Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tea Cloth / Week Seven

Now I am making a little tea cloth, to go over my tablecloth.  You can't get any easier than this.  Fold your material in half and in half again.  Measure out on 2 sides the same measurement.  I measured mine at 22x22.  Cut your square and open up your material you will now have double that.  Turn you hem in with an iron and  sew the hem.  Iron and you are done. quick and easy as can be

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tea Cozy/Week Six

2014 Update
This post has been up-dated.  Click here for the updated post

This week's project is a "Tea Cozy".  A Tea Cozy is a padded cloth covering that keeps a tea pot warm.
It is a fun and easy project, and fits in with this weeks thoughts about hospitality.  Even though I am writing this on  Saturday night,  I will schedule this to be posted on Monday night, so I don't get too many posts stacked on top of each other.  The next few weeks, I will be doing some projects that are all a part of a nice little "tea set up", and might be fun to use for a "Mother's Day Tea"  or a nice little Bridal shower present. Week six is the "Tea Cozy", week seven is the "Tea Cloth", week eight is the napkins, and week nine is the napkin rings.  I will probably pass "Mother's Day" by before all projects are done, but I was on a roll and the ideas just kept coming.   I even have tea cozy # 2 coming up after these projects are caught up, because I had so much fun making the first, and got a brain storm idea for another design, so stay tuned. 

Choose some pretty material (I used some I had on hand and some that came from  Mom's surplus that she gave me when she moved (I have had so much fun going through the craft and material items she passed on to me and have had a lot of ideas about what to create with it.

Measure your tea pot around the tummy; go from spout around handle and back to spout.

Now measure your tea pot over the top.

For your width take your first measurement and divide it by two and add two inches.
For your height, divide you second measurement by two and add three inches (the added inches are for your seam allowance).
Now create a pattern using tissue paper or a brown paper grocery sack.

Pin your pattern to your material and cut out.

Cut two pieces for your main material, two pieces for your lining and two pieces of fiberfill.

Use a piece of trim to make a handle, pin and sew to the right side of your material.

Now  with right sides pinned together and fiberfil pinned to the wrong side of fabric, sew around circled edge.

Turn cozy right side around and with right sides together, sew two lining pieces together .
Now slip lining over the right side of cozy; keep right sides together.( I used a lining that I thought was pretty, so that I  could turn it inside out if I wanted  to have a variation in the way my cozy looked.
Pin and sew all but about 3 inches on the side.

Pull the right sides of your cozy out of the 3 inch opening.

Slip stitch your 3 inch opening shut.

Now you have the inside showing, and it is a nice  variation.

I sewed a little trim on the bottom.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Emily's Hospitality

Talking about hospitality this week,  made me think of Emily Post and what she taught the past generations in the "Art of Hospitality", so I googled her and enjoyed reading about her, and reading her suggestions. I included the little biography of her here, and also a list of "10 Rules of Hospitality" that she wrote.  

Hospitality definition, the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

It is an elemental part of being a Christian isn't it?  It is a part of the way we show love.

emily postEmily Post/Biography
  • Born: 27 October 1872
  • Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Died: 25 September 1960
  • Best Known As: Mid-20th century American expert on etiquette

Name at birth: Emily Price
Emily Post was an American writer and socialite who became the nation's most famous authority on how to behave graciously in society and business. Early in her career she wrote society columns and travelogues of pre-World War I Europe. Post published her first novel in 1904 and had a bestselling non-fiction book in 1909, but it was her 1922 book, Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage (also Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home) that made her career. The success of the book led to a radio show and a syndicated newspaper column, and in 1946 she founded the Emily Post Institute for the Study of Gracious Living. By the time Post died in 1960, her book on etiquette had been revised many times and was in its 89th printing. The institute and the brand name continued after her death, directed first by Elizabeth Lindley Post, then by Peggy Grayson Post.

Many sources give Post's birth year as 1873; the Emily Post Institute site says 1872... Modern versions of Emily Post include Judith "Miss Manners" Martin and Martha Stewart.

Ten Rules of Hospitality
by Emily Post

1. "Ideal conversation must be an exchange of thought, and not, as many of those who worry most about their shortcomings believe, an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory."
2. "Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor."
3. "The attributes of a great lady may still be found in the rule of the four S's: Sincerity, Simplicity, Sympathy and Serenity."
4. "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."
5. "To the old saying that man built the house but woman made of it a "home" might be added the modern supplement that woman accepted cooking as a chore but man has made of it a recreation."
6. "The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts."
7. "She must not swing her arms as though they were dangling ropes; she must not switch herself this way and that; she must not shout; and she must not, while wearing her bridal veil, smoke a cigarette."
8. "Manners are made up of trivialities of deportment which can be easily learned if one does not happen to know them."
9. "The most vulgar slang is scarcely worse than the attempted elegance which those unused to good society imagine to be the evidence of cultivation."
10. "Any child can be taught to be beautifully behaved with no effort greater than quiet patience and perseverance, whereas to break bad habits once they are acquired is a Herculean task."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mad Hatter Hospitality

Did you ever come away from a gathering feeling more frazzled than refreshed.  I think that is how Alice must have truly felt after her tea party.  Maybe Lewis Carol was ahead of his time when he wrote "Alice in Wonderland", because the "Mad Hatter" seems like something right out of todays news.

