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Archive for October, 2008

Sewing Classes

I’ve been teaching sewing classes and was just delighted for my daughter to arrive for a weekend visit with a project we could work on together. She came to sew with me and her husband Ian came to help Ninja clean out the garage. They brought our two grandpups, Ellie Mae, a Redbone Coonhound and the newest member, an Italian Greyhound who is mostly tiny and in need of a superb coat… yes, not just any coat, but something tailored and rather nice.

Daughter Aubern Michelle has the sharp mind of an engineer and can figure out things long before anyone else knows they need figuring out, so she simply laid the dog down on some fabric and cut around him. I was really impressed, considering I was trying to figure out how to make a pattern and teach her how to sew it…. the fact that the pup laid still was pretty cool too!

We got to the construction process and she needed very little instruction to create a very nice (and tailored!) coat for her pup, Monty. Here she is sewing… there is a fleece layer beneath the outer layer which is a nylon type fabric.
She added big snaps to make it easy to put on and off. We think it is really cool, the way the snap things work… not hard at all to install them on fabric!
A hood. Yes, she made it where the collar can be pulled up around his head and it stays on! This little fellow has thin skin and gets cold easy, so he is probably one of the best dressed Italian Greyhounds (aka: Iggy) ever!

Little Iggy in a coat. What could be cuter?!

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Economizing with faith

Things might seem a bit crazy lately. The Dow has seen record drops, home foreclosures are rampant, consumers have cut back in so many ways that businesses are closing, and whichever way the election comes out, this presidential race will make history.

My parents and in-laws lived through the Great Depression that began in 1929, and over the years I asked them about how different life was. My in-laws said they weren’t affected as much because they each lived on a farm and for the most part, their families were independent. My parents were raised in the city and remembered working for very little money as well as rations of life’s necessities.

I had no idea that one day we would have to do without. There was a particular Sunday back in 1984 when John and I stood holding our daughter and watched our home burn to the ground. Aubern Michelle was 3 years old and all we had left in the world were our faith and each other.

The next morning we found ourselves still in shock, needing everything from toothbrushes to shoes. Those were difficult times, but also the time of the best lessons both John and I could have ever learned. It wasn’t the items we owned, but the fact that we had each other that was most important.

Of course, everyone would feel that way about his or her family, but I think actually rescuing our child from the fire and being blessed enough to be standing together afterward brought it into a new light for us.

Soon after The Boy was born, we had a little Great Depression of our own. After a layoff from Coca-Cola, I quickly learned how to cut back expenses and save what I could to get through the week or month.

Though I couldn’t have said it at the time, it was also one of the best things that ever happened.

Having cut back to the point that we were even saving money for what would now be considered inexpensive gas, I spent more time at home. I read to the kids more, played with them more, took them on picnics in the woods and lived at a much slower pace.

It was during this time that we had a very rough winter in our home in the woods of Moreland, Ga. Power lines were downed during harsh weather and we had to move our mattresses to the living room downstairs so we could all huddle together and sleep by the fireplace.

Sleeping was a challenge because every few hours, either John or I would have to stoke the fire to keep everyone warm. Stoking the fire meant getting out of snuggly blankets to an ice-cold room, stepping into cold shoes and bundling up in something warm enough to walk out onto the porch and bring in wood.

Those were the hardest times, brought on by elements we couldn’t control. John and I look back on it fondly now because if you ask our kids what their favorite memories are, they will most likely mention how much fun it was to bring the mattresses down, huddle together and sleep by the fire.

We were back to the basics, the bare necessities once again, and it was a great opportunity to be still for a while and watch God take control.

And now, our entire country is undoubtedly in questionable times. For my family and I, we certainly don’t know what is ahead or how economics, health or family needs will turn out, but so far the hardest times have taught us the most valuable lessons.

I consider myself a student of life, eager to learn from experience and from others. I look forward to the opportunities ahead if times do get harder. I know my faith will only grow and that regardless of the outcome, above investments, belongings or even the comfort of a full belly or a simple tank of gas, God’s will is all I wish to have.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I notice in this scripture that it doesn’t say you “may” have trouble, it says you “will.” It also says we will find peace in Christ Jesus.

It is true. No matter what the world dishes out, we can find peace in Jesus Christ. Whether it is a huge financial loss or watching your belongings burn to the ground, the true peace is in Him. All we have to do, as Psalms 46:10 tells us, is to be still and know that He is God.

His plan is much better than we can ever come up with anyway, so as for me and my house, we’re choosing to follow it and not learn the hard way this time.

Kathy Bohannon is a Georgia Press Association award winner and regular contributor to Effingham Now. E-mail her at kathy@bohannonink.com.

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I wanted to make a special something for some friends and my signature treat is Creme de Menthe brownies. These are rich, chocolatey, minty delish!

The recipe is really simple:

Creme de Menthe Brownies

1 box brownie mix (the chewier the better)

First layer:

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp Creme de Menthe liqueur

1 stick softened butter

Glaze:

6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

6 tbsp butter

Make brownies according to directions on box. Set out to cool

Mix confectioner’s sugar, softened stick of butter and Creme de Menthe

spread on top of uncut brownies

Glaze: melt chocolate chips and 6 tbsp butter. Cool until easy to spread… do not chill the glaze yet. Spread over green layer. Chill. Cut into small squares.

Yummy!

And now….. (drum roll please!) a bunch of goodies from my friend Angela! Fifty gifts for the 50 days until my 50th birthday… and we’re on day 29!

