Sunday, November 3, 2013

Operation Christmas Child--Shoebox Time!!

This is my favorite time of year. For one, the weather is FINALLY getting cool in good ole south Mississippi. For two, it's time to start packing those Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes! That link will tell you all about packing a Shoe Box. 

I pack three Shoe Boxes every year, usually all for girls age 7-9. I can't remember why I decided on this number of boxes, I just go with it every year. You can pack as many as you want, that's the good thing about it. The other good thing about OCC Shoe Box time is that children all over the world get a gift for Christmas no matter who they are. OCC even provides boxes  you can pick up at your church (free of charge) or get through their website for a donation--they're called "Go Boxes."

This year I decided to put some homemade goodness into my boxes. I have to tell you I had a lot of fun making some of the goodies this year! I'll probably do it again next year--that's how much fun it was :)

Now, every year, I put the essentials in--soap, a wash cloth, toothbrush, toothpaste. Normally I get some lip balm, but I forgot for some reason, so I'll have to pick that up this week. I also include a brush, hair clippies,and barrettes. This year, I also made some elastic hair ties! I got the elastic from Elastic by the Yard, which sells fancy elastic in bulk. You can buy one yard, or you can buy ten. They have a great selection of solid colors and prints. The hair ties are super easy to make, and you can find the tutorial for those here.

(I also made the lovely cardboard packaging for the hair ties)

In addition to hygiene and beauty items, I like to include some school supplies--notepads, pencils, color pencils, erasers, and of course a pencil sharpener. Sometimes I stick some crayons and a coloring book in, but I ran out of room this year!

Now for more of the homemade goodies! Since I go with the girl boxes, I like to put some fun jewelry in. Normally, I buy this (FYI--you can get tons of stuff at The Dollar Tree for cheap so that you can fill up lots of boxes), but I decided on homemade this year. I found this great tutorial for a Chan Luu-style bracelet on YouTube. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make, so I made two for each box :)  I also found a tutorial for a wooden bead necklace here. Now, that blogger leaves her wooden beads plain, but I decided to paint half of each bead. (These are actually wooden balls, not beads). You can pick up the supplies at any Hobby Lobby or Michael's. And the other necklace I made is a Celtic heart knot. This tutorial I also found on YouTube. The findings (clasp, etc) I got at Hobby Lobby.

Finally, I always include some type of toy. Normally this is a small stuffed animal, but this year, thanks to Pinterest, I decided to make some plantation dolls. I followed the yellow brick internet road from Pinterest to this tutorial. You can get a lot of good Shoe Box ideas from Pinterest, by the way! The sewing kit I picked up at Michael's from their dollar bin--it is most definitely not homemade :)

And last but not least, there's always room for some gum and hard candy :)

National Collection Week for Shoe Boxes is November 18-25 this year. You can drop off your boxes at your church or at one of the drop-off locations. The suggested donation to help ship the boxes around the world is just $7.00 per box. That's not much considering you're giving a gift to a child who may never get one otherwise. Plus, OCC includes a Christian tract in each box--in the native language of the child. So you're also helping to share the love of Jesus with these children! Also, for the past few years, OCC has made it possible for you to know WHERE your boxes go! All you have to do is make the $7.00 donation online, and you'll get a label with a bar code. Once that box reaches it's destination, OCC sends you an email to let you know where your box(es) ended up!

I hope you'll consider filling up an OCC Shoe Box this year. It can make a huge difference in a child's life! Leave me some comments of what you put in your boxes--I can always use some new ideas!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Bear for Baby Duck

Long time no see! Once again, I probably get the award for World's Worst Blogger.

But today I have a special post. I've been busy the last couple of days working on a crochet bear for Baby Duck. Baby Duck is the 10 week old son of two of my friends. (And no--his name is not actually Duck, but since I didn't get permission from the parents, he shall be called Baby Duck. All of our friends will know who this precious baby is...)

I tried to match the colors in Baby Duck's room as closely as I could...hopefully they're pretty close!

Now, this is how far I got on the first pass (plus the arms and legs were made but not attached). However, on the first pass, I put the safety eyes in WAY too low, and he looked more like an alien than a bear. Trying hard to overcome my OCD tendencies, I decided to leave it as it was. It was a no go--after five minutes I couldn't take it anymore and had to unravel the whole thing to get the eyes out. (That's the good and the bad of safety eyes--good because your kids can't pull them out and choke on them, bad because they DON'T. COME. OUT!) So I started over, and here's the body...

Next I attached the arms and legs. As I started to attach the 2nd leg, I noticed that somehow I'd made it several rows longer than the other leg. Thankfully I only had to unravel a few rows to make it even with the other.

I didn't take any pictures of the nose portion of this operation before I attached it. But here is the completed bear! I love him!

I hope Baby Duck loves it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pumpkin Time...and I am SO happy!!

