Category Archives: Home

Junk Bonanza

quick peeks

The big junk market event is finally here! The fourth annual Junk Bonanza is in Shakopee, Minnesota — next door to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Over 100 juried vendors from across the country are selling amazing treasures — perfect for decorating in the vintage or “junk market style.” The extraordinary Ki Nassuer, co-editor of the upcoming Flea Market Style Magazine, is the hostess, planner and genius behind the Texas-sized event.

Three mammoth venues are filled with one-of-a kind treasures and inspiration for creating a charming vintage decor. I am wowed by the fabulous displays of vintage, antique and selvedged items! So many vintage treasures to add a new fall, flea-market look to the kitchen…living room… or bedroom. Perhaps, the garden, too?! Wouldn’t it be fun to do it all?

Junk FAV

Paris Door FAV

Birds, nest and cloche FAV

The Iowa Junk Gypsies have so many pretty things. Some of which is already re-purposed and re-designed.  Their archetchural salvage is fabulous. I have my eye on the Paris door . . .

The vendors have their own uique interpretations of vintage. It is quite inspiring. There are many great furniture pieces ranging from chippy…primitive…refinished…to painted. I have visions of where I could place this piece or that in Rose Cottage!

Chalk board FAV

Turquoise furniture FAV

Rusty keys FAV

Brown felt hat and brownie Fav

Pumpkins Fav

Praying statute FAV

I am quite drawn to Dede Westling’s dramatic display of black furniture and gorgeous adornments — quite French country — sophisticated and perfectly charming! Dede is absolutely darling, and I learn that she is part of the Wren’s Nest occasional sales . . .  Note to self: mark calendar for the October 9-11th sale.

Black FAV 3

Black FAV

Child Bust FAV

artisan jewlry

Eager to seek out Gretchen Schaummann, the designer and propreiter of Mimi-Toria’s Design, I quickly scan the vendors in the first building. The first building is really an enormous tent. There! She is nearly mid-way down on the left. Gretchen creates beautiful designs using pieces of “this and that” in new, creative ways. Her artisan jewlry has amazing detail, and each piece has a story to tell. I am totally smitten by “Clara” — a penny doll with a broken arm and all. Isn’t she adorable?

Clara Necklace FAV

tablescape challenge

The Thrifty Mom creates a lovely tablescape using great finds from a local thrift store operated by ARC Greater Twin Cities. There are hundreds of paper slips in the vintage glass bowl to win everything on the tablescape once the Big Bonanza is completed on Saturday.

ARC Thrifty Mom Sign FAV

ARC Tablescape FAV

ARC Tablescape FAV 2

More vintage treasures . . .

Bread Board and linen towels FAV

French Flower Templates FAV

The French templates (c. 1950) for making silk flowers are fabulous! Isn’t the handwriting lovely? Perhaps, a few of these framed would be just the perfect thing . . .

Mother child FAV 3

first blog party

Off to the premier fabulous blog party hosted by Ki Nassauer and Matthew Mead, co-editors of the new Flea Market Style Magazine.  I can’t wait for the first issue next spring!

Blog Party FAV

Some well-known bloggers are joining the first Junk Bonanza blog party, too. It is a joy to meet the inspiring and energetic Jo Packham, editor of Where Women Create. The talented flea market style diva Heather Bullard, and former Editor-in-Chief from Country Living magazine, Nancy Soriano, are on hand to greet everyone at the party. Not to miss the Junk Bonanza blog party are the Pacific Northwest favorites–the Farm Chicks. Also, joining the fun are Artsy Mama’s Kari Ramstrom, Linda MacDonald who writes at Restyled Home and Margo — Robolady— all the way from Texas.

Blog Party FAV 2

There are a lot of prizes for some lucky bloggers, and a few treats to ward off the late summer heat ordered-up special for our Southern friends! What name is now being called for Ki’s great book . . . ? Yipee!

Blog Prize Book FAV 2

Blog Party FAV 3

It is fun to finally meet some great bloggers and get to know each other a bit more. There are so many amazing and talented women who also share their love of re-purposing and re-creating vintage finds through their amazing stories. What a privilege to meet women who are truly entrepreneurs and are re-discovering their hidden talents and gifts.

