Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My godson's quilt top ~ FINISHED!

My Godson's quilt is made with 
Thomas the Tank Engine fabric 
that can be made into a fabric book.
You can see that Cleo is quite interested
in this project :)

The panels I cut out, 
keeping the blocks intact. 

It did not take much time to cut out
as they are about 18" long!

Then I sewed them together....
(had one oops where I sewed a panel in upside down!
Took it out and fixed it!)

I pinned a lot to be sure all was
matching up well.

My quilting friend came over
and was there when I finished the top!
She took the above picture. :)
The red is the fabric book 'cover' and is a bit
larger than the other panels,
but this will all get worked out in quilt class!
Now I need to learn to baste the quilt 
so that it is ready for machine quilting! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Feast Day ~ Take I :)

I went to my local church this morning
for the Feast Day of St. Peter and Paul.
It's always good to be in church...
Mr. Husband and I are on the 
Julian Calendar, so we get this Feast
again in two Sundays!

Friday, June 26, 2015

{A small dinner party} ~ summer dinner during the Apostles Fast

The rice-arugula with corn and cranberries salad I made was the main course for this 
simple summer dinner.

Also some cold chick peas, hummus with chick peas,
breads and veggies...
The pretty cut glass tray I served this on was
a great deal - FREE!
Never know what you will find at the side of the road...
with the dishwasher to sanitize things,
I got a really pretty tray!

And some cut up mango for an extra sweet taste! 

Vegan cookies and chocolate for dessert! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

{Fast Friendly Food ~ vegan} : a hearty simple salad!

My friend Martha
posted (on FB) a salad that her sister Mary
made recently...

Ingredients she posted:

1 bag of arugula
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 package frozen grilled corn
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped almonds
1 package of bruschetta sauce

Mary linked the video that she learned this from...
I watched it and thought this would be great to make!
Besides that, I have great confidence that whatever
Mary cooks or bakes I will LOVE!

I used basmati rice instead of quinoa. 

It turned out really well!
Mr. Husband, who prefers salt to sweet,
had some with potato chips and we all enjoyed it!
I am thinking of trying different twists with this salad,
such as including cooked cooled shrimp or canned clams
for fasting days!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarn Along ~ New Many Coloured Blanket

I am making a new multicoloured
The first one I made is still very much loved!
I am going to give this one, if all goes well,
to the three brothers in Ottawa,
of whom my godson is the youngest.
Ravelry here.

I am also working on the beginnings of a simple
quilt for my godson.
I will be seeing his Mother in August D.V. and
hope to bring this with me
so it is ready for Christmas...
(the savings on shipping will be substantial!) 
I hope to be at quilt class again today 
and get some ideas on how to do this quilt top!
My godson loves Thomas the Tank Engine
and I am excited to use this fabric! 
As for reading, 
I am on a real Little House on the Prairie kick
right now (first time reading them!)
and just finished Farmer Boy.
The themes of patience, obedience, not speaking quickly,
and hard work... not to mention what an intact
family looks like, and learning lots about how
farming used to be done,
it was such a delightful read!
What are you reading and creating? 
Yarn Along with us! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

{My Goddaughter's Quilt} ~ making ends meet

I had sewing the first two rows for the first two sections.
But the one row in particular was 
off centre ~ some would say 
not on point.
So what to do?
I asked my quilting instructor.
Basically I needed to stretch the fabric to be 
in line with each other on the seam
and pin it together (pin like crazy as it were)
when it is all lined up.

Then I had my first experience with my machine
doing something wrong ~ 
it kept bunching up and the fabric was going under the metal plate,
by the metal 'feed dogs' that are under the presser foot.
(The presser foot is that 'thing' that the needle goes through
and that is clamped down on top of the fabric to keep
it from moving;
feed dogs are the sharp things directly under the 
presser foot on the metal plate
that help move the fabric)...
I called my Quilting Friend for help! 
She had me to
do three simple things:
1. turn the machine off and back on
2. re-thread the bobbin
3. re-thread the needle
She quickly explained that a lot of problems can be solved by 
doing these three things. :)
It worked perfectly again after that ~ both the needle and bobbin
needed that re-threading, I could tell once I looked at them!

I was having a hard time getting the seam
above matched up correctly;
one of my friends was over for dinner
and she told me a trick she learned from her Aunt:
sew a bit of thread in the centre of the seam
to keep it there so that it does 
not move when sewing it...
(as you can see I had it pinned already, which
is usually all it needs)
this little trick did the job! 
Three green thread above shows you where I did this;
I hand sewed this loosely so afterwards
I could just pull out the thread.

Now these two sections are perfectly matched up!

