Home, Sweet Home !

“Beauty reaches into the depths of our hearts to stir the feelings God placed there.” ~ Greta Crank

Good morning, everyone!  I hope this finds you seeing blue skies and lovely signs of spring.  Spring is taking her sweet time arriving in the hills of West Virginia.  However, that will make her arrival all the more glorious, and has given me extra time to think about our ‘Home, Sweet Home.’

Do you have a long spring ‘to do’ list? I always seem to.  Things I say I will do during the winter, but come spring there they are ~ patiently awaiting my attention.    Spring seems to be the time of year I give our home some extra love, as I imagine it is for most.  Our homes are vitally important to us ~ they are where we hang our hearts. We all have the chance to make our homes a sacred place, one of beauty which will “reach into our hearts and stir the feelings God placed there.” Creating a beautiful home can be one of our greatest achievements.  And, to me, the joy is in the process.

Therefore,  today I would like to share some lovely spaces which certainly have been given love.  Whether you home is large, small or in between, there are many ways to add charm. I hope you will find inspiration for things such as:  furniture placement, style of furniture and colors.  So grab your coffee and enjoy.  And, think about your “Home, Sweet Home.”  We live in houses ~ they become homes when they radiate our own unique personalities.

“There is no reason, either in prose or in rhyme, why a whole house should not be a poem.” ~ Ella Church Rodman 

Isn’t this a lovely entry?  What a beautiful greeting to see this gorgeous basket of blooms.  Certainly not all homes have such an entry.  But, if you have even a tiny space, a vase of something blooming is always an inviting touch.  Our home is one without a large entry.  We have a small space below the side lights of the front door During the spring and summer, I try to keep a filled bud vase on this space.  I have had our mail carrier thank me.  He said, “seeing blooms through the window makes his day.”

“Your home should represent who you are on your best day.”  ~ Eric Ross

I enjoy the colors in this room and the details.  Details, such as the blue on the inside of the tables and the dark blue band on the skirt of the sofa.

This room has the power to make one feel it is spring in January.  It is so fresh and full of life.  The stage is set for good times ~ memories!

My old friend blue, funny how she most always shows herself in my posts. Blue, simply makes my heart pound just a little harder.  You?

Would you like to add color to a room or perhaps change the color?  While painting can be work, it can certainly give a room an entirely new personality without significant cost.  However, if you don’t wish to paint, or may be a little shy of painting an entire room, try adding a color which appeals to you in accents, such as pillows, window treatments, ottomans, pottery, china or lovely florals.

“For without the private world of retreat man becomes virtually an unbalanced creature.” ~ Eleanor McMillen Brown

I hope you have enjoyed your visit this morning and perhaps have gained some inspiration for your “Home, Sweet Home.”  When we show our homes love, although it may be invisible to our eyes, this loving energy and spirit can be felt.  Our homes stand proud with the love they have received, and our “hearts are stirred” by the beauty we have created.

In closing, personally, I feel one of the most significant things we can do to shower our homes with love is ~ give them a name. Something I have written about before. Immediately they stand a little taller.  Perhaps, this notion of mine came from the great amount of time I have spent in the South, where many homes are named.  Honestly, I can’t tell you why, but what I can tell you is, “It truly adds a great deal to a home.”  Gives them that extra little something or as the French say,  a little “je ne sais quoi.”   Should you be in the need of any suggestions, contact me. I have loads of names whirling around in my head, just waiting for a home.

Now you know where the name for this blog originated.  Yes, Maison de Jardin is the name of our ‘home’ ~ translated, The Garden House.

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you a most beautiful weekend ! 

