Magpie Scarf

I enjoy scarves, but haven’t found many that I really, truly love.
Since I have such a fascination with mixed fabrics,
I decided to make myself a scarf that I would adore. Recycled Strip Magpie Scarf
In the same fashion as my magpie-styled curtains (here), I pulled out lots of black, white and gray fabrics from my fabric repository and cut them into strips. Then I joined them together with lots of ragged stitching … straight and zig-zag with strings left long on each end of stitching.

These fabrics are full of memories. The white and gray floral is a remnant from a gorgeous blanket that Glory made for Nina not so long ago.  That pretty plaid is an old shirt that belonged to James. And the tiny white flowers on a dark gray background is the fabric used to create the bow ties that James wore in his best friend’s wedding. I’m pretty sure that Stacia (here) made those ties for Michael’s men. (Stacia is such an incredible girl!! If you’re looking for a wedding planner, she’s uber-talented and so wonderful! Consider hiring her or recommending her. And click over to see the fabulous photos of her personal wedding ceremony by Sarah Becker Photography here. I still can’t look at those photos without crying. The day was magic, I tell you … pure magic with pixie dust, swirling stars and hidden fairies. It had God all over. I felt like I was on the set of a Disney movie being filmed.) 

I think my favorite part about piecing together clothing and curtains is looking at all the history that weaves together into something new and special. Each item is like an antique quilt that tells a story. It just moves me.

Magpie Scarf

Then I wove them through a fantastic wide-weave scarf that I picked up at Target about a year ago.

Magpie Scarf
To make it softer and more snuggly, I ran a string of wonderful fuzzy yarn between each strip of fabric.

There are large and tiny antique buttons hidden along the scarf for extra interest.
And the strips are left raw so they’ll fray with wear. Isn’t it pretty? I just love it!

I love the way it feels, too! It is so soft …. like cashmere!

IMG_7538

I know it will be warm and comfy throughout the winter and will work well with so many different jackets and outfits.

I use Fridays to share the latest creation that I am delving into
with the idea in mind to encourage you to find the thing that gives you energy.
Creating takes me to a place where time stands still. I could sew or paint or create
for h.o.u.r.s
and find that the time has passed like minutes.
What activity does that for you? Where do you find yourself lost in enjoyment?
I hope you’ll give that some thought
and pour yourself into that activity for a bit this weekend.
Find time to nourish yourself.
And if you won’t have time this weekend, make time during the week.
It’s hard to do sometimes … especially for those of us that are mamas.
I know it’s even more difficult for those of us that wear the Single Mom cape.
But, it’s so very, very important to make time to nourish yourself.
Get enough sleep. Submit to the slowing down of winter. Rest.
Eat foods that are good for your body. Hydrate. Nourish.
Spend time with people that feed your spirit. Set boundaries from others.
Figure out what activities make you happy.
And do them.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Suburban Barn Raising

Last week, my friend Linda came for a visit. In Single-Parentdom, the chaotic frenzy of being responsible for everything can be quite overwhelming. In a conversation a month or so ago, we were discussing the things on my to-do list
when Linda offered to come help me tackle a few projects.

But,
she didn’t just offer.
She came.

She drove six hours from Tennessee with paint spattered clothing packed in her suitcase.
She came ready to tackle whatever was most pressing.

As I prepared for her coming, I thought about the Amish and their barn-raising practice.   A barn raising is an event where a large group of people come together to build a building (like a home or a barn) in a short period of time. The tv show Extreme Home Makeover does their magic this way. Planners and organizers do a lot of work, but the bulk and brawn of the work is done by the friends, family and community who come together to get the project done. 

In the past, Linda’s family of six has come to help us make a few of our moves. And the children and I have helped them make several of theirs. We have all loaded trailers, scrubbed baseboards, filled cardboard boxes with treasures and stopped to fellowship and sup in-between.

Linda is my “Reading Friend.” Years ago, she was the first person to read to me (at least, as an adult). Others, including Kenneth, have since do so. And I love it. If the words in a book or poem mean so much to someone else that they want to share them, Oh how I want to listen!

I have had one person after another tell me that I should read the book Love Does. And I have shared quotes on Facebook from Bob Goff, the author of Love Does.

