Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Backyard Picnic

The girls, Eenie (the cat), and I packed up a little picnic and brought it out to the willow tree in the south pasture. Spread blankets out, had a light lunch with vegetables and fruit from the garden as well as some other goodies and suprises (like fairy bread - bread spread with butter and topped with sprinkles), and read books.

It was such a nice break from doing homeschooling inside, and a wonderful way to enjoy part of the day. The willow tree has grown so tall and wide in only a few years, and it was nice to sit in the shade as the wind blew gently from the north.

Olivia Reading Outside

The tall grasses and clear blue sky surrounded us as we read from different books.

The girls, dogs, and I took a walk a bit earlier in the day and ended up under the willow tree. That's where their idea for a picnic originated.

Relaxing Under the Willow Tree

Monday, August 30, 2010

Olivia Making a Weather Vane

This was one of the science lessons Olivia did this week. She's been learning about weather; and today's focus was the wind. She made a weather vane and tested it out on the mudroom roof.

At first, there was no wind so the vane didn't move. Then, there was a gust of wind and the weather vane began to move. "The wind is coming from the northwest!" she said. Indeed it was.

This was simple hands-on activity that brought learning about the weather to life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I am grateful for...

As I think back on the past week, I am grateful for...
:: the generous neighbor who brought over surplus produce - 3 crates of homegrown tomatoes, a bag of broccoli, a bag of beans, and a huge muskmelon.
:: being able to homeschool my daughters and enjoy the time with them as they grow up.
:: having a picnic with Sophia and Olivia (plus Eenie, the cat) under the willow tree.
:: the time to declutter and get rid of things that no longer are needed; and the empty space (more room) it leaves behind.
:: being able to watch the horses gallop through the pasture and "race" one another as Olivia and I cheered them on.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August Journal Quilt

For my August journal quilt, I continued with my yearly theme of “Happenings and Highlights.” The goal of each journal quilt is to reflect positive things that happen during the month so it can be a tactile, quilted image that brings back happy memories and can be looked at when I need encouragement.

The thoughts that kept coming to my mind when I was thinking about the quilt were the hummingbirds that have been visiting the feeder.

Every day the hummingbirds have been at the feeder in the backyard, and it seems like that’s been a daily topic of discussion and excitement.

So, for my quilt I looked on the internet for black and white images of hummingbirds; and found several that I liked.

I needed an image for a flower, and happened to see a free embroidery pattern on Flickr.

Taking these elements, I modified their sizes, printed the images, and cut them out. I arranged them onto a 9” x 12” piece of white fabric and then traced the image onto the fabric with a disappearing ink pen.

The entire design (the hummingbirds and flower) are all hand-embroidered using the back stitch, straight stitch, seed stitch, crown stitch, and French knots.

I machine-quilted the top, batting, and backing together and then wrapped around the backing to create a binding/border.

Some of the activities and highlights of August, and how they are represented in the quilt, include:

- Competing in the Washington County Fair – My daughters and I competed in the fair again this year. The girls each entered over 20 projects; and I entered 37 projects. The ribbons color that we received the most of – blue, red, white, and pink (4th place) are all represented in the quilt. In addition, the purple grand champion is reflected by the purple border, backing, and one of the hummingbirds. The birds also represent each of us and our favorite colors (Sophia is pink; Olivia is blue; and I am purple).

- Swimming Lessons for the Girls – For two weeks in August, I took the girls to swimming lessons. They took swimming lessons last summer and enjoyed it; and this year was no different. They enjoyed their daily swim, and passed to the next level. They were both SO excited. The swimming/water is represented by the free-motion sewing in the quilt. It reminds me of waves and the comfort they provide as they move against one’s body.

- Lots of swaps on Swap-Bot – I enjoyed participating in a lot of swaps during August, especially the ones where I am challenged to create something new related to a theme and postcard swaps where postcards arrive in the mailbox from all over the world. The swaps are represented by the center half of one flower. I learned how to do the “Crown” stitch for this quilt. I like the trio of spokes on the crown – there seems to be many of them when I look at the flower…just like the many swaps I signed up for and/or are finishing.

