Aunt Dorothy’s Pecan Pie

Here is one of our favorite recipes… we use it faithfully, every Thanksgiving Day and Christmas season (a lot of other days, too).  It's so simple to mix up!  And yummy to boot. 

What are some of your traditional holiday foods?

Aunt Dorothy's Pecan Pie

–3 beaten eggs

–1/2 cup packed brown sugar

–1 cup Karo syrup (light or dark)

–1/3 cup melted margarine or butter

–1 teaspoon vanilla (okay, so we use a little more than that!)

–pinch of nuts (any kind of nuts, if you like)

–1 cup chopped pecans

–1 unbaked pie crust (homemade or store-bought)

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until pie is soft in center (but not "jiggly").  Enjoy!


Happy Thanksgiving!


"…Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.  Amen."

                                                                          Revelation 7:12


With love in Christ, from our home to yours!  

~the Long ladies 

Sew Simply: coaster cuteness!

And here is the second project we had in mind!  So get ready, because these handy little coasters make lovely and frugal gifts.

the square coaster…

you will need::

–fabric scraps (at least 5" x 5")

–thin batting (we used warm & natural cotton batting, but less expensive polyester batting works just as well– you can find it in your local large-chain craft store.)

–matching thread

–embroidery floss (in a complimentary color) & sharp needle with a large eye– optional

***All seam allowances are 1/4"!

1. Start by creating your pattern, using a piece of cardboard (from a cereal box, the back of a notebook, or whatever).  We made our pattern 4 1/2" square, so our coasters would finish at 4".  Using your pattern and a pencil, trace a square onto the wrong side of your fabric.  For each coaster, cut out 2 fabric squares and 1 batting square.  (Round coaster tutorial coming soon!)

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2.  Layer your three pieces (front, back, & batting) in this order (very important!)

~back, with right side up

~front, with right side down


So it should look like this (left picture shows layers– right picture is the "finished" stack)…

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3.  Pin through all three layers.  Stitch around all edges, leaving a gap of about 2" in one side.  Clip corners.

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4.  Turn your coaster right side out, fully extending the corners.  Press carefully.

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5.  Slipstitch gap closed.  Use your embroidery floss to make a decorative running stitch around the edges of your coaster, if desired.  Or topstitch around the edge at 1/4", using your sewing machine.

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Wrap them up smartly, and give them away.  Or pour yourself a Coke, and enjoy using your new coaster!


We would love to see pictures of your finished projects!   

Sew Simply: color & design

Color can make or break your sewing project.  It really can.  Because color is the first thing you notice, right?  Some colors work well together, pleasing the eye… others, well– others just clash.  Is there a shirt in your drawer that makes you feel lovely every time you wear it?  The answer is probably color. 

Colors fall into two main categories: warm and cool.  Warm colors have gold undertones– think of the sunset in the summertime, "earthy" shades, or the changing leaves of fall.  Cool colors have blue undertones– like the sea and the sky and the juicy fruit of a ripe watermelon.  Your skin has undertones, too, blue or gold.  And that is what determines the colors that make you look your best.  Try holding up swatches of different fabrics next to your face… your best colors will make your face stand out.  In our family, we all fall under the cool color classification.  Every one of us looks great in blue, pink, red, purple, blue-green, turquoise, and black.  But we all look awful in orange or olive green!  The subject of color is so interesting– we can't really do it justice in this little post, so we would like to encourage you to read more about it on your own.  The Lord has created such a colorful world for us to enjoy!

Sewing projects are much the same way.  The colors you choose have to compliment each other, in some way.  There are many different ways to do this.  Here are some examples…

color combinations…



This group of prints is unified by cool shades of blues and pinks.  Notice that they aren't all perfect matches, but they work together in a very striking combination.  That's because they are varying shades of the same colors.


The gold and brown fabrics in this group have gold undertones; the pink has blue undertones.  The pink works as an accent color for the gold and brown.  These fabrics are further unified by their somewhat eclectic patterns.