So, around the time that Linda and I began to plan her visit, a friend told me that he had a surprise for me. He told me to be watching for it. He didn’t tell me what kind of surprise, so I didn’t know what to expect. Nearing 2:00 and having found no surprise, the thought occurred to me, “Oh! Maybe I should go look in the mailbox!”

My mailbox on the street
And there it was. My friend had sent me a copy of Love Does.

Bob Goff - Love Does

As Linda and I sat at the breakfast table, I asked her to read Chapter 10 while I took my bath and got dressed.
I asked her to read it,
because I could hardly see the words on the page
as I worked through Chapter 10 in tears
just an hour earlier in my room.

Love Does - Bob Goff

The chapter, for me, was about two things:
being a good parent and being a good friend.
What I heard as I read through the chapter
was that parents go out of their way to encourage their children
by doing …. by feeding their spirit and encouraging them to be themselves.
A parent has the ability to make a crazy idea
appear completely attainable for a child
so that the child grows up knowing they should go and do and explore
rather than sit … and fear … and live stunted.
And a friend ?

Chapter 10 - Love Does

Well, Bob tells us that his children were told a story while meeting a Russian leader at the former Communist Party Headquarters. (Really, truly … you need to buy and read the book! Go here to do that. And no, this is not a paid or sponsored endorsement.) Bob writes of this leader,
“He shared his thoughts drenched in sincerity about how a friend knows what you need even before you ask.
He ended his talk with these words that still ring true for our family.
‘You know what it is about someone that makes them a friend?
A friend doesn’t just say things; a friend does.’”

How fitting. That morning, of all mornings, God times it that I am reading a story about encouraging my children to be themselves and about friends who “do” … and Linda is here … encouraging me to be myself and bolstering me in my loving of my children WHILE she is here to “do” … to work.
I couldn’t read the chapter to her.
I had to hand over the book
and leave the room
lest I begin the day with sobs.

The week involved lots of encouraging and lots of doing.
We cleaned and purged and put back together.
We prepared and repaired and fellowshipped.

Linda pressure washed the entire outside of my home … all the way around.
She removed mildew and moss and dirt and gunk and more.

Friendship in action

With a little Clorox and a lot of water pressure,
she single-handedly removed years of build up from the brick and mortar, vinyl and wood that make my home.
Looking for parallels in the spiritual physical world .... I thought so much about this in terms of a spiritual/physical parallel
and how, left without attention, our spirits form a film of life
that can smother us and encourage decay.
It takes time and energy to life gunk-free.
It takes work. It takes doing.

And sometimes, it takes a friend’s help.
before and after - deck pressure washing
Last week, I saw friendship and love in action.
I experienced my own little barn raising right here in my little suburban neighborhood.
And even after she left, she still “did.”

I found this note on my cluttered desk
a full day after she got into her vehicle and drove away. A sweet note of encouragement

Bob’s words and Linda’s actions remind me to look for chances to make a difference.
Love ….  drives, cleans, fellowships, encourages and, yes, pressure washes.
Love does.

 

 

Makes Me Happy Monday : Treasure JackPot!

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to do a little exploring in the woods with a friend.
We walked down a power line thoroughfare, climbed over barbed wire
and tried our best to stay a little more than arm’s reach from briers both green and brown.  Autumn flowering

While hitch hikers grabbed hold of clothing, we chatted
and I counted blessings ….
for friendships that nourish the soul
sunlight that dances through trees
and the stunning beauty that is creation. Afternoon woods meandering

Near a gorgeous old barn
that told stories of animals that were invited
and squatters that were not,

Gorgeous old barn

I spied treasure!
Remains ... of an old truck or tractor seat?
Some of it was so well camouflaged that I found myself stepping on it
without seeing it first.
There I stood
tangled in knotted wire that would have thrown me
had I tried to break free in haste.

Can you see them?
And I thought about all the gifts we receive
that we don’t even recognize as such.
We may be standing right on top of them ….
with them pressed under the weight of our life
and not even know they’re there.
Looking for parallels in the spiritual physical world .... And some of us, foolishly
don’t even recognize the tangles and knots as gifts.
For what is treasure to one
often looks like trash to another.

All the messes can be gifts if we look past the oxidation and decay ….
divorce, sickness, lack of wealth,
loss of income, injury, brokeness,
delays, detours and death.
There is something to be learned
and something to be gained
from all …
even the painful.

