"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Cat at Christmas

Oh the joy of so many sparkling and moving things.Mesmerizing ! Where do I start?
Should I grab that reindeer as he slowly swirls ...
...or the Santa that clinks against the other ornaments, just asking for a good time with me, the family cat?
Hey look, a sheep in a size I can grab and toss around...
...even though I can't snag a snow globe, those little trees are easy to catch & carry.
I like to meow to the sounds of the snow globe music, and the wind up key is so much fun to watch go 'round.
Of course, there are stockings swaying over the wood stove, so much fun to watch as I warm myself near the fire. Ahh, Christmas fun for cats, a most wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sit A Spell & Visit

The view from my kitchen and living room, out this window and looking at the lawn and the pond. I view this as I cook, as I clean, as I talk on the phone.This view is especially enchanting and interesting to me when it is snowing or raining. I watch my flock of ducks waddle around our lawn from here, I watch my doves from here. I see wild rabbits hop to and fro and Towhees ( birds) flick from the bushes to the lower branches of the trees from here. Our living room is really part of a big room. The living room, dining room, and kitchen are all one room. My husband and I designed the room this way so we could be part of all that goes on as we cook , visit, and partake of meals with those we love. Sharing your home, your heart, and a meal with others really is a personal matter.For my husband and myself this is a pleasure and a blessing.We designed our home to offer hospitality , heart-felt hospitality. When we have people over to share a meal with us it is a time to not only share a meal, but to share our lives . Isn't this really what sharing is? My husband and I are always striving to make our home a friendly home. One that does not intimidate others, but is welcoming and also forgiving of children's and adult's spilling ( also forgiving of pet dogs & cats). One that is open enough to move about, one that says "sit a spell & relax, you are among friends." We mean this, really. Truly though, hospitality is from the heart, and does not require anything more than a host / hostess who means this. A big house, lots of food and drink,fancy doings, are not necessary and are often a hindrance to true hospitality.Did you know hospitality is commanded by God? "Be hospitable to one another without complaint." I Peter 4:9 , "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.." Hebrews 13:2

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas & Traditions

Since my husband and I were first married in 1973, I have made lefse for our Christmas breakfast. This means I am usually up very late , or very early making lefse. I suppose this means it is a tradition for our family. Opening our presents on Christmas morning, with fresh brewed coffee at hand, a plate of lefse near-by, and plenty of butter and cinnamon & sugar to cover each piece of this very Norwegian food just adds to all we enjoy on Christmas morning. Continuing many family traditions is a way of reminding ourselves of all that is important within a family, within a culture, within a history we deem important and well worth reminding our children and grandchildren of. Of all my husband and I hold dear, the one thing we would hope and pray is for our family, and especially our children and their children on down to many generations...remember, "..for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find the baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." Luke 2:11,12 ( art by our granddaughter KN)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Secret Santa Box!

My box of goodies from a Secret Santa arrived! Suzanne Melkoski * ,( Colorado Lady) hosted and coordinated this blogging event and I thought it sounded like fun.She assigned each of us a fellow blogger to send a package to. We were not to reveal who we were, the package is from a SECRET Santa. Since I did not know the lady to receive a package from me I had to read over her blog to figure out what she might like, and this was fun. Kind of like being a detective, a mystery. Suzanne also e-mailed each of us a list of likes from the person we were to gift.That helped a lot.I hope the lady who received my package was as pleased with hers as I am with mine ~ Blizzard my cat made sure he was comfortable under the wrapping paper he shredded as he watched me unwrap and ooh & ahh over my goodies. LinkLook at how clever my Secret Santa is. The gifts came wrapped and numbered, each with its own note. "It's all about the Christmas cheer. This little box that we have here. I hope you do enjoy the gifts, Ive sent you for your spirit to lift." ~The gifts did indeed lift my spirit! "I know you like a cup of tea, or tea for two as the case may be. The cups are pretty, vintage too, This first little gift from me to you." Oh the teacups are exquisite. I will do a Teatime Tuesday post very soon featuring these precious teacups made in Occupied Japan, yes, they are vintage! "And what is tea without a treat, some Finnish bread for you to eat. My Grandma's recipe, I did bake. Called "pulla", sort of tastes like cake." ~ My Secret Santa BAKED bread for me !Isn't it beautiful bread? It smells so yummy , perfect for breakfast this morning. "And then of course, what good is tea without a bit of sweet you see. Some M & M's , the almond kind I heard that you had these in mind." ~Oh yes, I did, I did! I ate most of these right away too. "And if you're hungry after that, Then take your coat, take your hat, And off to eat egg rolls and test your Chinese at the Panda Express." ~ I will, very soon!
"And finally, when all is done, And gifts you've opened , one by one. You can place this last one by your tree. The real reason for Christmas, for all to see."
"And when they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with joy," Matthew 2:10
Thank-you my Secret Santa. You are so creative and thoughtful. I love all the gifts you packed into this box that came all the way from Romeoville, Illinois. Merry Christmas to you and yours as we Rejoice exceedingly this season and all through the year because God chose to send His Son to save us from our sin and bestow on all who believe in Him eternal life. "...for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Small Blessings

