Sunday, January 31, 2021

Making space ... week 9


Okay, I'm calling this week 9, although I have a couple weeks worth of decluttering here. 

 January 18 — From some of my seasonal decorating stash:

To the trash: a decorative egg-shaped soap with lily of the valley motif
To the thrift store: 8 more plastic Easter eggs

From more of my stash of craft materials:

To the thrift store: a jumbo ziplock bag filled with fabric trims of all types and colors (photo below); a bag of assorted Thanksgiving crafts for kids;  spool upon spool of unused 1/8” ribbon.  (Someone gave me this big bag of trims, but really I know I am so unlikely to use it, I just had to pass it on.)

To the trash: a bunch of short odds and ends of ribbons and trims.

January 25-29 — From a tote of Christmas decor in the attic

To the trash:
A decorative hanging ball covered with gilded pinecones, suspended by jute twine — pinecones are falling off it and it’s just not pretty anymore

To the thrift store:
A stuffed bear holding a velvety gift box
A bagful of silk holly, some of it “snow covered”, and a few pine cones
A Christmas table runner that’s not my style
A snowman lamp that’s not really my style anymore
A wall hanging, same
Several pewter-look ornaments
2 square hand-decorated Christmas candles
2 partial sets of iron-on letters for personalizing Christmas stockings
A decorative wooden box with Christmas theme
A lighted folk-art type wooden reindeer
A few bits and pieces of handmade ornaments and some ribbon
Several ornaments I just won't use again

To our camp:
A lighted evergreen garland
Two silk holly garlands
A woven rug in a quilt pattern design of red and green
A Christmas wall hanging I think would look good there
A gallon ziplock bag of assorted ornaments that could work for a camp Christmas tree

I'll likely be writing on my Christmas blog about the above list.  In this large tote from the attic, one of the things I found that I didn't even remember having was a lighted evergreen garland.  I thought of taking it to the camp because it would look nice there year round.  From there, as I found the other items listed, my hubby kind of ran with it and now we are contemplating having Christmas there next year!  Amazing the things that happen when you declutter!

Friday, January 29, 2021

An encouraging read for moms and grandmothers in times like these


Just popping in today to share a helpful link with my readers and friends.  Like many people, I've been feeling a little unsettled in the past year.  The coronavirus, and now political uncertainty and a certain amount of national turmoil have all taken their toll.  We lost a dear friend to suicide in December also, so our personal lives were impacted by that loss as well.  
One thing that has really wrenched my heart during this past year has been the impact of all this stress and uncertainty on children.  Children who were already being homeschooled have a bit of an advantage, of course.  But this is not easy for them, either.  They have the same concerns and fears as any other children; it's just that having school at home is normal for them already.  Their routines have been affected, though, make no mistake about it, with regular activities and events cancelled or taking a much different form.  For example, during the time when the guidelines of our state involved churches being closed for a time, my five-year-old granddaughter demanded to know "Why are we no longer going to church?"
At the beginning of the most stringent guidelines, my hubby and I made a conscious decision that we were going to continue to regularly see our local grandchildren, and yes, we were going to continue hugging them.  Life is far too short not to see or hug people you care about.  We have not once regretted that decision, and we believe it was a real benefit and help to the kids (as well as ourselves) through that time.  We have also very much admired the way our daughters and other young moms we know well have kept life as consistent and happy as possible for their kids during these crazy times.
My hubby and I started subscribing to this newspaper in the fall.  In a recent issue, I read this extremely helpful article: In An Uncertain World, What's a Mom to Do? .  I was so encouraged and want to share this with all the moms and grandmothers I know.  It contains ten very doable tips for making daily life simpler and more comforting and consistent for our kids and grandkids.  Some are things we may be already doing, but it's a great reminder to keep on keeping on.

I hope this is a blessing to someone today.  It surely was an encouragement to me.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A really nice dishcloth pattern

 Below, you see some of the dishcloths I have made over the years.

I've made loads of crocheted dishcloths in the past, from all different patterns and tutorials.  But this one for Dori's Dishcloth is new to me.  


I spied it somewhere -- on Instagram, I think -- last December (as in 2019) and promptly printed it out.  At some point I completed nearly half of it and then set it aside for a more urgent project.  The other day I needed a small take-along project and so grabbed the bag containing this one.  

Last night, I finished it.


This pattern, by Dori at The Red Feedsack, has just become my new favorite.  If you follow the link to Dori's blog, you will see that her dishcloths are mostly in solid colors.  I really like that better -- it has a simplicity that I really love -- but I had started this with variegated yarn so had to keep on.

