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Monday, October 27, 2008

Designing for Life



Kari and Kijsa sure know how to surprise a gal! It was flabbergasting to be included in the list of wonderful bloggers who received the above award from them. My blog has never been so busy and I'm certain that I didn't have things as tidy and neat as they should have been to welcome guests from all over. I didn't have anything delicious to offer anyone...nary a nibble in sight. Nevertheless, I do want to thank each and every person who wandered in from Kari and Kijsa's; it's been a blessing! And most of all, I'd like to thank both Kari and Kijsa for the honor.

This is how the sisters described this award:

And that is our goal and purpose behind this blog...to inspire others to join us on the exciting, thrilling journey ahead. We want to succeed in sparking creativity in the lives of others for that is how we measure our success. In short...we try to each and every minute of every wonderful day be "Designing for Life."

And so...in the spirit of design uniqueness and creativity...we wanted to honor some truly special and wonderful blogs that we felt represented this philosophy to the fullest extent...feel free to share your award with two other blogs who you feel are truly "Designing for Life."


Two...two...only two...

Today I am going to award Ruthann at Warm Pie, Happy Home. Her blog is a wealth of joy in all things needed for creating a warm and happy home. In her case, it does include pie. It also includes a merry heart and a giving spirit.

Next, I'm awarding Suzanne at The Farmer's Wife who does e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. She cooks, she cleans, she sews, she lays tile, she pours concrete, and she writes. (See?!) Best of all, she shares it all with us.

Can't wait to see whom you'll pass this along to, Gals.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Celestial Pumpkins from Martha Stewart

Aren't these things from Martha Stewart wonderful? I am not fond of the usual Halloween decorations, but I love autumnal decorations for fall and for Thanksgiving. I think these would just fit the bill and when I try it with my one lonely pumpkin, I'll be sure to share.









You've been seeing these everywhere and I think they're so cute, too. Just didn't have the strength to core out the polka dots. Aha! Blessed me! I know just who'll be willing to help.



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Yesterday morning the phone rang and who do you suppose it was? Barbara! Now getting two phone calls from the UK is just off the charts fun. Barbara has one of those beautiful English voices like Linds'. And she's every bit as calm and collected as you can imagine. As we were saying our goodbyes she asked, "Will you have a good day?" I assured her that I would and now those of you who've been asked will know the rest of the story. ;>

Will you have a lovely Saturday? You'd better!

first photo image: allowed to stand as it provides free advertising and I sourced it good enough. If you don't like it, tell Martha!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Journal Making

Oh yuck! This creating in the dining room is way past old. I really must clear out the remainder of that room where I could happily create without making these sorts of messes in the middle of our living space. Raise your hand if you have a real workspace. Clap if you want your own workspace. I see those hands; I hear those claps! ;D

It's official. I am the proud owner of three of Dawn's tutorials. Two I purchased and one she gave me because she loves me. Believe me, I love her, too. I've made a journal for telephone messages for my parents; I made a journal for John; my grandmother made a little pocketbook notebook, all a few months ago. But until yesterday morning, I had not known the joy of making much that looked like anything. Why? Simply put, I can't follow directions for beans. But that's not Dawn's fault. No, it is not. She has put together a completely cogent tutorial that is very easy to follow if one only will. So what do you think of my final product? It's not perfect, but I am improving. If you've ever thought about making a purchase from Dawn's Lessons from The Nest, you will not be disappointed.



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Then, as I was setting the table for dinner, (we eat our large meal about one in the afternoon), John came in saying that he had a gift for me.



A found bird's nest just lying on his porch! Does he look tired to you? Yes, he's been getting his house ready to rent and he's also been climbing trees to gather a hornet's nest also for me. A bird's nest and a hornet's nest are delightful gifts, but they do not compare to this man of mine who really knows me very well to realize that I would be thrilled with these offerings from nature.

Friday already? Again?!!! Unbelievable. Have a good one.

Edited to Add:

Say, I was just visiting Margo where she reminded folks to get the photos in for the calendar she's putting together. The deadline is tomorrow. See the Robolady button in my sidebar for the link... just one click and you're there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BFF Award

It was back in August that I allowed awards to slip away with nary a notice. I was crazy busy as I recall and now only vaguely remember. Perhaps it was dear Carol @ Charli and Me...anyway, I want to apologize for the oversight.



The BFF award has been given to me by two of my dear blogging buds...Kathy @ Shocking Pink Thread and Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti.

