Monday, March 31, 2008

Eagle Bluffs

Yesterday afternoon, after our time with brothers and sisters in the Lord, my family and I drove out to a conservation area not far from us called Eagle Bluffs. It is so named because of the Bald Eagles that frequent it. Last year a pair nested there, and they may again this year - we saw one of these beautiful birds there yesterday.

The trees are still bare, though if I looked closely, I could see a hint of green. Spring is taking its time getting here! Usually we have our first leaves on the trees around March 21st.

Eagle Bluffs is designed as a drive-through, but one can get out and walk. We usually do walk some, but this time did not as we were short on time. Driving, though, enables one to get much closer to the birds. However, these Blue-Wing Teal did not want us to get very close!

The coots were by far the most common bird.

We also were able to see two uncommon species: a Ruddy Duck and a Black-Necked Stilt (which is a shorebird). Other species of note were Northern Shovelers (one of my mom's favorite ducks), Lesser Yellow-legs (another shorebird), the Bald Eagle, Green-Wing Teal, Lesser Scaup, Ring-Billed Duck, Pied-Billed Grebes, and another one of my mom's favorites:

Great-Blue Herons. As we drove around a bend, we saw this bird quite close to the road. It did not stay long, however . . .

"Taking Flight"

As usual, we greatly enjoyed or time together. It is always so refreshing to me to be able to get out and spend time in God's beautiful creation, to study the creatures that in His wisdom He designed.

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? . . . Do not worry then . . . But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness . . ." Matthew 6:26, 31a, 33a

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually." Psalm 105:1-4

Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's done!

It has been, in fact, for about two weeks; I just had not taken pictures of it until now. It was quite exciting to put the last stitch in!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Making Memories

When we first began our girls group a year and a half ago, I had no idea how much I would grow to love each and every one of these precious girls. Yes, I see their faults, but I also see them striving to overcome these. What an encouragement it is to see them growing. It has also been such a blessing to see the relationships growing between the girls themselves and also between the girls and us.

Writing out a recipe card

This week we made chocolate chip cookies with the girls which was a good learning experience.

Measuring the brown sugar

There was some difficulty in getting the dough onto the cookie sheets in the right size shape for cookies and also in having the needed distance between the cookies, but the girls got it figured out (with a bit of assistance :).

Leah showing the girls how to put the dough onto the cookie sheets

While the cookies were baking, the girls worked on their cross-stitches, meanwhile rotating with coming and helping me take cookies off of the cookie sheets and putting more dough on for the next batch.


Once the cookies were all done baking it was time for our lesson which was based upon 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (Leah wrote on this awhile back on our blog Follow in His Steps, and much of our lesson was taken from this).

Me teaching

We began by asking the girls if they knew that as believers we are to be a fragrance. We then read the verses in 2 Corinthians: "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." After reading these verses, we passed around a deliciously smelling candle. We discussed how, when lit, this candle produces a fragrance. It shines its light and pours its fragrance out upon those who are around it.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16).
After reading these verses, I put a paper sack over the candle and asked if the candle's light and fragrance would still be able to be seen and smelled. The answer was obviously no. We then related this to our own lives, what types of things 'cover' our light and do not let it shine? What things keep us from being the fragrance of Christ? All in all it was a very good discussion, and the girls had excellent insights!

We finished our time together by enjoying some of the delicious cookies the girls made!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We've been tagged!

Awhile back, Christina tagged my sister and I. Now you all will be able to find out a bunch of little interesting facts about us! :)

1. What is your occupation?

Sarah: firstly serving my family and others, secondly I am a seamstress and sewing teacher

Leah: it depends on the time of day! Serving my family and others is my first priority; I also am learning the art of taxidermy from my Dad with the goal of having my own home based business.

2. What color are your socks?

Sarah: White

Leah: White

3. What are you listening to right now?

Each other talking :)

4. What was the last thing you ate?

Sarah: Oatmeal Pancakes
Leah: A bowl of cereal

5. Can you drive a stick shift?


6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Well, since we’re not a crayon, we’ve never had to think about it! :)

7. Last person you were on the phone with?

Sarah: One of my sewing students

Leah: Someone from our home church

8. Do you like the person that sent this to you?

While we do not know Christina personally, we have been blessed by many of the things that she has to share.

9. Favorite Drink?
Sarah: Probably water, though milk would be pretty close too

Leah: Tropicana Twister and after that, water

10. What is your favorite sport to watch?
We haven’t watched sports on tv in a long time, but, our occasional family badminton and basketball games are sure entertaining to watch! :)

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?



