Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grace at Home No. 48


Welcome to the Grace at Home party!  Today is the last day of February.  Can you believe that one sixth of 2013 is already past?  The time flies by so quickly.  I'm glad for this time to pause, give thanks for the grace God gives to us, and celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace--for our families, for our friends and neighbors, and for ourselves!  


Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

If you're ready for spring, you'll enjoy these DIY (free!) cherry blossom branches created by Nici at Posed Perfection.  Aren't they pretty?


Check out this lovely spring mantelscape created by sweet Carol from An Oasis in the Desert.  Simple and pretty!


You can count on Denise at Denise in Bloom for good cottage decorating advice, and you'll definitely want to check out her 39 Ways to Decorate with Plates.

39 Way to decorate with pltes
Melissa at Daisy Mae Belle is another decor champion, and she's got three daughters who are following in their mother's footsteps!  Look at this creative use of a ladder in her daughter's room.

ladder bookcase 201308

For those cold days that still await before spring finally arrives, check out this recipe for BBQ meatballs from The Ferrell Boys and Me.


For dessert, how about scrumptious Bread Pudding?  Shandy from Aprons 'n' Pearls gives step-by-step directions.  My husband would love this!



Or how about these Delightful Orange Scones from Betty at Southern Grace? I can't wait to try these!



I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button from my sidebar.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Please include a link back to this party in your post.  And please visit a couple of the other party participants--link parties are great ways to find new friends!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to make your house smell delicious


Mmmmm.  I love for my house to smell good.  In the autumn,  I want it to smell like cinnamon and cloves (click here to read how I do that).  But now that we're in the last stretches of winter and heading quickly toward spring, I want my house to smell a little lighter, a little fresher, but still warm and welcoming.

I discovered a way to create just the aroma I was wanting, and it couldn't be more simple.  In fact, it requires just two ingredients.


Here's what to do:

Peel an orange.  Put the orange peel into a small pot.  Fill the pot with water, then squirt in some vanilla extract.  Bring to a boil, then simmer.  Be careful not to let the pot boil dry.




Vanilla extract is the secret weapon here.  Yes, it's expensive, but you'll be so glad you used a teaspoon or two for this!

Do you have a great method for making your house smell good?  Please share!

**I'm joining Beth at Home Stories A to Z for Tutorials and Tips.**

Friday, February 22, 2013

Looking at fabrics


I've been looking for fabrics lately.  I've started a fabric pinboard to collect lots of lovely ideas.  (I'd love for you to join me on Pinterest!)

A golden herringbone (with a bit of a greenish hue)--possibility for chair upholstery:


Spa blue linen (upholstery weight with a backing):



Possibilities for other uses (decorative pillows, window treatments, etc.)






Any of these strike your fancy?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grace at Home No. 47--Welcome!



Welcome to today's Grace at Home party!  We are all the recipients of God's grace.  This party is a place to celebrate all the ways we reflect the grace given to us by making our homes places of grace--for our families, for our friends and neighbors, and for ourselves!  


Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

Leslie from Goodbye House, Hello Home shared a poignant (heartbreaking but hopeful) story of abortion and recovery: Grace after the Choice.  A very important read.


Shelly from Life on the Wild Side linked a beautiful letter to her daughters (she has three girls!).  Shelly writes with grace and wisdom on the subject of sexual purity.  There's been a lot written about this subject lately, it seems; Shelly brings the grace and love of a mother for her daughters to the conversation.  Beautiful, life-giving words.

Shelly

Kathy from Miss Grace-Filled Life wrote a beautiful post called He Will Calm Your Storm.  Have you met Kathy?  She's such a kind and gentle spirit; you'll love her!  



Several people wrote about Ash Wednesday and Lent.  My favorite was this post from Liberty at 16 Balls in the Air:  "Happy Ash Wednesday?"  Read this and be encouraged.

 
Geneva from My Heart's Song created this beautiful botanical artwork using free printables from The Graphics Fairy.  Aren't they lovely?



Vanessa from At the Picket Fence showed us how she made this beautiful and romantic Pottery Barn knock-off mercury glass cloche--and she gave us the wonderful backstory of her own romance! 

Pottery Barn Inspired Mercury Glass Cloche

I just love this party!  I so appreciate the fact that people gather here to share their stories of beauty, truth, and love--all gifts from God.  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button from my sidebar.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Please include a link back to this party in your post.  And please visit a couple of the other party participants--link parties are great ways to find new friends!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unfinished Projects--
and an exciting announcement


That's all I seem to have lately--a bunch of unfinished projects.  Here's a little peek into what's been going on around here:

Furniture delivered but not yet in place.