Brooke bag 025 

When matching the prints for this bag, we used blues, reds, and greens.  They work together because the intensity (or brightness) of the colors are the same.  And, we built them one upon another like dominoes… each print has at least one color from another print.

Long girls 073 Quick e-mail view   

The colors in this apron are all jewel tones– very saturated colors often found in precious or semi-precious stones.  Except for the black and white, that is… we added that for dramatic impact!

One more note on neutral colors: black & white are cool colors, while brown and cream are usually considered warm.

pattern & scale…

Once you've mastered color, the scale of your prints comes next.  This is pretty simple.  We like to start out with one big print, then add a medium-sized print and a small "accent" print.  

Also, if you are planning to make yourself a garment out of a printed fabric, keep this in mind: big, bold prints enlarge!  And don't use too many prints at the same time, or your outfit will start looking too busy.


See.  One big print, one medium-sized print, and one tiny print.  Isn't this fun?

It may take practice to put together things that look just right!  Do you have any questions?  Comments?  We hope this post is helpful to you, whether sewing or shopping!

Modesty questions anwered…

Hello.  Our friend Jasmine just posted the last installment of our modesty interview on her blog, Joyfully Home!  Please stop by and take a peak at  part 1 and part 2 of our interview.  If you had a question that wasn't addressed, please don't hesitate to write to us via email!  We feel so honored to have been featured on Joyfully Home… thanks, Jasmine!

And– congratulations Katrina, on winning a bag from marie-madeline studio!  We look forward to stitching it up for you in the near future.


               laraine shoulder bag


cast your vote (just for fun…)

We've been making quilt tops lately!  It's really a good lesson in different personalities, you know?  It is pretty amazing to see what all of us pick out.  

And truthfully, we've made dozens and dozens of quilts, but we've never used one single quilt pattern– they've always been "made up" patterns.  So, for something really "different" we decided to use a free quilt pattern of Amy Butler's (the Mid Mod one).  We chose to alter it slightly so that it would turn out bigger (and the borders are different sizes). 

Now, for fun, we want you to all leave a comment and "cast your vote" for your favorite quilt top!  What do you think?

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                                                        quilt top #1 ~Swell



                                                   quilt top #2 ~ Ava Rose

IMG_2146  IMG_2147 

                                                 quilt top #3 ~ Pop Garden

PS  These quilt tops are Kristie's, Apphia's, and Achaia's… can you guess whose is who's?

Jasmine and bianca…

We just had to post our dear friend Jasmine's latest blog entry!  She makes us laugh, and we love her very much.  We're so glad she's enjoying her "marie-madeline original"!  If you don't regularly read Jasmine's blog, you need to– she is such a refreshing young lady with a passion for Christ!  And don't forget to enter her giveaway, because it ends tonight…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yesterday at Anthropologie…