- Lots of hummingbirds at the feeder – There has been constant traffic at the feeder since the middle of August. Sometimes there’s only one, and at other times there have been up to three at a time. They have sat still while eating (there’s a little perch that goes around the feeder); played in-air chasing games; and perched on what the girls call “The King’s Perch” and “The Prince’s Perch” in the pine tree Sometimes they even hide in the pine tree in “The Secret Hideout Spot” and dive-bomb another unsuspecting hummingbird when it tries to eat at the feeder. Needless to say, the girls [and I] are easily entertained. The embroidered hummingbirds and the flower represent the trio of hummingbirds at the feeder that we’ve been enjoying watching.

- Started homeschooling – The curriculum I’m using for homeschooling with the girls this year is called Sonlight. It’s an excellent curriculum that is heavily literature-based. We’ve been doing quite a bit of reading, and enjoying the new books that are part of Sophia’s 4th grade year, and Olivia’s 2nd grade year. The white background of the quilt represents the white pages in the books that the girls and I are reading together.

- Severe thunderstorms and lightning + house damage from storms – For one week in August, the weather was in the upper-90s with humidity in the upper-70s. It was incredibly hot and the air was unstable. Each night, there was a huge thunderstorm – each bringing a deluge of rain and a symphony of thunder and an accompanying light show. Some nights were less stressful than others.

For many of the storms, the mudroom roof/ceiling began leaking. The storm left the mudroom floor flooded, the window ledge full of water, and canning jars in the closet with water in them (one storm left a good 1” of rain in some of the jars).

Normally, I wouldn’t considered this “happiness” or a pleasant memory I want to recall. However, there would be no way in the world that updating and replacing items in the mudroom would be financially possible at this point. Had it not been for the roof leaking, the mudroom would continue to be well-worn and outdated.

The storms are represented in some of the machine quilting. There are jagged lines/sharp angles which represent lightening.

- Harvesting from the garden and canning peaches – the garden has produced a lot this season. This is the first time we’ve gardened since 2003 when I ran an art and farm camp here at the farm. We have enjoyed organic cucumbers, tomatoes (4 different types), beans, carrots, herbs, rhubarb, and raspberries. The green peppers are almost ready and the potatoes should be ready next month. The pears and apples on the trees should be ripe soon.

I canned 14 jars of peaches this month (one is already gone because the girls love peaches!). Sophia helped put the peaches in the jar, and Olivia helped me label them. They were both so excited to be able to help in their own ways with the canning process. The green in the quilt (the leaves of the flower) represent the “green” produce we are harvesting from the garden.

- Death of my cousin’s wife: This isn’t a “happy” memory of the month, but it is one that happened. Anne died on August 17th, and had brain cancer. She was 65 years old. The happy memories are ones that I recall from many years ago…before she was affected by cancer.

Her memorial service was held at a beautiful chapel that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its interior is covered in mosaics – the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. There are over 10 MILLION mosaic tiles that make up the pictures. Here’s the link for the chapel which shows picture of some of the mosaics.

Anne epitomized Southern graciousness and hospitality. She was absolutely beautiful – inside and out. Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” To me, this captures Anne’s spirit and who she was as a person.

From the day Anne died and for four days, there seemed to be more hummingbirds than usual. Because I’ve never seen hummingbirds for such a long period of time – nor in a trio – I wanted to see what they symbolize. I learned that:

the fluttering of hummingbird wings move in the pattern of an infinity symbol – a symbol of eternity and continuity.

By observing the hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.

Amazing migrators, some hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2,000 miles to reach their destination. This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams, and adopt the tenacity of the hummingbird in our lives. The hummingbird is a messenger of hope.

Anne’s gifts and impact on individuals and the law community will continue on thanks to her tireless determination. She truly was an encourager and supporter – especially to those in need of guidance and hope. Hummingbirds – and what they represent - capture Anne’s gifts and her contribution to making life better for others. She made such a positive difference in the world.

