The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Monday, August 29, 2011

Buttons and Seams


I'm participating in Lori's Tuesday Project Party.
Click her link above to see what it's all about.
Get inspired!  Get working!

The project I'm sharing with y'all today is still in progress--that is, if I consider it one project.  Here's my report:

I'm sure you're wondering what in the world that building is, and why it is in this post.  It is where I started this project.  Its location:  Joliet Junior College, where Jacob and Danny are taking classes for degree/transfer.

We worked out a car schedule prior to the start of school, and since Danny has classes in two different locations, I accompany him on Monday and Wednesday afternoons to the Romeoville campus, and on Wednesday morning to the Joliet campus.  Jacob, who has classes on Tuesdays/Thursdays, takes Danny the rest of the days, either to Joliet or to Romeoville.  The reason--Danny has his driver's permit and can't drive alone.  Jacob was willing to take him everywhere, but also has classes to complete.  And Danny can't drive with Jacob in the car, since Jacob is not quite 21.  So on three different days, at three different times, I accompany Danny.

So there you go--a crazy car schedule until Danny gets his license.  But that's not my project (it should've been!)...

Back to Joliet Junior College, in the new A Building (in the photo above), in the cafeteria/lounge area, which is where I ended up last Wednesday morning with this:

Yep--another blouse which this non-seamstress thought she could make fit.  The problem--the sleeves are too tight on my arms.  The solution--widen the sleeve.

The original sleeve, buttoned:

I removed the button and widened the armhole opening by sewing the edge of the buttonhole to the edge of the other side.  Then, I sewed the button over the top of it to hide my amateur stitching.

The after:

Another blouse needed to be taken in at the sides, since it fit in my shoulders but "swam" on my waist.  I do have a shape, even if it is almost straight on the sides!

The before:

A lovely Christopher & Banks blouse, whose buttons don't gap!!  Found at Goodwill for about $4.00.

I marked the desired edge (I had already pinned it where I wanted it):

Then I hand-sewed along the line with a loopy through-one-side-and-out-the-other kind of stitch (I'm sure there's a name for it...):

A few days later, at the Romeoville campus, I finished taking in this blouse:

Also, Fernando had a doctor's appointment last week, and since I had to accompany him (his pupils were dilated and examined), I brought more blouses and completed a pretty white one.  I have two summer blouses left, which I am working on this week.  They'll be done just in time for the end of summer, lol.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.  But they're getting done, which makes me happy.

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pesto? P-R-E-S-T-O!!


"There is rhythm to being a farmgirl.
It is the rhythm of working hard when there is work to be done.
It is the rhythm of finding joy in the "doing" of the work.
It is also the rhythm of slowing down to enjoy each moment."
Rene Groom

I'm linking up with Lori's Friday Farm Girls @ Heart today.

Every Thursday afternoon, I drive over to our farmers market to purchase my eggs and meat (whatever I can afford that week) from our farmers, Eric and Samantha.  Sometimes I browse the other vendors--there are only about 20 there--to see what others are selling.  Right next to our farmers is the Presto Pesto booth.  When my guys are with me, they try the samples and tell me they like it.  Hmmm...

In my vegetable garden, I have out-of-control basil (it's a happy plant this year!).  I had bought pistachio nutmeats earlier in the year for some recipe I never tried.  I always have olive oil and Romano cheese.  And this week, I had a recipe from Lori and a recipe I found online here, which is a pretty fun website to explore if you like to cook.

I combined the two recipes, and ended up making pesto two different times.  I believe I've perfected the recipe to our family's tastes, and I post it here for your enjoyment.  Oh--and we added some chopped tomato to it, yum yum.

Christine's Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I used pistachios)
small clove garlic, minced (you can leave this out if you like--I used a small clove)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (can use Parmesan or Parmesan-Reggiano)
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  (You may pulse the nuts first a few times before adding the basil.)  Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.  Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  (I added the salt/pepper in with the cheese.)

Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.  We even spread it on our pizza!

But the ultimate summer meal with our pesto was the below:  A BLT wrap with fresh iced tea on the side...

  • Bacon from our farmer
  • Homemade whole-wheat tortillas
  • Organic lettuce (from the store...)
  • Homemade mayonnaise (recipe to come soon, perhaps!)
  • Garden tomatoes with my new pesto

Ahh, a sampling of some of the delights of summer, all on my dinner plate!

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tea Talk -- Carried Away

Welcome to my home for Ruth's Tea Talk!
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.
To participate, click on Ruth's button above.

I'm having...iced tea with lemon; I'm using my blue goblet.  I'm sitting on my bench in my back yard garden today, enjoying the remaining summer.

I'm feeling...[insert normal response:  fine].  Oh!  I have something different to report here:  I'm excited, sad, a little worried and/or nervous, and happy all at the same time.  Because...

On Monday, my dear sons Jacob (20) and Danny (18) got in the car...

Jacob (right), and Danny (left)

...backed out of the driveway...

