Friday, February 29, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

This is a Pink Paisley John Deere Pocketbook I made this week. This bag will be donated to a local church's fundraiser auction. Its a small country church and bound to be full of farmers. So hopefully it will sell well!

I also continued to sew strip sets for a future boy's baby quilt using the leaders and enders system I posted about here.

For more Sew Crafty Friday posts, go to the Waiting For Him Blog.

Frugal Friday - No Cost Spring Wardrobe Challenge

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow is March 1st, so its time to start thinking about Spring! Its been cold here for the last couple of days, but warmer days will be here soon.

My birthday is in February and I always get a new outfit or two from a very generous and sweet older sister. She always gives me something for Spring and this year she gave me two gorgeous sweater sets from Christopher and Banks. Immediately I started thinking about what I needed to buy to go with them.

This got me to thinking about how many clothes most American women have in their closets. I have a fairly large closet that is full of the current season's clothing. When the seasons change, I move armloads of clothing to another storage closet. I usually do get rid of some things, and buy some new things during the change of seasons.

I feel sure that I could go without spending ANY or very little money this spring and summer if I would utilize the clothing I already have on hand.

This is how I could accomplish this:

1. Inventory my spring clothing. Make a list of the clothing I have that's still in good shape, in style, fits and that I love. I might just find a matching bottom in there to go with my new spring sweater sets!

2. Donate any remaining good clothing to a thrift shop and throw away those items that have outlived their usefulness.

3. Make a list of any "must have" items. There may be certain items of clothing that you really need to purchase. If you know what these are you can be on the lookout for them on sale at a retail store or at a thrift shop. Doing this now will prevent you from spending more than you need to later.

4. Make a commitment to wear what I already have! For example, I purchased several skirts last summer that I love. They are suitable for work or church. I can dress them up or dress them down with different shoes. I can wear them with a variety of tops. I also know I have several things that are year round, etc. I'm sure I could get along just fine without buying anything.

I would rather have a few nice outfits that I love than a closet full of odds and ends that are just "so so". I want to pare down my closet to the minimum amount of clothing that I need. This has been my goal ever since I read the book, "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman" by Anne Ortlund. She states that "It is just wicked to cram and stuff our closets and drawers with things we seldom wear or don't need to wear! Continually get rid of them!"

If I do these things, not only would I save money, I would be moving toward a more simple life. Donating my extra clothing to needy ladies would be a small step toward making the world a better place.

A thought: If my closet and drawers are crammed full, is that greed?

For more Frugal Friday tips visit Biblical Womanhood!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ironing Board Pictures

LIBBY at Simply Libby Blog is having a give away in honor of Leap Day. She asks everyone to post a picture of their ironing board and leave her a comment.

My ironing board cover had gotten to looking VERY bad and had holes in it where I had inadvertently cut it in the past. The cut places were right in the center of the board which is where I iron the most. As you can see from this picture I tried to make do by putting fabric scraps under the hole. Doesn't the John Deere green plaid look smashing with the burnt red cover? LOL

I plan to make my own new ironing board cover and found a great tutorial on doing this at the Lines From The Vine Blog, but just haven't been able to get around to it. So I went to Walmart and bought one that will last me until I can make my own. The new one is plain old sage green. I would like to make one with bright colors. I have some barn red plaid fabric that I think would make a pretty ironing board cover.

BEFORE (yuck)



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bend The Rules Sewing

I really wanted to read the book, "Bend The Rules Sewing". I have seen a few blogs that featured projects from this book that were really cute! As usual, I wanted to read it before buying it, so I checked my county's library system on line and they had the book and it was in! You can see a picture of the book on the Amazon Widget on my sidebar.

I love the library. Monday, I went on line and requested the book from a different branch of the library than the one I frequent and Tuesday before lunch they called me at work to say it was waiting at my usual branch for me. I live in a county large in area with several small towns. Four of the small towns have libraries, but three of them are not near me.

