Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sewing & Selling

Currently for sale on Etsy.


Here's another coat that I custom made for a customer. And I'm almost finished with a second one for her. These pics aren't quite up to normal quality, so I'll retake them sometime.


The person who bought this one wants another one. :) We just need to work out the details.

I'm excited that I've sold this many. I never thought it would actually happen. So, I am proceeding cautiously with more.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nebraska trip Part 4

On Saturday our entire family went to Nebraska City to Arbor Day Farm where we did the Tree Adventure, basically just a nature walk. The pictures are all from that.

An uncle and his niece.

An uncle and his nephew.



Some girl cousins.

A highlight of the day!

For more pictures click here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nebraska trip Part 3

Amy put together all the video we took from the trip. It includes the bird from the last post as well as some entertainment from our family celebration.

2010 Nebraska Trip / 50th Anniversary Celebration from Amy W on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nebraska trip Part 2

For several weeks my mom made posts on Facebook about a gold finch that kept flying at their kitchen window. I was actually able to witness it and get a short video of him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nebraska trip Part 1

Last Monday we left for Nebraska. The main goal of the week was to celebrate my parent's 50th anniversary. While there we also celebrated my dad's birthday. He's a great guy! :)


We were able to spend time with Amy's birth family on Thursday. We went to the Pizza Machine where we had lunch and played lots of arcade games.



Thursday night and Friday afternoon we spent getting the church gym ready for the reception. Friday evening we greeted lots of well-wishers and saw people we haven't seen in years and years. It was such a blessing.

Be sure to click on the picture for a better view.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I was featured...

My quilt was featured on Sew Picture Perfect. Go check it out!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pillowcase Dresses

On Monday I stopped at my local quilt shop to drop off a quilt to be quilted. At the same time I picked up directions to make pillowcase dresses for Africa. The owner of the shop had sent an email about it.

I had made pillowcases a couple years ago.


The three sets on the bottom were turned into dresses. If you click on the picture it will take you to Flickr where you'll be able to see if better and you should be able to see all the pictures that way. Amy was kind enough to take all the pictures for me. A great donation of her time. :)





For the Birds


Go here to see the rest of the bird pictures.

She really got to going while taking her bath. It was so much fun to watch.

We've decided to stop feeding the birds until winter because of the raccoon who is destroying all our flowers. He's been digging them up, turning over pots and he even knocked over the bird bath which is heavy. It makes me sad and mad at the same time.

This morning I went to the garage to get something from the refrigerator and discovered this. His eyes weren't even open yet. We're pretty sure it's a vole.



We found several more during the day and put them outside. Last year they summered in the grill. This year it's the garage. Next year I hope they go next door.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sew Picture Perfect Give-away

Here's a new website to check out.

Pleasant Home started a new website to show off both photography and sewing and she's having a give-away.

She giving away this jelly roll. Head on over there to enter.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Marie-Madeline giveaway

These ladies are having a fat-quarter giveaway. Head on over there to enter.  Here's the link.

They have great fabric and great service!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My blueberries

Look at the blueberries I picked tonight! There were just enough for each of to have one. ;-)


Friday, July 9, 2010

Independence Day dress


I'm breaking a photography rule about backgrounds (no clutter) because I didn't want to wait for Amy to crop it for me. I simply must learn this skill.


I was inspired by this photo by angelasews. So I went shopping. Even as odd as it seems, I don't usually go shopping with one specific doll outfit in mind. But this time I did. I wandered around Joann's for quite a while before I spotted the white and blue. Wandered some more before I found the red fat quarter (not on sale!). You know, none of it, including the rick-rack was on sale! :( But I did have 40% off coupon and my 15% off teacher's discount card. And thinking about it now, the rick-rack I bought was baby sized and at the moment I picked it out I had an idea for what I was going to do with it, but when I got started on the project I couldn't remember what I was going to use it for. I still don't. Crazy!


Then I searched for RED 1/4" double-fold bias tape, but only found scarlet which didn't match perfectly. I like things to match. So Amy suggested that I make my own bias tape and I said, "That's a great idea!"


Both the sleeves and the neckline are made from the red fat quarter as is the sash and bow. I really utilized that fat quarter.


I also need to give Amy credit for tying the bow. That's usually my job, but after barely trying I was frustrated by it and told her to fix it for me.


I'm thrilled with how it turned out! :)

Recipes for Disease: Will USDA Food Pyramid Collapse?

I apologize for the length of this post. I find that I personally do not care to read long posts, but please skim if nothing else. There's good information in these testimonies.

Recipes for Disease: Will USDA Food Pyramid Collapse?

Three testimonies below chips away at the proposed USDA food pyramid dietary changes. I doubt if this will cause the pyramid to collapse since by definition the USDA protects the giant food and agriculture industry– the industrialized farms and the factory food.



