Whispers of Wonder

Deep within your hallowed heart
Beats blood of truest red.
Poured out for me, you gave your life
Whispering words of love instead.

You won my heart with great aplomb
Ransomed my very soul.
Repaired the very heart of me
Jesus you made me whole.

~ Janna Vanderveen

(Photo Credit: http://www.pbase.com)

Rip Esselstyn Engine 2 Lasagna is the most delicious, healthy, fiber filled vegetable lasagna that I have ever found.  Made.  Eaten.  Anywhere!  Having watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”, and it’s spin-off “Engine2Diet,” I was impressed by how yummy this vegan lasagna looked.  So…I thought I’d give cooking it a try.  The recipe with more detailed instructions can be found at this link: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianlasagnarecipes/r/engine2lasagna.htm.

Sweetheart by Janna

I have to confess that I was initially quite leery of making this recipe, especially when I saw the long list of healthy ingredients.  How could any lasagna not containing loads of dairy or meat taste good?  But, motivated to give it a try, I spent the next three hours chopping, browning, mixing, and cooking.   My house was filled with the most delicious scents of toasted garlic, onions, and sauteed mushrooms.

Dicing an onion and an entire head of garlic (yes – the whole thing) I added both ingredients to a non-stick pan and browned until softened.  I washed and sliced a package of mushrooms (I forgot to take a picture here – sorry) and added it to the mix until its juices filled the pan.  With a slotted spoon, I removed the mushrooms, onions, and garlic from the pan, leaving behind only the liquid.  To the liquid, I added a chopped head of broccoli and a bowl of chopped carrots.  These cooked in the liquid until they brightened in color and softened slightly.

Removing the broccoli and carrots from my non-stick pan, I added both to my bowl of onion, garlic, and mushrooms and mixed all together.  Back into the pan, I added chopped red peppers and a can or organic corn which I had thoroughly rinsed.  These I also cooked until they were softened.  I added both to my vegetable bowl and again mixed.

Draining all the liquid from a container of silken tofu, I dumped the lot into my veggie bowl,
I squished the tofu mix between my fingers until the mixture was adequately mixed and then added four spices: Cayenne pepper, basil, oregano, and rosemary.
On my stove, I had cooked and mashed two sweet potatoes.  To the potatoes, I added a container of frozen spinach (defrosted) and mixed.
Here is where I deviated from Rip’s recipe (only slightly).  He layered his lasagna with the vegetable mixture on one layer and the sweet potato’s and spinach on a second.  I decided to mix the sweet potato mixture in with my vegetable mixture because I like the creamy texture and taste it produces.

To assemble my lasagna, I coated the bottom of my baking dish with a layer of spaghetti sauce and then a layer of noodles.

On top of the noodles, I added another layer of spaghetti sauce and a thick layer of my vegetable mixture.  A second layer of noodles followed.
On top of the second layer of noodles I added a third layer of sauce and the rest of my vegetable mixture.
Then a third layer of noodles.
I spread a final layer of sauce over the noodles and tossed a handful of ground cashews over the top.  Covering with tin foil, I baked in my oven for 45 minutes, then removed the cover and baked for another 15.

The end result: layers of bubbling, yummy delight!

Paired with a slice of freshly ground whole wheat bread, my dinner was complete.  Delicious!  Rip Esselstyn Engine 2 lasagna has become a staple in our household.  I can’t say my children love it but my husband and I do and we eat at least one piece a day until its gone.  And then I make another.  Low in both sodium and fat it boasts high levels of fiber and essential nutrients.  It makes for a healthy lunch or supper and is absolutely worth the effort.
Valentines Day deserves a special hat of its own. 🙂   Shades of charcoal intertwined with scarlet make the colors in this newsboy wool hat pop. Featuring a vintage leather button and grey fleece lining, this hat is delightful!
Janna Vanderveen © 2011
 Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

Earth tones… the vibrancy of molten lava and the richness of moist earth are represented in this newest Sweetheart Newsboy Hat.  Featuring a soft camel colored fleece lining and a vintage button this hat is sure to please.  This hat has can be worn straight or tilted to one side for a “mod” look.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

Come to Me

Every once in a while I hear a song that resonates deep within my heart, within the very depths of my spirit.  This song did just that – and it stayed with me all day urging me to contemplate, once again, God’s amazing goodness and compassion.  In an interview regarding this song, Jenn Johnson shared that she wrote this song when reflecting upon the many tragedies that plagued our world over the last year.  Where fear abounded within the hearts of people across the globe, she heard God whisper a very different word within her ear.  Not a message of fear, but a love song – from God’s heart to ours.

