Quilty Fun


Here’s a little peek at some of the quilt projects I’ve been working on lately. I always have a number of them going at the same time, and work on the one I have time for or are in the mood to work on.

This is my Tree of Life quilt ~


I participated in a half square triangle exchange at a local quilt shop a few years ago and this is what I decided to make from all of the half square triangles I received. The pattern is in this book by Edyta Sitar ~


While all of the half square triangles were sewn on a machine, I am hand piecing it all together. I still need to applique some vines and leaves along the two sides, and then it will be ready to quilt and bind.

Another quilt I have been working on is this Jelly Roll Race Farm quilt ~


I saw this quilt finished at the quilt shop and loved the farm fabrics in it, called “Coming Home” by Deb Strain.


The Jelly Roll Race quilt is very simple to make and would have been done by now if I had the time to sit and work at my sewing machine for longer periods of time. I’ll keep you posted on this one as I hope to finish it soon.

I am also working on this wall hanging, usually while I’m waiting for Anna at cheerleading practice ~


The pattern is called “Live Simply” by buttermilk basin. I am at the point of sewing around all of the applique pieces, and it is small, so it’s easy to take along with me.

And finally, I mentioned in my Daybook this week that I have just joined a new Block of the Month program that will result in a “primitive houses” quilt when finished. I sewed the first block yesterday. Here it is ~


This quilt is called “My Neighborhood” by Beverly Ingram, and it has the cutest rail fence border around it. I’ll keep you posted each month on my progress, but at one block a month, it won’t be finished until next year.

I hope your evening has gone well. Only three more nights to enjoy the Winter Olympics – it sure has gone by fast!

See you soon!


Fall Decoration

We’re all decked out now in Fall decoration, so I thought I’d share some of them with you. The picture above was taken on the front porch. The white bench is one that I found this summer in an antique store. It is really special to me because it is just like one that my grandmother had on her screened porch. My cousins and siblings and I used to sit on it and play cards and visit. I was so excited when I found it! The pumpkins add a special touch of Fall to this special bench.

Next to the front door, I have placed my annual pumpkin in the ladder back chair. I just love the way it looks, and so I place a large pumpkin here every year ~

Around back I have placed two pumpkins by the white picket fence – another annual decoration ~

Coming in the back door ~ there is a new Fall rug just inside the door. I love the gingham and pumpkins on this rug ~

Here are a few pictures of the Autumn decorations scattered around the living room ~

Into the dining room and kitchen ~

And finally, you can even see a touch of Fall in my quilt basket – this fabric makes me happy!

How are you coming with your decorations?


An Autumn Tour


I walked around the house the other day and took some pictures of a few spots that have been decorated for the fall season. Just a few of the touches that we have added to our home to celebrate. Some we put out every year, traditionally. A few others are new this year. Many are just simple, but I love their simplicity. I didn’t take pictures of everything, but here are a few areas that I did capture ~

The above picture is on the front porch, as is this one – I put a big pumpkin in this chair by the front door each year ~


I love the way the yard looks when the leaves start falling ~



Coming in the front door, the first thing you would see is this autumn wreath hanging on a closet door ~


In the living room, the mantle has been decorated with fall berries and the blocks changed to reflect the season ~


Atop the living room hutch is a seasonal basket, while the lower part of the hutch holds several types of pumpkins, real and handcrafted, as well as a Harvest candle ~




The piano holds my annual favorite berry pumpkin candle ~


On the nature shelf, our ceramic Fall houses have been set up. I almost didn’t put these out this year, but the children wanted them – many of the pieces have been broken over the years from being played with by little hands. They light up at night and look very pretty, I must concede. Next to the houses sits a basket of colorful autumn gourds ~


The stairs and church pew have been dressed up with cloth pumpkins and corn husk garland (the kitties love this!) ~


The dining room cabinet needed just a simple pumpkin to fancy it up ~


The dining table holds my old milk bottle with red, orange, and yellow berries (love these!) and a lovely white pumpkin that I picked up at the store ~


Into the kitchen, there are pie pumpkins sitting around the counters ~


A Jack-Be-Little on the windowsill is a yearly must ~


A small ceramic pumpkin in a corner and a glass pumpkin serving up Autumn mix candies on the island (you may remember this from my Daybook) ~



Finally, the kitchen hutch is decorated with berries, baskets, and mini pumpkins ~


On the way out the back door, is one of several Fall signs that I have hanging around the house ~


I hope you have enjoyed this Fall mini-tour of our home!


