Monday, April 29, 2019

Springtime In My Backyard

Signs Of Spring

Happy Monday everyone! I took a little walk around our yard last night and snapped some photos of all of the Springtime in our yard! Like these beautiful azaleas in full bloom. 

Someone before us made sure to plant a variety of colors. I love it when they are all in bloom! Wish they lasted longer. 

I cut a few to display in a favorite vase in our foyer. Someone at church gave me the little green carnation stem in the middle. 

I've spent the last few days planting annuals and perennials around our house. Ferns, dianthus, coleus and dusty miller on the front porch. 

Another fern on the back porch along with containers holding lantana and dianthus. 

I've had good luck with these flowers in the past and I hope that this year is the same. Everything I've planted is supposed to be "deer resistant." Fingers crossed!

I added more coral bells to our stone wall garden along with some violet phlox. The hostas don't ever seem to get big in this little garden. I'm not sure why since our side garden has hostas that are huge. 

See? They are just beginning to open up and are already big! I tend to neglect this side garden a bit. I need to do some major cutting back as plants on the hillside want to take over. Maybe this summer I'll do better?

My garden bench is ready for sitting. As you can see we have plenty of ivy!

Our waterfall has been running steadily since last weekend's heavy rains. Unfortunately, the stream got clogged and we had a river running down our driveway last weekend. Not good for the driveway! The Mr. finally was able to unclog the problem and the waterfall is under control once more. The perils of living in the country!

And a final "artistic shot" looking through the trees at our St. Francis statue in our stone wall garden. 

Thanks for taking a walk with me around our yard this Monday morning! I hope your week is off to a great start and sunny skies and pretty flowers are coming your way. Tell me, how is Spring coming to your backyard? Hope you'll leave a comment!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Easy DIY Paper Crafting

An Easy DIY Craft Idea

I've been wanting to try some paper crafting for awhile now and with a quiet evening last night I tried my hand with this craft. I decided I really enjoy working with paper as a craft! I fashioned two different types of greeting cards and a bookmark. 

I had purchased a box of plain white note cards awhile ago and had tried doing my own drawing, but felt my efforts didn't look good. So, last evening I used scrapbooking paper in various designs that I purchased at A.C.Moore. It was simple to trace the size needed for each side of the card. 

And then it was just a matter of cutting out the rectangle and gluing it to each side of the notecard. The scrapbook paper has two different patterns, one on each side, which gave me great variety in designing the cards.

Here are my results. Pretty aren't they? 

Much prettier than just plain white cards, yes?

I had also purchased some stencils to use for crafting and enjoyed the stencil designs much more than my own drawing!

One of my sisters gave me a large colored pencil set for Christmas with a variety of pencil types. These worked great with the stenciling on the cards!

Leftover scraps of scrapbook paper created a cute bookmark.

I think I've found a new hobby to add to my list of creative fun projects! How about you? What DIY projects have you been working on lately? Hope you'll leave a comment!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Match Made In Seven: Best of British

All My Favorites:Best of British!

Hello Everyone! It's time for another monthly "Match Made in Seven" theme and I have really had fun with this one! By way of review, here is what Match Made In Seven is all about:

We are an international group of fashion bloggers who meet once a month. One of us chooses a theme in turn, and that can be anything. A book, music, a color, a movie. And then we style an outfit based on that theme. The theme of this month is chosen by Anna and is: Best of British! Also, take a look at the other bloggers and how they have interpreted the theme this month. (See list at end of post).

This month's theme really challenged me!  When I heard it was "Best of British" I thought, "well don't we all dress the same?" But, as I thought about it, I realized that some aspects of British dressing are unique such as the need to be ready for rain showers! So, for my first styling of this post, I'm showing my best rain gear; my trusty Eddie Bauer raincoat, my colorful rain boots (Wellies as the Brits say) and, of course, my umbrella! With all of this rain equipment, I'm ready for any rain showers that come my way in true British style!

Now, I could have stopped here with styling and called it a post. But, I began thinking about what I really consider to be the "Best of British." And, for me, that would be two British characters whom I love reading about and the other would be the late Diana, Princess of Wales. And so, the rest of the stylings in this post are dedicated to these personal favorites!

First....the characters I love to read about....