{celebrating moments in life} ~Kindness of Mr. Husband & My Godson

The other day Mr. Husband and I cabbed home
together after meeting at the farmer's market:
he bought me three roses. :)

The other day my sister-friend and I were
video chatting and I talked with my godson
for a bit too.
He's four; he said after a bit to his Mom:
Mom, now is the time I can play,
and so got down to go play.
(He loves Thomas the Train Engine;
you should of saw earlier this year when I gave him
some of the DVDs featuring Thomas and
his eyes got all BIG and happy
at this unexpected gift. :) )...
I have a feeling he was off to play with a train,
or maybe the swords that his Mother bought 
for these 3 munchkins for Christmas from
Mr. Husband and I...
Just before my godson went off to play,
I had just been telling him about how I held him as 
a baby when he was baptised and how I held him
His comment to that was of course,
I am a big boy now and go to Communion By My Self ;)...
As he went to play,
I told him that I loved him
and he said,
I love you too and went off to play.
It was so special! 
The first time he said he loved me.
His Mom and I both knew it and were so happy for that
dear moment.
I am already dreaming of a quilt I hope to make for him,
featuring Thomas the Tank Engine...!!! :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

{Fast Food ~ vegan} ~ a fast hot dish + smoothie and solidified liquid sunshine

Sauteed in extra virgin olive oil:
~baby bok choy
~baby tomatoes
~clams drained from small can
Cooked: rice noodles 

Mix through and serve!

New fave Smoothie: *strawberry, *banana, yogurt, kefir or coconut milk,
organic cocoa, milled flax seed, shredded coconut, carrot, *small 
box of frozen spinach (as much of all of this, organic)
(*frozen, right from my freezer into the blender)

The brightest deep yellow candles here
are from St. Tikhon's.
When I got them, I was dazzled by 
how bright they were,
I kept telling Mr. Husband they
were like liquid sunshine.

However, really they are 'solidified sunshine' as the wax
is not melting :)
These will last me a long time, of course
and it is so so wonderful to have
candles to light by my icons for prayer.
We are in the middle of the Apostles Fast,
so vegan eating as health allows
and seeking to go towards health
through prayer, ordered eating and being aware
of what day it is.
I find reading daily stories of Saints
a great lift and orientation to me
in terms of eternal reality:
our days are full of the past, of heroes of the faith,
of Saints, a great cloud of witnesses!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

{My Goddaughter's Quilt} ~ Sewing the first rows

I have a quilting class I go to now,
twice a week for two morning hours.
Apparently, quilting guilds lead to many good things.

Two rows to be sewn into two sections.

Two sections, one of 5 squares, one of 6,
so that it is not so long when I am sewing the two
rows together.
It will be 5 rows of 5 squares
5 rows of 6 squares
Three times to make 
15 rows of 11 squares total.
When the 6 sections of 5 rows each are done,
then they will be sewn into two sections,
the top section first sewn to the middle,
then the bottom to the middle 
and done again for the other side, 
remembering that there are three sections of 5 rows of 5 blocks/squares
and three sections of 5 rows of 6 blocks/squares.
Then the two sections of 11 rows of 5 blocks
and 11 rows of 6 blocks
will be sewn together to make

 I labeled what row is the inside row so that
I can easily remember what side to join the next row etc

This is the first two rows, 
in the back is the one of 5 blocks,
the one in front is 6 blocks.
You may see that the block nearest to you in this picture,
the one with the white print with butterflies and red block,
is not centered properly.
I has been fixed but that will be for another blog post!
I was so excited to do the first ever sewing of two rows
into the two sections to make this quilt top
for my darling goddaughter! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

