Welcome Home

My most recent posts have been about change. We have discussed physical change, dreaming and making a home. I have encouraged you to day dream and this is wear we come together to share. I have asked you to think about and to make notes about your favorite flower, color and places you have loving memories of. Now it is up to you to add these life touches to your surroundings. If you choose a neutral background for a wall color, you can add touches of the colors you love in places live pillows. Your favorite flowers can be replicated in silk at a reasonable cost. The places you have fond memories of can also be added. If it is the beach, gather some shells in a pretty bowl or basket. If you love the woods, have fun with pine cones, acorns, or a few feathers you may have found. There are laws that forbid us keeping feathers from owls, raptors etc. But we are allowed others. Black and white photos can be stunning. The thought hear is to create a grouping. You might decide to make this your focal point. A focal point is like a movie screen. It shows what is most important to you. In our home, the focal point is the shelf Patrick made. It holds heirlooms and is a place to display a quilt. If you love the city, have fun looking for items like a little statue of the the empire state building. Black and white photos of city scapes can be added. Just like ingredients come together to make a delicious dish these express your taste. Have fun looking in a thrift shop, flea market and dollar store. All living things evolve. A home is also a life story telling of memories, interests and what is important to you. In our home, music is important so instruments are a part of our home. Patrick has a framed copy of sheet music. It is a song his grandfather sang often. If you have decluttered then you will have a place for expressing yourself. Joy! You do not have to physically change your address. What I am encouraging you is to express yourself and the person you are. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this time together. God bless the special place you make for yourself and others called home. Trudy

Beginning Anew – preparing for leave taking

As you begin thinking about where you might be going it is important to clean and organize where you are now. This is the time to close this chapter of your life.  You have a lot of decisions to make.  It is also time to clean where you are living now and to decide what you want to bring with you.  Packing for a move is the perfect time to make room for the new that lies ahead. Begin with the area you sleep in now. That way you will have a clean organized place to rest! There are lots of resources available on line and books to help you with this organization.  This is a great time to create a pretty memory box. You will be going through items and finding treasures. If you have children, you could encourage them to choose a few special items for their memory box.  This is a wonderful way to teach them about taking care of treasures and how to let go of items that they have outgrown.  Make a special box of toys or clothes they have outgrown and take items to a charity shop together. It is in the doing that the lesson is taught.  The words need actions to take them to heart. 

At one time in our married life we had been moved out of state by the company my hubby worked for.  A health issue caused us to have to move back to Pennsylvania.  This situation forced hard choices to be made.  What helped me was to find a home for some things with the friends I had made in the area.  One neighbor was happy to receive a sled and a child’s table and chairs. Another took an old oak dresser and to my delight she removed the legs, added castors and put on a butcher block top.  This she used in her kitchen.  Seeing others happy made my transition much easier.

When doing my spring or fall cleaning, I would always keep a charity bag near where I was working.  This has always helped me to keep control on clutter.  I make my own gifts by baking or sewing.  I have grouped baking items in a specific spot and all my sewing supplies in another.  If someone shares fabric, I wash it immediately and add it to the bookcase I keep fabric in.  If someone shares something I cannot use it goes into the charity box.  If I know of someone who can use it I also share but do so without pressure. It is vital that when something enters the house it be useful and has a place.

Move through out where you are and keep only what you truly love, that you use regularly, is needed for daily life or is a treasured heirloom. Things are meant to be used, keeping something because you feel guilt is not something to move forward with.  Try to find someone who would love it or donate it to charity. It will bring value and joy to another’s life.

I hope you have been following my encouragement for planning for your new home. I will share my dream list with you:

1. Sunlight
2. Porch or somewhere to sit with flowers
3. A Home Church
4. An eat-in kitchen
5. A spot where I could sew and not have to take down my sewing machine

Vital – Affordability — A place where we would be comfortable and be able to live within our means.

I would say that the kitchen was the most important room to me. We love to have folks around our table. This home allowed us to create a country kitchen by using the original dining room. We did this by purchasing only lower cabinets and a free-standing pantry. I had a china cabinet for my dishes. With faith we moved. With the help of Patrick, family and friends we made a home.  God has truly blessed us and we have been here going on 30 years. Your list will be different.  This was my dream.  Know yourself and learn what is important for you to live and find the mission God has planned for you. I will be praying for you.

