Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Deck the Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and well, you know the rest :)
This week's questions are about all things Christmas...almost anyway.
I was able to get my decorating done over the weekend and it's always such a relief!
Being able to sit and enjoy them while watching a good Christmas movie is something I really enjoy.
I told myself I was not going to decorate as much since we will be out of town...
...well, that didn't happen.
One thing led to another and before I knew it, I put up as much as I always do!
So,  here are this week's questions...
1. Let's talk holiday decorating. On a scale of 1-10 where do you fall? (1=Scrooge and 10= Clark Griswold). What's your favorite corner-room-table-space to decorate? Is it done?

I am definitely not a Scrooge but I am a far cry from Clark Griswold...he went a little over the top if you ask me. I would probably put myself somewhere in the middle of those two...right around a 5...or maybe a 4. Remember, the more you put up, the more there is to take down...and if you feel like me, there is more joy in putting everything up...agreed? I do think that I have found a new favorite corner or table-space to decorate this year since I brought Sophie (my vintage Singer) in the house after sprucing up her cabinet.

2. Is there a nativity scene in your decorating somewhere? Post a picture or, if it's special to you in some way, tell us why. Or do both-it's Christmas!

Oh, I absolutely do. I call it Gracie's Nativity and you can read about it here and why it's so special. The past couple of years, I have not used the wooden stable as it has begun to fall apart. I tried something new last year and repeated it this year...until I come up with another idea. I arranged the characters on my hutch topped with a vintage lace table cloth (poofed up a bit) and stuck a string of white lights under it. I like the way the lights illuminate all of the figures, especially in a dimly lit room.

3.  Do you live in a social neighborhood? If so are you glad? If not do you wish you did?

I wouldn't call our neighborhood overly social. Our home is in a subdivision in a rural area but most of the houses are spaced a good distance apart due to the sizes of the lots...about an acre or more. There are a few families with young children but for the most part, the neighbors are in their 50's and 60's with maybe a few older folks. We are so spread out so this is just a guess since we don't know many of them except those who are right near our home. We are very close friends with a family who lives a block or so away at the entrance to the subdivision because we worship together and have known them as long as we have lived there. For many years, there was an annual neighborhood "pig-pickin'" that we soon discovered was basically one big drinking party and we didn't feel as if we fit in. We have enjoyed living in this quiet neighborhood for all of these years but we are looking forward to our future plans after retirement, God willing, of building our little farm house on Adam's meadow in Tennessee. I do hope to be quite social with the many animals who live in the petting zoo across the road and neighboring horses and cows :)

4.  As the saying goes, 'there's no time like the present'. How does that ring true in your life right now?

Especially during the busy holiday season, this should be my mantra. I think we all know that December is the shortest month of the year, even though it consists of 31 24-hour days, just like many others. I'm going to be honest here...I tend to be a procrastinator and I do my best work under pressure, but I wish I wasn't like that. Maybe one day I will get my act together and become as organized as I should be. Probably not though.

5. Do you dread Mondays? Why or why not?

I love my weekends but I also enjoy my job. I recently came across this on facebook and I borrowed it because this is pretty much the way I look at Mondays.

6.  Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis-which on the list is your favorite holiday plant? Are any of these on display in your home right now?

Poinsettias, without a doubt, are my favorite go-to Christmas plant. I have them in red, and white. I don't have Christmas Cactus at home but have three in my office and they are all in bloom as we speak. I don't remember ever having an Amaryllis.

7. Share a favorite quote from a Christmas movie.

I didn't even have to think twice about the answer to this question. "God bless us, every one" from my all-time favorite movie, "A Christmas Carol"...the 1984 remake with George C. Scott. My Christmas just isn't complete without watching it.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I have a little over two weeks to get my shopping done. And as I sit here finishing up this post, a strand of lights on my Christmas tree flickered and finally went completely out! Oh my gosh, this happens every year! Pardon me while I go scream....AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Hodgepodge

It's Hodgepodge time once again...
...where Joyce from Across the Pond provides the questions and we provide the answers.
Some of you (about 7 I think)  may have noticed that I jumped the gun just a little bit.
Yesterday morning I was preparing my post and had just copied and pasted the questions from Joyce...
...and then I evidently hit publish instead of!
Later on as I was going through my email, I noticed Hodgepodge by My Favorite Things on Bloglovin'!

