Monthly Archives: April 2009

Happy Pansy Faces

The Earth laughs in flowers.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

grandmother’s pansies

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She walks with slow, deliberateness down the curved flagstone steps toward the sweeping gardens in the back of the house. Pausing with nearly every step, she stoops over, laughs and admires the face of each pansy planted around the emerging fern or at the base of the white paper birch. “Did you see this one? It’s face is so sweet with the purple and white colors!”

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grandmother’s pensée

Joy radiates from her face. She moves down the next step. Excitedly she points to the each pansy with her delicately carved walnut cane. She then turns, smiles and gently asks, “there is a saying that pansies mean thoughts–pensée. See how their faces bend forward like they are really thinking about something? What are you thinking about this morning, my dear one?” 

My little girl voice says, “Nothing really…I guess.”

Grandmother replies, “you know, my dear, it is important to always remember to be thoughtful in all that you say and do.”

She is quiet for a moment, and then softly continues, “my sweet child…come bend down here a little bit closer…look carefully. Do you notice the soft ruffled edges? Now, look at the all the different colors on just one flower. Isn’t it amazing?”

I nod while giving the flower a closer look.

“Look at the shape of the petals. The petals are almost like hearts. Do you know what this little flower is a reminder of?”

I look up at Grandmother’s face.

“With their happy faces and heart-shaped petals, pansies remind you that you are loved, and that I am so happy that you are here!” She gives me a gentle tickle.

I take Grandmother’s hand and laugh, “me, too!”

pansy-dark-purple-striated

 

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“Oh, my Sweet Pea…look how this one looks like it has been hand-painted with watercolors! Can you image anything more beautifully created?” Grandmother lingers a bit longer at these amazing pansies. Then, she sighs deeply, and we look at another and another…still walking hand-in-hand…and laughing as we go down each garden step.

Nearly reaching the last step, Grandmother pauses and smiles, “now…my little darling, I have a special surprise for you! I have saved the best for last. Tucked away over here by corner of the patio are the most beautiful pansies! These are for you to plant anywhere in the garden that you would like! Come! Let me show them to you…”

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grandmother’s legacy

Such a sweet memory of my beloved grandmother. I am thinking of her with deep fondness as the window boxes and planters are potted at Rose Cottage. The window boxes begin overflowing with these happy, cool-weather flowers in antique shades of pinks, mauves, yellows and lavenders. Oh, how cheery! Maybe, our visitors to Rose Cottage will know that we are happy they are here, too!

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pansy-pink-ruffled-antique-shades

The overlapping petals of the sweet pansies are nearly heart-shaped. They remind me of the deep love of my grandmother, and how she so beautifully conveyed her fondness of gardening and flowers to me. Now, I hope that I am passing on this gift of happiness and love to My Most Awesome Boy and My Darling Girl (and her sweet hubby) as they start to plant and cultivate their own gardens.

pansy-daff-viola

 

 Do you think “the earth laughs in flowers?”

 

emerging-daff

 

We are so glad you are here with us at Rose Cottage to laugh and admire the sweet, happy pansy faces! Will you stay for a cup of tea and refresh yourself on the porch? We have your favorite tea cup in the cupboard. . . I will get it for you! Then, you can tell us all about your day…

Oh, weren’t the antique shades of the pansies just gorgeous? The breath-taking pansies are from the fabulous growers and owners of Little Foot Farm and Greenhouse just down the road from Rose Cottage. Karen and Sally are superb growers of garden plants! Wait until you see their tomato plants!

 

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On this beautiful Earth day, we hope you have time to travel around to other gardens or outside photos at the Southern Daydreamer, too. Maybe, you will even think about planting some sweet pansies or give someone else some sweet pansies to let them know you are thinking of them!

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Blowing in the Wind

 Live each day with joy in the journey…

no matter what road the journey takes you down.

                                                                          ~anonymous

 

joy in the journey

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No matter how much we enjoy homekeeping and creating a warm, comforting home, sometimes the repetition of everyday tasks can seem mundane. Some days, it can be difficult finding joy or satisfaction in any task! Have you ever felt this way? 

clothesline-2

However, one of my most satisfying early morning chores at Rose Cottage is hanging up clothes on the line to dry–especially linens! Oh, the sweet fragrance and the crispness of bed linens that have dried by blowing in the spring breezes! I can’t think of too many things more luxurious than drifting off to sleep nestled beneath fresh, line-dried linens! Not only do I have the satisfaction of conserving resources by using the sun and wind to dry clothes, I have a deep sense of joy connected to generations before me who have done the same household chore.

