Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hundreds of Buttons

Button, button, who's got the button!  I do!   Yesterday I took a couple hours and went not to the "After Christmas Sales" but to my favorite second hand shops.  With my favorite coffee in a cup-to-go I kissed hubby and headed out the door.  I was at our local Salvation Army store and found a rusty tin filled with buttons.  Being a sewer and a crafter this was a real find.  The sweet lady working sold it to me for a $1.00!  I was thrilled.  Now, as you can see by the photo my treasure was a mess of dirt, pins, tacks, and other assorted sharp things along with the buttons.  Not to worry!  I seperated the buttons by color while using a magnet to capture the pins,needles, and assorted sharp pieces.
The old muffin tin came in handy to keep the colors seperated.  After seperating them I gently washed my
little treasures and laid them out on a couple of old towels to dry overnight.

There are so many opportunities to come...embellishments, scrapbooking, sewing, quilting, and possibly some button jewelry.

I especially love the collection of white buttons- the majority are shell and glass.
For a wonderful collection of tutorials on Button Jewelry take a look at the following site:
Here's wishing you a creative day!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Over the River and through the Woods...

We have arrived home from an absolutely wonderful Christmas celebration.
And I thought I'd share just a few of our pics.

This was taken from the car window as John, Grandma, and I traveled the highways and by-ways to Emily and Brian's for the family's Christmas gathering.

This is our Buddy after a romp in the snow!  He was soaked, needed to be dried off a bit but looked rather sad at the whole idea!

Okay, He's a bit happier now!  He spent a few minutes rubbing his nose across the towel but, was not loving the camera.

We arrived at the Emily and Brian's in time for 6" of snow.  It really was beautiful.  It was the kind of snow that falls softly and looks like glitter.  I caught Emily by surprise...minus her pretty smile!

After a delightful Christmas meal of baked salmon,shrimp, salad, and an assortment of side dishes we settled in to exchange gifts.  Much fun was had by all!
(John, Brad, and Mandy)

Emily was commenting on the vintage her sister and brother-in-law brought her from a Door County Winery.

Take notice of the backround in the previous two pics.  The kids are have been rehabing their home.  Not too long ago these beautiful walls were nothing but studs and lath board!  We are amazed each time we visit at how much work they have done and how beautiful it is turning out.  The hardwood floors are original to the house.  Brian lovingly removed each board, removed nails, and when the time came replaced the floor, sanded, stained, and sealed the floors.  They are so pretty.  Windows are on the wish list!

Mandy and Grandma sharing a little love!

I hope that you had a happy holiday season filled with monents to treasure always.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Reason for the Season

Jesus Is The Reason
In Bethlehem, God gave to us

The source of Christmas joy;

A star shown on a miracle:

The virgin birth of Jesus
He was born both God and man,

A Savior for us all,

The way to get to our heavenly home,

If we just heed His call.
So as we shop and spend and wrap

And enjoy the Christmas season,

Let's keep in mind the sacred truth:

Jesus is the reason.
By Joanna Fuchs

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Comfy Little Treasures...

This was the first day of my Christmas break from school.  I had a relaxing day that included a little tidy up in the apartment, I wrote some cards to friends and family that I am (We are) late with.  Thank goodness there are twelve days of Christmas and it doesn't have to end on the 25th.  John and I are preparing for our family gathering.  I am so anxious to see the girls.  The presents are wrapped, the decorations are hung, we have delivered gifts and little treasures to friends and family, dinner done, and I am going to settle in to do some reading.  Yes, I said reading.  You see being an English Teacher I rarely have time to read for pleasure.
I read an average of 50 to 60 young adult novels a year in addition to staying on top of the profession and it's changes and developments.  So when I am able to slow down and read for pleasure I savor the moments.

I've made some tea, I'm in comfy clothes, and ready to relax.  The book I've chosen is...

I haven't read this book since I was a little girl and it feels like the perfect story to enjoy now.

"Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates (full title — Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland) is a novel by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865. The novel takes place in the Netherlands, and is a very colorful fictional portrait of early nineteenth-century Dutch life, as well as an inspirational tale of youthful honor.
The title of the book refers to the beautiful silver skates to be awarded to winner of the ice-skating race Hans Brinker hopes to enter. The novel introduced the sport of Dutch speed skating to Americans, and in U.S. media Hans Brinker is still considered the prototypical speed skater.
The book is also notable for popularizing the story of the little Dutch boy who plugs a dike with his finger."

I remember the inspiration I felt as a young girl having read this story and how I enjoy nostalgia...
So I'll  read on.

“If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart”

Have a Wonderful Christmas season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Treasures and Quiet Moments

The last few days have been filled with writing finals and helping students review for Semester exams.  It has been a bit exhausting but I feel confident that my students are ready. 
With that being said, I felt the need for a bit of a break.  I did some shopping for some special children of a family John and I are sponsoring this Christmas. It's our way of paying it forward!
This little display is on the chest just below our Christmas (wall) tree.
Isn't she sweet!

