Pink and Green Vintage Style Guest Room

by Lynn on November 22, 2014

Victorian beaded fringe lampshade

You know that room in your house where you put all the stuff you need to do something with, but just don’t have the time to do something with it now? The one that stores boxes that need to be gone through, files that need to be sorted, records that need to be shredded, items that need to be mended, and craft projects that need to be completed? Well, my poor guest room was that space, and over the years it became the repository for work stuff, family stuff, and craft stuff so that THAT stuff wouldn’t clutter the rest of the house. Eventually, there was so much stuff stored in there that only a little path from the door to the closet remained, just in case a repairman needed access to the attic! The running joke in my family was that I probably left it that way to discourage them from spending the night, which wasn’t entirely true… okay, so maybe it was just a little bit true!

Be that as it may, I did think about getting my guest room back to some form of functionality. Often I’d open the door and tell myself, “I really need to do something about this room.” But then I’d get completely overwhelmed with wondering where to start and I’d turn around and close the door.

Well a few months ago, events beyond my control caused me to revisit the situation in a serious way. I had a pipe leak in the attic above the master bathroom sink. It unfortunately caused some water damage to the master bedroom which, much to my dismay required far more mitigation than I ever could have imagined. A week of fans and dehumidifiers necessitated that I vacate the master bedroom and take up temporary residence in my cluttered guest room. After a few days, I was a most uncomfortable guest in my guest room! Moving boxes off the bed so I could sleep in it was just not enough. I felt like I was living in a cave! Well, as the weeks went by (yes, repair took that long), I began to tackle the monumental chore of sorting, filing, tossing, and making a huge pile for the Goodwill. And to my delight, the guest room once again became fully functional. Now that it was, I wanted to spruce it up a bit. I knew that with just a few decorative touches my guests would declare, as Miss Elizabeth Bennet so eloquently stated, “It is a very pleasant room!”

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One of the new focal points is a beautiful Victorian-style beaded lamp shade that I made for my vintage floor lamp. The main panels of the shade are covered in a French-style tapestry. The inset panels are completed in a gold scroll fabric, and taupe-colored gimp joins the panels together.

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Cream-colored long fringe is overlaid with two strands of beaded fringe, and green silk butterflies finish the design.

Victorian beaded lampshadeharp back chair

To complement the beaded lampshade, I repainted and then reupholstered a vintage 1940’s harp back chair in the same French tapestry fabric. Sometimes this style of chair is also referred to as “lyre back.”

Harp back chairGuestroom7

I found the shabby-chic painted furniture at an antique store and knew that these pieces would be perfect for this room.

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The dresser is adorned with a delicate lace runner, porcelain bird house ornament and a vintage relish dish. The cup and saucer are Crown Staffordshire Blossom Festival, and the plate is a Coalport Sandringham pattern.

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The matching vanity is just the right size for this room, and goes very nicely with my new chair!

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On the vanity is one of my favorite Limoges trios.

Victorian bed lamp

The vanity mirror holds a beautiful hand-crafted bed lamp, made by a dear friend as a gift.

Victorian bed lamp Guestroom14

The guardian angel print also came from an antique store, many years ago. I don’t know who the artist is, but I’ve always loved the style and vibrant colors of this print.

vintage china mosaic

The night stand has a vintage china mosaic top and drawer front, and the shelf below holds a pink and green CS Prussia bowl. It pairs well with the pink rose and green floral comforter set. Opposite sits a colorful fabric cat.

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Over the bed, the southern mansion print is “One Fine Day” by R. C. Carter. The colors are perfect for this room, and the image just makes me want to be in that picture!

While the water damage fiasco was a huge headache, I’m glad that circumstances forced me to reinstate the guest room. I love the new look and am happy to share my progress with you!

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Now, if only I could get my craft supplies out of the living room… sigh…!

I’m linking up with How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday!

