S’more Love, S’more Fun, S’more Forever

July 8,2014 by Nama

We had the pleasure of celebrating these two cutes on Sunday.

s'more-love-trough-tabletop-sterno-shower-party.jpg  //namafish.com

J.J. and Margit will say “I do” to their Happily Ever After on the Thirtieth of August.

We Celebrated in camp style at J’s childhood home.  It stormed, it rained, it was humid and there were bugs.  It was absolutely perfect as family and a few friends came together to reflect on love, commitment, family and forever.

s'more-love-trough-tabletop-sterno-shower-party.jpg  //namafish.com

i offered to put together a S’more Bar as the sweet treats of the day. Continue reading

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How to make our weighted blanket

june 4, 2014 by nama

Here we go friends, this took longer than i had anticipated, i want to post it tonight because i promised you that, it may need another edit or two.  Please message me or comment if you find errors or the instructions are not making sense to you, i want to fix my human-ness.  i know you are all way too intelligent to need this explanation but some have asked…..any teal turquoise words are links to other information or posts, hover over them with your mouse and an explanation will  pop up. Click on the words and you travel to a whole new story or earth shaking information.

Blessing’s gift blanket is a wonderful fluffy soft pile of warm snuggle.  i suspected we would need a cooler option for the hot humid summer in our not air conditioned home.  We came up with this version, we are very happy with the finished product.  i would recommend this approach.  You could add a fleece duvet if you find you want more warmth or soft fuzzy snuggle.  This blanket is compact and will be very easy to launder. The streamlined design also made the construction process very manageable on a standard home sewing machine.

Our first weighted blanket is on the left,  the summer version is on the right.

Weighted-blanket-how-to-jpg //namafish.com

Blessing’s gift blanket is perfect.  This is not an improvement but rather another option.

Materials list: for a 42″ x 79″ Blanket

4 ½ yards 100% Cotton Fabric, 45” wide

Matching Thread

4 ½ yards 100% cotton thin quilt batting, 45” wide

Poly beads

i will provide links to my materials at the end of the post.Weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

How many beads?  The standard is 10% of your body weight plus one pound.  More is fine and additional weighting will bring deeper comfort to some.  The only caution you need to consider is being certain you are able push the blanket off and get out from under it.

For Blessing i took her weight: 55lbs x .10 = 5.5 pounds + 1 pound = 6.5 pounds. Our beads came in a 9 pound lot; i chose to use all of them as she has proven she is loving the intense weighting.  Our finished blanket weighs a total of 11.5 pounds.  It is perfect for our girl.

i chose to layer fabric, batting, beads, batting, and fabric for my design.   i wanted the beads sandwiched between layers of batting to soften the feel of the beads against her skin.  Blessing has intense sensory challenges and i was concerned the firmness of the beads may be irritating for her.

Cut the fabric in half, this will give you two pieces that measure 45” x 81”.  i bought our fabric in two 2 ¼ yard pieces as i wanted different fabrics for the back and front of the blanket.  You could make the blanket shorter,  i wanted this one to be twin quilt length.

Pre wash and dry the fabric.Weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

Take one piece of your fabric and draw a grid pattern on the right side of  the fabric.

You could avoid this step if you chose a fabric with a grid pattern on it.  Use a fabric pencil so these lines will wash out.  This is forming the pattern for the pockets that will hold the beads in place.  You may make the pockets whatever size you wish.

weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

 This picture shows you that the pockets on Blessing’s winter blanket (pink) are larger than what I chose to do for her yellow summer blanket.

I used a 10 x 20 grid, giving me 200 pockets.  My squares are approximately  4”x 4”.  This step took me 3 hours, less squares = less time.

SEW LAYERS TOGETHER:

Pin the fabrics with right sides together on three sides.

weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

Sew these three sides (red lines) using a ½ inch seam allowance.  i chose to sew both short ends and one long side.

i found it easier to add beads using this design.  Add both layers of your batting and re-sew the same three sides.  It will be easiest to do a neat job if you put both layers of batting on top of the fabrics.  After you have sewn the batting to the fabric on all three sides, turn the quilt right side out.  You should have a large envelope that consists of fabric (right side visible) on the bottom, two layers of batting in the center and fabric (right side up) on the top.

weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

Top stitch (blue line) 3/8 inch from edge on the three sides you have sewn. This adds durability.

Sew the columns: weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

These are the shorter vertical lines in your grid pattern, pin through all 4 layers of fabric and batting on line.  Sew on the lines you drew earlier to create columns for beads.  I pin and sew three lines at a time, working from the center out.

