Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's New?

Well, a new day for one -- and new weather.  That's Ohio for you!

Also, some new Etsy items that I forgot to tell you about - Mini Brag Books.  You might enjoy these if you're a fan of "red."  You can check them out in MY SHOP, but here's a little preview:

These Brag Books are the perfect purse size, but I'll tell you a little secret...  since I'm a parent of teens and a little beyond the Brag Book stage, I fill my Brag Book with all of the new school photos that come in our Christmas cards each year and I leave it out on the living room side table for browsing.  I do love to look at those cute faces and how they've grown!  I've had my book for a couple of years, and I tend to just put each new picture of a kiddo over the last one.

Don't forget these hold wallet-sized photos, but they'll also hold a business card -- so they'll make for pretty and feminine little business card holders too!

And... below is a little preview of what I hope will come soon... STAY TUNED!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Go, God, Go!

When needed, I enjoy taking meals to friends who are ill, recovering from surgery, or have just had a baby -- you get the idea.  I have a handful of go-to recipes that are easy to double (providing a meal for my family too!), are easy for the recipient to bake themselves, or are great delivered hot and ready to eat.

I had that opportunity this week.  Monday was my scheduled day to take a meal to a friend from our church group.  She has lots of dietary limitations.

I ended up taking something that was a simplified version of one of our favorite family recipes.  I made the recipe as I would for my own family -- but without meat.  The final product seemed boring.  I tweeked it a little, but still felt like I was taking her something "second rate."

I even added a loaf of wheat bread to go along with the meal, since she cannot have white bread, or anything with white flour.  The wheat bread [made in the bread machine] didn't do what my white bread usually does, but by the time it was finished, there was no time to try another loaf.  I ended up feeling like the bread was second rate too.

Those "second rate" judgements were my own -- not my friend's, and not God's.  I'm praying that God can take my meager, well-intended offerings, and use it to bless my friend.  ...that the meal would be delicious by her standards.

After all, SHE is the one I had in mind when I made it.

When I've done my best, I need to let go, and let God.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter Blues...

Got the winter blues?  I know I sure do.

23 more days until spring.  I know you were wondering.
34 more days until Easter.
How many days until snow stops flying?  That's anybody's guess.

Today, in NEOhio, it's gray with a promise of rain -- and the radar shows it's rolling in with a bang.  Well, not literally a bang -- though wouldn't a great thunderstorm be WONderful right about now?  We love 'em at our house.

When our daughter was a little bitty, she was very afraid of the thunder.  I used to tell her what my gram always told me.  "It's just the angels bowling in heaven!"  Our kids have bowled since they were little  -- not a league or anything, but you know -- the family outing here and there.  So, bowling was a familiar thing to them. Add to that the fact that Gram was a league bowler for years -- and my daughter eventually gave her own spin on thunder... "It's Great-Grandma bowling with the angels!" she would say.  Apparently that was a great comfort to her, because she quickly outgrew her fear of thunder, and learned to ENJOY thunderstorms.

Our daughter was just six months old when Gram passed away, so to say she "knew" Gram is a bit of a stretch. But I'm sure that someday when she comforts her own children in a thunderstorm she will talk like she and Great-Grandma bowled on a league together:  "Little ones -- that's just your Great-Great-Grandma bowling with the angels in heaven!"

Monday, February 25, 2013

Antique Ambivalence

Over the weekend, I was wishing to go to a little antiques store near us.  I've never been (though my hubby & daughter have???) and I wanted to check it out.  So, we put it on a big circular route that was in our heads, and took off to the other end of the circle --which happened to include an antique mall.  I have never been to one of these.  It was, in a word, OVERWHELMING.  I have never seen so much old stuff amassed in one place in my life.  As I strolled the aisles [and nooks and crannies], here's what I was thinking:

1.  Why did I sell that children's china [perhaps Hazel-Atlas?] that I played with at my Gram's?  I found a partial set... exactly like Gram had and let me play with growing up.  They were asking an outrageous amount of money for EACH little plate and cup and saucer.  Oy.  I almost cried -- for real.  I stood there with a really sick feeling in my stomach... having those sweet dishes staring at me from the shelf.  Sad.

2.  Sadder still, and the strangest thing I have ever seen at an antique "shop" -- a child's coffin.  For real.  Precious and white...  It made me swallow hard and tear up.