I am the Lord your God
I go before you now
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know
I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Just steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
Lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go.
Come to me
I’m all you need
Come to me
I’m everything
Come to me
I’m all you need
Come to me
I’m your everything
I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am you’re steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
I am with you
Wherever you go
Come to me
I’m all you need
Come to me
I’m your everything
Come to me
I’m all you need
Come to me
I’m your everything
Don’t look to the right or to the left
Keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken
You will not be moved, ohhh….
I am the hand to hold
I am the truth I am the way
Just come to me… come to me… because I’m all that you need
Link toYouTube Performance:
Meet Sophia!
She’s been adopted by Zoe.
This darling red-head is glamorous.  Her vibrant crimson hair accentuates her cornflower blue eyes.  Lace embellishments and a cute bum ruffle add to her character.  Love!
Janna Vanderveen © 2012
Janna Vanderveen © 2012
Meet Olivia.
She’s been adopted by Bella.

This Christmas I made a special hat and scarflette for my favorite (and only) sister.   🙂  She looks lovely and it was so wonderful to see her.  Merry Christmas Tricia!

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

This Christmas, I decided that I would make my daughter a beautiful softie doll. I scoured the Internet for weeks trying to find the best sewing doll pattern.  What I discovered, however, was that professional-looking, finely-crafted patterns are a dime a dozen when it comes to dolls.  The few misshapen blobs littering my failed sewing patterns basket are a testament to this problem.   You can imagine my excitement when I came across this cute doll pattern for purchase by Retro Mama on Elsy.  I received the pattern the same day as my purchase and was delighted to discover that not only was it filled with colorful pictures but it also had great followable instructions.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

Over the course of the next two days, this lovely lady emerged.  My daughter was very interested in what I was making while I sewed away at my small sewing station in my kitchen.  My whole wrap it up as a Christmas present idea became out of the question.  And of course, I could not wait to give it to her.  So this morning, I presented my wonderful daughter with this oh-so-cute doll.  She has been carrying it around ever since.   Seeing her eyes light up with joy was worth it all. 
Thanks Retro-Mama for the delightful pattern.  :-)

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011


Some Crafty Craftiness!

100 Mile Challenge

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
Homeschooling… homeschooling… homeschooling… that’s all my life seems to be about these days. 🙂 But my kids love it and so does my husband, which makes the craziness and my sometimes loss of sanity worth while. This year for homeschooling, we created a 100 Mile Physical Education Challenge. In order to foster a positive attitude towards “exercise” we decided to challenge the kids to walk or run 100 miles on the treadmill (each). They get to watch their favorite television shows while they exercise, which is motivation in and of itself, but the extra $50.00 completion reward has them running! Literally!   When all three of us have completed our cards, we will take a family trip someplace fun. 🙂 YAY! I’m excited too.

Sapphire Sunset Sweetheart Scarflette… try to say that ten times fast. LOL. Today I completed the matching scarflette to my Sweetheart Hat and I LOVE how it turned out.  I initially debated putting the orange tabs on the same side as the hat’s tab but decided I liked it better on the opposite side. It accentuates the beautiful burnt orange color in the hat and provides balance.  Both this hat and scarflette will eventually be posted to my Etsy page, once I measure them to ensure accurate sizing information. For the sake of this photograph, I pinned the scarf in the back to keep it from falling off my model’s non-existent shoulders. 🙂

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

On an unrelated note, I made some recent design changes to my hats and scarflettes.  I made the decision to place my branding on the inside of the hat and interior of the scarf.  I feel that the hats have a cleaner and more streamlined look without it – a look that I personally appreciate.  Adding plaid patterns to the mix also creates its own sense of busy-ness.  Sometimes simpler is better.  And personally, I think the plaid deserves to stand alone.  🙂

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

I also adjusted the widths of my scarflettes.  Since these scarflettes contain a very mild interfacing,  I figured they need not be as wide.  Their measurement now make for a more comfortable wear.

Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

YAY!!!  I finally found some time to sew another Sweetheart Hat.  I haven’t sewn any hats in the last two months, as I’ve found myself lacking in time to do anything but home school and take care of my family. (Although, admittedly, I did sew my daughter a few dresses). LOL.  However, the idea for this cute Sapphire Sunset colored hat has been brewing in the back of my mind for the duration of my hat sewing sabbatical.  The outside of this hat is made of 100% wool fabric.  The inside boasts a soft sapphire blue fleece band and coordinating cotton fabric.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

This particular hat was inspired from my Sweetheart Scarflettes   My scarflettes feature wool exteriors with coordinating fleece interiors.  The edge of each scarflette displays two coordinating tabs (exactly like the tabs on the above hat) with matching eye-catching buttons.  Since I am in the process of sewing the scarflette that coordinates with this hat, I will add a picture in a future blog.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

Having a matching Sweetheart Hat and Scarflette is a fun way to spice up any fall/winter wardrobe..  Now… to make a matching handbag or messenger bag with tabs!  How fun would that be.  My mind is a whirl with ideas.  🙂

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

Apron Knot Boutique Dress

As a homeschooling Mom I continue to find myself lacking in the time department, and as such, I have done very little sewing as of late.  However, I could not help myself when I discovered two patterns on Etsy (by Little Lizard King and Tender feet Stitches) for two apron knot boutique style dresses.  I pulled out all my fun fabrics, ran to my sewing machine, and began to sew.  This little dress was the end result.  My daughter wore it quite happily throughout the day and I lived through her vicariously! 🙂
Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

My favorite season is almost here.  I can’t wait!!!  I love the cool weather, changing leaves, color filled days, crisp apples, carved pumpkins, and cozy evenings before a fire.  More so than that, I love taking long autumn walks to enjoy all that God has created.

This fall, I designed a sweetheart scarflette that is both bold and stylish.  It can be worn with a favorite outfit (as a fashion statement) or with a jacket (as a functional neck warmer), or as both.  🙂  Featuring vintage buttons, this scarf is delightful.  A matching sweetheart hat is in the works, with both wool fabrics and matching button.  Pictures will follow in a future blog.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

My beautiful sister modeled this plum-colored wool and plaid scarflette. Although a lot of wool is unbearably scratchy, the plum fabric on the underside of this scarf is made of a softer wool. With an added layer of stiffener it retains its shape and allows for the perfect framing of one’s face.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

This particular scarflette should be dry cleaned or spot washed to avoid the possibility of it felting and shrinking to half its size. LOL. Thanks Tricia for being such a great model!!!

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

All my projects are a work in progress.  As such, I am constantly tweaking, updating, and trying to find a new idea.  Of course, no idea is new, especially when it comes to newsboy hats which have been around for ages!  But I am excited about this particular sweetheart newsboy variation.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

After much research on hat couture for the 2011 season, I’ve discovered that bows are in style.  Kate Spade developed several cloche hats which feature a bow and band.  I figured I should do something similar with my newsboy hats.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

The thing about bows, however, is that they can limit an outfit to a set of colors. My frugal side suggests that it would be great to create a hat where you can change your accessories to match your outfit. So, I figured out a way to create a removable and interchangeable bow.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

I designed the bow into two separate pieces, a colorful sleeve and a center tube (in this case black) which matches the hat.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

The center of the bow attaches to the hat using small black clips.  The bow sleeve slides through the center tube and can be changed for other bow sleeves.  Or… you could remove the sleeve and center and wear the hat by itself.

Almost as an afterthought, I sewed a small black clip on to the back of one of my sweetheart flowers. It looks so cute clipped on to the hat. Since the tube has two clips, the flower can be attached to either one. (whichever you prefer) but is large enough to cover both ends. With six different colored flowers to choose from, you are sure to find a wardrobe match.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

I designed this mini version of my sweetheart newsboy hat for my daughter’s Bitty Baby.  Bright pink with a wild butterfly and flower cotton lining – it is darling!!!  Making it was… well not so much fun. LOL.

I rather naively thought this hat would be easy to make – since it had less fabric.  But I didn’t take into account the tiny bias binding, small pieces, and extra small seam allowances.  To make things worse, I forgot to add in the seam allowances on my bands which made the hat a little to short.   This hat should partially cover the ears.

But… I’ve taken good notes for next time and that’s how creating things goes…  And it turned out OK. My daughter thinks its cool and that’s really all that matters. 🙂

This hat fits snugly – measuring 12 1/2 inches. I think little hands would have a hard time pulling it on and off and think next time I’ll create a size 13 instead.

I think making a small Bitty Baby hat and matching toddler hat would be a delightful present for any child’s birthday or Christmas celebration.

I love beautiful things.  Flourishing flowers display their vibrant blooms and tantalize us with their heady scents. They exemplify all things beautiful with their simple yet highly intricate designs.  Elegant and alluring,  flowers beg to be picked, displayed, and given freely as an expression of love.