And in that half-buried, disintegrating pile of rubble,
I could see the value.
So, I ran back out to that long stretch of cleared land.
I grabbed that forlorn box and stuffed it full of glorious booty!

Power line thoroughfare
I gathered up treasures
for some not-yet-conjured-up creation
and walked away with excitement.

Reindeer Moss

As we start another week, inching towards winter
where busy lulls to a slower pace of rest,
I am thankful for a slow walk in the woods
with an old friend
and the uncovering of treasures.

What about you?
What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday morn?

Magpie Kitchen Curtains

For as long as I can remember, only the bedrooms in my home have had curtains. I love natural light and don’t want to block it in any way, shape or form.
I WANT it to flood into my home. But, after my husband left, I felt the need to close the view to our inside lives. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating curtains for each window.

The kitchen window used to have a valance that I changed seasonally. Here is a Christmas version.

Kitchen greenery
As you know, a valance is decorative
but it offers no privacy.
I have had an idea for kitchen curtains for quite some time.
I have known which fabrics I wanted in the kitchen,
but not made myself gather those fabrics out of my stash
and piece them together.
Not too long ago, I decided it was time.

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty

My fabrics are always a hodge-podge.
In fact, I think of myself as a “Magpie.”
A Magpie is a type of crow. (read here)
They pick up all sorts of found objects and shiny things
and fly them back to their nest.

Rusty bottle caps - for an art project
I think of Magpies when I bring home little things that I find along the road,
at yard sales or in thrift stores.
So, I’m calling these curtains Magpie curtains
because they are the created from things collected out in the world along life’s way
and brought back to my “nest.”

The leaf fabric that has a red outline around each leaf
was a very long skirt that I picked up at Goodwill.
The striped shirt was one of my absolutely favorite shirts of James’.
I even incorporated the sleeve placket & buttons into the strip for interest!
And the super large lily-pad looking leaf fabric
is from a large piece of fabric I picked up at a yard sale years ago.

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty
I’m really enjoying lots of rough edges, zig-zag-to-straight stitching and piecing of smaller strips.
When these are washed, they will beautiful fray along the edges! *swoon*
That sweet little embellished flower and button eye
were both in sewing hand-me-downs from my sweet grandmother, Odessa Cason.
And I found that cute-as-pie tiny puff-ball edging at Michaels!

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty
With old amber bottles on one side of the window ledge …..
(because I love amber!)

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty

And antique bottles strategically placed for paint brush drying on the other side,
I love everything about my kitchen windows.

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty

The curtains …. are perfect.
They’re layered and gentle.
They’re amber and yellows.

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty
And they’re pieced together in long strips of many patterns …
like life – a fabric mosaic of design.

Believe in yourself. :D

It is slow in coming …
but I’m beginning to believe in myself.
It takes time after divorce.
I think it takes more time to grieve and recover
for some people than for others.
And to be honest, I’m not near finished.
I’m working my way through the muck.
I’m learning to stand on my own two feet.
I am learning to believe in myself.

I’m finding it is super important to listen to your heart and do what you love.
I am enjoying creating more and more each week.
And I am making time to do what I enjoy.

As the weekend draws near,
what can you do that will enrich your life
by nourishing your soul?

Recently, I chose to make curtains.
What about you?

My "Magpie" curtains - with bits and pieces of different fabrics, joined to create an eclectic beauty

Makes Me Happy Monday: Console Love

I have a new-to-me vehicle. It’s a nice little truck, but the console was badly stained and had a rip in the fabric. I tried using several cleaners and just couldn’t get it clean. And the more clean I got it, the more the rip gleamed BIG.

I think I have mentioned that I am learning that
things don’t HAVE to stay the way they are.
I can paint wood, shorten table legs and recreate a cabinet.
I can move a wall, add a shelf or wire a jug to become a lamp.

I wondered … could I also cover a console?

I pulled off the cover to my arm rest/console and looked at it closely.
It had just a few screws that held the upholstered top to the hinged base.
Just a little bit of un-doing revealed that
recovering the console would be fairly simple.

