that he had found at a thrift store a while back. Now, we have some burger meat.:)

This is just a portion of the bags Q filled with roast, steak and burger meat. We are so thankful that God has provided this for us. Our guests will also be blessed by enjoying this food.

How has God provided for you recently? I would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Fabric Ring

Have you ever been to a store and saw something that you thought, "Oh, I wish I knew if it would match my _________." Well, I have done that many times, mostly with craft projects I'm working on. I don't always remember to bring a sample piece of fabric with me. Sometimes, I'll even stop by the thrift store on a whim and discover that something there might go with something at home...but I'm not exactly sure. You know what I mean, right?

Well, I came up with something that might save us all from headaches when searching for that matching something. This is my new fabric ring:

These tiny pieces of fabric are currently part of a project I'm working on. I was looking for some matching tulle and metallic trim and I thought to bring these along. All I did was cut a small slit in each one and put it on a ring. It is still in my purse, as I search for the right coordinating items. Hey--I could also make it part of my key ring if it's not too bulky!

As I work on other sewing projects, I can keep adding to the ring. I can also use it for attaching pictures of that blouse that needs a coordinating scarf, or that skirt that needs a new trim added. Whatever you need it for, this handy ring will save you some time and perhaps money from making terrible purchases.

Do any of you do something like this...or variations of it? I'd love to hear about it! Happy sewing!:)

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the cutest little chef

Our nephew, Ross, just turned 4 this past Sunday. I knew for a while what I was going to give him; I just had to go get the supplies and put it together. When he and his family were here visiting us in early August, I found Ross a whisk at an antique store. The next morning, he helped me make scrambled eggs for breakfast. We had done some cooking together before, and he's really good! His mom signed him up for a cooking class that begins in October, so I knew he had to have something to wear...

Using a dish towel, I made this apron for him. After I cut off the top corners, I finished the edges with bias tape. The jean fabric was recycled from an old jean dress!

For an adjustable neck strap, I stitched a button on to the back side of one of the corners. I made three button holes on the strap. It was very easy to do.;)

This happy little chef loves his apron and I'm so glad. He told me on the phone that he likes the wooden spoon, too. I also gave him a dish cloth and a set of kid recipe cards. Isn't he just adorable?

I typed out my favorite ones and printed them on card stock. I added stickers, then laminated them with clear contact paper. I put them together with a ring. Now, Ross has some recipes he can do with his Mom in the kitchen.

I can't wait to hear how he does with his cooking class. He will be an awesome chef in no time!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our garden: it's cleaning up time...

Q just started cleaning up the garden. With fall just around the corner, a few things were at the end of their season. This picture shows what our garden looks like now without the lettuce, beans, sweet peas and cucumber:

He managed to find a few things out there to keep....

He wants to dry these green beans out. And take a look at these little cuties...

These mini cucumbers were fun to see. Q said if that if they were a bit bigger, they would make good pickles.

Our tomato plants are hanging on! We'll see if they ever turn red. That would be great if they make it. Our pumpkins are almost ready for harvesting, but I'll wait til' next time to tell you what I'll be doing with them.

Stay tuned...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rejoicing in the Lord

I've been praising the Lord all week as I heard some good news from my doctor. I've had some health issues, so I've been visiting the clinic more often this past month or so. It wasn't clear as to what was going on, and thankfully, it's nothing serious.

During my time of wondering what was going on, the Lord comforted my heart. I've been through some pretty hard physical things these last three years, but this recent one got me really scared. I remembered that since the Lord helped me through two surgeries and emotional miscarriages, then he was going to help me through this one.

At a time when God has been doing some wonderful things in our lives, I wondered if this new health challenge would interrupt some of those things. My life is really in His hands, and I have to trust Him no matter what He puts in my path. His plans are always better than ours, even if we have to endure hard things.

I've been reading and studying Psalm 91 this past week. It's been a great encouragement to me. Read it some time, and you'll see what I mean. These few verses are my favorites:

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." (verses 1 &2)

"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name." (verse 14)

There are people in the Bible that went through some hard circumstances--Job and Joseph are among my favorites. Despite physical hardships and opposition from even family, they continued to praise the Lord. It is my desire that with what seems to be my "thorn in the flesh" (health struggles), that I can praise the Lord and point others to do the same. I want Christ to be seen in me where ever I go, even when I'm hurting. God is working in me as I go through pain--and it's okay, because He is drawing me closer to Himself.

I love the words to the song, "Rejoice in the Lord" by Ron Hamilton. I've known it since I was a kid, but in recent years, it has brought tears to my face as it means so much to me now.

God never moves without purpose or plan,
When trying his servant and molding a man,
Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.

I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.

Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.

O rejoice in the Lord. He makes no mistake.
He knoweth the end of each path that I take.
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.

