Monday, November 29, 2010

The bells of Saint Sebastian.....

The bells of Saint Sebastian...

We are now entering the most beautiful time of the year! Happy Advent everyone! Advent is a time to rejoice. It is a time that is filled with love, hope, meaning, and purpose. It is a time of reconciliation, anticipation, and self evaluation. I hope the weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with many blessings for all of you!
I thought, during this very special time of year, I would share a personal story with all of you. I grew up in a working middle class neighborhood. No one in my neighborhood had much wealth but it was a community that was very rich in many other ways. Neighbors looked out for and helped one another. Neighbors were involved, committed, and really got to know each other. Most of them formed life long relationships with one another. It was a very warm and safe place to grow up.
Nestled at the edge of the end of the community where I lived was a Catholic Church called Saint Sebastian. It was established in 1949. It was close enough to my home that I could easily ride my bike there which I did many times while growing up. I attended catechism classes there for many years. Two of my uncles, on my mother's side, actually helped to physically build the church and according to one of my cousins, they're names, along with the others are some where on a plaque near the front of the church.

I don't get back to my old neighborhood much any more but when the opportunity presents itself I find myself drawn to my old parish. To this day the doors of the church are not locked, at least the times I have visited there, but now the church does have a twenty four hour monitoring system.
One of the many things I always loved about this church was the church bells. Bells that rang out at different times through out the day. Sometimes the bells put me in a panic like when I realized I had better hurry or I would be late for mass. Other times I found them extremely sad like the day they rang out at my mothers funeral. Most of the time though I found them to be very beautiful and comforting. Especially when I used to sit in one of the a pews waiting for mass to begin. To me they were a consistent reminder that God was there and watching over our little community. I have to say that the whole time I was growing up I never once heard of any one complaining about the bells.
I was very disheartened to learn that there are those living in the community now that would like to stop the bells from ringing. They are complaining that the bells and music are just to loud. Although the parish has tried to work with them, and have turned the volume down, apparently that was not enough. They have now petitioned the city council, bringing the local government into the mix.

I was so shocked when I learned of this that I googled church bells to see if any other churches have been faced with a similar situation. I did find another church, in another state, in which this occurred. I can't help but hope that this is not the start of some sort of a slow moving trend. It would be hard to imagine living in a world without church bells.
I would very much like to hear your thoughts? I realize we are all different in our likes and dislikes. Are you bothered by the ringing of church bells or do you find them soothing like I do?

Saint Sebastian has gone through restorations like many other parishes through the years but there are little things that have remained the same. It is still quite beautiful! As I was standing there all alone in the quiet of the moment with tears in my eyes taking these lovely pictures it truly felt like I had come home.
It is my hope and prayer that those disgruntled in the community will find a way to work with the church, without government involvement, and that the bells of Saint Sebastian, like in the past, will be allowed to ring on forever.
With warmest regards, Carol

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgivng!.......

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although this isn't my Thanksgiving tablescape it's a tablescape I did in early Autumn this year for company we had one evening. I will not be doing a Thanksgivng tablescape this year as my hubby, Charli, and I have all been invited over to Anne and Mike's for dinner :>)

I imagine most of you are busy baking, cooking, setting up your own tablescapes, or getting ready to travel to your destinations as this truly lovely holiday of ours, here in the United States approaches.


I hope your day is filled with good friends and family, and I hope your blessings are bountiful!
Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments you leave here ♥
God bless our troops in far away lands!
A very special thank you to them and to all of they're family's for the sacrifices they make each and every day for all of us ♥
A very special prayer for all of those who are sick or suffering in any way, as well as, to all of those who are grieving the loss a love one ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A wedding across the sea!

A wedding across the sea!

Actually this lovely wedding took place across the ocean and the people in it are very special to me. I know I have talked about my cousin Sharon here in the past. Sharon is not only my cousin but we were best friends growing up. We did everything together! We lived approximately seven blocks apart, went to the same schools, and attended the same parish. We married the same month, of the same year, and our children are very close in age. Sharon lives up north now so we don't get to see each other as often as we would like, but we still keep in touch and talk on the phone all of the time.

Sharon's daughter Kelly happens to live in South Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom, and her daughter Nikki recently got married. Although we were unable to attend the wedding, with the aid of Face book, phone calls, and instant messages it was almost as though we were there. Some of our family members were able to watch the wedding take place via Skype. Other family members traveled to the United Kingdom to personally attend the wedding. Kelly was host to everyone, and if that were not enough, she still took the time to make Nikki's beautiful wedding cake herself! Isn't it gorgeous!

I just love weddings!.... Sigh.... They are so romantic and joyful. I enjoy seeing the thought and attention to detail that goes into them. Each bride has her own unique style. I thought Nikki's wedding choices were absolutely beautiful! Her dress was exquisite, the flowers stunning, and the cake absolutely lovely! The fact that Kelly made the wedding cake is so special and something Nikki, I'm sure, will never ever forget!

