Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Contentment

Christmas contentment? Not yet, but I think it's just around the corner. I'm not done shopping, still haven't baked, but I am done with the decorations. Here's a quick look around the acre.

The living room tree.

The family room, too dark but you get the idea.

A snowman that I made many years ago...he's got a bird's nest on his shoulder.

Some sweet things on a table Glen made me one year for my birthday.

The nativity...the most important addition to the Christmas decorations.

My little "village." Each piece is small and was given to me by the kids when they were wee ones.

A better view of the living room.

That's the highlights. I enjoy all my Christmas things....and still I think I could live without it all. The older I get the less I seem to need.

I have a couple of gifts planned for post-Christmas giving and one for Christmas day. I have a watchcap on the needles for the hubby that I think I can get done for Thursday. I want to make some pajamas for two good friends, but we won't be seeing each other until somtime in January, so that's a big "WHEW." I can start those after Sunday.

I'm hosting the in-laws for Christmas on the 27th. Then it's my birthday and New Year's Eve, which will probably find us at home again this year. My mom will be here and maybe I'll fix something different for dinner. Any ideas?

My post wouldn't be complete without my blessings list...

...vaseline, which is helping the chapped lips

...the patience God is bestowing on me as I get older, I couldn't manage without it brings me so much joy and contentment bread machine, rediscovered after a long exile, its hum is music to my ears go-to pants worn but so loved

...candlelight, which warms my heart in so many ways

...after Tuesday, no work until January 5th

I am looking forward to finishing up shopping tomorrow and doing some baking on Tuesday evening. Candlelight service on Christmas Eve and home for "breakfast." I make a version of the Bob Evans breakfast casserole, a cinnamon streusal cake and fresh fruit for our evening meal after church. What are your plans? Wherever you are and wherever you'll be, I hope you are finding peace and feeling contented.

"The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach." ~ Lin Yu-t'ang

Friday, December 12, 2008

Plum Pudding And The Bread of Life

We've been down with colds here, but hopefully we're all on the mend. I'm behind, but looking to make up for lost time. Once the decorating is complete, I'll turn my attention to baking (a real joy for me). The picture above is all about plum pudding. My mom tells me my great-grandma made plum pudding with "hard sauce." Anybody know of a recipe? I have come across one or two, but haven't tried it yet. A few years ago I made fruitcake by request (Mom's), and it was pretty good....moist and sweet. This year Mom has talked of nothing but date bars. That will be first on my baking list.

When I first encountered the blogging world, I came across so many interesting blogs to read. I'm not sure how I found Yaya (or she found me), but I have been so blessed since I did. Since first "meeting," we have enjoyed a lovely friendship. A couple days ago, I was uplifted by a wonderful surprise from Idalia.
A package filled to the brim with several lovely items, many handmade. Thank you, Idalia, for your thoughtful kindness to me. Feast your eyes on this....

A sweet banner, machine embroidered by Idalia. This will stay up all year....I have to find just the right spot.Some delicious carmel sauce from's made with goat's milk. Ice cream is going on the grocery list...
A machine-embroidered towel, in the softest terry I've ever felt.
Handmade ornaments and two....yes TWO...lavendar sachets. Oh, if you could only smell the sweet fragrance.

Idalia also included several handmade yo-yo's and some Earl Grey cream tea, from the English Tea Store. I know I'm ringing the same 'ole bell, but I am so blessed these last months, I can hardly believe it.

The only certain thing about life these days is that it's very uncertain. My days don't seem to be my own anymore, and I'm trying to take it all in stride. Jesus told us not to heed earthly cares, for He is our bread of life.....we have all we need as long as we have Him. As you know, my blessings are abundant, and here's a few of them... Lord and bread of life

Sweet friends that make my days happier

My dishwasher...I realized tonight as I loaded her up how happy I am to have this convenience.....I mean, a girl can only do so many dishes by hand

Hot tea....heaven on earth

#2 pencils....freshly sharpened with a soft eraser (because I make a lot of mistakes : 0)

Next time I hope to have some picture of my finished Christmas decorations. I made good headway today. I'm keeping you all in my prayers....