There are some of you out there that knew I was going through some things, so thanks for your prayers. I am continually resting in the Lord, knowing that His plans are always best. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More felt hairbows...

Q and I were invited to attend our friends' daughter's birthday party, but we were not able to make it. Having recently made some cute felt hair bows, I decided to come up with a couple new patterns and send a few to her.

First up: stitched hair bows....

I picked two of these out to include in her birthday package. I used three strands of embroidery floss to stitch around the inside edge of each small bow. Then, I made two of the bigger shape and glued those together. The smaller bow was put on with the narrow felt strip and glued together.

This is my favorite one of the bunch! Each stitched hair bow was approximately six inches in length. These will look so cute on top of a pony tail.

I used these long clips for each one. I used both hot glue and E-6000 glue to put them all together.

Then, I came up with a pattern to make a couple of smaller hair bows to look like my favorite flower...

Using sparkly white felt, I cut out three daisies for each barrette (the two on top were a bit smaller than the bottom one). I held them all together by stitching through the center of each flower. I used the same kind of clips I used for my first set of felt hair bows.

I wrapped up my hand made gift in this original Strawberry Shortcake wrapping paper I found at the thrift store for a quarter. The outside of the package said it was scented, and sure enough it still smelled like strawberries after about twenty years!

Enjoy these new ideas for making some beautiful hair pretties for the little girls in your life.:)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peanut Butter Shake

I love making this delicious peanut butter shake after a good work out. Sometimes I'll enjoy eating another healthy snack like a handful of almonds, raisins or a cheese stick. But--this shake is my favorite treat of all as it gives me lots of protein and is sweet, too. It also makes a great meal substitute.

I found the original recipe on Allrecipes.com and changed it a bit to suit my tastes. Feel free to add in some strawberries for a PB & J shake or a swirl of chocolate syrup for some extra sweetness. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Shake

1 banana (cut into chunks and frozen ahead of time)
1/8 cup low-fat peanut butter
1/2 cup non-fat milk (or soy milk)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 icecubes

Place all ingredients into a blender and mix thoroughly. Serves 1.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home made laundry detergent

For the last several months, I've been making my own laundry detergent. I had read about others doing it, so I decided to give it a try. I found it online, but I don't remember where I found the recipe to this powder detergent. We really like it a lot for a few reasons: it's very affordable; it smells nice (but the scent isn't too strong) and it gets the stains out! I use a wet toothbrush dipped in the detergent to treat stains. I let it set for a few minutes before throwing the garment into the wash.

You just need three ingredients: a box of Borax, a box of washing soda and a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. The only place where I can find all three is at our local grocery store, King Soopers. The bar soap will be used up for one batch, but the other two things will last for several batches. The boxes cost several dollars each, while the bar soap is just a little over a dollar. All in all, it is a great savings compared to store-bought detergent.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups Fels-Naptha soap, finely grated (1 bar)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax

Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Weight Loss Competition--final update

Well, the competition is over, but I'm still striving to be healthy by exercising and eating well. We started this back in January and it officially ended on Labor Day. Neither of us lost a lot of weight, but because of my consistency and determination, Q awarded me with an honorable mention award.

I've had some ups and downs with my health, but I have still kept at it, even if it was just a walk instead of a rigorous aerobic workout. My ectopic pregnancy was a hard thing to both physically and emotionally overcome, but I went back to my exercise routine within a few weeks. I've recently have had some other health challenges (if you think of it, pray for me as I'm currently getting help from my doctor), but I'm going to try my best to keep a balanced life of eating well and exercising.

With the different exercise routines I've done, I've gained some muscle and have lost some inches. Q and I have both noticed the change--just wish I could actually lose more weight! Here is my first "before" picture....

Gillian Michaels' The 30-Day Shred is one of the work outs I've been doing. It is tough, but I'm liking the results and the way I feel each day!

Q awarded me with some cash and I've got some plans for it. I'd like to get a nice church dress and some shoes. I've already spent a small amount on some lovely fabrics from Joann's. They had a sale on their Red Tag fabrics, so I didn't spend too much on these finds:

The top print is polyester and is a simple cartoon design (perhaps will make a cute tote bag?). The middle one is my favorite--do I see an apron or skirt coming out of that one? The bottom floral print is a mix of green, blue, white and brown. I'm already thinking of what I want to do, but I've got to keep it a secret for now.;)

I also bought a bias tape maker (also on sale) which I've wanted for a long time!

Now I'm on the hunt for a new outfit--can't wait to find the right one.

Thanks to Q for my cash prize! And I'll keep plugging away on being as healthy as I can be. If you ever feel like giving up on your goals, don't! Remember this verse: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

You CAN do it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I made it!

I've got some BIG NEWS!!