ADDING THE BEADS:

weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.comYou are going to add enough beads for one pocket to each column in between the two layers of batting.

Working across the quilt use the correct measure of beads per pocket and pour them into each columnweighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

I used a home crafted funnel to help the beads fall to the bottom of the column.

weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com

Once you have placed beads in one column, pin that column shut on the first  horizontal line locking those beads in place, move on to the next column, add one measure of beads, pin that pocket shut.  Once each column (20total)  has its first measure of beads, you will sew the first horizontal line across the quilt which will lock the first row of beads in place.weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com  Move up the quilt adding one row of beads at a time and sewing one horizontal line to lock them in place. Sewing over a bead will break your needle, be careful!

How do I know how many beads go in each pocket?  Using a kitchen measuring cup measure the volume of beads that you want to use in your blanket.  My 9lbs of beads measured 28 level cups.  There are 16 tablespoons in one cup.

I had 28 cups x 16 tablespoons = 448 Tablespoons.

I had 10 squares  x 20 squares = 200 pockets

Number of Tablespoons of beads (448) divided by number of pockets (200)

448/200 = 2.24 (2 1/4) Tablespoons of beads per pocket.

I used a 2 Tablespoon measuring spoon and made sure it was generously full.

Because I am neurotic, half way through I measured my remaining beads, this allowed me to adjust my per pocket measurement at this point.  I did a final measure and adjust with just two rows (40 pockets) remaining.  It would be possible to get to the end of the filling and not have enough beads for the final pockets or to have beads left over making your blanket lighter than you had planned.  All of this would be easier with fewer pockets.  The large number of pockets made a very smooth evenly weighted quilt, i like that but it is not necessary.

FINAL FINISHING:

There are many options here.  I was going for simple and functional on this quilt.  My backing happened to be 2 inches wider than my front fabric. i simply trimmed the extra batting to match my front fabric size, i folded the back fabric over the front edge and top stitched through all layers.  My edges were both factory finished (salvage) so I did a simply single fold, if you have a cut edge you will need to do a rolled hem.weighted-blanket-how-to.jpg //namafish.com  I tend to be asymmetrical so I happen to like the one sided look this created.  I may add a strip of rick rack trim down the yellow stripe.  Cute!  Right?

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

This project is not technically difficult.  A beginner sewer could accomplish it.  If you are a new sewer be prepared to stick with it, it is time intensive.  You could use larger pockets to make the process easier, i feel you could go as large as 8”x 8”.  Your final quilt may not be as perfectly square or smooth but it will be perfectly functional and comforting.

My materials cost me $60.00.  A comparable quilt would cost $200.00 – $400.00.

My total time invested in this project was about 12 hours.

A dear friend of mine, a brand new seamstress made a quilt along side me and it is perfect for her little man.

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Blessing continues to be HUGELY helped by her weighted blanket.  It truly has been miraculous for us.  If i can answer any questions or step you through this process, please leave a comment, a facebook message or send an email.  i would be honored to help you however i am able.

Links: Batting

Beads   or  Beads

Here are a couple Youtube videos for your entertainment.

Happy Grandma Blanket

   

Easy Peasy Pillowcase version  

7 Simple Steps to The Best Sweet Corn Ever

may 28, 2014 by nama

YOU NEED:

Fresh Corn (bought mine at Aldi, pre-husked)

Lemon Juice, fresh or bottled (i almost always use bottled)

Granulated Sugar or Alternative Sweetener ( i am learning about these, sugar is not kind to me)

Large Kettle, Water and Ice

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1.  Remove husks and silk from Sweet Corn.

2.  Place corn in cooking kettle and cover with cold water.  If the corn will be sitting for more than 30 minutes before you cook, add some ice to keep the corn fresh.

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3.  For each 4 quarts of water and ice you used:  add 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice.  This will tenderize the corn and add a very nice subtle  flavor.

Alternative Sweeteners ://Namafish.com

Learning to use Alternative Sweeteners

4.  For each 4 quarts of water and ice you used:  add 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or alternative sweetener.  Mix in.  Sweet deliciousness!

***No Salt Please, salt will make the corn tough.***

5.  Allow the corn to soak for at least 30 minutes.  Longer is fine, if you plan to serve the corn later in the week you may refrigerator for several day.

When you are ready to cook the corn, drain off most of the water and ice, leave about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom of the kettle.  You will steam the corn rather than boil it.  Steaming locks all the sweet yummy flavor in each kernel. Roasting and grilling are also great options here.  Boiling = all the flavor washing down the drain.  This is sad.

