Monday, December 29, 2014

Be Still My Soul- Review

"Be Still My Soul" by Randy Peterson is a beautiful treasury of 175 best loved hymns and the stories behind the hymns. Plus individual biographies of 12 hymn writers such as the Wesley brothers, Fanny Crosby and Isaac Watts.

I found this volume a real pleasure to read. As a lover of history and the beautiful hymns of our Christian heritage I can honestly say this is a book I would read over and over again throughout the years to come. The stories behind each and every song were such a blessing to read. I enjoyed how the author wove together the history behind how the hymns were inspired, and how they impacted believers in the years to follow. For example "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" written by Helen Lemmel was inspired by a quote Lemmel had read by Lilias Trotter. Though little is know about Katharina von Schlegel, the writer of the hymn "Be Still My Soul", this book explores how the hymn impacted the life of Eric Liddell, the famous missionary and athlete. There are so many touching stories within the pages of this book, it was very hard to put down.

I also found the quality of the book itself to be worth mentioning. The cover art and rough cut pages were a real treat! Plus each hymn is presented on the left hand page with the story behind the hymn on the corresponding right hand page.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. It is a real treasure. Well written and researched.

"Let me exhort you to "sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the LORD with all your heart" (Ephesians 5:19). Keep hymns and spiritual songs by your bedside with your Bible and carry them with you to read. They will enrich your faith, invigorate your hope, and keep warm and tender your love." Samuel Logan Brengle

You can find more information about "Be Still My Soul" HERE.

*I received a complimentary copy of Be Still My Soul from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review*

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Great Unveiling

"His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

We look unto the Bethlehem manger, and see that that Child is our help, and that "the government shall be upon His shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6). Then, repenting and believing on Him, we find pardon, peace, and cleansing in His blood, and we cry out "Wonderful!"

Life is a labyrinth, the universe is a riddle. The wisest philosophers cannot solve the problems of evil, pain, and death. But we discover that in Him "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). He resolves our riddles. We rest in Him as our "Counselor".

We are oppressed with our utter littleness and weakness, and in our despair we look again, and we see Him stilling the storm, raising the dead, calming people's fierce, wild passions, and we cry out, 'the mighty God!"

Bereft and lonely, we cry like an orphaned child in the night. There is none to help, and no one understands. Then He draws nigh with fathomless consolations of love. And we nestle close and whisper, "The everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace!"

This is Jesus. We saw Him first as a helpless Child. But oh, how He has grown as we have looked! Yet He stooped to our lowly condition and humbled Himself, and suffered and died for us, and made atonement for our sins.

From "Take Time To Be Holy" by Samuel Logan Brengle


Hope you all had a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Grandpa's Molasses Cookies

Over the years this has proven to be our favorite molasses cookie recipe. The original, and rightful name of this recipe was "Kirsten's Ginger Cookies". As youngsters my sisters and I loved to prepare recipes from our "American Girl" cookbooks. My sister Hannah's doll was Kirsten, and Hannah would often bake her "Ginger Cookies".

In more recent years my mother took over the baking of this hearty, old-fashioned pioneer cookie. After the passing of my grandma in 2012 (she was a great baker and cook) the responsibility of  fulfilling my grandpa's cookie cravings fell to my mom, with some help from me. He is a self proclaimed cookie monster! And I take that claim quite seriously now that I have personally witnessed how many cookies he can eat in a week.

Well, when my mom began providing him with these molasses cookies grandpa was thrilled. After suffering an illness this summer and recovering, grandpa did not have much of an appetite for anything but mom's molasses cookies. He now claims that these cookies sustained his life! : ) Hence the reason we now call them "Grandpa's Molasses Cookies".

