God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishing You a Happy New Year!!!

Aren't vintage postcards & greeting cards beautiful?  I have several sets/collections of vintage greeting cards, complete with envelopes ... some with their original boxes ... that I bought many, many years ago in antique stores.  They are all unused & in great condition.  They've been ... anyone want to take a guess? ... in a moving box for who knows how many years.  I'm sure they didn't cost much money back then, otherwise I would not have them.  However, I stumbled upon a box of used cards at an antique mall 2 years ago & thought maybe I'd take them home with me.  Nope.  I don't remember how many there were but they all fit into a medium sized Ziploc bag , & if I remember correctly, the asking price was either $18 or $35!    

I went rummaging around online to find an appropriate vintage postcard New Years greeting to give to all of you.  I found several that I liked & then narrowed them down to 3. Of course the one above with the birds really appealed to me, but I wanted to convey some sort of message.  This next one best expresses some of what I'd like to say.  
In my search I came across this next card. Not a vintage card, by any means.  Not even a New Years card per se, but it perfectly expresses a pretty darn good idea if you ask me ... an idea I resolve to follow every day of the year   : )
Along with the sentiments in these 3 cards I've shared, my personal prayer is that the new year will be a better year for all of us than the one that is ending!!!

My Aunt Dorothy used to always say that whatever it is you do on New Years Eve, that's what you'd be doing all through the new year.  I'm pretty sure she meant New Years Eve evening, thank goodness, because yesterday I came down with some kind of crud & I've had body aches, itchy eyes, coughing, a runny nose, & a sore throat ever since.  I was tired as could be last night but I barely got any sleep.  Today I have a new patient appointment with an endocrinologist in Louisville.  As I crawled out of the recliner this morning (couldn't lie down in bed), I decided I'd stay home ... but I had to wait a long time for this appointment, & I'm feeling a wee bit better now, so hopefully he won't mind me showing up with a sore throat, an intermittent cough, a semi runny nose, & looking like crap.  Tonight ... what I believe was what my aunt was referring to as New Years Eve ... if I'm still alive, I will be stitching. Therefore, if her old saying is true, I should be stitching away throughout 2013.  Sounds good to me   : )

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snow Again!

Two days of snow in the same week!  I think this is more snow than we've received since we moved here!  Flakes of love from heaven   : )

Those of you who have visited me for a while may recognize those pots there on the back porch.  When we had our foundation landscaped a year & a half ago, I had to dig up all my iris plants before the guys did their work.  I tossed them willy nilly into these pots & threw in some dirt to keep them alive until I could find a place to plant them.  I placed the pots on a ledge outside the garage & there they stayed, totally neglected.  To my surprise they bloomed this past spring!  This summer I decided that I needed to get them planted.  I had John carry them from the ledge outside the garage to the back porch & that's as far as it went.  I don't think you can see this in the photos but our weather has been so warm the past couple months that a few of the iris plants actually started to grow!  There were green shoots coming up until our recent cold snap!

I think our little birdbath looks delightfully wintery   : )
The birds were visiting this morning.  At one point there were several pair of cardinals having breakfast but my photos did not turn out well with the exception of this one where unfortunately you can't see the little guy's face.  How gorgeous are cardinals though! They are especially beautiful in the snow  : )  
This is my new start ... LHN's It's Snow Cold. This chart was among my gifts from Santa Bear!  He saw it for sale & thought I'd like it  : )
I have another gift & an RAK to share with you   : )   This first photo shows a gift from Vickie ... some of her beautiful counting pins! Vickie's counting pins are the best!  These are made with Christmas colored beads & she even secured them in a Christmas bell cutout   : )
Yesterday I received this thoughtful RAK from June.  I had admired some ribbons in a picture on her blog a while back.  England has such wonderful ribbons ... ones like I've never seen for sale here!  Anyway, I admired the ribbons & she said she would send me some & here they are   : )     
Notice the beautiful card June included with the ribbons!  I want to live there   : )   This is a print from an original painting by a man who paints with his mouth.  I have always marveled at people who paint beautiful pictures with their hands & here's someone who paints them with his mouth!  Amazing!

