Our grandson, Elijah, is not sure about these huge fruits – a little scary for him!


I went to Lowes to purchase a grapefruit tree some years back, but all they had in small, 2-gallon pots were pomelos. The tag said it was like a grapefruit so I decided to give it a try. Turned out to be an extremely vigorous tree, producing huge fruits that were way too heavy for the small tree in the very first year!


The pomelo is a very ancient citrus from which grapefruit has come. It has a milder, less acid flavor that we love. We found that by removing the top press-handle from our Krups juicer it can easily be used for any size citrus. We freeze the juice in pint containers for year round enjoyment.


Sophie likes to climb up into the tree sometimes. That soft grass is winter rye which I sow every fall when it starts getting cool, usually in late November.


Elijah is still a little uncertain about these big balls, even though his mother, Charity, is telling him it’s okay. 🙂


Our tree is about 7 years from planting now and is producing more fruit every year. Pomelo leaves are much larger than those on a grapefruit tree. It’s attractive and eye-catching with its shiny green leaves and gargantuan fruits. I highly recommend a pomelo tree for both beauty and sweetness!




Knitting Highlights from 2017

My daughter, Gigi, and I completed a number of projects over the past year and we recently took pictures. Here are some of the best.

Gigi made a lovely shawl called Whippoorwill by Carina Spencer. Very light and soft, it feels nearly weightless. Gigi added some miyuki glass beads along the bottom edge. Read all the details regarding Gigi’s modifications on her project page.



This is the Reversible Cabled-Rib Shawl by Lily Chin. Gigi titled it Brown Coils on her project page.


She knitted it with a very fine, merino yarn, two cobweb strands held together, light as a feather and so soft!

I finished a sweater I’d been working on for the past two years – Old Town by Carol Sunday. Made of 50% merino wool and 50% angora rabbit fur, it’s soft, fluffy and very warm. Read more on my Ravelry project page.





Gigi made a lovely angora shrug, called Veronika Cardigan by Shannon Cook. Super fast and simple, it took her only one week! I love wearing it, so soft and cosy! Here’s her project page. (I’m about to leave the house to go to work here; it’s raining in the background.)


Last is a beautiful, angora cardigan that Gigi completed exactly one year ago, but we just recently got some good pictures. It’s Snowbird by Heidi Kirrmaier. Gigi made a few good modifications which you can read about on her project page.


Knitting has been a great encouragement for Gigi as she goes through the recovery process of healing from Lyme disease. She hopes to design and market her own patterns at some point in the future.

We recently signed up for a year’s subscription to Craftsy Unlimited so we can learn from established experts regarding every aspect of knitting, sewing, photography, and many other creative things we’re interested in pursuing. We just finished watching Knit Faster with Continental Knitting and learned a bunch of helpful tips. We both learned to knit continental style as we’re left handed, but Lorilee Beltman gave us insights on how to improve and refine our technique.

Here are a few other things we finished this year that you can view on our Ravelry profiles.


We’re excited and looking forward to all the New Year will bring. Blessings to all of you in 2018.


The Secret Life of Fat


That’s the name of a new book, subtitled, The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You, by Sylvia Tara, PhD. A couple days ago I was listening to a People’s Pharmacy show, #1068, aired on Feb 2 in which Joe and Terry Graedon spend approximately three quarters of an hour interviewing the author.

Sylvia Tara struggled with weight control for the majority of her life and out of that became motivated to learn everything she could about fat, hoping to discover the secrets of successful weight maintenance. What she found underscores my last blog post on The Buffer Zone Diet as well as my own experience with weight control.

The part of the interview I found most interesting was Dr. Tara’s explanation of the hormonal influencers on our fat. She explained that growth hormone, a fat-busting hormone, peaks at night. Consequently, one of the best ways to both lose fat and maintain weight loss is through extending the overnight fasting window.

Sylvia was successful in losing an excess 30 pounds and has kept it off by avoiding food between approximately 4:00 pm and 10:00 am, a similar system to Fred Cuellar of the Buffer Zone Diet.  I also have always found this to be the easiest weight control formula and have practiced it for years, so much so that I rarely eat a meal in the evening.

Sylvia Tara also explained that when we become hungry, our body releases a hormone called ghrellin which in turn increases the output of growth hormone. Therefore, when you experience hunger late in the evening after missing supper, the realization that your body is releasing chemicals that access and burn fat stores can be encouraging. If you feel a real need for nourishment, a small amount of lean protein with some fruit or a vegetable can provide energy and relieve the intensity of hunger.

