Saturday, December 31, 2011


I wait for the LORD,
my whole being waits,

and in his word I put my hope.

Psalm 130:5


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Posts in 2011


Last year I enjoyed some of the top posts of the year parties and thought it was so fun to see all the projects!  Everyone listed their favorite or most viewed posts with links attached.  So this year, I'm joining in too.  Here are some of my posts from 2011.  Since the top 10 viewed posts are listed in my sidebar, I thought it would be fun to list the posts below in order of the most comments received :)

10-31 008

Thanksgiving subway sign.  This was my #1 viewed AND commented post of 2011… Wows!  Guess I’m not the only one who loves Thanksgiving!


Love Never Fails Valentine’s Box.  A simple old oak sewing drawer filled with handmade hearts, flowers and doves, along with some vintage Valentine lovelies.


Scarecrow Crunch – a jumble of crackers, cereal, pretzels and Reese’s Pieces, along with both candy and caramel corn. . . need I say more?


Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer was a big hit this year… a fun fall treat that you can enjoy more affordably (and more often) when you make it at home.


Embroidered John 3:16 Valentine.  The favorite verse is arranged to spell the word “Valentine” and embroidered on a pillow.  But, it’s not limited to embroidery.  This verse is so sweet to use in many different mediums and Valentine’s Day projects!


Americana Flag Placemats.  These grand old flags got a lot of views and comments, as did the patriotic star table runner in the background. . .


Clay pot wreath.  Not only did it get a lot of views and comments, this is the one I still get the most email questions from.  Start collecting your clay pots now to make a wreath this spring :)


Ranch Corn Salad.  A quick and easy comfort food that’s an especially yummy compliment to summer grilling menus.

dec16 008

Luke 1:49 Christmas Collage Art… My first attempt at collage art and a follow up to the Thanksgiving subway sign, it was a fun learning experience!


And {finally} my solution to the candy corn cookie dilemma :)

It's hard to believe how fast the year has gone by!  Many thanks to all of you who visited, commented and followed this year.  You all are a huge bright spot in my day!



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creamy Crockpot Hot Cocoa

dec27 004
Tried this recipe for hot cocoa I found on Pinterest, but it was a little TOO creamy for us.  Also, it doesn’t make very much.  Or maybe our mugs are bigger than the ones used for the recipe.  Any who.  I changed it just a bit and it solved both problems nicely!
Here’s how I made our slightly less creamy hot cocoa :)
1 cup heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz)
2 cups milk chocolate chips
8 cups of milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir all the ingredients together in your crockpot.  Cover, & cook on low for 2 hours.  Whisk occasionally. 
I used my immersion (stick) blender before serving to froth the cocoa a bit.  It makes it lighter, but is definitely optional.
When it’s smooth and heated, ladle the hot cocoa into mugs....
dec27 003
and garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream.  Or just plain is fine, too!

Now relax with your family and enjoy your cocoa :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Are you a “take it downer” or “keep it upper?”


I am definitely a keep it upper!  I love the bright and happy d├ęcor of Christmas and enjoy it even more after all the stress rush of Christmas is over.

Once New Year’s Eve has come and gone and Christmas is all packed away, my winter wonderland theme will take its place… it helps make cold, drab and windy January a little more bearable!

Source: via Prairie on Pinterest

But whatever your packing style, as we put it all away, may we keep the wonder, love and joy of Christmas in our hearts…and may His light fill our ordinary days.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

dec24 002

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful day with your family and friends, celebrating the most wonderful birthday!


May you know the beauty of salvation this blessed Christmas day and may you experience with fullness the sweet gift of Jesus.  May your soul feel it’s great worth because of his appearing so many years ago.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

joyful, patient, faithful


Source: via Prairie on Pinterest

“Be joyful in hope,

patient in affliction,

faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

Friday, December 16, 2011

the Mighty One Christmas wall art

So.  I wanted to make a collage art piece, using this verse: 

dec16 014

Only here’s the thing.  I had a general idea of how I wanted it to end up, but not a clue how to get from idea to finished painting…

Started with a board and used gel medium to glue old phone book pages all over the top and sides of the board:

dec16 003

After it dried, painted it with gesso and added some shading around the edges with brown:

  dec16 005

When I got to the actual painting part, I realized, hey, I have NO idea how best to go about this.

