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This past week I made and sent two crazy quilt hearts to two “crazy” friends…

One loves pink…This was a one on one swap.

and the other loves orange. This is a “just because you’re loved heart”.

The next two hearts are part of heart swap through one of the crazy quilt groups I belong to. I sent two and will get two in return. Who will receive mine and whose I will receive is yet unknown.

Swap send 1:

Swap send 2…

Yesterday my sweetie and I stopped at a local thrift store while we were out running errands. They had a boat load of beautiful silk ties priced 3 for $1.00. It was pointless to even try resisting buying a pile of them. Because the ties were in an outside bin, and it was a sweltering hot day, I only bought $9.00′s worth. As soon as I got them home I threw them in the washing machine. Tonight they will be carefully seam-ripped for later use in crazy blocks. I only bought a few of what the thrift store had…the colors are beautiful…so I’ll buy more later if they are still there on my next visit.

Finally here’s a picture of the red block I’ve been working on for over a month. Since the last update, I’ve added an embroidered bird to the top right corner. I removed the small, golden flower beads from the center of the crocheted Irish rose and replaced them with a beautiful, German-made metal button. I added a cluster of buttons on the red lace. On one of the buttons I tried out a tutorial one of the crazy quilt crazy ladies shared on her blog for embellishing buttons with a bullion rose. It was easy to follow, and I’m sure I will use the technique many times in the days to come. Check out the tutorial here: Shawkl: Button Rose Bullion Tutorial…thank you, Kathy. Your technique added a sweet flair to my plain button. :) I still have a way to go before this block is complete. I also tried using waste canvas to cross stitch a motif on this block for the first time. I was inspired by Quayceetatter’s Cross Stitch Rose Tutorial. I’m pretty sure I will remove the red chain stitch on the seam at the upper right. It just doesn’t fit…we’ll see.

Button Cluster with bullion rose button…not perfect, but practice, practice, practice will make perfect.

Close up of little blue heart…

 That’s about it for this time, but if you have not entered my latest coconut oil giveaway, be sure to check it out. It’s for an amazing gallon of premium coconut oil. You really don’t want to miss the chance to win this wonderful gift. You can find it here…A Gallon Of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway…O Yeah!

Until next time…

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. Psalm 5:11

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Last month I was given the opportunity to try and review Tropical Traditions coconut oil and share my findings with you.  My review approach is to use this product in recipes I would normally use a different oil or fat and pass judgment on the results.

I hope I can interest you enough to try coconut oil in your cooking if you never have.  The first thing I’d like you do is open your coconut oil and open a container of the “fat” you usually use.  Pick up your usual fat and take a long, deep breath…flair your nostrils and get a good whiff.  Now do the same with the coconut oil.  I won’t even ask which smells good enough to eat.  I already know.  Now take a teaspoon and dip it into the coconut oil…stick the spoon in your mouth.  Trust me.  Just do it.  Coconut oil is actually quite pleasant straight out of the jar.  Other than quality, first cold-pressed olive oil and fresh, sweet-cream butter, that can’t be said about most fat we add to our food, so I won’t even suggest you stick a spoon in shortening and take a bite.  Yuck!

Now on to review pt. 1…

A couple of nights ago venison sloppy Joes and oven-friend potato wedges was on the menu.  When making venison sloppy Joes I always chop a couple of onions and green peppers and saute them in olive oil before adding the meat to brown.  Venison is known for being extremely lean meat so the veggies need the added fat to saute.

I added between two and three tablespoons of coconut oil to my dutch oven and melted it.   I used that much, because I sautéed a large pile of veggies and was adding several pounds of venison when the veggies were tender.  Using medium heat, I sautéed my onions and green peppers just until tender and the onions were beginning to be transparent.  The veggies sautéed perfectly…no scorching or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

(Interesting coconut oil fact #1:  if my house had been warmer than 75 degrees the day I made these sloppy Joes, melting would not have been necessary.  Coconut oil is only solid when its temperature is under 76 degrees.)

 (Interesting coconut oil fact #2: The smoke point of coconut oil makes it perfect for sautéing veggies.)

The meat was added to the pot and browned and all the rest of the ingredients were added.  The pot simmered to reduce the liquid.  No pictures were taken of this dish.  (My phone had to be plugged in to be recharged.  Besides this post is about coconut oil…not sloppy Joes.  :) )

I don’t deep fry, so my next review experiment was to use the Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil to oven fry potato wedges.  After scrubbing, peeling and slicing my potatoes, I gave them a good rinse and patted them dry between two clean kitchen towels.  When all the excess moisture was blotted from the potatoes I put them in a large bowl and tossed them in assorted seasoning.  (sea salt, black pepper, paprika, red pepper)  Next I added about two tablespoons of coconut oil and tossed the potatoes again to coat them well with the oil.  Just for curiosity sake, I left the potatoes, uncovered, for about forty-five minutes while I went about my business.  (My business:  sitting with my feet up while I sipped a couple of cups of hot tea.)  I did this, because I wanted to see if the coconut oil coating would prevent the potatoes from oxidizing  (turning black due to exposure to air).  It did!  My potatoes were still as fresh looking as they were when I walked away from them.  I poured them evenly onto a baking sheet that had been rubbed with the coconut oil left on my hands when I tossed the potatoes and popped them into a pre-heated, 400 degree oven.  After ten minutes I reduced them temperature to 350 degrees and let the potatoes bake until they were tender and brown.  During the baking time, I turned the potatoes once.  There were NO potatoes sticking to the pan!  None.  Zilch.  Zero.  That may not excite you but not having to scrub a pan with baked on food was really good news to me.  :)