The very simplicity of line drying clothes seems to make my life simplier in one sense. This simplicity helps to create a beautiful life at Rose Cottage.

dual-purpose tools

There have been a few simple and resourceful tools that women and men have used in years past for drying clothes on the line. Oh, of course, you say…a laundry basket is basic. But, did you know that many families during the mid-twentith century were already “repurposing” before the word was in vogue?

Bushel baskets–the same type for gathering and storing the apple harvest–were often used for toting laundry to the clothesline! Sometimes, cloth or plastic liners were made to fit snuggly inside the bushel baskets to keep the clothes clean or to prevent a snag from the wooden lathes of the rustic apple basket. Of course, any basket or box works just as well, too!

clothes-bushel-basket-2

fresh wash “tool” cloths

Recently, I learned that women in Germany once used (maybe, some still do?) gorgeous redwork linen cloths expertly hand-embroidered with the words “fresh wash” to cover their laundry basket when carrying their baskets to the community clothes lines. Similiar to linen “show towels,” the lovely laundry cloths provide an opportunity for ladies to display their exquisite needlearts skills, and to demostrate they were women of some means and leisure if the laundry cloth was elaborate. I found this fabulous fresh wash redwork cloth at Rose Mille. Isn’t it amazing the needleart skills of women who came before us?

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clothes-german-wash

apron bag or other “tool” for wooden pegs

Grandmother always wore a small, sturdy cotton apron to hold the wooden pegs or clothes pins. This made hanging out the clothes so much easier to have the clothes pins right at hand while working along the clothes line. The small German redwork apron has seen a lot of laundry duty, but conveys the hope of every individual when doing laundry–“gut wetter”– good weather to hang out the wash!

clothes-pin-apron-bag

 

tools for hanging: clothes pegs or pins

 An ample supply of clothes pins is critical. While I like round wood clothes pins, my favorite type of clothes pins are made from wood and have a spring clip. The spring clip clothes pin is practical as it adjusts to different thicknesses and fabric weights of clothes to be hung to dry. Just a tip: while easier to leave clothes pins on the line after removing the dry laundry, the clothes pins will eventially darken and leave marks on your clean, fresh laundry if left on the line for long periods of time.

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joy in the journey in Italy

On a recent trip to Italy, I marveled at how laundry was dried hanging from the windows in historic Portofino, and in breathtaking Cinque Terre villages along the Italian Riveria. Indeed, even along the picturesque towns and villages on the Mediterrian there is joy in the journey!

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We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy,

even if it is only picking grapes or sorting [hanging out] the laundry.

                                                                                                                                           ~E.B. White

A package of wooden clothes pins was a recent vintage find. My clothes pin supply was getting a little low, so I was glad to have found them. As I was hanging out the linens, I found “Mr. and Mrs. Peg” in the bag! We just laughed and laughed. Mr. and Mrs. Peg were so happy to have their picture taken with a pansy from the garden. Where do you find joy in your every day journey? How does optimism and positive thinking influence your day?

Finding joy in the journey is part of creating a beautiful life. Melissa at The Inspired Room is on a 12-month journey of creating a beautiful life. Stop by for a visit with her and others for more ideas about creating a beautiful life.

clothespeg-couple

Thank you for stopping by Rose Cottage for a little visit today. We are so glad you came! Won’t you tell us you were here by leaving a comment below? Hope you are finding joy in your journey today!
 

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Friday’s Fresh Flowers

Flowers are Love’s truest language.

                                                ~Park Benjamin

love is in the air {flowers!

The sweet, dear violas are giving us so much cheer that we just had to share them with you.

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They greet us early each morning, and…

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…welcome us home to Rose Cottage each night.

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The softly fragrant flowers welcome you to Rose Cottage, too! We hope the violas help to get your weekend off to a lovely start. May it be filled with many flowers!

What are your favorite fresh spring flowers?

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The Flight of the Snowbirds {the birds fly north again

Every year has its winter, and year has its rain–

But the day is always coming when the birds fly north again.

Its the sweetest thing to remember if courage is on the wane,

When the cold, dark days are over–the birds will fly north again.

                                                                                    ~Ella Higginson (c.1900)

Join the fun on April 15th! 

 

april 15th – how time flies!

The days are quite warm now, and the sun is brighter each day. It is so lovely to visit Emma and Harold, the sweet TarJaay cousins in the south! Every day they have so much fun, and enjoy many fabulous feasts together set out on the dining room table.

