Monday, November 25, 2013

True Thankfulness

As I was reflecting on the upcoming holiday, and all that it will bring, I began thinking about the things for which people are typically thankful.  We love to express gratitude for family, friends, relationships, a good job, good health, a nice home, etc.  All of those things are truly blessing from God, and I am thankful for each of them.

However, are we still thankful when we do not have those things?  God’s Word tells us to give thanks in everything, but most of the time, we do not do that – myself included. 

When was the last time you said something like this:

Thank You, Lord, for that person who treats me badly.  I am learning to turn the other cheek.

Thank You for my less-than-good health.  I am learning that Your grace is sufficient.

Thank You for my unemployment.  My faith grows as I learn to rely on You for my daily provision.

Thank You for the people who were not supportive.  I know that You alone are all I need, and that You will never leave me nor forsake me.

Thank You for that criticism, because it means that someone cares enough about me to address something they see in my life that needs to change.

Thank You for this difficult situation because I know You are using it for my good and Your glory.  It has caused me to seek our Your strength and turn to You more often in prayer.

Thank You for allowing this trial in my life.  You will never give me more than I can handle, and I know that one day, I will be able to be an encouragement to others going through the same thing.

Thank You for not answering the prayer I prayed in the way I wanted.  I know that Your will is best for me.

These things are not easy to say, and to give praise in the midst of a trial or difficulty is one of that hardest things I have ever done.  You have to look really hard for the silver lining in that dark cloud that seems to surround you.  But it is there.  I am challenging not only you, but myself as well to look for God’s goodness in everything.  

In everything give thanks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

So Thankful

For the last several weeks, I have been visually inspired by so many different things I have seen on blogs, websites, and the all-encompassing Pinterest. I had wanted to refresh and revamp my front door wreath for some time, since the flowers kept blowing out and I had to rescue them.  Besides that, I was just ready for a change.  You know.  :)

So, during one of my crafting moments (making yarn roses) the great inspiration struck.  I knew what I wanted – something that would express not only creativity, but gratitude.  This is the story in pictures…

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The old wreath – nice, but tired

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The inspiration – yarn roses

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It’s starting to emerge!

Add a little banner and a large burlap ribbon bow, and voila!

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I love that every time I walk in my door I am reminded to be thankful for all that God has given me.  How do you express your gratefulness?

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Lovely Gift

Each year when my birthday rolls around, my husband is somewhat distraught about what to give me.  (Just for the record, he always manages to pull off something very nice.)  This year, he managed to really hit the brownie points lottery – he made me a console table for my living room.  This item has been on my “would like to have this one day when you have the time to make it” list that sits in a drawer in the kitchen.  I have an oddly shaped living room due to a stone corner area, and that side of the living room looks rather odd.  I wanted a table to fit in that small space under my gallery wall (which is still unfinished).  You know, the kind of table that I can decorate and store a few little odds and ends out of sight. 

Since he was going to be on the other side of the country during my birthday, he got to work early and finished it before he left!  I got to paint it and glaze it (my favorite part) after he put it all together.  Seriously – how awesome is that?  He gets the “Best Husband Award” again.  I guess that makes it thirteen years running now. :)

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Here he is priming the drawer fronts in the garage.

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The table is ready to paint… My favorite part.

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The table top is aspen coated with a golden oak stain.

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The table is painted in Valspar Nightfall green (Winter 2012 collection) and glazed in Martha Stewart Black Coffee.  I absolutely love this table!  I put the drawer pulls on myself – pretty scary to think of messing up my beautiful table while trying to drill a hole in the drawer front!  Eeeeep!  However, it turned out beautifully and fits perfectly in that space between the doorway and the hearth area. 

It was definitely a happy birthday to me moment!  Thank you, Paul, for such a wonderful gift!  I love you!

What is your favorite birthday gift?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Baby Blanket

If you read my last post, you will recall the lovely windfall of yarn that I received.  Still so blessed by that!  Anyway, I couldn’t wait to start a project using some of those glorious fibers.  I picked out several skeins of the same soft-textured yarn.  I had six different colors, but not the same amount of each.  Undeterred, I began making granny squares.  This was my first group.  Those colors make me smile – so bright and cheery!

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Let me insert here, that granny squares, while easy to make and great for scraps, are not my favorite things to make.  Why?  Because of all the joining you have to do to finish the project.  Ugh.  They do look so nice when they are done, though.  They are also great for when you have just a few minutes of time.  I like to take my bag while riding in the vehicle, sitting on the couch watching a movie, or even while the kids are doing seatwork.  Before you know it, you have a stack  of completed squares.

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After using up all the yarn, I had an unequal number of squares of each color.  That meant that I had to put together a random arrangement of squares – not my best mad skill.  I really don’t do random things very well.  But after about 30 minutes, I had the squares arranged in a sufficiently random-yet-balanced way that was pleasing to the eye.  My eye, at least.

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Then came the fun part – the joining of all those blocks.  This is where I really wanted to shove it all in a bin and forget about it.  Maybe bring it out for my grandkids to finish one day.  But I did not quit.  I steeled my nerve, and set to the task at hand with a vengeance.  Once I got started, it was not too bad, and it went rather quickly.  I used the single crochet joining method rather than slip stitching them all together.  I think it gives a little more definition to each block, as well as a bit of texture with the raised ridge.

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After I finished all the joining, I went around the edge with  single crochet, then again with a shell stitch, giving it a lovely little scalloped edge.  I love shells on the edge of my blankets!  This is the finished product.

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Project completed.  Happy me!  :)  Now I need to sell it…  Anyone need a baby blanket? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Colorful Blessings

Recently, I received a great windfall of yarn.  A church in the area had been given excess yarn from some ladies who made blankets and things as a ministry.  Since no one really wanted the yarn (or knew what to do with it), I ended up with all of it!  Woohoo!  Of course, I had to take some pictures to convince myself that it was not all just a pleasant dream! 

The first haul was about 65 skeins of yarn (some partially used, but most were intact) and 18 balls of colorful cotton thread for crochet.

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Of course, I was ecstatic, and only took some of the yarn at first, leaving a good deal for anyone else who might wish to find a home for all those lovely fibers.  Later in the week, I learned that the yarn had been sitting there for some time, and that they really wanted to get rid of it.  I was only so glad to oblige.  No arm-twisting required.  So I cam home with another boatload of yarn.  I won’t be needing to buy yarn for a while.  I love the variety of colors, but it makes it hard to do one single project since you need so much of the same color for normal projects. 

Before I began any projects, though, I had to find a place for all that yarn in my craft/laundry room.  Remember that hutch that I repainted last year?  Perfect hiding place for all those lovely yarns!  Sigh. I love it when a plan comes together!

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So now that my fibers have a snug little home, I am beginning to put them to use.  Stay tuned for updates on all my upcoming projects!