Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Something I've been meaning to share- my "courage" necklace, ordered from this lovely lady earlier this month.

I would say that this is my 'word for the year' except I have a sneaking suspicion that this is really a word for my lifetime.

Right before Christmas I read this passage from the devotional Jesus Today, and the words fell hard and powerfully. I knew they were for me:
Be of good courage, and I will strengthen your heart. I want my children to be brave- not cowardly. In fact, the Bible contains warnings for "the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers."
. . .
Though your circumstances may indeed be painful and difficult, they are not worthless. So muster the COURAGE to say yes to your life, trusting that I am in control and I am with you in your struggles.
Come to Me with a courageous heart, hoping in Me, and I will bless you in many ways. Moreover, I will multiply your small act of bravery: I will strengthen your heart.

And after reading this, the word 'COURAGE' would not leave my mind. 

Confession time here: I know I'm a big chicken. I have dreams and lots of excuses for not pursuing them. I avoid confrontations like the plague. I hide if I can- both from people and hard situations (I would make a great hermit if I could get away with it!). I struggle with making most decisions because of fear of getting it wrong.

Fear is my greatest enemy. 
And it comes in more forms than I've realized.

And something else I've come to realize? It's not okay for me to be a coward. I was made to live life- not run from it.

So that explanation may be a bit long-winded but it's the reason for having 'courage' bound around my neck.

And funny enough- knowing I would need the word 'courage' this year, kind of put the fear- and excitement-  of "what is going to happen in 2014?" into me. And as if right on cue, just last week, in the midst of the crazy busy, I got the call from my Mom telling me my grandfather has pancreatic cancer . . . and five days later, we find out my grandmother (his wife) has cancer, too. 

Yup, God knew what He was talking about when He said I would need courage this year. I was kinda hoping the courage would be needed in other areas -like taking steps to pursue my artistic dreams- and maybe it will, but right now courage means facing the nitty-gritty-hard-stuff. With grace, I hope.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

~The Pinks and Greens of My Week~

Another week gone by. Shockingly fast, too! It seems the better I get, the more that pops up to take care of! There's been school stuff with the boys, much needed house cleaning and care (you can imagine the state of my home after 3 months of illness!),
appointments, paperwork type things that have been put off and some unexpected emotional family stuff (but that's for another post). 
Ironically, as I took a look at the photos I managed to squeeze in this week, I noticed an unintended theme: pink and green

So with out further ado, here is my week in Pinks and Greens.

Among the biggest things taking oodles of time this week has been the making of twenty bridal shower invitations and corresponding bachlorette invites as well. The bride's colors are mint green and rose. Pretty, don't you think? 

Truly, it's almost funny how it goes- you can be asked to take on a project, look at your calendar and see that you should have reasonable time to do it, accept said project and then in a blink of an eye, life explodes and all that empty calendar space gets eaten up along with other things that take a toll. Or at least, that seems to be my life. Anyone else?

I've enjoyed designing and making these . . . but I admit I have an even greater joy in the fact that they're finally done!

And speaking of joy, these gorgeous pink lilies from The Husband have been bringing me tons of happiness this week! Not only that, but we have had a good deal of sunshine and I have absolutely LOVED seeing it shining through the vase onto the table . . .
Happy, happy, happy . . .See?! Isn't it just lovely? I walk through the dining room and I'm constantly stunned with the beauty and the fresh smell of spring. Heavenly!!
This shot I took yesterday (Friday) in an effort to capture the light as well as my new thrift store treasures- a set of four rose painted dessert plates for only $3!

I'm in love! :)

Also this week, I had to do some baking- it's my latest way of counteracting stress- and if this past week has been anything (aside from pink and green,) then stressful is the word. 
So, a new recipe was tried and triumphantly received by all.

It's a nice bread, not too sweet and beyond heavenly with the cream cheese spread. A bit crumbly to be sure, but very good non the less.
And yes, perfect served on a pink and green flowered plate. :)

Here's the recipe from the Totally Teatime Cookbook. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Tea Bread with Vanilla Cream Cheese

1 3/4 cups four (it calls for all purpose, but I used whole wheat)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (I used pecans instead)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
Combine flour, baking powder and soda in bowl. Mix with fork.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Sprinkle in cocoa and beat until smooth; then pour in buttermilk and mix. Add flour mixture and lightly beat until flour disappears. Lightly beat in nuts then spoon batter into loaf pan.
Smooth top and bake one hour or until knife comes out clean when inserted. (Don't fret about cracked top of bread) Let cool in pan on rack, then invert and cool on rack. Serve with Vanilla Cream Cheese.

