finally some pictures


Finally some pictures. The picture above is a cone I made for covering with yarn.  We were at our cabin in the fall and my hubby was hunting so I got busy. I had the paper and had just been to a local mission store where I bought the green cord you will see. I had white yarn leftover from earlier project and as luck would have it, I had left it at the cabin.

I secured the edges with masking tape and then simply began winding yarn. I forgot to take pictures of the white tree in progress. Also, my husband had put up plastic film on our cabin windows and there was the leftover tape you use to secure the film. It’s double-sides and SO MUCH EASIER to use than the kind of double-faced tape you buy for scrapbook projects. I merely wrapped around the cone in a spiral pattern to adhere the yarn at various points. Didn’t matter if it didn’t lie flat because the yarn covered it.



Isn’t  this pretty? I also found some metallic ribbon at the same store and I separated the strands and just adhered it however I could. I forgot to mention I bought red cord as well. I paid a quarter for each skein. This church mission store is near our cabin and I shop there every chance it get. I found a lace tank top last summer that they wouldn’t even charge me for because it had a black stain. They told me to just take it. I did and would you believe the stain came out easily. The following pictures show the completed project. I love how they look in front of the window at “teeny, tiny, red cabin.” here and here.. There is also a wonderful bunk house called La Cabinette next door. Following this are the final pictures.  DSC00282


Baby God


According to my four-year old grandson, “Baby God” was born today. Not Jesus, Baby God.

Funny, huh?

On second thought, I love it. The Israelites weren’t allowed to speak the name of God so God’s son could not possibly be called “Baby God”.  Jesus was His earthly name but “Baby God” says it all.

Too often we separate Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and we forget they are one in the same. This is definitely not going to be an essay on the Trinity. Are you kidding me?

On this Christmas day, think what it might mean if you rethought the name “Jesus” and substituted “Baby God”. Would it possibly change how you feel about God? Would you see HIm in a more approachable way? Would you realize that He isn’t the angry God you might have been led to believe? Would you see the love that He gives evidenced in His voluntary time on earth?

Sometimes a four-year old has a better understanding of God than the rest of us.

Merry Christmas

Getting closer

Wow. Christmas is literally just around the corner. By ten this morning I had cooked chicken for White Chicken Chili and browned ground beef for Spaghetti sauce. Got all my Christmas cards ready. (That’s another story. I bought them weeks ago and can’t find them. As luck would have it I had just enough various left-overs to go around. I’ll find the other ones after Christmas.) My family is coming this Saturday and will be here for five days. The more I have done ahead of time, the better I feel and the more I can just enjoy the season.

Last night I completely organized my pantry because I know my daughter is going to want to decorate Pretzels and this way I’m all set. I know where everything is.

I got a little package of cookies and hot cocoa mix ready for our mail carrier. We are gone a lot and she does a great job of keeping track of all our “hold mails”.

Made a darling paper star wreath last night and wound yarn around a number of the gold Christmas trees from Dollar Tree. They are just adorable and you can vary the height by placing them on different sized candle holders etc. I’ll bet I’ve made at least twenty this year.

Working on my grocery list today. I live in Michigan and this winter, we’re learning to shop between snowstorms. Another one heading our tomorrow and a mega storm this week-end. We live on a hill. Need I say more?

I hope to make my mother-in-law’s nut roll today or tomorrow. I searched the internet and her recipe is truly unique. I want to be able to hand it down to the next generation. Of course, there is no recipe so I’m just going by “a little of this” and “a pinch of that”.  I’ll let you know.

Hubby just back from cross-country skiing. I’ve got to check the freezer to see what I already have on hand. Seriously, I should own stock in our local grocery store, (Meijer’s.)

Anyway, I just thought I’d share with all you women out there the wonderful busyness of this Christmas season. What a contrast to the days Mary experienced leading up to the birth of her Son. And yet I find that being excited about Christmas and being crazy busy just makes me appreciate that gift of peace even more.

Truly Christmas is a time to enjoy the “fullness of life” that Christ promised.

God bless and hang in there everyone!

(ps. I just “pinged” these posts listed below. I hope I have time to read them. They look very interesting.)

an unexpected gift

Crop of original painting "Anbetung der H...

