Category Archives: homemade

Fond Memories

Hello and Welcome!

It seems like each time I get together with all of my daughters they will begin reminiscing about their childhood(s). Fun or funny things that happened, favorite teachers, holidays with family, and many more topics have all been discussed as fond memories.

I am first struck by the fact that my little girls are now grown women reminiscing about childhood. (Where did the time go?) I am then delighted and most of all grateful that they have so many fond memories, and that they have each other to share them with.

Last Sunday when we had a (pre) Easter family dinner. I made a special treat knowing it would evoke memories for the girls.

Jell-O Pinwheels (click for recipe) they are a fun and yummy treat.

When the girls were in grade school it was common practice for each student to bring a special treat to share with the class on their birthday. (I’m not sure if this is done nowadays.) It was important to send a few extras so the student could take them to the office to share them with anyone working in the office that day, or perhaps take one to the counselor or another teacher that they were fond of. I always liked to send a homemade treat – cookies, cupcakes or brownies. At some point I began making Jell-O pinwheels for them to take. Apparently they were a big hit, because when I pulled them out of the refrigerator on Sunday the girls immediately began sharing memories of when I made them for their birthday treat. πŸ™‚

Twenty-some years ago, when I was making those simple Jell-O pinwheels, I never realized that I was also creating memories that would last a lifetime.

What’s your favorite way to eat Jell-O? Do you have a Jell-O recipe you’d like to share?

2021 Our Homemade Christmas

Hello and Welcome!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did!

Before we move into the new year let’s take a look back at what kept me busy throughout the month of December.

You may remember this post back in October back in when my daughter, Lindell, saw me wearing one of the shirts, a hoodie, that I had made and decided I should make one for her. I told her “Christmas is coming”. Then when I asked my other daughters, they all decided they would like one. Each of the girls told me what color they would like, except Tina, who said “anything but pink”. Before I went fabric shopping, I decided to give them the option of having me make them a cardigan instead of the hoodie. Kara was the only one who took me up on this offer.

I also asked Tina what I should make for Jackson and Addie and she gave me some ideas.

It was toward the end of October, when I had my materials list ready, that I grabbed my sister and dragged her to the fabric store. LOL! Just kidding. If you know my sister, you’ll know she was more than happy to go to the fabric store with me. It’s one of our favorite places to spend time together.

I will say that I took some creative liberties with choosing fabrics for the girls. I didn’t want to make shirts that were just one solid color; I wanted to design one-of-a-kind garments that I thought would suit their individual style(s).

Hanna’s color choice was black, so I selected the snakeskin fabric then trimmed it in solid black.

Lindell asked for this army green, so I selected this tied dye green and white for trim.

I chose this blue print for Tina and the solid blue trim is actually sprinkled with glitter.

This shimmery stretch corduroy for Kara’s cardigan was so beautiful that I decided to use it for the entire garment.

Making these garments for the girls went pretty smoothly since I had previously made the hoodie pattern three times for myself, and I had made the cardigan pattern once before.

Then it was time to learn something new. The patterns that I selected for Jackson and Addie were both new to me and both posed some new challenges. While all of the garments were made with TLP (Tender Love and Prayer) there was probably more prayer that went into these.

For Addie, who loves to dress up, I made this dress with color blocked sleeves and a double layer skirt.

For Jackson I made this dragon hoodie.

I was so excited when Christmas finally arrived, and I could give the girls their gifts. Kara and Lindell had both told me that they were excited about getting them.

Christmas was a wonderful day – the house was filled with life, laughter and love (and food). After brunch (breakfast food for lunch) we opened gifts.

Below are a few pictures of everyone modeling my handiwork.

Beautiful Addie!

I was thrilled to see that Addie’s dress was a perfect fit. Actually, I was amazed as I watched each recipient open their gift and slip it on, that they all seemed to fit just right – answered prayers.

Jackson showing off his dragon wings.

After seeing Jackson’s dragon hoodie my daughters asked when I was going to make them each one. HaHa!

The sister picture. (Ranger photo bombed this one. LOL!)

