Serendipity – Revisited

Back in 2014 I chose Serendipity as my word of the year. It’s a noun defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”

I miss that word. It’s fun to say and wonderful to experience. Without so much as a backward glance, I’ve decided to welcome it back into my life. Who says you can’t choose a word of the year in March? After all the start of a new season is just around the corner.

I will continue to resist, volunteer, and make my voice heard, but I’m also going to focus on the positives, the synergies and the serendipity in life, no matter how small.

Here are a few that make me smile.

I enjoy playing Words With Friends, a kind of online Scrabble. Most of my friends are high-scoring players, so though I often lose, I’m improving and enjoying the challenge. I played the word “Tui” in a game with my smart and clever friend Mary Elizabeth who wasn’t familiar with the word. Then a few days later she found these gorgeous tea mugs. Serendipity! ) Thank you once again, ME.

tea mugs New Zealand Tui

New Zealand Tui mugs from Mary Elizabeth

About a year ago, Marlene who blogs at In Search of It All sent me a stunning, machine-embroidered gift. Isn’t it lovely? I debated turning it into a pillow or framing it, so I just let it be for a while. Then I realized that the colors worked beautifully with a small throw pillow in the some-times guest room. (It’s my son’s room but he’s mostly away at college). I ironed the edges and hand-stitched the embroidery to the pillow. Perfection! When my son came home from college for the summer, I planned to store the pillow in a closet. On a whim I took into our bedroom. Serendipity! The colors go beautifully. Thank you once again, Marlene.

Marlene's embroidery

Embroidered panel, left, made into a pillow and modeled by Mouse the Cat, right

The third and far less interesting moment of serendipity arrived in a large plastic bag. It was part of the packaging for our new printer. Long story, but I’ve been meaning to make a cover for a mobility chair that lives in the garage along with dust bunnies and bugs. I bought it for my mom in her declining years to help get her to her medical appointments. I kept it after she passed and my sister was able to use it when she first returned from Iowa (she has MS). Last year it came in handy for outings when I was recovering from surgery. And I’ve loaned it out several times to a neighbor who’s had many surgeries herself.

So back to the printer bag. It’s an odd size, wider than a large trash bag but not that tall. On a whim I tried it out on the mobility chair, and you guessed it, serendipity! It’s the perfect size and shape. It saved me the trouble of making one, it kept the plastic bag out of the landfill, and I like that it’s clear.

mobility chair

Mobility chair with custom-sized cover

So how about you? Do you look for these special moments in your life?

PS

Lindy wanted to be including in this post. She insists that this shoe box is the perfect size for her girlish figure. Ah…serendipity?

Something Old, Something New

You’ve heard the Olde English wedding rhyme “something old, something new”. How about “something new from something old”?

That’s exactly what arrived in the mail last week: a charmingly attired wire dress form, an unexpected gift from Marlene Herself.  The attached tag reads: “A Gift of Something New from Something Old” hand crafted from vintage linen by That’s My Sisters Donna and Colleen. I love it!

full apron in garden

Something new from something old

Marlene, who blogs at In Search Of It All, is a wonderful seamstress and quilter in her own right. She knows how much I like dressmaking forms; I bought one in my size for the first time last year. This little charmer is about a foot tall and arrived wearing a crisp apron, hand-crafted from vintage linen. It’s pictured here in my garden between a begonia and a geranium, but only to show it off. Begonia’s and geraniums have their own vintage vibe, too, don’t you think? The darling dress form holds court on my bedroom dresser below, but I never have much luck with indoor shots. You can see how pretty it looks against the blue wall, but I could only capture the details when I took photos in the garden.

vintage apron dress form details

Vintage Apron Details

Marlene said she made “two women happy” when she bought this gift, but I suspect she’s been making many of us happy for years.

Thank you, Marlene, for this treasure and for a daily reminder of your kindness and friendship.

apron bodice in garden

Bodice Detail

Word(s) of the Year

Serendipity was my 2014 word of the year. This year’s word is connections. Here’s a bit of both. I recently connected with Kerry through blogging. I followed a link to her Etsy shop and fell in love with one of her vintage, hand-embroidered linens. In the same week I ordered the beautiful tablecloth pictured below, Marlene’s delightful package arrived in the mail. Serendipitous worldly connections, I love you so, and I love your hand-embroidered linens, too. ♥ ♥ ♥

kerry can table cloth vintage

Vintage Linen from Kerry Can’s Etsy Shop

Vintage Tablecloth Detail

Vintage Tablecloth Detail

Organizing Magazines: Periodical Peculiarities

Aunt Alys 1933 Magazine Cover

Here’s one magazine I wish I had: My Aunt Alys on the cover of Health and Strength, 1933

The nature of magazines makes them challenging to organize. Unlike books with an index, trying to find a certain article, recipe or idea usually means thumbing through the pages. Even that has its limitations. If you buy or subscribe to several, you’ll quickly lose track of the content. Magazines are peculiar periodicals. Trying to organize them is time better spent on activities you enjoy.

My advice for organizing magazines is…don’t.

Magazines are topical in nature. Weeklies cover current events, whether its news, entertainment or both. They’re meant to be read and tossed. If you can’t bear to toss it, consider sharing it with a neighbor or co-worker. If you know you’ll be passing it on, you’ll take the time to read it. When we’re busy, news magazines may sit for weeks because we don’t have time to read them. If you can’t read it now, chances are you won’t read it later. Why? Because its old news. My advice is to read it and toss it. If weeks go by and you still haven’t read it, out it goes. If it’s habitual, is it time to let the subscription go? Consider following one of the news organizations online or via Twitter instead.