Crop of original painting “Anbetung der Hirten” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(For those of you who follow both my blogs, I’m posting this to both of them today. I don’t usually do this, but I felt it as appropriate to both.)

I’m just getting ready to spend some quiet time with God but I wanted to post before the day gets beyond me.

I don’t know about you but the closer I get to Christmas the more I think of all those projects I wanted to complete but didn’t. All those Pinterest DIY’s that beckon me and awake my creative juices. Making presents for the people in my life is one of the highlights of Christmas for me.

This year it was flannel plaid infinity scarves for the women. It was jute wrapped bottles with the word, “love” spelled out in separate letters on each bottle. It was adorable “HO, HO, HO,” wall :”thingees” I made for friends. Yes, I took pics but honestly doubt I’ll get them posted. I don’t know how everyone is posting Christmas tours of their homes. I have to say mine is beautifully decorated. It’s an old, old house so it lends itself to Christmas anyway. In fact it was during the Holidays that we decided to buy it. But whether you ever see the pics is in question at the moment. But I certainly enjoy those pictures that others have posted. Makes me feel I know them.

I’m winding down now knowing that many of the things I wanted to do aren’t going to get accomplished. But I’m OK with that.

Mary and Joseph were only thinking of one thing, the birth of their Son. That’s what I’m concentrating on today. How the birth of Jesus is meant to impact my life and how I relate to others.

Does Christ make a difference in my life or not?

So today I take time from a very busy day and reflect on a birth I don’t understand. I mean, seriously, a virgin birth? And yet I believe. And what amazes me at this very moment, even as I write, is that if I can believe something as “out-of-box” as a virgin birth, why do I question God in other areas?

Why do I ever question He hears AND answers my prayers? Why do I ever question He can perform miracles. Honestly, until I started writing today, I never made that connection What an unexpected gift of insight I’ve just been given.

Some will scoff at my beliefs. It doesn’t matter. Belief and faith are intensely private and personal. Besides, everyone operates from a belief in something. Everyone.

has it been that long, or is it just Christmas?

Christmas lights

Wow. I’ve never gone this long without posting.  One thing I know for sure, if you’re female and you’re reading this, you’re not wondering why it’s been so long,  you’re wondering how I’m finding time to post a little over two weeks out from Christmas!

I’ve been busy. No, past busy. We were at my daughter’s for four days. We had a wonderful, carefree Thanksgiving. Couldn’t have enjoyed it more.  Between taking care of my mom, shopping, making presents, trying to decorate the house, AND deal with constant pain, it’s been a whirlwind. Seems like Thanksgiving was months ago.

But I’ve enjoyed all of it,. (not the pain, of course but nothing I can do about that)

I love making gifts. I love decorating the house. I love the hustle and bustle. I would enjoy it even more but when every step hurts, it puts a damper on things. But then I think, “Hey, at least I’m still walking.”

So what have I been making? Well, the pictures will remain unpublished till have Christmas as some of my followers are recipients of said gifts. But I’m liking how things are turning out.

This morning during my “quiet time with God” I asked that He continually  remind me about what this season is all about. I want to experience the “peace that came to earth”. I don’t want to cheapen the cost of that gift by getting so caught up in the busyness of the season that I forget to  unwrap it.

I’m not one of those who take the concept of commercialism and lay a guilt trip on anyone, including me.   Commercialism doesn’t just exist at Christmas time. It’s just more concentrated. Sure, some people, (those crazy ones you see on the news shows grabbing items out of someone else’s hands) go over board.  But most people I know are simply trying to show their love for the people in their life the best way they know how.  They’re enjoying the process.  They’re enjoying  searching for just the right gift, They’re enjoying creating that perfect gift.

Today my hubby and I are baking dozens of cookies. Anzac cookies. They are an Australian cookie we fell in love with when in, you guessed it, Australia.. Everyone loves them which is why so many. If you want to make them be sure to look for the original recipe from Australia.  The others are OK but the original is the best. They’re a cruncy cookie so don’t over bake them. It’s very easy to do.

