A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grumble, Grumble, Complain, Complain

That's right! If you don't want to start your day on a sour note, scurry along to another blog. You've had fair warning!

So, this morning, at 6:30, the street cleaners came through to collect all those piles of dirt in the street. Six freakin' thirty! (This might be a good thing if I had gone to bed at a reasonable hour, but I went to bed at 1:30 am.)

K-Mart has not been keeping its shelves stocked with my favorite flour sacks for making embroidered towels. This means that I purchased inferior ones from the other "mart" and now I have made four (yes four!) lousy tea towels that I can't possibly-ossibly send to anyone. Grrrr...

And, I am such a goose that I forgot how to bind the tape even though I've done it about a dozen times now so I have ruined bias tape all over fourteen counties.


Then I started a new habit of reading before blogging, but this morning I'm blogging before reading and now my whole day is going to be fried not to mention scrambled.

My mother has an appointment for a painful medical procedure this afternoon and I must drive her. I am grateful that my mother is still with me and that I am available to drive her anywhere, but I am so not good with painful medical procedures, especially my mother's.

Okay, that's about all that I can handle myself so I'll quit. Time to chill with my morning devotions. Now why didn't I do that first?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The White, Green, Black, and Herb of Tea

Tell about your favorite tea. How do you prepare it and serve it? Milk and sugar? Plain? What are some of your best memories of serving or sipping on this tea? Share a picture if you can. Tell the health benefits of the tea(s) you prefer. Where do you purchase your tea? Is there someplace you enjoying purchasing tea from? Who from and where?

Is it time to confess that my favorite hot beverage is coffee? Two cups of hazelnut coffee with cream and Splenda every morning or else I'm going to have a headache-y day.

Since coffee is my favorite hot beverage, an Earl Grey or breakfast tea is usually my tea of choice for its robust, full flavor. Besides, a breakfast tea has the same effect as the coffee with all that caffeine.

My dear blogging pal Sandi first told me about Yorkshire tea right here. It has become my very favorite tea of all. It is smooth and perfect and I drink it between the hours of three and five every afternoon, usually with cream and sweetener. Although Sandi was perfectly willing to send me some, I was able to find it at T.J. Maxx and, so far, keeping all fingers crossed, I've been able to find it every time I need more.

Yorkshire tea is made by Taylors of Harrowgate in England. You can read more about it at the web site I've included. There's a great little article there about the health benefits of tea as well.

My next favorite beverage is Nestlé green tea in a bottle. This I sip nearly all day long. When I gave up soda a few years ago, I made the switch to green tea. Love it!

The remainder is the odd assortment of teas: Oolong (Bigelow), Vanilla Chai (Bigelow), Green Tea (Tetley) Honey and Lemon Green Tea (Tetley) and a few loose tea bags of odds and ends in the cupboard. You'll note that I am not a fan of loose tea leaves. I am certainly not a tea connoisseur.

When I serve tea in my little Corelle tea pot there (the beautiful tea pots have left the building), I boil water to warm the pot, boil fresh water for the actual tea, replace the warm water with the hot water and add three or four tea bags. Nothing to it.

Now that La Tea Dah has that danged Mr. Linky working, you can join the rest of the tour right here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tidy Little Package

If you sew all weekend and don't finish your projects, you, too, could wake to this kind of a mess on your dining room table! How I long for a sewing/craft room; maybe some fine day.

When my sister took her Christmas cactus last Thursday (wasn't it lovely that I got to enjoy all those blooms one more time?), she discovered that the center of the crocheted table topper had rotted completely away. It was nasty! She might have tossed it, but I rescued it and told her that I'd see what I could do.

This is what I could do...

It's a linen inset instead of a crocheted piece. I hope that she'll like it.

(Thanks, Teresa, for the suggestion to appliqué the embroidered pieces I was quizzing you all about here. The thought remained as you can see!)

Don't you love it when things all ultimately come together in a neat and tidy package?

Now I wish that I could say that I was spending my time on this charming, quaint porch (that would be quite a feat since it's not mine... ;>), but it's back to the sewing machine for me.

