Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Cables || Walk in the Woods

Hello again and happy Monday, everyone!

Let's see...last week I gave an update about all the projects I was working on. Well, not much has changed there. I am closer to finishing the filet crochet. Just some ends to weave in and blocking.  

I was going to resize a dress today but it's been sitting underneath some other fabric in a bag so it's all wrinkled now. I'll have to wash it Friday and work on it next Monday. 

I don't have any sort of crafty photos this week but I did go on a hike on Saturday and brought my camera along. I've been trying to use it a little more often so I can actually be pretty familiar with all the different things it's capable of. I've actually been relearning/teaching myself Photoshop recently. Which is another reason to tote my camera around.

 Here are a few pictures from the hike. It was a gorgeous day!

Playing with camera angles on a footbridge.

The brook. All the plants are turning green again!

An old road that lead to some farm houses in the late 1800s

Attempting to used the rule of thirds.

Tree roots, distance, thirds...

Trout lily in front of many trout lily leaves.
-- The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:12--

Friday, April 24, 2015

How To || Make Candied Violets

 I think spring has finally decided to stick around for the next couple of months.  The grass is green, plants are sprouting, leaves are budding, and flowers are blooming. The violets have opened their delicate purple petals and on Wednesday a nice rain shower rinsed them and they were ready to be picked. My husband and I went out for a walk and plucked each little blossom from it's stem and because it was rather spur of the moment, I ended up with a large handful of violets in my coat pocket.

 *Please, if you are just picking plants off the ground, make sure that you are picking the correct plant!! If you are not familiar with the plant, or do not know anyone who is, you can go to a nursery that sells edible flowers and some one will help you find exactly what you need!*

When we got home we spread the flowers out on a paper towel and looked up a recipe for candied violets. I honestly do not know where my husband found the link or where it lives in cyber space, but all the information we borrowed from the link that originally belonged to it, as far as I know, was oven temp and time.

*Note: This recipe uses egg!*
I consider myself to be pretty germaphobic, and the word salmonella stood out prominently in my mind, but that's why I used a recipe that called for and oven, and not just letting the egg white dry at room temperature on the flowers. You could also use the pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton if you're more comfortable with that.

These aren't really pictures of the whole process, but the ones I have are too delicious not to share!!

Egg whites
Granulated sugar (just eyeball the amounts of egg and sugar, you can always add more if needed)
Tweezers (optional) we just used our fingers
Cookie sheet
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to  200*F
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Individually dip each flower into the egg white, then into the sugar.
Place it gently on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all flowers are finished
Place cookie sheet into the oven for 20-40 minutes (Check every 10 minutes at the 20 minute mark)

The flowers will be dry and brittle. If you bring the sides of the parchment paper together, many of them will just fall into the the center of the paper, dump them into a small bowl. If there are any that are still stuck to the paper very gently push them with your finger while peeling the paper away. There may be just a few that got folded over and are still a little gooey, I ended up just throwing those ones away. This is just a small portion of the all the flowers we picked...

These flowers make great garnishes on cookies, cakes, or on my favorite, chocolate ice cream!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wedding Series Week 3 || Reception

On Friday, the afternoon before the wedding my family, my future in-laws, and myself all decorated the reception hall. There was nothing really fancy. Decorations consisted of table cloths, tulle, and a few other bits and pieces in white and various shades of blue. Each table had a metal pumpkin shaped tea light candle holder and a little card with a bluebird I had painted and a Bible verse about marriage on the back. The blue bird bunting I made was draped from the ceiling.

The next day, after the ceremony the guests went to the fellowship hall downstairs for a little bit while the photographer did the portrait shots. It was just about lunchtime during the reception and there were sandwiches, salads, and pastries. I'm glad the bride and groom get to fill their plates first. It all looked delicious and I was so hungry! I had breakfast at 6:30 that morning and a few bites of a blueberry muffin just before walking down the aisle.

There wasn't any music or dancing, just chatting and eating. So nice, quiet, and laid back. Someone announced, sans microphone, when my husband and I walked into the fellowship hall and we mingled with the guests after eating our lunch. Then we cut the cake!!

