Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

"Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
 Luke 2:8-12

                      May you all have a blessed Christmas filled with the joy and peace of Jesus!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Night of Great Joy

Mary Engelbreit presents A Night of Great Joy, a delightful picture book that celebrates the joyful season of Christmas. This book tells the story of the nativity through the performance of a children’s Christmas pageant. With adorable illustrations and simple storytelling, Engelbreit paints a wonderful picture of the night that Jesus was born.
A Night of Great Joy recalls that fateful night with wonder and awe. From the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem to the gathering of many before the baby Jesus, this holiday treasure leads children through the tale of the birth of Jesus, guiding them with the star of Bethlehem.

 "A Night of Great Joy"
Mary Engelbreit

Over the years I have enjoyed the whimsical charm of Mary Engelbriet's artwork. So when I saw this book available for review I was very excited to place a copy on reserve for my own collection.

Upon the arrival of this book my daughter was thrilled. The cover is colorful and even shimmers with a touch of glitter. "A Night of Great Joy" is a hard cover book, complete with a dust jacket. Each page is filled with beautiful illustrations that will instantly draw your little one into the story.

The idea of retelling the story of the birth of Jesus through a children's Christmas pageant is very cute. Some of the characters are even dressed in costumes to represent the different animals in the stable. Through the illustrations we see the mistakes and pleasures of the little children as they perform their Christmas pageant.

Overall it is a charming book. But not one that I would wholeheartedly recommend. My concern centers around the fact that in the pageant, the baby Jesus was depicted as a "Raggedy Andy" doll. It felt irreverent to me.

*I received a complimentary copy of
"A Night of Great Joy" from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

The past three days have proven to be the coldest and rainiest days we have seen in our area in months.  As I look out my kitchen window all is gray and wet. The beautiful leaves have fallen and are filling our driveway. The hens are tucked away in their cozy coop, although I sense they are not completely pleased with the rain or being kept in. They have all grown to love roaming around the yard! Inside our home all is warm and cheering. A cozy fire blazes in the stove; Adam and Jemimah have enjoyed listing to records on Adam's old phonograph while I bake cookies.

This particular cookie recipe has been a family favorite for many years now. The soft cookie and cinnamon frosting are a terrific combination. The spicy fragrance of cinnamon filling the air makes the dark day cozy. And what could be better than the excitement of my little Jemimah as she saw the cookies baking in the oven? She danced about the kitchen yelling "cookies!" and then enjoyed eating a cookie straight from the oven without frosting.
Frosted Pumpkin Cookies-

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening (I used coconut oil)
1 cup canned pumpkin ( I used fresh pumpkin puree)
1 egg
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions: In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin and egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until firm. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

Cinnamon Frosting-
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 butter softened
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3-4 Tbsp. milk (or enough to achieve desired consistency)

Combine all four ingredients and mix until smooth. Frost cooled cookies.
 And just for fun I am adding a picture I took of our hens earlier this week. While we finished stacking our fire wood for the season, they enjoyed taking dirt baths in my flower bed. Oh well, at least it is the end of the flower season!

I hope you are enjoying a pleasant weekend! Are you baking anything special to keep your home cozy and autumnal?

"This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Goldilocks Inspired Dress

Over the years my mom has sewn many beautiful dresses inspired by European folk wear. We both have worked to create and alter designs for our website and Etsy page. Recently we received a request to alter one of our designs to resemble an illustration from Jan Brett's "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".

Usually my mom sews all of our European dresses, however she was completely booked for the month and I had a little extra time, so I was given this project. : )

My mom has a beautiful collection of floral ribbons. We thought this ribbon looked quite similar to the illustration. The customer had mentioned that she liked the hand embroidery shown on our original dress, so I decided to try and incorporate both. It was fun to match the embroidery floss to the colors in the ribbon.
I added little cap sleeves to the dirndl. The sleeve pattern I used was called an "angel" sleeve. It was a little larger and fuller than I liked, so I cut it down to the size that I thought was "just right".
And to finish the ensemble I sewed a long sleeve peasant blouse from white batiste. It is always fun to see what ideas and inspiration customers send our way.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day of Autumn Sale

To celebrate this first day of autumn I am offering a special sale of 15% off everything in my Etsy shop today through Saturday. To take advantage of the special offer use coupon code LILAC15 when checking out.
                                                                                Happy First Day of Fall!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Blessings

Pumpkin Patch Blessings celebrates fall and shows little ones there are blessings all around us, especially in the pumpkin patch! The sweet rhyming text by Kim Washburn and whimsical illustrations by Jacqueline East bring autumn alive for readers young and old as they take in the fun of the fall season and remember how much they have to be grateful for.

