Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time a Little Tight

I am hard at work trying to complete a sewing contract. Which has left little time for completing other projects. I did manage to get one started though.

I found this dark blue shirt at a garage sale last summer and thought there was plenty of material to be able to make something new from it. I was not sure how I wanted to convert it though. Tonight I figured it out. I decided the width of the shirt was probably such that it would work just fine if rotated to become the length. I took the bottom strip off and cut it to fit the new bottom hem.

Tomorrow I just have to sew up the sides and shoulders and decide if I want sleeves. Then reattach the bottom hem, figure out what to do with the neck opening and I should have a new shirt to enjoy this summer.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I reveal the final product.

Many blessings to you this fine night.--Kate

Monday, March 23, 2015

Teriyaki Chicken

When I found this recipe it was for oven baked teriyaki wings. I never did make the wings, but I have used the sauce many times now as a marinade. I would not say that it really tastes much like teriyaki, but it is a delicious Asian inspired sauce.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons spoonable stevia
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos or organic tamari
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup  hot sauce (adjust to your taste)
  • 4-5 pounds organic chicken
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Melt butter in a small-medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the stevia, wine, tamari, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt ,pepper, and garlic powder and mix.  In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the sauce. It is a thin sauce. Cook chicken how you like.


Many blessings on this fine night.--Kate

P.S. Sorry no pictures yet. We always seem to gobble this dish down before I remember to take the pictures. I will post some as soon as we make this meal again.--K

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcome Spring

Many blessings to you this fine morning.--Kate

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday's Sales

I have already confessed my love of books. Well recently I received notice that a local bookstore was having major sales on their used books, 4 for $20 (for books priced up to $29.99.) So of course I had to go check it out. I ended up finding 10 books, two of which were already under $3. This lead to a desire to check out my favorite used book store, "Little Man Bookstore," where I found 11 more books. I capped off my day of book shopping with a trip to the craft store to use my 60% off coupon to buy Tilda's Studio by Tone Finnanger a book I have been salivating over for about a month now. If you have not seen the creation's of Ms. Finnanger she is worth checking out. She makes lovely items but the display scenes she designs for her photos are gorgeous.

So I ended the day with 23 books and the averaged price per book was just under $4. I wish I could say that this will sate my appetite for books for a while, but one never can tell.

A fair number of the books I found today I picked up because I thought my kids would really love them for bed time stories. I found The Indian in the Cupboard and Harriet the Spy, great classics. I also found a book called Ginger Pye, about a clever dog in a clever family. The series I think I am going to start with though is called The Critter Club about four girls who start a pet rescue center. Both of my kids have a strong love for animals.
I am excited by my new mountainous pile of books, and I have a strong desire to dive right into all of them, each for a different reason. I suppose I should rein myself in a bit and at least try and finish the books I am currently reading. Let me tell you I am very excited to embark on the many adventures waiting just inside the covers of these new treasures.

Many blessings to you on this very fine night.--Kate
P.S. Here is an example page from the book Tilda's Studio. I think it is so bright and lovely. I wish this was how my creating space looked.

Saturday's Sew up

I have a number of projects that needed some finishing touches to truly be complete. So today I will be sharing a few sewn up project.

First, I decided that my new angora ear warmers needed a little more excitement. So I added a few felt flowers. My daughter was watching me work on it and mentioned that she wished she had one of her own. I happened to have a left over piece big enough so that she now has her own. Her's is the band with the cluster of three flowers. Mine has the pink with long brown stems and the pale blue flower in the middle.

The second project was that my converted mini skirt bag really needed some type of fastener to keep the top flap closed. I had no clear picture in my head until I came across the rhinestone rings. Once I found the little pink flower buttons I knew I was in business. I am now completely and totally in love with my new bag.
The purse had its first big test run today and the closures worked perfectly.

Many blessings on this fine night.--Kate

Friday, March 20, 2015

Finding New Craft Projects with My Girl.

I adore that my daughter has obviously inherited the creating gene. We have a little to much fun going out to the local craft stores to find new projects to make. It is amazing what all is out there and it is fun to see some of my old favorites come back. Like those weaving looms that use the vibrant stretchy nylon bands.

