Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Around the world in 48 hours

I followed this decoupage tutorial to give new life to an old wooden folding table that my husband bought his first year of graduate school, and had been loved with ink stains etc since. If I lived in a house and tended to keep things in between craft projects, the only thing I would have bought was the polyacrylic. I painted the table legs blue, and used my old Eurail map as the top (I skipped building a second top, as the piece was unfinished). It’s a great way to give new life to old treasures and a facelift to old furniture.

If I was doing it again, I would:

-trim out the corner squares. My hospital corners didn't look as neat after the polyacrylic.

-dip the whole map in the medium (as one would for wall paper). I ended up with a few wrinkles, despite my best efforts.

Helpful Culinary Hints

Dr. Boli shares some of his best kitchen tips, including:
If you have boiling water left over after making tea, it may be frozen and stored indefinitely, and then reheated when you need it to make tea again.
Aren't you glad we're here to pass along such useful information?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tea Tasting

During these hot months, my tea drinking is restricted to strong sun tea made from the cheapest tea bags I can procure. It is nearly to the point, though, where I can start thinking of hot beverages again without breaking a sweat, so this idea from Kinfolk magazine's blog has me intrigued.

A tea tasting party would be a fun and creative way to spend an afternoon with friends, but it would also be rather practical, I think, as I have a tendency to end up with several half boxes of tea that I only sort of like. One could choose a variety of flavors, or pick one flavor and compare across vendors (A friend and I have been on an ongoing quest for the Holy Grail of Earl Grey Cremes for quite some time now.)

What other kinds of would you think of hosting? Exotic fruit comes to mind as one of those things that often intrigues me, but I probably wouldn't buy for just myself.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

He has spoken through the prophets

How is Vacation Bible School done at your parish? When I was growing up in the Deep South, we had a wonderful set up/curriculum. The structure of the day was meant to imitate that of a temple education, like that of Samuel. Grades K-5 were divided into two classes a grade, and each given the name of one of the tribes of Israel. The children learned Scripture in the morning. Several of the parish dads got together and built a marketplace that was set up in the parish hall, and during the afternoon, they were apprentices to a trade, such as weaving, coppersmithing, basketweaving, etc. Each trade had a weeklong project the kids engaged in, as well as a day craft that could be done in free time. Other successful components for immersion into the era where: costumes (old t-shirts and optional sashes, etc and biblical snacks, including making flat bread every morning.

But as important as knowing the roots of our faith are, in recent years I can see the value of a more Catholic catechesis summer program, especially as religious education programs are being asked to do more and more with less time. Our friends at Faith and Family recently posted about two interesting programs (albeit ones that I have no personal experience with).

Tour the Vatican Treasures! All about the Holy Father, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, Sistine Chapel, Swiss Guard, Michelangelo, Children’s Eucharistic Adoration & more …Campers… DON’T MISS THE BUS! Climb aboard The Vatican Express! Meet your tour guide, a member of the Swiss Guard and uncover the Vatican treasures. First stop…St. Peter’s Square!
* Explore St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

* Meet and greet our Pope.

* Get to know St. Peter and find out how the Church started.

* Read about Saint Jerome (who translated the Bible), and his friend, Lion.
FUN is just around the corner. Step into sensational skits, exciting Bible stories, creative crafts and amazing music!

Fasten your seatbelts for the ride of your life! All Aboard the Vatican Express.

Totus Tuus is a summer Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship. Our week-long Parish Summer Catechetical Program and Summer Camps assist parents and parishes in the evangelizing and catechizing of their youth by supplementing the work they are already doing.

The methodology, structure, content, and enthusiasm of Totus Tuus is concerned not only with teaching the faith, but also igniting the hearts of the team members and young people. The result has been the formation of young adults who continue to dedicate themselves to the Church’s mission of evangelization.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In pictures: Waterlily Napkin fold

Use a large napkin to create a placemat/charger of sorts, a medium napkin in the center of plates, or a small paper cocktail napkin under glasses at a party for an elegant coaster.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Very true.

The woman dressed Grace Kelly, so she knows of what she speaks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us!

It that wonderful linking way of blogs I recently stumbled on this article describing lay involvement with various religious orders.

All of the great Catholic religious orders have their associated laypeople. Franciscans have their Secular Order, Carmelites their Third Order, Dominicans have their Tertiaries, Benedictines have their Oblates, Passionists have their Associates, and so forth; and the differences are very slight. Third (or Secular) Orders are literally “third” parts of the Dominican, Franciscan and Carmelite families and those laypeople who join them try to adapt the charisms and characteristics of each order into their daily routines, which in turn tends to shape their lives in ways reflective of the lives of their vowed brothers and sisters.
I'm posting it for a few reasons: I learned new things, I think our dear readers would be interested, and I know Francesca would be interested. (So here you go, dear!)