Between Naps on the Back Porch, Beauregard (Beau for short) checks the date on the calendar and loudly tweets to Bella,”I can’t believe it…it is April 15th! It is The Most Amazing Boy’s birthday! Bella finds the revelation incredible. She carefully double checks to makes sure Beau is not playing another one of his April Fool’s jokes. “Beau, how can it be? Did a year really pass so quickly?” Beau chirps back, “Wasn’t he just 21 the other day?”

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Bella doesn’t hear a single peep. She is too busy twittering about, and packing and fluffing her steamer trunk…the day is here for the sweet little love birds to fly North again!

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Beau knows when Bella flutters with an important idea, there is no use in persuading her differently. Why get her feathers ruffled on such a lovely spring day? Beau quickly studies the maps for the fastest route North. “Oh, Beau! Don’t you know you are reading the Italian map! We will never get home in time for The Most Amazing Boy’s birthday following the Italian route — even though it is our favorite!”

Mapping out the Trip North

Mapping out the Trip North

still love birds

The TarJaays say goodbye and give each other a quick peck, and promise to twitter along the way. “Bella, it’s time to go now–the early bird catches the worm, you know.” Bella is looking so lovely in her new spring hat with Mi’s vintage millinery — perfect for the snowbirds flight back to the North. Beau steals a quick minute to turn a shy, sideways glance at his beloved of over 30 years. His heart still flutters when he sees his darling Bella. Bella blushes, and knows in her heart that all her dreams have come true.

birds-and-car

The trunk is securely in place on Beau and Bella’s shiney little pink coup. Beau is sometimes embarrassed to motor around in a bubble gum pink car with the name “Polly” (named after Bella’s very favorite Auntie Polly Parrot) inscribed on the license plates. Though, he quickly forgets about all of his embarassement when he feels the energizing spring winds ruffle his feathers as they fly North again.

sing you a love song

Beau and Bella throughly enjoy traveling together beneath a tangerine sky in their little shiney pink coupe. As they travel through countryside and cities, they sing all sorts of songs–some silly, some old-fashioned and some which they can never quite remember all of the words. Bella thinks Beau sounds like Michael Buble as he sings her sweet songs through Georgia, Kentucky, Tennesse and Illinois. “Oh, don’t stop singing, Beau!” 

Singing a Love Song in Harmony

home is where the heart is

Bella gets inspired as they pass all sorts of creative cottages on their travels North. Bella likes to take drive-by photos of her favorites. “Oh, Beau, look at that sweet thatched cottage! Isn’t it perfectly nestled between the trees in the glen?”

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Travelling through the bustling city, Beau and Bella admire the gleaming white conde nests! “Just think…we wouldn’t have so much to take care of living here!”

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So many homes of all different styles…so many ideas! Bella gets more and more creative with each passing fancy nest. Sometimes, Bella gets too many creative ideas for one chick! Beua gets a bit nervous when Bella says, “I’ve been thinking…!” It usually means another post-it note skeetch for a honey-do project!

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home, sweet home {rose cottage

Soon, the cities slowly fade and the colorful farmland patchwork turns a bit more rugged. The petal pink coupe speeds along over hills and through river valleys that are turning the most amazing shades of vibrant spring green. Then, along the sleepy little river town road, just around the next sharp bend, Beau and Bella catch a glimpse of Rose Cottage –just a bit up the hill next to the old maples and oaks. “Oh, our little Rose Cottage…we are home, sweet home,” exclaim Beau and Bella in unison. “And, in time for The Most Amazing Boy’s birthday,” sings Beau.

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If you have a song to sing, sing it now.

Let the tone of gladness ring clear as song of birds in the spring.

Let every day some music bring: Sing it now.

                                                                    ~Unknown, Book of Good Cheer, 1913

Now…if you listen carefully, you will hear Beau and Bella’s cheerful refrains of “Happy Birthday to our Most Amazing Boy” floating down from the limbs high up in the old maple tree… just outside the birthday boy’s old farmhouse bedroom window! Maybe, you are singing softly along with their song, too? 

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 Happy Birthday to the Most Awesome Boy!

What is the sweet song in your heart today? How will you share it with someone else?

It was such a joy to have our daughter and her sweet hubby home from Seattle to help create some more beautiful memories that we will always treasure. One such special memory-making momemt was laughing hysterically as we did the “photo shoot” for Beau and Bella’s adventures! We hope you enjoyed sharing in our special moment, too. Visit Melissa at The Inspired Room for more about creating special moments.

