Sunday, August 29, 2010

hippie jeans+ruffle shirt=happy girl

Here they are!

The Clothing Refashions: Project 2

I don't really have a clever intro for this project. But, if you have a long sleeve shirt that you want to transform into something cute and fabulous, this is a good project!

None of this design is original, so out of courtesy, here is the link to the pattern that I used:

Don't feel the need to use the same buttons--I used a variety of silver buttons, varying in shape, size, and texture, and I LOVE how it turned out!

This project took me a total of about 2 hours and I will definitely be wearing this shirt much more often than I did when it was just a plain long-sleeve tee.

Learning how to make ruffles.... who knew it could be so simple?!

Sewing on buttons.

Again, I never took a picture of the final product. Will post tonight with a photo of the completed jeans :-)


The Clothing Refashions: Project 1

Well, I promise I had planned on posting these projects earlier.... oops.

Project #1: Operation Hippie Jeans

My first attempt at refashioning a pair of jeans was my Freshman year in college. My roommate, Kayla, and I decided to take a pair of scissors and some bleach to our old jeans and have at 'em for a few hours. The results were pretty fantastic, but needless to say, I don't need to be running around in jeans with gaping holes WAY too high up my thigh anymore. Probably shouldn't have been doing it then. Oh well. It was college.

This more mature version of the refashioned jean was inspired from a website that my mom found..... blanking on the name right now.... something like Crabby Apple....?? Anyway, the idea is that you take scraps of fabric, pin them down to your jeans in a pattern that you like, then sew, sew, sew! The jeans that the woman makes on her site are more in the style of a mosaic. She has certain color patterns that she creates on the pants with varying geometrical shapes of fabric. However, I was more inspired to create a nature scene, rather than a random mosaic. My fabric took on shapes to create a sun, water, branches, trees, flowers, land, birds, etc. Wow. Could I sound more like a child of the 60s, please?

Here are the pictures of the process.....

Step 1: Rip inseam of jeans, open until outside of jeans can lay out completely flat

Step 2: Take scrap fabric and cut out various shapes, making sure to leave a 1/4" space around the shape. This will allow you to sew the shapes down with a 1/4" seam around each shape.

Step 3: Lay fabric shapes down on jeans in the arrangement of your liking and pin down. Notice how my trees have a 1/4" white space around them....? That's what I was talking about in Step 2.

Step 4: Sew all pieces onto jeans with a sewing machine, starting with bottom layers and working your way to the top layers. You want to leave a 1/4" raw edge around each shape to allow for fraying.

Step 5: Once all shapes have been sewn on, re-sew the inseam back together EXACTLY how it was taken apart. Neglecting to do so will result in a pair of jeans that no longer fit you like a glove. Nobody likes that.

Step 6: Wash the jeans in a washer to loosen all fabric edges. This creates a really nice fray around the edge of each shape :-)

Step 7: Hang dry

Step 8: Wear!!!

Just a side: When I put on my hippy jeans to show my mom and dad the finished product, Dad said, "Wow, hun, who knew we raised a child of the 60s?" Mission accomplished.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My week in Belton :-D

Quick update on Sarah: Her first round of chemo was today, all went well. She has not experienced any side effects at this point. She woke this morning feeling very peaceful--your prayers are heard :-) I will be going up to visit her tomorrow during chemo day 2.

So, Scott and I went up to Belton on the weekend of Aug. 7th to celebrate my Dad's **th birthday! (Not his 50th, he's not quite there yet...) We had such a blast eating superb food, playing out on the lake, and just being with family! My grandparents, who also live in Belton, dwell in a BEAUTIFUL house on the lake, so our water adventures were only a staircase away. Scott had to go back for work, but I stayed with my parents until the following Thursday, which ended up being a good thing (for more reasons than just being with family). My brothers moved to Abilene the next weekend, so I was able to help my parents get things done around the house. Also, a very sweet man from my parents' church passed away on that Monday, so I was able to be there to help my mom while she rounded up people to bring food to the funeral. I am so glad I was there to help :-)

Now for the picture story! I feel that my words are so much better expressed through the photographs that I take...

