Monday's Musings and Goals

 It's hard to get a clear picture of this handsome fellow from my bedroom window, but if I tried to go outside, I'd scare him away (and I'd have to take all that time to bundle up). So, enjoy the pop of chubby redness amidst the snow and pine. He's nice company.

His bright color is such a pleasant sight during this long sunless spell we've been having while I'm fighting catching the cold that's going around and feeling lethargic.

But still, on to this week's goals...

* Make a big pot of chicken soup using frozen broth
* Continue this week's assignment of Joy's organizing challenge 
* Dehydrate more apples

* Continue research on meat rabbits and quail
* Empty shed as much as possible with snow in the way
* Assess seed collection and order any necessities

Letters to Write
* Aunt P.
* J.N.
* D.B?

* Continue APQ Challenge # 3 by moving more stuff to bookcase
* Baste Autumn Jubilee 2023?
* Finish crochet baby afghan if I can get more yarn
* Make progress on Everyday Embroidery

* Continue Dancing With My Father - Sally Clarkson
* Start Little Men - Louisa May Alcott
* Continue Irish Country Family - Patrick Taylor
* Start Beyond the Pellet - Boyd Craven Jr. & Rick Worden

Whew! I'm exhausted just looking at that list. I'm sure once I conquer this cold lethargy I'll be right at it.

May your goals go well this week.

Book Review - Garden Maker by Christie Purifoy

I love, love, love this book! 

Oh, how I love this book! 

It's beauty is not limited to the gorgeous, inspiring photography, but flows over into the glorious prose describing the magnificent and minute creation of the great God of the universe and inspiring us to get involved in sharing his creativity and seeing his hand in it.

 The love of the author for her crafts of gardening, writing, and photography shine through on every page and it makes me wish I could garden, write, and photograph so winsomely. And I shall keep trying, for she doesn't intimidate; she invites along. She makes me want to think and absorb more as I garden, to note better the intricacies of each flower, to invite more and different plants into my little world, to spend time in the garden not only as a gardener, but as a wonderer. 

And on this gray winter's day, I needed the inspiration and got it.

Classics Club Review - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

 While some may consider this book moralistic, I thought it was encouraging, helpful, fun, and the moral lessons were tucked in here and there in an inviting and realistic way. 

The cast of characters are loveable, warts and all. They are real, at least to the culture and time in which they were set, and in many ways remind me both of my childhood in the boonies of a third-world country and my children's childhoods where TV and internet were very limited in order to foster imagination, reading, and other creative activities. 

This is not a pie-in-the-sky kind of story and the March family faces some severe trials and heartaches, but we're shown how they walked through those things with help from God, family, and friends without becoming preachy, just a little big-sisterly sometimes. 

Since I used an audiobook for this one, I'll say that I enjoyed the rendition given by C.M. Hebert as she put good inflection in her voice and used believable accents and differing voice tones throughout. I really liked the book far better than the movies, though I did enjoy the Winona Ryder one a long while ago. For the rest of the set of Alcott books that I own, I do hope to read them in hard copy since I like the old set and want to use it.

So, now I'm on to Little Men. I think I will order some Alcott Literary Tea from Simpson & Vail Tea to go along with my endeavor. I sure enjoy their other literary teas.

To quote Tigger: "TTFN!"

This review is for Classics Club as well as Belle's Library Victorian Reading Challenge and fulfills Brighter Winter Reading for New-to-You (though I knew much about it, it was new in that I'd actually never read it).

Time Use Experiment

Yesterday I tried something I've wanted to try for quite some time - roasting pumpkin seeds. After I'd cooked three small pumpkins and made some pumpkin pudding with some of it and froze the rest, I washed the seeds in cold water, which made the stringy pulpy goo come of them pretty easily, mixed 2 cups of them with 3 T. oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 tsp. salt, and spread them out on an aluminum-covered sheet pan to roast at 250F for 45 minutes and then 5 more minutes at 325F as instructed by Taste of Home. They turned out wonderfully though next time I'm going to try a little more garlic and Worcestershire just for a little more punch.


 I'm trying an experiment today and so far I'm liking it. I've set a two hour timer on my phone and use that as a signal to add wood to the woodstove (too frequently I neglect it and have to start it up again 😒) and then to change focus for another two hours. I started with my time in God's Word and prayer as well as other reading and letter-writing. The next two-hour segment was for housekeeping - cleaning kitchen, cleaning one of the bathrooms, prepping sourdough to rise, making kombucha, watering indoor salad gardening, etc. After replenishing the fire, the next segment was for listing some clothing on Ebay all the while trying to keep curious kitty out of the pictures. (I use a trifold display board covered in scrap muslin as my backdrop.)

