Friday, March 31, 2017

Crocheting A Baby Surprise

I can't share a picture today because I am crocheting a...surprise!

A surprise for my daughter's baby shower! Aside from the surprise, I bought her some pretty things to wrap the baby in (I can't go into much detail in case she peeks at my blog.)  The baby shower is a week from Saturday.

The baby is due in early May.  This is her first baby and it is a boy! They are not telling us his name until after he is born.  I am guessing his name will be Samuel (Sam).  My second daughter is guessing Luke.  My third daughter isn't wagering a guess.  We shall see...

Sadly, my Isaac and Hannah live far away (10 hour drive) and I do miss them. I am very thankful for our visits, mail, and FaceTime!  This new little one is only 30 minutes away.  My arms are just itching to hold him.

PS The surprise is not a blanket.

What could it be?
Guesses are welcome
I can't confirm or deny
your answer just yet!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Watercolor Wishes

Friends are kisses blown to us by angels.
~Author Unknown

I've been racking my brains (and fingers) making my Easter cards. I made a number of different ones with bunnies, ones with chicks, and ones with flowers. I wasn't pleased with any of them until I made these.

I love these delicate flowers. I first stamped the images on the card and then painted with watercolors. I haven't used watercolors in ages and the brush felt good in my hands. The cards aren't perfect but I'm very happy with them.

Do you enjoy making/sending cards to friends?

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Spring Welcome at the Door

Oh, Spring is surely coming,
Her couriers fill the air;
Each morn are new arrivals,
Each night her ways prepare;
I scent her fragrant garments,
Her foot is on the stair.

~John Burroughs, A March Glee

As you enter my front door, you are welcomed by Mr Rabbit and Mrs Periwinkle.  They are the official greeters for the cottage this spring. I love this mahogany entryway bench and shelf that I purchased from Pottery Barn.  It is beautiful and practical.

I've decorated the shelf with birdhouses, a little brass mouse candlestick, and a cabbage teapot.  The baskets hold mail and odds and ends.  On the hooks are a sweet little rabbit, a small pastel egg wreath, and a framed garden print.  Painted on the rabbit are the words Plant a Rabbit ~ Feed a Bunny.  The framed garden print says Trespassers Will Be Composted.  Too cute!

Mr Rabbit and Mrs Periwinkle bid you farewell and thank you for visiting. ♥

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy Little Seedlings

My flower garden is growing slowly but surely... inside!

Last year, we purchased the larger Ultra AeroGarden by Miracle-Gro from Costco.  We grew seven different plants ~ herbs and cherry tomatoes.  You can just leave them in the AeroGarden and harvest from there but we decided that once they were "old enough" we would plant them in our vegetable garden outside.  It was wonderful to have fresh herbs and tomatoes spring through early autumn.

Not too long ago, AeroGarden was having a big sale and we purchased two smaller Sprout AeroGardens.  Each holds three pods to garden.  This year, I chose three different flower seed kits.

Spring Flowers Garden: Random stock flowers containing red, white, lavender, and purple blooms

Lots of Lavender Garden: Purple Elegance Lavender

English Cottage Garden: Pink Snapdragons, Purple Snapdragons, Cherry Dianthus, and Purple Lavender

The English Cottage Garden kit comes with seven seed pods and those are growing in the larger AeroGarden.

I love watching the little seedlings grow. The AeroGarden alerts me when I need to add water or nutrients to the flowers. The LED lighting system run automatically for sixteen hours a day. My flowers are basking in the light. Happy little seedlings make a happy mama.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Aging Beautifully ~ Defining Beauty

Flowers whisper "Beauty!" to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall.
~ Dr. SunWolf

How do you define beauty?
Beauty: noun
1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
2. a beautiful person, especially a woman.
3. a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
4. something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural or artificial environment.
5. an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm:
6. informal. a particular advantage:
7. something extraordinary:

How we define beauty is based on who we are and what we value: youth, appearance, health, character, temperament, and/or spirit.

When thinking on aging beauty,  an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm speaks to me more so than one's physical appearance.  To me, a person's character, temperament, and spirit defines true beauty.  That is not to say that appearance and health are not important but to me they are temporal.  They can change in the blink of an eye.  They do not last. A person's character, temperament, and spirit can also change but their effects are longer lasting and will influence one's appearance and health far more than the other way around.

This is the second post in my Aging Beautifully series. To revisit earlier posts in the series, you can find them by clicking on the link in the Sampler left sidebar.

In this series on Aging Beautifully, I hope to touch on all aspects of beauty and how we can nurture beauty in our lives and ourselves. I hope that you will join me and celebrate our beauty within and without (not without without but rather on the outside).

