Monday, October 5, 2015

Road to Oklahoma Pattern

Okay, Gang.  Here is the pattern we will be using for our Road to Oklahoma project.  The highlighted portion pertains to the initial fabric requirements which I underestimated.  Please let me know if I still need to cut this piece for you.

Here's a little explanation for my chicken scratch.  

I called the light fabric the Background because I wanted you to think about this one like the background we used in the sampler.   You will need 60 3-inch squares.  The easiest way to cut these squares is to fold your fabric very neatly selvage to selvage.   The selvages are the finished edges of the fabric.  Press so the fabric will stay straight while you cut.  I like to fold the fabric in half again.  This time the folded edge will be on top of the selvage edges.

Lay the fabric on your rotary mat and trim one cut end to be straight.  Make sure that the cut you make trims all of the layers even.  Now move the ruler over and cut a strip that is 3 inches wide.

You have now cut a 3-inch WOF (width of fabric) strip.  Say, "Wahoo!"  Dance a little jig.  Celebrate with a French Vanilla Cappuccino.  You've earned it.

You will need 5 of these strips.  I unfold the strips once.  Each strip will still be folded double.  I press out the crease from the fold, take it back to the mat, and sub-cut the strip into 3-inch squares.  You will cut two squares at a time.  Be sure you cut off the selvage edges first.  You don't want to use that part of the fabric.  Depending on the width of your fabric, you will get 13 or 14 squares from each strip.

The 4-inch squares will be cut the same way.  Cut a 4-inch strip and subcut into 4-inch squares.  You should get 10 4-inch squares from a strip.

In the column beside the number of squares, I have listed the number of strips needed.  The next column shows the total inches of fabric needed to cut the total strips and hence, the total squares.  From the inches I figured the yardage we needed to purchase, allowing a little extra.  Or trying to add a little extra.  *sigh*

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Road to Oklahoma Project Begins

Our first meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 15 from 6-8:30 p.m.  We will make one Road to Oklahoma block.  Please bring these pieces already cut and ready to go:

Background (Light) shown in cream on pattern/white on my sample square
3 3-inch squares
1 4-inch square

Color (Medium) shown in blue on pattern/pink on my sample
4 3-inch squares

Accent (Medium) shown in red on pattern/gray on my sample
2 3-inch squares
2 4-inch squares*

Dark (shown in dk gray on pattern)/black on my sample
3 3-inch squares
1 4-inch square

*To be really ready to go, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the backs of these two squares.*

You will need your sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, etc. 

Road to Oklahoma

After a delightful shopping trip last Saturday, the 31:22 Quilters are ready for their new project.  You are all ready, aren't you?  I am so excited to be working on a new quilt with all of you.  Fall seems to be the perfect time of year to begin, and this rainy Saturday has me raring to go.

 I spent some time this morning cutting my squares.  Aren't they yummy?  I love, love, love these colors!  (That's the edge of my Grandmother's Flower Garden, still in process.  All it needs is the binding.  Hooray!)

I have marked the backs of the 4-inch squares with a diagonal line.  Now I'm ready to speed-piece some half-square triangles.  Buckle up and hold on, 'cause here we go!

Here's the sample block I made from scrap fabrics. This pattern doesn't look like much when you just have one block.

 But check out what happens when you begin to put them together.  Here are four made from paper that I played with while drafting the pattern.  Shazam!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Only in the South

Sweet, precious wedding today
Sweet, beautiful young couple
Sweet, meaningful ceremony
Sweet iced tea at the reception

Now, that is a delightfully Southern touch.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simple Party Planning

One of my favorite things to do is to throw a party. I love having friends and family in our home, and we enjoy the opportunity to share an afternoon or an evening together, to catch up on one another's lives, and to make some memories. It is important for me to keep things simple in order to focus on the fellowship rather than the process.

We had a great time hosting a party for my grandmother last year on her birthday. When all the guests had gone home, Grannie told me that she'd never had a birthday party before. I was speechless. I decided then that we would definitely be doing that one again. It's coming up very soon, and we are gearing up for a repeat performance.

When we begin our planning, we usually start with a theme. We arrive at our choice through various methods, choosing something we particularly like (superheroes or the 1950's), finding decorations on super-sale (luau in the winter), or even coordinating with the season of year as we will be doing this time.

The invitations can take any form you like. Evites are particularly popular these days, and I can appreciate their efficiency in both time and cost. I have to admit, however, that I am partial to a more traditional approach. It's hard to beat a sweet little card that arrives in your mailbox. It's an extra measure of thought that evites just can't provide.