Miss Read is the pen name of Dora Saint a British author who brought the character of "Miss Read" to life in her books about the imaginary village of Fairacre. Miss Read is the village school's head teacher and is an engaging character who seems similar to me in many ways. Miss Read is an introvert who, although she loves her students, looks forward each day to returning to her small cottage and enjoying a quiet life with her cat, Tibby. Unfortunately, Miss Read's quiet life is interrupted quite frequently by the other villagers who bring their problems and concerns to Miss Read. 

Here you can see a photo I took of two illustrations from the Miss Read books. One shows Miss Read speaking with her favorite student, Joseph Coggs, and the bottom one shows Miss Read talking with her arch nemesis, Mrs. Pringle the school cleaner. 

And here I am doing my best imitations of Miss Read! This character always wears a dress or skirt and most usually is wearing a cardigan and flat shoes. 

Now, I have turned into the character of Maisie Dobbs, the heroine of the novels by Jacqueline Winspear. These novels are set in the post World War I and pre-World War II era and feature Maisie who served as a nurse in the Great War and returned home to become a psychologist/detective. I am obsessed with these novels right now and love not only the character of Maisie, but the tidbits of history and the emphasis on the psychology of thought that is a huge part of Winspear's writing. 

I decided to do these photos in sepia tones and black and white since Maisie is a character of the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's before color photos. She always carries her beloved case which was a gift from the downstairs staff when she was still a maid at Ebury Place. Her clothing tends to be business-like and fairly plain, especially in the earlier novels and, since it's the 30's, she always wears a hat when she goes out. Her preferred hairstyle in the first books is pulling her luxurious hair into a bun. 

And now to my all time favorite of Best of British.......

Who could be lovelier than Diana?  I have quite a collection of books and magazines about her. I mourned her passing and eagerly follow the lives of her children and grandchildren. 

Photo from book: Royal Style Wars by Lesley Ebbetts

As far as I am concerned, she never took a bad photo. Her style was impeccable. 

Photo from book: A Tribute to the People's Princess Diana by Peter Donnelly

And so, in my final photos for the Best of British, I am going to attempt to look "royal." 

I pulled out my royal blue dress, polished my "tiara" and added my Avon Princess Diana ring. 

Diana wore pearls frequently as well as "dangly" earrings, so I made sure to wear some in these photos. Do you remember when she knotted the long string of pearls and wore the knot hanging down her back accenting the deep V of the back of her dress? She would also sometimes use a gorgeous necklace as a headband. Like I said, her style was impeccable!

How challenging life must be for the Royals who have to always look their best in every photo! Makes me glad I'm a "commoner!"

I hope you have enjoyed my take on this month's theme. Be sure to stop by and see how the other ladies have interpreted "Best of British!"

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 22, 2019

Style Tips from Debbie:Be Yourself

Being Yourself With Style

Hi Friends! How was your Easter weekend? I hope you had a lovely Easter filled with joy and good times. Ours was very nice although Easter Day itself was a bit cold and gloomy. I have to admit I would have preferred blue skies and sunshine but we take what we get, right?! There is always joy in the resurrection no matter the weather! 

Today, will be the fifth and final entry in my "Style Tips from Debbie" series. If you missed the other style tips posts don't worry. I am doing a recap today and will link to the other posts for you so you can catch up. It's been fun doing this series because it has helped me to really think about my own style preferences and what I like and don't like about style. Today's tip may seem obvious, but I feel that it is the most important of all the tips I have given so far and in fact, it pretty much sums up all my other tips. Here it is.....Be Yourself with style. Sounds too simple? Let me repeat it.....Be Yourself with style. Now, really think about that for a few minutes, OK? Because as simple as this tip may sound, I feel that being yourself with style can be really challenging. 

You see, in our culture we are constantly being bombarded with images of fashion. Commercials, magazines, stores and, of course, blogs are always showing the latest and greatest styles. And, most of these views are advertisements for selling something. As women, we are encouraged to stay on top of the latest styles all the time and the styles seem to change every few months (and sometimes weeks)! Of course, the goal is to keep us buying. It's no secret we live in a consumer oriented culture and I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to shopping. And it's not only about style when it comes to fashion but also color and accessories and shoes and it goes on and on! There is a reason that some bloggers are called "influencers" and that is because they influence folks who read their blogs (or view their ads) to buy something! Now, I'm not doing this post to knock bloggers who sell things on their blogs. I'm simply pointing out the obvious which is we are encouraged to buy things when we see lovely models wearing a gorgeous outfit. I picture myself in the outfit and think how good I will look in it. So I buy it and bring it home (or have it delivered to my house) doesn't look and/or feel good on me at all! What happened? It looked so good on that other woman. Bingo! The outfit doesn't look or feel good because it is not my style. I forgot to be myself with style! Has that ever happened to you? It surely has happened to me on several occasions. 

