Saturday

Sheer window treatments for French Doors....


My French Doors were in desperate need of new "Sheer Curtains" and after searching the stores I found it would cost me about $35.00 for the pair. I also found I would need to put a bit of work into getting them to fit the size of my windows... Off to the Thrift Store I went and 'low and behold' there was one panel, double width, for all of $1.36. The good part of  'my find' was they were really in great shape, then to the washing machine they went.

The first thing to do was 'measure' the windows. I found the easy way was to hang the panel from the top rod.

 

I love the bright white on the doors, makes the room seem so open. My dining room looks out to a very private deck and yard so privacy is not needed.





The first step was to cut the entire double wide sheer in half, length wise. So it was folded in half and laid over my ironing board.. yes, using pins to secure it to the board helps it from sliding around...Then, using my sewing machine I stitched the side seams that were cut.

 
Then I hung the panels once again to get an accurate measurement for the lower 'rod pocket' then back to the machine to sew the lower hems.



Sheer fabric tends to 'slip and slide' as it's being sewn so my trick is to put a piece of 'two sided tape' on the machine, just to the left of the presser foot,  this keeps it in place while it's being sewn...
 
I'll have to admit.. "I was happy with myself for my thrift store find and the price of my new 'Sheers". 

Thursday

Crochet Kitchen Dish Towels and Cloths.




I so enjoy crochet. Kitchen dish towels and wash clothes are so useful... my family uses them for a multitude of things, including the hot cups and dishes that come out of the microwave... they are very thirsty little things and I keep many around... Making them takes about 10 minutes.. Use the soft cotton you can find in any craft store.. my favorites are "Michaels and JoAnns".. each skein of cotton is around $1.99, depending on the weekly sales. I usually can get two 'dish clothes from one skein.
 
For the 'dish cloth' I found the perfect count to 'chain' is 23.
Using a simple 'single crochet' stitch makes it so simple.


I have these little charmers in many colors and shapes and so enjoy using them all around the kitchen. You may also enjoy making larger 'dish towels'.  Search on line for 'crochet dish cloths'. There are so many designs to make but I choose the simple, what I call, back and forth chain; its faster!
You will find this is a great useful craft and it's the kind of craft that is soothing to the soul.


Wednesday

Home Schooling



My youngst daughter 'Gina' has three little boys, 6yrs, 4yrs and 2yrs... she is married to a career military man and has already moved 4 times in their 8 year marriage. While in Miami she enrolled EC into Kindergarden for about 6 months and saw a huge diffenence in his personality with each new day of school.. she said 'it was not for the better' and it was then she thought of "Home Schooling" her children...Then the military transfered her husband to the 'SoPacific'. Before the move Gina bought supplies and books of all sorts. Did alot of research on Home Schooling and even bought, on Craigs list, a huge 12' by 10' white board, for her upcoming classroom in their new home.

After moving into their home on Base, she 'set up school' in the third bedroom and has been teaching with amazing results. E, now 6 yrs old is reading at a 3rd grade level, JJ at 4 years is reading at a first grade level and the baby, Anow 2yrs old, is repeating the alphabet and numbers, and he is totally enjoying learning to write them.




Four year old JJ uses his 'book map' to afix his reward sticker for each book he has read. JJ is reading at the first grade level.








Gina has looked into the "Japanese" method of teaching math. Giving the children alot of 'paper work' is not part of the lessons... The idea is to 'learn mentally', to visualize.  For math they use the "Abacus" instead of the American way of teaching... they do not solve their problems on paper most of the time...

Gina said:

  "To appreciate visualization, try to imagine eight oranges in a line without grouping them-- almost impossible.
Next, imagine five of those oranges as yellow and three as orange. Now you can see them. The kids learn to use these mental models for mental arithmetic.
For little kids, counting is inaccurate, and it ignores place value. The understanding is stressed. Math Japanese style is taught so 95% is understood and only 5% "memorized".
When the kids "understand", they need to spend less time in review and practice. When kids don’t understand, they memorize until the burden becomes to great and then, they just give up.
The abacus is amazing, it has 100 beads grouped in fives; by color and grouped in tens by rows. When two quantities are added, the sum is obvious: no further counting is necessary.
Most Asian languages refer to 23, for example, as "2-ten 3" and 67 as "6-ten 7." In English the quantity ten has three names, ten, -teen and -ty. (ie: 10, 15, 20)."