A few days ago, thanks to the generosity of the ladies of Marie-Madeline Studio, I received my very own Bianca Handbag in the gorgeous Aqua Large Floral fabric from the Jane Street Fabric Collection! Today was my first day to get to try the bag out, on a shopping trip with my family. 
Now, when it comes to accessories… well… I like to walk on the wild side. I like really long beaded necklaces, all different sorts of nail polish, big, colorful bangles… my daddy calls it "gypsy fashion." "Jasmine, your earrings are so big today, I can see my reflection!" :-) 
Okay, so they're not that big, but you get the picture. My bags are no exception. I like lots of color and lots of room for my phone, my wallet, lotion, hand sanitizer, chapstick, mirror… and the myriad of other objects that rattle around in there obstruct my path when I'm trying to get to the vibrating phone. My mom calls them carpetbags. 
But Mommy does have a limit to the size (reasonably so), and it can be a little hard to find bags that are colorful and fun and reasonably priced that fit all my little trinkets inside! Enter the beautiful Bianca bag! It was more than roomy enough to transfer all of the items from my… er… former carpetbag. It's a very nice size, a happy medium between my larger bags and the ones that just can't hold all my stuff! It's also colorful, durable, and, of course, well-made. 
The best part is, if you're not into vibrant splashes of color like me :-), you can choose the bag in a variety of different fabrics that match your personal taste! This is a must-have for anyone's collection ~there's simply no excuse not to own a bag this style. It's just the perfect size and design for just about any outfit. And I love the beautiful flower broach on mine. :-)
In fact, today, it looked so very fetching hanging from my arm, that while we were shopping in one of my favorite stores (sales rack edition; you might have to dig, but there are some great finds :-), one of the employees was admiring it: "Oh, by the way, ma'am, that is such a cute purse! I really like it!" 
Of course she did. I almost quipped, "Why thank you, it's a Marie-Madeline Studio original. I'm friends with the owners."
"No," she would have replied, eyes grown large and round. "You know the Long girls?"
"Yes, of course," I might have answered answered. "They're dear friends, actually. You know, I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog. You should stop by and enter."
"Maybe I should," she would thoughtfully concur. 
"Yes, you ought to; the comment section will be closed Tuesday evening, and the results will be revealed before the week is out."
"All right!" she'd say. "I'll hurry home and do it right now!" 


going Mexican….


Mmmmmm…..  As you all can see, we had no qualms or trouble with downing this great Mexican food.  Do you know many families that can eat a total of 22 enchiladas and 3 full beef burritos?  And we're not going to even mention (or try to figure out!) how much rice and beans and chips and salsa and queso we ate.  (Should we include the soda too?)  


Sew Simply: basic stitches and a fabric flower!

Yay!  Here we are to our first project!  Yes, it is very simple, and it is all hand-sewn.  But it's also a very cute fabric flower.  And it's so quick to whip up that you can make one for each of your friends.

First, a look at the slipstitch… this is the stitch commonly used to whip gaps in lining closed, or wherever you want to patch something without your stitches showing.  We've used very bright un-matching thread, so you'll be able to see more clearly.

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The running stitch… (good for gathering or embellishment– also the stitch used for quilting)

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See how nicely it gathers up?  That's why the running stitch is what we'll use to make our fabric flower.

the fun fabric flower…

you will need::

–1 strip of fabric, approximately 4" to 5" wide

–matching thread

–one big button

–medium sized safety pin

1. Press your strip of fabric in half, wrong sides together, to form one long, thin strip.  Using your scissors, round off the edges of your fabric strip.

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2. Start your running stitch at one end of your strip (along the raw edge– not the pressed edge), and continue all the way down until you reach the other end.  Pull up tightly, and knot off your thread.

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3. Wrap your gathered strip around itself to form your "petals".  Stitch securely together in the center, going all the way through the back of the flower.

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4. Stitch your button center on tightly.  Knot securely.  Using a safety pin, attach the flower to the outside of your jacket or bag…


So very simple, with lots of room for creative embellishments!  We've beaded our flowers, or added yo-yo centers.  You can even stack flowers of different fabrics and sizes on top of one another, attach them through the center with a button, and have a really cute double-petaled bloom!   

for Amanda & Heather…

Hello, ladies!  Here are the answers to our two most recent questions.  We plan on posting the next installment of "Sew Simply" tomorrow!

Amanda says…

I'm so excited about this Sewing Series y'all are doing. My grandmother is teaching me how to sew (I'm 20!) but she has really poor eyesight. I was curious if you knew of a good beginners sewing book? I love y'alls aprons and so the first project I plan to do is an apron.


Amanda, thanks for writing!  Two of our favorite beginners sewing books are Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Carol and Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner.  Both have a lot of helpful information and several adorable projects!  (Please keep in mind that these books were not written from a distinctively Christian worldview.)  We love to hear about other young ladies learning to sew~ it's such a wonderful skill!

