Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook (Kara's)


For Monday, December 1, 2008

Outside My Window...bare tree branches outlined in the blue sky, illuminated by noon sunshine.

I am thinking...on Psalm 1:2, and how I must delight in God's word .

I am thankful for...Central heating!

From the kitchen...too many yummy things to eat! Tine made some graham cracker pudding the other day, and I haven't even tried it yet! (it's a Thanksgiving tradition)

I am wearing...blue jeans, and a blouse with this painting on it.

I am creating...nothing at the moment. I'd like to make some stationery.

I am going...nowhere today. Later on in the week, I will accompany a violinist friend on the piano at several events.

I am reading...The book of Psalms, and Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers.

I am hoping...in God.

I am hearing...Christina practicing Christmas carols on the piano.

Around the house... we are cleaning today, and catching up on laundry.

One of my favorite things... Re-reading favorite books. This is only my second time through Strong Poison, and I love all the literary allusions in the first couple of chapters. They make me laugh!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Put up Christmas decorations, study Latin.

Here is picture I am sharing...

No photos today. I'll share a word picture instead, from a favorite poem:

The whole sky was blue;
And the thick flakes floating at a pause
Were but frost knots on an airy gauze,
With the sun shining through.

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

The Simple Womans Daybook


For Monday, December 1, 2008

Outside My Window...the sun shining very brightly against the grey clouds, and melting snow.

I am thinking... about replying to an email.

I am thankful for...God's love!

From the kitchen... my mother, on the 'phone,

I am wearing...mummy's red turtleneck shirt with snowmen on it, and jeans.

I am creating... ideas of Christmas presents for my family.

I am going...to do school in a little bit!

I am reading...nothing in particular, and everything in general

I am hoping... to get a really good violin practice in today!

I am hearing...the washing machine and the dryer do their thing!

Around the house... cleaning, so that we can get out Christmas decorations!

One of my favorite things... getting notes from friends and/or family. :)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Work hard, accomplish things!

Here is picture I am sharing...

We went hiking on Kara's Birthday!

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Friday, November 7, 2008

New E-patterns from Sense and Sensibility!

I'm excited to hear that Jennie Chancey of Sense and Sensibility patterns is now offering her designs for sale as downloads. For someone who never makes a pattern "as is", I see a lot of possibilities here! No more tracing. No more wishing I'd not cut on that line. No more frustration over lost pieces.

Interested in seeing what it's all about? Go here. Jennie has many wonderful historical patterns to choose from. So far, the Regency dress is my favorite. It's a very flexible design. I've blogged about variations I've done here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, November 3, 2008

Outside My Window...early morning sunshine.

I am thinking...that life is full of surprises.

I am thankful for...God's care.

From the kitchen...fresh apple juice.

I am wearing...pajamas.

I am creating...a plan to clean my room.

I am going...to gather with my church this evening to pray for our country.

I am reading...too many books, and not making much headway with any of them.

I am hoping...in God.

I am hearing...cars drive by our house, and a puppy barking.

Around the house... falling leaves.

One of my favorite things... good conversations with friends.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Finish memorizing Titus 2, study Latin, get a new driver's license.

Here is picture I am sharing...

Christina playing In a Pickle

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WIFD Day 4

Here's today's installment...

It's a cold, wet, windy day. Here we're heading out for Ladies Bible Study.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WIFD Days 1-3

Christina and I had intended on participating in the Week in Feminine Dress hosted by the ladies over at the Sense and Sensibility sewing forums. The idea is to be a little more deliberate in how we dress, and to give ideas/encouragement to other ladies. Happens that I wasn't home long enough to upload the pictures til now. So here is the belated version. Maybe I'll be able to keep up for the rest of the week!

Day 1

Ready to go to church

Day 2

Off to the dentist (and only half awake ;) My hoodie came from Old Navy.

Day 3

Christina's most creative outfit yet. At least I'm wearing polka dot socks. (which my brothers think are weird)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Monday, October , 2008

Outside My Window...cloudy greyness and a breeze rippling the leaves of our maple tree. A lovely Fall morning!

