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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Entry

This is not a true 'before' because it doesn't show the parkay flooring or the blond colored paneling - with plastic shelves lining the walls. I believe I tore the shelves down within mere seconds of taking ownership of the house. The white walls are new drywall we installed. Also, you can see the old porch railing (wasn't original) before the wrap around porch was put in.
The parquet flooring was removed down to the tar paper, which you can see above. Then we got to thinkin' that perhaps there was another layer beneath the plywood. Hmmmm. We suspected that the room was probably a covered porch that got closed in at some point, so we really didn't know what we'd find.

Ta da! The classic porch gray paint confirmed our suspicions of this once being an outdoor porch. The entry is off from the living room so we painted the walls the same color and also matched the casement window to the large casement windows in the living room (all new Marvin windows). So the rooms although separate, blend well with each other.

Here is hubby (the cutie pie that he is) putting in the last of the base trim. You can see that the floors have been striped and refinished to match living room floors. Also, there's a new door (Simpson) and a new window (Marvin). The window has a great view of the mountains and countryside so it's a nice preview to the larger windows in the living room.


I found this old Victorian hall tree on one of my excursions into the 'big' city. I was originally looking for something a bit more informal but it was such a good price and such a fine example of great Victorian craftsmanship, that we decided to get it. It's also pretty cool that you can look into the hall tree mirror and see the view that's outside the window.

The entry is nice and sunny thanks to a large picture window.

Room 72

At the beginning of the year I posted about plans to finally redo the master bedroom in my home and then got totally sidetracked and never posted the finished room. So without further delay, here is the finished room. We used a deep rich chocolate brown by Ralph Lauren on the walls and bright white on the trim and ceiling. I have mixed primitive pieces with painted ones, as well as a chunky pine bed and a fab pine wardrobe from England. Hope you approve...

Monday, July 21, 2008

About Nutmeg

I've been a nutmeg lover ever since my mother first sprinkled a little on top of my Christmas eggnog. It was good then, but it's better now that I grate my own. If you think nutmeg is a spice that belongs in the back of the cupboard, think again. Its mild flavor can be deceptive because it isn't as aromatic as cinnamon, or as aggressive as allspice, but nutmeg has something amazing

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Carrot Evolution

cartoon courtesy of Nearing Zero.Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2006-2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Euonymus Bush

Euonymous(Euonymous fortunei)July 15, 2008Euonymous bushes (Euonymous fortunei) are a common feature in many gardens here in Ontario. The two varieties I'm aware of are yellow and white edged both with bright green centres. These really are easy to grow shrubs with few problems. I had a small one at our previous house with the only problem being plagued by aphids but it was planted beside a

Thursday, July 17, 2008

White Nancy Lamiums

White Nancy Lamiums(Lamium maculatum)June 26, 2008Moving into a home with mature landscaping has meant discovering a lot of new to me plants. We moved in late June so that meant we had no idea what spring plants there were. Part of the fun has been identifying the various plants as they emerged to decide if they were friend or foe. This means that I have had a wonderful opportunity to expand my

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet Million Tomatoes (Container Gardening)

Sweet Million Tomatoes(Lycopersicon esculentum)July 16, 2008If you have been following this blog you will know we moved last year and still do not have the vegetable and herb beds in. They are in progress but we were delayed by the spring weather conditions. We plan on having them ready for fall gardening and to allow the perennial herbs to root well before the cold weather. I'll talk more on

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What I Love~Part Five

Okay I admit it~~I do love these hoe shields and have quite a collection of them. I know they are in stark contrast with my other "pretty" collections, but that is exactly why I love them. My style has always been to pair very primitive, rustic elements with very pretty ones. And for me it works. What are hoe shields you ask? Well they are basically part of a piece of farm machinery--the sort of things that till the soil. I find them beautiful and interesting, and I hope you will as well...

These particular hoe shields are my private collection and are not for sale. However I do have similar shields that are for sale and if interested please contact me regarding purchase of one or more.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dining Room

This is my best before picture. Ignore 90% of this photo that is showing mostly the kitchen. The dining room starts at the orange carpeting and blond paneling which is just around the corner there. This is what it looked like when we bought the house. This room was an addition put on probably in the 70's or 80's. We actually think it was an old porch entry that they lengthened, therefore resulting in a long, narrow structure.

