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Showing posts from December, 2010

2010 Meme

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Went spelunking (Caving) deep underground. Was that in 2010? I think it was.


2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

No, my New Years Resolution was a fail, as usual. I think it had something to do with weight loss and I ended up gaining a bunch of weight this summer after dieting and not losing much the first part of the year. And then I got back on the diet bandwagon but have not yet lost all that I'd gained. And so it goes. And yes, more new year's resolutions for 2011. I'm a sucker.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Friend from knitting group and some acquaintances at Church.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My maternal grandfather, Peepaw, died last January. I wasn't that close to him, but he's a "close relative" in that sense.

5. What countries did you visit?

The Land of Nod.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

S…

Looking Forward

113 days until Pascha!

...just thought I'd mention that.

More Sewing Doll Clothes

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Blush pink fabric with lace overlay and sleeves. Lace applique detailing at neck and waistband.

Another Cake Picture

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The decorations on this are totally over the top and "old school".

My, aren't I on a creative spurt this week?

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More sewing machine whimsy. Camera flips the image around, so in real life it's correct.

Working with Chiffon Fabric

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Chiffon doll dress with bodice ruching and a blush-pink lining.

Tips for working with chiffon:

1. Use lots of pins, even when laying out and cutting the fabric, especially if it is a double layer.

2. Work slowly and deliberately, do not rush.

3. Pay attention to details-since it is see-through, the seams have to be perfect.

4. Either use french seams or serge/zig zag the seam allowances, again, due to the see-through nature of the fabric.

5. Instead of hemming, a very fine zig-zag stitch or scallops look very nice.

6. Be gentle if you have to undo a seam. Work slowly and carefully if seam-ripping and it is not a problem.

Happy Birthday, Wes!

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Check out the crazy OLD SCHOOL style cake Ariana and I decorated.

And we MISCOUNTED the candles (discovered while removing them from the cake after he blew them out). There should have been forty-one, instead of the forty on the cake. We added another and made him blow it out. All by its lonesome.

Anyways, Happy Birthday, dearest Wes. God grant you many years.

And no, I did not eat, nor will be eating, any of that cake. Had leftover low carb pound cake in the fridge/freezer. Ate some of that. With coffee. I'm not suffering.

I'm doing some research on low carb cake icing, hoping to actually decorate something for my own birthday, coming up in just a few weeks.

Pretties

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I spent some time today in my sewing corner, and while I started the day doing ordinary mending and alterations on some hand-me-downs we were blessed to receive, I progressed on to making a muslin bodice for one of the wedding dresses I'm making and then playing with chiffon to figure out how my new machine responds to that very slippery and fussiest of fabrics.


By the end of the day I realized that I'd accomplished quite a lot, and had a large pile of "Pretties" to show for my efforts.

Purple child's cardigan in wool with fun green heart buttons. I'm short two buttons and can only HOPE the fabric store has some more.



For Christmas, I wanted something colorful to wear, and so I took an old lackluster and out of style brooch that had belonged to my mother-in-law and I superglued some pretty beads onto it. A new look! Ok, so technically I made this on Friday, not today. But it is something I made and it's pretty, so it fit in with this post.

A wool …

Slowly Losing It

Yesterday I was getting dressed and had to change my outfit because finally at long last, I officially have a pair of slacks that are too big for me.

And there's that one sweater that's starting to hang unattractively. I keep telling myself that I'd better wear it a lot before it, too, is too big for me to get away with wearing.

So, I'm grateful to be on this journey in a way that I can do long term that involves nutritious food and not starving myself.


And no, I wont be blowing my progress on Christmas cookies. I have a long way to go yet.

Perhaps I'll keep those slacks as my "before" pants and take a picture of me standing there holding the waistband out someday.

....in a year or so.

Meanwhile, I offer you some links to a couple of awesome low carb recipe blogs I've found: Healthy Indulgences and Lighter Side. Enjoy!

The Evolution of a Knitter

I'm the kind of person who dabbles. And when I dabble, I do something for just a little bit and get a little bit good at it, enough perhaps to realize a certain innate talent at whatever it is I'm doing, or to realize my obvious limitations. And there I stay. And that skill, whatever it is, does not get developed beyond the rudimentary level.

This is true for folk art painting, which I dabbled in and impressed my friends and family with for about three months several years back (it's all about having good brushes, people), doing crafts with beads, crochet, playing guitar (I got to the simple "accompany camp songs and praise choruses" level of mad guitar skills way back when I was about 12, and have improved very little since then), cooking etc. etc.

