Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There's A Party Going On Round Here

Mom! Mom! I am trying to get your attention!

Someone has been starting their New Year's Celebrations early.

Come quick - and let me show you!
Can I go outside and play too?

Look at the mess he's making - I can help him clean it up!

C'mon mom! Even the mourning doves were invited.
Cranky Kitty told me he loves bird seed too!
Have a fun and safe New Year's celebration of your own!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

God's Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace.....how sweet the sound. Sit back - close your eyes and let Gods beautiful grace wash over you this morning.
Blessings on your day today,

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Happenings

Ahhh! Christmas is over for another year! Last night we enjoyed the company of new friends. We had a small informal holiday get-together. I made homemade pizzas and the usual holiday fare. The chairs in my dining room are not refinished yet, so I decided to set up the table in my kitchen area instead. I used a quilted table runner and placemats that I had made for my mother.
When she passed away, I received it back from my dad. Even though it's not my style, I kind of like the way it looks on my table. On New Years day when I take all of my Christmas decorations down, I may leave this out for awhile. Usually after Christmas I am MORE than ready to put everything away and start fresh, but for some reason this year - I am wanting to enjoy it a little while longer. I may leave my winter things up and put the more Christmasy type things away.
I am enjoying the slower pace of days off from work and my thoughts are turning towards the new year ahead. I don't know what it is about the start of a new year, but I always seem to get motivated to create. I am enjoying having a sewing room, and have been holed up there since Christmas day. I have many projects left to finish, but due to a short attention span, I can't help but start yet a NEW one. I decided to work on an Alphabet Book that I want to complete for my grandchild's birthday. It is made out of cloth and has many different textures for her to enjoy. I am hoping that she will grow up cherishing the little gifts that I make for her, like I enjoyed the ones that my grandmother made out of love for me.

One completed block - 25 more to go!Just need to add blanket stitch and french knots to this block and two will be done! They are pretty easy to make - I hope she likes it when it's finished! I will show it in a post when it is complete.
Back to the sewing room I go!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas Message

As the big day approaches, I wanted to take the time to wish all of my loved ones and friends a Merry Christmas. I am not sure how much time I will have to "play" at my new fun pasttime over the next few days, so I wanted to be sure to send this off without further delay. I ran across a few things recently that I would like to share with you. One is a short video clip that I found on youtube. It spoke to my heart and I hope you find it worthy of watching too. Next is a story that I found while I was looking through one of my favorite books. When the children were young, I used to love to gather them together and read to them stories that showed the true reason for the season.

Picture yourself just for a moment - sitting comfortably on the couch cuddled up in your coziest pajamas and blanket, while I read to you. Try not to fall asleep though.~smile~

A businessman and his wife were busy to the point of exhaustion. They were committed to each other, their family, their church, their work, their friends. Needing a break, they escaped for a few days of relaxation at an oceanfront hotel. One night a violent storm lashed the beach and sent massive breakers thundering against the shore. The man lay in his bed listening and thinking about his own stormy life of never-ending demands and pressures.
The wind finally died down and shortly before daybreak the man slipped out of bed and took a walk along the beach to see what damage had been done. As he strolled, he saw that the beach was covered with starfish that had been thrown ashore and helplessly stranded by the great waves. Once the morning sun burned through the clouds, the starfish would dry out and die.

Suddenly the man saw an interesting sight. A young boy who had also noticed the plight of the starfish was picking them up, one at a time, and flinging them back into the ocean.
"Why are you doing that?" the man asked the lad as he got close enough to be heard. "Can't you see that one person will never make a difference - you'll never be able to get all those starfish back into the water. There are just too many."

"Yes, that's true," the boy sighed as he bent over and picked up another and tossed it back into the water. Then as he watched it sink, he looked at the man, and smiled, and said, "But it sure made a difference to that one."
Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness
The Tale of The Tardy Oxcart, Charles Swindoll

God's Richest Blessings to all of you!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Show Off Your Santas

Susan has asked everyone to show off their santas. I only have a few, but thought I would join in the fun. This happy couple above is part of a collection that my wonderful children have contributed to over the years. They are part of the Jim Shore - Heartwood creek collection. I love all of the sweet details that Jim puts into his creations. They remind me of patchwork quilts - colorful and complex.

This little santa is hanging out in my guest bathroom.

He's keeping company with this old guy - who's been in our family forever. I think my mom got this santa from her mother. Many of you have probably seen one like this - it is actually a bank.

