Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Happy Birthday and a Mother's Day Prelude

Greetings to all you lovely people....

This is an opportune time to honor mothers since Mother's Day is coming up in a couple weeks (and a reminder to you to not forget that!) AND to honor my mom (Paula) because her birthday is Sunday, April 30th! I don't think she will mind if I tell you she will be 88 years young!

Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you lots! 😊💖 
Hugs and greetings from far away!
Also - in honor of Mother's Day, I am having a 15% off sale in my Etsy shop! Don't forget to use the coupon code MUMSDAY15.  Sale is good until end of day May 14th. New necklaces have been added and are featured later in this post.  AND, an illustration just for mothers - whether you give it to your dear mum for Mother's Day, her birthday, or for no reason at all, - it's because you love her very much!

I'm very thankful for mommy! She worked hard all her life in whatever she did - studied and trained to be an RN out in Chicago, Illinois - married my dad and brought up five children - toiled and labored at home, at church, and ministered to many in need and still does. Is a great cook - gardens, paints beautiful pictures, plays the violin. Loves to read and do puzzles. She's also a great-grandma - has six great-grandchildren! I'll be showcasing some of her paintings below.

This photo was taken last September when she came to PEI for a three-week visit. We went to Victoria-by-the-Sea. It's a quaint and tiny village with shops, art galleries, chocolate factory, and more. It was a glorious day. Brought our lunches and enjoyed the sunshine, shops, and staring at the largest tree on PEI! Check out the photo underneath mom.

Oh, yes! There was a sign by the tree stating that it was the largest on the island!
And it does reach higher than the photo!

On another day we went apple picking right here in our own community of Fredericton.  A diagonal hop and skip across the highway from where our street begins, we took the 1898 scenic heritage dirt road (Warburton Road), and rambled past a farm, deep into the rolling hills and fields and forests - about 4 kilometers - and there it was! A picture perfect apple orchard (The Olde Towne Orchard) with 650 apple trees of five varieties in neatly spaced rows.  I picked mostly Honey Crisp and Royal Cortland. Crispy kinds are my preference. Other varieties beckoning from their branches were Jonagold Reds, Pioneer McIntosh, and Ginger Gold. Back home, Mom made a large pan of apple crisp! Mmmm.....

My Gallery of Mom's Paintings
This is an oil painting of black and white sheep.
 It sits on some books in my library/front porch.

As you can see, I LOVE foxes! I have a number of fox figures around the house.
Both of these paintings are done in oil and are in my library/front porch.

 This one is a watercolor painting of the farm diagonally across the street from our house, on the other side of the Confederation Trail. Alas, the larger barn no longer exists.
Old age and rotten wood do a job on you, don't you know?
My mom sent this English cottage painting to me for my birthday a few years ago. When I opened it up, it looked very familiar! WHY WAS THAT??  HA!  She did a similar and larger one before and it's hanging in the blue room upstairs! I didn't mind at all. She loved painting this thatch covered cottage. This smaller one hangs in our living room. 

You can see the larger oil painting below next to the Pemaquid Lighthouse.

 I've had this oil painting for many years. The original photo was on the cover of a notebook I had long ago (back in the 70s?) and was taken somewhere in Germany.

Not sure if mom still has this copper kettle, but this oil painting has been in my
possession for many years now! is my darling daughter, Melody, when she was five years old. Hi Mellie! 😍 She is sitting on our Victorian sofa when it was covered in pink velvet at our house in Burlington, MA.
White sheer billowing balloon curtains are in the background.

And last, but not least - a tiny oil rendition of a PEI beach scape! This little beauty sits on a shelf in the blue room above the brass bed. By the way, the blue room is a bedroom designated for special guests! Like you! That's where mom sleeps when she comes to visit.

You may be thinking that you'd love to have a painting similar to the ones shown here. Well, you can! I'm sure my mom would love to do a painting for you. If you are interested, let me know and I'll give you her contact information so you can get a quote on her artwork and shipping costs. She lives in South Carolina. (Hope that was okay for me to say this, mom!)
My Mother

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."
Proverbs 31:10, 25-27


(Poetry by yours truly - ink and watercolor print available here.