I was so excited about this book that even a midday rain storm didn't stop me from going on my lunch hour to get it. I had to request a plastic bag to protect it from the downpour! I sneaked a few glimpses of the book during the afternoon and even while sitting at stoplights on the way home. FINALLY, I was able to really enjoy it last night. I really like the book and would like to make some of the projects. This book is the perfect book for beginner seamstresses. Its also great for someone like me who needs to learn easier ways to sew. I'm not a beginner seamstress, but definitely could use all the tips I can get!

I have nearly finished the two daughter's and granddaughter's "heart" bags and took these pictures this morning. I need to sew on the buttons (they are pinned on in this picture) and make the insert that goes in the bottom and then they'll be finished.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Time Management in the Kitchen

Time management in the kitchen is all about planning ahead and working smart. These are definitely not new ideas, but worth putting down in writing to refresh ourselves! Also these are things I know I should do, but don't always get done!

My Top Ten Time Management Tips in the Kitchen are:

1. Plan your menus ahead of time. For some people this is better done by the month or week. I tend to do it a day ahead. Hey, that's better than a minute ahead!!! LOL But really I just kind of have an idea what we're having a week ahead, but finalize the menu that day or the day before.

2. Plan your menus based on grocery sales and what's already in your pantry or freezer.

3. Use the crock pot. This isn't a very good option for me because I haven't found a meal cooked in my crock pot that's good after being cooked all day. My crock pot cooks really hot and cooking all day in it produces a very overcooked meal!

But, I can still use it if I plan. I could ask my son to start it for me at a later time in the day when he is working night shift. I could use a timer. I could ask my husband to come home and turn it on.

I mostly use my crock pot on the weekends because I can be there to monitor it. In the winter time especially my crock pot really gets a workout!

4. Cook your meals early in the morning. I love to do this, but most foods aren't as good if they've been refrigerated all day. Also, the food and its container are really hot and I don't like to put them in the refrigerator just before going out the door to work. I have done this by placing the container on a hot pad in the fridge. But, this isn't good for the energy used by the fridge....

On the days I'm home from work, this is a great time saver because I can wait until the food is cool to put it in the fridge.

5. If you don't want to completely cook the meal ahead of time, prepare it as much as you can. Lasagna and many casseroles can be put together in the morning or night before and popped into the oven when you come in the door.

6. Weekend cooking! Sunday afternoon is a good time to cook some foods ahead of time for the week. A roast can be slow cooked in the oven or crock pot. Spaghetti sauce, chilli or soup can be made and refrigerated. I have put these on to cook while cooking our Sunday Dinner. It's not that much extra work and saves so much time later on in the week.

Also freezer cooking is popular with many people. Just cook a couble batch of what ever you are cooking and freeze one for later.

7. If you have planned your menus, remember to thaw out anything needed ahead of time. Last night I remembered that I'd like to make spaghetti or lasagna tonight. So I placed the frozen ground beef in the refrigerator so it would be thawed by the time I get home tonight. Much quicker and better than thawing it in the microwave at the last minute! If I wait until the morning the food is to be cooked to place it in the fridge, it doesn't quite have time to completely thaw, so I have to remember to do it the day before.

8. Its much better to think about what's on the menu the night before. Even if you don't start the meal or have to thaw anything, you can stay on top of things better!

9. When it comes to cleaning and organizing in the kitchen, I like to do this in small chunks of time. You can clean out one cabinet while the coffee is brewing. You can clean out the junk drawer while having a chat with your mother on the phone. Continually doing this will keep the kitchen neat and clean without it becoming a time consuming thing.

10. If it's not dirty, don't clean it! I only concentrate on the things that need attention. For a baked on blob on the stove or a drip that has dried on the counter, just squeeze a little water from your dish cloth on it (or a spray cleaner) and let it sit for a few minutes while you are doing something else. When you come back it wipes right off without any effort! A small time saver, but a time saver nonetheless!

For more Kitchen Tips, please visit Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Sewing

I was so pleased with the work I did in my sewing room shown in my previous post. However, I did spend most of Saturday morning which is my prime sewing time, working on it. To quote a fellow blogger, Jessica, who was working on her sewing room, "I had to stop working "on it" and get to work "in it"!

