Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Life and Times of a Sewing Machine

     This is an essay I wrote back in March for a writing assignment about an inanimate object. It is one of my favorite things I've written because I love sewing and my determined little sewing machine. I thought I'd share :)


     My name is Athena. I am not the Roman goddess; I am better than she ever was. I can create beauty better than she ever could; I can make something out of nothing, which she never did.
     My full name is Singer 1200 Athena, but I just go by Athena. I am a sewing machine. I was built in 1976 and am still going strong, because of course, I am an Athena. No other sewing machine works as well as I do. No other sewing machine is even a valid machine. They all refer to themselves by their middle names, which is a bothersome practice. I know a machine named Singer 2250 Tradition, and he goes by 2250. Does he really think I’ll go through the bother of remembering all those numbers? (The Traditions always were an odd family, so boxy and plastic, not sleek and shiny and sturdy like me.)
     I am a warm, buttery yellow color with stylish brown panels and buttons and shiny silver knobs. My peers say that white is in vogue for machines now, which is positively ridiculous. Just seeing all those vain machines flashing their shiny plastic shells of pure white is laughable. How else do you say “Made in China”? Honestly. Butter yellow might be a little… vintage, but it practically screams dependability. I am no plastic shell. I’m built of sturdy steel within, with just one piece of plastic on the top to cover my, ahem, machinery. I have ten different stitch options, which include a leaf pattern, numerous zigzag stitches, and even one that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. I also have multiple accessories: a clear buttonhole foot, a bulky blind hem foot, and several silver needle plates. I am as beautiful as my namesake, the Roman goddess Athena. Well, even more beautiful, because I can actually do something.
     I can create dresses and blouses and skirts, curtains and pillows and purses. I can alter outdated clothing and repair broken seams. There is nothing I can’t do. Just last week, my Seamstress and I worked on a new dress for her. The fabric she chose was simply beautiful: a turquoise and white floral print that takes me back a couple decades. Very retro; I liked it. This was a pleasing pick from my Seamstress; she has a lot of sense. While 2250 and his Seamstress are using gaudy polka dot prints and neon color blocks, my Seamstress and are sewing with red floral calicoes, feathery white muslins, and delicate ivory lace. My Seamstress clearly has as good taste in fabrics as she does in sewing machines.
     This turquoise cloth was for a retro dress she’s working on; I think she said she was for a 1940s dance she’s going to. It has a high waist, crossover bodice, fitted sleeves, and a gored skirt. She bought the pattern off the internet about a year ago and has made two other dresses from it, but the poor thing had no idea what she was doing when she worked on those dresses. Any merit those things could possibly have is because of me. The skirts were too long, the bodices too baggy, the waists too tight. My Seamstress, bless her heart, thinks she’s good at this stuff. (She was so proud of her first invisible zipper. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the only reason that zipper is invisible is because I've been doing zippers since before that girl was born.) At any rate, this time I did my best work to insure that the dress turned out right. Of course, my Seamstress thought it was all her own skill that made the dress so beautiful, and I let her think it. That’s the way to keep Seamstresses happy; let them think they are better sewers than they actually are. It isn't much fun at the time but in the long run they are more confident and patient and gentler with their machines.
     There is nothing better than the sheer thrill of sewing. I love the gentle hum of my gears as they turn faster and faster and the pressure of my Seamstress’ foot on the pedal as my needle punches up and down, up and down (the sound of it doing this used to be so smooth, until one day my Seamstress got impatient and put me on full speed. I think she sprained one of my belts, and now my needle makes a clackity sound when it moves. I’m still trying to forgive her for this).
     My favorite part of sewing, however, is the stitching itself. Every time is like the very first time I sewed, back when I was a young machine. I love the feel of each fabric as it speeds under my presser foot, as I punch the stitches into it, sturdy and tight. Silk is slippery but luxurious. Cotton is common but has so many colors. Linen is hardy and lovely. Knits are soft and cozy. Voile is a dream. Tulle is a nightmare. Each piece has its own feel and flavor: creamy silk from China, succulent brocade from India, sugary satin from the USA. Old fabrics, new fabrics, modern prints, and vintage ones. I can travel the world just by working with its cloths. They say that clothes make the man. Well, I make the clothes.
     So you see, I am much better than the Roman goddess.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Of Shopping and Turkeys

     I work at a retail store in a mall. It turns out that this mall (which will remain nameless) has decided to open for Black Friday early.

