"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Birds and Children Know

Here's a good something to keep in mind as we enter the "busy holiday season."  Even if we don't have time or place for quiet meditation like we'd sometimes enjoy, we can create a quiet and serene atmosphere in our homes and especially in our hearts.

I need wide space in my heart,
Where faith and I can go apart,
And grow serene.
Life gets too choked by busy living;
Kindness so lost in fussy giving,
That love slips by unseen.

I want to make a quiet place,
Where those I love can see God's face,
Can stretch their heart across the earth,
Can understand what Spring is worth;

Can count the stars;
Watch violets grow,
And learn what birds and children know.

From the Scottish Recorder 1930


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Notebook

I've had such a blessed time this morning, while the older girls were out hunting with their dad, doing some Thanksgiving preparations with the younger two.  While the girls painted the Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers and pumpkin napkin rings,

I worked on the Thanksgiving blessing notes of which I'd written yesterday. Many of them go along with the Thanksgiving wallhanging which I explained yesterday also. We had several years' worth of notes jumbled in a box, so I sorted them chronologically as best I could and began gluing them into a regular old composition notebook with spray adhesive (a sticky messy job best done on an old sheet).  It was a delight to read the old papers and to chuckle at the spellings of younger children.  I wrote in a few stories of what was going on at the time, to explain some of the blessings and for future generations to enjoy.

Then, still using the spray adhesive as well as the hot glue gun, I covered the notebook with fabric and glued yellow cardstock to the insides of the covers to cover up the fabric edges.

It all ended up using quite a few pages (I told you yesterday that we're much blessed!), so this notebook might have to soon be joined by another.  The more the merrier!

I believe this is a very valuable use of time and a little money because we are commanded many times in the Bible to give thanks, to count our blessings, to remember what great things (and little things) God has done for us.  It also lifts our spirits to get our minds onto the good things.  As Elisabeth Elliot puts it, "We accept and thank God for what is given, not allowing the not-given to spoil it."

Much blessed, I

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Wallhanging

How do you count your blessings, specifically during the Thanksgiving season?  Around our home, this season is celebrated very diligently as we have so much for which to be thankful.  We don't allow any Christmas celebrating to begin until we've wrung all the giving thanks out of the Thanksgiving weekend that we can.  (Actually, one can't totally wring all the thanksgiving out, since there are an infinite number of things for which to be thankful.)  We do have pianists practicing Christmas music and surruptitious Christmas gift-making going on all over, but other than that we're making sure that we don't skip the all-important holy-day of Thanksgiving.

So, to help us focus on this day, we read books like The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh and Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin as well as Samuel Eaton's Day, Sarah Morton's Day and Tapenum's Day by Kate Waters.  We also paint ceramic figures of pilgrims that I glazed years ago so that we could wash them off and repaint every year.  Our church has a worship service on Thanksgiving morning and then feasting together in the afternoon and evening.  On either Friday or Saturday we have individual family feasts and celebrating and then gather together on the other day again for a talent show, cooking contest and shared meal.  Then our Sunday worship service again reinforces our giving of thanks to our gracious triune God.

But to help focus on giving thanks for our many blessings in our home, we have the Thanksgiving wallhanging.

We cut apples, pumpkins and leaves from colored contruction paper and keep them in a pocket on the tree trunk till we're ready to write another blessing for which we're thankful.  Straight pins hold them to the wallhanging.  Little people who don't write so well draw theirs (and get help with the straight pin!).

This was such a simple and quick wallhanging to make.  I just zig-zag stitched the large shapes onto a square of flannel without even putting in any batting.  Then it was a quick job to sew on the binding.

This year I'm starting a notebook in which I will glue all the apples, pumpkins and leaves from this year as well as some we still have from previous years.  It should become a precious blessings journal.

Because of all God's many blessings, I

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Words of Wisdom - Living

To touch the cup with eager lips and taste, not drain it;
To woo and tempt and court a bliss - and not attain it;
To fondle and caress a joy, yet hold it lightly,
Lest it become necessity and cling too tightly;
To watch the sun set in the west without regretting;
To hail its advent in the east - the night forgetting;
To smother care in happiness and grief in laughter;
To hold the present close - not questioning hereafter;
To have enough to share - to know the joy of giving;
To thrill with all the sweets of life - is living.
                              - Unknown author

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Business of Bartering

I finally figured out how to add an Etsy store button to my sidebar, so if you're interested in some of the crafts we do around here, but don't care to make them yourself, you can check them out in our store (LilacCottageCreation).  Today I added another tea cozy.
These are so simple to make and I'll post a tutorial (or at least simple instructions) if there is an interest.

I've also gotten to make a good start on the quilt that we're bartering for voice lessons for two of the girls.

I'm so glad the voice teacher likes the bright colors that have been calling to me lately so I get to enjoy working with them.  They honestly make me smile.

It has been such a blessing to me and the rest of the fabric that we've been able to barter for some services.  Our relationship with the piano teacher also first began through a hand-quilting job she needed done.  As I told in a previous post, I was able to barter machine quilting for a hand-quilting job and now I get to trade a quilt for voice lessons.  If you have a skill or interest or commodity, consider trying to barter with it.  It doesn' hurt to try.  I'd love to hear any barter stories people have to share - I could use more ideas!

Because God has blessed us so richly, I

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reformation Day celebrations

With all the studying and preparing food and sewing dresses and frustrating antique computer, I've not blogged in quite a while, but I want to share some of the fun and blessings of our church's Reformation Day celebrations.  Since Reformation Day (Oct. 31) was on a Sunday this year, we decided to make the celebrations extend over the whole weekend.

Friday night was a square dance with many of the particpants being dressed in medieval-type costume.  Precious had spent much time sewing dresses, hats and/or capes for our girls.  Her own dress was made from a set of queen size satin sheets found at a yard sale for $2.00!  And a little boughten fabric and trim (on sale, of course).

The dress she made for Sweetie was also a sheet given to us by Aunt Barb; the vest made from a sheet and fabric piece from a thrift store and the overskirt was from an old dress-up dress we had for childrens' play.  I love repurposing!

The blue fabric for these outfits also came from a yard sale (16 yards for $5.00).  Pixie Face's dress was made last year, as was the matching one I wore this year and the Roo's white dress was a thrift store find.

Princess' dress was a hand-me-down from some friends.

Saturday was games, potluck and bonfire at our house.  After a delightful time of worship on Sunday, we had a shared meal and then a pie contest!  That was a delicious time!  And Princess got Honorable Mention for her mixed berry pie.  It was wonderfully tasty.

Again we're rejoicing, in the truth of the Reformation and in the joy of celebrating it.  So I