Blessings, Trudy

Beginning Anew

On my last post I shared the story of being part of married couple for over fifty years.  I have had fun looking at different blogs on the internet about home decor.  I noticed a lot of similarities as I viewed a lot of lovely homes.  Then I read about the interest in organizing your home and even information on minimalism.  We are, all of us, constantly encouraged to see beauty and to create an atmosphere of a safe, ordered haven for ourselves and those that we share our home with.

In the years of my employment I have had an opportunity to visit many young families beginning to make a home.  I decided to share with you my thoughts and ideas to assist you who may be creating a new life in a new place?  This may be a first apartment, or maybe starting over in a new role in your life.  Life is always moving forward.  Change is a part of life. There is a book called “Who moved my cheese?”  by Spencer Johnson that deals with the human resistance to change. Change to our minds can mean uncertainty. We know the situation we are in, the loss we have experienced, and we may be very reluctant to change. Scripture explains to us that “To everything there is a season.” Ecclesiastes 3-1.  Flowers bloom, they nurture our hearts feed other life, then die.  If you are facing a change it is my hope that in some way, I may help you discover more about yourself, encourage you as you move forward and remind you that “we walk forward in faith.”2nd Corinthians 3-7.

To create a place that you call home requires you to discover what you delight in. What brings you joy?  All you need to start is a piece of paper and pencil.  Please do not think about finances at this time. This is the time for dreaming.  What is your favorite color?  What is your favorite flower?  Where are you happiest; beach, woods, mountains, lake side or city-scape?  Take time and ponder times in your life you were really happy. Where were you?  I have lived in many different places but my guide to creating a home always was guided by remembered times of love.  It is very important to my well being that I have some chairs for folks to sit and a small table to serve refreshments. My husband needs a recliner and a lamp. We both need a bed.  This would be our list of basic needs for furniture.  Most manufactured homes and apartments come equipped with a kitchen and bathroom. Many also have blinds or curtains included also.  What about a refrigerator?

Please think about things you need.  OK, now think about your wants. You need shelter. You need to be able to pay to have a place to live, for electricity, food and water.  These are necessities.  A TV, air conditioner, dish washer, fan, are wants.  What is important is that you have what you need to live. You then budget the funds coming in with meeting these needs. Waiting for a want is definitely worth meeting needs.  I am speaking from my heart when I say this is the foundation of a home.  Having expenses is part of life. Living above your means is not compatible with a happy home. 

The true magic of a beautiful home comes from the harmony that greets you at the door. This atmosphere is created not by beautiful things, but by feelings.  I found a chair at a flea market. All I did to it was to purchase some gold skeleton leaf decals and use a staple gun to create a new seat cover.  Almost 20 years later I am still using this chair.  It has given friends a place to sit with me. It has allowed me to share time and company.  A little 10-dollar chair. 

The $10 Chair

Please make a list about things that bless your heart.  With this list I will work with you as we

Please make a list about things that bless your heart.  With this list I will work with you as we brain-storm ideas to create your own little house of blessings.