Monthly magazines generally have more content, and don’t always have a ‘shelf life.’ Recipes, decorating ideas or an inspirational article have tremendous appeal. Hobbyist magazines share the latest tips for horse grooming, new garden ideas, or craft patterns along with tips and advice. But consider this: according to Ad Week, advertisements make up 45 to 50% of the pages in an average magazine. This means that for every magazine you store, you’re dedicated half of your storage space to preserve ads. Without a proper index and only half the pages filled with content, keeping monthly magazines long-term is a losing proposition.

Here are some ideas instead.

Limit your subscriptions.

I love reading magazines myself, so I appreciate their appeal. I have many interests, including gardening, crafting, movies, books, and household DIY. It’s fun looking at the latest fashions and I enjoy reading news from my industry.  That said, my time to read is finite *because* I have so many interests. I subscribe to two paper magazines: Entertainment Weekly and Real Simple. I read them cover to cover, setting aside the time to really dig in and enjoy them. Entertainment Weekly covers books, movies, music, television and trends in all those industries.  Real Simple covers fashion, organizing, home decorating, gardening and cooking with a clean editorial layout that I enjoy. I stay current on my industry through an online forum. And if I’m really craving gossip, I can always find it online or in the lobby at my next dentist appointment.

Save what you’ll use, then toss the rest.

If you like to collect and try recipes, then tear out the one that appeals to you and put it in an organized binder. I have a simple binder organized by soups, salads, main courses and desserts. After you try the recipe, you can decide if it’s a keeper. If not, out it goes. Pinterest is another great way to sort and store recipes and its all online. Then you’ll always be able to access it from there.

If you’re saving decorating ideas, consider scanning the pictures and creating a digital folder. Or do what Marlene of In Search of it All does: take a photograph of the idea you want to save and let go of the rest. You can also scan the pages and store them digitally for easy retrieval or using a scanning service to do the same.

Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

Some of us are tactile. Reading a magazine online is not the same as holding it in our laps, turning the pages and referring back to the inside cover to see what we missed. My friend Donna goes to the library on the weekend and thumbs through dozens of magazines. She gets the tactile and visual pleasure at no cost and without the burden of storing them. If she sees something worth saving, she can take a picture with her phone or make a photocopy at the library.

Boxes and bags and baskets, oh my.

So what do you think? Are you ready to reclaim some space and your sanity by sending those magazines back out into the world. Here are a few ideas:

Donate your magazines to a thrift store. A few of our charity shops sell back issues from the past year.

Leave a few at a bus stop: My mom used to do this. When she finished her paper or magazine, she left it at the bus stop. Someone always picked it up to read it.

Ask your child’s school if they want them for art projects. We’ve been asked many times over the years to donate magazines for class projects. (Always double-check for appropriate content).

Recycle. Put that paper to use for a second time.

Enjoy all that new-found storage. I’ll bet you’re feeling lighter already.

Thank you Sheryl at Flowery Prose and Marlene of In Search of it All for inspiring this post.

Of possible interest:

Generous Spirits, Caring Hearts

The goodness of bloggers abounds.

Bloggers near and far filled my mailbox these past several weeks with treasures of hand-made goodness. I’ve never  met the bloggers at In Search of it All or Garden Sunshine. Before blogging, I’d never meet Boomdeeadda either. Yet they all have one thing in common: a generous spirit and a sharing heart.

Once upon a time there were pen pals. You mailed letters to someone you didn’t know who  lived on the other side of the world. If you were lucky, they wrote back.  Now we blog.

Gardening Nirvana came to life as a place to write about the things I love.  I never dreamed of the community that would gather around it.  Who could imagine the connections, the learning, the support and the fun that blogging had in store? I came for the writing and stayed for the friends.

If you blog with regularity, you know what I mean.  If you’re new to the medium, you have wonderful things to look forward to. Finally, if you’ve never blogged, start today.  You’ll be glad you did.

In Search of it All

The lovely, lace embroidery, below was a ‘just because’ gift from Marlene Herself at In Search of It All. Isn’t it beautiful? Marlene blogs from the northern state of Oregon. She describes herself as “a young at heart senior citizen that still has more questions than answers.”  She enjoys reading, sewing, quilting and of course writing. Pop on over to her blog to read her unique perspectives of the world. You’ll be glad you did.

Embroidered lace snowflake

Embroidered lace snowflake by Marlene Herself

embroidered lace

More embroidered lace from Marlene

Garden Sunshine

Diane blogs from Ontario, Canada. She shares her gardening progress on  7+ acres of land at Garden Sunshine. Her photos and projects are stunning. Garden Sunshine sent the blue heart pin, cotton square and calendar, lovingly crafted while she waits for the sun to shine again. Apparently I’m her top commenter. Who knew? Thank you for the shower of gifts.

Stars and hearts pin

Stars and hearts pin crafted by Garden Sunshine

Hand-knit cotton square

Hand-knit cotton square by Garden Sunshine

flower calendar

Garden Sunshine photo calendar and notebook

Boomdeeadda

For those of you familiar with the “Boom Room”, it will come as no surprise that this little treasure arrived from Edmonton, Canada via Boomdeeadda. Kelly describes herself as “living the dream with Mr Right and two rescue cats, Petals & Blossum. Life and Love is enhanced by the many on going projects.  This is a Journal of these and other bits along the way.”

Through blogging we’ve formed a close friendship. We celebrate our kindred spirit, which extended beyond blogging into texting, phone calls, Skype sessions and in-person visits. Next stop, the Ellen Show.  😉

layered card and envelope

Hand made goodness from Boomdeeadda

Virtual Gifts

versatile_bloggerSpecial thanks (and apologies for not acknowledging this sooner) to Pauline at The Contented Crafter. I appreciate your kindness and support.

sunshine blogger awardA warm thank you to Val at Nikitaland for passing on a bit of sunshine. Much appreciated.