Which definition of beauty speaks to you?

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

There's Nothing More I Want

There is a hill I cherish
Where stood a precious tree
The emblem of Salvation
The gift of Calvary

How is it I should profit?
While He is crucified
Yet as His life was taken
So I was granted mine

My wealth is in the cross
There's nothing more I want
Than just to know His love
My heart is set on Christ
And I will count all else as loss
The greatest of my crowns
Mean nothing to me now
For I counted up the cost
And all my wealth is in the cross

I will not boast in riches
I have no pride in gold
But I will boast in Jesus
And in His Name alone

My wealth is in the cross
There's nothing more I want
Than just to know His love
My heart is set on Christ
And I will count all else as loss
The greatest of my crowns
Mean nothing to me now
For I counted up the cost
And all my wealth is in the cross
Yes all my wealth is in the cross

And when I stand in glory
My crowns before the Lord
Let this be my confession
My wealth is in the cross (hallelujah)

Hillsong, Crowns

I love these song lyrics by Hillsong.  I don't care for the melody that much so I sing my own version of it.  Do you do that too?

There's nothing more I want than just to know His love.  Amen!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Aging Beautifully

What is really beautiful needs no adorning. We do not grind down the pearl upon a polishing stone. ~Sataka, quoted in Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech, 1886

As promised, here is a picture of my Valentine's Day roses. Though they have lost their vigor, they have not lost their beauty. The rose petals no longer soft and bright. The petals now rough and faded yet they still speak love to me.

We are like the roses.
As the seasons of life pass, our beauty changes.

We may or may not have lost our vigor.  I can remember being very tired in my 20's.  As a mother of 4 young children, there was little time to rest.  Life was busy and hectic and I loved it.  Sleep was unpredictable as was being able to shower or brush my teeth.  Now that my children are grown, there is time for rest and sleep, showering, and even brushing my teeth.

to be continued...

I will be writing a series of posts on Aging Beautifully.  I hope that you will join me and celebrate our beauty within and without (not without without but rather on the outside).

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Simply Lovely Giveaway!

Today is the day!

About a month ago, I wrote about my Simple Stories Planner and how much I am enjoying creating and organizing. If you haven't read my post, you can read it here. It is now a month later and I am still tickled pink. ♥

I ordered a special planner and other special special treats to go with it and they have finally arrived!

I am giving away a beautiful blue (robin's egg) Simple Stories Planner! It is absolutely gorgeous!

The planner is 8"w x 9.4" h and has a little golden charm that says CARPE DIEM.

Inside the planner, there are monthly dividers for the whole year and a number of different types of pages ~ monthly calendars, daily calendars, and weekly calendars. Here are what a few of them look like.

Please excuse the lighting in my photographs (especially the first one). The pages are supposed to be white but some of my pictures look beige. I can't seem to catch the light correctly.

Also, this giveaway will include some Simple Stories Carpe Diem stickers, a planner decal that you can adhere to your planner should you choose to...

and a variety of cardstock pictures & notes to add to your planner stash. I'm also adding this really cute Reset Girl roller stamp to get your planning mojo going. Such cute sayings on the stamp like "get it girl" "LIKE A BOSS" and more.

Would you like to enter this Simply Lovely Giveaway?

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is:

* Be a follower of my With Twigs and Branches blog!                              AND
* Leave a comment on this post about an upcoming event you don't want to forget!

If you are already a follower, please let me know and leave your comment.  If you aren't a follower yet, please do follow and comment to be entered into the giveaway drawing.

Being a follower AND leaving a comment will give you one entry in the drawing.

Would you like two chances to enter? For a second entry:

* Share this giveaway in your blog sidebar with a link to this post! (don't forget to let me know!)

This Simply Lovely Giveaway starts immediately and will continue until noon on Friday, April 7th.  On Friday afternoon, a name will be drawn via and the winner will be announced on that day's post. Enjoy!

*This giveaway is only available to someone living in the continental United States.*
Hopefully I can have another one soon that will be available to the moon and back. xo

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Glimpse of Roses

On Valentine's Day, my husband sent me some beautiful roses . I put them in a sweet white pitcher.

After two weeks, I trimmed the stems and put some of them in these individual bud vases. I love how they sit in this little wire rack.

The rest I placed in this little pink milk glass.

I thought I'd taken a picture of the roses today. I will have to take one tomorrow and post it at a later time. I've been able to dry a few of the roses. The colors have faded but they are beautiful still.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Popcorn & a Show ~ Train to Busan

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out. ~ Alfred Hitchcock

I'm all about drama. Give me drama any day over comedy. And when that drama is mixed with zombies, well, I've got to watch it!

