Thursday, November 29, 2012

Old Railroad Bridge

Recently my husband and I were visiting family in North Alabama and decided to take a trip across the river to Sheffield, AL. We certainly aren't professional photographers but we enjoy taking pictures with the DSLR we bought ourselves last year. I want to invest some time in learning more about our camera and general photography, but in the meantime, I'm just taking lots of pictures when I can.

Here are a few from the Old Railroad Bridge in Sheffield, AL. It was originally built in 1840, and then became a double-decked bridge in 1958! That's some history. Enjoy!

A shot of the historical marker - I didn't get the back of the sign, sorry:
Old Railroad Bridge Historic Marker Sheffield, AL

From the top of the double-decked bridge:
Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL

Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL

Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL

Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL
And from the bottom layer of the bridge:
Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL

Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL

Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL
A panoramic shot thanks to my iPhone 5 (Making it bigger didn't work out so well, so enjoy at this size!):
Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield, AL
And here's a bonus shot...just some fall foliage from a walk.
Florence, AL - Fall Foilage

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November: A Month of Thanksgiving

If you're on facebook, you've probably seen friends posting the "Day 1: I'm thankful for..." posts, listing a new thing each day. While I haven't been participating on facebook, it's made me think about all of the blessings I have and should be grateful for. Sometimes I think we rush around, from task to task, errand to errand, not realizing how blessed we are. Maybe that's just me. Sometimes we're so focused on that thing we want that we just don't see what's in front of us. Things you may completely take for granted may be exactly what someone else has been praying on for weeks, months, even years.

I think this a good opportunity to remind us all to reflect on the people and things in our lives that we should be truly thankful for. Here are a few that come to mind: My sweet husband, our adorable dog, our great friends and family, my job, our cozy home, music and art, the beauty of the Fall colors...too many! I feel like I could go on and on! Most of all, I'm thankful for Jesus, who provided my salvation. His love is overwhelming and unconditional. Nothing compares and I hope you know His love as well!

I hope this has inspired you to think about all of the wonderful blessings in your life during this season of thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Grilled Pizza Fans

My husband and I heard about grilling pizza a few years ago but didn't try it until maybe a year ago. The first time, it was good, really good. We used our charcoal grill and you can imagine the smoky, delicious flavor that gave it. Then we got a gas grill this past spring, so we have been using that a lot, and our poor Weber charcoal grill isn't getting nearly as much love. Gas grills are just so convenient, and you still get some nice smoky flavor. We still love the flavor you get from charcoal, but with the quick warm-up of a gas grill, it's an easy choice most nights.

Back to grilling pizza. I want to share the grilled pizza love with everyone because it's such a tasty twist on the pizza that we already all love.

Grilled Pizza Recipe

We are huge fans of Publix deli pizza dough. I feel sorry for you if you don't have a Publix in your area, but I'm sure your favorite grocery store has pizza dough in the deli section if you ask. You can buy a ball of dough for about $2 at Publix and then top it however you like. You let the dough rise for about an hour and then it's time to roll it out into a pizza crust or two. That takes some muscle, but give it some time and you'll find a decent size ball of dough makes two medium pizzas. For grilling, we recommend these steps once you have it rolled out:

1.  Preheat the grill for a few minutes on high with the cover closed. Gather your sauce and toppings. A tray is great for transporting these to the grill.

2. Once preheated, turn to low. Brush olive oil on one side of the crust and put the pizza(s) down with the oiled side down against the grill grates. Close the grill cover. Tip: Add minced garlic to the olive oil.

3.  Let it get slightly done (enough to "set" but not too brown), then brush olive oil on the side facing up and flip it.

4. Quickly top with sauce, toppings and cheese. Close grill cover.

Grilled Pizza Recipe

5. Keep a close eye on your pizza. You don't want it to burn but do want it to brown. Tip: If your cheese isn't quite as melty as you'd like, try moving the pizza to the top rack along the back of the grill. That will keep it from burning on the bottom but allow the cheese to melt more.

Grilled Pizza Recipe
Look at these beautiful grill marks! Is your mouth watering yet?

Grilled Pizza Recipe

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Project Burp Cloths

Last week I shared some sewing projects I'm interested in trying out - see the post here. I decided to give these burp cloths a try:

I have a baby shower coming up for a friend and thought these would make a nice gift with a bit of a personal touch. The instructions on this tutorial were helpful but read on below for a bit more detail. I'm a sewing newbie so sometimes I need really thorough instructions (and then sometimes I still don't get it!). If you're like me, this may be helpful.

Items needed
-Sewing machine
-Cloth diapers (I used Gerber)
-Fabric to use for center strip of each diaper (I used fat quarters and that was more than enough, but measure your diaper and add about a half inch extra on each side)
-Matching thread
-Ribbon (optional, for wrapping)

1. Start by washing both your cloth diapers and your fabrics to be used. I always do this. You don't want to work on something only to have it shrink the first time it's washed and become warped. After washing, you will need to iron the cloth diapers and the fabric.

2. You want the fabric to cover the center, more padded part of the diaper. Determine how much is needed for this and add a half inch to each side (Step 3 explains why you need the extra.). Cut each piece of fabric.

3. Fold the fabric under a half inch on each side and pin it in place with a straight pin. Using a sewing gauge to determine where to fold really helped me. Press it with a warm iron to create a nice fold and then remove the pins. This will give you a clean hem when you sewing the fabric onto the cloth diaper.
Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial
4. Once the hem is ironed on each side, place the fabric design side up (like you want it to be sewn) over the middle, more padded part of the diaper. Using straight pins, pin the fabric in place on the diaper.
Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial
5. Using your sewing machine, sew all four sides of the fabric onto the diaper using matching thread.  Take the pins out as you go.

6. You're done. Stand back and admire your work! That wasn't so hard, was it?

Here are the four burp cloths I created. The mom-to-be has decided to wait to find out if it's a boy or girl, so I used gender-neutral fabrics:

Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial
This is optional of course, but for a nicer presentation once the mom-to-be opened this, I rolled each diaper cloth and tied it with a ribbon. I just folded the plain strips of the diaper cloth under the patterned area and rolled them.

Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial

All in all, this was a pretty easy project. Getting the fabric exactly straight and even was a little difficult, but I found a sewing gauge tool helped greatly. If you don't have one, a regular ruler would work fine. You would just need to make sure to turn each fold under half an inch so it's even.

Have you made burp cloths before? If so, was there a tutorial you used? Maybe one day I'll try the other burp cloths I mentioned in my post last week about sewing projects I want to try!