Of course, eating a healthy diet during the remainder of the day, getting plenty of sleep and including physical activity in your daily routine are important as well to good self-care and effective weight management. Finding a good support group can be a crucial factor as well. Weight Watchers, TOPS, and many others have proven track records for success.



Review of The Buffer Zone Diet

Image result for the buffer zone diet book

I received a copy of this 333 page book from the publisher about six months ago. I feel Fred Cuellar’s very wordy and rambling style could benefit from some editing, removing extraneous information and adding some clarifying charts to illustrate his basic tenets. I’m glad I kept reading though, because there are plenty of gems in the roughage.

In the last third of the text, the author defines the Buffer Zone eating plans. The first 208 pages describe in detail all that Fred learned via experience in diet hell and through his extensive research in healthy weight management. What he discovered is actually the same way I lost weight after each one of my six pregnancies and how I lose extra pounds that creep on ever since – eat a well balanced breakfast, a healthy lunch and very little if anything in the evening.

On page 209 he begins the chapters that define the Buffer Zone diet variations: 1, 2 and 3. Buffer Zone 1 is where he recommends most people to start and it consists of a balanced breakfast, a healthy and satisfying lunch with a light supper meal. The hard core, Zone 3, consists of a good breakfast with a big lunch, no supper. Zone 2 is a variable combination of 1 and 3.

Mr. Cuellar spends considerable time on the importance of daily physical activity, sufficient sleep, and what constitutes a healthy diet. He uses a number of case studies to illustrate common missteps that lead to weight gain and diseases of lifestyle such as high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes and coronary artery disease. The case studies also show how people enmeshed in poor habits can incorporate strategies for healthy living. He emphasizes no snacking, but allows food cravings to be included, with moderation, in the planned mealtimes.

I love all the practical information the author included and since it’s the same weight management program I’ve always used, I know it works and it works very well. I believe it’s the easiest way to lose weight because there’s very little deprivation. You wake up hungry and eat a big, healthy breakfast. At midday, another big, well-balanced meal. When I feel I must have something in the evening, I eat some lean protein (bit of chicken breast, a cheese stick or a homemade smoothie) possibly with some vegetables. Fiber wafers and gum can also help to get you through to bedtime.

Zones 2 and 3 incorporate periodic prolonged fasting (starting after lunch and ending the following morning) which has been demonstrated by considerable research in the past few years to have a host of benefits, including slower aging and a longer, healthier life. Additionally, a recent study by researchers from Loma Linda University and the Czech Republic yields further supportive data for the success of this strategy for effective weight management.

If you are needing help for shedding some unwanted pounds and are looking for advice and encouragement, I would recommend this book. If you only want the brass tacks, just skip to chapters 11 – 14 for the diet low down. I love Fred’s question on page 318 that he asks himself when he wants to indulge cravings and it’s not time to eat – “What’s more important to me; what I want now or what I want most?”  That’s something we would all do well to keep in mind.

An Outfit for Elijah


My 26 year old daughter, Charity, is expecting our first grandbaby, due on July 11. I made a romper from an old Butterick pattern 5470 and am very happy with how it turned out.

This was my first experience using KamSnaps and they were a cinch. I bought this set from Amazon upon recommendation of Rachel from StitchedInColor who wrote about her experience making a romper for her baby girl.

I added some interfacing to the edges to make them nice and sturdy. However, one end was a little too thick for the length of the snap prong. To fix that, I carefully removed a little circle of a couple thicknesses of fabric right around the prong. Then when the opposing socket was attached, it fit and completely covered the area where fabric had been cut away.


I also found a pattern at NewConceptions for some very cute booties. I frequently salvage useful fabric from clothing we no longer want. At one time we had a bunch of sweatshirts to get rid of and I cut them up for later use. I saved the wrist bands too and recently found those work really well to keep leather and vinyl nicely rolled up on long tubes I get from upholsterers.


Since we live in Gainesville, home to University of Florida gators, I chose orange and blue, UF colors. The sweatshirt fabric is so thick and soft, perfect for booties. The free pattern is quick and easy to make.

Our entire family is excited about the new baby. One daughter drove down from Jacksonville for the shower on June 3. Our son and daughter who live out of state are both planning to visit in July after Elijah makes his appearance. It’ll be interesting to see how our family dynamics change with the coming of grandchildren… new joys, new challenges and lots of love.

Gigi’s Healing Testimony

This is a guest post from my 20 year old daughter, Gigi.