     At 8 PM on Thanksgiving Day.

     Other stores and shopping centers have made similar announcements (Including Macy's, JCPenney, and Best Buy) as more and more of them opt to open their doors before Black Friday, offering their customers an early start on their Black Friday Christmas shopping. Here's a flyer from Wal-Mart that illustrates:

(photo form examiner.com)
This recent news (and my thoughts about it) can be summed up in this meme:

(photo from blog.aarp.org)

     (Only in this case, we trampled each other the same day as being "thankful" for what we have.)

     This news makes me sad and angry and confused and frustrated. The meme is funny because it's so true, and because it's so true it is also so sad. Is no day sacred? Out of 365 days in a year, can we not set aside one day to be thankful? Must we always be taking taking taking, always desiring to get more instead of looking around and saying "hey, we are pretty darn blessed"? Are we really even that thankful if we gobble down our Thanksgiving dinner (pun intended) in a rushed attempt to get to the store? 

     It's bad enough that the holiday of Thanksgiving has been virtually eclipsed by the self-centered, commercialized holiday of Christmas (which isn't supposed to be self centered in the first place, either). Now Thanksgiving is just another day to stockpile more stuff for our already spoiled selves. Instead of sitting down to a quiet family dinner, enjoying the food and the company of each other as we go around the table asking each other what we're thankful for, will we now grab a bite to eat to go as we frenziedly check our smartphones and ask each other which store has the better sale? What kind of holiday is that? What kind of thanks-giving  is that?

     Someone I know said recently that "If people didn't shop, the stores wouldn't be open." This is true. The problem is not that the CEOs of major retailers have decided to open their stores on Thanksgiving. The problem is that there are people who will shop in them. With their bellies still full from turkey and pumpkin pie they will push, shove and trample to be the first to get that latest electronic device or cashmere sweater or Superman action figure for half price. And more than likely, there are smiling, helpful employees waiting on them who have had to skip out on their own turkeys and pumpkin pies, who have had to skip out on family and loved ones because America could not contain its hunger for materialism. 

     Before you write me off as a bitter retail worker, please understand. I personally don't have to work the Thanksgiving shift. That is something I am thankful for, not because I don't love my job, but because the thought of the millions of people pouring into shopping centers on Thanksgiving Day makes me sick. I will be spending my Thanksgiving with my family. We will be eating turkey and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. We will tell each other what we're thankful for. We will read about or discuss the Pilgrims (remember those guys?), their harrowing journey across the Atlantic for the sake of freedom, and their day of celebration in thanksgiving to the God who kept them safe and alive. And then on Black Friday I will be in my store with a smile on my face, happy to help shoppers in any way I can. I don't like crowds, but I can do shoppers on Black Friday. I have no problem with shopping on Black Friday. But on Thanksgiving? I take issue with that. I am offended by that. Are you?

Hanneli

   





Thursday, November 14, 2013

We're All Drivers Here

Hey everyone! I've returned from my hiatus. Life has been crazy and full of fun! And I'll start back into my blogging activities by sharing a few thoughts with you all.


I've realized that life is a lot like driving on a highway. I'm living in the Nashville area right now, and while this here is the road I live on, I take the interstate into town when I go to work. There are a lot of cars, all going very fast, and if you don't pay attention to what you're doing, you will most likely end up in an accident. Just the other day my boss was stuck in traffic for 3 hours due to one person's mistake.