Here it is from the exterior. As you can see, there was a bay window at the end of the room which we referred to as the 'portal'. It's the submarine look that was all the rage in the early 1970's. On better days, we referred to it as the 'nook'. Nook I've learned is a quaint way to describe a very small room that serves of very little use.

Well, if you can believe it, we were actually going to keep this little appendage thinking that putting in a few new windows would make it feel bigger. But as it goes, it was rotten through and through so in the end it had to be torn down. The contractor in the above photo is holding a beam that mimicks where the new roofline will be with the new addition. The width of this room increased significantly.

This is the new structure going up. Minus the added cost, the up side was that we were getting a much larger dining room (translates into a nice size room that is very useful), completely transforming our eating experience.

The expansion also allowed room for large french doors (I'll show in later post) that open out into an outdoor patio/courtyard (which is still being built). We also put in another set of french doors separating the dining room from the kitchen. Although we have them flanked open most of the time, it really gives it a nice separate but connected feel.


This isn't a complete 'after'...more photos to follow. The fir floors are new and stained to match original fir floors which start at the threshold. The table and chairs were my Great Great Grandparent's dining set. The table is 55 x55 and wouldn't have fit in the original structure - so that was an added bonus. When you're going through the expense (especially unexpected expenses) of renovating a house, I've learned that it is important to remind oneself of these 'bonuses.' : )

Here it is with new chandelier. More photos to follow...


You can go HERE to read the post that goes with these latest 'after' photos.

Go here to see more of the outdoor dining patio.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Beat the Heat

While you are enjoying all of this hot summer weather, don't forget to protect your herbs. Water them in the morning and never spray the leaves of your outdoor plants during the hottest part of the day. Deep water herbs at least once a week, and be sure to pinch the stems of any herbs that are starting to bolt. This will help extend the useful life of annuals for a couple of weeks.If you are

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Sabbatical

Well, I've been mulling this for a while, and I just need a break. I've got four precious children and an incredible man who deserve more of my attention than I'm currently giving.

I don't know about you guys, but this whole internet thing can really take over your life if you're not careful... and it can all be for good stuff-- Facebook to keep up with friends (good), homeschool groups online to keep up with schooling objectives and get wise advice when you need it (good), and blogs, glorious blogs to constantly stretch and challenge you, and to learn so very much about our world (also good). But it can eat away at life. REAL life. Life with family, celebrating birthdays and ordinary days. Life with friends, encouraging one another, enjoying jokes and sharing delicious meals. Life with children, teaching and training about God as we tickle and giggle and play family hide & go seek. Life.

I'm not quitting; I enjoy blogging too much for that. It not only gives me an outlet to process and share what I'm learning and taking in, but it also sharpens and challenges me in so many oh-so-wonderful ways.

That said, I just need a break. I'll be back. Maybe at the end of the summer or so. But until then, feel free to look around... through the archives and such, in the right-hand sidebar. Especially the "Show & Tells"-- you'll find so many links worth reading there.

I'll look forward to enjoying many more good discussions with you all about family, marriage, the Bible, and womanhood. Blessings to you and I hope you have a delightful rest of the summer, full of family, friends, and an ever-richer relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord.

[ETA: You can always e-mail me @]

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Woman, Her Mid-Life Crisis, & the Bible

As I've read through this "Women Helping Women" book that I began last week (I'm loving it, by the way-- and I highly recommend it!), I've been struck by one thing in particular. Though I've read about many different difficult life circumstances and how to biblically serve and counsel the women in each situation, the one that has been the most sad to me is the woman who is caught off-guard at mid-life.
  • Perhaps she's peri-menopausal and has pursued her career all this time and now is faced with the fact that she can't have biological children.
  • Perhaps her children have been the center of her life and identity and now she has an empty nest.
  • Perhaps her husband has left her and "traded her in" for a younger, newer model.
  • Perhaps she's always been admired for her external beauty and now must face the reality of her declining physiology.
  • Perhaps caring for aging parents catches her off-guard and attacks her sense of peace and security, as well as wearing her out physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • Often the years seem to have passed too quickly and she may feel used up
Whatever the case, the mid-life "crisis" is indeed something we need to brace ourselves for-- and try to prepare for, I think.

