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


Ingredients Needed in 2019

The year of 2018 will end tonight and a bright new year awaits us. We all
wonder what this year will bring. No one except the Good Lord knows. He
has the plans in His Hands. The Bible reassures us the He will be with us.
“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you where ever you go” Joshua 1:9 If I were planning a meal, I would begin by listing the ingredients needed. As we visit today we are sharing ideas to help us plan for the year ahead. God has required us to include strength and a full heart of courage. We are not to add worry, because He wants us to use the leavening of faith. I have little physical strength, I am a LOL (little old lady), but I do have faith and I will include lots of prayer.
Life goes best when we add lots of prayer. Mother Teresa explains “God speaks in the silence of the heart, listening is the beginning of prayer.” A lot of time when we are preparing something, we forget to add an ingredient or even burn our efforts. Life is like this too. “God answers all prayers but sometime His answer is “no” (Dan Brown). His answer will always be love.
The wonderful thing about 2019 will be that we do not journey into the unknown alone. We will journey forward together in faith, God will be with us. Give yourself to Him and He will fill us up so we can feed those lost and hungry. What a wonderful adventure life is.
Joy! Trudy

Slanting Lines and Curving Marks

Today I am on a journey of discovery. Gracious, my curiosity has given me a lot to think about. I wanted to share with you my experiences with personal writing. After our son was born I began writing to him. Sometimes in the form of a letter telling him where we were living and how he has brought us joy. Other times my observations would lead me to attempt to capture an emotion or a memory. These found expression in a poem. (Please be lenient English Majors) Then I was encouraged by the book “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach to write down each day three things I was grateful for.  This has blossomed and blessed me, truly. I found that “slanting lines and curving marks can stitch together mind and heart” (Trudy Groff Costello).  I began to create a book of traditions to share with others.  In these books I used the months and the seasons of the year to share my thoughts, family traditions, prayers, poems and beautiful quotations.  For a new bride I could post the note from a Southern grand-mom to her granddaughter on how to do the laundry. https.//www.snopes.com/grandmas-wash-day
This was special to me because both my grand-mom’s took in laundry.  This loving note clearly explains exactly what effort this required.  I began to write this “Book of Traditions” on my computer and save it so I could print out copies.  I made the copies special by saving clips from old cards, stickers, old stamps and printing out clip art to paste in the book. 

As I researched the topic of writing, and journaling I was delighted but a
a bit overwhelmed with what the internet had to offer. WOW! Please, 
take a quick look for yourself.  I did find one sight www.desiringGod.org.
that at least expressed what I had in mind to share with you. “Journaling is a pathway for joy and a powerful tool in the hands of love” (David Mathis).
I also got some helpful suggestions.  I like the idea of using a small note book.  I had not thought of keeping my writing book with me. Once you have a small notebook and a pen, please date each entry.  Now, the next part is totally up to you.  Do you want to start by making a list of blessings?  Is there someone on your mind you need to talk to?  I wrote a letter to my mom years after her death and it blessed my heart.  Is your writing a tool for studying scripture?  Maybe you would like to begin by writing out a favorite verse and then sharing what this verse means to you.
Write what your dreams are.  Write you favorite memory.  God already knows, but He will use this time with you if He is welcomed as you pen your hearts sounds across the page.

Lastly, I encourage you to save your beautiful old calendars.  I made
pictures books for children, book covers for old books and beautiful
envelopes and wrapping paper.  If there are small pictures on the back
of the calendar put them in your box of clippings.  They can be used
for collage or to decorate your journal.  God Bless, Trudy

Reflections on 2018

This is the perfect time for reflection, prayer and release.
Reflect on all that the year closing has brought forth.
Give it all away! Give God thanks for all the blessings of
ordinary days. Give Him any regrets, sorrows and pain.
You see, Jesus was human and He experienced all. He
saw human suffering, experienced pain, was betrayed,
and publicly humulated.
Now ask, ask for a stronger faith for the days ahead.
Talk to Him. Ask Him what work He has for you to do.
Listen with an open mind. Ask for His guidance. Ask to
be a instrument of His grace.
Now make a plan. Have a goal to reach and write it out.
I hope to touch hearts with faith and love. I want to use
my experience and knowledge to give an understanding
of early childhood development. Know we are never
alone. Know we are loved.