 Pumpkin Patch Blessings
By: Kim Washburn
Illustrated by: Jacqueline East

 There are so many delightful children's books focused on the seasons of spring and summer, but very few that showcase the beauty of autumn. Fall is such a cozy season and the favorite season of many. This book beautifully captures the essence and excitement of a fall day trip to the pumpkin patch!

The story is written in rhyming verse and takes us along with a little boy and girl as they enjoy the many pleasures of a crisp fall day at the pumpkin patch. The illustrations are charming and sure to capture the imagination of your little one. This book is a board book, which as a mom I truly appreciate! Little hands have a tendency to be a somewhat rough with paper pages, so this is a book I can allow my little girl to enjoy without fear of damage. : )

I am looking forward to baking pumpkin pie and reading this book with my daughter on a cool autumnal day!

Overall I give this book 5 stars and know that I will enjoy sharing it with my little girl throughout the autumn season.

*I received a complimentary copy of
"Pumpkin Patch Blessings" from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*

Summer Fun

 Since this week will mean the end of summer and beginning of fall I thought it was about time I shared some of the fun we had this summer. The past few weeks have been very busy with canning, gardening, sewing and the like. I have had a few blog posts in mind to share, but no time to sit down in front of my computer. This overcast afternoon seemed the perfect opportunity. : )
 Last month I had the pleasure of entering some of my sewing, knitting, embroidery and baking in our county fair. As teenagers my sisters and I anticipated the county fair all year long! We would spend the winters scheming over the best knitting pattern, embroidery design, or recipe to enter. After my youngest sister's marriage five years ago, we couldn't quite find the time to enter as we once did.
 However this year I did! I entered Jemimah's smocked dress, a doll dress set, knit bonnet, embroidery and maple walnut pie. Much to my delight and amazement I won four blue ribbons and two best of fairs!
 The purple ribbons were won for the best of fair. Each category has one item chosen best of fair, for example one item in crocheting, embroidery, photography, etc. Surprisingly my doll set won best of sewing (it is a civil war style dress with embroidered apron and pantaloons) and my maple walnut pie won best of food.  I plan to share my maple walnut pie recipe with you at some point. It has become a family favorite and there is a story behind the recipe too!
Needless to say Jemimah Rose had a marvelous time at this fair! She would squeal for joy each time we drove into the parking lot. On the night we actually attended the fair to see the exhibits and animals, Jemimah and her cousin Micah both rode a pony! It was certainly the icing on the cake for them. It was a tearful departure when we all retired to our cars that evening.
 Another fun event we attended was a huge tractor show. My husband Adam is an antique tractor enthusiast, and each year since we were engaged we have attended this tractor show. Obviously Adam's love for tractors is contagious- Jemimah points and yells every time she sees a tractor drive by our house, sometimes she evens responds this way to lawn mowers.
It is quite the event, they showcase tractors from the early 1900's. Some are steam powered and look more like train engines than tractors! It can take two men to operate these steam tractors. They often have demonstrations of how the old tractors are still able to plow a field, it is amazing to see.
Adam has been working hard to restore his own 1940 model A Farmall. He uses it to mow our yard. It is truly a beautiful sight to see him mowing the yard on his tractor these warm summer evenings.
We were also truly blessed to spend time by the lake this summer! Adam I went kayaking for the first time. It was a perfectly gorgeous day and so much fun to be on the water. Then later in the summer we enjoyed a day of picnicking by the lake with my family, we had a splendid time!
Overall it has been a truly beautiful and blessed summer! With autumn's advent I know that I will treasure these few last days of summer. Soaking up each moment of warmth, sunshine, fresh laundry on the line, chickens roaming in the yard, tomatoes in the garden....

I hope you are all enjoying these last few days of summer too. Did you do anything special this summer?

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples." Psalm 96:1-3

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Zucchini Tomato Casserole

This year our garden has proven to be quite successful despite the dry summer we have had. This morning I picked a few beautiful zucchinis and several tomatoes, just perfect for this casserole! I love to serve zucchini tomato casserole as the main dish with other garden fresh veggies on the side, however this would be terrific as a side dish too.

Zucchini Tomato Casserole
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •   2-3 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  •   1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  1. In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; set aside. In a large skillet, saute zucchini and some of the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Arrange the zucchini in a greased deep dish pie plate; sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Top with tomatoes and remaining cheese mixture.
  2. In a saucepan, saute rest onion in remaining butter until tender; add bread crumbs and toss to combine. Sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Yield: 6 servings   
 *Note I usually use my food processor to slice the zucchini and shred the cheese and onion, making this a super quick and easy recipe.
My ideal summer dinner- zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber and green beans all fresh from the garden! The LORD is so good!