...and drove off to college:

They came back later, of course.  Joliet Junior College is just half an hour away.  But they were gone all morning and my house was quiet with just Joseph, Thomas, and I.  I've always said--take one child away, and the noise level declines dramatically.  But having two gone results in a different feel altogether.  This is what it's like when they start to fly away.  I'm glad this learning-to-fly business is happening bit by bit.  :)

On my a photo shoot I'm going to do tomorrow night for a young Marine recently returned from Afghanistan.  Having married a Navy man, I have experienced a flood of memories as I think about the people in the military, and especially their willing sacrifice as they serve their country.

I leave you with...this passage of Scripture and a thought:

When Jesus came into Peter's home,
He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, and the fever left her;
and she got up and waited on Him.
When evening came,
they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed;
and He cast out the spirits with a word,
and healed all who were ill.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:


Matthew 8:14-17

In our family devotions, the question arose:  Why did Matthew reference the Scripture in Isaiah (chapter 54), which usually generally refers to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross?  And an interesting idea arose in response:  maybe Jesus healed in the physical sense to show the people that He would also heal in the spiritual sense.  After all, He spoke in parables so that the people could understand the spiritual idea behind the physical illustration.  By healing someone physically, He proved that He had the power to heal us spiritually.  He demonstrated this concept later in Scripture (the very next chapter of Matthew) when He forgave someone's sins first, then healed his physical body (cast out demons) afterward.

I am truly thankful that He can physically heal--I have felt His healing touch in my own body at various times.  But I am also truly thankful that He has healed me spiritually.  I am washed clean.  I am whole.  I am His.

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website

Friday, August 19, 2011

Good for the Soul


I'm linking up with Lori's Friday Farm Girls @ Heart today.

Whew--hat a very tiring few weeks.  Harvest time is exciting, to be sure--peeking under leaves and into plants to find those plump, red tomatoes, moving leaves aside to spot hidden jalapeƱos, digging up treasures of onions and garlic.  But, harvest time also means a lot of work.  God gives the bounty, but He also expects me to take care of it!  So I did.

Here is my harvest story, shared in images from the past few weeks.  :)

Some of the canning:

Some of the harvest:

These are Lori's peppers!

Some of the "preserving":

The second week of canning:

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tea Talk -- There Your Heart will Be

Welcome to my home for Ruth's Tea Talk!
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.
To participate, click on Ruth's button above.

At the patio table, with the vegetable garden beyond

I'm having...iced tea in my blue goblet with ice and a slice of fresh lemon.  Today I'm enjoying my iced tea in my back yard, in my special spot.


I apologize in advance for all the pictures!  Part of my special spot is pretty, and the rest--an unfinished sun-but-it's-now-shade garden--is a curving hill of various weeds.  My pretty Smith & Hawken bench sits in the shade under a scrub maple tree.  One day, this garden will become the focus of a summer project, and it will become an even more special spot!  But for now it sits, waiting for me to sit as well, take a breath, and relax.

I'm feeling...good even throughout another busy week.  And I'm feeling good even after being in my hot kitchen yesterday for almost five hours canning tomatoes.  I now have 21 more pints (plus 8 last week) of diced tomatoes to put up for winter, and that makes me very happy.

On my getting ready for the guys' college life to start up next week, and our car schedule--who is driving the car when and where, and with whom!  It is a crazy hectic schedule when you divide one car by three people.  I'm glad Thomas isn't driving yet...

I leave you with...a passage of Scripture we talked about in our family devotions last night.  Very timely, I think, in light of all the chaos that is happening in our natural world, in the economy, and with the moral fiber of our country.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys,
and where thieves to not break in or steal;
for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NASB

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For the Guys: Ready, Jump, Splash

A pool is one of summer's greatest highlights.  I treasure the memories of swimming with my girlfriends when I was young, having special nighttime swims with my brothers, even splashing around with my brothers' baseball teams after their Little League games.

Recently, as I look back over the past ten years, I am thankful Fernando decided that our family needed a pool.  Our boys had so much fun throughout their summers, learning to swim, splashing with Dad and Mom, and having their grandparents and friends over to swim.

Now that they're older, we considered getting rid of the pool.  But, we've discovered that over the past few years that there are a number of buddies that like to swim, and the pool has experienced a surge in use.

I casually walked outside with my camera a few different times, and the guys were all open--even excited--about the possibility of getting captured in various jump poses and stages of splash.  Of course, these guys took it upon themselves to figure out the best, highest, most unique jumps, with the best splashes.

On one afternoon, I took pictures until my lens got splashed, then figured it was time to end that camera session. :)

And on another afternoon, the guys didn't mind (again) me being out there with Ellie.  :)

After a hard afternoon of swimming, the guys were excited to learn that the girls wanted to simply order pizza.  Below, Danny described how deep he wanted his deep-dish pizza.

Silly guys.  :)

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website