With this in mind, my search to create the perfect flower clip began.  The perfect clip would need to be able to nestle behind an ear, embrace the smallest of newborn heads, and grace the wise with elegance and poise.   To do that, these clips would need to secure the finest and fuzziest of baby hair, clip into the cascading thick waves of youth, and enfold the contemporary locks of high fashion.  These thoughts led to the birth of the Sweetheart Clip, which attaches to anything and everything.  They even clip to the very few hairs that grow on my arms.

My daughter and I refer to these sweetheart clips as “her pretties.”  At the age of two, my daughter finds herself somewhat lacking in the hair department.  But we make up for that with these fun accessories.  .

When I created my Etsy page, I discovered an amazing designer named  Chance from Ladeda Invites  (Designs).  She’d designed a beautiful one-of-a-kind banner set which displayed scattered ruby red rose petals.  I was enchanted! She further designed these wonderful product tags. YAY!  If any of you, my wonderful blog readers, need a talented designer for your product – she is amazing! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ladedainvites  I am so grateful for her talent and vision.  You’re the best Chance!   Thank-you.

Hello my wonderful blogger friends.:-)  I have been working for weeks on an Amy Butler Messenger Bag with matching Sweetheart Hat.  I finished the hat earlier this week and finally finished the bag today.  YAY!

Thank-goodness it’s done!!!” Wow! What a lot of work that  project was.  I am VERY glad to be done and a little leery to ever work on another one again.  This particular bag took me at least 40 hours to put together.  That was in part because it took me a while to interpret the pattern.
I know that future bags will go a lot quicker.  However, I think this bag needs a few revisions.  First… with the many layers of interfacing and canvas used to create this bag, it weighs about five pounds completed – and that’s not filled.  Should I fill this bag and carry it around all day, I could see getting a cramped shoulder and sore neck.
Hmmm…. I wonder if there is a way to use stiffer interfacing without adding more bulk and weight. Maybe a way to put a little of the inside contrasting fabric on the outside of the bag for fun.
The inside pocket is also very cute. This bag has a hanging pocket which has slots for pens,a few larger items, and a zippered compartment for objects like Nook’s or other e-readers.  The outside of the bag has two compartments for water bottles or other easily accessible items.  However, as a busy Mom, a few bigger pockets and zippered pockets attached to the inside lining would be much more useful.  My mind is already whirling as to how I can figure that one out.  🙂
 I love this matching Sweetheart Hat.  Raspberry twill fabric coordinated with a delicious Amy Butler print.  Yum! I’ve decided to keep both the bag and the hat for myself.  They match.  How cool is that!
Well, I’ve a few fun new thoughts for accessorizing my sweetheart hats.  I will be musing about that and ways to create a brand new from scratch sweetheart bag over the next couple of days.  In the  meantime, all my love.  Janna.

My Birthday Quilt 2011

For my birthday this year, I received a beautiful quilt from my mother-in-law, Marsha who had been sewing on the sly for quite some time.  Although not quite finished, it is eye-catching and glamorous. I love it!  
My children will love this particular design because hidden amidst the fabric are letters, numbers, and many interesting pictures.  Eye-spy and seek & find are two of their favorite past-times.  It will entertain them for hours, for sure, especially if we bring it along camping.
The story of this quilt is even more fun. Marsha was gifted this fabric from Diane, one of her close friends. Diane is incredibly gifted at sewing and also makes beautiful quilts.  In fact, she made me a lovely quilt when my daughter Chloe was born.  It still has a place of honor in her bedroom today. 
I desperately want to design an amazing messenger bag for busy Mom’s.  As mother of three, I am always toting around water bottles, video players, diapers, my nook, and a whole slew of other things.  I am past the stage of diaper bags, or at least I like to think that I am, 🙂 but I still need a versatile bag to store all the many necessities of life.  Preferably one that would keep my hands free for my children.
I have not found the perfect messenger bag anywhere and have decided that if I design my own pattern, I will need to learn how to sew  pockets, add zippers, line bags, attach magnetic buttons, create slots for MP3 players, and slip in a few other accesories that are fun.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do many of these things. Sooo… I decided to start small and make this cute little Amy Butler Coin Purse pattern.  It seemed complicated at first, but now that I’ve made one, I think it would be easier to replicate.

It is a start, and that is really all that matters.  I think it turned out well!   YAY!

Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

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