According to my stats, only 7 people had viewed it and I quickly reverted it back to draft.
I'd say it's probably still out there floating around somewhere.
I'm not sure what happens to a post like that....does anyone know??
Oh well...
So I have taken down all of my fall decorations but have not brought out the Christmas stuff yet... 
...I have the house to myself this weekend and that's when I'll get things done :)
I did, however, manage to get my Christmas wreath hung on the front door.

We will be spending Christmas in Tennessee
but I still must do some decorating to get myself in the spirit.
It seems like more and more I am seeing folks decking their halls even before Thanksgiving.
And that's all good...I'm not judging...but I guess I'm just a traditional kinda girl :)
I have no new Christmas images to post at the present so I will share a few from Christmases past.

I can't tell you how many photos I have taken of this watch.
This is one of my favorites, not because of the quality, which isn't the best,
but because of the story it tells....Christmastime is here.

There's nothing that says 'Christmas' quite like a poinsettia...

...or the glow of a candle in a dimly lit room...

...or maybe it's a favorite handmade ornament on a brightly lit tree.
I am sure of one thing...we all have our own favorite things that remind us of this blessed season.
So let us get on with the business at hand....the Q&A.
1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving). 

It was LATE (6:30 ish) when we ATE and you can bet I cleaned my PLATE! This was the first time we had eaten our Thanksgiving meal in the evening. Just let me say... this was way too much food that late in the day. I don't think I will be doing that again.

2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?

I really can't remember the last time I said those words...and I probably didn't mean it anyway.

3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?

I would advise them that age is only a number and that by staying young on the inside, it will help you stay younger on the outside.

4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

Squash...any kind, a sweet potato, green beans and probably cabbage.

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

No...never. I can't even remember doing it when I was younger...I get what's on my list and get out of the store. The Christmas shopping madness makes me's just not for me. I do most of my shopping on Amazon these days. There is one thing that I try to do every year...I go out on Christmas Eve to buy a few last minute stocking stuffers, even if  it's just to Dollar General or the local grocery store. There is something about doing it that makes me feel all "Christmas-y" and reminds me of a scene from the song "Silver Bells"... Strings of street lights, even stoplights blinkin' bright red and green as the shoppers rush home with their treasures.... :)

6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

That would probably be the corner of the couch next to the end table and lamp where my laptop sits before me on the coffee table. I like it because everything I need is right within reach and I have a straight on view of the TV. I usually have one fur baby snuggled in on my right side and the other one at my feet.  Every now and then when I really need to put my feet up, I sit in Jim's recliner when he's at work :)

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

After some reflecting, a memory popped up of me being a wee little girl as I would attend the yearly foot-washing service (spectator only) at the church I was raised in,  the Old German Baptist Church...or Dunkards, as they were also known as. Of course this was for members only and little children did not partake in it. I remember wondering why the ladies were removing their stockings and washing others' feet as they passed a large wash basin and towels down the aisle of pews. Much later in life, in my 30's actually, I became aware first-hand of the significance of being a part of a humbling service such as this. Shortly after I became a Christian, the church we attended at the time practiced this ordinance every year on Maundy Thursday. It was one of the most moving services I have ever been a part of as I witnessed a room full of women loving, forgiving and being healed from past hurts and old wounds. I will never forget it as long as I live.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am nearly in disbelief that tomorrow is the first day of December. Anyone else??
So.... until next time....

