Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway

CONTEST ENDED SATURDAY MORNING -- Maebelle Park was the winner

I'm not one that is really into linking to other pages, however, it was just too hard to pass this up. Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a bloggy giveaway carnival. People have left links on the giveaway sight for over 875 different giveaways going on in bloggy land this week! It is pretty amazing!

Click on this link to get to bloggygiveaways!

I've been wanting to do another giveaway, timed with the opening of my very own Etsy store. So, I had to work fast.

Here's what I'm giving away: one of my small tea cozies (fits a 2-3 cup pot) and a box of Tazo Berryblossom White tea.

All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite tea or hot drink named. Also be sure to leave either your email address or a link to your own blog, so I can find you. I am willing to ship this internationally, so you all can participate this time!!! I will draw a winner sometime on Saturday morning, February 2.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mom's Birds

Mom's done some beautiful birds recently, and I really, really like them. (So I had to post them here) :)
These sparrows are our favorite!

But this blue jay is really stunning too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bread, Etc.

I must admit that I am a sucker for bakery displays. They never cease to interest me, and I love to stop and stare. Michael and I were in Panera on Monday and I took a few pictures:
There are so many tempting goodies, and I saw a sign advertising Irish Soda Bread and Hot Cross Buns coming up in time for the March holidays!

A good loaf of bread is such a treat! Panera has a tomato bread that is really delicious toasted or made into grilled cheese. But, for our visit on Monday, I had to go with a wholegrain bagel. :)
I am very excited to say that I finally made my very favorite Oatmeal Bread last week! This was a staple in our house when we lived in Scotland, but since moving back I just haven't had the energy to make it. I've been wanting to for two years and now I've finally done it! I'm hoping this means that maybe I'm improving?! I am so thankful that God has blessed me with a good month of January, perhaps the best January I've had in a number of years. I hope it continues!

(Unlike Scotland, where a few loaves of this would last several days, these loaves were just about gone in one meal!)

And I tried out a recipe I found on Lovella's blog called Maple Twists. They looked and smelled really good, and I think everyone enjoyed them.

One of these days I'm going to start posting recipes on a recipe blog, but, as of yet, I just haven't had the time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I'm so excited to have some cushions finished for our "new" couch! Yeah! Michael and Emily both helped me with runs to Joann's. Once everything was in hand, it didn't take too long to stitch the pillows up and insert the pillow forms. Next on the list is to recover a black wooden rocker which sits in the corner of this same room.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Emily took me to Joann Fabrics earlier in the week and I came home with a few things that inspired me and I just couldn't pass up (the two fabrics in the middle). There are some lovely craft blogs out there and they are always showing beautiful displays of material, stashes, projects in progress, etc. I decided I should just hang up my fabrics and keep them in front of me so that I actually get to them sooner rather than later. Most of these are destined to become tea cozies.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dad's Birthday

My Dad turned 60 this past weekend and we had a family party to celebrate last night. It was an evening of good food and fellowship with lots of memories and funny stories.

We decided everyone should come dressed up as a decade from Dad's life. The G's were given the 1980's and they did a terrific job, right down the orangey-colored make-up and the leg warmers!

Christina represented the 1970's and her hair was perfect!!! JK looked just like someone from the 1940's.

The star of the show was Mom, who got the 1960's, since that's when Mom and Dad met and married. Everyone's jaw dropped, especially Dad's. Mom looked just like she was a teenager again (except she didn't spike her hair back then).

And here are the two lovely ladies with their adorable outfits! :)
I was supposed to represent the 1950's (so I went for 1950's Housewife) and Michael took care of "modern" since his biker outfit did not arrive.

The kids had a blast dressing up in the outfit of their choice from the dress-up box.

Grandpa had fun seeing all the kids:

Dad's request, Pineapple Upside Down Cake with fresh pineapple and a from-scratch cake, was a hit. I had a bite of this cake, just for a taste, and it was fabulous! I've been tempted by it ever since (there is one piece left), but am working very hard to resist temptation!