Kathy didn't have any rules. In fact, she encouraged me to make up my own! I like that. Pat, on the other hand, had rules and here is the list:

1. You may only choose 5 people/blogs to give the award to...

2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog...

3. One has to be a new follower of your blog or live in another part of the world...

I am going to give this award to eight dedicated followers of my blog, if I can find some. Just kidding! I am going to go back to my archives right now and see who showed first and is still hanging in there with me. Okay, here we go...

1. Melissa @ The Inspired Room was my very first commenter. What a joy it has been to get to know her better in the past 15 months. Even though she has so much happening in her world with a wildly successful blog, she often swings by with an encouraging word. BFF, Melissa!

2. Barbara @ Ramblings from an English Garden was the second blogger to comment. I just adore Barbara and was so thrilled when she began to visit and she still does. BFF, Barbara!

3. Kari @ Just Livin' Large was the third and, by golly, if she doesn't keep on coming back for more of the drivel, too. Kari and I are nearly two peas in a party pod. ;> BFF, Kari!

4. Then would you believe Kari's Aunt Sandi @ Holding Patterns arrived? I'm so glad that she did. She commented on my grandmother's house. Love Sandi and her wonderfully funny blog. If you haven't stopped by to wish her a happy fortieth wedding anniversary, do it and be blessed by a knock-your-socks-off post about her beloved Mac. BFF, Sandi!

5. Terri @ Wind Lost was next. This gal is incredibly busy and she still stops by. Terri also was the winner of my first giveaway...a Country Living magazine subscription. I have worried ever since because Country Living is not the best match for Terri who is now posting on her recent trip to Paris. Go have a look! BFF, Terri!

6. La Tea Dah @ Gracious Hospitality then came along. She is the epitome of a gracious hostess and I was delighted when she commented. We got to know one another much better after she hosted this event:
BFF, La Tea Dah!













7. Judy @ My Front Porch showed up on the same post as La Tea Dah. What a happy day for me. I think that we comment on each other's posts no matter what. I love seeing her beautiful world and hearing about her wonderful family. There's been some heartache this year and some real joys. No matter what...I'll be there for her and I believe that she'll be here for me. BFF, Judy!

8. A Woman Who Is @ In a Garden was next. We met via Barbara as I recall. That's one of the joys of blogging. We meet someone in another blog altogether and realize that we are kindred spirits or kindred grandmothers. BFF, Cindy!

9. And though Miss Sandy @ Quill Cottage missed out by inches, I can't leave this precious gal off my list. (Remember, Kathy said that I could make up my own rules.) She's been so very supportive of this blog and I love hers. BFF, Miss Sandy!

I have so many that I would love to include because, whether you visit me or I visit you or it's a reciprocal thing, I love my blogging buddies. My world is bigger and brighter with all of you in it.

Now for two newer followers of my blog...this is tougher...but it's also fun!

1. Christi @ Charm and Grace Cottage BFF, Christi!

2. Kathi @ Lavender, Lace and Thyme BFF, Kathi!

Humble thanks for reading on a regular basis. I appreciate you so much. Looking forward to many more good times with each and every one of you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And then there was Nan's


Here's a photo of one of my grandmother's shelves chosen because photos of her younger self with her mother are there in the center. She was 17 years old in those photos. I love the warm wrap about her sleeveless shift. So cute! The photo to the left is of her mother also at 17 somewhere around 1890.


And here's her birthday self seated in her bedroom chair beneath the shelves holding a bottle of birthday posies.


Here she is holding another kind of bottle entirely. See that little grin? She actually only takes a sip or two if in some sort of distress. It gives her just enough of a lift to keep her ticking right along. Should that have been one of her secrets to a long life? ;D


Nan and her great-great-grand. What a heritage we enjoy!

Thanks for visiting today and have a marvelous Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday Apron

Oh that was fun! Hope that you all had the chance to look at some front porches and especially if you haven't yet decorated and could use an idea or two.

I've been surprised to learn from my friends in the UK and Canada that autumn decorations are not done. Perhaps you'd all like to start some new trends...or not. ;>

We are safely through two out of the three October birthdays with an early November one coming right up as well. Birthday Alley...does your family have a similar situation? What month do they land in? Not December I hope!

Last year I decided upon a five senses birthday for my daughter. This year, I decided on a baking/cooking themed birthday. That way, I was able to make her an apron. I found this idea somewhere out there in Blogdom...can I find it again? Not right now, but I'm still looking. (I did find one similar at Angry Chicken.) It's an apron made from a tea towel with the bottom folded up in such a way as to create pockets. Easy and fun to make and my daughter was thrilled not to get a Mary Jane apron, which she finds hopelessly old-fashioned. What does she know?!


