(allowed to stand)

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Faith Test

After committing my need to God, if I can come away with no sadness, pain or anxiety in my heart, I have prayed the prayer of faith. If I pray and then still carry my burden, I know that my faith was not in practice. ~slight paraphrase from Streams in the Desert

(allowed to stand)

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. ~Romans 10:17

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Warning: The following may contain material that you may consider inappropriate.

The book hereafter described as TTTW is the one you see lying against the pillow in yesterday's photo. (Yes, I am purposely being vague. You may have to click on the picture to see it more clearly.) The author is A.N. (Yes, I've already explained that I am being vague...on purpose...I want no Google searches to land here.)

TTTW...I adored it and I LOATHED it. You, no doubt, have all heard of the "willing suspension of disbelief." The willing suspension of disbelief is more pyschological than anything and simply means that in order to enjoy much of literature or to appreciate movies like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, one must set aside the normal, rational objections one would ordinarily have. Watching Psycho in a darkened theater is likely to set the emotions on edge as one "gets into" the story even knowing that it isn't real, that nothing seen before you has actually happened. (The most recent thriller that I've seen is Secret Window...substitute one that works best for you.)

So, yes, to enjoy TTTW, one must employ a willing suspension of disbelief, which was not my problem.

Have you also heard of the willing suspension of BELIEF? It is a phrase that C.S. Lewis coined to explain what Christians/Believers must often do in order to appreciate the arts. He explained that as a professor of English Literature (his specialty was medieval literature), it would be impossible for him to enjoy some literature if he were analyzing it through the eyes of belief or faith. Lewis specifically mentioned Rabelais who was a Franciscan monk living during the French Renaissance. Rabelais's stories of Gargantua are filled with the most bawdy jokes imaginable. (I can't stand them, but Lewis could enjoy the humor.)

So what does that have to do with TTTW? I'll tell you! This story began and ended as a love story of the highest order, which is exactly what I want when reading a love story. Somewhere along the way, after I was completely hooked, the "language" began in earnest. It appalls me that the description of intimacy descended to the level of four-letter words for body parts. I don't want words rhyming with bunt, slit, shock, truck, etc., to be a part of the story between two people whom I have grown to care about. PUHLEESE, is NOTHING sacred anymore? Ever? I don't want to read graphic descriptions of sex. I don't want to be taken to anyone's bedroom...ever...well, maybe not ever, but you know what I mean, right?

Did it add to the story in ANY way? NO. So why does the author do it? Either because she thinks that that is the way that people think about sex or because she thought it would sell books. Would her novel stand without the language. Absolutely. So, instead of selling books, perhaps she's actually causing people to say, as I did, "Sorry, that book I recommended to you turned out to be a whole lot of trash." This is a shame because, otherwise, this first novel by A.N. is well crafted and beautiful in many ways. Nevertheless, I won't be reading her second.

So, in the end, I was unable to willingly suspend my belief. Sigh.

(And, yes, I realize that I may just have sold a number of books for A.N. Double sigh.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday and All's Well

Though I've not left many comments, I have been trying to keep up with everyone. I know who's reading, who's buying gadgets, who's sharing photos of babies and of journeys, and who's keeping it short and sweet.

I've been reading; now I'm thinking about buying a gadget; I've been journeying and taking photos, but now I'm keeping it short and sweet.

Check back tomorrow for a bona fide rant about one book I've been reading.

A wonderful Friday to you all...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Share your favorite teatime recipe for sweets or savories. Tea sandwiches, scones, and dainty desserts all count in this category. Give credit to the originator of the recipe if possible. Post a picture if you can. This is sure to make everyone hungry for a delicious tea time treat! Ideas for recipes to post this week are: scones, crumpets, shortbread, cookies, baby cakes, tarts, tea sandwiches, soups, salads, fruit treats, jams, jellies, curds, and creams.

Garden Patch Sandwiches


* 8 oz cream cheese

* 1/4 cup mayonnaise

* 1/2 cup finely grated raw carrots (use coffee filters to drain excess moisture from the carrots before adding)

* 1/4 cup finely chopped celery

* 1 TBS finely chopped green pepper

* 1 TBS finely chopped red pepper

* 1/2 TBS grated onion


Cream together the cream cheese and the mayonnaise until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Spread on a fine sandwich bread such as Pepperidge Farm. Remove crusts, cut into triangles, fingers or unique shapes using a cookie cutter. Enjoy!

