Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving - the Day After

We had 20 here for a great dinner, some jammin' time, and lots of conversation. We used the clubhouse to contain us all. It was a beautiful breezy day. My newly engaged niece (brother's daughter) brought her fiancee. The Princess had her best friend join us. And it came out that even though my dad did tell the forestry officer we were related to Daniel Boone* - that isn't true. I think that was part of some discussion he recently had concerning why he couldn't use the dogs to run panther in the Everglades. (He feels he should be able to do so - and the game warden seems to disagree!)

We had turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, cranberry suace, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, butternut squash, mashed potato, turnip, peas, green beans, rolls - and more. Dessert included apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies and cake - and more. The Princess made this yummy punch.

After there was some jammin' time. The guitars came out and we heard songs, new and old. My brother is a songwriter and we always get some new ditties when he picks. His son and my #2 son join in.

We end the evening back at my folk's home with stories of family, while the youngers played Uno. It is sad to see everyone go separate directions - but so blessed that they all took the time to gather for one day a year.

*Note - but we are related to Daniel Webster, Zebulon Pike, Hannah Dustin, and George Washington. And our ancesters did arrive in Plymouth in 1621 - missed the Mayflower by a year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chalk Art

I just love being a "Grammy". Today Dh called me outside to see the evidence of the grandchildren's games (they live next door). I left off making the pumpkin dip, peanut butter pie, and the blueberry cake and joined him on our little street. This is so adorable (only a Grammy would be so impressed with chalk marks on the street.) The top picture is my favorite - do you see the person? It seems his legs shoot right out from his chin! And those hands and feet are circles. In the bottom picture, just to be sure you know that 10 is the last hopscotch box, it is labeled "end".
**disclaimer - we live on a dead end street in a closed off complex - so there is no traffic here.

God's Creation

The view outside my home two nights ago.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trailer Restoration - The Beginning

Sad, isn't it? About 14 years ago we traveled all over the East coast and in Florida in this trailer and had wonderful family vacations using it. Then we got bogged down with our farm and no vacation money to be had - and the poor trailer sat and sat. We were approached by an individual we had known for a few years who was now in desperate need of a home - and we felt that now the Lord had a new use for this dormant trailer - so we sold it on payments. This is where it gets murky - and I need to be careful - but the gist of the story is the individual defaulted and we didn't see the trailer again for years and years - I would have to look it up, but it has been at least 6 years. We had no idea where the trailer or the individual was, and so the situation sat in limbo. I must confess to occasional fretting over it, but my Dh was not concerned and was in favor of just letting it be.

Fast forward all these years and suddenly there is our trailer (and yes, it is still ours as we have held the title all these years and only a small portion of the sale price was ever paid.) It was sitting on property adjacent to some undeveloped land we own in another part of our county!!! From what we have been told, it was resold (without proper documentation) and moved to this spot sometime in the recent past. We repossessed it with the aide of #3 son's mighty van and some borrowed trailer tires.

And now the challenge begins........
The goal is to restore it to a family vacation trailer once again. We now have the time and means to travel a bit and we want to use it to attend some functions this summer. All fabric items are being tossed - and my challenge is to make all the curtains and cushions. We will also toss the carpet and put in all vinyl flooring. Those are the easy parts! I will update the progress now and then.

On another topic - the Hoodie.
I had hoped to have it done by today - but my goals always seem to exceed my abilities. I did finish two other significant sewing projects I had planned to do as well (a Christmas present and a pile of mending) - and the hoodie has progressed nicely, just not done yet. The pattern is traced. I basted together the mock-up cut from an old sheet and fitted it to the Princess, and then took the mock-up apart again. Now I just need to transfer the adjustments to the traced pattern and then cut the actual fabric. Sewing it up should go fairly quickly, but I am not putting a date on when as Thanksgiving is almost upon us and my sewing time will be fragmented for the next several days.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hoodie - Part 1

This is one of my weekend projects. The Princess saw this fabric in Walmart and loved it (she is dangerous to take shopping!) It is a very soft fleece - and in one of her best colors. To make the hoodie I had to actually buy a new pattern. I almost always get my patterns at the thrift store for 10 to 25 cents each - but this is a simple, useful, and multi-sized pattern, so it was not too painful. (I know the stores have pattern sales, but I needed it then - and it was discounted....and it wasn't any more than some of the vintage patterns I have bought on-line!)

So, sometime in the next 24 hours I will trace out her size, and do a mock up using old sheets to check the fit - and hopefully the real hoodie will be done by Monday night - that is my goal.

Updates to follow..........

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More T-Shirt Dresses

These are dresses #3 and #4 (#2 was given a new home before a photo was taken.) I won't post every dress I make - I just wanted you to see a variety of ways this idea can be used. For these dresses I just did straight sides - not even a hint of an A-line. It just fits the fabric better to do straight sides. As long as the gathering is at least 2x the circumference of the bottom of the T-shirt, it has plenty of room to run and play. The bottom of the shirts were both about 15 inches across the front. I doubled that to get the circumference (30") and then made sure that each dress had at least 60" of fabric to gather up along the waist. I don't get too exact - it depends on the fabric I have available. I want to do one up that is 2 and 1/2x the circumference and see how that looks - I just didn't have enough fabric this time to try that.

The red, white, and blue version was a red T-shirt and I had the blue remnant on hand. It is just about one yard of fabric. I added a red bow and a white heart button I had on hand for an embellishment. That may not last too long - but it is cute and adds a bit of extra that makes it look less "used".