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Happy, Happy Hodgepodge :)

It seems like it has taken forever for fall to settle in around these parts
but it is finally here, in full force and going to run right in to winter, I'm afraid.
We spent a long weekend with our Tennessee bunch and the weather was just beautiful.
It was the annual father/son/grandson hunt and the boys had a great time.
Now, I realize hunting is not everyone's thing so I will not post photos of their "results".
I will tell you that the freezer is full of venison...'nuff said :)

 As far as fall goes, this year hasn't been the prettiest we've ever had by a long shot,
but overall there has been a bit lovely color in some areas.

These are from my yard taken a couple of weeks ago.

Here are a couple from Adam's place in Tennessee.

This backyard view just takes my breath away every time...especially in the fall... sunset.

The scene before me was ever-changing... I stood there snapping away...

...until it faded away.

So today I'm participating in Joyce's Hodgepodge ...

...where she asks the questions on her blog and we write the answers on ours.
This a great way to learn a little more about our fellow bloggers and have a little fun,
 so how about popping over there and check it out.
Here we go!
1. Let's all think happy thoughts...share one of yours here. 
This season makes me happy. The cool, crisp air after a long hot summer...the colorful leaves even after they start to shrivel and fall from the get-togethers on Thanksgiving Day...and well, you all know what comes next :)

2. There's a Chinese proverb that says, "If you want happiness for an hour take a nap, if you want happiness for a day-go fishing...." What say you? If you want happiness for a day...
...I will grab my cameras and head for the country. If I don't see one other human being, that's even better. No, I am not a recluse but getting away from the distractions of everyday life, even for a few hours...or even better for a day...can be so refreshing to the soul. Taking in the wonders of God's creation makes me very happy.

3. Where do you go to decompress from the world around you? 
I think I just answered that in question #2 but if doing that is not a possibility, I might just retreat to my front porch and watch the birds and squirrels :)

4. What song never fails to make you happy? 
Oh...there are so will I choose just one? "How Great Thou Art" will definitely have to be on the play-list. A more contemporary choice might be "Good, Good Father". There are SO many more :)

5. Wednesday is National Fast Food Day. Should that be a thing? Apparently it is, so tell us what's the last 'fast food' you consumed? If you were putting together your own version of a 'happy meal' what would you include? 
Who are the folks that think up these crazy National "Whatever" Days, anyway?? They may as well add this to the list, although I had never heard of this before. Fast food is a way of life for so many I guess so it would seem that they would celebrate this day everyday! The last fast food that entered my belly was an Egg McMuffin with a hash brown patty for breakfast on our way home from TN a few days ago.  My happy meal would probably include some form of chicken and squash casserole...with a little pizza on this side. And pie...I must have pie :)

6. In a few sentences tell us why you blog. 
When there is something inside of you that needs to come out, blogging is a great way to do so. I have always enjoyed writing and my love of photography was re-birthed after my cataract surgery at the end of 2012. I felt I needed an outlet to share my photos...with whoever might see them and enjoy them...and then the words came as a result of them. I never dreamed blogging would open up a whole new world, giving me the great blessing of "meeting" so many new friends from all over the world!

7. List seven things you're feeling especially grateful for today.
Today I am grateful Lord and Savior, as I am every day.
                                       ...the way God is working in my family, as I am every day.
                                       ...the fall season and all of the wonderful things it brings with it.
                                       ...that the election is finally over. It's time for everyone to move forward.
                                       ...the HUGE rainbow that I saw yesterday...maybe that's a good sign! :)
                                       ...the comforts of home...especially after being away.
                                       ...the fact that I will NOT be eating fast food for dinner!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Aaron informed me yesterday that he wants to have Thanksgiving dinner at his place this year. He had made a vow to himself a year ago (when he had to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home) that he wanted to be "involved" with the holidays this year. After a tiny bit of a protest on my part, I conceded. So I will cook the turkey, dressing and other fixin's, he will cook the ham and his famous homemade mashed potatoes. There we'll all be, neatly tucked into the corners of his tiny little house...and four little dogs and two cats to boot! Now that I've had time to think about it, I wouldn't really want it any other way :)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rescuing "Sophie"