On the journey toward Home,

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autumn cupcakesSince my cooking and baking skills are somewhat lacking, I like to find instructions on the internet that are simple for me to follow. I don’t know enough about baking to understand how to alter ingredients to change texture or density, so I was happy to find a great recipe from TastyKitchen.com for moist vanilla cupcakes! The instructions were straight forward, and more importantly the cupcakes were actually light and fluffy! Here are the details:
3 cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Beat together butter and sugar.
3) Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
4) Add flour, baking powder, salt, and beat well.
5) Add milk and vanilla extract and beat until creamy.
5) Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
6) Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This recipe yields about 36 cupcakes.

For frosting, I used a buttercream recipe from TheKitchenMagpie.com. It is light and airy with just the right amount of sweetness.
1 cup salted butter
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons heavy cream

1) Beat together butter, vanilla extract and heavy cream.
2) Add sugar and beat until creamy.
This recipe will yield enough frosting for about 36 cupcakes.

To frost, you can use a pastry bag, or just a plastic bag with the corner cut off. I started on the edge and then piped in a spiral circle inward.For these cupcakes, I wanted a simple decoration that resembled the blending colors of autumn leaves. I used green, orange, and red sugar sprinkles to give the cupcakes just a bit of color.

vintage china tiered server cupcake standDelicious and simple to make, these vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting are a delightful treat for fall.

On the journey toward Home,

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It’s Shoebox Time-Operation Christmas Child

by Lynn on November 9, 2014

Operation Christmas ChildEach year, Samaritan’s Purse orchestrates the collection and delivery of gifts to children around the world. Packed in shoeboxes, these simple presents bring hope and the message of the Gospel to literally millions of kids. And the really cool part—it is so easy to get involved in this ministry!

Check out the video from Samaritan’s Purse.

So how can you be a part? First, get a shoebox or a closable plastic tote of about the same size. You can wrap your box in colorful paper if you’d like. The totes are nice because the children can use them later. One year I choose the tote option and then covered the outside with colorful stickers.

Go to the Samaritan’s Purse web site to download a label. To cover delivery costs, enclose a check for $7. If you’d like to track your box, you can pay the $7 online and download a label with a bar code. When your box is delivered, they’ll send you an e-mail to tell you the country of the child who received your box.

Decide if your gift will be for a boy or girl, and choose an age range.

Fill the box with toys, school supplies, and hygiene products. You can also enclose a letter and picture of your family, if you’d like to share something about yourself with the child who receives your box. There are a few rules about items you shouldn’t enclose, so be sure to visit the web site for more information.

Lastly, place a rubber band around your box and attach your label, making sure that you don’t tape over the bar code if you’ve used that type of label. If you have a regular label, be sure to enclose your check. And most importantly, pray over your packed box, for the child who will receive it.

Take your box to a collection location near you. You can find them on the Samaritan’s Purse web site.

If you can’t pack a physical box, but would still like to be involved, the web site will allow you to build a virtual box online which they will physically pack for you! It couldn’t be simpler!

Operation Christmas Child provides a rewarding way to be involved in telling children around the world about the love of Jesus. Collection week is November 17-24, so get started today!

On the journey toward Home,

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Fear, Faith and Focus

by Lynn on October 27, 2014

FearFaithFocus The news seems to be making headlines faster than we can read them. California lost two sheriff’s deputies this week to a worthless thug who should have been in jail. Canada lost two military officers to two jihadists, and a third jihadist attacked two New York City police officers with a hatchet, critically wounding one of them. Ebola is still killing people in West Africa, and is still managing to make its way into the US, despite all the assurances from our government that they’ve got everything under control. And that was all just this week!

I follow Twitter because I like to know what’s going on, and everything happening in the world shows up there first. Now this can be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, you can get up-to-the-minute news, but then it can also be quite an overwhelming deluge of information. And because most of the news is not of the warm-and-fuzzy-puppy-dog variety, one can easily slip into crisis overload, and also be left with images that unfortunately cannot be un-seen.

