Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flowers and Frost

Over the past week, we've had frost three consecutive nights. These photos were taken to show the damage in my little garden, but I was surprised how attractive "damage" can be. The wild strawberry plant was touched as was the little red azalea. You will note that I am very good at using a photo multiple times. I'm in my matchy-matchy phase. :D

To see many more wonderful mosaics, visit Mary at Little Red House!

The Lily of the Valleys

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dandelion Dreams Become a Dandelion Wishes Jar

Yesterday was a tease! I'm so bad and how well I know it. I got caught up in the busyness of afternoon company and never got back to my project even after permission had come in. My apologies, truly.

This Dandelion Wishes Jar is a fun and simple project found in Sharon Lovejoy's book Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars on page 6. I've been thinking about it as I've watched the dandelions sprouting up all over the lawn. This may be the one year that I don't wage war against them.

Sharon describes the jar this way:

When your visiting grandchild feels homesick or unhappy, open the lid and offer him one big wish, then let him blow.

Doesn't that sound like just the thing? I'm going to collect a lot and I may blow them all over the neighborhood. And why exactly is it that we get our knickers into such a knot over dandelions anyway?

I decided to attempt a simple little tag that turned into a four-hour project. Don't ask and I'll not tell. It involved learning some new tricks on Photoshop and playing with the camera so that's not time wasted, right?

Next time the grands arrive, I'll have a handy little diversion ready for them when they grow weary or bored. This nonni is going to need a whole truckload of tricks for those precious boys!

Please visit Sharon Lovejoy and thank her for allowing me to spotlight this nifty idea on my blog. (Yes, I requested and received permission to feature this idea on my blog.) Thanks so much, Sharon! You won't want to miss Sharon's California garden and her Maine cottage while you're there. Lovely!

Enjoy this wonderful day...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dandelion Dreams

Dandelion dreaming has taken over around here. Perhaps I'll be able to show you more in a day or two.

Have a fun day, promise?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vintage Tablecloth Reconstruction After a Fashion

It all began like this with a cutting away of the damaged center and a failed attempt to preserve every little bit of fabric. Either that or I was creating a new continent. Take your pick.

It nearly ended this way as the second tablecloth you see above was much too thin and fragile to do the job. You may remember that my original intent was to have a reversible something or other.

I had to make a uniform center. I found all matching posies in the corners and pinned them together, squared up my fabric, folded it into quarters and hacked away at it. Seemed to work pretty well.

Next I added yet another vintage linen tablecloth. This white number had been left behind when I bought my first home back in 1980. The sellers had run a restaurant at one time and they had oodles of these. (It was also badly stained with lots of holes.)

Yards of homemade bias tape later...

I have something that looks like this. It will be suitable for picnic tables at least! The white tablecloth on top looks like a big table topper, but it is stitched to what remains of the flowered tablecloth.

This was my lovely break midday to receive packages from my Boston niece. She works in an art museum and I think you'll be able to tell when you see what she sent.

Two Mary Cassatts — Caresse Maternelle painted around 1902 and Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa Reading painted around 1876. My refrigerator is going to be so well dressed! (Thank you, Kea, love you!!)

As for the "Shalom" pillow...some day. Yes, Someday is coming.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Solitary Lilac Branch in Bloom and Linen Rescues

You know me. I get a lot of mileage out of the simplest things. Currently, it's my one, lonely lilac branch. Vickie had asked me what the flower in my header was. The lowly lilac and nothing more. Obviously, I gave it a hard pruning last year and it is holding it against me. Can't wait to see what my azalea thinks of me after similar treatment a few days ago. I'll have to wait until next spring for certain, but just now she's looking pretty miserable.

All this mileage on simple things is all in the photographer's technique don'tcha know. I, being poorly self-taught, am like the lowly lilac branch. Very little substance here.

In fact, this morning, I discovered that my camera settings have been on the lowest quality. That can't be good. In an effort to remedy the situation, somehow I made a huge mess of everything. Finally, I discovered the trick, which I share with you below.

Typically, I can't even get that right. It is not a "sytem restore" it is a
"resetting settings to their default values." Whatever! The problems righted themselves and I am no longer concerned about photo quality. Head to Ree's for that!

After rescuing my camera settings, I am now in hopes of rescuing some linens. Here are my three projects.

1. lower left corner -- napkin made from ratty old tea towel

2. top right corner -- two ratty vintage tablecloths melded into one...maybe...with luck and a prayer

3. lower right corner -- A crewel wall hanging turned into a crewel know the drill

Check back tomorrow for the results...