She brought me forth to grow and play,
and taught me how to sew and pray.
She gave me love from GOD above,
a stable home and strength thereof.
A selfless spirit, heart and mind.
A most gracious lady - indeed you'll find. 

Consider this original one-of-a-kind "Mom illustration" as a very large greeting card
suitable for framing!

Two lovely additions to my Etsy shop are available here. Remember to use the Mother's Day coupon to receive 15% off - MUMSDAY15. Offer ends May 14th.

Have a great birthday, Mom! Love you!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Tea Cup and Mug Exchange Reveal - Come Join me!

Good morning, dear friends!

I hope you love all things tea today!

Today I am participating in a tea cup and mug exchange via Stephanie's Blog - The Enchanting Rose! This is her 10th tea cup and mug exchange that she is hosting and the first one that I'm participating in! It's very exciting to be a part of it and for those of you who are first learning about this, you can participate in it next year. Sorry - a long time to wait, is it not? But you don't even need to have a blog to participate. Just an email address! In the meantime, come along with me....

To join me in this tea cup/mug exchange, I will have her direct link at the end of this post. All you have to do is click on it and you will enter Stephanie's domain!

Stephanie has a host of ladies signed up this time from all over the world! After her list is compiled, she pairs everyone up. Each lady sends a package consisting of a tea cup (or mug), a container of tea, and something else to go with it. Those are the minimum requirements. If they so desire, each participant can add extra items to the package they are sending. Then it's mailed to the person to whom they were assigned.

I was assigned to send a tea cup package to a lady in New Brunswick! Hello, Lynda Ruth! 😊 A different lady was assigned to send me a package! This is how you gain two new friends!

And here is a photo of the lovely items that Marina Pollon sent me all the way from
Edmonton, Alberta! It actually arrived on my birthday, March 24th! Wasn't that good timing?

Thank you very much, Marina! 😊 I enjoyed receiving this lovely assortment of tea party items - Royal Albert tea cup, pretty cup cake liners, notepad and pen, tea, place mat and cookies - and the little English cookbook of tasty treats is simply darling!

T E A...

...and more T E A!

"He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend."
Proverbs 22:11

Brew a nice cuppa tea now, sit down, and take a peek at all the lovely tea cup/mug exchange packages that were shipped around the world the past few weeks. Here is Stephanie's link to her 10th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange Reveal! If you have trouble with the link below, you will also find her blog listed on the right side of your screen under the icon "Lovely Blogs." Just click on the link that says "The Enchanting Rose."

Share a cup of loveliness today with someone, for perhaps they are in need of encouragement and a word or two of wisdom from your lips.

"Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Hebrews 13:1-2

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday and Resurrection Day Blessings!

A joyous Good Friday to all of you!

Is this a special weekend for you? In a glorious way? A hopeful way? An everlasting way? I trust it is, because it IS a special weekend, and I don't mean in the way of bunnies and chocolate, although bunnies are cute and cuddly, and I consider chocolate to be another food group. I know lots of people will be enjoying that part of it and I would also, but I mean in a spiritual way.

And spring time is around the corner! For you it may be bursting and budding all over, but here we're still melting the last bits of winter (snow is hanging around the tree lines) and flowers are "just" starting to peek from the ground!

This photo is from two years ago and it is NOT what our yard looks like at this moment!  No siree, bob! Spring is always late here. It's almost summer when that happens. HA! If I showed you what it really looked like, it wouldn't be nice. This photo was probably taken the end of MAY or early JUNE! But I wanted to include something in the way of springtime for you to enjoy, even though MY spring is not yet enjoyable. Just muck and mire!

But to get back to my earlier point. As a believer in Christ, this weekend is the basis of my faith. Is it the basis of your faith?

In my notebook of blog post ideas of things yet to write, I did not peruse. Instead, I read a book! And that book was the inspiration for this week's discussion. Nevertheless, I do have some new items in my Etsy shop as you see here. Just click on the category "Brooches and Necklaces."

Last month for my birthday, my friend, Elaine O. came over to my house for our birthday dinner. She's a March baby, too. (Hi, Elaine! 😄) I always have her over for dinner, and we always exchange gifts. One of the items she gave me was a book. That book sat and sat on my dining room hutch, and until this week, I hadn't sat down to read it! I told myself it was time to read what lay between the covers. Indeed, I was a tiny bit timid because of the title and what I would learn from reading it. I'm weird like that, you know.