So if you’re feeling swamped, enjoy it. Enjoy the process not just the end result. We’ll get ‘er done. Remind yourself that you’ve felt this way every Christmas and every Christmas you’ve manged to pull it off. And even if you can’t convince  yourself, speak the words anyway. it will help. Speaking words of encouragement always helps and we should speak them to ourselves as well.

Hope to be back before Christmas.

more Christmas pictures

another section of shelfThese pictures are from areas in my living room.  Hopefully I’ve labeled them all.picture one secretary

This picture is fuzzy. Don’t know why.  Anyway, the snowman who’s skating ws made for me by a dear friend. You’ll see other things she’s made me as well.

The white birds are gourds I bought at a garage sale and when we remodeled, I painted them white.  They’re two of my favorite decorative objects.

skating snowman

This is a closer look at the paper maiche snowman. (Above) That’s me in the background taking the picture

paper maiche santas

I made these out of paper maiche over various types of bottles.  I’ve got some new ones under way.

atop of desk

More paper maiche figurines all hand-made by me. This is one end of the desk, the next picture is the other end.  The picture in the background is one of first and only oil’s I’ve ever painted.  I was taking out my little guys and thinking I wished I had some sort of backdrop when I remembered this painted that has been stored for years.  It was perfect.  The bright green tree is made by layering and crushing strips of aluminum foil, covering with paper maiche (I really like paper maiche, don’t I?) and then painting. 

top of desk close up

This is the other end of the scene. Next picture is a before and after of the tree I mentioned earlier.

aluminum tree

This next picture is a close up of one area of scene on top of desk.

another view of little snowman

Every year I looked forward to taking out my little guys and letting them hang around for awhile.

Next pictures will focus on the fireplace mantle.  You will see I love creating Christmas scenes.

firpelace mantle with text

Hmmm, nothing home made here. The squares in the background are mirrors.  By placing them in the back it reflects and “grows” the number ofobjects. I have plans to use some watercolor paper next year and cut them into trees and placing them at the back. That OR cutting them into house shapes. Should be really cool.  Think I saw something like this on Pinterest.


I bought these placemats at a consignment shop.  When I saw these big stars at The Dollar Tree, I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. When I got home I sat them on the table and bingo-this is how I used them.  Next year I will probably hot glue them on the mats. 

The trees are my Anthropolgie knock off. I used my jars with lids up and lids down. They are on a red cake platter. This next picture is a close up of one of the jars.

forest in a jar

Finally, the trees on my antique cupboard. (Painted with chalk paint by the way.)

papertrees with border

These are my handmade “book” trees.  The snowman are felted wool. I wish I could find more.  The stars are wonderful glitter paper from Jo Ann’s. I glue them to a toothpick and then push it into the tree. Works like a charm.


Remember that friend I told you about. This is another paper maiche snowman she made me. He’s about two feet tall and adorable.

breezeway b

A grouping under one of my trees.

another section of shelf

First part of shelf above doorways in my kitchen.  Christmas tree lights as well.

Next and final picture is other end of the shelf. The twig houses were handmade from another dear friend.  Gosh, I have great friends, huh?

final section of shelf

There is a big section between these last two pictures but I can’t it.  Total of seven twig houses.

Hope you enjoyed the rest of my pictures.

its that time again

time for reflection

time for reflection

it’s that time again

I’m a little strange. I’ll admit it. I like this time of year. I love Christmas but I also love post Christmas. The next thirty daysor so I will engage in a lot of reflection-about the Christmas season-what I feel I did right-what I could have done better.  I’ll take pictures of how I’ve decorated in case I want to copy some of the same ideas next year. (Some I’ve already decided I really, really like.) But mostly my thoughts will center on the events of this last year and how (based on my Christian values) I responded to life events.

So this will either be a lengthy post or divided between two posts. You’ll figure it out. As soon as I download my pictures, there will be those as well. Here’s the thing about my pictures. I used my i-phone and did almost no editing.  I’m so envious when I see the beautiful photographs on other blogs. But then most of them aren’t using phone cameras. That’s a goal for next year. Learn how to take better photographs and get a good camera once I do.  

