Monday, September 26, 2016

Lovely leaf

I just had to share a scan of this gorgeous leaf I found in our driveway this morning when going for the mail.  Isn't it so pretty?  Sort of half red and half green, with the tips of nearly every point outlined in red.  And notice the few "drops of green paint" just to the left of the stem.  Left by the Master Artist!

Mr. T and I arrived home yesterday from a wonderful 3-day getaway -- something we had badly needed.  Hopefully this week I will be able to share a few posts concerning this time which was such a blessing to us!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rest for the soul

"And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile ..."  (Mark 6:31)

"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  (Matthew 11:29)

God is so good to give us times of rest and relaxation!  And just think ... He promises our souls can experience His rest on a regular basis as we learn of Him and walk with Him!

We are indeed blessed.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A sweet vintage birthday card

I love the colors in this pretty card.  I have never seen one like it and thought others might enjoy seeing it, too.

You can't really tell in the scan, but the card is intended to look like a piece of furniture ... a hutch or other open cabinet.  It is decorated with painted flowers at the top, and the backs of the shelves are painted a pretty sky blue.  It's surprising to me (though it probably shouldn't be, given how colors come into and out of fashion) how the colors look similar to some of my favorite fabrics and projects today.  They look quite up-to-date!

The decorative items on the shelves are so pretty!  It seems they are intended to look like milk glass.  This card appears to be unused, for there is no signature anywhere, but I can see my mother either buying or receiving this card, for she loved milk glass.  The items are embossed, making them look quite three-dimensional.  I love how the little leaves look so real as they tumble from the pitcher at the top.  My mother had a couple of those milk glass nesting hens, and she owned a plate and goblet similar in shape to those on the bottom shelf.   The plate is so pretty, I think. 

Hope you've enjoyed seeing this paper treasure today!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Another wonderful weekend!

Yes, it was another wonderful weekend as I spent time again at The Wilds of New England for a ladies' retreat.  The saddest thing was that I forgot my camera and so had to make do with just a few snaps using the Kindle.  Still, it was such a fantastic time that I have many snapshots filed away in my memory!

(I'll add in a few pictures from last week as well, and maybe one or two from a previous year.)

This time, four ladies went from our church.  We ended up in the same cabin with three friends.
Cabin 5
Last year I had been in this same cabin with my friend Kristina and her friend Missy, both from MA, and two ladies from ME.  This year, Kristina talked her mom, Gina, into coming along.  Gina is a dear friend of mine, a friend of many years' standing, and it was a joy to spend a little bit of extra time with her.  In fact, as I think about it, I would have to say that friends old and new were a big part of this weekend for me.

"Rest" was the theme of this retreat and something I needed badly.  Our speaker, Jen Cox, based her messages in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
"For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

Just think ... getting into the yoke with Jesus and letting Him take the lead, plus learning to know Him well, will bring rest to our souls.   These were messages I needed to hear.

As always at The Wilds of New England, the setting was beautiful, the music honoring to God, the fun time hilarious, and the food delicious.

Of course I spent some enjoyable time in Cool Beans, the coffee shop. 
Coffee for the cooler parts of the day, and Italian cream soda for the sunny hours, were on my agenda.  Such a nice thing happened as I made my way down from the cabin area toward Cool Beans in the early morning, Bible and prayer journal in hand.  A lady fell into step with me and explained that she was going to get coffee before getting ready for the day.  We were among the first in line, and as we waited for our coffee to be prepared she noted my prayer journal and commented that she would like to have something similar to help make her prayer life more effective.  I opened the journal and quickly showed her how it is organized.  Well, her coffee arrived and she went over to a small table on the far side of the room.  In a few minutes my coffee also appeared and I sat down at the end of a long table which was right at hand, and opened my Bible.  (I thought about joining my new acquaintance, but decided against it in case she was planning to use this for her quiet time.)
And now it really gets interesting.  This chance conversation in a coffee line was actually a divine appointment.  As I sat sipping my coffee and looking at Proverbs 17, a large group of chattering ladies entered the shop and got in line.  In that instant I knew they would be occupying the long table where I sat at the end.  (I had been awake half the night listening to loud, idle chatter in the adjoining cabin and was in no frame of mind to hear more of it.) I decided to move to a quieter corner and chose a small table next to my new acquaintance.
This is an older photo of the fireplace in Cool Beans.  There's now a moose head in the middle with a deer on either side.
The moment I did, she spoke up and asked if I would allow her  to copy down some of the headings and other information from my journal, to  use in making one of her own.  Of course I said yes and invited her to join me at my table.  After a bit, she looked up from her copying and said something like, "This is of the Lord.  I saw you open your Bible and didn't want to interrupt you.  But when you got up and moved to this table,  I said, 'Okay, Lord, I'm asking her!'"
The conversation starter ...
And so my new friend now has some helpful information to assist her in her prayer life!  I also opened my tablet and showed her how to find my blog, as there is much more information here in my prayer journal posts.  My only regret is that I did not ask for her address or at least her email, so she can let me know how it goes.

