Musings from the Threshold

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Hope Chest Traditions

A little over a month ago, I began doing some freelance work for an online studio. For my first assignment, I accidentally did the wrong title. Ha! (I realized it was the wrong title before I turned it in, don’t worry.) It was good practice, and it was about something in which I’m interested, so I don’t consider it a waste of time. But I thought I’d go ahead and post it here, so it doesn’t just sit in my file. Hope you enjoy it!

Hope Chest Traditions

Spanning centuries and continents, the hope chest has traditionally been a place to store the treasures of young women awaiting marriage. Popularity has waxed and waned, but an online search will quickly reveal that hope chests are still desired and used today.

Hope chests were used to collect and preserve a woman’s trousseau as far back as the late medieval times. In some cultures, hope chests contained the only possessions a woman actually owned.

Traditionally given to young women by their parents, hope chests were filled with the goods needed to set up a household, often items handcrafted by the young ladies themselves as they matured.

In different countries around the world, hope chests have had various names and forms; the Italian cassoni, the Dutch kast, the German schrank, and the English glory box are examples.

Cedar is commonly used for creating hope chests, due to its resistance to bacteria, fungi, and decay, as well as its insect repellant properties.

Fun Fact
Sulfur inlay is a decorative technique, used the late 18th and early 19th centuries by Pennsylvanian chest crafters, that involves filling carved channels in the wood with molten sulfur.

photo by RichinMN, CC BY-NDW 2.0

Cedarwood Furniture – Cedar Facts

Wright Kids Stuff

Cedarwood Furniture

A New Addition

We’ve been considering the possibility of getting a dog for the last several weeks, after losing 5 chickens in about a week’s time. On Tuesday, thanks to some amazingly generous friends, we brought home a new addition to our family.

Juilin is a full-bred Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). He’s almost five months old, and has a very sweet disposition. Most of us have totally fallen for him, and Jonathan thinks he’s pretty okay for a dog. His name is pronounced jew-linn; he’s named after a “thief-catcher” in a series of books J and I enjoy. We’re hoping he stops our chicken thief, though we doubt he’ll “catch” him!

I was planning to tell you more about Juilin, but right now I think I need to go out and let him run around some. More later!

Maker of the Universe

I have so much to post! But I must go fix supper. So I’ll tell you about our new puppy, etc, later. But I had to take the time to post this wonderful video. I hadn’t heard this song until today, and it just… wow.


Full Day, Full Heart…

Mom Smith, Davey, Barak, and I were at Child Evangelism Fellowship International Headquarters in Warrenton, MO today for a day long workshop in preparation for this year’s Good News Clubs. Dad and Mom Smith have been doing clubs for the last three years, and I’m prayerfully planning to join the team this year. We’ll see what the Lord works out about a work vehicle for Jonathan so I can take the van/kids to Club with me. 🙂 Anyway, it was a day full of learning, and very profitable.

As is usually the case, spending all day thinking on the gospel message gave me such a thankful heart. That the Creator of the universe would love me so much that He sent His only Son to take my place, to pay the price for my sin, is overwhelming. That He not only died, but rose again triumphant and is seated at the right hand of the Father – wow! What a joy to know that the price for my redemption from the sin that separated me from God and doomed me to an eternity without Him, has been paid for, and that because of His precious blood, I have eternal life!!

I have several friends, from two families, who are facing the possibility/likelihood of loosing their earthly fathers in the near future. With them on my heart, and my heart so full of thankfulness for my Saviour, these two precious hymns came to mind tonight…

O That Will Be Glory For Me
by Charles H. Gabriel

When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the Lord I adore,
Will thro’ the ages be glory for me.

O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me;
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

When, by the gift of His infinite grace,
I am accorded in heaven a place,
Just to be there and to look on His face,
Will thro’ the ages be glory for me.


Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me will flow;
Yet, just a smile from my Saviour, I know,
Will thro’ the ages be glory for me.

and another favorite…

Nothing But the Blood
by Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

and finally, a wonderful song shared on FB that was a blessing. I’d never heard it before…

Making Powdered Laundry Soap

I made laundry soap this morning and decided I’d try taking pictures of my work, both for the sake of having pictures for a tutorial and for the sake of trying to hone my meager photography skills. I’ve posted more of the pictures here and would love any input on the photography aspect of my project in the comments.

And now, on to the laundry soap!

I realize some of you already make your own laundry soap, but I thought a tutorial would be fun and hopefully helpful.

1 bar Fels Naptha (I have friends who use whatever soap is on sale, but my results increase exponentially with Fels Naptha, so anymore, I don’t do subsitutes)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax

Grate the Fels Naptha. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it. I use the fine grater on my Cuisinart.

I then pour the grated Fels into a bowl (isn’t it gorgeous?!),

put the chopping blade in the processor and replace the Fels.

Pulsing with the chopping blade for a bit takes it from this:

to this:

which I think has to be faster to dissolve.

Add the borax and washing soda and mix:

Then transfer to jar, or whatever works for you. I personally love the look of my laundry soap, so I like to keep it in a glass jar.

I made a double batch, which fits easily in a half gallon jar. It’s actually a little over 5 and half cups of soap. I use about 4t per load, so I get 65+ loads out of it. I need to use less now than I did before Jonathan installed the water softener, so if you have hard water, your loads/batch may vary.


I realized this morning that I have only imagined posting about the guineas that we’ve had since the beginning of July. This just goes to show that not all the blog posts that start in my head end up online.

I posted a picture of the guineas over the weekend on my photo blog and my mom commented, “When did you get these??” My first thought was, “Mama! I thought you read my blog…” Then I went back through both the photo and regular blogs and couldn’t find anything about guineas. Ha!

Here’s the tale of the guineas… Linda (our fabulous neighbor) got a batch of guineas in late June and we bought some from her. I think we brought our six down to the house on July 1st or 2nd. We lost one when we moved them outside to what used to be the ducks’ pen, because we didn’t get the ducks’ water tub out at first. Sad. But the other five are doing great. We now let them run around in the fenced garden all day, eating bugs. Come evening, they fly out of the garden and run around the yard until we herd them into their pen. Hopefully soon they’ll fly out of the garden and into their pen in the evening on their own.

And here they are, in case you missed them on Yesterday:


Stephen has had a tiny dimple near his left eye for quite a while. It’s cute, but doesn’t show up that often.

Here’s Stephen on July 5:

Very cute. But no dimple.

Then on July 9, he got in a fight with a cabinet… and lost.
See the deep bruise showing up on his cheek?

And here he is on July 29, with his new dimple in full bloom:

Fascinating, eh?
I don’t know how long this dimple will last, but I think it is adorable!

Memory Dishes

Laurie commented recently about how dishes hold food memories, and asked if any dishes in my life hold memories of certain foods. I’ve been pondering this, and want to pass on the question, as well as answer it for myself.

Mama had/has (Mama? do you still have it?) a lovely flowered china tureen that is always associated in my memory with spaghetti. I’m sure she used it for other things, but spaghetti sauce is what I picture in it. I also hear our friend Brian moaning, “Oh, E, my belly!” because he’d eaten too much of Mama’s wonderful spaghetti.

A pan might not be the kind of dish Laurie was thinking of, but I have LOTS of memories of Mama’s “chicken fryer.” Beef A’La Mom, tuna and rice, the aforementioned spaghetti sauce… I could go on and on.

Then there are camp pans, which conjure up memories of baked chicken, wheat rolls, zucchini cake… and scrubbing!

What about you? Do any dishes in your life hold memories of certain foods?