Interested in any of the other dishcloths pictured here?  Go to the "dishcloths" label in the label cloud to find the posts concerning them.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

If we know God ...


I'm pretty sure I've shared this quote before, but it's been many years.   I came upon it today and I just want to share it again.  It's from Charles Ryrie, and in case you can't read my writing or the scan is too small, I'll write it out for you here as well.

"If we know God, we do not need to know why He allows us to experience what we do.  He is not only in control of the universe and all its facets, but also of our lives, and He loves us.  Though His ways are sometimes beyond our comprehension, we should not criticize Him for His dealings with us or with others.  God is always in control of all things, even when He appears not to be." -- Charles Ryrie

As you can see, this card has been tacked to a wall a time or two.   I took it off a bathroom wall, I think, when we repainted.  Time to tack it back up.

Also,  just a note here to share a link to a blog post which encouraged me so much today.  What's Next for Christians?  Let's keep on doing what God calls His people to do, today and every day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

One day at a time


 I have so many posts rattling around in my head, but there is no time to work on them today.  Posts for the new year, goals for the year and the month, recipe posts, memory posts, things we've done ... so many ideas, so little time!  But the one I am going to share is something I consider very important.  I fully expect that the internet could go down sometime today, so I want to leave you with some encouragement.

The little booklet pictured at the top of the post is one of many that I found at my parents' home.  With their business, they often included a Gospel tract or booklet in the employees' paychecks, and sometimes with bills that were being paid.  So they kept large amounts and a great variety of such printed material on hand.  I donated many to our church and threw really dated ones away.  But this one is the only one of its kind that I found.  It may have been part of a sample assortment, I'm not sure.  Regardless, it has been on my nightstand for weeks and I have read through it often in that time.  I thought it would be a blessing to many of my readers as well.

What this booklet basically is, is a wonderful poem by Annie Johnson Flint.  Some Scripture is also included.  With the lovely illustration on the front and the attractive graphics within, this little booklet is indeed a blessing for believers.  Unfortunately The Tract League, from whence this originally came, is no longer selling tracts as of December 2020.  Here is the poem:


One day at a time,
with its failures and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes,
with its weakness and tears.
With its portion of pain
and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must
 meet and must bear.

One day at a time to be
patient and strong:
To be calm under trial and
sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass
and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die,
and the night
shall bring peace.

One day at a time --
but the day is so long,
And the heart is not brave,
and the soul is not strong.
O Thou merciful Christ,
be Thou near all the way;
Give courage and patience
and strength for the day.

Swift cometh His answer,
so clear and so sweet;
"Yea, I will be with thee'
thy troubles to meet;
I will not forget thee,
nor fail thee, nor grieve;
I will not forsake thee;
I never will leave."

Not yesterday's load we
are called on to bear,
Nor the morrow's uncertain
and shadowy care;
Why should we look forward
or back with dismay?
Our needs, as our mercies,
are but for the day.

One day at a time,
and the day is His day;
He hath numbered its hours,
though they haste or delay.
His grace is sufficient,
we walk not alone;
As the day, so the strength
that He giveth His own.


Scripture verses included with the poem are as follows.  You might wish to look them up.

"My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."  (Psalm 73:26)

"For which cause we faint not: but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."  (2 Corinthians 4:16)

"O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee; be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble."  (Isaiah 33:2)

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  (Hebrews 13:5)

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

 May we all feel strengthened and settled today!  This is what God wants for us.  Remember. as our days, so shall our strength be.  And please be praying for our country, today and every day.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Making space ... week 8


 I've been steadily plugging away at decluttering in various areas -- these are all areas that were out of sight, but I still feel great to have so many things leaving my house!

January 5 --To the thrift store: 5 or 6 iron-on craft transfers — bought to use on sweatshirts back in the day.  4 spools of thread, one white and three black.

Cleaning out that second shelf in the corner kitchen cabinet and also the top shelf in an upper cabinet.. 

To the trash: 5 plastic ice-cube trays; 2 metal ring molds; a broken deviled-egg plate; a cracked melamine plate

To our camp: 8 Corelle plates

To the thrift store: 1 Tupperware jello mold; 2 decorative tins; a 1-quart Corning ware casserole with cover; 2 stainless steel nesting bowls.

To our local daughter: a pretty blue glass pitcher; a 2-quart clear glass Fire King pouring bowl.

January 13-15 — sorting, tossing, donating items from some of my craft supply storage.