Because most of us enjoy weddings so much I thought all of you might like to see some of the wedding pictures too. Thank you Kelly, Nikki, and Ian for graciously allowing me to post some of your lovely pictures here!

Nikki's color choices were blue and orange. I thought the combination of colors was just beautiful! And don't you just love that darling little cake topper in the picture up above? I don't remember ever seeing a cake topper like that before. I like the bride's dress and the umbrella that was incorporated into the topper.
I love all of the pretty delicate white, orange, and blue flowers on the wedding cake. I like the way the flowers have been arranged. Isn't the cake just beautiful?
The bride wore orange shoes! I really liked that idea. It was a great choice for a modern bride. I love the vibrant colors of the orange and blue that Nikki chose. Everything was absolutely perfect and so pretty.
Daughter and Mother, Nikki and Kelly. Two women who are both just lovely inside and out.

The guys wore kilts! Don't they look handsome? I really like the ties and vests. The flowers on they're lapels just pop! They look very elegant indeed.

Instead of the tradional bridal veil, Niki chose to wear a single orange flower in her hair. Isn't it just stunning? I also love the bead work on her dress. What a beautiful bride she was!!!
All of the flower arrangements were absolutely gorgeous! I especially like the blue flowers as I don't see them as often in flower arrangements. Blue has always been my favorite color.
I think Nikki and Ian make such a handsome couple! They are so cute together. I get such a kick out of the comments they make to one another on Facebook. Just think.... They have they're whole life ahead of them.... Sigh.... They have been busy moving into they're new home and last week Nikki made cookies for Ian :>)

Nikki's dress was just lovely and I thought the girls dresses were absolutely gorgeous as well.

The bridal bouquets were done very simply in one solid color and yet they were so elegant and beautiful!

A picture of the guys getting ready. Do you think they were nervous :>)

Congratulations to Nikki and Ian! Best wishes for a wonderful life together and a marriage filled with romance and love!
I hope all of you have enjoyed seeing some of Nikki and Ian's wedding pictures. There is just something about a wedding that is so up lifting. I just love weddings don't you?
I'M THANKFUL that I live in the world of the Internet. It has allowed me to stay in touch with my family and to meet many wonderful new friends through my blogging experiences.
Many blessings to all of you ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Monday, November 15, 2010

Has anybody seen my grandma?

Has anybody seen my grandma?

"Hi everybody. Have you seen my grandma? She's been gone an awful lot lately! She's been talking about showers, and dinners, and visiting with friends while I've been stuck here at home all alone. I just don't think it's fair! Since I'm a little girl I don't see why I can't go to all these showers she's been talking about and I wouldn't be any trouble at all if she took me with her to visit her friends. If she took me out to dinner with her I would even be glad to volunteer to help out in the kitchen. She's gonna be mad but it really wasn't my fault that I chewed up one of her favorite books and pulled all the covers and pillows off of the sofa. It's just that I get so frustrated some times. I miss her so much! If you see her will you tell her she has responsibilities here at home? Thanks, Charli"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Honor of Veterans Day!......

A very special thank you to all of the men and women who so gallantly served and continue to serve our country!
I'M THANKFUL that because of the sacrifices you and your families have made, my family and I are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today!
With warmest regards, Carol

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rycraft Cookie Stamps.....

Rycraft Cookie Stamps.....

Quite some time ago, perhaps in the spring, I happened upon a blog and read a post about Rycraft Cookie Stamps. I honestly cannot recall whose blog it was, but a link to the Rycraft home page was included in the post. If anyone reading this post wrote a post on Rycraft Cookie Stamps please send me your link. I would be very happy to add it to my post here.
Ever since reading that Rycraft cookie post I have been receiving monthly newsletters from Rycraft with the intention of one day purchasing one or two of the stamps myself. About two months ago I finally purchased two of the stamps and last week I decided to try one of them out.
This is what I learned.....
It's super easy to do!
I followed a basic shortbread recipe which called for:
1 cup of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cup unsifted flour
All you have to do is roll the dough into one inch balls and then stamp them with the cookie stamp. The stamps are easy to use and the dough doesn't seem to stick to them. When I made my cookies I decided to use the pre packaged Betty Crocker Cookie Icing. I couldn't find any of the green icing so I used the pre packaged cake icing instead. That was a hugh mistake because the icing didn't blend as well on to the cookies. Next time, I will either make the icing as recommended by Rycraft, or purchase the actual Betty Crocker pre made cookie icing in both colors, even if that means going to several stores to find it.
At the Rycraft site there are many different kinds of cookie recipes, cooking and packaging tips, craft projects, cookie stamps, and a newsletter that can be subscribed to if you wish. These cookies are very pretty! The colors are just vibrant and really stand out. I think they would make a beautiful addition to any Christmas cookie box or to a tea table of any kind. They also taste very good!