Heather says…

Oh, ladies! I am enjoying this series of sew-simply. :) Question: do you transfer your patterns on to the red dot tracer & then use the tracer pattern to cut out? You can probably tell by the ? that I'm a newbie (actually "old" returning newbie.) I was wondering if there is was a way to keep patterns for more than one use. Thanks in advance!


Hi Heather!  We're so glad that you are enjoying Sew Simply.  Yes, we do trace our patterns onto the red dot tracer and reuse them!  Because the red dot tracer is actually very fabric-like, it doesn't tear… so we are able to use that pattern over and over again.  Basically, you are tracing the pattern pieces onto the red dot tracer, cutting them out, and using them as your pattern instead of the original paper one.  Make sense?  Hope that helps!


happy sewing!

love, the Long ladies 


Sew Simply: measurements & patterns

Making clothes is really, really fun.  As long as we can remember, going to the "fabric store", walking down each aisle, running our hands over every kind of fabric, and finally settling on the perfect piece has been a tradition– something we love doing together!  So we do make a lot of our own clothes.  And we make a lot of clothes for others.  Because it is something we enjoy doing– a way to minister to those we love!

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But it's hard to get started sometimes, isn't it?  Knowing what size of pattern to buy can be tricky… especially when you don't know how to take your own measurements.  First, buy yourself a tape measure.  You can't take accurate measurements without one.  (We have a friend who tried to measure her waist with one of those metal tape measures from the hardware store– she said that doesn't work very well, so purchase the soft cloth-like kind!)

measure me!  here's how…

Measure me! 

Let's pretend this is you.  When taking your measurements, always wear the undergarments you intend to wear underneath your clothes.  It is very helpful to have someone else measure you, so if you have your mom, sister, or close friend nearby, ask them to do you this favor! 

Here are some things to remember when taking measurements:

::always, always, always measure around the fullest part of your bust and hips!

::always measure around the smallest part of your waist (usually right around your navel– your "natural" waist), no matter where you like to wear your skirts.

::wrap the tape measure snuggly around your body, but not tight enough to press into your skin.

::when measuring your back-waist length, start at the base of your neck and measure down to your natural waist.

Also, you will want to know the length of dress/skirt/pants you prefer.  We suggest you measure your favorite pieces to get approximate lengths.  Keep in mind, when measuring for a dress or jumper, to start at the base of your neck and then measure down to the hem.

Even if you are not a seamstress, having your measurements handy is so helpful!  We like to carry around little tape measures and lists with our measurements in our bags when we shop… knowing our measurements has helped us not to make mistakes when purchasing clothes.  (When we don't feel like trying them on, that is!)

pick a pattern, any pattern…

Now that you have your measurements (right?), you're ready to shop for a pattern!  If you are a beginning seamstress, start out small.  Try a simple elastic waist skirt, or another skirt without a zipper.  Zippers are not as difficult to install as they may look to you, but still– get the feel for using a clothing pattern first.  Skirts are the easiest thing to make!  Here's one of our favorite quick-n-easy skirt patterns…

CIMG1786   Jumping_rope_010  

(For more pictures, go here.)   

Look at the sizing chart on the back of your pattern.  Compare your measurements to those on the chart.  Most of the time, your's will be slightly off or between sizes– and that's okay.  Virtually all sewing patterns come multi-sized for that reason!  One thing we ought to warn you about: you won't wear the same size in handmade clothes that you do in ready-made clothes!  If you wear a size 6 in purchased clothing, you will probably end up with a size 10 or 12 pattern.  So we like to just forget about the size and concentrate on a good fit.  Also, always check the finished garment measurements (usually at the bottom of the chart on the back of the pattern)!  That will help you to determine how much "ease" (extra room) you will have in your finished product.  

Any questions?  Please send them our way!  Don't forget to sign up for the sewing basket giveaway!     

questions– answered

IMG_2296 We had lots of fun reading over all the wonderful questions you all asked on our pincushion party! giveaway post!  Now it's your turn to listen to all of our answers.  If you have any other questions, just shoot them on over!  Happy reading! 


I have a question…where do you come up with your ideas for the skirts, purses and such?