Just wanted to tell you all that I made it into the Longmont Singers group--yahoo! I'm really excited to be a part of this smaller group that will get to perform a few extra concerts during the year. I'm thankful that God has opened this opportunity for me.

When I went to the first rehearsal for the main chorale, I found out that I needed an outfit that consisted of a long-sleeved black blouse and a floor-length black skirt. Thankfully, I recently bought the right skirt at the local thrift store for 99 cents! I've been on the hunt for the right blouse, and today, I found one for eight dollars at another thrift/consignment shop. For under ten dollars, I've got a new choir outfit....

Now, all I've got to do is learn all the songs.:) It's going to be a lot of fun and I can't wait!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Treasure Chest

The treasure chest comes in handy for children's ministry. Whether it is to reward a "quiet seat" prize or to reward a child who brings a visitor or a Bible, this can be a wonderful tool. It's also fun to let a birthday child pick some thing out (or two!).

I found this wooden box at church that I thought we could use for our Bible club. I went through some of the little prizes already at church and added them in. I recently found quite a few trinkets at Hobby Lobby that were marked down from their summer stock. Other great places to find things are at Smile Makers, Oriental Trading Company, your local dollar store, Wal-mart, Big Lots and the dollar spot at Target. These places give awesome variety while keeping the cost low.

So, what do I include in my stash? First of all, I include a mix of Bible-related items and every day fun things, too. I don't put anything inside that has anything to do movies, cartoons or entertainment. Although I don't have any candy in there right now, soft candies as well as fruit snacks are also a good idea to put in.

Here's what I currently have in there....

jumping frogs
cars
stickers
mini paddle balls (they say "Make a Joyful Noise")
animal-shaped erasers
tiny paint kit
rings (with a Bible phrase on them)
sea animals
silver coins with the Ten Commandments printed on them
punch balloon

More ideas include: balls, glow-in-the-dark jewelry, pens and pencils, notepads, book marks, key chains, etc. Of course, there's room for more items. If you have a treasure chest, what do you include in it? I'd love to hear your ideas!:)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Boulder Ridge Bible club

This past Tuesday afternoon, Q and I began holding our Bible clubs at the Boulder Ridge community (a trailer park). The week before, we canvassed the area, inviting kids to come join us. Many of our contacts were from our VBS we held there a couple months ago.

When we arrived, a few kids were hanging around and we recognized them. We told them what we were doing, so all four of them joined me as I went around inviting kids. They took the map with the circled homes and the flyers and helped me talk to the kids and their parents. They got me really excited as we walked along.

When it was about time to start, Q had returned from making some rounds, too, but the kids who helped me disappeared! Well, we had three kids show up and we praise the Lord for that. I just hope all of those other kids come back and stay next week.

We began by playing a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Then, we went into the outdoor pavillion and sang songs, taught them a Bible verse and some Bible truths and shared a Bible story. We were also watching for someone to win the "quiet seat" prize. At the end, I pulled out the treasure chest and let the young lady there pick something out.

We are thankful that we had a great first club! We hope and pray we can impact many lives for Christ, including the parents of these children. We are so excited for what the Lord has planned for us through this ministry.

Next up...details about the treasure chest. Come back and find out what we put in it and where to get these items. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day

Q and I had an enjoyable time together yesterday. Plan A was to head towards the mountains, but there was a huge fire (as many of you have heard), so we decided to go to Boulder instead. After grabbing some Starbuck's and a light lunch, we were on our way.

We have become avid putt-putt golfers lately--it is always tough competition between the two of us. Both of the courses at Gateway Park are fun and challenging. We each won a game--yahoo!:)

We then went to the popular Pearl Street in Boulder to walk around and visit some shops. We even got some sweet treats at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

On the way back to town, Q said, "You know what we didn't do this summer?--the boats at Waneka Lake." I thought that Labor Day was the last day and since it was close to 6 p.m., I knew that we'd have to wait until next year. Q wanted to go fishing there and we wanted to have our picnic there as well, and I was content with that. But--when we arrived, we noticed a boat out on the lake, so we went to the boat house and asked if they were still letting people go out there. It turns out that they're open for a few more weekends. Their paddle boats are awesome. Some are shaped like a swan, duck, pink flamingo, dragon, and this pirate ship that Q and I got to ride:

My dear husband gave up his wanting to go fishing out on the canoe to satisfy my desire to ride in one of the paddle boats. Awww...he's sweet and I love him dearly. Thanks, Q!

He looks like a mighty fine captain of our pirate ship, don't you think?

After our ride, Q set out his fishing poles and started cooking our steak. I pulled out some fancy new yarn and knitted some time away.

Q didn't catch anything, but we did have some anticipation going for a while as we watched one of the lines pulling for a bit. We think that the crawfish chewed the meat off...oh well, maybe next time, right?

How was your Labor Day? I'd love to hear what you did with your friends and family.:)