Friday, December 30, 2011

A Painted Home

My daughter's room
We moved in to this house, our home, over 5 years ago.  It took some major work... tearing up old carpet, laying down new flooring, painting walls and ceilings... and that was just getting it to a liveable condition.

We continue to update, as we go... it's a never-ending process really... as any homeowner will tell you.

My husband handles the carpentry, plumbing, electrical tasks.  You know, the 'This Old House' sort of projects.  One thing I don't mind helping out with is painting.  It was my "job" to choose the color scheme for our home ~ two shades of yellow downstairs, and light tan for the bedrooms.

I've gradually added hand-painted details too... such as a blue diamond pattern above the kitchen cabinets, large white roses on a wall on either side of the kitchen sink, a red, textured back splash behind the oven, a brown patterned border in my daughter's room...

So, as I was organizing one of my kitchen cupboards, it occurred to me that the inside could look so much better with a little paint!  After removing our spices, the white liner was ripped out... there was a certain satisfaction in it, I must say!  Fortunately, I found it to be nice and clean... and unfinished underneath.

I gathered my acrylics, and chose brick red for the base color ~ mustard yellow for details.  The red was applied first and allowed to dry.  Next I painted a simple pattern resembling wheat for the trim.  After everything edible was removed from the area, I used a spray acrylic sealer to protect my work... although, I might try a different sealer next time.

This project was finished about a month ago, and it seems to be holding up.  Just wiped it down this morning, and didn't see any marks...  My plan is to finish the rest of the kitchen cabinets through the upcoming winter months.

It may seem like a lot of trouble to go through for such a little thing... my cabinets stay closed most of the time... but I can't tell you how many times I've smiled...

opening up that cupboard door... to see the mundane made pretty

looking up from washing dishes... to see a garden of white roses

or looking up with my daughter... to see flowers

In those moments all the trouble I've gone through is worth it.
I see much more painting in our home's future!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Re-purposed Centerpiece

Yesterday, I happened across this post at The Vintage Bag Lady blog.  The beautiful pictures inspired me to create a re-purposed centerpiece of my own.  I loved the idea of placing a pillar candle at the base of a vintage metal loaf pan, so that was my starting point...

My loaf pan isn't perfect... a while back I winced 
upon discovering it'd developed a circle of rust.
Now I like how the rusty imperfections glow in the candlelight.

This metal cup/scoop was a little Christmas gift from mom...
First, I placed the open handle over a side of my wooden box
(actually an old drawer found in our barn).
 In went a candle, then a little rosehip potpourri.

I made these orange pomanders last year... 
they dried nicely, and even retained their spicy, citrus scent. 

To make: 
Use a small nail to poke a pattern in the orange peel (try not to go too deep).
Place whole cloves in through those holes, and dust with cinnamon.
It's a good idea to rotate the fresh pomanders so they dry evenly.

I elevated the white candles on a few old metal pieces...
a small tarnished cup, and the filter from an enamelware coffee-maker.
Added a few sprigs of pine, and that was it!

"Nothing is what it was intended to be, 
in the hands of a creative person."
~ Steve Supple ~

I'm linking this project idea with:
Rustic, Recycled, And Chic

 Hope you leave here feeling inspired...
thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Visit From St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, 
and to all a good-night!"

 ~ Clement C. Moore, 1822 ~

Best wishes to you for a wonderful Christmas!

"When we recall Christmas past, 
we usually find that the simplest things 
~ not the great occasions ~ 
give off the greatest glow of happiness."  

~ Bob Hope ~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Gift Tags

Here are a few sets of gift tags 
I'd love to share with you...

Saving instructions: 
Right click and select 'view image.'
Click again to enlarge the picture. 
Select 'save image as' to save to your computer.

Santa receiving a message...

 Pastel Merry Christmas

Snowy Cottage & Poinsettias

Thanks to sites offering beautiful free vintage images
I was able to create these gift tags.  
Here are the image credits:

Thank you for stopping by!
Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Best Gift

Rushing and buying
Making lists and more lists
Seeking presents for loved ones
Wondering, "Do they already have this?"

Weaving and dodging,
Store in and store out
It's hard to decide
With so many about

Will this go with that?
Does this even make sense?
I hope so after all the effort
I've put in to this!

Finally, I'm finished!
Every item is bought!
Why then, don't I feel
Content with this lot?

Because I know things are just that
The most meaningful gifts
Are treasures bestowed without
All the "What if's"

The gift of yourself,
Your time and your love,
Patience with others,
Simple graces from above.