3.  Why do I get so emotional about the history of other people's stuff?  [We went to a tag sale recently -- a gorgeous house FILLED with nice things, and a huge wardrobe... everything that suggested that someone's life had been taken away too suddenly.  At least that was the story I told myself, and it made me so melancholy as I strode through the home, feeling like a trespasser.]

4.  Blue canning jars are not rare as I thought.  They were everywhere at this particular mall -- which made me not want to have one so badly.  I have two already.  On the other hand, my hubby and daughter spotted GREEN jars.  We never found our way back to them, unfortunately.

5.  The very most favorite thing that I saw was a very large [store?] sign that said only, "LEANING" -- and you'll never guess... this vendor had a sense of humor.  You see... the sign was actually.... leaning!  It was at an extreme angle -- so as to make it obvious.  And, I wanted to leave a note that said, "haha - I get it!"  [FINALLY -- some comedic relief among the antiques!]  Yes, I had my camera -- but no, I didn't take pictures.  Totally forgot...  Yes, these are old photos from another adventure.

6.  Pfaltzgraff patterns that I could've chosen for our wedding pattern do not qualify as antiques.  For crying out loud... we've only been married for twenty years!

7.  In a  l-o-n-g, skinny building, why does the restroom always have to been at the other end?

and finally,

8.  It would be cheaper if I just go home and wait until our stuff gets old!

Yes, over the weekend, I was wishing to go to a little antiques store near us...  perhaps another weekend.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Friday!

Perhaps you've heard the expression, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!"

A pretty winter photo taken on the shores of Silver Lake a few years ago.  Today... is not pretty.

I went to bed last night with an idea of what I wanted to accomplish today.  A few errands to run, a few stores I wanted to get to... some grocery shopping.  You get the idea.  Of course yesterday, our girl was sick -- but she vowed that she would be going to school today.

By the end of the day yesterday and after hearing all of the weather reports, I realized that it might not be a primo day for running around town after all.  I resigned myself to the fact that I might not get to all of the places I'd planned. And, regarding my daughter -- well, I was certain that school would be cancelled -- thus giving her another day to recover without having an absence counted against her.

I woke up this morning and looked outside.  NOTHING.  I woke my daughter, and we decided she needed another day at home.

... and the shores of Springfield Lake the same year.

So, no running around town for me.  No snow day for the kids --and another absent day for my daughter.

Rats -- I thought I had it all figured out.  I have been put squarely in my place.

My girl is wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, and here comes the freezing rain -- a full hour-and-a-half after predicted.

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter Be Gone!

Wow - another really cold morning.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready for winter to be over.  I'm trying to be upbeat, but it's dragging me down.  I'm ready for buds and blossoms, and all things green.  How about you?  I could really go for a little breeze through an open window this morning, but... well, that's not advisable.

There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, though -- or at the end of the DAY, I should say.  And mornings don't stay dark for so long.  All good signs that spring is coming!

One good thing about spending lots of time bundled up at home is that I can stock up my little shop.  I've been having fun with that.  Now, in addition to card assortments, I also have stocked a few card sets (same design).  One is this pink Gerbera Daisy design.

After some great feedback on THIS POST, I decided to make up some of these "Twine Heart" cards too. Valentines Day may have already passed us by, but ANY day is a good day for a little love note, right?  I'm hoping you'll like these.

Today, I have a sick girl at home -- so I'll be hunkered down here working on a few more ideas for you.  Stay tuned -- and stay healthy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Note Card Party 2.20

Well, it's that time again -- Note Card Party time with Vee!  She's getting started a little early, and that's alright with me -- since I didn't get to post today.  I DID, however, get caught up on some laundry -- so that's a good thing, right?  But... you don't want to hear about my laundry, so let's get started!

Even though we've passed Valentines Day by, I decided to gather some Valentine-themed photos for you.  As usual, you can click on the photo to find it's original post.

I can't wait to see what all of you have come up with this month!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Observations on "Honey"

The other night, my sweet hubby took me out for dinner.  We visited a little diner about an hour away from home. He'd heard that they had good burgers, so we went to check it out.  The waitress (younger than us) called us both "Honey" several times during our visit.  I caught my hubby looking at her wondering (I think) if she could possibly be speaking to HIM? -- and it got me thinking about how I feel when different people call me "Honey."  I have very mixed reactions as you'll see.