When supper was served and the first bites taken, I waited for my taster’s comments.  “These potatoes are great”, and “The sloppy Joes are good” were just a couple of the things said between bites.  There were comments on the cole slaw, too…but that’s a post for another time.

Conclusion…

Coconut oil works great for sautéing vegetables and oven fried vegetables.  The dishes used for this review were both a success.

More cooking with Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil reviews coming soon.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Until next time…

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  Philippians 4:6

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The day I received the wonderful box of stash-building goodies from Lisa, I also became the new owner of a crazy quilt block made by her.  Between my amazement of the abundance of the crazy quilting pieces parts Lisa shared and the WordPress glitch that prevented updates, I completely forgot to share the beautiful block.  Here it is…a little late but not forgotten!

I love my Lisa block and thank her for it from the bottom of my heart!

While I’m feeling “crazy” I’ll share the quiltie I made for Barbara to show her she is loved and thought of during this time of healing and refurbishment as she recovers from surgery.  It is similar but not just like the quiltie I made for the Fruit of the Spirit swap at Art4Mail.  Barbara headed up the swap and chose the theme…Love seemed like the perfect get well card theme.  I hope she can feel the love.  :)

side two…

In the very near future I will be reviewing a super special product…Tropical Traditions, Gold Label, Virgin Coconut Oil.  Coconut Oil has been used in my kitchen for a number of years for a variety of purposes.  This is a brand new to me.  Over the next week or so I will be using it and reporting my thoughts back here.  I’m looking forward to reviewing Tropical Traditions’ product.

 Check out this video to learn more…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h6eycjf29M

Until the next time…

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.  Philippians 4:5

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Juli hosted a giveaway on her blog  A Crazy Quilting Adventure a couple of weeks ago.  Once again, my random number won!  I’m enjoying this streak of wonderfully good fortune I’ve had lately.  (and continue to give God the glory for blessing me richly…)  Juli gave away a yummy, strawberry pincushion she made herself and a fabric pack of the winner’s choice from her Etsy shop.  I opted to have Juli pick the fabric pack.  She sent red of which I had very little.  It’s funny how that worked!  Check out her blog and see the cool platypus Juli made and entered into a crazy quilting contest…and won!  Thank you, Juli!  I love my strawberry and will make good use of the generous, red fabric pack.  I love the touch a handwritten note adds.

Friday evening I received an email from a yahoo group friend telling me about a great teaching video she found online.  You get three guess what the subject is… She asked if I would be interested in it.  Today a video arrived in the mail…drop-shipped from the seller.  It is 160 minutes of crazy quilt instruction, ideas, eye candy…what a treat!  Thank you, Pam.  I look forward to watching it…over and over.  You are such a sweetheart!  (If you are interested in the video, check back later when the new crazy quilt resource page I am building appears.)

And now for my WIP…

Last week I shared my first naked fancy fabric block.  It’s not complete, but I’ve spent between twenty-five to thirty hours working on it during the evening hours over the past week.  The butterfly is pinned, because I am not sure it will remain there.  The square is laying in a place I pass by frequently so I can glance over and see how the butterfly placement strikes me.  We’ll see.  I wasn’t sure how I would like working on the slick, fancy fabrics, because I am a 100% cotton kind of girl, but I’ve really enjoyed the finery feel as I stitched.  Working on this square has caused me to see the need of keeping a journal of the blocks I make and embellish.  The thread colors I chose to use in this square are very similar to colors in my stash I did not choose to use.  I did not write down the numbers and found it very difficult, if not impossible, to match the color when it came time to use that particular thread again…hence I was not always successful.  From here on out a record of the color used in each seam will be noted in a journal.  It’s a good thing there are no rules set in stone when crazy quilting…

This morning a class taught by Christen Brown on crazy quilt embellishing began.  I’m excited about being part of the class, because Christen turns out beautiful work.  She makes it look effortless…The class is four weeks long (online) so my fancy fabric WIP block will take a back seat for a while.  I’m sure to pick it up and work on it from time to time, but the bulk of my stitching efforts will be focused on the class.  Hopefully we will see some great improvements in my work.  :)

Until next time…

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

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Our Patty has probably given up on receiving her Round Robin prize…but finally, I have it ready to send on its way.  It seemed fitting to spruce up the package.  Rarely do I attempt altered art of any sort beyond fabric repurposing, but in an effort to keep with the homemade theme,  I “all-thumbed” my way through preparing the box that holds Patty’s goodies.  I used bits and pieces of paper and fiber “too good” to throw away.  I must say it is a little intimidating altering anything to send the Guru of Altered Art.  :)  I hope it arrives intact.