When I first started blogging almost four years ago, I was heavily influenced by other bloggers. Sometimes, I would find myself purchasing a particular style because I thought it looked so good on "Blogger X, Y or Z." What I discovered, however, was that I ended up not wearing the outfit because it just wasn't a good fit for me. It either didn't look right on my body or didn't feel comfortable. This has happened on several occasions throughout my life when I have been "influenced" by outfits worn by friends or movie stars or models in magazine ads I have seen. Sometimes the outfits worked, but not always. I have a feeling that this may have happened to you sometimes, as well. Am I right? What I have discovered about myself, is that if I really think through an article of clothing I am about to buy and ask myself some questions before buying, I am more likely to make a "good buy" and will enjoy and wear the purchase. What questions do I ask myself? Here are some examples:
 Is this outfit comfortable on my body? 
Would I feel good wearing this outfit all day? (In other words is it tight, irritating to my skin, painful to walk in, etc.)
Is it easy to put on and remove? 
Do the colors compliment me? 
Does it look like Debbie? 

Now, I wonder if some of you are thinking the following: "But Debbie, you are 60 years old! Why would you need to remind yourself to 'be yourself' with style? Haven't you figured this all out long ago?"

Hmmmm, I thought I had. But, I find that being myself with style needs some reminders from time to time. After all, we live in a society that makes it a bit hard to be ourselves. Because we are always being "influenced" by what we see and read and hear. That's why it is so important to be yourself no matter what! 

The outfit you see me wearing in this post is very much "me style." It ticks off all the boxes for comfort, ease in putting on and taking off, complimenting colors and I definitely have worn it all day! (In fact, as I write this I am still wearing the same outfit). If you read any of my earlier style tips posts you will know that I like my clothing to have something in the style that is a bit "unique." The scalloped edges on the sweater top ticks that box. You know I like "thrifting." The pretty pink infinity scarf is a Dollar Store find. The periwinkle blue and pink are two of my "happy colors." And, the pictures speak for themselves that this outfit fits my body type. 

So, as I bring this series to a close, here's a recap of my Five Style Tips:

Be sure to stop by on Wednesday when our Match Made in Seven international blogger's group will be showcasing a new theme challenge. I think you will really enjoy this month's theme! 

Until Next Time,

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday Scriptures: God's Perfect Harmonies

God's Perfect Harmony

Public Domain Image
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. 
Philippians 4:8   The Message

In music, playing in perfect harmony is everything. Groups tune their instruments before a performance in order to ensure that everyone is playing to the same pitches and not deviating out of tune. For violinists, tuning to "A 440" means that we are making certain our A string is perfectly in tune and then we tune the other strings to match the A string using perfect 5ths. An "A440" means that the A tone is vibrating at a speed of 440 vibrations per second (440Hz). When I first began playing violin as a child, I did not understand what an A440 sounded like and so I relied on a pitch pipe to help me to tune all of my violin strings. Over time, I was able to train my ear to hear the "perfect 5ths" to tune my G, D and E strings, but I still needed to be certain that my A string was perfectly tuned. So time and again I returned to my pitch pipe to hear the "A440" to tune my A string. When everyone in an orchestra or band is perfectly in tune, there is a moment when all of the vibrations of sound come together in perfection. When this happens a chord can "sing" and you can actually feel the harmony in your insides. I have often teared up when playing or listening to music and the vibrations reflect this perfect harmony because it is such a beautiful and heartfelt moment. 

In Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we can experience God's perfect harmony by filling our minds with good things. That can be extremely difficult to do in today's world. Everywhere we turn there are things that we see, hear, participate in, listen to and read that can distress us, anger us, hurt us, discourage us and make life seem ugly. It takes daily practice and effort to focus on the good and not the bad, the things to praise and not the things to curse, the beautiful and not the ugly and hurtful, the truth and not the lies. It takes daily practice to fill our minds in the way that Paul suggests. 