We are so delighted you stopped by for a little chat and a piece of made-from-scratch angel food cake at Rose Cottage! We will have your tea cup in cupboard waiting for your next visit, too. Won’t you let us know you came to hear all about the adventures of Beau and Bella as part of the meme–Target Birds on Holiday– and how we created a story for the birthday boy in the comments below?

Visit Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday photos.

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Beautiful Easter Eggs {au naturale

Easter spells out beauty…

                                    ~S.D. Gordon

gathered gems 

Just in time for Easter celebrations, colored jewels in various soft, delicate hues are gathered from le palais de poulet!  Since the gems are so lovely, we haven’t dyed Easter eggs at Rose Cottage for over 15 years. It is another great way to be a “creative frugalist”…something we have been doing a long time at Rose Cottage.

Each egg is so magnificently colored that every time my Very Best Sweetie comes down the north slope from the hen house we “ooh” and “aahhh” over the wide array of eggs collected! Maybe, you will be inspired by the eggs’ extraordinary beauty, too?

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The Rose Cottage favorites are the turquoise jewels from the Araucana hens. We continually marvel at how beautiful the eggs are created and the color palate the eggs demonstrate–ranging in color from light sky blue to robin’s egg blue to olive and khaki. Some are softly speckled; others subtly mottled. There is variation in size, too. We pause to reflect on the loveliness of these precious jewels, and consider how often we can overlook the exquisiteness of the ordinary in the rush of the day.

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The simple, ordinary breakfast egg becomes the extraordinary during the minute or two of truly looking and seeing it! It is almost as if we are seeing the delicate eggs offered to us by the girls for the first time. We are so thankful for each spring gift we receive from the aging hens.

How have you found a new “gem” by looking at something you once thought ordinary?

rare jewels 

The Araucana production is significantly down this year. The girls are getting “a bit on in years.” Soon, we need to add some young, spring chicks to the small flock. Fortunately, we were able to find a local farmer to help provide additional Easter jewels for this year’s spring gatherings with dear family and friends.

I take a photo of a couple of the jewels with the hand painted forget-me-not luncheon tea set. As if it were just yesterday, I remember my Grandmother’s sweet, unassuming forget-me-nots that grew with wild abandon in her lawn along Swan Lake, and the little flower bouquets I picked every day for her when I was young. Grandmother always exclaimed with utter joy and graciousness when I would proudly present her with the blue delicacies clutched–sometimes crushed and wilted– in my small, warm hand. I still remember how her eyes would well up with tender tears…ahh, another jewel to add to my treasure chest!

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gathered brown eggs and some vintage egg cups

Soon My Darling Girl and her sweet hubby will arrive at Rose Cottage from the lush Pacific NW. The Amazing Boy will take a break from his studies, and arrive home from college, too. It is with great expectation and eagerness we await all their arrivals!

Farm fresh eggs will find their way to the breakfast table while they all are at Rose Cottage. One morning, soft- and hard-boiled eggs will be on the menu–served in one of the vintage egg cups. The pick of the egg cups will be theirs. Which is yours? I will have it ready for you, too. There are more egg cups in the cupboard, if you like something a bit different.

Vintage Green Egg Cup with Velvet Chick

 

Vintage Rooster Egg Cup

Vintage Rooster Egg Cup

 

Vintage Clear Glass Egg Cup

Vintage Clear Glass Egg Cup

 

Vintage Floral Egg Cup

Vintage Floral Egg Cup

 

chicken-egg-cup-and-brown-eggs

 

chicken-egg-cups-and-daff

natural Easter egg dyes

There are some ways of creating simple, beautiful Easter eggs if you don’t have a ready-supply of turquoise or golden butterscotch gems. Coloring beautiful Easter eggs au naturale can be done by using dyes made from herbs, produce, juice or spices–many things may already be in your pantry.

How have your experimented with making your own Easter egg dyes?

Here are just a few ideas to get started with creating beautiful, naturally-colored Easter eggs:

RED: red onions skins (takes a lot of boiled skins to get deep color), canned cherries with juice, pomegranate juice, frozen raspberries or cherries

PINK: red beets or pickled beet juice, cranberries or cranberry juice, frozen raspberries, frozen or canned red grape juice

ORANGE: chili powder, paprika, saffron (this is a good way to “re-purpose” those out-dated spices in the pantry!)

