Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More than I Bargained For

Charming and I will celebrate thirty-one years of marriage next month. This means, among other things, that the words "I didn't know that about you!!" don't come out of our mouths too often anymore. I know most of the stories about his childhood, and vice versa. We met at eighteen, so it is not so far in the future that we will have known each other twice as long as we "haven't."

The picture above is a well-known painting, "Portrait of a Young Girl Reading." I had a copy in my bedroom growing up. One summer, the grocery store was giving away a "painting a week"
with a $5 order. (think "$20 order" in today's money.) My mom got lots of "still lifes" for the living room and family room--I got the Girl.

The paintings came on cardboard, but imprinted to look like canvas. I never got a frame for mine, but set it up on my bookshelf. Eventually, the corners got bent, and all, so when I moved out, I threw the painting away.

Through the years, I thought I would like to get another copy. Finally, last week, I found one (FRAMED!!) at the thrift store for $5. I thought it would look good in our bedroom, along with the copy of Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" I found last fall. Read about that here.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Charming came home that night and saw the painting. His first words were, "Where did you find the picture of the Girl in the Yellow Dress? That was one of my favorite paintings growing up." He also said, "it was one of my first standards of feminine beauty."

Wow. To find that we both had a connection to something, but didn't share it "together." Like I said, this doesn't happen too often anymore. I've been kind of excited since then, like when we were dating, and everyday was an opportunity to find out something new.

Turning a corner...Charming worked until 1am last night. (I was in bed, of course.) When I got up about 1:30, I heard him downstairs, playing guitar and singing, worshipping the Lord.

Just another reason why I Love This Man.

Young Girl Reading courtesty of

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thank you

Notre Dame 40
Michigan State 37


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Fun Time

Happy news--a new Walmart opened this past Wednesday, much closer to my home than the one I've had to go to all these years. I did visit WM this week, tho' it was the "old" one, because the dry cleaner (which was my Real Errand) is close by that one.

I ventured out today to get gasoline, and Here It Is, Folks:
Now, you will notice that I could get it 5 cents cheaper by using a Walmart gift card. I considered going into the store to get one, but after seeing the, like, forty thousand cars in the parking lot, decided to just pay the Big Price. ( I ended up getting 18 gallons--that meant I spent 90 cents more than by using the card. I felt it was worth Not having the hassle of going in, to pay the 90 cents.)

Last night, I finished Lily's funky bag:

Her birthday was Thursday, so it was pretty timely. Here is a photo of the pockets inside:
I need to stop working on the bags for a little while. I still need to make one for Violet, and now Blackeyed Susan wants one, too. But I am making quilts for Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea, and I need to Get A Move On, little dogie....Laura's birthday is next month.

I'll post pictures of some of those Princess squares, hopefully next time.

I'm getting ready to have Junior Asparagus and Laura Carrot for a couple of hours. Johnny Tremain played in the Alumnae soccer game at his college, against the current team. They only had ten players (instead of eleven-plus-extras), so he played all ninety minutes. His tootsies are trashed. He did get an assist, and the game ended in a tie. Not bad for old guys, and Johnny doesn't play even casually anymore.

I am also watching Blueberry tonight. He's easy--bottle at 8 and then to bed. Then I'll pull out the Princess quilts and re-assess.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

Friday, September 22, 2006


Okay, this is pathetic. Puh-thetic.

Two weeks ago, Charming and I dropped the children off at church and went to get something to eat, and to Be Alone. (yum) We decided to try a Chinese Buffet close to the church, which we had never visited before. The food was fine (ate too much), and then they brought us the check, avec fortune cookies.

Charming's was traditional, tho' I forget what it was. What is remember-able is the fact that my cookie was SANS fortune--none at all. That had never happened to me before. I decided that I was, indeed, UN-fortunate.

Fast forward to last evening. We decided (because we had grown kids and grands "just dropping by" till after 6:30) that we would take Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald to same Chinese Buffet. We Ate Too Much, again, and then the little black tray was brought with four cookies.

I chose first, and read the fortune that I will share in a minute. Alvin's read: Your respect for others will be your ticket to success. Susan's read: A four-wheeled adventure will soon bring you happiness. Charming's: A happy and harmonious family is important to you.

Ready for mine? (drumroll, please): Work on improving your exercise routine.

Are you kidding? That is not a "fortune"!! Tho' it may be a good idea, it is not what I just filled my tummy to uncomfortable-ness for. Who told you, nebulous fortune-cookie company, that you could Stick Your Nose into my business?

Do you realize, since I chose first, that I only had a 25% chance of choosing that particular fortune from the tray?

This is so depressing. I'm going to go get a giganto Mocha with double Whipped Cream from Starbucks.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hi, Lily, Hi Lo

Today is my dear, dear daughter-in-love Lily's birthday. I was looking for a photo to stick in here, but I don't know if I have any without her hubby and three children in it. (I do tend to take scads of photos of those dear babies!--I need to take care of that little issue.)

