Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sowin Bags

This past month I have been trying hard to get in as much sewing as I can, because I know once the weather turns nice I will want to be out in the yard and garden. I made some bags this last month, one for a birthday and another for a baby shower.
I have made this diaper bag and changing pad before so it went up pretty fast. The pattern is in the Winsome Baby book by Nancy Halvorsen.





This bike basket is a new one for me and I will say it was a challenge, for a couple of reasons. The first one is that the instructions were made for using laminated fabric and I used canvas. Glue was also a major part of this project, but I chose not to use glue and instead sewed. Sewing where glue would be much easier made it a little trickier in tight quarters and corners! It worked out just fine, just took a little extra time to figure out. I will definitely make another one because I want one for my bike! A handy feature with this basket is that you can easily take it off your bike and use it as a bag. I found the pattern while on a camping road trip last fall in Sisters, Oregon at the Stichin Post Quilt Shop.









Spring is coming and my sewing days will turn to sowin seeds. I am alright with that as long as I get a little time here and there at my sewing machine.

I see my rhubarb pushing through the dirt…





and tiny flowers are bloomin in the rain!








Filed under Bags, Bicycle, Fabric, Gardening, Photography, Quilt Shops, Sewing

Sweet Addy’s Quilt

Sweet Addy’s Birthday was this last week and I have been working on a quilt for her. I found the pattern on Pinterest. I just love looking at all the ideas there, because most often it leads me to some awesome websites and blogs. The Pin for this quilt lead me to the Moda Bake Shop blog. This pattern is ‘Baby Lattice Quilt’ by Amy Smart. There are all sort of fun projects there and I have put a link on my side bar so you can easily check it out.

Anyway, back to the quilt. About a year and half ago on a trip to Sandpoint Idaho, I found a quilt store in Coeur D Alene and just had to stop and check it out. I bought a couple of charm packs and 2 yards of material that matched thinking I should be able to make a baby quilt for someone with this.  So it has been sitting in my stash, waiting for the perfect little one. I found it a month ago and decided this was meant for Addy!

I made some modifications, as usual; I made it a little bigger and then added some charm blocks to the back. The top came together in an afternoon and I quilted it last week on the machine. I decided to try something a little different than my standard stippling and came across another blog via Pinterest, The Free Motion Quilting Project’. I decided to give the ‘Lollipop Chain’ a try. They really didn’t look like lollipops, but more like lopsided spirals! It was fun and I am getting more and more comfortable with machine quilting.

So here it is: ‘Sweet Addy’s Quilt’



I’m finding out that I really need to label my quilts.  I should have put the date on this but didn’t think about it at the time.   This one should be easy to remember though, Addy’s first Birthday!



On Point 5 inch Charms  with 1 inch sashing.



Fun backside with Charm squares.


Thanks for stopping by!


Filed under Fabric, Quilts

Ouaga Batiks

I want to share bits and pieces of our trip to Ouagadougou Burkina Faso (BF) last Nov/Dec and decided to start with some batiks that we purchased. I also bought quite a bit of batik fabric, but I will save that for another post. Hannah and I love to go shopping and she brought my sister Vicky, and I to this great little shop in downtown Ouagadougou. The owner sells all sorts of items that local artisans create. I wish I had a picture of the shop, better yet would be a video of how we drove there! Mind you, Hannah is a great driver, but driving in Africa is not the same as driving in America, but that is another story.

I was drawn to the first one pictured below because it was so different than most batik I had seen. ‘Artsy’ is how I would describe it. The giraffe batik that Hannah chose, and I brought back for her, is even more contemporary, I really like them both. I brought home a frame from Africa for the “Artsy’ one, but haven’t got the glass yet. It is quite the unusual frame, with just 2 pieces of wood holding the glass on the top and bottom and a very strong twine binding them together along the sides. I will have to post a picture when I get it put together. It was also made by a local artisan in BF.







This next batik depicts life in BF. It was created by a Burkinabe man who attends a CMA Church there in Ouaga. He brought several for us to look at and I bought this large one and one featuring the nativity scene.