So, the hummingbirds in my August journal quilt also represent this wonderful woman who I was so happy to have known, and who epitomized the true meaning of kindness, generosity, and graciousness. Her name was Anne Wilson Grande – an article was written about her and the impact she had on the community. It was in the Star Tribune; and this is link HERE.

Hand Embroidered Hummingbird

Friday, August 27, 2010

{this moment}

Sophia Reading Papa His Favorite Book

{this moment} - A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

*** *** ***

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doing Math While Surrounded by Pets

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that Sophia can relax and be comfortable while doing her work.

She's doing math now surrounded by the pets (2 are in the picture - Gretel and Meenie; and 4 are elsewhere in the room - Montague, Eenie, Lucy, and Shadow).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zucchini Spice Cake

Zucchini Spice Cake
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

Tried a new recipe this week for the 52 Weeks of Baking project. Originally I signed up for the swap on Swap-Bot, but the swap hostess didn't check in and assign partners.

I still want to continue with this project because my goal is to:

- complete a full year of trying new baking recipes each week,

- note any modifications I make to the recipe (particularly as they relate to making them dairy-free so Sophia can enjoy them),

- include a lesson learned as it relates to baking and life, and

- include a picture of what the recipe looks like.

The recipes will be made into a cookbook that I'll give to each of my daughters when they are older - when they are on their own and need to cook for themselves.

Here's the recipe for the week. It's timely...since this is the time of the year when a lot of people are giving away zucchini because they have too many of them.

Zucchini Bread
(Kinderhaus Cooks)


3 cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup raisins
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
½ tsp. vanilla


In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, baking soda, zucchini, and raisins. In another bowl, beat eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and stir until moist.

Turn into a greased 9” x 13” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. You could make small loaves or muffins also. Just adjust your baking time. Freezes well.

This was a new recipe I tried to use a zucchini. It was very moist and had a nice cinnamon flavor to it. The raisins puffed up and were soft. I'd definitely make it again. The next time I make it, I may double the cinnamon and nutmeg perhaps…or use apple pie seasoning instead.

Both Sophia and Olivia liked it (Sophia as it was and Olivia prefers it without raisins and picked out each one to give to Sophia or me). Olivia noticed the green bits of zucchini, but when I told her there was no taste and it just made the bread very moist, then she was fine with eating it.

Lesson Learned:

Don’t be afraid to try cook with vegetables and fruits with which you don’t normally cook. I use to grow zucchini many years ago. I had a bumper crop one year and it seemed like there were many zucchini that went to waste. I just couldn’t keep up with using them or giving them away.

Although I don’t like zucchini in stir fries or salads, I do like it when it is used in baking to add moisture to a recipe. The trick is to get the pieces so fine that you really can’t see them. When the green skin is in, unfortunately, you can see the zucchini (the “surprise!” ingredient) in whatever you’re making. If you peel it, then you don’t see it which helps those people who don’t want to know they’re eating it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am grateful for...

As I think back on the past week, I am grateful for...
:: gentle horses and volunteers who help my daughters in therapeutic horseback riding.
:: the continual visits by the hummingbirds who visit the feeder throughout the day.
:: seeing how happy Sophia and Olivia were when they passed to the next level in swimming.
:: being able to take daily bike rides, especially those around 8 p.m. when the moon is rising.

Friday, August 20, 2010

{this moment}

Hummingbird in Flight

{this moment} - A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

*** *** ***

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A New Life for Old Clothes

Wool Felted Bears
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

These bears were made from a wool sweater that I felted in the washing machine and dryer. I hand embroidered the eyes, nose, mouth, and muzzle as well as blanket-stitched around the body.

There is a fabric square on the middle that I blanket-stitched onto the bear; and hand-sewed two buttons on the fabric.

This was inspired by a picture I saw on a Flickr site. Thought it was cute and wanted to make with the felted wool I had.

The bears are small - they fit into the palm of one's hand.