The shopping:  I shopped a lot via the internet this year.  I didn’t like doing it that way but I had little choice.  What little in-store shopping I did do, I accomplished in one or two days. Again, not my favorite way to do things but at least it got done and everyone seemed happy with their gifts. I also managed to make some homemade gifts-pillows and stockings from sweaters. They turned out great.

Missing chocolate chip cookie.

Missing chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The baking: Yea!!!!  Great success.  It was down to the wire when I started but I did it all in two days.  I baked Anzac cookies, thumbprint cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, and chocolate chip cookies. No-bakes were the traditional chocolate, oatmeal, peanut butter kind, as well as mission balls, Chinese noodle candy, and peanut butter fudge and pretzels topped with Rollo’s.  They all turned out great. However, the dough for the cut-outs is still in the freezer-maybe for Valentine’s Day? Our home is over one hundred years old and between the kitchen and the mudroom is a small hallway. My husband built some shelves on one side. I lined up all the cookies in my favorite red and white tins, labeled each, and set them on top of a snow blanket interspersed with little trees.  It was a great idea but I didn’t take pictures. Sorry.

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

The decorating: I have lots of Christmas decorations. (It’s a big house so I need them, don’t I?) Pretty much everyone room is decorated. But here’s the funny thing. The one room everyone congregates in, the T.V. room, I forgot to decorate! (Note to self-don’t forget this room next year.) It used to be a porch.  There is only one wall and because it’s long and narrow there’s not a lot of floor space. Next year I’ll have to think of a way to decorate with more wall “thingees.” I loved how I decorated the mantel, the desk, the dining room hutch and my old craft cabinet and will do exactly the same next year.

I felt very little pressure or stress this year. I was determined to stay focused and enjoy each moment with no worries about the next ones. (See two previous posts. Correction to “quite journey in postscript.) I was able to let people be who they are and not let their attitudes affect me. I made one change I should have made a long time ago. It turned out to be a really good decision and I was able to avoid some conflicted feelings I’ve had in the past.  Sometimes it just makes sense to avoid a troublesome situation even if it means more work for ourselves. 

Christmas Eve at my mother’s was wonderful especially if bittersweet.  My mother is convinced she has only a short time to live even though there’s no medical reason for it.  She may sense something I don’t and I’m not foolish enough to pooh-pooh her feelings so I wanted to make every second count and I did. Christmas Day my hubby and I saw Les Miserable. OMG!  It’s a movie one “experiences” not just watches. The best part ?  Hearing my husband sniffling at the end of the movie.  He’s as tough as they come but he’s the most gentleman as well. I am blessed.

It’s a sunny day today and as I sit and think about the last few weeks I am acutely aware that life won’t always be this good. Christmas’s won’t always be this wonderful. I consider myself a very smart and astute woman and know life is predictable only in its unpredictability. I’m so glad I made the most of this season. I got tired at times but I just drank more coffee and repeated the mantra, “enjoy this moment, enjoy this moment, enjoy this moment.”  

Now I have a month of “reflecting” coming up.  I’m going to be away from home for much of that time but that will make it easier. I always think better when I’m away-either at our cabin or on a beach somewhere. I’m going to keep you posted on my process.

I started this post with “I’m a little strange. I’ll admit it.” Well, I’m even stranger than you think. You see I’m one of those people who do believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Of course, any month of the year can be set aside for reflection and resolution-making. I choose New Year’s because to me it just makes sense. January is usually one of the quieter months.  Not a lot to do. And living in Michigan, there’s little one can do outside unless you really like cold weather-which I don’t. So it just makes sense to set this month apart-to eat my leftover cookies and drink hot tea and contemplate.  I would’ve made a great monk!

I don’t know how you anticipate this next year but if you suffer from depression (, you may feel very discouraged right now thinking “I can’t take another year.” I can remember thinking that way.  If you’re new to this blog, read the archival material. There’s a lot I’ve written already that you might find helpful. Don’t give up. I know only too well how miserable and life-sucking depression is. I wallowed in it a long time.

I don’t anymore. 

