Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Nostalgia is defined in Websters Dictionary as a yearning to return home (being homesick).
Evidently this sentiment is not so true for some.  I heard on the Today show this morning that Thanksgiving is defined as "obligatory dysfunctional family get-together", another one I heard this morning as FFF  "Forced Family Fun". I had a good laugh over both of these definitions.

This time of year always makes me nostalgic.  How many of you, like myself, remember waking up on Thanksgiving morning to the yummy smell of turkey baking in the oven?  My Mom would be in the kitchen at 5 a.m. putting the turkey in the oven.  The day before the house was full of the delicious aromas of  pumpkin, mincemeat, and pecan pies baking.

I have so many wonderful memories of Thanksgiving and sharing with family and friends over the years.  When I was growing up we always had a houseful of Aunts, Uncles and lots of cousins (14 to be exact);  plus our family of four children, Mom and Dad  and of course Grandma and Grandpa.

After I got married and moved away from home we made our own Thanksgiving memories. I remember one particular Thanksgiving when we were stationed in Florida near Fort Walton Beach.  Several families of us went to the beach in Destin, Florida and cooked fish the guys caught on our grills.  We had a blast.  It was quite different from the snowy Thanksgivings of my childhood.  No matter where we were stationed we always had a houseful at Thanksgiving.  We invited the young airmen who had no family there.  Those were such great and memorable times.

What are some of your most memorable Thanksgivings?  What is your  favorite family Thanksgiving tradition?  Would love for you to share them with us in the comments section.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?  I grew up with Pumpkin Pie.  How about you?
When we were stationed in Wichita Falls, Texas I came across this recipe in our local newspaper .  It became one of our families favorites.

                                                               Sweet Potato Pie 

Boil one large sweet potato and one small one in jackets until tender.  Run cold water over them and peel.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth.  Add 1 stick butter (room temperature), 2 cups sugar "if it isn't sweet enough it isn't fit to eat" (according to the author of this recipe) 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg, pinch of salt, 4 eggs (beaten), 1 can condensed milk, undiluted.

Mix well and pour into a 9 inch unbaked pie crust.  Bake @ 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until lightly browned and top is set.

                                                Nanny's Cornbread Dressing

I bake my own cornbread a day or two ahead of time, crumble and let it dry out a little. If I'm having a 20 plus pound turkey.  I bake a 9 x 13 pan of cornbread.

In a large bowl add to the crumbled cornbread,  two stalks of diced celery, 1 med chopped onion, 2 can fresh oysters (chopped),  1 can chopped water chestnuts, 4 eggs (beaten),  2-3 cups turkey broth,; sage, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a lightly greased baking dish.  Bake @ 350 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown on top  I usually do not stuff turkey with dressing. 
Note:  Depending on the density of your cornbread you might have to adjust the amount of broth up or down.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family does.  Please share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe with us...

Until next time Hugs and Best Wishes


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Don't throw those "sweaters" away.......

Wow! This week has flown by so fast.  Not really sure why.  Maybe it's the fall crispness in the air.  The leaves and the acorns are falling so fast my husband can't keep up with them   I was walking to the garage the other day and got knocked on the head with one of those darn acorns.  OUCH!  I hope that you have all had a good week.

Have you ever wondered what on earth to do with all those outgrown sweaters, or sweaters you've grown tired of?   Well here's some ideas for re-purposing those sweaters.

FIRST is felting  the sweaters and making totes out of them. 100% wool sweaters work the best for these.  Also, try thick merino, cashmere, and alpaca.  If you don't own any of these --thrift shops are a great place to find good buys on them.   These are super easy to make even for the novice sewer.

*  100% wool sweater (L or X L are good for totes)
*  Washer and dryer
*  Laundry detergent
*  Large needle
*  Strong thread (carpet and quilting thread work best)
*  Sharp scissors (heavy duty ones are best)

Step 1.  WASH - your sweater in detergent, in very hot water,  in your washing machine. (I've found that if I put them in an old pillow case and tie it, it makes less of a mess in your washer.)  Repeat this step if necessary.
Some shrink a little, some shrink a lot; but either way, the individual stitches become more difficult to see and the felted fabric will no longer unravel when cut. 

Step 2.  CUT - Following the pattern below cut off the sleeves and neckline of sweater.  Refold after cutting so the seams of the sweater and the strap openings face front.

