Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

One of my favorite things about the summer is getting up early on a Saturday morning and going to our city's Farmer's Market.  This year, I will just get up and go outside for my fresh veggies.  I am so excited.  It has been many years since we have had a vegetable garden.  Last Fall, my hubby and I decided we would plant one again this year.  He spent time in the Fall, preparing the garden spot.  It is in the country, about 45 minutes from our home, at our little weekend getaway.  We had all winter to read up, design our garden, and dream.  Actually he did the reading and designing...I did the dreaming!  


We had such a beautiful spring in Nova Scotia that we began planting in mid-April.  The first things to go in the ground were onion and garlic sets, spinach, lettuce, peas and radish.

We are really enjoying reading the blog "Thy Hand Hath Provided".  It is such a great resource.  They are a sweet family that grow veggies, herbs, raspberries and much more.  This year they are trying something new... mushrooms!! She has lots of wonderful recipes for harvest time too.  We took their suggestion and used straw in between our rows.  We did put landscape fabric down first, so we are hoping to keep a lot of the weeds at bay!  I scattered straw on top of the rows to help retain moisture.  You can see how the peas grew up through the straw.  

Green peppers & jalapenos


These pictures were taken a little over a week ago.  When we went this past weekend, the patch of spinach shown above was double that size.  I cut quite a bit and brought home for a yummy salad.  I was also able to harvest some lettuce, radish, and green onion.  


Tomatoes - 4 types

Quick & Easy Garden Signs

I love my garden signs.  I found this idea, done by Susan on her blog, Homeroad.  Of course I pinned it, and one weekend, while in the country, I took my snippers on a walk around the field.  I didn't use a carrot peeler, as she showed.  I used a utility knife.  The end result was the same...free signs for our veggie garden!!

Watch for garden updates!!  :)

The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's Heart in a garden Than anywhere else on earth.
                                                               ~Dorothy Frances

Outdoor Wednesday
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
Garden Party
Inspiration Friday
Feathered Nest Friday
Show off Saturday
Summer Fun Party
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Blessed are the peacemakers..."

The dam on "our" lake
Around noon on Friday, I went for a walk in our neighborhood and ended up at the lake near home. As I sat there staring at the stillness of the view before me, I became aware of how peaceful it was – the cloudless blue sky, the reflections mirrored in the water, the occasional chirping of birds, the gentle wind rustling the grass, the absence of school children excitedly chatting as they rushed home for lunch (must have been an in-service day) – even the roar of water cascading over the dam seemed somehow calm and soothing as it continued gurgling down the stream below. I felt God’s peace wash over my whole being as I pondered again the verse I’ve been mulling over in my mind all week…

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.[i]

A lot of time we think about how important it is to “keep the peace”. We go to great lengths to try and keep everyone happy, to keep our children from squabbling with one another, to maintain order in our classrooms and schools, to keep student riots from becoming violent and out-of-control, to keep peaceful trade and political relations between our nations, to keep opposing team members on the sports field or ice hockey rink from punching each other out, to keep from saying or doing something that might anger someone close to us, to keep a board meeting from becoming an egotistical power game, or to keep volatile areas of our world from erupting into terrorism or war.

Indeed, we are admonished as Christian believers to “be at peace with each other”[ii], “live at peace with everyone[iii] and “be peaceable and considerate[iv]. Keeping peace with our fellow man and being a person of peace is not always easy especially when others intentionally attempt to provoke a negative response in us. It’s also difficult to be peaceable when some people annoy us, insult us, hurt us, or take advantage of our goodness and generosity.

My peaceful backyard "oasis"
Keeping peace is hard enough. But I believe Christ calls us to go a step beyond “peacekeeping” and be “peacemakers”. To me, this implies a more deliberate action that will actually initiate peace between two or more parties. We are not only to maintain peace that has already been established, but make a way for peace where none exists. That takes courage, determination, ingenuity, perseverance, and passion to a higher level. I like the way the New Living Translation phrases this verse, “God blesses those who work for peace…

In James 3:18, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed. If they do, it will produce a crop of right living.” (NIRV) The writer of Hebrews said, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men…”[v] Paul encourages us to “…do all we can to live in peace” (NIRV)[vi] and to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” (NLT)[vii] The apostle Peter warned us to “seek peace and pursue it.”[viii]

Jesus Christ, Himself, is the ultimate example of being a peacemaker. “His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in the one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross.”[ix] This refers to His true desire to see all Jews and Gentiles united into one faith in Christ as the promised Messiah and Saviour. His effort to make peace required the sacrifice of His own life – would I be willing to go that far to make peace? This is further explained in Colossians 1:19-20, “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ), and through Him (Christ), to reconcile to Himself all things…by making peace through His (Christ’s) blood, shed on the cross.”

