Friday, September 25, 2009


I've finished two bags & have one waiting for lining. I love the way this first one turned out!
It's a simple little tote bag, but I machine quilted the fabric and added a slip pocket inside. This purse is spoken for, but if you would like to have one made like this, please let me know.

This next one is MUCH larger than I imagined. I quilted the sections, then sewed them together. I need to make the lining with pockets, then I will finish off the bag. I have one more cut out in this style and after that I will alter the pattern to make the sides narrower. One friend suggested it as a diaper bag. It could also work as a small piece of luggage.
Last, my trial and error and error and error and error bag.

This is what happens when you try to alter patterns and it is why I made this bag. I knew there would be "kinks" along the way, so this was my sample bag. I can tell you what I like about it: the fabric and the size. Also, it ended up with longer handles than I thought it would have and I do like that. I put a large zippered pocket inside and 2 slip pockets. I like those (though I only could find a small white zipper so it doesn't match inside).

Now, so much I don't like. The water bottle pocket turned out well, BUT I don't like it on the side. What do you think? I'd prefer it on the front or back of the bag. Also, it needs to be lower on the bag. The other pocket is just humorous. How in the world did I end up with it way up there? I suppose it would keep my cell phone right in reach! LOL! I don't like the way the zipper is applied to this. It was WAY too much work and didn't end up fitting right. The straps weren't working the way I wanted them to work. I had to take tucks to get things to fit together. It was just disastrous. I will NOT put the pictures of the inside on my blog. Just trust me on this one! LOL! I am altering the pattern & will discuss some changes with my clients before I start sewing their bags.

I would NOT sell this to anyone, at least not with MY name on it! LOL! I will wear it & see if I get any leads from that.

Thanks for coming by today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall is here!

Yesterday I told my friend Kathy how much I was enjoying our cool weather. She said, "Now you have something to blog about!" LOL! After our hottest summer on record, fall has arrived with a cool front and rain. The temperature never got above 80 yesterday and we are expecting the same today. With that we had nice showers. Actually, we had downright heavy rain! All summer I've said it looked like fall outside: everything was various shades of brown from being dead. Today I can see sprigs of green popping up in my yard. It may be weeds, but it is green!

Life is busy here. I'm adding tote bags and purses to my line of Chef Mama's Crafts and have several orders already. I'm very excited about this venture! I have 3 Craft Fairs lined up, one per month in October, November and December.

Hope you have a wonderful day enjoying fall!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy

Sunday was the day my great niece, Emery Jewell Smith, was dedicated to the Lord in church. Later in the day her daddy, my nephew Nils, became an ordained pastor in the same church. Both services were special, but the one for Nils was really cool. We'd never been to an ordination service so enjoyed seeing how it went.

There were many tears of joy throughout the ordination service, but they were also combined with tears of sorrow. Nils' wife, Katie, lost her grandfather at 7:20 on Sunday morning. He had been to San Antonio to see the baby when she was just about 2 weeks old. That weekend he had to go to the ER here in SA, then got to go home to Houston and ended up with minor surgery, but discovered cancer was back and his time here on earth would be brief. That was just about a month ago. Katie's mom, Caron (this was her dad) and Katie's dad Pat had been to Houston every weekend. They were there on Friday through late Saturday, and were heading back today. Katie's sister, Kelly, and her fiance, Josh, were able to go to Houston on Friday, as well.

Please pray for this family as they are grieving the loss of this dear man, rejoicing that he is with the Lord, celebrating the Lord's call on Nils' & Katie's lives, and preparing for a wedding in November. Caron also told me her sister had been in the hospital for over a month with pneumonia and was just getting well when their dad got sick. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Fireside Chat (or Chef Mama goes political)

Doesn't a fireside chat sound cozy? Probably not if you live in South Texas where we are rejoicing that temps are in the upper 90's instead of the 100's! LOL!

I don't typically blog politcally (though I can rhyme most the time). I have very strong views and I feel it is a good idea to know what's going on and definitely to know what you support & don't support. I believe it is good to stand up for your beliefs. If you live in the U.S. your (and my) freedom was paid with the bloodshed of soldiers initially over 200 years ago, and continues to be bought because of soldiers taking a stand for what they (or we as a nation) believe.

I just don't like to argue about politics. I like people to state what they believe & listen to each other. I think we need to continue to state what we believe to anyone who might have any persuasion to put into action our beliefs about issues. I don't think we need to argue. I think it may be okay to state, "I believe I'm right, and I believe this is the proof of it, and I do believe your views are wrong," and expect to be told the same thing from those who oppose our views. But, once this is stated, I think bickering over these issues does nothing more than waste time. I used to spend a lot of time in a forum for current events. I learned a lot there and enjoyed reading views, even opposing views (gasp! LOL!), but I can't tell you how many times the discussions descended into the same old arguments as the last time this topic was discussed. Seriously, how many times can you discuss how many kids the Duggars have and why are we spending time doing that instead of doing something more productive? I finally decided I was spinning my wheels & would rather get to know some of the ladies better outside of that forum.

Having said all that, as I just wrote, I DO think there is a time to speak up for what we believe. My political views are based on what I know to be true: The Bible. Oh, yes, I know that is a turn off to many, and "you just believe it's true, but you don't know it is." Well, I have yet to find that it isn't, so I am calling it knowledge, and I do have a right to choose that. There aren't a lot of issues that get me in a tizzy, but there are some on which I base my political decisions. I'm pretty sure these are obvious to most who know me:
  1. I believe that every conceived child has the right to live outside the womb.
  2. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.
  3. I believe parents should have the right to choose how to raise their children.
  4. I believe the Federal Government should send chocolate to all women weekly.
I just wanted to see if you were still reading! Yes, the first 2 are hot topics, and I'm not discussing them here. I also understand that if someone doesn't believe the Bible is true, then these same issues probably don't make sense. I do understand the arguments on both sides. I really, do, but ultimately, this is my choice to believe this way.

