Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And We're Off!

By the time many of you read this, we will be headed to

Rochester, Minnesota,

for my appointment at

the Mayo Clinic.

Now that I have my nifty little card reader, I may be able to share some photographs and updates of our journey.
If not, I will be back as soon as possible!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Counting the Days

until Christmas!

I recently made this Advent Calendar for my great nephews and niece.
It was a printed panel by Makower UK.

I simply cut and stitched the pockets onto the background, and

used coordinating fabrics for backing, binding and loops for hanging. 
I used a gold metallic thread for top stitching the pockets. 
I also added a layer of fusible batting between the front and backing, providing a little more stability.
Then the real fun began:  gathering goodies for the pockets!

I was able to locate several small ornaments, toys, holiday candies, and other assorted trinkets.
Some items were too large for the pockets.  On those days, a written clue will be slipped into the pocket, and the gift given after the clue is found and read.

I will always love childrens' books.  Some of my most cherished memories are moments spent reading to my son when he was young..  I was glad to find several classic holiday stories, as well as some newer ones.
Needless to say, the books will not fit into the small calendar pockets!  So, clues were printed on slips of paper and inserted into the appropriate pockets.  Some of the gifts or ornaments coordinate with the stories.

The Three Wise Men and their camels have always been a favorite part of the Christmas story.  I was thrilled to discover this new-to-me book.  Who could resist that face?  It's very sweet message is about the lesson of giving, instead of receiving.
I included the star ornament to coordinate with this book.

Who does not like Mary Engelbreit?
This is her holiday A-Z book for children.  Imagine my delight when I discovered ornaments almost exactly like the fun letters in the book!  There is one ornament representing each child's first name.

Of course, I had to include a copy of this book.  Trains are very special to our family.
Jingle bells, which resemble sleigh bells, coordinate nicely with this book.

There is not much time left to make an Advent Calendar!  Here are some of the items I included, as well as some other ideas.

Printed Bible verses, poems or other sentiments
Holiday ornaments
Small candy
Jingle bells
Supplies for making Reindeer Food
Crayons, markers and coloring books
Holiday CDs and DVDs
Holiday cookie cutters for a fun day in the kitchen
Cocoa mix and marshmallows
Supplies for holiday crafts
Small mirror with note.  The reflection of the child is a gift from God, and their gift back to God.
Small decorative erasers, plastic animals, and vehicles
Pieces of a puzzle to be collected and assembled during the month
Small figures and pieces of a Nativity

The most important ingredient:  Love!
Have fun marking and celebrating this special season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


My Symphony(adapted)

Dear God,
Help me
to live content with small means,
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich,
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart,
to hear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
await occasions,
hurry never --
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

~William Henry Channing~

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Praise and Thanksgiving

May your hearts be overflowing with thanks.
May your homes be filled with love and loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sixty Years Ago

My parents on their wedding day.
November 24, 1950
First Methodist Church   ~   Canadian, Texas

It wasn't so much about a big fluffy white dress in those days!

I do have the necklace and earrings Mother wore that day.
I now sometimes wear her necklace.  It is actually quite similar to ones currently found in popular and trendy stores.  Funny how that happens.
I discovered the beading from her dress, tucked away in one of her dresser drawers.  I recognized it immediately.
She gave me her wedding band shortly before she passed away.  I always wear it on the same finger as my own wedding band.

Growing up, I sometimes felt badly their special day seemed lost in the celebration of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the busy holiday season.
Now, I am so often reminded of my parents, their marriage, our family, my wonderful childhood and their unconditional love at this special time.  Exactly when we should be counting our blessings.
They gave me much.
They taught me well, by word and example.
I am so very thankful.
I miss them more than words can express.
Happy Anniversary, Mother and Daddy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sweet Little Wallet

This was a fun  -- and very quick -- little project!

The pattern is one of Valori Wells' Sewing Cards.
The largest pattern piece is approximately 6" x 7".  It is a wonderful way to use up those bits and pieces of fabric.
The pattern called for, and I used, two coordinating quilting fabrics.  However, I can see this with each piece and pocket being a different fabric.
Small scraps of silk would be delightful!
 Consider linen, or another solid fabric, with a touch of hand embroidery -- maybe a small monogram.

