Monday, December 5, 2011

Hope Ethiopia from Lifesong for Orphans

Children at the Lifesong Ethiopia school  are fed 2 nutritious meals per day, provided with a quality education, and taught the message of Jesus Christ. This gives kids like Beza the hope they need in order to break free from gripping poverty.

We currently have a need to build a 12-room expansion to our existing school, in order to reach more children like Beza. We have been blessed, by the generosity of a donor, to be able to MATCH all donations to the Ziway and Adami Tulu Schools between now and December 31st... up to $130,000!!!

This week, the 5th through the 9th, we invite you to join Hope Ethiopia:100. We are looking for 100 people to give a one-time $100 donation

Joining this team will not only give hope to kids like Beza, but your dollars will be matched AND you'll be entered into a drawing for a FABULOUS gift basket (details below).

Help us achieve the next $10,000 by being a part of our Hope Ethiopia: 100 Team!

Together we can make a difference in the lives of these kids!  Together we can do more to bring joy and purpose to orphans!

And don't forget to keep checking the Lifesong blog for updates all week!

*Gift basket includes: $100 itunes or amazon gift card, Lifesong t-shirtLifesong cookbook,Journey On CD, handmade necklaces & note cards by orphans in Zambia, handmade ornament from a child in Ukraine, 5 bags of Gobena coffeeGobena coffee mugGobena t-shirt, andGobena tote bag. This basket is worth over $250!

*To commit via check, please send an email to Make check payable to Lifesong for Orphans, indicate 'preference Hope Ethiopia: 100' in the memo.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Teddy Bear Titus

This cute baby is Titus; he is sporting the Teddy Bear hood I made for him. Isn't he sweet? Titus is the son of my friends Tyler and Lacey. I couldn't get enough of squeezing those cheeks when we visited them last month.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chocolate Ganache in a Jar

I love ganache! It is my first choice for chocolate frosting.
It tastes incredible, and is super easy to make:
Chocolate Ganache
* Equal parts dark chocolate chips and heavy cream
* Clean jar with lid, large enough to easily accommodate chips and cream
1. Pour cream into the jar. Microwave (without the lid!) until cream is very hot, but not boiling.
2. Add chocolate chips. Screw lid on tightly, and shake shake shake!
3. When it's all blended, you have ganache, easy as that.
You can store it in the fridge in the same jar you made it in, no need to dirty a mixing bowl or food processor. While it's warm, you can pour it over cakes, cookies, or cupcakes for a smooth, shiny glaze. If you chill it, you can roll it into truffles. I've heard you can whip it into a fluffy frosting, but I like the glaze so much I never tried whipping it.

I invariably have some left over. And you don't just throw out homemade ganache! I make hot chocolate with it or spread some on bread to give Suzy a treat.
With the latest batch, I had very little left, so I let Suzy scrape the jar. Yum:

She was a happy girl.

Num num num!

Chocolate-induced bliss:

All good things must come to an end...

...but that doesn't mean she has to be happy about it.

But she can be consoled by knowing she sports an awesome chocolate mustache!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vintage Linen Covered Lesson Plan Book

Every school year I cover a lesson plan book. I consider it a necessity. My favorite lesson plan book is a Ward. It has the perfect layout, but it is homely:

So homely that I would plunge into depression looking at it's grim industrial face everyday. So I pretty it up with a cover made from a vintage pillowcase.
It's a very easy, no-sew project that you can finish in less than an hour, depending on how handy you are with a glue gun.

1. Gather your supplies: lesson plan book, pillow case, 2 pieces of white felt, ribbon, rotary cutter and/or scissors, and a glue gun. Not shown is a piece of coordinating card stock.

2. Glue the felt to the covers. I line the bottom left corner of the felt up with the bottom left of the front cover, not going over the spiral.

The felt will hang over the other two edges, like so:

I find it is easier to glue the felt down first, then trim the edges.

Do the same for the back cover.

Now open the book, and use the edges as a guide to cut off the excess felt.

3. Cut off the hem (the double thickness on the open end) of the pillow case. Center the open book on the case. If you are using a thicker pillow case, you could cut it open around the edges and only use half. Generally the vintage ones I like are very thin. The pattern has more oomph in a double layer, so I keep it intact.

4. Cut a slit in the pillow case to the immediate left of the spiral, from the edge of the case to the book cover. If for some reason you sneeze and cut a notch out like I did, brace yourself to go forward with the project anyway by reminding yourself that the Japanese consider imperfections enhancements to beauty. If you know for a fact that the Japanese do not believe that, don't tell me.
Fold the top and bottom edges over the cover and glue in place.