Momma made spaghetti and meatballs the night of our arrival! Yum!

We visited Levi at work, Bodega Bean. Seriously neat coffee shop! If you live in/near Belton, you must visit!

My first attempt at skiing in 10 years--I stood up!!

My daddy :-) Birthday boy!

My brother, Jim :-) Yes, he and my dad look SO MUCH alike.

I LOVE my floppy HAT!!

Scott lookin' good in his shades B-)

Sunday afternoon at the grandparents house--Daddy likes Cotton Candy ice cream for his birthday, so that is what we gave him!

My church back home has a tradition of hosting "Graduation Sunday", an event in which we all gather somewhere with water on Sunday evening and celebrate the recent high school grads. Levi has finally taken his turn! This year it was hosted at a nice apartment complex with pool, cabana, and one man band! So fun!

My cousin, Kelsey (left), Levi, and Jim at the party.

This is the sweetest man--Bill--he has known me literally since the day I was born. Oh, and he likes Blue Bell.

Pool side hamburgers--oh yeah!

Jim, listening to the music

The elders give out new bibles to the grads--Daddy handed them out this year.

Had to photograph the puppies... Phoebe


So, I also refashioned some of my old clothes while there......!! They turned out SUPER cute! Will be blogging about those in a separate post.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Friends and family,

I come to you with very bad news. Sarah's PET scan results came back today and the cancer has spread to her bones, hips, and pelvis, as well as her lungs. The doctor deemed her cancer terminal. She will begin chemotherapy tomorrow, indefinitely. We are so heart broken by this news and grieving deeply for her. If you can, please join my husband and I in a fast for Sarah tomorrow. In your moments of hunger, pray as our Lord, Jesus Christ did: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Eric and Sarah. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

If you are in the Houston area, we will be holding a group prayer service for her tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 8:00 p.m. at Ecclesia Church. Your attendance would be very much appreciated.

She is in Gods hands. Only a miracle will save her life at this point, and maybe that's what God has planned for her, but it might not be. Pray for her life. Pray for her comfort. Pray for Eric and for Sarah's family as their suffering is immensely greater than mine.

Thank you. We love you all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guest Blogger: Scott Key (The Husband) :-D

The following is written by my husband, Scott Key. I thought his rendition of this tale would far surpass any attempt that I might describe.

The idea started with a phone call from an Idahoian, we'll call him Brandon Duncan for our purposes (plus that's his name). He wanted to smoke a brisket with me. Little did he know that what I really heard was "Scott, help me become a Texan."

We decided to do it right. We enlisted the help of a local architect, one recently married Eric Hughes, to ensure that the necessary aesthetic qualities would be maintained. So there we were, a builder, an engineer, and an architect ready to concur the infamous - smoked brisket.

None of us own a smoker, but no barrier was too great for this lot. My dad, a lover of food and master of all things grill, pointed me to an Alton Brown video in which the Good Eats mastermind smokes a salmon using an oven rack, two dowels, a heat source, and a cardboard box. Perfect, we thought.

We knew the box wouldn't melt because we all know that the burning temperature of paper products is Fahrenheit 451.

We made a few modifications to the design. Firstly, and maybe most importantly, we nixed the salmon in lieu of a nice 7 lb brisket. I am an active member Fish Belong in the Sea, Not On Your Plate Movement. Cruelty to fish is a problem I just won't stand for, so I chose to stick to beef.

Secondly, and most detrimentally, we opted for my mighty mini Weber instead of the pithy little hot plate Alton used, in order to give our soaked mesquite chips the glorious end they deserved.

Here's the gear:

What is the tarp for you ask? Well friend, there was a 40% chance of rain the day we were to smoke. As this was a 8-hour process, we felt that it was likely it would precipitate.