{reflections} ~ the quiet power of books, mothering, and what we take in

I am writing on a cloudy day
here in New Jersey,
living near NYC.
It's one of those days that I realize that needs to be
a quiet day, shades drawn, quiet reading and working.
It's rare to have these days and I am thankful for today.
Years ago when I was in between jobs and constantly
in that struggle,
I had more of these days,
in between times, in between things and I remember
reading books on the Optina Fathers,
Esp. Abbot Moses and well, 
it was a special time.
I am hoping this summer to carve out a bit more of this time.
I am working on reading two books right now
in this line:
one that I borrowed from one of our deacons:
These are books that I find I have to read in quiet,
in a place where I am not in a hurry and can pay attention.
I am hoping to teach my Sunday School children next year
not only more about the church year but
what the goal of our life should be...
I know this goal is intrinsically this:
to know Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and to 
have Christ dwell in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Of course to even begin to enter this goal,
one needs to see one's need for Christ and for the salvation that He offers.
The teaching will be at their level of course,
the books I am reading are currently above them but the essence
of Christianity and of what the Orthodox Church offers is
accessible at any age. 
It is something I am just a mere new born baby in incorporating in my life.
I am also thinking of how my habits have changed in terms of media
over the years.  
It's something I actually don't blog about that much,
for various quite valid reasons...
Well, I guess I will start with when I was 20 and 
went to a Bible School in Sweden,
before cell phones and data, when email was still quite new (3 or so years old).
facebook had not yet been invented and I did not know the word
social media or what a 'blog' is.
But CD players, headsets, headphones those we knew then already.
Here's what my months at the school included:
~no access to email
~no music playing outside of headphones on an individual.
So very little media distraction.
The music was huge for me.
I remember the sensation of music and songs slowly draining out of me;
like I would hear the song internally and then it would leave,
as it were....
 (though not completely,
so many songs are ingrained in my memory, so that
when I hear them again, it's all there).
It was my first experience with silence.
I was newly 20.
I wanted God in a real way and I spent a lot of time pouring over my Bible
and writing God prayers (that's how I mainly prayed back then
and I know that God accepts what the youth has to give).
Well, fast forward about 8 or 9 years and I am newly in Ottawa.
I just started this blog.
I was so overcome by my new church and, really, learning to go 
to confession on a regular basis for the first time
(I moved so much as a student that for various reasons
I just had not had a chance to really get this one, as it were, in
terms of routine). 
I also did not have a stereo with me in Ottawa. 
So much was happening all at once, 
life and death, a lot of growth, and I found I needed to meet 
it all in silence.
For years before this, I had gone the gamut in terms of music,
from all Christian Contemporary music, to just popular music of the day,
to folk, to all classical, to newly founded Ancient Faith Radio...
TV I had not had in years.
The whole long 'reality shows' began after I stopped watching TV.
I as much more interested I guess in reading books than TV,
though I remember the first place I lived off campus had a TV
and I spent all Spring Break that year watching 
mystery movies and TV shows of this nature.
So now I do some classical music, some chant, various Orthodox music
and many days silence, though it all goes in circles between these.
Part of this change was when I realized how anxious of a person I can be
and that a lot of popular music was feeding that anxiety and generally
destroying a sense of calm, peace and goodness that can be found
through the Church.
I have realized how profoundly music, TV, movies can impact 
me internally ~ I am seeing now that our culture
is profoundly influenced by (TV) shows, movies, music...
It's something I am glad I have distanced myself from
in part because I feel it has given me the space to be able 
to think, discern and see what to keep and what to be wary of
in our current cultural milieu.
I have a long ways to go of course.
While I can do silence, not watch shows, 
I still do FB, I still struggle very much with 'screen time.'
but I also have hope that God can help me
and that all of these things take time;
there is usually it seems not a lot of immediate healing
in the Christian life (though of course miracles still happen
today and even in my life at rare times God has helped me
quickly stop something I was doing wrong,
but over all I find God also wants us to struggle).
This ties in, to me at least, to the understanding of Mothering
when one is an adult.
I am  blessed with an intact family, 
and even more, my parents are Christians.
What a huge blessing.
Something I am learning and have learned as an adult is
what it means to 'Mother' oneself.
I've learned it from everything from 
~use skin cream for dry skin in cold winters
~being careful what my eyes see, my ears hear, my mind thinks
~learn to take care of one's needs in terms of food
~build community 
~when to have a quiet day (I know this is easier for me as I am not a Mother of
young children)
Well, all this to say I am grateful for what God has taught me
and that there is so much HOPE in Christ.

{May 2015: my parent's visit} ~ the day they left...

We had a nice breakfast together...
and then my parents gave my husband a ride to work,
as the PATH signalling was down,
(I think somehow this happened last year too),
and we got the last pictures before we went...

I felt their absence keenly,
seeing my Mom's coffee mug from that morning... 

The rest of the morning and day I spent quietly, 
cleaning and also painting a card for 

I am grateful for the many
people who make up my days and my life.... 
and for the wonderful second annual May visit of my parents!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

{May 2015: my parent's visit} ~ Shower Door

So when we moved in,
the shower door never
opened properly...if you opened it up too wide,
it would do this cracking sound that
sounded like trouble!

So the first full day my parents were here,
I ended up needing to clean near the hinges
and the next thing I knew,
the bottom hinge screws were coming out
and pulling the tile alongside! 
My Dad reglued the tile, making it much better than it was before, 
first by improving what was behind the tile, then
made a homemade brace to keep the tile in place while it was
setting in the new glue,
took the bottom hinge apart,
watched youtube videos on how to fix it,
adjusted a pin in the hinge, 
put the door back on, 
and made sure it worked perfectly! 
It was a huge under taking, that thick glass door was heavy!

The door hangs straight now and opens
without a sound!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blue Checkered Blanket ~ FINISHED!

The blanket is finished!
It is going to be stored away until I can give it to
my friend who I am surprising with it!
I have already started today a new patchwork blanket,
like the first big blanket I did for
the church munchkin's Christmas when he was 5.
I am still reading
Little House on the Prairie and am looking 
for a new novel to read, but have not yet chosen it.
What are you reading and creating?
Yarn Along with us!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

{My Goddaughter's Quilt} ~ putting the squares in place!

I blogged recently
goddaughter's quilt.

The other day, 
with the help of a white sheet,
I arranged all the squares,
and then, when I felt I got the feel of how it is done,
did the rest of the colour map of this quilt
on my own.

This is about the final version;
I had not liked the two white flower squares next to each
other on the end on the right side of the quilt. 

Then I put each row into it's own pile
and pinned each row with a quilting safety pin
and label with what row # it is and
that the right side of the row is on the bottom
of the row, i.e. the top of the row begins
the very left side of the quilt top.

I have some great containers that I store these squares in!
I have recently found a quilting class that meets twice a week
and am slowly making progress on my
goddaughter's quilt! 
I hope to show you this in the next week or so!
Are you learning a new skill, making anything or having 
fun being creative?
 I would love to hear!