YELLOW: chamomile or green tea, celery seed, ground cumin or ground tumeric (2-3 teaspoons of the spice is boiled in water first)

GREEN: green spinach leaves (boiled)

BLUE: canned blueberries, red cabbage leaves (boiled), purple grape juice

VIOLET: Small amount of purple grape juice, violet blossoms plus 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, Red Zinger tea

STEPS:

Place 1 to 3 handfuls of the dye material into a saucepan. Use 1-3 teaspoons for spices.

Add water to 1-inch above the dye material. The ratio is about 1 cup of water to one handful of the dye material.

Bring the water to the point where it is just begins to boil. Then turn down the heat to low.

Simmer the dye material and water about 15 minutes or up to an hour depending on the dye color desired. Eggs will dye lighter than the color in the saucepan.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Strain the dye liquid using a mesh strainer or cheese cloth-lined colander. Pour the strained liquid dye into a measuring cup.

Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of vinegar for each cup of dye liquid. Pour the dye mixture into a cup, mug, bowl or jar that is deep enough to completly cover the eggs.

Use a slotted spoon to lower the egg into the dye mixture. Leave the eggs in the water until you like the color-this can take awhile. Remove the egg from the liquid and dry in an egg carton or drying rack.

Tips:

  • To get a bolder or darker color add two or three teaspoons of vinegar to one cup of the “dye.”
  • Allow eggs to soak overnight in the refrigerator if you are coloring with teas.
  • The eggs will become darker the longer they are left in the dye. Let the eggs soak in the refrigerator if you are wanting a darker color and if you will be eating the eggs after they are dyed.
  • Be careful to handle the eggs gently and minimally as some of the colors can easily be rubbed off before the egg has dried.
  • Naturally-colored eggs will not be glossy. After the colored egg is dry, rub the shell with some cooking oil or mineral oil to give the shell a soft sheen.
Garden Pot and Grandmother's Sterling Easter Demitasse Spoon

Garden Pot and Grandmother's Sterling Easter Demitasse Spoon

 
How are you creating a beautiful Easter this year?  For more ideas check out The Inspired Room.
Thank you for stopping by Rose Cottage!
We are so glad that you came for a lovely Easter visit.
 

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Gifts of Spring

Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers.
~Thomas Tusser, A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry (1557)

colorful packages

One of the most amazaing floral designers that I know, Cindie from Camrose Hill, asks “what is inspiring about spring for you?” As I think about her question, I start considering all the “gifts of spring” that I receive. So many gifts…each is brightly wrapped in the most amazing and creative ways! Thinking on these things create beauty in my life.

Daffodils and a Tulip in Dawn's Early Light

Daffodils and a Tulip in Dawn's Early Light

 

a few word pictures

Here are a few of perfectly wrapped gifts of spring that I receive and am sharing little word pictures with you:

1. Timmy and Jenny Wren’s good morning songs jubilantly sung from the “old-soul” maple tree limb outside the bedroom window
 
2. small forsythia blossoms, like delicate flutterbys, cheerfully welcome the morning sun
 
3. Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird’s soft, deep-throated love calls as they laborously build their cozy nest in the ole’ English dovecote (and wondering if, once again, Mr. Bluedbird will gently perch on my shoulder to whisper another sweet little secret in my ear?)
 
4. fresh, green sprigs of grass–each blade a banquet feast for the araconas, who start their amazing production of turquoise jewels
 
5. lush velvet carpets of woodland moss with random blooms of miniscule soft, white flowers roll-out before travelers’ afternoon walks

Carpets of Flowering Moss

Carpets of Flowering Moss

 
6. envigorating fragrances from the earth’s awakening following her long winter’s slumber
 
7. long. slender necks of gaily-colored tulips singing out their songs of joy, while sunshine-colored daffs triumphantly proclaiming that spring is here

Triumphet Daffodils

Triumphant Daffodils

 
8. a pair of old loves lingering a bit longer into the evening on the weathered tree swing… the kindred hearts still holding hands after all these years
 
These are but a few of the love gifts of hope, inspiration and joy that each spring brings to our little Rose Cottage– “the house that love built” –as our cottage was sweetly called by my true love’s beloved Swedish grandmother. 

What are your gifts of spring?
 

Daffodils and Rembrant Tulips

Daffodils and Rembrant Tulips

Visit Melissa at The Inspired Room for more ideas about the beautiful life.

Best wishes for a lovely and inspiring spring filled with many gifts!

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