Light fixture purchased but not yet installed.



Artwork framed but not yet hung.



One project, though, is just about finished.  My part of it is done.  I've been so eager to share it with you, and the wait is nearly over.

I've written an eBook.

It's called A Spiritual Formation Primer, and that's exactly what it is.  An introduction to Christian spiritual formation.  My heart in 65 pages.

Renovaré is publishing it.

It'll be available March 8 (that's just two weeks from Friday!).

And because I couldn't wait a moment longer, here's a peek at the cover:



Whew!  I'm so glad to get to share this news with you!!

So how about you?  What's going on at your house?  Do you have unfinished projects, too?  Please share!

Joining Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday and

Friday, February 15, 2013

Remembering I am dust


Day before yesterday, I attended my first ever Ash Wednesday service.

That'll be surprising to some of you, but it's true.  I grew up in a church that strictly eschewed the observation of any kind of special religious celebration or observance, choosing instead to focus on following only the practices specifically set forth in the scriptures and ignoring all traditions that had grown up through the years of Christian history.  That's not a bad approach in some ways, although it does tend to throw the baby out with the bath water.


As my husband and I have matured in our faith, we've had what one pastor friend described as "liturgical longings."  I think that's a good way to put it.  We've learned about some of the Christian traditions that have helped to sustain the souls of Christians for 2000 years, and we've found many of them to be very nourishing.

Special times of reflection such as Advent, Christmas Eve, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday have come to be especially meaningful to us.  This year we wanted to add a particular time of renewal during the season of Lent, so we were glad to start with an Ash Wednesday service.

The observance of Ash Wednesday is not obligatory in any way, but for hundreds of years now many Christians have marked the beginning of the Lenten season (the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays) with a particular time of reflection and repentance.  The imposition of ashes upon one's head is symbolic, of course, but what a powerful symbol!  With the placing of ashes on one's head comes the  entreaty: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return," echoing God's words to Adam in Genesis 3:19.

That admonishment is meant to call us to God by reminding us that our days are numbered.  In it I find echoes of Solomon's heartfelt cry, "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth" (Ecclesiastes 12:1), or Paul's earnest plea, "Now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).  I appreciate the reminder.

But this year I'm also thankful for the reminder that I am only dust.  So often I yearn and strive, almost forgetting that I'm not responsible to do what God alone can do.  God is God and I am not, and Ash Wednesday helped me remember what a wonderful and restful fact that is.

"Bless the Lord, oh my soul; and all this is within me, bless His holy name!" (Psalm 103:1)

**Do you practice any special observation of Ash Wednesday?  Please share!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Grace at Home No. 46--Welcome!


Welcome to today's Grace at Home party on Valentine's Day!  As we celebrate love today, we are reminded of the source of all love--God's grace.  This party is a place to celebrate all the ways we reflect the grace given to us by making our homes places of grace--for our families, for our friends and neighbors, and for ourselves!  


Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

First, for a little Valentine's fun, check out this cute door decor from Amanda Jane Brown.  Doesn't it make you smile?  She gives full instructions for making your own.

ChevronHrtMain

Another great Valentine's idea comes from Jessica at Designers Sweet Spot.  She used a heart-shaped dish to create a beautiful heart-shaped floral arrangement--all for just a few dollars!


In a true act of showing grace at home, Gretchen from New Every Morning re-designed her teenage daughter's bedroom right after moving into a brand new home.  You'll love this!



Casey from Living a Cottage Life provided a step-by-step tutorial for creating a slipcover for a wingback chair.  She shows the chair she transformed--and photos of every step along the way!


And Laine from It's Just Laine shared a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread.  Yum!  I'm going to try this one!

Thanks so much to everyone who joined the party!  I'm grateful for each of you.  If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Please include a link back to this party in your post.  And please visit a couple of the other party participants--link parties are great ways to find new friends!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Strawberry Cake: perfect Valentine's treat


I live in a household of all boys, so you won't find much pink around here.  I make one exception, though, when it comes to my husband's favorite childhood dessert: Strawberry Cake.  And its pretty color would make it perfect for Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you!



This cake is super-easy to make and is absolutely delicious.  Instead of frosting, it has a strawberry glaze that's ooey and gooey and yummy.

Strawberry Cake
Ingredients

Cake:
1 box white cake mix
2 Tablespoons flour
1 3 oz. box strawberry gelatin
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 cup oil
1/2 cup liquid drained from frozen strawberries

Glaze: 
1 pound confectioners' sugar
2 T. melted butter
2 16-oz. containers frozen strawberries, drained and mashed (reserve 1/2 cup liquid)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all cake ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Pour into 13"x9" prepared pan.  Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Prepare glaze while cake is baking by combining all glaze ingredients.

