Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Decorations

Here are some photos of our Christmas decorations. I had hoped to post them sooner but the past couple weeks have been busy with finishing up sewing orders, handmade gifts and baking cookies. : )

                                                                                The lovely delft nativity my sister Rachel gave me.
                                                     Winston stealing bows off the packages under the tree!

The Christmas village from my childhood. I would always love to watch mom set the village on the shelf of the hutch.

                                                                                                                   Candle on the kitchen table.
                                                                                Our kitchen with lights and a vintage tablecloth.
Adam's 1940's record player. He completely rebuilt this player, and it is so much fun to listen to the old Christmas records.

    Two years ago today Adam asked me to marry him. : ) Rachel gave me this lovely ornament to celebrate our first Christmas as husband and wife.

I found this beautiful ornament at the Salvation Army the day we bought our tree. The date on the ornament is 1985: the year Adam and I were born.

Now off to drink a cranberry juice and ginger ale mix. I found this delightful set of Christmas glasses at a barn sale, brand new in the original box.

I hope you all will have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Frosted Butter Cookies

We have been baking these delicately delicious cut-out cookies since we discovered the recipe in a Christmas cookbook a little over 10 years ago. They are always a favorite each Christmas with family and friends. I made a batch earlier this week and plan to bake more over the weekend.

 Frosted Butter Cookies:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks; beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, orange juice and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Cover refrigerate 2-3 hours or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough, half at a time, to 1/4 inch thickness on well floured surface. Cut out with cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. After cookies are cooled frost.

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Silent Night"

It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian Alps. At the newly constructed Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, a Tyrol village near Salzburg, Father Joseph Mohr prepared for the midnight service. He was distraught because the church organ was broken, ruining prospects for that evening’s carefully planned music. But Father Joseph was about to learn that our problems are God’s opportunities, that the LORD causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. It came into Father Joseph’s mind to write a new song, one that could be sung without the organ. Hastily, he wrote the words, “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…” Taking the text to his organist Franz Gruber, he explained the situation and asked Franz to compose a simple tune.

That night, December 24, 1818, “Silent Night” was sung for the first time as a duet accompanied by a guitar at the aptly named Church of St. Nicholas in Oberdorf.
Shortly afterward, as Karl Mauracher came to repair the organ, he heard about the near-disaster on Christmas Eve. Acquiring a copy of the text and tune, he spread the hymn throughout the Alpine region of Austria, referring to it as “Trioler Volkslied.”

The song came to the attention of the Strasser family, makers of chamois-skin gloves. To drum up business at various fairs and festivals, the four Strasser children would sing in front of their parents’ booth. Like the Von Trapp children a century later, they became popular folk singers throughout the Alps.

When the children- Caroline, Joseph, Andreas, and Amalie- began singing “Trioler Volkslied” at their performances, audiences were charmed. It seemed perfect for the snow-clad region and perfect for the Christian heart. “Silent Night” even came to the attention of the king and queen, and the Strasser children were asked to give a royal performance, assuring the carol’s fame.

“Silent Night” was first published for the congregational singing in 1838 in the German hymnbook Katholisches Gesang- und Gebetbuch fur den offentlichen and hauslichen Gottesdienst zunachst zum Gebrauche der katholischen Gereinden im Konigreiche Sachsen. It was used in America by German-speaking congregations, then appeared in its current English form in a book of Sunday school songs in 1863.

Were in not for a broken organ, there never would have been a “Silent Night.”

From “Come Let Us Adore Him” by Robert J. Morgan

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Mint

This afternoon I baked a batch of Andes mint chip cookies. I have been in the mood to bake some traditional Christmas cookies, but plan to wait until closer to Christmas.  This recipe seemed a good start towards our annual Christmas baking.
Here is the recipe:

Andes Crème de Menthe Cookies

1/2 cup salted butter - softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package (10 oz.) Andes® Crème de Menthe Baking Chips or 2 packages 4.67 oz Andes Crème de Menthe or Toffee Crunch Thins, chopped.
2-2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs until mixed.
Stir in Andes Baking Chips and then flour. Chill approximately one hour in the refrigerator.
Measure out approximately 1 oz. of dough. Form a ball and slightly flatten.
Raise oven rack one level above the middle and bake on non-stick baking pans.
Bake at 350° F for approximately 8 - 10 minutes.
Cool on pans for two minutes before removing.

