Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Evolution of a Quilt

Today is my youngest child's 17th birthday.  It is really hard to imagine that she is that old already.  She's been ours for 14 years this coming August.  

Today is also the day that I have accomplished something I've been wanting to do for years and that is to make each of my children a special quilt.  I finished up Anna's quilt early this morning around 12:45.  It didn't HAVE to be done on the day, but I wanted it to be done.  I'm kind of bad about gifts not arriving on time because of my lack of thinking about how long something may take to be shipped.  So since I had control over this, I wanted it done.

This quilt has been growing in my mind for a few years since I saw a picture of one that was similar with this darling matroyshka fabric. I found the fabric on amazon and it came from Japan.   I've had it for a couple years but just didn't know where to begin to put it all together.  So this fall I decided that I needed to just do it.  The original quilt had red and white checked fabric where I have the chevron and the dots.  I tried and tried to find the right fabrics but could not find the right gingham.  When I found the chevron and dotted fabrics I realized that I  really love them even more.  

Then I just found some colors similar to the original quilt--a green, a purple and a yellow and a darling turquoise print with which I fell in love.  It took me only an afternoon to cut out the strips and sew them together.  But it has taken me WEEKS to quilt it on my machine with my new walking foot.  I love the finished product.  It took much more time than I imagined it would but I'm thankful that I was able to do it myself.  There were a few days that I spent 7-8 hours simply quilting.  

 It was a labor of love.  It makes me feel like I truly accomplished something.  I hope one day each of my children will appreciate the love and care I have put into each of their quilts.  

Here are some pictures I took this morning after I put on a label.  Mostly this is for my mom who can look at my blog to see how it turned out.


Love the movement of those zig zags.

The fabric that started it all.   Love those little Matroyshka girls.( Ooops, there is still some disappearing ink on those parts that I couldn't see very well because they were so close to the background color.)

It took some imagination to come up with quilting patterns to fill in all of that space.

I added a hand sewn pop of red to this purple.  Zippidydoodah.

I like to personalize my labels.  This proves that my work is not perfect! :)

Lots and lots of stitches.

Can't wait to give it to her.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Feast instead of Snacks

Recently I was inspired to reread a book which had made a huge impact on me and my thinking.  I have started to reread it although I need to finish a historical book that I'm almost done reading.  Then I saw a post by someone on social media that reminded me yet again of the author of the book.  So I went to youtube and watched several of the talks that this author gave which inspired me further.

One of the things she spoke about was that her conversion to Christianity came about because she threw herself into reading the Bible over and over again.  She stated that it was through reading large portions of scripture that her life was transformed.  Then she made a statement that rang true for me.  She said, "don't read the Bible in small phrases like it is a horoscope."  

I love reading the devotional book that I have been using for a while now.  But it gives two or three scriptures to look up and read and that's it.  I had been feeling exactly like I was using the Bible as a horoscope--reading the verses and feeling as though it was the prescription for the day ahead.  

Something I have been learning is that hearing and reading the truth of the Word of God is so cleansing and sanctifying.  That's a big word for life changing.  If I only get a taste of something it doesn't really change me.  But if I feast on something it can be life altering.

So I am challenged to start reading bigger portions of scripture on which to feast so that God's Word can sanctify me more and more.  It is truly more satisfying to do so that it is to snack on random verses.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Snakes on my Pillow

Yesterday was a day that will live in infamy for me.  

If you follow me on social media you know without any doubt that I found a snake in my house yesterday.  

I'm sorry if that scares you or anything, but, yeah, it was in MY house.  Yes, I freaked out a bit.  And yes, I shoved that thing with my shoe all the way across my kitchen from my living room and pushed it right outside onto my patio. 

 Most people agree with me that I should have killed it. But I was running late to pick up my daughter from school and her school is 30 minute away.  So I hoped in my rapidly beating heart that it would slither away and I would never see it again as I drove down the road having images of snakes slithering up into my bedroom and waking me in the morning.  It didn't help that a high school classmate of mine joked that I would find one on my pillow.  

That post on my social media got more comments than pretty much anything I had ever posted previously.  Which brought me to my next horrifying discovery:  my floor was filthy and my woodwork is totally scratched up from my now 10 months departed dog.

So this morning, partly to satisfy my need to make it look better, and partly to disinfect the snake cooties, I had to clean.  I even got out the scratch remover which I have been needing to do, but had so far avoided.  

Here's to being clean AND snake free for a long time.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Swedish Meatballs

I've had a request for the recipe of my mom's Swedish meatballs. I will give it the way I made it the other night. So here you go:

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 cup crushed rusks (I used toasted bread, about 2 slices)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 T. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

 beef broth (I use 32 oz box)
2-4 T. flour

Combine first 9 ingredients and form into small balls, about  1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Brown on all sides in 1 tablespoon hot shortening ( I used butter). Once browned, add in all but about a cup of beef broth to skillet and stir together.  Then add the flour to the remaining cup of broth and mix to form a thickening agent.  Add to the pan and stir it in.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes and serve over noodles if desired.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dial M for. . . . . . .


There, I said it.    

It took me over a year to figure out what was making me feel like a crazy woman who had lost herself.  But that's it. The thing that has kept me from blogging because I just couldn't write anything because I felt so blah.  And bad.  And angry.  And lost.  And sad. And worthless.  And the list goes on.

Who really knows how long this had been going on because I had a partial hysterectomy YEARS ago and had no idea that the M word was even happening.  To be honest, I find it hard to even write about this now because it seems impossible that I could even be old enough to consider this.  But I am.  You might be.  And that's why I am writing about it.