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

“It never occurred to me until I had this house to take a vacation and stay home.” ~   Bill Robinson, Interior Decorator

 

Photos:  Facebook, Michael Lambiotte, Pinterest, Atlanta Homes, Architectural Digest, Better Homes and GardensTraditional Home, Tumblr~ The Style Cocktail. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better homes and gardens photo

“Through The Garden Gate”

“This is the gate of my garden.  I invite you to enter in:  not only into my garden, but into the world of gardens ~ a world as old as the history of man, and as new as the latest contribution of science; a world of mystery, adventure and romance; a world of poetry and philosophy; a world of beauty; and a world of work.”  ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Many of you may or may not be familiar with Elizabeth Lawrence.  She wrote Through the Garden Gate, a Sunday column in the Charlotte Observer, from 1957 ~ 1971.  The quote from her, was part of her first column on August 11, 1957. Along with writing her weekly column, she was the author of several wonderful gardening books.  One I am especially fond of is “Through the Garden Gate.”  It is a collection of 144 columns by Ms. Lawrence and is a marvelous treasure.  Still today, her words continue to serve as great inspiration for gardeners, and the thought of following her into her garden remains a lovely invitation. One, I would  certainly would accept. 

As all gardeners know, through the garden gate there lies a “world of work.” However, many gardeners would probably agree with Frances Schultz.  “Doing, creating, practicing, cultivating, or caring for something you love is one of the most spirit~feeding, heart~singing things you can do.”  Gardeners love sharing their gardens and value the time spent in them.  Gardeners enjoy gorgeous flowers in a kaleidoscope of colors, shrubbery, trees, luscious vegetables and herbs, sweet bird song and heavenly smells.  However, I believe there may be something much greater all gardeners enjoy ~ a respite from the weariness of the world.  

“In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there.  To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe.  I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.” ~ Unknown

Gardens restore our souls.  They are a sweet, fresh, gentle and delightful place.  Where we can enjoy the many different symphonies of bird song, the hum of bees, and the sound of trickling water.  A place to simply, “Be.”  All of which, lulls us to a place of peace.  And, in this place of peace, our sense of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch is restored.  This restoration enables us to see sweet fairytale wonder, a multitude of minute details, regain hope, and feel the presence of God.

“From the tickle of grass underneath bare feet to the sweet perfume of antique roses that whisks us along on a sentimental journey, being in the garden means being in the moment.  Every sense gets engaged, while the other cares of the world melt away.” ~ June, 2016, issue of Flower

Planning and planting an enchanted garden takes time.  I have known many gardens, had the great joy of planting three, and have had the wonderful opportunity to visit many.  Added to the list of beautiful gardens I have seen ~ my mother’s garden.  Where spectacular wide sweeps of blush pink rhododendron were backed by giant hemlocks and flanked along the sides by bridal wreath spiarea.  Truly, one was transported to another world. 

Obviously, I can’t fail to mention our garden in Virginia.  She was dressed with tall loblolly pines, which shaded blood red Tom Knudsen camellias and white Sister Theresa hydrangeas.  For fragrance and color, the garden was drenched in an assortment of over 200 peonies, along with 70 plus roses. 

I am blessed beyond measure to have the memory of these gardens.  And, in each and every one of these magical places, I paused and felt a presence calling me to slow down, linger a while, enjoy the beauty and simply “Be.” I felt a sense of reverence for the peace and loveliness ~ a sense of gratitude for the privilege to enjoy such exquisite beauty.

“You haven’t really experienced a garden until you have slept in it, seen it, that is, in light fading to extinction, explored it at night with hesitant steps, and watched it come awake to birdsong at dawn. ~ Hugh Johnson

As we enter into this glorious season of spring, I wish all of you who are gardeners the happiest of moments in your gardens.  For those who may not be gardeners, perhaps you may have found a bit of inspiration here this morning.  Contemplate the impact a peaceful garden could make and thereby, enhance the quality of life for you and those you love.  Walk ‘through your garden gate.’ Visualize how you would like it to look, be fearless, dream big, but start small.  Create a place where you and your family can immerse yourselves in beauty and be in awe of the splendor of nature.  

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” ~ Rachel Carson

 

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you a glorious day ! 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photos:  Michael Lambiotte, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr,Madaboutgardendesign and Veranda Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When The Lilacs Bloom !

“But remembering those moments, I stand still in ecstasy, inhaling through the noise of falling rain, the smell of invisible, enduring lilacs.” ~ Marcel Proust

With the promise of spring soon to arrive to the hills of West Virginia, one of the things we will see and enjoy, are lilacs. Lilacs are one of the many fabulous beauties of the garden world, but they are not happy in all parts of the country.  So, today I thought I would share some of what I have learned with regard to growing these beauties.