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peppermint Tea and A Christmas Tree

Greetings from snowy Michigan. We woke up to a winter scene....not a lot of snow, but enough to get one in the mood for Christmas. Sadly, I didn't snap a picture before'll just have to take my word for it : )

I spent all morning and afternoon over at my mom's doing lots of things around the house and getting her ready for church tomorrow. Boy, the time flies when I'm over there. She loves the company and I love her, so I guess that works. When I came home, this is what I did next....

Some peppermint tea and red sparkly nail polish for the toesies. I like being a girl.

Short post tonight....I'm off to the Advent Tea at church. Good friends, a good message and more tea! What more could a girl ask for? Hope you are warm and cozy tonight.

"If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." ~Gladstone, 1865

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blessings Near and Far

"Christmas angels to and fro, bent on deeds of kindness go."

Today when I came home, there was a surprise waiting for me. My friend Kathryn sent a lovely care package for me, all the way from Australia.
Kathryn, your kindness was just the "pickmeup" I needed today.

Included in the parcel was a calendar with beautiful pictures of Australia, some biscuits called "TimTams".... not found around these parts.

Some lovely lace, and cotton and silk embroidery thread, hand-dyed by a "lady in the country." Also, the pattern I requested and can't wait to try. I really love everything...the thread colors are favorites. Thank you Kathryn for your are a blessing to me.

I found a picture for Mom's room, we were both delighted with it...a really good fit.

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas around here. I usually keep the same wreath on the fireplace during the holidays that I have there all the time, but this year I wanted to try something new. I still have to put up a slim tree next to the fireplace...I'm working slower than ever before.

Tonight was the first Advent service. Not many people, but so peaceful. I am blessed to have my church so close to home, which makes getting there midweek even easier.

I am also thankful for the blessings of... mom, and the quality time we spend with each other

....a warm coat, and I've been needing it...chilly here crock pot, good for busy days

....all the wonderful people I have met through blogging. Even though you all dwell far from me, it's so nice to have you close in heart....and on the computer screen : )

"Friends are kisses blown to us by angels."
~Author Unknown~

Monday, November 24, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

Well, the room for my mom is d.o.n.e.! I am happy to be able to cross this big project off my to-do list. I'll start with the before and during photos. I must say again that I am not a good photographer....I'm unable to capture great pictures. But, you'll get the general idea.
Just before I moved everything out of my sewing room.....what a mess, eh?
The hubby is messy while he paints, but everything turns out beautiful. He does nice work!

A view from the hallway....the picture is too dark....told ya.

A brighter picture. I am happy with most of the changes. The window treatments were an unexpected struggle, and not exactly what I had in mind. My mom likes them, so that's the most important thing. The only thing left to do is find some sweet things for the walls. That may take a while....I am loathe to put holes in these freshly painted walls until I find something I love.

I was thrilled to find this lamp. It has a little light under the shade, perfect for my mom during the night.

Every girl needs a satin heart pillow. There's enough fabric left for two small square pillows with cute ball fringe trim. That's down on my to-do list for now.

A trinket box with, *be still my heart*, a purse on it!

I'm not sure exactly how things will pan out around here. My mom may "commute" between here and her house, which is only two streets over. Time will tell...she grows more frail by the week. Although I know there will be many a bump, I pray daily for patience and strength. Change is good, right?

Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, I want to add to my thanksgivings list tonight. I could continue this list forever, and still not mention all my blessings. Right now I am so thankful for...

....warmth, because I just can't seem to shake the cold the last few months son, Timothy, who makes me laugh every day washer and know how I feel about laundry : )

...books, because without the written word, life would be so bland

...lemons and cinnamon...they spice up my life

...Emily, my girl...whom I see so much of myself in, and yet I'm so grateful she is her own person

...lower gas prices sweet music

This post has been a long time coming. I had thought to have more pictures, but once I began to upload them realized these were the best of the lot. Many thanks to all of you for your encouragement during this big project.

