Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Microfiction Monday #68: Cap'n & Crusty

Crusty: "Cap'n, I ain't ever seen sech a big bar o' soap in all my days!"
Cap'n: "Crusty, You ain't never seen any kind o bar o' soap in all yer days!"

Microfiction Monday, where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer. It's hosted by Stoney River. For more information clic http://www.stonyriver.ie/p/microfiction-monday.html.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Old School vs Modern; Which Do You Prefer?

Don't you love my redwork tea towel and 1940's Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook? My talented sister stitched the towels and the cookbook came from my mom. It's so fun to read those old-school recipes!  I treasure these things. They'd look silly in my friend's modern kitchen, but they are perfect in mine!

I have a  casual friend who recently built the most gorgeous new home. Her kitchen is a gourmet's dream.  The kind you see on HGTV.  She's always lived in what I call 'trophy homes'. You know what I mean. Beautiful and lavish with nothing out of place. I'll never forget the look on her face when I took her on a tour of our 'new' house. A 1970's rambler with peeling wallpaper, different colored rugs in every room, and heaven forbid...laminate countertops in 1970s colors. The backyard was beautiful, but overgrown with ivy everywhere. She fumbled for something nice to say about the place, but the best she could come up with was ,"What's that sound?" (We live in a farm community and there is a milk processing plant about 6 blocks away. The machinery there sometimes makes a humming noise. It's not a bad sound at all.) What my friend didn't see in my little home was it's character. How the kitchen is just the right size for two people to cook in, with a nice area for baking. She couldn't imagine that I would enjoy painting the old cabinets and putting new hardware on them (a project slated for this summer), and laying linoleum squares on the diagonal for an old French Country look. She left that day shaking her head. Still, every time I see her she encourages me to look into building a new home like hers. If she would just come back over, she'd  see that warm wood flooring has replaced the old carpets, and the backyard has a garden spot with a bench under the trees, and the wallpaper's been replace with a coat of fresh paint. Well, no matter.  This morning I'm sure she stood in that fancy kitchen admiring her beautifully tiled venting over her state-of-the-art cooktop and the island that seats 6 people. I, on the other hand, spent the morning spying out my kitchen window at two bluejays. They were flitting from one evergreen tree to the next and heckling Posie, my tabby cat. Poor Posie, try as she will, she'll never catch those birds!(My friend doesn't own a cat. And her dog is an expensive purebred something- or- another that is guaranteed not to shed--naturally.) Well to each his (or her) own. My friend has a wonderful talent for designing and building beautiful homes. Me; I love to fix up old ones. It's just a question of personal taste.

*** Would you prefer to build a brand new dream home; or do you like to fix up older homes?***

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Magpie Tale #50 entitled Just Look Up

I feel as though I've lost
 my first love.
I've grown cold
and indifferent
to Your voice.

My soul is lost in this lonely place,
a  frozen wilderness-
and I don't know where to turn.

Look up, daughter. Just look up.

                                           By Debora Rorvig

Dear friends:  Magpie Tales is a site for poets and writers to find inspiration. This week's writing prompt was the photograph shown above. It's a nice way to find new things to write about. http://magpietales.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Natural Room Deodorizer

 Henri Matisse
'The Open Window'
I find many room deodorizers to be overpowering and some are downright obnoxious. So here's a nice alternative. Buy some essential oils in your favorite scent. I like sweet orange the best. Put a few drops on a cotton ball and set it on your windowsill in front of an open window. The nice fresh air coming through your window will catch the scent of the oil on the cottonball and leave a faint, clean scent in the room.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's Your Idea of Fun?

A couple of years ago my daughter, 3 of her 4 children and I spent a few days at the beach. We roasted wieners and made smores as the sun was setting. For me, this was as fun as it gets!

I've been reading a blog called the Happiness Project. (You can find the link in my 'Creative Friends blogroll.) Gretchen Rubin, the author, suggests that we must learn to have fun again. And to do this, you need to define what is fun to you. Not what is fun to your spouse-or sounds fun but you're not really sure-or what you think would be fun for the kids and family...what is fun to you? I suspect that we mothers often forget what is fun because we spend so much time sacrificing for our families. So can you answer these 2 simple questions? Please send me your comments; I'd love to hear what you think is fun.

1.   What is fun for you?

2.  When was the last time you really had fun?

With these questions answered; there's just one thing left to do; go out and have fun!