Last week, Fox News published a poll reporting that 58% of Americans think the world is going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket. People in general are not optimistic about the future. With increasing incidents of violence and disease, economic uncertainty, and freedoms previously taken for granted now under assault, it’s easy to get distracted by the events going on around us. What starts as concern can become anxiety, and then when stewed over, can lead to fear.

As believers we are guaranteed a sense of peace despite our surroundings. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and provides that comfort to us. But being flawed humans still trapped in our un-glorified mortal bodies, we struggle holding on to that comfort. I know I do. While God gently whispers to me words of promise, the enemy yells, “Hey look over here, another severed head!” This bothers me, and causes kind of an “emotionally schizophrenic” response (for lack of a better term) in my head. Part of me tells myself, “God is sovereign, he’s in control, everything is going according to his plan, and he will see me through whatever hardship lies ahead in my future.” But the other part of me feels like I’m running around in circles, flinging my arms about like Henny Penny and shrieking, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

Things I always considered as happening to “those poor people over there” are now happening to us over here. There is a very real possibility that Christians in the US will experience increased persecution, and even death. As ISIS want-to-bes here in the US gain confidence, their sites will likely expand beyond police and military targets.

So how do we “keep our heads” so to speak when chaos surrounds us? If God promises us peace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, how do we access that comfort when we feel afraid? In God’s Word, there are quite a few examples of people who just like us, lived in perilous times and sought God’s comfort when they were afraid. Gideon threshed wheat in the wine press to avoid confrontation with the Midianites. Elijah ran and hid under a tree after Queen Jezebel threatened his life. King David faced many threats and the Psalms are filled with his prayers asking for deliverance from his enemies.

When these Old Testament believers were distracted by the mess around them, they refocused their attention on the One who saves.

Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:3-6, NIV

When I was a teen, one particular passage became a word-picture for me, boldly illustrating God’s power to rescue in the middle of total chaos.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. Psalm 91:5-7, NIV

In my mind’s eye, I can see the writer standing on a precipice, watching the enemy fall around him by the thousands while he is miraculously preserved. He is not afraid, he is confident, because his focus is not on the enemy but on God.

King David pens a similar passage of assurance, even as he flees from his own son who is trying to kill him.

But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Psalm 3:3-6, NIV

In the book of Hebrews chapter 11, the writer gives an account of many Old Testament saints, praising them for keeping their focus on the promised One to come, which was the Messiah. In chapter 12, New Testament believers are also encouraged to keep the same focus, and that in doing so, they’ll be strengthened during difficult times.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV

The story of Peter provides a very practical demonstration of focus verses distraction. Jesus had just finished feeding the 5000 by multiplying the bread and fish from a boy’s lunch. As he dismissed the crowd, he sent the disciples on ahead by boat across the Sea of Galilee, promising to meet up with them later. The sun goes down and the disciples are out in the boat in the middle of the lake. Early the following morning, before sunrise, Jesus walks out to meet them. When they see a figure of a man walking on the water toward them, they freak out.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:27-33, NIV

When Peter kept his eyes fixed on Christ, he had the ability to defy the laws of nature. But when he began to focus on the threat of drowning, he started to sink. Peter’s fear distracted him and then doubt caused his faith to falter. He lost confidence in what Jesus had given him the ability to do.

In a very different example, the story of Stephen shows how God provides comfort and peace during times of severe hardship. The book of Acts records a long speech made by Stephen to the Sanhedrin, a body of religious leaders in his day. He recounts history through Abraham, describing God’s faithfulness despite the people’s disobedience, and then their rejection of his promised Messiah. The people are enraged by Stephen’s words and drag him out of the city to stone him.

When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:54-60, NIV

God’s peace gave Stephen a confidence and a boldness to share the truth, no matter the consequences. To think that he had the presence of mind to actually pray for the people who were throwing rocks at him! I’m thinking I might have been a bit distracted by the pain at that point, but not Stephen. These people are screaming at him but he is completely focused on Christ. For that moment, the veil between our world and the dimension in which God dwells is pulled back and we get a glimpse inside.

