Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hope - First Sunday of Advent

"Find rest, O my soul in God alone; my hope comes from him." (Psalm 62:5-6)

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."
(Hebrews 10:23)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting Close to Christmas

This past week I've spoken to two ladies' groups at our church, and helped organize another event. For one of them I made folded paper stars from old music paper, then added a verse and a bit of glitter. I had a few left over and thought they'd be pretty on a wintery table.

Last night we had a home tour. We toured three homes decorated for Christmas and then went to the church for cookies, hot chocolate and spiced apple cider. Mmmm. Good. Our home was on the tour so I set the kitchen table in a wintery theme. I used crocheted doilies as placemats on a checked background. The folded paper stars were perfect as napkin rings.

Vellum snowflakes littered the table and a cozy oil lamp with a red bow cast a warm glow over the table. It was all so very pretty. Before everyone came last night I wandered through the candle lit house and thought, "let's have Christmas NOW!" The home tour was a great success! All the ladies had a wonderful time.

This morning I UN-decorated the tree since it was an artificial one borrowed from a friend and we'll put up a REAL tree in a week or 10 days. And we ate breakfast at the wintery table but now that's gone too. The dining table is still set and I'll share some other pictures later.

I'm feeling very mellow and relaxed - exams and papers finished, this busy week done, and now...I have many Christmas projects to work on. I can hardly wait to start!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Although I ate my turkey dinner and pumpkin pie back in October, as we do here in Canada, I want to extend a Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends. May gratitude fill your hearts and homes as you focus on the blessings you've been given.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do you or don't you?

like fruitcake, that is? Fruitcake seems to be one of those things where there's no middle ground. Me, I can't stand it. My husband loves it. I make it every couple of years. This was the year.

It's too bad it tastes so awful because it certainly does LOOK pretty - all those shiny fruits look a bit like stained glass.

So how about you, do you or don't you?
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Learning to Cable

I'm just learning how to knit. For the past three Saturdays I've taken a class in making cables. Who knew it would be so simple? Our teacher was great! This is the scarf I made, out of a lovely merino/silk blend. So soft. I still need to block the scarf, then it will be ready for a Christmas gift. I just love the colour.
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Friday, November 21, 2008


Breathing again. In the past two weeks I've submitted two research papers and written two final exams. I just came home from the last one and can feel everything start to relax. I might fall asleep here at the keyboard.

But NOW I can work on holiday goodies and oh, how I love to do that. I have some things started already, but nothing ready to photograph.

Meanwhile, I'll light a candle and read a book....nope, I don't think so. Cleaning, shopping, laundry, cooking - that's what's next!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's the Season!

Last year, in early December, I stood in a line up waiting to mail off some Christmas parcels. I was in a hurry. I was busy. I just wanted to get the parcels mailed and be off on my next task. The line up was fairly long and as I stood there I thought of what I would do next. I really didn't want to speak with anyone.

Then an elderly lady joined the lineup. She was cheerful and chatty. Reluctantly, I was dragged into a conversation with her - just a general conversation about the slowly moving line, the weather, etc. I responded politely, but not enthusiastically to her prompts.

Suddenly, she tilted her head, looked straight at me and said, "This is going to be a hard Christmas for me. My husband died in August."

Now that got my attention. Fast. I looked at her in a new way, wanting to offer some comfort. All I could say was that I was sorry and did she have plans and so on. We chatted a bit more, and this time, I was fully engaged.

Just before my turn came to approach the postal clerk, the lady said to me, "You have a kind face. You must be a very nice person."

There wasn't much more time - all I could do was put my hand on her arm and wish her a Merry Christmas and say, "God bless you."

A fleeting encounter. That's all it was. But I learned a lesson that day. Several lessons, in fact.

1. You never know what people are going through - the hurts, the disappointments, the sorrows. Most people don't share. But there are so many hurting people in this world. Don't judge. Accept people where they are at.