I've had friends or family that have struggled with postpartum depression and how it made them feel like a stranger to themselves.  But I had NO point of reference for this other thing. When I told my mom that I felt that she had never changed in my mind during that period in her life she joked that maybe she was grouchy all the time.  No, she was not.

This hormone deficiency has made me miserable as well as most of the people that love me and for that I feel so sorry.  But I got help and now I feel SO MUCH BETTER.

I'm so thankful that I came across a funny article written by a woman who was 40 and experiencing the same symptoms that I was and was told she was entering menopause.  It made me realize that I wasn't just becoming a terrible person and that there was hope for me to feel better.  

So here is what I've learned and what I'll pass on to you in case you might be feeling like I was:

  • this can happen at any age
  • it apparently can last for 5-10 years (yikes)
  • there is pharmacological help
  • there are bio-identical hormones that can help
  • you need to tell your spouse and your family what you are feeling
  • you need to talk to your doctor 
  • you need friends who have been there
  • life can be better

I'm no expert but I'm just trying to lend a hand if you are struggling like I was struggling.  

So, now I can move on and possibly get back to blogging about fun things again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn and Soup---The Perfect Couple


I haven't blogged in something like over eight months.  There is a reason.  I've been wanting to write about it.  But, it's awkward.  

Instead of starting anew with something awkward I'll just do a recipe blog since that is very non-threatening.

Autumn began this week (can you believe it?) and with autumn goes soup.  I love soup.  If I had the gumption to do it I would like to make soup several days a week in the fall and winter.  But with my food allergies there are only so many soups I can eat so I guess it would get kind of boring for the rest of my family.

Today it was kind of a gloomy, rainy day here so soup was the perfect solution to feeling good.  The soup du jours is potato.  I use a recipe from the West Lisbon Church cookbook as a base but have kind of made it my own in order to feed my tribe over the years.  

So here it is:

Ingredients you will need are:


First, I take a pound of bacon (yes, a pound)  and using a scissors cut the slices across to make it into around 2 inch size pieces.  I put these in my big dutch oven pot on medium heat with some garlic and black pepper sprinkled generously.

While the bacon is cooking I peel up as many potatoes as I feel I need for the amount of people I am cooking for that day.  I am used to cooking for a large family so I kind of continue to do that even though there are only 3 of us here. (Leftovers are even better than the first go round!)

So, maybe 6 or 7 potatoes for about that many people.  You can adjust if you have a smaller family or have better portion control than we do.

Then I peel about 4 carrots.  

Slice up your potatoes into bite sized chunks and your carrots into medium slices.  I put these into a big measuring bowl with a handle, put enough water to cover the top and give it a good dose of salt.  

When the bacon is pretty crispy and done I scoop it out with a slotted spoon and put it on some paper towels to drain while I make the rest of the soup.

Pour all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease into a glass jar or something that can take the heat and deal with it however you deal with bacon grease at your house.

Pour the potatoes, carrots and water into the pan with the tablespoon of bacon grease and bring to a boil.  You can also add chopped onion or dried onion at this time.  Simmer it on medium to low heat with a lid on it while you do the next step.

Melt 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) in a saucepan.  Add 3/4 of a cup of flour and mix well to make a roux.  Then add 4 cups of milk slowly while you blend with a whisk to make it really smooth.  Cook over medium heat while stirring pretty constantly and it will thicken nicely.  

By the time your sauce is thickened your vegetables should be cooked.  

Add the thickened milk and flour mixture to the soup and stir together.  Heat through to blend.  Put bacon into the soup and stir it in.

Serve it up with bread and maybe add some cheese if you like.

It comes together really quickly.  My oldest son makes this his own way when he is having friends over for dinner often.  

Hope you have a soup-er autumn!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Olympics Are Finally Here

So the thing that someone in our house has been highly anticipating is finally here.  

The Olympics in Sochi, Russia are on the air (well, sort of--whenever NBC decides that we should see them) and our DVR is going to be very busy over the next 2 weeks.

My daughter is 16 years old as of last month.  As I recall, being an adopted child who is 16 is about the perfect age to be totally into returning to your roots, finding out who you are in the scope of the world in which you live.  At sixteen I was really into reading books about adoptees who had searched and found their birthparents.  I gave speeches in speech class about it and about adoption.  It truly is the peak time to be finding yourself, whether you are adopted or not, I suppose.

Well, at our house right now, it is all about "the Russia".  

For her birthday we gave her a language program for the computer for her to play with so she could learn Russian or at least try to revive it from her brain a little.  I'm sure our search engine is filled with requests about Sochi and I know that her singing in the past couple of months has been totally focused on the Russian singers she has found on youtube that she loves.  

After this last big snow she went out in our front yard and trudged out the letters SOCHI 2014.  The anticipation has been dripping from her every pore.

Last night after we got home from her basketball game we stayed up really late and watched the DVRed opening ceremony from the Games.

It was fabulous and beautiful.  Sure, it was filled with government propaganda that glossed over the darkest part of the country's history, but it was a fantastic use of modern technology focused on an event showcased for the world to watch.

The music from Russia's history is gorgeous and moody and dark and bright all at the same time.  The dancing was awe inspiring and the singing was tear inducing in its sheer beauty.

Though I am not a lover of world travel, it felt comfortable somehow that I was seeing people from a region of the world to which I have been, knowing that the people are what matter in a country, not the government.  

The people of Russia are wonderful, generous and kind.  

I should know, I live with one.