Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Something Sweet on Sunday/An Orange Cake to Die For

Back before Christmas, I received the weekly email from Kevin Lee Jacobs. That particular week, he showcased a boiled orange cake that uses the entire orange. Yes, the peel and all!!! I was intrigued! As it turns out, the basic recipe is quite old. He changed up the original recipe a bit by using almond flour, so it's gluten free.

Begin by boiling 2 oranges for at least an hour. Boiling them for a little longer really helps to reduce the bitterness of the orange  peel. Once boiled, just quarter them and then place them in a food processor and puree. 

As usual, I can't leave well enough alone. After I made the first cake, I decided to dress it up a bit with a slivered almond crust. Once the pan has been buttered and floured, sprinkle on a layer of slivered almonds.

I did add 1 other ingredient, and that was 1/2 cup of  shredded coconut. Love it!!!

Cook the cake as directed, place it on a serving plate, and dust with powdered sugar. As you can see, I was quite generous with the powdered sugar. 

The cake is moist, sweet, tangy, and most of all...DELICIOUS! I served the first cake that I made at a dinner party with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Everyone loved it. The second cake was not only eaten as a dessert, but for breakfast too! Why not? ;) 

You can find the recipe HERE

It's a cake that can be frozen and served at a later date. I have 6 oranges in the refrigerator that I have already boiled. Such a great way to use up oranges before they go bad. 

I know you will!!!

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Best Sewing Gift Ever!

It was a Christmas that I thought would be especially bleak. My father had recently left, and my mother was especially sad. It was our first Christmas alone, and we were over a thousand miles away from any family. But, under the tree was a gift for me. I opened it, and inside was a sewing pattern and fabric. As wonderful as that was, what made it all the more special was that the fabric that was in the box was the exact same fabric that was on the pattern envelope! Everything was in the box to recreate the garment that I saw. I just couldn't believe it, 2 black and white coordinates, and packages of white cording. 

Over the Christmas break, I made up the outfit, and of course wore it proudly on my first day back at school. I felt as though I was wearing a designer garment. 

I still have the pattern. The envelope is a little worse for wear, but everything is still intact, no missing pattern pieces.

I've decided to somewhat recreate the outfit. Rather than in the matching fabric, I am using a plaid wool flannel for the skirt, and a coordinating black cotton chambray for the shirt. 

Although 1 is cotton, and the other wool, I really like how the 2 coordinate. 

I'll do the version on the right just as I did when I had the coordinating fabric, but this time around, I won't add the big patch pockets. Rather than a contrasting piping, I'll just self pipe both the shirt and the skirt. 

The pattern is really just a basic shirt and a wrap skirt, but it's special. It takes me back to a time when my world had fallen apart, and yet, there under that tree was a gift that represented potential. As it was, it was just a box with a pattern and some fabric. But, with just a little effort, I had something that made me feel so very special.  

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2020, New Goals

January 14th may be a little late for a reflection back on 2019, but reflection is never bad unless we choose to linger there.

Like all years, 2019 had it's ups and downs;
*I broke my arm and missed out on the ski season
*My step-father died
*We had to say goodbye to our Gracie

While those things seem bad, I am reminded of a quote from President John F. Kennedy;

When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. 

Very profound. 
While there were many other things that happened that could be looked upon as not the best of things, just as there were with anyone who happens to read this, I'll focus on the 3 that I listed above.

Breaking my arm. The blessing; I had the opportunity to once again see my husband's devotion and incredible love for me. Never once did he complain about anything that he had to do.  

My step-father's death. His greatest fear was having to have his legs amputated, end up in a wheelchair, and ultimately in a home. While it was a shock for my mother, his passing was as easy as it could have been for him.

My dog Gracie. When she came to us, she was in awful shape, a huge cyst on her side, missing hair, and the hair that she had was so course and dry, she was starving. She died with me by her side, with a thick beautiful coat, a full stomach, and knowing that she was loved.

I'll share a lovely highlight from 2019;

"Hey Rhonda, 
Just wanted to reach out and thank you for our flight today. It was somewhat of a "learning experience" for me as an instructor...but your experience, and professionalism helped me so much, especially in expanding my personal minimums. You have a very calm demeanor, and you fly the airplane like an expert. I'm very much looking forward to our next flight together."

In all my years of flying, I have NEVER been paid such a compliment! That's a note that I will not throw away!!!  