2. Be open. When I was willing to open myself up a little and talk with this lady, we had a pleasant conversation. I know that my life was touched by hers in spite of the brevity of our talk. And I know that her life made an impact on my life. I hope hers was a little warmed by mine.

3. Actions really do speak louder than words. Her last comment to me about having a kind face - I hope I do. But I know that I don't often feel kind inside. And yet I know that me actions, even being polite when I really don't feel like it, reflects what goes on inside of me. And I pray that what that lady saw, and didn't know how to acknowledge, was really Christ's life in me.

4. Plan ahead. And so, this year, as I go about my Christmas errands, shopping and standing in lines, I'm praying for a heart that is open and tender, and for Christ's life to shine through mine.

For more Christmas-inspired posts that address the true reason for celebrating Christmas, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Love of buttons

Abbie, at the Button Floozies has declared this to be the International Week of the Button! What fun. I love buttons. Right now I'm too busy to do much, but here are a few projects I've made with buttons.

Just a few buttons on a spring pillow. These are mother-of-pearl, not old, but pretty nonetheless.

A few white buttons in different sizes and shapes around the top of a linen bag. I hang this in my kitchen in the summer to hold flowers or herbs.

A cozy fall pillow made with a recycled sweater (felted) and finished with wooden and leather buttons. I love the textured look.

A summer Sunday afternoon spent stitching and thinking resulted in this collage piece. It's still pinned up on my bulletin board - I don't really know what to do with it, but I surely enjoyed making it. I added buttons here and there.

And this little pillow sits on my bed. I embroidered the words, then added buttons all around and then appliqued the heart to the toile with a buttonhole stitch. This pillow makes me smile when I see it.

I'm writing two exams this week - next week I'm starting on Christmas crafting, finishing up of projects and more....
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Words to Inspire

For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Celebrations and more

Congratulations, Travis! Yesterday was convocation, since he finished in August (co-op program) Here's the proud Computer Engineer with his lovely wife, Katie.

And here...with his parents (ooh, that colour in the background makes us look soooo old!) This is a stupendous day. When the girls finished university those were also stupendous, but there's a little extra bit of wonder, gratitude and marvel for this one.
When Travis was 10 he had a head thing the doctor told us was that higher math would be impossible for Travis. At that point, we didn't care, we just wanted our son to awaken from his coma. And we entrusted his healing to God.
Here he is 15 years later, with straight A's in calculus, his favourite subject.
Just thinking about it makes my eyes tear up. God chose to heal Travis so completely, beyond what we could ask or think.
Praises be to our wonderful, almighty Lord.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Pretty Table

Last Saturday we celebrated a combination of birthdays at my daughter and son-in-law's home. It's a warm and cozy place to be. Cristal has different coloured plates, red, yellow and tan, and loves to combine them in different ways. The table looked so cheery I had to take a photo.

She used different napkins (including the ones I made for her) as placemats. This printed one is from a set I bought in Avignon.

After dinner and presents we connected the computer to the television and each shared some summer pictures. Cristal and Gerry went to Paris, Holland and London, Travis and Katie to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, Ashley to Estonia, Finland and Sweden, and Tim and I spent the summer sailing around the islands here.

All those countries makes us seem really well-traveled - but these were big trips for the kids and likely not to be repeated any time soon...although we all have dreams.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Remembrance Day in Canada - a day to think about and be thankful for those who fought and died in war. We commemorate by wearing red poppies in our lapels for a few weeks before this day.

We will remember.
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Friday, November 07, 2008

Flowers and Fun

It's so dismal outside today. I went to the university library for some research and felt like a duck splashing through the puddles. Wet leaves everywhere. I like hearing the raindrops on my umbrella - it reminds me of camping and being in a tent.

My sweet daughter-in-law gave me these flowers for my birthday and they are still brightening the house. I love the smell of lilies.

