Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

We have a bit of snow on the ground. Candlelight service tonight at our church. My oldest kids won't be home this Christmas. That's a hard one for me. I've been a stay at home mom since they were born and my world has revolved around them. Bit by bit they are flying on their own and needing me less. It's all good but it's a heart-adjustment. My daughter is getting married January 5. I still have much to do. On the agenda today~making vintage footed platters and dishes~gluing vintage dishes together in a stack to create a cookie display for the wedding. She is using all mismatched vintage and antique china that we have collected all year long. Her guests will be served their meal from these. She is having a cookie table with homemade goodies displayed on the creations I will make today! I will have photos to show after the wedding. I just wanted to share a couple of images that have spoke to me these last few days before Christmas!
If you have a lot to do today, make sure you take a moment and take some deep breaths and talk to God.
I hope the things you "have" to do today are ones you can find joy in doing!
Notice the beauty of the little things that surround you! Listen to God speak to your heart!
Merry Christmas! God loves you just the way you are!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Vintage Christmas

Last week I had the honor of decorating banquet tables for a Christmas dinner. It was sponsored by a non profit organization in my town. ATLAS is a ministry that reaches out to people who have fallen on hard times. They offer financial and spiritual help~free of charge~to anyone who comes through their door. This dinner is offered to the clients that have been touched this year. For some, this may be the only Christmas meal that they have.
I found a beautiful patterened wool sweater at my second hand shop and traced little mittens on the wool and cut them out and little flat mittens. I laid pairs of mittens on the dinner tables next to candles in clear glass globes. The votive candles were nestled into sparkling drifts of salt that emulated snow and I tied rustic twine around the neck of the globes. Each pair of "mittens" was different depending upon what part of the wool sweater they were cut from. They were are 3 inches tall. I also found vintage images on google and printed them out on sepia colored paper and these also adorned the center of the tables with the little mittens.
I wanted the banquet attenders to feel transported back to their childhood and the warm memories of their youth. I hoped that the table decor would help them forget their immediate concerns or problems and for just a  few minutes feel a bit like a child again. Most of us can think back to times in the past when we had no worries or cares and someone else was the "grown up".
Our world is sadder today reflecting on the events of this past Friday. Innocence stolen, hopes dashed and little lights snuffed out too soon. As we reflect on this Christmas season may we love each other from our hearts and remember the joys of being a child. Most importantly may this world celebrate the real meaning of this time of year. A baby sent from God to be our Savior. We need a Savior! It's not about the gifts it's about LOVE!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Is Important

I am neck deep in wedding plans for my oldest child, my only daughter. She will wed the man of her dreams on January 5 in Nashville. I just came back from a trip to visit her and we got lots of things checked off the "to-do" list. We had lots of girl-time and made fun memories together. My flight got delayed so much that I "had" to stay an extra day with her. I was so happy! I will show you photos after the wedding of all the beautiful details!
My Thanksgiving day was quiet with three of my four children being absent this year. We had a pot-luck at a friend's house and that was great. My life is changing as my children grow older. I am trying to adjust and some days it's fine and other days~not-so-much! I truly do miss the cozy days when they were little of cuddling and reading books and watching favorite little shows. It makes me think of the phrase, "Remember the little things in life, for one day they become the big things."
The other day I had filled my shopping cart up at the grocery store. I had checked out and decided to stop and use the restroom at the front of the store. There was an elderly man sitting on the bench outside the doors of the restroom. He was about 85 years old. He had big hands that probably had once done a lot of hard work. They were crossed patiently in his lap. I smiled at him and asked if he could watch my grocery cart for a minute. His eyes lit up and I imagined it felt nice to be needed. When I came out and thanked him for watching my cart for me, he smiled and asked if I was ready for the holidays. I pointed to my cart and said that now I was. I teased him and said that now I was also broke after buying all that food. He quietly smiled and agreed with me that food is very expensive but he also said that we should be glad that we have so much food. How wise and how content. I thanked him and humbly walked my cart full of food that I was now thankful for, to my car. It's amazing how perspective helps make your day so different.
This holiday season finds me in a different place. I'm not purchasing a lot of toys for my little ones because they aren't little anymore. I'm creating lots of wedding decor for my girl's big day. I realized that I still need to decorate my house for Christmas. Sometimes it seems with a house full of boys/men that they probably don't care about the decor, but then I realize that if I didn't decorate for Christmas that I wouldn't be creating memories for them and for their hearts. They might not even notice or care that their home isn't decorated but I think they would remember it NOT being decorated. I realize too that I need the beauty and peace that the season brings. I'm entering a different stage and it feels uncomfortable and a little scary but I know that God is with me and each day is important.
There is something really fresh and interesting about a Christmas that is a bit "stripped-down" from all the trappings. With the wedding being so close to after Christmas, I know this holiday will be a little bit different and perhaps maybe even more treasured. The uncharted territory of my children growing and changing is a little over-whelming to me but I am embracing the changes and trying to gracefully ride the waves and not let my kids know how often I am holding my breath as I watch them flutter out of the nest and take off for their adventures.

