27 December, 2004

* 16th Birthday *

We celebrated the 16th birthday of our oldest son today, along with some of his closest buddies and their families. The evening was filled with friends, a great dinner, chocolate-frosted cake, ice cream and lots of laughter!

Even as a baby, he was already making logical points on all the issues important to him. In those early days, it meant "negotiating" over nap time, discussing which diaper was more comfortable overall; cloth or disposable, and which food was the tastiest and most nutritious!

Harvard boy ~1990~ we bought the sweatshirt when we lived in Boston and hubby worked in Cambridge. I was working in Arlington (near Lexington) while pregnant with our firstborn.

Birthday boy ~2004~ (His self-portrait)

22 December, 2004


Dd exclaims, "Twice in the same year?"

~ Let it Snow! ~

18 December, 2004

~ Seasonal Bargains ~

These are some examples of my favorite types of things! I found these all in the last week at antique stores or bargain shelves. The linen towel says "All Linen Drywell Cloth." The autumn placemats were bought for 80% off, so I purchased 10 of them for our table. I was surprised to find that many, even.

I got a great idea from one antique shop owner. She told me to string the antique cookie cutters to use as ornaments on the Christmas tree. That'll work well, since I collect red-handled kitchen tools, and I've already got miniature red kitchen tool ornaments that I found on clearance last year.

The carved bird was just something extra special that I found, and bought a few for presents.

17 December, 2004

Lost Stockings!

I don't know if any of you out there can relate to this, but every December, when we go into the attic to retrieve Christmas decorations, something always turns up missing. One year, it was Santa in a musical, rocking chair. Another year, it was a glass nativity. Oh, the nativity box was with everything else, there were just no figurines in it. The next year, it was a lighted, ceramic, snow-covered schoolhouse. And yet another time, our mice, mantle-stocking holders were not with our Christmas decorations. THIS year, we have not been able to find our stockings! Isn't that weird?

I spent most of the day today up in the attic, checking the boxes and bags, to find these goodie holders. Our stockings are the main attraction of our family Christmas, so it has been a little traumatic for the kids this year, not seeing them hung at the mantle. After Christmas, 2003, everyone took their stockings back to their rooms with them after we opened presents, so that is part of the problem.

Every year, there are always stray items that didn't make it into the main boxes of Christmas items. These end up going up to the attic within a couple of weeks of the original clean-up of Christmas decorations, so I'm guessing that the stockings ended up in that stray bag or box...or were sent to the thrift store in a donation box! We may have to just make do with hubby's knitted, knee-high "house booties" from Afghanistan (he has two pair)or some of our big socks! Come to think of it, the Afghan booties will work alright, but they're not very wide. I just don't know if the kids will go for it, but they may just have to deal with it!

I hope you all are finding some special, quiet moments in this season of busy-ness. I prefer peace and quiet. In fact, I enjoy staying home! I do *not* get out to any store after 3:00, 'cause I just can't stand the crowded streets or stores. FORGET the mall, unless I'm caroling there with friends, as I've been known to do!!

I DO love Christmas Carols, and four or six-part harmony. Most of these songs are just beautifully written, unlike too many songs we hear today... sigh.

12 December, 2004

Underwater "Cliff Dwellings"

While walking through the park with the kids last week, the boys noticed crawfish swimming in a stream down away from the playground area. They dubbed these crawfish homes "underwater cliff dwellings" since the crawfish living in our neighborhood just pile the walls of their homes up above the grass in our yards.

I thought to myself "these are very clever boys," as they talked about the actual cliff dwellings we climbed around in last year in New Mexico, and how much these lowly crawfish homes reminded them of Bandolier National Monument.

Autumn Leaves

I love Texas in December, and I'm an Okie!

08 December, 2004

~ Another View ~

inside the handbound journals

Handmade Books

I made these journal books using all archival-quality materials, hand cut, pasted, and sewn. These are Christmas presents, made to fit the person they are going to (and I've many more that I've yet to make). I guess the cat is out of the bag, so to speak!

We finally got the tree up!

27 November, 2004


Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.
~Ray Stannard Baker

We have had a calm, quiet, and much-needed restful Thanksgiving holiday at home, making our own hot rolls and pies. Most of my siblings are grandparents, now, and are celebrating Thanksgiving Day with their own kids and grandkids. We visited family the Sunday before and the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. I just love hugging on those little great-nieces and nephews! On Sunday, one of my nieces is returning from Estonia, where she has spent two years now working as a missionary :-).

For hearts that are kindly, with virtue and peace, and not seeking blindly a hoard to increase; for those who are grieving o'er life's sordid plan; for souls still believing in heaven and man; for homes that are lowly with love at the board; for things that are holy, I thank thee, O Lord!

~Walt Mason

23 November, 2004

One Of My Favorite Things: Autumn

No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one Autumnal face.
~ John Donne

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
~ Elizabeth Lawrence

These past few weeks, being almost completely overcast, have ushered in a very wet Autumn for us. On those few sunny days, we've enjoyed the gathering of the flocks of black birds that pass through our part of the country at this time every year. They linger for months, actually, while we enjoy their antics among the fields and along the telephone poles. They course, swell, and diverge as they consider which direction they want to fly as a group. They gather in droves, blanketing our rooftops, fence railings and tree tops, rather appearing as Autumnal "Christmas lights" all about these high perches.