After a bit of a whirlwind morning (I actually cooked breakfast ... bacon, eggs & toast!) I am feeling a bit lazy.  I think it will be a "go with the flow" kind of day.  I do have some laundry in the dryer but other than that I'm open to whatever.  Must be the after-effects of the snow   : )   I hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend   : )     

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Two Days After Christmas

This is the view out my diningroom window as I'm writing this blog post.

Yes, we got some snow here in the devil's playground!  It's typical central Kentucky snow ... God opening up His talcum powder can & shaking it a bit over the grass ... but snow is snow   : )   It looked quite lovely falling from the sky yesterday.  We had rain on Christmas Day.

I have been reading a lot of posts where people are saying they can't believe Christmas is over.  That's the theme ... Christmas is over.  It saddens me to see Christmas trees lying out on the curb for trash pickup the day after Christmas.  I cannot fathom un-trimming my tree & taking down my decorations so quickly.  My good friend Robin did a post on her blog yesterday & it brought back so many memories for me.  Christmas decorations were never sold or displayed until after Thanksgiving & they were not put up in our homes until, at the earliest, 2 weeks before Christmas.  Those 2 weeks were spent giving the house a good cleaning; unpacking treasured decorations & enjoying the memories each would bring; trimming the tree; writing & receiving cards; watching Christmas specials on television; listening to Christmas music; getting together with relatives to bake dozens & dozens of cookies which would be shared with neighbors, service people (like the mailman, the milkman, the dry cleaner, etc), & others; going shopping; & wrapping gifts.  My father, who used to be a cook & baker in the Merchant Marine,  always made a huge batch of nut horns which were out of this world!  On Christmas Eve he would go down to the local beverage distributor & bring home a case ... a whole case! ... of pop.  All different flavors! I remember my favorite was always black cherry & it was a special treat enjoyed only at Christmastime.  To this very day I buy myself a 6-pack of black cherry pop every Christmas   : )   My mother would be in the kitchen baking a ham, cooking kielbasa & sauerkraut, & making potato salad. Neighbors, friends, & a few relatives often came by on Christmas Eve to drop off gifts or just visit.  I was always able to open one gift on Christmas Eve & it was always a new pair of flannel pajamas with a pair of furry slippers.  I'd take my bath, put those on, & head to bed early so I would not be awake when Santa came by.  On Christmas day there were lots of gifts to open & lots of good things to eat & of course Christmas mass (I grew up in a catholic household). Aunts & uncles would come by to visit.  The days after Christmas would be spent visiting those aunts & uncles in their homes.  As Robin said in her post, everyone would show you the gifts they received.  They were not bragging or boasting, merely showing you their blessings.  You were never envious or upset that they may have received more or better things than you did.  You were happy for them!  Everyone was happy.  Everyone smiled.  Christmas lasted for 2 more weeks, until the Feast of the 3 Kings on January 6. That's when the tree came down & the decorations were put away for another year.  It was always a sad time.

John & I had a lovely Christmas this year despite the big lead balloon nightmare hanging over my head.  I managed to do way more baking & cooking than I thought I would. The decorations were minimal but that was a very nice change.  Isn't "SIMPLIFY" the motto of the primitive lifestyle?  Simplifying at Christmastime helps you relax & remember the real meaning of the day.  

Here are a few photos of our Christmas. This first one is my bear with his stocking.
And yes, believe it or not, here is a photo of me with my stocking   : )
Sophie always gets to open her present first.


It was a new little mousie for her to chase around the house   : )

I was, as usual, spoiled by Santa Bear.  I am lucky to have a husband who not only enjoys buying Christmas gifts for me but wrapping them as well!  He has a real knack for & gets a lot of joy out of making each package special.  Below is an example.  On this package he added a little snow shovel ornament & a snowman wall box that has a few small wrapped gifts inside   : )   
I can now share a few more photos with you of stitched gifts & exchanges sent & received. Do you remember me telling you about my metallic floss experience a while back?  I was given the name of someone in an exchange & she indicated that a Victorian theme & a blue/silver theme were among her favorite Christmas decorating themes.  With the help of one of my followers (I'm am embarrassed to say that I don't remember who that was) I found this design to stitch for her.  I hope she liked it.  It's a design which appeared in the JCS ornament preview issue back in 2008.  It was, of course, beautifully & perfectly finished by Myra   : )  