This has challenged me to consider - what am I actively doing to make peace or am I more focused on just keeping the peace? What am I willing to risk to bring reconciliation where it is within my realm of power or influence to do so? I’m praying God will open my eyes to possible situations where I might bring about a “harvest of righteousness” as I seek to make peace.

Until next Sunday,


[i] Matthew 5:9
[ii] Mark 9:50
[iii] Romans 12:18; I Thessalonians 5:13; I Corinthians 7:15; II Corinthians 13:11
[iv] Titus 3:2
[v] Hebrews 12:14
[vi] Romans 14:19
[vii] Colossians 3:15
[viii] I Peter 3:11
[ix] Ephesians 2:15b-16
*All Scripture passages from the NIV unless otherwise noted

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ladies Retreat ~ Candy Bar


Can you think of a better way
 to end the first day of a ladies retreat? 
I don't think so, Tim!!!


Pretty name tags


Yummy treats


Colorful candy


Extra set of teeth...What????


Lovely dishes


C H O C O L A T E 


My very creative sister, Lisa, did this Candy Bar for the Ladies Retreat attendees.  Did we love her?  You betcha we did!

All photos courtesy of Nicole Payzant Photography.

Joining the party at:
Share Your Cup
Full Plate Thurs
Share Your Creations
Inspiration Friday
Feathered Nest Friday
Strut Your Stuff
Pink Saturday
MIY Monday
Let's Dish
Show off Saturday
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Invisible Pathway...

Join me, for just a few minutes, and read the following verses:
When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.
                                                                                   Psalm 77:16-20 NLT
a pathway no one knew was there!

No One Knew.

We simply don't know each others life circumstances - past or present - and certainly not future. However, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that there has been at least one time in your life when you've needed a pathway. And, maybe, juuuuuuuuuuuust maybe, that day is today.

Well, it's there.
There is a pathway.
Even though you don't see it.
Read the verses again. Read them over as many times as you need. And pray that the pathway be revealed.
Pray and believe. Believe and pray.
Cause it's there, God's Word says so. 


Spiritual Sundays
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Blessed are those..."

Tulip in my garden
During this past week I was reminded several times just how truly blessed I am. On Mother’s Day, I enjoyed having our family in for a BBQ and I, my mom, and my sister were happy to have our children around us. We still all live close-by and that is not something that many moms are privileged with. Since my birthday and my sister’s are both in the week following Mother’s Day, we have usually celebrated everything on that day (at least since we became adults). It’s always a fun time to share together and exchange cards and gifts. The funniest one I received was from my son and daughter-in-law (his sense of humor usually dictates his choice of card). This one had a picture of a hand mixer on the front and said, “Good moms let their kids lick the beaters…Great moms turn the mixer off first.”[i] Thankfully, he qualified that I was one of the great ones!

And so, I continue my reflections on the Beatitudes that Christ taught us to emulate as His followers…

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

When I think of showing mercy, I usually think of doing acts of kindness to someone who is in great need or in a desperate situation. It implies being compassionate toward a person who is less fortunate than me. Sometimes it means forgiving someone even when I don’t think they deserve it or when they refuse to admit their wrongdoing. There have been times I have decided to be more lenient when perhaps others would be harsh (or vice versa). There are many cases when an individual has been pardoned or shown clemency when they really deserved stricter punishment.

In Luke’s account of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, he later admonishes us to “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”[ii] It should be a natural response for me to show mercy to others since I am, first of all, a recipient of God’s mercy. As Titus explained, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy…I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.”[iii]

hornet building nest on our BBQ
I have to admit I didn’t show much mercy today to a couple of industrious hornets that were building a little nest under the sidebar of our barbeque. Just minutes before I noticed it, my husband had been cooking our lunch unaware of the activity inches from him. Perhaps the smoke kept the hornets from stinging him. After he took a few pictures and the hornets had disappeared for a minute, I knocked down the nest. They sure were confused for a while! Later I noticed one crawling in a tiny hole of a deck chair. Out came the Raid again!