One day as I drove to work, my body and a 2,654-pound hunk of metal hurtling across the pavement at 70 miles an hour, I thought for a moment what it'd be like to be driving the opposite direction on a five-lane interstate. What if, instead of staying on my side of the road, I chose to go over to the other side, and tried to get to work driving 70 mph on the wrong side? I wouldn't last long; probably less than a minute. Maybe, with some expert bobbing and weaving, about two minutes. I can't just speed headlong into opposing traffic. The multiple lanes of scores of speeding cars would literally kill me and most likely someone else. I'd never make it to work. I'd never make it back home.

The Christian life is a lot like driving on the wrong side of the road on an interstate. Only, we are not going the wrong way; it is the world who is going the wrong way. We have a set destination, a set route, in mind. Out GPS, the Bible, tells us to go this way, so we do it. However, the rest of the world is opposing traffic. Millions and millions of people in their multi-ton hunks of metal are careening toward us at 70 and 80 and 90 miles per hour. They are going the wrong way. So we try to tell them, try to get them to turn around, show them where they need to go. Some listen, and turn around. But the majority grow angry, use nasty words and gestures, tell us we are crazy, that we are going the wrong way.

The Christian life is dangerous. You will get pummeled and beaten and smashed. But stay on course. You will not wreck. You are going in the right direction, and with God's help you will reach your destination unscathed. Remember that today.

Hanneli

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Bit of a Break

As you can see, I've skipped a few days of blogging, for which I apologize! I really do intend to get some writing done, but life just sweeps in and carries me along with it like a huge wave, leaving me befuddled several days later. I can't believe how quickly the days pass!

So, because I've been so busy with school and work and life in general, I'm going to be taking a bit of a break. And hopefully I'll be back soon enough!

Hanneli

Monday, September 23, 2013

Word of the Week: Egalitarian

A few years back, when I was in homeschool-highschool, I had this really old spelling book that I used. It was literally like a hundred years old. It was awesome. And one of the words I feel like I remember learning is egalitarian. It's a doozy of a word.

Egalitarian
adj. (Ee-gal-uh-tare-ee-en)
Relating to the belief that all people are equal.

The founding fathers built this country on egalitarian beliefs. 
She did not let all the children play the game. That was not very egalitarian.
I'm not Egalitarian, but I am egalitarian.

Have a splendid day!

Hanneli


Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: "Pleasing God"

So this was supposed to be out yesterday, but better late than never, right??

I finished reading Pleasing God last week, after at least four years of trying to get through it.

It's not that it's a tedious read, or even that it's boring. I'm just not good at being motivated. It's an awesome book, and I really don't know why it's taken me this long.

find it on Amazon here.

I was introduced to Pleasing God four years ago when it was the "curriculum" for my church's ladies Bible study. It's meant to go along with a journal, a sort of study guide, to really soak in the principles. But you don't need the journal to be inspired by this book. The book is geared toward women, but the principles in it apply to anyone. I think it could make a great couples' devotional book. 

In her lively, entertaining, and at times, even cheeky style, Kay Smith (wife of Pastor Chuck Smith) guides us through the principle of living to please God. In our hectic lives, it can be hard to know what is wrong, what is right, what should be done, and what we shouldn't do. Mrs. Smith believes it is simple, that every decision in life boils down to one question: does this please God

The book is inspiring, convicting, and encouraging. I urge you to read it. In it you will find a wealth of wisdom and direction. And you might want to invest in a pen or highlighter too... my copy of the book is underlined within an inch of its life!

Hanneli


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Word of the Week: Gregarious

Alas, I've been lax! I apologize for the tardiness. I've been busy and forgetful, and so I've missed a book review day and a Word of the Week!

So here is this week's word. I came across it in my Autobiographical Writing class. I had to consult the wisdom of Google again, because I either don't know or I forgot (which is probably more likely) what it means:

Gregarious
adj. "Fond of company; sociable" (from Google)

The Reverend is a very gregarious man.
The gregarious dog got excited when company came over.
I wish I was more gregarious!

Enjoy your new word! Go forth and be gregarious!

Hanneli

P.S. I will have a book review of Pleasing God out tomorrow... I promise! :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Word of the Week: Asceticism

I was reading in Colossians a week or so ago, and in one section of it, Paul is encouraging believers not to be condemned by fellow Christians who might impose their own personal convictions and rules. Such man-made laws "...have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the flesh" (Colossians 2:23 ESV).

