Saturday, November 30, 2013

Simple Winter Stuff

Did you shop til you dropped this weekend? Actually, I didn't feel at all like braving crowds. We've had a pretty lazy weekend, my husband has found time to do a couple of maintenance projects, but mostly, we've just enjoyed the holiday. We had all our kids and the grandkids together, as well as my parents. Just making memories, eating, talking, laughing- we even put a puzzle together! I'm thinking I need to stock up on puzzles this winter.
My shopping is going to be minimal this season. I have had years where I went overboard, but this time, I want to keep it very simple. The part I am really looking forward to, is the simple things. We are planning an evening Christmas song-athon at the little church down the road. Inviting friends to potluck, to bring their instruments and voices, and have a good old-fashioned time.
For years, I've wanted to host "Game Nights" in the winter. Doing these kinds of things, our kids and grandkids love, as much as all of the grown-ups. This IS going to happen this winter!
And another activity I enjoy with my mom, sister, nieces, daughters and granddaughters, is "Craft Night". We haven't done this in a long time, but basically, getting together to work on whatever art or craft project we each have, and doing it together. We don't always get a lot done, but we have a lot of fun!
These are the kinds of things I'm wanting to do! And they don't cost much, you have to eat dinner anyway, so why not just share?
I'm sure that sometime REALLY close to Christmas Eve, I'll manage a panic Christmas shopping trip, searching for that elusive, just right gift, but, unless an idea comes to me, I'm not going to let it stress me out any earlier!
Enjoy your friends and family, and have some good times this season!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Winter Anticipation

Hoping for snow! If I hope hard enough, will it appear?
This season is flying so quickly, don't you think? Here, in our lives, we've had a lot of stuff going on. Hard stuff, like seeing my daughter go through a miscarriage, and the wait for 2 weeks until she delivered. Hard stuff, but I can't tell you how proud I am of their strength and faith!
It's the time of year when I do several sales with my Finnish cardamom bread. It started early this year, because the first Saturday fell so early. I feel like I'm a week ahead on bazaars and baking. I had a lot of fun, did well, sold out. That's always nice.
I've had a goal since September to really fill my Etsy shop. I've got so many things to still list, and I was almost up to 400 items in my shop! I guess it's a good thing when stuff sells and you have to get more stuff in there. I really enjoy Etsy. I consider it sort of my hobby/job. Thankfully, my husband has had more work this year. Construction in our area had been really slow. Three years ago, he was getting ready to start building a house, finishing another. It was always the pattern that he'd move right into another project, someone would be waiting on him, etc. Well, the lady backed out of that house, and all of a sudden, he had no work. On top of that, he had no reputation really for doing smaller jobs, because he used to have to turn those down b/c he was too busy. So it took awhile to get out there with remodels and smaller jobs. Seriously, I think we could have qualified for welfare at one point, but he reminded me that we're not destitute, that God would provide, and you know what? We made it!! And we had a good time even through the hard part. He's just finishing a house for a man, and he'll be back to a few small jobs lined up. It would be nice if it was a sure thing that he had a house to build, (or 2 or 3, like the old days) but we're resourceful, we're taken care of, and I'm looking forward to what's ahead.
I'm REALLY looking forward to decorating my porch and house for Christmas this year. I've been Pinterest-ing wreaths, diys, etc., thinking of Chrstmas greenery garlands. I need to talk my boys into going out in the woods and gathering me some cedar boughs and holly and stuff. I used to love the gift part of Christmas more, but I'm really getting simpler all the time. 
We're planning a music night with our friends, singing, playing instruments, etc. I have always wanted to get a group together to try playing my autoharp. I think a group of other musicians would make my attempt a lot more fun.  We've talked about doing some good old-fashioned game nights with friends this winter.
Another fun thing I'm planning, is to have a friend come and show a few friends how to make tamales. I've done this before, but haven't tried it in a long time. So, I guess at least one of my goals is to have some good times with friends and family, in a warm, cozy house, just enjoying each other around some fun things to do.
Hope you plan to make your winter a memorable one!!!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brrr. For Oregon, it's a chilly morning! It's funny that people often think all it does in Oregon is rain.   Yes, we do get quite a bit of rain, but it's not as bad as you might thing.  We've had an awesome summer, and a beautiful fall so far. I'm especially glad for lack of rain in the fall, b/c of the huge maple tree we have in our front yard. In the summer, the tree is a cool place to sit in the shade, or even to get out of a drizzle, it is that big. We have a bench swing, and tree swing, and an outdoor fireplace under it, so we have cozy evenings or warmth and fun.
But in the fall! I wonder how many leaves a tree actually has on it, but this one is crazy! We have used a blower (I wish we had had a blower YEARS ago, they work so great for leaves) countless times and added the leaves to the garden, like every year. The next day, it looks like we never did it! Today we are moving another pile to the garden, and I'd bet they would fill a dump truck, no kidding! And that won't be all! HOWEVER, the leaves are dry! With not a lot of rain, we've been able to do a lot of fall cleanup without the wetness, and that makes it a lot more fun!
I mentioned before the room my husband made me for a studio for my Etsy treasures?  I am so enjoying this room! It's like I'm out in the yard, right beside that beautiful maple tree. The front is all glass, so it's nice and bright, and at night, it is beautiful to look outside.  My son gave me a pretty sweet recliner, and I've been making a spot so that I can sit there and read, or, if I get my wish, watch snowflakes fall this winter. I live a very simple life, and I can tell you, I am so thankful for my quiet, simple life, and for my home, that is nothing grand, but to me, it is my refuge. (The best compliment I ever get when someone comes to my home is that they are "so comfortable" in my home.  I can't think of a better comment from a visitor!)
Well, with fall, and chilly mornings, I've been working a lot on my Etsy shop, getting it filled to the brim. With making soups on chilly days, with getting my kids through school, with spending time with grandkids. With going to my parents to watch the Seahawks, since we don't have TV here.
I saw a comment on a friend's Facebook page, wondering if she was the only one who didn't have a life that was all roses. It made me think about how much my years have seen. No, I have had HORRIBLE days. I've had really hard YEARS in fact, and lots of painful memories of things that are in the past. But I've come to see, you hang on for the ride. You go through what God has for you to go through, and you trust Him to get you to the finish. The finish is worth it all!  Run the race! Go for the prize! 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Roadside Stands