Grandpa's Molasses Cookies:

6 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups molasses
2/3 cup cold water

Directions: Sift flour baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. In another bowl mix coconut oil ( I generally melt the oil first, as it makes it easier to combine), sugar, molasses and water. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture. Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Cut out 1/2" rolled dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

My mom made some changes from the original recipe. Instead of using lard or shortening we use coconut oil, making for a healthier and moister cookie. We also like to add a little more water too... so rather than 2/3 cup you may like to try 3/4 cup. But it is up to the individual if they prefer a drier or moister cookie.

As a side note, grandpa found that even his cat Jasper enjoys these cookies.But of course, he is an unusual cat.

This year I am not baking my traditional variety of cookies, as I am hoping to keep to a healthier selection. These cookies lend themselves well to Christmas baking since they can be cut into fun shapes, and the spices are very festive in flavor.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cozy December Days

 It is hard to believe it has been over a month since my last post, but each week just seems to fly by.I find myself so busily occupied each day with sewing, cooking, cleaning and cuddling my sweet baby that I have little time for anything else. But I thought I would share with you a little of what I have been up to.

This past weekend we decorated our home for Christmas. It was a cozy way to spend the weekend, sipping hot tea, listening to Christmas music, decorating the tree.

I have been quite busy sewing; Mom and I are always swamped with orders this time of year. It is a great feeling to mail out the last of our packages for the season, we are hoping that Monday we will have all of our order completed for shipping. 

Adam and I recently rearranged the furniture in our dining room. I wanted to have enough space for Jemimah's swing. She loves to watch me sew while listing to Christmas music! It is adorable. : ) Her favorite Christmas cd is The Three Tenors, I am not sure why, but she always calms down as soon as I turn it on.
 I have also been enjoying my time cooking in my kitchen. Yesterday I made a big batch of  chicken soup, one of my favorites. From my kitchen window I love to watch the snow fall, the sun set and the birds at the feeder. Some days I have a fantastic variety- woodpeckers, cardinals, juncos, tufted titmice,  chickadees and finches.

In the evenings I might knit. Recently I finished knitting this bonnet for Jemimah. The fit wasn't all that I had hoped for, but thankfully I have enough yarn to knit another with my revised pattern. The yarn I found is so soft, and the color suits Jemimah so nicely. Once I have finished my second bonnet I hope to share more about it.
While I knit Adam will often play the piano. He seems to know all of the Christmas carols, and he plays them beautifully! Jemimah just loves to hear her daddy play; it is precious to see her delight once he begins.
Yesterday I finished reading "The Christmas Cat" by Melody Carlson. I had read a review of this book on Stephanie's blog The Enchanting Rose. I love cats and Christmas books, so I just couldn't resist!I found it to be an enjoyable read.

I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Christmas season thus far!

Have you read any special Christmas books this season? or do you have a favorite Christmas cd to recommend? How about a special knitting project in the works?

May you have a blessed, and cozy evening!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jemimah's First Dirndl

 Every October my sister Rachel hosts an Oktoberfest dinner at her home. Rachel is a terrific cook, and with our German background on my mom's side, preparing a German feast seems to come naturally to Rachel. It is an event we anticipate each year!

This year we were all hoping to dress in German attire, but with time limitations we were only able to sew outfits for the little ones. I sewed Jemimah her first little embroidered dirndl.

For years now my mom has been sewing German inspired outfits for our business. We had designed patterns for girls' sizes over the years, but did not have one small enough for a newborn. Adam suggested I might use my doll pattern, and maybe he had a good suggestion! : )

I decided to design my own pattern by drawing out the pattern shapes, but in scale with a newborn jumper pattern I had on hand. It ended up being too big, but I know she will eventually grow into it.

I hand embroidered the inset, but was unable to get a good close-up. It was fun to use the colors from the skirts calico in the embroidery.

