Monday, September 18, 2017

orchid nursery

Once upon a time I bought an died.

Years later, someone gave me an died.

I thought there was more to orchid growing success than I was willing to invest at the time, I put it on the back burner of my to do list, the "one day" list.

Revival of the orchids entered this spring when I was gifted  a white orchid for Mothers' Day, and then in early June I inherited my neighbor's pink orchid because she was moving away. These two orchid plants provided me with the most gorgeous orchid flowers until late July. Then they rested...

Some of the information I read online is totally opposite of how to care for them, therefore, I choose to trust several sights that agree and plan to follow their advice. I am a student in the orchid nursery for now, but I am not giving up; I gave in to the temptation and purchased  another one last week, and one of my other orchids is putting out another bloom!

                                                                    crecente lacus

Saturday, September 16, 2017

luggage rack success

 I woke up this morning with a thought I could not believe I had not even considered yesterday. Bed, Bath, And Beyond...check it out!!!

My husand and I made the trip this morning and came home with the most perfect suitcase rack of all times, constructed in wood, completely assembled, and ready to be placed in the guest room. Accomodating my honored guests in the simple things .

And I appreciated GretchenJoanna's suggestions about what she uses in her guest room, a desk or lower chest of drawers. All so much better than having to stoop down on the floor.

Friday, September 15, 2017

hosting out of town guests

There is much to be read online about the art of hosting out of town guests in your home, but since I am fortunate to be able to open my home to  guests coming in for a wedding this weekend, I have been busily preparing the room in which they will stay.

Yes, it is easier if you have a guest room already established. But if not, there are still certain things to consider before your guests arrive.

When houseguests leave my home, I immediately strip the used bed sheets to launder and pull the bedspread up over the mattress cover. Then when the day comes that I am preparing the room for my guest(s), I toss the bedspread into the dryer with a cotton ball laced with a tad of lavender oil while I make the bed with clean sheets.

I clean the bathroom thoroughly. This also involves placing clean towels on the racks, checking for fresh soaps both in the shower and sink, setting out toiletries they may need, filling the toilet paper rack with a new roll, while making sure there is another roll under the sink. I like to have a night light  in the bathroom too.

I put out reading material appropriate for the particular guests, sometimes this may include magazines. Recently I have included a little picture frame where Charlotte has written our wifi  passcode on the glass.

 Then last, but not least, I like to set out a tray of small treats I think my guests will like: things such as bottled water, crackers, pretzels or nuts, mints, and of course, a special chocolate bar

Making sure there is a proper place to hang clothes is usually needed. One thing I still lack, a suitcase" tray", you know those things that hotels provide to keep your suitcase off the floor. I am considering placing a small table in the room this weekend for this purpose. Do any of you have something that works for this?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

a Precepts Bible Study...and sea salt brownies

With all my heart I believe we have a responsibility to the next generation, to diligently teach them the ways of God, to know Him, which means the Word of God must be center front in this advancement of His kingdom. I have found that the Precepts Inductive Bible Studies are an excellent resource for leading a group of students to learn how to study the Holy Scriptures in this manner.*
Last year we studied the first book in the  series called Abraham, this year we continue with the study of Joseph. We do our part and the Holy Spirit will do His.

*observation, interpretation, and application

And we began our study this past Wednesday afternoon with a snack, sea salt brownies,  baked that morning with dark chocolate. You bite into the  rich brownie sprinkled with sea salt and your taste buds tingle a bit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maine Bound

When the robins returned to my back yard last late winter, I sat at my computer and planned a bucket list vacation. Those many hours of planning became a reality when we traveled to Maine this past August. We traveled up the coast of Maine from Portland, Camden, and many towns in between until we reached Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, then on the way back we stopped at destinations in New Hampshire, and Vermont. Now I am waiting to get the pictures developed so I can create a scrapbook of a wonderful vacation filled with beauty and a load of memories.

                                            Frenchman's Bay, Bar Harbor Inn, at sunrise

                                                             Portland Main Lighthouse

                     I was looking forward to a stop at the Swan's Island Store in Camden. Then we were fortunate enough to head to Northport the next day to Swan Island Factory and Showroom.