A Finished Project!


I started this project many months ago. I did half of it and just never was able to get around to the other half. What is the project, you ask? Wallpapering my kitchen backsplash with this lovely gingham wallpaper. I had been thinking about doing it ever since we moved here 4 years ago, but wasn’t sure whether it would be too busy with my cabinets. I finally decided to go ahead and I am so pleased with the results – especially now that the job is finally completed. Here are a few more pictures –



(sorry for the blur!)

And yes, I do realize that I have a snowman picture hanging over my cooktop. I originally hung it there at Christmastime (which gives you a clue how long ago I started this project) and I liked the size and frame, so I decided that I would stamp a new picture for the inside so that it could hang there all year – maybe even stamp a picture for each season that I could change out all year round. Well, obviously it hasn’t happened yet – but I have hope. If I can finish one project – I can finish another! And maybe even someday I’ll make some progress on that infinite list of projects that I have in my head to get done!


Autumn Decorations

I mentioned awhile back that I was planning to post some pictures of our Fall decorating, so here it is . . . I’m finally getting around to it! Just a few shots of some of the areas that have some touches of Fall added to them, and a few notes to go alongside –

This is the top of our piano (ignore the dust – if I had stopped to dust before taking the picture, I probably wouldn’t have ever had time to take it!)

I love this pumpkin with the berries and candle – it sits on the piano.

This is affectionately known around here as “Grandmama’s Hutch” – as it was my Grandmother’s and I love having it in my home – it sits in my living room and there are always several candles at home on this hutch, as well as other seasonal items and others which stay year round.

Here is our mantle. One of our few hesitations in buying this house was it’s lack of a fireplace. I still miss the crackle of a fire on cold winter days (although those aren’t too numerous around here), but I managed to get a mantle to decorate anyway. This was a lovely find at my neighbor’s garage sale a few years ago (you know the one I mean, if you read my Daybook this week). I repainted and crackled it and hung a bunch of hooks under it for Christmas stockings and then Jeff attached it to the wall our first Christmas Eve in the house (just in time!). I love decorating it, and it usually has a number of candles perched upon it, as well. The picture above the mantle was also a treasure I bought from my neighbor. I love my blocks – I can change them around all year to say different things – for holidays, birthdays and seasons.

These are the stairs going up from the back of the living room, decorated with a corn husk garland and ribbon. The old church pew in front of the stairs was a gift from some friends, who didn’t have a place for it and knew that we would love it – they were right! It’s one of my favorite pieces. The basket is the home for seasonal and library books (when David lets them stay in it).

On the other side of the living room is our Bible and nature bookshelf. I try to keep some seasonal nature items and books on the top. Right now I’m just enjoying some seasonal decorations here.

Hanging on the closet door by the back door. It is filled with baby Indian corn.

I love this metal sign which hangs in our jacket and shoe area.

You might recognize this scene from my header. All I did here was to add a pie pumpkin – it seemed to be enough.

Into the kitchen now – this is the scene perched above the microwave oven.

Of course, a Fall dish towel hanging from the oven door. I keep a decorative towel here all year long, changing them out for the seasons.

Finally, my kitchen island – command center for my kitchen. I keep a candle here to burn while I’m working in the kitchen. There are wooden step stools on the other side for littles to stand on and help or “supervise” what I’m doing. Someday there will be a rustic ladder hanging above this island arrayed with baskets and seasonal berry garlands. We have the ladder, but have had a challenge finding the right chains to hang it. I can’t wait to finally get it hung!

Somehow I forgot to take a picture of my kitchen window. It is always changing, but right now I have a pie pumpkin, several candles, my daily flip calendar and a tiny Jack Be Little pumpkin from my garden on it.

I hope you enjoyed a look at some of our Fall decorations and maybe found an idea to take away for your home. Enjoy the season!


Making My Home a Haven – Decluttering

It’s been awhile since I did a Making My Home a Haven post. It’s definitely time for this one – decluttering! With spring in the air, I am finding myself wanting to clean out everything around my house. I have actually been working on this hit and miss for a little while, but am feeling an extra push right now. Something about spring that makes me want to dig in and make everything fresh and new again – like the earth around me.