Tossed — a partial package of jersey loops for making pot holders; a bundle of raffia; old, woodgrain contact paper saved to use in a dollhouse; 2 kid-painted wooden signs (I saved the best ones); an opened package of colorful crafting feathers; pom-poms that had seen better days; an open box of plastic straws dedicated to crafting; assorted odds and ends of VBS and Sunday school crafts; a broken wooden Christmas plaque to paint (and presumably glue); a dozen or so nearly-used thread spools; my grandmother’s pincushion, a round plastic box of straight pins (much shorter than today’s pins and so not really useful); a stenciled wooden cheese box filled with a tangle of leftover crewel yarn and some skeins of off-brand embroidery floss.  (I kept a few skeins of floss.)

To the thrift store: a paper punch,  2 types of decorative sewing trim; 4 small soft-sculptured doll heads; 3 small grapevine wreaths; 2 plastic hangers (kids size); a package of multicolored plastic coffee stirrers for crafting; a fabric “praise banner” for kids to paint; 1 bag plastic Easter eggs; 2 spools metallic craft ribbon; a large bag of assorted pompoms; the makings for satin “Victorian hat” Christmas ornaments; odds and ends of plastic canvas; odds and ends of magnetic tape; a hem gauge (I think it’s called); 2 packages of cover-your-own buttons; 2 packages fabric crayons; assorted metal buckles; a half-dozen spools of thread; 2 skeins black yarn; a box of vintage button & carpet thread; an unused candle wicking wall hanging kit with a strawberry motif.

To my local daughter: odds and ends of craft materials that her kids will use.

To sell on Etsy: a vintage white plastic buckle for a dress belt.

To our camp: 2 kid-painted wooden signs; a wreath hanger I’d been hunting for; a handmade recipe card holder.

Gift items have also been stored up here.  I’d moved most of them to a different area, but forgot some. 

So, to the thrift store: a lighted floating “color orb”; to the gift chest: a set of 3 “Autumn Romance” votive holders.

I didn't count the items, but that's a lot of stuff.  So thankful to have it going elsewhere!

Friday, January 08, 2021

A word for 2021


Graphic from Good Morning Girls
 Observant readers may have noticed that I haven’t chosen a word for the year yet.  To be sure, I don’t always choose one.

As has been noted many, many times by me and others, it’s definitely not a necessity to choose a word to focus on for a new year.  It's not in any way a practice that makes one any more spiritual, any more committed, or any more anything.  Vast numbers of believers don't choose a word to focus on, nor do they need to.  I didn't even think of doing such a thing until 2013.  I'd read in the past of others doing so and in 2013 I prayerfully considered it for myself.  That year I ended up with the word "Purpose".  I found it incredibly helpful throughout the year to focus on God's purposes for me.

Each year since, I have prayerfully chosen a word for the year.  Some times it has seemed as if God laid a particular word on my heart, and that was truly the case in 2020 when He led me to focus on diligence.

 And wow, when I went back and read that post just now, I surely saw why God had me choose that word.  Of particular interest were the motivators for diligence, which included things like awareness of the brevity of life and the awareness of time.  Maybe I can eventually write a post about how diligence played out for me in 2020; we will see.

But back to 2021.  I had pretty much decided not to choose a word for the year.  Everything is so uncertain and so unsettled that I had no idea what direction I would go.  So Wednesday morning I asked the Lord to show me a word if He had one for me, but otherwise I would be great with not having one.

So, we all know what January 6 was like — “Chaos at the Capitol”, as our local daily paper put it.  Crazy times.  And we know also that whichever way this election goes, it is not going to be a very settled state of affairs.  Last night just watching a little bit of news (from an honest source) had me very unsettled before going to bed. My hubby noted again the inexpressible comfort of knowing that our all-knowing, all-powerful God is in control, and that we simply needed to continue to stay our minds on Him.

As I started upstairs, my word for 2021 fell into my mind: steadfast.  The verse that came to me at the same time was 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 

Just a few minutes later, this verse also came to mind.  It is speaking of our hope in Christ when it declares, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."  (Hebrews 6:19)

The Greek adjective translated “steadfast”  in both of these verses is BEBAIOS, meaning firm and secure.

The word steadfast is used in the Old Testament as well.  In Psalm 78:8 the psalmist Asaph speaks of a “stubborn and rebellious generation, that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.”  I don’t ever want to be in that category!

In the Bible account of how God delivered Daniel from the mouths of the lions, we read that King Darius wrote these words about Daniel's God:

"I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end.  He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."  (Daniel 6:26-27). 