The blue bear I kept and will give to Olivia on the first day she goes to the homeschool co-op. (Kind of like a teddy bear she can hide in her pocket.) The green bear I sent as part of a "Recycle Your Clothing" swap on Swap-bot.

I also made these felted cat toys this week. These each are stuffed with wool from sheep I use to raise and have a jingle bell inside. Needless to say, the cats enjoy the toy because they can get the bell to make a noise the more they play with it and toss it around.

Wool Felt Cat Toys

Another item I made was a coaster for a mug. Saw this idea on the internet, and thought I'd give it a try. Basically, you cut off the hems from jeans you no longer wear. Using a hot glue gun, you glue the hems together to create a very sturdy and dense coaster. I used 7 pairs of jeans (14 hems) to create one coaster. It took a lot more hems than I thought. The next step is to use the fabric from the jeans to create items for the home (a quilt...more placemats...not sure yet).

Blue Jean Coaster Blue Jean Coaster Top

Monday, August 16, 2010

Homeschooling Outdoors

It was such a beautiful afternoon, that I decided to have the girls bring out blankets and pillows so we could do homeschooling outside.

They set up right in the shade on a beautiful tree in the backyard.

After a week of 90+ degree temperatures with high humidity, today's temperature in the upper 70s with a nice wind from the northwest felt so refreshing.

Reading out loud, language arts, map skills, and spelling were so enjoyable - especially when you could listen to the birds singing in the trees and the clouds moving overhead.

Here are some more pictures of homeschooling outside:

Reading Aloud Outside

Sophia reading "A Lion to Guard Us."

Olivia Running

Olivia taking a break from language arts to run around and leap over grass piles in the backyard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I am grateful for...

As I think back on the past week, I am grateful for...
:: air conditioning that get through 90+ degree days with humidity in the upper 70s.
:: watching the hummingbirds feed constantly throughout the day...and seeing how excited Sophia and Olivia are to see these pretty little birds.
:: being able to go to a chiropractor who helps relieve some of the pain in my lower back, knees, hands, and ankles.
:: moments of quiet and solitude in the early morning and late evening.

Friday, August 13, 2010

{this moment}

Olivia's Edible Earth

{this moment} - A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

*** *** ***

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Evening's Harvest

The tomatoes and cucumbers are doing very well. Wish there were more beans. The amount of beans and carrots picked was just right for the girls and I to enjoy at dinner tonight.

There are actually three more cucumbers that the girls picked, but not on this tray. We brought them to keep them cool (since is was in the mid-90s).

It's fun for Sophia and Olivia to see the results of planting and weeding the gardens. It's one of the many parts of homeschooling that I enjoy - being able to do hands-on learning with the girls so that what they do they are more likely to learn and retain.

Sophia enjoys finding the cucumbers hiding in the vines;

Sophia Harvesting a Cucumber

Olivia's First Carrot
and Olivia was thrilled when she pulled her first carrot out of the ground.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Virtual Bookshelf

What am I reading right now?

If you go to www.librarything.com - it lets you catalog and categorize your books. You can create a virtual shelf with the covers of the books you've been reading or make a list with tags and information about how other users relate to a particular book.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I am grateful for...

As I think back on the past week, I am grateful for...
:: the incredible beauty and power in Saturday night's thunderstorm.
:: small-town county fairs.
:: being able to use my hands for crafting.
:: two daughters who are eager to learn which makes homeschooling enjoyable and memorable.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gingerbread Doll Ornament

Have wanted to make this ornament now for some time. Green and purple are my favorite colors, so that's why I chose them for the dress.

I'm going to make one for each of the girls with their favorite colors. I'm going to look for a slightly lighter shade of brown for the hands, feet, and face. I think this one was a bit too dark to show the facial features.

The felt is all 100% wool; and the ornament is stuffed with wool from sheep that I raised. The hand-embroidery features the straight stitch, blanket stitch, back stitch, French knots, and lazy-daisy stitch.

I have some hand-embroidered ornaments in different styles in my Etsy shop; and also take requests for custom work. Please contact me through my blog and/or through Etsy for more information.

