A Haven for Vee

Friday, September 30, 2011

Odd and Sundry

Mostly just odd. You can blame the morning paper; that's what I'm doing. John told me the heartwarming story of a little cat with two faces called a Janus cat and that's when my mind took off. I decided to look around for some "odd" things this morning.

A Janus Cat

I thought it was odd yesterday when Sheila mentioned that she wanted to make a Disappearing Nine-Patch after watching the videos. Why, so had I! And I already had. What fun! Google it at You Tube and you'll find many easy to follow directions.

Looking out my new kitchen window, without any moldings, I saw something odd.

Okay, it didn't really look like that; I just have an aversion to flying the flag upside down. It really looked like this...

flag reflected in a driveway puddle

Lastly, I've been wanting to discuss this phenomenon with you for some time as I've noticed it happening time and again. First, here's the monster morning glory.

And a closer look...

A bee inside the blossom taking a nap...yes, he's still alive. What if the blossom closes?

His little blossom bed becomes a tomb. Because I dead head the spent blossoms daily, I know that this happens a lot. I'm perplexed by it. It just seems so odd and the perfect waste of a little bee.

Thus concludes odd and sundry for today. Hope that your Friday is terrific!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anyone Need a Giant Pillowcase?

Not many of you think the way I do. Now this is a very, very good thing; otherwise, you might have spent an entire week of your precious life thinking about ways to create a giant pillowcase. And then you might have spent an entire afternoon actually sewing up said giant pillowcase. Uh huh, a giant pillowcase that would cover mini-blinds making them invisible...a sort of stealth mini-blind, if you will. Why? Because I don't like the look of mini-blinds, but find them a necessary evil.

giant pillowcase gone horribly awry

I really don't know where I went wrong, but perhaps it was by not measuring accurately. Then, too, I. can. still. see. the. mini-blind. The giant pillowcase is being shipped to the North Pole. I'm sure that Santa can use it come Christmas.

All is not for naught, though, because I can show you the pillowcase I made "properly." I'm really working on getting the Irish linen stash whittled down.

Even though I didn't follow the directions as carefully as I might have, this pillow case worked out fine and it truly was kind of magical, just like that cornbread recipe from yesterday. (Have any of you tried that trick yet?) Elizabeth at Home is Where the Heart Is first told me about these magical pillowcases made in such a simple, fascinating way right *here.* You might like to give it a try! You might want to have an audience to impress. Just sayin.'

The Last of the Perennial Garden Posies

Rainy today. I keep hoping that John will find the time to trim out my kitchen window. He thinks that there are more important things to do. I don't know, looking at that mess much longer is going to drive me bonkers, but then I'm easily driven bonkers.

Anything driving you bonkers today? Anything you'd like to talk over at all?

A delightful Thursday to you..

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Best Corn Bread Evah!

Oh So Good!

As I was serving supper last night, I told John that this was touted to be "The Best Corn Bread Ever." I had just turned to grab my own plate, when I heard him exclaim, "I'll say!"

For those who like to mine a bit, you can find the secret for yourselves at Brenda's Coffee, Tea, Books and Me right *here.* Edited to Add: No, no, you won't. For some reason Brenda's removed her post. I'll get back to you. If she isn't putting the post back, I'll provide another link. YES! Yes, you will. Good heavens...Brenda thinks that it was a hiccup. Anyway, here's another point: The method, in this case, is far more important than the recipe so if you have your favorite recipe, go ahead and use it.

Hmmm, it was scrumptious. I don't think I'll ever return to my former method of making corn bread. What amazing results and all so simply. It's like magic; as Brenda would say, "Narnia magic." So, really, do yourself a favor and check it out and bake some for supper tonight. Your family is going to thank you!

(Yes, *cough* *sputter* *ahem* we are still on our eating plan. It's just that, every now and then, we simply must eat something yummy or we I go stark raving nuts. John is a little over a pound above his goal. I am fifty-five pounds above mine. What, I ask you, is wrong with this picture? Gheesh.)