Vanilla Cream Cheese

3oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Beat ingredients together until combined and transfer to serving crock.
( fyi: this only makes 1/2 a cup and we ran out half way through the loaf. I plan on doubling the recipe next time )

~I hope you have a lovely weekend~

(and if you try the tea bread, let me know what you think!)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

~Kitty ~ Corner~

It was a good, but busy week. Good, because after three months of illness I am once again able to drive . . . busy, because after three months of illness I am once again able to drive!

Took the Oldest to the bank to open his first bank account . . . ran lots of long-put-off-errands . . . met with girlfriends to plan another friend's bridal shower. . . ran all over town looking for supplies for invitations . . . picked up the Youngest from school each day as well as constant post office runs after reopening my Ebay shop. After all those weeks pining after freedom from the house I am so ready to never leave it again! Or at least not for a couple days . . .  
I did manage to get a little kitty love in with this fluffy guy and his brother. There's always time for a furry lap warmer in the winter. In fact, a cat on the lap is a good excuse not to get up for awhile. They make you to a rest.

And as far as furry friends go, this week I also managed to finish up this felty for a dear friend's very belated birthday . . .
I had fun designing him and adding some details . . . who doesn't want a kitty with 'hi' on their behind? It's a lot nicer that some of the stuff my living/breathing fur-balls have brought home on their behinds. ;)
Anyway, I hope she likes him!

Also wanted to share a little corner of my home. I thought it was pretty bathed in a quick moment of sunlight earlier this week.

And then there are these two handsome boys to make it shine as well.

And my small collection of vintage brown transferware. The dainty little creamer was a gift from a sweet friend. Isn't it lovely all lit up with sunshine?

And speaking of sun, we were lucky enough to have a sun-filled, dry Saturday today. The Husband and the Youngest did some tidying up in the garden while I did some well overdue dusting/cleaning/picking up in the house. And the Oldest spent the whole day at a videogame convention. *sigh*

At least we will all be together tomorrow for sure. . . in front of the tv, eating artichoke dip while sweating bullets and shouting at the top of our lungs. Yes, there's football tomorrow! Go Hawks! :)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Some new goodies are perking up my living room and making me very happy!

A new banner hanging from the mantle spells out 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' in snowflakes and vintage glass beads. I had lots of fun making this a couple weeks ago. And in a couple more weeks it will be time to think of something else to welcome Valentine's Day.

A new throw blanket for snuggling into. My old one was becoming a rag and wasn't even keeping me warm. I bought this one last weekend with some birthday money . . . it is SO incredibly soft. I absolutely love it- and so does Quinn as you can see. He's modeling just how soft and snug it is, which is very kind of him. He's very obliging that way. However, when it comes to sharing the blanket you will find that to be an entirely different matter. Don't let that sweet face fool you: his claws are sharp and he's not afraid to use them.

Finally, a new table lamp to help light up a dark corner. Also purchased with birthday money. I'm very pleased with the height and quality of light it gives out- it's just right for reading or stitching in the evening. 

So what's new with you? :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

~Stay Young~

I had a different post in mind for today as I have some special things I wanted to share, and even the dark gloom and clouds we've been having had lifted this morning in full cooperation with picture taking . . . and then my camera battery died before I could even get started! So those things will just have to wait, which is probably for the best because I am in a state of just too tired anyway. My brain is at about 12% capacity today and I'm not even exaggerating. Much better to wait until it's back at it's usual 55%. ;)

I do, however, have something else to share . . . something that I can just copy down word for word for you and don't have to think past that. This is a short inspirational bit that one of my dearest friends read to all of us attending her 50th birthday party last summer. It's something she had found in an old magazine of her father's from back in the 50's or 60's and it spoke deeply to her. I also think it's beautiful and very true and I want to keep it in mind always. I hope you will be encouraged by it as I have.

So without further ado, this is how to . . .

Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind, it is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over love of ease.
Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self distrust, fear, these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.
Whether seventy or sixteen there is in every being's heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement at the stars, the starlight things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the child-like joy and the game of life.
You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your doubt; as young as your faith, as old as your fear. 
As long as your heart receives messages of power: from the earth, from man and from the Infinite, so long you are young.