How have you repurposed and reused vintage flea-market finds in new and creative ways?

Phone FAV

Thanks for chatting a bit at Rose Cottage.

I am so glad you are here!

Also linked on Colorado Lady,  Southern Hospitality, A Southern Daydreamer and  Between Naps on the Back Porch .

46 Comments

Filed under crafts, Home, Vintage

Fall Nesting {summer in a jar

The late summer garden has a tranquility

found no other time of year.

                                                              ~William Longgood

time for change

September is my favorite time of the year . . . the air is crisp, clear and fresh . . . the early morning and evening lighting is more enhanced as the angle of the sun changes . . . and fall colors are starting to emerge on the trees. Just this week, glimmers of vibrant reds and golden yellows sporadically dot the sugar maples and sumacs along our river town. The colors are promising to be a gorgeous contrast to the vibrant greens enjoyed throughout the summer.

Amur Maple FAV

I think about September as a time of change. It is a time of change in that new creative ideas and goals for the months ahead can be made. One way of change is to decorate for fall — simple ideas that make a home feel welcoming, warm and cozy. Jenny Wren needs a little update to celebrate fall around one of her many houses at Rose Cottage. Don’t you think her nest looks quite autumnal bedecked with broom corn?

Wren House and broom corn FAV 3

What fall decorations are you adding to welcome friends and family to your front door?

time of preparation

September is also a time of preparing and preserving the summer garden produce for the months ahead. I really feel that I am “nesting” as I put fresh vegetables and fruit in jars to be enjoyed in the months ahead or give as gifts with family and friends.

Marybeth shared a few of her antique canning jars with me — some are from 1858! I think about all the women (and men) who “put food up” for the winter months in these amazing hand-blown glass jars. I wonder what their lives were like as they began their fall nesting . . .

Ball and Jewell FAV

Canadian Jewel FAV

Green Ball Jar and Strawberries

Jewel lid FAV

While the dark olive green Ball is perfectly beautiful and rare, and the Canadian Jewel is a real treasure, I still am quite drawn to the lovely blue canning jars — all in various shades from a robin’s egg blue to cobalt. 

 Four Blue Canning Jars

1858 MASon and other antique blues with roses

EZ Seal Antique and Cobalt Blue FAV 1

1858 Mason FAV

Nov 30 1858 CLOSE FAV

While preserving and “putting food by” is a bit of work, it is immensely satisfying to see the glimmering jars of golden peaches, red tomatoes, perfectly sliced pickles, and an array of  jeweled jams and jellies lining the pantry shelves.

Pickled onions and bird FAV

Jeweled Raspberry Jelly FAV

Sweet Baby Crock Pickles

Crab Apple Pickles

Best Ketchup EVER FAV

Sometimes, I go down to the pantry cellar, turn on the overhead light and just admire the gifts of summer. 

Strawberry Jam

For me, canning or preserving is like putting summer in a jar to enjoy when the north winds howl and temperatures are well-below zero — just a few months away!

Peaches

Do you put a bit of summer in a jar? Do you have a favorite to preserve?

Perfect Seal and Brown eyed Susan FAV

You may also enjoy reading Beautiful Berries and Brambles and Antique Mason Jars {before and after.

This is also posted at Twice Remembered,  The Inspired Room,  A Southern Daydreamer and Designs by Gollum.

30 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Gardening, Home, Homekeeping, preserving

Charming French Shutters

You are the ray of sunshine in my life;

Flowers bloom in my heart each time we are together. . . 

I shutter to think what I would do without you.

                                                                                         ~unknown

Oooh . . . lala! J’adore French shutters! Aren’t they simply charming?

Septfonds house FAV 3

While shutters served utilitarian purposes over the centuries — keeping out inclement weather and providing protection from the enemy — I think they add so much spaciousness and beauty to homes. Don’t you?

