Tuesday, January 25, 2011


 Here is the quilt I have been working on lately. Titled "Silence", or "Father My Ears Had Heard of You", it is about 9" x 12".
 The twin storks are drawn on antique silk.
 They are pulling their bundle of white roses in two different directions. White roses symbolize the final silence, death, as well as purity and innocence.
 The background fabrics are cotton batiks and the bundle has an overlay of tulle.
I was tempted to do more detailing on this quilt but decided in keeping with silence and purity, to let the elements' simplicity shine. Above the storks the Bible verse Job 42:5 begins, and ends below: "Father my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." I feel the verse is appropriate because in the past month I have come to know God better. He is not the feel-good God we may think we want, He does not grant every wish like some kind of cosmic yes man, but His love is more powerful than I knew. He stops at nothing to transform us into the likeness of His Son. It pleases Him that we bring Him glory in ever-increasing measure, no matter what the cost.

Appetizer Night 2

 Here are the things we had for the second night of our first annual Appetizer Weekend. The second night we had some of almost all the first night's dishes too. Above is the bloomin' onion coated and waiting to be put in the oil. The frying pan has garlic and mushroom pieces being sauteed.

 Potato skins, bourbon sausage links, asiago cheese dip, and the onion frying.
 The bloomin onion in all its glory. Some of the outer pieces fell off when it was removed from the oil, but it tasted exactly like the one we'd had at dinner out! Recipe here
 Bacon quesadillas
 The onion frying and the stuffed mushrooms
After all that I decided not to make the salsa roll-ups, as they were not supposed to be cooked and we weren't as interested in them now that we had all this other terrific food. If you haven't had an appetizer night in awhile, what are you waiting for?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ethereal Bread

Last week I baked several batches of bread looking for something that rises high and doesn't get crumbly after a day or two. I had received a King Arthur Flour gift card and bought all kinds of bread additives and was trying them out. I finally got to the diastatic malt powder. Heaven knows why I bought it in the first place but it looks like it was a stroke of inspiration. Look how high this rose! It makes fabulously indulgent french toast- or should I say freedom toast- too! 
More on appetizer weekend coming soon, and I am finishing up my little quilt so pics for that will also be posted this week. Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you are inspired to bake and create too!
ethereal bread recipe 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Appetizer Night

It was high time we celebrated life as usual here at River's Edge. Time for Appetizer Night. I had such fun consulting the Pres for his favorites and choosing recipes. As usual I chose too many items, decided too late to find all the ingredients, and generally went about it haphazardly. But it turned out beautifully. 
 It was such fun making a wreck of the kitchen and then playing with the panoramic setting on my camera. It made the kitchen look warped but at least you can see how much of a mess I made. 

I had picked out so many things I ran out of time after karate class to make them all. The good news about that is it was such fun that Appetizer Night has been stretched into Appetizer Weekend. What I still have ingredients for and need to make tonight are: bacon quesadillas, spinach stuffed mushrooms, salsa roll-ups, and a bloomin' onion. Some of these things are partially prepped so it should make tonight go smoothly. Last night we had: 
 steamed dumplings (this is all that's left),
 Spring rolls (recipe from allrecipes.com here)
 Asiago cheese dip from Cooking Light, recipe  here, with bagel chips,
 potato skins with sour cream,
and bourbon sausage links. 

I love making any day special and showing my family that I love and appreciate them. It's fun to have people over, but you don't always need other people for a party.  My family is worth the extra effort. I would enjoy hearing how you celebrate your family too. Maybe it's with appetizer night, or maybe it's something else. If you're planning appetizer night though be warned, you could be headed for appetizer weekend!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Lord's Delight

A long time ago someone wrote this verse in my birthday card. I still have it and have gone back to it many times in the past ten years: 

"The Lord delighteth in thee"- Isaiah 62:4 

In me? After all I've done? Knowing my struggle with sins? My failure to hold my tongue? My reluctance to do what I ought?... Yes. The Bible tells us, we are the Lord's delight. Why is it so hard to believe? Because I know myself, my sins and shames. We each know our own sin. But the beauty of the Bible is that God does not wait until we are good- He would be kept waiting forever!- no, instead Christ died for us while we were still sinners. And because the price He paid for us was so high, so dear, 'the Lord delighteth in thee.' Praise Him!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Letting it Rise

 I've been baking a lot this week. Besides being one of my favorite things to do, I find it stimulates creativity in other areas as well.
 So I haven't gotten to the little quilt idea yet, and that's okay. While I work on these recipes, I am turning over that quilt in my mind, punching it down, letting it rise.