I am coming to the slow realization (I wish it were quicker!) that clutter = chaos in my home. I really want to get to the point of having a place for everything, so that we can actually put everything in its place with ease, rather than trying to shove it into a full drawer or putting it elsewhere from lack of knowing where it goes. I have become very frustrated with the fact that it seems that every spot is filled to the brim in this house. Now I love that it is filled with people, but the stuff is a definite problem. You see, I tend to get quite cranky when I see junk around me all the time! I don’t mind things being out when they are being used, but so much of the time, they are out because there really isn’t a good place to put them, and the children don’t know where to put them. (Of course, sometimes it’s just that someone doesn’t want to do it – which is another matter altogether!) Or is it? – maybe it wouldn’t seem so hard to them if it was easy to put away.

Here are some of the ways that I am hoping decluttering helps make my home a haven –

– The atmosphere of our home will be less stressful when things are more orderly.

– Mom will be less cranky and spend less time complaining and more time enjoying life with her children.

– We will have more time to enjoy life when we have less stuff to tend to.

– My children will learn to value people more and things less.

– Our home will feel more peaceful and comforting and relaxing.

– I will feel less stress with opening our home to others as it will be less of a huge undertaking to prepare for these times.

I’m certain that there will be many more benefits to decluttering that I will only realize as it happens.

How to go about it? Well, for me, I just try to tackle one thing a day. If I don’t have much time, I do a small thing – maybe one drawer or a basket. If I have more time (and energy), I work on a larger area. Some days, I don’t get to anything, but since I’d like to speed up the process a little, I am going to try harder to do something every day.

I am also working on paring down our clothing. We have had so many wonderful people give us clothes throughout the years that we have amassed quite a surplus of these – way more than we really need. As I do the laundry, I am trying to keep only those items that we really like and wear and donate those items that are just taking up space, but not being worn.

Over the years we have saved most all of the children’s clothes that we have had, since I have thought that someone would need them later. This has resulted in many large Rubbermaid tubs in the attic, and many bags of clothes overflowing into the upstairs hall, creating more visible clutter (since it’s such a chore to sort through and rotate them in the attic boxes!). A problem with saving everything is that so much of the time the clothes don’t work for the next children – different sizes/seasons, preferences, style changes. I am hoping to get through all of these clothes and get rid of most of them, keeping only the classic basics – getting the Rubbermaid boxes down to a manageable number.

As I declutter, I ask myself if this item is contributing positively or negatively to our home. I’m amazed to find that so many things just aren’t necessary or wanted and are only taking up space and adding to the chaos. It is such a freeing feeling to get rid of bags of things that have been weighing down our home and our attitudes. I am so far from where I want to be, and so many times I become overwhelmed by the job, but it is exciting to think of the calmness and peace that will be present when I finally get the upper hand in this area.

As I view this project from the aspect of ministering to my family, I am even further encouraged to plow ahead and stay the course. It is my desire to provide a home of rest and peace for my loved ones, and simplifying our possessions is going to help our home to be more of that haven we so long for.


Hearts and Crafts

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Tell your special people that you love them today! Maybe even give them a box of chocolates. . .flowers are nice, too!

Here’s what we have been up to –

We made a whole bunch of these heart garlands yesterday and have them hanging up around the house for decoration. We just folded various papers – patterned scrapbook paper and construction paper – accordion style (like a fan) and then cut out the heart shapes, leaving the sides uncut on the folds. The kids thought it was so neat to unfold them and see the string of hearts!

We also have been busy in the kitchen making Valentine sugar cookies. I actually mixed up the dough for these on Monday and it chilled in the refrigerator until yesterday (not intentionally that long, but you know how life is…). I was afraid it would have dried out too much, but it was fine. Here is the crew at the frosting stage –

Always a mess, but worth it! I have learned over the years to use plastic cups/bowls and knives for frosting the cookies, whenever possible. Then I can just throw them away, instead of having to wash them – which is the greasy (shortening) alternative.

We have also been spending a bit of time making our Valentines. . . which I can’t show, because . . . well. . .it would spoil the surprise for many of you!

This is my kitchen windowsill. This weekend at my stamp club (I really am going to post about that some day. . .soon. . .hopefully), I noticed that my friend had a little lamp like this on her kitchen windowsill. I thought it looked so homey and cozy. !!!Lightbulb moment!!! – “I have a little lamp like that and a kitchen windowsill¬†like that, too!” – I thought to myself. So here is the result. I have really been enjoying my little lamp in my kitchen window. It has the same ambiance (sp.?) as the candle burning on my island and makes my time in the kitchen so pleasant.