Previous Healing

From 2011 to 2013, I was meditating on the Scriptures for most of each day. I was very ill at that time from a fungal infection in my intestines and some other co-infections that damaged my immune system and left me exhausted continually.

Then on June 28, 2013 it was like everything just clicked into place. I could genuinely understand that I was healed already by Jesus’ blood and that I just had to speak to the “mountain” and it would move. I spoke healing scriptures out loud, sang hymns and was praying for over two hours. I then commanded my body to be healed and I was – instantly! I leaped out of bed and rejoiced!

Getting off Track

However, after being healed, I started to pick up a lot more jobs and volunteer work in addition to saying “yes” to everything. I earned a full honors scholarship and then discovered the requirements included considerable volunteer work along with difficult courses, maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA and presenting research projects at conferences. Whew!

Throughout this time, I was still trying to seek God, but that wasn’t my top priority as I was constantly struggling to keep up. I realize now that that lifestyle lacked wisdom and strength from God because I wasn’t putting him first in all my ways. I was focusing on my own success or failure above my relationship with the Lord. That stepping away from God and his umbrella of protection rendered me vulnerable to attack from the enemy.

I ended up having to drop out of school and all my jobs and activities due to seizures and related debility. As the months went on I grew worse, more disabled in every way instead of experiencing any recovery. Very small exertions would precipitate not only seizures, but as time went on asthma attacks also. Much professional help was sought, but no concrete answers were found.

Another Day of Healing 2/8/17

A couple weeks before this date, I called the prayer line for the Daily Audio Bible community. I was a little discouraged because I was still getting worse and had to go to the ER instead of seeing any improvement. But on the worst day ever, my dad’s small group leader, Chris Jette, called him just out of the blue and we asked if he would come over and pray for me.

Chris came by at 5:00 with his daughter and they brought their guitar. He thought it would be good to sing some worship songs first. I could hardly sing the first song because my mouth was twitching so forcibly, but it impacted me so greatly the tears just flowed.

Than Chris asked what my favorite song was, but when I tried to get up to get the music, I was too weak to lift my body and any muscles I tried to use just shook. However, by the third song, I could sing loud and strong and had complete control over my mouth. Praise is strength against the enemy!

Then Chris talked about how he felt the seizures and weakness might be coming from demonic oppression. After he prayed for me, I felt sure I was about to have a seizure. I cried out, “I don’t want to have a seizure!”  Chris started to pray again, but this time I felt I needed to pray aloud also.

I hadn’t been praying for myself much because I was always so tired and couldn’t think clearly, but this time, as I began to pray I grew stronger as I went on. First, I commanded any demonic oppression to be bound up and cast out in Jesus’ name.
Then I spoke individually and specifically to every area that I was having issues with, commanding healing and restoration in the name of Jesus.

When I finished, the seizure aura had vanished, I hadn’t a trace of light sensitivity either. A big sigh came out and I smiled from ear to ear. We could all tell I was different! I stood up on my own and gave them both many hugs.


Walking in Faith

The following day however, I woke feeling so tired and I just wanted more than anything to do nothing. But I knew that is not how a healthy person acts so I got out of bed and got in the Word. Here is a detailing of how I fight sickness and walk in healing.

  1. When you feel sick or anything that is not what God’s Word declares you to be, you must avoid negative emotions and believe God over everything. Don’t make the issue bigger than it is.
  2. You need to be reminded of who God is and what he has done. It all comes down to relationship because if you trust God and are confident in his love for you, then fear, doubt and unbelief have no place in your heart. Scripture is very important, especially in a crisis, for speaking Life.
  3. If you are baptized in the Holy Ghost, pray in tongues as this is like a supercharger to faith and tremendously strengthening. If you need wisdom, ask the Lord for interpretation as you are speaking the hidden wisdom of God.
  4. When you know you believe God, act on it. Don’t act if you’re just hoping and a wishing. If you really believe, you will act, but if you try acting healed without really believing, that’s like pulling the cart before the horse.

I highly recommend Andrew Wommack’s free series called, The Christian Survival Kit, which goes into much more detail on these topics. You can listen to it on his website.

Other things that are important to overcoming is speaking life, abiding in Jesus, meditating on God’s love, praising him out loud and thanking him.

I especially love to sing scripture. Here’s a link to a YouTube playlist I found that has over 100 songs. These help me to memorize the Word. The melodies get stuck in your head which makes it more difficult to think negatively.