Step 3.  SEW - Turn the sweater inside out, and sew across the bottom, 1/2 inch from the edge.  Fold straps, slightly overlapping, in thirds and sew to secure.  Stitch around the bags opening to keep the totes top from stretching.

 Here is a sample of the finished Tote.

If you are an experienced seamstress, here are some other ideas for making purses out of the sweaters.  Some sweaters don't felt up as well as others.  Not to worry though, you can still make some great purses and totes out of them.

First decide the size and shape you want your purse to be.  Then cut your sweater accordingly.  I like to line mine and put pockets inside them.  I look at garage sales and thrift stores for purses that are priced between $2 and $5 each.  I remove the hardware and handles from them and re-use on my sweater purses.  Much less expensive than buying new and I am re-purposing yet another item.

So ladies let your imagination be your guide and create away.  The possibilities are endless.  I've put pictures below of some of my finished purses.  Hope you enjoy seeing them.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please feel free to comment. We will share your ideas on our blog.

This last bag was made and designed by my cousin, Cheryl Beavers.  This colorful sweater was not felted.  Just washed before cutting.  I love the paisley print she used for lining, trim and handles.  So as you see the possibilities are endless.  Let your creative juices flow ladies. 

Hugs and Best Wishes,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scrap Booking Fever!

Thought for the day:
Smile at everyone you never know what is going on in the other persons life.  You just might be the only smile they see today.

Today I thought perhaps I would talk about scrap booking.  I've always been an avid photographer when it comes to family functions and everyday life.  What I was not good at was dating my photos and journaling them.

My journey into scrap booking actually began about six years ago when my mother-in-law passed away.  Has anyone else ever received a huge box of pictures and/or photo albums or both when a parent or loved one passed away?  That's what happened to my husband and I.  We began looking through the pictures and the albums and my husbands response was repeatedly "I don't recognize anyone" or I have no clue when or where this was taken".  I made a vow right then and there that I was going to leave more of a legacy for my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

A friend of mine is a consultant with "Creative Memories".  I attended one of her classes and I was hooked.  I decided that I was going to start scrapbooking and journaling all of our pictures.  I do not want to leave the same kind of mess for my family as my mother-in-law did for hers.  So needless to say, I had a huge task ahead of me.  I decided to go back to 1979, which is when my husband and I reconnected after being engaged as teenagers.  Another story, for another time.

I began by doing one year at a time, matting, journaling and embellishing my pages until I was satisfied with them.  It's been a long process, but I am almost current.  I say that with tongue in cheek.  I'm almost finished with 2010.  Then I will be ready for this year.  However, I still have the 90's to complete.  Those were such busy, fun filled years I had a difficult time remembering what we did which year.  I believe I finally have it as near as it's gonna get.  After I finish catching up and am current I will tackle those years.

My husband loves looking at each album after it is completed. He always asks me how I can remember what happened way back then. My response is always I have to do it now while I can still remember.  Someday these albums may be the only memory I have.  Fortunately, for now I have a pretty good memory.

I love scrap gives me such a feeling of contentment and satisfaction to see my completed albums.  I hope that someday my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will appreciate them as much as I have enjoyed doing them.  I have actually gotten two of my granddaughters and one of my daughters into scrap booking with me.  I buy my scrap booking supplies from many different venues.  I find that if I determine which pictures I am going to scrap book, then I can decided what embellishments, matting pages, etc. I want to use.  If I don't have a particular embellishment, I go on line and find a clip art that works and print and cut it out.  My son bought me my first Cricut Machine.  I've since passed that one on to Heather and bought a larger one, which I love.

Below are a few pages from my 2010 album I wanted to share with you.  It gives you an idea of the kind of pages I do. My sincere hope is that in sharing my ideas with you, you will take that first step and start scrap booking your pictures.  Good luck and good scrapping!  Have fun, let the creative juices flow.  There are no limits to what you can accomplish if you just set your mind to it.

                                                   My oldest great-grandson getting a lesson with his
                                                      first shave.
                                                 This is a memory to cherish forever.  That first bike 
                                                           ride without training wheels!
                                            Our little skate board champ..if Bubba can do it
                                                        so can I.
                                           Dad letting the kiddos get there hands in the thick of
                                                      a mechanics job.
                                         Cheerleading for the first graders.  What a blast they had.

                                                 Doesn't this one just speak to your inner-child?