*Garden Patch Sandwiches Printable Recipe*

Cocoa Dreams

This is a recipe that's been around in my family since my mother was a teenager. It makes the most delicious bar with a shortbread style bottom and a gooey chocolate top. It's always been one of my very favorites!

Bottom Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup brown sugar

* 1 cup flour

* 1/2 cup butter


Press the above three ingredients in the bottom of a 9-inch pan. Set aside.

Topping Ingredients:

* 1 cup brown sugar

* 2 1/2 TBS flour

* 1/2 tsp baking powder

* 3 TBS cocoa

* 2 beaten eggs

* 1/2 cup walnuts

Method: Mix the above ingredients all together and pour over the bottom.

Bake @ 350º for 30 or 35 minutes. Allow to cool, frost with your favorite buttercream frosting, sprinkle chopped walnuts on top, and enjoy!

Hope that you find many recipes and ideas at La Tea Dah's The Sweet-and-Savory-of-Yummy!

Barbara Wins the Demise of the Snowpile Contest

And Barbara wins! That little spot in the picture is no larger than my palm; right now the wee bit of ice is no larger than my thumb. I'm jumping the gun; however, with the temp already in the 60s, I know I'm safe. Congratulations, Barbara! Can we chat about betting on horses? (Barbara wins so many of these contests that I am amazed!)

Off to do my official happy dance...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Minutiae

This is not pretty craft day; it's practical craft day. I had need of a tote that would hang easily on a hook in my closet. I have many canvas totes, but they're too stiff. Unless placed on the floor, they have little use for my purpose, which was a place to stash extra sewing materials. Besides, I'm all out of floor space in the closet.

I remembered that Judy had made one right *here* and she also gives the link to Martha Stewart's tutorial. All I have to add to this is that I sewed more of the folds to create two outside pockets and I used a fleece pillowcase. The fleece was probably a big mistake and I do not recommend it since it was difficult working with all the added bulk. Nevertheless, in the spirit of using what I have, that's what I decided upon. (Never use a fleece pillow to actually lie on, gals! They create too much friction on the hair and pull it out. Same story with flannel.)

Let's see, what else? Oh, I know, I've decided to give a daily report on the witch of a melting snowbank. Today is Linds' day...not sure...but it could happen.

Someone asked about an electric broom. This is one attached to a machine; ours from the local hardware is attached to a broomstick, which is attached to a human arm. I'm hoping my niece's. ;> (My apologies for not properly sourcing this photo.)

Guess that's it for a lazy Monday...hope that all is well in your world...I'm off to visit my figs here shortly.

Edited to Add: Is anyone else having major problems with Blogger today? Unable to leave comments without incredible delays, etc.? Perhaps it's just my computer, which is a scary, scary thought. (Lots of error messages, too??)

Edited to Add Again: With confidence I can say that Barbara is more than likely going to win. I stayed up until this late hour...4 minutes past midnight to document that snowpile. Wouldn't you know that it was melting like crazy and is now down to this. I didn't dare to go to bed as I thought it might melt between dark and now. It didn't, but oh so close, Linds!

I'll make it official tomorrow morning with plenty of fanfare. :D

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'd Rather Have Jesus

Some days ago I was mindlessly humming "I'd Rather Have Jesus." The melody is by George Beverly Shea and he often sang the song at Billy Graham crusades through the years.

Did you know that Mr. Shea is still with us? He was born in 1909 the very year that my grandmother was born and that makes it all the more special to me. This is a photo of Mr. Shea and Cliff Barrows at a rally just last year. He still sings!

That's an amazing part of his testimony — he still sings...

I'd Rather Have Jesus
lyrics by Rhea F. Miller
melody by George Beverly Shea

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Clicking on the lyrics will take you to You Tube where Mr. Shea sings the song at the 1987 Fargo Crusade. Nothing sounds as sweet to me today. (The video was removed and I have replaced it with another. That is fine as on this older video Mr. Shea shares how he came to write the music to this song.)

Enjoy your Sunday!