By Sally Fallon Morell, President

The Weston A. Price Foundation

July 8, 2010

The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources. Furthermore, basic biochemistry shows that the human body has a very high requirement for saturated fats and cholesterol in all cell membranes; if we do not eat saturated fats, the body will simply make them from carbohydrates, but excess carbohydrate increases blood levels of triglyceride and small, dense LDL and compromises blood vessel function. High-carbohydrate diets, moreover, fail to satisfy the appetite as well as diets rich in traditional fats, leading to higher caloric intakes and often to bingeing and splurging on empty foods, resulting in rapid weight gain.

The proposed guidelines will perpetuate existing nutrient deficiencies present in all American population groups, including deficiencies in vitamins A, and D, found in animal fats, vitamins B12 and B6 found in meat and seafood, as well as minerals like iron and zinc. Low intakes of vitamin K2, moreover, are associated with increases in the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer, and the main sources of vitamin K2 available to Americans are egg yolks and full-fat cheeses.

By restricting healthy animal fats in school lunches and diets for pregnant women and growing children, the Guidelines will perpetuate the tragic epidemic of learning and behavior disorders. The nutrients found in most abundantly and in some cases exclusively in animal fats—including choline, cholesterol and arachidonic acid—are critical for the development of the brain and the function of receptors that modulate thinking and behavior. Studies show that choline from egg yolks and liver help the brain make critical connections and protect against neurotoxins; animals studies suggest that if choline is abundant during developmental years, the individual is protected for life from developmental decline. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 375 mg per day for children nine through thirteen years of age, 450 mg for pregnant women and 550 mg for lactating women and men aged fourteen and older. These amounts are provided by four or five egg yolks per day—but that would entail consuming 800-1000 mg cholesterol, a crime by USDA standards. The committee referred to this as the “choline problem.” Pregnant women and growing children especially need to eat as many egg yolks as possible—yet the Guidelines demonize this nutrient-dense food.

Choline is also essential to liver health. As the prevalence of obesity has grown to reach epidemic proportions, “fatty liver disease” has emerged as one of its casualties. It is estimated 40 percent of obese Americans have fatty liver. One of the most common ways to induce this disease in animals is to feed them diets deficient in choline and methionine, an amino acid found abundantly in meat. Restricting animal foods in our children’s meals will thus aggravate the consequences of the obesity epidemic.

The Guidelines lump trans fats together with saturated fats—calling them Solid Fats—thereby hiding the difference between unhealthy industrial trans fats and healthy traditional saturated fats. Trans fats contribute to inflammation, depress the immune system, interfere with hormone production, and set up pathological conditions leading to cancer and heart disease, whereas saturated fats fight inflammation, support the immune system, support hormone production and protect against cancer and heart disease.

The vitamins and fatty acids carried uniquely in saturated animal fats are critical to reproduction. The 2010 Guidelines will increase infertility in this country, already at tragically high rates.

The 2010 proposed Guidelines represent a national scandal, the triumph of industry clout over good science and common sense. It must be emphasized that the Guidelines are not based on science but are designed to promote the products of commodity agriculture and—through the back door—encourage the consumption of processed foods. For while the USDA food police pay lip service to reducing our intake of refined sweeteners, trans fats, white flour and salt, this puritanical lowfat prescription ultimately leads to cravings and indulgence in chips, sweets, sodas, breads, desserts and other empty food-and-beverage-like products just loaded with refined sweeteners, trans fats, white flour and salt.

While the ship of state is sinking under a health crisis of enormous proportions, the USDA proposed Guidelines simply rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Without more sensible recommendations, the trend to obesity, learning disorders, chronic disease and infertility will accelerate.

The Weston A. Price Foundation proposes starting over and adopting our Healthy 4 Life Dietary Guidelines, based on four food groups, always with an emphasis on quality through pasture-based feeding and organic, pesticide-free production methods:

Every day, eat high quality, whole foods to provide an abundance of nutrients, chosen from each of the following four groups:

1. Animal foods: meat and organ meats, poultry, and eggs from pastured animals; fish and shellfish; whole raw cheese, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals; and broth made from animal bones.

2. Grains, legumes and nuts:whole-grain baked goods, breakfast porridges, whole grain rice; beans and lentils; peanuts, cashews and nuts, properly prepared to improve digestibility.

3. Fruits and Vegetables:preferably fresh or frozen, preferably locally grown, either raw, cooked or in soups and stews, and also as lacto-fermented condiments.

4. Fats and Oils:unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter, lard, tallow and other animal fats; palm oil and coconut oil; olive oil; cod liver oil for vitamins A and D.