Next was a quick lunch while watching part of a Youtube video on meat rabbits and then since the sun was finally shining (it's been gray skies for over a week), I had to step outside to enjoy and then came in to lie down in the patch of sunshine on my bed for a few minutes.(I think I'm part cat.)

Now is the time for pursuing personal interests and studies, like blogging, learning to draw, more letter-writing, nap, baking, history of Israel, or more rabbit-raising studies. After this comes craft/sewing time before prepping supper. This month's project is moving and organizing my "Craft Corner" and I made good progress yesterday while listening to Little Women for Classics Club.

On the left is the woodbox. I'm taking the picture from right beside the insulated woodstove.

These boxes are from Sky Flake crackers - a favorite from my childhood in the Philippines.

I hope to get more of my larger yardages of fabrics wrapped onto foamboard pieces. The aqua boxes are spray-painted and used to store various widths of strips.

My aunt's antique cast iron sewing machine. Boy! is it heavy!

The overflow yet to be put away.

My beloved Hoosier cabinet serves as cutting table and storage.

So, it's all coming along and I get a good amount of each kind of activity throughout the day, though I confess that I haven't exercised yet except for going up and down the stairs and walking to the mailbox (which is a kind of short walk). I'll have to get that going better.

How's your day going?

New Year, New Goals

 Yup, it's been busy around here (still). I have made time to list some goals for the new year and I'm already being able to make progress in some of them.

One of those goals has been to do some topical Bible studies. Usually I do a read-the-Bible-in-a-year program, last year's being a chronological read through The Complete Jewish Study Bible.

It was very good to read a different translation than my usual since it caused me to pay a little more attention because the words were slightly different. I also enjoyed the study notes throughout and my eyes were opened a little more to the wonderful continuity and symbolism between the testaments and to how Jesus fulfilled not only a lot of prophecy, but also fulfilled the law and was the embodiment of much of the symbolism. Beautiful!

So this year I want to study a few things - the various views of the "end times," how to grow in being gentle and wise in speech, a history of Israel post-New Testament though also including the period between the testaments (hopefully reading Josephus's history will help), and look more in-depth into Jesus's "I am" statements (particularly in the Gospel of John. I believe I have my work cut out for me. I'm currently rereading the book of Proverbs, one chapter per day, as that covers a lot of needed wisdom topics.

Another goal has to do with decluttering, as it seems many of us need to do regularly. Only, I don't want to just move things around and organize them better; I actually want to finish the projects that cause a lot of clutter, or actually get rid of what is no longer needed or wanted.

So, I joined the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge, made my lists: 

12 Musts, 

17 Hopefuls (plus handworks which I usually do in the evenings while watching TV with huggy),

and a Dream On (to which I'm sure there will be additions).

Many of these projects will be tackled/enjoyed in my new craft corner, which ties in very well with the goal of decluttering and reorganizing. Since we finished the ceiling in the main part of the basement, I can now move my craft corner from a very cramped, disorganized, overcrowded corner of my bedroom down to a hopefully more organized and spacious corner of the basement.

Here are before and during pics:

It's still very much a work in progress, but it is definitely progressing and I'm very thankful. I set this as my UFO Challenge for January, so I think I've gotten a good start. My sweet husband very kindly helped me move the furniture and is working on some full-spectrum lighting for me. I am blessed. He's going to be rather surprised that I rearranged our bed to be kitty-corner as that's not our usual arrangement. I like to keep things exciting. 😁

Another tentative goal for this year is to set up a rabbitry (again) only this time for meat rabbits instead of fiber rabbits. (Although, I am kinda considering having one of my keeper bucks or does be an angora so I can do both fiber and meat. More research needed.) Saturday Lovey and I went to a nearby rabbitry and learned how to do the butchering and came home with fresh rabbit meat to try. I had been worried that I'd have difficulty killing a rabbit since they are so much cuter than chickens which I've butchered in abundance. We were shown a quick, humane way to do it and I felt much better about it. Then after tasting the roast rabbit, I'm more eager to make the whole plan happen. So I've been commissioned by Lovey to get all the facts together, like set-up cost, gestational time, how many litters can a doe deliver safely within a year, and stuff like that. I'm on it!