There are two things I have developed beyond "beginner" level, and those are sewing and kitting.

And the knitting took less time to develop and learn than the sewing. Two years ago I was at the "…

My Lace Sweater!!!!!

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Hand knitted 100% wool lace sweater from Lion Brand Yarn Fisherman's wool. Pattern from the book Knitted Jackets, by Cheryl Oberle. I modified the pattern by making a bolero style lace jacket a coat length lace jacket instead. It used about 2.5 skeins of wool (they are big skeins).

Kursk Root Icon

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Kursk Root Icon as it is being brought into the nave of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church


Father Justin Patterson holding a print of the icon that was a gift to the parish.

The priest who travels with the icon.


Yesterday my kids and I traveled down to Nicholasville, to visit our old parish, St. Athanasius Orthodox Church. The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, one of the oldest icons of the Russian Orthodox Church was visiting that parish at 12:00 noon. People gathered for prayers at that time. I overheard one young child ask her father: "Why do we pray to icons instead of to God?" And the Father answered: "We do NOT pray to icons. We DO pray to God. Icons give us something to look at." Good answer, dad.

The Kursk Root icon has had many miracles surrounding it. It is the icon that the Lord used to heal the child who grew up to be St. Seraphim of Sarov.

I thought a visit was especially apropos this time of year, so close to the Nativity. The Mother of G…

Christmas Dinner Plans

What's on your table for Christmas dinner?

Really, I need ideas. I have none. Meat obviously. The family wants pork chops. Meh, whatever. Me, I want effortless. We might order meat pizzas. Really.

Often in the past I've done the frozen lasagna thing, with much approval, but I'm off carbs so lasagna is off the menu. (yeah, I've tried subbing various veggies for the noodles. Not to be tolerated. Especially eggplant, an otherwise delectable veggie. It gets rendered nasty when asked to become an ersatz nooodle.

So what else should I make for Christmas?

As a buffet at breakfast: Summer sausage, sausages, fancy cheeses, cookies, eggs, etc.

Christmas cookies.
Some sort of low carb dessert.
Pork chops with cinnamon apples
Salad
Baked mashed potatoes (do them in advance and then heat them up in the oven)
Croissants
apple cider
roasted mushrooms and cauliflower.

So, it looks like I'll be in the kitchen. Oh well. All in the name of love.

What's on your Christm…

Closure

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I was in Lexington today, wedding dress fabric shopping with a bride-to-be for dress stuff I'm going to sew up. It was such a fun day. We had lunch at the Oasis (middle eastern restaurant extraordinaire!) with the most adorable new-guy bumbling waiter.

After our outing, I swung by Cuppa and hugged my friend Lisa's neck. She's the owner of that tea shop. If you live in Lex, go drink some tea there, it's awesome. Cuppa is on the corner of Jefferson Street and 2nd. Ave, I think. Very nice tea and it was SO GOOD to see my friend.

And then I decided to do a very brave thing. I decided to drive by our old house. Well, it's not our house anymore. We gave it up. It sat empty for a year and then it was auctioned. What became of it, I wondered.

I drove down Louden. I turned. A minivan was in the driveway. Some toys in the back yard. The overgrown honeysuckle bushes were still overgrown. The overgrown holly tree in the front yard, still big and bushy. The b…

From Russia with love

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All this Christmas joy is here for the purpose of leading us to lent and Pascha. So today I offer this lenten hymn instead of Ave Maria. Jesus is the reason for the season....

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching, and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God, Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

Mutton Soup

I'm doing Atkins. And I'm doing it with the attitude that this HAS TO BE a permanent way of life. As in: Kill the passions (that would be bread and sweet baked things in my case) and buckle down and "git 'er done".

On a happy note, I'm nine pounds lighter than I was when I started. It was the week before the Nativity fast started. I remember because Fr. A told me that this IS my fast. And on Christmas day, I'll still be fasting. Lord have mercy.

But on that note, I want to share the delicious concoction that I made last night: Mutton Soup

1 lb. farm fresh ground mutton
1 large leek, thinly sliced/chopped
about 3 small stalks of celery
2-3 small garlic cloves
a bit of olive oil to sautee the veggies in
1 can of diced tomatoes
2-3 cups of chicken stock.

Sautee veggies in a bit of olive oil or butter, add mutton, salt and pepper to taste, and let meat brown. Add tomatoes and chicken stock and let simmer on stove for a while.