The cake was just a small two layer cake and the guests got cupcakes! That makes everything so much more simple, not having to make sure that a sheet cake gets cut into the right number of pieces for the guests. I had searched Etsy for a few weeks for a cake topper but couldn't find anything I liked. Then I found this little bluebird figurine in an antique shop, though it's not antique, I knew it would be the perfect topper!

Since it was fall I ordered maple sugar candy favors. Heart and rose shaped maple sugar candies!! I still have a few left. They don't go bad do they? I know for sure they don't look so pretty anymore.

The reception seemed to fly by and the guests sent us off on our way with congratulations, hugs, and bubbles!

~~All photos in this post are by Tamara Panza of Genesis Artistry~~

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Cables || Centerpiece and Side Projects

Just to bring you all up to speed on my current projects:

I have been working on a table centerpiece for I don't know how many weeks!  It's this pattern, another filet crochet. I'm enjoying it, but it's taking a long time.  The graph for the pattern shows only about 1/4 of the whole piece since the patterns are repeated both side to side top to bottom from the halfway points. Plus, because I'm using a different size thread and hook, It's going to be about twice the size of the measurements given in the pattern. In other words, HUGE!

If you follow my Facebook and/or Instagram then you probably saw that not only did I sew a case for my knitting needles, but I also crocheted a rectangle to store my crochet hooks in. They are both getting good use with just holding the extra hooks and needles right now since I'm currently using just one crochet hook for the working on the centerpiece.

These pics are a little repetitive, but it was bound to happen after digging through paperwork, doing math, and finishing up taxes last week.

Let's see what other projects have I got going on...(that I actually plan to finish) Two cross stitch pieces and a knit Christmas stocking for my niece. I just remembered that! I should probably start soon if I want to have it finished by Christmas. I am not a very fast knitter. I'm also sewing together the granny square afghan I received in the mail. There are a few other projects that I'd like to start, but I think I have just about enough on my plate at the moment.

Last Friday I put a small (6" by 8") sketch book in my bag. I plan on trying to carry it around when I go places just to see what happens when inspiration strikes!

Friday, April 17, 2015

How To (or How I) || Pack for a Weekend Trip

As I mentioned a few posts back, I went to visit my parents over Easter weekend. I love road trips but I do have to say that they are much better in the car than on a big bus.  Before my husband and I were married we would take the bus to see each other. I used to pack a backpack for those trips and just kept it with me on my lap or on the floor. Being able to ride in the car is nice. I can pack a carry on size suitcase and throw snacks, a blanket, and whatever else I feel like taking in the back seat. While I was packing I decided to take some pictures of my methods and share them with all of you!

I left Friday and came back home on Monday. When I'm packing I always like to set aside comfortable clothes for while I'm en route.  I will always wear the same pair of pants for both trips, sometimes I'll wear the same shirt, usually I don't though. I always pack two shirts anyway which is definitely a good idea because snacking can get pretty messy in a moving car especially if you hit stop and go traffic.

"Trip there" and "Trip back" overlap at the pair of pants sandwiched in the middle. To the right are my pajamas. Funny story: I forgot to bring my pajamas with me when I slept over my grandparents house one time. For some reason just sleeping in my day clothes was not an option I allowed myself. For some odd reason I did pack a random fleece blanket and a crochet project. Priorities, people. I took out the sewing box and cut the fleece blanket into a pair of not-so-well  fitting shorts with a yarn drawstring. They were only used once, but they served their purpose well.

Once I've got my travel outfits all picked out then I lay out outfits for the rest of the days of my trip.  Saturday and Sunday amounted to three outfits because I packed one outfit for church and something to change into afterwards. There are a few shirts in some spots. I always layer, especially in early Spring!

Wow, a lot of negative space in the top of that picture!! These were literally taken as I was in the middle of packing. Apparently I was paying more attention to that than to the photography. It's a good thing too or I may have ended up forgetting my pajamas!