As it turned out, creating the curve that hugs that cup holder
was not fairly simple.
It took a little sewing ingenuity.
But, after looking closely at the fabric that I removed from the arm rest,
I was able to figure out how to recreate that design in a new fabric.

And ta-da!

My reupholstered truck console/arm restNow, the truck has its own distinct fabric. It changed everything about the way it “feels” to me.
Little changes can make a big difference.
Small things can bring surprising joy.

The fresh upholstery on my console makes me happy.
What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday morning?

 

Sewing Machine Cover

Some sewing machine cabinets are designed to function as a small table. The machine drops down inside the cabinet with a table extension that folds back over the base of the machine creating a tidy, little table. Glory has a machine with this type cabinet design. I picked my machine cabinet up at a second-hand store years after being graciously gifted the machine by a family member.

The more I have used my machine, the more meticulous I have become about keeping it clean. I keep canned air on hand so that I can blow the lint out of the underside where the bobbin carriage is located. When I know I won’t be using it for an extended time, I will cover it to keep it dust free, but my machine can’t be hidden inside the cabinet.

Since moving my sewing machine into my dining room, I decided I wanted to create a more attractive way to cover it than just using the clear, plastic cover I purchased at a fabric store. As soon as I finished my kleenex box cover, I decided to sew a very similar style cover. Stack of material

My favorite fabric is medium to lightweight upholstery fabric. I have stacks of this in my stash in every color of autumn that your mind can imagine.

I’m really not much of a sewing-pattern kind of girl. I don’t sew clothing “from scratch.” I do a lot of reinventing (like this; two shirts into a smock)  and reupholstering of small items. For most of my projects, I prefer to wing it … just eye-ball it and fit things as I go.

For my machine cover, I simply cut my fabric to fit, piecing the cover together outside-out and then flipping the edges inside to sew as I went. I started with the top,  added the back, each side and then finally the front.

Because I love selvedge edges so much, I left them raw and un-hemmed.Selvedge edges! Oh Joy!

I love that the cover helps camouflage my machine as it sits in my dining room. You almost wouldn’t notice this as my sewing area. My dining room/sewing corner

The beauty of the weight of the fabric, the gorgeous, raw selvedge edges and the wonderful melding of patterns
makes this machine cover beautiful to me!Pieced together sewing machine cover. Love.

This is just one more creative endeavor I have tackled that has brought me energy and joy! Sewing Machine Cover

As you begin your weekend, have you considered how to nurture your spirit?
The things that make your heart sing will be different from anyone else.
Get to know yourself.
What catches your eye? What colors? Textures? Smells?
What actions? Creatures? Sounds?
Figure this out and then look for ways to nurture that love and energy.
Find a way to do something that makes you happy!

In reading Ken Robinson’s book, Finding Your Element (seen here) 
Ken shared something that made an impression on me!
We should look for the thing(s) in life that bring us energy and fulfill us.
One way to tell what that might be for you is to ask yourself the question,
“What thing do I do that makes the hours feel like minutes?”
What do you do that you find yourself saying, “What? It’s been two hours?
Where has the time gone?”
For me, time flies by when I am doing something creative.
My greatest passions are sewing, painting and working with paper.
When the time passes quickly, you’re in your element.
When the minutes feel like hours – you are not.
With that in mind, what do you so enjoy that time passes quickly?
That is what you should do to relax and invigorate yourself.
May you find time to do something that brings you great enjoyment this weekend!
And have a beautiful weekend, friends, in whatever you find yourself doing.

 

God’s Provision for Camping

Do you see Him?
I look.
every.where
all.the.time

I watch for God and I see Him.My pottery Angel

 

I mentioned that Joy encouraged me  several months ago to “Go!” and “Do!”
I signed up for a camping trip,
but I just wasn’t sure how I would finance it.
Money is tight and I couldn’t run out and buy everything I needed.
I needed
- a single-person tent
- a sleeping mat (as a buffer between the cold ground and my sleeping bag)
- a lighter weight sleeping bag (easier on the back when carrying a long distance)
- a filtering-water bottle (because you can’t carry 36 hours worth of water in your backpack)
- convertible pants
- hiking boots that I could comfortably hike in for two full days.
These things can easily add up to several hundred dollars.