There are three pockets.  The first two smaller pockets are perfectly sized for driver licenses, credit cards or business cards.
The slightly larger back pocket easily holds several folded dollar bills or checks.

I made mine with two changes to the original instructions.
The pattern calls for fusible interfacing to be applied to only one piece of the wallet body.  I added interfacing to both the outer and inner fabric pieces.  I also added a piece of fusible interfacing to the outer piece of each pocket.  While I used a fairly light woven fusible interfacing, it seemed to add a little more weight and stability to the overall project.
Turning the wallet right side out, is a bit tricky and probably moreso by my addition of the extra interfacing.  However, I believe the additional interfacing will be part of future wallets, too.

I also used a small piece of voile to cover the snap, before stitching it to the wallet.  It looks a little more "finished", and less obtrusive than a plain silver snap.
Hook and loop tape could also be used.
A decorative button, with buttonhole or loop, is another possibility.
For future projects, I might investigate the use of a magnetic snap.

These would make quick and easy holiday gifts, and be a delightful way to present a gift card.
I plan to carry mine in smaller evening bags as holiday festivities begin.
I think it will be perfect!

Pattern is available here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkeys of the Sweet Variety

Photograph courtesy of Our Best Bites

Are these not the cutest?
Brings back so many memories of making place card holders and foil covered napkin rings, while Bessie and Mary were busy preparing the family Thanksgiving dinner.

Instructions for these, and so many more delicious ideas, may be found at Our Best Bites.
Be forewarned.
I gain five pounds each time I read their lovely blog!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise.
Give thanks unto him, and bless his name.
~Psalm 100:4~

Friday, November 19, 2010

He Must Have Been Jealous

My husband must have envied all my recent visits to doctors, and decided to join the fun.
In order not to revisit this little episode, he has been spending quite a bit of time at home resting.
I have been spending quite a bit of time worrying and watching him.
Needing something to do quitely, while he snoozed, I picked up my very neglected knitting needles.

This is a fun confetti yarn that happened to be in my stash.  Using fairly large needles, I am just knitting a very simple scarf.  It is easy on my eyes, since simple knitting such as this really doesn't require much eye energy.

I also added a few rows of furry eyelash yarn at the beginning, and will do the same at the end.  I think it gives a little weight to the lighter confetti yarn, and makes for a more finished look.
This should add a fun and colorful touch at the neck of my new black coat!
All the time I am knitting, I keep thinking that maybe it would have been wiser to select a warm and wooly yarn for our upcoming trip to the Mayo Clinic.  My appointment has been scheduled for December 2.

The patient is feeling better today and is off to check on a few things at the office.
If he stays too long, I may have to use some of this yarn to drag him back home and tie him down.

Thank goodness it is Friday!
Have a great one!

Monday, November 15, 2010

E is for Turkey

The letter E is definitely not for "early", as I am running very late with this project!
The pattern is Children's Corner Lucy, shortened to tunic length.
I selected pink twill to coordinate with the purchased stripe leggings.

I adore this Turkey Monogram from Planet Applique!
The letter and bias binding at the hem are FreeSpirit's Freckles in brown.
Due to our cloudy skies today, the colors are a little off in the photograph.
It is much happier in person!

Pattern and fabrics available at BessieMary. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Take time to work -
It is the price of success.
Take time to think -
It is the source of power.
Take time to play -
It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read -
It is the road to happiness.
Take time to dream -
It is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to love and be loved -
It is the privilege of the gods.
Take time to look around -
It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to laugh -
It is the music of the soul.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dishes of the Past

Growing up, most of our family meals were served on plates bearing the Wheat pattern by Franciscan Ware.  This was the everyday pottery my parents selected when they married.
At some point, most of these dishes were pushed to the back of the cabinets.  Plates and bowls of a more contemporary design and color took their place.
However, it is these dishes that remind me most of those family meals.

I now have only the sugar and creamer, shown in the first photograph, along with this serving platter, a serving bowl and three bread and butter plates. 
Their amber color and wheat sheaves are perfect for this time of year.
There is also something special about displaying them now, as my parents were married during the month of November.