And thus ensued a massive amount of trial and error. 

At which point I decided it would be best to leave the art tutorials to the um, actual artsy type peoples of the world.

So just picture lots of:  a) painting and b) repainting… mmkay?

Anyway.  This is how it ended up:

dec16 008

dec16 012

dec16 013

dec16 014

It was fun trying something new and I will give it another shot sometime :)

Merry Christmas!

The Nativity Story {digital style}

Reflecting today on the perfect gift that God has freely given us… the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

my strength

Source: via Prairie on Pinterest

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks,

and send some to those who have nothing prepared.

This day is sacred to our Lord.

Do not grieve,

for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

Friday, December 9, 2011

Toy Memories Christmas Tree

I started this tree when my oldest 2 (who are now in the 20’s) were toddlers! A coworker had one and I thought it was such a great idea.  Even with just 2 kids under 3, we were amassing a huge amount of dolls and stuffed animals.  We had weeded out a few that they weren’t fond of, but most of them were much loved and they didn’t want to part with them.

The problem was solved with the stuffed animal tree…

1207 011

Their beloved friends were saved from the goodwill box.  My kids still are filled with wonderment every year,  seeing their long-loved animal friends again!  So cute! 

And the rest of the year, the animals are neatly stored in Rubbermaid boxes…

1207 003

Smaller animals and dolls go at the top, gradually getting larger toward the bottom,  Save the biggest to go around the trunk.  Double knot the yarn around the neck and keep stacking those animals onto the tree. 

If you use lights on your animal tree, make sure they are LED lights, as they will be resting against the stuffed animals in some places.    

1207 006

My coworker had an elaborate wood and chicken wire, cone-shaped structure that her husband made.  It’s really heavy and nice, but it doesn’t collapse and we don’t have room to store one!  Our animals are simply tied onto a cheapo 5 foot artificial tree.

1207 001 


The teddy bear toy soldiers presiding over the top of the tree are the oldest toys in our collection and my favorite…

My Grammy tied them on our Christmas packages many years ago and they’ve been a part of Christmas ever since!

When you are ready to pack it away, just clip the yarn and repack the toys in their boxes. Simple!



So.  If you have room to store them, consider saving those cherished animals and dolls for a toy memory tree…

1207 012

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Santa’s Beard Advent Activity

Saw this on Pinterest and thought it would be fun to make for Nolan and Skyleigh….

My version has a little brighter colors, but it’s close :)

Santa is a little different, too.


Sorry for the picture quality.  I was racing to get Santa to the post office before they closed!


Hope they like it!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easy Coffee Cake with Variations

A basic, from-scratch coffee cake with 4 quick and easy alterations.  Fast, easy and the texture is always perfect… moist and fluffy. 
I made blueberry today :)
BASIC STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE 2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup margarine or butter (softened)
1 cup milk
1 egg
STREUSEL:  1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. margarine or butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

{Mix all of the streusel ingredients until crumbly. (I use my kitchen aid).  Set aside while preparing the batter}
Dump the batter ingredients in your mixer bowl.  Mix on low 30 seconds, scrape bowl and beat for 2 minutes on medium.  Spread 1/2 of the batter in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle batter with 1/2 the streusel.  Top with rest of batter and spread around a bit, but it doesn’t have to fully cover the streusel layer.  Sprinkle with remaining streusel  Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes.   
RAISIN SPICE VARIATION:  When mixing batter, add: 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. allspice.  Stir 1/2 cup raisins into the batter before pouring into pan.  May be made with or without streusel.  Either way, bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup orange (or lemon) juice instead of 1 cup milk and add 1-2 tbs. grated orange or lemon peel to batter ingredients.
BLUEBERRY: Omit streusel.  Spread 1/2 of batter in 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle with 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries.  Top with remaining batter.  Sprinkle with another cup of blueberries.  Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool slightly and prepare the glaze: GLAZE: 1 cup powdered sugar,
1 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. milk
Mix until smooth.  Use 1 tbs. of milk to start and add more if the glaze is too thick.  Drizzle over warm cake. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday inspiration


I will praise God’s name in song


glorify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


We give thanks to you, O God,

we give thanks,

for your Name is near;

men tell of your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 75:1

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday inspiration


Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him

and praise his name.