Another shopping trip brought us to the ‘Artisan Village’. This place is spread out and sort of like an outside mall. The main difference is that most of the artisans make their craft right there, so you can see the craft at different stages and also see how they make them. It is a very interesting place, one that I could spend hours at, but with Mark, John and Jesse making this trip with us, well let’s just say shopping should be done quickly and no lingering allowed! I shouldn’t be too hard on them because they were great sports and actually liked looking at all the artists making their crafts. That is where I found these two smaller batiks. They are more common.





The last picture is of a map of BF burned into leather. Mark found this and I just love it. It is a reminder of where we traveled and where our daughter Hannah lives and serves. I have to give a shout out to our Christian Missionary Alliance friends and family in Ouagadougou and Bobo, you guys are living examples of showing Gods love to the Nations and I just love that! You are awesome!





Thanks for coming along on this shopping trip with me, next time I go shopping overseas; you might just want to come along with me!



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Filed under Africa, Fabric, Photography, Travel

Making Bread

Since we are wheat farmers, I’ve been thinking about grinding my own flour.  Last year we raised some hard red spring wheat and I thought it was a great time to get started. I saved a 5 gallon bucket of wheat after harvest and researched for the best way to clean it. Come to find out that the best way is an old way. (I’m sure, if Dad were here to ask he would have told me how.) By placing a box fan on a table on our deck and a very large pan below to catch the grain, I poured the grain in front of the fan and let the air blow out the chaff, bugs, and small kernels. I repeated this a few times and then I had clean grain.


Soft white wheat (green dish) – best for making pastries, pies, cookies, biscuits and muffins.

Hard Red wheat (red dish) – best for making darker breads

Hard white spring wheat (blue dish) – best for French bread, whiter breads and pizza


The next step was getting a grain mill and the one I decided on was the KoMo Grain Mill. I love it! The electric motor and ceramic milling stones are not too loud when it runs and it does a great job grinding the wheat into flour. It’s ready to use whenever I need flour and it also looks great on my kitchen counter.



Making the bread, now this is actually the most frustrating part. The first couple of loaves I made were great, then it went downhill after that. I’ve learned that there are a few tricks and variables in baking bread like, gluten, protein percentages, wheat bran and viable yeast, and yes, the weather and humidity. So, I am learning, trying many different recipes and realizing that my supply of hard red wheat is diminishing rather quickly. After several disappointing recipes, I decided to look in my old Sunset Cook Book of Breads and found the basic white bread recipe and tweaked it for whole grain and honey. The family says it is a keeper recipe and I have to agree.  So I have included the recipe for you.  Please if you have any pointers for me or great recipes, let me know in the comment box or shoot me an email.


Whole Wheat and Honey Bread Recipe

Makes 2 Loaves

1/4 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 package of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm milk (about 110 degrees )
2 TBS butter melted and cooled
2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1/2 cup honey
6 to 6 1/2 cups of whole

In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water.
Add warm milk, butter, salt, honey and blend together.
Add 3 cups of flour 1 cup at a time, mixing until flour is evenly moistened.
(This is when I put the dough hook on my mixer)
Then add the last 3 cups of flour a cup at a time. (You may have to knead the last cup of flour on a board depending on your mixer)
The finished kneaded dough should be nonsticky, and smooth.
Put rounded dough in a buttered bowl; turnover to butter top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (80 degrees, I warm the oven and place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack) until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Punch down releasing the air and let rest for a couple of minutes, then knead lightly and divide dough.
Form two loaves by gently pulling top surface toward the underside and then pinching a seam in the center and sealing the ends.
Butter 2 bread pans and place loaves seam side down and let raise again in warm place for an hour or so.
Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Turn loaves out of pans and onto racks to cool.

Other options:
To make 1 loaf, just half the recipe, except the yeast and water.
Add 1 TBS of vital wheat gluten per cup of whole wheat fresh ground flour.


Filed under Recipes, Wheat