Happy Friday and weekend!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank a Veteran Today

Freedom is not Free
by Ashley Persyn

There is a price we pay for freedom
For it is not truly free
But rather paid for by the contributions of veterans
To buy our liberty.

As their blood drains from their body and runs like a river through the grass,
Over the years it's forgotten, war is placed in  our past.
I don't think we all realize the importance veterans play
as they voluntarily serve America each and every day.

We should honor the veterans for they act like a shield
Protecting us from danger, keeping America healed.
So if you would take a second to commemorate
You will instantly see
We owe veterans our gratitude
For they are the reasons we are free.

Be sure and thank a veteran today!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pilgrims Have Landed

at my home!

I love Thanksgiving.  It holds for me some of the most special memories of time with family.
Perhaps it is because most of the day is spent in the kitchen or around the table.  What better places to feel warm and loved?
Schedules do not seem as frantic and shopping lists not as long or materialistic.
It is a wonderful holiday, but too sadly lost between Halloween and Christmas.

As an adult, some very special Thanksgivings were spent at my sister's rustic country home in East Texas.  After stuffing our faces, we would often go hiking to gather pine cones, holly berries and other holiday greenery.  Notice I said this event took place after eating the turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie!  They all deserve their own moment in the spotlight, before turning our attention to the joys of Christmas.

Other memorable Thanksgivings were spent at my dear mother-in-law's home in Tennessee.
They were the complete opposite, as we gathered around a table graced with fine embroidered linens, antique china, crystal, sterling silver, and

the cutest little Pilgrim couple!
I have no idea where my mother-in-law purchased these, but they were obviously handmade.
It appears their bodies are made of glass soda bottles covered with white socks.  Their garments and features are handstitched from simple fabrics and felt.  They are also quite heavy, leading me to believe they may be weighted with plaster of paris.
Looking in the mirror's reflection above, you can see Mrs. Pilgrim's sweet long braid of yarn.  She holds a tiny basket filled with dried flowers.  I think Mr. Pilgram once held a musket, but that seems to have gone missing somewhere along the way!
I am just grateful to have them at all.
After being diagnosed with recurring breast cancer, my mother-in-law opted to leave her beloved home and relocate to a residential facility offering various stages and levels of health care.  Much of her furniture and cherished possessions came to Texas to live with us.  As the boxes were unpacked, I realized one was missing.  A frantic call was made to the company handling the estate sale.  I waited with bated breath, until this sweet little Pilgrim couple was safely in my hands.  A missing musket was the least of my concerns!
They have not missed a year of standing on my mother-in-law's mahogony table, even though the table has traveled to another state and three different homes.

Before Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim joined my Thanksgiving decorations, I purchased this grouping of Pilgrims and Indians.  We refer to them as the Tall and Skinny Quartet.  They measure almost 20" tall, and obviously had not partaken of too many great feasts.   Carved of wood, with brightly painted details, they are currently displayed on top of a chest in our entry hall.

The smallest and sweetest are these little candles which once belonged to me and my sister.  That would date them from the late 1950's to early 1960's.  Both were lit at one or more times.  You may note the one on the left has a slightly flattened head from being burned.  I am so grateful that my very wise mother did not let us burn these completely, and even more grateful that she lovingly preserved them for so many years.

Even more amazing?  The price and the fact they were made right here in the USA!

The settings of my Thanksgiving memories may differ greatly.
The one constant is each was filled with loving family members, many of whom are no longer with us.  Yet, the memories of them and their love are etched forever on my heart.
For that I give great thanks.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
~Romans 8:28~

I know, as my life grows older,
And mine eyes have clearer sight,
That under each rank wrong somewhere
There lies the root of Right;

That each sorrow has its purpose,
By the sorrowing oft unguessed;
But as sure as the sun brings morning,
Whatever is, is best.

I know that each sinful action,
As sure as the night brings shade,
Is somewhere, sometime punished,
Tho' the hour be long delayed.
I know that the soul is aided
Sometimes by the heart's unrest,
And to grow means often to suffer --
But whatever is, is best.

I know there are no errors,
In the great Eternal plan,

And all things work together
For the final good of man.

And I know when my soul speeds onward,
In its grand Eternal quest,
I shall say as I look back earthward,
Whatever is, is best.
~Ella Wheeler Wilson~

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