Sarah: A collie, Lassie

Leah: A golden retriever, Mandy; and Bobbie, a cat.

We also have waterfowl, but they don’t quite count as pets. :)

13. Favorite Food?

Sarah: This is a hard one! How about a meal? Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, and
Leah: I have far too many favorites to name just one! I will get tired of anything if I eat it
too often.

14. Last movie you watched?

Sarah: Dinosaurs in the Bible (excellent Creation presentation by Ken Ham of
Answers in Genesis)
Leah: Towards the Future (another video from AiG – this one is a Q&A/panel discussion by Creationists)

15. Favorite day of the year?

Sarah: I don’t have a favorite - each one is special and unique!

Leah: I’m the same as Sarah, I have no favorite.

16. What do you do to vent anger?
To vent anger? That’s a tough one to answer as we both try to not give in to angry feelings or attitudes. As James 1:19-20 says “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” So as these verses say, this is something that we all need to strive for although, of course, we will never attain perfection while on this earth.

17. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Sarah: Hmm . . . it’s hard to remember that far back . . . I believe it was a little rag doll that someone made for me.

Leah: The farm set that my parents gave me. Many hours went into building my little farms and lining up all my critters. :)

18. What is your favorite? Fall or Spring?

Sarah: Spring probably, though I love Fall also!

Leah: I love both although I think Fall would probably be my favorite.

19. Hugs or kisses

Sarah: Hugs

Leah: Hugs

20. What kind of pie?

Sarah: Pecan Apple Pie
Leah: Pecan Apple Pie for me too (with vanilla ice cream on top :)

21. Living arrangements?

We live at home with our family at present and we share a room together (by choice :)

22. When was the last time you cried?
Sarah: I don’t recall the last time :/

Leah: Hmm, I don’t remember either.

23. What is on the floor of your closet?
Sarah: Shoes and a few baskets
Leah: Well, since Sarah and I share a closet, my answer would be the same as hers

24. Who is the friend you've had the longest that you are tagging?

We don’t even know yet if we will tag anyone!

25. The friend that you have known the shortest amount of time that you are tagging?

The answer above would go for this one too.

26. Favorite smell?

Sarah: A farm (fresh cut hay, animals, feed, etc.), though fresh baked apple pie is one of my favorites too!

Leah: The smell of the local feed store – nothing else is quite like it. I also love the smell
of baled hay :)

27. What inspires you?

The Lord and His Word

28. What are you afraid of?
Sarah: Afraid of? Well, I don’t care for snakes, but I’m not really afraid of them.

Leah: I cannot think of anything offhand, although there are certainly things that
intimidate me.

29. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?

Sarah: Spicy (my Dad makes the best hamburgers!)

Leah: Definitely spicy – and I second what Sarah said, Dad’s hamburgers are the best!

30. Favorite cat breed?

Sarah: That’s one animal that I have no idea what the breeds are!
Leah: Like Sarah, I am not familiar at all with the cat breeds, but whatever breed my cat is would be my favorite :)

31. Number of keys on your key ring?

Sarah: I don’t have a key ring – I drive my parents’ car and use theirs.
Leah: Once again, my answer is the same as Sarah’s. (can you tell we’re a lot alike?)

32. How many years at your current job?

Sarah: Well, I’ve always been with my family :), and I’ve had my sewing business for about 5 years.

Leah: Nineteen years and counting! – that is, being in the role of a daughter and sister. :)
My home business is not yet fully underway.

33. Favorite day of the week?

Sarah: Friday evenings with my family and Sundays

Leah: Same as Sarah

34. How many provinces or states have you lived in?

Sarah: Two, I was born in Wisconsin and then we moved to Missouri

Leah: Only one. I’ve been in Missouri all my life and have never even moved to a
different home!

35. How many countries have you been to?

Sarah: Two, the US and Mexico

Leah: Just two, same as Sarah. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Flowers and Snow?

Yes, indeed. Yesterday, the day our first flower of spring bloomed, we also had snow flurries!

An early blooming Dutch Iris

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring at Last!

Yes, it is officially here! And you can see it's signs outdoors:

Buds on our Lilac Bush

Daffodils poking above the grass and leaves

And one of my favorites: the spring peepers. We have a small 'pond' that borders our property that generally has about a foot or so of water in it (though last year during the drought it went dry). Over the past several weeks as the days began to warm, we began to hear the loud peeps of the tiny frogs, and also croaks belonging to species that I do not know the names of. Today, with temperatures near 60, the peeping and croaking reached a crescendo. I went down by the pond to see if I could get a glimpse of the frogs and patience paid off!