This is a busy time of year, when isn't it though? Do not be so carried away by the activities surrounding a time we say we are celebrating because of the birth of Jesus that you forget to take time for what is truly important.A lavishly decorated home filled with an abundance of presents, too many parties, frantic comings & goings, spending too much money on gifts that will be forgotten too soon all lead to being worn out and an empty heart. Treasure the true gifts of your family and friends, remember the One who gave His Son to save you, rejoice in your blessings. ~ Above, our grandson holds one of his new little Christmas bantam chicks. I think he knows how to take joy in the small blessings before him, and my husband & I take joy in his excitement and wonder over the chicks. What every day blessings make your heart sing this time of year?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Welcome Home!

This post contains pictures I think will not be as photogenic as I would like, but these are pictures that make my heart sing with joy. Our two sons and their families are here this weekend for a quick visit. We try to cram a lot into these visits and with so many children there is always a lot of commotion , clutter, and fun! One of my great pleasures is sitting at the table with the children with only Christmas tree lights and candles glowing, and talking with them as they sip hot cocoa, or eat ice cream. ( This makes them very happy and more prone to sharing their childhood joys.) Our oldest son holding his youngest daughter while the oldest daughter sleeps next to him on our sofa.His other two daughters are playing with the big doll-house in the study. The wood-stove has a nice fire within and the house is warm and cozy. We are all full and drowsy from dinner and snacks. I found these words in a very old book on our book-shelf. The book was published in 1909 and translated from Norwegian. The book is titled 'Our Homes and Our Children', by O.Klykken. ~ "A wonderful power is in the word home: the home of mother, our childhood home. This holds good of the child, the youth, the man. Nay, even in old age the word home is able to call up a world of memories and sensations." ..."And God bless your coming and going every time that you really return to take your parents by the hand and hear the familiar and precious : "Welcome home." I say, welcome home sons, welcome home granddaughters, welcome home !

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chickens For Christmas !

Our first-born grandchild C.T. is passionate about animals, especially horses, reptiles & chickens.He gets pretty excited when talking about certain breeds of bantam ( tiny ) chickens. He has been raising Mlle Fleurs to show but his parents' hunting dogs have thwarted his loving and hard work by breaking into the pens and killing the chickens our grandson loves. For his Christmas present his grandpa & I decided we would order chicks for him, to raise here. C.T. & I ordered a variety of Mlle Fleurs, D-Uccles, Porcelains, and 5 black bantam Cochins for me.
The chicks arrived almost 2 weeks ago in a box via the U.S. mail.
Aren't they cute? ! ?
C.T. was so excited and very eager to share his enthusiasm over the little bundles of fluff with his baby brother, Little 'J'.
The weather here is very wet & cold. The temperatures have been below 30 degrees most nights, so the chicks are being raised in our sun-room for now.Because we have indoor cats who stand over the brooder and lick their lips, we protect the chicks by placing old barbecue grills over the stainless steel bucket. The aluminum foil is used to cover the bucket to keep the heat in (without risking the fire danger other coverings might cause) as this is the coldest room in our home and baby chicks need to be warm to thrive.
It is kind of hard to decorate for Christmas around a batch of baby chicks who need their brooder cleaned at least twice a day...the parakeets in the cage to the left seem to be enjoying the chirping chicks though.
...but the happy smiles and joy it brings from our oldest Grandson make it more than worthwhile. C.T. is going to keep a detailed record of these chicks and help me at least once a week with the cleaning and set-up involved with keeping them here. His ultimate goal is to move the best of them to his back yard, raising and breeding them for show. Another part of his present is that after Christmas, he and I will work on a joint blog all about our poultry raising endeavors.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sleep Like a Cat ~ Boldly & Peacefully