(I'm sorry if I've led some to believe that I'm away this week. Not at all. Probably next week. I'm very happy to have the book from Aunt Amelia, but I have already read it. This one is for my shelf and to reference from. The new books will be here soon enough.)

Have a terrific afternoon!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank you Aunt Amelia!

Look what John brought in when he came home for lunch. Yes, he's having chips, egg salad sandwiches, bread and butter pickles, and coffee. Did you know that egg salad sandwiches are in my top five favorite sandwiches of all time? Did you know that sandwiches are in my top five favorite foods of all time? I could eat a sandwich every single day and never tire of it. Oops, pardon moi, this is not a meme.

It's my book from Aunt Amelia!

I'm very excited that I won't have to use my glasses to read this one! And look! It's come full circle sorta.

I've already visited Thorndike Press to see if they have any other books I'm interested in. They don't. But if you ever need a source for large print books, this is a great place to look.

Perhaps one day I'll find something besides Elizabeth's books to think about. Until then, it's over and out for now...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Florist Shop

The books went back to the library this morning and I ordered two more, both Elizabeth Goudge books: The Dean's Watch and The Scent of Water. Funny how I can go for weeks without reading anything more than the newspaper or the morning devotional and then I can't read enough. Escapism. I obviously need some.

Speaking of escapism, this week I hope to visit blogs and blog a bit myself before those books come in and I sink out of sight into the sofa cushions.

We had a lovely Mother's Day Tea here on Saturday. The entire house looks like a florist shop because of all the bouquets. That's what happens when two mothers are in the house. We have roses yellow and red, carnations of all colors, two azalea plants pink and coral, hanging petunias and a sage plant, too. It's been so bitterly cold that I haven't dared to put any flowers out. I hope that your Mother's Day was wonderful as well.

Here's Nan's bouquet of carnations, a gift from my daughter to her great-grandmother. Gosh, I love these things as they are so colorful and not one bit fussy like the roses have been.

I redid my little banner after I saw *some that Becky had done* at Sweet Cottage Dreams. John was forever bumping into the first and knocking things about. It's not fair to expect men to put up with fussy things so I set about to fix it. This is how it turned out.

Now to check in on some blogs... Yay!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Friday night as I was at the checkout, the cashier asked if the items I was purchasing were a Mother's Day gift for my mom. Whyever would a tea cup, tea, marmelade, a Ritter Sport, stationery, a candle and a list book look like Mother's Day gifts? I smiled and said that they were. She said, "I lost my mother this year. You are so blessed to still have yours." I nodded. Oh, yes, I am blessed! At a loss for words, I couldn't say what a year it's been for my family. And, too, I wanted to somehow comfort her in her loss. In the end, she comforted me by saying, "She is always with me."

And that's how most of us experience our mothers. She is indeed always there. Her voice is heard long after the actual sound of her voice is forgotten. We remember how she would have reacted in this situation or that. Her admonishments and encouragements are with us. I know these things because my grandmother tells me how much she longs to see her mother again; yet, her mother has always been with her. Isn't God good to give us mothers? And isn't He good to remind us that even if our fathers and mothers forsake us, He will be there?

You've always been right there for me;
don't turn your back on me now.
Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
you've always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.
~Psalm 27:10 The Message

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Herb of Grace

The inn itself was a fair-sized old house with bulging white-washed, buttressed walls...

I've been having some fun while away. Today I find myself missing Blogdom so am back. Not really back, back, but a skipperty-lippertish kind of back.

What fun you may wonder. Reading fun! I've been reading The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn. (It's my goal to have the final one finished in time for a Saturday return, though I do have another week to fall back upon. The sooner I finish, the sooner I will be back to visiting you. Yay!) These are such delicious books that I've even been writing down my favorite passages to savor later; these are the kinds of books that one wishes to read again so I will continue to look for them at flea markets. (Thank you, sweet M-N, for your kind offer.)

I'd like to thank those who've read Elizabeth Goudge and shared your love of her books. Brenda's Warm and Cozy Book Recommendations comes to mind and so many others in Blogland have mentioned this author.

