God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Wonderful Saturday!

This past Saturday was a wonderful Saturday!  Do you know why?  Jen ... The Country Mouse ... came to visit!

Jen & I have been following each other's blogs for at least 2 years & we have enjoyed exchanging emails as well.  Over time we became close blogging friends.  We never met in person even though Jen just lives about an hour & a half south of The Devil's Playground.  However, Saturday was the day!

Jen is a beautiful person both inside & out. She is one of the kindest people I have ever been blessed to know.  She radiates God's love.  

Jen literally brought me a bag full of gifts & let me tell you, I was overwhelmed!  She made this wonderful robin standing on a strawberry!
Do you see that beautiful punch needle ditty bag up above the robin?  She made that too!
This is another one of her wonderful creations that now resides in my home ... a little prim box covered with a punch needle flower pot design!  She not only attached the design to the box, but she painted the box with that perfect prim look & even lined the inside of the box & lid with craft paper!


Here is yet another beautiful punch needle gift!  Can you see that there's a pocket on the right side of this little pillow?  Her workmanship is amazing, & she's so clever! Look at the little wooden tiles spelling out CAT, & the rusty bell, & the bits of wool hanging down from the punch needle cat design!  This is, of course, Sophie's favorite  : )
Isn't this a pretty wool pennies pillow?  I have always admired these   : )
She also brought me a package of these pretty braided coasters!  I have several braided mats in my home as well as a few braided rugs, but I've never seen braided coasters   : )
With the exception of the punch needle cat & the coasters of course, these were all Jen's own designs!  I keep telling her that she needs to start selling her patterns ... maybe even her creations.  I think people would be standing in line to buy them   : )

Here is Jen standing by my dry sink above which I displayed her punch needle ditty bag on a picture frame.  
Jen knows how much I love punch needle things & that in the past I have tried to master this craft & failed miserably at it.  I still had my needles & hoops, & she told me to get them out & she would show me how it's done.  I didn't have much confidence that I could learn but I agreed to accept her offer.  I searched online & purchased what I determined to be a simple punch needle kit. She sat here at my dining table showing me how to punch & telling me how simple it is. What turned out to be the best advice she gave me was to not worry about how the design looks while you are punching it ... that as you go along & the design gets filled in, it all comes together & it all looks great.  Well, you know me.  I have been awarded the title of Perfectionist of the Year since I was 6 years old when I was sitting at my desk in my first grade class at St. Edward school & realized that the J's I had carefully printed on my sheet of tablet paper did not look exactly like Sister Anita's J's on the blackboard.  I cried & cried & Sister Anita had quite a time trying to console me.  Jen showed me how to punch the border of my design & I was feeling pretty proud of myself!  After Jen left, I proceeded to punch a small design area, turned it over & saw how it looked on the right side & responded with an emphatic "yuck," pulled out the stitches & punched again, then pulled out the stitches again, then punched again ... well, you get the idea.  I almost destroyed the fabric with all the punching & un-punching.  I was about to give up, but then I decided to continue by absolutely not looking at the right side until I had finished all the punching. It was a bit nerve wracking for me, but when I finished & turned the design over to see what it looked like, I was pleasantly surprised!  Of course I see every little imperfection because that's the way I am when I do anything, but I guess it doesn't look too bad with it being my first piece & all   : )
I already have plans for how I'm going to finish it & I will show it to you again when I do.  I also have ordered some weaver's cloth & another punch needle kit   : )

Jen brought me gifts ... & she brought me the courage to try punching again ... but most of all she brought me her friendship, & that's what I treasure the most.  Thank you dear friend!  I look forward to us getting together again one of these days   : )

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Be Still

This verse is often thought of during times of stress ... times when our world seems to be falling apart.  It is indeed a helpful verse to remember during such times.  However, I think its message means so much more than that.  

I believe God wants us to be still ... to take a look around us & see Him in His creation.  I sit in my recliner in the early hours of the morning & I hear the birds singing, each one singing a different song, but they are all blending together & it is such a blessing to hear them & to think of how God made each one & gave them each their own special song.  They are singing songs of praise to Him, don't ya know   : )     

John & I like to sit in our rockers on the front porch at this time of year & we often hear neighbors' cows mooing, or their chickens clucking, or their roosters crowing, or their horses whinnying.  We see hawks soaring overhead.  We watch the ground hog come out of her den underneath our farm trees & make her way down to a neighbor's pond.  Sometimes deer carefully wander through the yard & we dare not make any sudden moves to scare them away.  A fox visits every now & then & we marvel at his beauty.  These are all God's creatures.  He created each & every one. 