Each time I get together with all four daughters I try to get a sister picture with the four of them together. It doesn’t happen very often nowadays. The last time we were all together was over a year ago.

Here’s a challenge for readers who don’t know our family personally: can you put the girls in order of age from left to right?

I also try to get a picture of me with the girls. This time around we were able to get Aunt Donna, my mom’s sister, in the picture and my granddaughter Addie. Four generations.

My husband doesn’t mind me saying that he is not a very good photographer. He needs to work on focusing and staging because while I wanted this picture to highlight their new Christmas clothes, I can’t help looking at those feet. LOL.

In the meantime, at least I can edit/crop the pictures to change the focus – the beauty in digital photography. No more crazy feet.

Well maybe one more look. LOL!

Thanks for visiting.

As 2021 comes to an end, we wish you a Happy New Year and a blessed year ahead. May God’s light guide your way in 2022.

Catching Up

Hello and welcome!

Once again I’ve fallen behind in blogging. In this post I am sharing some of my activities from the week of November 1st – 7th. I plan to get another post, highlighting November 8th – 14th, up early next week. If all goes as planned I will be caught up. πŸ™‚

Monday Nov 1 – I rendered beef suet into tallow. Suet is raw hard fat found around the loins and kidneys of the cow. For the last few years we have been buying our beef from a local farmer. we purchase a quarter of a cow at a time. Once the cow goes to the butcher or processor I have to call them and give them instructions for cutting and wrapping the meat. At this time I ask to have the suet included in our order. Most people who buy their meat this way to not want the suet so I always have to ask.

Rendering is the process of cleaning the suet. To do this I cut the suet into small pieces. It’s easiest to cut when cold or partially frozen. I then put it in my crock pot on high until it is completely melted.

Tuesday, Nov 2 – The suet was still in the melting process Monday when I was ready to go to bed so I just unplugged the crock pot and would finish it on Tuesday. After reheating it I strained the hot fat through 2 or 3 layers of paper towel. When the hot fat (tallow) cools it solidifies and becomes white. (picture above)

Tallow can be used for cooking. (The original McDonald’s french fries were cooked in tallow), candle making and is commonly used for soap making. If you read the ingredients on your store bought bar of soap you won’t see tallow as an ingredient but it is there. It is listed as sodium tallowate which is the result of combining sodium hydroxide (lye) with tallow.

Any solid that are left after rendering the suet are called cracklings. While some people eat these I never have. I decided to feed them to the chickens but my husband said next time don’t bother. When I asked if the chickens did not like them he told me that the chickens would have loved them but instead they were forced to stand by, dining only on bread crusts, as Ranger gobbled up the cracklings.

weighing the tallow

Wednesday, Nov 3 – I made soap. I wanted to use some of the tallow that I just rendered. The recipe I made was an oil combination of 40% coconut oil, 40% tallow and 20% olive oil. This is the first time I used this particular combination so I’ll try to remember to report how it turns out. It will be about 6 weeks before it is ready. I also added aloe to this batch.

Thursday Nov 4 – I did my dad’s grocery shopping. He orders his groceries online then I picked them up from the store. I then went to the dollar store and picked up a few things that he prefers to get from there. I delivered the groceries to dad and helped him with a few chores.

Friday Nov 5 – I took the boys out for their morning walk at the farm.

It was a beautiful fall morning. When we went out, around 10:00 A.M., the sun had melted the heavy frost that had blanket the area in the early morning hours. Our feet/shoes got wet as we tromped though the grass.

The breeze, if any, was gentle.

I observed moments when a single, random, tree would suddenly drop a shower of leaves.

It was and interesting phenomenon as the trees seemed to be taking turns.

Many leaves were still holding on. Fall is not over yet. πŸ™‚

Saturday November 6 – My sister visited.

I still have one sister who lives near-by and we have been trying to block off some time, at least once a month, to spend together.

Last month when I visited her house I returned two bags of books that she had given me earlier this year. They had been passed onto her by our other sister and most she had not read yet. As I packed the books to return to her I stuck slips of paper into some, labeling them “must read” or “good read” so she will know where to start when she digs into this stack of books.

