A Haven for 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!

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! 

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!

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 winter...flowers 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

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!

Monday, November 21, 2011

No More Time for Goofing Off

Seriously. I think I'll have to shut the computer down today so that I can stay focused. I'm feeling a little vague and fuzzy.

What's on the docket:

1. Must clean the entire house and rake the yard and update the wreaths and do a bit of decorating.
2. Must finish painting moldings on the kitchen window over the sink and finish decorating same.

3. Must do some more grocery shopping.
4. Must tweak Thanksgiving menu.
5. Must take Molly to groomer's.
6. Must stop eating Thanksgiving groceries, see #3.
7. Must prepare stations in the dining area and set up tables.
8. Must wash linens and iron them.
9. Must cook up the pot roast for supper tonight.
10. Must practice making my squash *this way.*
11. Must research *slow roasting.*
12. Must gather fun things for the grands to do.
13. Must make some simple curtains for the front room.
14. Must wash windows.
15. Must visit apple orchard for more cider and apples.
16. Must wash the good dishes and gather platters and special serving dishes. 
17. Must take time to relax and enjoy the process.
18. Must remember what I'm forgetting.

Hope that you're all feeling as if everything is well under control. I'm feeling a little vague and fuzzy. Have I mentioned that already? 

Yesterday afternoon, John and I were out and about. I was looking for painter's cloth at Lowe's (see #13). In their parking lot was a row of the most beautiful trees with the foliage all still bright and mostly intact. It was amazing. We parked under them and enjoyed the view. Later, we saw this red house and I thought it looked especially like Thanksgiving. I like the white trim and the blue door, too.

Hope to catch you soon...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Who Are You? What Are You Living For?

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5: 9 NIV

Sometimes we Christians spend so much time on the topic of hell that we forget that God never designed hell for people. Let us emphasize the choice that each person has and remind our friends and family that when we invite Christ into our lives, He not only saves us from hell, He also saves us from our former lives of corruptness. Hell's punishment no longer awaits us even when we fail and fail we most certainly shall. Are we going to crucify Christ all over again to gain forgiveness for the sin committed this morning? NO! Of course not, He died once and for all and His blood takes away all sin for all time, IF we receive His gift—His sacrificed life.

It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11 The Message

When I hear myself slip into the "woe is me a miserable lousy rotten piece of nothing," mode, I know that I am  doing precious little to live up to my full potential in Christ. Further, it is so vile and unattractive that precious few would want to become a Christian like me. It is the devil's ploy.

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 The Message

Now that's something to give thanks for!

Blessings to you this Sunday...

comments are closed

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Polish or Not to Polish

Should I polish the silver silverplate? Because I'd rather do just about anything else. Do you enjoy polishing silver? I've learned that there are quite a few who do.

A happy weekend to you...

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Bad, Very Bad, Haircut ( Scene II )

Do you mind a reprise? One way to find out, I suppose. Stay tuned, I am going to show you a front and back view of the offending haircut. I'll toss in a photo of the second cut and a before and after comparison. You know how much I love those.

Brief summary of events... The day before yesterday I had my hair cut. If you don't agree with my assessment that it was awful, nay disgusting, I'll eat an entire bag of M&Ms! Yesterday, I had "the fix" done at three in the afternoon. I can tell from some of your comments — Barb, yours was priceless and had me in tears laughing—that you understand. Oh to be understood. It's one of the great joys of blogging.

Like so many of you, I shut down when my hair isn't cut properly or doesn't look good. I could not go do my errands or go shopping for Thanksgiving. I was simply too upset. Wait until you see how upset. Perhaps you should fix yourself a cup of coffee first...

Now I feel that I must warn you so that you can remove small children and pets from the room. The following picture is mildly somewhat deeply disturbing.

Man! I knew that I was upset, but that's wild! Those eyes. Those horrible eyes. Are they open or closed? They're both! < insert a shiver > Almost takes one's mind off the hair, doesn't it?!

Front ~ Before

Phew! That's better. Gotta protect the innocents.

Back ~ Before

Here's the current haircut.

Looking a Bit Better I think

So now the before and after.

Before and After

John just marched in and asked me why I had a photo of M*uammar G*addfi here. 


Have a fun day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Bad, Very Bad, Haircut

In light of the morning's news and all that nasty weather in the Southeast United States, a bad haircut doesn't amount to much. I must keep things in perspective.

Women seem to fall into two camps with regard to a bad haircut. The first is a nonchalant whatever approach with a good old philosophical it'll grow tossed in. The second is What in the world? This is NOT what I requested.

My reaction is the second. I have been growing my hair out from very short a year ago to what I had hoped to keep at a medium length. That's because my husband does not like my hair short and I don't like my hair long so I was looking for a happy compromise.