I was thinking about hospitality after a conversation I had with my daughter in law recently, and we were discussing how "hospitality" (in both the giving of and receiving of) is diminishing into a lost art form.

Now don't get me wrong, I have been the recipient of some of the most wonderful hospitality in the past and present, from those whom I love and who love me, but in society as a whole, it does not seem like the art of hospitality is cultivated like it used to be.  I'm sure we have all been to or hosted gatherings that ended up feeling like we were at the "Mad Hatters" tea party.

So many things have changed in the last 30 years since I was first married.  The world truly is a different place.  In Matthew 24:12 we're told that in the last days, because of the increase of wickedness, most people's love will grow cold.  I am so sad about this and realize that we have been given a forewarning about how things will proceed, but with the warning,  an ability to stop it from happening in our own sphere; our homes.  Our homes are the safe haven that show the light in the dark world.  It is our place of peace, if indeed the Holy Spirit is welcome and free there.  We find a delightful opportunity to refresh, encourage and bless someone, by having them in our home.  Whether it is for coffee, lunch, tea, or dinner,  it is something very precious to the Lord when we are hospitable.

Perhaps it is the kindness, graciousness and servanthood that is all too often missing at gatherings. Perhaps it is politeness and manners and responding with interest and understanding that has disappeared.  I was thinking that it would be nice to inspire each other with  comments, suggestions or stories, so that we might cultlivate that lovely art of hospitality once again.  I think our Southern sisters have a little bit of a head start in this arena and could surely inspire us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Light in the Darkness Part Two: Joy in the Ordinary

"Joy in the Ordinary" has been something Lord has cultivated in me over the years, and He often reminds me; "He is not in the wind, or the fire, or the earthquake but in the "still small voice".  His presence is sweet; it strengthens us, but we usually find it in those quiet days, in those ordinary moments, when we pause and take stock of all that we have and worship Him in gratitude  for those everyday ordinary blessings.  The old expression "count your blessings" is good advice, for in taking stock of every sweet thing we have been given, we find that "abundance" is in our very midst,and are overwhelmed by His goodness.  I think if we fail to do this, we most likely are missing out on some of the most wonderful miracles the Lord has ever given us.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Making Jewelry

Making Earrings

Now for the earrings.  Earings are easy to make.  Be sure you have your pliers and wire cutters.  You can use regular needle nose pliers, or the wire pliers that you find in the jewelry supply area of your craft store. Beyond that you will need the following:

Earing base of either of the following: earwires or leverbacks.

1.  Arrange your beads how you desire.
2.  Place them on the head pin.
3.  Using your pliers, twist the remaining top of the head pin into a small ring or loop, leaving just enough open to place it on the earwire or leverback earing ring.
4.  Using wire cutters, clip off excess wire from head pin.
5.  Slip the loop of the beaded head pin onto the ring of the earwire or leverback earing.
6.  Use your pliers to finish twisting your loop closed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Making Jewelry

Making a Necklace

Because I am somewhat challenged in the area of loading pictures,  the pictures below are displayed from end to beginning.  Be sure to look at them from the bottom to the top if you are trying to make sense of my directions.

8.  The finished product

7.  Drip a drop of glue onto crimp

6. Repeat on second end.  Pull until nicely tight, but not too stiff.

5.  Wrap wire around clasp ring and put back through crimps and beads.  Using crimping tool, crimp them down onto wire.

4.  String your crimps and then your clasps

3. Length is a matter of preference

2. String your beads once you have decided on your design

1.   Place your beads and play with design ideas

A bead board can be handy

Jewelry making supplies
Well let's just say I am a little bit behind this week in posting my project.  But as it is still "this week",  I haven't completely failed in my attempt to post a project a week.  I decided to make jewelry this time around, and will post several pieces as a part of a series.  I thought this project, and the next several might come in handy for Mother's day, and give a few ideas for Mother's Day presents.  My Mom is the one who taught me how to make jewelry and got me addicted to it in the process; so I will have to come up with something else to make for her for Mother's Day. (Thanks Mom, I miss having you here to make  jewelry with).