I had never heard the word asceticism before. It sounds like a disease. So I consulted the wisdom of Google.

Asceticism
n. (ah-SET-uh-sizm)
"Severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons." (Google)

The hermit practiced rigid asceticism.
The nanny imposed asceticism on the children.
No dancing, card playing, or cake? What kind of asceticism is this?

I think this might be a new favorite word.

Hanneli

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review: "Autobiography of a Face"

This week's book review is of  a book I haven't actually finished reading yet, but I've read enough to be able to recommend it. It's called Autobiography of a Face, and it's the memoir of Lucy Grealy. I've been introduced to the book through my Autobiographical Writing class. (try saying that three times fast!)

Find it on Amazon here.

Lucy Grealy was born in Ireland in 1963, and her family came to the U.S. to live when she was four years old. When she was nine, she was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma, which affected her jaw. Her memoir deals with the experience of losing large portions of her jaw and going through the myriad cancer treatments.


Ewing's Sarcoma has only a 5% survival rate, so just the fact that Lucy survived is a miracle. However, the many, many surgeries and chemo treatments she went through drastically affected the way she saw herself as she grew up. In her memoir she talks about the stares she received anywhere she went, and the mocking that even total strangers would make of her.

In the end, Lucy was able to embrace herself for who she was, challenging our culture's obsession with perfection and deciding to be a beautiful human being regardless of looks. In my opinion, she was gorgeous, inside and out.


Lucy Grealy died in 2002 at the age of 39. But the words and message of her memoir are eternal. It is raw, incisive, grieving, and inspiring. It isn't an easy book to read, but it's a good one. A very very good one. I hope you are able to experience it.

Hanneli



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Word of the Week: Egregious

I've recently made a little transplant from my home in the hills of Pennsylvania to my relatives' home outside Nashville, Tennessee. So far things have been excellent. During one of our evening family talks, the word "egregious" came up. It's a simply splendid word.

Egregious
adj. (egg-REE-jus)
Horrible, unthinkable, grieving, shocking, appalling.

Some of the things on the news are simply egregious.
The very thought that I'd try to steal from you is egregious.
Where did you get such an egregious idea?

I hope your transition back into the week, after our long Labor Day weekend, is not "egregious" for you. :o)

Hanneli

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"The Book Thief" Trailer

Hey everyone,

After I wrote my review on The Book Thief, I came across the trailer for the upcoming movie. It looked really good, so I thought I'd share it. Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Hanneli


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: "The Book Thief"

This book has recently risen in popularity. It was written in 2005, but a movie of it is set to come out toward the end of the year. After reading the book, I am super excited to see it on screen.

This book was also on my Goodreads, but I first heard about it through several different blogs I follow. Apparently all the bloggers are reading it. So I got on the bandwagon, and for once I am so glad I did!

Find it on Amazon here

The Book Thief is about a young German girl named Liesel Meminger, who is coming of age just as the world is being thrown into the second world war. She is sent to live with a family called the Hubermanns, because her own mother is unable to take care of her.

After dealing with the hardship of losing her first family, Liesel becomes strongly attached to her second family, especially to her new "Papa," Hans Hubermann. She meets new friends and learns to read at her new school. She becomes addicted to words and books. She also becomes a serial book thief. 

One reason the story is remarkable is that the narrator is Death. Death, however, does not satisfy our preconceived idea of a grim reaper with a scythe and skeleton's head. Instead, Death is darkly funny, plainly blunt, and even very sorry for the souls he has to take home. Because, he knows how the story ends, sometimes he gives the end of a situation first and then goes back to work up to it, which can be a little confusing. At the beginning, Death lists the three times he "ran into" Liesel Meminger, and then uses the rest of the narrative to fill in the blanks of the story. So at first the three instances are fragmented situations that don't make sense. Then, after we've gotten to know Liesel and her life, the three times she "runs into" Death fit well into the storyline.