This little charmer was a rummage sale find and was meant to be adopted!
The Gingerbread Man can...!

This is the best display of holiday goodies! No calories and no guilt!

All of this adds to the atmosphere but...
As I relax a bit, savor a cup of coffee, and reflect on the day I am taken to a place of peace and serenity.
I have so much to be grateful for.  My loving husband, our daughters and son-in-laws, my health, my students, family and friends, talents, interests, and goals.  But most of all a loving God who has a plan for my life.  The real reason for the season.
God bless you and yours during this special time.
And don't forget to pay it forward!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Tree

This year presented a new challenge.  How to have a Christmas tree in our little apartment was a puzzler!
I was lucky enough to be patient and came across this tree that hangs on the wall!  I decorated it with cookies and candy, and a few sweet little elves.

On the surface below I clustered jars and pretty dishes with what appears to be tasty treats.

And visions of sugar plums danced in their heads...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Welcome to the Gingerbread House Tour...Enjoy Yourself!

The Holiday season is upon us and I wanted to share the Gingerbread House that I made.  It now decorates the kitchen in our little apartment.  I surround it with holiday cookies and treats when people come to call. As you can see not only are the preparations going on at my home but at The Gingerbread House as well!
The little elves can't help but play with all the treasures waiting for Christmas day!

No Home is complete without a pet.  This puppy loves playing with the little elf trying to get some rest!
Choo Choo trains are a timeless toy little one's love to play with.   What wonderful place might they visit...All aboard adventure awaits.  First stop Candyland... Second stop the Northpole...

Wouldn't it be fun to have Santa help decorate your tree, share a cookie, a hot cocoa, and maybe a Christmas story or two.

(sorry for the blurry picture) But, never-the-less, This little maid is busy baking up a kitchen full of delights.  Did you notice the little elf?  He must be the taste-tester! she's currently decorating a gingerbread house for the children.

Hope you enjoyed the house tour.  From our house to yours...May you enjoy the simple pleasures that await you today, may sugarplums dance in your head...childlike dreams and all the joy of this wonderful season can bring your way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's all about the Gifts of the Season...

These Christmas lights were so beatuiful I couldn't help but try to capture them.  The city of Geneva, Illinois is awash in lights to celebrate the season.  I was attending an Education Seminar in a nearby town and took the opportunity to visit this beautiful city to do a little Christmas shopping and have dinner.

This shop window was so quaint and so inviting!  I wandered in and found a delightful mix of holiday decor and an array of Paris inspired accessories.  In a word, "Beautiful".

The other shop I visited was called Simply Sassys.  It was a little winter wonderland.  There were candles in the scent of pine needles, decorated trees with ornaments made of porclein, blown glass, chyrstals, and an assortment of other characters made of fabric and some unusual items. (I'll share pics tomorrow!)
The shopkeeper was a sweet woman who chatted and shared stories about each of the gift lines she had to offer.  Handmade jewelry, soy candles, and snow people are just a few examples.  It is a crafters paradise!

In the midst of a day I was granted a moment to explore, meet new people, enjoy the holiday light displays, have a delicious meal, and be thankful for the understanding of the real reason for the season!
May your day be lit with the glowing warmth of this blessed season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

God Grant Me Serenity...

I took a walk today and found the last bits of autumn letting go. It seemed to be inviting the wind and the chill that has taken over the landscape.  Like the seeds with thier fuzzy tails adrift in every direction I find myself  a drift in my thoughts. I am in need of some quiet time.  My head just spins sometimes.  Ideas, plans, concerns, worries, responsibilities, projects, people to reach, oh my!  Life can become a jumbled rush to the end of each day.  And that is no way for anyone to live.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I need to seperate the tasks and recognize that God doesn't give me more than I can handle.  I have completed our Christmas shopping.  Gift wrapping is on the agenda for tomorrow.  And I plan to decorate on Saturday.  John will help me with our Christmas cards and letters next week and then there is baking.  Don't misunderstand I love everything about celebrating Christmas but I must work each season not to get caught up in what can become crazy and out of control.
In the mean time I am working hard to keep up with school work as I will be leaving on Sunday morning to attend an education conference Monday and Tuesday.  I will have to write lesson plans for next week, as well as, plans for my Substitute teacher. 
I have an abundance of gratitude for all of it-the good, the busy, the chaotic, and the calm.
May God grant you serenity as you live your day to the fullest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As I sit quietly pondering a busy past few weeks, a wonderful Mother/Daughter weekend, school challenges and successes, I smile.  I am blessed to be the woman I am with a life filled with loving family and friends,a relationship with God, and my health. 
I have so many choices in my life I am never without options.  That in it self is a gift.
Our daughters and their families will be with in-laws this year for Thanksgiving Day but we will talk to each of them as the weekend unfolds.  (As children grow and develop independent lives we have to share them and their time with others!)  But not to dispair we have a wonderful Christmas celebration planned and we look forward to it spending time with all our family in the next few weeks.
Hubby and I are going to fore go on the BIG bird and roast a chicken instead.  Our turkey was donated to my students "Soup for the Soul" project to be distributed to a family in need.  it warms my heart to have been apart of their giving project.
The coming weekend is to be filled with cleaning, decorating for the holidays, corespondance, school prep, and hopfully some relaxing!
May you and your family have a Thanksgiving celebration that reminds you all that is valuable to living a life of gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Garbage Free Day

A friend gave this to me recently and it is so good I just have to share it with you:
"The Garbage Truck"

One day I hopped into a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" This is what the taxi driver taught me...what I now call,

"The Law of the Garbage Truck."

