What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney


This morning I finished the little Valentine's give-away quilt which I hand-stitched just for one of you.  It's funny.  Until the last couple of days, I hadn't even settled on what exactly this was going to be.  When I began, I set out to make a pillow.  Later, I envisioned a tote bag and played around with that idea for a little while.  In the end, I decided on a small quilt to hang on the wall.  I'm just crazy about these vintage florals!

Perhaps you or someone you love would like this little wall hanging?  I think it would be pretty most anywhere, but especially in any girl's room.  Let me know if you would like to be entered to win it. 
It measures approximately 15 X 21inches.

It has a happy flower, a pert butterfly with heart-shaped wings...

...a little friend ladybug,

and of course, a tiny heart...because I love you!

My new plan for 2012 is to try to post something once a week; but it may be less often.  I hope that my posts inspire you to use your God given talents to bless those around you, starting with your own family.  That is why I started this blog four and a half years ago, and that is what keeps me blogging even when I feel like I'm too busy to sit down and write.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love
1 Corinthians 13:13


Love is in the Air (well, almost)

This has been the perfect weekend to sit by the fire with a cup of tea and a quilt.  Here is a little log cabin quilt I'm working on for a friend's baby girl.  I fairly swoon over these colors!!  Bella wants you to know that she likes them, too.  She just happens to like the fire better.

Maggie has been begging to learn to sew.  I was just like her when I was little.  After my grandmother taught me at age six or seven how to take a needle and work on a little piece of fabric, I always had something to do when I was bored.  I made dresses and costumes for my dolls, little pillows, you name it.  Then later, when I was eleven, my mother taught me to cut out and sew from a pattern.  At that point I began making my own clothes, which I did for many years.

Yesterday, Maggie and I decided we would start a little tote bag, with some string quilting and appliqué. She did most of the appliqué by machine, using a zig-zag stitch.  She is great with the machine.  I can set the speed to slow and she is very careful, as you can see by the photos below.

Then we set to work doing some embroidery.  She takes her time and makes very neat stitches.

I'm not a proud mama.  Truly, I'm not.  Why would you suspect that?

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that if I'm going to have a Valentine give-away, I had better get going with it pronto.  Deciding against something very obviously pink or red, I settled on these soft, vintage florals. 

It does have a love theme, though, so we're good.

I'm not telling you what it is yet.  You'll just have to wait another day or so and see for yourself.  However, if you want in, go ahead and holla.  I think you'll be happy with it if you win.


Cauliflower and Apple Soup with Olive Oil-Fried Bread


Yeah, I know.  It sounds terribly strange.  Who puts cauliflower and apples together?  Well, this gal does and let me tell you, she created something magical with this recipe.

I'm one of those strange people who loves cauliflower.  But I'd venture to say that even if it's not your favorite vegetable, if you appreciate a steaming hot bowl of creamy soup on a cold winter day and you're even mildly adventuresome, you're going like this ridiculously simple soup.  I spotted this recipe while blog hopping recently and immediately bookmarked it.  I had a head of cauliflower (always super inexpensive at Aldi), an apple, a few strands of angel hair pasta, and plenty of milk.  So, why not? 

Given that all my children like soup, I prepare it often for lunch.  This one took about 45 minutes from start to finish, only because it took a while to come to a boil and then it boiled for 20 minutes.  All you do is chop the cauliflower into florets, peel and chop one apple, and bring them to a boil in a quart of milk.  After that begins to boil, you throw in a few broken strands of pasta, salt, and a pinch of sugar.  After it boils slowly for 20 minutes, you just blend the soup in a blender to achieve the creamy consistency. My new immersion blender, a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, made simple (and might I add,  fun ?) work of the blending part.  The garnish for this was just cubes of bread, pan fried in olive oil until crispy.

It was impossible for me to even detect the taste of the apple in this recipe.  I suppose it is there to somehow counter the stronger cauliflower flavor.  And the pasta is only there to thicken the soup a little in the end.  Honestly, this was delicious and very filling.  It will be moving into our soup rotation for sure.

 Have a blessed weekend!


