Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Coin Purse Because My Coins Count

Annually, our church does the My Coins Count project through MCC.  The kids collect coins from the congregation in old yogurt cups while the ushers pass the offering plates - it's noisy, joyful, and full of purpose. Together, the coins add up to thousands of dollars that MCC sends to peace programs and relief projects around the world. 

That these little coins can add up to make big sums and impact lives is energizing to me and fits with one of my life philosophies:  small things have value and make a difference, too! 

This year, instead of taking my coins to church in an old ziploc baggie (hello, ugly), I got out my scraps and a chunky zipper and made a coin purse.  The red scrap is from Ruth, the lining is left from this dress, and the itsy-bitsy scraps at the ends of the zipper are from this skirt. Very satisfying. 

Anytime I pay with cash, I deliberately squirrel away the change in my coin purse and carry it to church on Sunday.  It strikes me now that this is my Lenten discipline and focus this year!  The beauty and purpose of small things. . .

excerpts from the song My Coins Count by Les Gustafson-Zook

My coins count, my coins count.
Sitting in my pocket when they could be doing good.
My coins count, my coins count.
We can make a difference in the world.

The gifts we are given we are given to be shared
all around the world.
Doesn't matter if they're big or small when used with care
We can make a difference in the world

My coins count, my coins count. . .

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

So Many Sandoval Hats

Look at my loves, just look at them! I'm here taking photos of their hats, but they themselves are so dear and happy in the cold breeze.  Let's say it's because their heads are warm?

I knitted up a Sandoval hat for my husband with grey worsted wool, and then Genevieve tried it on and asked for one, too.  There was a little grey yarn left from my husband's hat, and I had a little light blue yarn left from my nephew's baby hat, so we agreed a light blue brim would look cool.  I dearly wanted to use the rest of the light blue in a pom pom, but Genevieve was firm and kind: no way.

This hat is easy to knit, super comfy to wear (okay, I snitched my husband's hat a few times now), and looks good.  I've now cast on to knit my own Sandoval.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Big Kids Cook Supper

Have you ever broken down the skills that go into cooking a good meal?  There's planning ahead to decide what to cook, matching that up to what's in the pantry and planning how and when to get other ingredients.  Then you have to decide what recipes, or else have some back-pocket knowledge of food if you're not using recipes.  And will the people you're feeding like what you're planning?  Is it balanced - protein, carb, veg/fruit? Then you have to time the whole shebang to be done at the same time, preferably the time your people are expecting to eat.  Wow! That's a lot of skills!

So obviously, this is a big step for kids to produce a meal.  Over the years, however, I've taught them some individual recipes and they've made one-off desserts.  Also, since I stopped making breakfast for everyone, Ben and Genevieve have gotten more experience with what it takes to prepare a meal if they feel like eating something other than cereal. 

Ben and Genevieve take turns cooking dinner on Saturday evenings.  Early in the week, I discuss the menu with them and help them make a plan.  I shop for any ingredients they need.

On Saturday, I leave the kitchen in the late afternoon and park myself somewhere in the house with a project that can be interrupted.  They come and consult with me if they need to (usually do), and I don't have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue watching them cook. They do fine! They do things differently from me! It's mean to expect them to be tidy and efficient when they're beginners!

Some of Ben's menus:  
vegetarian chili, cornbread, and pickles
Singapore street noodles (with Dad's help)
dhal, rice, greens in peanut sauce

Some of Genevieve's menus: 
chicken corn noodle soup, pimento cheese + crackers, cranberry applesauce
taco salad
waffles, creamed spinach, pickles, and waffles with ice cream and magic shell

Ben says he likes seeing us eat the food he made.  Genevieve says she likes being able to choose the menu.  It's really nice for me to get a break from cooking supper, and it's wonderful for them to be acquiring life skills. High fives all around!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I Sliced Up My Blue Boho Shirt

I thought I could make myself a popover shirt that would work as part of my winter uniform: jeans, cardi, shirt.  I used this 1970s pattern again, and this time I decided to insert some lace.  I was afraid I had made a cowgirl shirt, but Rebecca called it boho and talked me into wearing it (good job, R!).  I do adore the blue fabric, which I got for pennies somewhere. I had just enough for this shirt

But here is the slicing part:  as I was sewing the shirt, I accidentally made a 1" cut on the front hem.  I was squeezing this shirt out of very little yardage, so I couldn't re-cut the front.  Instead, I "mended" the cut with a little piece of flowered bias tape because I've seen some trendy labels put their tags on shirts that way.  Most of the time, the hem is tucked in my jeans anyway. 

I used that same pretty bias tape to make the casing for the elastic in the sleeves.  I opted for elastic to make the shirt more user-friendly in the kitchen with my hands in dough or water or whatnot; plus, it's easier to get dressed without buttoning cuffs.

 But unfortunately, even though I had measured carefully for my long arms, the sleeve elastic had pulled the sleeves back behind my wrists. I hate sleeves that are too short!  Instead of tediously picking out the elastic and casing and adding length there, I sliced the sleeves and inserted a few inches.  Uncoventional, but really not very visible, and now I truly have just a few inches of blue fabric left.  And the shirt is so comfortable and hard-working that I wear it often.