The simple dictionary on my computer defines it this way:

And the more detailed dictionary on my bookshelf offers this definition: Steadfast — 1.  Firmly established or fixed; firm.  2.  Unchanging, not fickle or wavering.

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines “steadfastness” this way: “Stability in commitment or belief.  The Apostle Paul referred to ‘the steadfastness of your faith in Christ’ (Colossians 2:5).  The loss of stability may be avoided if one will ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’.  (2 Peter 3:18).”

Going back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 for a moment — “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of  the Lord” — we may ask ourselves why Paul used the word “therefore”.  He was speaking of everything he had discussed in the previous verses: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and all that it means to us as believers.  

Believer’s Bible Commentary explains the connection to steadfastness:  “In view, then, of the certainty of the resurrection and the fact that faith in Christ is not in vain, the Apostle Paul exhorts his beloved brethren to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that their labor is not in vain in the Lord.  The truth of resurrection changes everything.  It provides hope and steadfastness, and enables us to go on in the face of overwhelming and difficult circumstances.”

Steadfastness will surely be important going into this new year.  I'm thankful for this meaningful word for 2021.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Our little camp in winter


Last evening our daughter Carrie (who lives next door to the camp) went over and got a few photos.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Above, the granite posts and driveway cable, and a view toward the road.
I cropped the one of the light photos to showcase the starburst reflection  even better.  This is  one of the solar lights we have placed along a path from Carrie's house to the camp.
Actually, grandson Josiah placed the lights for us, back in the spring. 
The above photo shows the lake in the distance, just below the mountain. 
Another shot of the camp.  We had thought it would be fun to add a Christmas wreath to the outside, so we were tickled when Carrie offered to get photos.
And one more of a solar light.  This really shows you that the snow cover is not very deep. 

Although we didn't think we'd be spending much time at the camp this winter (it has no insulation) if our weather stays as mild and the snow cover as minimal as it has been so far, we may take some time over there to work on insulation and other tasks inside.  We will see!

For now, we're enjoying these lovely photos which certainly have us wishing the weather does cooperate to let us do some more work over there.  Hope you've enjoyed them too.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Making space -- week 7

 Okay, I'll confess -- I really have no idea what week we are on.  Life has been crazy.  But this is week 7 for me, I guess, so here's some of what I've been decluttering lately:

December 16 — to the thrift store:  another Christmas CD, a box of vintage glass Christmas balls in gold color (hopefully it will be a “find” for somebody); a ziplock bag containing assorted Christmas decor winnowed out as we trimmed the tree; a set of LED blue Christmas lights with white wires (we used this on an outdoor tree last year and the white wires were really unsightly, so I don’t see us using it again unless we for some reason acquired a white tree.  Not likely.)

January 4 — cleaning out the bottom shelf of a corner kitchen cabinet.   To the thrift store: a small crockpot; a ceramic flower basket;  a blue glass pitcher, pretty but doesn’t fit with any of my dishes; 2 clear glass bowls with pouring spouts; a plastic salad bowl and 4 individual salad bowls that match it; 4 Tupperware sandwich containers with lids; a Tupperware container for a bar of cheese; a mold and doll for making a doll cake; a Texas Ware bowl; a popcorn jar.  To our camp: a Pyrex bowl/casserole dish; a stainless steel bowl, a small glass storage jar, the type with a rubber gasket.  I also put a bunch of stuff in the trash.

Clearing out a craft tote that was under my bed; this was a tote that had been my mother's.   I could see it held craft materials so I had saved it.  Here's what I kept out of that (admittedly small) Rubbermaid tote: a bottle of gold beads and one of gold sequins. and two brand-new stencil brushes.  

To the trash: 4 bags of old potpourri (this was lovely, locally made high-end potpourri, but it was so old.  It had to go!);

To the thrift store: 3 packages of flexible magnetic strips; a box of assorted ribbon and ribbon roses; 5 packages of stencils; 4 miniature chipboard market baskets; a handmade Christmas ornament with a teensy teddy bear inside; a new bottle of potpourri oil and one of tacky glue; a package of wooden heart shapes.  

Much more decluttering to come in the days ahead, but this is a great start!

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year! (And some of my simple Christmas decorating)


Wow, it's a brand new year!  Although I know that many people think of 2020 as a truly horrible year, I really can't look at it that way because every day of it was a day of life, a day that God allowed.  I will say that I am happy it has ended.  There were many difficult days in 2020, but God was there for every one of them, as He will be for every day that He allows in 2021.  I'm looking forward with hope and optimism to how He will work in the days ahead.  Like many of you, I'm praying hard for our country while moving forward prayerfully with plans, goals and dreams for the new year.  It will be interesting to watch God work.