                                            Two year old 'A' learning with his brothers....




Two year old "A' doing his best to 'write his numbers'.....Gina also said, "he is loving working with his brothers" and his mind is already thinking and asking the questions most 4yr olds ask... Their all enjoying their class room at home and I have to add.. I love that Gina 'dresses the boys for class' each day.. she said 'they are sluggish when left in their jammies or play clothes'....
 Looking out to the "Philippine Sea"
                                                             
The boys belong to a "Co-op" for home schoolers and through internet sites.. they have 'field trips twice monthly and the boys also belong to sports teams... "They are happy and healthy" and 'that is a good thing'.

Melka Tablescape





Tuesday

"The Freeze of 2010 in Clearwater, Florida"

Saint Francis of Assisi (Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226)[2] was a Catholic deacon and the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscans.

He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and one of the two patrons of Italy (with Catherine of Siena), and it is customary for Catholic churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day.



I put 'St Francis' in my yard to protect all the critters that live here. There is a creek at the back of my properity and it is call 'Alligator Creek', yes, there are many Alligators that live in there, along with a large assortment of different animals. The yard is registered with 'The National Wildlife Fedeation' as an animal habitat.  No chemicals of any sort is used in my yard!








Today was a good day. Florida is finially 'warming up'.
For the first time in two weeks, I walked my yard.. Saints behold, the Sun was out and the temperature reacahed 54'.
Although there is damage to many of my 'tropical plants' I do believe they will come back...


Many of my banana trees are burnt from frost and I may have lost this years crop. They will produce baby trees that will sprout from the ground, as soon as the air warms the earth below.





The 'Ginger' flowers are very burnt from the freeze. Although they may be  lost for the year, they will be cut to the ground only to come back later in the summer.





Now my 'Trumpet Flower Tree" almost made me cry. I'm afraid it's beyond hope. It may have to be replaced with a new plant.
The flowers are so large and beautiful. After a few week, maybe, maybe, we will see?





My former home was in 'Central Illinois' and I always knew, when winter came, every annual would die. The perennials would go dorment until spring. But, here in Florida, the growing season begins in the fall, when the weather cools off.




This is the first time in the 6 years living here I witnessed a 'hard freeze'. So many of the 'farmers' have lost their crop and I fear the price of vegetables and fruit will increase in the groceries stores. We all will pay higher prices. Also, news reports today are telling of 'sink holes' popping up all around the 'Tampa Bay' area.. The farmers had to pump so much water during the nights to keep the fruit from freezing only to leave huge holes in the ground, from taking the water... reports are, homes falling into the holes.. quite a mess the freeze of "2010" has made.

Monday

Cyndi's collection of Polish Pottery......

                         Zaklad Ceramiczny Stanislaw Wiza





Pottery from the Boleslawiec Region of Poland is among the most famous in the world. In this region that lies in Southern Poland, near the German border, there are many ceramics factories producing wonderful products.
The village of Parowa, located 13 km west of the town of Boleslawiec, has long been an important ceramics production center. There you will find a factory, Zaklad Ceramiczny Stanislaw Wiza, making traditional, hand stamped stoneware of the highest quality.

Because of a careful selection of the right white clay and baking in high temperature kilns, this stoneware with terrestrial glazes is flame proof and microwave safe. And the use of underglaze patterns assures you that the d├ęcor is acid and rub proof. The pigments are lead free and ecologically safe so that you can use them to store any type food.





My first daughter, Cyndi lived in Belgum about 6 years,  crossed the border into Poland and bought as many peices as she could carry... such a wonderful collection that graces her china closet... She was good enough to bring me a few pieces and  I cherish them. But I'm sad to say, "she puts the lock on the doors to her china closet, each time I visit"....
 

Notice the little " Tea Pot" at the top of the photo, it was my grandmothers from an English Bone China set she had as a little girl. Her mom, my "greatgrandmother" bought it in England before she migrated to America.  The Tea Pot must be at least 90yrs old.

My little 'Tea Bag Holder'.... but I'm afraid to say, "I keep my postage stamps" in there as I hate to not use it!
The "Framed Photo" to the right is of "Me and my two beautiful daughters".
 

"My "Tea Set"