Last weekend I found a delicious powdered mix for chocolate mint cappuccino. Adam and I have enjoyed drinking a mug of this seasonal delight in the evenings as we sit by the Christmas tree.

Today Adam repaired our record player. I have enjoyed listening to some old favorites, as well as some Christmas records from Adams collection I had never heard before. Two of the records I especially liked were Vic Damone's Christmas album and a record of music box Christmas music. Have you begun listening to Christmas music? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

May you all have a blessed weekend!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why The Incarnation

This morning I read this devotional during my quiet time, and thought it was too beautiful not to share.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14

Our heavenly Father yearned through the centuries and the rise and fall of civilizations to redeem His needy people. He never ceased to reach out to His prodigal family. He did this in every possible way: through the glories of His creation, through the immeasurable gifts He gave them: through the words of the prophets and teachers. He dispatched His servants with countless messages that said the same thing in ten thousand ways: "Come home, come home! You are loved now and forever."

In the end and at long last, in the fulness of time, God himself made the journey. He poured His Godhead into flesh and blood and visited the earth as a man. He walked among us- a King in disguise, the Creator among His creatures. He entered our world through a doorway called Bethlehem and the world was changed forever.

That's something to celebrate! That's the reason it's a merry Christmas. The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. He is your Emmanuel today- God with us... God with you.

From "Discovery" by David Jeremiah.

He is God incarnate: not man becoming God, but God coming into human flesh, coming into it from the outside. His Life is the Highest and the Holiest entering in at the lowliest door

-Oswald Chambers 

Monday, December 2, 2013


I hope you all enjoyed a very blessed Thanksgiving and beginning of December!

This week I am offering a special sale of 15% off everything in my Etsy shop. Please be sure to stop by and check out the new books I have been listing. To take advantage of the special offer use coupon code LILAC15 when checking out.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas in Apple Ridge

"Christmas in Apple Ridge" by Cindy Woodsmall is a collection of three novellas taking place in the Amish community of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania. All three stories, presented in one volume, could easily be read separately but do flow together as you revisit characters from previous stories.

Each novella tells the story of a young Amish woman suffering from the pain of a past broken relationship. The women depicted in each story try to mask this pain from their families by hiding behind their careers. Eventually each character meets up with a new or old love, faces the reality of their past pains and turns a new leaf.

When I first received this book in the mail I was fairly excited. I love Christmas books, and in the past have enjoyed other works of Amish fiction. But this book proved to be a disappointment to me. Each story followed along the same pattern and the depiction of the Amish characters and their lives seemed rather unbelievable to me. There are Mennonite communities, as well as Amish, in the area where I live. Over the years I have known and worked with Mennonite families. I always thought the Amish were more strict in their lifestyle than Mennonites, but the characters presented in this book were not.

A few of the instances that puzzled me: an Amish girl wearing pants, watching T.V. and comparing life feelings with those depicted in movies, text messaging. All of these things surprised me, as well as the personalities of these young ladies. They were all independent career women, in the last story the main character was disrespectful of her father and grandmother. I found this disappointing, especially when you consider how family oriented the Amish  are.

With all this said, the Christmas Eve climax of each tale was heartwarming and romantic. It is an easy read, perfect for evenings when you aren't in the mood for anything that is too serious.

You can find more information about Cindy Woodsmall as well as "Christmas in Apple Ridge" HERE.

*I was given a copy of "Christmas in Apple Ridge" by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

His Mercy Endures Forever

                                                                                        "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
                                                                                           For His mercy endures forever. 
                                                                                                              Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever. 
                                                                                          Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
                                                                                           For His mercy endures forever:
                                                                                                               To Him who alone does great wonders,
                                                                                           For His mercy endures forever;
                                                                                          To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
                                                                                            For His mercy endures forever; 
                                                                                                          To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever; 
                                                                                                              To Him who made great lights,
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever— 
                                                                                                                The sun to rule by day,
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever;
                                                                                         The moon and stars to rule by night,
                                                                                         For His mercy endures forever."

                                                                                         Psalm 136: 1-9 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Take Time To Be Holy

"Take Time to Be Holy" by Samuel Logan Brengle is an inspirational 365 day devotional. Each daily devotion begins with a scripture verse followed by an excerpt from one of Brengle's nine books on holiness.