Not a whole lot of excitement at the Haven. Lots of work going on outside; lots of painting going on inside. You know how I loathe painting, but I do like things looking fresh and bright so that's what keeps me going. Otherwise I'd quit and work in my sewing room where I'd prefer to be.

I am still trying to keep up with you and learn what you're doing. Anything new that I may have missed?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Autumn!

With God you must let things begin,
With God let all things come to rest,
In this way the work of your hands
Will flourish and also be blessed.

~Simple Prayers of Love and Delight

A little encourgagement from Debbie at Bungalow later and I have a square wreath for my front door. You can find Debbie's *here.* Hers is so beautiful that I couldn't resist trying to make one of my own. (The first one turned out terribly because I used wimpy twigs on the sides.) I didn't want to make the flowers that Debbie features (call me lazy) so I slapped a faux apple on mine and a ratty old ribbon made from painter's cloth. (Now I'm noticing that my door color seems to be very similar to Debbie's. Since the guy at Sherwin Williams selected it, I'm not sure how that happened. Obviously, I like Debbie's style. )

I'm feeling so proud of myself for not buying that $25 wreath at T.J.Maxx yesterday that I'm going to show you another view.

It's true; the best things in life are free!

Wishing you the most wonderful of autumn seasons. This is my favorite season of the year as I know it is for many of you. Let us delight in it!

What are you going to be doing this first full day of autumn?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Sweet Realization

"Mom, do you have some good pictures of Grandma?" she asked me.

"Sure, I have some really nice ones," I responded. "What do you need?"

"I want to wear her picture on the sleeve of my tee shirt for the P*atrick D*empsey Challenge."

So began our time going through photos last evening. We looked at this one taken in September, 2010.

My mother and my grandmother

We smiled a little and said how odd it is to think that we had them both a year ago. I named this photo "An Autumn Walk," though it was winter for them both. My grandmother would be off to Glory in just a few short weeks and my mother in three short months.

Then we looked at this one...

My daughter and my mother

It's a favorite of mine. My daughter thought it needed cropping and so started in when I said, "Wait a minute, you're cropping off your grandmother's hug."

My daughter looked a little startled and then her face began to crinkle and soon mine mirrored hers. "I never knew that she had her arm around me, " she whispered.

"Yes, she did and don't be surprised if she sits on your handlebars and enjoys the ride in October."

At that thought, we chuckled through our tears. We've not cried together like this since January. It was good to talk about my mother. I think we'll do it more often tears or not.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The car broke down. The carpenter felt that he had better, more pressing things to do than repair it. We dropped it off at a garage yesterday. As I was now in the driver's seat, I decided to kidnap the carpenter. He said, "Are you a terrorist or a guerrilla?" (You'd have to know the books we're reading lately to catch the humor.) I took him out to lunch. Then I took him to visit a craftsman working on a house project for us — a hose holder. Then I took him to Giffords for ice cream. Then I took him to the hardware store. Then I took him to another hardware store. Then I took him to the Ponderosa where he picked up his truck. Then I went home and thought how nice it was to kidnap my own husband. I should do it more often.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More on the Doors

It's raining again this morning and the house is cozy and dark with the furnace running. I'm so glad that most of the painting is accomplished because rain is predicted for four out of the next five days. Would so love to send some to Texas, anywhere really.

Here are the three incarnations of my front door. Yes, I am responsible for that screeching yellow. It was a bad idea. Schoolbus yellow. Fire truck yellow. Yield sign yellow. Awful yellow. The center photo is the priming, which is preferable, and the last photo shows the new Coastal Plain.

Trouble is that, from the front, one can not see much through the storm door. I can't tell if the newly painted door is gray, white or green.

This is how the door looked earlier in the summer when the morning glory was just a teenager and not the monster it is now.