I am thinking... about clean teeth, (went to the dentist this morning)

I am thankful for... my wonderful friend who is coming into town this weekend!

From the kitchen... nothing, but the silence of after-breakfastness!

I am wearing..., a jean skirt, shirt from mexico, a blue wrap w/specks of orange, blue and green, a leather string with a blue/orange/gold rock on it, and new shoes from a garage sale! :)

I am creating...a reformation costume! i've already finished the blouse, and am almost finished with the skirt! :) the vest is coming up!

I am going...to hem up my reformation skirt in a few minutes.

I am reading... so many things!

I am hoping... that Kara's practice goes well this morning/afternoon.

I am hearing... beautiful and calm silence. :)

Around the house... a few things that i should pick up.

One of my favorite things... the aforesaid silence.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: finish reformation costume, practice music, get along in French, schoolwork... etc!
Here is a picture I am sharing...

my lil' brother and i making popcorn balls! :)

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oven Pancake Recipe

In honor of the first frost, my brother Matt requested that my mom make oven pancake for breakfast. This is what greeted our sleepy eyes:

It's such a versatile recipe. You can eat it plain. You can dust powdered sugar all over. You can drizzle it with lemon juice. Or, (my favorite) you can top it with fresh peaches and whipped cream. Yum!

The trick is to get the skillet (iron works best) VERY hot before pouring in the batter. That's done easily by leaving the skillet in the oven while the oven preheats. Just make sure not to burn the butter!

German Oven Pancake

3 eggs
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk all ingredients together EXCEPT butter. When very smooth, set aside while you melt the butter in a 12 inch iron skillet. Pour batter in skillet, and bake for 15 minutes. It will puff up beautifully--don't forget to show it off before it deflates!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, October 13, 2008

Outside My Window...it's a blustery day.

I am thinking...it's Providential how the devotional of the day was just what I needed!

I am thankful for...the time together with my college-going brother on Saturday.

From the kitchen...a dead oven. But hopefully it's a simple fix!

I am wearing...Cream blouse with autumn print, khaki skirt.

I am creating...an idea for using some linen fabric. I think I'll dye it and make Reformation day costumes for my sister and I.

I am going...to practice/record an accompaniment this afternoon at a friend's home.

I am reading... Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton

I am hoping...in God.

I am hearing...My brother Rar-Rar slurping his imaginary soup. (Tim has quite an imagination!)

Around the house... Tut, tut. Did I mention it looks like rain?

One of my favorite things... Taking a walk with a friend.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Accompany at various rehearsals, Latin class/homework, Memorize some more of Titus 2, Practice gratefulness.

Here is picture I am sharing...

A sunbathing turtle seen on a recent walk.

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook!

For today-- Monday, September 29, the year is 2008

Outside My Window... the morning sunshine, cheerily brightening the back yard

I am thinking...that I really, really, REALLY, want to see Fireproof!

I am thankful for... my family, my friends, and best of all-- my Savior.

From the kitchen...ah, it should be, what is GOING to be in the kitchen... probably some Koloches, Cookies, Raisin Bread....

I am wearing... a shirt made in Mexico (although i've never actually been there!) with some vines, and a japanese woman on it, and a pair of camo crops.

I am creating... the idea of cleaning my room.

I am going... to start editing my novel sometime.

I am reading... Lies Young Women Believe (and the truth that sets them free) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. Good book! I've learned a lot!

I am hoping...to learn even more! :D

I am hearing... The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini
Around the house... new-mown grass

One of my favorite things... Autumn.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: catch up on some reading, bake some stuff, work, learn, grow.

Here is picture I am sharing... my finished novel-- and the book that helped me write it!

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One Pattern, many looks

I've been meaning to share my summer pattern alteration journey. It started out with a party dress made from Mrs. Chancey's Regency dress pattern:

I liked it so well, I thought I'd try making a blouse from it:

That was ok, but I didn't like how the front gapped when wearing modern undergarments. (I wore period stays for the party dress) Also,because of this, the waistline was too high, and tended to ride up.