Yet another "friend moment" came when I took my seat in a Q and A session and someone came up from behind and hugged me, saying, "I know you."  It was a dear friend and pastor's wife from Maine.  As I had prayed for this lady the day before (it was my day to pray for her family), I had wondered if I might see her at the retreat.  And here she was!

My most surprising "friend moment", though, really begins 34 years ago, in 1982.  In a small town in New Hampshire, a young Christian couple lived around the corner from the local hospital.  In the ICU, a young man lay comatose, his deeply concerned parents at his bedside.  They spent every day there talking, praying, and playing Christian music in hopes that he would respond.  When the young mom around the corner learned of this, she began a ministry to that hurting older couple, often bringing them lunch, always praying for them, serving in whatever way she could.  There was to be no "happy ending" in the storybook sense, for the young man (who was my brother) did not recover -- yet, there was a truly happy ending for him in that he is in heaven, completely well.

From that day to the present, this dear woman (now a grandmother, living in another state) has sent a note to my parents every year in early October, the time of my brother's homegoing.  When my mother died, I let her know and the notes continued to my dad.  Recently, I sent this dear lady an update on how my dad is doing, and she sent me such a nice reply ... words that the Lord used to encourage my heart.  So imagine my surprise then, at the retreat, when my daughter pointed across the room and said, "I think that is Mrs. _."

She was right, and before the retreat was over we had been able to talk and share a hug.    At last I could share my appreciation in person for her years of ministry to my parents.  And as I think about it now, I realize that this lady personifies the word I have chosen as my word for 2016 -- faithfulness.  She has been faithful to serve others, faithful in praying, faithful in remembering.  All, of course, because God is faithful.

Throughout the weekend I had many other moments with friends, some of them at meals.  I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the pretty decorations in the dining hall.
A look at part of the table decor.  That's a votive in a glass holder tucked into the hurricane with acorns and other fall trims.  And isn't the mini white pumpkin cute?
The meals were delicious, too.  Saturday's breakfast was cheesy scrambled eggs, sausages, and peach slices; lunch was make-your-own sandwiches and chips.  Friday's supper was pot roast, roasted potatoes (including some purple ones!); broccoli, breadsticks and for dessert, pumpkin chocolate chip muffin tops.  Saturday's supper was sweet and sour pork, rice, green beans, rolls, and caramel apple cheesecake.
Window sill decor -- flowers, leaves and pine cones, plus a floating candle in a goblet
Just a wonderful, wonderful weekend!  So thankful for all of God's rich blessings!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An easy and practical sewing project

This year's model
For my trip to the retreat this past weekend, I needed to bring along bedding.  The easiest and best way I've found to transport it is in a stuff sack.  A few years ago I made one of these: stuff sack made from shower curtain.  Let me tell you, this is one of the easiest, most useful projects you will ever sew.  You could literally complete this project in half an hour.  Starting with a shower curtain means that all of your grommets are already in place.