The facts are these:
  1. There are chemical changes going on with women at this point. They are real. They are (from what I read, understand, and have seen) difficult to deal with. They are unpredictable and maddening at times.
  2. There are almost always significant life changes going on with women at this point. They are sometimes heart-wrenching and nearly always leave women to have to find something new on which to focus.
  3. God has provided a specific role for women at this age. Titus 2 gives maturing, experienced women a new place to invest... once they have raised their own families, managed a household, and lived as a disciple of Christ, they are to invest in passing that wisdom and the things that they've learned to younger women. God has given the middle-aged woman an important job! This is not the time to check out, or to disengage. When we reach this stage, we must remember that we are still desperately needed in the battle!
Last night, while listening to Doug read the story of Ruth to the children during family Bible time, I was struck by the fact that Naomi is a classic biblical example of a mid-life crisis gone right. Incredibly difficult things had happened in her life and caused her to despair. She was stuck in a season of bitterness and dejection. She was so physically altered from her younger years that her friends asked each other, "is that really Naomi?" Her husband and sons had all died, her beauty, youth, and vitality was apparently gone, and her situation seemed hopeless.

Not only was Naomi in the throes of a very difficult season of life, but she was also stuck with two grieving, pagan daughters-in-law. She could take no more and decided to go home to Bethlehem. Though she urged them to remain in their home land, they journeyed on with her. After another urging, one of the young woman, Orpah, decided to return home. (An interesting sidenote: apparently, Jewish sages contend that Orpah was the grandmother of Goliath.)

But Ruth gave Naomi's life new hope. We see here what a breath of fresh air a younger woman can be for an older woman! To be loved, to be needed, to feel relevant and like you have something to offer-- Ruth gave Naomi all of these things. Naomi may have died quickly after her journey back to Bethlehem had it not been for Ruth... as we read of Ruth out scavenging through fields, it seems that Naomi was physically exhausted and amazed at Ruth's provision-- something she could not have done for herself. Naomi also seems to lack joy in her heart that would give her the motivation to make a life "from scratch" in Bethlehem. But Ruth gives her the motivation she needs.

And as Ruth pours her life and heart into helping and serving Naomi, Ruth is blessed in remarkable and eternal ways. But, conversely, as Naomi pours her life and heart into Ruth, Naomi is blessed. Blessed far beyond anything she could have ever done in Moab with two pagan sons in a pagan land. In fact, without Ruth's tenacity, we likely wouldn't even know that Naomi existed. And though Naomi isn't actually in the blood lineage of Christ, she becomes a fellow mother-in-law alongside a great woman of faith, the prostitute Rahab (Boaz's mother). Not only that, but she serves as grandmother to the grandfather of King David!

What an amazing "second half" of life God gave to Naomi! (In fact, a book has been written on that very theme: Second Calling: Passion and Purpose for the Rest of Your Life.) We need to take this to heart and not look with sadness at growing older-- though our culture SCREAMS in our ears that we become less and less beautiful, less and less useful, and less and less valuable as we age-- and instead, purpose that we will invest in others and continue to be used by God, maybe even more mightily in the second half of life.

I can't speak for you, but I pray that God will grow my usefulness and ability to love, minister, and effectively reach younger women as I grow older. I pray that I won't fall into a "carefree retirement", or like the book of Titus warns about, become an old biddy who takes more delight in having fun with wine than in pouring my heart and life out for the next generations. Father, keep us from it! Help us to remember how you took Naomi-- a broken, tired, bitter older woman-- and used her gloriously in Your incredible plan for humanity! Grow us into useful, godly older women, I pray!

Related reading: Putting Age in Perspective

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What I Love~Part Four

So who doesn't love brown transferware, right? Well then you won't be surprised to see it on the list of my favorite things as well! I have been collecting platters, plates, bowls and butter pats (love love love butter pats!) for some time now and have developed a fairly sizeable collection. I especially go crazy for pieces with that beautiful mottled look. One of my fav pieces is the huge platter in the wall cabinet. I put a sweet oval frame in front of it for effect. Hope you will be inspired to start your own collection~~if you haven't already!

**Sorry but this is a personal collection and not for sale.

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