Jewelry making is a fun project that all the kids will start gravitating to when they see all the supplies out.  I have often asked our kids "Do you want to make something with me?" and  they will reply "No thanks".  But a short while later they will be sitting there with me sorting through the beads and planning a necklace.  Even Russ and Eddie have had fun making a boy's Heshei necklace (I am not even sure how to spell that (its pronounced Heeshee).

For this weeks project,  we'll begin with making a necklace.

Supplies Needed:
Almost anything you need can be found in craft stores such as Michaels, or Hobby Lobby, and even Walmart carries quite a few supplies.  Or you can order on line, just google jewelry supplies.

Basic jewelry making tools: pliers (needle nose type), wire cutters, scissors, crimping pliers,  Jewelry tweezers.
Softflex beading wire (fine gauge for the smaller beads, medium or large gauge for the big stones).
Beads and findings (findings are any variety of the metal beads, clasps, hooks etc. that  you will need)
out of which you must have the following for a project
a). Crimps 
                 b). Clasps or Toggles 
Jewelry Glue (this is like crazy glue and can be found with the jewelry making supplies).

You'll need a nice flat work surface, with a piece of cloth that will  keep your beads from slipping around.  Or you can use a bead board which is wonderful for measuring your necklace lengths, holding your beads nicely in place, and sorting what beads you are working with.  I use both.  You can find these in Jewelry supply stores as mentioned above.

1. Decide what length of necklace you would like to create and then cut a piece of wire approximately 2 inches longer than you would like it to be when finished.

2. After you have picked out a variety of beads to work with, begin playing around with a design: This is my favorite part.  I can spend hours playing with designs, and often have several necklaces lined up waiting to be strung and finished all at once.

3.  Now begin stringing your beads.  I always begin in the middle and work out on both sides at the same time, in order to better insure continuity and consistency on both sides.  Always double check your pattern, to be sure you have repeated the pattern correctly on both sides.  I have left off a bead on occasion by accident, and this is very frustrating when you have crimped and finished your necklace.

4.  When you have finished stringing, place 2 crimps on each end and then each side of your clasp or toggle.

5.  Wrap your wire around the clasp ring, and back through the crimps and back through the several beads.

6.  Crimp your crimps down with your crimping pliers.

7.  Repeat on the second  end, being sure to pull your wire tight ( not too tight, but enough to ensure excess open space is removed before you crimp, then crimp).

8.  Glue crimps with jewelry glue as an added strength to the necklace.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Light in the Darkness

We have wind outside of our house that is raging in gusts up to 75 mph.  It is hammering like a hurricane against our windows and roof right now.  It picked up our glass patio table and shattered it last night some time in the "wee hours".  It is a wearisome contrast to the peaceful day of The Lord's Resurrection that we had yesterday.  That brief moment of peace was like the "still waters" that David talked about.

Steve called from Nevada before bed last night; sick as a dog. He thought maybe it was food poisoning.  It just kills me to think of him sick and not here.  He has to fly out this afternoon, and that will be no picnic, considering how badly he feels, not to mention the havoc the wind may create on that flight.  Uggg.

Doesn't it feel as if the battle is raging constantly these days?  The world just seems dark. I feel the "Last Days" in our midst; it correlates with the wars and rumors of wars; earthquakes and famines in various places; every week, it seems like there is another earthquake.  And now this one near the Mexico/California border: 7.5 whewie! that's another big one, ( I have taken 2 1/2 days to actually write this post and since then there has been a report of another earthquake in Indonesia of about the same magnitude)  We feel it all don't we?  Even if we are not in the midst of some of those disasters, we feel the groaning, struggling earth, and we are groaning and struggling with it.  Sometimes you can't even  put your finger specifically on one thing and say this or that is going wrong, its just  the sense that "constant struggle and doom will not abate". Frustrating difficult things, that come one after the other; chaos, sickness, financial burdens,  many pressures, so much housework, school work, weariness with the kids, and of course that wind.

As I was talking to Marie ( 1 of 3 precious daughters) and my friend Roxy the other night,
the Lord quickened the following again to my heart as an answer and defense to the raging wind (metaphorically speaking) and the struggle of the battle of our days:

1.  Love, Encourage and Comfort one another.
Philemon1:7   Your love has given me great joy and encouragement because you, brother have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
Isaiah 49:13...for the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones
IICorinth 1:4 ...Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I John 4:12  No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

I always love how Roxy,(living from glory to glory ) senses when someone she cares about needs a call from her.  I know of many times she will call me or another friend and say "is everything ok? do you need me to pray with you about something?"  The Lord has given her insight in the Spirit, and she always seems to know when she's needed.  It is a wonderful gift; one that I am praying will manifest more often inside of me.  Even without this discernment, we can always just check in with each other. I have found that love and encourgement gets me many miles farther down the road, and it restores strength and hope to a withering spirit.