Avoid:foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, cakes etc.; white flour products such as pasta and white bread; processed foods; modern soy foods; polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.

Sally Fallon Morell, President

The Weston A. Price Foundation

(202) 363-4394


Next, we have Kathryne Pirtle, author Performance Without Pain, with her testimony.

KATHRYNE PIRTLE is the clarinetist and executive director of the critically acclaimed Orion Ensemble, which tours throughout North America, presents three series each year in the Chicago metropolitan area, and performs a live, internationally broadcast series on WFMT, Fine Arts Radio in Chicago. For More Information visit

The “new” USDA dietary guidelines are really not new at all. They continue the 60 year experiment of moving people away from nutrient-dense foods that were the foundation of our country’s rich farming history and that supported our people’s robust health. Yet, from all indications–from the record numbers of adults and children who are chronically ill, the ever increasing percentages of children with autism, ADD, ADHD and mental health disorders–the enormous statistics of infertility—our dietary guidelines are a complete failure.

I am a professional musician with a national career and strictly followed the low fat/ high fiber dictates for many years. I ate lots whole grains, salads, fruits and vegetables, a little meat and low-fat dairy and very little fat. However I suffered from 25 years of chronic pain and at age 45, a life-threatening digestive disorder. In order to not only save my career, but also save my life, I needed accurate information.

I found the truth of what really fuels the human body–real food from animals eating their natural diets–traditional fats–bone broth soups–unprocessed full-fat dairy–cultured foods–fermented cod liver oil –foods from small family farms, foods that were eaten for thousands of years—not foods produced by an industrial farming industry.

By eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, I reversed my digestive disorder and intestinal damage and provided my body with the nutritional elements necessary for building health. At 53, I am now recovered and vibrantly healthy. In addition, after 25 years of chronic pain, I have had no pain or inflammation in my body for eight years even with a full performing, practicing and teaching schedule.

Children and adults throughout our country suffer from health problems that stem from following the very same dietary dictates that made me ill. Good digestion, nutrient absorption, growth and development of children, brain chemistry and hormone regulation depend on adequate traditional fats and fat-soluble vitamins that are richly available in nutrient-dense foods like butter, cream, coconut oil, full fat dairy, cheese, meat with the fat, eggs and organ meats. Yes these foods continue to be demonized even though they were a very important part of the diets of healthy people worldwide for thousands of years.

Since 2004 I have given over 70 seminars across the country speaking about building health with nutrient-dense foods. I have spoken to the general public, performing artists and families with children who have autism. In all cases it is nutrient-dense diets with adequate traditional fats that are proving to be successful in helping to reverse chronic health problems of all kinds, including brain disorders.

You can’t fool Mother Nature. Yet, the USDA Dietary Guidelines committee presents a plan to do just that. Why would a great country continue to propose health guidelines that foster degenerative illness it the majority of its population? We cannot afford to continue this type of dietary plan. With record numbers of dietary-caused illnesses, it’s time to look at healthy people for developing governmental dietary guidelines.

Our health is our wealth—our health as a nation is our wealth as a nation–and if we do not change these proposed incorrect dietary standards, our financial wealth will be destroyed along with our people. We must base our decisions on how they will affect people seven generations from now. The signs are all right in front of us—we must change our guiding principles to ones that support the highest good for all people and not merely serve the economics of commodity agriculture.


The only doctor to give testimony said American dietary recommendations by USDA is the cause of so much of the sickness and infertility:


July 8, 2010

By Dr. John Salerno and Linda West Eckhardt, Founders – The Silver Cloud Diet

The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines continue the misguided shibboleths against saturated fats and animal foods rich in nutrient dense fatty acids, including egg yolks, butter, cream, whole milk, cheese and fatty meats including bacon as well as animal fats for cooking. In my 20 year practice of medicine in New York City, I have treated many patients whose health had been severely compromised by excluding these necessary nutrients in their daily diet. It is my experience, backed up by scientific studies, that low fat diets have caused many of today’s lifestyle ailments including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Basic biochemistry shows that the human body has a high requirement for saturated fats in the cell membranes, brain and other organs. If we do not eat saturated fats, the body makes fat from refined carbohydrates, leading to rapid weight gain and chronic illness.

The proposed guidelines will exacerbate existing nutrient deficiencies that I see in my practice every day. Common deficiencies in vitamins A, D, K2 and E which are found in animal fats, vitamins B12 and B6, found in animal foods, as well as minerals including iron, calcium and zinc which require vitamins A and D for assimilation. It is my experience that these deficiencies can be easily corrected by a proper diet of whole foods, organic if possible, with naturally occurring animal fats. (give anecdote here)

I have seen, in my practice, children as young as 8 years old, suffering from type 2 diabetes, an ailment that used to be seen only in later middle age. Why are these children getting diabetes? Low fat milk, soy milk, apple juice, too many processed carbohydrates, and insufficient natural animal fats. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be stopped in its tracks by a radical shift in the diet. Give those children whole milk, plenty of protein and natural animal fats, get the sugars out of their diets, and their diabetes will correct itself, their weight will normalize and they will be healthy.