So, with these big goals in mind, here are my week's goals for Joy's Monday This & That

Sewing/Crafting - January UFO Challenge
* Keep moving stuff downstairs
* Unpack stuff and organize
* Keep crocheting baby afghan for eventual gifting
* Restart Everyday Embroidery

* Keep decluttering bedroom
* Reorganize letter-writing stuff (in bedroom)
* Deal with four pumpkins

* Research & write up rabbitry proposal
* Order more seeds for indoor salad shoots

* (Classics Club) Little Women, primarily audio
* (Israel History) From the Maccabees to the Mishnah
* (Christian Living) Dancing with My Father - Sally Clarkson
* (Fiction) An Irish Country Family
* (Bible) The book of Proverbs 

Whew! That's a lot of reading. Fortunately, I have lots of tea that needs drinking, too. And a comfy corner in my bedroom. 

Enjoy your day!

Reading Challenges for 2023


One of the goals I try to set (and sometimes achieve) during my goal-setting time is that of choosing what reading challenges I'll join for the next year.

The first place I look for some good challenges are at Belle's Library. This year she has quite a list of suggestions.

So, once again, I plan to join her Victorian Challenge (and this time I'm going to remember to link back to her page when I finish my books!).

Because of her recommendation I'm also going to join the five-year Classics Club challenge found here. I decided to use only books I already own and so I sat down to make a mostly comprehensive list of all my classics, paper and on Kindle. Oh, my! I might have a hoarding problem. So this challenge will be good for me, getting me to read what I already own. My list also showed me how much I have already read of the classics and that's a good thing. I came up with 400 classics (that I could find not in boxes because of remodeling downstairs) subtracted the 95 that I've already read and now I think I may be set for life for classics-reading. 😂 I do like to read an author's whole collection, or at least a lot of it, so my list on the tab above has a lot of books from only a few authors at this time.

I might also join the TBR Pile Challenge since they allow you to use books that you're using for other challenges, as does the Victorian Books challenge. 

And, because I enjoyed it last year, I'm signing up again for the Daughters of Promise Reading Program that only runs through January and February, the bests months for huddling in a warm house reading.
I think that will keep me sufficiently motivated to read, hopefully reading the books I already own. Now to make my lists of what I'm actually going to read...

I hope you have motivation and direction in your reading choices this next year.

Monday Musings and This & That


With over two feet of freshly fallen snow and more coming slowly (thankfully without the fierce winds anymore), I'm happy to sit inside and think a little about what all I want to have as my goals for this next year. I like to take the week between Christmas and New Year's Day as a time for reflecting on the last year and preparing to start the new one.

We had a delightfully relaxed Christmas though I was disappointed that our church's worship service had to be cancelled because of the blizzard. What better day to gather with brothers and sisters to worship the King than on Christmas?! Oh, well. We were able to worship at home.

On Christmas Eve our nearby kids were able to make it over and Granddaughter was happy to play with her little kitchen which I'd bought from a nephew's family who had outgrown it.

Of course there were lots of goodies and my husband's boss kindly smoked our turkey for dinner.

I enjoyed making some candle holders with dried flowers and Modpodge to put in cookie baskets, stocking, and as party favors for a few people. If I'd had more time and wasn't making them for families with small children, I'd have made beeswax candles inside like I made for myself. I just used fake LED candles this time.

I was also happy to get to gift H her Star BOM quilt.

My long-armer, Kathi Gee, is an artist in her quilting and I love the stars and swirls.

The backing fabric was not what H and I had originally chosen because we discovered we didn't have enough. But when I saw this fabric, I knew H would think it a great alternative, and I was right. I kinda forgot to attach a label as I was doing the binding, so I'll have to hand-sew that on.

This Week's Goals
* Declutter area beside sewing desk in preparation for moving craft stuff downstairs
* Make saurkraut
* Get new tires put on
* Buy perfect gift for grandson's birthday

* Finish fixing Tree of Gondor quilt (it's challenging to fix the machine applique on a queen sized quilt)
* Make label for H's Star BOM quilt
* Put binding on Autumn Jubilee 2021 wallhanging
* List and prioritize UFOs before moving to new craft area
* Complete as many little crafts as possible so I don't have to move them, too
* Settle on what BOMs to join for 2023

* Keep steadily growing indoor salad greens as well as herbs
* Finish reading "Building a Better World in Your Backyard (Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys) by         Paul Wheaton & Shawn Klassen-Koop

* Continue "Dancing With My Father" by Sally Clarkson
* Continue "An Irish Country Yuletide" by Patrick Taylor
* Continue aformentioned "Building a Better World..."

Well, that ought to keep me out of trouble for awhile. 😆 Hope your goals go well this week and in the new year.