This little teapot sits inside a shelf that I have in my kitchen. I used to have a huge collection of teapots. I have gotten rid of a lot of them, but kept the ones that my children have given me over the years. This cute little one was given to me by one of my boys.
I am kicking myself for parting with the set I had of these cute little mugs. Some started to lose their paint so I discarded a lot of them. I wish now that I had held onto them, as recently I have seen people start to collect them again. We always seem to come full circle don't we? It's a wonder we are able to part with anything that we have. Everything eventually seems to come back into style. A few years ago I was wishing I had held onto my puca shell necklaces when my daughters started wearing them. :)

So you see - not much of a santa collection. I will leave you with one more picture. Not of a santa, but one of my favorite Christmas treasures.
This little tree is another treasure that has been passed down through the generations. I am truly surprised that it has held up so well over the years. This picture isn't the best, but the tree is very colorful and sits proudly atop a shelf in my main floor bathroom.
Do you have a santa collection you would like to share? Hop on over to Susan's to see her beautiful collection and join in the fun. Be sure to let me know if you do a santa post so I can see your treasures too!



A Birthday Tribute To A Special Man

Thirty seven years ago today (wow dude - you're old!) my sweet brother came into my life. At the time, I wasn't sure if I appreciated him - I was ten years old when he was born. I remember my mother brought him home in a giant Christmas stocking. I think my brother still has it (?) Every Christmas thereafter, my mother would hang this stocking on the fireplace mantle and fill it with gifts for him. As a young girl I remember being slightly jealous of the fact that his stocking held more presents than mine was able to. :)

Growing up with him, I wish I could tell you that I was a good "big sister" - but I wasn't. Back then - I resented his intrusion in my life. Our mother was a single mom for most of our growing up years, and she had to work constantly to make ends meet. This was back in the days when your mother would always tell you to "go find something to do or I will find something for you to do!" Wherever I went, I always had to take my baby brother with me. As a result, he was always the brunt of my frustrations. My poor brother was pushed into many an ant pile - I am sorry to say!

Needless to say though, if anyone else would happen to pick on him, I would jump to his defense. He was - after all - my sweet baby brother!

Over all of these years I never heard my brother complain once about the injustices done to him by his older sister. I used to hold him down and pound on his chest until he would tell me what my presents were that mom had bought me, I would climb up into the loft in our garage and laugh at him when he called for me. Whatever I did to him - he always seemed to forgive me and (I am not sure why ) always looked up to me.

I left home at an early age. Earlier than I should have -I was only sixteen years old. My mom told me years ago that my brother would stand at the screen door back then, and wait for me - wait for me to come home.

My brother and I reminisce about our childhood, and the things that we had to go through as a family. I am not proud of the person I was back then, but I truly believe that God used that time to help me learn and mold me into the person I am today.

We lost our beloved mother to Lupus about four years ago. My brother and I have always been close, but I think that we have become closer since our mother passed away. It is only the two of us now.

My brother is such a wonderful man. He is a beautiful husband and father. He didn't have the best role models in his life, but despite it all - he has grown to be the kindest, most loving man that I know.

When he was growing up, I took care of him. As the years have gone by, he has taken care of me. He has come to my rescue many times in my life. Digging me out and helping me on my feet again.

My brother was such a big help to me when I prepared for the move to Georgia. Even though he really didn't want me to go - he still helped me by taking truck load after truck load to the dump, refinished my hardwood floors, (he is a hardwood floor man by trade) ripped out my carpeting so that we could put new carpets in our rental, helped us to get the best deal for those carpets. He is truly amazing!

He is such a hardworker - even though his health isn't the greatest. He is almost in constant pain due to some of the autoimmune disorders that he has inherited from our mother. He always puts others first in his life even when he is hurting.

I stand in awe of the beautiful man that you are - my dear brother. You have taught me so much by your gentle example.

I miss you more than I can say! I hope that your day is easy and that you are able to take some time to enjoy it. Even though I harass and tease you - I hope you always know how much you mean to me.

