Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One of my little onsies on the baby!

My coworker and friend, who had a baby boy last month, just sent me this sweet photo of the little guy wearing one of the onsies that I appliqued for him. Most of the time, when I make baby things, I never have the chance to see the baby wearing what I made. So this is a real treat for me! Isn't he sweet?...May the Lord bless this one with a deep and abiding love for our Savior Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

He Gives to His Beloved...Sleep

I love the Fighter Verse for this week. It's such a good reminder that without God, everything we do is truly in vain. Unless the Lord is at the center of my life, and I am willing to submit all that I do and all that I am to Him, my very life is, in fact, lived in vain.

And yet, I think right now, at this juncture in my life, I appreciate the second verse of Psalm 127 just as much as verse 1. The second verse is, as follows:

2It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

This has been a VERY busy summer so far. We nearly forgot, until this morning, that we had purchased concert tickets to hear the Minnesota Orchestra for Friday night. We don't go out very much, and we only see a live concert a handful of times a year, and yet because of the packed schedule we've been following recently, we nearly forgot about this concert on Friday.

The main piece, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is one of our shared favorites. and yet we didn't remember it until I (thankfully) opened my day planner this morning before leaving for work and saw that the date was nearly here. I commented to my sweet husband that I don't especially like the speed of our lives right now. He readily agreed, and suggested that we try to slow things down a bit...And that made me think again of Psalm 127:2.

I need that gift of sleep that our Lord promises to His beloved. We might not be able to rest as much as we'd like right now, but we are going to slow down on Friday night and just breathe deeply and enjoy the concert. God is so good to provide rest for his beloved...Lord, whatever the world is like around me, help me to always remember to find my rest in YOU.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Progress on our new back deck

My husband is working hard again this afternoon on our new backyard deck. A few weekends ago, he tore up everything but the joists in the old deck. This first photo shows the pile of old boards in our backyard, which our neighbor is slowly cutting up and using for fires in his backyard firepit.

We were so thankful that despite the wear and tear on the deck boards, railings, and a few of the joist boards, we were able to keep most of the joist boards and build up from there.

Then, another weekend he dug three 42-inch, 12-inch diameter holes for footings. My job, at that time, was to haul away the wheelbarrows full of dirt so that we could use it to build up an area in another part of our yard.

Yet another weekend (when you're doing everything yourself and also work full time, you become a weekend "warrior" for everything related to home improvement), he mixed 23, 60-pound bags of concrete to fill those holes with concrete to support the new deck posts...My job then was to fill in around the big cardboard tubes he used as concrete molds with dirt and then tamp it down to make sure that the concrete posts are really firm and secure.

And now, this weekend, he is finally able to start screwing new deck boards onto the joists. Oh, and I also helped with cleaning and repainting the siding that was behind the original deck (probably built when the house was new more than 30 years ago)...I'll have to post a photo on this project again when enough deck boards are in place to make it look like something again. I'm so thankful for a husband who is such a helpful and handy man!

No, these are the good guys!

My husband and I took a little mini vacation up north recently to enjoy the Duluth and Lake Superior. We were disappointed to see that the shipping traffic there is dramatically down from year's past because of the poor economy...When car companies aren't manufacturing as many new cars, they don't need as much steel, and they don't need as many ships to transport steel on the Great Lakes.

But we were blessed to see a U.S. Coast Guard cutter come into port. We watched it when it was far out on the lake, and were so happy to be able to see it up close. As always, along the port in Duluth, a crowd gathered along the dock to watch it come in. A little boy and his mother were close to us, and the little boy kept saying "Mom, look it's a pirate ship!" The third time he said this, his mother told him that it wasn't a pirate ship, but he insisted that it was, and that he could see pirates along the deck. Both my husband and I come from families with war veterans from the various branches of service, including the U.S. Coast Guard. So I finally interjected, saying "No, that's not a pirate ship. It's the good guys. They're ours, and we should all be proud of them!"

Thank you to all of you who have family members serving in our U.S. military. We are forever indebted for your sacrifice.