This was good. It made …

Schubert - Ave Maria (Opera)

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Interesting stuff I learned last night cruising around the internet: Schubert's Ave Maria is NOT the usual "Hail Mary" prayer. It is a prayer, but it is an excerpt of a translated poem by Sir Walter Scott about the Lady of the Lake and it's called "Ellen's Song". The story line is that a young woman and her father are in trouble and hiding in some caves, and the young woman is praying to the Virgin Mary for protection. Here are the lyrics:

Storck's translation used by Schubert

Ave Maria! Jungfrau mild,
Erhöre einer Jungfrau Flehen,
Aus diesem Felsen starr und wild
Soll mein Gebet zu dir hinwehen.
Wir schlafen sicher bis zum Morgen,
Ob Menschen noch so grausam sind.
O Jungfrau, sieh der Jungfrau Sorgen,
O Mutter, hör ein bittend Kind!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Unbefleckt!
Wenn wir auf diesen Fels hinsinken
Zum Schlaf, und uns dein Schutz bedeckt
Wird weich der harte Fels uns dünken.
Du lächelst, Rosendüfte wehen
In dieser dumpfen Felsenkluft,
O Mutter, höre Kind…

Rejoice, O Virgin Birthgiver! Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

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In case anyone has not noticed, I'm doing an "Ave Maria" series. That's to say, a "Rejoice O Virgin" series, or a "Hail Mary" series. Pick your language, etc. ;-)

Seems seasonally appropriate. It all started when I was listening to a Christmas CD yesterday and got stuck on Ave Maria. Lovely. I'll do some Latin soon too.

It's a good prayer to fill one's mind and heart with these days. Any days. All. the. time.

Pray the Holy Scriptures, people! Luke 1:42.

Bogoroditse Dyevo Raduisya. Rakhmaninov

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Rejoice O Virgin Theotokos, Mary full of Grace
The Lord is with Thee
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For thou hast borne the savior of our souls.

Priceless

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Serving up Ariana's amazing cake to some very eager children at St. Michael's on Sunday. The looks on their faces are priceless.

A Winter Idyll

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I can never resist peeking out of the window on a snow day, first thing in the morning, just to see the sight of the world covered in white. Yesterday we woke up to a dusting, but as it had been raining before it turned to snow, there was ice underneath, which made walking to the car especially hazardous. To make things even more exicting, we had this amazing cake that Ariana had made to take to Church. The Applepatch party (an organization that serves children and adults with Down's Syndrome) that it had originally been destined for, had been cancelled. Where else but Church would we find enough hungry bellies for such a large cake? (Three 9x13's and a double batch of rice crispy treats for the roof, not to mention all the goodies on the outside!)

And in the afternoon, we settled in for some snow! Knitting, games, old movies, hot tea and a log in the fire place. It was as peaceful and idyllic as an afternoon could get...after we all spent about half an hour tidying the…

About Facebook, blogging, etc.

Dear Blog readers,

I love you. Really, I do. You stroke my ego by reading my blog. But here's the thing: If you want to be friends with me on facebook (and I have no objection to that notion), and you only know me from reading my blog, it would be helpful to include a note like "I adore your amazing blog and read it regularly" along with your friend request. Otherwise, dear blog reader, I might not know who you are, and think you are some creepy person trying to stalk me.

I have just recently turned down a few friend requests from people I don't know and am wondering where they came from.

Also, if you know me in real life please note that reading this blog is not a sufficient way to "keep in touch" with me. Especially if you never comment. It's not even a good way to keep up with the latest news on our family. That's what e-mail and telephones are for.

Sincerely,

alana

Exercise!

Today I was able to exercise and I'm so grateful! And this was AFTER going to hellmart for one of my weekly shopping trips. That's huge, you all.

My fibro has given me a bit of a break today. Maybe it's the fact that I've started taking vitamin D and B complex supplements, along with my meds. I was reading an interesting article that a friend sent me about most Americans not getting adequate vitamin D, and how it feeds the illness industry that is Big Pharm and their AMA distributaries.

But I'd already been taking the supplements. Should have been all along since I was dx'd with low vitamin D over a year ago. I'm so bad about vitamins. After all, I tell myself, they taste funny and they're "just vitamins". Yeah, whatever.

So, my exercise routine: I'd been going to Curves, and then discontinued my membership so that we'd have more money for other things like medical bills and the cost of expensive pills. Life can be such fun. …