Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Of course now I want one...
Master K's room is big enough to hold one and has lovely light! I have major plans for his room after he moves out.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Isn't this pretty?
It's a new apron made from an old pattern and repro fabrics, evidently by Simplicity itself. My sister-in-law V sent it to me for Christmas. It's very crisp and pretty and nice and big, too, for good coverage. And it has pockets. And I'm wearing it right now.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I bought this woollen coat at a garage sale on a very hot day last summer when Lil Miss A couldn't stand the idea of trying it on, so I just held it up to her, and it turns out the sleeves were too short. All I did was take the cuffs off and add new ones made of scraps of black velvet.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Barry took this portrait of me in the nearly finished kitchen tonight so I finally have a decent picture of myself. Bo wasn't supposed to be in the picture but he sneaked in and looked so pitiful that we didn't kick him out.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Jona posted directions for a One-Hour Apron on her blog. Of course I had to make it more complicated, so it took longer than an hour, but I am in love with it and don't want to give it away now. :o) I will anyway. Tomorrow is the Sunday School Christmas play and traditionally that's when everybody gives little gifts to our children's Sunday School teachers. So this apron will go to Jane. She is a bright, sunshiny kind of person and the apron will go right along with her personality.
The original pattern calls for a fat quarter of fabric to make up the main front piece and a half yard of something else for the waistband/tie and the hem piece. I pieced the front (it ended up a little bigger than a fat quarter) and then I backed it with a solid piece of fabric to hide all the seam allowances. This apron would actually be reversible. The back is an orange print that coordinates nicely with the waistband fabric.
And then the other teacher, who happens to be Miss B, will get these pot holders.
Used up a lot of scraps on these and had fun! These are not colors I usually work with.
I wish I had taken a picture! It's not actually given yet but Barry has it at work ready to bestow next time he sees these folks. Maybe they will take a picture of their baby wrapped in the quilt for me to post someday. (hint hint)
Edited to add: At least I can show you part of the quilt. I used the fabric panels for this soft book, only I cut them all apart to use as 9-inch blocks for the quilt. Lots for the baby to look at, lots of colors. Doggies, too!
Friday, December 19, 2008
I am reminded of Flanders and Swann's The Reluctant Cannibal (in which the RC's dad is the Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief). In the interests of getting completely off the subject here, here is a clip for you:
The Reluctant Cannibal - Flanders And Swann
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
So here is a personal example: Right now I can see God's hand all over the place in our job situation. You would not believe all the things that are working out beautifully for us. We have been granted favor with employers on both sides, with colleges, with the high school, with our bank, with our church - everywhere there is favor. It's getting so I expect everything to work out perfectly and will be surprised when some tiny thing does not go right.
So does this mean when things stop going perfectly, as eventually they must, God doesn't love me anymore, or wants to test me, or is waiting for me to learn a lesson so He can stop taking away blessings? Hardly. And does it mean God is incompetent, or uncaring, or that I've used up my quota of blessings for one month/year/decade/lifetime? Nope.
I'm not sure what to do to combat this attitude other than being extremely grateful and finding things to give thanks for all the time - and not just financial things, or health things, or job things. Lessons learned, kindnesses from a friend, mercies shown, the accomplishments of a child. Intangibles. Also blessings given to others. If I look in others' lives for blessings for which to give thanks, then I will see pretty clearly that it was nothing I did that got them blessings, it was merely that their God wanted to give them something for some reason beyond my fathoming - and possibly I will understand that the same happens in my own life.
And then there was the story of a sweet little baby boy who was legally adopted by a Utah couple, only to be, again legally, removed from their home and sent to foster care because he has Native American blood and the tribe wanted him back. He does not have enough Native American blood to actually join the tribe, but he has enough that the tribe can remove him from a non-Native American home and send him, not to his birth mother, but into foster care! What is this world coming to? Even though the tribe has the right, why on earth did the tribal lawyers pursue the case? On principle alone, I imagine, maybe so as not to create a precedent. This is why in my prayers I pray that our legal system will change to seek justice, truth and light, not just winning. Pray that justice, truth and light will win in this one, for the sake of that little boy and his family.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Today at church Barry and I sat at opposite ends of the pew, as usual, like bookends, keeping the children sitting up straight with their pages all facing in the right direction, so to speak. (Last week we sat side by side for the first time in I don't know how long. I loved it. Today we were back to normal.) We sang "It Is Well With My Soul," which I always think of as Benjamin's song. Benjamin was my nephew, my brother's eldest child. We received a phone call one awful day in his mother's pregnancy with him, telling us that Benjamin had died in utero. An hour or so after that we had to go to our church small group study and we sang "It Is Well With My Soul." Ever since then, it's been Benjamin's song to me. After a couple of years, I got to the point where I could sing it without breaking down, but then this morning for some reason it all just came rushing back again and I went all teary over it and couldn't sing. And I was a wreck for the rest of the service. Every song made me cry, all the prayers made me cry, singing the Doxology made me cry... Oh brother. Funny how that can happen.