Happy, Happy Birthday Little Brother - I love you!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cookie Recipe Exchange

I hope I am not too late to participate in the Cookie Recipe Exchange being hosted by our blogger sister Darlene. It has been a rather busy weekend as I am sure all of you can relate to. I have been trying to finish up last minute shopping to send out to my dear daughter and granddaughter which will probably arrive to her late.
Traditionally in our home I always try to make about 12-15 different varieties of cookies each year. Each child has their favorite which I try to make, but this year I will probably only mail out cookies to a few. My husband asked me why I even bother to make any this year since I now have the added challenge of mailing them. Maybe he is right - I think I am doing this more for me than my children this year. I am trying to hang on to some sense of normalcy, as this new path I am walking - without my children feels anything but normal to me yet.
I decided to try a new cookie this year. My son requested a cookie that uses Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. I decided to try a different variety than I normally make. Son - if you are reading this, they are delicious - you won't be disappointed!

Really - I am having a hard time staying out of them they are so good! I hope they make it into his cookie box! :)
I found this recipe in Taste of Home Magazine. Ladies, if you don't have a subscription to this magazine you need to hurry and sign up for one NOW! You will not be disappointed. Everything I have ever made out of them are delicious.

Here is the recipe:
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg. (13oz.)miniature peanut butter cups

1 cup (6oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. shortening
In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Roll into 1-1/4 inch balls. Press a miniature peanut butter cup into each: Reshape around peanut butter cup so that it is completely enclosed.Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

For Drizzle, in a microwave - safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
Reduced fat peanut butter is not recommended for this recipe.
With or without the chocolate drizzled on top - these cookies are amazing. Be careful - it's hard to eat just one!

I put the cookies that I drizzled chocolate on, in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so that the chocolate was able to harden. I don't recommend packing them one on top of the other when putting together your cookie plate- they will stick together.

I have a few more recipes that I want to share with you but it is getting late so I will put out a post with those recipes tomorrow morning. I have a recipe for Gingersnaps, and Almond Roca to share - so check back tomorrow!

On a side note- thanks to all of the kind comments left to me yesterday after my mishap with the squirrel. This morning, on the way to church I closed my eyes when we passed through the area where I hit him. My husband told me that he was not there! I think that there is a chance that he may have survived. After I hit him, I looked in my mirror and he was thrashing around. I am hoping now that he had a chance to get his bearings and was able to get away unscathed. Maybe I didn't actually hit him - maybe he was just stunned for a moment. Whatever happened, I am so glad that I don't have to go by that sight everyday. I am such a goober - I know - but I truly can't stand the thought of causing harm to anything.

Blessings to you,


The Greatest Christmas Gift

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rough Day

I feel terrible right now. I just got back from running errands and when I was on the road heading towards home, I accidently ran over a squirrel. I wish I hadn't looked in the rear view mirror - he was on his back and his poor little legs were flailing. I can't get the image out of my head. I am so distraught right now. I can't stop crying for the poor little thing. My husband thinks I am being silly, but if you knew me well - you'd know that I wouldn't hurt anything on purpose- (except of course spiders - deathly afraid of them and can't bear to have them in my home!)

When my kids were younger they laughed that I pulled the car over for a bee which was holding tightly to my windshield waiting to fly off when my car would slow down.

I have so much to do and all I can think about is the poor little squirrel and how I hope he didn't suffer. I can't seem to bring myself to go back to look to see if he is gone. Maybe he is still alive - I feel bad that I didn't wait to help him.

Maybe some of you think I am being silly - but please say a prayer that my little squirrel friend didn't suffer. God takes care of the sparrows- I know that he cares for this little guy too.

All morning I have been watching my sweet friends outside on my porch enjoying the treats that I leave them. The picture at the top of this post was taken looking out on my back deck at a squirrel sitting in our bird feeder. We have it suspended from a pole attached to the deck. I enjoy watching them eat so much and I don't even mind the fact that they keep the birds away when they do this. I have set up some corn cobs now for them to enjoy, but they much prefer the sunflower seeds in the feeder. This picture was taken in the early Fall - I have to take pictures of them through my window because if I open the door - they will run down the stairs.
I can't believe I was so careless. I need to slow down when I drive - maybe that is my lesson in all of this. I get close to home and just get in "the zone" and wasn't thinking.
Now I have to live with the fact that I killed something that I love.
Okay Kymber...refocus - Christmas is around the corner and still so much to do....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

W.I.P.(Work In Progress) Wednesday

Okay Ladies - Here is the project that I promised you. I recently purchased a subscription to Southern Living Magazine. I mean - how can I live in Georgia and not read southern magazines right? ~smile~ (I also subscribe to Southern Lady Magazine too - but I digress) I absolutely love all of the great ideas I am getting from both of these magazines. If you have never seen them - check them out - they are full of wonderful decorating ideas!

