Sunday, December 4, 2011

Night Glow~Mosaic Monday

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
~Hamilton Wright Mabie

 Christmas Glow

Don't you just love peeking inside people's windows at Christmastime? Oh yes, from a safe distance, of course. These are photos of my own windows and my own yard so I'm definitely safe.

At last, I am participating in Mary's Mosaic Monday at Little Red House once again. I missed November altogether. And I still haven't visited everyone in October. I'm falling back on Mary's request to visit the ten listed before me and the ten listed after. I think that's what she said. Anyway, I think that that is definitely doable.

Wishing you a season of much love and joy.

Love Vee

Mercies in Disguise

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~Jesus (John 16:33)

...And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

~Laura Story

One thing just leads to another. I don't think that I found this "by chance." Perhaps you'll find it as meaningful as I have.

Love Vee
comments are closed

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Little Inspirations Make Me Happy

This time of year in Blogdom is rather *magical don't you find? So many little inspirations pop out at me wherever I visit. You're such a creative one, you are!

Let's see, what have I for you today... Two little inspirations and  some tossed in things for good measure.

I found this little silver frame for a song at JoAnn's and have until last night had a small picture of a Christmas tree made of birds in it. This is so much better for its wonderful message.  I found it at Kim's Seasons of My Heart. (Edited to Add: I believe that I have tracked it down to its original source at Betty Crocker Wannabe. Thanks to all who were keeping me straight! Yes, it is available free. Thanks to Kristin who now blogs at A Simply Klassic Home.)

Can you tell that I really like my new kitchen window?

Whatever would give it away?

Actually, these photos were taken to make Auntie happy. Auntie who enjoys seeing photos taken at night in bad light and that's all right. As soon as there is snow flying, I'm going to take another photo just like my header photo only in Christmas mode. It may be awhile.

This is an idea I saw at Anne's blog Azza's Blather right there in her Christmas header.

See it? It's a little train coming through a book tunnel. I don't know about you, but I find it adorable. Perhaps it's having a grandson visiting this afternoon that is making me think of the whimsy that would delight a little boy. You just know that this arrangement is not going to stay this pristine.

And, right on cue, just as I suspected, Fioré hopped up there and messed it all up. By the time I returned from writing this post and to shut off the lights, this is what I found. The book slapped shut, the train on the floor, and Fioré enjoying her ease. She does love the tree.

I am undaunted. Stay tuned for the answer at the end of this post.

This next one cracks me up. Remember my mitten garland of a few days ago? Look what I found! A sweet mitten garland divider with red I can do the same. Here's my garland reworked a bit.

Oops. Guess you'll have to trust me on this ribbons on either end and in the middle. Looks darling. No, really. I'm adding candy canes to the mittens next.

I just did that so I could use the mitten divider again. Such a child I am. That's what you get for playing with trains and children's books. Here we go again with a new interpretation for train and tunnel elsewhere.

Have a magical weekend! Have you been playing yet today? Hope so!

Love Vee
*magical always means Narnia magic here. Thanks, Brenda!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Wreath Reworked and More

There's a scene in Little Women, the 1994 version with Winona Ryder, where a Christmas wreath wearing a flannel bow is hung upon the door. I've looked for that scene high and low and short of putting the dvd in and taking a photo of the tv, I can't find it. Oh well. Here's my Christmas wreath reworked.

The ribbon was made from my flannel nighty. A worthy end for the nighty that gave me so much comfort.

Here's how the wreath came to me and how it looks now.

Before and After

Thought I'd toss in some of my "progress" beginning with a photo of John making his own lunch while I played. He's a good boy! Very good and dear. I'll have to make it up to him with a decent supper.

Click *here* to find out what he's eating and what the Haven looked like when John was working inside instead of outside.

Wreaths on Patio Doors

Cranberry Wreath for China Cabinet Door

Stars and Platters

Peace Out!

Love Vee

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Keeping Christmas

Welcoming December first is always exciting. Sometimes good exciting and sometimes not so good exciting. This is the month when I, like so many of you, am at my busiest. My preference is that it will be exciting for all the right reasons: The Reason. To think that Jesus was willing to come to us is a profound thought.