This novel is amazing. I love historical fiction, and this book deals with a time I've always been doubly revolted and fascinated by: the World War II and Holocaust era. When we read stories or even non-fiction from that time, we don't usually get a glimpse of what it was like to be a German child in that time. Looking into Liesel's life is fascinating. She attends the Hitler Youth meetings, but at the same time she shows sympathy for the Jews that she meets. This book deals very much with the pull a person feels between a society going one way and convictions going the other.

So in conclusion, please read this book! Read it twice! It is vivid and gripping. You will laugh and you will cry. And hopefully you will come away from it with a great hunger for the power of words... just like the Book Thief.

Hanneli

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Word of the Week: Supercilious!

I had never heard of this word in my life. Then I came across it as I was reading Below Stairs (click for the review). In the book, Margaret refers to a cat as "supercilious". After looking it up, I know why!

Supercilious
adj. (soo-per-SILL-ee-us)

Supercilious means acting haughty and proud as a result of seeing yourself better than others.
This explains why Margaret called the cat supercilious.

All cats are supercilious.
That supercilious woman did not tip her waitress.
Bullies often feel supercilious.

I'm going to have to be very creative to find a way to use this word. If you do use it, be prepared to explain what it means! Honestly, has anyone ever heard this word? I'd be interested to know how! Let me know in the comments below. Tune in Thursday for a review of The Book Thief (finally!).

Have a splendid day! And don't be supercilious!

Hanneli


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy End-of-Summer!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to jot something down quick so at least I could feel accomplished... and to wish you a happy end-of-summer! I always get so sentimental at this time of the year; I love the lazy summer days and the summer weather, trips to the beach and walks to the woods. But a wise man once said that "to everything there is a season," (Ecc. 3:1a), and so there can be good things about changing seasons. I do love fall; I'd have to say that summer and fall tie for my affections :o) But I love something about every season. There's a lot of beauty to be joyful about!

So whether your school year begins tomorrow (mine does), or next week, or even if it already has, I congratulate you on your summer and wish you a happy school year/fall/whatever you call it!

Bye-bye Summer 2013; it was good to know you!

Hanneli


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: "Below Stairs"

I found this book on Goodreads and was instantly interested. This book by Margaret Powell is her memoir, chronicling her life as a domestic servant in post - World War I England. According to the subtitle, it is this book that inspired the TV shows Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, the latter of which I am a fan.


find it on Amazon here

The writing style is different than I expected. I had thought that this would be a standard novel-type story, with a recurring plot, beginning, middle, and end. Instead, because this is a memoir, I found that the story is a bit more intimate. You feel like you're sitting down with the elderly Margaret Powell (she was in her sixties when she wrote the book), sipping tea and listening to her life story. It's a very fascinating first-person look at life as a servant. She offers extremely intricate details of the ins and outs of servant life that we don't often get.

I think that, due to shows like Downton Abbey, we already have a bit of a glimpse into the vast difference between the social classes in times past. This book, being one-sided and so naturally a little biased, offers a much grittier look. Servants were seen as an almost completely different race than their employers. Margaret comes across as being bitter against her wealthy employers, although she admittedly tries not to be. In fact, she considers them with pity and understanding, saying that if she had their riches, she would most likely be no different than they. And she doesn't blame them for their way of thinking, because that is how they were brought up to think. Because she wrote her memoir at the end of the 1960's, by which time the world had changed drastically, she was able to offer some social commentary that is very interesting.

I must admit I came away from the book a little let down (I gave it three stars on Goodreads) because the book deals with such sobering themes. However, Margaret was definitely a very spirited and feisty woman. It his her feistyness that balances out the somber tones of the book. So if you like history, Downton Abbey, or memoirs in general, I'd definitely recommend Below Stairs. I enjoyed the glimpse into the world of time gone by, and hopefully you will too!

Hanneli

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Word of the Week: Superfluous!

Happy Tuesday!

Today's Word of the Week is one of my favorite words. I use it all the time in my head, but whenever I talk to someone else it's hard to explain what it means, so I end up having to substitute another word. Not that I'm calling other people stupid, mind you. "Superfluous" is just a very uncommon word.