Septfonds house and grapevines FAV

Many of the shutters in southwest France are typically painted gorgeous shades of azure to a robin’s egg blue. Most frequently, the paint pigment used in these shutters is derived from the woad plant — a softer, earlier “sibling” to indigo.

cordes shutters FAV

cordes nd metal decoration FAV

The woad paint and dye are very durable and help protect the wood from the ravages of insects and weather. Wouldn’t it be positively charming to have shutters painted these lovely shades of blue?

Door Shutters Dumas FAV

 carriage house and shutter with window box FAV

light blue shutters FAV

Shutters Dumas 5 Hinge FAV 1

Shutters Dumas 4 FAV 2 

shutter latch dumas 1

Will you stroll with me through a few French villages in the southwest Mediterrean region? We can admire and enjoy the charming shutters together .

brown wood shutters cordes FAV

Cordes shutters and metal railing on balcony FAV

cordes and window box with pink geraniums FAV

small dark brown shutter FAV

Septfonds street FAV

Septfonds house FAV1

 

gray shutters cordes and vine FAV

old-Cordes FAV

green shutters cordes FAV

What are your favorite shutters?

stained shutters and lace curtains FAV

 Pot of salvias on window ledge FAV

You may also enjoy these other recent posts: 

French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

Bon Appetite!

French Millinery Magic

POST NOTE — Upcoming Millinery Masterclass!

 Another Millinery Masterclass is scheduled at the superb 18th-century Chateau Dumas September 26-October 3 in southwest France! Even if you have never made a hat before, the adventures of hatmaking under the expertise of former Royal Milliner Dillon Wallwork are not to be missed!

The tutor is  former Royal milliner, Dillon Wallwork who for nearly a quarter of a century designed hats for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales as part of the team at world famous milliners Philip Somerville.

 So whether the goal is a chic shoulder-spanning hat to turn heads or a coquettish cocktail hat with a mysterious veil, or something much more practical . . .  Toulouse is the starting point, Chateau Dumas the luxury base and Dillon the expert.  As Dillon says: “A well-chosen, stylish hat works wonders. Whether it’s men opening doors for you, getting a table at a busy restaurant or just keeping warm in winter, wearing a hat gets you noticed – people will say ‘Who’s that?’ Men just love to be with a woman in a glorious hat.”

Want more information about Chateau Dumas and

the Millinery Masterclass?

 Contact Lizzie, the Chatelaine de Dumas.

Wondering what others are adoring? Find out at Julia’s Hooked on Houses. You may want to stroll over to see some outdoor ideas at A Southern Daydreamer.

29 Comments

Filed under France, Home, Travel

Heavenly French Lavender

The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs,

with fields of lavender,

and the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows…

                                                                        ~Willian Cullen Bryant, 1794-1878

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the fifth in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

sweet dreams

 The air at Chateau Dumas is heavenly. The fragrance of blooming lavender from tens of hundreds of plants thriving behind carefully manicured hedges gently floats through the 18th-century windows up to the second floor. The magnificent aromatic sends me off to sweet dreams. 

carriage house studio facing east2

Lavender gives the illusion of feather stitches holding the Chateau garden sections together with their spectacular, billowing fronds. Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, lavender is a perennial and grows well in this perfect climate–fully enjoying the sun of the gardens and fields. The sandy, slightly alkaline soil of the Chateau’s gardens is just the environment for the lavender to thrive. I dream of having lovely gardens here in southern France…

I am mesmorized by the dreamy fragrance of the herb, and how the plant sways gently in the warm breezes. Even the bees and yellow butterflies can’t get enough of the sweet, soothing fragrance and seemingly grow dizzy from their over-indulgance in the warm, late afternoon sun. As the days progress, my muscles and bones feel soothed from the medicinal properties of the delicate, soft lavender fronds. I can not help but linger amongst the lavender each time I pass through the gardens from the Chateau to the atelier in the former carriage house. Ahh…it is simply impossible to resist rubbing the lavender between my fingers. Please,  just one more sniff of the soothing fragrance before I continue on to the studio in the carriage house. Please…

Lavender and front of Chateau  fav 1

Lavender, Bee and Chateau

lavender wands

Serendipitously, the gracious Chatelaine de Dumas arranges for her lovely friend to spend an hour or so teaching about French lavender, and the making of Victorian-era lavender wands as her mother taught her as a very young girl. Just after the morning dew dissipates, large bunches of lavender are gathered for the lavender session later in the day. The lavender is neither damp nor dry. Rub and sniff some more.