The Crepe Myrtles and the Bradford Pear trees, along with the Maples and Chinese Tallows, now glow with kisses of the luminous colors of autumn.

These wonders make me smile, and I think the kids are picking up on this joy of autumn, as well! This is especially true when we are out on some of the roads at times when the swarms of blackbirds are covering them, and we sort of speed up to scare the winged creatures. They hastily ascend upwards to get away from our van, then swoop right back down on the road again, as soon as we have gotten out of their way. It is quite funny. ºÜº

I hope you all are enjoying some pleasant and some joy-filled experiences in this calming season.

19 November, 2004

This is my Hubby.

He loves guitars, mandolins, and all stringed instruments. He has learned how to build some of these from scratch! He teaches high school English and American Lit. and will finish up a graduate degree in English very soon.

We will celebrate twenty years of marriage (and 21 years of friendship) in May, 2005. :-)

12 November, 2004

T-I-Double "Ga" "er"

This is me holding our big baby Tigger. He is a teddy bear, and a source of warmth for our feet :-)

11 November, 2004

Vintage Scrapbook

Pictured is my Dad's 50 year old scrap book that I'm restoring.
You can see how acidic and crumbly the old pages were. I carefully removed all articles, memorabilia and pictures (with my special tools) from the old paper and am placing them on new, acid-free paper stock. In the background, notice how beautiful the cover is, even before repair. That is one reason I chose to restore it,instead of putting it in a new scrapbook, by stablizing the corners with paste and mending tissue, filling in the holes with the same, then color matching to restore chips and scrapes out of the cover.

07 November, 2004

Western Gun Show & Fun Music!


Today after church, we went to a gun show at the Ft. Worth Convention center. That's the first gun show I've ever been to :-). Why did we go? It turns out that family of our closest friends were supplying the music and entertainment most of the weekend. They are The New Pioneers. They do a lot of the old "Sons of the Pioneers" music, and have sweet harmonies. After the show, we went out to The Cracker Barrel Restaurant with them all and enjoyed the fellowship...and the food!

06 November, 2004

Restoration of a vintage book!

The book on the right used to look a lot like the book on the left. I learned how to restore it back in the Spring-Summer of 2003. Whole signatures (groups of pages folded in half and nested together) and both the front and back covers were completely loose from the book. The paper was actually worn or torn out of the center of the first signature (requiring me to add paper back to the pages with paste, then the signature had to be sewn and glued back into the text block and a new spine created from new paper, with the old original spine cover glued firmly to the new cover material. The intent was to maintain as much of the old book's original integrity as possible.

Interestingly, a previous owner and avid book collector had reglued the old spine with inappropriate materials, thus making this restoration more difficult to accomplish! So, for you newbies out there who love books, do NOT try cheap book mending on your own. Something I had not realized before taking classes from reputable bookbinders and restorers is that so many sources on the market lead book collectors astray, and they end up causing more damage in the long run! GASP!!

Art Festival

I'm going to an art festival with a friend from church (who makes fun jewelry) today. I take vintage book restoration and hand bookbinding classes at this craft guild, and she has taken jewelry classes there. It's been months since I visited my "classmates" and teachers, since I had tendon injury and two surgeries this year. I'm hoping to get back to class in January and get back to work!!

It is pretty much a given that I'll come home with some more pottery :-). Maybe I'll post pictures sometime...

05 November, 2004

Our youngest...he is into all things fun!

The quilt on the bed is my first attempt at quilting.

04 November, 2004

My Post Election Thoughts Echo Peggy's

One of my favorite editor/writers is Peggy Noonan. Check out her article, "So Much to Savor," about the outcome of the election.

03 November, 2004

Currently Reading

This book gives one an excellent insight into what it was like to live in Communist Siberia in the era from Breshnev to Yeltsin. She goes into what it was like to be taught propaganda in the Soviet schools, into some of the history of Russia and Communism, but also of her own Buryat heritage, from Siberia. This I find fascinating.

Siberian Dream
by Irina Pantaeva

The tale of a courageous young woman. Irina Pantaeva was born in communist Siberia, where individuality was stifled. Her parents refused to join the Communist Party, and Irina, picked by a talent scout to star in a Soviet film, went on to conquer the fashion world and become an international model.

This was our big summer project, finishing out and faux painting a huge part of our former garage area into a more inviting dining room and family room.

We gave away some old Queen Anne chairs, to make more room for our dining room table, so the seating issue out there is still a bit of a problem when we have family movie nights. Truthfully, though, there are still a lot of books that need a bookshelf to sit on, so the project is not quite finished. Several boxes of books still line the walls!

I won't even talk about the flooding of the room back in June when we got so much rain, keeping us from putting down the laminate flooring we bought.

One of life's simple pleasures...kitties

Mittens in the garden pot

Mittens' afternoon nappage

From Psalm 33 1 & 3

"Sing for joy in the Lord...sing to Him a new song."