Now, how do you pack all this stuff? A three or four day trip, for me anyway, usually leaves enough space in my carry on to throw in a few pairs of flats  and maybe a pair of sandals on top of everything. I wear my sneakers in the car The key to getting it all to fit well is to roll  your clothes. I've never had an issue with wrinkly clothes packing this way, but then again I'm not too fussy about wrinkles either. I'm one of those people who will just hang a shirt or skirt in the bathroom while the shower is on.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

When you pack a collared shirt, you'll want to fold the collar down as close to the shoulders of the shirt as you can. That way if it gets a little creased in your suitcase and you haven't got an iron, the crease will most likely be covered up by your collar anyway.

Fold the shirt in half, then fold the sleeves over, and fold in half again.

Roll the shirt from top to bottom.

Pants and skirts are both pretty simple. Pants, you fold in half so it looks like just one leg, then you fold in where the inseams meet so you've got two straight sides, and then roll. I prefer rolling pants bottom to top, but it doesn't really make much difference.
For skirts, fold them in half, then fold in the part of the skirt that flares out on the open edged side until that edge is even with the waistband, and roll.
I pack everything sideways and try not to pile things on top of each other so I can see everything I've got packed. This is what it looks like with a few items packed.
I count out socks and other essentials and those go in a front pocket. Inside the suitcase I almost always end up with room for shoes, as I mentioned before, and many times I can also fit in an extra outfit just in case (no pun intended) I change my mind or the weather changes it's mind.

Thanks for reading, and please share your own packing tips in the comments!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Liebster Award/A Little Bit About Me.

 There are 5 Wednesdays in April and I'm trying to keep my weekly series posts to a consistent 4 per month so here's a fun little thing today! Enjoy!

Recently Bethany from Liberty or Death so graciously nominated my blog for a Liebster Award! The first one for Elegant Homestead! I have answered her questions and included 10 more for you, dear readers, to answer!  If you have a blog, please comment to let me know that you've accepted this award so I can read your answers, or if you don't have a blog or would just like to answer in the comments, please do!  I love learning about the people who read my blog. It really helps me think of what kinds of posts to write.

 Excuse the graphic. I was playing around with a new app and I don't totally have the hang of it. i figured this made for good practice.

1.  Would you share a favorite quote and a favorite Bible verse?
My favorite Bible verse(s) is/are Psalm 121:1+2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord who made Heaven and earth.
Favorite quote....hmmm...
"There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still."-Corrie Ten Boom

2.  What would you like to accomplish before the year is over?
I would really like to buy a house before the year is over. 

3.  What is your ancestry (e.g. German, Italian)?
I am mostly English, Scottish, and French there's quite a lot of other nationalities mixed in there too.

4.  What is your favourite genre of music?
I mainly listen to showtunes and swing. I have popular favorites from the 1900s through the 1940s. Anything after that is more than likely a "new" cover of an old showtune. I also love discovering old recordings (the 1910s-ish) of favorite hymns

5.  Do you have a favorite bird or flower?
I love bluebirds and snapdragons. Bird and flower, respectively.

6.  What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever told you/or that you've ever read?
My Redeemer lives!

7.  What is your go-to meal for when you need to cook something quickly?
Cooking leaves out PB&J I guess, so it would have to be eggs. Scrambled or boiled. It depends on my mood.

8.  Do you have a favorite word?
None specifically that I can think of. I notice more when words are strung together and they sound funny or nice.

9.  What is your favorite tv series?
The Dick Van Dyke Show. I'm working my way through watching it right now. I like Christy too, based on the Catherine Marshall books. I just finished watching that before starting the Dick Van Dyke Show.

10. If you could have a gift card to any clothing store, including online, what would it be for?
Eshakti or ModCloth would be cool! I love so much of their things but most of the items I like are out of my budget.