So anyway, there was the apron, the cookbook, the baking pan, the cake mixes and the brownie mixes, the tea towels, the vintage spoons, AND the picnic basket almost exactly like the one from Suzanne, The Farmer's Wife. Oh not quite in as good shape, but such a wonderful find at the flea market last week. I knew that it was going to perfectly hold all the other gifts.



This picnic basket has a bit of yellow trim, which is great since my daughter's favorite color is yellow, too.

So Saturday night's birthday party went well and a good time was had by all...



Hmmm, yes, who knew that The Cat in the Hat still holds such appeal. It's been a long time since I last read this 40 plus page story and an especially long time since I read it to my son.



At the end of a lovely evening, it was a bit disheartening to learn that my two-year-old grandson is no longer giving goodbye hugs and kisses. Parting has become quite a formal affair...



"Goodbye, Nonni."

"Yes, well, goodbye, Darling. Lovely to see you again!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Porches on Parade

Welcome to those who may be visiting via Mr. Linky at The Inspired Room! A hearty welcome to my regular readers as well. I'm so glad that you stopped by. Let's pour ourselves some mugs of warm cider and go for a stroll.

We don't go "all out" in my corner, but I have gathered some photos through the last few weeks all the same. (You may click on any photos for a closer look.)

















Oops! I missed the porch entirely on that last one!

Thank you so much for stopping by looking at my pictures. Enjoy the tour by clicking right HERE.

Faithful

And He's Faithful
To take me through my darkest hour
Faithful
I've felt His love, I've seen His power
And He's faithful
Even when I'm not
When I haven't got
The strength of will to carry on
He says, "Lean on me and I'll be strong."
And He's faithful
Through the stormy days
Of trouble and trials
I'm not afraid
To face the thunder and the fire
The endless love of God
It stays the same
Faith is such a simple thing
And simple things don't change

~ Randy Stonehill

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yellow Carpet

Earlier in the week yellow cake, today yellow carpet — everywhere!


Somebody's got some work to do...


There's no excuse not to...


Even Emmy Lou...er Claudia...is helping.


Have a wonderful Saturday, Dear Ones!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Surprise and an Interview

Imagine my standing at the kitchen sink washing up breakfast dishes quite late in the morning when the phone rings. I wipe my hands quickly on the nearest dish towel and cross the room to answer. (John is tethered to his neck harness.) The lovely voice at the other end says, "Hello, Vee?" I rack my brain trying to think of someone who knows me by that name. (Long story.) I listen and realize that I am speaking with Linds. Linds! Our own dear Linds. What great fun to chat with her and, let me tell you, she has the most lovely, refined feminine voice. Oh it was great fun to have a conversation with her. I hope that I didn't sound the total ninny as I am so fond of accents (of course, I don't have one) that I can slip into mimicking a person. Did you catch me, Linds? I only slipped once. I hope. Thank you so much for the day brightener, my friend!

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I spent a leisurely afternoon and evening with my grandmother yesterday and decided to ask her some of those questions that a few of you have been interested in. Here's something of how the conversation went.

Me: To what do you attribute your long life, Nan?

Nan: Guess that the good Lord didn't want me yet. The relative who lived the longest only lived to be eighty so it can't be good genes or maybe Grammy was going to live to be older before she got typhoid fever and died.

Me: Do you have any beauty secrets?

Nan: Well I was always told that I have a nice smile. I think a good smile is a woman's best secret. I wouldn't get a facelift or anything.

Me: Why not?

Nan: Because I have always felt that I should be happy with myself no matter my age.

Me: What keeps you going?

Nan: I'm very interested in my family and I'm very curious about a lot of things. I always have been. So I keep reading and playing the piano and having good conversations. I like to go places.

Me: What's the biggest change that you've seen in your lifetime?

Nan: I really don't know. (She pauses to think and screws up her face.) I guess that I would have to say the computer.

Me: How have you gotten through tough times?

Nan: Well, when your grandfather died just 24 days after a cancer diagnosis, I spent a lot of time asking God why me. I mean there were some real bad men who didn't have anyone or anything and they wouldn't have been missed, but your grandfather was such a good man and I loved him so much. He did almost everything for me and I was totally lost without him. Finally, I just said to myself that I had to go on. I had to go on living. Life is for the living. With the help of the good Lord, I was able to move on.