I walked in with plenty of hair and another photo. This one gleaned after an internet search.

Yes, I took in just what you see above and the hairdresser and I discussed all these notes and she had the picture right there on her counter. I knew that it was going horribly awry even as she hacked away. We discussed it again. It made little difference. I walked out with very short hair and irregular choppy bits sticking up all over the place.

It's so bad that everyone who has seen me has commented, including my neighbor who recommended his own hairdresser. Ha! John thinks that a roving herd of squirrels attacked me. Whatever, I must call as soon as the shop opens and make a new appointment. The thing is, my hair will be even shorter when it is fixed. Believe me, there is precious little length left at all. This is so disappointing after one has been growing her hair out for this long.

Still, in the great scheme of things, it's a minor issue and it will grow again.

Now, do you have a hair cut story you'd like to share? Believe me, I'm all ears. No, really, all ears.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Little Whatevers and Some Christmas Thoughts

Nothing too exciting going on around here today...

Oh wait! Yes, it's time for my hair to be trimmed this morning. I found yet another picture to take with me this time so I'll probably have the most confused hairdresser ever. I'm pretty sure that she already thinks I'm a nut. No comments please. Whether I show you my new do depends upon how well you behave until I get back or whether I'm in tears. Because, believe me, I can be reduced to tears by bad hair days. I can. I am that shallow.

The following is an excellent good sense article printed in its entirety about Christmas shopping. It's time for most of us to begin thinking about these things. I first read it while visiting Diane who writes a wonderful (and sadly private) blog. I believe she said that this comes from one of the ubiquitous forwards we all receive.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone, yes EVERYONE, gets his/her hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

I don't believe that that's what Christmas is all about, but I still like the article. Thank you, Diane!

(Feel free to copy and share with your friends and family.)

For even more excellent and practical suggestions, visit Coffee Tea Books and Me Being a Blessing During the Holidays.

Have a blessed day...


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Party

The Pilgrims came to America not to accumulate riches but to worship God, and the greatest wealth they left unborn generations was their heroic example of sacrifice that their souls might be free.
~Harry Moyle Tippett

When I think of Thanksgiving, the holiday falling on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States (and the second Monday in October in Canada), I think of the richness of its history. I love the stories of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, the Indians, and Squanto. Thanksgiving is a celebratory holiday meaningful in its simplicity: Gratitude, Giving Thanks to God, Appreciation. It's my favorite holiday.


This is where all holiday preparations begin at my haven—in the dishpan! I'd like to be one who uses the best china all year through; unfortunately, mine stays in the china cupboard and is brought out for special occasions only. It needs a good hot bath.

Next up is preparing the table, which in my world means a table pad. This provides the foundation for the tablecloth and the table settings. If you ever find one in a flea market, nab it. Do they still sell them in stores? I have not yet found one. My mother never owned one; both grandmothers did. Perhaps it's an old-fashioned thing. I have always made a makeshift one using triple tablecloths or sheets or even a blanket. This year, I finally made my own from quilting batting, an old tablecloth and an old sheet. It works like a charm.

My! What lovely photos I'm showing. Well, let's just continue in this vein shall we? 

This was what was going on right outside the dining room bay window while I set the table. I'd love to know what he was thinking as he watched me play while he worked. Up and down that ladder again and again. (We're both thankful for the amazing weather and I am especially thankful for his knowledge and hard work.)

And it was fun to play. I think the table is too matchy-matchy, though I have time to think of ways to change it up a bit. Perhaps dig out the chargers or use different water glasses. I still love my paternal grandmother's Friendly Village set after all these years.

In our world, the food is the centerpiece, though I do hope that there'll be fresh flowers in the house.

 This simple decoration...a Jack B. Little pumpkin on a candlestick is thanks to seeing something similar at Penny's Comforts of Home.
Time ran away on me again and so I have two simple Thanksgiving/Holiday recipes to share. Simple being the operative word.

1. To dress up a pumpkin pie, make some cinnamon sugar and lightly sprinkle it on top of the pie in the last five or so minutes of baking. It will make the pie look even more festive and it tastes great.

2. These yummy little treats, kind of healthful, too, if one doesn't go overboard on the cream cheese, can be made with the above ingredients: dates, walnuts, cream cheese.

They're a holiday tradition around here. Neither John nor I minded eating a few for the cause.

Two blogs have been doing a wonderful job with Thanksgiving specifics. Specificity is not a talent I am gifted with so I really admire what these gals do.

The first is Jen at My Southern Table whose post titled Holiday Entertaining Timeline is invaluable. 

The second is Cheryl at Thinking About Home whose post titled Thanksgiving: Making It Fun for the Kids discusses a subject near and dear to my heart. (Thanksgiving hasn't always been my favorite holiday.  = )

Happy Thanksgiving planning to you...