Although I love winter, I am sometimes awed by what I see in other seasons.  Now it is spring, & every day it seems that all the trees & flowers & bushes grow a little greener, a little fuller, a little taller.  We watch the birds collecting various materials to make their nests, & if we are very, very careful, we can find one & take a peek at mama bird sitting on her eggs.  The air smells sweet, the sky is a beautiful blue.

The summer ... well, for me it's miserable for the most part.  I hate the heat.  However, the summer brings fresh vegetables, & flowers in the garden.  The butterflies rest on every bloom, each butterfly displaying gorgeous, brilliant colors.  Bees buzz from flower to flower, collecting nectar & going off to their nests to make their delicious honey.  Sometimes we will have a storm.  The wind will blow, the sky will darken, & there will be loud claps of thunder, bright streaks of lightning, & the rain will seem to come down in buckets.  It's a marvelous thing to think that the intensity of a storm is nothing compared to the intensity of our Lord's power. 

In the fall, many of the birds fly south for the winter.  We love to hear the geese honking & see them flying in formation.  In fact, if I am unencumbered at the moment & I hear the geese honking, I run to the window or out onto the porch to watch them fly by. The leaves on the trees turn brilliant colors & eventually fall on the ground.  The fall brings a wonderful scent of it's own.  I can't describe it, but it's a wonderful gift for our senses.

If we are still ... & if we make ourselves aware ... we can see God in all these things, & more.  We can be awed by His love for us. We can feel His presence.  We can know Him.

I wish you all a very blessed Sunday!             

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Popular Foods, Desserts, Drinks, & Sauces in The Devil's Playground

Deviled Eggs

Devil Squares

Devil Dogs

Devil's Food Cake

Red Devil Hot Sauce

Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise

Devil's Cocktail

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!!!

Hallelujah!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Flat Phoebe Says Goodbye

John & I are feeling very sad today because Flat Phoebe is going home.  On her last day with us, we took her to the local park.

Of course she wanted a photo by the sign with John too   : )
John helped Flat Phoebe climb to the top of the monkey bars.  
They also liked playing on the swings   : )
Flat Phoebe & I had a lot of fun on the slide!

We are sure going to miss Flat Phoebe & all the fun we had during her visit.  Sophie & Pearl will miss her too.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Before & After

I finally got my portion of the upstairs de-cluttered (as best as possible) so that people won't be horrified when they come to view the house when we list it for sale.  Since I'm rarely upstairs unless I need to find some floss or fabric, or sew something or iron something, it ends up being a "catch all" for everything I don't want cluttering the downstairs.  I had the foresight to take before photos of the guestroom.  These ought to make you feel less upset about your own clutter   : )

Before







After



We call the following room "the landing."  I have no idea what it's actually called.  The original owners used it as a play area for their children.  I had planned that it would be my crafting area.  I also have no idea why I didn't take photos before I started the de-cluttering.  I am not proud to say that it looked even worse than the guest room. (Note the packing materials on the left in the first two photos.  I'm all set to start packing to move!)



And where did all that clutter go?  Where else?  Downstairs!
You can't see all the boxes of stuff from this angle but it gives you a good idea.  I figure I can got through a box or two each day & decide what will become of the contents.

After these boxes are taken care of I will need to de-clutter a bit downstairs & then tackle the garage.  I think I will be able to meet our May 1st listing goal   : )

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flat Phoebe & Her Crafts Project

When we went to Walmart last week, Flat Phoebe looked at a few different crafting supplies & decided that she would like to buy some beads to make a necklace.

She chose a package of pink, purple, & white beads.  Today we gathered the supplies that she would need to make her necklace ... a needle, some strong thread, & the beads.  
Flat Phoebe opened the package of beads, then emptied some out & made a little bead pile in front of her.  Meanwhile I threaded the needle & explained to her that using a strand of thread folded in half would make the necklace not break very easily.
Here she is, ready to start making her necklace!
Flat Phoebe chose a pink-purple-white-purple-pink bead combination.  I agreed with her that it looked very pretty!
She was very proud of the necklace she made!
There were plenty of beads left over, so of course Flat Phoebe wanted to make a necklace for her best friend Pearl!  She thought it would be nice for them to have matching necklaces ... pink-purple-white-purple-pink!
Pearl loved her necklace & gave Flat Phoebe a big thank-you hug!  Here are Flat Phoebe & Pearl showing off their matching necklaces : )