I have to ask myself, “How readily do I show mercy to others?” Am I willing to take the necessary time and effort to help meet the needs of someone else, even when I’m not convinced they deserve it? When was the last time I intentionally got out of my comfortable bubble I place around me and help at the local food bank, soup kitchen, or home for abused women and children? Some people I know are so gifted at doing this, but Christ does not excuse me from showing mercy just because it is not my spiritual gift. It’s not an easy one for me, but it wasn’t easy for Christ to put Himself in my place either so He could rescue me from my sinful spiritual condition.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

I am always humbled when I consider this characteristic as my name is derived from the Greek word for pure, “katharos”. It has the meaning of being cleansed or purified. Paul says in I Corinthians 7:1, “…let us purify ourselves from everything that makes body or soul unclean, and let us be completely holy by living in awe of God.” Of course, only God, through His Holy Spirit, has the power to help us live in this way as we daily commit ourselves to His leading. I so often feel I fail to live up to this name, and I have to keep reminding myself that when I confess my sins “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”[iv]

Am I faithful in allowing the water of God’s Word to cleanse me each day? Do I really live in awe of God and His holiness and desire to be pure as He is?

I trust that God will help me this week to be more merciful and pure in heart.

Until next Sunday,


[i] Shoebox, Hallmark
[ii] Luke 6:36
[iii] Titus 3:4-5, 8
[iv] I John 1:9
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ladies Retreat ~ Craft

I've been sharing with you parts of our church Ladies Retreat.  The first night I hosted a workshop.  It was called, "Decorating with Teacups".  I had gathered ideas from all over the internet and Pinterest using teacups, saucers, and tea pots for decorating.  I put these on a power point presentation and we viewed it together.  What a fun time we had together oohing and awing over all these pretty pictures, and very creative ideas.    

We also had a fun time together creating our own version of a couple of the pictures.  Many ladies made one of these teacup bird feeders.  So cute!

First, we glued the teacup to the saucer.  Then we glued a 1/2 " copper cap to the bottom of the saucer.  

I'm sure there are many types of glue that would be great for this project.  We used GLOOZIT - Home & Garden to glue the cup to the saucer.  Then we used GLOOZIT - Plumber for the copper fitting.  I purchased these at Home Hardware.  The teacup then fits onto a piece of copper pipe by slipping the copper fitting onto the top of the pipe.  No glue necessary for this step.

You can see that the cup does not match the saucer in the next picture.  You may also notice that there is a crack inside the cup.  I think these cracked, mismatched pretties are too nice to just do away with.  They can still be loved and enjoyed.  This one will be enjoyed in my garden!

This cup and saucer do not match either.  But it is feeding the birds in my back yard!

As the ladies went away, many of them shared with me what they were going to do with the ideas we shared together.  I love being creative.  However, to assist others in being creative is such a thrill.  Thank you to all the ladies that shared that special time with me! 

Feathered Nest Friday
Inspiration Friday
Home Sweet Home
Saturday Night Spotlight
Pink Saturday
Strut Your Stuff Saturday
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Your Favorite Nothing...

I took a few days off in early April. Please believe me when I say I did nothing over those days. 
Nothing. Zilch. Nada. The big goose egg.
"NO thing"
I happened to be fortunate enough to have been somewhere where I could stare at a beautiful body of water. That always revives me.
That simple act of nothing (staring at water) is life giving and restorative for me.
I've never tried filling a glass with water and gazing at that. But, perhaps I should!! 
However, for some reason I think it would prove, shall I say, empty - or at least half empty.
Get it... glass of water, half empty... ;o)
Anyhooooooo, with the approach of summer, my mind is beginning to consider vacation time and much more of nothing.   
That's made me wonder what everyone else's favorite "nothing" is.
Care to share?
I care to know.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Blessed are those..."

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are moms! We appreciate all you have done and continue to do for your children and in some instances, your grandchildren. We take this time to thank our moms, and those who have played a significant mothering role in our lives, for their selfless dedication and devotion, their advice and counsel, their nurturing and provision for our needs, and most of all for their love.

This past week I have been reflecting on two well-known passages of Scripture in Matthew 5:1-12 and Luke 6:20-26. They are commonly referred to as “The Beatitudes” that Christ presented to the crowds who had gathered on a mountain to listen. Often we think of these character traits as they might apply to someone else we may know or be aware of, but I was challenged through something I was reading to really take time and consciously meditate on the seriousness of what Christ was saying – to me personally! [i] With Mother’s Day approaching, I decided to think of them in terms of my role as a mother, wife, aunt, mentor, and friend. They are indeed characteristics that should be evident in my life, especially as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…

While this attribute is most often applied to those who are without material or financial means, I believe Jesus meant for us to adopt this character trait in our spiritual relationship toward Him. How dependent am I upon God to meet my every need? Do I really see how destitute I would be were it not for His sacrificial love for me? When I go through suffering, how willing am I to rely on God’s all-sufficiency to carry me through?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted…

I especially love how Luke phrases Jesus’ words, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”  This action can describe any kind of mourning in general whether it be grieving over a loss or tragedy, lamenting over our own spiritual condition, or feeling anguish over the results of evil in the world. Is there any unconfessed sin in my life today, Lord? Do I truly feel sorrow over what I said to that person? How deeply do I care and pray for the family whose daughter’s murderer was convicted just two nights ago?