Like many of you, I too set goals for 2019. Some I accomplished, and some I did not. I am most proud of 1 accomplished goal, and that was reading through the Bible. I read it as though I was reading any book, beginning to end. What an incredible journey it was! I downloaded a daily guide that kept in my journal, so every morning when I would sit down to write, the guide was there to remind me, and guide me.

I found the reading to be quite easy, just 3 or 4 chapters per day. I was one of those kids in school who loved getting gold stars on my homework, so being able to check off the daily reading assignment was right up my alley ;) 

As I read, there were so many passages that I wanted to keep track of, so the backs of my pages are filled with all of my notes.

If by chance you think that you would like to do something similar to this, HERE'S a link to the chart that I used. You can download it without any obligation. 

Back in August of 2019, I decided that I wanted a particular type of  planner, something that would give me the space to write down not only my appointments, but my daily, weekly, and yearly goals. Low and behold, I went to Walgreens(a drug store), and found exactly what I wanted.

I think the planner was intended for a teacher, but who cares?!! It was what I wanted. It began in August of 2019, and runs through January of 2021.  

It has the typical daily appointment calendar.

Larger spaces for day-to-day things. I use this to write out all that I would like to accomplish each day. On the right hand side is a place for notes. I use this to keep my goals in front of me. What I learned from reading through the Bible last year is that goals can easily be met when we take small, consistent, daily steps toward the goal.

In the back of the book are maybe 40 pages for notes. Here I keep a running log of the books that I have read, the knitting projects that I have accomplished, as well as my master goal list for the year. 

At this point, I have a list of 12 things that I would like to accomplish. Most I will keep to myself, but I'll share a couple;

Last fall, I enrolled Berkley in a training class that would ultimately lead to him earning his therapy dog certification. In November, Berkley completed level 3. He has level 4 to complete, and then he'll be ready for the actual certification training. I'm so very proud of him, and I have so enjoyed the learning process as well. I hope to have this all completed by the 1st of June. 

Just a crazy thing, ever since I learned to fly, I have wanted to earn a seaplane rating. Landing in the water is just something that I want to do, and not because I have to, i.e. an accident! The rating won't mean anything other than having accomplished the training. I'm saving that for sometime in July.

I do have sewing goals, creative goals, spiritual goals, and health goals. 

One last thing that I would like to share, I have a friend that I talk with each and every week. We set our time together as though it is a business meeting, knowing that at 9 o'clock on Thursday morning, we will be talking to each other. We miss from time to time, life can get in the way, but our time together is important and we try to keep our appointment. We share our goals for the year. We keep each other accountable by asking how we are doing with our goals, and we offer each other advice. Our conversation lasts for just about an hour, and it is by far, the best hour of my week. I highly recommend finding a friend that you can trust to share your life and goals with. It makes such a huge difference! 

Here's to a new year with new opportunities! May we all accomplish something wonderful in this new year.


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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Help For Australia

Small efforts can bring about huge results.

I'm sure you all know about the devastating fires in Australia. Yesterday, I received a message from Style Arc that I just couldn't resist. For the next 2 weeks, Style Arc is offering their Salma Wrap as an incentive to raise money for the Australian Red Cross. All proceeds of the sale will be donated. Just think about what could happen if sewists across the world came together, and purchased the pattern. 

Here's your chance to wrap yourself, and Australia in a little love. I hope you'll join me.

Style Arc's latest release- Salma Wrap- Bush fire relief
It has been a very sad time here in Australia.  Our thoughts go out to all people who have been affected by the devastating bush fires that have, and continue, to rage across our beautiful country.  The images and stories of loss to come out of this horrific fire season so far have broken our hearts.  
The Salma Wrap is our latest release and for the next two weeks all proceeds from the sale of this pattern we will be donated to the Red Cross Australia Bush Fire Appeal.
The Salma warp is a must have piece for your wardrobe, cleverly designed and drafted this style is both fashionable and easy to make.
Throw it on with your jeans for a casual look or make it from a lurex for that special event. This garment will become a favourite… you will love it!
The Salma wrap is available in a variety of formats to choose from; paper single-sizepaper multi-sizePDF single size and PDF multi-size
Style Arc's latest release- bush fire appeal
Style Arc's latest pattern- Salma Wrap- bush fire appeal
We thank you in advance for your purchase of this style and supporting those who have been affected by the fires.  
Until next time!
Style Arc team xx

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Christmas Tradition/Christmas Creatures

For about the last 10 years...I really haven't kept count of the years, I have been making my husband what I call Christmas Creatures. They are quirky little creatures made from seeds, and seed pods. In the fall I begin looking for whatever has fallen from the trees, and dried up seed pods on plants and bushes. I keep a large bowl on my kitchen counter, and when I return from my walk, whatever I've gathered goes in the bowl. Then, usually on Christmas Eve, nothing like waiting until the last minute, I take all that I've gathered, and begin playing. What amazes me is that each and every year, a new creature comes to life. Below is a number of the creatures that I've made. They are all made out of the same things, and yet, they are all unique.

