Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Build an Indoor Awning

A Rainbow of Awnings
Installed in unfinished hallway
I am in the process of building some awnings for the hallway windows of our church's children's wing. The theme is 'Kaleidoscope Kids. 
I constructed the frames from 1x2" pre-primed MDF from Lowes, since it was less expensive than even pine boards. I glued & screwed the 90° joints, and glued and used a nail gun to secure the angled joints. I took the measurements of the wall space, extending the awnings out 2 inches on either side of the windows (they have no frames), and drew up a pattern for the awnings themselves, which consisted of a large rectangle, and two triangles for the sides. 

Bare Frame

Awning with Fabric Cover

Back View
Attaching the Aprons
The aprons have white piping where they join the body of the awning. I used a standard upholstery technique to attach the aprons: stapling through a narrow strip of poster board and stapling through the seam allowance, into the frame, with the apron flipped up, out of the way. 

I used pocket-hole joinery with glue for most of the framing, and glue and a nail gun for the angled joints. The awning covers are stapled on because the budget couldn't accommodate Velcro. I had to make a jig for my miter saw because the angle cut for the diagonal braces was more acute than the degrees on the saw. I found directions online from a woodworkers' site showing how to make a jig for cutting crown molding. I am using Industrial-strength Velcro to attach the awnings to the wall, since they're pretty light - about 7 pounds each. I have a cornice in my study that has been hanging there for 12 years by means of this Industrial-strength Velcro. It does a great job.

The logo below was designed by an artist that goes to our church, Andy Bennett. 

Psalm 139: 13-16
13 You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother's body. 
14 How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well. 
15 None of my bones was hidden from you when you made me inside my mother's body. That place was as dark as the deepest parts of the earth. When you were putting me together there, 

16 your eyes saw my body even before it was formed. You planned how many days I would live. You wrote down the number of them in your book before I had lived through even one of them.

Simply put...

 The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me....
yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. 

This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” 

Tim Keller, The Reason for God

Friday, February 24, 2012


I came across a blog today, and I have been so intrigued by the photos and quotes I found there. Both this quote, and the one below on the regrets of motherhood, are from Please check it out.

I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers to God make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those effects down through the centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power of prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.
— Peter Kreeft

Young Mothers - Take this to Heart!

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. this is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. there is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. and I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

anna quindlen

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Changing Inkscape Document Properties Default in Windows

I recently updated my version of Inkscape, and every time I opened a document, it reverted to pixels as the default unit of measurement, with an letter-sized document. I prefer using a 12x12 inch document to coincide with the Cricut mat I use most often, as well as the use of inches as my basic unit of measurement. I had changed the document template once before, but couldn't remember how, and it took me several perusals of different technical posts to finally figure it out on my own, so I am posting this to try and save someone else the trouble.

Here we go: (Inkscape should not be open at this point.)
1. First, find the drive where the Inkscape folder is located: (You can go to 'Start' then choose 'Search' to do this if you don't have a clue. Type 'Inkscape' into the Files & Folders line. A ton of Inkscape files will come up - you are looking for a folder icon. You want to find the version of Inkscape that you use - usually the most recent one. You can find out which one you use by opening Inkscape, choosing 'Help' at the top of the window, then 'About'. Don't forget to close Inkscape).

2. Save a copy of the original Default template file: Open the Inkscape folder, then open 'Share', then 'Templates'. Find the 'Default' (Scalable Vector Graphics File) template (there will be a few others that are Default_something else - ignore these.) Right click on the file, and choose 'copy'. Then left click in a blank space in the folder to deselect the Default file. Right click in the blank area and choose 'Paste' to create a copy of the original Default file. Close the window.

3. Change the Document/Template Properties: Open Inkscape. Go to 'File/Document Properties, under General', choose the default units of your choice (in my case, inches), then under 'Format', go down to 'Custom size', and choose the units you want to use, then change the width and height measurements (in my case, I chose inches and 12x12.) Close the Document Properties menu window. Next go to 'File', and choose 'Save As', and go to the drive where the Inkscape folder is saved on your computer. Open the folder, and select 'Share/Templates'. Select 'Default', and choose 'Save'. It will ask you if you want to overwrite the existing Default file. Choose 'Yes', and then close Inkscape. Reopen Inkscape and your preferred document properties should now open up each time you open Inkscape.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Food: Velvet Potato Soup

Years ago, Panera served a scrumptious potato soup. My aunt came up with this recipe after trying Panera's soup and getting a nod from a guy who worked there when she asked if the original had this or that ingredient. It is outstanding! My family loves it, and everywhere I've taken it I've been asked for the recipe. Hope you give it a try - perfect for this chilly weather! I usually double the recipe and give some away.

Velvet Potato Soup
Serves 4-6

1 qt. chicken stock
1 medium onions, diced
3-4 ribs celery, diced fine
1 32-oz. bag frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
4-8 oz. diced ham
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
Salt & pepper to taste
1 t. dried chives (or 2 t. fresh, chopped fine)
1/2 t. dried dill weed
2 T. butter, softened
2 T. all-purpose flour

Bring chicken stock to boil in large saucepan. Add onions & celery, and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and milk, and heat almost to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. Add ham to soup. Place softened cream cheese in a medium bowl, and add a ladle or two of the soup liquid. Beat on low until cream cheese is pour-able. Return liquid to soup pot, and add salt, pepper, chives and dill. Make roux by combining soft butter with flour in a ramekin. Drop by spoonfuls into simmering soup. Stir slowly until thickened.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February? Already? How Did THAT Happen?

I finally got around to changing out my Christmas blog background...sorry for the lateness (typical). I can never remember how to go about doing this, and I get caught up in the miasma of 'Template Designer'. I am posting this here so that I can remember how to do it next time, instead of having to search for it online or on my computer. I finally figured out that it was simply a "Page Element" matter, where I delete the old code, which is one of the HTML/Java Script gadgets on the right side of the Page Elements Navbar (Note to self: 2nd one from the top), and copy the new code and save. Voila! I have learned a lot from the Background Fairy (, and she just directed me to Picnik - the absolute easiest way to add text to a .jpg image for use as a blog header. Of course, being the Johnny-come-lately that I am, I learned that Picnik is closing as of April 12, 2012, but all of their photo editing capabilities will be moved to Google+ ( As for now (until April 12), ALL of Picnik's premium content, for which you used to have to pay, is available for free. Go and check it out here.
After uploading your new background and header, go to Template Designer, and choose 'Advanced', to change the colors of the different text elements on your blog to compliment the new background. I have a widescreen monitor, and had black bands on each side of my background, so I changed them to a rosy pink under 'Page Background Color'.
Have fun!


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