I would like to say that even though this may seem like some sort of an official advertisement for Rycraft Stamp Cookie's it is not. I just fell in love with these pretty cookies, as well as the site, and with Christmas coming I wanted to share the site with all of you as well. This last picture is courtesy of the Rycraft Stamp Cookie link.
Are you inspired to bake cookies during the holidays? If so, I would love to hear from you.
Charli camps out in the kitchen when ever I cook or bake. She will periodically scratch my leg with her paw so I won't forget she is there. When something is baking in the oven her little snoot is on alert! She sits there and sniffs the whole time it is baking.
I'M THANKFUL that I have a home. I have my own little place to rest my head at night. I have a place where I can read, bake, entertain, or even have an animal if I would like. I have a place to come home to, a place where I am warm and out of the cold. To me this is a huge blessing because there are so many without. I hope I never take my life or home for granted.
I hope all of you are having a wonderful week ♥
Since posting my friend Mildred has sent me her stamp cookie link Athough this is not the link I was referring to I wanted to add it here. Just look at all of Mildred's beautiful stamp cookies! Thank you Mildred! Your cookies are awesome!
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, November 7, 2010



Recently Charli and me headed over to one of my favorite thrift stores here in our area. Charli, of course, was miffed when she was told she had to stay in the car, and especially, when she saw the big old dog that roams the thrift store during the day. You should have heard her howling! Sometimes that pooch can be so embarrassing!

While I was in the store, tucked a way in the corner, I found this beautiful package of hankies. How many of you can remember back in the days when these dainty little hankies were so popular? Well, according to the owner of the store they are making a huge come back. He told me in the last several weeks alone a lady had come in and bought several boxes to use in a report she was giving on vintage hankies for her college class. He said another lady came in and purchased seven boxes. She said she was going to give them out as favors at a wedding shower she was throwing for her daughter later that month.
Seeing this box, wrapped, with the word Mom on it made me kind of sad. I imagine that some sweet mother received this lovely gift, and like so many of us, cherished it so much that she tucked it away in a drawer and never gave herself the pleasure of using it. I can't imagine this mother ever wanting to part with such a beautiful treasure so I am assuming she may have died and this precious little gift then found itself discarded in a thrift shop. It served as a reminder to me that all of our pretty things should be used and enjoyed. As I stood there speculating about this little box I knew I had to bring these hankies home with me.
Once I had gotten the hankies home, I washed and pressed them. Then I started thinking of all of the fun things I could do with them.

Perhaps I could give them as a gift at one of the teas I enjoy hosting.

Maybe I could used them as a delicate napkin.

I think they would make a lovely napkin ring.

I could even fill them with candy and use them as a party favor.

I don't think these lovely napkins will ever mean as much to anyone as the person they were originally meant for, but perhaps, I could make someone happy by passing them along. What ever I decide to do with them I know this....
As much as we treasure our beautiful gifts, we should enjoy them ourselves, because they just might eventually wind up sitting on a shelf in a thrift shop like these beautiful hankies did.
I hope all of you have a beautiful week ♥
I'M THANKFUL for the life lessons my mother and my grandmother's taught me.
Happy Sunday everyone!
With warmest regards, Carol

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It may not be the Mayflower but I still think it's cute!

It may not be the Mayflower but I still think it's cute!

With out mentioning any names, last year I saw an advertisement in a catalog for a Mayflower ship centerpiece that was made out of felt. The store is some what upscale and the ship was quite expensive. Although I thought it would look darling in my home, or on my Thanksgiving table, I just couldn't justify spending all of that money.

Then this past summer, while walking through Michael's Craft Store, I happened across an unfinished pirate ship and I thought why not try to turn that into a ship to be used as a Thanksgiving decoration, a centerpiece for a small table, or on a buffet for the actual Thanksgiving meal. I bought the ship, popped off the skull and crossbones, and removed the cannon. After a light sanding, I painted it and added foam art stickers. I used fall leaves and 'Give Thanks' messages but there are all sorts of things available in foam art from pumpkins, to pilgrims, and even corn stalks. Wouldn't this be a great project to do with children! I have to say I think my little ship looks very festive indeed!

Give thanks....
"For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done,
and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home-
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
For the trade and the skill and the wealth of our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and reflection have brought-
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the free."
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!'
-Author Unknown-

Charli and I did a little Christmas shopping today. We went to one of her favorite stores, Pet Smart, where she picked out the presents for Sofie and Peeper. Charli actually wanted to keep them all for herself but she graciously agreed that we could put them away as long as she got a toy too. She is such a typical little diva!
I'M THANKFUL FOR my family. I'm thankful for my dear hubby, our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and also for all of the sweet animals we have been blessed with.
I hope all of you are having a lovely week ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

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