Believe in the One who believes in you.
Blessings,
Miss Trudy

Fifty-One Years

Thoughts on our wedding anniversary 4/20/1968 to 4/20/2019

The past: 1964
I was an 18-year-old senior in High School. A date for the prom was arranged by the family. Two brothers flipped a coin to see who lost and had to take this poor girl. I was the youngest of six children. My adult experiences were all ahead of me .I had my Christian faith, a strong love for my father and dreams. My Father did not believe in continuing education for me. I was taught great faith and to work hard. God blessed me because the young man who lost the coin toss was a Christian, an honorable young man and a very hard worker. We were chaperoned to the prom. We became friends. With patience and respect he won my heart.  
1968:  
We had quite a life of adventures as a young married couple. Mr. Pat worked two jobs for the first fifteen years of our marriage.  We had a son.  We were faced with heath issues, financial issues and dealt with day to day stuff.  What I want to share is that life happens. Sometimes, it is really important to place the one you love ahead of yourself.  What backing-up allows is the other person gets to see if their dream fits. You don’t know unless you try it on. Sometimes, it seems like the sky is falling, and you just have to find a shelter with the Lord then look at what broke.  Roll up your sleeves and see what or who you can help.  I discovered that a can of tomato soup and a box of pasta can feed six folks and allow us time for friendship. I focused my energies on creating a place for just being together and meeting the physical and emotional needs as best as I could.  Life is not just meeting a challenge but going beyond the challenge to discover the good. I was able to share my interest in and love of nature, music and reading with our son.  Now from where you are looking at this a half century later you may be thinking that’s a lot of giving. True, but you see when you put someone else ahead, you give them your belief in them.  I am not a rug.  I am a living person with beliefs and feelings. What I discovered is that in serving, we grow. At the age of forty, my husband and son supported my dream to work with young children.  I worked in this field for 30 years.  We supported our deaf son in his dream of being a musician and he has touched so many lives.
The present: 2019
We continue our lives together.  We continue to give and to receive from each other; faith, gratitude and love.  Each of us give of ourselves.  We have what money cannot buy.  We have each other, our faith, our church, our mission to share with others and our love for each other and for those who God brings into our lives.
The future:
God is there

Blessings and Hugs,
Trudy Groff Costello

Renewing our vows 4/20/2018


Spring Blessings

The completed flowers

I have lots to share with you. As you can tell from the photos, I have been happily stitching. I will start with the wreath on the font door. I bought the twig wreath at a thrift shop. I wrapped it with some lace. Since our anniversary is coming up, I used the strand of pearls and gold ribbon from the crown made for our fiftieth anniversary. Some baby’s breath and forget-me-knots from my wedding flowers. The pretty cross was a gift. The little cross stitch heart I made has two wedding rings and our Initials.

Joy! Next I found some old cushion covers and took them apart and made seat cushions for my porch rockers. I cut my geraniums that had overwintered in the kitchen. Putting the cuttings in some of my bottles with a little plant food and they all rooted. I filled my 3 window boxes with fresh potting soil and the cuttings. I set them on the porch. I found a white rabbit pillow that I made last year. I next took some scraps left over from the church quilt and made a strip pieced heart. I appliqued the heart to a white pillow. I had enough fabric to make a square table topper. The last piece was not big enough so I sewed a border to each side and made a rectangle table topper for the small table by the front door. The cost was to purchase some potting soil for my window boxes. JOY! By the front door is a flower pot of spring bulbs. These were planted last fall and I am so happy to see this touch of spring! For the small entrance table I brought out my apple bird house from the kitchen.

Lastly, the very first pictures show how I made a fabric daffodil. The library offered a class on making flowers from fabric. I took pictures for you as I went along. Patrick picked a flower from the garden for inspiration. I wanted a smaller circle so I traced a little tea cup. I cut out five circles which I folded into triangles. Knot a long piece of thread and sew a running stitch through each triangle base. Use the same thread for all the petals. When you pull on the two threads they will gather. Knot the thread. The next part was my own idea. I cut a rectangle, gathered it then sewed the two ends together to form the center if the flower. If you want a yellow daffodil, use yellow for the petals and make the rectangle a little wider. This will create the trumpet. I made leaves from green scraps. The secret here is to make the base of the leaf wide enough so you can turn the leaf to the right side. Sew the center to the petals then sew the leaves. A circle of felt tidies up the back stitches and lastly sew on a little pin. These make nice thinking of you gifts.

I want to share with you that it is possible to do a lot if you play with ideas. If you do not have fabric, visit the thrift shop. I have used men’s shirts to create with. Think about lace or buttons you could salvage from other things. Table cloths are another fabric source if they are cotton. Even if there are stains, you can use the good parts. It really is fun. The only caution I share is not to go overboard. Use what you have so there will be room in your scrap basket. Happy Spring!