So I lowered the "waist" seam about 2 inches, and dipped the pattern on the fold to get rid of some extra fabric across the bust. Problem: it made the underarm seam too high. I don't like having to be a contortionist in order to get into my clothes! On this blouse, I also omitted the back buttons, and did a drawstring instead all around instead. (Lesson learned: never rush through the last stages of a project. Don't look at my seams too close!)

So, final try. I wanted a summer dress with a more modern look. I used the skirt lining pieces instead of the normal gathered skirt-with-train. Tired of making on-paper changes to the pattern, I had my mom pinch out all the extra fabric in front on my toile (that's a practice version in cheap fabric), and I drew a new pattern piece. (also, I cut the underarm seam lower) It resulted in this:

I'm pretty happy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, September 15, 2008

Outside My Window...my dad and brother mowing the lawn in the deepening dusk.

I am thinking...about different prayer needs

I am thankful for...the Holy Spirit, who helps me in prayer when I don't know exactly what to pray

From the kitchen...My mom made an apple crisp. The scent is wafting through the house and making my mouth water.

I am wearing...Surprise! No apron today. Brown t-shirt and denim skirt, topped with a coral, knitted hoodie.

I am creating...a study space on my desk. My dad just helped me hang some new pictures on the bedroom wall.

I am going...Bound for the Promised Land

I am reading... Titus 2

I am hoping...in God.

I am hearing...Timmy playing, and my dad's footsteps.

Around the house... new-mown grass

One of my favorite things... Smiling. Or so my dad says. :)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Memorize some Bible verses, work on finishing up the exercises in chap. 1 of my Latin text.

Here is picture I am sharing... sorry. I haven't had a chance to download any recently.

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, September 8, 2008
Outside My Window... backyard, fence, backyard, fence, backyard, fence... welcome to Kansas.

I am thinking...that i should hurry this up so i can do History.

I am thankful for...Rainy days!

From the kitchen...i had a nice cup of chocolate peppermint tea this morning!

I am wearing... cargo jeans, and a black t-shirt daddy got me! :) and blue socks.

I am creating... the thought of cutting out a skirt today.

I am going... to post this once i finish it.

I am reading... Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey

I am hoping... to do well in school this year and to work hard.

I am hearing... a song by one of my favorite artists

Around the house... my room is almost clean! (wow... walking space--thanks mom!)

One of my favorite things... reading-- it's the best!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... school, and some hard practice on violin (seating auditions this weekend!) aaaannnddd.... we'll see what else comes up.

Here is picture I am sharing... my wonderful friend and I!

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Apple Butter Recipe

Making apple butter is a fall tradition at my house. It's delicious on bread, waffles, pancakes or even plain. I get hungry just writing about it! Ironic that this year I didn't lift a finger to help fill the shelves....just so happened I was away when the apple windfall came, courtesy of some generous neighbours. Here's our recipe:

Apple Butter

18 cups apple sauce (we make our own--just cook apples down, cored and quartered, in some water and put through the food mill)

3 T. cinnamon
3/4 t. cloves
3/4 t. ginger
1 T. blackstrap molasses
3-4 c. sugar (depends on sweetness of apples)

Cook in large pot over low heat until desired thickness is reached. (I like to let it simmer for several hours, to get a nice brown colour) Ladle into jelly jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

This is a great recipe to try if you're new to canning: there's no fiddling with candy thermometers and worrying whether it will gel!

The Work of a week

While I was away from home for a much-anticipated visit to friends, my family (and especially my mother) was busy doing this:

Final count: 100+ jars of apple butter, several batches of pie filling, dried apple rings, apple jam, and more apples in the freezer.

Reminds me of an old favorite:

Recipes to follow!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, September 1, 2008

Outside My Window... actually, mostly I notice the window itself: it's clean. (nothing like a good scrub!)

I am thinking...about all the things I should do this week. And pondering whether I have the courage for new things.

I am thankful for...my friends, especially Rachel, whom I was able to visit last week.

From the kitchen...Christina has some potatoes boiling for potato salad: we'll be grilling tonight.