We also looked at different sewing patterns and she showed me some fabrics that she had purchased but wasn’t sure what she would make with them. “Take what you want” she said. There was one flowered print that caught my eye. We agreed that it was beautiful and needed to be made into something but neither of us could decide what. Even though I didn’t have a plan for it I decided to take that piece of fabric.

That fabric nagged at me for a couple of weeks. Because it was a large print I kept thinking that it needed to be turned into a large item of clothing. I searched for patterns for full length skirts and found a few simple ones but I don’t wear skirts very often and I don’t really know anyone who does.

Seemingly out of the blue I remembered the bathrobe pattern that I had. This fabric would make a lovely bathrobe. I bought a contrasting fabric for the trim and decided to make a bathrobe for my sister.

As I was making the robe I would try it on for size and in doing so discovered that as beautiful as this print is it looks horrible on me. Thankfully when my sister put it on it looked gorgeous – elegant, like I had imagined. ” I don’t know if I love it so much that I won’t want to wear it” she said, “or if I love it so much that I will wear it all the time”.

“Wear it all the time!” I told her. That would be the ultimate compliment.

In addition to giving her the robe, I showed her the projects I have planned to make as Christmas gifts. And we solved a few of the world’s problems over lunch. LOL!

Sunday Nov 7 – It was a perfect fall day for being outdoors and I started out by raking leaves.

The maple tree just off our deck had shed most of it’s leaves.

It took about an hour and eight trips with the wheelbarrow to remove the leaves from the front yard.

The maple that stands in front of our house was still holding many of her leaves.

As were many of the trees in the woods behind our home. The work is not finished yet.

After lunch I headed to the farm with my husband and the boys (dogs) to plant garlic. Normally we plant garlic around the middle of October. This year the ground has been too wet and muddy to plant, so we have been waiting for things to dry out a bit. We had decided earlier this year that growing garlic to sell is not in our future, so we were only going to grow enough for us and to be able to share some with family. We were able to get about 250 cloves planted, mulched and fenced (so the chickens couldn’t go digging them up). This is the smallest amount we have planted since we began growing garlic in 2013 and it was a breeze compared to years past. Now we can only pray that the weather stays warm enough for the garlic to get a start before the ground freezes. It will be spring before we know if this crop will survive.

When my husband told me that our son-in-law would be stopping by the farm to winterize his bee hive I decided to take along the gifts I made for Jackson and Addy. I had a hoped that the kids would be with him, but even if they weren’t he could take the gifts home for them – just in time for Addy’s (4th) birthday on Monday.

I hadn’t taken pictures of the super hero capes I made for the kids so my husband hung them from a plant hook and held them so I could get some photos.

Addy loves unicorns so one side of her cape was made from this unicorn fabric.

The capes are reversible so the other side of Addy’s was made with this brilliant yellow, orange and white tie-dye fabric.

I wasn’t sure what Jackson’s favorite thing is currently so I selected this superhero(ish) fabric for one side of his cape.

and this outer space type fabric for the other.

I wasn’t able to give the kids their gifts in person but I received a message from my son-in-law that the kids love the capes and that Addy was pretty insistent on wearing hers to bed. πŸ™‚

If I made you a super hero cape what would you want on it?

My Second Winter Project Is Finished

It’s been a couple weeks since I finished my second big winter project. I have just been negligent in blogging about it. This project is a rag quilt that I made for our bed.

This quilt was more involved than the t-shirt quilt I made for my daughter because for her quilt she supplied the t-shirts and selected the flannel that it would be backed with. Also our bed is queen size so this quilt is larger than the one I made for her.

For our quilt I started with selecting the materials. It took several trips to the fabric shop before I had all that I would need. Our bedroom is done in blues and browns so I decided to stick with (mostly)those colors.

Fabric for quilt topside
Fabric for quilt underside

One of the reasons it took so many trips to the fabric store is because I didn’t really have a plan. So I took so measurements then drew it out on graph paper.

I decided to do an on-point design (the squares line up on a diagonal) and to use 12 inch squares. Once I knew how many squares I would need, 72 squares for each layer, I finished buying fabric. The quilt would be three layers but for the middle layer I planned on using an old flannel sheet set that I had so I only needed to buy enough fabric for the top layer and underside.