One of the fun new to us crafting supplies that we found for my daughters Birthday was Washi tape. It is basically colorful, slightly translucent, masking tape. Which means that it is an easily removable product. My original intent in buying the tape was for my girl to make her own stickers. (There was a book that we found that was for that very thing, but when I went back to buy the book it was gone.) I figured I did not really need the book, we could figure it out on our own.

So I spent the day looking up what all you can do with Washi tape and now I have a brain filled with ideas, plans and soon to be tried projects. I love the easy access to thousands of creative ideas. I love living in a world populated with so much creativity and creation.
 Today though was a foray into the Washi sticker making arena. It was easy and so much fun. I drew some simple designs onto waxed paper and then my girl laid strips of tape down so that they covered the design and also overlapped a little bit. Then I cut them out. She is becoming quite skilled with scissors, but this was still a little to detailed for her to manage. Then we just had to remove the waxed paper and put our sticker in the place of our choosing. Tonight that place was on the cover of my laptop.

 She had a lot of fun and already has ideas for new designs and new locations for the colorful, cute stickers.

Many blessings to you on this fine night.--Kate

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thank You Cards.

I do not know why but I am terrible about writing thank you cards. If I do not sit down immediately and write them there is a huge possibility that I will forget to write them all together. It is the same with Christmas cards. This year I sent out only half of my cards because I needed to update a fair number of addresses in my address book. By the time I verified they were right my mom was in the hospital and the cards were forgotten. So this time after my daughter's party I had the list of who gave what presents, I had the thank you cards and everything was located where it would be easy to sit down and write them and I completely forgot. I only remembered to finally write them today because I was trying to think of something for my Thursday's theme and I came across my little pile of cards and lists. The second I found them I called my daughter over and we wrote the notes labeled the envelopes and put them in the mail. So now I have a small respite until my son's birthday.
Does anyone else struggle with this?

Many blessings to you on this very fine evening.--Kate

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Eight Little Monkeys

This is another project that I purchased a few years ago, when my wee boy was still a baby. A frequent nick-name for him was "Monkey Boy", so when I found this adorable book I could not pass it up. Now my wee boy has moved beyond fabric books, but I think we will still enjoy it for a small time before we find someone new who may enjoy this little counting book.
The best thing about this book is that it was a cut and sew project. No need for patterns, no need to find additional supplies. It was together in less then 30 minutes and it really did end up being quite cute.

Many blessings this fine night.--Kate

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Old Mini Skirt to New Purse

I have had this project on my "To finish" shelf since high school. I attended a clothing swap at which I came away with a cute, short, tight, black fleece mini skirt with a hot pink inside. Once I got it home I realized that it really was not something I would ever be willing to wear in public. I did mention the short and tight bit right. The more I fiddled with it though I realized that it would make a great purse. I started the transformation right away, cutting 9 inches off the bottom, sewing up the bottom and sewing one half of the cut off bit over the waist opening to make a closing flap. That is where I got stuck. I had enough material to make the strap. I took the other half of the cut off bit and cut it in half, but I just did not know how I wanted to make the strap. So I put the project on the shelf. Over the years I have pulled it out a couple times but never had anymore inspiration. Tonight I was in need of a quick transformation project and thought of the purse again and inspiration hit. If I cut the straps and braided them they would be thinner, cute and there was the possibility of having both black and pink on the same side.

So now I have a new hold everything purse. The best part is the two front pockets that can hold keys, lip balm and cellphone.

Many blessings on this fine night.--Kate

Monday, March 16, 2015

Grain-Free Banana Bread

My daughter loves banana bread, but my son loves bananas. So between our dietary changes and the rapidly disappearing bananas I have not had a chance to try out a grain free recipe until tonight.

This one I found I think is a winner. Well at least for me, the kids have not had a chance to try it yet as they were in bed before the bread was done baking.

Grain-free Banana Bread

-3 ripe bananas
-3 Tbsp of almond butter
-Juice of ½ lemon
-½ cup of coconut flour
-4 pasture-raised eggs
-1 tsp of baking soda
-2 Tbsp of grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil (melted)
-1 Tbsp of raw honey or grade B maple syrup (I used 1 tsp of stevia and 2 Tbsp of xylitol.)

-1 tsp of vanilla
-Pinch of pink salt (called real salt, It is salt will all it's minerals.)