On a related note, happy feast day to all you Roses. It's easy to think Saint Rose of Lima was a professed nun since she's typically pictured in full religious garb, but out of obedience to her parents she instead became a Dominican tertiary.

Thank you to the Anchoress, herself a Benedictine Oblate.
Image credit: SQPN

More Knitted Gifts- Part 2

Knitting Daily editor Kathleen Cubley shares some cute knitted gift ideas. I'm particularly intrigued by the bottle sleeve- maybe at last I can reconcile my preferential option for pinot noir with light colored tablecloths.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Queenship of Mary

"Because the virgin Mary was raised to such a lofty dignity as to be
the mother
of the King of kings, it is deservedly and by every right
that the Church has honored her with the title of 'Queen'."
(St Alphonsus Liguori)

Check out Pope Pius XII's encyclical "Ad Caeli Reginam"

Image Source:
Raphael, The Crowning of the Virgin (Oddi Altarpiece)
Oil on canvas

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunny side up Sundays

How do your weekend mornings go? My family isn't much for hot breakfasts during the week, but after Sunday Mass, everyone is starving. My crockpot is usually on deck or in use for the Sunday roast, so what's a Church Lady to do? So many easy hot breakfasts can get slowed down by only being able to fit so much in a frying pan. If you don't have a stove with a griddle, an electric griddle or skillet makes it a snap to serve breakfast to a crowd.

Electric pans come in two varieties, griddles or skillets. Griddles tend to have more real estate, but I'm partial to the skillet version. Because of the sides, it's more versatile. In addition to hot breakfasts, it can be used to cook dishes when entertaining or during the holidays, such as paella. The pan portion of my skillet is removeable for easy cleaning, and can also be used in the oven. With an impending move, cooking in the skillet helps me keep the stove clean.

I often find myself stumped for what to make for breakfast, so here are some ideas: scrambled eggs, pancakes, fried bread, birds in a nest, potato pancakes, or hash and eggs. What are your family's hot breakfast favorites?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Uplifting the mundane

This take on a dry erase board has been making the rounds of various ladies' magazines and blogs and it really is a nice addition to my kitchen.

large picture frame with glass
light colored fabric 1" larger than the back w(edges serged or treated with Fray check)
masking tape (optional)

Remove carboard backing. Wrap fabric around it, smoothing away any wrinkles. Open stapler, and staple fabric in place on reverse side. Place inside frame, fabric side forward, and seal back (either with masking tape, or replacing the original staples etc).

The whole process took 5 minutes, start to finish, and cost next to nothing. It would make a lovely hostess gift or dorm-warming present.

N.B. If you have little ones or a tile floor, I would recommend making sure the frame is hung with wire rather than relying on the backing loop for support, in case the frame gets knocked.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making it beautiful

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep


I have been occupied lately with an impending move, that has required packing up my beloved scullery.

In the process, I've come across a number of jars carefully saved. The jars themselves are quite lovely. (I haven't decided whether I buy Inglehoffer mustard for the mustard or the jar- I love their little potbelly shape, and they are the sweetest bud vase for a casual table.) Glass jars are so handy and timelessly beautiful for coralling sundries- but I didn't feel the need to annonce for eternity that this jar once contained creamy horseradish.

That's where my good friend contact paper comes in (and this was nothing fancy in the way of contact paper- my husband picked it up at the hardware store). I traced circles as large as the bottom diameter, then cut rectangular strips the same length as the circumference, and smoothed it all together.

Voila- pretty little jars for pennies. My next project will be to re-cover the lids of my spice jars, which are almost all re-purposed condiment jars, since I buy spices in bulk.

Also check out my new bud vase for larger blossoms (originally a bottle of Redemption bourbon). I like its lines.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Last Minute Knitted gifts

It isn't often that one likes a sequel more than the original book. That is certainly the case with Joelle Hoverson's More Last Minute Knitted Gifts (see projects here- Ravelry login required). I checked out a copy from the library recently, and am smitten with it. There are so many beautifully simple, yet stunning projects. I currently have the Kid's Vest in progress for my son (it's perfect subway knitting), and have Leah's Lovely cardigan queued for myself. Alson on the horizon Baby Bonnet and Baby Cardigan on the horizon for a couple co-workers who are expecting. If one was an afghan knitter, Joelle has three amazing designs: Nesting Squares, Entrelac Baby Blanket, and Bright Stripes- cheerful for a new baby, but perfect for anyone in need of a little comfort. I'm also planning on knitting several Soft Baskets to in which to place small Christmas gifts. If you are looking for inspiration for knitting for your gift stash, look no further!