The two I have read are about the Eliot family who own homes on England's Hampshire Coast located in the southwest corner. The homes are named Damerosehay and The Herb of Grace. (Herb of Grace is actually the British title of Pilgrim's Inn.) About 80 pages into the first book, I couldn't stand not knowing how to pronounce Damerosehay another minute. Thankfully, someone on the net had already asked and received an answer. You can find it *here.*

These are good old-fashioned reads. There may be undercurrents of sordid details, but goodness, love, and morality always prevail. I may be somewhat at odds with the family matriarch Lucilla concerning the benefits of living in a loveless, hollow marriage, but then I must consider the time in which Goudge was writing. The descriptions of home and garden were so beautifully and lovingly crafted...pure delights. I'll share a few of the excerpts I saved and hope that you, too, may be bitten by the desire to find these treasures at your local library or flea market or on the shelves of a friend's bookcase.

...She spent her whole life in terror of disturbing people when they did not want her and so catching was her frame of mind that they too, when she entered anxiously upon them, were inclined to agree with her that, no, they did not want her...she held aloof always, afraid to give herself lest her gift should be scorned, and possessions that she most deeply prized...slid away from her. ~from The Bird in the Tree describing Margaret Eliot
The thought came to her that though she herself had done all she could, there was upon her side other strength than her own. The universe was planned as an orderly thing, and those forces that try to wreck its order are always on the losing side...
~Ibid describing Lucilla Eliot
"One's real self gets very sharpened when one is unhappy. It gets able to pierce through and make peepholes in the stuff of everyday life. It's practically the only advantage of being unhappy." ~Ibid David Eliot and shabbiness are quite compatible. The great to start well. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but it must be a costly and strong beauty, purchased at a high price of service or sacrifice. ~Ibid Lucilla's opinion
"To a gardener...any garden is home. It's home and work together. It's not any one's the earth and things growing in it that one loves." ~Ibid Margaret Eliot
Ben decided, not for the first time, that all his family were quite mad, and turned his attention, as Grandmother had advised, to the view.~ Ibid
Just like Ben, I've been turning my attention to the view quite a lot recently. So much in these books resonates with me from "advice" on how to cope in trying times to thoughts on home and garden and family.

There have been times when separate events come together in my life in striking ways or perhaps it's just because I have a mind always seeking to make connections. I have often been told that I make "unusual" ones. Whatever it is, my gifts from Robin arrived this week and have become one of those striking ties for I will remember this delicious week of reading ever so much better as a result of Robin's thoughtfulness. I don't know if she planned it this way having learned that I was going to read the aforementioned books or if it was a God breeze, but it's wonderful. Just see what I mean...

My gifts and their connections:

The sweet little bird...birds feature prominently in both stories, but especially in the first

The watering can charm...gardening connection

Flower magnets and notepaper...ditto

Verbena soap and lotion...The family matriarch Lucilla uses verbena as her signature scent

Candles...English hyacinth...story set in England and Flowering herbs..."The Herb of Grace" is the home from Pilgrim's Inn.

Vanilla Pear Butter...such a tasty treat for a proper English tea! And how did Robin know that my favorite fruit is pear?!

"Praise God" tag...there's a profound spirituality in these two Goudge books and a message of yielding oneself to God. Love those sweet colors of binding tape to use in tag making. (My mother will benefit first.)

Robin, thank you so much! I was and am blessed!

So what do you think? Were those connections too far-fetched?

Thank you for all your kind comments and prayers for my mother. She is doing quite well, everything considered, and we are all so grateful. At this point, I'm sending a cyber hug to my Aunt Ess and Uncle B. They are the best! I don't know what my family would do without them. God does not leave us comfortless and they have been God's comfort to us in recent days. Hope to have an update on "Behind the Scenes" soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


"Rest" is a perfect word for me right now. Perhaps you'll find it perfect for yourself as well. I found it at Ramblings from an English Garden *here.*

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. ~Romans 8:26–28 The Message

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Did it Snow?

No. Thank you, Lord! I might've had a complete breakdown if it had. As it was, I was nearly down for the count.

My mother's surgery lasted hours longer than we were told with a number of complications and then she was in recovery until evening. It was a very long day. The good news is that once she has recovered, she will be able to do so much more than she has been able to since last October. Thank you for your prayers. They mean more than you may realize. At some point in time, I'll update the little corner with my mother's story called Behind the Scenes. As some of you know, I do talk about it, just not always on the front page.

So while I waited for word from the hospital, I read a wonderful book just arrived from Amazon. A fun book. One filled with super ideas and such easy-to-do ideas. It was the perfect way for me to spend two hours because my mind was focused forward on the grands and not back on my mom and my nan. The two generations ahead of me take up much of my thought life so this was a special treat from the Lord via A Woman Who Is at In a Garden. (Thank you, my friend!) I'm referring you to the post Cindy wrote about *Sharon Lovejoy* who just so happens to be the author of this neat book. Perhaps all of us blogging grandmothers who are reading Sharon's books and going to try some of these ideas with our grands will be talking about them on our blogs. That would be cool!