When somebody younger than me calls me "Honey" -- I am a little put out.  I feel like they're talking down to me as if I'm slightly daft.  (Really?  Slightly DAFT?  It's possible I watch too much "Downton Abbey.")

When somebody older than me calls me "Honey" -- I find it endearing.

When a man whom I don't know calls me "Honey" -- it creeps me out a little.  (Okay, more than a little.)

In general, when people who don't know me call me "Honey" -- I think it's a little presumptuous... or at the very least ODD.

When my friends call me "Honey" -- I don't mind at all.

When my sweetie calls me "Honey" -- oh wait, he doesn't.  HE calls me "Babe."

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Big Solution for a Little Problem

I love a good solution to a problem -- albeit a small problem.

A few years ago, I bought this sweet set of measuring spoons while on vacation.  A glistening silver set of  a "dash," a "pinch," and a "smidgen."  They came with a hook for hanging.  When we returned home, and I planned to hang the spoons, I soon realized that the hook did not properly account for the thickness of the spoons, and would not allow them to hang flat against one another.  Fail.

Now, I had three little spoons with awkward hanging holes at the top -- and no way to hang them, or keep them together as a set.  Enter Pinterest (of course).  I spotted a sweet set of measuring spoons from a popular store.  The spoons were held together with what looked like a kilt pin.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  (As a little girl, I had a plaid wool wrap-skirt with just such a pin.  Gotta say -- it was an awesome favorite of mine.)  So, I started googling kilt pins -- and speaking of awesome... um, yeah.  If you're a seriously kilt-er, you can pay a hefty price for your pin!  Just sayin.

Maybe I was on the wrong path for my little spoons?  Afterall, I wasn't looking to spend a lot of money for this little fix.  And idea. I wish I could tell you where this idea came from.  I don't even remember now...

A stitch holder!  Found in the crocheting/knitting section at JoAnn Fabrics.  For a mere dollar or two, I had my solution!

I love a good solution to a problem.

Shop update~ Coming soon: sets of notecards w/ 5 of the same photo (as opposed to an assortment).  Also, I am glad to take custom orders for sets of 5, using any photos you see in my Etsy shop.  Just message me to work out the details.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

* linking with Dear Little Red House

Organizing Receipts

January is the month for organizing and starting fresh, so I've been checking out a lot of posts about organizing "home office" areas.  "Home office" makes my space sound like so much more than it is, but regardless of it's size, it is command central for our family -- and so every little bit of organization helps!  Some organizing solutions seem like so much effort -- and actually seem to make MORE work, and use MORE paper!  Those solutions aren't for me.  For me, SIMPLE works best.  This is one of the easiest things I do, and I've been doing it for years -- corralling my receipts.  At any given time, I have twelve months of receipts, all in the same place, and taking up only a small amount of space.

This type of expandable file with month tabs is my secret.  No matter what the receipt, it goes into the appropriate month. If we need to return merchandise, or match up credit card statements with receipts, we know exactly where to find them.  It's a file system that I make work for me year after year.  I use the expandable file as long as it is in good condition, usually several years.  When a new month begins, I remove the receipts from that month the previous year and look through them.  Most get shredded -- but there are sometimes a select few that need to be saved. They may be for a purchase with a warranty, for example.  I keep a manila folder at the back of the December pocket for these receipts.  At the end of each year, I decide which of those receipts can be discarded.

I do have a few exceptions for placing receipts in this expandable file.  They are car repair and medical receipts. Those each have their own 3-ring binder for the year.  I have found it so convenient to pull out one binder to access anything medical or car related.  Each vehicle has it's own binder, to keep track of title, registration, e-checks, and repair receipts.

These are some very simple suggestions that really work for me.  Since I've learned all kinds of new things from other bloggers, I thought I'd share these tips -- knowing that people are always looking for ways to do things better.  Maybe this system will work for you.

I won't lie.  At the end of the day, my kitchen table can be a mess of receipts and paperwork.  But -- it makes me feel better to know that ultimately, it all has a place to go.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organizing a "Command Central" Bookshelf

Recently, I did a post-homeschooling purge, and have reclaimed some space -- namely a bookshelf.  As we are no longer homeschooling, I was able to tidy up a 3-shelf bookshelf in our kitchen that was previously used for a lot of homeschooling materials, and turn it into a more organized space for my little home office area.  The shelf is adjacent to my desk in our kitchen, so it's handy storage space, and yet...  I wanted it to look nice, and not just be crammed with notebooks and paperwork.

