2014...So Far | Project Update


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

     *****This post was started on Jan. 15 and intended to be wrapped-up before illness enveloped our house, publishing as-is with updates to follow. *****

Well, hello there!!  I'm so happy to be back and even more thrilled to have a foot in the door to this new year.  I'm not one to wish away time, it goes by fast enough, but I needed a fresh start and there is nothing like the first page of a brand new calendar.  The first week of January had its challenges, mind you, that came in the form of snow and freezing temps.  To be honest, we welcomed the 12" or more of precipitation as it forced us to slow down and enjoy our weekend company from PA.  We watched movies and football, played games and ate entirely too much food.  To put the icing on the cake, Downton Abbey Season 4 began--woohoo!!!

a snowy Saturday of UNO...

followed by taco-night and the Eagles game

Our younger boys didn't start school on the 6th, or 7th and 8th.  Finally, after a late start, we had Sam back on the 9th.  Daniel woke up that Thursday morning with flu symptoms from the shot he got the day before, so he was home the whole week.  Gregg came home the same Thursday night with a stomach bug or food poisoning, not sure, which kept him home Friday too.  Whew, we got this year of to a great start!

In the midst of all the activity, however, I managed to complete a couple of things on my to-do list.  Yay me!!!  Remember that fabric from a few posts ago?  I finally made and installed 3 Roman shades for the kitchen, and one using a different fabric for the powder room.  I'm so happy with how they turned out and hope to include my tutorial here soon.  There are so many good patterns/directions out there, after pouring over them for weeks I ended up combining a couple to create my own.  There was probably one out there like mine, but at some point I hit information overload and decided to work with what I knew.

So, you know how when your in the middle of one project you start thinking that changing something else might make what your doing better?  Oh yeah, new project alert!!  The funny part about this one is that I didn't even have to sell it to Gregg, he was on-board from the start.  I think we'll step-by-step this one too.  It involves tools and paint, which makes him happy.  I gain added workspace to my kitchen, so you know I'm happy.  We're hoping to get started this weekend, wish us luck!

And, speaking of having a foot in the door, next Thursday my right one will be in a cast instead.  I've been having foot pain for some time, and after seeing Ortho learned it wouldn't be getting any better.  Go figure.  I'll be having a plate installed, to take the place of a bone that I don't have, which is the best option for not needing further surgery.  As I'll obviously be hanging around the house a bit more, my can-do-from-the-couch projects are all lined up.  I have a few books to read too.

Any projects in the works for any of you?  Has your weather kept you cozied up to a warm fire?

Happy New Year


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wishing you a 2014 full of beauty and bling,

and the resolve to avoid devouring a pound of chocolate-dipped pretzels in one sitting!!

Finding Baby Jesus | A Special Guest


Friday, December 27, 2013

I have been invited by my daughter to be a guest blogger.  I was excited!  If any readers know me at all you will know that I like to write and I like to talk.  It didn't take long for me to come up with what I wanted to say.

As a pastor, I deliver a children's sermon every Sunday.   During Advent I was giving the little message to the children, telling them that I have managed through the years to accumulate several nativity sets.  In early December we decorated our home for Christmas, deciding rather than displaying the nativity sets as a collection in one place, to put at least one in every room.  I was saying to the children that we have some that are large sets, some unique ones, some from foreign countries including one from Bethlehem.  I began to unwrap all the figures of that particular set, one by one.  First, the shepherds, sheep, wisemen, donkey, cow, and camel -- leading up to the holy family....Mary, Joseph and.....wait, where was the baby Jesus?  Jesus was missing.  As the children sat with mouths open and inquisitive looks on their faces, I was quickly thinking how I could bring my botched message around to something meaningful.  I knew that the Roman Catholic Churches don't place the Christ Child in their outdoor nativities until Christmas Eve night, so I talked about that and how other denominations often have different traditions from what we do, but in the end, we all celebrate and worship Jesus Christ as our Savior.  We had the prayer and the children left no doubt aware that I goofed but I find children to be very forgiving.

I have contemplated on that message quite a bit since then -- about how baby Jesus is missing from our celebrations this time of year and yet His birth is the very thing we are celebrating -- remember the old cliché, "Jesus is the reason for the season."

I am just wondering how many of us are missing the Baby Jesus in our lives?

Now an update:  When I got home from church that day I found Baby Jesus on a kitchen shelf (pictured).  He was with a different Mary and Joseph from another nativity set but that's okay -- the important thing is that we found Him.  I hope you have too....Blessings for a wonderfully happy and healthy New Year!

Blogger's Mom

Around Our House | Christmas Decorations


I love to decorate for Christmas.  I probably over decorate, at least in our current, smallish home.  It is so hard to pick and choose what goes up each year, so I use as much as I can without verging on tacky.  To some, I'm sure it is beyond tacky, but I love it and that's all that matters.  Here is a little glimpse of our home this holiday season--before it all comes down.

Antique German pine cupboard, mercury glass spheres above

Vintage Christmas ornaments

Welsh dresser with French pottery

One of MANY Vintage/Antique tree stands, this is my favorite

Old marmalade jar in my kitchen window
 Thanks for visiting!!