Just like when I was a student of violin and had to return time and again to my pitch pipe to hear the perfect vibrations of "A440" in order to tune my instrument, I must return time and again to that which keeps me grounded in Christ. Prayer, scripture, worship, meditating on God's word.....these are my "pitch pipes" of faith that help me to tune my spirit in order to keep my thoughts steady, purposeful and positive in faith. 

Jesus is my true "A440" and as Easter Sunday approaches, I pray that you, too, may feel the perfect vibrations of His love and sacrifice on the cross for each of us. 

Blessings, Peace and Happy Easter!!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Style Tips from Debbie: Make Friends With Thrifting

Be A Thrifty Thrifter

Happy Monday, everyone! Today is #4 in my series; Style Tips from Debbie and today's tip may seem simple at first glance. Making friends with thrifting is something I learned long ago. I have always been a thrifty shopper and, in my opinion, being a thrifty thrifter goes far beyond simply shopping at Goodwill. Let me explain further in this post. 

Shopping at Goodwill or other thrift shops is certainly a tried and true method of thrifting. And while not all of my clothing is thrifted from Goodwill, several articles of clothing are from there. I wrote a post quite awhile ago giving hints on shopping at Goodwill. You can read or review that post here. The most important thing to remember when shopping at Goodwill is to give each article of clothing a really good look over before buying. I don't even want to spend $3-$4 on an article of clothing that is soiled, missing buttons or damaged in some way. I see shopping at Goodwill as having two purposes: I can find gently used garments which I can wear and enjoy for a cost effective price while at the same time helping out folks who gain employment and training through their work at Goodwill. It's a win-win situation! That's why I not only shop at Goodwill but also regularly take donations there. 

I'm also a thrifty thrifter in other ways, however. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you have noticed that I find clothing and jewelry in many different places and types of stores. I am absolutely fine with shopping at what some consider "low end" stores such as Walmart and K-Mart. When I was growing up, my Mom was a department head in Ladies Ready to Wear for the now closed Hills Department Store chain. She taught me how to look for quality in less expensive garments. Things like looking at the thickness/quality of the materials, making certain the hemming was straight and well done and looking at the quality of the accessories or embellishments on the garment. Her teaching has stayed with me and I use her training all the time when I look at clothing. If a less expensive garment does not look well made then I pass it by. But, if it is a cute garment, is well made and looks good on me, I'm not going to pass it up just because it comes from Walmart and doesn't have a fancy brand name. That is just not me. I have purchased clothing and accessories at Walmart, K-Mart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, The Dollar Store and beauty salons that look good and I enjoy wearing. I have also passed on clothing/accessories in these same stores because they did not look well made. That's all part of being a thrifty thrifter! Take a look at the outfit that I'm wearing in the pictures you have seen so far. This outfit contains pieces that are quite inexpensive and some that are more expensive. Can you tell the difference just by looking? 

I feel that being a thrifty thrifter allows me to enjoy fashion without overspending. If I make a fashion mistake, I'm not out a lot of money. I can enjoy variety in my wardrobe. to me, being thrifty is a responsible way to shop. 

How about you? What is your opinion on being a thrifty shopper? Hope you'll leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers!

Until Next Time,

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pink Tulips Easter Tablescape

Tulips, Bunnies and Easter Eggs Tablescape

With Easter a mere week from this Sunday, I decided to add some Spring-like and fun Easter decor to the dining table. This tablescape features gorgeous pink tulips, an egg-shaped dish filled with bunnies and pastel cloth eggs and a sweet Easter basket filled with larger pastel Easter eggs. 

The bunnies have a slot to be used for a place card but I stuffed an egg in the slot instead.

The light blue egg plate and bunnies came from Target a couple years ago. The pastel cloth eggs are Dollar Store finds, I believe. 

I am so enjoying these pink tulips! How pretty they are on the table. I couldn't resist tying a pink polka dot ribbon around the base of the tulips. You can never have enough pink, right?! Unfortunately, a certain furry member of our family (Cassie!) would not leave the tulips alone and I read that tulips are poisonous to cats, so the tulips are now living on our front porch table. Sigh.....cats!

You gotta love this face though, right?!

And, this one too!

Have a great weekend everyone!