What is this?
Only a cat or a sociopath can boldly sleep peacefully in a forbidden place , be awakened upon being caught, and turn on you with a glare that says "how dare you wake me up ?" ! Blizzard is a naughty cat.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Messiest Room In The House Re-Do ( Craft Room)

I keep setting aside blocks of time on my calendar to clear out & re-organize my craft room, but life keeps re-arranging my schedule. ( Grrr) What is it about MY planning and reality that conflict? Anyway, I have finally started while the season of extreme busy-ness is upon me...what can I say, I am a glutton for frustration. Here is the start ( above). My goal is to weed out items I know I will never use, re-organize and efficiently store items I use all the time, and make the room I work in many hours a day a pleasant and inspirational place to be.You can see the shelves hold wool and yarns, but what you don't know is that my wool supply is at it lowest right now. Soon, more of my wool will be back from the fiber mill where I have taken my skirted and washed wool to be turned into batts and rovings. There will be so much wool it will sit in bags in front of the shelf. That is not even taking into account the wool from next months' shearing.... This wall holds work and storage space. I am trying to make it pleasing to my eyes and heart. The table is an antique high school home-ec table. The wood surface the teapot is on once topped a voc-ed drafting table, the filing cabinets were re-claimed from an old desk our brother-in-law gave us. They hold patterns, ideas, crafting books....all in order now of course. :)
These shelves hold boxes clearly labeled with things I really do use frequently.
I am excited about this little shelf ( above ) because it allows me to position things I want to photograph by simply removing these items, arranging whatever I am photographing ( little sheep, miniatures, etc, ) positioning the goose-neck lamp for the right lighting, all inside my warm room, not completely at the mercy of outside natural light anymore. ( Even though I prefer natural lighting) This is my favorite place to write, read , think. This window looks out onto our big front lawn and our pond. I watch my flock of ducks swim in the pond from here, my doves in their beautiful dovecote from here. However, this is also usually my most cluttered place, my messiest place. My husband is helping me fix that problem. He has measured the area and thought about the need for storage.He came up with a plan, but when we went to purchase the needed storage the store was sold out and maybe in 2 weeks we might be able to purchase our desired solution.
So, for now, this temporary shelf on the right holds needed wool processing equipment and my T.V. It works, and I am fine with it...
..on the left, where the major storage is needed, well, things are stock-piled because I removed the very inefficient shelving in preparation for the new.There is another wall I haven't shown where my sewing machine sits, that is for another time.~I have several big bins of fabric that will be stored in the shelving that will fit into this space.
Boxes that please me hold things I use frequently, and I have clearly labeled each box. I love these sheep tags* and originally bought them from an Etsy site to use as gift tags. I could not give them up and decided to use them to label my boxes. The tags make me smile, and smiling is good for you the health professionals say. Of course, a cup of tea and my notebook for jotting down my thoughts, ideas, and inspiration for possible future projects is important to have in my craft room, my workshop, my room of busy-ness and creativity. I have titled this notebook Snippets.~My mission is to fit this room only with items that I will use in the near future and edit the things I am very unlikely to use. I have already taken out a lot of things I know I will never get around to using, projects I will never do, things that have become just clutter. The only things that will remain must be able to fit into this room without impeding my ability to work and move around in it.. I know I will not be getting a bigger room, or shop, nor do I want one now.All the space I have right now is more than sufficient for my needs...so what I have to do is be creative in editing, storing, and using the abundance I already have. Creative being the key word.I am hoping anyone reading this who has also posted pictures & ideas about their own creative spaces will let me know so I can view theirs and maybe pick up a few tips.