I found a trio of metal baskets at TJMaxx for a grand total of $19.00.  Actually, I brought home one of the smallest ones to test it out. When I decided I liked it, and went back to get more, they only had one small basket left, so I ended up purchasing that as well as one of the medium sized baskets.  (I wasn't sure the medium size was going to work -- but I do like it better than I think I would've liked one more basket of the same size.  It's more visually interesting, I think.)

<<NOTE: I like the open-style metal basket rather than something with solid sides.  This way, I can see what's inside.  I'm an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of person, and if I store things (to be used often) in closed containers, I forget all about them, and end up buying duplicates.  NOT efficient!>>

I wish I had a "before" picture to show you of this bookshelf.  But, no.  Suffice it to say, there were a lot of things there that had been there a long time, and I have reclaimed the space!

The bottom shelf holds a receipt binder (more on that later), school supplies (some stored vertically in magazine racks), and smaller school supplies in a metal basket.

The middle shelf keeps our Bibles handy, and has a larger metal basket for some "whimpy" record-keeping notebooks that don't stand up well, as well as some larger 3-ring notebooks for insurance and school records.

The top shelf includes another metal basket which holds my stationary supplies (to help keep my birthday card commitment!)  The rest of the area is FREE SPACE consolidated into one area after all of the purging.  I decided to use that space (a luxury!) for our collection of favorite books that were randomly scattered around the house. It looks nice and tidy, AND by collecting the books here, I've tidied up a few other areas around the house!

Trust me when I tell you that this is a big improvement.  Yes, it would be nice to have some of this stuff hidden (behind doors, for example), but for now, I'm happy with the REfreshing change!

Tomorrow, I'll share one of the easiest things I do to keep our life organized.  It's an oh-so-simple tip, but one that has been so helpful for us.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Etsy-Bitsy Announcement!

I am SO excited to share that...

I have taken the plunge, and opened an Etsy shop!

I've received so much encouragement from my family and friends as well as so many Note Card Party commentors -- and decided the time was right to try out some photo note cards on Etsy.  I hope you'll stop over and check out my little shop.  You'll see a new <---Etsy box in the left side-bar here on my blog.  You can click on any of the thumbnail photos or on my shop name at the bottom of the box.  Both will take you to my Etsy shop.

You'll recognize many of the photos there as being photos shared on my blog.  Some have been shared in Note Card Parties, and others are just within blog posts here and there. ALL photos have been taken by yours truly!  I've picked some favorites (lots of flowers, a set of roses, a pretty set of yellows, and some favorite vignettes) and compiled sets of FIVE -- with envelopes included, of course.  There are a lot more details over on Etsy...

... and I am OPEN for business.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In the Pink

In between cleaning up Christmas and thinking of Valentines Day, I had these things laying around...

a chunky "spicy vanilla" 3-wick candle
pink paper lace doilies
crocheted snowflake ornaments
gold swirly ornament hooks
red and white twine
pretty lace dresser scarves and doilies
& heart-shaped boxes.

I don't typically decorate much for Valentines Day (or most of the holidays between Christmas and, say... Christmas. But I usually have a little seasonal vignette somewhere in the house... on top of the entertainment center -- or on the kitchen shelf.

And you know -- once the scenery changes and the sun comes out, a girl just can't resist taking pictures.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Good Morning Sunshine!

My favorite kind of morning is when the sun comes streaming in, and catches everything in it's path -- filling it with light.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Little Valentine Bling

Well, maybe not bling.  Bling being sparkly and glitzy and all.  But, how cute are these hearts?  I spotted them on Pinterest one night when I was craving a little something creative.  Before I knew it, I had some Valentine scrapbook paper out, and was cutting strips into various lengths.  But -- it wasn't my original idea, so you can go HERE to read about the process.

Double-sided papers work the best for this project since both sides are visible in the completed heart.

On the EASY scale of 1-3, it's a one -- because let's face it.  A three isn't easy.

Rather than have individual hearts, I wanted to make a string of three.  So, after the hearts were all stapled together, I used a large needle threaded with fishing line, and went straight through the center of each heart (top and bottom), tying a knot at the very bottom, and a loop for hanging at the very top.  Again, easy.

Do you go "all out" for Valentines Day -- or just have a few simple decorations around?

Linking with Sew-licious Home Decor for Valentine Craft Showoff Party.

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