This was a beautiful gift to me from Carol ... my first Prairie Schooler design!  
Angela & I did a private ornament exchange & we decided to exchange LHN ornaments. Angela stitched me this absolutely gorgeous ornament, LHN's Bringing Home the Tree design.  For Angela I stitched LHN's Tree Farm design ... finished by Myra of course  : )

And here are 2 ornaments I stitched which I was not able to show you until the recipients opened them   : )   These ornaments were stitched for Edgar & Rico (note the initials). They are a BBD design which appeared in the JCS Ornaments 2008 issue.   I finished these myself   : ) 
With all the Christmas stitching I did this year you would think I'd be ready to take a break & stitch something else, but that's not going to happen   : )   I'm thinking of a little challenge I might give myself in the new year regarding Christmas ornaments.  I'll let you know if I decide to do that   : )   I had intended to start Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow yesterday.  I've had the chart for a while but not the necessities to go with it. For Christmas I asked Santa Bear for the suggested silk floss & bless his heart, it was inside one of my packages.  I neglected to ask for the fabric though ... lol!  As a result, yesterday went by without a new start ... but I'm hoping to find one today.  Heaven knows I have a lot to choose from   : )   

I'd like to take this time to welcome my new followers who arrived recently.  I'm very glad that you visited my blog & decided to add it to your reading list   : )   I'd also like to thank everyone who has been praying for me concerning the nightmare that came into my life 2 weeks before Christmas.  It's still here ... I have no idea when it will go away ... but your prayers are helping me deal with it & I thank you for them with all my heart.  I wish there were stronger words to use to tell you how much I appreciate your prayers but I cannot think of any.  I do ask that you continue to keep me in your prayers.  We most likely will be in this together for the long haul.  Your prayers mean everything to me.  

The new year will soon be upon us!  Are you making plans?  I'll talk about mine in the next post or two ... whenever I decide what they will be   : )   For now I wish you all very merry days after Christmas!  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

May God's blessing of peace
 be yours on Christmas day,
and may it continue
throughout the coming year.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gifts Given

I thought that this morning I would share some of the gift stitchings I have done this year.  I have shared a few of these before. There are 2 that I can't share yet & the reason will be obvious when I do get to share them   : )

Pine Mountain Designs
Peace on Earth Pillow Tuck
Finished by me

Stitch Designs
Merry Christmas
Finished by me

Mary Garry
December
Finished by me

Little House Needleworks
Joy & Peace
Finished by me

Just Cross Stitch Ornaments 2002
Heart in Hand Needleart
Christmas Peace
Finished by Myra

Homespun Elegance
Merry Birdies
Finished by Myra


Blackbird Designs
Souvenir of Paris
Finished by me

Country Rustic Primitives
Joy Pinkeep
Finished by me

Country Rustic Primitives
Noel Pinkeep
Finished by me

Country Rustic Primitives
Primitive 1839 Winter Pinkeep
Finished by me

Country Rustic Primitives
Primitive Merry Christmas Cupboard Hanger
Finished by me

Country Rustic Primitives
Primitive Sleigh Bells Cupboard Keep
Finished by me

Stacy Nash Primitives
Christmas is Coming
Finished by Faye

Lizzie*Kate
Winter-ize
Finished by Faye

Believe
???
Finished by me

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas Season to Remember

This is going to be a Christmas season to remember.  It is, most definitely, one of my worst Christmas seasons ever, if not the worst, because of that very, very, very bad thing which I've eluded to recently.  However, as bad as things are, the spirit of Christmas cannot be held back.  Despite the hell I may have to live in for quite some time, I have been surprisingly functional through the stress of it all.  Cookies & breads have been baked, crackers have been made, dinner goodies have been bought & are ready to cook on Christmas Eve.  The house has been decorated, albeit very sparsely, but the sparseness is actually quite comforting.  I think we've all heard it said, at least once, that "less is more."  Whoever came up with that idea was onto something   : )