And I'm sure that when you see the title, that you will say - "Oh, yes, I've read that book! I know that story! I read it a long time ago! Where have you been?" (Okay, so if you did read it, did it change you in some way?)

Well, my life (maybe my mind?) has always meandered here and meandered there, even though there is purpose in what I do and what I have been doing all my life!  But I never seem to be "in the loop" in certain things - things pass me by and I never notice or I never hear - and only because of my friend, Elaine, have I discovered this I N C R E D I B L E story!!

And because of this incredible story, I decided to create a special necklace because of what this weekend means. You'll have to wait until the end to see it.

Here's the book!
I read this book in two sittings - probably taking me about two hours or so to read it. 

A M A Z I N G!!!  Pastor Don Piper died in a horrific car crash - went to heaven - and came back to earth to tell about! The LORD did not want to keep him in heaven! Although not right away, he was eventually persuaded to write down his experience. He was 38 years old, married, with three children. He was forever changed! Physically and spiritually! Even if you have already put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and have that assurance of eternal life, it will put a new perspective into your Christian walk with the Lord and your prayer life. I truly hope it does that for you. If you can't claim that assurance, I hope you will soon. It's a matter of life and death. The agony and the excruciating pain this man went through was unimaginable! I have to hold myself back and not go into the details or I'll ruin the story for you. This is a MUST READ! I'm sure any Christian bookstore would carry it, or you can find it online.

My past memories of Easter (Resurrection Sunday) came to mind this week. I miss being at our home church in Burlington, MA playing the organ and Pastor Helgerson leading the congregation in "Christ Arose!" And me pulling out all the stops! He poured his heart, soul, mind, and body into leading that hymn in just the right way to portray the agony of the cross and the resurrection of Christ. It gave us all goosebumps and tears each time!

When my husband and I were leading the choir way back when, my favorite John W. Peterson cantata was "Hallelujah! What a Savior!" The choir sang it several times and my favorite piece from that cantata was the solo "Father, Forgive Them" picturing Christ on the cross -  crucified for the sins of the world. My brother-in-law, Sam, sang that piece each time. I would love to hear him sing it again. (Hi, Sam!😁) I think if I heard someone else singing it, I would probably be disappointed. I'm serious. It was such a moving and passionate piece and he poured his heart into it.

"He Was Wounded For Our Transgressions"

"Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:
 he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, 
there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
 he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
 and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

These verses from Isaiah 53:1-7 were put to beautiful music (practically verbatim) in another of John W. Peterson's arrangements for SATB choir. It's one of my most favorites. I loved playing the accompaniment and hearing the choir sing it with such energy and emotion. Another snippet of sentimentality and of my passions and pursuits! But an important one as this scripture is why we as believers have life eternal! I wish I had the music for this choir arrangement even though I wouldn't be able to use it now. Whenever I read these verses, I sing this arrangement in my head. I do have an organ arrangement for it and that pleases me greatly.
sword (for the word of God) and freshwater pearls (for the gates of Jerusalem)

 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places....
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.... "
Ephesians 6:12,17
  "And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband....

 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God....
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass."
Revelation 21:2,10,21

I encourage you to find the book "Ninety Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper if you haven't read it. It is truly inspiring. My special necklace (here) depicts the pearly gates that Don Piper saw. He had difficulty describing all that he saw and heard. I N C R E D I B L E!

May you have a blessed Friday and special joy this Easter weekend! God bless!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Meet my sewing room assistants - Dolly and Emma Thea Rose!

Dear lovelies,

How nice that you could drop in and come for a cuppa tea. You are, aren't you? The subject of this post is causing you to wonder who my assistants are. But tea comes first!

Earlier, while I was adding more handcrafted jewelry to my Etsy shop (see photos at end of this post and the link), I made myself a cuppa - a London Fog latte to be exact - ah, so delicious!  It's my version of Starbucks and they make a lovely one at that! Lately, after Legion choir rehearsal on Tuesday evenings (of which I am pianist and we are getting ready for our May concerts), I stop at Starbucks to get something hot for the 20-minute drive home by myself. It keeps me company!