The year I made my first stuff sack, I didn't really think about it until the day before the retreat.  I think it may actually have been the day OF the retreat!  We own stuff sacks for our sleeping bags, but those were too small and I always had a problem stuffing the sleeping bags back into them.  This time I was taking sheets plus fleece blankets, and knew those smaller stuff sacks would never work.

I hurriedly looked online to find a tutorial for making my own.  This stuff sack made from a shower curtain looked like just what I needed. There was no time to go to Walmart.  Since I had to do my grocery shopping anyway, I zipped into a Marshalls in the same plaza and found a suitable shower curtain for under $10.

Note that this needs to be a fabric shower curtain, not a vinyl one.  You could probably find one in a thrift store, but when I made the first one I didn't have the luxury of looking around in different stores.  This is such a fast project!  You cut two simple rectangles, turn one into the carrying strap and the other one into the sack itself.  Only straight seams are required, and only a few of them.  I just used cording that I had on hand for the drawstring.

I was so pleased with the finished product.  It held a set of flannel sheets, a full-sized fleece blanket (all rolled up, of course) and a pillow. 
my first stuff sack
With my granddaughter attending this year's retreat with me, I decided to make a second stuff sack for her to use.  I happened to stop by a discount store and found a print shower curtain that I liked.  I decided to make this one a little bit bigger, cutting it 48" rather than 45". 
The finished sack unstuffed
... and stuffed, ready to go.
I was pleased with how it came out.  This bigger stuff sack will work well when my hubby and I visit a getaway cabin this fall.  We need to bring our own sheets and towels and so this will be a simple way to transport them.

If you have need of a sack like this, give the simple tutorial a try.  I think you'll be pleased with the result!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Weekend report

All flower/landscaping photos taken by Sarah.  Love the pumpkins nestled in the hanging plants in this one!
Wow, where to begin in posting about my wonderful weekend at The Wilds of New England?

This was billed as a mother and daughter (and grandmother too) retreat.  I believe it's the first one that TWNE has offered in this category.  Girls as young as 6 could go.  It was a mother/daughter/grandaughter retreat for me.  My daughter Carrie went, and her 10-year-old Julia.   And then my oldest granddaughter Sarah, 15, my son's daughter, went as well.  We traveled to the retreat with Patty (Carrie's pastor's wife) and her 7-year-old Jen.

I couldn't resist snapping the picture below as we got settled in our van.

 I had pulled out two flashlights and placed them on the cup holder so they wouldn't get forgotten in the van when we unpacked it. Before leaving home,  I had set my green water bottle in one side of the cup holder and when Patty got in (she was driving),  she set her red mug of tea on the other side.  Wow -- I thought it was so interesting how the drink containers matched the flashlights.  I'm easily impressed ...

After getting unpacked and settled in our cabin -- we ended up all together, which was fun -- we headed out for the coffee shop as it was still quite awhile before supper.  I got a raspberry Italian cream soda and Sarah a strawberry smoothie.
My Italian cream soda -- a favorite treat!
Sarah's smoothie -- she was just lifting it to take a sip as I snapped the picture
All three girls also spent time in the game room with friends during the time before supper.
Supper was delicious!  We had ham, sweet potato casserole which was incredible, green beans, and rolls.  Dessert was cupcakes -- moist spice type cupcakes with a whipped white frosting sprinkled with cocoa.  Pretty as well as tasty!

The fun time was hilarious, the worship time meaningful, and the message was wonderful -- reminding us that the foundation of our security is our relationship with God, being eternally secure in our salvation.  The topic of all three messages (Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon) was Security Breach.
After the service, we went to the Sweet Shoppe for pumpkin nor'eastahs (like a flurry or blizzard) and after that we went on a nighttime hayride.  Fun!
Sweet Shoppe in 2012
(I'm interspersing a few of Sarah's photos as I go; I didn't get many pictures myself but I asked her to take some of the flowers and plantings.)

It was a late night; I optimistically set my alarm even though I seldom sleep well in a situation like this.  Didn't need it; I was up and in the shower by five.  I went down to Cool Beans and had my quiet time sitting on the porch.  I watched a glorious sunrise!