Like many things that grow easily and are abundant, lilacs can often be taken for granted.  They are common in this part of the country, and thrive in our climate.  However, because I always adored them, when we moved to Virginia, I was determined to have them at our home.  My decision to grow them went completely against the advice of a grand and experienced gardener, my mom.  I can’t tell you the many years I struggled to grow them, with zero success.  I watched too many, that I nurtured and prayed over, only make it through one or perhaps two growing seasons, then wilt under the boiling sun and die.  I ordered specific cultivars, special food, amended the soil, purchased books about their care ~ you name it, I tried it.  I desperately wanted lilacs by our back gate. After all, what could possibly be more inviting than lilacs greeting everyone who entered?

“Lilacs are May in essence.” ~ Jean Hersey

But, I finally learned one gigantic lesson in gardening.  Not all plants thrive in all parts of the country.  And no amount of wishing, hoping and praying will make it happen.  Lilacs are not happy in coastal Virginia.  They are not fond of sandy soil, torrential rain, brutal heat and humidity.  They like rocky soil, something their little roots can wrap themselves around, cold winters and moderate summers.  

When we returned to West Virginia, one of the first things that went into our garden was a lilac.  We now have three, and one of my favorites is a dark violet lilac, Ludwig Spaeth.  He is a beauty and was given to me by my friend, Cathy.  A snip from an old one in her garden.

Lilacs are easily started from a start of  an old shrub.  Usually, if you look at the base of a mature plant you will see young sprouts.  Select one about 3 or 4 inches tall and give a quick, firm jerk.  You should see some roots.  I usually pot this in a medium size pot, with garden soil.  Place it where you can easily water, and check its progress.  Give it a little morning sun and shade in the afternoon.  It may wilt a little, but it should soon perk up and take off.  After it looks strong and is beginning to grow, you can plant it in the desired location. Try to plant on a cloud-covered day, with the possibility of rain in the forecast.  And, if possible, it is better to wait until early fall to plant.

We have another, quite special lilac, which came from my husbands family farm in Pennsylvania.  The home, barn, and outbuildings are all gone now, but the lilac continues to grow and bloom.  Visiting the home-place several years ago, we were able to obtain a piece of it ~ now a joy every spring.  I believe it to be a cultivar named President Lincoln, an heirloom variety.

Lilacs grow rapidly and can quickly get out of hand.  They are at their best and can be enjoyed the most, when they are kept at a height you can easily reach to cut their blooms.  After all, lilacs are all about enjoying their fragrance ~ something you can’t do when the blooms are high above your head.  Lilacs should be pruned immediately after the blooms are finished.  If you have an old lilac in need of having the height reduced, you can prune the height by one-third each year until it reaches the desired height.  Be sure to check the shrub well each year, removing any branches that are crossing or rubbing each other.  This can cause a break on the skin of the shrub.  Therefore, inviting insects and disease.  Also, keep the inside thinned to allow for good circulation.

“A faint smell of lilac filled the air.  There was always lilac in this part of town.  Where there were grandmothers, there was always lilac.” ~ Laura Miller

So now you know, I have garden loves other than peonies.  I hope you have enjoyed “When The Lilacs Bloom,” and that you live where you can enjoy them, too.  However, if you do not, at the end of this post I have listed a few lilac festivals you might enjoy visiting this spring.  And most importantly, do remember:  “You will know it is here, or getting near, when the LILACS Bloom !” ~ Unknown   (The words on a vintage sampler, gifted to me from my husband for my birthday many years ago.)

Did you know?   “When a man gives a woman a lilac, he’s asking her a question:  do you still love me? ~ Colleen Houck

 

 

Thanks so much for visiting.  Wishing you and yours a most beautiful day ! 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Lilac Festivals

Lilac Time at Lilacia Park

Lombard, Illinois

May 4 through 20, 2018

 

Rochester, New York Lilac Festival

May 11 through 20, 2018

 

The Mackinac Island, Michigan Lilac Festival

June 8 through 17, 2018

www.mackinacisland.org

 

Photos:  Pinterest and facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Joy!