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth…

The person with this character is gentle, mild, patient, and long-suffering. It is closely linked with humility and grace and a spirit which is tempered. I once heard a minister describe it as, “strength held back”. I like that - because this temperament was also present in Jesus and He had all the resources of His heavenly Father at hand which he could have employed at any time. However, many times He chose to relinquish those powers and yield to the will of God’s plan for redemption. I’m so glad He did! But I am to follow Christ’s example. How willing am I to submit to God’s plan for my life when I can’t understand what He is doing? When was the last time I quietly listened to someone’s criticism and rebuke knowing God heard and would be more honoured by my silence than an angry or bitter retort? When would my gentleness foster healing?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled (satisfied)…

I remember when my son was young and outdoors playing with his friends how they would come in gasping for something cold to drink and famished for something to fill their tummies. In his teen years, he and a friend coined the phrase, “I’m sufficiently suffoncified” to describe their satisfaction. This yearning to be filled is a characterization that should define a true believer in Christ. Our desire to daily learn more of God and His Word as described in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

During the past few months, and especially during a few weeks in March-April leading up to two speaking engagements, I have thoroughly enjoyed digging into God’s Word and learning all I could! My soul was being saturated and I felt increasingly filled and satisfied. After my second presentation at our recent ladies’ retreat, I was totally exhausted in every sense of the word – requiring me to take a complete rest for three weeks – but I still felt that deep desire to be hungering and thirsting after God even when I felt too tired to even open my Bible (yes, I’m being very honest). It was during these times that God kept reminding me of His promises I had relied on, verses which had become very special to me, and spirit-filled music that spoke to my heart. God is so faithful to fill and satisfy us when we keep our hearts tuned to Him!

I invite you to join me next week as I continue my reflections on these “be-attitudes”.

Until next Sunday,

P.S. Hope you enjoy my photos of spring flowers in my garden this year!

[i] Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Oswald Chambers, 1960, 1995
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Tablescape


 I have been wanting to use these dishes in a tablescape for a long time.  I tried at Easter, and just couldn't make it "work".  As I pulled them out, yet again, I was determined to "get it together".  They are such a pretty, dainty pattern.  The contrast between the cream plate and dark table shows them off beautifully.  The table runners I've seen through Pinterest, made out of doilies, have really caught my eye.  I love them, and thought they would compliment these old dishes perfectly.  

Doily Runner:  The first step was gathering the doilies I wanted to use and laying them out on the table, fitting them together like puzzle pieces.  You can stitch the doilies together with a matching thread wherever they touch each other.  I chose to just lay mine out, without stitching them together.  I like to use them all over my home, and didn't want to permanently attach them.  I gathered several of these beautiful pieces at local thrift stores for under $1.  


The blossoming branches are a wild tree that blooms each spring in Nova Scotia.  My mother told me that Grammie always called them June Plum.  However, this is May, so our spring has come early this year.  :)  I snipped several branches and put them in my pink depression glass pitcher.  



These dishes were collected in the 1940's in packages of oatmeal.  I have three teacups and saucers that were my grandmothers.  The rest of this collection I have found in different antique stores over the years.



You have seen these little place card holders before.  I told you their story HERE last Easter.  It was my first tablescape here on Take Six.  No laughing, OK?  ;)




On the bottom of the plate it says, American Limoges ~ Rosalie ~ 22k gold.  I picked up six dinner plates and the platter at one antique store for $20.  It is not an expensive pattern at all.  But oh so pretty!


We are celebrating Mother's Day this year as we usually do.  We will gather with family, each one contributing to a wonderful meal.  What a blessing!

How will you celebrate Mother's Day?