The Youngest being Young
- August 2012-


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

~Bread and a Book~

 I just finished putting the bread machine to work and now the whirl of the paddle can be heard out in the kitchen. It's a triumphant sound as I haven't made bread (or much of anything) since I got sick. It's been months since that sound has been heard or the house has smelled like heaven as it bakes. The clean up, however, has not been done yet as the above picture proves. My knees are still very painful so the ten or so minutes it took to stand and measure ingredients into the bread machine will now require a good 30 mins of sit down time to make up for it. Clean up will have to wait.

The other sound I'm hearing is the constant spattering of rain and wind against the windows. It shakes the panes of this old house and makes it sound like someone trying to break in. I took this picture while I was still out in the kitchen- that's my view from the kitchen sink and as you can see 2 o'clock in the afternoon here looks no different than early morning or late evening. I wish it was bright and white with snow, but we just don't get much of that in the good ol' Pacific Northwest. However, we also don't get -0 temperatures either, so I won't complain (too much) ;)

A treasure came in the mail a couple days ago- a little treat I bought for myself with leftover gift card money. Another book by Gladys Taber to add to my humble collection! And it's one I have not read yet, so I'm savoring the anticipation of digging into it. 

Doesn't it look well with the others? I found Gladys and her books a couple years ago after being introduced to them by the lovely Susan Branch. And of course I'm hooked . . . and of course, they are out of print and hard to come by. And of course, that makes them even better! :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

~Monday Stuff~

A new week.

Boys went back to school today. Husband back to work . . . not that he hadn't been there prior to the weekend. 

I sat in my chair with a hot cup of coffee and cream, wrapped in my blanket and warm cat on my lap, waved them all off and rejoiced in a quiet house. Quiet, but COLD! The sun we had last week has turned back to the usual Pacific Northwest grey and the forecast is calling for lots of rain and freezing temps. I say if it's gonna get this cold, it better just snow. Which it won't . . . sigh. :(

I spent a good part of my morning applying for health insurance online . . . and had to come to a halt when I needed to supply info. that the Husband is unable to find. I'm sure it will turn up, but it was a disappointment to not just get it finished. I hate doing that kinda stuff and don't want it hanging over my head, you know?

I've been working on some little felties lately . . . the one above was delivered to my Grammie just today as a belated birthday gift. When you are very ill for three months, you end up with a lot of belated birthdays! So currently, I'm working on another for a dear friend who celebrated her birthday last October- the day after the Oldest turned 14. Yes, I missed my Oldest son's birthday too! But he got a football- I don't think a stuffed felt animal would have worked. ;) 

Here's to another Monday and a fresh week ahead . . .


Saturday, January 4, 2014

~Today and Tomorrow~


The sun shone nearly all day and made me yearn for gardening . . .
Plenty of banana muffins (made yesterday) were consumed, along with molasses cookies from my Mother. . .
There was laundry washed, floors vaccumed, groceries shopped for . . . but none of it by me . . .
Christmas was packed away. The Youngest helped. Never has there been an easier time of it as the only decorations brought out this year were stockings and only one box of ornaments for the tree. Bliss! . . .
Cats were played with. That's Quinn up there in a blur attacking his homemade cat toy . . .
Husband took me to Michael's to purchase embroidery floss for a project. Ended up finding a 'portable studio' to use for my crafting. It's really just a glorified lapdesk, but 'portable studio' is workin' for me . . .
Raviloli for dinner and a movie planned for later . . .


Sunday breakfast as a family (a mandatory Sunday tradition) . . .
Husband in the basement with football; me upstairs with some crafting (on the portable studio), tea, my book and more cookies . . .
Downton Abbey to look forward to in the evening (and a Husband who likes to watch it with me!) . . .

All in all, not a bad weekend! :)


Friday, January 3, 2014

~Blue Skies But Cloudy Within~

Proof that there was sun and blue sky this morning . . . if only for a little while.

Agh, I'm tired today!!

Though at this point I'm quite used to being sleep deprived, this tired is a little different than my norm- more of an emotional tired than a real physical one. And coffee makes no dent in it- though I've tried.