                                      Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Crossing the sand bar at low tide to Bar Island

The morning was cloudy, chilly and windy, but we drove to the top of Mount Washington on the Auto Road.

                     In 2008 we only visited the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe Vermont
 and took a photo at this spot. 
This time we stayed there for two nights, in nine years we definitely recognized
 some changes, 
  but still a very peaceful place to stay.
(think Sound of Music...the Vonn Trapps)

Burlington, Vermont

Monday, September 11, 2017

a kitchen hint

It is Monday, lugubrious to the core, so I was hoping a helpful hint from the kitchen would provide a little sunshine.

Have you ever found yourself in the kitchen prepared to bake a cake, or at least thought you were prepared, until you realized the recipe called for cake flour rather than all-purpose flour? No worries, simply replace two tablespoons of the all-purpose flour with two tablespoons of cornstarch.
A definite lightness is creeping into the day already!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

and it was Friday

Beef stew made earlier and set into the crock pot to simmer all afternoon, a leaf blower swooshed across the stone-paved patio to remove the daily accumulation of falling leaves, a fire started  to ward off the approaching chill that enabled us to remain barefooted  and in our summer clothes a bit longer, but only until grabbing a sweater became quite  necessary as darkness fell.

Friday, September 8, 2017

as autumn slithers in

We have survived the first full week of September with flying colors, 
Charlotte  beginning her first year of high school. I have been this route three other times, thus I know how quickly these next four years will pass. She opted to take some coop classes this year, so that has changed the flavor of our schooling days somewhat. I teach her only two classes, Physical Science and Latin IV, the remaining classes are taken on Friday and Tuesday.

It is different. But all is good and I see such benefit for this daughter who is already planning her course of study somewhat when she graduates from high school in 2021.

I am presently knitting on a shawl I named  Maine Bound, the knitting project I carried along as we traveled to Maine back in August. The pattern for this shawl can be found here. There is an   interesting 30 line diamond pattern in between the solid garter knitting which makes it a nice knit by providing that proviso of extra mind attention I so desperately need.

About three years ago a friend gave me a  box of her large DMC floss collection. This has a been like a running stream of help when it comes to embroidery and smocking projects. I organized my sewing room by filing several of my scattered skeins yesterday in the appropriate envelopes. 

muckles of summer

As summer begins in June I always delve into a myriad of activity like one whose life depends on great accomplishment in order to deem success, yet, I never lose the clear visions of lazy days of summer echoing with great accordance in the back recesses of my mind. Now that we are officially at the end of the month of August, I realize how rich the past three months have been, providing both times of activity and rest.

A Bridal Shower

 A Fair Isle Sweater finished and packed into the cedar chest until cold weather comes, and it will.

Honey Harvest

And a afternoon of reading while the first leaves fall

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

.... of flora and needle

A family member gave me two little burlap bags last summer that she had received from attending a wedding; I was informed they were johnny-jump up seeds. I nonchalantly scattered the minuscule seeds in a little patch of back garden. And  then I waited all winter to be charmed with the happy faces of little pansy type faces springing up this spring. Nothing happened though I checked frequently.
But then this past Saturday I noticed this most unusual and stately plant growing here and there... and a faint memory was stirred. Could it be? I believe it is! I was tickled to discover a plant I have not had in my garden for many a year. 
Nigella... common and romantic name "love-in-a-mist".
 I have several plants here and there springing up, some this pleasing periwinkle color and others white with shades of blue at the center.
I just love surprises of this sort!

My needle has been engaged in smocking of late. I have planned two outfits for Ivy Elizabeth thus far. A mint green "watermelon" dress I found in my stash from when Charlotte was little. And a pretty floral romper which is in the process of being smocked with lavender threads to pull out the fabric's printed  lavender flowers.

During the winter months I would walk into my sunroom and the first thing my eyes would light upon were the African violets that welcome me in the sunroom. The purple African Violet was bought last winter, the two pink ones were birthday presents from Charlotte this past December.. Slow and steady, yet when they do bloom, what a thing of beauty!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

wednesday granola

A Wednesday morn in May appears to be a very good day to begin a binge of healthy eating once again.  This granola is super easy to make and good in a wholesome not "show-offy" kind of way.