“Twas Easter-Sunday.  The full-blossomed trees filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Good morning, everyone! I hope wherever you may be, this finds you enjoying this most beautiful of seasons, and that you have plans for a lovely, peaceful Easter Sunday.

I don’t know about you, but Easter has rather crept up on me this year.  I am going to blame it on the weather.  Until just the past few days it has been quite cold, and there isn’t much blooming, with the exception of a few daffodils.  However, if  you also feel like you may have a few loose ends,  are scurrying about with regard to plans for your Easter table, or wondering what to give as a token of love and appreciation for someone special ~ take heart.  I am sending along a few ideas. All of which can be quickly arranged, easily transported, and materials are readily available at garden centers this time of year. 

 

First, and a favorite are: Sweet Tete~a~Tete daffodils. They are a miniature daffodil, an early season bloomer, are perfect for an Easter table, or to take as a small gift.  They are most always available in small pots at garden centers and grocery stores.  They can easily be placed in a grapevine nest or basket. Afterwards, they can be planted in the garden ~ spring blooms for years to come. 

Don’t you love this grapevine centerpiece?  It is simply a woven basket, filled with any  gorgeousness of your choice, and placed in the middle of a grapevine wreath.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Here is another example of the same type centerpiece.  It is filled with a cute bunny, greens, and a nest of eggs.  The possibilities of this type of arrangement are never-ending.

Another of my favorites for an Easter table are pansies.  I enjoy seeing a fairly large container of them for the center of the table and a small cup or mug at each place setting.  Because they come in such a wide variety of colors, they are easily paired with almost any color scheme.

Now that you have a few easy ideas for dressing your table, I am sending a tried and true dessert recipe.  I really can’t tell you why, but I associate coconut with spring. Although, in the deep south, a coconut cake is often served at Christmas.  But, really this recipe is great anytime of the year.  It is an elegant~looking cake (4 layers), but so easy to prepare.  It is a perfect choice for any special occasion, especially if you are making last minute plans.

Fresh Coconut Cake

1 Box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix

2 packages fresh frozen coconut

1 cup sugar

1 and 1/2 cups sour cream

1~9oz. container cool whip

Directions:

Prepare the cake according to package directions.  Bake in 2 layers.  Let the layers completely cool.  Slice each one, making 4 layers.

Filling and Frosting:

Thaw coconut completely.  Reserve 1/2 of 1 package to use on top of the cake.  Add sugar to sour cream and mix well, then add coconut and mix again.  Place 1st layer on serving plate.  Add a layer of filling and a layer of cool whip.  Repeat with 2 more layers.  On the top layer – use cool whip only.  Spread remaining coconut(not mixed with sour cream and sugar) on top of cool whip. Cover cake well and refrigerate over-night before cutting and serving.  Enjoy! 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

“I think of the garden after the rain;  And hope to my heart comes singing, at morn the cherry-blooms will be white, and the Easter bells be ringing !” ~ Edna Dean Proctor,Easter Bells

“For I remember it is Easter Morn, and Life and Love and Peace are all New Born.” ~ Alice Freeman Palmer

 

Wishing you and all those you love, a glorious Easter weekend !

 

Many Blessings,

Sandra

 

Photos:  Martha Stewart.com, Pinterest and Facebook

 

 

 

From A Neighbor’s Window

“Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” ~ Roald Dahl

 

A few years ago, I remember reading we should be able to see something we deem beautiful from every window of our home.  I thought about this the other day, as I was looking across the street at my neighbor’s cherry trees,  imagining what a sight they will soon be weeping to the ground, full of bloom.  From another window, I see my dear friend Cathy scurrying about her garden, and the daffodils she planted just about to bloom.  And from still another window I see a magnificent purple beech, which will shelter many birds, and provide huge swaths of shade during hot summer days. 