Dutch Oven Bread

While reading Posie's blog one day (her blog is the first one I check when I make my rounds), I spied a recipe for bread baked in a Dutch oven.  Wanting to find another job for Clifford the Big Red Pot, I followed the link to this recipe for Easy, No-knead Crusty Bread and found this resistible loaf.  I loved the idea of mixing the dough and letting it sit for 8-18 hours, with no kneading required whatsoever.

Undoubtedly the simplest bread I've ever made, it did require a little advanced planning to get the timing down.  What I discovered is that if I start it the day before, late in the afternoon or after dinner, it is ready to be baked just in time for dinner the next day.

You simply stir a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into 1 1/2 cups warm water.  Then you mix in 3 cups of flour to form a very soft, wet dough.  That is covered with plastic wrap and left to sit in a warmish place (I put mine on top of the fridge) for a looooong time, 8 hours up to 18 hours, till it is nice a bubbly.  You dump it on a flour covered counter and form a ball, then flop in onto a flour covered dish towel and let it rise for a couple hours.  That is just plopped into the HOT Dutch oven and baked at 475 for 30 minutes with the lid on.  The lid is removed and it bakes another 15 minutes.  The moist environment inside the Dutch oven creates the perfect moist loaf with the perfect crust.

It is simply divine. 

Highly, highly recommended.


Wisdom Gathered Wallhanging

Last fall, I was looking for a quilt to make my lovely mother-in-law, who we call "Oma", for Christmas.  Once I saw this wall hanging in this quilting book, a challenging combination of piecing and hand appliqué, I knew I had found just what I was looking for.  

I could tell the center block would be simple to piece with its easy squares and triangles.  The outer four triangles of applique were going to take more time with all their delicate details.  I started it in October, worked on it all week at The Glass Lodge, and finally finished hand quilting it...a few days after Christmas.  Maybe if I hadn't attempted two give-aways in the midst of this, I could have had it ready on time.  Thankfully, I have a wonderfully understanding mother-in-law.  I hope she thinks it was worth the wait.

I learned a lot about appliqué working with these tiny pieces.  I now know some new helpful tricks and techniques in addition to some problems to avoid.  I'm thinking I may attempt to make another one, for myself.  Maybe.  Perhaps.  One Day.  But not soon.

Oma, I love you.  You are a wise and beautiful woman who has taught me so much.  I still have a lot to learn.  Thank you for everything.  

She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26 


Omelet in a Bag

Here is a fun recipe to try if you have children who like to work in the kitchen.  We made these omelets in a bag at Tom's parents' house this past week.  His sister Lynn showed us how she made these with a group of friends for a Sunday brunch.  Apparently,  Boy Scouts have been doing this for years; we are just a little late getting the memo.

Up until now, omelets have not been my thing.  I make a total mess of them trying to turn them over in the pan.  The cheese spills out and starts to burn and stick to the pan.  The outside gets done before the middle does, leaving half of it a goopy mess.  However, I like a well made omelet and this method fits the bill perfectly.  Each person makes his own, just they way he likes it, and it boils in the bag in a big pot of water.

The children liked them so much they asked if we could make them again for brunch today. I thought you might like to see how we did it.

You start by cracking two eggs into a quart-sized freezer bag.

Add in your favorite filling ingredients.  We used diced ham, shredded cheese, onion, green pepper, tomatoes, and salt and pepper.

Caleb loaded up on the veggies.

Then, zip up the bag and squeeze it around to mix it all up.  Yes, Caleb enjoyed this part immensely.

Lay it down on the counter and gently press all the air out.  (This is an important step, allowing the bag to submerge and not float in the pot.) 

Write your name on the bag with a Sharpie and drop it into a pot of boiling water for 13 minutes.  That's it!!

It rolls right out of the bag perfectly...cooked all the way through and never burned! You really should try it.

This has nothing to do with omelets in a bag, but don't you just love January 1st?  Really, it is no different than December 31st, but it just feels different, like a clean, fresh start, a day filled with so much promise and hope for the future!  It's a day to dream and plan and resolve and ACT!  It offers a great opportunity to make changes for the better and focus on what really matters.  With Christ's help, we can become all that He wants us to be in the coming year.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Wishing you a wonderfully blessed New Year!