Wednesday Granola

4 cups dry oatmeal
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven 325 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.
Heat honey and almond butter in pan until runny and smooth.
Meanwhile stir together oatmeal, cinnamon, and salt.
After the honey and butter are smooth, take off the heat and add the vanilla.
Pour over oatmeal stirring until fully incorporated.
Spread onto pan and bake for 20- 25 minutes, stirring at least once after the first 10 minutes of baking time.
Allow to cool.
You may substitute peanut butter, and consider maple syrup as your sweetener.

                                    Delicious with the most tender of crunch!

And why the name Wednesday granola, someone might just ask? Because it was first made on Wednesday, and  Wednesday granola just seems to fit its simplicity.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


 As Lent has begun I am setting aside special time to read Scriptures and special devotionals intended for this season.  Reflections stream from these readings as I seek to understand and hear His voice in the daily mixings and rumblings of daily life.

Photos snapped with my Canon Rebel: 
An antique- framed picture, given to me by a friend years ago;
and a *Willow* figurine given to me by Rose on my birthday where"Grandmother" is etched on the bottom. She gave it to me days before my actual birthday party because she was so excited to give it to me and couldn't wait a day longer. I used a white coloring pencil to make her hair white, as some of us grandmothers are perceptibly adorned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

dreams of spring yarn along

 Knitting and reading... ahhh; a most delightful pursuit on the best of days, irregardless of the weather outside. And my world is shouting "SPRING"; perhaps too early, the peach crops will tell the true story this summer.

This particular knitting project was knitted in Baby Bee Sweet Delight, colorway, get this, Boo it! The pattern can be found on Ravelry, Garter Yoke Baby Cardi by Jennifer Hoel. 

This sweater is an accessory for a smocked bishop dress I am presently sewing for baby Ivy, of course. I am thinking Easter dress, but her first birthday is just around the corner, so who knows.  Spring can be finicky in these parts so you never know when you might need a wrap or sweater of some sort for a chilly Easter morn. I lined the back of the garter yoke sweater with the fabric in the dress and likewise covered one 5/8 inch button at the top.

The book is typical Susan Branch charm. I especially love her quotes scattered throughout the handwritten pages.

Another wonderful opportunity to join with Ginny's Yarn Along this Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

earl grey lattes

Charlotte has a new violin teacher, a newly married beautiful, young woman, who is currently a student working on a Master's degree in violin performance. I do enjoy sitting in her upstairs apartment while the music lesson is going on... yet I recently happened upon a charming coffee/ crepe shop right across the street. And right from that very first visit  the deliciousness of earl grey lattes has become one of my weaknesses.  Yes, I can make them at home, but I would need to pull out my espresso machine with the cream steamer to truly get the same effect. You know how that goes... easier to walk across the busy street and buy them. This particular Monday afternoon while in town for lessons, I bring along my knitting and traffic sounds fade as I sip and knit for 45 minutes in the car.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

silk ribbon emboidery

All it took was a Saturday morning gathered around a dining room table with a few ladies, an array of silk ribbon in beautiful shades of pink and green, and an intended project for creating a thumb pin cushion. 

I came home and after finishing my pin cushion(see in right hand corner), I went online and ordered a book and some spools of silk ribbon. Now I am accumulating my own stash for future projects. A new love of hand sewing has been birthed.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday afternoon...

...the last one in January 2017.

I am sitting in my sunny sewing room, but I should be outside walking, and I might yet take a brisk walk around the block in the next five minutes. But as I was sitting here journaling, I took the time to download some photos from my camera, and I discovered some past drafts and decided to post them.
Then that led to the question of why not post a bit about my Monday afternoon...?
St. Dalfour organic Earl Grey tea, my Bible, a journal, and Bach on Pandora.

And I  have set up a bit of a tea table in the corner of my sewing room. Note the sweet creamer and sugar bowl with the sewing notions. A friend brought those back from Ireland...perfect!

Hope your Monday is going grandly.

tweet-chirp dress

 Still working on something to tuck in baby girl's pocket. Something she will not get choked on because as we all so well know, everything goes in the mouth.

orchid nursery

Once upon a time I bought an died. Years later, someone gave me an died. I thought there was more to orchid grow...