One point I find particularly interesting, is that Jesus is standing. He’s not “seated at the right hand of the Father” which is where his throne is described to be, but standing. This is speculation on my part, but I don’t think that Jesus just sends one of his angels out to fetch us when it’s time to go home. I think he himself actively receives us. Stephen was in the process of dying a martyr and I think Jesus was standing out of admiration and in anticipation of welcoming home a beloved child. Again, just speculation on my part, but it would seem consistent with his character.

We learn from Stephen and Peter that the extent of our focus on Christ affects how we view our surroundings and our circumstances. So how do we stay focused and avoid being distracted by fear?

Well first off, focus does not come from a casual relationship with God, but from a serious pursuit of him. A Christian who only talks to God on Sunday will likely be overrun by the enemy when attacked. Prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy, and we should use it often. We also need to be rooted in God’s Word. The Bible is akin to life-sustaining bread that should be consumed daily. It is not cake to be enjoyed just on special occasions.

We should take note that while God could have easily delivered Stephen from death, he did not. Likewise in our own lives, God may protect us from physical harm, or he may not. As Christ-followers we must remember that our lives are not our own, and that God may allow them to be extinguished for his glory. I know that sounds nutty to non-believers but that is exactly what he did in Stephen’s case. Saul was present during the stoning of Stephen and even held the coats of the participants. This is the same Saul who met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and was temporarily blinded before his miraculous conversion. This is the same Saul who then became the apostle Paul, eventually writing a significant portion of the New Testament. There’s no doubt that his presence during Stephen’s murder was orchestrated by God to accomplish Saul’s conversion and ministry. As Christ-followers, we need to be prepared to face serious persecution as our brothers and sisters across the globe already have. The issues of fear and focus are not about assured deliverance from death, but about being comforted and confident in all situations whether we live or not.

When I think about how Stephen faced his death, I am reminded of an old hymn. The chorus seems to describe his countenance perfectly, and I find it a great source of encouragement.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

On the journey toward Home,

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As Summer Slips into Autumn

September 30, 2014
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After several weeks of 100-degree plus weather, I am SO ready for some cooler temperatures!! I love fall and everything about it; the crisp-cool air, the changing leaves, the Pumpkin Spice latte making it’s reappearance at Starbucks… Now in southern California, we do have some leaf color-change, but it really pales in comparison to the […]

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Thousands Find Christ at Harvest SoCal

August 24, 2014
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Last Sunday I attended Harvest SoCal in Anaheim, California. The annual crusade is an outreach ministry of Harvest Christian Fellowship, and last weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the event. For 25 years, Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie, has been presenting the Gospel message to thousands of people looking for answers to life’s questions. Over five […]

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Etsy Summer Sale

August 2, 2014
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My Etsy shop, The Drawing Room at Pemberley, is having a summer sale and you are all invited! Everything in the shop can be purchased at a 20% discount by using the coupon code SUMMER14 at check-out. This Etsy coupon code is available through Sunday, August 10, 2014, and does not apply to shipping. Here […]

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Planting Seeds and Reaping a Harvest

July 23, 2014
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Being a forensic scientist, I admittedly don’t watch television series that depict my profession. Now I understand that in these shows, criminalistics is dramatized to be entertaining in a story line that can be completed in an hour. I also know that the public doesn’t realize that DNA analysis can’t be completed on a gas […]

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Peace in the Midst of Grief

June 30, 2014
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Today I attended the memorial service for one of my colleagues who passed away unexpectedly. The occasion held all of the standard ritual that accompanies a police service. To the sound of bagpipes, a sea of saluting deputies and officers bid farewell to one of their own. Death is always tragic, but even more so […]

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Honoring Those Who Defend our Freedom

May 26, 2014
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President Ronald Reagan was a strong supporter of our military, and he keenly understood the price of freedom provided by the men and women who serve. In honor of Memorial Day, I have included a few poignant excerpts from the President’s address at Arlington National Cemetery in 1982. I have no illusions about what little […]

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