Two are better than one,  because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,  his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Eccle: 4:9

2. Cease striving
Marie and I were talking about a post that another blogger had posted about walking in the "calmness of Jesus".  It reminded me of another word I had heard once which went something like this: "Jesus never rushed or hurried anywhere.  He was not stressed.  He had the confidence of what the will of the Father was and that is what He did".    Busy-ness is not a form of godliness, but quite often I think there is a voice out there that tells us it is.  The voice is that of  a task master that chides us and rushes us here and there, guilt and condemnation are its companions, we must recognize it for what it is; a tyrant; it must  not become our Lord.

There is something so refreshing about remembering what Jesus said of Mary and Martha: "Martha, Martha,... there are only a few things that are necessary and really only one.  Mary has chosen it, and it will not be taken away from her".   Luke 10:41

While Martha hustled and stressed out to get a meal ready for Jesus (what task could seem more worthy? I could see myself doing the same thing) Mary had learned how to sit at the Lord's feet and have fellowship with Him and learn from Him.  We need to quiet the world's onslaught.  We need to practice the peace and presence of the Lord. The better thing is not so much in the "doing" for Him, but rather in the "being" with Him, and those we love.  Let the world rage.  Let it insist that you must do this or that in order to somehow prove your  significance, but don't listen.  If we can learn to hear and discern the will of the Lord we will not be flustered and chaotic.  There may be God given times of busy-ness, and we will definitely be occupying ourselves with what must be done, but we should remember who our "Master" truly is, and for whom we work.  When we work under the presence of the Holy Spirit, we work in peace.

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
Eccle: 2: 21-23

In quietness and trust shall be your strength. 
Isaiah 30:15

3. Take Joy in the ordinary: To be continued.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lemon Crepe Cake

I was inspired by the Crepe Cake I found in the Martha Stewart Magazine the other day, and had to make it up for Easter.  I used my own crepe recipe, and followed the directions for her Lemon Curd.  It turned out delicious, although a little difficult to keep the crepes from sliding out of a nice neat order as I made it.  My side view pictures of the finished cake didn't come out on this one… sorry...  it was eaten before I got the chance to retake….so perhaps I will make this again and get a few more pics to capture the lovely tower of stacked crepes.

 Layer crepes with Lemon Curd filling as follows: a small scoop on each layer, spread evenly, add another crepe and repeat.

You can make the crepes one  or two days ahead and store in the refrigerator.  I have the link,  for my own crepes, which I think are far easier than Martha's, and the the Lemon Curd Mousse recipe is from this link: (Martha Stewart's Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake)

 Here is my basic crepe recipe…. an easier version than hers.

Lemon Curd Mousse
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
1 tablespoon cold water
4 large eggs plus 6 large yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 2 lemons), plus 3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 5 to 6 lemons)
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1. Sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together eggs and yolks in a heavy small saucepan.  Whisk in sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat; add gelatin, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves and mixture is slightly cool.  Add butter, a few pieces at a time, stirring after each addition, until smooth.
4. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to remove as much curd as possible; discard any undissolved bits of gelatin and egg. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd to prevent skin from forming, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight.  Stir curd, and gently fold in whipped cream.  Refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir before using.

To build the Cake, start by placing a crepe on a plate or cake stand.  Add a heaping tablespoon of Lemon Curd mixture. Spread evenly over the crepe, then repeat until all the crepes are used up. Top with whipped cream and sliced lemons or candied lemons (recipe below). I didn't make the candied lemons, but I think if you have the time they will make a pretty addition.

Candied Meyer Lemons
This recipe makes more than enough for the crepe cake, and can be made ahead if lemons are refrigerated in syrup, covered, for up to 3 weeks. You can spoon the leftover candied citrus over yogurt or ice cream.
Makes 2 cups
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Meyer lemons (do not peel) preferably organic, washed well and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a large saucepan, and heat until sugar dissolves.  Add lemons, and cover surface with parchment. Reduce heat to medium-low, and shimmer gently until rinds are translucent, about 30 minutes.  Let lemons cool in syrup.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemons to a wire rack and set over a rimmed baking sheet.  Let stand to allow excess syrup to drip off.

As a final note; This turned out delicious;  The kids loved it, and have asked for it to be made again.  I did later make a chocolate Nutella Crepe Cake, which was really good as well... although honestly, I liked the lemon one the best, and it seemed to hold together a little better than the Nutella Crepe cake.  Anyhow... give it a try you'll love it. One of the difficulties with the cake is that the crepes slide quite a bit when you layer the crepes with the filling, making a challenge to have your cake come out as pretty as Martha's does; I suggest a skewer to hold the crepes and keep them from sliding as you go along.