Some gathered lavender FAV 1

sweet lavender “cages”

A few of us join Chrissie Marshall in the dinning room after our lunch for a lavender intermezzo from our millinery masterclass. With her lovely Scottish brogue, Chrissie recounts how her mother and father taught her how to read at four and sew at five. Throughout her childhood, they taught her many ageless crafts and traditions–including making beautiful fragrant sachets and wands using the garden’s bountiful gifts. Her voice is as soothing as the lavender.

We are eager to learn how to make lavender wands from the newly-harvested herbs from the Chateau’s gardens. The lavender wands are only made once a year when the lavender stems are soft and pliable–it is now the perfect time of the year. The suppleness of the lavender stems and flowers is vital for ease in successful wand making.

Lavender bunches FAV 2

Lavender Bunches FAV

Chrissie tells us the lavender fragrance will last for several years in the wands. Even though the lavender will dry, the dried wands simply need to be squeezed to release their fragrant oils.

Christie - lavender master teacher FAV

The wands can be hung in a room, closet or placed in drawers to repel moths–much better than mothballs.  I think the fragrant memories of France should be everywhere after I return home! Chrissie shows three different methods of making lavender wands–all of which are lovely.

Lavender wand types FAV 2

Types of lavender wands FAV

An even number of lavender stems are collected, and the leaves are gently stripped off the stems. The stems are then gathered in a small bunch and the tops of the flowers are aligned. A small piece of thin wire–about 1-1/2 inches –is wrapped around the base of the flowers to secure the bouquet. Then a long piece (about three yards or so) of narrow 1/4 inch peach-colored satin ribbon is tied over the wire–leaving a very short end of ribbon and a long end of ribbon.

The bundle of lavender stems is turned over, and the stems are carefully bent down over the lavender blossoms–making a “cage” with the stems. A couple of the rebellious blossoms are gently encouraged back inside the cage. Each of the stems are lined up around the blossoms. The short end of the peach ribbon is tucked inside amongst the lavender.

Using a large-eyed tapestry needle, the long end of the ribbon is “threaded” and the weaving process starts going under and over–round and round–the lavender cage until it is beautifully covered. We each practice weaving, and feel so relaxed.

lavender wand and basket FAV2

Lavender weaving FAV1

keepers of memories

More lavender is selected from that harvested this morning, and additional simple lavender wands are easily assembled into small bunches and secured. Michelle generously shares some of her gorgeous, vintage robin’s egg blue ribbon discovered on a little excursion to a French hatmaker in another village. Some of the wands are embellished with this lovely little treasure. What a keepsake. This is an intermezzo that creates fragrant memories…

Lavender and Blue ribbon FAV 2

Lavender, sweet lavender; come and buy my lavender,
hide it in your trousseau, lady fair.
Let its flovely fragrance flow over you from head to toe,
lightening on your eyes, your cheek, your hair.

~Cumberkand Clark, Flower Song Book (c.1929)

More about other lovely sights of  a millinery dream trip to France in the days ahead as they unfold.

à bientôt mes amis!

Read more at French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

Read more at Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

47 Comments

Filed under crafts, France, Gardening, Home, Travel, Vintage

Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,

places to play in and pray in,

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. 

                                                                                                                   ~John Muir

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas. Allow enough time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the second in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along with me?)

outward beauty

The 18th-century Chateau Dumas is totally enchanting on scales grand and small. There is so much to see and take in on this breath-taking estate in the small village of Auty, France. The late summer afternoon interplay of color, light and texture of the Mediterranean region creates dreamy illusions of French Impressionism. I marvel at and feel priviledged to spend several summer days in such a superb setting whilst learning from a master English milliner and designer in the days ahead.

chateau dumas 3 under portico fav

I am a bit weary from the long travels. The magnificent gardens are beckoning me to sit with them awhile.

