Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mini Quilts

I've only done a little bit of quilting, and the projects I've done have all been small things. I have made several wall hanging quilts, a couple my mom has, and these two that I have hanging on my walls:

I enjoy these small quilts, since they turn out so cute, and since they can be finished fairly quickly! I just finished another, although I can't take full credit for this one, since the top is actually a panel that I got years ago.

I've been planning on finishing it ever since I got it, but it's probably been sitting around for going on ten years or so. I finally got around to making a quilt out of it. I decided to do the quilting a little different on this one than on the others I have done. Usually I do very small, meticulous, one-at-a-time stitches, and they are very tedious and time-consuming. This time I didn't try to be such a perfectionist, and I did several stitches at a time (I think it's called "rocking"). Although many the stitches are bigger, the more I practiced, the better the stitches turned out, so by the end I was able to get them fairly small. The quilt turned out well, and it went together so much quicker this way! I think the more "perfectionist" way can be okay for a small quilt, but this is definitely the best way for a large quilt, or a project that needs to be finished quickly. Most people probably aren't going to inspect the quilt very closely, and even if they did, the bigger stitches look just fine, especially if there's nothing else to compare them to.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Even the Small Things...

I love how God provides for us, in big ways and small...
I was out shopping a few days ago before Valentine's for a gift for Seth. After my initial idea didn't work, I decided to get him a frame for a Van Gogh print he's had for a while. We had agreed to try to stick to a $10 budget for Valentine's gifts this year, and I thought I probably could get a frame for that. I decided to go to Jo-Ann's, since I had a 40 percent off coupon. To stick to my budget, I needed to find a frame that would be $9 after the coupon. I got discouraged as I went through the frame aisle, though, as every frame I saw for the 11" by 14" size I needed was at least $20. That wasn't going to work. I said a quick prayer, asking God to provide something in my budget. I looked around some more, then came across a small section of frames for sale that were "oops" frames from the framing department. I looked at a couple, but they also were $20. But I looked a little more, and then came across one that was blue with a gold edge inside. It was the right size, and what's more, it was marked $8.99 on the back. It wasn't the black frame I had been looking for, but I thought that it might match the print. So I took it to the counter, and left it there while I brought the print in from my car, to see how it looked. The frame complemented the print perfectly, so I decided to get it. When the cashier rang up the frame, it came up for $20, but since it was marked $8.99, she gave it to me for that. Not only that, but she let me use my 40% off coupon, so I got the frame for only $5.87 with tax! I was able to stay within my budget and have enough money to buy a little candy to go with it! Seth thought the frame was perfect, and it now hangs in the living room in his little "guitar area".

Thank you, Lord, for your provision!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Pretty Checkbook...

Until now I've had a normal, plain, plastic checkbook cover, you know, the kind they send you with your checks. It worked, but it was pretty boring. Then I found this pattern for a cloth checkbook cover. I thought it was a great idea! I've been so busy for the last several weeks, that I haven't been able to do any sewing, but I finally found some time to make one! I was pleased with how it turned out! It makes writing a check so much more fun! Who wouldn't love having something cute in their purse?

Just a note - if you decide to try this, when you sew the whole thing together, make sure you try the 1/4 inch seam allowance first. I made the mistake of doing 1/2 inch first, and my checks didn't fit, so I had to take it all out and do it over again - no fun. It's much easier to put stitches in than it is to take them out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Valentine's Day Treats

My family always had a tradition of having a Valentine's Day breakfast, complete with everyone giving each other little treats at the table. It was always fun for everyone! Since I've lived on my own, I've tried to keep up at least part of that tradition by mailing little treats to our families. This year I found a fun idea in a Martha Stewart magazine - felt fortune cookies! They are filled with a few pieces of candy, but instead of a fortune as was suggested, I instead typed up some slips of paper that said, "We love you!", "Happy Valentine's Day!", and scripture verses that were about love (taken from the NIV). They were simple to make and I enjoyed that they were something unique!

Truly free internet...

So, since we still have no internet in our apartment, we've been frequently local coffee shops that have free wireless access. Of course, when we go there we have to buy something to drink, so it isn't really free. I've been meaning to check out the library to see if by chance they have free wireless, and tonight I finally decided to do so. And guess what? They do! I'm so excited - the library is just as close as any of the coffee shops, and it's really free! That knowledge totally makes my night!

Cooking in Style

I've wanted an apron for a while, mostly because I dislike being messy, and that often comes with the territory while cooking. I tried making one a couple of months ago, on my own, without a pattern, but it didn't turn out very well. I went out shopping with a birthday gift card, and I found this really cute apron. I had wanted one that matched my kitchen, so I could hang it up in there and have it look good, but I really liked the fabric and style of this one. Plus, it fit me well, and a lot of aprons don't. So I got it even though it didn't match my kitchen, and it now hangs on a hook in the entry way, which is just outside my kitchen. I'll enjoy it!