See how beautifully the centers of those morning glories matched the front door? ☺☺☺

Yesterday afternoon I shoved the volkswagons (what I call my living room furniture) around and created a new flow space. It'll take some getting used to. I'd show you, but with a camera not working quite right and the rain...too many obstacles. What I can show you is the plan that I worked up using *this program.* What I love about that virtual room planner is that it doesn't require a download nor does it require signing up. The program was truly helpful. If you have a lot of furniture or volkswagons as I do, you do not want to be doing a lot of unnecessary shifting and shoving.

Thank you for all the sweet comments on the color. You're the best!

A pleasant Tuesday to you...

Monday, September 19, 2011

I've Really Been Painting the Door

A weekend later and I'm still not finished painting doors. That's the story of my painting escapades. Painting is so not my thing, but I am trying to help out since John is very busy doing more important things.

You may remember way back *here* when your help was requested on my "I've Been Painting the Door" post. John and I settled on Sherwin Williams' Laurel Woods. Perhaps it is because my daughter's name is Woods. (Wonder how many times this bad comic can get away with that joke < insert cheesy grin > )

Anyway, we went through the choices, read your comments again, and that's what we decided on unbeknownst to each other. He didn't tell me; I didn't tell him; it just came out that we both agreed on LW. I also liked Studio Blue Green, but John didn't.

When we arrived at the Sherwin Williams store thinking we knew exactly what we wanted, we discovered that Laurel Woods is very, very dark, almost black. I mentioned to the salesman that we had used the Color Visualizer and he said that the values are not always true. Hmmmm...I suppose that they are just true enough to get customers in there. Though I was not thrilled to be starting over, I did find the salesman and his suggestions helpful. So here we have it, the big reveal:

This is called Coastal Plain. I have another coat to do on the front door...same color...and then some touch-ups back and forth, forth and back. I also have to do the door frames in exterior white. I may finish up before November.

A happy Monday to you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Nesting Party 2011

Welcome to this year's Fall Nesting Party hosted by the incomparable Melissa of The Inspired Room. I'm very happy that you are here!

Some points of disclosure: First of all, I'm not ready for fall. It's not just turned chilly here. The leaves, usually already turning, are still vivid green. Second of all, it's raining. Raining and dark. Dark and dreary. My goal was to add some warmth and cozy without resorting to the usual autumn palette or the furnace.

China Cabinet

All decorating in my home begins here. It's the first place for eyes to rest when anyone comes through the door. I'm working with browns, tarnished silver, inherited china, flea market finds, and my favorite poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, which I popped into the apothecary jar.  I think it would look especially cool with a page torn from a poetry book, but I'm not willing to tear up my Norton Anthology for that cause.

Poetry in an Apothecary Jar

There are few matching pieces, the bookend tea cups and the candlesticks notwithstanding. I'm a quilt kind of gal.

*Mosaic will enlarge

While I was busy taking photos, my hubby was outside working in the rain. At one point he came in looking like a drenched rat and requested hot tea.

You know what? Nothing speaks autumn-cozy like a cup of tea on a rainy day! 

I'm looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things that you're doing once my busy morning of running errands is over.

A blessed and cozy autumn to you...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Late in the night I was still putting the final touches on this tea cozy. I'm so happy that it is finished and that I can now send it with joy to Miss Sandy. I was up early this morning to grab enough light to take a reasonable photo. This project has been promised for over a year. Over a year. *thud*

Heading for Arkansas

ETA: 9/21/2011 You'll find Miss Sandy's sweet thank you here at Quill Cottage.

Late yesterday afternoon, I took a lot of photos to share the new kitchen window and what's going on with John's work on the house. Now you'll want to throttle me, but I'm waiting on most of it because it'll look so much better in just a few days. Here's a mere hint:

new insulation

Much of the delay is because John is reinsulating the house. It is labor intensive and time consuming. Soon, though, I can show this side completely done and that will include my new kitchen window from outside.

Let's move on to other sights around the yard, shall we?

Looking Up

First of all, here it is the middle of September already and the leaves are still green. Usually, they have begun to change. How about in your corner? This alarms me a bit and Deanna knows why. ☺

Back Yard

The sweet potato vine is a plant new to me and suggested by Deanna (Creekside Cottage). I've been quite pleased with them and am looking forward to their autumn colors.