John sometimes describes the bosses he's known on big construction jobs. One of them was a bossy boss the kind who knows what he's doing and bellows orders from his office chair. Another was a get-down-in-the-dirt with him sort of boss. He also knows what he's doing, yet when he sees that his crew needs help, he tackles the job right along with them leading the way. Jesus is that kind of a "boss." He knew that we were never going to make it on our own and He was willing to come to us and get down in the dirt with us and help us take on this task called life.

This year, for the first time, I welcome December without my mother's physical presence. It is going to be...wait for the euphemism...a challenge. Ohhhh I have my memories...she was the very best Keeper of Christmas. She loved the holidays and made her home a Christmas delight replete with all the aromas of the holiday — baking and fudge making and savory smells from her cozy kitchen. Her home smelled like a gift shoppe all cinnamony and warm. She honored the Lord and opened her home and shared her life and the more tangible aspects of it. I am still learning of all the things she did. (Until last week when I was asked to donate pies to the library bake sale, I had no idea that my mother baked three or more pies to donate each year on the day before Thanksgiving! My response? No, thanks, no time for that!)

The mantle has fallen on me. Oh dear! There has been a fair amount of fretting on my part because, you see, I have my Thanksgiving failings so fresh in my mind.

Then I am reminded of the little quote in the photo above, which I have shared more than once. I'm going to tuck in to the Lord and listen for His voice and do what He tells me to do. I think I'll be surprised. I always am.

Tonight the outside lights go on. I am celebrating the Christ of Christmas along with my neighbors and community and the world because He deserves celebrating...every day. I will not shut down and hide out because I am chafed by loss or fear; I will celebrate because, for this one brief moment of the year, most hearts are turned once more to Him. He's on people's minds, however far in the background. I will celebrate and keep Christmas as my mother and grandmother and others have done before me in the firm hope that one day we'll all be celebrating in heaven together. I will be a Keeper of Christmas.

Love Vee

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thank You!

So we have reached the final day of November and this year's Giving Thanks Challenge. I want to especially thank all who've visited me via Leah at South Breeze Farm and I also want to thank Leah for hosting this year. It's a labor of love! God has been so good to all of us. It has been a blessing each day to think about those things for which I have been grateful in 2011. Some of you keep a gratitude journal all year through! Amazing!

And it is also for you, my regular reader, for whom I am so very grateful. Whether you join me in the morning with your mug of coffee in hand or later in the afternoon with your tea, I feel blessed and honored to know that you are there. Sometimes you even leave a comment, which still delights me after four plus years of blogging. If you've never commented *cough* *cough* *sputter* *sputter,* I'd sure love to hear from you.  Would you do me a favor today? Would you let me know how long you've been reading along here? (No, I am not going to be adding advertising. That's not why I want to know. = )

For those who have commented through thick and thin nearly every day of this blog's existence, I thank you most especially. You are the faithful and the few and I dearly love you and look forward to our visits. Okay, enough of the mushy stuff because if I don't stop I'm going to need my tissue box and it's lost in all this Christmas stuff.

Suzanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife recently added a bit to her post on The Emergency Room Scarf. I've been kinda waiting to see what she might say; but she and her crochet hook have gone missing she says that I may have figured it out. Since I like how my scarfs/scarves (???) turned neck warmers turned out, even though they don't look just exactly like Suzanne's, I'm going to show them off. I've really enjoyed working on them in the evenings; therefore, a lot of gals in my family can just count on a neck warmer for Christmas.

Oh I do love that Gradient 6 in PhotoScape. Sigh. See what I mean as I model my white, made from baby yarn, neck warmer.

Sooc at the left and Gradient 6 on the right. At this rate, I may be able to avoid plastic surgery after all.

John is working on the front side of the house, the north side, the main side, the street side, the last side. Yippee!! Thank you, Lord, for all the good weather. Even when we've had two snowstorms with over a foot of snow each time, it's melted off within days. The temps are in the high 50sF today.

There are long gaps without much if any insulation all around the windows and front door. John is taking care of that as I type.

Ongoing progress in the decorating department. I've nearly decided not to get out the ornaments for the tree. Nearly. Maybe. Who knows? Instead, I've been decorating it with everything except the kitchen sink.

Gradient 6...gotta love it! (Yes, that's the grands' teddy bear.)