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6. Stand the corn on end in kettle, cover and turn the heat on high.  Remember to leave 1/2 inch of  water in the bottom of the kettle.

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7.  Cook on high until the corn turns a dark golden color.  This will typically take 5-7 minutes.  My kettle is a 12 quart stock pot.

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When your corn reaches this deep rich golden color turn off the heat, cover and allow to sit until you are ready to serve.

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Most of my clan adds a bunch of butter, salt and pepper to their corn at this point.  I like a dash of Tabasco sauce and fresh cilantro.  If you haven’t tried it you are missing out. We are split right down the middle as far as “on the cob” or cut off the cob.  i like mine off, Tim likes his on.

You don’t have to add much to fresh sweet corn for a perfect meal.  We had Turkey Italian Sausages last night.  Some of us did the traditional bun with ketchup and mustard sandwich.  i like my protein without the carbs, just along side my pile of corn.

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My Man brought me my favorite, fresh cut lilacs, from our backyard cuz he read my post yesterday and is holding up his end of this deal we made 33 years ago.  He is a keeper.

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Love Lots, Give Lots, Forgive Lots, Smell the lilacs and find some sweet corn for  your menu.  Life is that simple if we let it be.

Tell me, what is on your menu this week?

Sweet and Tender Corn, My Favorite ://Namafish.com

Sweet and Tender Corn, The Best ://Namafish.com

An image for you to Pin, cuz i am kind like that.

Dreadlocks in Pictures

may13,2014 by Nama

dreadlocs 1 June 2011We started Blessing’s Dreadlock journey in June of 2011. She was 7 years old, this is the last picture of her little Afro loaded up with conditioner right before we started braiding.Dreadlocs 2 june 2011

Very first Dreadlocks. July 2011.

Blessing’s dreadlocks could also be referred to as Braidlocks as we started them by braiding her hair. She had 248 tiny braids on her little head at this point. It took us 3 weeks to complete the process. We worked in 2 hour sessions, watched lots of Disney movies and had lots of tears. Blessing wanted the dreadlocks but it is a tough process for a busy little 7 year old.

Dreadlocs 3 August 2011

Fall 2011, 4 months of growth and newly locked.dreadlocs 6 fall 2011 (2)Fall 2011, you can see the “braid ” pattern in each lock if you look close. This picture was taken before we relocked them,  you can see the “outgrowth” at the top of each braid.dreadlocs 10 june 2012

Spring 2012, about one year of growth.Dreadlocs 9 June 2012

One year of growth. IMG_0552

Winter 2012, 18 months of growth and newly locked + a brand new little niece.IMG_0375

18 months of growth and locking + a brand new puppy.June 2013 (2)

July 2013 two years .June 2013 (1)Blessing’s hair is long enough for a pony tail. This is a BIG deal !! Two years.December 2013 (4)

Fall 2013, two and a half years of growth.December 2013 (3)December 2013 (2)

Two and a half years of growth and locking.IMG_0305

May 2014, almost 3 years of growth.IMG_0288

Blessing’s dreadlocks are almost 3 years old.IMG_0293Look at that ponytail . Almost 3 years of growth.

June 2013 (1)

 This picture is Blessing’s ponytail with 2 years of growth.

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This picture is Blessing’s ponytail with 3 years of growth.

A challenge with Dreadlocks can be how to keep them clean and moisturized. Many products marketed for deadlocks will build up in the locks, this is not healthy for the hair or scalp.  Build up is not attractive.  We developed build up at about 18 months of growth . i was heart broken, i felt like we were failing and feared we may have to give up the dreadlock journey. After much research we found an amazing cleansing process and we have settled on using only coconut oil for moisturizing .

dreadlocs  11 June 2013 (5)

This picture shows the irregular color and white spots from the sad build-up. This was at 2 years into our journey.

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This picture shows the dreadlocks cleansed and using only coconut oil.

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 Today they are healthy, clean, neat and beautiful !! Blessing and i are delighted to be mastering the dreadlock  journey.

 

Summer Weighted Blanket

may 10, 2014 by Nama

I need to make Blessing a “cooler” weighted blanket for warm summer nights as our home does not have air conditioning. It gets hot and sticky here.

I am so very excited about these fabrics.IMG_0429

Blessing chose the Paris Fashion print for the front and i chose the buttercream to back the quilt.

I also ordered this 100% cotton batting.IMG_0427Look how thin it is, I think the 100% cotton fabrics combined with this cotton batting for cozy comfort will make a perfect summer weighted blanket.