Happy Birthday Dad!!!! We Love You!

National Pie Day

I understand that today is National Pie Day! Now that is definately something that sounds appealing to a Foodie.

The place of favorite, in my mind, is a heated battle between blackberry pie and blueberry pie. Berries just seem to be an all-round favorite with me.

It would be apple pie that is the most-made around here. There is something so comforting about hot apples and cinnamon in between flaky pastry. And, I often make our apple pies without any sugar, so it is the pie of choice for me right now.

Here is a picture of a pie I have often made in the summer: peach and blueberry. It really is a delicious combination.

My mom always had this little saying that a girl wasn't ready to get married until she could make a good pie. :) My sisters and I decided we better learn to make good pies. :)

Some of my other favorites include pumpkin, strawberry-rhubarb, shoo-fly (this is a Mennonite pie made with molasses and a crumb topping -- it's very good), red rasberry, and maple-pecan.

Happy Pie Day to all of you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Weekend

The weekend began when I walked downstairs and discovered this sweet sign the children had "brainstormed." It was not my birthday, but they got the idea to pretend that it was. :) So, they made this sign, hung up balloons, and decorated the table. (They stopped just short of presents, oh well.)

Michael, and Christina's husband JK, were away Friday night at a men's retreat. We girls decided to have our own little retreat and Christina came to spend the night. Saturday morning we all pitched in to make a pancake breakfast.

Bobby also came to join us for the girls' night. Saturday morning found him trying to soak up the sun -- notice how he is sitting.

One of my favorite memories from childhood is my mother and father reading aloud to us in the evenings. We read so many, many books together. Now, I love reading to my kids. We usually read right before bed and just now we are reading "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Sometimes we read during the day, and James' favorite book is "The Poky Little Puppy."

"You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a mother who read to me." ----Strickland Gillilan

Our new couch cover arrived in time for the weekend! Yeah! Now I'm working on some blue/green pillows to replace the off-white ones.

The kids and I made cookies on Saturday! It was a lot of fun, especially since I hadn't done it in so long.Here are the boys in their new sweaters which Grandma found on the clearance sale at Old Navy! Don't they look handsome! :)

And the two blue-eyed brothers:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Odds and Ends

It seems there hasn't been anything very exciting around here to write about. But, I thought I'd put up a few pictures and perhaps everything combined will turn into something of an interesting post. :)

I was just putting this lovely teacup away yesterday -- it is from Michael's Grandmother, who passed away last year. It's a bit different than most of the others I have because of the little flutes around the edges.

Tea was enjoyed by all on Tuesday when Grandma came for the day and Auntie C made an appearance. One of our current favorites is cut up apples sprinkled with cinnamon. "Almost" as good as apple pie.

I concocted this chutney to go with our pork roast on Sunday. It's made of apples, yellow raisins and dried apricots that stewed in some vinegar, white wine and brandy, and I added some cloves and a dash of brown sugar. It's actually quite good on toast as the vinegar is not very strong.

Grandma brought over an old motorcycle calendar from last year. She and the kids cut out all the motorcycles and the boys (and Rachel) have been playing with them ever since -- driving them, "selling" them and trading them.

Here is Auntie C sporting her darling little hat that she came up with herself.

And here is the latest stack of books from the library. Michael kindly makes a weekly run past the library to pick up any books I have on hold and return whatever is due. This stack is mainly on my new research subject "lace."

I am pleased to say that I finally took the plunge and went driving for the first time in 6 months this week! Yeah! I did just fine and hope to continue.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Linens and Lace

I've been working on finishing up some cushions for our futon. A number of years ago, Jimmy (whom you may remember from the Shortbread post in December) gave me a bunch of unfinished cushion covers to embroider. His wife had passed away and he wasn't about to take up embroidery. So, I'm finally nearing the end of having them completed! Here are a few snippets:

I think Jimmy's wife, Nan, actually did the iris in this one, but my sister Emily helped to finish up the rest of that cushion.

There were quite a few covers with these simple daisies on them, which should add some color to the room.