Here is a link to Jessica and Ruth's blog which inspired me to work in my sewing room. Sew Chic Blog This is a link for part 5. I need to go back and read the other four parts!

My husband is still selling pocketbooks and taking special orders for pocketbooks. This is a Winnie the Pooh medium sized bag someone asked for. Its a smaller version of the diaper bag I made for my niece about 3 weeks ago.

These are two "heart" bags in progress that I had a special request for. One is for the person's daughter and one is for his granddaughter. So I made one a little smaller for a 9 year old.

I'm going to sew a little on the heart bags this morning before work, time allowing! :o)


Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Sewing Room

Today I have been working on adding some special touches to my sewing room. I removed everything from the room that didn't belong in a sewing room. I have been slowly taking over this area and have just about claimed it for my own sewing room. The only thing left is my daughter's piano which will be moved to her home in the spring or summer, hopefully. I would like for this space to reflect the things I like, to be organized, yet cozy.

These are some pictures of things I have been working on this morning.

This cork board and sunflower garland are hanging over the sewing machine. I love sunflowers! I have been taping up pictures of projects on that wall so now I can pin them to the cork board.

I can never keep up with the time when I'm sewing, so I placed this clock where I can see it easily. I need to leave home in the mornings for work by 8:00 and nearly every day I try to "sew just one more little bit" and end up being rushed, so maybe this will help me.

This soft comfy seat cushion and rug will making sewing more cozy. The rug will help keep the foot pedal from sliding across the floor and will also keep my feet warmer. This an old chair with wooden slats for the seat, so the cushion will be nice.

This shelf unit will help me get organized.

This is for hanging finished pocketbooks.

This is my favorite quilt hung on the wall with another little sunflower garland draped across it.

My husband gave me this 2 or 3 years ago. The baskets contain all kinds of sewing items. I plan to go through them and organize them this week to make better use of this space.

This a little side table and shelf beside the sewing machine.

I'm off to spend the afternoon sewing in this cozy little nook!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Leaders and Enders

Thread.... its everywhere in my sewing room, on my clothes and other parts of the house. The trash can beside the sewing machine is full of them too.

I read about the leaders and enders system on the Quiltville site a long time ago. Leaders and enders is a way of making two projects at the same time. This saves lots of thread and keeps clipped threads from getting all over the place.

I made this quilt a year or so ago using leaders and enders. All you have to do is have some squares or strips ready to sew and every time you get to the end of a seam on a current project, just stick them under there and sew. Leave the sewn strips or blocks under the presser foot and it becomes the leader when you sew the next seam on your current project. You never have to cut a piece of thread and put it in the trash.

In my mind however, I was just applying this concept to quilting. It occurred to me that I could be working on another quilt project while making pocketbooks. These are some blue strips sets I have started working on using the leaders and enders system this week. As you can see I have several little sets of strips ready to go. The finished project will be just like the quilt shown above except the strips will all be different blues and blue prints. It'll make a cute boy's baby quilt.

When the pocketbook is done I'll have some progress on a future quilt project done and if I continue to do this maybe at the end of the week there won't be such a big pile of wasted clipped threads in the sewing room trash can! If I had two pocketbooks cut out and ready to sew at the same time I could use this concept to do two at the same time. I am always complaining about not having time to do my projects, so voila! A way to make more projects in the same amount of time!

For more Sew Crafty Projects go to the Waiting For Him Site!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mother, Daughter and Grandmunchkin Day Out

I am taking my first day of vacation from work of the year today! My sweet daughter and her little munchkin are coming to spend the day with me. These are pictures of us when we were younger. I was MUCH younger. My daughter doesn't look much like me now, but in these two pictures there is a resemblance.

We have plans to visit thrift stores, antique stores, consignment shops and maybe even Walmart..... There is also a store called Judy's Stop and Shop that I'm not sure what category of store fits. Maybe a "Junque" Store? :o)

I have a gift card for Walmart that is conjuring up visions of sewing notions, pocketbook patterns and fabric in my head.

I hope to find a good deal on a baby's high chair, or other baby seat. When my little grandmunchkin comes to visit he doesn't have anywhere to sit or sleep, except in our laps, which he loves! He has out grown his bouncy seat. He needs furniture at Grandmas!!!