To start with, we made a rub for the brisket and coated it liberally. As I am not a detail person, I'm going to let you Google your way into a dry rub recipe.

The set-up:

You'll notice the fan (for convection) and the thermometer (to help us maintain a constant 250). So we got it all set up. We settled back for a great day of shirtless, beer-drinking, N.T. Wright discussing goodness on Eric's front porch. As the cultured, rubber-neck neighbors strolled by, we gloried in our redneck demeanor.

All went well - for two hours.

Then our temperatures spiked - 300, 350, 400 - no matter how many flaps we opened, we couldn't control the heat gain. Brandon frantically tried everything to cool the box down as I supervised from the porch (this allowed me to get a better grasp on the situation).

Brandon: My leg is hot ... HOLY SMOKES the box is on fire!

Fortunately we had a plan. We wisely placed the box on the concrete walk of Eric's front yard a good 10 yards from the eaves of the house. Also, we pulled the garden hose out so that it would be accessible, and it was except we didn't realize that it was kinked.

I will skip to script mode for the next seen:

Me: Well get the hose! (still in my supervisory role)
Brandon: (runs and twists the ball valve) It's not turning on!
Me: (runs over to spicket, turns opposite direction to no avail) ERIC WE NEED WATER!
Cardboard box: (ranging 15' flames)
Me: (runs inside to grab two cups worth of water - never was meant to be a fire-fighter)
Neighbor across the street: (runs to his front door) COME OUTSIDE!
Someone from within neighbor's house: Wait a minute!
Neighbor across the street: COME OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW!

The aftermath:

Brandon, me, Eric

Fortunately, the brisket was saved and had developed a nice smokey exterior in its short two hours inside our faulty smoker. We finished it off in the oven for the next 6 hours and then feasted on corn on the cob (expertly chosen by the Nebraskian, Eric Hughes), sweet potato salad, and of course, our cardboard flake infested brisket.

Though we failed miserably, no disappointments were found. A terrible day is always salvageable by the story you get to tell afterwards.

Sweet friend. Beautiful Wedding. God is SO Good.

Friends and family,

I come to you with some unfortunate news but also a huge reason to rejoice! My friend, Sarah, that I mentioned back in February as having been diagnosed with and eventually overcome cancer, went in for her 3 month check up this week and the cancer has spread. She now has stage 4 cancer (sarcoma) with 6 tumors in her lungs, 3 on each side. Results from her full body PET scan will be in next week to reveal any other tumors (we pray there are none). While we are all immensely saddened by this news, we believe in a God that is SO much bigger than cancer--a God that can heal and most of all, a gracious and merciful God that can bring us peace in the most desperate circumstances. Sarah has shared with me and others that she feels a peace that surpasses her wildest understanding, and that can only come from God. She has been so bright and positive; though she has a long road ahead of very intense chemo treatments and illness, she is not letting this news bring her down.

That being said, she and her fiance, Eric, were to be married in November. However, because of this recent news, they decided to get married yesterday at 3:00 at our church. She called me on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and said, "Hannah, I have some news.... Eric and I just decided that we are getting married tomorrow!" I could not have been more overjoyed! Having Eric by her side during these first 4 months of chemo will be such a great thing for the both of them. Her November wedding is still on, but yesterday was a celebration of life and hope and love that I will remember forever. The wedding was beautiful. The Church (and I use a big "C" because what happened yesterday was nothing short of God's goodness exemplified through his people, the Church) came together and made everything perfect for her in just about 22 hours. A team of individuals from our church decorated the sanctuary at midnight on Saturday and it was stunning! Their were twinkle lights strung from the ceiling with white paper lanterns suspended in between strands of glowing bulbs, flowers were donated and carefully placed throughout. Hundreds of candles, wire figurines, more flowers, a wedding cake, and food came together beautifully on long tables covered in satin table cloths. The church catered the food and bought her a wedding cake that was a mini version of the one she will be having in November. The photographer that Eric and Sarah were going to use, but opted out because of her price, donated her services for the big day, taking stunning photographs all afternoon. A professional makeup artist and hair stylist came and did Sarah's hair and makeup free of charge. A DJ from the church played music for the dance party. Close friends made it all happen in just a matter of hours. It was a beautiful wedding both in appearance and emotion. I cannot express in words the way God blessed Eric and Sarah yesterday; I can only hope that my pictures will say more than I can.