(Patty, barring any unforeseen obstacle the box will be on posted tomorrow.  I apologize for taking my sweet time getting to you.)

As a reward to myself for getting the package posting ready I’m brewing a cup of organic honey bush tea.  I’m using a new infuser by Healthy Steps that leaves a few bits of tea behind.  The tiny particles did not, however, hurt the delicious, delicate taste and fragrance.

If you enjoy tea and artsy pursuits check out Kimmie’s blog Art In Red Wagons , home of Tea On Tuesday, for a link to all the Tea On Tuesday participants.

Happy Tea Tuesday to one and all.

Everyone is welcome to comment on my Redeeming Love Giveaway.  It is a wonderful book…well-written and a beautiful story of redemption.  Click on the Redeeming Love button on the sidebar to go to the post.

Until next time…

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.  The dead praise not the Lord,  Neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord From this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord. Psalm 115:16-18

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It’s been a while since I made a tote bag/shopping bag from a repurposed bag. For months I’ve been stashing feed, flour, sugar and rice bags.  My stash grew so large I stopped saving all but the most unique.  Time for making one never seemed to roll around, but yesterday I determined to put one together and last night while dh was working I got it finished.

I started out with a Pennington Wild Bird Feed sack and a pair of cast-off, bluejeans leftover from a fund-raiser yard sale for the lining.  A size 5 fit this bag perfectly with no adjustment needed in the width of the waistline.  Using bluejeans for the lining have the added bonus of ready-made pockets for stashing small items or coupons.  I used a small piece of calico trim I purchased from Catherine a while back along the top.  (Catherine hosts a Catherine’s Vintage Linens offering modestly priced treasures..)

Time to get back to my Monday.  I’m trying to resist the urge to sluff off today…and getting motivated to start another project when I get the needful things around the house finished.  I hope you are having a blessed day.

Until next time…

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~ Augustine ~

We have proof of that…

Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

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My dh is working nights this weekend so I’ve got some alone time to do a little crafting.  The Square Deal Pincushion … made using Heather Bailey‘s pattern…is a project that’s been on my “to do” list for a while.  I had no problem with the pattern or Heather’s directions, but it’s possible the corners would prove to be a challenge for a beginner sewer.   Though I used Heather’s free pattern I used scraps from my stash rather than fabric from one of her beautiful lines.  It still turned out sweet.  The ribbon is purple…not sure why it doesn’t look it in the pic…must be the dim lighting. If you’ve never visited her site, check it out.  You’ll find some good stuff and beautiful fabric and paper.

Until next time…

The real secret of patience is to find something else to do in the meantime.  ~ Anonymous ~

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I couldn’t resist making another shopping tote this evening.  They go together so easy-peasy it feels good to my creative senses to start and finish something quickly.  I’m loving the simplicity of the project, because my body and brain are still recovering from the long vacation trip.  Car travel is not as easy as it was when I was a spring chicken…

Although I used the basic idea of Spidey’s tutorial I deviated from it this time around in order to have the cool little bunny pic in the upright position when the bag was completed.  As a result it is deeper and not as wide…which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Still I would direct anyone interested in turning a pillowcase into a shopping tote to her tutorial.  It can be found here:  Vintage Pillowcase Grocery Tote.

Here’s the one I just completed…

Until next time…

Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.  ~ J. Oswald Sanders ~

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A while back while blog surfing I ran across a tutorial for a shopping bag made from a vintage pillowcase.  This evening the urge to sew won out over the need to kick my feet up and relax, and I looked up the tutorial and made one.  I am pleased enough with the results to share the tutorial with you.  Like it or not we’re all going to need something to carry our groceries in in the future…likely the near future.  This project is a perfect answer to that need…one that allows for the expression of individual taste while reusing things you likely have around the house.

The Vintage Pillowcase Grocery Tote Tutorial is easy to follow and well written.  Here are my results…

I started with a pretty Ralph Lauren pillowcase that had seen far better days.  (It was so pretty I couldn’t see throwing it away or turning it into a dusting cloth.)

Hanging view…empty and sagging, but you can get the idea of how the straps are set up.

and a little homemade tag…(very primitive)

I thank Spidey for the use of her tutorial and can see where making more could likely happen.  If you try the tutorial (and I hope you will) why not let Spidey know you did…I’d love to hear about it, too.

Until next time…

Sacrifice is the true measure of love.  ~ unknown ~

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I found a blog today I will keep tabs on from now on…Affectioknit.  Don’t you love the play on words?  There’s no doubt what’s in that name!

If you are a lover of reading the Vacation Reading Giveaway at Affectioknit should be of interest.  Follow the link for all the details and leave a comment on the giveaway post for a chance to win.

It won’t be long before I finish the book I am reading so I can’t help but hope I win.

Until next time…

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield to unto them that put their trust in him.  Proverbs 30:5

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