Now, let's move on (or maybe it should be back) with a look at some of my Christmas decorating for 2020.  It was quite simple, but I tweaked a few things this year and had fun with it.

 See my vintage Santa mug at the center of the top shelf?  I found a box of six of them in the clean-out at my childhood home.  I believe them to be the Santa mugs that were used at the "kids' table" at the farmhouse Christmases of my childhood.  How to divide these?  My mother had five siblings and each had a family.  I solved the division problem by giving one mug to the oldest cousin in each family.  

Oh, and that tiny red truck and camper was a Dollar Tree find.  It was too cute to pass up.

I'll show you a few more tweaks as we go along.

Above is our tree, new for this year.  We've seldom added a star, but this one, found at an after-Christmas sale in some previous year, was perfect for the size of this tree.  We got the tree at Ocean State Job Lot, essentially free because we got a Crazy Deals gift card for the entire amount of the purchase.  This in turn funded our shopping spree there with the grandkids.  My hubby was very pleased with how this tree went together; it was well marked and quite easy to assemble.
This gorgeous Eloise Wilkin Christmas illustration had been framed and gifted to my mother, who so enjoyed her art.  This year it's on our living room wall.
Not sure if we even taped up incoming Christmas cards in our hallway last year.  This year, my now-retired hubby took charge of the project.

Below is something new that I added this year.  I've had this free "chalkboard" art for awhile and I think I framed it one year.  (I have a folder full of printed out artwork and just rotate it in and out of frames seasonally.)  

This year I thought it would be fun to hang some "brightly shining" stars above it.  I made these nearly two decades ago and had so much fun doing it.  Basically, you cut shapes like snowflakes, stars, or whatever you like out of watercolor paper.  It needs to be a good heavy paper.  Then you brush one side of each shape with a white glue and water mixture and sprinkle heavily with clear glitter.  When it's dry, you turn it over and do the other side the same way.  The tops of the ornaments, when completely dry, can be pierced with a needle and white or silver thread to knot for a hanger.  Here's the link if you want to try making some:  Winter White Glitter Ornaments

I am surprised but pleased that these ornaments have held up so well over time.  I keep them in a zip-top plastic bag inside of a box in the attic, where temperatures are variable and things tend to get damp because of the cold winters.  Yet these ornaments look just as nice now as the day I made them.

I made the cross-stitch sampler below several years ago.  I tucked the burlap snowflake (a gift from a previous Christmas) alongside it this year.
The antique soup tureen on the bottom shelf of the hutch is a family heirloom.  You can read more about it, and the rest of the set, here: Those black and white dishes, if you are interested.  I've added a tapestry placemat, a Christmas milk bottle and cookie recipe, a vintage cardinal salt shaker, a vintage jadeite mug, and a Christmas game.
Below, a closer look at the milk bottle corner.
Below, you can see my Christmas shadow box on the tip-top shelf of the hutch.  Usually I put a couple of Christmasy candles in holders on this shelf, too, but this year I left my jadeite teacups in place and stuck a silver bottle brush tree in each one.  Another 2020 tweak ...
Here you see two shelves in pretty much their entirety. 
Closer look at the middle shelf.  Love that vintage toy truck that I found in clearing out the old homestead!  The two caroling teddy bears have been around since my  kids' childhood.
Closer look at the tureen and tapestry placemat.
The Nativity scene is in a different place this year.  I usually put it on the cedar chest which we move to make room for the Christmas tree.  It's a more roomy surface, but I felt that placing it on this bookcase (which is new to us) put it more at eye level and thus made it more visible, as it indeed should be.
You see below the simple message "Hope in God"  which has been on our front-door chalkboard since March. At that time I had added sprigs of silk forsythia. In summer I kept the message the same and added some daisies and American flags; in fall, some red leaves and yellow mums in addition to the flags.  I've kept the same chalkboard message all of these months since it is really the most important message I can put there.

In early December I augmented the silk ivy with some pine and fir sprigs from around our yard.  I added some faux red berries and stuck in a couple of gold snowflakes, keeping some American flags in place as well.  It's a little quirky I guess, but a look I really like.

Yes -- it's been a simple decorating year, but also one in which I got a great deal of enjoyment out of our decorating.  I've loved seeing others enjoy it too.  Happy New Year, everyone!