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they will dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it on to other people at work, at home or on the streets. The bottom line is that Christians do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, the people who treat you right; Pray for the ones who don't. Life is 10% what you make of it and 90% how to take it!!!

Have a garbage-free day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big Collector with a Little Space

I am just not sure where to go with my newest treasure...

I have a dilemma brewing!  We have this little apartment and I have a BIG collecting habit!
There just isn't enough space to have all the awesome things I find.
The photos give you an idea of most of the livingroom.  The other side of the room has two upholstered chairs and side tables.

I have found a beautiful wood carving and I want to display it but I'm stumped!
If you have an idea for a unique way to display the piece below please share it .
(It weighs about 5 pounds!)

This is a carving of the last supper.  I tried to research the artist but to no avail.
Have you any insight on this style of carving?

The artist's name is Antonio Silva.  He may have been Mexican, Spanish, Portugese,
or maybe even Italian.
Whether I ever find out anything, the carving is really captivating and I'd like to display it.
With that said, I am beginning to plan for Christmas and will be sharing my preparation in days to come.
Have a terrific Thursday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The pictures leave a little to be desired from a photography point of view but I really wanted to share
some textiles I purchased at my latest auction adventure.  This set includes a table runner, six placemats and six napkins.  It will be a wonderful addition to our Thanksgiving table.

Each piece has a unique pattern all its own.

The angle on this photo was much better and gives a true look at the color of the natural linen fabric.

This is a runner for a table or dresser.  I'm not sure it's my style exactly but I really appreciate the time and love that went into creating it.  I might repurpose it.  I'm thinking the embellishment on a pillow or maybe a panel to display vintage postcards? 

Is this not the cutest way to keep tortillas warm!  And it washed up beautifully.

This little piece is going to find it's way onto a package for a new baby.
Our daughter Amanda and our son-in-law Brad are going to be Auntie and Unccle again soon.
I know I'd like to be saying Parents but that will come in God's time.

Isn't this sweet!

Repurpose, reuse, refurbish...there is no reason not to celebrate home and hearth with so many treasures out there to be rescued and enjoyed.
Treasure yours today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Hearts

It has been a very busy week with classes , preparing for parent/teacher conferences, and the tidbits that make up everyday life but don't get me wrong I am not complaining. On the contrary I am truly grateful for all the blessings I have received. There are times when I feel like I can't see the trees through the forest and then there are times when I have real clarity.
How you think is how you feel, better thinking gives you better feeling.
"A happy heart is like medicine." ( proverbs 17:22)
So, be happy as you live your day and as the days add up you will recognize a trend...
consistent joy in living life to it's fullest.
Today I will live the moments of my life with a happy heart.
How will you express a happy heart today?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Be Your Own Travel Guide

You know how I love to travel. The idea of a new place, new people, culture, cuisine, and all the special things to be discovered has such a strong draw. But, alas I can not always hop a train or a plane and go. However, the images here can take you to anyplace you'd like to go!
The trolley car is beautiful. The seats comfortible and the scenery captivating.
Come on take a seat, relax, and enjoy the ride!

This beautiful trompe l'oeil trolley is the entrance to a unique little mall in Frankfurt, Illinois.
Since I'm on the topic of travel I'd like to move onto another opportunity for travel.
A good book is like taking passage on a fantastic trip.
Reading has taken me to England while absorbed in Pride and Prejudice, to any junior
high school in Zen and the Art of Faking It, or on a journey across America with the photography book by Jake Rajs.
There is nothing better than a cup of tea or fresh brewed coffee, a comfy quilt, and a book to get lost in.
Where will your travels take you? I'm on my way to a rural community in small town USA with Things I've Learned Lately, by Danae Jacobson.
Until on and enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sew Much To Do

Can you believe that this machine was only $4.00! I feel so blessed to have the opportnity to create on the go. I have a lovely sewing machine in a cabinet but this will allow me to take a sewing machine with me when I visit my mother. We used to do alot of sewing and creative work together but we are in different cities now and don't have the same amount of opportunity to do these activities but that's about to change...I can see a sewing, quiling, creating kind of weekend in the near future. :)

On another note the doll house under construction has a new worker. He seems hard working and dedicated to his pursuits! I just may make him the house and grounds keeper permanently!
The furnishings are finished and the house has been glues and put together. Some of the painting is complete and we will be hanging wallpaper soon. I can't wait to share it with you.
It is a true labor of love and joy...the little girl in me is just thrilled!
"Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better." John Updike