Here's my answer:
1. Reading, Travelling and exploring new places,  Campfires with friends and family, Going to concerts, Blogging,  Taking 'artsy' classes, Any and every beach related activity or inactivity!
2. I read daily. Haven't travelled in a while. It's been a couple of years since I roasted marshmallows with my grandkids. I bet it's been 5 or more years since I attended a concert. Blog all the time. Haven't taken a fun artsy class for about 8 years. I was last at the beach in September, I think.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quilts and Afghans, and Blankets; Oh My!

 I love blankets. They make me feel cozy and secure. I keep them all over the house; just in case I feel cold, or tired, or sad, or cranky. A nice warm blanket coupled with a cup of tea or cocoa and a great book is my idea of the perfect afternoon. Especially if it's raining. So I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you. There are many more scattered around the house but well, it's raining and the tea kettle is whistling. And I have a great new book to read....

A Big Lots find, very warm and nubby-a rainy day curling up on the sofa afghan.

I bought this at a Salvation Army Christmas Craft sale. I have to admit I felt like a thief paying only $25 for it.

This came from a specialty home decor store. It's wonderful at Christmas time either on the sofa or as a wall hanging.

My sweet daughter-in-law Karen made this for me for Christmas some years back. She even hand stitched the quilting! It's vintage look fabrics with a cozy flannel backing. I like to do yoga on it. It makes me happy to look at the pretty fabrics and think that someone loves me enough to make it for me!

A nice light weight afghan from Costco. Its good to wrap about my shoulders on chilly days while reading. I love the color.

My first hand-made quilt. I made it for my hubby. An easy one- the old 9-patch strip quilt. It's hard to see, but I quilted shamrocks into the white squares. Why? Because my husband's name is Kelly, and it's Kelly green. So I wanted a bit of the luck o' the Irish in it!

An inexpensive find from our local hardware store of all places. I use it on my bed when I want lots of color and a warm feeling. All other times my bed is covered with a white chenille bedspread.

A thrift-store find. Isn't the shell pattern beautiful. It goes with everything. But I must admit, the wool is a bit scratchy.

One of my favorites. This is a Ralph Lauren vintage look duvet I bought at a garage sale for $1. I know!!!! I can't believe it either. It's soft and luxurious. The colors are just yummy!

This is a quilt I bought for a twin bed. I don't even have a twin bed anymore, but I just can't part with the quilt!

Two pretty afghans. The light blue one on the left is another Salvation Army Christmas sale find. The one on the right is a thrift store find that I call my VanGogh afghan. Doesn't it remind you of VanGogh's sunflowers?

This afghan was my mothers. When she died we were going through her things and I asked if I could have it. My sister had first dibs because she's the one who made it for Mom, but she didn't want it. Now I have something to remind me of two special ladies in my life. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's the Bravest Thing You Ever Did?

So what's the bravest thing you've ever done? This question was posed by one of my favorite bloggers, Chris Guillebeau on his 'The Art of Non-Conformity' blog this past week. The responses were nothing less than awe-inspiring. You can check it out at http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/the-bravest-thing/. There sure are a lot of brave people out there!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

O Bla Di, O Bla Da, Life Goes On

Poor Koda. She and Kelly were playing fetch the tennis ball in the dark the other night. Kelly accidently tossed the ball into a sticker bush, Koda charged right into it and got a pretty bad gash on her front 'wrist'. We doctored it ourselves for a day, but even though the cut was small it was deep. Last night she seemed to be pretty lethagic and I got worried, so we gathered her up and went to the after-hours vet.Two hours  and $150 later; she's gonna be just fine. But she's strictly forbidden to lick her owie...hence the lampshade on her head. She hates it. She can't scratch; can't sniff the ground and can't play ball for ten whole days! Kelly feels just awful about it, but it's just a part of raising kids; even if the kids are dogs. O bla di, o bla da, life goes on...right? So we're trying to keep an upbeat mood around here; and encouraging Koda to keep her chin up---literally. LOL.

And we're showing her our support by becoming cone-heads along with her.

There's just no limit to the silly things we'll do for our Koda!

So this is how life goes on in the Rorvig household.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Katie Daisy a New Etsy Favorite

8 x 10 Wild Air

Cultivate Solitude

Someday Cottage

I just had to share  some wonderful pieces of art by a talented gal named Katie Daisy. I think her art is sweet and whimsical, and so refreshing. You can find her here on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/thewheatfield?ref=pr_shop_more . I'm telling you, this girl has something special; go look for yourself! Her work definitely fits my criteria as whatsoever things are lovely...

A Peaceful Snowy Morning

It snowed last night while we were asleep. This morning my backyard is a winter wonderland. I took Koda out at 5:30 am to play. I know...I'm nuts. But as I walked  beneath the firs in the quiet of the morning, looking up through snowy boughs into the dark winter sky; it was something more than magical...
it was...spiritual.

