Penny the Traveling Clothespin Doll shares her adventures at home and abroad.
Oregon pinetree farm
Getting ready for a new travels
Learning to make India chapata


Welcome Snowdrops, the sure sign that Spring is on its way!

I have a collection of pictures for you of the various February happenings here at our farm.  We moved from big white snowbanks, to oodles of mud, to bits of green hinting of spring.  My Valentines project called for collecting grapevines in the cold sharp wind and shaping some wreaths to decorate with hearts and ribbons.  So pretty, with a curly touch of natural beauty.




Maybe you’d like to see this prickly Valentine I received as a token of smiling friendship.  It tickles me!



Typically these are called Christmas cactus, so why would this be blooming for Valentines Day?  One more thing on my list of things to be grateful for.




A big project over this winter was beading laces for the Fellowship of Christian Farmer’s ministry.  As you recall, we like to take part in providing these laces for the folks in the ministry to pass out at fairs and farm shows where they are each tied onto a walking stick that gets handed out for free to those interested in hearing the Gospel story that the beads represent.  You can read more about that on my site here:   FCFI  



We were happy to have completed 3,500 laces.  You can see some of them here tied in bundles of 100.  It is a privilege to be involved in supporting those who work with sharing God’s good news.  Is there anything you can do to help spread the Word?



Here is a card that is attached to the walking sticks to explain the story of the beads.



This is the little tray that I use to hold the bead supply as I work.  First a knot, then the 5 beads, then another knot.  Then into piles of 100 to bundle.  Meanwhile praying that God will bless the people who hear as well as the people who share the love of God from their hearts.



Another exciting part of February is the return of the eagles to the Wildlife Refuge near us.  My Dad took these pictures through the spotting scope he uses.  This shot shows the eagle at the top of the tree where they have built a new nest this year.  Just look at the size of that nest!  Imagine them flying in with sticks that big.



Below you will see the head of the female as she has now begun setting on eggs.



This next shot is a real classic.  The eagles are such noble birds.



And now for some adorableness.  Gracie is growing so quickly!  At 14 weeks old she is loving lots of attention and a good romp with some silly fun thrown in.



Some longer hair is growing on her tail and belly but she is still so soft and fluffy, a joy to stroke.



The book I have been reading lately is The Autobiography of George Muller.  He was the one to run the orphanages in Bristol, England in the 1800s totally on faith without expressing his needs to anyone but God alone.  His desire was to show that God can be trusted, that He does care about our daily needs and can be relied upon to supply as the needs arise.  God enjoyed the chance to demonstrate His abilities and did so amazingly.  This book has been hugely inspiring to me.



Here is a quote from his May 7, 1841, diary entry:

“The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord.  The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished.  I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.

The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it.  Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed…

As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man.  What is the food for the inner man?  Not prayer, but the Word of God – not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe.  No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts…

Through His Word… our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us…

Meditation on God’s Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials.  What a difference there is when the soul is refreshed in fellowship with God early in the morning!  Without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day can be overwhelming.”

~ George Muller





Little puppies spell J.O.Y.  Little bundles of lively squirming affection that warm your heart.



We have added a new puppy to our family circle this January.  She came with a big pink bow tied around her neck and was a delightful surprise to me.  Isn’t she darling?



I named her Gracie, and she has a sweet and gentle nature.



Half the time she is bouncing with joy, and the other half she is snoozing adorably.



Gracie’s favorite snoozing place is in the back entrance curled up against my boots.



She loves to help with the farm chores, and happily admires the chickens while I collect the eggs.



Potty training requires constant sudden runs outside no matter how nasty the weather, day or night, but this adorable face makes it all worthwhile.



A picture of patient affection.



And one of silly goofiness.  We laugh a lot these days with Gracie around.



Hello Adorable. ♥  Settling into her new home.



Last night we got mounds of fluffy snow and that tickled her delightfully all day today, just to toss about and romp in the soft snow.



So sweet and playful.



One miniature puppy checking out Gracie’s toy rope.



One growing puppy checking out her new friend Penny.




Thank you, God for puppies.


“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  James 1:17



A very merry Christmas from our house to yours!  ♥



Penny and I have been enjoying trying our hand at making gingerbread houses this year.  A new experience for me.  Thanks to Google, we found a good recipe and set to work mixing ingredients, kneading lots of flour into the dough to make it very stiff, and then rolling it out to cut into shapes to create our little houses.