Truly, we think The Lord just brings them into our minds!  Some of our styles come from classic movies, a dear friend, or from other types of things we sew.  Actually, it doesn't take too much to get an idea from!

Taylor W.:

My question is: How do you make yourself finish the project? :-)


Keep sewing till that project is done and only bite off what you can finish!  Be careful not too take too much onto yourself, or you'll end up "burned out"!  (Believe us– that happens!)

Meredith A.:

I have a really old machine my mother-in-law gave to me. It is really neat – in its own table, but doesn't work very well. If I get it "serviced" will it work better? Or is is better to get one of the newer machines now available?


We would think it would work better after being serviced, but it would probably never be as "user-IMG_1004friendly" as a newer model.  Our machines aren't the newest out there, but work quite well.  Also, how much you have to spend is a factor.  (You can read about our sewing machine recommendations here.)  If you decide to get a newer machine, use your mother-in-laws as a pretty decoration!


My daughter and I have also recently sewn a two-sided, flannel baby blanket. We were thinking about adding a silky edge to the blanket. Babies seem to like that feel! Are there any concerns about mixing the two types of fabrics? We haven't worked with the silky material before. Do you recommend a particular type? We did pre-wash the flannel.


We have mixed different types of fabric before with success (for instance, vintage chenille and new cotton) and we wouldn't hesitate to use the silky binding on PRE-WASHED flannel (– as flannel is notorious for shrinking!).


Your skirts are so cute. Do you think a beginning seamstress could make one, or should I just stick with the pincoushion?

IMG_2116 marie-madeline:

If you have made a few other things, then you shouldn't have a problem with the gracie ruffle skirt.  But, if you've never sewn at all before, you might want to start with the pincushion or a simple apron.


Any pointers on putting new thread on a bobbin? (Or is that the kind of thing you'd need to show in person?)


Showing you in person is definately better and since we can't do that, we'd suggest you re-read your manual for tips or pointers.


I would really like to get a new machine, any suggestions on a good one that is not too expensive?


Try eBay for a "Janome Jem Gold".  They are about $199 and are sturdy and user friendly.  (More on that here.)  One of our Jem Gold's has been used for about 7 years, with no trips to the sewing machine shop!


my ? is this: what age would you begin teaching young girls how to sew?


We think a young girl 5-7 years old can learn to use a needle and thread and a 6-7 year old girl on a machine (with supervision).


How do you store all of your fabric and patterns?IMG_2730


We had to laugh over this as storing fabric is always a trial for us.  These are different ideas that have worked for us in the past (depending on how much fabric you have on hand…) —

~rubbermaid tubs labeled on the outside

~closet shelves

~vintage suitcases found at a flea market (you can stack several on top of eachother)

~in under-bed storage boxes

~small pieces in baskets, hat boxes, etc.

~flea market dressers             (of course, if you have bolts some just go on the floor!)

**Remember not to store in direct sunlight– it will fade easily!  (We've learned that the hard way…)

For storing patterns—

~Office Depot boxes

~plastic containers just the width of one pattern

~cardboard boxes (made for patterns) from the fabric store

~dresser drawers (laying on their sides)

Do you have unlimited space?  If so, you could try buying a real metal pattern cabinet from a fabric store.  Nanny has one of these and it is simply marvelous!

IMG_2308 Tiffany:

I have a few questions 1) how do you find the time to sew?! When ever I have a project it becomes so time consuming and I have a hard time finishing (this could be because I don't have any formal training and I mess up a lot).2) Also, do you have any ideas of simple things I can make for my husband or son?


1) Of course, we love to sew and do it whenever we can!  We set ourselves goals of other things to finish before we start sewing.  Also, try working on projects that are in your skill level so it doesn't take so long to finish.  Projects that take too long can be very discouraging for a beginner sewer! 

2) Here are some of our ideas– quilts, blankets, pajama pants (we've made lots of those!), pillowcases, and stuffed animals.