Now there are lots of good things to eat here. The bread and these hamburger slider buns came out the best ever, 
 but the angel food cake was a humble pie of sorts. I'd already mixed up the batter when I realized I didn't have the chocolate mini chips my recipe called for. I knew it wasn't advisable, but I used regular chips instead. They sank right to the bottom, which, once the cake is turned out, is the top.
Fortunately almost anything can be improved with a quick chocolate chip glaze. Meanwhile, I have an idea for a new story, and the quilt design is being modified before I ever cut a thing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fun Quilt for Fidget

For the past week or two I've been thinking about making a tribute quilt about my miscarriage. Naturally since I am mulling over a quilt in my mind and getting fabric out, Fidget wanted to make a quilt too. Well, you can see whose got made, and whose is still being mulled over.

At the beginning of last year we made Fidget's first little quilt. It was apparent to me that it was way too early for her to sit and sew, but at least she was involved in the process and drew the main picture that we sashed around (of Pooh Bear's sister, Ipl) ; and she did some great giant-stitched embroidering on its surface. Since then she's taken a break from quilting. 

I thought this would be another great opportunity for Fidget to try a quilt. It turned out I was wrong, as she has no ability to sit still (hence her name). Her feet don't reach the foot pedal, which is probably a good thing for now, and just sitting in my lap to guide the fabric through doesn't work either for someone so fidgety.
 She did pick out the fabrics from my scraps though. And I was pleased with her adding appliques to the surface to personalize it. This little blond girl is from the fabric we used for the backing. Fidget cut out some pink fabric to make the girl's dress longer.
This little girl is from a different fabric. What I like best about the quilt is that some of the fabrics Fidget picked are from projects very special to us. The green flowered fabric I used to make us matching sun dresses when she was still a baby. The light blue with pink flowers is part of her Humpty Dumpty (aka Hummy)'s outfit, and the tan background with roses and bees was first used to make a jacket for Pooh Bear.

I don't know if she will have any good memories of making this quilt. She did play around me when she wasn't helping. Maybe she will remember that. If nothing else, it was therapy for me as I took a break from thinking about a much more serious quilt.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Joy of the Lord

I was thinking on Nehemiah 8:10 this morning, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." I never realized before that you could look at it as if God provided you strength and that was what gave you joy. We know that's not the meaning of this passage. As believers, we know our strength is not what gives joy. In fact, we know we're weak and need God. Ironically though, we don't need strength in ourselves, and we can in fact have joy as weaklings! How can this be? Because when Jesus calls you, He gives you all you need, including the strength you need for each day.

Strength should not be our focus though. Sometimes in life it is easy to lose focus. When grief hits, or hard times, or things that don't seem to make sense, where do we focus? It can be hard to pray at times. It is comforting to know that God does not scorn us in our weakness. He made us, He knows our weaknesses and He is there. His presence continues with us, despite our feeble faith, our frailties, our doubts of His goodness. Sometimes we are just worn out and wonder how we will go on. 

But just when we least expect it, we see a miracle; that despite our heartbreak, we have a joy we can't explain. This is how we know we are His. As Psalm 30:5 says,  ...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. 

I found joy where I least expected it today. I wish it for you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Strength and Trust- or lack of them

Recently someone sent me a book of Charles Spurgeon's writings paraphrased to make the language more modern. This morning I read from it something I found helpful: that you can't serve God in your strength, only with the strength He gives at the time you need it. As Fidget and I return to home schooling today, it is good for me to mull over the fact that my strength is not even an issue. I don't have to get myself together or be a spiritual giant before I can be used by God. God will in fact, give me all that I need to serve, exactly when I need it. So bring on the day, bring on the first grade English lessons. He will strengthen me to teach, and Fidget to learn. 

Another wonderful thing about trusting God is that we watch Him work in our lives daily, hourly. Minute by minute even. So even when I am lacking in trust, He is still at work, delivering on promises He made throughout the Bible. He is faithful, and if we watch we will see God prove himself over and over. This inspires trust. And thinking on ways He has answered and miraculously delivered us in the past inspires trust as well. If you are feeling feeble in the faith, think back on what He has done in your life before, and watch what He is doing around you. He will not fail to strengthen you for your day, and me for mine.