Late Afternoon Wave Petunias

The petunias are looking their best of the entire summer; this picture just isn't the best. I repotted them when they began to look bedraggled in July. That has made a world of difference. They had been terribly root bound. I've just about decided, once and for all, that any potted plant in my possession is going to get repotted immediately upon arrival at The Haven.

Touched by Fire

This is my favorite photo of the day. A few minutes after I'd come inside to get back to work on all things tea, I glanced outside and saw that the sinking sun was now highlighting and shining through the blossoms. So pretty.

Did you see that Melissa at The Inspired Room is having her annual Fall Nesting Party tomorrow? (Check my sidebar for the link.) This year, the time sneaked up on her so it's a bit of a late notice.  Still, I'm going to try to participate and here is a preview.

To the left you see a pitcher. It belonged to my grandmother and it appears to be the size for mixing cocktails or martinis or something. Seasons and scenes are represented and I'm showing you autumn's scene with a hunting dog, an Eastern Spruce, and a hunter prepared to shoot. The photo should enlarge to see the details.
The photo on the right shows my Eastern Spruce. The only tree on my property other than bushes. I am easily charmed by such coincidences.
Join me tomorrow for The Fall Nesting Party and won't you consider participating, too?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Package and A Promise Kept

My package arrived in yesterday's mail and how timely! Guess what? I was able to pop Sandi's tea cozy right in the same envelope and will send it off to her today. Ahhhh, the relief that comes with keeping a promise. ☺

Heading for South Carolina

Sandi sent me a cd of her playlist: Sandi's Playlist. Gosh, I love her playlist. I'm listening to it right now. It's not a list of sacred songs or easy listening as is my usual. It's good vintage music with lots of country tossed in for good measure. It happens to be John's favorite playlist in all of Blogdom and he's heard a lot of good ones. Listening to this one makes me feel as if I'm riding down a long highway late at night with the radio blaring, destination two hundred miles away.

She also sent me a dvd of the series Edward and Mrs. Simpson, and a cookbook, too. The kind of cookbook that a real cook has used. I'm going to follow the berry stains and whip up something tasty one day. Thanks so much for everything, Sandi!

Thank you for all the suggestions regarding moon shots. Since the camera isn't functioning on all settings, it's become more and more exciting. A hit or miss proposition at the best of times, it becomes a real challenge now. I did read a good tip and would've used it if I had had a flashlight to see my settings. When taking a moon shot from a tripod, set the timer to reduce shake. Of course, you could invest in  sophisticated equipment, but I'm using a five dollar flea market tripod so what do you suppose are my chances of buying any snazzy camera gadgets?

Washed out Moon~Blah, Blah, Blah

I did try the mountain icon or infinity setting and it seemed to do well with getting the moon sitting on the tree tops. But oh that coppery moon last night. I wanted the color more than anything. Silver is nice, but nothing beats that orange harvest moon. Below was my best. Not great, but it isn't washed-out and it is round. It isn't as crisp as I'd like, but let us look at the positives...color and craters! And doesn't it look like an orange? I can see the navel there toward the bottom.

Waning Gibbous Moon 9/13/2001

Forever in blue jeans, Babe. And money talks, but it don't sing and dance and it don't walk...


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Broken Promises

Broken promises...I have a lifetime full of them and a sewing room, too.

Just yesterday a dear blogging friend told me to watch the mail. Now how many times have I told her to do the same? I'm pretty certain that something is arriving this week; she, on the other hand, has learned that she can't count on me.

I have reasons. The best reason is that my grandmother's little sewing machine doesn't function so well anymore. It skips stitches with abandon. Reminds me of someone I know. Then I thought, no problem, my mother has her trusty Singer in storage.

When I brought it home sometime in May, I cleaned it and tried to find a manual for it, which I was able to do on line the internet being such a great resource, and then realized that it was another skip stitcher, too. Sigh.