Our misguided dietary public policy has created a society of very sick people. For the first time in history we see a generation who may not live as long as its parents. Particularly in the lower classes without access to healthy, whole foods, we are creating a society of people who will not be well, who will require huge public assistance and health care, and all of it could be alleviated by a proper diet.

From the viewpoint of a practicing physician, I can tell you that our industrial food complex, in concert with big pharma have colluded to create a society where people eat nutrient-empty processed foods, and are than given an ever larger regimen of pharmaceuticals to try and turn back the inevitable ill health and death that awaits them.

What should the Food Pyramid look like? I have brought along a food pyramid that I designed when I was working as a young doctor in Dr. Robert Atkins office. You will see the differences in our Food Pyramid and the USDA’s version. (show the pyramid).

Besides the fact that our enormously powerful industrial food/farming lobby has exercised great control over public policy for at least twenty years, since I have been observing it, the results, in the time that I have been practicing medicine, have been dreadful.

When I was a boy, growing up in an Italian American family, my grandfather had a big vegetable garden out back that fed our family. He lived to be 95 years old and was strong and active until the day he died. I try to feed my family, whole, organic foods to this day. My six year old son, rides with me in bicycle races for as much as 45 miles at a time. This child is healthy, vigorous, and cheerful. I feed him….

Is it impossible that Americans could eat as well as their grandparents? Not at all. With the growing movement towards healthier whole foods being presented not only at home, but in public schools, institutions, and food service operations, Americans are beginning to get it.

At The Silver Cloud Diet we particularly recognize the need for saturated fats, for health, long life, and weight loss. Saturated fats fight inflammation, support the immune system, support hormone production and protect against cancer and heart disease.

Last but not least what I see in my practice that is most heartbreaking is the rising tide of infertility. Now that we have an entire generation of young women who have practically grown up eating a low fat diet, we see a pandemic of infertility. The simple truth is that vitamins carried in saturated animal fats are critical to reproduction. The 2010 Guidelines proposed by the USDA will increase infertility in this country. This is tragic and entirely avoidable.

The knee-jerk recommendation to eat more whole grains, does not take into account the fact that whole grains are extremely difficult to digest and an overconsumption of rough whole grains can contribute to digestive disorders such as celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

The Silver Cloud Diet recommends that people eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, organic if possible, that provide an abundance of nutrients chosen from the following groups:

1. Animal foods: meat and organ meats, poultry and eggs from pastured animals, wild caught fish and shell fish, whole raw cheeses, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals.
2. Fats and oils: unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter, lard, olive oil, cod liver oil and coconut and palm oil.
3. Fruits and Vegetables. Fresh, organic if possible, preferably locally grown, either raw or cooked into soups and stews
4. Nuts, legumes, and grains. Eat a handful of nuts daily for vitamin E and trace minerals. Once goal weight is reached eat beans and lentils, brown rice, and whole grain cooked cereals for breakfast.

We do not recommend processed foods with long lists of ingredient including chemicals you cannot pronounce. No refined sweeteners including candy, soda, cookies, crackers,cakes, chips or other snacks. Avoid white flour products such as pasta and white bread. Avoid processed foods including modern soy foods, polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.

As we say at the Silver Cloud Diet, take a giant leap backwards. Eat the way your grandparents ate. You take care of your body and your body will take care of you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

While I was sick

This is what I did while I was sick on Sunday.


While I was sick on Friday and Saturday I made the pillow cases mentioned in the previous post.

While I was sick on Monday I started this.


I finished it today.

I think I'm starting to get better. I called the Dr. this morning and she had me redose my remedy (homeopathic). After an initial reaction (I won't go into the details) I started feeling better. My chest & ear have cleared up quite a bit.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Etsy shop

Apparently my dear Amy added two items for sale on Etsy for me.  Here's the link

I finished two pillow cases that go with our quilt. I probably should have made shams, but I didn't really want to and I'm not sure if I would have had enough fabric for more blocks.


More jackets

Amy has encouraged me to try to sell these jackets (not the red one, but the jackets in general) on Etsy.  I have a shop, but I haven't had much success selling there in the past, so I'm not just thrilled with the idea. 


This vinyl isn't too hard to work with except it doesn't like pinning too much because the pin holes show.  I did have to use them on some parts, but way more sparingly than normal.

Amy wanted me to use this poodle skirt fabric for the lining.