I fight and rebuke the devil and lean on God’s power daily. I am walking in complete healing from seizures, fatigue, allergies and cognitive disability. My life has been restored and I resolve to keep the Lord preeminent and not allow the pressures of the world to drag me away again.

Gigi’s Treasure Bag


A facebook group I am in, decided to do the Summit Pack by Cloudsplitter Bags as a sew-along. I choose to use my upholstery crushed velvet, as well as some beautiful embroidered drapery material.

My daughter Gigi was immediately excited about the bag in crimson velvet, so I decided to give it to her when it was made. Once she knew it would be hers, Gigi wanted it to be spectacular.

Sophie supervised my sewing.


Sometimes it got too close for comfort.


Gigi was inspired by a few bags she had seen online and her creative adaptations of Summit reflect the influence of the Burberry Monogram Backpack in the chain attachment for the strap, the appliques of the Chanel Applique Boy Bag, and a gem encrusted velvet Dolce & Gabbana bag.

For maximum bling and superior functionality, we used Riri symmetrical zippers for the two front zipper openings. We used Riri Anello Zipper Pulls because we wanted to attach handstitched leather petals instead of the regular metal pull.


Gigi made a pile on her bed of everything she could find that she was inspired by. Her first idea was for the bag to just have patches of things on it but she quickly realized it would be covered.

She cut out the three exterior pieces and marked 3/4 inch with chalk all around each piece. Once the bits ‘n bobs for each panel were all placed down nicely, she put each panel’s items in their own container. It took three days for the stitching to be complete. Everything she choose has a special meaning.


Gigi made sure to include a purse-protective whistle, which she attached to a repurposed necklace, because who wouldn’t want to steal this rockin’ queen of a bag?


Her Summit reminds me of Where’s Waldo because you can study it for a long time and still find new things.




Gigi’s older sister, Charity, lived on our couch for a year to save money for school and moved out in 2016. When she came over a few weeks ago and saw the bag she was amazed and upon closer inspection, exclaimed, “There’s one of my earrings… there’s another .. and that was a pin I lost!” She wants us to make her one now. 🙂


Here are the inside pockets and a close up of the leather bow pin we made.


Wonder what we’ll do next? 🙂


Diva Envelope Clutch

I like to follow blogs as I learn a lot and am inspired by many creative people. One of those is Rochelle at esheepdesigns. Around Thanksgiving she showed her latest design, the Diva Envelope Clutch, and said she was looking for testers. It looked simple enough for a beginner like myself so I responded and was accepted to test the pattern.

When my daughter, Gigi, saw it she thought it would make a great Christmas gift for our son-in-law, Taylor, as a document holder since at 13″ x 9 3/4″ it’s large enough to hold file folders. She offered to cut out all the pieces so we could get it done in time for our early family celebration on December 11.

We wanted Taylor’s to look manly, therefore we used cork fabric with faux leather accents for the exterior and a linen-like fabric for the lining. With those materials, no interfacing was needed. Taylor was very impressed and stated that he would never have thought it was made with a sewing machine.

I had to add a little piece on the side which you can see above – the dark brown triangle of faux leather. The pattern directs you to be careful in placing the pattern pieces B and C on the correct sides, because one needs to be on the right and the other on the left in order for the bag to turn out correctly. Well, we mixed those up and the result was the sides of our envelope dipped in somewhat at the top so I just added a sliver on each side to compensate and it turned out great.

After Christmas, Gigi decided she wanted to make another one for herself because she likes to carry her Bullet Journal around and needed something that would hold it. She chose some faux leather for the exterior and a bright floral for the lining.


It was fun to figure out ways to decorate our bag flaps with rivets. The square studs are so inexpensive on ebay and simple to attach – just push the prongs in and fold down the edges!

Gigi decided to insert a wedge at the sides so that the bag could hold more and also to accommodate a shoulder strap. She cut a piece of Essex linen 9″ long, 2 1/2″ wide at the top which tapered to 1/2″ wide at the bottom.

She fused some lightweight interfacing to the back, but the fabric still needed more strength to match the thickness of the faux leather. We decided to try waxing the linen.


We got out a little crock pot where we keep our fabric waxing mixture, plugged it in and brushed the wax solution onto the fabric. We then ironed it between sheets of paper to remove excess wax. That transformed the fabric to a deeper aqua and made it much sturdier.

We purchased the little strap connectors with ring from Ohio Travel Bag. It’s very easy to attach, just requires a tiny hole and then it screws right in – perfect for a chain strap.


Gigi made a slip pocket to hold her journal with a lined and interfaced 12″ x 14″ piece of fabric.She added a small rectangular flap for secure closure.