Edited to Add~April 23, 2013: And the story comes full circle in a wonderful post by Dotsie ***here***  Though Mr. Shea has moved to Glory, I know that he still sings!

photo source (allowed to stand)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Walking and Thinking

Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill...if one keeps on walking everything will be all right. ~Soren Kierkegaard.

So I've been walking and that's been good. Hope that my best thoughts will find me out there one morning soon. So far I have not experienced that, but it is amazing how a little walking makes one feel stronger.

This walking reminds me of those early spring days in childhood when the teachers would allow us to play in the parking lot because the playground was too muddy. Those recesses would be spent skipping rope and we were all so out of shape after a long winter. I was exhausted with the skipping for the first week, but by the second, my strength returned — my lungs and my legs carried me effortlessly through 100 jumps or even more. By then, the swingers were so tired that they began to miss the rhythm and soon I had been sabotaged. Some of the kids were cautious knowing that a stint swinging the rope followed the jumping. I was not that smart and so I am afraid that I was not so great at the rhythm myself for those who followed me. I haven't seen children jumping rope for so long. Do they still?
photo source

Thursday afternoon, I went to the lake and ate my lunch. I had had a job interview and had been dropping off résumés. It was a beautiful, warm day...it's been as warm as 70°!

So I know you're all anxious to see what those kinds of temps have done to the snowbank in front of my house.

As you can see, I've been doing some yard work...all that dirt in the street. The circle of sand ahead of the pile is where the snow was just two short days ago. It's time to get out there again and get sweeping. My hometown niece brought down a rented electric sweeper, which was a huge help. The rest will be done the old-fashioned way.

Enjoy a pleasant and restful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Looking for a Silver Lining

...but all I have, so far, are silver shards.

That, my friends, is the mirror that crashed off my sister's bedroom wall last night and shattered. What a racket! The cat and I both woke with a start and sank back down with a groan. I never even got up to check it out. This morning, I had that vague memory of something going boom in the night and went on a proper search. It's a very good thing that I am not superstitious.

Now when life hands one lemons, one makes lemonade and when life hands one a broken mirror, one ______________? Yes, that is the question of the day!

This afternoon, I am supposed to be meeting with my sister to discuss the sale of the house. It's not going to be easy and I am hoping that those of you who are praying folk might keep us in mind today.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Fabric Heart

Believe it or not, there's a whole lot going on in my world. Do I appear ever calm and unflappable? I am neither. Some fine day I'll blog about it. Wish that I were still "invisible" even if only in my own thinking. What wonderful freedom that was!

This morning finds me juggling a few things including blog posts. The promise of showing my dd's bedroom before and afters is floating about, but I still haven't gained permission so I'll have to put that off for a bit.

In lieu of that, I'll show the craft project that I was going to do on Monday. Plus I have a very special before and after dear to this nonni's heart at the end of my post.

You've all seen these creations at so many blogs. Kim at Daisy Cottage has been sharing many fabric hearts that have been created for her; each one is so delightful and unique. If you haven't seen the little bird that Cindy created for Kim, you must check it out. It's simply fantastic.

The creation that I fell in love with was found at With a Grateful Heart . You won't be able to miss it among the other treasures at the marketplace.

Trying to remember what I've gleaned from so many crafty blogs, I deconstructed some truly ratty old linens. I assuaged my guilt by assuring myself that I was rescuing the embroidery. The fabric around the embroidery was still strong, but elsewhere there were holes and tears.

I am pleased with the design; I like the aroma that I tucked in...star anise; and the heart hanging on the patio door handle looks nice. Two more embroidered posies remain like the one in the first photograph. Not much fabric left around them, though, and this has left me wondering what to do. Needless to say, I'll be hanging out at Dawn's looking for inspiration.

Now for my favorite before and after!

What a difference a fresh haircut makes. Speaking of which, I'll be checking in at Jan's today for sure! ;>

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Share ideas for dressing up for afternoon tea. Is your favorite tea-time outfit a silk caftan, flannel jammies, or a dress with proper hat and gloves? Do you enjoy wearing tea prints to tea? Or do you prefer something more elegant? Lace and ruffles? A feathered hat? Long pink gloves? Satins and silks? Cotton comfort? Jeans and a t-shirt you say? That's okay --- share it all here.