I wrote about Lily on My Other Blog (see sidebar) today, if you want to know some of the wonderful things about Lily. I just wanted to add a couple more things here:

Lily embraced the idea of being a wife, mother, and home-maker early on. She received a little resistance to "not using your college degree (in El. Ed), /wasting your education." She realizes that an education is more than just a way to have a career in the world. Education is for the person--to make the PERSON better. Of course, an elementary ed. degree is not wasted, for a mother of children (as I also told my daughter, who has a degree in psychology....)

Lily is much more organized than her mother-in-law, but she loves me, anyway. She is a true "daughter"--doing those things my own daughters do, when it comes to family events, routine, celebratory, or "crisis-type".

Lily wants to learn to knit and to sew. She has already done a cross-stitch project, and she is a madwoman when it comes to scrapbooking. She is enlarging her cooking repertoire, and is a master "garage-sailor." She is an advocate for more natural mothering (better food, limited vaccinations, natural family planning), and she has a heart for young mothers who live away from their natural mother/grandmother/aunt support group. She often will have scads of mothers and babies in her home for fellowship.

Happy birthday, Lily--we love you. You make us better people. Thanks for desiring to be a part of our Clan.

Time For Twittering: Provisions of Grace...

This is so great! Tam has a new blog at Provisions of Grace (see my sidebar). Read about it here: Time For Twittering: Provisions of Grace...

Provisions of Grace sells new and vintage sewing items. Right now (she's just beginning) she has several vintage sewing books, and some luscious fabric. I am *so* looking forward to her adding things to her site!!

She is having a little contest to christen her new business. (read about it at the link above) You can win a $30.00 gift certificate--yum, Yum, YUM!!!

Tam and I are blog-gy friends, and sisters-under-the-skin. We love each other, because we have so much in common! I am so thrilled for her opportunity to bless her household with an income, while doing the things she loves to do! Go give her a visit today!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bluebird Blogs

Bluebird Blogs is giving away free custom-designed blog templates to 2 lucky people!

Go and check out her wonderful work!!

Email her for a free chance, and if you post about the contest on your blog, you will get an extra 5 chances to win.

(so now I have six chances--Me, Me, Me, ME, ME, ME!!!! (was that six times??)

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Look of Autumn

I finally got my fall decorating done in my main rooms. Here is the centerpiece for the dining room table:
My china cabinet boasts a festive garland. The candlesticks keep it from falling off: Here is the front door. Note the very important pennant, without which it is not "really " autumn at our house:
I always put my autumn quilt front-and-center. I did this one completely by hand:
Okay, so now every window had to have a garland, or they looked naked:
Today, Johnny Tremain and Rocky Balboa went to a Cubs game in Chicago, so Lily and Forget-me-not came over with the children. Here are Blueberry and Sweet Pea just hangin' out:
Alvin Fernald has a class tomorrow to get certified in First Aid. It will be great for him, and he will qualify for a Royal Ranger merit as well. Lily and I are going to Jo-Ann's--they have a Saturday-only sale on flannels for $2.99--maybe I can get started on Christmas jammy-pants!

This weekend is our favorite festival of the year--the Johnny Appleseed festival. (he is buried in our town.) Yum--apple cider, apple dumplings, demos of spinning, soap-making, handmade musical instruments (and lots of music, too.) Opportunities to spend lots of cash. Fun, fun, fun!

Tonight, just Alvin and I are home. Maybe I'll cut some sewing-thing out, and maybe just begin to go through the giant stack of projects....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Drumroll, please

Oh, this was going to be So-o-o much more dramatic. One of the gas stations in town had their gasoline for $1.99 yesterday. (this was a "grapevine" thing, so the lines weren't long or anything.) I did not know the dealie ended at 5pm. I got there about 5:15, but was still pretty happy with what I found:
Later, I went to our new ladies' class at church--Quilting Through the Bible. Some of the ladies do not quilt in real life, so we are putting the squares together out of paper. Last week, I did pretty well with Road to Heaven:
Then, last night, It All Fell Apart. We did a square called Road to Jerusalem. I don't know if you can see the two places where I had to rip off pieces I had put in the wrong place. I'm sure you *can* see where I wasn't too careful butting pieces against each other. AND the blops of glue on every single piece where I stamped it down after gluing. I should have had a clue when the other girls said, "oh, are you finished already?"
Oh, the Shame.

That little question took me right back to first grade...and second, and third...and any other grades where Art Class meant construction paper and paste. Every project had paste smears all over it. Especially, from the side of my hand that pressed down all the pieces.