I am always looking for ideas to help stretch the dollar and just happened across a great idea. I recently purchased some candlestick holders from Goodwill as I talked about it this post. I thought that I would try to see if I could change them out for the seasons, but was stuck as to how to disguise the fact - that my oversized candles were being used on my skinny candlestick holders. I love the different heights that I can achieve using these and maybe some day I will be able to find some larger ones. Until then - I ran across this great idea:
This image has been borrowed from the Southern Living Magazine website - I found one similar in the December issue of my magazine. I decided to try to see if I could copy it and make an inexpensive "candle wreath" as I call it. I went to my favorite store - Hobby Lobby and purchased my supplies.
You only need a few things to complete this simple project. I purchased three hydrangea clusters and some ribbon. I kind of like the berries that they added in the Southern Living magazine picture too. I can always add those in later if I want. The only other things that you will need to complete this project are scissors, a glue gun (save your fingers and use a low temp one - trust me I learned this the hard way - ouch!) and a candle. I simply cut the individual sprigs off the hydrangea cluster and hot glued them on a piece of ribbon that I had cut to size and tied to fit the center of my candle. Make sure that you leave enough length on your ribbon to be able to tie a pretty bow in back.
It's hard to make a small bow with the larger ribbon, but I kind of like the way it looks this way.

When I started this project, I was concerned because it looks kind of flat when you are first starting to put the sprigs on. Just keep layering - it will start to look fuller the more you add in. Add as much as you want - the more the better! I wiggled it down to fit around the base of my candle, but if you want to leave it in the center - it looks just as good. Imagine the possibilites with this project! This can be made for any season. You can use any type of flower for this - or you could layer small Christmas ornaments all the way around the ribbon. How cute would that be! The possibities are endless! I love it when I find a picture that causes such a light bulb moment. Especially one that produces such inexpensive results. Honestly - this project only cost me $11.50! Thank you Hobby Lobby for your 50% off holiday specials! Of course I already had the glue, the glue gun and the candles, but honestly - who doesn't have candles laying around at Christmas time!

So far I have made four of them. I still have four more to go. I was hoping to fill in the centerpiece with all eight of them like I did in my November post that I directed you to. But what do you think about leaving it like this - less is more? Or should I add in more of the candles around the outside of the filled jar. I even tried it with the top on the jar like you see in my very first picture at the top of this post, and I also tried it with candles inside the jar - which I wasn' t too crazy about. Maybe I don't even need the jar or - maybe I am just overthinking this whole thing!

I would love to hear your suggestions and also how you like this easy project that I made. If you try it for yourself, please send me your link and I will feature it on my blog so that we can all can see your "take" on this project and how it works in your home!

I am having so much fun finding inexpensive ways to make my home beautiful! I hope to be able to share more ideas with you in the future so come back to see me soon!

Blessings to you,


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Decking The Halls Part Two

I've been having so much fun! Today I've been looking at all of the lovely homes that have been participating in the Christmas Tour of Homes that Boo Mama, Rhoda, Julia invited us to be a part of. Edited to add: Kimba , Tip Junkie and Sarah wants you to come by to play too! I kind of like staying home with the flu so that I have an excuse to play all day! Actually, I am feeling so much better so I thought I would finish up the tour of my home that I started yesterday. The above picture of my living room was taken from my couch as I sit back and look up at the very tall ceilings that we have. It makes the tree look so small but I am fine with that - the thought of getting on a ladder to put ornaments up sounds like too much work! This is a view of our living room looking down from our "cat walk" upstairs. If you look closely in the mirror you will see my favorite quilt and laptop on the loveseat where I sit when I am visiting you all.
Going into my dining room - you will find my sideboard which has a little village on it that my kids have painted the houses for over the years. It doesn't matter that they are not perfect - the paint is not put on smoothly - but they are perfect to me. I love every little imperfection - because my kids made them with love.

They sign their names to the bottoms and put the date when they were made. I love to read the little things that they decided to write on the bottom. This one was made in 2002 by my son.
This one was made by my stepson. He wrote "I like Pie" on the bottom. I haven't a clue as to why that saying was so silly to them one year - but they would all say it in silly voices. Now it is a treasured memory forever captured on the bottom of my little village house. Have you noticed that some of the trees have snow on them and some don't? Selective snow storm huh? :) Oh well, Imperfect.... yet perfect to me!