I am wearing...never mind that. It's covered with a blue flowered apron, anyway!

I am creating...a plan of attack for school, the house, studying Latin...

I am going...actually I've already been. ;)

I am reading... The Gift of Friendship: Tolkien and C.S. Lewis by Colin Duriez

I am hoping...to continue to see answers to prayer.

I am hearing...the sound of silence.

Around the house... We moved most of the bookshelves into one area today. Soon, we will have our own "library"!

One of my favorite things... drinking Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai from Celestial Seasonings tea co.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Practice piano, plan some menus.

Here is picture I am sharing...

Rachel's Twins: aren't they adorable?

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, August 18, 2008
Outside My Window... a part of the back yard: green grass, two of the three pine trees, the neighbors back yard, the hedge trees behind the house

I am thinking...that I should get back to practicing violin soon.

I am thankful for... the nice cool weather--my favorite!

From the kitchen...some bread dough in a big shiny bowl. Probably rising now.

I am wearing... jeans, and a grey scoop neck t-shirt with little black hearts, and a blue hat that I crocheted.

I am creating... a novel. (I’m at 25,000+ words! :D :D :D)

I am going...to stay home today. :)

I am reading... Llama’s on the Loose by Jeri Massi (just reading it for fun), I’m also reading Anne’s house of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery

I am hoping... to get several thousand words in today.

I am hearing...Other than the air conditioner? Silence.

Around the house... pretty quiet right now. There will probably be some cleaning happening after a bit.

One of my favorite things... sleeeeeep. *yawn*

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: writing-- serious writing-- maybe I should call a friend of mine sometime, work at the farmers market, violin lesson…

Here is picture I am sharing... well… I was going to have one, but it’ll have to wait until another post.

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, August 11, 2008

Outside My Window... The wind ruffling the leaves of the Father's Day maple tree.

I am thinking...that I hope the alterations I've made to my dress pattern will work this time!

I am thankful for...health. I was sick in bed for 4 days last week.

From the kitchen...my mom has another pot of salsa simmering on the stove. Yum!

I am wearing...red floral capris and t-shirt, sunflower apron.

I am creating...a pink summer dress.

I am going...to be leading a girls Bible study tonight.

I am reading...The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm determined to finish it this time around!

I am hoping...in the power of God to answer prayer.

I am hearing...My little brother and sister singing a Rar Rar birthday song. (Rar Rars are imaginary creatures invented between them)

Around the house...are a few messes I need to straighten. I let things slide for a while...

One of my favorite things...talking with my friend Tif on the phone. :)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Sew the dress. Work at Farmer's Market. Organize my coupon box.

Here is picture I am sharing...

A Kansas Waterfall...there were heavy rains last week...

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Goal Worth Having

"I want to take such good care of my husband that whatever he is doing, he can do it better, because he has me."

Jacqueline Kennedy, as quoted in A Thousand Days of Magic by Oleg Cassini

This quote encapsulates for me what being a "help meet" is all about. This is what I, Lord willing, aspire to be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, July 28, 2008

Outside My Window... The big maple tree swaying in the wind.

I am thinking...that I am tired (from cleaning the kitchen), and that I should get the raspberry bars out of the oven soon.

I am thankful for...the ability to BREATHE! I'm also thankful that our van is now in working order.

From the kitchen... ack! my raspberry-nut bars! ...ah, yes, finally, safe from the oven

I am wearing...my sister's pink t-shirt, and black sports capris.

I am creating... more like I should be creating 3 summer skirts from the material that I've bought.

I am going...to practice violin... when I finish this.

I am reading... Anne of Windy Poplars.

I am hoping... to have time to come up with a suitable plot for a 50,000 word novel within the week.

I am hearing...air conditioner, Kara's sewing machine, & my brothers discussing where to next place the pet tarantula.

Around the house...it's clean! wow! :D

One of my favorite things... dancing... I haven't done that in a while.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: the aforesaid plot, work at the Farmers Market, violin lesson, and ...hoping for some serious progress on learning the guitar.