Superfluous
adj. (suh-PER-flew-us)

Superfluous means unnecessary, something extra that can be (or needs to be) taken away.

My diet contains superfluous calories.
The new budget cuts any superfluous spending.
Your essay has many superfluous sentences.

So enjoy this new word! I hope it becomes a favorite of yours. Use it often, because learning and using new words is so fun, and you never have too many of them! There is no such thing as superfluous words!! :o)

...and tune in Thursday for a review of The Book Thief!


Hanneli

UPDATE: I realized that I accidentally promised a review of The Book Thief when I gave you a review of Below Stairs instead. I apologize for the discrepancy. The Book Thief will be reviewed at a later date; not exactly sure when :o)




Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weekend Poem

Since weekends are (supposed to be) more relaxing and reflective than the rest of the week, I thought I'd offer a little poem to chew on. Here's one of my favorites, courtesy of Paul Lawrence Dunbar.

Dawn
An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

I learned this is sixth grade, and it's still one of my favorites. very short, sweet, and beautiful. Enjoy!

Hanneli

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: The Princess Bride

This past week I read The Princess Bride.

(Click here to look the book up on Amazon)
The book was really good, very edge-of-your-seat exciting. The movie, of course, is a favorite of mine, and I was surprised and delighted to know that the author of the book, William Goldman, actually wrote the script for the movie too, so they are very true to each other.



The book, of course, goes deeper. Goldman writes it as if he's only an abridger; he pops in and out of the narrative with this whole fictitious back-story of how the "real" writer, ("S. Morgenstern") added too many superfluous elements and that Goldman abridged the story to bring out the main story (calling his version the "good parts" version).

Actually, while Goldman's little interruptions can be entertaining, they can also be extremely annoying, especially during tense parts of the story (which, of course, he does on purpose).

Overall the book is a great, sarcastic twist on the stereotypical fairy story, so if you love dashing heroes, fair maidens, dastardly villains, swashbuckling adventures, and true love, this is the story for you. Enjoy!

Hanneli

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Word of the Week!

I'm horrible at not finishing what I start. Notorious, really. That's why this blog has a new name. I'm reinventing it... again. I'd just scrap it and forget about it, but I refuse to not finish something. I'll turn this into a living blog, goshdarnit!

I've realized that in the past my blogging endeavors have failed because I get burnt out. I don't discipline myself enough and I'm not passionate about what I'm blogging about.

So here's what I've decided to do. You see the name change? Description change? They signal a direction change. I'm going to focus this blog more on literature, writing, and the power of words. Because words are my favorite things. Every so often I find a new word that captures my interest. I am intoxicated. Entranced. I say it over and over, rolling it off my tongue. It's like eating cake, only the cake never runs out. You can eat as much as you want.

Every Tuesday I'll post a new, unusual word here. It'll be my word of the week. It's my way of sharing the joy of words with the world, whether the world cares or not. But I hope it does. :o)

Anyhoo, here's the word for this week:

Disingenuous 
(adj.) - "Dis-in-GEN-u-ous" means to not be sincere or completely truthful, mostly by pretending you know less about the situation than you actually do. Disingenuous.

My mother asked me if I had eaten any cookies.
"there were cookies?" I asked.
"don't be so disingenuous," she said.

Because every mother uses "disingenuous" in daily conversation. Oh yes.

So find a reason to use the word "disingenuous" today! Use it even without a reason! You'll feel so smart! (I know I do :o)

And have a splendid day! I'll be posting a book review of The Princess Bride (that's where I found the word "disingenuous") on Thursday.
Until then!
Hanneli

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Healthy Reese's Eggs"

(First of all, I want to make it clear that I did NOT come up with this recipe; this is only my take on it. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it came from Chocolate Covered Katie.)

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me say that I enjoyed this recipe. As someone who grew up with food allergies and lives in a house full of special diets, the whole "healthy" part of having Reese's eggs appealed to me. It was super easy and super delicious, and with a few tweaks I'd definitely make it again.