May your season be precious and memorable whatever season you find yourself in! Take some big breaths and take time to appreciate the things that really matter!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Green Tea

My husband and I got to take a trip to Colorado. My husband is a pastor and our denomination hosts a retreat each year. This year it was in Snowmass Colorado. I'm glad it was the off-season and there was no snow. We stopped in Aspen to walk around a bit and window shop.
I went into L'Occitane with a friend and fell in love with their Green Tea fragrance. I especially loved it in this little tin of solid perfume. It smells glorious.
This is how the fragrance is described by L'Occitane. "Subtle complex of fresh aromas uplifts your mood--transporting you to green fields laced with the fragrances of bitter orange, jasmine, cedar and thyme. Invigorating as a Spring day. Appreciated equally by men and women for its tonic green aroma that creates sensations of well-being and freshness"
If you are looking to try a new fragrance, I suggest this one. I am very choosy about my fragrances and rarely find one that I just LOVE! If you have a store near you stop by and see what you think!

Here I am "cuddling" up to this bear sculpture made completely from nails. Ouch. I backed into him for the photo but he "bit" me. You can learn more about the artist here.
Aspen is a very dog-friendly village. Everyone has several dogs that they walk around with. When they go into a shop or restaurant they tie their leash up or if they are not on a leash they simply tell the puppy to sit and wait while the owner browses in Kate Spade or Ralph Lauren. It's crazy! I cannot tell you how many nice mannered doggies I petted while visiting! It was a fun place to visit and look around.
In my crock pot are Sloppy Joes. Perfect for a freezing cold day! I love my crock pot!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Last Days of Beauty

After a drought all summer, we have had two dreary,cold and rainy days. The last of the leaves are blowing down and getting soaked. We really needed this rain so no one is complaining but it's a big change for us in Northwest Iowa. Thought I would share one last peek of Autumn with you.
via eressiel
via thelittlehermitage
via wistfullycountry
How do you decorate your home to reflect this cozy time of year?
via inspirationlane
via simplypix
via dailydoseofstuf
via theswampyyankee
Recently my husband and I took a trip to Snowmass Colorado. The above photo was captured on a sunny brisk day!
I spotted this old barn nestled in a little valley coming down the mountain from Snowmass.

I hope that you are enjoying the changing seasons and staying cozy in your house!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shades of Fall

I have yet to get to the pumpkin farm this year, I definitely need to get some sweet little pumpkins for my home.  But in spite of that, I am surrounded by the colors of fall. Everywhere I look I am seeing beautiful vignettes created by an amazing Artist. The fall harvest is underway in my neighborhood. I snapped a couple photos this morning for my dad, who lives in NY and loves to refurbish old tractors.
As I was delicately hopping around the corn field trying to get some cool shots, it dawned on me that it was deer hunting season and I was in a corn field that was half-harvested and I quickly decided I wouldn't linger too long.
The other day, I had the opportunity to purchase some beautiful old law books. They had been left behind in an old law office. As soon as I saw them, I loved them. They have a very distinct Restoration Hardware vibe. What do you think?
These beautiful books are in my etsy shop. They would look gorgeous at a wedding reception on the guest tables. I have lots more if you need lots! :o)
Around the corner from me is a beautiful pasture and as I was driving past, I spied this sweet little baby with his mama!
He had just been born a few days before. He is a miniature pony. How cute is he?! I wanted to pet him but he wouldn't get far enough away from his mama.
He was curious about me and wondered what I was doing. I tried calling him but realized that I was calling him like I would call my kitties. I think he thought I was pretty weird....interesting....but weird.
I feel blessed to have so many beautiful things to admire in the area we live! What shades of fall surround you?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome Autumn

Fall is approaching with tiny steps in my part of the world. It is still very warm here but the nights are getting cooler and the leaves are dropping. This is my favorite time of year! I love jeans and cardigans and all the gifts God gives to us in the beauty of the earth. I love decorating my home with nature-inspired elements and I especially love all the little furry and fluffy creatures that share God's creation with us. When my grandmother was still with us, I loved picking out Marjolein Bastin cards to mail to her. My gram loved little squirrels and bunnies and I knew that sending her these cards really brightened her day. You can read more about Marjolein Bastin here
I thought I would share a couple of beautiful Autumn inspired pieces by this beloved artist. 
The squirrels have really been busy around my home lately. They really love chestnuts. Iowa squirrels are larger and reddish like the one in this drawing.
These masked cuties seem to be prowling around more than ever as well! I cannot help it I think they are so cute! Probably because they remind me of kitties!
I love the details on these leaves and I love the tape that cause this to look like a naturalist journal. Very Beatrix Potter!
The artist's tools and her inspiration!
The gold finch is the Iowa state bird. I bought a beautiful thistle feeder late this summer but so far no success in attracting these little beauties to my yard. My husband tells me it is because our two cats are always looking out the window watching the world go by...I suppose that might be a correct theory!
I hope whatever you are doing today that you are enjoying the details of the smallest of God's creations today! They are gifts especially for you from a God who adores you!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Crazy for Mason Jars

The other day I found the most beautiful antique canning jars at my favorite vintage shop! They were in such perfect condition for being so old. If only they could talk...they would tell stories of canned green beans, sweet pickles, ripe red tomatoes....sitting quietly on a cellar shelf....waiting for the cold winds of winter to blow and the lady of the house to make a hearty stew with their contents to serve up hot to her waiting and chilled family!
I took these perfect jars home and my mind got to spinning with ideas! It was a beautiful day outside and these jars needed a lovely kiss of paint! I chose a warm French vanilla and loved the result. The raised graphics on these pretty jars now stand out with their beautiful lettering! Aren't they lovely?
Now they have a different tale to tell!