All my window sight-seeing started me to think about what may be in my neighbors view.  So I thought I would share a few photos from last spring ~ my neighbors view.  You can see we replaced a shrub on the right side of the house.  The new rhododendron is blush pink, and doubled its size last year.  Soon, it will catch up in size to its deep pink neighbors on either side.  I am quite anxious to see it bloom this spring.

“A rhododendron bud lavender-tipped.  Soon a glory of blooms to clash with the cardinals and gladden the hummingbirds!” ~ Dave Beard

The rhododendron is the state flower of  West Virginia, my home.

The urn at the foot of the front steps, is loaded with cheerful geraniums.  Geraniums are happy in this spot, as they enjoy morning sun and afternoon shade.  Just what they love.

“Long experience has taught me that people who do not like geraniums have something morally unsound about them. Sooner or later you will find them out; you will discover that they drink, or steal books, or speak sharply to cats. Never trust a man or a woman who is not passionately devoted to geraniums.”  ~ John Beverley Nichols, Merry Hall

Lining the walkway to the ‘jardin’ are the Annabelle girls.  These girls literally stop traffic every year.  They are glorious with their enormous blooms of white, changing to chartreuse before turning a soft brown.  I disagree with Carl Sandburg who said, “I tell you the white hydrangeas turn rust and go soon.”  Really, they do not.  They begin to bloom around the 15th of June, and it is August before they are brown.  Did you know, a bouquet of hydrangeas expresses the giver’s gratefulness for the recipients understanding?  Also, hydrangeas symbolize appreciation and heartfelt emotion.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a little of my neighbor’s view.  And I hope, from the windows of your home, you also see something  you deem lovely. I believe we miss a great deal when we don’t stop to look ‘out and around.’  For it truly is in the “most unlikely places that we see hidden secrets”, glimpses of extraordinary beauty, and more.

 

Wishing you and those you love, a most beautiful and peaceful Sunday !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photos:  Michael Lambiotte, Pinterest

In The Green

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” – From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Good morning dear friends and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day !  This time of year always finds me enjoying green.  The brown is slowly turning green, green shoots emerging everywhere, and the entire earth seems happy.  So today, I thought I would share a bit of nature’s color ~ both from the garden world, and interior spaces.  Grab your coffee, and come along. Perhaps, “In The Green” will speak to you. 

 

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

Cleveland Botanical Gardens

Something I love in a garden is a parterre.   If you are not familiar with parterres, they have their origins in France.  They are meant to represent, a garden within a garden.   While I no longer wish to care for one the size in this photo, I do have a small one in our garden, which I will share later in the spring.  They can be a joy to a gardener, because of the endless creative possibilities.  They can be designed to immediately show the treasures they hold or designed to slowly open, so as to reveal lovely things.  Often they contain spring blooms of daffodils and tulips, and pretty summer blooms of every description.  They can also be pretty and interesting when planted with delightful herbs and vegetables.  Parterres are also wonderful homes for roses too, as roses prefer to have their ankles hidden.  

“For still there are so many things that I have never seen:  In every wood, in every spring, there is a different green.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Moving along to interior spaces let’s go in the back door, and begin our tour in this wonderful garden room.  Truly, every gardener or floral designer dreams of having a room ~ a green room, with a great sink, shelves for vessels, cabinets for storage, and places to hang baskets and tools.

What a charming space to curl up and enjoy a nice coffee or tea.  Perhaps a great book, followed by a nap.

And who doesn’t love a cheerful dining area ?  This room would be spring in January, with its touches of green.

What a beautiful bathroom, dressed with a marvelous shade of green.  However, I believe the real beauty  of this room is in the design.  The entire look of the room  could be easily be changed,  simply by a different color selection of towels. To me, great design is when an area can be refreshed without significant cost or effort.

Have you read the book, “The Bee Cottage Story?”  The book was written by Frances Schultz, and it is about the renovation of her cottage in New York.  She was clearly  ‘In The Green’ as she made fabric selections for her lovely living room.  Schultz is also an interior designer, and often writes for House Beautiful magazine.