Maybe tomorrow's Frugal Friday will be loaded with our thrifty adventures!

I was up this morning at 4:30 A.M. I want to get some sewing done before our adventures of the day begin. At the end of the day I have an appointment to have some much needed work done on my hair! So, a busy, fun day is on the way!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Book Tag and Thrift Store Book Finds

I was tagged by Alexandra to do the following:

~Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages
~Open the book to page 123 and find sentence number 5.
~Post the next 3 sentences
~Tag 5 people.

The area for the laundry can be anywhere: in the basement, closet with a stack washer-dryer. All you need is access to electricity, plumbing, drainage, and a vent to the outside of the home for your dryer.

Often this area of homemaking becomes such an awesome task that a lot of stress is created due to our inability to keep up with the volume of clothing. I remember one lady with ten children telling me that one of her loads of laundry had 78 pairs of socks. That's a lot of socks!

(That's more than 3 sentences, but I couldn't resist!)

Book Title: Emilie's Creative Home Organizer by Emilie Barnes, Updated and Revised.

I bought this book at a library book sale for a quarter. It is paperback and pretty tattered, but I go back to it again and again. Emilie Barnes is one of my favorite authors.

I'm not sure who to tag! Leave me a comment if you'd like to be tagged by me!

I also wanted to show you some children's books I found at a thrift store for 25 cents each. They are vintage, hardback, in excellent condition and I would consider them classics. Sometimes you have to dig around in thrift shops. This particular store is very small and stuff gets piled on top of stuff. I was digging around in the toys looking for classics such as Fisher Price, etc. and found these like new books under some boxes. All of the books that were on the book shelf were worn out and ragged. I'm sure these would have been gone if they were out in the open.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Decluttering in the Kitchen



This is a good time of year to declutter your kitchen cabinets and pantry. The Christmas season is long gone and Spring is almost here.

This one cabinet had been a source of stress for me every time I opened it. I knew it contained outdated items, soon to be expired items and half eaten items. When I opened it I couldn't really find what I needed. In other words this cabinet was just wasted space.

So this morning I tackled it. It only took about 10 minutes to do. I got a trash bag and tossed everything that was old or half eaten boxes that my family didn't like enough to finish, etc.


I made a mental note of what not to buy ever again. I also noted the items we do like that were still good and needed to be used.

Now it will be much more pleasant to open this cabinet door and I can make much better use of the space such as stocking up on items we really use! I plan to organize and declutter the pantry soon also. This will give me a head start on my spring cleaning.

The interesting thing about this is I was able to finish this job while the coffee was brewing this morning at 6:00 A.M. Sometimes I put off things that could be handled in just a few minutes. This just goes to show that the recommendation of FlyLady and Emilie Barnes to do 15 minutes a day on dreaded projects really works! You'll be amazed at how much you can get done in your home working in small chunks of time.

For more great kitchen tips visit Tammy's Recipes website!

Monday, February 18, 2008


This weekend I seemed to be surrounded by purple and so this post is about things that are purple.

Saturday as I was driving around the rural area where I live I noticed that there were fields and fields of purple. These pictures don't show how pretty the fields really are! I know these are just weeds, but every where you look around here there are acres of purple. One beautiful scene I saw was two children running through a purple field! The first picture was taken in a small town near where I live. That's not my church, but I have been to some functions there and they sponsored the cub scout troop my son was in when he was a little boy, so the meetings were held there. The second picture is just a random field I saw. In just a few more days the farmers will have plowed the purple under in preparation for planting season.

This picture shows the main highway going through the same town with bradford pears blooming. More purple.

This is a purple Tinker Bell little girl's purse I was given a special order to make. Its not finished, but you can tell what it will look like. I still need to do the topstitching around the top, find or make a cute button and prepare the insert that goes in the bottom of the bag. Its identical to the adult bags I have been making with pockets, etc., except I added a ruffle to the top.

Have a great day!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Sewing

Its been a busy day!