Here is a spring peeper:

They are about the size of a nickel.

And an 'unknown' frog - this one was quite a bit larger:

We were unable to have our girls group this week because after managing to avoid getting sick all winter, I finally succumbed. Thankfully though, sickness does not last long, and it will soon be over. And one cannot help but feel better when the sun is shining outside and birds are singing!

Taking advantage of the nice weather, Leah has been busy building nest boxes for our duck
s. Dad cut the plywood pieces, and she began putting the boxes together yesterday. Today she was to finish them including making the holes in the front of the boxes using this tool:

"So I use this?"

Dad demonstrated how to use it - Leah looks a bit skeptical. :)

But once she started she used it like a pro! The boxes are now finished, and Leah and I just finished hanging them up in the pen. It did not take long before the Wood Duck hen went to investigate!

Monday, March 17, 2008

'New' Archives Have Been Added!

It took some time, but I finally finished moving all my old journal entries from my As Lilies Sewing website to this blog. I hope that you enjoy browsing through the archives!

*I apologize in advance that some of the photos are blurry!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An Afternoon at the River

Yesterday afternoon with temperatures around 55 degrees (though the wind was quite chilly), Dad, Mom, Leah and I (Ryan was at work) headed to the Missouri River. We had such a wonderful time! After a long cold winter, it felt so good to get out and spend time outdoors.

Dad and Leah looking at some interesting pieces of driftwood that had washed up.

The Big Muddy (also known as the Missouri River :). It will not be long until the trees begin getting their leaves!

Dad was just getting ready to take a photo of Leah and I together, when we heard something high in the sky. Any guesses?

A large flock of Snow Geese! I love listening to their calls as they fly over. If you look closely in the photo you can distinguish between the two color phases: the white phase and the blue phase.

Leah and I

The Missouri River

Monday, March 10, 2008


Our brothers and sisters in the Lord in California need our help and support . . .

"Please Sign this Petition to Support Homeschool Freedom in California.

"A California Court of Appeal recently decided that homeschooling is illegal in California unless a parent is a certified teacher. . . ." (quote from HSLDA website; to read more visit this link).

Just had to share

This morning, I heard the first Eastern Phoebe of the year! Spring is on its way!


Last week was quite a busy and full week for me. Lots of sewing, preparing lessons for and teaching girls group, giving sewing lessons, cleaning, cooking, working on the 2008 As Lilies Catalog, photographing for the catalog, etc. Yesterday, it was so pleasant to be able to set all that aside and to spend time with my family and also brothers and sisters in the Lord. It was a day of fellowship and refreshment.

During our time this morning, some of what was discussed was several verses in Colossians. Two of them being verses 9-10 of chapter 1: ". . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;" How convicting are these verses! This is the desire of my heart, to walk in a manner worthy of, and pleasing to, my Savior, my Lord, my King. Notice in these verses that it is not just in some things, but pleasing Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. However, this is not something that just happens overnight, but develops as we grow in Christ. Verse nine says that we are enabled to do these things through the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This knowledge is attained through the Scriptures, His word given to man. These verses are a challenge to me to day by day strive to "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord". Anyway, this was just a bit of what was discussed, and it had been (and is!) a blessing to me.

After the teaching time and singing, we share a meal together, and today the newest little baby was wide awake. While everything was getting set out for the meal, I was able to hold her and ended up holding her for over an hour (she finally fell asleep :). It was not a difficulty I can assure you! She is so precious!

On a different note, last evening I had the opportunity to be able to work on my quilt. I greatly enjoy quilting, and find it quite relaxing. The quilt is so close to being done - all that is left is to
finish hand-sewing down the binding and then to make a label for it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Winter Wonderland

On February the 24th, (which also happened to be my birthday), we had a beautiful snow! I went out early in the morning to enjoy it and to photograph and had a wonderful time. Lassie enjoyed it too:

Looking out across the pasture that borders our property

I am not for sure what kind of tree this is, but the
bark is quite interesting!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sewing: Putting in a Zipper

When sewing a garment, putting in the zipper can be one of the most difficult steps, especially if it is your first one. I can remember quite well the first zipper that I set in! I made many mistakes, and the ripper got a lot of use that day. :)