Not having the camera with me, I took these with the tablet.  They don't do the sunrise justice at all.
My hand must have been shaking as this one is really blurry.  However, it comes the closest to capturing the colors.  Still nowhere near as gorgeous as the actual sunrise.
Clearer, but not as bright.
As soon as the shop opened I went in and got a large hazelnut coffee.  Breakfast was not until 8:15 or so.  When Carrie and the two girls were ready we returned to Cool Beans and got hot chocolates for the girls and a salted caramel latte for Carrie.

Breakfast was pancakes, sausages, and peach slices.  It fueled us for a busy morning with more music, a good message concerning our social insecurities and how they need not define us because God has made us for a purpose.  This was followed by our personal "God and I time".  After that we had a bit of free time before lunch.
I thought this was so pretty with the little blue flower tucked in amongst the hotter colors.
Lunch was make your own sandwiches with croissants, sliced cheese, turkey and tomatoes, and lettuce.  Chips and broccoli cheese soup were served alongside.  After lunch -- more free time!
Rustic vignettes in every corner!
We went on a longer hayride and then sat on the porch of Cool Beans to watch people riding the zipline.  None of us tried it.  Julia and Jen are both too small for the weight limit.  They went to the Mystery Mansion and played laser tag instead!

Patty and I did quite a bit of crocheting, and somehow more Italian cream sodas and smoothies were consumed!  Also during the afternoon, Carrie, Sarah, and I attended an optional question/answer session with our speaker, Sarah Hudson, and Rand Hummel, director of TWNE.  This optional session was very informative and we were glad we had taken advantage of it.

At 4 pm it was time for the final service and message.  Wonderfully encouraging.  This session had to do with finding our security in the promises of God.

And then supper -- chicken cordon bleu, pasta with cherry tomatoes, salad, and rolls.  Dessert was a fabulous caramel apple cheesecake.  Then it was time to head home.

As Sarah remarked after we had dropped the others off, it seemed as if we had been away much longer than a day and a half.  It was true; it was that refreshing!  I pray that the scriptural truths we were reminded of and encouraged in will stay in our hearts for a lifetime.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Vintage breadbox

Sorry for the blurry pic -- that is a design of lemons on the front.  There's a clearer pic below.
I've never owned a breadbox in 42 years of keeping house.  Depending on the type of bread, we would just keep a loaf on the counter or in the fridge.  Recently, though we had some issues with mice and I went in search of a breadbox.  I'd been thinking for awhile that it might be nice to have one.  It seemed as if sometimes we would have several types of bread on the counter -- say, a sandwich loaf, a few hamburger buns or English muffins, etc.  It looked messy, but I don't really have room for a breadbox on the counter unless something else is removed -- my grandmother's old churn, for example, 
Filled with a spray of leaves for fall
or the bread machine or cookie jar.
However, the mice issue propelled me to do something to safely contain our bread.  I decided to look around at my parents' home, which I am decluttering, and found several breadboxes.  The newer ones (while still vintage!) were plastic, and I was afraid this might hold the musty odors of the cellar where they are stored.  The oldest one is metal.  It was the breadbox we had at our little family camp in the woods while we were growing up.  I think it's probably the breadbox my parents set up housekeeping with.

I brought it home and cleaned it up as best I could. For lack of a better space, I put it on the kitchen island for now.  It worked admirably to hold the mice at bay, and I think we may have caught the last one for awhile.  But I'm not ready to give up the breadbox!
They don't build breadboxes like this anymore.  Notice the red metal tab to hold it securely closed.  It still works perfectly.  On each end of the breadbox there are a half dozen or so small holes for ventilation.  The inside floor of the breadbox was a bit scuffed up, so I lined it with a piece of plastic shelf liner and we were good to go.  The top looked plain and dull so I brightened it up with a vintage cloth and a couple of birds.  Then a friend was getting rid of some things and so I acquired the vintage glass jug.
It looks as if this decanter may have come along with a refrigerator, back in the day.
Something is probably going to have to leave my kitchen counter so this breadbox can live there.  We will see, but I'm guessing the bread machine will be it.

Sharing today with Vintage Charm.