When I came inside I opened my Bible to II Peter 1:2 and read from the amplified version...

May grace (God's favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full , personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

That is my prayer for you today. That you  (and I) will experience peace, the Biblical definition of peace:

Perfect well being
 all necessary good
all spiritual prosperity 
 freedom from fears
 and agitating passions
and moral conflicts.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pennsylvania Dutch Hexes; a Bit of Americana

 Making things with our own hands was a way of life in my childhood home. Mom did everything by hand. From painting my old metal bed to gathering fir boughs for wreaths and swags, to sewing her own draperies; she did it all. I think this is why I love American folk art so much. For me it speaks of home, ordinary folks, and taking what you have, as little as that may be; and using what is available to make your home cheerful and comfortable and pretty. It doesn't matter to me if its a print by Charles Wysocki, a wonderful quilt designed by Georgia Bonesteel, or an afghan crocheted by an unknown senior citizen from the Lynden Senior Center...I love it all.

And this is why I love the designs of the Pennsylvania Dutch called 'hex signs.' (A note here: the Amish and the Mennonites did not make hexes; the fancy Dutch- often Reformists and Lutherans did.)Now I know that there is some controversy among the Christian community regarding this type of art. Some say that the origin of hex art is pagan, superstitious and that the word itself comes from the German word 'hex', meaning 'witch'.  Others say that it simply comes from the word 'sechs' which is German for six- describing the oft-depicted six sided stars seen in many of the designs.  I don't want to do anything that is evil; but to me, you can make almost anything evil if you wish to. I've read all about how the nordic reindeer we love at Christmas is an ancient fertility god, that the word Easter comes from a teutonic name for a goddess, and that wreathes were once used to appease evil spirits.
My point here, is that I hang wreathes, knit nordic reindeer, celebrate Easter, and have hex signs in my kitchen. But I'm not appealing to evil spirits or gods or goddesses, or trying to invoke good luck into my home. I just like the art. What we believe is a choice. I choose to hang a wreath in remembrance of the crown of thorns worn by Christ, to wear sweaters with nordic reindeer because I love the Scandanavian design, to celebrate a day we call Easter as the resurrection of Jesus, and I like hexes because of the bright happy colors, the simple designs that anyone can draw, and because of the optimistic meanings of the signs. If you choose otherwise, I can respect that. We just disagree.

Whew! Having said all of that, I thought I'd show you some very pretty 'hex' trivets.

This design, bu Jacob Zook is called Morning Birds. The large four pointed star shaped flower indicates good fortune throughout life. The greenery symbolizes health and vitality. The Morning Birds depict health and happiness to all, and the presence of two birds suggests that true happiness may require others in your life.

 The trivet on the left with the oak leaves symbolizes strength and health in body and mind. The four colours represent the four seasons.

The maple leaf hex on the right represents appreciation of life's beauty.

I wish I had an old barn so that I could paint a hex on it. 
All of my hexes are by Jacob Zook. If you are interested in the subject, a quick google of his name with provide you with a plethora of information.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fun with Wordle

Wordle: deboras life
I found this very fun word collage-making site www.wordle.net . It's lots of fun for people who love words!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Whats for Dinner?

Soup's on! Tonight I made Old Fashioned Lima Bean Soup with Ham for dinner. It's something my mom used to make when I was little. When I make soups I usually throw in a bit of this and a little of that; so I'm estimating the ingredients. The great thing about soup is, exact ingredients usually don't matter.

Old Fashioned Lima Bean Soup

16 oz dried large lima beans
About 8 cups of water or enough to cover the beans with some to spare
1 cup onion, diced
A chunk of cooked ham or turkey ham, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 chicken bouillion cubes
A bit of dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Sort the dried beans and discard bad ones. Rinse them well, then cover them with water and soak them overnight. The next day drain the beans and place them into a large soup pot. Cover with about 8 cups of water or as much as is needed to cover the beans with some to spare. Add themeat, onions, garlic, bouillion, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender.

It's nice to serve this soup with a  warm, crusty loaf of french bread.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dreamy Creamy Kitchen

I'm thinking about painting my kitchen cabinets. They're white right now, with very outdated hardware. I love white cabinetry, but I must admit, it shows every little fingerprint. So I'm thinking about going to a creamy off- white color. This countryliving.com makeover is quite like what I have in mind. My floors already look like this, only they are set on the diagonal. My walls are an olive green color. Hmmmm, I wonder how this would look...


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