11. If I were to visit you in your hometown, what would be the first place you'd want me to see?
I couldn't choose. There are a lot of revolutionary war things to visit. It's pretty cool.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Cables || Knitting Needle [Pillow] Case

Hello, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!! Today was a beautiful day and I spent about 98% of it inside. Sad. I know. I have stalled on doing my simple (by comparison) taxes. I started those this morning, got confused because it's my first year doing them by myself, then I waited for my husband to get home to help me finish them because he took tax courses in college.

Between getting confused with taxes and the time he arrived home from work I tidied up a bit. If you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook you may have seen these photos recently:

 A friend sent me a box of knitting, crocheting, and various other craft supplies she had stored in her attic. I was so thrilled she thought of sending it to me! It was like Christmas morning opening the big box that arrived on the porch. She had told me that there was an afghan that needed to be stitched together. I had not anticipated such gorgeous rows of colorful wool granny squares!

This is the yarn for stitching the afghan together. I love the little foil charm that says "START KNITTING HERE"  I wish Red Heart still put them on their yarn! Those would be so helpful for finding the beginning of the skein!

During the tidying up portion of today I took all of the knitting needles and crochet hooks out of the box and added mine to the pile on the bed to group them all by size.  I actually ended up only being able to sort out the straight knitting needles, though I did write down the sizes on the double pointed and circular needles before putting them into a big freezer bag.

I grabbed an old pillow case out of the fabric bin, cut a few seams and sewed some new ones with this being the ends result. Nothing fancy, but it does the job. The knitting needles are now nice and organized! There is an empty spot. I have no size 9 needles. I've got to go through this bunch again. I may be listing any duplicate sets on Etsy.

Now, here's a little story. There was no blood or sweat that went into the making of this needle case, but there were a few tears. I was about halfway through sewing and went to reach for something from the sewing box on the floor and WHAM! I smacked my right eyebrow on the sewing machine. Boy, that hurt!  I went and got some ice for it and started crying more from the surprise than from the pain. I've got a nice little bruise now mostly covered by my eyebrow. I think I may have narrowly avoided a black eye. I should know by tomorrow morning.

Have you ever experienced any crafting injuries?
How do you organize your craft supplies?

--For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13--

Friday, April 10, 2015

How To {Wear} What You Own

 I have honestly never considered myself to be very fashion forward, that was part of the reason that I wanted to do the Style Challenge posts last month. I do like to look like I've put some sort of thought and effort into what I'm wearing but often I find myself getting stuck in a rut and repeating outfits a lot and that's where Pinterest comes in handy.

Now, I know I'm not the first one to think of this, but I'd like to share my {Wear} board. First, the back story: When I first started Pinterest I would pin anything I really liked in any category, even if I knew the chances of my cooking, crafting, wearing the thing in the pin were basically slim to none. A while back I cleared out my Pinterest, going through each board individually and deleting the pins that I knew I would never actually use. My clothing board ended up quite empty.  Then one day after buying a new article of clothing, I logged in to Pinterest and searched that specific item...let's say it was green jeans...then I added the word "outfit" to the search.  It didn't take too long to scroll through the results and find an outfit that incorporated a few other articles of clothing similar to what I already owned. Light bulb moment!

Follow Elegant Homestead's board {Wear} on Pinterest.

I put a few um...8. Yep, 8 (I got slightly carried away) outfits together just for an example. So, on with the pictures! may recognize quite a few things from last month's Wednesday series.
Side note: The links are to the pin on my Pinterest board and to the site that the pin links to. Also, Pinterest pics on the left and my clothes on the right. It's kind of obvious though.

Outfit 1
Pinterest Link
Direct Link

I found this outfit by searching for, I think, maroon pants. I tried calling the color a few different things; burgundy, raspberry, etc. I do have a leopard scarf now, but I didn't at the time I took the pictures. I sort of like the look of the plaid more anyway.

Outfit 2
Pinterest Link
[When I tried to click through the pin I got a notification that it linked to spam]

For this one I searched "fur vest outfit." P.S. Those are the only brown boots I own and they are incredibly comfortable!!