I haven’t had time to post so I photographed my latest goodies and here they are:

29th day gift:

This is a very sweet vintage oriental fan! And just in time for a hot flash! No kidding… I just now had to shrug out of the overshirt to get some air… It came in its original box, and I think I’m going to make a case for it so I can keep it in my purse. A VERY useful gift!

Day 30: Wow, only 30 days left till I’m fifty!

Well, no better time to celebrate than now! And starting off with a craft project will be rather festive! I thought this might be a book when I saw the package! It has some great patterns! I enjoy sewing for my dogs and also have a thing for sewing bags and accessories, so this is right up my alley!

I HAVE to make this for those days at the park near our house!

Each featured picture has a detailed pattern and instruction. If anyone wants me, I’ll be in the sewing room!
Day 31: pink and green felt… can we ever have enough? It is so cool to have a friend who knows me so well! Perfect colors!
Day 32: I’ve never seen one of these… a bangle bracelet that you can embellish! I’m thinking of decopauging some vintage images on it.
Day 33: Blueberry fiber. Well, if that doesn’t make you dream of beautiful things, I don’t know what would! Just the name alone is scrumptious, but when I took them out, they are soft, sleek, chunky, stringy and fluffy! Suh weet!!
Day 34: One can never have enough sticky notes, and I can never have enough Mary Engelbreit sticky notes! Teapots and straw hats… so fun!
Day 35: Does anyone remember those huge flowers of the 1970’s? I had a key chain that McDonald’s was giving away, and this reminds me so much of it. Where did all those cool 70’s things go?? I’ve already used several pages of this notepad… it is big and chunky and I can’t lose the note! Hey… I think it will be great for a Honey Do list!
Day 36: This notepad: SO TRUE! And today is housework day! I think I’ll use this one to make my own “Gotta Do” list!
Day 37: A rose is a rose is a rose… someone said that somewhere, hope it is a nice quote… anyway, the photo doesn’t do this justice. Just moments after opening it I found its perfect place! The PINK room, of course!
A week of delightful gifts from a precious friend.

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This is so crazy! I picked up the book today from my friend… the one described in my last post, and there, in my own handwriting is a note to my friend Ruth in honor of her grandchild Alexa Renee! Just below it is this:How cool is that? Fourteen years ago, when I was sixteen… ok, well, 36, I sent this book to Ruth, and she is sharing it with me today! Of course, Ruth has started something! I will share it with others who are becoming grandparents for the first time…

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I went to the mailbox today and found a rather large package. I knew I hadn’t ordered anything lately, so I had no idea what it could be. Inside was a sweet card and really cute book from our friends Art and Ruth Schroeder, from Newnan, Ga. “You wouldn’t believe what my grandchild did” by Lois Wise, is full of great stories about the silly things little ones say and do.

The card congratulates Ninja and me on our upcoming grandparenthood, and bears a sweet message from our friends.
The images between the card and book are two of the ultrasound pictures that I had already gotten frames for. The top one is the baby’s profile, chest, arms and fist. It was so neat to see how the baby is holding it’s thumb in the fingers to make a fist. Ninja does this and his dad did too…

The second picture is a profile of the baby’s face. It sure looks like my son did as a baby. Of course, my ultrasound pix were “back in the day” and the doctor failed to put paper in the machine so they couldn’t print them. Besides, it was that heat sensitive stuff that would be faded to nothing by now, so I guess it is just as well.

It is sweet to hear from so many people who have called and written to congratulate us on becoming grandparents. I think Ninja will be a terrific granddad one day. His dad sure was.

This is probably the best picture I have of Jack with our son. He was such a neat granddad, always stopped whatever he was doing to carry our daughter Chelle or our son The Boy to see the cows out in a nearby pasture, read a book to them or whatever they wanted to do. He was such a sweet man and I miss him still today.

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With apologies to rubber chickens everywhere,

http://www.youtube.com/get_player
Kerby takes one out.

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Fat Birds

I’ve been collecting fat birds for a while now, and I’m very choosy about which birds actually make the cut because I don’t want a big collection of anything stuck on shelves at my home. Some of them are special because they remind me of an event or occasion. This one came from a trip with my daughter and her husband. Isn’t it sweet, the way it looks up? The little basket of eggs (Day 43 gift!) was so cute I had to put it by this little guy. The big bird on the left sits outside all the time, and was the first fat bird I got. The little guy beside him was from August of 07 when Ninja Man and I took The Boy to Augusta, Ga. to plan the rehearsal dinner for his wedding. I found the bird at a little gift shop and wanted to bring it home to commemorate the special day.

These three are the run-of-the-mill catalog variety. The two blue ones are similar to two that Ninja bought for me about 30 years ago but we later lost in a fire. I have been trying to replace those two birds ever since, but have not found any that were just right. The big white bird? Well, he’s the big daddy of them all, just likes to hang around and look like a big, stern bird.

Though I enjoy having them around, these are just decorative pieces of nothing, when you think about it. But they represent so much more to me. Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (26) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (27) Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

These are words I keep in my heart because Ninja and I have seen times so hard that we weren’t sure how God would provide, but knew that He would, and He did. These little glass decorative pieces of nothing are gentle reminders to me every single day of the morning when I awoke and owned nothing, not even a pair of shoes, not even a toothbrush. They remind me of the times Ninja and I shared grits for supper so our kids would be able to eat a balanced meal, of the days before cell phones when we would both leave for work with just a quarter each in our pockets, and pray for a miracle that we would have gas to get home on.

Yeah, I worried, but God still provided. I struggled, but He was in charge. When I see my little fat birds, I know that God has been my Provider all along. It is a sweet and gentle reminder.

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