The decorations will usually be chosen to fit your theme. Pick something you like, and don't be afraid to step outside the box. I loved this autumn leaf design, but plates, cups, and napkins in the same pattern seemed a little much. The coordinating stripe napkins added a touch of fun, I thought. These items and a fall centerpiece for the table will pretty much comprise the decorations for this party.

To save on cost, you may choose to use what you already have. If you have a few leftover plates from several different parties, stack them up in a random order for serving. Use a solid color for the napkins and cups. When you get ready to play a game, divide your teams based on their type of plate. We also have some inexpensive plastic plates and cups we often use for get-togethers to avoid disposable items.

We like to play games at our parties, and I find it to be a wonderful way to get things going. I always try to have an activity planned for the start of the party since early arrivals can feel at loose ends while they are waiting for everyone to arrive. When our children were small, we often had an art project for everyone to work on until things were in full swing. For older guests consider a jigsaw puzzle or two, a scavenger hunt, word find, or crossword puzzle. You can make up one of these with information about the party's honoree for a personalized touch. When your guests don't know one another, a game is a great ice-breaker and serves to get people talking.

I have found that party food can be very simple yet completely sufficient. Several years ago, some friends and I discovered that we could have one dish and a fun party drink, and everyone was more than satisfied. Most of us tend to watch what we eat anyway, and it is considerate not to provide the temptation. We would often serve key lime pie or cheesecake and a light and fruity punch. Open a can of mixed nuts if you'd like to offer something salty and wa-la! That was easy.

If you'll be serving a meal at the party, make less trouble for yourself by selecting a dish that will easily feed a crowd. A big pot of chili can be made ahead of time and warmed up just before your guests arrive. Cook boneless chicken and salsa in your slow cooker and serve with rice and tortilla chips. Offer a baked potato bar with an array of toppings for your guests to create their own masterpieces.

Though completely unnecessary, I enjoy presenting our guests with favors as they leave our home. For our fall birthday party, we will be giving these seasonal tissue holders. I have a feeling this one will be a hit with my grandmother's friends. Most likely, these ladies will be turning theirs wrong-side-out to view the construction and making their own by the next day. That gives me great joy! Last year we gave each guest a small pot of pansies. Choose your favors to suit the likes of your guests. Keep things simple and costs down since you will likely be doing several of these.

So plan your party and have a fabulous time!

Offer hospitality to one another... 1 Peter 4:9

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making Do

Plato was right. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

'Tis The Season

In case you didn't realize IT had arrived...

Scripture Cake

A friend recently gave us this recipe, and we've been having fun planning a baking session. There are still a couple of items I need to check with a much more experienced cook, but we're looking forward to giving it a whirl. If you try it, let me know how it works out.

1 C Judges 5:25
3 1/2 C Exodus 29:2
2 C Nahum 3:12
1 C Genesis 24:17
1 t Exodus 16:31
2 C Jeremiah 6:20
2 C 1 Samuel 30:12
1 C Numbers 17:8
6 Isaiah 10:14
1 pinch Leviticus 2:13
3 t Amos 4:5

Season to taste with 1 Kings 10:2. Follow Solomon's prescription for a good boy in Proverbs 23:14 and bake. Each scripture verse contains one or more ingredients used in making a cake. Follow carefully.

Here's a slightly different version which omits a troubling reference for us, Genesis 24:17. It also contains the actual ingredients if you want to double check before you bake, or if you are so inclined to cheat. Surely not.

Monday, September 14, 2009


My daughter gave me this cute book for my birthday, and I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying this light and fun reading. Within the delightful story, however, are some close-to-painful pricks at my soul.

Becky Miller is an average stay-at-home mom who dearly loves her husband and three children but battles constantly with balancing her duties at home, at church, with friends, with family, and with Almighty God. She earnestly desires to "live a life filled with Meaning and Purpose" while being a "Wonderful Wife and Marvelous Mother." (I love the caps. That is classic.)

She is fully aware of her shortcomings but so wants to be perfect. Anyone? Disappointments and struggles are no stranger to Becky and her little family, but God is faithful.

I can hardly wait to see how it all unfolds. I stayed up reading last night until my eyes just would not stay open. Gotta go sneak in a chapter between loads of laundry and checking schoolwork.

What was that about Meaning and Purpose?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bathroom Redo

We had noticed an issue in one of our bathrooms with the paint bubbling up and peeling above the top edge of the shower. I had one of those self-cleaning systems that hangs on the shower head in there, and I blamed the problem on it. I thought the shower spray was bouncing off and causing the sheetrock to become wet.

I got rid of the shower cleaner, scraped the wall, patched, and repainted. Over time, it started to happen again. All we could figure was that our older son's head was the problem, and since we'd rather keep it around we looked for an alternative.