Not because I’m stronger than you, better than you, have more faith than you, or didn’t feel as bad as you do. I just got to a place in my life when nothing was working, not even medication, and I determined to get beyond it no matter what it took. I purposefully don’t make every post only about depression because that doesn’t help. Constant ruminating doesn’t help. Besides, depression isn’t who I am anymore.

Try using January as I do and really give some thought to why you suffer depression. Don’t get morbid and don’t think every minute but set aside some time every day, sit quietly, and see what thoughts come to your mind. Examine them. Are you contributing to your own depression? I’ve talked to a lot of people over the years who are depressed and I’ve yet to meet the person who didn’t in some way contribute to their condition. Even it was only because they didn’t seek treatment.

Life is so much easier when we’re honest with ourselves, when we don’t have to be perfect. It’s amazing to me that a when I let up on myself a little; I let up on others as well. Anyway, I’m on a roll so I should quit before you get overwhelmed.

I’ll be back in a few days.   Happy New Year to each and every one of you.

p.s. I apologize for the error in the “quite”  journey. I really do know how to spell “quiet”.  🙂

a quite journey-part two

  a “quiet” journey-part two

Remember how my last post highlighted how far behind I was in preparing for this Christmas season? I shared how I’d hoped I’d travel my own quiet journey to Christmas. I’ve given some real thought as to how I’ve celebrated Christmas in the past. How this year I almost lost my joy. How Christmas almost became Christmiss.  How had that almost happened, I wondered. I LOVE Christmas! How had it deteriorated into only a list of things to do? In my contemplating I did discover a few things.

I’ve let other people and their “bah humbugness”damper  my enthusiasm. Just because some people feel that way doesn’t mean it has to contaminate me.

· Lesson # one: I will avoid exposure to the “scrooges”. (Thank goodness I can.) I will smile as much as I can to everyone I meet. “Smiling is my favorite.” (From the movie “Elf” just in case there’s someone on the planet who isn’t familiar with its origins.) I’ll say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays” whenever I want because I have that choice and that freedom. However, my motives will not be political. I will respect other’s rights to say “Happy Holidays.” That is their choice and their freedom as well. Christmas shouldn’t be about making a point.

I admit I love the anticipation of Christmas. Mary and Joseph anticipated the birth of their first child. I want to experience that same anticipation.

· Lesson # two: I will allow myself to feel the excitement as the days count down, instead of the panic. (The anticipation of any event is half the fun anyway). I will anticipate the long hours in the kitchen baking cookies and making candy. I will gladly anticipate feeling tired and know I got that way doing the things I enjoy. I will look forward to the reading of the Christmas story on Christmas morning.

I will anticipate the looks on the faces of those for whom I’ve created some special gifts. I won’t pay heed to those who don’t get into the spirit of the event. I will focus on my own good time and those who are enjoying it as much as I do.

· Lesson # three: I will remember that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts I give but also the gifts I’ve received. No, it’s not what you think. I’m talking about the gifts I’ve already received. And I’ve received so many.

The gift of a loving husband, a wonderful family, good friends, shelter, and food. I recently saw a movie that centered on the genocide taking place in Africa. I’d seen it before but it didn’t impact me the way it did this time. One scene in particular featured a child whose condition I can’t begin to describe. Words fail because they are just words. As I sit here and write, my surroundings seem almost obscene. I’m not hungry or thirsty. I’m not sweltering in the heat or freezing from the cold. I have clothes on my back and shoes on my feet . I’m not worrying about whether I will eat today—or tomorrow. Whether I will have a glass of water to drink. As I sit here in my comfortable surroundings I wonder if I’m doing enough to relieve suffering in my own part of the world. I’m worried that maybe I’m not. I’ve been “gifted” way beyond what I deserve.

· Lesson # four: I will embrace my gifts as they are meant to be appreciated. I won’t cheapen what God has blessed me with anything less than heartfelt gratitude. It does no one any good. Besides grateful people are generous people. Unappreciative people are not.

Pile of gorgeous gifts

Pile of gorgeous gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog is a gift-from me to you. Freedom from depression has been a gift I certainly never thoughtwould  open. Christmas can trigger depression for a lot of people…the stress, family complications, financial issues. The yearning for the perfect Christmas and the reality of anything but. We get tired. We obsess over unimportant details.

