Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Williamsburg Christmas: The Buffet


This is the buffet in our dining room. There is no fireplace (and hence, no mantelpiece) in our house, so the buffet gets to have the garland! I realize the Christmas Cactus really doesn't fit, but Christmas Cacti are persnickety creatures and don't like to be moved, so it had to stay. Oh well...we aren't actually in Williamsburg, and our 1950's GI tract house said it was okay if it wanted to stay in the dining room. Now if only I had lit the candles for this picture...

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Williamsburg Christmas: The Oranges

I love these pomandered oranges! The cloves and citrus are such a nice addition to all the pine and cinnamon scents in the house.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Williamsburg Christmas: The Door


This is the wreath I made, inspired by the photos in this book. It's a pre-made balsam wreath to which I added Red Delicious apples, key limes, lotus seed pods, and pine cones.

And yes, it is hanging on the inside of the front door. It hasn't gotten above freezing (or much above zero, for that matter!) since I made it, and the book cautions against putting fruit decorations out where they might freeze. Oh the joys of living in the Rockies instead of the balmy, humid southern east coast!

On Monday, we finally gave up on putting it outside, and moved it from its holding place on the coat closet doorknob to the inside of the front door. I think I rather like having a wreath on the inside...we get to enjoy it so much more, especially since we never actually come in the front door! (Check back tomorrow for more decorations!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas in Williamsburg

Last year at around this time and after seeing several specials on the subject, my sister and I decided we would spend Christmas 2008 at Disneyworld. Silly us. :-) As this Christmas drew closer (like, around sometime in August), I decided we should go to Colonial Williamsburg instead.

However, as the good Governor Gumpas would have objected, had he been around when I menitoned the idea at breakfast one morning...it was quite out of the question...an economic impossibility.

I was determined to do something beautiful and historical, though. So far, I have spotted three of our neighbors whose idea of Christmas decorating is to erect inflatable figures of The Grinch in their yards, not to mention all the others who have a variety of other "Christmas" characters well-lit and inflated in their yards. I wanted something lovely and elegant and real. After browsing around Paperbackswap, I settled on two books about decorating at Williamsburg.

Ever since Thanksgiving, I've been collecting fresh fruits and greenery whenever it was on sale. I purchased a fresh balsam wreath, a 25' red cedar garland, and a large bag of Red Delicious apples at Costco. Sixty key limes came home from Sunflower Market for only $3. Four bags of pine cones for $2.50 each from Michael's. Five pounds of oranges arrived from the grocery store for only $1.

A little thing called Operation Bridesmaid Dress (more on that later) had kept me from doing any decorating until today, but I finally managed to get my wreath done this afternoon. I think it's rather nice, if I do say so myself. Hopefully, the blizzard tomorrow will let up enough for me to get a picture of it hanging in its Red Delicious glory on the front door tomorrow. The garland is primarily to decorate the front door, and whatever is left of it will go on the piano and the buffet. My sister will be making pomandered oranges to arrange in pyramids for the tansu and the piano. Then it's only a matter of finding spots for the 18 candlesticks we discovered we own. (I always knew it was a lot...just not quite *that* many...)

As of now, I'm off to eat a hot bowl of oatmeal for dinner (yum), and then I will be hanging pinecones on velvet ribbon in all the windows...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy!
~Fra Giovanni

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And she's back...


My poor little blog has been quite neglected of late, hasn't it? I just finished taking a killer (there's a genteel word for you...) modular class, and now I'm looking forward to getting back to real life.

As an apology for my absence, I extend to you friendship with my little guy, Toby. Is he not the cutest?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In the Garden


I've been learning all about dry country gardening since my family moved here a year and a half ago. It's certainly different from where I grew up in Japan, which is semi-tropical!

In Japan, the perfect, balanced garden has three elements. Trees of the evergreen variety, rocks, and water. Flowering perennials and annuals are traditionally found only in vegetable gardens, although most Japanese homes will have several pots of bright blooms on their front stoop. Still, Japanese homes and yards are not designed to accommodate flower beds and so, I always had to follow the rest of the population and limit myself to what could be grown in a few containers.