While I'm away, I'll be imagining you in your beautiful garden tending your flowers and herbs, some veggies, maybe chickens, too. :> Or perhaps you're in your craft room creating delights. Whatever you do, whatever you enjoy, until we meet over that proverbial back fence, be good and be blessed. (Yes, I'm taking a little break.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I am beginning this entry on Tuesday evening at 6:16. Having just listened to tomorrow's weather report, I now know that there'll be up to three inches of snow on the ground by morning. On April 28? Good heavens! It has made me go back in bloggy time to that terrible winter and spring when the snow hung on forever. That was the year that I held a contest on when the last vestiges of snow would be gone. Barbara won that giveaway. She said that she just had a feeling that she would. Isn't that fun? In case you're interested in that date, it was April 22, 2008. This year, even with a mild winter and an early spring, it'll be a later snowfall. Nuts!

So there's been snow on the forsythia and now there'll be snow on the azaleas. (This will be something I've never before seen so if it does happen, I'll be documenting with another photo.) Good thing that I took lots of photos of happy azaleas yesterday.

Tonight I will watch LOST. I'll visit Chris and see if she has anything to say about it. I need to start a forum or something for fans of LOST. No, no, I don't. Such things already exist, but if anyone would like to chat about it, do feel free. Nope, it was a rerun. Ugh. But it did force me to find the final schedule right *here,* which explains what will be showing through May 23 the finalé. Only LOST fans need check. :D Just don't anyone be looking for me on May 23. No one. Anywhere. I'll be in a LOST coma.

Let's see, what else, Dear Ones. Oh! I do want to thank those who said that they'd read a book I wrote. That's just so sweet. I don't imagine that you'd be too terribly impressed however. If you've been reading this blog for any time at all, you know the gist of it for, like most first novels, it is autobiographical in nature. Oh, yes, and I'll ponder whether to share a bit from what John read. I did share some *here* from another story I was working on back in 2007. A few of my current readers commented at that time. Would you believe that I have since lost those chapters? You would? Go figure! You'll laugh to see how I ended that post. The word becalmed comes to mind. < insert wry grin >

I'm having a waiting kind of Wednesday, waiting for word, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting... (My mother is having more surgery today.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

♪ Mi Mi Mi Mi ♪ and a Winner!

Even though I don't give or discuss awards, I still enjoy a game of tag every now and then. That's because there are times when my mind is empty...oh no you don't...don't even go there! Okay, where was I? Oh, yes, Lea tagged me with the "Ten Things About Me" meme and I need a topic for today. How perfectly serendipitous! So indulge me while I sing ♪ mi mi mi mi ♪ and try to tell you something new.

1. I wash my dishes in bleach water. (One must be careful as bleach and soap can be a toxic combination. Just don't use a soap with phosphates. I can safely use Palmolive and bleach. I think. Don't do as I do. Do your own research. I use a teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of water or a TBS for the entire dish bucket. Why? I'm blaming my Aunt Ess for this one! She got me started about 32 years ago and I've been at it ever since. Plus, I may have OCD.)

2. If yellow didn't exist in this world, my favorite color would be... I'm sure you can guess!

3. Last Saturday morning I ordered two books by Elizabeth Goudge from the interlibrary loan program. I've given up on finding them at a flea market. So it'll be The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn by week's end. Maybe.

4. As of Tuesday last week, I am without an excuse to finish writing my own book. The missing chapters have been found and John has read them and given them a good report. Well, he would have to, I suppose. But he did sit right down to read them and did so until finishing and gave me this interesting compliment: "It kept my interest." Okie dokie then!

5. One of my secret wishes is to hire some Merry Maids. I haven't been able to give the upstairs, basement or garage the attention that they deserve since Nan arrived.

6. Right behind the Merry Maids, comes a landscaper. John is way too busy at "The Pondersosa" to give our little yard much attention. I want the lawn re-seeded and the garden made larger, and some raised beds built. No time for any of that either.

7. Both of my children have applied for better-paying jobs. I'm praying a lot.

8. I hate to sweat. I could not be like Judy and all you gals who enjoy a mountain climb. Despise climbing, but love to see the views. Yup, I'm one of those — I want to enjoy the reward without doing the work.