Many of you know how smart my sister and brother-in-law are. Believe it or not, they were having the same problem in their master bath. (Apparently my brother-in-law's head is a problem, too.) They fixed their shower by affixing a couple of rows of tile above the enclosure, essentially increasing its height and protecting the walls.


When they were down for a visit this summer, these two went to the store with us and helped us buy everything we needed to fix our bathroom. They spent part of a day tiling these couple of rows for us, and it has really made all of the difference. What good guys!

The problem with the paint had kept me from getting this room repainted, so with the tiles in place we were raring to go. My daddy came over one day and painted the whole thing this beautiful blue called Azure Mist. It really brightened things up, and the semi-gloss finish is much more appropriate for a bathroom with its high moisture level.

These towel hooks are one of my very best purchases and tips for anyone who shares a bathroom. There's no question about which towel is whose, and I love the way they provide function and a bit of style at the same time.

We can call this one done. Somebody say, "Check."

Friday Night Excitement

Our neighbor's donkey, Molasses, escaped from the pasture last night and ended up in our yard. You never know what will be going on around here. The excitement level is nearly unmanageable. ;)

Our little beagle wore herself out trying to defend us from this strange enemy. Wooed with stale bread, Molasses returned to safe surroundings and all was right again.

Friday, September 4, 2009


It has been such a wild and crazy summer around here that I have not had the time to do any projects. My sewing machine has been sitting dejectedly in the closet awaiting the time when someone will open the door and take it out to play.

Early Saturday mornings have become my time for therapy. That's really what sewing often is for me. The hum of the machine provides a soothing backdrop for the racing of my mind, and more often than not my spirit becomes quiet, even restful. So on these peaceful early mornings, I've had a chance to work on small things.

There are tutorials all over the web for tissue holders like these, but my sister found a way to make them where the lining provides a bit of trim while finishing the edge of the opening. I love it! The ones I've done before required fusible web and bias tape or other trim to finish that edge. This approach is much more streamlined and well, smart.

Just cut the lining a bit longer that the outer fabric, and it will form a sort of self-facing. Wa-la! I like to use a lining that is about 5 1/2 x 9 and an outer piece that is 5 1/2 x 6.

What fun! It's also an excellent way to use up some scraps and practice combining fabrics.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Special Day

All friends are blessings. Many friends are special. Few friends are for life.

Happy Birthday, Dayna!

I love being your friend...I love you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Confession Time

Okay, so here's the plain truth. Science experiments stress me out.

I know. I'm a homeschool mom, and I'm supposed to just love gettin' in there with my kids and exploring new ideas, taking chances, making mistakes, and learning new things in the process.

Our experience has been that science experiments generally mean me buying something I don't typically have on hand. It always involves pulling out a million different things, and at least a fair percentage of the time, said experiment does not work.

I'm grumpy and uncooperative. The kids become grumpy and uncooperative. It's just not a good day.

Enter Apologia Science.

I love this curriculum. We are doing General Science this year with our 7th grader. Our older children have done Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as well. In fact, our 11th grader and his wonderful dad are doing Physics this year. We have also done some of the Apologia Elementary Science programs. They are all very well done, user-friendly, and pretty much fool-proof.

Although we have had some eventful science experiment days, I must admit that the goofs were more the fault of the experimenters than of Dr. Wile and his experiments. (Sometimes my kids and their friends ask the question, "What if we...," and then proceed to do a little experimenting on their own.) Always read the directions!

One of our first experiments this year demonstrated the density of various substances and objects. It's all about the atoms and how closely they are packed together.

Fill a tall glass with 1/4 water. Add the same amount of vegetable oil. Then pour in the same amount of corn syrup. The corn syrup is dense enough to pass through both the water and the oil and rest on the bottom of the glass.

Next drop in a cork, a grape, an ice cube, and a small rock. Where do they rest?

Now, that's just plain cool and relatively stress-free.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Firming and Tightening

Try this homemade masque for a special treat this weekend.

1 ripe peach
1 t plain unflavored yogurt
1 egg white

Peel and slice peach. Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Apply masque to a clean face and allow it to set for 30 minutes before removing with a warm, wet towel.

Place a couple of cucumber slices on your eyes while you wait and just relax.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Broadcast

Remember our visit to Focus on the Family this summer? Here are our three monkeys rehearsing in the Little Theater.

We were able to attend the broadcast taping which featured Alex and Brett Harris discussing their book, Do Hard Things.

Well, the shows finally aired on the Focus on the Family radio show this week. There are three different broadcasts, but the last one is special to our family.

At the very end, you can hear our daughter asking a question from the gallery. You can also hear guest host Frank Pastore make a crack about where we live. What's up with that?