My mom is the one who first taught me how to sew many years ago. She had learned when she was a little girl in 4-H. She is also the one who taught me how to set in a zipper. Since that first zipper, I have set in more zippers that I can count and have learned a lot along the way. Zippers can be intimidating, and often pattern instructions are not very clear in how to go about doing this. For me, I had my mom right there helping me, but many of you may not have this blessing, so I have attempted to put together a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to put in a zipper in the hopes that it would be a help to any of you who are trying your hand at sewing. Sewing is such a wonderful thing and a pleasant and profitable pastime, but from experience, I know that it can get discouraging at times. Hopefully this post may help you to avoid the mistakes that I made when first learning how to set in zippers.

After getting the below all typed up, I realize that it looks like a lot of steps, but I tried to break it down as simply as I could so those with little or no sewing experience would also be able to understand.

(Note: this zipper is put in the back of a skirt. It is also not a lapped zipper).

1) This first step begins after you have your fabric cut out, though with the pattern pieces still pinned to them. On the pattern there will often be either a circle or a triangle to mark where the base of the zipper goes. The skirt that is being used for this post has a circle:

Mark the circle either with a water soluble marking pencil or some other method. The circle in the photo has been marked on both sides with a blue water soluble marking pencil. (If your pattern has a triangle marking, simply cut a triangle opposite of the marking.)

2) Remove the pattern pieces from your fabric. Pin the back panels of the skirt right sides together along the edge that has the zipper marking:

3) Sew this with a 5/8" seam allowance with the regular stitch length (often between the 2 and 3 setting on a sewing machine) from the dot or triangle down to the hemline, backstitching well at the dot or triangle.

4) Baste (long machine stitch) from the top of the skirt down to the dot or triangle. Do not backstitch.

5) Finish the seam allowances individually (zig-zag or serge), and press the seam open (note the blue dot on the seam):

6) Lay garment wrong side up (see above photo).

7) With the zipper face down, place the metal stopper that is at the base of the zipper on top of the blue dot, aligning the center of the seam with the center of the zipper. Pin on each side to secure.

8) Fold the zipper back and then "walk" the zipper up the seam about an inch or so aligning the seam line with the center of the zipper teeth. (To help you be able to see this, I drew a blue line along the seam):

9) Without shifting the position of the zipper, fold it back up and hold secularly with your finger:

10) Place a pin on each side of the zipper where you are holding it:

11) Continue doing this until the entire zipper is pinned:

12) For the next step you will need a special foot attachment called a zipper foot. It is double-sided allowing you to sew on each side of the zipper, without the zipper pull or teeth needing to go under the foot. To sew on the left side of the zipper, the right side of the foot would need to be attached. (See photo below). Baste (long-machine stitch), on the outer edge of each side of the zipper:

I used a different color of thread for the basting so that you would be able to see it well. Often when first learning to set in zippers, it is helpful to use a contrasting color of thread:

13) The next step uses 1/2 inch wide Scotch tape. On the right side of your fabric (the side that would face outward when your garment is completed), use a small strip of Scotch tape (3 in. or so) and place one end right below the metal stopper (you can feel this through the fabric). Carefully "walk" the rest of the piece of tape up the seam, aligning the center of the seam with the center of the tape. Continue using small pieces of tape (overlapping the previous piece a bit each time) until the entire zipper length has been taped. The tape will act as a marker making it easier to sew exactly a 1/4" from the seam line:

14) Beginning at the top of the zipper (I like to begin on the right side), sew along the outer edge of the tape with regular machine stitching. When you are almost to the end of the tape on the first side, you can manually sew with your machine (instead of using the pedal) by turning the knob - this prevents one from accidentally sewing past the tape. When you reach the end of the tape on the first side, stop. Do not raise the foot. Lower the needle to its lowest position so that it can securely hold the fabric. Raise the foot and pivot the fabric 90 degrees. Lower the foot and sew following the outer edge of the tape. When you reach the end of the tape on this short side, stop. Do not raise the foot. Lower the needle to its lowest position. Raise the foot and pivot the fabric 90 degrees. Lower the foot and sew the last side of your zipper.

Excellent job! You're almost done!

Above photo: Pivoting the fabric at the base of the tape.

15) Pull off the tape and remove all the basting stitches:

And your zipper is in!

I hope that that was helpful to you! If you should have any questions, or if I did not make something clear enough, please do not hesitate to ask. Have fun sewing!