I live in Michigan and the days are getting shorter.  Tomorrow  will contain the fewest amount of daylight hours for the year. But the very next day, it stays lighter longer. Depression is like that. Our darkest day can be followed by a brighter one if we’ll just hang in there.

If you are struggling with depression right now, open the gift that is waiting for you. The miracle of Christmas is much more than a physical birth-it is spiritual re-birth. It is a gift to the world to be unwrapped by each of us. It is a gift unique for each of us. It is a gift we don’t even have to take. I used to think we all had to unwrap this gift the same way. That we all had to use it the same way. I don’t believe that anymore. That’s the miracle of Christmas….

 That LOVE reached down to each of us, collectively yes, but individually as well.

I truly hope each of you reading this post finds what you need in the miracle that is Christmas. Life can be tragic as we all know from recent events. Where’s the miracle in a tragedy?

But despite what goes on in the world, I believe we can find a degree of healing through the gift of love awaiting each of us.

God bless you today and from my heart I wish you all, “Merry Christmas.”




I just learned a valuable lesson.  Don’t create a new post on this site.  Here’s why.

My post, “A Crack in the Family” posted and I don’t know how.  The only thing I can figure is that I accidentally scheduled it without realizing it. So here’s the thing.  I had a lot of work to do on that post.  I’ve just re-read it and while it does stil reflect how I feel, there was much work to be done.  I hadn’t even thought about posting it till after Christmas.

So please forgive the errors and relize that I’m well aware that it was incomplete. I generally work off line and then import onto WordPress. Lesson learned.  Work on your posts elsewhere!

I do have a new post in the works to be published before Christmas so I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for your understanding.













a quiet journey

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

 a quiet journey

Ugh. The flu bug has struck our home.  I hate being sick but being sick at this time of year-OMG. 

I was already behind due to the renovation and my mom’s care. I’m trying to convince myself I’ve been this far behind before during the Christmas season but I know it’s never been this bad. The truth is I’m one of those annoying people who’ve always been able to brag about being done with my shopping and wrapping by Thanksgiving.  Seriously. By this time I’ve made and froze what cookie dough can be prepared this way in preparation for an all-day baking marathon later in the month. All the Christmas decorations would have been artfully displayed the week after Thanksgiving.

This year, the tree sits unadorned. The boxes and boxes of Christmas ornaments are still tucked away in their beds apparently for a long winter’s nap. Many gifts are yet to be purchased and those I have bought are yet to be wrapped. I haven’t even made out my master list of who is getting what and how much I’ve spent. Oh, and I forgot to mention all the homemade gifts I like to make. I should be panicking but I’m not. I tell myself that I always get it all done. I’m not so sure this year though.

I was just starting to get my footing when the flu bug bit. I remember little of it as I spiked a high temp and slept away a whole day. So now I’m even further behind. But here’s the thing. It’s o.k. It really is.  (Maybe I’ve been too sick to panic. J)

I think not though. I think maybe I’ve finally realized that Christmas is not only a time to give gifts, it IS a gift.  The season itself, I mean. It is the gift of serenity. The serenity that comes from knowing there is another story being played out in the “heavenlies”, a story that is so much bigger than me and my flu and obsessing about how I don’t have twenty-four hours to spare to be sick. But now I’m reminded that I don’t have the control over things I think I have. Things happen. The Christmas season can get interrupted for all kinds of reasons-some of our own making, some outside our control. Like the flu.

I’ve been thinking about how “quite” was the journey that Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem. The whispered conversations they must have had as they snuggled under the stars with the gentle breeze cooling them at night and the sounds of the night singing them to sleep. This trip could well have been the first time they even had a chance to really get to know each other. Something tells me that in the years ahead they often looked back at this journey as the most peaceful time of their lives.

Maybe in the next couple of weeks I can have my own tranquil journey. Maybe this is the year I won’t get it all done. Maybe this is the year I’ll throw off the burden of perfection and learn to live with compromise. Maybe my own journey to Christmas will prove as “quiet” as the one traveled so many years ago. Maybe the gift awaiting me will prove as wondrous.