Once again John & I will be alone for Christmas, but that's okay.  We enjoy each other's company, most of the time ... lol!  Our traditions are simple ones.  On Christmas Eve the lights remain lit on the trees.  The smell of turkey breast & ham taking their turns baking in the oven permeates throughout the house.  We fill our stockings & put our gifts under the tree & admire how pretty everything looks.  Before we go to bed, John reads me a Christmas book.  Every year since our first Christmas together, he has bought me a Christmas book to read to me on Christmas Eve.  Most of them are children's books & are quite short.  Others are more for adults ... perhaps someone's remembrances of Christmases when they were growing up in the 30s or 40s or 50s, or perhaps some sort of humorous book. Whatever the theme, without fail, John reads a Christmas book to me on Christmas Eve. We then go to bed.  When we wake up Christmas morning, once again all the lights are lit & we enjoy the contentment of another Christmas together.  I make our traditional orange rolls for breakfast, then we open our stockings, then our presents. It's always a bit sad to start opening these things because we know it's the start of the end of Christmas.  We take our time.  We each open one gift, admire it, maybe play with it a bit if playing is something you do with that particular gift, then go on to the next one.  We had our children open their gifts this same way when they were growing up & oh how they complained about it!  But you know what?  Our daughter has her children open their gifts the same way now ... lol!  Our son is on his own ... he has always said from the time he was a little boy that he would never marry ... but I know he opens his gifts this way as well   : )   We have never had a sit-down dinner on Christmas Day.  I do all my cooking & baking, with the exception of the orange rolls, on Christmas Eve, & we just grab ourselves a plate & munch on whatever strikes our fancy throughout the day.  In addition to the turkey breast & ham, I make potato salad.  That's the extent of it!  Nothing fancy.  We make or receive a couple phone calls during the day, & we may watch a Christmas DVD or two during the day/evening.  Then we sit back & talk about how lovely our Christmas has been & how we are looking forward to the next one.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I woke up this morning & saw snow outside!  Now before you picture a blanket of white, I will tell you that on the rare occasions when it does snow here in the devil's playground, it looks as if God shook some powder from a talcum powder can onto the grass.  Just a bit of powder.  You still see the grass. You see more grass than powder actually.  But, for what it's worth, it snowed & it's snowing now.  It's very windy & the snow is falling sideways & nothing is falling to the ground, but it's snowing.  You can't feel anything but happy when snow is falling ... even a pathetic snowfall like this.  Fluffy flakes of Prozac falling from the sky   : )

I have received some gifts that I would now like to share with you.  I usually save any gifts I receive from friends or other than immediate family members & open them on Christmas Eve.  However, this year I suspected that some of the packages I received from blogging friends might contain stitched ornaments for my tree, & since this year's tree was quite lacking in ornaments due to the fact that I didn't want to unpack any from the moving boxes where they have been residing since last year (some for quite a few years) anticipating Christmas in a different home, I decided to open these packages now.

June in England sent me this wonderful stocking ornament, an adorable sheep needle minder, a cupcake calendar bookmark assortment, yummy hot chocolate mix, & a beautiful handmade card   : )

Michelle, also from England, sent me this very pretty red & white felted ornament which has sort of a Scandinavian look to it.   Michelle & I both like red & white stitchings   : )   She also included a lovely card & a skein of very pretty WDW floss!
Myra, my finishing angel sent from above, sent me this lovely ornament ... such a great design & so beautifully finished!  She must know that cardinals are one of my favorite birds   : )
Myra also gifted me with a free finish!  I stitched this LHN design & sent it to her for finishing & was surprised to receive it back with a note that the finish was a gift   : )
Lastly, I received this beautiful ornament from Chris.  I either have this chart in my stash for a future project or I was planning to buy it ... but now I have it stitched & perfectly finished so hooray for me   : ) 
I will post some photos of gifts I have mailed, exchanges sent & received, & maybe a photo of my tree as soon as I possibly can   : )   I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday before Christmas.  Do try not to stress out about stuff.  Take a deep breath, do what you can, & don't worry about what you can't do.  Remember that the important thing about the season is the love that God gave to us by giving us the gift of His son & that we in turn need only to share that same love to others.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Back in the Land of Fire & Brimstone

Christmas in the Devil's Playground

Thank you for the emails expressing your worry about my absence.  I have been away from the devil's playground for a few days. In view of recent events, I did not feel comfortable going public with the fact that I wasn't going to be here for a while, but John & I arrived back in the pit about 1 a.m. this morning & now it is safe to divulge that we've been away.