Brengle, born in 1860, spent his life in serving the LORD as a pastor and officer in the Salvation Army. The book begins with a brief biography explaining how Samuel Brengle felt called to live a life totally devoted to serving God and seeking holiness.

Though most of the writings in this volume are over 100 years old, I found the message of this little devotional to be very timely. Once we have accepted Jesus as our LORD and Savior it is so important to seek His will for our lives- to seek a life of holiness, wholly unto to God. A word not often used today is sanctification. Sanctification is the transformation that occurs in our hearts and lives once we have accepted Jesus as Savior, the casting off of the old self and the working of the Holy Spirit within us to make us a new creation.

Sanctification truly is the theme of this book - how to submit our naturally sinful will unto God's better plan of living a life of purity and holiness. The book emphasizes that we should not become discouraged in our quest, as it is only through the power of God's Holy Spirit we can be holy.

I would highly recommend this devotional to anyone seeking to draw closer to Jesus. I have not yet finished reading this book, but already I have been so very blessed and encouraged. I find myself reflecting on the devotion I read in the morning throughout the day, and praying that the LORD would help me to live a life of holiness!

You can find more information about Samuel Logan Brengle as well as "Take Time to Be Holy" HERE.

*I was given a copy of "Take Time To Be Holy" by Tyndale Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sewing on a Rainy Day

                                          Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
                                          The days pass quickly when I am sewing.
                                          ~Author Unknown


                                        "It rains- what lady loves a rainy day?
                                        She loves a rainy day who sweeps the hearth,
                                        And threads the busy needle, or applies
                                       The scissors to the torn or threadbare sleeve;
                                        And blesses God that she has friends and home."

Hope you are all enjoying a peaceful and cozy Thursday. Today has been rainy and rather chilly, but I am grateful for a warm fire and a hot cup of tea to enjoy while I sew. I must agree, the day does fly while sewing and cleaning! : )

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Creative Space

"My Creative Spaces" is being hosted by Shannon from the blog "Thoughts and Thimbles". I have been following Shannon's blog for years, her sewing, decorating and homemaking tips have always been an inspiration. When I recently read her invitation to fellow bloggers to participate and link-up I thought it would be a great time to share a little bit about where I sew and how I organize my supplies.

The photo above was taken in our dining room, where I do the majority of my sewing. I have always enjoyed sewing by a window, the natural light and view of God's beautiful creation brings me great pleasure.

Beside our dining room table is an antique cherry server that a dear friend gave me before Adam and I married. I had no idea then just how handy this lovely piece would be. There are two drawers in the bottom of the server, the one drawer was designed with dividers for silverware but I am using it to store my ric-rac and bias tape. : ) I am storing some lace and elastic in the other drawer.

Our dining room is rather narrow and I found it awkward to do any ironing in the dining room, but the kitchen is off the dining room and a great place for my ironing board.

The ironing board cover was made by my sister Rachel and given to me as a wedding gift. I really like the cheerful colors and how well it coordinates with my iron.

The table in our living room was built by my father when my sisters and I were little. The wood used to build the table came from the woods surrounding my grandparents home. I am so pleased to have this table as part of our home! I have many fond memories of cutting out my first sewing projects on this table with my mom.

I enjoy using tea cups to store special little sewing treasures. Not only is it attractive, but handy. Many time I will set buttons for a  current project on the saucer.

My little pincushion mouse (sneaking around the teacup) is the perfect place to keep my hand sewing needles. The peach calico mouse is filled with sand, which is helpful in sharpening needles.

Last Christmas Adam gave me this lovely antique sewing box. I store all of my most special projects in this box.

I must confess I am a bit of a "basket case". I have baskets in almost every room of the house, and each is filled with fabric or other supplies for projects. The basket in the photos above is especially handy as it has a lid. I store my yarn in this basket. Our cat Winston is very fond of yarn, and this is a great way for me to keep my yarn collection protected!

Some of my supplies are currently being stored in our laundry room. My thread is on a shelf near my washing machine.

This bookshelf is also in our laundry room. I have my fabric organized by amounts suitable for certain projects. I have more fabric over at my mom's house that I haven't had time to bring home and organize.

I have found photo boxes to be a terrific help in keeping my supplies organized. Each of the boxes contain different supplies such as buttons, ribbons, patterns and the like.