I hope as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones, you'll be able to seize a moment of peace and find an opportunity to really see all there is to be thankful for.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name, make known among the nations what He has done." 1Chronicles 16:2

Friday, November 21, 2008

Romance and Changes

Such a romantic picture, eh? It reminds me of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet remind me of theatre. Thinking of the theatre reminds me of the first time my beloved took me to see "The Nutcracker." It was just before Christmas when we were dating. I had always wanted to go but had never been. He, being the new beau....the the tickets and surprised me. It was truly lovely. I am so thankful for the beautiful memories.

I am working feverishly on the valance for between playing with my blog (what do you think, by the way)......and myriad other tasks. Tomorrow...tomorrow is the day I will complete my project. Hopefully next time you stop by, there will be show and tell. Until then, I hope you find peace and a little romance.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sheer Madness

Sunday...such a good day. It has been an interesting weekend around here. First of all, look what we got today.
Even though I was born and raised here in Michigan, the first snowfall always excites me and gets me thinking about the holidays and Christmas decorating.

No Christmas decorations yet, but I have been decorating. Last night I started the sheers for my mom's room. Since I moved my sewing machine into my bedroom, it was a tight squeeze working with 6 yards of sheer fabric.

So, I moved the whole operation out to my dining room table. The picture doesn't really show it, but there's lots more room to work there.

Today I was able to finish and hang the sheers. Now I remember why I'm not crazy about working with this delicate material. I'm glad that part is done : )
Please forgive the crooked picture....I still have to maintain some secrecy until the final unveiling...hopefully sometime this week.

I reconnected with my good friend, Jan, last month when she was in town for a visit. We met about 18 years ago at a meeting of the National Sewing Guild. Eventually a small group of us began to meet on our own each month. We have had so many good times. Sadly, Jan and her family moved to Las Vegas a year or two ago and she is so missed! Warm, funny, and a very talented seamstress, Jan was the glue that held us all together. Another friend from the group has mentioned a possible Christmas get together, though, so there's still hope for us yet. Be sure to check out Jan's new blog....she is just getting started.

Before I end this post, I want to continue my thanksgivings. They are...

...good friends to share laughs and sewing with I love my thimble first-floor laundry, which makes me happy every day strong husband, who is there for me always

...snow, snow, snow to remind me that seasons change

...songs that remind me that God never changes

This morning we sang "Amazing Grace" at church. This verse is a favorite, and one I will leave you with. When I read and sing these words, my worries seem to melt away.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come;

His grace has brought me safe thus far,

His grace will lead me home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

A couple weeks ago I met a beekeeper at a craft show. Did you know I'm very interested in beekeeping? The recent plight of the honeybees has made me wonder what in tarnation is going on with them. The lady that I met lives very close to me, in a suburban area, and loves her bees. You never know, someday I may acquire a new hobby. Until then, I'll stick with this lovely Almond Body Butter and Honey Bee Spice Soap. If only you could have a whiff of their delicious fragrance....

Today was a good day. I met a good friend for lunch. We haven't seen each other in over a year. It took us a while, but we caught up with each other's doings. I brought my camera, mentioned to Diane that I wanted to get a picture.....and never did. Too much talk and not enough action apparently.

My continued thanksgivings are...

...friends, where would we be without them
...nail polish~a little pleasure I enjoy
...needle and thread, need I say more faith, because without it I'd be completely inconsolable
...environmentally-friendly dish soap that I found at Costco
I love it and feel so green when I use it

A shortie post today. I'm off to knit the heel flap on my current socks. There's lots to be done around here, but somehow it feels like that heel flap is the most important right now.

"How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day from every opening flower." ~Isaac Watts