No one questions those gifts,
There aren't returns or complaints,
Always happily accepted,
Only one thing remains...

Next year, this I'll remember
Before all of the shopping...
I'll save myself a few trips,
And a whole lot of walking!

~ Megan Berry ~


Do you ever feel like something's missing after all the presents are bought?  
Remember, the best gift of all was given to us long, long ago...

For God so loved the world that  
He gave His one and only Son
that whoever believes in Him  
shall not perish but have eternal life.

~ John 3:16 NIV ~

Merry Christmas to you & yours!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Due Time

I always have mixed feelings when I think about today.  First, I celebrate the birth of my son... he was born 5 years ago ~ December 11th, 2006.  The birth of a child is always a miracle... but it's scary when they're born sooner than expected.  I also remember my Grandpa Ross' passing on that very same day... it's sad when someone leaves this earth sooner than expected...

The course of events surrounding that December 11th were full of many highs and lows.  Now, 5 years later, I can reflect on what happened with a clearer perception.

Some may say this is all coincidence... well, judge for yourself... 

I got very sick in the beginning of December with a flu-like virus.  It was the worst I can remember feeling ~ ever ~ and being 8 months pregnant intensified everything.  I couldn't sleep all night on the 9th, and on December 10th, I awoke from a nap with strong contractions just 3 minutes apart.  I knew if I didn't get to the hospital fast my baby would be in trouble.

My husband and daughter came home from church just when I needed them.  I know Chad broke the speed limit all the way to the hospital, and I was admitted immediately around noon.  The plan was to stop my labor if possible.  I was given a continuous series of shots, IV medications which burned my veins, and fluids for hydration.

As night came, I would drift off to sleep only to be jolted awake by a contraction.  The medications weren't helping.  In the morning, the doctor came in and said it was time to deliver my baby... and now.  Without even the option of an epidural, pitocin was administered.

As a nurse, I knew what pitocin does... and it's a very helpful drug for speeding up labor.  It also has a very, very... very painful effect if you have no epidural.  Thanks be to God, Zachary was born soon after I received it.

While I was suffering to bring life in to the world, another precious life was ebbing away.  My Grandpa Ross was in another area hospital, holding on to life, but not for long.  After I gave birth to a son, Zachary Andrew, the word was relayed to my Grandpa's bedside just hours before he drew his final breath.

Zachary Andrew means "the Lord remembers" and "strong and courageous".  So many of the nurses, and even doctors would come in and say, "Babies just know when it's their time to come."  I will forever believe that Zachary came exactly one month before his January 11th due date for a purpose... because even as everything medically possible was done to hold him back, he still found a way to come in to this world.

Zachary had to stay in the hospital for a week to receive IV and oxygen therapy.  I wasn't able to bring him to my room, he had to stay in the nursery.  After my discharge, I was able to stay in a small room across from the nursery.   I was able to watch him and I could visit and hold his hand... but not him.  The nurses had no obligation to check on me, but they did.  Their kindness and compassion I will always remember.

After that long week, we brought our little one home.  He seemed so fragile and small.  I prayed that God would remember our little Zachary and help him grow strong.

In these 5 years, we've witnessed a miracle as Zachary has grown from being a prematurely born, small baby... in to a physically strong boy.  At his last check-up he surpassed the expected height and weight for his age by quite a large margin.  He appears to be older than his sister, and people are always surprised to hear he was born early.

Then again...

Is it all coincidence that Zachary arrived 'early'?  Would Grandpa be proud of the boy who arrived on the day he took his leave?  I believe he would.... and is.
So, do you believe this is a story of coincidences?  As for me, I will forever believe God's will far outweighs any human expectation.  Yes, this day will always be a day of mixed emotions.  It saddens me that I'll always be able to count the years my Grandpa has been gone by the age of my son.  However, I feel hopeful also... believing in due time we will all meet again.

Perhaps Grandpa and Zachary will already be acquainted...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie Inspiration

Baking Christmas cookies is one of our family's favorite holiday traditions.  You probably have a few go-to recipes, recipes handed down through the generations, or maybe a few you'd like to try out.  I've posted two cookie recipes on here that I came across in a little red recipe box.  The first is for Molasses Sugar Cookies, and the other for Vicki's Chocolate Crinkles.

I happened to see Gooseberry Patch's Recipe Round-Up, where they're featuring cookies, and shared the Chocolate Crinkle recipe there.  If you're looking for cookie-baking inspiration, head on over.  You're sure to find something that strikes your fancy!

Hope you'll check it out...   

Merry Christmas, and happy baking!