The one thing that did not make me cry was this hilarious picture on the cover of the bulletin. It's from Augsburg Fortress Press, and the note says it is a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (16th century). Look at some of those faces in the crowd! Methinks Bruegel was a frustrated caricature artist. Look at the group down here in the left bottom corner. "Be nice to Bruegel, and if he ever offers to put you in one of his paintings, say thank you, but no."
And then we came home for lunch, and finally put up the Nativity set and got out Christmas decorations. We were really slackers this year. We usually put them up the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Part of it is that after living in no-kitchen chaos for months, I don't want anything extra, don't want to see messes, don't want to have to hunt for anything that's been put in a slightly different place from usual, and so I am less than thrilled with the idea of getting out decorations, which amount in my mind to "just more stuff." But I stifled the humbug that is me and we hauled the boxes up from the storeroom.
First was the Annual Assembly and Arrangement of the Nativity Scene, supervised by Maria, starring a cast of porcelain figures, grunt work done by Lil Miss A and Master K...
... followed closely by the Annual Feline Inspection of the Nativity Scene and Comfy Nap By the Stable, starring Briggs Stahl.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Now we just need a nice fat financial aid package to go along with it. :o)
By the way, the Army Reserves recruiter came over a couple of nights ago and talked with us about the Reserves. If it were me making the decision, I would have signed up on the spot! Good thing it's not my decision. Or not exclusively my decision. Miss B says I have been brainwashed by the Army. Incidentally, I couldn't take my eyes off the patch on the sergeant's right arm: A shield with a black horse head on it. I kept wondering if it could be the Black Horse Cav, the only thing I know about which I learned from reading Tom Clancy novels, and indeed, it turns out I was right.
Anyway, this is a huge relief. Miss B was starting to get a complex because she had not heard and had not heard anything and her friends were all getting multiple acceptances. She has not gotten any rejection letters, either, so we kept telling her not to worry, just to make sure she had submitted everything she needed to.
1) Five meals' worth of refried black beans (1 for last night, 3 for the freezer, 1 for this weekend sometime)
2) Three more meals' worth of whole black beans (like for chili), all in the freezer
3) One supper's worth of baked beans, which is simmering away in my tiny adorable 1-quart crock pot this very minute.
Beans are wonderful.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
See my crawler over there to the left? ===========>
You may have to scroll down aways, or up, depending on how old this post is by the time you read it. Anyway it's adoptable animals at the Coulee Region Humane Society. And how cute are these two? This is Bon-Bon, the little brown baby guinea pig, and her mommy, Paprika. They were left outside the CRHS in the COLD. Poor things!
We are not adding any new pets to our lives, but how irresistable are Paprika and Bon-Bon? I wonder what Gary would think if we got her a couple of young and peppy buddies. :)
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Pastor mentioned this past Sunday the people we will welcome to St. Peter's on Christmas Eve, with whom we will worship - and then who will not darken the doors again till next Christmas Eve. He made an interesting point: They come to worship the Christ Child, the Babe in the manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, cute and precious. But when they die, will they meet the Babe? The King who awaits us is neither cute nor cuddly. He is the Righteous Judge. I fear for those who meet Him then without knowing any Jesus other than the Holy Child.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
First he glued down cement board to the plywood.
Next he worked on the layout of the tile and all those bitty little spacers.
Now he's chopping billions of little tiles in half for all the edges. He's about to run amok with that tile chopper thingie there.
He muttered something about how this countertop was not going to be worth all the work to anyone except me, that when we sell the house the first thing people will probably do is rip out those countertops and get something more modern. I keep telling him, I am NEVER selling this house.
Lil Miss A and I drove to Waukon so she could participate in this morning's annual gingerbread house decorating activity for schoolchildren in the area, sponsored by Kitchen Krafts. Here she is, back home, just before she started eating her gingerbread house.
While she was decorating her house, I got groceries, filled up the car ($1.559 a gallon!) and bought chicken feed and window washer fluid at the feed store.
Driving was a bit scary but we were fine, especially with 100 pounds of chicken feed in the trunk on the way home to keep us on the road!
Once back in New Albin, we stopped by the annual Karen Lee and Daughters Holiday Craft Sale. I bought a handcrafted graduation card for Miss B (Lil Miss A picked it out), a plate of cookies (also selected by Lil Miss A, naturally) and a video transfer DVD produced by Errin Wilker of some old movie film of New Albin in the 1930s, coupled with some video of Shooky Fink Days during the 1990s. I have not looked at it yet.