I too, found myself  ‘In The Green’ a few years ago when a category in a Standard Flower show needed filling.  For those of you who may not know ~ if all categories in a show are not filled the show is null and void.  This is not a good thing, as there is a tremendous amount of work and hours of planning that goes into a flower show.  But, back to me “In The Green” ~ my first thought was, “How in the world will I do an all green design?”  But, I did.  And, it won the Designers Choice Award and Best In Show Award. The plant material is: hydrangea, spider mum, bells of Ireland, English ivy, and curly willow.  The vase is green glass.

 

I hope you have enjoyed your time ‘In The Green.’  And, as it is Saint Patrick’s Day, I will leave you with one of my favorite Irish Blessings.

 

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.

May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.

May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue.

And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”

 

 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Know how much I appreciate your comments.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day !

 

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photos:  Pinterest, Michael Lambiotte, Veranda, House Beautiful and Country Living.

 

 

The “Rustle of Spring”

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, no culture comparable to that of the garden.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

 

For anyone living in North Central West Virginia, you may be thinking, “Spring?”  You see… rain, sleet and snow will be arriving today and tonight.  But prior to today, we have enjoyed a few spring-like days, and the sight of daffodils blooming in the area.  However, with the approaching cold weather I cut many of these cheerful beauties from our garden, and  scattered them about the house.  They will keep us company while  ‘Old Man Winter’ pays us another visit ~ his last, I hope.

“Daffodils come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty.” ~ William Shakespeare

Spring is what most gardeners live for.  We are out and about in our gardens, in all sorts of weather, checking to see what may be peaking through the soil, trying to get ahead of the weeds by pulling them while the soil is damp, cleaning and snipping to make way for new growth, and dreaming of things to come.  And, if you suffer from the gardening bug to the extent that I do, perhaps you are talking to the peonies.  Telling them how gorgeous they are and that you just can hardly wait to see them again.

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

One spring treasure in our garden is our beautiful Carolina Jasmine.  It is such a marvelous treat when the Jasmine blooms.  I love drinking the intoxicating fragrance ~ truly, a gift from above.  The fragrance makes the entire garden a heavenly place to ‘simply be.’

“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?” – Neltje Blanchan

A cold misty morning in March can likely find me scattering the seeds of my treasured French poppies.  Yes, they are from France, and were sent to me from a friend who lives near Giverny. They were on the property when she purchased her home, which dates to the early 18oo’s.    After much research about these treasures, I believe them to be an heirloom variety named,  Antique Rose.  

While on my tour, I always stop to visit the Iris girls.  One of my favorites is Jennifer Rebecca.  She has lovely shading and is so frilly.

But as I stand and look around, taking time to remember what this precious spot of earth looked like thirteen years ago, I am so very grateful to have been blessed with a love of gardening and a passion for blooms.   And, while I love all blooms, my heart pounds for peonies.  In my opinion, they have it all.  As the girls begin to take center stage in May, I do hope you won’t tire of their photos.  You know, girls love a camera.  Here are a few of their photos from last spring.

“A rose is a rose, but a peony is a friend forever.” – Unknown

 

The Fawn and Maggie.  Maggie was my grandmothers peony (deep pink).

Bartzella, with my husband’s hand for size comparison.

Red Charm

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed your visit today.  Please stay tuned, there is much more on the way.  And, wherever you may be, I hope this finds you enjoying all the beautiful sights and sounds ~ the glorious “Rustle of Spring”(please visit here).

 

Wishing you a most beautiful day !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

“Rustle of Spring,” by Christian Sinding

At the Piano, John Ogden

 

Photos:  Michael Lambiotte, Facebook, Pinterest

 

 

 

 

March Winds

“The trees began to whisper and the wind began to roll and in the wild March morning I heard them call my soul.” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I hope March blew in like a lamb in your area, and that she will leave in the same manner.  But, in North Central West Virginia, she blew in like a lion.  Bringing rain, snow, black clouds, and then, a little sun.

“First a howling blizzard woke us, then the rain came down to soak us, and now, before the eye can focus…Crocus. ~ Lilja Rogers

 

So, to create my own sunshine, I made a lovely pot of tea and a wonderful cake.  Cake gives sunshine to the dreariest March day.  And, when it is enjoyed with tea and a great book ~ ordinary becomes extraordinary.  Just in case you would also like to enjoy my cake, here is the recipe.  It is truly the easiest cake ever, plus delicious.  You mix this cake by hand, in one bowl and do not even have to grease the pan.  Easy, as can be.