Though American life has been full of challenges for me, one thing I'm liking very much indeed is that there is space for a few garden beds. Figuring out when it's safe to plant things has been tricky...to the point that the sweet peas I planted are just now beginning to bloom.

Oops.

They are the flower of the month of April, after all. Next year, I'll plant my seeds earlier. Thankfully, it has been cool enough that they are doing quite well, and I have a sweet little bouquet in my room, just freshly picked after dinner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kindred Spirits



I had the chance to meet the lovely Laura from Quietude and the lovely Cheri from A Joyful Handmaiden this week. Laura's fiancé was gracious enough to let us borrow Laura for a couple hours to go fabric shopping! Mind you, three days earlier, before I had any idea I'd be meeting people at the fabric store, I had no intention to buy any more fabric. I've been trying to be on a fabric buying (and vintage pattern buying!) fast. But...I fell under irresistible temptation, and bought some anyway.

It was so much fun to meet some more lovely ladies from the internet. I've met quite a few now, and it's always been a lovely experience. Lord willing, I will see these ladies again sometime!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Past and present, cars and memories

My parents are leaving at zero dark thirty (as they say in the military) tomorrow morning to drive to Omaha for my mom's 40th high school reunion. They are, in fact, driving my dad's mint condition 1962 Chevy, which will make its debut as a parade car in the 4th of July parade in Omaha. The Chevy just turned over 300,000 miles a couple weeks ago, which, in car years, I suppose is rather like a very important birthday, and so it had to have its picture taken.

Because of the upcoming reunion, my mom dug her high school yearbooks out of the garage to carry along on their trip. I was browsing through them, giggling at the big hair and bobby socks, and noticed that nearly every friend note scrawled in the front mentioned "Those great water balloon fights!" When I asked my mom about that, she broke into a riot of laughter, explaining that over the summers she would go out with her friends in her car (a convertible, no less...oh the jealousy...), and have water balloon fights with other high school friends in their cars. Car water balloon fights! Can you imagine?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Special friends

I'm so looking forward to this weekend, for I will see some dear girls who I haven't seen in far too long. One (who only lives two hours away) I haven't seen since December, and the other since March 2007! We're all mutual friends who know each other from various places on the internet, and we've all met each other, but we've all three of us never been together before.

It's hard when your best friends live many miles away, but the times you do meet are that much sweeter!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Corgis, cottages, and a beautiful life

I just heard that Tasha Tudor has died. Growing up on the other side of the world, I had only heard vague mentions of her on Christian ladies' message boards, but then about five years ago, I happened to be channel surfing through our five channels of Japanese TV, and stumbled across a special about her. It was a Saturday night, and I should have gone to bed, but instead stayed up until 10 o'clock, enchanted by the story on my screen. The narrator was a quiet, Japanese voice, only snippets of which I could understand, but in showing a year of Tasha's life, divided into spring, summer, fall, and winter, I saw a glimpse of life simply and quietly lived.

The fact that I remember a television program five years afterwards has made me realize that her story moved something in me. Tasha Tudor lived without running water until possibly only 10 or 15 years ago (I can't quite remember), and I think at the time the TV show was filmed, she still didn't have electricity. Yet hers was a life filled with the simplicity and beauty of a well-tended cottage and garden, and in that, she was content.

In Tasha Tudor, I saw the delicate elegance and dignity of a quiet life, and I was stirred to aspire to the same. As life becomes more and more busy with responsibilities and problems and questions, the longing for such a beautiful life grows more in me with each passing day. May it truly be my ambition to lead a quiet life.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Literary Meme

This is my first meme on this blog! I haven't done memes on previous blogs too much, but this one looks fun! Thanks to Janna from The Joy of Home for tagging me!

Who is your all-time favorite author and why?
This is a hard one! Sad to say, but I haven't read as widely as I wish I had. Growing up on the mission field, we couldn't really afford to order lots of (heavy!) books, so my choice was limited. I would probably choose Lucy Maud Montgomery. While I do enjoy "heavy" books, I find Montgomery's to be pure delight. I appreciate that her books are true-to-life and honest, but I also like that they're simple and, well, quiet. I also feel like I understand her more since visiting PEI in Canada last year. Seeing the places that inspired her and shaped her life made me appreciate her all the more.