Would you like to select  a garden hat from the basket in the foyer and stroll in the gardens with me?

hats in foyer FAV

Monet-inspired weathered teak garden benches strategically placed throughout the Chateau Dumas gardens provide opportunity to reflect and soak in as much of the beauty as possible. The teak benches and French metal chairs provide numerous invitations for varied perspectives of the gardens and vistas. I am quite taken in by the setting, and am totally mesmorized by it’s beauty. I pause frequently along the garden paths, sit and try to absorb all that I see into my memory. The beauty is stunning. I am starting to feel refreshed in my soul.

Curved Teak Dumas FAV

French chairs and table

teak bench and lantern carriage house3fav 

french metal chair west side of carriage house2

Bench with lichen FAV

Blue stripe metal chair

Blue Stripe metal chair 2 FAV

The garden benches and chairs are bekoning me to sit awhile and reflect. I can’t resist–the tranquilityand depth of “old-soul” in the gardens are drawing me to linger under the French sky.

Won’t you sit awhile with me, too? There is room for both of us on the bench . . .

moss covered garden bench 2

My worldly concerns and weariness from the travels begin to dissipate with the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. I am feeling soothed from the intoxicating lavender oils perfuming and lingering in the garden air. Listen. The song birds serenade the garden repose with their afternoon revelry unlike those heard at Rose Cottage.

There is so much to see within the gardens…butterflies and bees dizzy from endless visits to the lavender blossoms, sweet soft pink and white roses reaching for the sun and rewarding the gardener for her caring efforts, and window boxes and clay pots with trailing pink geraniums–all with enough fortitude to withstand the warm, dry summers in southern France.

Lavender and Bee

climbing roses pink dumas

climbing roses white close dumas

climbing roses close dumas

The gardens at Chateau Dumas are a living and breathing tapestry of texture. The whisps of the lavender fronds provide the feather stitches between patterns of trimmed coniferous hedges, roses, speciman plants and the sweeping views of the patchworked valley just beyond the terra cotta brick walls and iron garden gate.

carriage house studio facing east2

Lavender and front of Chateau  fav 1

 chateau allee fav

gardens4

Formal Hedges Facing South

gardens southeast

inward beauty

Feeling refreshed from garden lavender, vistas and bird choirs, I explore the Chateau. Guests usually enter the foyer through the double French doors that are flanked by large blue wood shuters. So French. Gorgeous gold gilded mirrors, a large foyer table, a grandfather clock, antique settee and chairs, woven market baskets and assorted vignettes accentuate the welcoming, but massive foyer. My footsteps echo on the large square tiles.

Painting of Dumas in foyer FAV

market basket FAV

foyer books7FAV

Through the foyer and past the stunning centuries-old marble staircase, is a light and airy dining room with expansive southern views capturing the pictureque valley and countryside. The black, white and red antique tile floor creates energy and lightness, and brings the outdoors into the Chateau. Simple–but stunning–vignettes throughout the room carry nature’s elegance even further.

eggs and bowls FAV2

Dinning room3

Dinning room4

dinning room tile

dining room chandelair FAV 1

Through another large set of double French doors is the outdoor dining terrace.  Off in the distance is the unmistakeable hum of combines and other farm equipment as hay and straw is baled from sections of the golden patchwork near the misty Mediterranean horizon. Other than the distant sounds of French farmers at work and the merrymaking of songbirds, no other distractions are heard. It is heaven. . . Fellow adventurers linger for hours after sharing meals while marveling at the incredible country setting.

terrace

terrace2FAV

Terrace View FAV

Terrace lingering

Christopher  and Naomi's antique mold

The moderate-sized–but efficient kitchen–is off of the dinning room for easy access for refreshments throughout the day. A lovely view of the valley is framed by pots of fragrant herbs at the bottom of the kitchen window. I am convinced that dishwashing would never be a chore with spectacular views such as these, and with the cheery serenades of the bird choirs! Please, may I help with the dishes?

kitchen shelves FAV 1

kitchen shelves FAV2

kitchen windowFAV1

view from kitchen window FAV2

Totally charmed by the hospitality, kindness and care of the Chatelaine de Dumas, I dream of  lingering at Chateau Dumas indefinitly.  I really won’t be much bother. Really.

lizzie

My stay at Chateau Dumas is everything dreams are made of…the beautifully appointed Chateau, gorgeous gardens, rooms with spectacular views, lovely song bird symphanies throughout the day, and the millinery atelier in the fantastic carriage house–all is a invigorating, sensory feast in every way! I am delighted to have arrived.