Pineapple Cake

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 (20 oz.) can of undrained crushed pineapple

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda.

Be sure to mix this cake by hand.  Beat eggs, stir in sugars and undrained pineapple.  Stir in flour and baking soda.  Pour in an ungreased 13x9x2 inch pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 35-45 minutes.  Cool and frost.

Frosting

1 (3oz.) package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups confectioners sugar.

Cream cheese and butter, with mixer.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add sugar and mix well.  Spread on cooled cake.

Note:  This makes a thin layer of frosting.  If you like lots of frosting, double the frosting recipe.

 

So, should you be seeing cloudy skies this morning, and hearing March winds blowing ~ take heart.  Spring is coming soon to your neighborhood.  But until it does, find a great book, make a pot of tea and bake my cake.  You will be happy you did.

 

 ~ William Wordsworth

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

 

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you a glorious weekend, and a beautiful month of March !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Photos: Facebook and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

Violet and Friends!

“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” ~ Claude Monet

Good morning my friends, and welcome to ‘Violet’s World.’  Considering all the recent chatter about Violet, I was wondering:  What are your thoughts?  When you see her, what is your immediate reaction?  Do you like her, does she make you bristle, or does she inspire your creativity?  Whatever your opinion of Violet may be, she is the type of girl who certainly commands attention and will evoke an immediate reaction.  

The Pantone Color Institue, widely respected as a forecaster of color trends and color development, very much likes Violet.  So much so, they named her their 2018 Color of the Year.  The Institute’s color choice has become a trendsetter, influencing design and fashion.  Their choice is based on research, global movements and current events.  Pantone describes their choice as, “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” Interesting, isn’t it?   

A little further reading about Violet led me to Lee Eiserman.  Eiserman is the executive director of the The Pantone Color Institute, and she has this to say: “Ultra Violet is a very provocative shade, but it’s also a thoughtful color ~ it sounds like a bit of an oxymoron.  This is the kind of color attached, historically, to originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking.  These are elements we need to create a meaningful future.  Inventiveness and imagination is something we seek in our personal lives and business worlds.  People are looking for the ‘magic bullet,’ and this shade is the perfect shade to lead right into it…It’s intriguing, fascinating, and magical.  We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination.  It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18~3838 Ultra Violet, a blue~based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.  From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.” Perhaps, the thoughts of Tennessee Williams will come true, “The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” My interpretation of his words:  “Softness, kindness and beauty have defeated indifference and cruelty.”  

So, it appears that Violet is quite the girl.  While Violet and Purple are different, they are friends.  They also enjoy the company of their softer and romantic friends ~ lavender and lilac.  I have gathered some lovely photos of the group, which I hope you will enjoy.

“Purple enhances creativity, clears the mind, calms stress.” ~ Unknown

“Every color choice will contribute to the vitality and vibrancy in our daily lives.”  ~ Moll Anderson

“Purple is the color for royalties.  It stands for luxury, wealth and sophistication.  It is also the color of passion, romance and sensitivity. ~ Unknown

“Mere COLOR can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

“It always seems to me as if the lavender was a little woman in a green dress, with a lavender bonnet and a white kerchief.  She is one of thoes strong, sweet wholesome people, who always rest you, and her sweetness lingers long after she goes away.” ~ Myrtle Reed

 

In closing, there is much to the business of color.  It has been written about at great length and color selections truly make a difference in our daily rounds.  While I am not an advocate of following trends, I find the information regarding the thoughts behind Pantone’s choice most interesting.  So, if you love these colors, and are interested in or need to redecorate a room, or add your love of this color to a room in a small way, perhaps you have received a little inspiration.  It is said that people who love purple have high expectations for themselves, are artistic and unique, and encourage others to show love and empathy.  In my opinion, our world needs ~ ‘Violet and Friends.’    

 

The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.” – Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute.