Feeling a bit topsy-turvy with my new posting schedule. If I do another post right behind this one and save it for tomorrow morning, I might get myself righted around.

A wonderful afternoon and evening to you!

Love Vee

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mittens Lost and Found, Et Cetera

Don't you love cozy mornings by the tree? We do! Just prior to this photo, I had been sipping my coffee and working on the scarf mentioned in yesterday's post. Even Molly and Fioré show up for morning devotions. Molly's not always alert, but she's there listening to John's rumbly voice as he reads Our Daily Bread. Doesn't Fioré look particularly angelic? =)

Everything at our haven is in a state of not quite accomplished. The tree is up and needing more decorating. That tree is what made me brave life and limb on Black Friday. It's a slim, pre-lit tree, which doesn't impress me that much. There aren't enough lights, but the weary among us are quite happy with the status quo. The grands gave John and me a bit of a hard time with our *wee table tree last year.* The former tree is very tired, after nearly 25 years, and so it was time to upgrade. I get the distinct sense that this new tree is not much of an upgrade. It is quite high at 9 feet above the floor, enough to impress the grandsons.

While tidying up the laundry room this morning, I found the box of old mittens. Some pairs and lots of singles. I never could toss all the little ones that my children wore. Some are my nieces' mittens; one pair is Nan's; another pair is mine from college days. They have lots of stories to tell I'm sure. My mother single-handedly kept her grands in mittens, at first knitting them herself and then buying them at church bazaars. She would say that she couldn't do any better and the price was right. 

This morning, I began to think what I might do with them. There are mitten drives these days, of course, though my mitten stash is too near and dear to my heart to let go. I'll purchase a pair of mittens for the drive. Since I was already crocheting, I simply crocheted them onto a chain and strung them in the bay window. It's not done...perhaps some greenery to add. Anyway, you know that I'll show you again when it is done.

Oh, do look and see what has happened to the foot of snow that arrived last Wednesday.

Nearly gone! Those two tracks there on the hill that look like a driveway are the snow trail the kids made last Thursday for their sleds. Crazy weather and we are not complaining.

Just as I was finishing up with the mitten garland, I heard John's tread upon the stairs. Except the footsteps stopped at the door and I heard a knock. When I opened the door, there stood a man with his arms crooked and two wreaths hanging from each. He told me that I was the first to answer the door this morning. He said that his mother was making wreaths to sell so that she could buy her grandchildren Christmas gifts. He explained that the wreaths were very fresh as they had just been tipping Sunday afternoon and his mother had made ten wreaths yesterday.

They were indeed fresh and wonderfully fragrant and I could not have done any better and the price was right so I purchased one to hang upon my door. (It's not "done" either, but I'll show you once it is.)

"Merry Christmas! God bless you!" the man called as he walked back down my drive to his car.

Merry Christmas I called back and to your mother, too.

Have you shared Christmas greetings yet? It doth warm the heart and cheer the soul! 

Love Vee

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 Highlights

Thanksgiving 2011 is already a vague memory. Good thing I take pictures, bad pictures. Bad, bad camera. You may struggle to believe this, but these are the best of the lot.

One thing I discovered very quickly...when I am the one pulling dinner together, there are few photo- taking opportunities. No pretty tablescapes once the sea salt lands on the table. Baby grand earned the red chair and was pretty content to be in the Turkey Seat. Two nights later we changed it to the Santa Seat and the oldest grand enjoyed it equally well. Speaking of oldest grand, he asked if he could do dishes. It's not something that his parents had yet entertained, but I thought it a splendid idea. He did an excellent job of washing pre-washed silverware. Catch them while they're young and while they think it's fun is my motto.

My daughter made the "acorns" and the candy cars you see in the upper right. Apparently, she's becoming a Pinterest fan.

After dinner, four of the most energetic ones went sliding while kitchen clean-up went on in earnest.

Had to punch up the colors with all that snow. They slid from 3 to 4:30. It was very dark by the time they came in eager for hot chocolate and more treats.

Yes, the tree is up; yes, I went Black Friday shopping =/ ; yes, I had a guest stay over one night; yes, I've been busy and so have all of you!

This I know because I've been visiting, even if I haven't been commenting too often.

I'm spending a quiet evening working on the Emergency Room Scarf that Suzanne shared *here.* I don't know what I'll do with my Monday evenings now that Dancing With the Stars has ended. I'm sure that as Christmas nears, it'll all get sorted.