*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line your loaf tin.
Combine and mix coconut flour, baking soda, xylitol and salt in one bowl.
In another bowl, combine bananas, almond butter, lemon, eggs (whisk eggs separately before adding,) butter, stevia, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
Pour mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Many blessings on this very fine night.--Kate

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Humor in Church

I can think of few things better then a moment of unexpected humor in church.

Today's first reading is from the book of Numbers, chapter 21 verses 4-9. It is a passage about God's people who Moses lead out of slavery in Egypt. They are still wandering and they are still complaining. It is the familiar cry "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?" They are whining once again about the food and water situation. The Lord's response is that He sent "fiery serpents" and people were bitten and people die. The people also repent, they had Moses ask God to forgive them. God had Moses construct a bronze serpent that the people who were bit could look at and be saved.

Our pastor Jon Muhly then shared with us stories of vacationing with children and his own experiences as a child on vacation. The cries from the back "Are we there yet?..I need to go potty?.. and she crossed the line again." As well as the response from the front "Don't make me stop this car and come back there." I am very sure that this is a familiar scenario for most of us. Pastor Muhly then compared this time tested and true experience to the cries of the people in the wilderness and he wondered with us if God ever wanted to yell "Don't make me stop this car."

So this leads to the moment of profound humor. Pastor Muhly is sharing with us all the many, many time the people of Israel lost faith in God while they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Pastor Muhly is also sharing with us how kids have an amazing ability to know just how to whine in that perfect way that can cause a parents skin to crawl and for the parent to cry out "enough." So he is speaking about how the multitude of voices from the people are all whining and complaining that there is no food, no water and "ugh, yuck this manna, we do not want to eat that any more," and you can almost see them pushing that plate of food across the table like a petulant child. Then God responds by stopping the car and ordering everybody out as he yells "Release the snakes, you are all getting bit."

To say that this made the congregation laugh is an understatement, the congregation erupted. I myself felt the bubble of humor, that his images created, burst into the hysterical laughter of the all too familiar. It was a fantastic and relatable image.

It would be an injustice to say that everything stopped there. Even though that is a very relatable image it does make God look a bit like he lost his mind. The real "bite" of the message is God's forgiveness. When the people realize that they have sinned that they are dying they ask Moses to ask God to forgive them. More miraculous then that though is that even before we realized that we are also sinners that we are also dying, even before we thought to ask God to forgive us, He sent his Son to die for us.

So that of course was the full meaning of the message this morning. Do forgive me though if I continue to spend a few more minutes enjoying the image of God bellowing "Release the snakes."

Many blessings to you this fine, funny night.--Kate

Our Movie Adventure

So we just experienced our first movie theater adventure as a family. It was everything I had hoped for and imagined. My boy at almost 3 was, as expected, antsy but he loved the previews commenting after each one whether he wanted to see it or not and if he thought it was funny, silly or scary. He sat fairly quietly for at least 75% of it, but there were periodic moments of fussing and wiggling and in general bothering of the sister. I do not think that we will be so quick to have a second go at the theater with brother, (or at least not such a packed theater.) Sister on the other hand did wonderfully and loved everything about going to the theater to watch a movie.

The movie we chose for this first time experience was the new Cinderella. Yes, of course a huge part of the reason for choosing it was because of the "Frozen" short--"Frozen Fever." Both kids loved it and laughed from start to finish. That said I think my girl loved Cinderella even more. It was a lovely, beautifully shot film and I  appreciated the frequently referenced importance of being kind. Best of all there was never a moment when either child was scared.

All in all we had a wonderful time today. Even though our girl is quite obviously ready for movie theater experiences I still believe that they will be fairly rare occurrences because the pleasure of the event is still far outweighed by the unpredictability of the content. Both kids are quite sensitive and I would hate to have an unexpected moment ruin their fun. After combing through many reviews about this movie I felt that it was probably a save bet and I was so glad (and relieved) that it was.

Many blessings on this fine
celluloid night.--Kate

Saturday's Surprise on Sunday Afternoon.

I am so excited for this next surprise. I mean jumping out of my own skin excited. Tomorrow afternoon we are taking our kids to their first, at the theater, movie. I do not want to say anymore until after we actually go to the movie. So keep your eyes open for all the the details to come tomorrow.

Many blessings to you on this fine night.--Kate

Saturday, March 14, 2015

PaperBack Swap and the Local Used Bookstore.