My first shirring project

I really enjoy sewing, as you might have gathered if you've been looking at this blog for any length of time, but I had never tried the technique of shirring to create gathers in fabric with elastic thread. I had been wanting a new pink tank top for summer to wear with my embroidered denim floral shirt, so instead of buying something from the thrift store (we rarely buy "new" clothes from regular stores), I decided to make a shirred top using some cute summery fabric that my mother-in-law gave to me earlier this year.

This was actually a remnant from a lampshade cover that she made some time ago, and she suggested that there might be enough for a summer top if I made up my own pattern. I just shirred the top several rows to bring it in close around my top and bust area, then shirred the straps to help them to stay up, and sewed it all together (just a seam up the side and then to attach the straps at the front and back).

It fits really well, and it actually quite flattering, but since I didn't have a helper to take my photo today, i just snapped a picture of it sitting on my little portable ironing board in the sewing room. I'm thinking of making two more little summer tops from small remnants soon. It's so fun to have new clothes!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Last weekend, I made strawberry freezer jam, something I've thought of and have been missing since my mother died in 2003. She used to make wonderful freezer jam every summer, and I know that we're going to enjoy having this on toast, muffins, and pancakes in the months to come.

It was a very easy recipe using 1 packet of Certo liquid pectin, 4 cups sugar, and 2 cups crushed strawberries. Just follow the package instructions and enjoy!

A New Wrap Dress for Me

This isn't a great photo, but it does show a bit of my latest sewing project, a new wrap dress made from some vintage brown floral fabric from what my sister and I divided from my mother's stash.

Thanks to my sweet husband, who graciously agrees to help with marking my hemline, I was able to finish it just in time for a wedding a couple of weekends ago. It was really fun to wear, especially when a couple of my friends there gave me compliments on it.

It was Butterick pattern 5030, and the only changes I made to it were to add more closures (for modesty's sake). It only called for hooks and eyes in two places at the waist line, but I added three snaps to the bodice area to pull it closer at the top and avoid gaps when I bend over, and two to the skirt to keep it wrapped when I climb in and out of the car.

Honey Whole Wheat Rolls

I've done quite a bit of baking in recent weeks, but haven't had (or taken) the time to post about it. Lately, we've really been enjoying my homemade honey whole wheat bread dough made into rolls instead of loaves.

Since there are generally just two of us for meals here, except on weekends when we often have dinner guests, I've been finding that making individual serving sizes for bread instead of large loaves work better for us. These rolls freeze well, and we can just pull a few out of the freezer when we need want them with a meal...whereas the large sandwich-sized loaves tend to get dry after they've been sliced.

I posted the recipe for this dough here, and just adjusted the baking time to about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quick Update

I'm sorry that it's been so long again since my last post. It's been a busy summer so far, and I'm not sure when it's going to slow down.

In short, we've torn off our old back deck, which was rotting in places due to poor initial construction (long before our time). So, since our house is nearly 30 years old now (I've been here for about 9 of those years), it was well past time to replace the back deck. My husband has done all of the really hard physical labor, but I've helped out as much as I can. So that's part of our busy schedule these days, whenever we're not working our regular jobs.

I've also had free-lance editing work to do in addition to my full-time job at the ministry. I'm editing a doctoral dissertation for a worship pastor who is going for his doctoral degree in musicology. And I just started working with a retired dentist who wants help with his personal testimony in written form so that he can share it with his children and grandchildren, and give the Lord all the glory for how He has worked in this man's life...Both are really fun projects, and the extra income is a huge blessing to us, but they're very time consuming, as expected.

Also, we've had company and time up north at my father's house, and then with the warmer months around here, there are always garden and yard-related tasks. Because we only have a few short months here when it's not cold, we really take advantage of the time we do have to plant and get all we can out of our gardens.

And finally, I've been desperately trying to make time for my sewing projects. I finished a dress, which I hope to blog about soon, and I've started a sleeveless summer top...which I'd better finish quick or it will need to wait in my closet for next year's warm summer weather.

Thanks for visiting, despite my tardiness in posting an update again. I hope that you're all having a lovely summer season, with many opportunities to enjoy God's creation outdoors.