Here's the back side of the gingerbread doll ornament:

Back of Gingerbread Doll Ornament


Friday, August 6, 2010

First Day of Homeschooling & Horseback Riding

The girls made make-shift reins from a lead rope, a saddle pad from a blanket, and a cinch from a rope. During the past week or so they have progressively added more items and weight to Bailey's back - from a blanket first, then a stuffed animal, then an American Girl doll, then Olivia, and finally Sophia.

Bailey has been excellent, and seems proud and happy to give the girls rides. At this point, she walks around the penned in area only. The goal is to get her to eventually give rides in the pasture and then be able to do trail rides (there are some pretty trails and roads right around here).

This is something they have wanted to do for a long time. On the first day of homeschooling for the 2010-11 school year (on August 5th), they were successful with riding Bailey around the penned in area. It was a memorable first day of 2nd and 4th grade, to say the least.

On the second day of homeschooling, we took a field trip to the library. Olivia found a book on horse training (on her own), and Sophia read parts of it aloud on the way back home. It looks like it will be an interesting (and rewarding) year-long project both the girls can work on.

{this moment}

Annual Big Cow Picture

{this moment} - A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

*** *** ***

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bird Stamps

Sophia, Olivia, and I collect stamps from around the world. Stamp collecting is a wonderful way for kids to learn about geography, history, visual arts, and different themes they want to learn more about (e.g., horses, wild animals, birds).

These are some of the bird stamps from my collection. Entered this in the county fair and received a blue ribbon for it (the top part of the display includes the information that follows).

Throughout the world there are over 28,000 stamps with birds on them (including overprints and surcharges).

On the stamps, there are over 3,500 species of birds depicted (including extinct and prehistoric bird species).

There are 174 countries that have more than 50 bird stamps. Of those, Gambia has the most stamps (470).

Two of the countries featured in this collection are in the top 15 countries having more than 50 bird stamps: United States (321) and Australia (303). The most popular bird featured on stamps is the bald eagle (270).

This collection features 32 different bird species with stamps from different 16 countries.

The birds featured include: barn owl, barn swallow, black-necked stork, blue duck, brolga, brown kiwi, comb-crested jacana, condor, crane, dove, crimson rosella, Eurasian Bullfinch, European robin, great gray owl, gray-headed woodpecker, gray partridge, gyrfalcon, laughing kookaburra, little kingfisher, pheasant, red-breasted merganser, ring-necked pheasant, rock wren, saker falcon, saw-whet owl, snowy egret, stork-billed kingfisher, sulphur-crested cockatoo, variegated fairy wren, white tailed kingfisher, willow tit, and wood duck.

The countries include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United States.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Small Town County Fairs

Ferris Wheel Top
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

Went to a county fair in Wisconsin. This is the first year that we've gone to fairs other than the Washingon County one.

It's been fun to see the different exhibits, animals, and booths. I never realized until this second fair how focused the girls are on finding freebies.

I have to laugh (to myself) because I remember how much fun I had getting all the free things at the Minnesota State Fair - pencils, pens, recipes, informational flyers....it didn't matter.

The important thing was that I had a great time going through my collection of freebies at home after the State Fair. It was like re-living the fair...without all the walking.

The girls went on two rides each this past weekend at the fair. They wanted to go on the ferris wheel together, and sat in car #10. It's at the top in this picture. They enjoyed going on the ferris wheel and seeing the fair from such a high place.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Handmade Pillowcase

Handmade Pillowcase
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann
Made a pillowcase set to enter in the county fair. Followed a pattern on ConnKerr cancer which was very easy.

After the county fair, the pillowcases will be donated to ConnKerr Cancer.

The heart/flower/handprint fabric was from a bedsheet. It was worn out in some areas, but perfectly fine in other areas. Used the good section of fabric to make the pillowcase body.

The purple fabric is fabric I've had on hand, but hadn't used yet. I thought it looked nice with the colorful print of the hearts/handprints/flowers.