This is the kinda tired where you want to see no one, do nothing, and try nothing and not even your favorite occupations can distract you from it. You're cranky and pouty and annoyed with yourself for being so. It's the tired that finds you unable to start the creative project you planned, because in the mode you're in you know you'll just screw it up.

A tired where instead of enjoying the morning's blue sky and bright sun you spend all morning angry at your husband because during the night you dreamed that he cut down the blue spruce tree that used to be in your grandparents' front yard . . . years ago. And worse, he did so without asking you. And further more, when you confront him about it as he lounges on the couch, he answers you nonchalantly that you have no right to say anything about it because you're not the type of person who makes quick comebacks. 

That kind of tired.

So here I am, trying to put it out there so I can start moving upward and onward. There are banana muffins to bake and though I am still incredibly sore all over, I'm thinking that if I take it in small stints I may actually get them made. And I'm kinda thinking muffins and Earl Grey could make things a wee bit better. Especially paired with the book I've been reading . . . The Blue Hills, by Elizabeth Goudge. Does anyone else read Elizabeth Goudge? She's out of print but I adore her books. This one I happen to be borrowing from my mother as they're hard to come by. Yes, I'm definitely thinking a long stretch of reading and some muffins may be the answer here. 
I'm off to the kitchen- the sun just came out again. :)


Thursday, January 2, 2014

~Hobbling Forward~

The sun burned away the fog and came out to say hello this morning. 

I had just returned from letting my chiropractor put both my hips back in place and it was beautiful and just what I needed. The sun I mean. Well, actually while not necessarily beautiful, I really needed my hips back in place as well. Especially for the sake of my knees which have been swollen and incredibly painful thanks to my hips' discontentment with their God-intended placement. I am now sore all over from my adjustment, but grateful to know I am I as I should be . . . for the time being. I have seen dear Todd (my chiropractor) so often over the last month that if my husband wasn't the one driving me there all the time, he may think there was something else going on. ;)

But seriously, the sun really has been wonderful and I even manged to take a couple decent photos because of it. The little white pitcher full of vintage silver is in my dining room and the door knob happens to be the one on my Oldest son's door. I adore our knobs- original to the house- and this one is the only one that gets any sunlight. It kind of sparkled at me when I was hobbling down the hall and I knew it needed it's picture taken.

As for the rest of the day, I have been enjoying peaceful winter pursuits . . . some reading, lots of hot coffee drinking and some thank you note writing. My boys have been off at their Nana's for days and things have been deliciously quiet around here lately. And a little lonely. Sometimes, a lot lonely.

That's why I was so touched and overjoyed to receive such kind comments on my last post after such a long spell of silence on my part. They literally took away my loneliness and made my heart soar- no exageration. Isn't it amazing how even just one comment can make you feel connected and human again in the best sense of the word? At least I think so. I did not have any expectations, just started blogging again more out of a desire to feel like myself during this illness-induced hermitage than anything else. It reminded me again of why I even started blogging in the first place . . . just to connect to other people; maybe even make some friends.

So, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and say hi . . . it's those little bits of ourselves that we give back that keep us all moving- or, in my case, hobbling- forward. 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

~Snippets from December~

It's been a long time. 
And yes, I did indeed fall off the face of the Earth. 
In a manner of speaking, of course. 
I would love to say that I was busy enjoying life over the last three months I've been absent from this blog: crafting and painting, reading good books, cleaning the garden for winter; cozying up to a fire with a purring cat on my lap; baking and making homemade soups. I would really love to say that. But the truth of it is that the last three months have been spent with doctors, lots of pain, severe dehydratration, sleepless nights, endless episodes of The Wonder Years, hospitals, my first ambulance adventure and the month of November spent living with my mother to nurse me back to some semblance of health. Oh, and lice.

Let's just say that I am hopeful that the worst of it is over. I still have a long road to full recovery. I can't drive yet and stairs are my worst enemy, but comparatively the month of December was heaven next to the six weeks that lead up to it. 

Christmas was wonderful as it was the least stressful I have ever experienced and somehow, despite all that I can't do right now, presents were wrapped and some festive decorations were put up. We were able to host Christmas dinner for our family and I even found myself doing a little crafting to fill my soul. I look back at December and declare it a month full of little miracles all adding up to something more.

I have lots of hope for what is around the corner. I am so relieved to say hello to a new year and open my arms to all the most impossible possibilities. 

Happy New Year, my friends.