Here is picture I am sharing... nothing this week.

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pattern Review: Itty Bitty Baby Dress

It really is itty bitty! Designed for preemies or small newborns, it almost looks like a doll dress.
The pattern, available for free from Rae, is super simple to sew, and great fun to customize. My only addition to her instructions would be a recommendation to use French seams--it looks so much nicer.

The inspiration to make these dresses came from my mom, who wanted me to use up some of our fabric stash. (think DE-CLUTTER!!) Some of them may end up as gifts, but my favorites are going straight to the Hope chest. :)

These two were trimmed with piping and bias tape, as suggested on the pattern.

Here I got a little more creative, adding an underskirt of lace to the one on the left, and trimming the hem with lace and sewing an applique to the bodice of the one on the right.

This one is my favorite, because of its vintage look. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Monday, July 21, 2008

Outside My Window... The morning sun lighting up our patio trellis.

I am thinking...many things. Most recently, that I need to figure out my shopping list for Walgreens.

I am thankful for...my littlest brother. He just turned 11, and is a joy to my heart. We've spent many happy hours reading stories aloud.

From the kitchen...my mom made crepes this morning. Topped with whipped cream and strawberries.

I am wearing...A yellow knit dress with coral flowers, sunflower/gingham apron and blue kerchief on my head: It's cleaning day at our house!

I am creating...a plan for sewing some summer clothes.

I am going...nowhere today. I love it!

I am reading...Power Through Prayer, by E. M. Bounds

I am hoping...to work on my memory verses (Psalm 2:6-8) before Bible study tonight.

I am hearing...the "thunka-thunka" sound of our washer in spin cycle.

Around the house...it smells like vinegar. Courtesy one of my healthful cleaning recipes. :)

One of my favorite things...listening to messages on my MP3 player while I work. Today I'll finish one by Douglas Wilson on "Christ in our Calling"

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Working. Planning the upcoming school year for my siblings.
Here is picture I am sharing...
Some poppies at a Dallas Arboretum, taking sometime in March.

Thanks to the Simple Woman for hosting the Monday daybook! I think it will be a fun feature for our blog. It has helped me think about some of the small things that might otherwise be missed in the business of life.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Journey to a Blouse

I wanted to make a blouse. Either Regency (Empire line) or a peasant blouse; but I had no material, and no idea what kind of material I wanted. After a day of work at the Farmers Market we (Kara, Matthew, and I) made a trip to the fabric store. After picking out several batiks for some skirts, I made my way to the clearance section, and on a whim, grabbed a bright, green material with yellow embroidery-- it had possibilities (especially for $2 a yard). After reducing the numerous rolls of fabric I had picked up along the way, to a petty few, (a pink with brown splatters, a lavishly colored one, and the green), I had them cut. I distinctly remember the “cutting lady” saying ‘I can tell you like color’. Oh yes, indeed, I love color!

After considering, I set my heart on an Elizabethan blouse, McCalls 2293. Of course that wasn’t my original plan, but…flexibility is the key, is it not?

As Kara helped my lay out my fabric and pattern pieces, we soon discovered that there just wasn’t enough fabric for the blouse. Ok, time for Plan B— a peasant blouse, McCalls 2608. I was sure of what I wanted now; it had to be longer than “normal” shirts, and ruffles along the neckline and the short sleeves were a must. That meant pattern alterations. Simple alterations, but alterations none the less; we added 2 inches to the neckline, 2 inches to each of the sleeves, and 7 inches to the bottom edge.

It was the easiest pattern I’ve ever sewn. Even with the small alterations. For the ruffles I turned under about a ¼ inch on the neckline, sewed it, and then followed the instructions for the neckline, only I sewed the bias casing an inch from the edge! Hence, a neckline ruffle. Ditto for the sleeves. I finished it within the afternoon.

I am very happy with the result. A few things I’d do differently next time: make the slit in the sides bigger (I only did about 3in), make the sleeves a little longer (about elbow length) and in order to do that, I’d need to alter the underarm to make it fit right. But overall? I really like it… I’d like to make some more.