And Alicia had this fun meme - one word answers only. That's about all I can think of just now - other than pondering Norman England and the feudal system. This meme is much more interesting - and a great way to procrastinate.

Where is your mobile phone? purse
Where is your significant other? work
Your hair colour? enhanced
Your mother? loving
Your father? humorous
Your favourite thing? chocolate
Your dream last night? non-existent
Your dream goal? completion
The room you're in? full
Your hobby? creating
Your fear? loss
Where do you want to be in 6 years? contented
Where were you last night? home
What you're not? disciplined
One of your wish-list items? library
Where you grew up? away
The last thing you did? lunch
What are you wearing? red
Your TV? boring
Your pets? nope
Your computer? tool
Your mood? mellow
Missing someone? friends
Your car? necessary
Something you're not wearing? shoes
Favourite shop? boutiques
Your summer? sailing
Love someone? definitely
Your favourite colour? azure
When is the last time you laughed? today
When is the last time you cried? distant

Try it, be playful

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Napkins and More

Last week was my birthday and then Saturday was our eldest daughter's birthday. We are all celebrating this coming weekend with our daughter-in-law as well, so presents were held off until the big bash. I'm not really sure about that...

Anyway, on Saturday I went out for a lunch/tea with the daughters (DIL is busy prettifying her new house and couldn't make it). And I thought...I want to give something to my daughter because after all, TODAY is her birthday.

I knew she was wanting a bread basket so I found this one at Ten Thousand Villages and then I made four napkins to go along with it. You can tell what her colours are! This was so much fun and she loved it. It's something to keep in mind for future gifts.

For the napkins, I used fabric in my stash (so I feel quite virtuous) and just cut 18 inch squares, turned the edges in twice, pressed them and stitched them. Easy peasy.

I'm using cloth napkins more and more these days. Here are some ways I like to use them.

1. As napkins...the obvious
2. As placemats
3. To wrap gifts - fasten with a pin or ribbon
4. To line a tray when serving tea or a meal in front of the television
5. As a tablemat underneath a candle or vase of flowers.
6. Lining bread baskets
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Glitter House

This is the house I made for a swap. The roof is not yet fastened down so that it can be dissembled and packed flat to mail. I made some tiny stand-up trees and glittered them, too. This was such a fun project and I'm happy with the results (except for all the glitter all over my house).
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Monday, November 03, 2008

Love in a Shoebag

Our church partners with a community in Mexico. We support a young couple working there. Each year we send two work groups to build houses. And at Christmas time, we send "shoeboxes" full of gifts for the children. I always enjoy filling the boxes and thinking of the little ones who will receive them.

This year I made a few small soft dolls for the baby boxes. I have so many pieces of leftover fabric I think I could stitch and sew for a year without running out. These dolls are about 6 inches high and made from soft cottons and linens with painted faces. All the trims are firmly stitched on and I'll probably add a dot of non-toxic glue as well.

Each one has open eyes on one side and closed eyes on the other. I had such fun making these. I hope they are cuddled and loved.

We've tried different containers for the gifts - cardboard doesn't last long in a tropical climate so for the past years we've packed the items into reusable plastic boxes. However, they break easily and last year quite a few were crushed in shipping. So this year we're making "love in a shoebag." A decorating shop donated all their out of date upholstery samples. We stitch two together. They come with holes in the top and many with grommets. A ribbon laced through the holes closes the bags nicely.

Over the weekend I stitched about 15 bags and I'm filling two. The fabrics are heavy weight and just beautiful. We're also making bags for seniors this year in addition to the children's bags.

When we lived in Ecuador we were privileged to hand out the Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes one year. They were received with so much eagerness. For many, this is only Christmas many children will have.
Sharing with others is part of this wonderful season. Even when times are hard here in North America, we still have so much more than many parts of the world.
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Days at Home

  Last night after dinner the sunshine illuminating the bouquet of peonies prompted me to grab my camera. I love the frilly elegance of the ...