St Clare

O wondrous blessed clarity of Clare!
In life she shone to a few;
after death she shines on the whole world!
On earth she was a clear light;
Now in heaven she is a brilliant sun.
O how great the vehemence of the

brilliance of this clarity!
On earth this light was indeed kept
within cloistered walls,
yet shed abroad its shining rays;
It was confined within a convent cell,
yet spread itself through the wide world.
- Pope Innocent IV

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fire up the grill!

It's time for a barbecue, in honor of St Lawrence!

St Lawrence was a 3rd century deacon who was martyred for his Christian faith, exemplified by his protection of the treasures of the Church- her poor and her material wealth, including her intellectual tradition.

St Augustine wrote "[Lawrence] ministered the sacred blood of Christ; there for the sake of Christ’s name he poured out his own blood. Saint John the apostle was evidently teaching us about the mystery of the Lord’s supper when he wrote: “Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” My brethren, Lawrence understood this and, understanding, he acted on it. In his life he loved Christ; in his death he followed in his footsteps."

Follow St Lawrence's advice in your grilling-during his martyrdom, he cried out "Turn me over; I'm done on this side."

I'm not sure what St Lawrence would have thought of this apron, though.

Image source

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence
and has a completely coherent meaning in God’s all-seeing eyes.
And so I am beginning to rejoice in the light of glory
wherein this meaning will be unveiled to me.

(St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a martyr and brilliant scholar, is a wonderful example of feminine genius and an inspiration to the Church Ladies. Read more about her life here.

Going to be at Our Lady's University this winter? Here's a sneak peek at the 6th annual Edith Stein Project Conference, an annual conference that addresses various issues of gender, sexuality, and human dignity by exploring what it means to be authentic women and men. The 2012 conference theme is "Encountering Vulnerability: Courage, Hope and Trust in the 21st Century."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reclaiming the Rag Bag

An impending move has me mercilessly weeding through my posessions, and I came across two bundles of potentiality that had been lingering in the ragbag for many years. T-shirts and other knits get claimed as rags rather quickly, but old garments unfit for donation might have a long stint, as I am not much of a sewer. The menfolk of my kin are hard on dress shirts, and that compromised a large portion of the ragbag's contents.

The shorts (right) are nothing to write home about- I traced a pair of my infant's shorts for the pattern, then sewed an elastic casing to the top. It's nice to see an old shirt of my brothers' passed on to a new generation.

But I am rather proud of the pants. Since I do most of my sewing by hand, I try to keep the original seams in a garment intact. I cut the arms off an old dress shirt, and again used an existing infant garment as a pattern, leaving an extra few inches in height at the waist to make the elastic casing. All it took was two seams- one between the legs and one around the waist. The inseams of the arms are the inseams of the pants, and the cuffs are a darling detail that allow the pants to grow with the child. If someone in your family has an outgrown plaid shirt, those could be turned into darling preppy pair of pants for your little one.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sew Homegrown

A coworker of mine just introduced me to Sew Homegrown, a blog that has all kinds of Anthropologie-inspired home-making ideas to pique a Church Lady's interest. From having a cleaner house in less than an hour a day, to recipes, gift ideas, home decorating and much more, it's definitely worth a look.

For all the Jane of Lantern Hill fans- do you think Aunt Irene's chocolate peppermint cake was anything like this?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The land will yield its fruit,

and you will eat your fill, and dwell in it securely.

(Lev 25, 19)

While Therese was whipping up her blueberry treats, my greengrocer had peaches at jam prices (5 for $1). I winged the recipe, but I do advocate the general principle of crockpot preserve making (I've made marmalade and apple butter that way). It saves you from standing over the stove during the summer- a win in my book. Most of my crockpot jam endeavors have been based on Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." (Mk 1, 17)

Among the books that I have re-discovered due to an impending move were Helen McLoughlin's My Nameday- Come for Dessert and Mary Reed Newland's The Year and Our Children. In early July, we celebrated my son Thomas' nameday with a fish-shaped mango ice cream cake (as Thomas was the Apostle to India) and a string of knitted fish for him to look at from his carseat.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for August, 2011

General Intention: That the World Youth Day taking place in Madrid may encourage all the young people of the world to root and found their lives in Christ.

Missionary Intention: That Christians of the West, docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, may re-encounter the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all our associates,
and in particular for the intentions
of the Holy Father for this month.