Thus began my search for a quality machine and I settled on a little Janome. It came within a week and I like it fine. No skipped stitches. Now where were my projects? Were they in that pile there? In that drawer? That box? That laundry basket? The entire sewing room now had become filled with my mother's abandoned sewing projects in addition to my own. I had many distractions in my wee space for weeks. The potential for getting lost in there is still great.

Finally, just Sunday, when I had decided that television coverage of the 9-11 events in NYC would be totally unsatisfactory (all those talking heads yapping over the top of anything meaningful that was going on and each with his own agenda...ugh), I slipped upstairs to my sewing room where I could be alone with my own thoughts. I began folding fabric and praying. I folded and folded and folded, prayed and prayed and prayed, and came, at last, to a white laundry basket where I found my lost projects.

Tea Cozies Three

There are three, two good ones and a dud. Odd that they are heading for gals named Sandy. Well, one name Sandy and the other named Sandi. I have no idea if I'll finish them this week. I hope so. I'm tired of skipped stitches.

I have a new kitchen window and as soon as I can take a good picture... my camera has been acting up terribly... I'll post one. There I go again — another promise!

Enjoy your day...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

There She Stands

*There She Stands*

When the night
Seems to say
All hope is lost
Gone away
But I know
I'm not alone
By the light
She stands

There she waves
Faithful friend
Shimmering stars
Westward wind
Show the way
Carry me
To the place
She stands

Just when you think it might be over
Just when you think the fight is gone
Someone will risk his life to raise her
There she stands

There she flies
Clear blue skies
Reminds us with red
Of those that died
Washed in white
By the brave
In their strength
She stands

When evil calls itself a martyr
When all your hopes come crashing down
Someone will pull her from the rubble
There she stands

We've seen her flying torn and tattered
We've seen her stand the test of time
And through it all the fools have fallen
There she stands

By the dawn's
Early light
And through the fight
She stands

~Michael W. Smith

This song is the result of a request that President Bush made of Michael W. Smith at a meeting between them six weeks after 9-11-2001. Wish that I had heard it many years ago. I don't believe that many people are familiar with the song and that's a shame. You can listen to it for yourself by clicking on the title. (Yes, there are some of the iconic images and video of that day.) The stanza that says Just when you think it might be over, Just when you think the fight is gone perfectly reflects the way I felt on that day.

Below I am reposting a piece I wrote in 2007 describing where I was that Tuesday. We all will forever remember where we were. More importantly, let us remember where we are this day and know that God was and is and forever will be in control. Ours is not the first generation to face devastation. It will not be the last.


This morning, first thing, I lowered the flag to the half-mast position. September 11 will never come and go unremembered for as long as I live. This is true for most Americans, I am certain. There are those who still remember Pearl Harbor with the same devotion.

Six years ago, I was a preschool teacher on an excursion to the library with my students and other staff. The hour 8:45 came and went without any particular notice as the class listened to the librarian read a story. This was followed by a craft time.

At 9:00, we were collected by our dear bus driver Gil who looked at each of us adults with pure terror in her eyes. I will never forget how pale and upset she looked. Gil had the radio on and the news was terrible. A plane had crashed into the north tower and all hell had broken loose.

One of the teacher's husband was a construction worker in NYC at the time, and she began to weep softly. Just as news of the first jumpers came across the airwaves, I asked Gil to please turn off the radio. The little ones had become frightened, too, and were now asking questions. "Why are you crying, Mrs. M? What's wrong? Why are you all sad?"

By the time we had arrived back at school, the entire parking lot was filled with parents' cars and in less than 5 minutes, all the children had been scooped up and taken home. I was grateful for those concerned parents. I was grateful that the children would be home in the bosom of their families because, in my own fear, I had no idea how the day would end or if any of us would live to see the end of that day. It seems almost laughable today, but then it was my reality.

Today, another Tuesday, I think of all those who live in New York City who must rise again to the day despite their fears. May God bless them and all of us.
First posted September 11, 2007

P.S. If you have time (26 min.),  I highly recommend this video: Ten Years Later: A Nation Remembers 9/11   This video is no longer public.