A Project in the Works


Thursday, December 26, 2013

I have an addiction.  To fabric.  Everyone knows this.  I don't try to hide it.  The problem with it now is, there isn't a place left in our house to stash my yardage. It appears that I might be hoarding it by the looks of my store room.  I don't pay much for it, and I have something in mind to make with each and every piece I buy.

This particular roll was a steal!!  Really, I nearly stole it.  They all but paid me to take it out of the store.  So, what's a girl to do?  Why, make new roman shades for my kitchen of course.  I've never made them, but I'm pretty sure I can.  At least I'm going to try.  It was cheap enough that if I mess up and the whole lot is lost, no biggie.  Actually, it would be a big deal because I really like the blockprint pattern on linen and I've been looking for something affordable like this for a while.

This is the perfect post-holiday project.  All the decorations come down and the house feels a little bare.  Dressing our windows in something other than the white, plastic mini-blinds that came with the quarters is exactly what's needed.  I've watched a dozen YouTube tutorials, read some online instructions and even bought a pattern.  I have all the hardware and lining. I think this is 11 yards, and my windows are small, so let's cross our fingers that I have enough for 3.  Now, where to begin?

I'll keep you posted as I go, but I'm not to the DIY tutorial stage yet.  Maybe after the first window is done and I'm sure of my steps, I'll post some pictures of how I did it.  Check back soon to see my progress.

John Robshaw for Duralee Kedara in aqua/cocoa

Traditions | Old & New


I have to chuckle a little when I hear the word tradition, so I'm thinking I should share why.  We were living in Ft. Leavenworth, KS--a lovely town, by the way--where our Sam was in preschool at St. Paul's. It must have been just before the holiday season as they were discussing family traditions in class.  When I picked him up from school one afternoon, his teacher asked if I could hang around for a bit.  Oh dear, what on earth has he done is surely what I was thinking at the time.  Anyway, she explained that they were sharing their family traditions for the holidays and that Sam had said ours was to 'clean the house and light smelly candles when people came to visit'.  HA!!  Mrs. B thought I might get a kick out of hearing his response, the teachers thought it was hilarious.  Most kids had said they go to Grandma's, have a turkey dinner, open one present Christmas Eve, etc.  Not Sam.  He had considered our protocol when having company, any time of year, as our family tradition.  I suppose he's right, as it's probably the one thing we consistently do to this day.  As my mother-in-law would say, 'out of the mouths of babes'!

So, what are our traditions?  Over the years they've varied greatly, mostly depending on where we live at the time.  For years, soon after we married, we lived in Germany and our tradition was to spend the holidays at home as it was too expensive to travel overseas.  There was always space-available travel, but we had no desire to potentially be stuck in airports with little ones the entire time, still worlds away from family with no guarantee of ever arriving at the destination.  UGH!!!  We loved our Christmas' in Europe though, so much so that I often catch myself wishing we could go back.

On Christmas Eve Gregg makes his signature chili--no recipe, just a lot of this and that--and we attend a candlelight church service wherever we are.  Then, we spend the rest of the night wrapping the last-minute gifts before falling asleep with tape in our hair.  We're awoken in the morning by the smell of coffee--brewed using the timer setting, learned that from experience--and at least two of the kids pleading with us to get up, Santa has come.  Stockings are opened first, then a break to put the pigs-in-a-blanket in the oven, finishing with presents one person at a time.  Our Christmas dinner also varies based on location.  If we're close enough to drive, we share the meal with family and exchange gifts after.  If not, we keep our meal very basic--ham, potatoes, something green and dessert.

Puzzles.  I think this is something we do no matter where we are.  We call it the 'Christmas puzzle', and I will stay up all night to finish once it's been poured on the table.  If I do happen to go to bed before it's done, you can bet I won't leave the house we're visiting until it's complete.  And if I do, then I'll be back at Spring Break to finish it up--Judy will attest to that!!

This year we changed it up a little.  To start, the boys didn't shop for each other.  Instead, they went shopping together, purchasing items for 2 children on The Giving Tree rather than spending so much on one another.  The 24th was spent much the same way, except Gregg did the grocery shopping and all the last-minute gift purchases--hallelujah!!  He also followed a new recipe for loaded baked potato soup, instead of chili.  It was fantastic!!  We went to the 11pm candlelight service at the  church I grew up in, rather than the one we attend now.  I caught up with a few friends that I haven't seen in years and my family got a glimpse at one of my childhood traditions.  The biggest difference this year, and I mean BIG, is that we got to sleep past 7am before being dog-piled awake to open presents.  It was one of those 'you know you're getting older' moments we had only dreamed of!  We've yet to do a puzzle, but the holiday isn't over so I probably shouldn't write that one off.

I don't know if the last couple of days will define how we do things next year, or the year after, but it really felt good to live in the moment and not be stuck doing something just because that's what we've always done. While I love a good tradition, I'm all about exploring new ones.  Look out 2014!!!

What are your favorite traditions?

*disclaimer--I did clean the house and light smelly candles this week for our one-and-only visitor, the jolly 'ol guy wearing his red suit.  Some traditions are hard to break!

Merry Christmas...


from our house to yours!!

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