29 November, 2011


It's been a tough year for our families.  Thankfully, at least according to the calendar, it's drawing to a close.

We each have some unfinished business but, voices are steadier.  
Outlooks are changing.  Plans are taking shape.
It seems as though the worst is passed.
I hope so - for all of us.

Today the sun is shining.  I do love winter's sunshine.

In the interest of fresh starts, there are four new stockings
hung by the chimney with care.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the fireplace?

Next week I'll put a package in the mail for Jacob and Amy, in Portland.
I'll head to Minneapolis for a few days with Naphtali and Aidan.
The semester will end.
Plans will be finalized for family gatherings over Christmas.
In a few short weeks, projects around the house will be finished and
family that can, will gather - somewhere.

Snow will probably fall.

Each of us will deal with the times and our circumstances
as best we can.
We'll talk - compare notes - listen.

I imagine we'll hum snippets of Christmas carols, bake cookies, wrap packages and
enjoy the winter's sunshine.

27 November, 2011

Can you believe it!?

We've all become accustomed to watching gas prices rise as a holiday weekend approaches. 
 Starting around $3.17 - gas prices fell all week. 
Gas was $2.99 on Friday night 
making the trip
 over the river and through the woods a bit easier this year.
I went up to Fort Dodge to spend Thanksgiving with my mother and sister, as Tim was working.
The day was mild.
The food was great and we found plenty to laugh about during the visit.

24 November, 2011

kindly thoughts

Wherever you might be, 
with whomever you're sharing the day,
I trust your heart is full
and at peace.

Enjoy a day of giving thanks.

20 November, 2011

And another...

I've recently been enamored by the process of waxing - coating leaves etc with varying layers of paraffin.
There is a narrow window of time as the wax cools to a certain viscosity
for optimum coverage.  It's rather fun.   

This would traditionally have been the time for starting my gingerbread house, but this year I'll miss 
out on the display held at my library in Nebraska. 
Lucky for me, my new, local library is offering folks a chance to decorate wreaths, which will then be available at a silent auction as a fund raiser for the new building project.

So I brought home a wreath, and using waxed components for a subdued wintry-look, decorated it.

 Some subtle glittery paint adds to the frosty sparkle.  At least I think it does.
Tomorrow it will return to the library for display until time for the community auction 
on December 4.

Now that I've conquered my fear of bow making maybe this will become a new tradition.

15 November, 2011


This is a picture of just one of yesterday's projects. 
I painted the trim for the bathroom.

 Notice the dog.  
Notice, too, the large box in the background.
That box is the reason I cancelled a visit from my mother.

It contains our new toilet.

Plans had been made many weeks ago for my mother to come for some shopping on Sunday, overnight, and enjoy a leisurely couple stops before she headed home on Monday.  
It would have been fun.
The bathroom project was begun weeks ago after she and I made our plans.

The simple paint job took on a life of its own it becomes problematic to have overnight company with no public bathroom
and I'm still waiting to reclaim my bathroom.

Today I have a last coat of sealant to apply to the tile floor which turned out very well.  
I need to get a water line for the toilet, which has been set.

The trim has yet to go around the edges of the floor but it's been painted.  
There are hooks and knobs to be put in their respective places.
Doors to be returned to their hinges.
We'll get there.

Here's a picture of an earlier step in the process:
I'm scraping off the old flooring.
Turned around to stretch and look who's camped in the three feet of space behind me!?!

We'll get there.

13 November, 2011

Today's special

A busy couple weeks, all in all.  
Projects to the left.  Projects to the right. Projects inside and out.
 Ideas percolating for yet more projects.

I've been scraping flooring from the floor.  Painting.  Rearranging closets.  Assembling shelves.
Getting Aidan's countdown to Christmas ready.
Tracking Jacob's recovery.  Baking.  

Here's a glimpse of a recent well not so recent project to carry you over til I can get 
my head above water with all the rest.
I love yes love interesting containers.  I'll admit a weakness when it looks me in the eye.
Several more than several years ago Naphtali and I found a sidewalk sale at a local mall.  I picked up
a box containing 6 dozen bells for around 2 bucks.  
It was the box I wanted.

True - I have used and enjoyed the bells for a variety of reasons.  They have been decorations, adorned packages and they even hang from the doorknob for Charlie to signal his need to go out.

This summer I decided the three levels of divided trays would make a perfect home for my pins and earrings.

They dividers were removed, the trays lined with black velvet, and the dividers replaced.
Ribbon loops were added to assist lifting the trays.
The Christmas lettering had to be covered in a way that would allow them to look good
on my bedside table.  That would take some thought...
Actually, I did the inside while I was still in Gothenburg.  It wasn't until I was settled here that I tackled the outside of the box.

Glue gun and buttons to the rescue.
Tim bought that glue gun when we lived in Fargo. It was a surprise - thought you might like this kind of thing. 1983 maybe. 
 It is one of the early, unsafe, 
metal, push-the-glue-stick-through-with-your-thumb models that have long since been replaced 
by safe, plastic, trigger-operated low-temp models.
I love it.  

Have I mentioned that I also like buttons?

I've carted that jar from one place to the next over 30+ years.
Some sorting.  Some gluing.
An audiobook to keep me company...

                                                                       et voila!

Finished product. 

I like it.

I'll be back with more, later.

01 November, 2011

Birthday greetings

I know it's unusual to see a second post on the same day but this one was prompted by the events of the day.
Read on:

In January, 1988, our oldest daughter, Naomi, died.  
She was 11. 
 We were heartbroken.

April of that same year saw us moving to Pennsylvania.
We found heart's ease and good friends.

We learned how to function as a family of four.
We experimented with small cars.  There were impromptu picnics.  The night of the fireflies.
And laughter.  Much laughter.

November of that first year rolled around and hoping to avoid some unwanted attention - thinking it was no big deal - I had opted not to add my name to the "Birthday Calendar" that hung in the entry of our church.  Big mistake.

Rob Smith was song leader that day.  Even in those few short months, Rob and his family were already our solid friends and I knew of his well-earned reputation for practical jokes.  It's tempting to call him "larger than life."  He was - and is - a brash, loud, outdoorsy, self-confident ham.  He's also a generous, helpful, multi-talented, kind man.  The grand kids call him Pap.
He is a friend.  And we share a birthday.
  He is a year older, and already much grayer, than me.

So that day he launches into a hilarious routine about twins  - his twin - separated at birth but still sharing personality traits, looks, sense of humor and so on, and on and on and everyone, everyone, knows there will be a punch line. So people are already chuckling and some are looking around to 
figure out who is about to be punched.

We are sitting in our customary back row and I am dying.  Dying. 

I know it only took a few minutes but from my vantage point it was an eternity before he wrapped it up with "Let's sing Happy Birthday to Ilona!" 

The whole place erupted!  
I don't know how he got through it with a straight face!

I had an email from him this morning - with birthday greetings, which I am happy to return.
Happy Birthday Pap.

What goes around

 Trick-or-Treat!  We all have stories to tell!

Knowing I would need to be near the door last night I used the time to cut some pieces for the quilt I'm building.

I also worked on an craft idea I found in this year's Christmas with Southern Living book.
This one is an oldie-but-goodie, having made the rounds when I was a kid.  You remember the folded magazine angels and trees?  The trees are back this year.  The angels can't be too far behind...
I made an angel in Girl Scouts one year using cheese cloth, a styrofoam ball, Readers Digest, wire hanger,
 and gold spray paint.  
This is my first tree.  I'll need three, in varying sizes.

 Haven't decided if they will be gold, just glittered, or a combination of gaudy Christmas excess.