9. I've been missing A LOT of my blogging buddies lately. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Kari and Kijsa? I hope that they're busy writing a book.

10. Can you believe that I've made it to ten? Hey! Wake up! I'm getting to the best part: The Winner of the Giveaway is Donna at Cottage Days and Journeys. Congrats! I'm eager to see this tote "in person." One thing's sure, Donna will take an excellent picture of it.

As you know, I don't tag folks these days, but if your brain is ever empty, you can't go wrong with a good meme and I'll certainly allow you the use of this one.

Enjoy your Monday...

roses source: some free gif site somewhere...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mosaic Monday~All About Red

From lower left corner: Nan's coffee mug in soapy water, ring holder, books, poinsettia still very much alive, jelly cupboard drawer, the prize (see below).

Oh I'm so happy to have you drop by. You see, I have a little something that I want to share with you and I'm hoping that you'll help me out because it's been awfully quiet around here lately. So, if you'd like, please visit *this post* right here at A Haven for Vee and leave a comment to win the beach bag you see featured in the mosaic above. It's a wonderful gift and there's no reason why you shouldn't have the chance to win it! All you have to do is leave a comment on that post and have a blog/be a blogger. Comments close Monday night at 7 so be quick! To make it easier for you, I'm closing comments here in hopes that you'll comment there.

Clicking on the red will take you right back to *Mary's Little Red House Mosaic Monday.*


How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my lips. ~Psalm 119:103

photo source

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Azalea Mosaics

Brrrr, it's cold up here! I was out and about all yesterday afternoon and nearly froze to death. Apparently, all the stores have shut off the heat and it was miserable, even in the restaurant.

Still, the azaleas are blooming and it's one of my favorite times of year. Couldn't help but grab the camera. I never have enough time to devote to the process so am cheating by doing a mosaic...more presence don'tcha know. Interesting to see the hue differences between indoor and outdoor photos.

Please don't forget the beach bag giveaway. If you haven't already, check Friday's post (yesterday) for the info. I want more bloggers! Come on now, don't be shy. (Oh and you'll find links to both Keepsakes Etc and Simply–Bags on my sidebar under Some of My Favorite Places.)

May you have a wonderful, restful, pleasant weekend and think warm weather...

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Giveaway for Bloggers!

This week I was contacted by a very nice gentleman who'd love to give one of my blogging buddies a gift from one of the on-line stores that he and his wife own. A gift! How cool is that?! He is offering the Stylish Beach Bag, a red and cream-striped, perfect-for-summertime tote bag you see below.

You will note that it can be personalized (up to 12 letters). The bag, the personalization, and the shipping are all a part of this giveway. So much fun!

And, the best part is that this is a giveaway that you can talk about so please let your blogging buddies know. All one has to do to enter is comment on this post and be a blogger. Feel free to use this tag for your sidebar if you'd be willing to help me get the word out. Just click on the title of this post to snag the url so you can link back. (If you do, I'll enter your name twice.) Thanks so much!

Time is short as comments will close Monday evening, April 26 at 7. "The Hand" will make a selection and the winner will be announced Tuesday morning.

You can find more wonderful products by checking Throws and Beach Bags. I have spent a pleasant time browsing there myself.

Enjoy your Friday...
Comments are now closed. A big thank you to all who participated! Check back tomorrow morning to learn who the winner will be. (This is so exciting...I don't even know yet myself.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A New Tablecloth and Experimenting with Light and Camera Settings

These titles are getting longer and longer!

Yesterday, I showed you the photograph that my mother gave me. Today, I'm showing you the sweet little tea tablecloth (possibly Bridge tablecloth) that she found while shopping at a flea market up in her corner and then gave to me. And I'm tossing in my amateur experiments with camera settings for good measure.

So here is the new tablecloth. What? You can hardly see it? So typical of me! My setting was on Av F2.7 for this one, if that means anything for you. I liked how it came out. Composition is wonky, but that's just how it goes when I take a picture. I mean, how many different flower colors can I get into one shot? Ha!

Super Macro details above and below...

This was also taken on Av F2.7. I was intrigued by the light on the flowers, on the tag by Miss Sandy, and on the sofa back.

And I liked how dark the surroundings around this little sunlit bird really help him stand out. "Let's walk in the light" as John always likes to say.

Oh, please see the new giveaway button on my sidebar. Liane at Tender-Hearted Daisy is celebrating her daughter's 17th birthday with a giveaway. She doesn't say what the gift will be, which makes it just that much more fun. Go ahead! Visit and sign up!

A great Thursday to you...