Finally, back home, I opened the mail and found this neat postcard of St. Peter's when it was known as the German Evangelical church. (Some of the old timers in town still just call St. Peter's "the German church." This is the same site as the brick building built in the 1950s. I wonder why the lot was fenced? The postcard is not in the greatest shape, as it was torn out of an album (there is black paper residue on the back), but what a nice shot of our church! I bought this on eBay. The seller stated he could see part of what he thought was a 1907 postmark. I am not seeing it. But it's old. It's a RPPC. Great to add to the collection.
Friday, December 05, 2008
The original recipe came from allrecipes.com:
* 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
* 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 2 cups cooked egg noodles
* 1 1/2 cups diced, cooked turkey
* 1 cup turkey or chicken gravy
* 1 (8 ounce) package sour cream and onion dip
* 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain. Stir in butter. Place noodles in a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish; top with spinach. Combine turkey, gravy, onion dip and onion salt; spoon over spinach. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
I had 1) lots of lovely fresh spinach that was starting to wilt, 2) no turkey gravy as I had already used it up to thicken turkey noodle soup, and 3) no onion dip, but plenty of sour cream and cottage cheese. So here is how I made the recipe:
* 1 (5 ounce) package fresh baby spinach leaves
* 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 3 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about half a pound uncooked)
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* a dash or so of salt
* 2 cups cooked turkey meat, diced
* about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Steam spinach in a little water. Drain, then chop. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter.
2. Meanwhile, cook macaroni in water. Drain and rinse. Toss with remaining tablespoon of butter.
3. Combine cottage cheese, sour cream, and seasonings. Add turkey meat and stir to coat.
4. Place macaroni in the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Arrange spinach over macaroni. Spoon turkey mixture over spinach. Spread grated Parmesan evenly over top.
5. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for about 25 minutes.
This served supper for our family of 5, plus lunch for me today. Everybody who wanted second helpings last night got some, so it was pretty generous. We'll make this again.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Barry called from work with more bad news about his job. Nothing definite but just more bad stuff in the offing. My supervisor had left it to me to call her about switching to full time, and he said I'd better do it. So I called her. And that wonderful woman is going to do all she can to make sure I can get full-time work. This is a terrible time to be asking; in the MT business, December and the first half of January are usually very hard months when the work load slows way down and it's hard to keep the staff busy. And you can't lay people off because come about January 18th all h*ll breaks loose again and you need them all. So this was not a convenient thing for me to ask. But she will try to help see that I get enough work, and she gave me strategies for dealing with it if I do not.
Benefits won't start for 3 months, but maybe Barry's job will last that long. If nothing else, maybe we can pay for COBRA coverage between the end of his job and the beginning of insurance under my job.
Now I just have to get to work.
Oh, and the Council did not seem sad to see me go at all. Ha!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
- Walking to the beat of the same drummer.
- Hearing the same tree fall in the forest.
- Agreeing to agree.
- Riding the same elevator - but not all the way to the top.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Jayne Cobb: "She's starting to damage my calm."
John Casey: "You're starting to damage my calm."
Monday, December 01, 2008
It's a long drive in the best of road conditions, 3-1/2 hours each way. It was quite a bit longer than that because of black ice, blowing snow and slippery roads. And also because Barry had his EMT gear in the car and could not help stopping to assist a couple of times. Once he was first on scene. He said it was a new and wonderful experience for him to see the relief in people's eyes when he walked up with his EMT bag with its luminescent strips and offered to help. Nobody was hurt bad, but he was able to sort out what was what, secure the scene and then hand off to the firemen who eventually answered the 911 call he encouraged one of the women involved to make.
Miss B was with him, for which I was thankful. It's always good not to be alone on a scary drive. And one of the two college students, at least (not the one who is actually related to us but the other one) was very appreciative of the ride home and the risks Barry and Miss B took to return him to school.
Barry's job is extremely tenuous right now, but he is not as worried as one might think, as he is hoping to use it as an opportunity to go back to school and become a nurse. He'd really rather become a paramedic, but their wage tops out quite a bit lower than that of a nurse. Maybe someday he can be both.
Friday, November 28, 2008
It's been a long time since I published one of these! That's because of the things that were getting finished, I wasn't the one doing the work, and I couldn't really claim them. Anyway, now that the kitchen is basically put together, with just finish work remaining, it was time to get out a Wilendur strawberry tablecloth I had been saving for years, and make 1) curtains for the cabinet underneath the sink and 2) roller shades for the window.
Here's the curtain beneath the sink.
I love those old heavy cotton printed tablecloths. They are very substantial and the colors last and last. You almost have to try to get them to fade.
For the backing of the roller shades, I used Pellon Decor Bond fusible heavyweight interfacing. The best price I found was on eBay. This is an iron-on product that stiffens the shade and lines it simultaneously. It was pretty easy to handle, though it did not want to fuse without a LOT of heat. Thankfully the tablecloth could take it.
The red with white print is discontinued and I wish I had bought more of it.