It wasn’t until I had purchased all of my fabric that I added the colors to this chart determining the actual pattern. This project actually involved a lot of math. You’ll notice some of the squares have different colors in them, these were changes that I made in the design and the inner most color was the correct one.

This chart was my road map throughout the cutting and sewing process. I would have been lost without it.

When cutting the fabric I layered the three fabrics together then made my cuts.

After I had all 72 squares (x three layers) cut it was time to start sewing. I sewed the layers together by stitching and X across each square.

Then I began piecing and sewing the rows together according to my chart.

In the above photo I was almost at the halfway point.

When the sewing was finished (above) it was time to start clipping the edges as in the photo below.

Clipping the edges was probably the longest part of the project with most of the edges having six layers of fabric to clip through (the outside edges had three layers) but the task was made a bit easier by using these small snip-type scissors that I purchased on one of my trips to the fabric store.

Once all of the clipping was finished it was time to wash and dry. This causes the edges to ruffle. While the quilt was drying I stopped the dryer every 15 minutes to empty the lint filter. The first few times it definitely needed to be emptied. There was less lint the last couple of times I emptied it but still enough to clean it out.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out and my husband was wowed. He has commented several times on how much he likes it and how warm it is. πŸ™‚

I like the design on the underside as well so reversing the quilt is always an option.

Thanks for visiting.

Winter Projects – I’ve Finished The First One

I had two big winter projects planned and I’m happy to say that I have finished the first and I’m working on the second.

For two years my youngest daughter, Lindell, worked in promotions for iHeartRadio. Last fall she told me she had a bunch of t-shirts that she received while working at iHeart that she would like made into a quilt. I told her I would be happy to do it, but it would not be until after the holidays, and she would have to pick out some flannel that she wanted go along with the t-shirts. I would make them into a rag quilt. For a tutorial click here.

It was early December when we shopped for the fabric but it wasn’t until after Christmas that I began cutting up shirts and laying things out.

iHeartRadio has several FM radio stations in Detroit, all broadcasting out of the same location. She worked for all of them. The t-shirts she received were from various promotional events she attended. Some of them were printed with a logo on the front and event sponsors names on the back and also identified her as “Staff” (“Camper?”).

I set them out in several different designs trying to find the right balance.

Each t-shirt block is backed by two layers ( blocks) of flannel. I stitched an X across each block to hold the three layers together.

Each of the flannel blocks is also backed by two layers of flannel.

On this kind of quilt the seams are sewn on the outside. Once they are all sewn together the seams are clipped about every 1/ 4 to 1/2 inch then when the quilt is washed and dried the clipped seams create a ruffle.

I continued to lay the pieces out on the floor in between steps to make sure things were coming together the way I wanted them to.

If Trooper was around when I Iaid it out on the floor he would immediately go and lie down on it. I often put a blanket down on the floor for Trooper to lay on while I brush him, so I guess he thought he was going to get brushed. This was ok because the very last step was to wash the quilt.

One of my biggest challenges was deciding how to include this pocket from a hooded sweatshirt that said “UNEEK Detroit”. It’s size and shape were unlike any of the other blocks so I had to come up with a unique way to use it.

I went with my first thought, to make it into a unique shaped panel at the top of the quilt, because I needed/wanted the extra length in the quilt. I stitched the pocket to a block of flannel with a unique pattern. The other option that would have worked was to make it into a pillow instead of putting it in the quilt.

I was quite pleased with the end result and my daughter was thrilled with it. I had to lay it out on the table for the final pictures since it was already washed. The table is not big enough to get the whole thing in on shot – sorry.

For the back side my original plan was to have a symmetrical design with the blocks but a mid-project change in the blocks on the front messed up that plan. Oops! None-the-less Lindell loved it and was eager to take it home and wrap up in her beautiful memories.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Below is a sneak preview of my second winter project.

Be sure to follow this blog to see how this one comes together.

Thanks for reading and remember Make It A Great Day! πŸ™‚