It Is Almost Christmas

Mr. Pat has been to the store and we will be having pork, potatoes, apples and sauerkraut cooked in the crock pot tomorrow. He washed the floors for me and the house is ready. I took a picture of the items I am working on. I am currently quilting the little welcome sign. Patrick’s snowman just needs a casing stitched onto the back, so I can hang it up. I think I will be able to finish the welcome sign and the pieced heart tonight. The red work hanging will wait till after Christmas. It is mine and there is no hurry. I will begin to quilt the top that the church members signed then also. I will take pictures of my progress.

This will be my last post until after Christmas. We will attend Christmas Eve services, and come home to soup and fruitcake. This has been the first Christmas that I have not been employed for many years and I have truly enjoyed the extra time. So far, I have given seven loaves of homemade bread, and cookies have been sent and given away. The delight of the oil man was so special. I tucked crochet snowflakes and red paper birds into the Christmas cards I made. Our little tree is alight and decked out in red and white treasures. The front porch makes me smile and I think it looks welcoming. I think our home and our hearts are ready. I am totally pleased with our quiet, homemade, simple Christmas. I have only been to three stores and one store I did not buy anything. Hobby Lobby supplied my red and white string, some needles and some fabric. I did buy a little snow bird on sale. He will brighten the living room after Christmas. Our main expenses were in flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Any leftover eggs Pappy turns into eggs and pan-fried potatoes supper.

Mr. Pat and I cherish our time together. Not many folks get 50 years to love each other. Before I accepted his courtship, I told the Lord I would love him, and I truly have loved and been loved in return. I have been truly blessed to have an honorable husband and to fulfill my dream of making a warm home and nurturing children.

May your Christmas be filled with blessings and time to love and be loved

God Bless,
~Trudy

works in progress
Works in progress . . .
Patrick's Snowman
Patrick’s snowman

Finding Christmas

What have I forgotten? Did I get all the ingredients? Will they like my gift? Mommy, when will it be Christmas? Mommy, I’m hungry. Mommy, brother is being mean to me! Gracious, these few days before Christmas can be stressful!
Today, I encourage you to find the manger in your heart. I share with you some sources that help center me. It is difficult to find your center when you want so very much to please everyone. You want to make this Christmas special!
Our loving Father has already done that! He gave us his own Son and with this birth we celebrate comes salvation. Goodness for all our tomorrows. Christmas is all about love. “God is love.” With Him there is all that we need. Find something beautiful to read. If you could give any gift to those you love,what would it be? Write out your prayer and bring your gift of love to Mary and her Babe. Merry Christmas!


Gray sky
An earth without warmth,
In the silence
In the cold
When all seemed lost
The promise did unfold
Rejoce dear friend
Of my hand take hold
Together we will light the candle
And guide the children’s path
That we may carry our gifts of love to Mary and her Babe
Trudy Groff Costello

Candle light
Eyes bright
Snow tonight?

Peppermint, pine
Cinnamon and thyme
Sugar plum time

Angels, sheppard’s
Critters and kings
The star’s light brings

In the manger
Of our hearts
Christmas starts
Trudy Groff Costello

Christmas Crafts for Kids

Yarn Pom-Pom Snowman
Materials:
1 large and 1 small yarn pom-pom
Black felt for hat
Scrap of felt for scarf and face
Cotton balls for arms and legs
Directions. Make pom-poms and glue together. Glue on features and scarf. Make a hat and glue onto snowman’s head. Glue on cotton balls.