Who was your first favorite author and why? Do you still consider him/her to be among your favorites?
Among the books I *did* have to read when I was growing up were the "In Grandma's Attic" books by Arleta Richardson. I loved the simple, straightforward writing, and read the books over and over. They are definitely books that I will share with my children (if I have any!).

Who is the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?
Prior to 2005, I had never read a book by Charles Dickens, but I have come to love his work. When I first started reading his books, I was so bored for about the first half of the book, but when things finally start to fall into place, I can't put his books down!

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?
C. S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Jane Porter, Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery. L.M. Alcott, Regina Doman.

My Tagees:

Jessica: Reflections of a Princess

Rebecca: flowershop girl

Keri: Quaint & Quirky

(That's all I can think of! :-S)

Rules

  • Link to the person that tagged you.
  • Post the rules somewhere in your meme.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag six people in your post.
  • Let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Let the tagger know your entry is posted.

Wallpapers and Drawer Knobs

My dad finished building me a sewing workstation for my room last month, and I've been trying to decide how I want to decorate the furniture ever since! I finally made a decision today, with this wallpaper from American Blinds and these knobs from Anthropologie.

Now I can't wait for it all to get here, so I can use them! Then I can pick out fabrics and shelving and finally have my room organized!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Week of Menus

My friend Jessica (Reflections of a Princess) sometimes posts her menu for the week. Maybe I'm odd, but I like to hear what other people eat. Here is what my week's menu looks like:

Wednesday: Better lasagna

Thursday: Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

Friday: Yakitori (Japanese grilled chicken)

Saturday: Chicken Fried Steak

Sunday: Steak (it is Father's Day, after all!)

Monday: Chicken Fricassee

Tuesday: Scraps (as Father Tim would say)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

All Dressed in White: The Irresistable Rise of the American Wedding

I had a lot of fun with this book. It is an historical look at the birth of American wedding customs and how they have evolved over the course of America's history. Carol McD. Wallace draws some very insightful and deep correlations between a culture's views of meaning and goals and how that effects wedding customs. She shows how that which is done in the most intimate and personal of events (a wedding) is a reflection of what is believed and lived in the the culture at large.

Speaking as someone who grew up outside American culture, this book helped me to understand why Americans do what they do in weddings, and why American weddings look the way they do today. Ms. Wallace's perspective was informative for me personally, as well as very affirming for many of the things I have felt but not understood or been able to articulate about the "American White Wedding." Overall, I couldn't put it down!

I wouldn't recommend All Dressed in White to very young ladies as it does discuss some mature topics, although it does handle them in a tactful, delicate way. For anyone interested in planning or participating in a meaningful wedding, or the history of wedding customs, it is a must-read.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happiness...

From Elizabeth Goudge (1900-1984)...


She had long accepted the fact that happiness is like swallows in spring. It may come and nest under your eaves, or it may not. You cannot command it. When you expect to be happy, you are not and when you don’t expect to be happy, there is suddenly Easter in your soul, though it be midwinter.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My ambition


In 1997, I was introduced to a thing called the internet. A friend of ours was going on a two-week deployment, and left us his computer to play with during that time. As a little missionary girl whose only contact with the world outside the mission field and her church was her few snail-mail pen pals, being able to e-mail and IM and participate in message boards was...exciting. Later, we got our own computer, and my world opened up permanently.

I was quite the little board butterfly (and this was even before the days of blogs!). I had to reply to every thread, and chat with everyone who popped up on IM, and reply to every e-mail within 24 hours. But...internet social circles are like any other social circle, and soon I was wanting to be noticed by all the "important" people in my little internet world. My ambition was to be the "important peoples'" best friend, and to be seen as an important person myself.

In a world wide web of links and backlinks and hat tips and member rankings my ambition now is, by God's grace, moving closer into alignment with God's desires. His Word that is speaking to my season of life right now is from I Thess. 4:11 - "...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life; to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we commanded you."

Does having a blog align with minding my own business and working with my hands? Maybe not. ;-) I have been so encouraged by other ladies online who are doing those things, and who blog about it, though! You will find some of them in the links in the sidebar. My goal for this blog is to share my ambition with you, that perhaps you may be encouraged the pursue the same.