Zombies aren't for everyone but I have always been a bit fond of the genre. I like monsters that you can see and annihilate. I've had too many real monsters in my life that I could do nothing about.

I wasn't expecting very much from this particular movie but I was very pleasantly surprised! I REALLY really liked it. It is a foreign film ~ Korean with English subtitles. The scenery was beautiful. The writing was excellent ~ I either loved certain characters or hated them. There were no dull moments in this movie. And the zombies were intense. In some movies or shows, the zombies are slow but not in this film. No siree! They were fast and scary (not so much for me as I have become desensitized by now!) and hungry!

Train to Busan is a movie that will not disappoint!
While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan. (click on the link to see a trailer for this movie)

The movie also had its really amusing moments. I took a few screenshots for examples. So people are on the train from Seoul to Busan and they learn about the chaos on the television screens on the train. The train is some kind of express/bullet train with all the newest technology. The passengers don't know what is really going on. They just see riots and police/military response. Two older women (sisters) react:

I thought this was hilarious! Maybe it's just me?

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching and reviewing a foreign film each month this 2017.  South Korea has a special place in my heart.  I have two different friends that live there.  They were each my students when I tutored them (English as a Second Language) at the library in Northern New Jersey.

Do you enjoy foreign films?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sweet Dreams

And if tonight
my soul may find
her peace in sleep,
and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake
like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again
in God, and new-created.
~D.H. Lawrence

I confess that I am exhausted.

My day was filled with going for a long walk, grooming Little Bear, cleaning house, and making dinner. My body is just bone tired. I had hoped to post more but I am off to bed (and it isn't even 8 o'clock yet). Sweet Dreams!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Spring

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

Happy 1st day of Spring!

Here in North Carolina, the sun gave spring a warm welcome!  It was a gorgeous day.  The temperatures were in the high 50's.  Simply beautiful!

Little Bear and I took a walkabout in the garden to see what we could see.  The strawberry plants are in fine form ~ healthy leaves and runners reaching for the warm soil.  No blooms yet though.

The lush blackberry bushes are growing tall and handsome.  We need to retie them higher onto the trellis.

The blueberry bushes are slow in wakening.  Little Bear and I did our best to cheer them on.  Wake up! Wake up!  Spring has arrived!

Is your garden rejoicing this first day of Spring?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cast Your Cares Upon Him

Cast your cares upon Him
Lay your life upon Him
For only He is worthy to stand
In tribulation, trial, or sorrow
When you can't see through tomorrow
He'll reveal to you the frailty of a man

Can you reach to love your neighbor
Will they see the sweet, sweet Saviour
Shining through the charity you give?
Do you hear His call to follow?
You must lay down your life to follow
For only when you die are you free to live.

We must go as the light to the nations
Take up the cross and follow where He leads
We must go as the light to the nations
Prepared to wear His crown of thorns To bring His peace

Cast your cares upon Him
Lay your life upon him
He's a faithfulness and love whose always there
Are you prepared to take His cross to bear
Will His love be what you freely share
In humility, cast down your cares.

John Michael Talbot

I love the simplicity of this worship song.  In humility, cast down your cares.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Books, Hot Cocoa, and More

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Today, I spent a glorious morning (2 plus hours!) sitting in Barnes and Noble with a big stack of books and magazines. Add a grande hot chocolate and a homemade (mine) muffin and I'm in a literary paradise. My sweet husband had a photography club meeting and I was very content to spend time all by my lonesome. Though is anyone ever really alone when one can read any number of wondrous books?

I stumbled upon this Rustic Wedding magazine and spent a long time looking at beautiful photographs of woodsy nuptials. Absolutely gorgeous!  If we ever decide to renew our vows, I know what kind of renewal/wedding I want!

Two hours is never enough time to spend in Barnes and Noble!

How are you today?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Tea ala Cart

Any bunny
to join me
for tea?

I love this Ethan Allen tea cart that I found at an estate sale. Both sides open up if needed.  There is a folding handle bar on one end to make the cart easy to push.  The bottom shelf holds some white and pink and white platters.  There is a shelf in the middle that slides in or out.

I enjoy decorating the cart for different seasons and holidays.

I found this two tier metal basket online at Pfaltzgraff.  It holds a number of different tins filled with teas, hot cocoa, and candy.  You can see a pretty pink and white plate peeking out from behind the tins on the bottom tier.

I thought this would be the perfect place for this Jim Shore Easter Basket.  I love that it is all hand painted wood.  The little chickie has the sweetest face.

I absolutely love the little black and white poodles. They are actually salt and pepper shakers. Little Bear is rather fold of them too.