And to close, the view out our dining room window. Truly an inspiration while sewing!

"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands."
Psalm 90:17 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


The other week my mom, sisters, nephew and I took a trip to the town of Naples. Naples, New York is known for it's foliage covered hills and delicious grapes. In the photo above you can see a hill, and that there is surprisingly still a lot of green.

The LORD blessed us with a perfect autumn day- crisp and sunny! While in Naples we visited a truly charming antique shop, fabric shop and farm market. While at the farm market we purchased gallons of grape juice, homemade doughnuts and I found some cinnamon creamed honey for Adam. He enjoys stirring a spoonful in his tea.

             My lovely mom and sisters. Micah was cut off in this photo, not sure how I managed that...

                        But here is my dear little nephew! Isn't he the cutest?

Grape juice! The main reason for our visit. There is nothing like fresh grape juice, absolutely delicious!! While driving to Naples we passed many vineyards. It was truly a beautiful sight to see the grape vines filled with vibrant purple grapes, I wish I had taken a picture. The LORD has certainly blessed our area this year with an abundance of produce.
"Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.  You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.  You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.  You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." Psalm 65:8-11

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The First Fire of the Season

The night before last Adam built the first fire in our wood burning stove. Growing up my family always used wood as the main source of heat in our home. I love the cozy feel, the great smoky smell and orange fire glow. I made tea for Adam and I as he tended the fire, and once we had a nice little fire started we sat back to enjoy the warmth.

The stove was my mom's wedding gift to us. Since the stove is new we had to begin with small fires in order to cure the paint. It certainly makes the house cozy, and takes away the dampness in the air.

Our cat Winston seems to be in approval of the wood stove, and fall in general. He has spent a lot of time outside chasing leaves, and when not outside chasing leaves, inside admiring the leaves. : )

Sunday, October 6, 2013


"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on
the feelings, as now in October."
-  Nathaniel Hawthorne

                                                    (image from Pintrest)

October's Bright Blue Weather

"When gentians roll their fingers tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather."
-  Helen Hunt Jackson

                                                  (image from Pintrest)

Hope you all have been enjoying a beautiful start to October. Here is upstate New York we have been blessed with truly lovely autumnal weather. The foliage is reaching peak in our area. It is such a treat to see God's handiwork on each and every tree.

Yesterday I baked my second apple pie of the season, and pumpkin is sneaking into many of the treats we are enjoying. I love the cozy flavors and feelings this time of year brings.

May you have a blessed start to your week!

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:1&2

Monday, September 23, 2013

Decorating for Autumn

This past Friday Adam and I took a drive out to the Apple Shed, an apple farm and farm market. It was a lovely drive through the country. The day was sunny and warm, the perfect goodbye to summer and introduction to fall. All of the corn fields were a bronze like gold and the soy fields a more yellow gold. The fields shimmered in the sun, wild asters growing along side the road created a lovely contrast with the gold of the fields. What a blessing to live in the country and see God's creation everywhere I turn.

The leaves are beginning to change color on the big old trees surrounding our home. Crimson leaves are scattered across our lawn. They stand out quite vibrantly in the gloominess of today. This time of year it is so fun to be cozy, wearing warm sweaters, drinking hot tea while working on a sewing project or cooking up a big batch of soup.

Over the weekend I took some time to pull out my autumnal tablecloths and do a little decorating. The photo above is our kitchen table. I found the lovely vintage tablecloth at an estate sale a year or two ago. It was fun to use it for the first time. : )

Last weekend we purchased some Indian corn. I used ribbon I had on hand to hang it on our front door.

I arranged miniature pumpkins and gourds I found at the Christmas tree shop last month on top of a set of bowls, so it looks full but really isn't. : ) This is on the side board in our kitchen.

Mom gave me this table runner she made several years ago. It adds a nice autumnal feel to our dining room table.

This is our table set for dinner Saturday evening. I made vegetable soup and cornbread. Our area is known for cabbage, so the soup has plenty of chopped cabbage, as well as, carrots, corn, onions, potatoes, garlic, celery, tomatoes and ground beef. It was a cozy and hearty meal. I took my sister Rachel's recommendation when making the corn bread. Rachel always adds some cream corn and shredded cheese to her corn bread, and I must say it was very tasty!

  I found this little poem on Pintrest.

Happy Fall!