I shampooed the "high spots" in our carpet. Doing the high spots means that I didn't move any heavy furniture. I did move everything else. It looks and feels so much better!

I was at the thrift shop when it opened and got some interesting things and some great deals.

I finished another handbag today. It is made from vintage fabric called Rose Cliff and some new fabrics I purchased. I took a bag of fabric with me and tried to find some that matched. This is one combination I came up with.

I really love this fabric. It is so spring like and has just enough thickness and stiffness to make a nice feeling bag. I have improved the loop for the button and loop closure and have started padding some of the inside pockets.

I'm going to make myself a new bag sooner or later!!! This one is going into the Etsy Shop for the time being.

To Coleen: The way I made the cradle sheet was to just make it like a pillow case. I hemmed one end, first a small narrow hem and then after pressing, turn the hem up again and sew a little wider hem. Then with right sides together sew up the other end and 2 sides. I made it a snug fit and longer than the cradle pad. Then we just tucked the extra length under the end of the pad. I don't know if this will work for the pack and play since it will be wider, but that's how I'd make it if I were making one. Thanks you Coleen!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday


I have been learning some new sewing skills. I wanted to make some zipper bags to match handbags I was selling in my Etsy Shop. I found some very good instructions on line and made these two.

The instructions stated that a zipper foot for your sewing machine was needed. I had a strange looking foot in my sewing box that I'd never used and decided it must be a zipper foot. LOL It was! It would have been extremely hard to sew the zippers without it.

I need to practice to perfect my new zipper sewing skill and I plan to put zippers in some of my hand bags soon.

Here are the on line instructions that I found: Zipper Bag Tutorial

Next week's new skill: Rag Quilt Hand Bags (I hope!)

For more Sew Crafty Friday Posts, please visit WAITING FOR HIM.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


There are several thrift shops in my area. Some are church run and some are run for other good causes such as to benefit abused women and a crisis center.

I don't usually find many clothes for myself at these stores. The clothes are pretty worn out and dated. I often have better luck at end of season clearance sales at retail stores.

However, I just realized that I should use my imagination and think outside the box, when it comes to thrift shops. If you are lucky you can find new or nearly new items. When you do, grab them up! But there are other uses for some of the other not so nice items.

I went to a thrift shop last Saturday and these are the things I purchased:

A straw pocketbook. I am making lots of pocketbooks right now and it dawned on me that this one had very nice handles on it and a zipper with a matching pull thingie. I could also use it as a pattern and inspiration to make other bags. The bag cost $1.00 and the cost of the handles and zipper would easily have been $5.00 at a retail store. The price of the inspiration.... Lots!

Heart shaped containers. I found a heart shaped plastic basket, heart shaped plastic box with lid and Valentine's coffee mug, 25 cents each. I purchased my husband's favorite candies at a retail store and filled the containers with them. Voila, a cute Valentine's gift!

Four Sewing Patterns. I found 2 clothing patterns that will fit my grandson now and later. One pattern has all kinds of baby things, such as a quilt, fitted crib sheets, high chair cover, curtains, bumper pads, etc. The other pattern is for a basic set of pajamas and robe for myself. The pajamas pants pattern is something I hope to make lots of use of. The patterns were 25 cents each and they had lots!

From now on I'll go into thrift shops with an open mind. These are some ideas.

1. What can I buy that has parts I can use? Some dated clothing has beautiful fabric or buttons. I could use the vintage fabric and buttons for my handmade pocketbooks.

This blouse was given to me by a friend who was going to throw it away. She thought I might be able to use if for some of my sewing projects. The fabric would make a cute lining for a cosmetic bag. The button is perfect for a hand bag with a loop and button closure.

2. Can a stain be removed from an otherwise great item? After raising a rambunctious son to the ripe old age of almost 21, I can remove just about any stain!

3. Can I add something to it like a scarf or jacket to make a great outfit?

4. Can this item be sold on EBay? I must confess I was looking through the framed pictures to see if there was any long lost art worth millions!!!!! LOL

5. Can any items be purchased to store in my gift closet? There are often great baskets, etc. to use for gifts. This idea has endless possibilities! I purchased two name brand items Saturday, with tags, that would make great gifts.