Meet the newest addition to the group :)

He's a happy little guy with 1 ski up in the air, his wings furling in the wind.

The little seed pods that I used for his tail were found on a tree that I had never noticed before.

Last year, I found a cabinet to house all of the little creatures. Last year's creature is quite large, so he sits on top of the cabinet.

I've been approached about making the creatures for art galleries. Quite the compliment, but not something I want to do. They seem all the more special being one of a kind :) 

Making the little creatures was something I never realized I had in me. Truly little creatures created from my heart. 

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Monday, January 6, 2020

A 2019 Look Back

A belated
Happy New Year!

This past year has was a little quiet, blog wise anyway. Last February, I broke my arm in 2 places just above my wrist, and that kinda set the tone for a quiet year. But, all in all, it really was a great year. I found a cousin that I had no idea that I had through Ancestry. She is such a lovely person, and someone that I am very proud to call a cousin. I also reconnected with a family member after 30 years. This brought home to me that no matter how bleak something may appear, never lose hope. 

I've posted more on Instagram than I have on the blog. Not that I am moving exclusively to Instagram, it's just a platform that's been quick and easy. So, to close out 2019, I thought I would share my most liked Instagram posts.

My cargo pants, they have been a favorite. This was a challenge that Cennetta of The Mahogany Stylist and I did. Berkley and I do a lot of hiking, and cargo pants have become my favorite go to pant as I can carry my phone, money, credit cards, and I am still completely hands free.      

I took my first ever weaving class at Chicago Weaving School. Loved it! I don't know that it will become something that I will invest a lot of time doing, but I would like to learn and explore more about the craft.

This is an old make,but I posted it as an outfit of the day. The jacket is one that I made from a Kantha quilt that I ordered from India. When I initially made it, I went back and forth about cutting down the collar. I finally elected to just leave it alone. The jacket is a free pattern from Sew News. You can read more about it HERE. My jeans are the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns. I don't think I will ever purchase another pair of jeans as this pattern is absolutely fabulous.   

This dress was a favorite go to dress this past fall. I began with a t-shirt pattern and then added the rectangle drape. So easy to make. It's from my Fabulous Free Pattern Friday collection. You can find the original post HERE.  

Another favorite. I wore this jacket throughout the holiday season. You can see my post on the making of this jacket HERE

Another Closet Case Patterns favorite, the Ebony T-Shirt and Dress pattern. I have worn the dress with heels, flats, and even tennis shoes! Fun and easy to wear.    

This is one of my favorite outfits for summer. In the top picture on the right, you can see that I am actually wearing 2 layers. The top layer is sheer. I can take off the sheer layer and just wear the underneath layer. The sheer layer can then become a wrap. Perfect combo for traveling. 

A favorite go to pattern for pants is the Barb Pant from Style Arc. I think I may have 4 or 5 pairs of these pants. The t-shirt is another that I have made more times than I can count. It's the Molly Tee from Pattern Union.  

The top that I am wearing was made from vintage tea towels. The pants are linen, and I added a drawstring casing to the side seam for a little added interest. Wore these all summer long. 

The dress below was one that I did for Sew News. It's the Magic Bias Dress from Fashion In Harmony. This is another dress that's easy to throw on. Love it!  

Another Magic Bias Dress. It's also a summer favorite. I didn't shorten this version. It's amazing how different the dress looks in another fabric.

Yet another Closet Case pattern, the Amy Jumpsuit. I had a few fitting issues with the pattern, but all in all, I like it and plan to make it again.

And finally, my favorite make of 2019. Thankfully, I took the class prior to breaking my arm. I used my own watercolor painting that I had printed at Spoonflower for the center panels. The bag pattern is the Poppins Bag from Annie's Two Patterns. You can find all the info HERE.  

I love to laugh. After all, it's good for the soul. I saw this on Facebook and just had to share it! I think that most of us can relate :)

Here's to a fabulous new decade. May it be our best yet!

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