Our plans for today include a trip to McDonald’s for lunch, candy making, fabric hearts and a special dinner (I haven’t figured out what it will be, yet!) with treats for the kids. Jeff and I will exchange Valentines after the younger ones go to bed. Somewhere in there I need to fit in a trip to the store, too! We will decorate white lunch bags with stickers and crayons for Valentine bags, which we will all distribute to each other after dinner. I have decided to put off the heart shaped pretzels until tomorrow (any guesses why? ūüôā ) It will be a good day for them tomorrow, anyway, as we are getting a cold front tonight and it will be¬†nice to stay inside and make hot pretzels. Besides, whoever said celebrating our love for each other had to occur only one day of the year?!

Here are a few verses to keep in mind from our heavenly Father¬†– the One who is our greatest example of love –

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”¬†¬† – John 3: 16¬† (I know that we hear this verse so often, we really don’t think about it as we should – but, take some time to really meditate on this verse and the extraordinary love that God has for us!)

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.¬† Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.¬† Forgive as the Lord forgave you.¬† And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”¬† -Colossians 3: 12-14

I hope that whatever your day holds, you will be reminded of the One who loves you more than anyone else, and that you will be blessed by His love!



Making My Home a Haven

“This is the message you¬†heard from the beginning:¬† We should love one another.”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 John 3: 1

¬†“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but¬†with actions and in truth.”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 John 3: 18

“. . . train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind. . .”¬†¬†¬† Titus 2:4-5

I have been reading several blogs lately that have spoken of making our homes a haven for our families.  This has been so interesting to me, as it has given a word to what I have in my heart to provide for my family. 

“Haven – Harbor;¬† port; place of safety.”¬† -Webster’s Dictionary

Imagine a ship out to sea, facing the storms, the beating of the sun and the waves,¬†and the pull of the tide.¬† Now imagine that ship coming into port and docking – no longer in danger of being swept off course or lost in the storm.¬† The harbor is where the boat is¬†stabilized and washed off and repaired from it’s journey into the world.¬† It is a place of rest and regrouping before the next voyage.

I believe that our homes are meant to be this¬†harbor for our families – this haven.¬† I don’t think this means perfection, but rest and shelter and support – a place filled with love and the practical working out of that love.¬†¬†One of our jobs as wives and mothers is to make this haven a reality for our families.¬† The bonus is that when our home is a haven for our families, it is also a haven for us!¬†

Now, while this¬†is the desire of my heart, I too often find that my home isn’t feeling like much of a haven.¬† The reality is that while there is definitely love in my home, there is also selfishness and sinfulness living here (certainly my own self included!)¬† Only by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives will our homes ever be the haven that we desire –

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”¬†¬† Psalm¬†127: 1

The first thing that I can do towards this end, then, is to make sure I am spending time with the Lord each day – reading His Word, talking to Him and listening to what He has to teach me.¬† (This is soooo convicting, even as I write!)¬† Following this is to teach God’s truth to my children, so that they will know His will and learn to follow Him.¬† One small thing that I am doing to help with this is to post Scripture around the house.¬† We have had various different Scriptures posted in the past, but today I will be making¬† several signs that sum up everything for our family – “Love God” and “Love each other”.¬† I hope that these will serve as visual reminders to everyone (myself included) of our goal and purpose as a family.

While I feel that our spiritual attitude is the most important factor in making our home a haven, there are many other things that we can do as wives and mothers to bless our families, both in attitude and practical¬†ways (not that our attitude isn’t practical!)¬† I am going to start an ongoing series on this topic titled “Making My Home a Haven” as a regular feature on my blog.¬† I hope to share ideas that I¬†have incorporated into my home as well as those that I¬† pick up around the web.¬† I pray that it will bless you and I both as we endeavor to glorify the Lord as we minister to our families!

I’ll leave you with one simple idea for starters – candles!¬† I love candles, and I tend to light a few most evenings.¬† It makes our house feel cozier and adds a pleasing aroma to¬†our home¬†(which is usually needed in a house with 2 children in diapers, 3 dogs and 2 cats!)¬† I love to light a candle while I am in the kitchen working – it just makes¬†the room¬†more pleasant.¬†My favorite scents are vanilla, sugar cookie, and cinnamon for this time of year.¬† Candles create a homey atmosphere for our family (located safely, of course!), which I think adds to our sense of haven.