5. Trim off the fabric of the folded edge that hangs over the left edge of the cover. This will reduce thickness for the next step.

6. Fold the left edge of the pillow case down. Tuck the corners in neatly, like you're wrapping a present. Glue it in place.

7. Take your coordinating card stock (I used a file folder) and cut it generously enough to cover all the raw edges on the inside cover.

Glue down.

8. Like in step four, cut another slit, but to the immediate right of the spiral. It makes a little tab the width of the spiral spine.

9. Fold it up...

...and tuck it under the spine.

Repeat steps 4 through 8 for the right side.

11. Decide where you'd like the ribbon trim to be. I tend to prefer it one-third or one-quarter of the way over from the spine, though depending on your pattern and trim, you may like it better centered or nearer the left edge, or running horizontally. A less busy print or solid may look nice with ribbons of a variety of widths or colors. Secure it with a few dots of glue.

12. Open the cover, bring the ribbon down, fold it under, even against the edge of the card stock. "Wouldn't it be neater to add the ribbon before you glue down the card stock, so you can hide the ribbon ends under it?" you ask? I applaud your discernment. I hope one day to have your talent for foresight.

13. My favorite part! Every year I choose a theme verse for my teaching and write it on the inside cover. This year I chose Matthew 11:29. It has always been one of my favorites, but I saw it in a new light when I was looking for verses about teaching. To teach my daughter well, I have to first learn from Jesus. I also pray that I will have His gentleness and humility in how I teach Suzy. And when I feel burned out, I can be reminded that He is the rest for my soul.

The embellishment on the inside is an arrangement of flowers cut out of scraps of the pillow case. I attached them with a glue stick, easy as pie.

If you can't read the above page, it says, "Teacher: Momma, School: Penland Academy for Young Ladies, Room: guest, Grade: first."

Here are this year's book and last year's book side by side:

When you're done, you'll have one-of-a-kind lesson plan book.

A pretty, cheerful lesson plan book makes me a happy teacher!

Tip Junkie handmade projects
Tutorials and Tips

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Avgolemono Soup

I was driving and listening to Mississippi Public Radio. I heard a man talking about his Greek family in Mississippi. Mainly he talked about food, southern classics combined with Greek home-cooking. It made me so hungry! As soon as I got home, I googled a recipe he mentioned his grandmother made for him every time he visited, avgolemono soup.
It had three things that always appeal to me in a recipe. It was exotic, cheap, and easy. I worked it into the next week's menu.
The day I was cooking it, Nate headed to the door to do some yard work. I said, "Dinner will be ready when you're done."
He said, "Smells great! What is it?"
"Well, I know you love Greek food, so I'm making a Greek soup. Avgolemono soup."
"Oh, that's neat. What's that translate to?"
"Uh..." I looked away, pretending to be very busy stirring, "Near as I can tell, from the, egg lemon soup."
I looked up. Nate stood at the door, speechless with the dim hope his wife was joking, but going cold with the knowledge that she was not. I am, after all, the woman that once fed him Vanilla Butternut Squash soup.

You'll be shocked to know that I was the only one in the family that liked it. Nate declared it edible,but said he'd only want to eat it again if we were utterly destitute and couldn't afford hot dogs. Suzy wept into her soup bowl.
Before bed, she came to me and thanked me for the food. I said, "Aw, did you decide you liked it after all?"
Her eyes widened, possibly with fear that I'd make it again. "No, no not at all! But Daddy told me to say thank you anyway because you worked hard. But I did not like eating it."
Yep. I ate leftover avgolemono soup for lunch for a week.

If you'd like to make your family sob at the dinner table, here's the recipe?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Like a Baby Hat Machine...

Here is another lot of toppers for little noggins. I think the baby hat fever I had for several months has nearly abated, so I don't know when there will be another batch.

A pink pixie. The top is an i-cord that loops over.

This has a vaguely teddy bear look to it.

I like the look of this one. Love that blue.

This one is my favorite. Saving it for my little boy, should I ever have one. Hope hope hope!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Baby Hat! On a Real Baby!

I've knitted many baby hats this year, but haven't seen them on a baby yet. I was so excited to see sweet little baby Eva wearing the hat I made for her.
Isn't she pretty?

The pattern is the Special Day Silk Hat from Amanda Keeys' book Baby Beanies - Happy Hats to Knit for Little Heads.

I didn't use silk, but a bamboo blend,'s Spa and it was very soft. I love the shade robin's egg blue. It's very feminine while giving a nice alternative to pink.