I am thankful to have found the tip saying to hot glue the house together, rather than relying on just frosting, and it sounded like a good step to make things simpler.  So that’s what I did, with no regrets, though it would not be purely edible.  I wasn’t planning on these getting eaten.



You can see here that I drew lines on the roof with a pencil for the “shingle” pattern.  Penny and her pets wanted to run in and out to explore the cute little house.



Another tip I learned was to make the candies available in a muffin tray.  Good idea!  We had red and green M&Ms, white chocolate wafers, gummy candies, little cinnamon drops, pretzels, pecans, and dates.  And of course, candy canes.  Go easy on the sampling here!!



And now for the little people to begin.  I made royal frosting from egg whites and confectionery sugar that is meant to dry quickly.  I gave the workers each a sandwich bag with the tip cut off so they could pipe it on as they wished.  Here the pencil lines are roughly followed with frosting and M&Ms applied with little fingers.



This is a busy gingerbread house construction site with kids very intent on their labors.  So cute!



Someone got carried away with candy cane ridgepoles here, but no fear, there is nothing that a little more frosting can’t fix!  How do you like it now, Penny?



First we decorated the fronts, then the sides got candy accessories too – bright little Christmas bushes and white chocolate wafers.



Oh, here is a good idea, a pretzel log sidewalk to the front door.



I added frosting to the roof edges and some dripping icicles to complete this masterpiece.



This home belongs to the gummy snowmen who wonder if you won’t step inside and join them for a cup of cocoa?



After a busy day, here is Penny posing by the finished houses.  A big one for the children to take home, and a littler one for their Grandma.  Merry Christmas one and all!

In the background is the recently made Christmas banner celebrating “God with us”.

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”    Matthew 1:23

And that’s why we celebrate Christmas!!



We have taken part in the Samaritan’s Purse ministry Operation Christmas Child the last few years.  What fun it is to pack a box of special items to gift to a needy child in another land.



Here is the website all about Operation Christmas Child.



Our church ordered these festive printed boxes and this flier explained what to include while putting together your shoebox gifts.



Penny had a lot of fun trying out some of the items, like riding this toy jeep.  Whee!!



Imagine the fun some little boy will have with this harmonica, making music wherever he goes.



I love the warmth of handmade items, so Penny and I found a way to personalize the little 4 X 6 inch sketchbook with colorful washi tape and fun animal stamps decorating some of the pages here and there.



Here is the scrapsheet displaying the variety of critters now decorating the inside of the sketchbook: monkeys and hippos, giraffes and alligators.  I hope they will delight some little fellow who receives this.  He can fill out the rest of the pages as he wishes with the box of crayons we included.



Another homemade gift is a drawstring bag we called a “Possible Bag” as kids.  It can hold anything possible, and be a great place to store treasures.



Penny inspects the final stitches to be sure they are even and strong to hold up to lots of use.



Admiring the finished product.  This bright blue print is cheery.  I wonder what it will hold in its lifetime?



And now to try to fit it all in the shoebox!  The sketchbook, a yo-yo, a toothbrush, a new plaid shirt, sunglasses… a nerf football too!  How can we make it all fit?



We did it!!  The possible bag is tucked on top, then with a caring prayer that God’s love will bless whomever this will eventually belong to, Penny must sit fiercely on the lid while I wrap the bulging box with a couple of rubber bands.



Next, it gets a green label for a BOY, and we check the box for a child 5-9 years old.



And now it is ready to send!!



Violet is interested in seeing where the shoeboxes go from here, so we send her off to find out….

First it goes to our church where they collected a total of 138 boxes.  My friend, Cindy, from church helps at our town’s drop off location where all the area shoeboxes are collected, then packed into big brown boxes to be trucked out to a processing center.  There are 8 processing centers in the United States.




Violet will go along with Cindy as she and her husband volunteer at the Processing Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Stay tuned for her report on what happens there!




Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a festive feast yesterday to celebrate the holiday, and this place-mat reminds us that we are “Thankful, Grateful, Blessed” everyday of the year.  Surrounded by homey comforts, warm friends and special treats, we are reminded that God is good.  Always something to be thankful for.



Penny’s new puppy meets the jolly gingerbread men come to play with him.



And this old-fashioned boy offers puppy a bite of his cookie.  “Come, boy!”



Here is what it looked like when the cookies were in the making.  The spicy gingerbread tasted so good with our Thanksgiving pies – apple, pumpkin and lemon meringue, and were a big hit with the little people.  Chewy, yummy, crumbly…



Face to face with a cute little bundle of fur.

Grateful to be together.