Outfit 3
Pinterest Link
Direct Link

Let's me think...I'm pretty sure I found this ensemble by searching "teal scarf outfit." I don't think it was the gray shirt. Though, I have found the same outfit using different pieces as the keywords.

Outfit 4
Pinterest Link
Direct Link

This was a search for "tan striped shirt outfit." Nailed it!! Definitely one of my favorites to wear!

Outfit 5
Pinterest Link
Direct Link
What did I search for for this one? I know I searched for the sweater...I'm pretty sure it was just "mint striped sweater outfit." I don't own mint flats and am not too keen on wearing flats with flares, especially very casual flare jeans. Definitely just wearing sneakers with this comfy outfit!

Outfit 6
Pinterest Link
Direct Link
This is another one that has become a favorite, although it's already a little too warm to wear the vest. I searched "khaki vest outfit" for this result. Again with the shoes, though. Why would I wear nice flats on a rainy day? Also, I don't really think they go with that outfit, do you?

Outfit 7
Pinterest Link

It was totally the green jeans that I searched for when I found this look. I used my floral scarf, which has browns and greens that complement the rest of the outfit. They're a little hard to see from the photo.

and finally...
Outfit 8

This one is a bit of a stretch, but I wanted to include an outfit that featured a skirt. I think it was a search for chevron skirt that allowed me to find this particular ensemble. My tank top is mint, I promise it just photographed almost white. No denim jacket, so a black cardigan is substituted. And...I just realized, no shoes!! I've actually got a pair of black sandals that would do very nicely.

Well ladies, there it is. I actually have more than one outfit pinned for many of these articles of clothing, so you could almost double the results you see here! I may have overdone it already, but I hope you learned a couple of new tricks to making the most of your wardrobe and I hope you enjoyed seeing my comparisons! Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wedding Series Week 2 || The Music

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter celebrating the resurrection of our Savior!! I was able to go and visit my parents which is why there was no Friday or Monday blog post. Now it's time to get back into the swing of things.  Last post I talked about the things that I had made for my [mostly] DIY wedding. This week I'm going to share the songs that were played and sung and YouTube links to the versions of those songs that made me choose them for the wedding.

With just a few weeks to go before the wedding I knew I still had to take care of the music so I called up my uncle and asked if he would be willing to play piano and during the ceremony and I was so happy when he said he would and followed with "anything you want" since I did have a few songs picked out already.

Over the next week or so I got some messages from my aunt asking if I had a song for such and such part of the ceremony, and I usually didn't. Planning the music part made me realize just how much music there is in a wedding ceremony!! I had just picked the processional, a song for the middle of the ceremony and a recessional. I left out anything for the wedding party to walk in during and something to be played as the guests were coming in...and maybe something else. I don't know. See, I'm forgetting again!!
~~I've thrown in some random wedding pictures to break up all this text!~~

Almost ready to go!

As the parents walked in I think it was just "diddly music" as my Aunt called it. However, the synonyms on are not correct. The piano music was very soft and lovely and perfect for the very beginning of the ceremony.

After the parents were seated the next song was "Joy in the Journey." I thought the title was sort of appropriate since during our long distance relationship my husband and I took many, many long car, bus, and train trips to visit each other. I knew the song had a deeper meaning so I talked to my mom about it and she reminded me that our two separate journeys were going to become one and she really liked the idea of that song being played at the wedding too.   Joy in the Journey

The next song is one that I had wanted played at my wedding for years. I would guess, hm, maybe about 14 or 15 years.  One of my cousins loaned me her copy of the 1994 movie of Little Women. During Meg's wedding the family formed a circle around the bride and groom and sang "For the Beauty of the Earth." I fell in love with the scene and the song and decided that I wanted that song played at my wedding someday. At first I planned on having it played for the recessional at the end of the ceremony but I still needed a song for the wedding party to enter so I switched it to that spot. It worked out really well because the melody is short and could be repeated as many times as necessary which was good since we hadn't totally worked out the timing of everything. On the movie soundtrack it's sung a cappella  but during my wedding it was only played on piano. For the Beauty of the Earth