I've also been thinking a lot about lace as I'm reading a fascinating book on the history of lacemaking just now. Lace is such a beautiful, feminine thing (although at one time men wore yards and yards of exquisite lace themselves).

Lacemaking is actually a dying art, one that I would like to see revived a bit. I was taught bobbin lace by a friend when I was in my early teens. Since being married, I haven't had much time for it. But, I would love to get back to it and encourage others in this lovely art form. I'm just trying to figure out what would be something "practical" to make out of, or with, lace.

I found this lovely tea cozy cover in a charity shop one day and thought it was too beautiful to pass up. It's machine lace, but still very beautiful.

One day a friend pulled out this shoebox full of doilies. As I sorted through it she told me some of the history of various pieces and then gave them all to me as she no longer had any use for them. A box of lace and doilies is, to me, a very exciting thing.

I found these two pieces in a Paris flea market. I do believe they are both hand done, which is getting closer to the stuff I'm reading about in the book I mentioned. Lace-making is such a time-consuming task and I think that is mostly why no one does it anymore.

I pulled out this cushion cover because it is one of my favorite little finds from over the years. It has thistles (Scotland), roses (England), daffodils (Wales), and clover (Ireland) intertwined in a circle around some initials with a date.

All the years I've had it I wondered who the initials were and what the date was. I used it as a cushion cover for awhile, even though it seemed just a bit silly to have someone else's name on my bed. But, it was pretty!

As I was taking the pictures for this post I made an incredible discovery. I took a look at the initials again -- they are G R -- and the date 1937. Something struck in my head and I went downstairs to check in the book I'm reading about the history of the House of Windsor in England.

Sure enough, George VI was coronated in 1937! I'm guessing G R stands for George Rex (as in E R for Elizabeth Regina). So, patterns for embroidery, to mark the coronation (which was a HUGE event), must have come out at that time and someone did this one up as their own memento!

I must say, I am very excited about this little discovery! The embroidery is not outstanding, but the story behind this pillow is just the kind of living history I'm interested in!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

And The Winner Is....

The kids and I chose the winner for the give-away this morning. We put all the names into a box and James drew one out. And the winner is...... LOVELLA!!!!!! I found Lovella's blog several months ago and my sister and I both enjoying reading it. Thanks, Lovella! So, I'm thinking that if I enable the comment moderation again, you, Lovella, can leave me your address so I can get this off to you.

Many thanks to all of you for entering! This was really fun. I was surprised at how excited I was to actually find out who was going to be the winner -- it was about as good as anticipating winning myself! We'll have to do it again.

And hello to some of you that I have not yet "met" -- I will need to come and visit your blogs and say hello "in person."

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! The weather is sunny here, but frosty. At least the sunshine makes for easier smiling. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January BLAH-ggie Give-away

January is notorious for being a "blah" month. So far, in our immediate circles, it is getting a reputation for being the month of illness. Ugh! We did have a lovely taste of Spring yesterday with 65 degree weather!!! Today it is raining, raining, raining. I'm sure we will have snow and ice again before long.

I thought it was about time I tried a bloggie giveaway, and thought something to perk up (that pun was not intended) this gray time of year might be appropriate.

I have a pound of Starbucks Christmas Blend and an authentic Scottish wool scarf to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I will choose a winner sometime on Saturday. I'm afraid I'm not going to post this overseas due to the "heavy" weight (sorry :( ), but if you are overseas and have a friend you want me to send it to here in the States, we could do it that way. :)
I hope you all have as pleasant of a January as possible!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Back To School

It was nice to have a quiet week at home and begin to get back to a normal school schedule after a month of vacation time and holidays. David was very interested in the kids' school on Friday and popped up in their chairs to see what was happening.

Over the last few weeks Michael installed new cupboards in the room we use for school and I was able to get the closet all sorted out and organized. What a relief!

Auntie Em heads back to school on Monday. This term she is doing a full-time internship at the hospital in the physical therapy department. We're looking forward to all kinds of interesting stories!