Be praying for these two. They are beautiful people :-)



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ginger Peach Green Tea Sorbet

Girls' Night at the Duncan's was such a treat. Each of us contributed in some way to the night of sushi rolling--I decided to make a Green Tea Sorbet. The recipe could not have been simpler! And the results were smooth, sweet, icy, minty, melt-in-your-mouth good!

What you need:
-3 c. water
-2 Tbls. loose leaf green tea or other green tea flavor of your choosing (I used Ginger Peach), OR 6 tea bags of green tea
-1/2 c. sugar
-2 Tbls. chopped fresh mint

What to do:
-Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan
-Add the tea bags, sugar, and mint
-Turn off the water and allow to steep, stirring occasionally for approximately 6 to 10 min., making sure that the sugar dissolves
-If you used loose leaf tea, strain the liquid to remove leaves. If you used bags, remove them from the liquid
-Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze for about 30 minutes, or until it comes to a smooth, icy consistency
-NOTE: If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can pour the mixture into a 1 gallon freezer bag, place in the freezer, and take out every 20 minutes to squish the mixture around until liquid has frozen


Jewelry Re-Organization!

I had an itch that needed scratchin' and I am happy to say my itch has been soothed! I FINALLY re-organized my jewelry armoire!

Here are the before pictures:

I had every pair of earrings, broaches, and rings neatly tucked away in tiny slots of a velvety jewelry organizer and my necklaces were sagging off of two wire hangers (gag! I HATE wire hangers!!) Bracelets hung from two velvet jewelry display racks. Doesn't sound too horrible, right? I mean, at least it wasn't all cluttered and tangled in a drawer of disarray... But! I needed something more inspiring. I needed to open my jewelry armoire and say, "My! What will I throw on today!" Rather than, "Ugh, I have to dig through this monotony of velvet organizers again?!"

Thus, the jewelry re-org began! Scott was such a dear heart. He went to the hardware store and bought me some cork board and screen mesh, came home, and helped me whip up my new earring holders.

My necklaces now hang beautifully from the already inserted metal rod at the top of the armoire (genius, why didn't you think of THAT before....), my bracelets are nestled in a variety of cups and bowls collected from around the house, my rings are cupped inside of martini classes and tea cups, and my broaches are perched atop a hand-painted plate. Needless to say, I LOVE putting on my jewelry now even more than before. Each morning is like digging through a tiny treasure trove of bobbles and jewels. So fun!

Now for a How-To: How to make a hanging earring organizer

-Two or more picture frames
-Wire screen mesh (found at any hardware store)
-Cork board
-Hot glue gun and glue sticks
-"Command" strips (or any other really strong double-sided sticky thing)

-Remove glass and backing from each frame, discard

-Cut wire mesh and cork board to fit the INSIDE of the frame, using the glass insert as a template.

-Hot glue cork board to the inside edge of a frame

-Hot glue wire mesh to the inside edge of other frame, making sure to stretch the wire taught before gluing

-Use a piece of scrap cloth to smooth the hot glue over the raw edges of the wire to ensure a secure fit

TADA! Now, to get my new organizers to hang on the inside of my armoire door, I stuck Command strips to the corners of the back of each frame, peeled off the paper backing, and pressed the frames to the door. I used the cork board to put earrings up that don't have hooks (e.g. stud earrings) and the screen to hang earrings with hooks.

Happy crafting!