I find that I am actually having a bit of trouble focusing myself this evening. My plan was to share my favorite place to find new books and pass along old, but I am torn and can not honestly decide between two such places. So I will share them both with you.

The first, PaperBack Swap, I discovered about 8 years ago. It is an online book swapping community. It works on a point system, basically it is a book for a book, any book hardback, paperback, adult, child, 500 pages or 40 pages. *Except audio book those are two points. It is not always the best place to go if you want a book quickly. Books are only available if someone has the book to swap so you have to wait until someone posts it. Then even if it is available you still have to wait for the mail and these are mostly shipped "Media Mail," which means slowest route possible. If you have the patience though it is a wonderful place to find books that are otherwise very hard to get your hands on.

Up until a month ago the only cost was for the sender to ship the book to the person who requested it, but after being around for 10 years they have decided they need to charge a small fee (.50cents) to the person making the request. I have been happily using PaperBack Swap for long enough that I am willing to stick through this new change and hope for the best. This honestly has created a little niggle of worry and has diminished my favor a wee bit and that is why I have added a second favorite location, the local used bookstore.

My parents introduced me to the wonders of the used book store when I was still quite young. As I mentioned yesterday there was one near the college I attended in Seattle that added greatly to my collection. Every city I have lived in I have looked for a local used book store. That, to me, was as necessary as finding the nearest grocery store and bank.

The first used book store I found was a nightmare. The inventory was quite sparse, 2/3 of which was romance novels. the prices were ridiculous and the owner was horrid. The second, was much to austere, again the prices to high and it was hard to figure out where I wanted to look. The third shop though was exactly what I was looking for. It was like finding a really comfortable old chair and a warm mug of cocoa. It was a small, bright, narrow aisled, charming, tall bookcases with more books in boxes and in piles on the floor, shop. It even has that wonderful old, worn and loved book smell. The proprietor is also eccentric and lovely. The official name of the store is "Browsers Uncommon Books.", but immediately after my first visit I affectionately call it "Little Man Book Store" because of the charming owner. When I enter this shop I come with no preconceived plans. I just look aisle by aisle, shelf by shelf and many times box and pile by box and pile. I am never disappointed and I always find something to bring home with me.

I would love to hear about your favorite places to find books.

Many blessings to you on this fine night.--Kate

P.S. Here are a few of my favorite Used Book Store finds.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Unashamed Bibliophile

The collection that began all collecting. The very first thing I can remember collecting was books, (well maybe stuffed animals too,) and I have never stopped.

I still have most of the books I collected as a young reader. The picture books that were shared with my siblings (like Dr. Seuss,) are probably long gone, ruined in basement floods or by pens and markers. Which is really to bad because there was a book called But No Elephants by Jerry Smath that solidified my love for those amazing gentle giants.

The first series I remember really being addicted to, the one that had me begging my parents to take me to the bookstore was the Sweet Valley Twins. I already loved reading by this point but I just read the books my parents found for me and they had done a great job, but this was the first time I craved trips to the book store to find something new to read.

Many of my really close friends were also avid readers and I remember we shared our favorite books and series with each other. Books by Caroline B. Cooney and R.L. Stine, but also Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke. There was also this Christian fantasy series that I started reading and loved, but have since completely forgotten the titles of. I have a hazy recollection that the third book had the word "tower" in the title. I would be over the moon if I could find this series again.

In sixth grade I had a teacher who would read stories to us every day at lunch. She opened up a whole new world of books for me. Some of my favorites from that year were Brian Jacques' Redwall, Wilson Rawls' Where the Red Fern Grows and Roald Dahl's Witches.

There are many other book's from my childhood and adolescence that have remained in my collection. The books by Scott O'Dell, The Black Stallion, Choose your own adventures, Several different Nancy Drew series, The Dancing Cats of Applesap, Julie of the Wolves, Judy Blume and Beverly Clearly books, The Outsiders, Doll House Murders, The Cricket in Time Square, L.M. Montgomery series especially the Emily books and many, many others.