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful and bountiful August. If you too have a lot of zucchini and are running out of recipes that call for zucchinis here is another family favorite: zucchini pancakes. What are your favorite zucchini recipes?


Monday, August 1, 2016

McCall's 1105

Back in June I shared with you the beautiful collection of vintage apron patterns I found at an estate sale. Finally I have found the time to share some pictures of the first aprons I sewed using my favorite apron pattern from that collection!
"Slimming Apron for Stout Women" is the caption printed on this apron package. I have to agree the style is very flattering. The bodice features vertical darts and a slightly curved waist line. The option to add bias trim or ric-rac to this curved seam adds extra waist definition.
When my mom first saw the pattern package she exclaimed "This reminds me of an apron my great grandma wore!". One of my customers said the same thing when she purchased an apron I sewed from this pattern. I love how aprons evoke so many happy memories of grandmothers and days gone by.
I was so happy to discover that all of the original pieces were included, and it went together quite easily. Sometime vintage patterns can prove to be a puzzle since directions are minimal.
McCall's 1105 has definitely made it's way into my little box of favorite apron patterns I will use time and again. In fact I already have three more cut-out just waiting to be sewn up!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pillowcases with Crocheted Edging

Ever since I can remember I have loved crocheted edging on pillowcases. When I was a child my mom had a couple very soft, old white cases with white crocheted edging that her great grandma had made. As a teenager I was an avid crocheter. I spent many summer afternoons sitting on our front porch crocheting doilies for my hope chest. I even made a set of pillowcases with embroidery and crocheted edging. Admittedly that particular set of pillowcases has yet to be taken from my hope chest. Some thing are just too pretty to use! ; )

I have seen several ideas for making calico pillowcases with coordinating crocheted edging, and have long wanted to make my own set. This summer while enjoying a sunny afternoon outside under our maple tree, I crocheted the edging on this set of pillowcases.
I was hoping to have time to provide a step by step tutorial on how I made my pillowcases, but it didn't work out that way. I hope these brief instructions may help anyone who would like to create their own crocheted edging for pillowcases.

To start I cut two pieces of fabric 32" long by 22" wide. I stitched the edges and top leaving the bottom open. I then hemmed the bottom edge by pressing the raw edge under by 1/4" and then folding up 1 3/4" and pressing. I stitched my hem and was ready to start my edging!
 Using a large embroidery needle I stitched a blanket stitch along the creased edge of my pillow case. I used crochet cotton in size 10 and doubled my thread, however doubling your thread isn't entirely necessary. Each stitch is approximately 1/4" apart.

Once my base of blanket stitches was complete I began my crocheted border. Once again I used size 10 crochet cotton thread, and a size 6 crochet hook.

Row 1: Slip stitch thread to one blanket stitch space, chain 2 *half double crochet in next space* repeat between * until you come to your original chain 2. Slip stitch into top of chain two.

Row 2: Single crochet in next stitch, skip next stitch, 5 double crochet in next stitch, skip next stitch... and continue on with the sequence of direction. When you reach the end you may not have an even amount of stitches left to complete the pattern properly, so I just single crochet in the last stitch and fasten off my thread.

"I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me." Psalm 3:5

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Vintage Apron Patterns

Springtime is a great season to visit estate sales. It seems each weekend there are signs positioned at the end of streets pointing the way to another sale of some sort. Recently we were pleasantly surprised to discover a terrific sale right in our own town. 

While rummaging through fabric and other crafting supplies I noticed a shoe box containing patterns. Much to my surprise there were eight vintage apron patterns! Some of which I had pinned on Pinterest and had hoped to someday add to my vintage apron pattern collection.