The worst was the Christmas picture we made out of yarn. The other children picked a Candy Cane or a Bell. Me? I decided to do the entire Holy Family--Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the manger, AND the Star. My teacher let me take it home for the weekend (of course, everyone else finished in class). Glue. Everywhere. As in, every strand of yarn coated in it. I didn't believe my mother when she said she "liked it very much."'

What I *don't* like is how everlastingly FAST I can be propelled right back into that little girl. It really shows us that some things don't change, if we are put in certain situations.

Wow. Isn't that like our sin nature? There have been times when I have been astounded at how quickly I can revert to my Default mode. Things that I thought had been taken care of years ago, I find myself either tempted to do, or actually doing. And with no warning--wham, there it is again.

How we need the resurrection power of Christ in our lives every day, every hour, every minute. We can never, never "rest on our laurels," or think we've "got this one covered."

How I appreciate that my Father can remind me in such a gentle way that He still has a messy little girl on His hands, but that He "likes me very much" the way I am, anyway.

Have I shared my quilting motto with you? Finished is Better than Perfect. I'm glad *I'm* not the "author and finisher of my faith." With God doing the "finishing," I'll be Perfectly Finished. No gloppies or anything.

From now on, though, I think I'll stick with fabric. That way, I don't have to use paste.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up

Friday night, I finished the bag for Forget-me-not, here modeled by Blackeyed Susan:
It turned out HUGE. Susan would have liked it, but Forget-me-not says that she can use it for a diaper/weekend bag as well as a purse. Here are the pockets I put inside:

Sunday, both grandson Blueberry and granddaughter Sweet Pea were dedicated. Here is Johnny and Lily with their three (and Grandma):
Here are Rocky, Forget-me-not, Blueberry, Sweet Pea, Lily, and Johnny:
Pretty proud Mama here. And what a blessing to see my children bringing *their* children to the Lord to be dedicated to Him.

I posted a 9/11 tribute on my other blog this morning. I wish we could keep those images in the fronts of our minds all the time. Then no one would wonder why we are at war, or even have to remember that we Are at war. May God bless the victims' families, our soldiers, and our President. May He give comfort and wisdom to all of us, as it continues to get closer to the time Jesus returns.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Finished Project--ME!!

I decided to get my hair cut, after over two years. Here is a "before" photo, like the ones in advertisements, with no makeup and no smile, a la "mug shots:"
Here is "after." My hair usually takes a week or so to settle into what it's going to do, but I am happy with it already! It is naturally curly, so with "curling mousse" it really goes cutesy:
I've begun my fall decorating. Here is my buffet, with silk flowers and candles. The candlesticks on the left were a wedding gift for my parents, so they are 65 years old:
I found the candlestick on the right at the thrift store this week. I think it looks all art-deco-ey:
My other thrift-store goody is a book I have wanted to own for a couple of years, since I got it at the library. It has my name written all over it:
If you want to know about that, read about it here:

So far, the people who have seen me (with my new hair) think I look ten years younger. That's a really good thing. Maybe it will be a springboard to other, healthy behaviors that will really count...

I'll leave you with a bit of wisdom from Eeyore:

"Even at the very bottom of the river, don't stop to say to yourself, "Is this a Hearty Joke, or is it the Merest Accident?" Just float to the surface and say to yourself, "It's wet."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Moms for Modesty

One of these days, I will figure out what is the matter with my Hyper-Linking Thing. I never have a problem on my other blog, but, oh well.

Here is a link to an important post for Moms for Modesty:

Go there and put your two cents in, to let retailers know that we desire to dress our daughters modestly, both for their sakes and the sakes of our sons. This is not a battle that we fight once, but every season that comes around. Twenty years ago, it was the "bike shorts" with the lingerie lace on the bottom. Thirty years ago it was the first go-round of the low-rider pants/midriff tops. Forty years ago, I fought with my mother over mini-skirts. (she won that argument, by the way...)

So many, many expressions are common today that used to mean the vilest things: "that s*cks," "bite me," "frickin'" (or "flippin'")...we find them on t-shirts for our littlest ones. They call them Attitude shirts. Then we have the messages on the Backsides of shorts and sweats. Hey, don't bother looking at my face--that's not where *I* live. That's the message the guys are getting.

Satan wants our children. He wants to burden our sons with the "every man's battle." He wants to deceive our daughters into thinking that to "fit in," they have to go with *his* crowd. He wants to make parents so busy or so tired that they don't have the energy to fight him.

The world is the world, friends. It has always been so. It is getting harder to be "in the world, not of it," because "back in the day," morality seemed to be stronger than immorality. We know that this is no longer so, we are fighting Uphill now. The good news is that God also wants our children. So we have an ally to bear us up when we are weary of the battle.

Go to everyday mommy. Get on board. Keep alert in your own life. Buy from companies that make the effort.