I came up with another name for their London Fog latte. I call it a "kitty latte." What??? Yes, you are wondering where did that come from? HA!  My niece, Audra, has a delightful little grey kitty named London Fog, don't you know? And this latte is made with Earl Grey tea - hence, the London Fog name that Starbucks gives this latte.

I brew my tea with two bags just like Starbucks, add a bit of natural sweetener, and a small drool (😋) of vanilla extract. While that's brewing, I heat up almost a cup of milk until steaming hot. And because I don't have Starbucks equipment, I use my mini battery-powered milk frother. And gently pour the foaming milk over the brewed tea! Wunderbar!

Now that you've had a tea lesson, it's on to introducing you to my two sewing room assistants. Yes, you've probably guessed they aren't real people. Here is the first one - Dolly! She's my Victorian lady-in-waiting - waiting and standing by to keep check on me while I work my magic with my second assistant (that you'll also see shortly). She's wearing a black skirt that has a lovely cut work hem that I bought quite a number of years ago at the Salvation Army store in Wilmington, MA. Alas, it is too small for me, so Dolly is wearing it for the time being. And her blouse is a piece of lovely lace fabric.

Dolly wearing my black Victorian hat and standing next to my sewing/cutting table.
Before I get to my second assistant, let me tell you a bit about Dolly. Almost eight years ago, she was given to me by my dearest friend, Janie. Just before we moved to Canada. It was time for her to relinquish Dolly into my care and I heartily agreed! Janie had already named her and I wasn't going to change her name, mind you. (It throws my husband for a loop when I ask him to fetch Dolly! HA! He doesn't remember my mannequin has a name!) Dolly has assisted me at all my craft fairs I've participated in on PEI. Sometimes she stands on the floor and most of the time she sits on the table, due to lack of floor space at these crowded craft fairs. And she is adorned with a multitude of necklaces and sometimes scarves.

Last November at one of the community Christmas craft fairs, I had a lady grab Dolly's (my) hat thinking it was for sale! This lady thought the price tag that was for the jewelry Dolly was wearing was for the hat! I said there was no way I was selling this black hat! And not for $25!!

And my second assistant - Emma Thea Rose - she's my newest acquisition since July 2015! I just adore her! No, she didn't come with a name. It took me many months to figure out what to name her. (Those are three names that I love - I had a great aunt named Rose - and I love roses, and I have a cousin on my dad's side - Thea - whom I haven't seen since junior high/school??? She lives in SC now - Hi Thea! 😊). Shortly after purchasing Emma Thea Rose, I joined the Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Facebook group.

Yes, she is my 1948 Singer Featherweight sewing machine! This Facebook group only allows people to join if they own an FW machine. It can't be anything else but!  It's fun to share our machines and everyone has a name for theirs. Sometimes the FW owners are selling their machines or acquiring another one or someone has mechanical questions and needs help. I still have to post and tell the other FW sewers about what I named her and the cover I made from my most favorite fabric in the world.

I love this delightful little 1948 Featherweight Sewing Machine! She's very light and the table extension flips up so she can sit comfy inside her carrying case. I also acquired a buttonholer and a zigzag attachment, so you see, I have just what I need. Nothing more, nothing less!

Here's the photo of the machine cover (below) I made to keep the dust off my darling Emma Thea Rose. She does have a square black carrying case that is adorable as well and very portable, but I like to keep her ready to sew and this dust cover came out beautiful, don't you think? Notice, the little fabric mannequin to the left that's made with the same fabric. That's my pin cushion. Delightful, yes?

This is the sign I made on the computer that is on the wall behind my Featherweight sewing machine!
My first machine was a Singer Genie. It was portable and I bought it in 1975. I loved sewing with it for many years, but I wanted to have a machine that did one-step buttonholes, so I bought an Elna - an electronic machine in 2000 - but a few years ago I didn't sew for about a year!! oh my!!! That was strange, only because I was working on my art instead. Then I discovered that not using an electronic machine for all that time, it causes things to not happen - like not sewing in reverse unless you force the machine! oh dear!  Even the repair shop in Charlottetown couldn't get it to go in reverse.