Well it's that time of year again--PUMPKIN TIME!! I love pumpkin. Pumpkin anything. So when I found a pumpkin brownie recipe last year I was ecstatic. Well just a while ago, I thought, "What if I combine the pumpkin brownie recipe and the baked oatmeal recipe I love so much?" 

The answer--MAGIC! Yummy, yummy magic!!

I make my baked oatmeal in a muffin pan. It's just easier that way to pop them out and grab one on the go in the mornings. (But you can make yours in a baking dish if you just have to--I won't mind).

So here's the recipe:

Cocoa-Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
(makes 18 "muffins")

3 cups old fashioned oats
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I use Libby's)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
2 or 3 tsp vanilla (your choice--I use about 2 1/2 normally)
2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (level tsp)
2-3 tsp cocoa powder (heaping tsp)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. 
Whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla until smooth.
Add the oats, baking powder, salt, and milk. Stir thoroughly.
Spoon mixture into muffin pan wells. Bake 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. (Generally I end up cooking it closer to 25 minutes, just because the bottom of the "muffins" doesn't like to set without 25 minutes of cooking).
Remove from oven and let cool. Eat and enjoy! 

(just hit me--what else would be good in these? semisweet chocolate chips from Ghirardelli mixed in!)

And just FYI--I have some new patterns in my Etsy shop! Go here to see them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Another Concoction

So I got the new food processor out again last night! The other day, I had bought a bunch of peaches from some guys off the side of the road. (The peaches were DELICIOUS--tree ripened--YUM!)

Last night I realized I might not eat them all before they go bad, so I decided to make peachsicles!

I peeled and cut up the peaches and pureed them. Then I decided to add a little 1% milk just for good measure. I got out my handy dandy popsicle maker that I have never used--until last night--and poured the mixture in. (I couldn't find the last popsicle only 6)

Here's the before...

And here's the after!

As soon as I got home from work today I pulled one out to try it. Honestly, it wasn't fantastic. But it was edible and tasted like peaches. My suggestion--if you make these, add some honey. Even though the peaches were ripe and delicious on their own, they just needed a little help in frozen form. But all in all--a good, all-natural, no sugar added treat!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Toy, and Some Hummus! (plus recipe)

Well, well, well. Several months ago, whilst in New Orleans with my BFF Heather for our annual Christmas lunch/shop/gelato-at-Sucre' trip, I finally decided to buy some tahini. I'd been wanting forEVER to make my own hummus, but never bought any tahini because #1 it comes in such large (for me) quantities, and #2 I didn't own a food processor. (My logic--if I make the hummus and it's no good, I've got alllll this tahini left over--now what?)

(And why make my own hummus when I can buy it at any grocery? Well because most store-bought hummus, at least any I've found, is horrendous compared to the real thing).

But--I found out just prior to our girls' day that you CAN, in fact, FREEZE tahini!!  So I went for it. That was back the middle of December. Today is June 2, and I JUST made some hummus. The main reason? I just now bought a food processor *grin*

I started out with a 3-cup food "chopper" and thought that would do the trick. It did, but it did not get the chickpeas all smooth and creamy, and gritty hummus, although tasty, just does not leave the palette very happy. So I took it back today and bought this baby...

10 cups of chopping/blending/pureeing/food processing goodness! (And for those of you looking very closely, no, I did not buy the Spanish version--though I'm sure it would work the same--I just didn't notice when I took the pic of the box that I had it facing on the Spanish-language side). So when I got it home a while ago, I washed it and put the hummus in there and gave it a good whirl. And oh boy did it get the grit out! Now I have yummy, creamy hummus.

And what did I do with all the extra tahini, you ask? Well I froze it, of course. In addition to the lovely Hamilton Beach food processor, I also bought a good ole Rubbermaid ice cube tray. As it turns out, each little cube will hold exactly 2 tablespoons of tahini!

And yes, that's the brand of tahini I used--Joyva. Got it at Whole Foods. (I am just full of product placement goodness today--think I'll get some free stuff??). What I had left over after I'd made my hummus last night turned out to be 24 tablespoons. Right now, it's in the freezer, and later on, I'll put each one in a little baggie, and put the little baggies in a bigger bag to keep in the freezer until I need them again.

the big chill
So here is the finished product. Granted, it's not a very beautiful picture, and it really does no justice to the taste of the hummus, but I'll show it to you anyway...

As for the recipe, I started with just your basic hummus recipe, found anywhere on the internet if you know how to Google. I then tweaked it a little for my own taste, and you can do the same if my recipe doesn't float your boat.