We live in a wonderful world

that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.

There is no end to the adventures that we can have

if only we seek them with our eyes open.
                                                                           ~Jawaharlal Nehru

More about the Chateau’s amazing trompe l’oeil, upper floors, millinery atelier, one of the world’s great Estivales du Chapeau, a visit to a 1824 French hat factory and other sights of  a dream trip to France in the days ahead as they unfold.

I would love to know what you think of this amazing adventure using the comment link below.

à bientôt mes amis!

Read more at French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

Visit The Inspired Room for others’ inspirations about creating a beautiful life.

You may want to take a morning walk over at The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts.

12 Comments

Filed under France, Gardening, Home, Travel

Lovely Lilacs {sweet morning fragrances

        In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.

                                                                           ~Walt Whitman, 1865

fragrance everywhere

Each spring, I am eager as a child in anticipation of opening a Christmas gift or peering into the stocking hanging on the mantle…the spring lilacs are in bloom! I love the heady lilac fragrance and the billowing gorgeous blooms next to vibrant green heart-shaped leaves.

Lilacs- white and purple

Lilacs are all abloom around Rose Cottage, and their fragrance perfumes the crisp early morning air. The golden sun is barely up over the river…the call of the exquisite lavender, purple, white and pink lilac blossoms bekons me to join them in celebrating this beautiful May morning!

 

a bit of forgotten memory

Fragrances are intimately associated with memories. This morning, the lilac fragrance reminds me of our first few years at Rose Cottage–it was so overgrown with lilacs, un-descript shrubs and scrub trees– the 100-year-old farm house was barely visible. The ancient lilac bushes nearly surrounded the entire house–especially on the east and north side.  The lilacs were right next to the windows and went out about 75 feet from the house. They reached to the bedrooms on the second story. When we opened the second story windows–it was as if we were floating on top of billowing, gorgeous purple clouds when the lilacs were in bloom. I think we may have picked bouquets from the windows!

In early summer, the sweet alluring fragrance of lilacs filled each room, and lulled us to a deep slumber in the cool evenings. I cried the day we had to take out the lilacs–I loved their fragrance so. We saved several clumps for re-planting along the west property–just on the other side of the meadow.

Lilac white 2

Memories aside, who can resist the fragrance of these ladies? With my pruners in hand to collect several lilac sprigs for a bouquet, I am off on the morning walk. I go down the hill, across the meadow and through the little woods. There they are–the sweet spring fragrance!  An armful of white, lavender and purple blossoms are quickly gathered. The cone-like blossoms smell so sweet. I can’t stop inhaling the amazing fragrance!

Lilac white

more fragrance  

More fragrant flowers are blooming this morning at Rose Cottage. I follow the sweet aroma of honey undertones in the air.

Honeysuckle White

The white honeysuckle are blooming all along the east side of Rose Cottage. Across the garden path, the rose honeysuckle are blooming, too. The pink honeysuckle fragrance is reminiscent of old roses, honey and raspberries. How dreamy!

Honeysuckle PInk

The unmistakable scent of bridal wreath fills the morning air. The bridal wreath is just starting to put on it’s snow-white gown!

Bridal wreath

Nearing the end of the morning walk, I stop by the fern garden. Here, ferns and hosta surround the boy and a bird with a broken-wing fountain. A soft southerly breeze parts some fern for a special surprise…lovely lily of the valley tucked underneath the fern fronds and hosta leaves.  It looks like a minature secret garden, doesn’t it? Ahhh…the fragrance of these sweet little lilies…isn’t it delightful?!

lily of the valley with fern and hosta 

morning memories

I am back at Rose Cottage, and bring in the armful of lilacs for casual arrangements in four vases around the house. Each stem is recut and then crushed to absorb as much water as possible. While lovely and over-the-top fragrant, lilacs do not last very long after picking. I plan to change the water tomorrow morning to extend their vase life.