For the pocket flap, Gigi used two pieces of faux leather, 3.5″ x 4.5″ with velcro dots for attachment. A metal button was added for decoration.


We decided to close this one via a magnetic snap. The tassel works as sort of a pull tab for opening. We made the tassel and a handle for the top out of some scraps of black leather.

Here it is opened up and from the backside. We secured the faux leather strap on Taylor’s bag with Chicago screws, but just stitching was secure enough for the leather handle on Gigi’s.


This is a great pattern if you want something that will hold documents, a journal or perhaps an iPad. It’s easy enough for a beginner and very adaptable to modifications including a wide variety of fabrics. I’m considering making another one in waxed canvas with leather trim. 🙂

Rochelle is offering the pattern at a discounted price over the weekend. Go over to her blog to check it out and see all the test editions!


A Hip Pack for Shena


I made my daughter a little pouch for her birthday earlier this year. It can be worn with a strap or just clipped onto belt loops.


It’s a pattern by SotakHandmade called Fannie Pouch. I used some soft denim with Cotton and Steel fabrics.

I added a zipper pocket on the back with Japanese newspaper fabric inside. Gigi wire wrapped a heart-shaped pearl to the zipper pull.


I also added a divided slip pocket inside. I wrote “for Shena” with a miron marker on a ‘Made with Love’ label I had ordered from an etsy shop back in 2010 when I first got into knitting.


Instead of the snaps, I put some small, lead drapery weights in the bottom corners to add weight and hold the flap down. They were left over from a drapery hanging business my father owned in the 1960’s to 70’s.


Shena loved it, especially all the animals. I love to sew special gifts for my children and am thrilled to be learning how to make bags.

Blanche is a Gold Digger


I’ve been following a lot of people in Facebook sewing groups for the past year, learning all about making bags out of fabric, vinyl and leather. Even though I’d never made anything more complicated than a zippy pouch, when the famous leather handbag creator, Laurie Dasso, agreed to do a sew-along for the Swoon pattern named Blanche, I jumped on board without a second thought.


Laurie told us how much leather we would need as well as all the supplies that would be required. I quickly realized I would not be able to make a leather bag without an industrial machine so decided to use some vinyl I had on hand.

The entire construction process was a thriller adventure with many new challenges. My connector tabs to which the handles attach on the bag front and back turned out a bit wonky so I dug around in my trims bin and found some vintage Wrights piping I’d picked up in an estate sale and that gold edging helped a lot. I decided to edge the contrast overlay to match.

When my daughter, Gigi, saw the gold, the lights went on and she decided to get in the game. Being a jewelry maker, she has oodles of goodies in her stash. She took some gold Swarovski pearls and glammed up the strap and handles. Then she crafted her name with some heavy, brass wire to which crystals were wire-wrapped and a gold chain was added.

img_5673                                                                        the back view


A little bow was perfect for the zipper pull which she attached with more of the brass wire. An Eiffel Tower charm was perfect for the inner pocket zipper.



I made a tassel with some gold lambskin for more bling and swing. Gigi loves the fuzzy charms on the Fendi bags and since I happened to have an old rabbit skin, found at a yard sale years ago, she decided to make a pom pom for the finishing touch.


She used this tutorial, but decided to attach the fur ball with a folded strip of leather (a la Fendi) instead of using a chain. We installed 1/8” short brass eyelets from Volcano Arts into the ends of the strip. The thin cord she used to gather together the circle of rabbit hide went into the holes and we tied it off. Gigi put a drop of Loctite Super Glue with gel control on the knot and then clipped the ends.


Blanche is actually a fairly advanced project for a first bag, but the support of Laurie and the rest of the group made it doable. I’ve come to a few conclusions from the process:
1) No more vinyl, only leather from now on.

2) I need a machine designed for sewing handbags and similar items and am saving up for a Cowboy cylinder arm with removable flatbed conversion table.

3) Fabri-Tac (glue for bonding cloth) is a savior!

4) I want to make a lot more.

5) Working with Gigi is so much fun.


This wild group of crazy ladies I’m learning with has been a hot bed of ideas, innovation and sharing – so exciting! Laurie’s daughter taught us all how to wax canvas and I’ll be using that on a future bag.

The next bag scheduled in our sew-along will be the Summit Pack, a sling backpack that’s actually far more complex than Blanche. Gigi has picked out some burgundy crushed upholstery velvet which she plans on glamming up with rainbow crystals. I’ll let you know in a future post how that turns out.