To answer the question that I know is on everyone's mind ... if you read Edgar's blog that is ... yes, I went to San Francisco & met Edgar & Rico; yes, getting together with them was a high point of our trip; & no, I don't have any photos to share because when trying to fit something else in my purse to bring with me to the diner where we had breakfast, I took out my camera & forgot to put it back in!  ARGH I say!  ARGH!!! Anyway, we had a great time.  Edgar & Rico are a hoot & John & Edgar kind of got lost in movie talk for about the last third of our visit with Rico & I standing by smiling & nodding politely   : )   I do have some other photos to share with you though, along with a brief recap of the trip, & I will do that as soon as I can.  

I also have several photos of other things I am behind in sharing.  I will do that as soon as I can also   : )

I am likewise behind in my email & blog comment responses.  "Behind" is probably the best word to describe me right now.  I feel as if I'm behind in everything & basically I am.  I haven't baked even one cookie yet & I still have shopping & wrapping & mailing to take care of.  I'll say it again ... ARGH!

Thank you for the emails & comments regarding my prayer request last week. Please keep me in your prayers.  As I stated in my original request, this is a very, very, very bad thing that has happened but it is not related to my health in any way or the health of anyone near & dear to me.  I am unable to share what it is except for the fact that it is very, very bad ... badder than bad actually ... & I need ongoing prayer until it hopefully goes away.  If you would just mention me & this situation in your prayers every once in a while, I'd really appreciate it.

I was quite surprised to notice this morning that there are a few more followers following me now!  Welcome!  It's good to have you here & I am so pleased that you stopped by to visit & decided to stay   : )   Warm week before Christmas hugs to all my followers today!  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

500th Post

I can't believe this is my 500th post!  I've been holding back posting anything the past couple days because I felt I should have something very special or exciting to share on such a monumentous occasion   : )   What I could share with you is a horrific nightmare that has dropped like a giant boulder into my life in the past couple days, but that's certainly not a good thing to share on a 500th post.  I will, however, ask for prayer. Lots & lots & lots of prayer.  Lots of it.  This is a bad, bad, bad thing that has happened & I may be dealing with it for quite some time.  I need all the prayer I can get.  Just so you don't worry, it's not medical, dental, or family related ... but it's bad ... very bad ... so please do remember me in prayer.


Okay ... back to the celebration   : )   Actually, two big milestones have been reached on my blog in the past week or so. This, my 500th post, & I reached 300 followers   : )   The fact that 300+ people are interested in anything I do or say is both surprising & humbling.  I have been blogging for just a year & a half now & I have been blessed to meet many wonderful people & good friends along the way   : )   I will have to figure out something special to do ... some sort of giveaway or something ... but it will have to wait until after the holidays.  I'll think of something good   : )

I do have something stitchy to share with you in this post.  Remember me posting that I was stitching some of the Country Rustic Primitives designs, 4 of each, with the intentions of using a few for gifts & selling the others online?  Well, I didn't get all the designs stitched that I had hoped to, but I did stitch multiples of 5 designs.  I stitched 4 each of most of the designs.  I made a mistake on one design.  I didn't realize I had already stitched a set of them & so I stitched another making a total of 8 of that design stitched.  Duh!  I stitched 4 of all the others except the Sleigh Bells.  I stitched 3 of those.  I also finished all of these all by myself ,& with some of them I did a bit of my own finishing thing rather than copying the pattern photo!  Perhaps I should celebrate this as another milestone ... lol!  Well, here they are all.





There are other ornaments I have in some state of finishing ... some Nash & Nikyscreations stuff ... but I don't foresee them being finished this year   : (   There are also a couple other finishes I did myself but they are gifts so I can't show them yet, but I will as soon as they are received   : )

Note the blanket stitching on the edges of 2 of the pinkeeps.  I talked about this a post or two ago.  I really enjoyed doing this & found it very calming.  

Well, that's it for my 500th post   : )   I have other things to share with you but I will do that another day.  Thank you all for visiting & welcome to my new followers!  Hugs to all of you   : )