The white lilac bouquet graces the 1880’s marble top dressing table in the powder room. Isn’t the lilac reflection amazing in the mirror? Other rooms have the lavender and purple bouquets. I would love to give you a bouquet, too!

Heavenly fragrance again fills the rooms, and brings back sweet memories. What fragrances bring back sweet memories for you?

 

Lilacs - White Powder Room 2

 

Lilacs living room 2

A bouquet of lily of the valley finds it’s way to the kitchen. The fragrance to be enjoyed throughout the day.

Lily of the Valley Close

Oh, I hear my sweetie coming down the stairs, and I switch on the espresso machine for his two cups of a quick “jump-start” to the morning. The sweet fragrances of an early May morning have already started my day out beautifully.

Good morning! Waffles and strawberries this morning? It is such a lovely morning…would you like breakfast on the porch? There is a fresh-picked lilac bouquet on the table on the south porch…isn’t it gorgeous?

Won’t you join us on the porch for waffles and strawberries, too?

Lilacs. False blue. White. Purple.

Colors of lilac.

Your great puffs of flowers

Are everywhere…[in this my Rose Cottage]

Lilacs in dooryards

Holding quiet conversations with the early morn.

Lilacs, watching…[our sweet cottage]…

Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom,

You are everywhere.

                                                                                                                     ~Amy Lowell

You may want to talk a morning walk over at The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts.

For more ideas about creating a beautiful life, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.

39 Comments

Filed under Gardening, Home, Uncategorized

Night Magic

When bright flowers bloom
Parchment crumbles, my words fade
The pen has dropped …

                                                                         ~Unknown

Spring brings the amazing flowering trees at Rose Cottage. First, the ancient apricot tree blooms early in April–the sweet fragrances just make us swoon!  How we love when the soft southernly breezes carry the intoxicating fragrances up through the windows in the early evening…

Flowering Crab Pink Close

The fragrant pink flowering crab steals the limelight for a week or two in May with the spectacular display of pink flowers. Planted as a mere 18-inch high “stick” in celebration of our Very Sweet Girl’s birth and baptism, it has grown into an amazing beauty–just like our little miracle daughter! What a marvel.

Flowering Crab Pink Close2

The flowering crab is covered in so many soft pink blossoms we can’t even see the bright spring green leaves–it is like a giant, super-sized stick of pink cotton candy from the county fair! Don’t you agree?

Flowering Crab Pink Close 3

We use little white garden lights on several arbors, in bushes around the porches and on a few trees at Rose Cottage. The little lights twinkle like stars when breezes blow the leaves–it is so romantic to sit in the gardens or on the porch at night amongst the “stars!”  Ahhh….

Flowering Crab Night

The pink flowering crab creates such night magic with over 1200 little stars nestled in the soft pink clouds.

Flowering Crab Night Close

The Snowdrift crab next to the porch will be amazing covered in little garden lights–maybe, next year when the branches are a bit stronger.

Snowdrift Crab close

Will you join us in the garden for a cup of coffee after dinner…under the stars with pink clouds floating overhead?

It will be a magical evening!

11 Comments

Filed under Gardening, Home, Uncategorized

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

clothes-german-fresh-wash1

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?

clothes-german-fresh-wash-and-basket4full

 

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.

clothespeg1

clothespeg2

 

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!

clothesline-italy5

clothesline-italy4

 

clothesline-italy22

clothesline-italy1

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!
 

11 Comments

Filed under Home, Homekeeping, Uncategorized, Vintage

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?

rose-and-eggs-v21

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.

eggs-bunny-and-moss-pot

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!

forget-me-not-eggs-pink-rose

 

china-bunny-egg-rose-and-milk-glass-egg-cup-v2

 

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.
 

28 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Home, Uncategorized

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!

20 Comments

Filed under Gardening, Home, Uncategorized