This was my peanut butter. I used generic unhealthy creamy stuff because we were out of Smucker's all natural (sob). So next time I will definitely be using a different peanut butter.


I wanted to make the eggs sugar-free, so I opted to use Stevia in the Raw. The recipe called for mixing the sweetener and PB together until the mixture became a crumbly dough. Unfortunately, because my PB was creamy and Stevia dissolves more quickly than sugar, I ended up using tons of Stevia that did nothing to make the PB more dry. It was sweet alright, but had that funky Stevia aftertaste.

So I hunted through our cupboards, dreading that I might have to use actual white, refined sugar. To my pleasant surprise I found pure cane sugar! (Fun fact: if you go to the Mexican food section of the grocery store, you can get pure cane sugar - the same product as Sugar in the Raw - for a fraction of the Sugar in the Raw price!)

So I used the cane sugar, which made the PB bulk up nicely. It also ended up making it very crunchy, which was weird, but okay. The PB was certainly super sweet!


I made the chocolate sauce as per the directions, and the rest of the recipe went on without a problem. I made my "eggs" more like peanut butter cups, because it was just simpler to make flat discs of peanut butter than egg shaped of it. 

In the end, the "eggs" were delicious. Next time I'll use Smuckers PB and cane sugar to avoid over-sweetening and over-crunchiness. Otherwise, it was all happy snacking. So click on the link to the site above and make your own! It only takes part of an afternoon, and so worth it! (You might consider doubling the recipe; everyone in the family will want one! Or two! Or three!)

Cheers!
Hanneli

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bucket Lists

      I'm really into making lists, especially to-do lists. On any given day there are so many ideas and tasks floating around in my head that I have to organize them on a tangible piece of paper or I go crazy.
     One type of list I like to make is a Bucket List. When I put my dreams down on paper they seem more doable somehow. (On a side note, does anyone know why it's called a "Bucket" List? What do goals have to do with buckets? If you find out, let me know.)
     At any rate, here is my Bucket List:




      I'm featuring my fourth entry: "Make every recipe on my Pinterest", because this summer that will be my goal. I put this on my Bucket List because I know we all pin recipes but never try them, and I don't want that to happen. I don't want to miss an opportunity for good food!
     I just checked my recipe board, and I have 107 pins on it. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN! Yikers! Remember that movie "Julie and Julia", where Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) tried to make every recipe in a book by Julia Child (Meryl Streep) within a year, and blogged about it? Yeah, well this is the Pinterest version, and I'm doing it in a summer instead of a year. Hopefully my life won't take disastrous turns like Julie's did.
    Here's another idea. You can follow my recipe board here and take a look at all the yummies I've pinned. I'll announce ahead of time the ones I'm going to do and you can make them too, then send me pictures of your creations and I'll feature them on the blog! It's like a giant baking party!
     So here's the next recipe I'll be featuring. It's called "Healthy Reese's Eggs" and the link to the pin is here. I made it this past week and will be posting pictures either tomorrow or Sunday. It's a super quick and delicious recipe that you can whip up in no time! Happy cooking! (And eating... obviously.)

Cheers!
Hanneli


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In the Works

     About a week and a half from now is the Hartfield Assembly, a local Jane Austen-style ball. Think Pride and Prejudice dancing, without Mr. Collins to make things awkward. :o)
     My co-worker at the coffee shop is hosting it with her sister. She can't contain her excitement, which is wonderful because her excitement is extremely contagious. I can't contain mine either.


     I'm making two dresses: one for me (I make a new one every ball; I just love to sew!) and one for my sister (she's 12 and this'll be her first ball). This fabric^ is from her dress. I just have a few things to finish up and it'll be done. I am super excited! The dress is turning out so well and I can't wait to see my little sister all dressed up in it!
     I'm using Sense and Sensibility's Recency gown pattern (the Simplicity version). I've made four dresses from it so far, so I know and love this pattern well. Once you get the hang of it, it is super easy and quick to assemble. Which is nice, because otherwise I'd die from the stress of making two dresses in less than two weeks. As I stand now, however, it's all easy-peasy, which leaves more room for fun!!! :)

Cheers!
Hanneli 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Snapshots of a Springy Day

     Happy Tuesday to you all! I want to share some pictures from yesterday. I think I can say that spring is back! (knock on wood :o)


Yesterday was simply beautiful, and very productive. I was able to finish all my homework for American Lit class, read all of Polyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, take photos, and sew a new little neck scarf for our dog:

Here, we see Miss Lilly sporting a snazzy new kerchief.