Apparently the weighting beads alone can be irritating to some with sensory challenges. If you use two layers of batting placing the beads in between the two layers of softness the blanket is much softer and is often more likely to bring the comfort you are looking for. I’ll let you know how this all works out when i get to sew in June.

For now i am just so stinkin excited about this fabric……IMG_0439and in my world all things good are even better when shared .

Barbie Cake for Daddy

february 15,2014 by nama

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This is what you get when you allow a 9 year old Barbie princess to design a Valentine cake for her chocolate loving daddy.

i asked Blessing if she would like to make a cake for Daddy for Valentines Day, her response…

” Can it be a Barbie cake ? ”

Not wanting to rain on her Valentine parade and trying to skillfully avoid her propensity towards angst, i of course, replied…

“Sure!”

My victory was short celebrated as the angst showed its ugly self the moment Blessing realized Barbie’s dress would have to be brown because daddy loves chocolate most of all.

But as luck would have it a 9 year old’s concern for the beauty of barbie’s ball gown melts away with the realization that the most effective way to add the pearl sprinkles to the ruffles is to pelt  Barbie with all your force one sparkling edible jewel at a time.

Blessing pelted, Finley sat nearby in her highchair giggling an out of control belly laugh with each candy Blessing added to Barbie’s skirt.

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This is a new skill in our kitchen, my four adult kids will tell you there was no pelting happening when they were developing their culinary skills.

i have learned, i have grown. i say here in front of all cyber-land “i am sorry my first four !”

If you wish to try this method of cake decorating you need to know the pelting needs to happen immediately after you apply the icing. The pearls can not grab icing that has started to set, regardless of your enthusiasm.

We used our Nothing Bundt Copy Cat recipe.  Yummy !!!!

i own a  34 year old doll skirt pan, making this cake Simple Simon.

You can buy a pan here.

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Our very own little Barbie Princess from Liberia.

As it turns out

february 15, 2014 by nama

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We had pepperoni cheese in the shape of a Valentine

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When he picked up the prescription, he swapped out the bouquet for a DVD player, cuz that was just more sensible.

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Nama and Aunty Blessing had this little Punkster all day long, so we got to share our valentines with Finley and her daddy.

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We had made some valentine crafts in January

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Friends from forever gave us their evening

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Kathy and Kevin have also raised 4 adult children and have a little caboose just the age of our Blessing. One of the daddy’s refers to them as chocolate thunder and white lightening. It is true and i am not telling who.

Together two tired older mammas

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added a few easy choices to our pizza.

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Blessing and I made this home baked cake while Finley was napping. It really is that fast and easy.

After we ate and chatted, Finley took her daddy home, the 9 year olds got lost in Barbie wonderland and we curled up on the couches under cozy quilts. Girls on one and boys on another cuz there was catching up to do and secrets to share and the guys needed to keep an eye on Olympic results.

We sipped sparkling lemonade from a store bought bottle. We traded in our stemless goblets for hot tea as the evening waned.

We laughed and and we refreshed, treasuring the gift of relationships that stand the test of time. We shared dreams, hopes, hurts and fears. We rejoiced and reminded each other of His truth.

As it turns out..

It really doesn’t get better than

Family

Friends

heart sharing with heart pizza

lemonade

and Chocolate Cake.

As it turns out…

you don’t have to put on makeup or do your hair for the the deepest beauty to be seen and shared.

As it turns out…

you don’t have to pick up the toys to let friends in the back door.

As it turns out…

Your friends will step over the toys and seem to not even notice.

As it turns out…

 Our everydays hold all the magic of the extraordinary when we slow down enough to find it.

How to Ruin a perfect Cup of Coffee

january 30,2014 by nama


IMG_0548This is how i like to start my day, fresh ground Starbucks and a splash of bottled creamer.

This morning, for some unknown reason i turned the cap of my bottle of creamer, i looked inside. And i saw…..

Eeeewwwww !!!!      This is what i found in my NOT expired creamer. moldy creamer 005
moldy creamer 010
For the record, i am posting this several weeks after the trauma, making the expiration date further from the morning of offense than it appears to have been. If this is not as disgustingly clear to you as it was to me….that is mold inside the creamer bottle. Mold inside the spout we had been pouring our creamer through. i’m all about a good dose of penicillin ,  i can appreciate well aged cheese with the best of them, but this i did not need.

My point is this… nose around my friends, look before you pour, open the cracks and crevices and see what may be hiding in the dark corners.

For all of you healthier than i, i know i shouldn’t even be drinking this stuff, but i do and i prefer it without mildew.

IMG_0558 For this morning i moved on to a smooth cup of Teavana ,

and from here on out, i look before i pour, please heed my advice and do the same.