6. Can an item be taken apart and used for a pattern to make a new, prettier item?

My favorite thrift shop is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Writing this post has me excited about going again this weekend!

Frugal Husband update: Frugal Husband used some of the money he had been saving by being so frugal to buy this for me for Valentine's Day:

He assured me that he had gotten a good deal on the Roses by not getting them from a florist and by waiting until the end of the day to purchase them. The vase is very pretty and cost him nothing. He also brought home the fixings for a nice meal and we saved money, time and aggravation by not going out to eat on Valentine's night!

Thank you Frugal Husband!

For more Frugal Friday Tips, please visit Biblical Womanhood.

Vintage Fabrics!

My sweet, salesman husband has sold all the remaining unsold hand bags I made for the Etsy Shop to men who needed Valentine's Day gifts! So, I wanted to show you some of my plans for new hand bags and purses.

The top piece is a vintage fabric called "Rose Cliff". The other fabrics I purchased to coordinate with it. I have quite a bit of the Rose Cliff fabric and plan to use one or two of each of the other fabrics with it on handbags. I have been learning how to make the Shabby Chic Rag Quilt Handbags and the Rose Cliff fabric would be perfect for this kind of project because it "fringes" very easily. I think the type of fabric would be called Bark Cloth.

These two are two more of the vintage bark cloth fabrics I have. These flowers are carnations. I'm still planning how to use them, but I think they would make beautiful bags!!!

This one is a small piece of "tea cup" fabric I found in my stash and a piece of coordinating dark blue I purchased to go with it. There's just enough for one hand bag and I have a plan in mind for it.

Happy Valentine's Day again!

Thankful Thursday

Do you ever think about being thankful for the air that we breathe?

Sometimes I take a nice deep breath and realize how wonderful it is to be able to do so!

I have known several people who depended on oxygen tanks to breathe during the last few months or years of their life. You've seen them out and about carrying their little portable oxygen tanks. There are so many diseases that limit the osygen our bodies need.

I guess I first became aware of how thankful we should be for being able to breathe about 17 years ago when I attempted to learn to scuba dive! I am a good swimmer and thought I'd have no problem with learning to scuba dive. Wrong! You have to learn to only breathe through your mouth and I felt like I was smothering (maybe drowning).

So be aware of what a blessing it is today to be able to take deep wonderful breaths of air. Just many of God's blessings that we take for granted every day!

Happy Valentines Day! Remember the love song: "Sometimes all that I need is the air that I breathe just to love you".

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mid-Winter Dreams

I love Fall and Winter and I feel it slipping away for another year. My hubby's sports weekend TV has changed from Football to Golf. Early spring blooming flowers are peeking through the earth. Co-workers are planning their summer vacations....

I want to savor the last few weeks of winter as much as possible. This is an early morning winter scene from my home last week.

A closer view:

Our goats are fat! We have six adults and 7 new baby goats. There were three sets of twins and a single birth recently. My son, Jacob, takes very good care of them and can bleat exactly like they do. I can't tell the difference between an actual goat hollering and Jacob hollering to them. As soon as he drives up they start hollering because they know he is going to feed them or play with them. This now grown up, much loved son, has always loved to make a lot of noise and this is his new form of noise making.

He is also training a new baby goat to ride with him in his truck. This particular truck is his "old truck that is good on gas truck". He would never put the baby goat in his good truck! They rode around together for quite a while the other day!

These are some more winter scenes from my mind's eye:

The present:

A farmer neighbor wearing his red plaid flannel coat and hat with ear flaps going out with buckets to feed and water his animals.

A heavy frost that looks like a light covering of snow.

The wind howling around the corners of the house and jangling the wind chimes.

My son wearing his coveralls going out to take care of the goats or ride a four wheeler.

From the past:

Waking up to sounds of my Mama getting the heaters going in our old farm house. Only one or two rooms were heated. Our bedrooms were cold and we had so many quilts on the bed that you couldn't roll over because of the weight!

Going to my Grandmother's house and seeing pots of water all over the kitchen she had gathered because the weather was so cold her water was frozen I remember sitting around her wood heater after church.