So here it is. My "Yummy Hummus" recipe:

1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, liquid reserved
1/4 cup liquid from the chickpeas
juice from 1 1/2 large lemons (and I do mean large)--equals about 5-6 tbs
3 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed (whack 'em with the flat edge of a butcher knife)
about 1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Now, drain the chickpeas, being sure to save that liquid. You'll need it in a minute. Then in your food processor, put the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and the 1/4 cup of liquid from the chickpeas all together. Just throw them in, there's no special order or skill required. Put the lid on your food processor and hit the puree button. Keep it going for about 5 minutes, or until it's good and creamy. At this point, you can stick your finger in and taste-test it (be sure you turn the food processor off first or you've got a whole new set of problems) to see if you want to make any adjustments. When you've got it just the way you want it, put it in an air-tight container and chill for a bit. 

I enjoyed mine at lunch today with some little baby carrots and some cucumber sticks. Oh, and I put a little spoon-full of it in the couscous I had on the side (with my Greek-seasoned sauteed fish--I don't have a picture of all this to show you, but it was yummy and beautiful).

(P Allen Smith is on my TV right now talking about berries and wearing a hairnet. Odd.)

That's about it for today, I guess. Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the hummus!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Guest-Post on The Cookie Puzzle

Well it's been a while hasn't it?!? I've honestly not been working on anything since Christmas--except for the embroidery I did for Autism Awareness Month (April) for a guest-post spot on The Cookie Puzzle.

Disclaimer: I'm going to cheat and c/p most of the post from that guest spot onto here don't be too mad at me *grin*

Here goes:

I am NOT a cookier! Well, I am a cookier in that I EAT cookies…but I do not make cookies unless they come in a Pillsbury wrapper. Ha! I do, however, love to make things with sticks and string (aka knitting, crocheting, embroidery, quilting, etc).

I was introduced to Kim’s work through my friend Heather (she IS a cookier) who guest-posted here on the 12th. Kim was also introduced to my work the same way. And that’s when Kim practically begged me to do a guest post! (ok—not begged, but she did ask very nicely *grin*)

Kim told me she wanted to have all kinds of posts for Autism Awareness month not just cookies. So I thought about it for all of about 5 minutes and said, Sure, why not?

About 5 minutes after that, I thought, OMG. WHAT am I going to do?? So I went through a few ideas and finally settled on an embroidery pattern. So I whipped one up and that was that! YEAH RIGHT!! I honestly had no idea what I would and/or could design. But beyond that, what in the world was I going to write??

Well, by trade (I guess you could say) I am a behavior health therapist. I work mainly with adults, and I see some couples and even fewer children. My experience with Autism Spectrum Disorders is completely limited to what I learned in graduate school, which, quite frankly, is not a whole lot! Thankfully, there are therapists out there that do know more than me, and they choose to work with kids with developmental disorders. Those are some special people—both the kids and the therapists!

Now I could go through some of the statistics about Autism, but seeing as how this is the 18th of April, and I’ve read the other posts before mine, I know you’ve already seen all of those. So I’ve decided just to share the quote that is on the embroidery I did, because it sums it all up in a nutshell if you ask me.

Don’t underestimate persons with Autism,
try to understand.

Understanding—that is what kids with Autism need. That is what their families need. They don’t need judgment or ugly looks when their child “misbehaves” or doesn’t “act right.” They don’t need criticism for not being “good parents.” They don’t need insincere pats on the back or empty platitudes. They need understanding, compassion, and caring. Hopefully Kim’s month-long Autism Awareness guest blogs will inspire us all to be more understanding and compassionate.

Now, without further ado, here is my contribution to Autism Awareness Month. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy One-Year Blogiversary to Me!

Wow! It's been a whole year since I started my little blog, and while I haven't written a lot of posts...I'm surprised that I've written as many as I have!

Unfortunately, I have absolutely nothing to post about today!!! Sad, I know. Pathetic, really! Ha! But, I do happen to have a new picture of my beautiful Jude. So I'll share that with you.

Isn't he so pretty? He was out there by our pecan tree for about 20 minutes, just sitting and watching birds on the back fence. And no, he didn't bring any inside for me. It's been quite a while since he's done that (see here), thank goodness!

Well, I guess that's all for my completely uneventful blogiversary. I don't even have any confetti to throw. But maybe later I'll go get a cupcake *grin*

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WIP Update

Well I FINALLY finished the seed stitch in the red puzzle piece! I really don't have any idea what came over me to want to do seed stitch in that large of an area. Anyway--it's done now! 

For the yellow piece, I decided to go with the detached fly stitch. It went very quickly! I'm pleased with how it came out. (please disregard the blue pen behind the yellow outline--it will wash out once I've finished everything)

 I'm not sure yet what stitch I'll use to fill the green piece. If any of you have any ideas, please feel free to pass them along in the comments section!

Thanks for stopping by!