While cake is still hot, poke holes all over cake with toothpick, then pour glaze over cake.


Just right for Valentine's Day!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Lincoln


On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born.  For citizens of the United States of America, there are fewer words more stirring than those Abraham Lincoln delivered at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The bloody battle of Gettysburg had taken place just a few months before the dedication of the soldiers' cemetery in November 1863.

Perhaps, like me, you'd like to re-read these words today.

     Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
     But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
     It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

On resting


My greatest desire is to show grace to all--to my loved ones at home, to my family and friends and neighbors all over the world, to my online friends such as you!  But in order for my life to be a reflection of God's grace, I've got to soak up God's grace for myself.

Honestly, though, I don't have time for this.  My to-do lists are long; the hours for completing them are short.  Surely I need to advance, not retreat!

Yet I am pulled again to God's word.  The words of Isaiah leap off the page, spoken to the people of God who needed to hear.
Lightstock.com
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
You said, 'No! We will flee on horses.'
Therefore you will flee!
You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.'
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you will all flee away,
till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill."
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are those who wait for Him! (Isaiah 30:15-18, NIV)

So that's what I'm doing this weekend.  Retreating.  Resting.  Soaking in God's love.

When was the last time you rested? Are you in too much of a hurry?  Maybe you should take a few minutes to watch this episode of The Andy Griffith Show.  Don't have time to watch it? Then you probably really need it.



It takes more than time to be still.  It takes courage.  But you can do it.  You can rest.  And you can know that God really is God (Psalm 46:10).  I promise.

When was the last time you retreated from the world and rested in God's love for you?
 Have any special thoughts on how to get away?  Please share!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grace at Home No. 45--Welcome!



Welcome to today's Grace at Home party!  We are all--every one of us!--the recipients of God's grace.  This party is a place to celebrate all the ways we reflect the grace given to us by making our homes places of grace--for our families, for our friends and neighbors, and for ourselves!  


Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

Penny from Penny's Treasures created a new front door to welcome folks to her home.  Penny's spirit is so sweet!


Melissa from Daisy Mae Belle shared her updated foyer with us--and she's updated her blog, too!  You'll love it!
My Foyer 201314
Christy at Our Southern Home showed how she decorated the mantel in her husband's study, keeping things nice and masculine yet so beautiful.



Fabby from Fabby's Living showed us how she celebrated her husband's birthday, including baking his favorite cake.  Love this (recipe included)!



And Patti from A Plate at My Table inspired us with her post, Hospitality Doesn't Have to be Complicated.  What a great reminder!  Read this and take courage for your own acts of care and love.


Thanks so much to everyone who joined the party!  I'm grateful for each of you.  If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My favorite Pantone colors


You may know that every year Pantone designates one of its colors as the Pantone Color of the Year.  Now a subsidiary of X-Rite, Inc., the Pantone company started as a commercial printer in the 1950's.  Pantone is recognized world-wide as the provider of professional color standards for design.

This year's Pantone Color of the Year is Emerald (Pantone #17-5641).  Last year's was Tangerine Tango (Pantene #17-1463).  It's fun to look at the history of the colors chosen to be Color of the Year. Pantone's press about the color of the year states: "For more than a decade, Pantone's Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design."

As for my favorite Pantone colors, that's easy.  I have a few.  First, the blues.  Pantone #287: Duke blue.  Pantone #278: Carolina blue.  Did you know that there's an official Pantone color for your favorite teams?  (I have one son at Duke and one son at UNC-Chapel Hill, so there's rivalry in my favorite blues!)

Some of my other favorite colors are grandly represented in this gift from my oldest son:



Aren't these great?  For an Anglophile such as I, what could be better than mugs for colour-matching my tea?  (I have to admit, though, that I also use these for coffee.  They're great mugs!)


No doubt about it: my favorite is Pantone #729-C.

Pantone makes a number of fun products.  You can even order a mug in Emerald Green, although they're a bit pricey right now; click here to see those.  (This is not a sponsored post; I'm just fascinated by color and by the artists who do cool things with it.) 

I find this utterly amazing: even including all the hundreds and hundreds of colors in Pantone's color library, there are still more glorious colors in God's creation.  Even with the most sophisticated technology, we can't possibly represent ever color in God's spectrum.  Breathtaking, isn't it?

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament shows his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).

Do you have a favorite color?