Celebrate Glorious Autumn!

“And, just like that, summer fell into fall.” – Unknown

Happy first day of Autumn everyone.  I do love autumn and especially autumn weather.  So today, in celebration of this glorious season, I am sending along a few of my favorite autumn recipes. Special treats, I hope you will enjoy.

 

The first is a Gingerbread recipe.  I have had made this a gazillion times, at least. It is a little different from other gingerbread recipes and it makes 2 loaves.  One to keep and one to give away.  Everyone loves a sweet surprise.

Gingerbread Loaves

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup molasses

1 cup boiling water

1 tsp. baking soda

2  and  3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

4 tsp. ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350. Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. In large bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. In small bowl, combine molasses, water and baking soda; mix well. Beat into brown sugar mixture. Gradually add flour and remaining bread ingredients; mix well. Spoon batter into greased pans (I use baking spray with flour). Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pans. When completely cool, glaze with the following recipe.

Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tbls. lemon juice

Mix together and blend well.  Brush over cooled gingerbread.

 

Next, is a recipe from my childhood.  A special treat my mom made for me every autumn. It is easy and one most everyone will enjoy.

 

 

Classic Baked Apple

1 large cooking apple, washed and cored

3 Tbls. dark brown sugar

2 Tbls. raisins

1 Tbls. butter

Water

Preheat oven to 375. Cut a 1 1/2-inch circle of skin off the top of the apple, and also slit the skin around the fruit, to allow for expansion while baking.     Mix the brown sugar and raisins.  Place apple in a small ovenproof dish.  Fill cored opening with the sugar and raisin mixture, then top with butter.  Pour enough water into the pan to come halfway up the side of the apple.  Bake for around 45 minutes, or until soft.  This is a wonderful treat by itself.  However, it is also wonderful with a little cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

The last recipe today is a recipe from Ina Garten.  It is her Pear Clafouti.  If you are not familiar with a clafouti, I urge you to try this lovely recipe.  You will be happy you did.

 

Pear Clafouti

1 Tbls. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbls. sugar

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

6 Tbls. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbls. pear brandy

2-3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears

Confectioners’ sugar

Creme Fraiche or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 375.  Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 Tbls. of sugar.  Beat eggs and 1/3 cup of sugar with electric mixer, on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, and pear brandy.  Set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, creme fraiche  or whipped cream.   Note:  This is a lovely dessert and is not extremely sweet.  The custard and pears are wonderful together. Also, Creme Fraiche is available locally at Kroger.

 

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours a beautiful autumn !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Special Note:  There has been a recipe archive section added to the home page of my blog.  It is at the bottom right.  This will make it easier to find previously posted recipes.

 

All photos:  Pinterest

Be Our Guest

“A guest never forgets the host who had treated him kindly.” –  Homer

Knowing many of you may still be enjoying summer weather and your flip flops, I am rather reluctant to mention –  the holidays are approaching. However, the Thanksgiving holiday will arrive in nine weeks, with Christmas following shortly thereafter. So, today I hope to inspire you to think ahead, be organized and avoid what I refer to as, ‘last minute drama.’  

For information regarding the above needlepoint, see the details at the end of this post.

Holidays can often mean, overnight guests in your home.  Therefore, now is the time to begin to prepare for their arrival. You have invited these people to your home, you love and care about your guests. You want them to be happy, comfortable, enjoy their visit and take away lasting, wonderful memories. But for this to occur, we well know it does take a bit of thought and planning. Especially, if you work outside the home.

So first, think about where your guest or guests will sleep? The bed. Is it comfy? Have you actually slept in the bed? If not, now is the time to try it out. By actually sleeping in the bed and knowing that it is cozy and comfortable, you will rest easy knowing your guests are also. Should you decide a new mattress set is needed, you will have plenty of time to shop. 

Next, take a look at the bedding. Is the bedding soft to the touch and does it feel lovely next to your skin?  If your bedding is in good condition and you want to simply freshen it up a bit, often a set of lovely pillowslips will do magic. A pair of vintage pillowslips, such as in the photo below, can add enormous charm to a bed. These lovelies were stitched by my husband’s grandmother and I do treasure them. However, should you not have a pair, they can be purchased quite reasonably at garage sales, estate sales or on https://www.etsy.com/

 

While I am on the subject of bedding, I am a huge fan of linen bedding. Specifically French linen. There really isn’t anything quite as soft.  Truly, it is a treat to slip into a bed dressed in linen, and, of course, sprayed with lavender water. Should you be interested in purchasing linen bedding, Saphyr Pure Linen offers an excellent choice of beautiful French linen bedding https://saphyrpurelinen.com/  Your guests will love you. Also, be sure to provide marvelously, comfortable pillows and a season appropriate comforter. 

Now that your bed is dressed, think about what you might enjoy if you were a guest staying in this room, perhaps miles away from your sweet home. One special tip I will share is that of a photo. If you have a photo of your guest’s home, garden or family, place the photo in a frame on the night stand. I have done this several times and it always seems to mean a great deal to my guests. Another tip, prepare a little gift. When shopping, begin to pick up items for a gift bag. Everyone enjoys a surprise and a wee present.  Small gift bags are such fun to create.  Fill them with things such as: note cards, nice tea, a tiny box of chocolates, an ornament or a lovely hand towel. Your thoughtfulness will touch the heart of your guest, and make them feel welcome. Place your gift in a spot in the room where they will find it, and include a note which says how happy you are to have them staying with you.