My beautiful bridesmaid and best friend of 13 years helping me with the sash on my dress

Of course, once the wedding party had all walked down the aisle, it was my turn. It was one of the scariest and most exciting moments of my life at the same time. Finally, I was able to walk down the aisle to a song I had been planning on having played at my wedding even longer than "For the Beauty of the Earth." My uncle played a short fanfare on the piano and then began Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" which I think just about everyone knows as "Here Comes the Bride."  It was a little difficult to find a piano version on YouTube with the fanfare, but here is one that it basically the same way it was played at my wedding with just a few stylistic changes.  Wagner's Bridal Chorus

My grandfather said the "Dearly beloved..."  things and then said a prayer. My grandfather is a pastor and it was so nice to have him perform the ceremony as he had for my parents in the same church 30 years before. My uncle switched to guitar then he and my aunt sang "O Love that Will Not Let Me Go." I had heard Chris Rice's version of this beautiful hymn probably just before I got engaged. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

My brand new husband and I (just said our vows a minute or two before!)  praying during the ceremony.
 My mother was looking up music before the wedding and found "O Perfect Love." She thought it would be nice to have everyone sing it as a wedding prayer. We sang it just after exchanging the rings. This was the version that she sent for me to listen to. O Perfect Love

 The last song played at the wedding was the recessional. Since I switched "For the Beauty of the Earth" to much earlier in the ceremony, that left this spot open. I wasn't sure at all what I wanted so I chose "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring." The same song my parents had played for their recessional. Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring

Do you know any of these songs?
Have you ever heard them at another wedding or in church?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wedding Series Week 1 || What I Made

This is going to be a Wednesday series. I'm a day off because of another ski trip, I think the last one of the season. If you're wondering about the final week of the March Style Challenge Series, look no further than the post before this one! I had that up a day early so I could start my April series the first Wednesday in April but I guess my schedule played an April Fools joke on me! Ha! Very funny, schedule!

So, here's the short but sweet back story. Since I've posted bits and pieces of it other places I'll just put it all together now. I got engaged last summer and married last fall after a 5 year long distance relationship. I had been working on my wedding dress since the beginning of summer because I sort of knew that things were about to happen. I took a lot of pictures of dress progress and I think in the craziness of everything they got deleted. However, I will definitely share them if I ever do find them. The only two pictures I know of the dress in progress are when it was just about finished.

I used Edelweiss Patterns Liesl's Party Dress, omitting the lower sleeve puffing and lengthening the skirt. I had looked online for a dress but everything was so expensive and/or so strapless. I wanted to wear a dress, not a glorified tube of toilet paper. I'm sorry, but that's often what white strapless dresses make me think of. Strapless dresses and the mason jar and burlap trend are a couple of things I knew right from the start that would not be in the wedding or reception.

In this first photo, all the sewing is done except for the hem and the zipper. After I installed the zipper I took it to a professional seamstress because I was so pleased to have gotten to that point that I was worried I might might make the hem uneven or something and decided to leave that to someone who really knew what they were doing. She ended up doing a fitting for me as well so the dress would fit perfectly!

This is the second in progress photo after I finished the veil. Still no hem on the dress but the zipper was in at this point. There are a few pictures of the dress from my wedding over on Katrina's Edelweiss Patterns Blog.

I consider myself a pretty good planner and organizer, also since it was a small wedding with a short amount of planning time I decided that I didn't want to go down wedding planner route.  I knew I could use things I already had and there were some other things I could easily make. I posted this little series of progress pictures of the "something blue" garter and the ring bearer pillow on Instagram.

I used a simple tutorial from to make the garter.

I also had some doilies and the card basket that I had made years ago on the gift table,  but the only other thing I specifically made for the wedding was this Bluebird bunting. Which, I still (as mentioned on my previous blog) plan on writing up a tutorial for!

Have you ever thought about sewing or having someone sew your wedding dress?
What are your favorite/least favorite wedding trends?
Do you prefer very original weddings or the traditional old, new, borrowed, and blue weddings?