Psalm 100:4

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When I turned on the radio the day after Halloween, I heard one of my favorite sounds... Christmas music!

But I remember thinking, Christmas music already?  It seems the airwaves are not alone… from store ads to emails, blog posts to Pinterest pins, it seems the world can think only of Christmas.

And it saddens my heart that Thanksgiving is deemed less worthy of the months of preparation given to Halloween and Christmas. 

In all my memories of childhood, November was for Thanksgiving and it was celebrated first.  Time stood still for a moment while families were thankful… for each other and all the blessings enjoyed over the years.

And guess what -  Christmas was not diminished in the slightest.  In fact, it made the Christmas season THAT much more special and anticipated.  

Lately, I find the more Thanksgiving gets pushed to the side, the more intentional I become about celebrating it…planning, decorating, crafting, cooking and baking with the same enthusiasm as I do Christmas. 

Here are some of the projects I have made for Thanksgiving this year… in hopes my children’s memories of this holiday will be as fond as mine are!
10-31 008

  Thanksgiving Subway Sign


                               Scarecrow Crunch

    Thanksgiving place cards

apple slicesuntitlegravy
Make ahead this week (and freeze) gravy, rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing and pie crust.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nell’s Apple Pie

My great-grandmother Nellene (Nell) created this recipe.  I never got to meet Nellene, but her pie has been the stuff of legends ever since.  She was very careful who she shared the recipe with and kept it pretty much a secret recipe until it fell into my hands. 
(Apparently, I have no gifting in the keep recipes secret department).
Nell’s pie is so much easier to make than a traditional 2 crust apple pie.  And everyone who tries it, is an immediate convert.  But.  This pie is especially beloved by those of the male persuasion. 
Seriously.  Young.  Old.  In da middle.  Undying love is profusely pledged for this pie.  It’s quite a spectacle.
When my dad was diagnosed with diabetes, I began making his with Splenda instead of sugar.  Because, my dad?  He insists he CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THIS PIE. 
So… are you convinced to try Nell’s recipe? 
Start with a piecrust.  I make mine ahead in large batches and keep them in the freezer.  But use whatever crust you like...  From scratch or the grocer’s freezer. 
Once the crust is in the pan and the edges crimped, dump 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup white sugar into the bottom of the crust.  Mix gently with a fork until blended.
apple slices
Mound up the pie with peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples.  The original recipe calls for golden delicious apples.  I’ve tried a few other apples, but always come back to the golden delicious variety.  They seem to work the best and they’re easy to find at the store year round. 
If your apples are a little tart, sprinkle the top with up to 1/2 cup more sugar.  I almost always opt out of this step.  They’re usually sweet enough. 
Take a carton of whipping cream and start slowly pouring cream over the apples.  Try to get a bit of cream on all the top apple slices.
Dust lightly with ground nutmeg.  No, it’s not the usual apple pie spice, but trust me on this one.  It just works. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. 
Nell’s Cream Apple Pie
1 prepared pie crust
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4-5 golden delicious apples
1/4 to 1/2 cup additional sugar for dusting (optional)
1 to 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Place pie crust in a 9” pie plate and crimp edges.  Mix 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar in bottom of the crust.  Peel, core and thinly slice apples and mound them on top of flour/sugar mixture.  Dust with additional sugar, to taste.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Pour whipping cream over the apples.  Try to get each apple covered with just a bit of cream.  Bake at 350 degrees 40-50 minutes. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...