There I was, doing what I so often do...mindlessly rummaging through the aisles of the Goodwill Store. The store seemed way more crowded than usual with items, not necessarily people and I noticed quite a few large-sized donations had been made since I was there last. I was greeted by the sound of a child banging on an old piano followed by an adult (I assumed) actually playing a part of a song, which was quite beautiful. I thought to myself that I had never seen a piano before at a Goodwill store. As I walked over in that direction and made my way past a few large pieces of furniture, there she stood, in all of her glory.

I'm pretty positive I remember hearing myself gasp when I saw her. I immediately sought out that familiar bright orange price sticker and gasped again.

NO WAY....$30...ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!! I gave her a quick once-over and could tell she was in pretty good shape for her age, although there was some water damage to the veneer on top. The cabinet itself was in good shape and all of the drawers were intact. The treadle worked and the needle mechanism as well but was missing the belt. As you can see, she is well over 100 years old.

Temptation grabbed a hold of me and wouldn't let go. Does that ever happen to you? So I whipped out my phone, took a photo and sent it to Jim at work. I toyed around with the idea of just going ahead and getting it as I browsed the store, all the while continually glancing in the general vicinity of her make sure no one else was admiring her. Jim hadn't responded back to me so good sense won out and I left the store...without her, being the good little submissive wife that I am (um...yeah...that's me).  I could have kicked myself as I bid her adieu, looking over my shoulder as I exited. After I had been home for probably a couple of hours, Jim called me and wondered why I was sending him a picture of a sewing machine. I told him my sad story and he asked me why I didn't buy it. What?? You could have called me back before I left the store!!  So he told me to call and see if it was still there. I did and it was....YESSSS!! So off I went to rescue this beautiful piece of vintage workmanship.

Since then, I have been scanning Pinterest and YouTube for information about restoration and the like. At first I was mostly interested in the cabinet but after seeing so much on the web, I decided I wanted to get her back in working order like so many others have done. I also learned a few things about this model, in's what's called the Singer 66 Red Eye model. I supposed you already guessed where she gets her name. See all of those red eyes??

After I got her home, sprayed off and wiped down, I could actually start to see what I was going to be dealing with. The veneer on either side of the top of the cabinet were looking pretty rough and the very top was totally bubbled up...hmmm...more research. I came to the decision to completely remove the veneer on the top and just "doctor up" the sides. I didn't want to get into more than I could handle, plus I didn't want to remove all of her character.

The rest of her was in pretty good shape.

This also gave me a great excuse to go out and get me a new toy!

So after removing not one, but two layers of veneer, I finally got down to the solid wood top. I found out why they add that lovely veneer...the wood underneath left a lot to be desired but Mr. Mouse did a great job on it. I used boiled linseed oil with a fine steel wool on the cabinet base and drawers. It worked like a miracle.

I spray painted the iron frame black and used an antique walnut all-in-one finish on the top. This is after the first coat of the new finish...still a little more work to do but just a little bit of an improvement, wouldn't you say?

During my reading up about old Singers, I discovered that many people who restore these machines give them names. I wanted my girl to have a name too so I pondered and pondered what I might name her. I have always liked the name Sophie so that's what I'm calling her. I was thinking about maybe spelling it S-e-w-p-h-i-e. Nahh, probably not :)

So now the real fun begins, restoring Sophie, herself. The belts and most likely any part that might be needed are available on ebay, although I don't think it will take a lot. I happen to know a wonderful mechanic named Aaron who may one day need a rainy day project during his slow season :) I will also be doing a bit more research about bringing her complexion back to life and brightening up those red eyes of hers. That will be a different post on a different day, my friends. Don't hold your breath, as this may take a while :)
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