Folded Butterfly
Materials:
1 piece of white construction paper for butterfly wings
1 small piece of black construction for butterfly body
Poster Paints
Eye dropper (These are available at a pharmacy)
Directions: Fold the piece of white paper in half. Draw the butterfly wings with a pencil. Cut the paper into a rectangle leaving the wings to cut-out later Open the paper and let the children use the dropper to drip droplets of the paint on one side of the paper only. Now fold the paper and press with the flat of their hand from the center out to each end. Slowly open the paper and set aside to dry. When dry, refold and cut out the sketched butterfly. Cut out a body from black paper and glue to center of the insect.

Pressed Flowers
During the spring and summer pick the flowers buttercups, queen Anne’s Lace and little Johnny-Jump-ups. The leaves of the queen’s lace are feathery and press well. Add some to the flowers. These are not endangered, but never pick all the flowers from one spot. Leave some to reseed. Place the flowers and leaves face down between the pages of a book. Place a heavy book on top. 

These can be used to make beautiful cards, small pictures or to decorate a special Invitation like wedding or anniversary. Frame in a 5” by 7” frame. I drew the outline of a heart of on a folded piece of card stock then filled the center of the heart with the heads of pressed buttercups. It made a beautiful wedding card. For Christmas these could be glued to clear plastic ornaments then finish by painting the ornament with a white glue and water solution. Using card stock draw the shape of ornament then paint or color the ornament. When the ornament is dry, cut it out and glue some pressed flowers onto it. This will make pretty Christmas tree ornaments. I would protect the flowers by covering the flat ornament with clear contact paper.

Hand Prints
Materials:
A scrap of material cut out to 12 ½” by 14 ½ “. Hem three sides and then
Make a casing for hanging at the top. This can be sewn or use the product stitch witchery.
A sponge paint brush and poster paint.
A luncheon plate and a pencil to draw a circle.
Paint the children’s hands and let them press their hand onto the fabric circle. Vary the direction of each hand print around the circle and make a wreath. Their thumbs can be painted to make berries on the hanging. Even a single hand print, framed with name and date can make a special gift.

A Snow Scene
Materials:
White card stock.
Poster or water color paint and brushes
flowerets from Queen Anne’s Lace
glitter and scraps of colored and white paper to make a snow man.

Directions: Using an almost dry brush have the children paint the top half of the paper for sky. Use colored paper scraps or cut outs from old greeting cards and create the scene. Place droplets of white glue in the sky and put a floweret into the glue. If you don’t have flowers, use white glitter. Use white glue and the stiff brush to make the snow on the ground and sprinkle with glitter. Sign and date the art piece.

*With appreciation to all the teachers that have shared ideas with me over the last 30 years!
JOY!

Just a Thought

I was able to complete the items I had wanted to make for the front porch last night and I thought I would share some pictures. Both of the small pillows use the strip piecing technique that I demonstrated on Dec.14th. They both start by placing the first piece in the center of the block with the second piece directly on top and continue to flip and stitch. I found a piece of scrap book paper and I glued to the mat of my strip piece tree. I am happy with how it turned out. I will take a photo of the tree also.

While my next batch of bread rises, I checked out some resources for you. I have been saving canceled stamps for veterans for years and this would be a good time to save the stamps as the Christmas cards arrive. I will provide a website and the address to send the stamps.

I looked into sharing old greeting cards. St. Jude’s Ranch has stopped its program and is no longer accepting cards. Some suggestions I read suggested contacting nursing homes, senior centers, and church Sunday school programs. Be sure to ask first.

As I was doing this it came to me that sending a hand made card from a child would also be a really nice thing to do for veterans or seniors living in nursing homes. A phone call could answer the question of where to send them or if the center is nearby maybe you ask if you would be allowed to hand deliver them.

Time to put the bread in the pans. Tomorrow I hope to have ideas for gifts children can make. God Bless, Trudy

www.writealetter.org
Stamps for the Wounded
PO Box 297
Dunn Loring, VA 22027

strip piecing tree
duck!
strip picing pillows
Trudy's Front Porch