My love for books has only grown over time and with the help of a charming used book store in Seattle-"Twice Sold Tales, " my collection exploded. Today I am quite sure that I have at least 1,000 books in my home. Not all of them are mine my husband is also a book lover and he added a hefty amount to the pile. I am not even going to try to add in the number that belong to our children who have definitely inherited our Bibliophile ways.
Rest assured I do not keep every book I read and I still love checking books out from the library. In fact I use it most often to check out audio books to listen to while working on my sewing projects. I have listened to so many Agatha Christie and Janet Evanovich books this way. There are also a number of books that I have enjoyed (or not) that I do not feel the need to keep in my collection. Tomorrow I will share with you my favorite source for finding and passing along books.
I can quite happily say that my book collecting days are far from over. I am also looking forward to the day our kids start diving into the collection that my husband and I have created.

Many blessings to you this fine night.--Kate 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Knitting Pattern I Love

Early on in my time working at a yarn shop I discovered a beautiful pattern for a wrap in a Vogue Knitting magazine. It used 20 skeins of bulky alpaca yarn and was knit holding two strands together. (For you knitters out there you know how big that would make the finished project.) It made a huge, thick, luxurious wrap that is completely unwearable. Now I am a tall girl and this thing is way to much even for me, but it is beautiful, so soft and I adore the pattern. The leaves come out almost hand sized. I have had this finished, beautiful wrap sitting in a bag for nearly seven years now. So this pattern that I love has been hidden away.

Finally I decided that it was time to remake this pattern with yarn that was much more practical. I found a gorgeous angora/cotton blend that I have had in my stash for probably 10 years. I followed the pattern exactly still using two strands together, but knit with a size 10 needle, (instead of 19) and a much thinner yarn (DK weight.)

I am totally thrilled with the finished product. A thick, luxurious scarf that is completely wearable, (but probably better suited for the colder days of winter.)
 *The humor of posting a winter item the day after I posted a summer top is not missed by me, I assure you.

The pattern was from the Vogue Knitting International Magazine - '08/'09 Winter issue. It is one that can be purchased on Ravelry for $5 if you fall in love with it as I did.

Many blessings to you on this fine night.--Kate

P.S. Here is a size comparison with my daughter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Summer Scarf Shirt

A few of the sewing and customizing books I have been reading lately suggest taking old scarfs and turning them into light and breezy tops. The last few days have been exceptionally warm and it has me thinking about summer. So on a resent trip to the thrift stores with my girl I was on the hunt for scarfs. I was very excited when I came across these two that had the same pattern in colors my daughter loves.

Quick and simple construction. Sew at each top edge 5 inches in on each side or leave the center just large enough to get your head through. Then on the sides, from the bottom up, sew 12 inches. I put a ribbon on just to corral the fabric a bit. The placement is 3 inches down from the arm hole openings. You want to sew it wrong sides together (inside out.) Then turn it right side out and it is ready to wear.

The whole top took less then 10 minutes to construct, and it is reversible.
Many blessing on this very fine night.--Kate

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Girl's Birthday Cake and Cupcakes

I have posted this chocolate cake recipe previously, but it is so good it is getting a second go. I also used a cream cheese frosting instead of the chocolate so there is that change. 

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes 1 – 9 inch cake. Double the recipe if you want two layers.)
1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
5 large organic eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter OR extra virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup xyliol plus 1/2 teaspoon liquid pure stevia extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon filtered water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  grease a 9″ cake pan with coconut oil or  a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan (put a couple drops of oil so that is doesn’t curl, then grease the top of the parchment lightly.

Drain and rinse beans and shake off excess water. Place the beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. Make sure there are no chunks.  Mix together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter with xylitol until light and fluffy. Add the remaining two eggs, beating for one minute after each addition. 

Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water  and beat the batter on high for one minute or until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature, then cover with an overturned bowl.  (Frost immediately before serving)

 To make this cake I needed two bowls and a blender.   

Cream Cheese Frosting
(I was able to frost the cake the cupcakes and had enough frosting left to use it as a fresh fruit dipping sauce. So this could easily be cut in half, or use the full batch and you could have plenty to frost a double layer cake with a layer of frosting in the middle.)

2 – 8 ounce packages of organic cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup plain Amasai or organic heavy whipping cream 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1/2 cup Xylitol or spoonable stevia to taste


Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer until well combined.  For a thinner consistency, add more Amasai or whipping cream.

 It is the perfect party cake recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Many blessings to you this fine spring like day.--Kate

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Day of Rest

Yesterday was wonderful but thank goodness for a restful day.
Many blessings to you this sunny Sabbath.--Kate