I also got sunburned while wearing a dress, which is the most delightful springy-thing ever. Every girl should get sunburned in a dress at least once.



     The sunshine left by late afternoon, by which time I heard about the terrible tragedy in Boston. My heart hurts for the lives affected like this. It grieves me that people can be so evil. The only thing to do is pray and try to reach out with love. My prayers are with Boston this week.

Hanneli


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Post-Sock Hop Project!

So the sock hop was awesome! Full of simple, good, clean fun! This was my outfit:


Sorry it's a little blurry and insta-grammy... it was taken after the dance, when I was tired and sweaty and my feet hurt. My hair throughout the evening looked more retro, too... something like this:


And speaking of feet, I found the cutest, most adorablest vintage-ey shoes at Payless! (I love Payless :o)


Mmm... it was a fun night :)

And stay tuned, because I've already jumped on another project, a springy, breezy, wonderful thing involving turquoise linen and tortoishell buttons:


Cheers!
Hanneli




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sewing Project: 1940's "Swing" Dress

     A few weeks ago a friend told me about a local "sock hop" dance. (It's this Saturday!!!) I've never been to one before, but hey, there's dressing up and dancing involved! Score! So of course I needed to make a new dress, because well obviously!


     I got this pattern from Sense and Sensibility Patterns a year or two ago. I made two dresses from it and neither turned out right. They were too big in some places and too small in others. I put the pattern away for a while, hoping that absence would make the heart grow fonder.
     ...Until I heard about the sock hop! I decided to give it another go. This time, instead of getting caught up in making the dress to fit a predetermined size, I measured myself (what a concept!) and found that I was actually two different "sizes" in two different places. So I traced out and made a custom master pattern for my own personal use (How exclusive!), and with my fingers crossed, began to sew. 


     I found this adorable vintage-ey cotton print at JoAnn's. It's more of a turquoise than the picture gives it credit for. The whole time I sewed the dress I had mental fingers crossed (not literal fingers, because they were busy holding onto the fabric for dear life), especially while I was sewing the invisible zipper. (I only recently realized that I have an actual zipper foot that I didn't use. >_< Well, I must be pretty good! :o)


     So despite a few small issues along the way, the dress was a success! And I am so thankful! I can't wait to get all dolled up on Saturday! It'll be so fun! :)

Cheers!
Hanneli

   

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Face-lift!

     So you may have noticed that this page got a little face-lift! Namely, a name change (and some snazzy new fonts!). The reason is for this is my recent focus toward expanding my sewing (and crafting) hobby into a more productive resource. My hope is to someday sew for a living! How fun would that be?
     So look me up on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HannahsPinsAndNeedles) to keep up with my latest projects! I hope to see you there! And in the meantime, feel free to look around my page. Everything's still here; like I said, it just got a little face-lift :)

Cheers!
Hanneli

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If I Were a Queen...

"If I were a Queen,
What would I do?
I'd make you King,
And I'd wait on you.
If I were a King,
What would I do?
I'd make you Queen,
For I'd marry you."

~Christina Rossetti

(Picture from http://christianfantasyforwomen.com)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Excuse!

 Today is an absolutely gorgeous one! There's over a foot of snow in my backyard, but tons of delicious sunshine and clean, fresh air! I had no excuse not to go out there and take some pictures :)












Maybe you don't have the prettiest of yards; maybe you don't have a yard at all, (we can't all live in Pennsylvania ;) but take the time to get out there and enjoy the lovely world that the Lord has made! You have no excuse! 

Cheers! (and Happy New Year,  by the way :)
Hanneli