This was (to my memory, anyway) my first apron. My mom made it for me when I was little. For the top pocket, my mom cross-stiched a design - it has a little lamb, my name, and it says "Ewe are special". I remember loving to wear this little apron!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our New Home

We've finally finished putting everything away and hanging everything on the walls. It took us about 2 weeks to get everything done. I was hoping to have it done sooner, but between fighting colds, long days at work due to parent-teacher conferences, and being without a kitchen for a couple of days due to clogged pipes, it didn't happen. So we are now settled in and enjoying our new place! Here are the promised pictures of our new home:

Our entry way - I love having this!

The living room - view from the balcony doors.

The other side of the living room, our "hobby" area (my sewing, his guitar).

The kitchen - I really like how light and bright it is!

The dining area

The bedroom. The balcony opens off the living room and the bedroom, which is kind of cool!

The bathroom.

So that's our new home! We love it!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Special Days...Two Special Meals

When I came home from work on Valentine's Day, I was greeted by a dressed-up husband who had the table set and dinner on the stove! What a nice surprise! We started the meal with bread and a salad, and then he served the seafood pasta he had made. Yum!

Seth making our Valentine's dinner...

The table he had set up - he put the lamp there because we're not supposed to use candles in our apartment...

The main course - seafood pasta...

The day after Valentine's was my birthday, and Seth insisted on making dinner for me once again. I requested homemade calzones, and he did a great job on them! They were delicious! He also made me this ice cream cake! It was as good as it looks!

I enjoyed these two special days!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I've been tagged by my mom at The Shepherd's House - so here goes...

The rules are:

You must post the rules before you give your answers.
You must list one fact about yourself for each letter of your middle name.
Each fact must begin with that letter.  If you don't have a middle name, just use your maiden name.
After you have been tagged, you must update your blog with your middle name and answers.
At the end of your post, you must tag one person for each letter of your middle name (be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and that they need to read your blog for details).

My middle name is Joy, so here's a little bit about me:

J - Just trying to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
O - On the lookout for new ideas, great deals, and anything creative! 
Y - Yummy things make me happy! =)

I'm not really one to tag others, so if anyone would like to be part of this, you can consider yourself tagged!  =)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Interior Decorating

I received a copy of Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking for Christmas, and I have been (slowly but surely) making my way through it.  I have enjoyed all of her thoughts on the many different ways to make life more pleasant!  I thought this was a good quote, taken from the chapter on interior decorating....

"Interior not just one's artistic efforts, but is that which your home (even if it is just a room) is.  If you are 'decorating' with clothes draped on every chair, with scratched or broken furniture - it is still your interior decoration!  Your home expresses you to other people, and they cannot see or feel your daydreams of what you expect to make in that misty future, when all the circumstances are what you think they must be before you will find it worthwhile to start.  You have started, whether you recognize that fact or not.  We foolish mortals sometime live through years of not realizing how short life is, and that TODAY is our life."

A wonderful reminder to do what you can with what you have, today!

Still no internet...

Since we still have no internet access at our apartment, we have only been able to get on a couple of times a week or so.  I miss being able to blog regularly, although in some ways having no internet is probably a good thing!  We do hope to be able to get the internet soon, though and we're currently looking into possibilities...

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's all about the label...

Our current bathroom does not have shower doors, like our old one did, so we recently had to buy a shower curtain and rings. I couldn't find a curtain that I liked, so we ended up just getting a cheap curtain liner, and I'll add a cute curtain later. I looked for some cute curtain rings, but all were more than I wanted to spend. So I looked at the cheapest thing they had - which was rings that looked like this (sorry the picture is blurry):

They sold in a pack of 12 for about $8. Looking closer at them, though, I realized that they were nothing more than loose-leaf rings, the kind you can buy at an office store to hold papers together. I thought that I could probably buy this same thing at an office store for cheaper than $8. Sure enough, I found a package of 12 2-inch rings for just $4 - half the price! They work perfectly! It sure pays to check things out - it's amazing how a simple re-labeling can double the price!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Old and New

We have moved everything into our new apartment and are in the process of getting organized! Each day things look a little better.

We do not currently have internet access at our place, so today we walked down to a nearby coffee shop to get back in touch with the rest of the world!

We are very happy with our new apartment. It is bigger and nicer than our old apartment, although the kitchen is a little smaller and it has less closets. I have, however, been fairly successful in getting everything put away in its proper place. I will post pictures of our new home as soon as we finish putting everything away and on the walls.

In the meantime, however, I thought I would post pictures of our old apartment:

Living room - view from the balcony (that's our front door on the top left)

Dining nook



Bathroom (I know...really exciting)