And here is a photo of my mom, with my nephew Micah wearing the lederhosen that mom designed and sewed. They were adorable, but it is really hard to take a photo of a two year old!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Jemimah Rose

I can hardly believe it was two weeks yesterday since our dear little girl was born. The time has just flown by! First of all I want to thank all of you who have kept us in your prayers! It has meant so much to me.
 The LORD truly blessed me throughout the labor experience. It is a long story, but since I was late my doctor decided to induce labor. As I felt labor begin I read over the Scriptures I had written down and prayed the verses. This really helped to strengthen and encourage me for the time ahead.

I was in labor 12 hours, and everything went really well. I had been praying that I would be able to go without an epidural and the LORD was so good as to bring me through without one. At the point when I was ready to give birth I was very weak and tired. I was worried I would not be able to, but at that time I called on Jesus and within minutes our baby was born!

Adam was with me the entire time and was an immense encouragement. He would cheer me on and would remind me that I was making progress.

We named our little girl Jemimah Rose. The LORD gave Adam the name Jemimah before we were even married. : ) We knew if we were ever blessed with a little girl her name would be Jemimah. Jemimah means dove and was the name of Job's eldest daughter after God restored his wealth (Job 42:14).
Jemimah weighed 7 lbs. 5.8 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. I cannot begin to describe the delight I felt to see her for the first time! After dreaming about her for nine months, wondering what she would be like, I was thrilled to hold her in my arms at last!!
She is a very sweet baby and loves to be held and cuddled!
Jemimah all bundled up to go out. I thought her expression was adorable. : )
 I am so grateful for our dear little Jemimah and this blessed opportunity to be a mother!

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

Sunday, September 21, 2014


 My baby's official due date was the 17th, but as I have been told first babies are often late and our little one is no exception. This past week I have kept busy with last minute cleaning and preparations, even though I have been ready for about a month now! : ) I always seem to find one extra thing to sew or organize.
The photo above is our baby's room. If only you could have seen how this room looked a year ago, even less than a year ago, you would be surprised. When Adam purchased our house and began renovations he discovered that many of the old plaster walls were crumbling. This room was truly the worse! Adam spent countless hours re-plastering the walls and ceiling of our baby's room, then painting, insulating the ceiling and he even had the old window replaced. I am so pleased with the end results.
 Last month my sister Rachel hosted a perfectly fabulous baby shower for me. The day following the shower I had so much fun washing the little clothes and tucking them into the drawers.
 Here is the view from the baby room window. I sewed the curtains from some lovely lace I found last year. The lace pattern is flowers and butterflies.
 One of my recent projects has been to hem piece of flannel and make receiving/swaddling blankets. After quickly hemming the edges of the pink blanket I decided to add a little embroidery. I had been given some vintage baby iron-on transfers and thought they would be just perfect!
Another way I have been preparing is by praying for our baby and collecting scripture verses to take with me the day I go into labor. Here are some wonderful resources I found: 14 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Unborn Baby and Preparing for Childbirth: 12 Scriptures of Comfort & Encouragement

Another way I have been preparing is by trying to eat healthy, take my vitamins, walk and drink red raspberry leaf tea. Here is a link to an article I found very interesting: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea ~ Danger Or Help?
 Isn't this fabric adorable! I have always loved the artwork of Beatrix Potter, so when I found this fabric I could not resist! It is a simple cotton that I decided to quilt. I like the extra texture the quilting adds.
You may have noticed the little rocking chair in the first photo. It is a barn sale find that Adam and I purchased quite awhile ago for $5. It sat in the garage for about a year in need of some repairs. Adam did a great job fixing the loose arms, cleaning the wood and giving it a good polish. Once I found the Beatrix Potter fabric I knew that would make the perfect seat cushions. : )
And to close this post a photo my sister Hannah took the day of the baby shower.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward."  Psalm 127:3

Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater

Recently I completed this little baby sweater.I found the pattern through Pinterest and was delighted to discover it was being offered for free! Here is a link to the pattern: Seamless Yoked Cardigan
The pattern was easy to follow and I really enjoyed the "seamless" design. I did however, have to do a little stitching under each arm, which I believe is normal for the raglan design.
I loved the decorative stitch pattern, and how easy it was to achieve! The yarn I used to knit this sweater was from Patons, their Beehive Baby Sport collection. Unfortunately the fiber content is acrylic and nylon (I had hoped to use natural yarns for baby clothes), but it was irresistibly soft, and pink! : )
A photo of the back. The sweater is knitted on straight needles from the top down. The sleeves stitches were saved out on stitch holders then worked with double pointed needles
Although the size I knitted was newborn, I think it will be too big for the first couple months. Better too big than too small though!
I found the buttons at a Mennonite fabric shop over the summer; they were made in Germany. First thing I saw these buttons I knew they would be perfect!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lilacs in September

The other evening when Adam I were returning from a walk we discovered that one of our lilac bushes was in bloom! We were very surprised to smell the beautiful fragrance of spring on a September evening.

The following day I decided I should take a couple pictures and pick one of the lilacs to press in a book.

Never before have I seen a lilac blooming in September, but it was a delightful surprise!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vintage Smocked Baby Dress

 Recently my mom and I spent a lovely afternoon visiting some antique shops in a nearby small town. While browsing one shop my mom came across a rack of vintage baby clothes. They were so delicate and lovely! Little embroidered slips and dresses, mom had a hard time deciding which she liked best. But this sweet little smocked dress finally won as a favorite with us both. Mom said she had to purchase it for me as inspiration. : ) I enjoy smocking, but it is one of my hobbies I haven't kept up with, I am sure that will change soon!
Isn't it just precious?! I love all of the details, the delicate lace on the collar, placket and sleeves. The smocking is so pretty, as are the rose bullion stitches! I must say it does inspire me to smock again.

The lady at the shop guessed that the dress dated somewhere around the 1930's or 1940's.
I was very taken with the scalloped hem. The dress appears to be completely hand sewn.
And completely french seamed. It will certainly be a joy to see our baby girl in this little dress!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Sunflower Blogger Award

 Recently my dear friend Jazzmin from Blessings n' Sweet Tea nominated my blog for the Sunflower award. Be sure to stop by her blog, as I find that I am always encouraged by her posts!

Here are the questions Jazzmin created for those she  nominated for the Sunflower award:

1.  What is your passion in life or your most favorite hobby that you are passionate about?
I have several hobbies, but sewing is my favorite and I spend a lot of my time each week sewing for our family business. 
 2.  What is your favorite bible verse that most strengthens you?
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This verse has always been my favorite! It has comforted and encouraged me when I was unsure of what the future may hold.

3.  Where in the world would you like to travel to for your next vacation?
When I was about ten my parents took my sisters and I to Williamsburg, VA. I would love to visit Williamsburg again.

4.  What about blogging do you most enjoy?
It has been such a blessing to connect with like minded ladies around the country! So many have become special friends and truly a source of encouragement.

5.  Your favorite style of music?
I love classical music, hymns and music from old musicals. I can't really decide which is my favorite though. : )
 6.  Do you know what your name means?  
Sarah means "princess" and when I was a little girl I was thrilled to make that discovery!

7.  What type of landscape do you find most beautiful: mountains, prairies, canyons, beaches, etc.?
I love the rolling hills and farmland in our area, also the lakes. We live in the finger lakes region, and it is beautiful.

8.  What is something nostalgic to you about your childhood that you cherish in your memories?
Oh, there are so many things! I loved growing up in the country, raising chickens, bringing home kittens, baking blackberry pies with my mom. I guess it is a lot of little things. : )

9.  Which season is your favorite?
Definitely spring! I love the flowers and new life everywhere.

 10.  If you could be a prodigy at something, what would you want it to be?
Probably playing the piano. I can play a little, but I wish I were more accomplished at playing.

Thank you Jazzmin for including my blog. : ) 

Hope you are all enjoying a lovely week!