What is is about roadside stands? They just call out for you to stop and buy their wares!  Whether it's lemonade stands, with the little kids running their first business, or produce stands, egg signs that beckon you to stop at the little hut, put some money in the box, and get yourself a dozen eggs, or hot dog stands on the street corner in the city, there is just something special about these real experiences, in not-exactly-brick-and-mortar stands.
I'm a HUGE believer in children's lemonade stands. I've heard that it is actually not legal to have an unlicensed lemonade stand. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, I'm against it. I think every kid should have at least one lemonade stand in their lifetime.
When my sister and I were little, we painted rocks into bugs and sold them to the neighborhood.  We also took styrofoam balls cut in half, and used pipe cleaners to make animals and sold them.  We've thought how funny it would be to go to a garage sale in our area and find one of our old creations, but, I'm not holding out for the possibility, b/c, after all, I was only like 6 at the time, and the quality wouldn't have stood the test of an heirloom. :-)
I live in a very small community. I lived in the same house all my life, until I was grown. I only live a half mile away from that same home.  Well, if you know me, you know I love my life!
Today, I had a huge blessing, to go down the street that half mile again, to my childhood home, and stop at my friend's roadside stand there and buy this beautiful bouquet, all for a whole $2! You wouldn't believe what a very real memory-lane moment this was to me.  To pull into the driveway of my own childhood home, and get flowers grown on that soil, that my mom used to grown flowers on! She spent so much time in her gardens, and you know, to this day, she is always outside in her flowers or riding her lawn mower over her huge yard.  When I would get home off the school bus, she'd be out there working in her flowers in the fall and spring. In the fall, there is a certain type of day, the sun feels just right, the blackberry smell is in the air, the breeze is just that exact same breeze as my childhood, and I get this memory come over me of getting off that bus, mom pausing from her weeding to ask us how school went. It just all comes back to me all over again. I was so fortunate to have such a great childhood. I don't take it for granted. I try to live up to it for my own kids.
So, if you think your life gets monotonous, don't forget, you're making memories. Hopefully awesome memories of sunshiny days, cheerful words, beautiful flowers. Happy children.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Latest Recycle Project

We've had a crazy amount of rain here in the Pacific Northwest this month.  It's made it a little difficult for my husband to work at the projects he was supposed to be doing on other people's houses, b/c they needed to be done on drier days, so...yep, I got to have him home, and working on some projects for our house! Usually, it never fails, no work, no money, but we have time. When we have the work and money, we don't have the time. But he's done some pretty creative recycle projects that really didn't cost us much.
My twin sons were wanting their own rooms. I had the extra room filled with all my Etsy junk treasures, and my sewing stuff, my crafting stuff, and somehow it even had stuff in there that my husband would put in there b/c he didn't know where else to put it. In other words, it was a mess. But with selling vintage on Etsy, you need space to keep the stuff, space to photograph the stuff, and space to work with it and actually wrap and mail it off. So, here's one of my boys begging for a room, and what's a mom to do??  Well, I asked my husband if our smaller covered back porch with the hot tub on it would be able to be made into a work room for me. He was actually really motivated with this honey-do, and yes, he made me an amazing studio to work in. I love being outside, and the room he made me is the next best thing to being outdoors.
He had made a rather rare mistake with ordering a lady's windows a year ago. She had wanted grid windows at first, then changed her mind, and he forgot to change the order. It could have been a $2,000 mistake, but the window company gave him a tool to use to change out the glass and he was able to do it for only a $600. loss. Thus, we ended up owning many windows and a slider that had no frames. Well, my tricky sweetheart put the windows in my new studio, the old fashioned way, like they did in days past. And I have to say, I am just loving my little hideaway! These windows of course, don't open, but he did have an old 1950s push out window from another remodel job that works well for the breeze. I have to say, I'm really pleased with it, AND we were able to use up the glass we already had. My sons are happy to have their own rooms, and all is well.  It's amazing the things you can do with recycled stuff!   And you can bet I remember to tell my husband how much I love and am thankful for the way he spoils me!  (I added some photos, but excuse the messes.)