I hope you enjoy your last few weeks of winter, either because its almost over, or because you want to savor the remaining cold days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

I have two tips today!

1. The first one I posted yesterday about how to make a heart shaped cake without a heart shaped pan. Please look at the previous post for more about this or click here. The cake turns out really cute and I'm sure you could decorate yours much better than I did! There are lots of ways to make this cake special for your family or special person. Here's a picture:

2. My other tip is one I have seen on lots of other blogs already, but I thought I'd show you my version of it. The tip is to have a baking center. Here is what mine looks like.

Its an old microwave cart we were given. It fits perfectly at the end of the kitchen cabinets and adds some valuable storage space. Its a great place for my bread machine on top. In the drawer below the bread machine I keep measuring spoons, measuring cups, baking powder, salt, oven mits, mixer beaters, electric knife, etc.

In the bottom cabinet, I keep my stand mixer, hand held mixer and other odds and ends. The bottom kitchen cabinet located right next to the cart contains my canisters of regular flour, sugar, brown sugar, bread flour, etc. I have written down my favorite pizza crust and sauce recipe on index cards and taped them to the inside of the cabinet door above where I work to get the bread machine going. This is an idea I got from Laine's Letters.There's also a shelf in the middle of the cart that is perfect for my roasting pans and rolling pins to slide into.

A baking center is a great idea because it saves time and energy having everything you need right together. You could also have other "centers" such as a beverage center, lunch making center, etc.

For lots of great kitchen tips, please to go Tammy's Recipes!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Heart Shaped Valentine Cake

This is what I was doing at 5:00 this morning.

We were going to have a family Sunday dinner and I wanted to give it a Valentine's flair. Its really easy to make a heart shaped cake even if you don't have a heart shaped cake pan.

You will need a square pan and a round pan with the same diameter. Mine have 8 inch diameters. The cake mix and frosting are two of many I stocked up on combining coupons and sales. The entire cake was about $1.00. This is a spice cake with cream cheese frosting. It tastes really good, kind of like carrot cake.

The finished cake is pretty wide, so you will need a cookie sheet or covered cardboard. I covered a piece of cardboard with heart fabric and then covered that with plastic wrap. I just turned it over on the back and taped down the edges so it would be nice and tight and neat.

After the cakes have cooked and cooled, turn the square one so a corner is at the top like a diamond shape. Cut the round one in half and place each half against the sides of the diamond at the top. The tops of the pieces might not be perfectly level, just cover it all up with frosting and you'll never know it. I could have sliced off the top rounded part to make it more perfect, but it was fine anyway. (Note to everybody: I am not a talented cake decorator!)

I stopped at one of my local Dollar Generals after church and picked up some little boxes of chocolate and sweetheart candies. I decorated the cake with the candies and put a box of chocolate and candy hearts on everybody's plate. I bought my little grandbaby some baby books since he can't have candy yet. I was going to string up some red paper hearts and hang them from the light fixture over the table, but ran out of time. I pulled out my red Christmas tablecloth and napkins and used my Cade's Cove dishes which have some red on them.

My sweet husband was in charge of most of our dinner. He made a hand rubbed pork tenderloin, field peas, mashed sweet potatoes, and broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in cheese. I made some pigs in blankets and macaroni and cheese to round it out.

The food was great and the table was right cute too!

Look what sweet grandbaby can do now!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday Sewing, Part Two

I finished the other bag. It was so nice outside today I decided to take pictures of the bags outside. I reloaded the pictures of the other two bags in the Etsy Shop. After seeing Little Pen Pen's first sign of spring on her blog I went outside and found some daffodils blooming and took some pictures of the bags with them.

Here is the little clump of daffodils that are blooming. I'm afraid the rest of my yard looks pretty desolate! But its only a matter of time until every thing greens up and starts blooming.

Here is the outside of the second bag of the weekend:

Here is the inside:

Have a great rest of your Saturday!

She's Here! Victoria!

Its been an exciting week! Victoria arrived on Monday and I kept her brother for 3 days. Only bad thing is that today I am home from work ...