Me: Any advice for mothers or grandmothers or great-grandmothers or great-great-grandmothers?

Nan: Just love. (She pats my hand and repeats, "Just love.")

Me: *Sniff* Thanks, Nan.

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By the way, just in case anyone didn't already know that Miss Sandy is a genius. Check out her comment on yesterday's first post about how to disguise a tv. I am beside myself at the possibilities. Thank you so much, Miss Sandy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yellow Cake and More

(Imagine a big old slab of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate with a red border.)

About the time that John and I were getting married quietly in Vermont, just a hundred miles north of us, the final shipment of yellow cake arrived in Montreal, Canada. Yes, yellow cake the "stuff" that President Bush warned us all about after the Twin Towers were destroyed. You know, the "stuff" that creates weapons of mass destruction. You know, the "stuff" that didn't exist. (Google it. You'll find all the information that you need.)

Today I marvel again at President Bush's leadership of this country and how often he has taken the ridicule of the world knowing full well that he could not say a word for fear that a volatile situation would erupt. Let us not kid ourselves, we have been living through some extremely dangerous times. Usually, we have not been aware.

Last night's debate, I watched it. Probably you did, too. I took lots of notes. One thing that I discovered for myself once again was how smooooooth Barack Obama is. McCain is an honorable man...a man of integrity, but he is not smoooooth. At one point, I turned to John and asked him if I was nuts or if the question on the table was not abortion with Obama then calmly discussing electric cars. And all with such smoooothness that I barely noticed, but then I was taking notes...literally. John, on the other hand, kept saying that the camera was moving away from Obama because he was flustered. Did anyone see that?

I have another couple of links for you. The first is an article that Mari-Nanci has posted HERE called Pinch Yourself. It's short; it's scary. The second is from You Tube right HERE called Barack Obama and Friends. You'll find enough in this six (separate) parts of Sean Hannity's documentary to curl your hair.

This is the conclusion that I have reached with all the information available: In order to vote for Barack Obama, one must have eyes closed, fingers shoved solidly into ears, and be shouting "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" to the rafters.

(I've made a conscious decision to allow comments thanks to all those who sent me emails. I'm going to hear from you one way or the other so we might as well all know the discussion on the table.)

Easels, TVs, and Trunks

Today, I'll probably be writing two posts. One as promised with my nonchalant "Don't worry things will be back to normal on Thursday" comment and the other in response to a debate that, as of this writing, has not yet happened. Also, my commenters gave me a few things to consider.

Okay, on with post number one: I need some advice...I've been storing this easel for a certain someone and I really like how it looks in the space...what say you? (Yes, I am guilty of listening to Bill O'Reilly. ;>) The thing is...with the temps getting colder and the heat turned back to conserve...all that glass looks cold.










And one last thing before I leave that space...I am looking for a good way to disguise big, ugly tv sets. Anyone have any ideas? Cheap ideas? Know of a blog that's dealt with this? Anyone?



You guessed it. Atop that antique trunk sits one ugly tv.

Catch you all later...I have sooo much catching up to do with all of you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Blaming Somebody

Warning: Political Commentary Below

Ahhh, so there you are. I'm always a titch nervous about spouting off. I prefer to discuss dishes and drapes, but every now and then...

The final presidential debate is scheduled for tonight and the state of politics in the US today has me concerned. Very. (I know that I'm not alone.) Sometimes I am so concerned for my country that I feel frustrated and angry...like blaming someone. Whom to blame...whom to blame... Guess I'll start with the mainstream media.

Yes, I am definitely blaming a mainstream media for unethical, substandard, biased reporting. Thankfully, they've begun, just begun, to report on ACORN and the voter fraud that is rampant across the country. They've consistently failed to report on those Democrats who have lied their way through the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle, among others. When Democrats in Congress are confronted, they always and without fail point to the nearest Republican. That's usually President Bush. They cry that McCain is going to be more politics as usual...just another four years of a Bush presidency. (I'm tempted to expound on the ways that that wouldn't be a bad thing.)

McCain's opponent does a lot of finger pointing when asked questions. He conveniently does not answer and then sets off pointing fingers when it is his party who is actually guilty. Worse...sometimes it is he himself who is guilty. It is a trick as old as time, but we don't have to fall for it. Do we? One thing that I plan to do while watching tonight's third and final debate is to keep a checklist. Did McCain answer the question? Did Obama? Did one or the other deflect the question to point a finger? Did that candidate misrepresent the facts? Does one merely echo the ideas already stated by the other...ahem, Senator Obama, that would be you. I'll be counting the times. By the way, did you know that the ratings for the second debate were as high as the 1992 debate between Clinton, Perot, and Bush Sr.? At least, we're watching.