Pictures of you in tea-time costume are welcome! But, if you are not brave enough to share a picture of 'you', simply share something you think would be FUN to wear to tea. Remember, a tea can be anything from a formal afternoon tea --- to tea in the park with a friend. It's whatever it means to you!

Whenever I think about the quintessential outfit to wear to tea, I think of something along these lines...

However, as I am unable to afford the prices of an Edwardian lawn dress, I'll just have to move along to the 21st Century where, in truth, I'd wear jeans and a t-shirt because I adore those rustic teas such as La Tea Dah has shared. You can see what I mean right here at her Cabin-Woods Tea dated September 13, 2007. That's the post that made me a regular visitor to Gracious Hospitality.

Oh, have you all seen the Celestial Seasoning dress made from tea bags? Probably as it was featured in January of 2006 at the New York Times.

It was auctioned off to benefit research for women's heart health. That would be a stunning outfit to wear to tea. Just watch out for the tea kettle!

Most of my real life experience with tea parties has been in this capacity.

1. source
2. source
3. source

Still, I can be a young girl at heart so I've fashioned myself a tea party hat and donned my tea party dress (you'll have to take my word for that). I still couldn't bring myself to wear the heels so instead I've decided upon sensible shoes. I do have a number of blogs to visit after all!

Enjoy your time exploring La Tea Dah's Dressed-to-a-Tea!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Wee Tour

Inspired by Barbara's Walk-About House Tour, I've decided to post some photos taken Saturday on our way home from the big city. Once we were within five miles of home, I took photos all the way in and down to my own former home risking life and limb. Oh yes! Barbara has confessed that this photo taking of other people's homes can be scary, which is exactly why I put my camera on the sports setting, zoomed in, and just shot away as we zipped on by. It's not always perfect, but let's see what we have.

Sandi says that one day, if I ever find myself in her corner, she'll give me the tour of the great antebellum homes. What a perfect reason to head for Chesterfield County! She loves great old homes with a history. So do I and, though there are no mansions here, where I know something about the home, I will share. Otherwise, I'll allow the homes/scenes to speak for themselves. (I know this, there'll be a whole lot of painting going on after this rough winter.)

Let's get this show on the road...

Do those not look as if I had been standing in the center of the highway in oncoming traffic?

The following is an example of the ubiquitous New England Cape Cod style. This style has been popular since before the name was coined in 1800. This particular home is about 25 years old.

Yet another example of a Cape Cod or what is sometimes called a New England primitive. I can tell you that this home has beautiful wide planked flooring throughout and was completely restored in the primitive style some years ago. It is a beautiful home despite what some might consider its plain and unadorned exterior. (I think Robin will love it, though.)

We do have our share of "baloney architecture." (I think my current home qualifies and it has been an ongoing joke with the carpenter. Disclaimer: the following photo is not my home. ;>) Here, you'll see what I mean by "baloney."

I love barns...missed the entire house; at least, I got the barn!

This former one-room schoolhouse has been transformed to a cozy home.

On the homestretch...new construction

This old home has been lovingly restored over many years. It features so many wonderful architectural details including beautiful flooring throughout. It also features a "set down" family room where the former shed was. A common feature of New England homes is the attached barn, which this home has, but the photo doesn't show.

The next photo shows the brass deer (click on photo to see) located as an integral part of the landscaping beside the home above. I once had the brilliant idea to use the deer as part of a Christmas float in a parade. The homeowner gave me permission with a grin knowing full well that there was no way that I could use that deer. (It was placed there with a crane.)

Keeping it real...the trailer park...

Definitely on the home stretch.

The picture below is a good example of an attached barn. This was my former home and it was always great to walk out the back kitchen door, through the pantry, into the attached shed, then on to the barn where the car was located. Very convenient on cold winter days! This home features a wide planked kitchen floor that has been painted yellow and stenciled. The current homeowner has kept that feature. There are hardwood floors throughout, the horsehair plaster has long since been removed. It also has a front hall stairway and an open kitchen stairway. Lots of great architectural features. I could go on and on, but I'll stop.

And we end this picture story right in my daughter's backyard. We hauled in her purchases and she slapped her bedroom together in no time. I'm asking her for permission to show you those before and afters on Wednesday.

Have a great Monday!