Frustrated with electronics, I decided to go back in time and purchase a mechanical machine that I could oil and maintain myself (with the help of a FW manual and online shops that specialize in FW machines - and FB group) and fell in love with the Featherweight machines I had been seeing online. I  looked for one for sale on the island. YES! I found one (in answer to my prayers) and I just love sewing on her!

This past fall, I advertised for the second time to sell my Elna and a lady west of Summerside wanted to buy it on the condition that if she paid for the repair and the machine still wouldn't sew in reverse, that I would take the machine back and give back the money she paid me. I agreed. She never called me back and I knew for sure that the repair shop she used was able to get the machine working properly. That was a relief! This lady was involved with a mission group in which a number of ladies came together to sew items for needy people and she needed another machine for this group. I'm really glad my Elna was able to be repaired and is being put to good use somewhere else.

In case you're wondering - I gave my Singer Genie to my sister, Heidi, just before I moved to Canada as I had my Elna to use then and she needed a working machine. 😍

Here are some more photos of my sewing room. It's not too big, but is much larger than the one I had in my Burlington house, of which I am thankful. The sewing table (fabric shelf) next to Dolly is the same fabric covered board I used in my other house. It's very handy to cut fabric on and for making jewelry, plus I have my laptop on the shelf above and my keyboard sits on this fabric shelf on the green cutting mat and that's what I'm doing now - typing this post!

How many years is it before something is considered an antique? Well, this wooden desk you see here that Emma Thea Rose is sitting on, is older than my mom! It was her desk when she was growing up. It was given to her family - not new - so most likely it is older than she is and mom is turning 88 the end of April! I have had this desk way back when I was growing up! I still have the wooden chair that goes with it (not the one you see here) but it's in the other room. I use that modern office desk chair as it's more comfortable for sewing.

That lovely large wooden spool holder you see hanging on the wall just above Emma Thea Rose's sign - that was a moving away gift from my friend, Fran, when William and I were moving to Canada back in 09. The large round basket sitting below the sign has sea shells woven through the cover. It holds my button collection. The basket came from the South Pacific - from Samoa, I believe. When I was working as a secretary at MIT/Lincoln Laboratory (Lexington, MA) in the early 1980s, one of the engineers went on a business trip there. Maybe it was Guam? Nevertheless, it was from one of those islands, and he came back with that gift for me!

This old wooden bureau sits opposite my sewing table - across from Dolly - and it holds fabric and supplies and items ready for purchase from my Etsy shop (here). I have had this bureau way back when I was growing up also! Even though it's missing the top drawer, which the lace is covering the open space, I would not give it up. It's a really great bureau (or dresser, as my son-in-law insists it is called! 😁 He's not from New England, you know! HA!)

I have piles of fabric in the basket that Janie gave me many years ago (to the left of the bureau).  And a few rolls of fabric waiting to be used for future bags and totes. I have more fabric in the closet behind the ironing board.

Well, as I could probably go on and on, I think I just about said enough for now about my sewing room. I wanted to give you a glimpse of my world here and where I create.

I did mention I have some new jewelry, didn't I? Well, here are a couple photos of five brooches I made this week - all available in my Etsy shop here. When you enter my Etsy shop, look on the left side to where the list of shop sections are and choose the "Brooches and Necklaces" section. That's where you'll find them. I do have two new necklaces completed and they'll be listed shortly.

 I just adore the tea cup brooch! It's so screaming cute!

This one has a mother of pearl shell charm. They all came out great!

This post wraps up another week and I leave you with the following passage taken from Psalm 8, verses 1 to 5, that I read in my devotions this morning (I keep a scripture journal.) A group of us on Facebook, hosted by my sister, Heidi, participate in a daily scripture journaling exercise, where we write out the scripture for the day. I write out more than what is on the schedule and choose passages from the Psalms and Proverbs. Writing out the scripture causes you to slowly read and thus you are able to ponder what is being said and hopefully take it to heart throughout the day!

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, who hast set thy glory above the heavens! 
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, 
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

In today's world of turmoil, let these words from the LORD keep us focused on Him! Until next time...