The green T-shirt came with the palm tree embellishment on there already. I had some pieces of a fabric from a mother/daughter dress that the Princess and I wore for last Mother's Day. I did not have one remnant piece big enough for the whole skirt - so I pieced it. There is a front and back panel that are the same width, and then two side panels that are the same width as each other, but slightly narrower than the front and back panels. They don't actually line up on the side seams, but wrap around a bit to the front and back. As long as they are even it looks intentional and okay. The greens in the T-shirt and the froggie fabric are exact matches - It looks like I planned it that way. While I didn't know it would work out so well - I know the Lord did, even last year as the original mother/daughter dresses were made!

The #2 dress not pictured was a brown T-shirt that I used striped fabric to make the skirt. It was a white base with brown, orange, and a few other colors arranged vertically. Because it was a bit see-through, and I have no guarantee that it will be used with a slip for modesty, I lined the skirt in that version - very easy to do. I then used a hand sewn yo-yo of the striped fabric with an orange button sewn in the middle of it as an embellishment and then attached at the waist.

These dresses are for some little girls in my church. Won't it be fun to see them wear them? Since I have it figured out so that each one takes only about an hour to make from start to finish, I plan to make several more. They are very relaxing to do in between larger projects. I am so grateful that others before me wrote in other blogs how to do this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day Salute

After a weekend of duty at Camp Blanding the soldier that was in these boots looked just as tired as they do. I am glad these boots didn't have to go to Iraq this year, but they still get tough workouts. These are actually fairly new boots - the pair that did do Iraqi Freedom duty actually wore off almost all their sole and #2 son tossed them out. Now he wishes he had kept them, but soldiers don't think that way when they first get home. At first it is just to get rid of, or put away, all those reminders of living a war. But it has been several years now since he has returned to the USA, and even now we still get new snippets of stories as #2 is more comfortable relating to us stories of his year in Iraq.

Our school district participates in Veteran's in the Classroom Program. This week #2 son gets to spend a day in a middle school classroom relating tales of living American history to school kids. He has collected up the few artifacts that did make it home and that I have saved for him, his two commendations, and he has made an outline of ideas to talk on concerning military life. I am guessing that of all his dangerous encounters with hostiles, the episode with the camel spider will be the most dramatic!

On this Veteran's Day, I appreciate all the men and women that served our country - and even now are in harm's way. God bless them, their families, and give wisdom to our leaders.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The October Challenge - Final Report

This was a great challenge. I have used up many items in my pantry that I haven't been inclined to touch for ages. No one starved, no one was injured, and no one lost any weight! The savings were not as great as I had hoped - my expectations always seem to exceed my realities. But we did put aside $200 to help pay down a bill- and that is a great beginning. I think some of the incidentals took up more money than actual food. And we could have saved more if I had done more baking from scratch.

This next month we are going to try to put aside the same $200 amount. We did do some significant grocery replenishing on November 1st, but stuck to a list of basics. We celebrated with a family favorite of Quesadillas for dinner - and watching a DVD episode of The Andy Griffith Show (Dh keeps saying I am a lot like Aunt Bea - hmmmmm.)

An unexpected savings came in the way of a broken AC unit. It is starting to cool off here - and though some of the afternoons are pretty warm - especially in the upstairs area - we are toughing it out and just letting the unit stay broken until springtime. Usually this time of year we keep the AC going during the day - so we are not putting out funds for a repair bill - and we expect to see big savings in our electric bill the next few months. In the end no matter how much we save, it won't cover the repairs costs - we actually need a new unit and have kept this one limping along for almost two years now - but we can at least delay for now and see what the Lord brings to us for the spring. Now we are enjoying the fresh air, cool nights, and lots of birds and squirrel chatter.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Princess in Concert

The Princess had her first band concert with a local community band. She is playing flute. It was a medly of patriotic songs and marches in celebration of Veteran's Day at a local mall. It was wonderful. God bless our veterans and our current troops.

Rolled Oats

We have had slightly cooler weather here in central Florida - and the boxed cereal is long gone (see the Oct. Challenge posts). In order to accomodate #3 son's leaving time for work, I have had to get up early to cook up the oatmeal (oops, rolled oats). That is a good thing - 1.) I am up early and 2) Ds gets a good hot breakfast. My definition of early is 6 AM, so don't feel sorry for me - I should be up then, but had gotten lazy and was sleeping in until 7. I like being up and getting everyone breakfast, so horray for the October Challenge!
I buy my rolled oats in a 6 gallon pail from BreadBeckers. We have a local co-op group here that orders 4 times a year. I don't order every time, but usually at least twice a year. In fact the next order is due in a week or so, so I will need to check my stock of rolled oats, rice, and wheat berries. The 6 gallon pail of the rolled oats lasts me about 4 winter months (I use them for cookies, and other recipes too) and I generally go through a second bucket for the rest of the 8 months of the year.
Cooking details - Plain rolled oats take a looooong time to cook, and that is not a good morning for me. I have found that if I soak the oats overnight, then in the morning they cook up fast and creamy. For our family I put 4 to 4 1/2 cups of rolled oats in a pan and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Cover them with water so that the water is about a 1/2 inch or more above the oats. No exact measurments needed. Put the lid on the pan and leave on the counter to soak overnight. In the morning I add a bit more water (I don't measure water, just add as needed - so that it looks right) and turn the burner on to medium heat. At this time I also add some pure maple syrup and brown sugar to the pan. Sometimes I will add cinnamon too. I stir it every so often. In about 10 minutes it is creamy and hot - Done! Most of the family likes to eat their oatmeal plain; I like a little milk on mine. The picture looks like a lot of milk, but it is really just a bit - there is a full bowl of oatmeal in there.
Everyone likes this and I make it about 4-5 times a week during the winter months. On the other days of the week we will have pancakes or homemade coffee cake, and occasionally eggs and all the fixings. I still haven't made the granola - that is also good to have on hand, though not everyone here likes it. Everyone here does agree that the oatmeal sticks with you until lunch time. A great start to the day.