Update!! I looked at the blank green piece for a bit and it came to me--diagonal running stitch! I'm only about 95% please with how it came out (my stitches are not uniform), but that 5% displeasure wasn't enough to make me pull the whole thing out *grin* Though I did pull a few stitches out here and there that were just absolutely wonky...
Nothing left but the back-stitching!

WIP--Autism Awareness

So I have this friend, Heather--the one I did the owl for (another preposition ending a sentence...I know...I can't believe I'm doing it again). We she has this friend who has a blog about her cookies (and other things). You can see it over at The Cookie Puzzle. Anyway, this friend of a friend is doing guest blog spots on her blog in April for Autism Awareness Month, and she asked if I would be interested in doing something crafty having to do with Autism Awareness. 

Well despite my line of work, I don't deal much or know much about Autism other than what I learned in graduate school 10+ years ago. So I decided I'd do it--do something crafty with an Autism Awareness theme, and hopefully learn a little more in the process.

So I decided I'd do an embroidery piece.  Here is a little look at what I've gotten done so far...

(Just an FYI--the seed stitch filling I'm using in the red puzzle piece is a PAIN IN THE REAR!! It takes FOR. EVER!)

And just a little aside here--I just saw that my little blog has had 1000 views!!  This is exciting as I don't post very much, and I only advertise my blog on FaceBook! My one year blogiversary is in a few days as well *grin*  Yay me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dolphins galore...

Well, maybe not galore--but more than I normally see in a day's time *grin*

Coming up first today are the dolphins I saw on my last trip to Belize. That was almost a year ago! I really, really would like to go back...especially if I got to see these beauties again (and all the other lovelies I got to swim with--except for that one fish that pooped right in front of me--I don't care to see him again...)

And now for the other dolphin in my life. This one I made for my niece E. 

(The hedgehog from my last post went to niece R)

I just love these designs I've come up with! I know--I'm not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, and if someone else had done that, my inner grammar nazi would be raging right now! Also, it may be a little iffy to toot my own horn by saying how much I love my own designs. Ha! Oh well! I can't help it. I do love them.

You can purchase the dolphin pattern at my Etsy shop: DesiBlue. I've also added a listing for my sunset-on-water embroidery--the completed item, not the pattern! So pop on over and check everything out.

On other news, I don't make New Year's Resolutions. But I do make some goals sometimes (not every year). This year one of my goals is to learn a new passage of scripture every month. I got this idea from Mandisa's blog (thanks!)

So January (and I know I'm late on posting about this) was 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV). So here goes--from memory!

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, 
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and I have a faith that can move mountains, 
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; 
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
For we see in part and we prophesy in part,
but when completeness comes, what is in part will disappear.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, 
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; 
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

February: Ephesians 6: 10-20. Here's what I have committed to memory thus far...

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his might power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in place,

Not sure which verse I've ended with there. Not even completely positive I haven't left something out. I'm still learning I'll have to go back and check in a bit, but I'm gonna go ahead and put it out there!

What were your goals for the new year?? I'd love to hear some of them! Leave me some comments!!

Thanks for stopping by! (also, I didn't proof read this before I posted it because I'm super tired and just ready to go to bed! So forgive any typos, unintentional grammar mistakes, etc)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Calavera-Style Hedgehog

Since I opened my Etsy shop, I've sold four of the owl patterns! I'm excited, even though that may not seem like a lot.

Now I've added another pattern for sale--a calavera-style hedgehog! I shared the WIP here the other day. Here's a sneak peek of the finished product...

You can check out my Etsy shop and find both patterns right here!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Quilts for My Nieces

Well I can finally post these pictures--it's after Christmas AND I finished them (finally!) [#1 I did wait too late to try to finish them...I just barely finished the quilting on the pink one on Christmas Eve...the binding I just finished today because, #2, last week I tried to cut my thumb off whilst chopping onions...opposable thumbs are a very useful thing when both are functional]

So, without further ado, here are the little lap quilts I made for E and R for Christmas this year.

The pink is R's and the purple is E's. Hard to see from this pic, but the pink has little white roses, and the purple has multicolor flower buttons. (R HATES buttons for some none on hers!!)

Here are some closer views of each...

I also made them each a fabric covered bulletin board for their school room (they're home-schooled by my sister). I hope to have a tutorial here in a day or two. But for now, here is a preview.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hedgehog WIP

So--I've had two sales in my Etsy shop since I listed the owl pattern!

I've been working on another pattern in the same Calavera style. But this time, it's a hedgehog. My little hedgehog is a chubby one. So chubby, in fact, that only his front legs are visible. He's quite the little pudge. *grin*

I'm working it up now so that I can photograph it to post on Etsy. Here's a picture of my progress thus far...

(Sorry for the poor quality of the picture--my camera died and I had to take the pic with my iPhone)

Stop by my Etsy shop if you haven't already, and help pass the word! You can get there from right here!

Thanks for stopping by!