A cozy evening to you!

Love Vee

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks Challenge List~2011

1. For the special ones God sends
2. For good weather
3. For grandparents who loved each other
4. For pleasant, quiet, do-nothing days
5. For the old stories
6. For Him, our Refuge and Shield
7. For a blogging-free day ;>
8. For a new view
9. For the privilege to vote even when...
10. For the wonders of the night sky
11. For our veterans
12. For grandchildren
13. For tasting and seeing for myself
14. For the colors of November
15. For fun
16. For honesty
17. For any hair at all
18. For my husband's sense of humor
19. For a weekend of possibilities
20. For His sacrifice
21. For anticipation
22. For progress
23. For the sense of smell =)
24. For the "new" normal
25. For turkey sandwiches
26. For Christmas lights on the darkest days
27. For sleepovers
28. For rest
29. For pets
30. For you

Saving my 2011 Giving Thanks Challenge List for my own recollection. Comments are closed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving Blessing and Kitchen Window Before and After

Another Before and After for you this morning. I'm not going to cheat and show you the worst picture either; oh no, I am showing my favorite before. Here's that wind-out window one last time.

It was all right, I could have lived with it forever. However, I didn't like it because it was difficult to clean requiring me to go outside and climb a ladder. The center portion cut into my view and my neck was always craned to see around it. And I am so short that I had to rise up on my tippy-toes to see out. Not good for the nosy lady of the house who often says now what's he doing?

Above is the new six over six window, which matches, more or less, what's going on in the rest of the house. I took my decorating inspiration from something I saw online and can no longer find. (If you know, please fill me in. Woman's Day!) It had Christmas ornaments hanging from it. I've done a version of Melissa's (The Inspired Room) *cookie cutter garland.* So many possibilities... greenery in December and more color...snowflakes through the in the spring...

My favorite hanging items are my grandmother's and my mother's baby spoons on the left. One of the high points of polishing the silver was to see the details. Not only are their names engraved on their respective spoons, my grandmother's also has the inscription "Mary had a little lamb" with the picture of a lamb and Mary, too. Displaying them is so much better than having them tucked in a drawer. (I apologize for the light...picture taking inside becomes such a challenge on these shortened days.)

And this, dear friend, is where I leave you until sometime next week. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wish you a joyful and blessed day and I share this little prayer for your gathering.

We Give Thanks

Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ...

~Harry Jewell

Love Vee

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Flat Princess Among Other Things

The Flat Princess came to me from Penny at The Comforts of Home. She arrived in my corner of New England on the 21st of October atop a couple of magazines. I could tell that she'd had a topsy-turvy trip and soon had her settled down with tea and a good read just as I so enjoy. A month's stay was not quite what I had in mind and, fact is, I have felt quite guilty about the way The Flat Princess has been treated while with me. I had hoped to have a lot of sweet photos of the iconic views of local scenes such as the P*ortland H*ead L*ight and L.*L. B*ean and perhaps even the W*hite M*ountains of NH. It was not to be, except via bad photoshopping. The little princess basically hung out with me drinking a lot of tea, a lot of tea. She did enjoy a concert one day, but basically she was just invisible. Would you be interested in having her visit your corner? I'll send her anywhere. She's a quiet and very well behaved princess. The first person who mentions in comments that you'd like her to visit has the honor.

sitting on a tea cup

Last week the power company came to make the switch. And just yesterday, John finished the last stragglers. Yes, he did get the upper and lower levels reinsulated and sided on the right side of the photo. What crazy architecture this little haven has! I am not responsible for the raised roof side, but I do appreciate it when I'm in those rooms. Just the front and the garage to do now.

I love the look without all those wires all over the place. Hope that you can figure out the befores and the afters as I forgot to note them.


Now my progress, which is laughable.

Focusing on what was accomplished:

1. dog groomed
2. window painted
3. winter basket made
4. small pantry doors covered
5. silver polished including candlesticks and casserole holder

Five out of eighteen can't be all bad. = )

Now it's cleaning and doing some cooking tomorrow. Finally. And shopping. And decorating.

Don't forget, if you want The Flat Princess, and are the first to say so, she's all yours!

Love Vee