And don't forget to pray.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day of School

I have some pretty good thoughts today, this first day of our school year. You can read them on My Other Blog (link on sidebar) if you like.

You would find out that today won't go like I planned. But God kind of overruled it, and, well, His plan is better, anyway.

Blackeyed Susan is in eighth grade, and Alvin Fernald is in sixth. This is so amazing to me. Of course we all experience that Tornado called time, rushing through and taking our children in its wake, growing them up and spitting them out, all too soon. When Susan was born, my oldest was two months from high school graduation. She (Violet) was 19 when Alvin was born.

I had six children by the time I was 28; the last two were born at 37 and 39. At one time I had Two in College, Two in High School, Two in Middle School, and Two in Diapers. I had a 21-year old and a 21-month old. I had five teenagers, twice. Now Susan is 13, we'll do it "one more time." When I get playful, I say that I have been a parent for 182 years (adding all the children's ages). In September it will be 183 years, October 184, November 185, December 186. I'm getting up there, folks, in the Experience department.

How I miss the "little people" who used to live in my house. My dear mother-in-love told me early on that when they were small (and I was so tired) that it was the easiest time in my life. I wanted to believe her; I knew she was telling the truth, but how can we see it then? Of course, it *is* true.

Joe Hardy had the cutest little raspy voice that lisped. He got therapy and the lisp went away (that's okay, I wouldn't have wanted to saddle him with that), but the little raspy voice was Gone For Good when his voice changed at puberty. All of mine had Chubby Cheeks. And knees. And elbows. The joy as each of them learned to read. Eyes of wonder at discovering things on their own. Now, they still enjoy learning, but I don't get to see their eyes most of the time--they don't live at home anymore...

Now, with only Susan and Alvin home, we don't do cutesy stuff to start our homeschool day. There is work to be done. Still discovering things, of course, but it won't be too long before Alvin's voice changes. We used to do Baby Powder--now we do Deodorant and hair Product.

Sorry. Didn't mean to be melancholy. Every day is a gift from God. Today He has given me another day with my dear husband and children. I don't want to waste it, so I guess I'd better Get Going on it!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Thoughts from Brenda

I'm going to link you to a post from Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me here:

I still haven't figured out why I can't do a link--I always get a message about a closing tag or something--maybe my "cookies" are not right. But anyway, Brenda has some beautiful, beautiful thoughts about Frugal Luxuries--those things that "make our hearts sing."

Karen Andreola, in A Charlotte Mason Companion, a book about homeschooling, calls this Mother Culture. If we take on the responsibilities of educating our children in addition to the "home duties," we will most certainly burn out, if we are not refreshed ourselves. So we read good books. We listen to great music. We surround ourselves with those little luxuries that mean so much to US, individually. Taking the time (be it just a little time) to make ourselves Richer. This, of course, can be said for mothers who work outside the home as well. Just plain Mothers and Wives, period.

Brenda (above) says this so awfully, awfully well. It's like she got into my mind and pulled out *my* thoughts, only she can say them better than I can.

Most of us don't have hours every day to enrich ourselves. Maybe we have minutes. But if we surround ourselves with things we love, we can get the most out of the minutes we have. I always say that my afternoon "cuppa" is Life-Giving.

So have a piece of Mother Culture today. Read Brenda's thoughts.

Friday, September 01, 2006

WIP--Fun, Funky Bags

Question: Is it a WIP if all you've done is chosen the fabric?

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to make bags for two of my daughters and my daughter-in-law. Here are the fabrics for Lily:
I may add a green, instead of the brown, but right now this is how it stands.

Here are the choices for Forget-me-not:

I had put the tiny pink/white dot you see from the first bag with hers, but found this bigger dot pink/light pink at Wal-mart, and the dots are the same size as the feature fabric.

Now for Violet's--she wanted black and white: I got funky black plastic handles for hers. This is going to be fun!

Finally, a photo of me and grandson Junior Asparagus, who helped me blow out the candles on my birthday cake, earlier in the week:

I can only show you this picture because my dining room table was clean! Does yours become a collection place? I have a sewing machine table upstairs, but one of the legs broke off, so I brought the machine downstairs. Add to the sewing/cutting going on, piles of schoolbooks from last year and this (okay, I never put the homeschooling stuff away over the summer, and so the old AND new organizing mess was happening--where is my Flylady??), and it needed a Grand Excavation to get ready for the family to gather on Tuesday.

I didn't get a photo of the gorgeous dozen white-with-pink-shadows roses that Rocky and Forget-me-not got me, OR the fabulous MaryKay foot-care-treats pack from Lily and family, but wanted to mention them here. My greatest gift was to see or speak with all eight of my babies and four grands. When the roses wilt, or the foot treats are gone (even tho' I will be left with soft, fragrant tootsies), I will have the memory of a treasured day with my family.