And since I'm on the recycle subject....I had been BEGGING for a long time for my husband to put soffitting on my front porch. When I am sitting in my chair in the mornings visiting with him, and he's telling me about what's on his mind, my A.D.D. takes over, and I start wandering off the conversation, and invariably, I'd start staring at the ugle porch roof that I could see from my chair. It just drove me crazy! Well, he had some vinyl siding that came from another remodel he'd done, and we were going to use it for a hay barn eventually.  We didn't know if this would work, but he went out and got a few pieces and tacked it up to see, and YES!! The vinyl siding has now been recycled into the ceiling of my porch, nice and clean and grey colored. It brightened up my porch a lot! We were pretty excited to see that it worked, and it cost....NOTHING! I'm loving it!  Hope this inspires you to make use of what you have!
Before, see the difference it's making?

Ceiling finished! Am I loving it? YES!!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Friends to share a meal with.

Night time at our little country church. (Ignore the blue paint, hopefully we'll get to paint in the coming year!)

The table. All set and ready.
We've had a very busy fall! Sometimes I wish the leaves would all fall off my maple tree at one time, so that we could just rake a couple of dump truck loads all at once and be done with it. I love that old tree, and the leaves are so pretty; it keeps us nice and cool in the summer, as we sit on the swing cooling off. I wasn't ready for summer to end, but wow!! It's almost December and the days will start getting longer again!
My Finnish Cardamom Bread
This month, our little Bible study group had a Thanksgiving meal together.  I think we all came really excited, it's the first time we've done something special, and it WAS a special time. I was really looking forward to celebrating God's faithfulness with this little group.  We are so blessed to have this little place to share, to learn, to grow in. These people God has put in our lives. Celebrating what He's brought us through, trials and hard stuff. His providing us with this quaint little country church. He is is so good to us!

It's been that busy time of year for me. November is hectic with bread baking, and I've had a lot of fun baking and selling my bread. I've had a few sell-out days, that's always a nice thing! Except for one more sale in Columbia City, outside of St. Helens, in December, I only have a couple days of special orders, and I'm through the busy baking season, and can do some leisurely homemaking.

This week, we're going to be doing something I love to do before the holidays. Cleaning! I'm talking about sending my husband out onto the beams in our living room with a vacuum lol. Today we got the bedroom all dusted, floors done, everything all nice and clean. I like to spring clean once in spring, once in fall/winter. All the knicknacks cleaned, all those books dusted. When I met my husband I had NO IDEA he was such a book freak! At least his books are beautiful! Well, when the cleaning is done, the nice warm fire is going, the Christmas music is playing, it'll be a day of decorating. Not all-out decorating, but a little holiday cheer. Some warm welcoming on the porch for visitors. Sometimes the stress of what this old world brings gets me down, but you know, I just keep looking up! There is a very good plan to it all!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of blessing, full of reflection on how much we have all been blessed! ~Karen



Thursday, October 25, 2012

36 Tube Candle Mold/More of My Finds

Wood Frame 36 Tube Candle Mold
I've been trying to keep working at my Etsy shop, getting more of the things I've found this year into my shop. If you're like me, you put something away to deal with later, and it's like Christmas getting it back out!  Well, I'm making use of the rain we finally got, trying to set myself goals, etc. I don't do a lot of Ebay anymore, but I did put this awesome 36 candle mold on Ebay tonight.  It's just pretty neat! Imagine the lady who used this! I'm not sure, but in those days, it seems like you'd be lucky to have one of these, I always thought the really primitive way to do it was to dip the wick over and over and over.... This is making me want to read Little House books again!
I hope everyone's adjusting to the cool season. It just doesn't seem like some people should have snow already, or that the temperatures have dropped almost instantly. I wasn't quite ready for the rains and cold, but at least I'm getting some stuff done inside!