Here is a little tree that my son decorated when he came home for Thanksgiving. I would love to have another big tree to show off all of our ornaments that the children have acquired over the years. Maybe one day I will, but for now - this will do. We would buy the children ornaments each Christmas and put them in their stockings. It would usually be an ornament that represented something about the year - an event or object that meant something to them that specific year. It is so much fun to take them out and just "remember". I think I foolishly let some of my children take their ornaments after they moved out - what was I thinking? Now that I am far from them I want to hold on to the memories of Christmasses past. I know that they eventually grow up and move on, but do we? As you can see I am very nostalgic this Christmas! Oh well - I still have a few of their ornaments left to display!
I am most excited to show my table to you. You will have to wait a bit to see all of it though. It is a work in progress - I am still trying to finish up the candlewreaths that I am working on.
I will tell you how I made the candle wreaths in tomorrows post on what I like to call - W.I.P. (work in progress) Wednesday. So make sure you stop by then to see where I got my inspiration for this project!
This is my chandelier where I hung some silver snowflakes. I used both silver and gold in this room. Remember... imperfection is the new perfection - right? :) I bought a snowflake garland and painstakingly separated them to form small little clusters to hang. It hurt my fingers to do this because it was linked together with extremely stubborn wire - but I really love the end result.
No pain, no gain!

Thanks for stopping by - I enjoy sharing my new home and hope that you will come again tomorrow so that I can share a wonderful (and inexpensive) project that I am sure you will want to make for yourself.

Until then...
Blessings to you,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decking The Halls

Ginger has been so anxious to share our Christmas decorations with you - so when I heard that Rhoda, BooMama and Julia were inviting everyone to share their decorated Christmas homes, I decided it was time. Okay Ginger...I'll get the camera out!

You know that you have a blogging obsession when you set out to participate on a day when you have a fever and the chills. I stayed home from work today because I was up all night with the beginnings of some sort of flu bug. Ginger can be VERY insistent though, so here we are! :)

Here, Ginger is showing you our tree. Move out of the way Ginger, and let the people see! (wow- I just noticed my star is crooked on top of the tree! ~sigh~)

It's kind of blurry - I seem to have the shakes today!

This is a close up of our mantle.
When we moved from Washington, we got rid of so many of our Christmas decorations. I have had to put things together on a very limited budget - It is amazing what you can do with a little imagination! When I was putting the berry trees up on the candlestick holders, I accidently knocked one over. You would never know it - but it is in two pieces now. It made me sick - I love those trees. I got them at an after Christmas sale otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford them. After I take them down I will have to do some repair work - I am such a klutz!

I finally have stair railings to decorate - yet, as I said before I am on a very limited budget. I had to use things that I had in my craft room. I tore apart a poinsettia plant and scattered them throughout my house. As you can see, I used them in my tree, on my mantle, and on my railing. I just added touches of gold throughout to balance it all out. When I started out, I wasn't sure if I would be able to decorate everything because my house is so big and my budget so small. I am happy with it for this year. There are more things that I want to do, but it will have to wait until next year after I am able to hit the after Christmas sales.

This is by far one of my favorite treasures. (Shaky picture again!) I used a candlestick holder to put the angel up high. She is looking down on the beloved Christ Child. Yes, that is my hubby's favorite treasure up above the Nativity!Edited to add: It's his 52" monstrosity of a television.

I was so excited to find this wooden container at Hobby Lobby. I sure do love that store! I got it 50% off - a bargain at $7.00. I added cinnamon scented pinecones and some candles that I already had. Instant centerpiece!

Here is a simple arrangement that I put together for my kitchen table. I bought the cute little glass piece for $2.00 at Goodwill. I added some small balls to add in my favorite blue color and a candle that I already had. The cute vintage tablecloth has been in my family forever. My mom got it from my grandmother. I have always used it under my tree, but I decided to put it on the table this year. It has been used and abused over the years and has some rust stains, but I still treasure it anyway.

Well my friends, I am starting to fade. Time to eat some chicken soup and call it a night. I will finish up my tour for you tomorrow when I hopefully feel better -and can take a better picture :) Please stop by all of this week to see the rest of my home! If you are linking here from the other holiday parties - be sure to click here to get back to my home page.
Blessings to all and to all a Good Night!