 

Wishing you and yours a most beautiful week !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Note:  Because Purple is believed to inspire hope and vision, Ultra Violet is the color choice for the International Women’s Day ~ March 8, 2018.

 

 

Photos:  Atlanta Homes, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Facebook and Pinterest. 

Two Inspiring Hearts !

“I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love…I believe in sunshine,  fresh air,  friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.” – Elizabeth Hubbard

 

Have you met Ben and Erin Napier?  Oh my gosh, I do hope so.  They are a lovely and delightful young couple, who host the HGTV show, “Home Town.”  Along with being lovely and delightful, they are both extremely talented.  And they share their gifts with us every Monday evening, so by chance if you haven’t met them, be sure to tune in.  I believe you will be happy you did.

Perhaps you are wondering, “Why is she writing a post about this show?” There are many reasons.  But the first is:  These young people are working desperately hard to restore and revitalize their charming home town of Laurel, Mississippi.  Laurel, Mississippi is the key here.  You see, Laurel, as the crow flies, is roughly 24 miles from Collins, Mississippi. Collins is where my mom was from and where I spent my childhood summers with my grandmother.  My grandmother had a sister (Aunt Tommy) who lived in Laurel and at that point in time, it was also home to a little restaurant known for their shrimp po’ boy sandwiches (an explanation of a po’ boy and a recipe are at the end of this post).  So needless to say, I have been to Laurel, Mississippi many times.

Laurel, Mississippi, much like many small Mississippi towns, is a beautiful little spot on this earth.  The one thing I remember most are the trees, and of course the hydrangeas.  But the trees in Collins and in Laurel are huge and old.  They form canapes over the wide streets.

I have such wonderful memories of being on my bicycle on a summer morning, riding along under the shade of those magnificent trees, enjoying the damp coolness, the smell of the gardenias and admiring the beauty of the heavenly blue hydrangeas.  That was too many moons ago, but to this day, I still remember the beauty and the smell of those gardenias.

Laurel, Mississippi is no different from many small towns all across our country.  Laurel was a mill town, lumber and cotton.  When the mills closed, Laurel fell on hard times. However, Ben and Erin are working hard to revitalize their dear town.  And for those of us who may be living in a small towns with similar issues, we should sit up and take notice.  Many small towns have been “loved back to life.”  It takes people and community leaders with a vision.  People just like Ben and Erin. 

On their show, “Home Town,” you will watch them restore old homes in Laurel.  Here is where they receive my highest possible award.  They restore, they don’t destroy.  They do all they can to save the integrity and character of a home.  Including the basic floor plan, flooring, mill work, cabinets, walls and windows.  Truly, they have a complete understanding of the word restore,  an educated knowledge of architectural periods, and style of homes.  And they well know the history of their immediate area and state.  All their knowledge and work is further enhanced by their love of their “Home Town.”  Every bit of this, along with the fact they both ooze southern charm and hospitality, makes them remarkably special.

Additionally, Erin writes a blog, “The Daily Journal ~ Erin’s Journal,”  you will want to visit here.  Although, since she and Ben have just recently welcomed their precious Helen to the world, she is taking a little time away from her blog.  But she has promised to return, so do visit her.  The blog is as lovely as she is.  

In closing, for me, often it is something simple, a phrase or a pretty photo that will switch on my lights.  Therefore, inspiring me toward thoughts of improving our own home and community.  Such is the case with Erin’s words:  “Use the gift you have to make your place better wherever that place may be ~ get up and do it!”  I do love the simple truth of  ~ “get up and do it.”  Perhaps if  we all follow her words, we will improve our own home towns.  We all have gifts, we simply need to use them.

 

So, I hope you may have found a little inspiration to “get up and do” whatever it is you may be wanting to do or need to do.  If not, tune in on an episode or two of Home Town ~ Monday evenings, 9:00 EST/8:00 CST, you will be sure to find inspiration there.

 

Wishing you a most beautiful week!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Don’t Miss:  Recipe for Shrimp Po’Boy, visit here.

 

Photos:  Pinterest and The Laurel Mercantile Co. Facebook page.

“loved back to life” ~ words of Erin Napier