Oh, lest you do not believe that some Democrats are to blame for this recent economic crisis, I challenge you to watch THIS posted at suburbanpsychosis.blogspot.com. It's actual footage; it'll take you about 8 minutes; decide for yourself after watching.

And Here's a Wee Bit of Levity first posted at Truth Seeker. I don't usually point folks to Saturday Night Live skits, but in this case I'm making an exception.

My pal Kari over there at Just Livin' Large has written some wonderful political commentary as well. I challenge you to check out what she has to say right HERE.

Closing with Just the Facts from Sweet Cottage Dreams. It reads concisely and well and won't take you but a minute or two.

The stakes are so high. They always are. We must be informed. We must follow up on the tough questions. We must not allow the contentiousness of politics lull us into denial. Working from emotion or feeling alone will get us all into deep trouble. We must do our homework!

I, for one, don't want change for change's sake alone. Not ever.

Photo Source

Comments have been turned off so that readers may simply read without having to respond. ( Edited to Add: Oops! Oh well, they've been turned off now; although, I have decided to leave the comments that were already made. I believe that each one has an interesting point of view.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lady in Red

Hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I think that a lot of you enjoyed turkey with all the fixings, which makes me happy because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Warm, cozy gatherings around the table are some of the best times of the year.





My parents will be home later today and so ends another week with Nan. Nan who still loves to get out and about even though it can be quite a challenge at nearly 99. (Her birthday is the day after tomorrow.) She really did enjoy the leaf peeping and she also enjoyed getting out to L.L. Bean on Sunday afternoon to purchase some new shoes. We had a late supper that night at a restaurant right here in our own home town. Seafood all the way around with Nan and I opting for haddock and John deciding on scallops. Thanks, Nan, it was delicious! As we finally got through the door at day's end, my grandmother said, "I feel as if I've fought the Boar Wars."

As lovely as the "Lady in Red" is, my favorite picture of Nan this week shows her in her warm fleecy robe seated at the piano. Oh her hair's a bit of a mess, but my she's lovely. Wish you could hear how well she played that night, too.



Sometimes, John would join her for a song...and they'd laugh at their mistakes and say that they should or could practice this song or that one. They chided me for laughing and accused me of making fun. It wasn't making fun at all; it was relishing the moment.



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Join me tomorrow, if you dare, when I share what's on my mind concerning politics. But never fear, it'll be back to business as usual on Thursday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Now Thank We All Our God



Now Thank We All Our God


Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The son, and him who reigns,
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.


Comments are off...have a wonderful Sunday!

Photo Source allowed to stand

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Yesterday afternoon we were able to get Nan out of the house for a few hours to do some leaf peeping. John drove and Nan sat atop her front seat cushion in the hopes that we could raise her wee little self high enough so that she could see. I sat in back and every so often saw that golden moment — that "glory in it all" view. I yelped. John braked. Thankfully, no one was behind us. This is one of the scenes all taken in a 270º arc.




A lower field overlooking the White Mountains to the west.


Just to the right, the farm house.

To the right of that, the road.

And across the street, my chariot awaits.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my Canadian blogging buds! I hope that you are in the midst of wonderful preparations and plans and that many of you have family and friends who will join you at your table to give thanks once again this year. Lovella shared a wonderful heartfelt message right here about giving thanks in challenging times. It blessed me to pieces and I know that it will bless you, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Red Leaves and White Birches



There was just something about those vivid red leaves and that white birch...



You've come a long way, Baby! Happy Birthday!




Have a happy weekend, Dear Ones!

ETA for clarity's sake: Baby photo is of darling daughter at 6 months of age.
The bottom photo, which was first posted here, is also of my darling daughter playing with her nephews (and my grands) on my parents' back lawn.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Not Number One Observatory Circle



President Abraham Lincoln had a vice-president who hailed from Maine. This is his home. I don't believe that that's his vehicle. Ha!



(As you can see, I've been playing with settings. Which do you prefer?)

It was beautiful there yesterday afternoon. I hope to take my grandmother on a drive there soon; she'll enjoy getting out to see the beautiful colors.

Thank you all for your kind comments yesterday. We'll have ourselves as good a time as we can without wearing my poor nan out. You all have a wonderful week as well. I'll be sneaking in to visit you as I am able. As for my blog, I'll have a picture here and there to post.