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day Breakfast ~ with Paula

Mother's day is upon us. 
Do you usually get breakfast in bed?
We've made these yummy recipes
printable for you, so you can leave
them laying around and suggest
you would like them for breakfast
some day.  ;)

Oven Baked Scrambled Eggs ( 12 servings)

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com a number of years ago.  They are deliciously rich and creamy, and the only way I cook scrambled eggs for a crowd.  This recipe can easily be doubled.  I made it on the Easter weekend for 46 people.  I tripled the recipe and we had plenty.  It took considerably longer to cook as I had to put the entire mixture into my large roaster. It was around 45 minutes in total.  I did increase the temperature to 400 for the first 10-15 minutes as the ingredients were cold from the fridge.  It would have cooked faster if I could have divided it into two baking dishes, but all other dishes were holding other breakfast goodies.

24 eggs
2 1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 C milk
1/2 C butter (I never use that much, probably just use anywhere from 1/4 C- 1/3 C)
Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Melt the butter and pour into a 9 X 13 pan.  In a bowl whisk eggs, and add milk and salt.  Pour into the 9x13 pan and place in oven.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Give a good stir, probably not much going on yet, put back in for 10 more minutes, and stir again.  If at this point it is beginning to firm up when you stir, just put it back in for 5 minutes. 

Once the eggs begin to set they set pretty quickly.  The eggs are done once they are not creamy any more and can hold their own shape.  I have found that each time I make these there is a ‘water’ that seems to come out of the eggs once they are cooked and sit in my serving bowl.  Apparently this is referred to as weeping and there are two reasons for this 1) cooking too fast or too high a temp and 2) over cooking; so the last time I tried them, I cooked them lower and slower AND not quite as much as usual but it still occurred. It does nothing to the taste, and I always use a slotted spoon for serving.  I have even seen this happen in brunch buffets in hotels so I don’t worry about it, just wanted to let you know it is a possibility.

Potato Bacon Casserole 

Potato Bacon Casserole 

NOTE:  This recipe is not a ‘light’ diet conscious recipe but as a once or twice a year treat it is just plain old yummy!!!
I have no idea where this recipe came from, maybe my husbands love for all things bacon, but this is Christmas and Easter breakfast in our home every year and has been for near 18 years.

5 or 6 med potatoes sliced (I leave the skin on)
1 onion sliced
1 lb bacon
1 generous cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.
To begin, place your bacon in a ‘star burst’ pattern over the bottom of your cast iron fry pan.
The strips of bacon will go from the center of your pan up and over the sides.
Next layer 1/3 of your sliced potatoes, 1/2 of  your sliced onions and 1/2 of your grated cheese; again, 1/3 of your potato, rest of onion, rest of cheese and top with final amount of potato.  Now wrap the bacon pieces that are hanging over the side of your pan back over the top of potatoes.  Bake at 275 for about 2 hours, or until potatoes are tender.  If the bacon is getting too dark, cover with foil for awhile. 

On The Menu Monday
Wow Us Wednesday
Feathered Nest Friday
Food on Friday
Show Your Stuff
Make It Yourself Monday

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ladies Retreat ~ Centerpieces

As I told you last week, I was involved in planning our church Ladies Retreat this year.  If you would like to, you can read the post on the retreat "Gift Bags".  Another of my responsibilities, on the Retreat Committee, was table centerpieces/decorations.  This  is the Check-in Table where the ladies picked up their name tags the first evening.


I was planning to put the centerpieces on the tables where we would be having our meals.  But once we got there and saw the tables, it was clear there would not be enough room for centerpieces.  


So being the flexible woman I am,   * cough, choke *  I used them in another area.  The room where the check-in table was, had a big fireplace, lots of comfy seating, 2 coffee tables, and four tables with chairs around them.  This was the main "kick back and relax" area for the retreat.  So it was perfect to give this area some pretty decor.  


Having used the teacup theme for the "gift bags," I used teapots in the centerpieces. This white one is such a beauty with the little bird on the lid.  Purple was our retreat color, so I tried to put a splash of it in the decorations.  

FYI - When you purchase tulips that are still tightly closed and look to be purple,  beware!! They may be pink once they open.  :(   Yes Lord, I am learning to be more flexible.  


For the story behind this beautiful silver place mat, check out my "Winter White" tablescape.


These centerpieces were on four tables in the middle of the room.  A great spot to relax with a treasured friend or develop a new relationship.


This centerpiece was my daughter's favorite.  So since she was the photographer, there are THREE pictures of it!! :)




Themed water bottle labels are such a fun touch!


I have a few more things to share with you from the retreat, so stay tuned!

Photos courtesy of Nicole Payzant Photography.

Tablescape Thursday
Share Your Creations
Open House
Strut Your Stuff
Pink Saturday
Seasonal Sunday
Creative Me
Wow Us Wednesday
Make It Yourself Monday
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