Even though I had no idea HOW these things would come to me,
I signed up for the trip in faith
and watched for provision.
If they didn’t come, I would bow out at the eleventh hour
and assume that God didn’t want me on the trip.

I have to say that I felt a kind of urgency in going on this trip. I’ve wanted to take an overnight, backpacking trip for years and years. Several years ago, I shared that dream with Stone. He told me that we would take a trip like that … but we parted ways before it came to fruition. I can’t go on a trip like this ALONE. And I don’t have many friends …. ANY friends that camp like this. So, when one was posted on one of my Meet Up groups, I knew it was now or … who knows when?

So, I signed up in faith
and waited to see how things puzzle-pieced together.

I had a borrowed backpack. It belongs to Glory. We picked it up at a yard sale for $2 several years ago. This style – with an external frame – is not really popular any more, but I saw great benefit in using it. It helped distribute the weight inside well. It sat up off my back a little bit so it was not as hot as  backpack-style gear. And, of course, I loved the price. My backpack at home

I remembered about two weeks before the trip that I had two options for a tent that might possibly pan out. I gave away a small pup tent several years ago.  I called the person I believed I had gifted the tent to see if I could borrow it. I also loaned our larger tent to a friend and her family a while back. I contacted them to see if they could return it. I was considering cutting that large tent and sewing it into a single-person version. I wasn’t sure if I could pull this off … but I really wanted to go on this trip.

When the couple showed up with the tent several days later, we stood in the driveway to catch up. We chatted for quite a while before they asked me about the camping trip I was planning. I told them of my idea to convert the big tent into a smaller one. Jocelyn asked, “Well, how much does a tent like that cost?” I explained it could run between $30-$50.00 I had done a little research on Amazon to get prices. Little did I know a lighter weight, small tent is much more … especially in a local, brick-and-mortar store.

We finished talking and my friend and her family left ….
only to return about thirty minutes later to put two $20.00 bills in my hand
with a hug and a squeeze.
“Enjoy your trip,” she said as she dashed away.
I’ve learned not to refuse God.
I was so blessed to receive this gift!
“One step closer,” I thought! “Praise you, Lord!”

When I stopped by my other friend’s house, she had a tent in her front yard. It was drying out from a camping trip a week earlier. It was actually lighter weight than the pup tent that I had given away a few years ago.  They happily loaned their tent to me. And they had a sleeping mat, as well! My tent beside Panther Creek, Clarkesville, GA

So, I still needed a water filtering system.

I was surprised at how expensive they were. They average between $59.-$125.00. I did lots of price comparisons and settled on this $30.00 option from Cabelas. Aquamira Filtering Water Bottle

As I walked in the store on Sunday, I was one of the first 100 customers in the store
and I was handed a gift card
for $10.00. Thanks Cabelas!

I teared up
and almost broke down in sobs.
Really? Cash? AND a gift card?

I had a backpack, a tent and a water-filtration system.
I had an answer (that I wrote about here)  for how to make the hiking boots I already owned work for me.
And I found a way to buy a pair of pants that should have cost me $45.00 …. for only $30.00. (I wrote about that here)
I also learned (here)  how to pack my backpack in a way that it was so light that carrying a more heavy, older sleeping bag wasn’t a burden at all.
Everything I needed had been provided in some way.

You know what I am really, truly enjoying about divorce?
I don’t look to my husband for provision.
I have always looked to God …
but I’ve looked to God T.H.R.O.U.G.H  the filter of my spouse.
Since that “go-between” has been removed,
I am no longer distracted.
And I’m so much more at ease.
It might not have worked for me to camp.
I would have been sad, but not devastated.
If I couldn’t do, I would have assumed that God didn’t want me on that trip …
and I would have been okay with it.

But, I watched Him piece it all together for me.
He offered me adjustments in a few areas,
loans in other places
and outright gifts for other needs.

As I walked those trails
and looked at His glory in creation,
I knew I was supposed to be there
soaking it all in ….. enjoying every moment,
because He had made a way.Panther Creek, Clarkesville, GA

What a blessing.
What a gift.

Watch for Him today – this week – this month.
Follow your heart.
When doors close, don’t be angry. Maybe it is protection of some sort?
Yet, when doors open and provision comes along,
walk through those doors
and bask in His provision and glory.

Autumn hues in the North Georgia mountains

 

 

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