For more information and/or to make a pillowcase for a child who has cancer and is at a hospital receiving treatment, please visit: www.conkerrcancer.org/

(This was also a wish of a person on Swap-Bot's Wishlist group - to donate a pillow for the 1 Million Pillowcases Challenge - more information is here: www.allpeoplequilt.com/millionpillowcases/faqs/ )

Monday, August 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownies and Lavender Lemonade

The peanut butter brownies were made for the 52 Weeks of Baking swap on Swap-Bot. The recipe and picture were sent to two partners.

The brownies were so easy to make. They are supposed to have a chocolate-peanut butter frosting (kind of like a Reese's Peanut Butter Bar), but I chose not to frost them.

Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Brownies
(Elim Lutheran Church Cookbook)


2 sticks butter or margarine (I used dairy-free butter)
2 ½ cups sugar
½ cup white corn syrup
1 pound peanut butter
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt


Cream butter or margarine, sugar, and corn syrup until light and fluffy. Do not overmix. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Add flour and salt. Mix only until ingredients are combined. Grease jelly roll pan. Flatten and spread batter. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not overbake. Cool and frost with peanut butter cocoa frosting.


4 T. margarine
½ cup hot water
3 cups powdered sugar
5 T. sifted cocoa
½ cup peanut butter

Heat water, peanut butter, and margarine to boiling. Mix together sifted cocoa and powdered sugar. Add to peanut butter mixture. Mix until smooth, adding more hot water if necessary.


When the brownies are baking – even towards the end – they look wiggly. I ended up baking them for a few minutes extra. Initially, when they were still warm, they were soft and delicious.

Everyone liked one and wanted a second one. What ended up happening, though, was that they hardened as they cooled. In fact, they turned out quite crisp. So, I would make these again, but this time bake 20-25 minutes. I think slightly underdone would be much better than overdone.

I didn’t frost the brownies, so I’m not sure what the frosting recipe tastes like. I’m sure it will be good if the flavor of the brownies themselves are any indication.


In addition to doing the 52 Weeks of Baking swap on Swap-Bot, Im compiling the recipes into a cookbook for my daughters. This will be given to them when they are older.

So, each week I include a couple lessons that I learned - sort of life lessons/advice I want them to know when they are older (as both young adults and adults).

The lessons I learned this week that I want to pass along to them include:

It’s Better to do Things Early: Last week, even though I had made the recipes and had the pictures for the food I made, I didn’t send them right away. Instead, I waited until the night of the swap deadline to email them.

That same night, a HUGE storm hit with strong winds, heavy rain, lightening, and thunder. Needless to say, I scrambled to get the pictures loaded into my computer, the recipes/email written, and then everything sent. I was so worried that a tornado would hit and the power would go out.

Having enough stress in my life right now, I wanted to get this week’s swap done early. It’s so much better not being in a state of panic. Baking and writing should be relaxing and enjoyable. This week it is…like it normally is for me.

It’s Nice to Make Recipes that Bring Back Memories: On Saturday, Sophia, Olivia, and I made lavender lemonade. It was a new recipe, but it reminded me of making homemade lemonade or homemade orangeade (with half oranges and half lemons) with my grandma at her home.

We’d sit on the porch with the windows open in the summer, and drink the lemonade. It was always so good.

Making the lemonade brought back some wonderful memories of the times I spent with my grandma. I miss her…she was such a caring and thoughtful woman.

Here’s the recipe for lavender lemonade:

Lavender Lemonade
(Taste of Home Magazine)


2 ½ cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers (I got them at the co-op where I knew they were organic and not sprayed with chemicals)
2 ½ cups cold water
1 cup fresh lemon juice (the juice from about 3 lemons)
Ice cubes


In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat; add lavender. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Strain, discarding lavender. Stir in cold water and lemon juice. Serve over ice.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wool Felt Hat Pincushion

I've been wanting to make this pincushion for a long time now. I've needed something to put my pins in as I take them out when I'm quilting or sewing.

The pincushion is made from 100% wool felt. It is hand-embroidered using cotton floss.

The pattern is from Better Homes & Gardens (on its website).