And how could we have a spring tea party without a pink and white polka dot teapot and tray?

And for those that prefer coffee, have I got a cup for you! This big Starbucks coffee mug was a Christmas gift from my sweet husband. I plan on planting flowers in it when the weather turns more agreeable.

Thank you for stopping in for a cup of coffee, tea, and a little something sweet!

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Early Morning Easel Drawings

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. ~Oscar Wilde

I always enjoy seeing my grandson's art projects!

Isaac describes this recent picture as:

Daddy is jumping off a diving board. There are no bombs allowed on the diving board. Mommy is resting. Isaac is watching the fireplace. And Hannah is playing with a pig.

I love that Mommy is resting! ♥

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Before and After ~ Brick Patio Reveal

The before patio photograph looks pretty sad.  Picture flowers and bushes along the edge near the house.  My husband had to dig them up before the mason started working.  We saved them and will replant them in the near future.  Hoping to spare the back porch furniture from too much work dust, I covered them with old sheets.

What a difference 5 days make (and a bunch of $).  Definitely worth it all.

And that is the story of how the beautiful brick patio came to be.

The End

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

More New Brick Patio Reveals

Here is a bit more of the brick patio.  You can see the bbq in the right corner.  You can see some brown leaves in the trees still hanging on for dear life.  We wish they'd fall down and we can rake them up all at once!

A close up of the gas bbq.  It looks filthy because of all the work dust.  It cleans up new!  My husband can hardly wait to heat up the grill.  Besides the regular bbq features, the bbq has a rotisserie and a searing station.

Tomorrow, we will travel back in time to what the patio looked like before.

Monday, March 13, 2017

New Brick Patio Reveal

Here is the first photograph of the new brick patio.  You can see the fire pit, the seating around the edges (there is a brick seat back on the curve by the fire pit), and the stone table (36" x 96"). What you can't see is the counters and bbq.

You can see half of the screened-in porch and the white rails/steps.  Directly opposite those steps are the two brick/stone pillars that lead a brick step down into the gardens/woods.

The mason and crew did an absolutely beautiful job building everything.  We are very happy.

Tomorrow I will post the bbq end photograph and also a before the work was done photograph.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

And Can It Be

And can it be that I should gain
An int'rest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

'Tis mystery all! Th'Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more. [Refrain]

He left His Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race;
'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me. [Refrain]

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee. [Refrain]

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th'eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own. [Refrain]

Charles Wesley (1738)

This is one of my favorite hymns.  Such a beautiful reminder that it is only by God's loving grace that we are saved.  Amen!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Shams of a Different Color

Posting the photograph yesterday of Little Bear hiding under the bed reminded me that it was time to change the daybed's quilt and shams.  I love this antique rose gold quilt.  I can't seem to find the matching shams so I made do with shams of a different color.

The two green floral pillow shams match the touch of green in the quilt.  Even though the white sham doesn't match the quilt in color, the flowers are similar to the ones in the quilt.  The green foliage on the white sham also matches the lighter green in the other shams.  The smaller pillows match the antique gold in the quilt. I'm not crazy about the white bedskirt.  I do have a matching bedskirt to the quilt but it probably is with the matching shams in a box in the attic.  I'll find them eventually.

Do your bed pillow shams match?

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Friday, March 10, 2017

When You're Down and Troubled

when you're down and troubled
and you need some loving care

hide under the bed
and eat popcorn

The patio is finished and no one is happier than Little Bear.  All the noise and commotion was too much for Little Bear's ordinary days.  She hid under the bed most of the time and only came out for water and treats.  Popcorn can be a wonderful comfort food!  I love you Little Bear!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Yankee Candle Treasure

Little bread-and-butterflies kiss the tulips
And the sun is like a toy balloon
There are get-up-in-the-morning glories
In the golden afternoon

There are dizzy daffodils on the hillside
Strings of violets are all in tune
Tiger lilies love the dandelions
In the golden afternoon

There are dog and cat-erpillars and a copper centipede
Where the lazy daisies love the very peaceful life
They lead...
You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
For especially in the month of June
There's a wealth of happiness and romance
All in the golden afternoon

Disney's Golden Afternoon, Alice in Wonderland

While I was in town on Tuesday, I stopped at the thrift shop. I unearthed a lovely treasure ~ a Yankee Candle Shade for a medium/large candle. I love the soft colors and all the different flowers on each side of the shade. ♥ that it was only $3.00.

Have you discovered any buried treasures lately?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

More Love

My daughter recently took this picture of the grands.  Isaac is gently guiding Hannah through the mall.  So cute! ♥