The 3rd item on my list is what I am going to address in this little chat. That is, if those aforementioned children will do what this parental unit has told them to do so I can type! LOL! I know there is a lot of uproar over President Obama speaking to our nation's children. I will say that at first glance, of course it seems logical that our President (whether we elected him or not, if we live in this country he IS our president) would encourage our kids to stay in school and learn. I even told my husband that as the first African American president, he could really encourage kids who might be a "minority" (I find that to be a misnomer as we have SO many ethnicities in the US that I don't think there is a true minority any more) to go beyond what their parents or siblings might have done. Maybe one of those kids listening could be the President some day! I didn't know that the Bushes addressed our nations kids. I'd like to hear what they had to say to them.

Here is where I get my feathers ruffled: IF what I have heard on the news is true, Mr. Obama was planning to ask the kids to write a letter to him telling what THEY could do to help HIM. What happened to elected officials being called "Public servants?" He was elected to help the people, not for the people to help him. IF he worded it, "What can you do for America?" that would be different. "What can you do to make your community a better place?" I could go for. Also, I've heard that there was to be homework assigned involving students learning more about Mr. Obama. I think it's good for our kids to know some things about our presidents, present and past. As a former classroom teacher, there is SO much on each teacher's plate, that to toss in one more "to do" is just crazy. For that matter, I think addresses like this should be recorded and shown at the teacher's discretion when it will not disrupt her lesson plans.

From a parents' standpoint, NORMALLY I would say the president addressing the nation's kids with a "do well" speech would be great. However, because Mr. Obama IS a controversial president and these are VERY rocky times politically, I think it is in his best interest to address parents and let them decide if they want the kids to watch him. This is not a dictatorship with a leader having rights to do as he wants despite the peoples' wishes. This is not a monarchy with a king who can dictate laws at will. Technically, it's not even a democracy, but a republic. FYI, here's the definition from Wikipedia (which we all know is 100% accurate---LOL!): "A republic is a form of government in which the head of state is not a monarch and the people (or at least a part of its people) have an impact on its government. The word 'republic' is derived from the Latin phrase res publica which can be translated as "public affairs"."

I'll ask a question here: If you are an Obama supporter, IF John McCain & Sarah Palin had been elected to the presidency/vp, would you want Sarah Palin to address our nation's school children without knowing what she was going to say? I believe she is as far "right" as Obama is "left," and know that many who support Obama think Palin is a "looney tune."

I'm trying to explain WHY this is such a heated issue for parents. It is not just that he has some stances that conservatives disagree with, but he has some stances that go against the CORE VALUES that many conservatives have. He has already shown that he is not afraid to move forward with his plans despite great opposition. BECAUSE of that, it is reasonable that parents have concerns over what he will say to our children.

I want to hear his speech. In fact, if it is innoculus as I hope it is, I will let my kids hear it (if their dad will let me---ha, ha!). I just think parents' rights are being sucked away and this is one more example of it happening.

Now, I am stepping off my podium, um, I mean out of my lazy boy by the fire, and going to go to my mother-in-law's house to lay in the pool and sip on my coke! America IS still a great nation where wonderful luxuries like this still exist!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Exciting News!

I got some very exciting news last night! I was chosen, along with another stamper, to be a Guest Designer for Clear Dollar Stamps. This means I will get 3 free stamp sets and in return will create 2 or 3 samples with each set. I am very excited. I will be creating cards and gifts that you can recreate or purchase from me, in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, as well as some all occasion cards & gifts. You can find out more info on my Craft Blog.

Did you like the recipe I posted last night? Do you have some money saving recipes to share? Please post them here or send me an e-mail so I can share your recipe!

Natalie's Enchilupas!

If you've ever been to Taco Bell, you've likely heard of the Enchurrito: a combination Enchilada & burrito. And you have to pronounce enchilada like this in your head: En-chee-laaaaaaaahhhhh-da. There, now that that's settled, let's move on. The other day Natalie, age 10, asked me if she could have an "enchalupa." "A what?" I asked. She repeated the word. I asked if she meant chalupa. Well, yes, indeed she did, but she planted the seed for our new recipe: the Enchilupa.

Natalie's Enchilupas
Chalupa shells (flat taco shells if you aren't familiar with these)
refried beans
ground beef, browned
enchilada sauce (if you have Celiac Disease, look for Rosarita brand, or check the label because they like to put wheat in this, as you probably already guessed---if you are brave, make your own!)
grated cheese
Optional: onions, lettuce

Spread beans on chalupa shells. Place on ovenproof baking tray (cookie sheet, baking stone, etc.). Top with ground beef (or turkey or chicken), onions if desired (we sprinkled on onion powder), and enchilada sauce. Sprinkle cheese on liberally (or conservatively, depending on which party you feel like celebrating that day!). Put in oven at about 350F for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. If desired, top with lettuce. I was the only family member who tried this healthy addition in our house.

YUMMO! And WAY faster than a 30 minute meal, thank you very much. This is kid friendly to make. Natalie actually helped with draining the fat off the meat, sprinkling on meat, and topping with cheese. She decided she suddenly didn't like spreading beans (though she does it quite well when I'm not there to help!). Get your kids into the kitchen. YES they will make a mess. YES it will take twice as long to get things ready. In a few years, though, when they are fully capable of making a meal you will be richly rewarded!