Now if you have ever searched for vintage apron patterns on Ebay or Etsy you know how expensive they can be. I was astonished when I asked the price and was told 50 cents!!! It was truly a blessing and gift from the Lord!  : )
I think these two patterns are from the late 1950's or early 1960's. They offer some cute ideas for embellishing a simple apron.
 Aren't the illustrations on the 1940's apron patterns charming?! The pattern to the left includes transfers to create pansy appliques.
I really liked the pattern to the left in the picture above, but was a bit disappointed to find that all of the pattern pieces were missing. The instructions are there, as are the applique transfers. I am hoping to replicate the style using other apron patterns I have.
The last two patterns are my favorites! I had long admired these two patterns on Pinterest. The pattern to the right is so simple, but classic; I have already sewn two. The pattern to the left reminds me of an apron worn by Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy". This past winter we watched "I Love Lucy" a lot, and whenever Lucy wore her apron, similar in style to this pattern, I would think  how I would love to sew one! Now I can. : )

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Lily of the Valley

                                                               I have found a friend in Jesus, He's ev'rything to me,
                                                               He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
                                                               The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
                                                               All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole:
                                                               In sorrow He's my comfort, in trouble He's my stay;
                                                               He tells me ev'ry care on Him to roll;
                                                               He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
                                                               He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

                                                                    He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
                                                                    He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

                                                                    He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne,
                                                                    In temptation He's my strong and mighty tow'r;
                                                                    I've all for Him forsaken; I've all my idols torn
                                                                    From my heart, and now He keeps me by His pow'r.
                                                                   Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
                                                                   Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal;
                                                                    He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
                                                                    He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

                                                                   He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
                                                                   While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
                                                                   A wall of fire about me, I've nothing now to fear,
                                                                  With His manna He my hungry soul shall fill;
                                                                  Then sweeping up to glory I'll see His blessed face,
                                                                  Where rivers of delight shall ever flow;
                                                                 He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
                                                                  He's the fairest of of thousand ten to my my soul.
                                                                 -Charles W. Fry

Whenever I see a Lily of the Valley I cannot help but think of this song! I am so pleased we have Lily of the Valley growing at our home.

"I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys." Song of Solomon 2:1

Friday, May 27, 2016

Springtime and Chickens

The past week has been absolutely beautiful here! The flowers are blossoming, as are the lilacs. The air is filled with the fragrances of spring! What a blessing to be able to smell lily of the valleys through my windows when the breeze is just right.
Adam and I have spent our evenings and weekends working in the flower beds and vegetable garden. With the warm weather, sunshine and watering everything is flourishing! I planted hens and chicks last year and they have come back, so I thought I would plant more this year, but in a hen planter.
 Last year my mom gave me some of her forget-me-nots to plant here. They are one of my favorite springtime flowers.
I also planted columbine last year. They didn't blossomed then, but this spring both plants are filled with flowers. My grandma always grew columbines. I remember visiting her on spring evenings when her flowers were beginning to bloom. Grandma would take us to each of her flower beds and point out  her favorite plants to us with great pleasure.
Adam has planted black and red raspberries! His strawberries from last year are looking quite vibrant, so we are hoping we might have enough for strawberry jam. : )
Our little hens have moved out to their coop. It is positioned right under the crab apple tree.
You can't see it in this picture, but the branch right above the coop is home to a robin's nest. Jemimah and I have been scolded by the momma robin a couple times now for coming to close to her nest.
Our happy hens! Haven't they grown a lot?
And springtime wouldn't be complete without rhubarb pie! Adam and I have both agreed rhubarb is one of our favorite pies, if not our favorite. I used the same recipe I tried last year, and it is delicious.

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely springtime where you live too! What special plants have you added to your garden this year? Do you have a favorite springtime flower?

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork."
Psalm 19:1

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mother's Day Dress

This year we were truly blessed with a beautiful weekend to celebrate Mother's Day. During the week the weather had been overcast and rainy but Mother's Day morning was filled with sunshine.

The day before I sewed a new dress for Jemimah. I have been busily sewing her some new spring clothes in between my sewing orders. This dress is my new favorite. I used a pattern I have used many time before. It is very simple and basic. This time I added two rows of tucks above the hem and trim to the neckline. I think what I really love about this dress is the fabric! The pale blue and tiny yellow flowers are the perfect combination.

In the past when I have shared pictures of dresses I have sewn using this pattern I have received comments requesting the name of the pattern. I was able to find a website still offering this pattern here. This is the same pattern I have used to sew smocked baby dresses.
One of Jemimah's greatest pleasures is to run in our back yard. Each day she is anxious to spend time outdoors. After a winter of spending all of our time inside the sunshine and flowers of spring are such a treat to us both!
Here she is in the little "tulip garden" we planted last fall. In September Wal-Mart marked all of the bulbs down to half price. At that time I purchased a variety of tulips, daffodils, crocuses and miniature irises. It has been fun to watch the flowers blossom, and it has also been a surprise to see the variety of colors, since I couldn't quite remember all that I had planted. : )
I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Mother's Day, and that you are being blessed with some beautiful springtime sunshine too!

"I will praise You, O Lord , with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works." Psalm 9:1