Blessings and Hugs,

Trudy

The First Year of Life

I was blessed to carry and give birth to a son. That is the wonderful
news. When placed in my arms I kissed Patrick hello and I kissed him
again to say goodbye. No there was nothing wrong, truly! The second
kiss was to remind myself that he was only on loan to me. It was so
important to me to give our son “roots” and ” wings”. Mr. Pat and I would
both give our son the roots of love, values, and a nurturing foundation.
We also wanted to give him the freedom and opportunity to discover, to
learn and to grow reaching for his own dreams.

Well we had our plan but I knew nothing about infant care. Well, I did know what end needed diapering and Patrick and I had a great time
figuring out how he would be fed. I will never forget the beauty, joy and delight when I pressed and milk streamed into his mouth. The doctor came in as we were figuring this out and smiled at us.

Mr. Pat worked two jobs the first fifteen years of our marriage. My college
years were 15 years in future. There was no internet to ask questions. There were many things I did not know. I did know I was a “MOM” and babies don’t come with instructions so I better get busy.

During the coming week I will share with you some of the knowledge I acquired as a mom, a student of early childhood education and my employment working with parents and babies, prenatal to five years of age. Joy!

Happy New Year!

It is always a bit sad when it is time to tuck away Christmas. This year was not nearly as sad because I planned ahead for the changes I wanted to make. I took pictures of some of the things I have done and will share them with you. It is very important to me that you understand that this was done without my leaving home and using things I had.

First this fall I made new living room curtains from sheets. I had some blue gingham and made tie-backs.

curtians

I had a finished a snowman quilt and hung it from the shelf Patrick made.

nowman quilt

My wedgewood dishes are blue and white. Patrick worked cleaning out an old house and he choose these dishes for me as payment. Joy! I put light blue candles in my grandmom’s wooden candle holders. I placed my pieced tree and a hand carved bird in front of my tree.

couch and quilts

I placed a quilt that has lots of blue in it on the back of the sofa. The cover on the sofa is a painter’s drop cloth.

Drop cloths come in three sizes, and each time they are washed they get softer. My coffee table and the quilt ladder were made locally and very affordable.

coffee table

To finish I did a walk through to be sure there was no clutter. In the kitchen I left my shelf with my snowman up and put a blue and white tablecloth and blue gingham valences in the kitchen. The cloth and valences are home stitched. I sew neat old white buttons on the valence hems.

snowman shelf

The little pair of gloves hanging from the snow shelf were Patrick’s when he was little. My mom got them for him. Can you find little Patrick on the shelf?

Here is a view of my kitchen.

See if you can use what you have and make small changes that make you smile. I made the casing for my snowman hanging and hung it on the front door to say welcome.

Patrick's Snowman
Patrick’s snowman

I hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun!

With very best wishes for blessings in the new year, Trudy


Homemade Bread

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Today Miss Trudy makes homemade bread.  From scalding the milk to dissolving the yeast through kneading, rising, punching down to final rising in the pan and baking.

There is so much beauty in bread
Beauty of sun and soil,
Beauty of patient toil
Winds and rains have caressed it,
Christ often blessed it.
Be gentle when you touch bread.
-Author unknown

RECIPE:  White Batter Bread
from: The Margaret Rudkin Pepperridge Farm Cookbook

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 20 minutes before loaves are ready to bake.

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup warm water

2 packages of yeast
4 1/4 cups unsifted flour

Scald the milk stir in the sugar, salt and the butter.
Cool to lukewarm.
Measure the very warm water into a large warm bowl.
Sprinkle in the yeast;stir until dissolved.
Add the lukewarm milk mixture.
Stir in the flour; the batter will be fairly stiff.
Beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
(I kneaded the bread, set it on wax paper, washed my mixing bowl
and while it was still warm buttered the bowl.) I next put the batter
in the warm bowl and covered it with a buttered piece of wax paper.)
Let rise in a warm place free from draft, until more than doubled in
bulk, about 40 minutes.
Stir the batter down.
Beat vigorously, about 1/2 minutes.
Turn into 2 greased loaf pans, 9 by 5 by 3 inches.
Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees) for about 50 minutes
(I divided the batter between 3 smaller pans and baked it at 350 for 40 minutes.)