My final thoughts on creating a cozy and welcoming room are as follows: Be sure there is a comfy chair, a nice throw, a working clock and a good lamp in the room. Provide a selection of reading material (books and magazines).Prepare a basket  filled with toiletries, a few note cards or postcards, a couple of pens, and stamps. And just before your guest arrive, add a small vase of fresh flowers or greenery and a few freshly baked cookies in a clear cellophane treat bag, tied with a satin ribbon.

 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit today, and are now  inspired to begin making your plans for a memorable holiday season. A beautiful season, full of unforgettable memories for yourself and others. One final thought: “To invite a person into your house is to take charge of his happiness for as long as he is under your roof.”   – A. Brillat-Savarin

Wishing you a beautiful week!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Note:  The “Be Our Guest” needlepoint at the top of this post was made for me by my lifelong friend.  Her name is Janet, but I refer to her as the ‘Stitching Wizard.’ Through the years, she has created many  gorgeous pieces for me, which you will see from time-to-time.  Should you be interested in a piece of her fabulous work, contact me under the contact section of this blog and I will put you in touch with her.

 

 

Photos:  Michael S. Lambiotte and Pinterest

“Things That Dwell In The Heart!”

And the herdsman had seen in the girl’s eyes a world just like that:  A world of wonder, a world not of grass and wild creatures but of human glances.  A world of things that dwell in the heart.”  – French Folktales

Is creating beauty in your home something which “dwells in your heart?” Chances are, if you are reading this blog it does. Honestly, I believe it does with most.  


After all, beauty provides such inspiration, and has the power to immediately lift our spirits. It can open our hearts to a “world of wonder,” spark our creativity, or light our imagination. For example: Take a look at the gorgeousness in the photo above.  Such an interesting room.  A beautiful bench, wearing a needlepoint seat cover, marvelous fabric for the skirt, and stunning trim.  Additionally, the room holds a grand vintage cupboard with many treasures, and looks as though it may have enjoyed a previous life in a wonderful old store or shop. Don’t you wonder about the cupboard and its treasures?  Where did they live? Who enjoyed them? What secrets do they keep? Or, perhaps you are wondering, “Who is the talented soul who stitched the needlepoint?”  Yes, the room is full of charm and invites one to sit down, linger and drink in every single detail. 

I swoon over details.  Actually, it is not uncommon for me to spend more per yard for drapery trim, than drapery fabric. But I am here to tell you, fabulous trim can instantly turn ordinary to beyond gorgeous. And, the same holds true in the garden, where details can offer a bit of drama or whimsy. When one comes upon a blooming beauty or a magnificent weeping pine, carefully placed in a selected spot, it can be a delightful surprise – a moment of unexpected joy.  Attention to such detail, turns an ordinary garden to an unforgettable garden. And, according to the late, Charles Faudree,”Details are like frosting on the cake and who doesn’t like frosting best?” Indeed, I agree with Mr. Faudree.

Beauty and the love of home has always held a significant place in my heart. Effort put forth to create a beautiful home is meaningful work, it enriches our lives and the lives of those we love.  Beauty in our homes also adds to our well being. Certainly, you smile when you see lovely rooms, as in the photos below. Everyone feels better when they smile. Uncluttered, lovely rooms speak to us. They know they are pretty and they extend to us and others, a warm and inviting welcome. 

 

 

 

 

So, if you are wondering about my direction with this post, I will tell you. It is up to each of us to take notice of beauty in the ordinary, love-up our homes the very best we can, within our means, and create homes we deem to be beautiful – loaded with details we love. Expose ourselves and our young people to the gorgeous countryside, mountains, lakes, rivers and oceans, museums, art, and historic homes. “A world of wonder.” You see, when children are exposed to beauty, they develop a love and appreciation of such. Such a love will result in their seeking beauty all their lives, and lead them to become life-long learners – just as we should be.  The ripple effect of our efforts will create a more beautiful and a kinder world. Truthfully, I believe this may be what “dwells in all our hearts.”

 

 

  Wishing you and yours “the kind of September when life was slow and oh so mellow” … 

A September to Remember !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

Photos:  Pinterest and Atlanta Homes

Lyrics from:  The song “Try to Remember” 

                         

Spiders and Snakes

“You don’t live in a world all alone.  Your brothers are here too.”  – Albert Schweitzer

 

Bluebonnets, The Texas State Flower

 

Reading the title of my post today, perhaps you are thinking, “What ? ?”  But, considering the photos and information we are receiving, regarding the horrific tragedy in Texas, honestly I lack the inspiration to create a post about beautiful homes and gardens. Tragically, so many have lost their loved ones and the homes they have worked years creating.

This being said, today I am going to tell you a story, a true one. One I hope will give you the greatest inspiration, and remind you, as I remind myself, we must always have faith in our fellow man. A story of the beauty of the human heart and the joy it can offer those in despair.

As most of you know, my husband and I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia for thirty-two years. Our home was located one mile from Back Bay and 7 miles from the sleepy little fishing village of Knotts Island, North Carolina.  Needless to say, we were close to the water. During those thirty-two years, we saw many ugly storms rip and tear through our lovely seaside town.  We saw first hand the effect of several hurricanes, the flooding, dreadful wind damage and days without power. But none were like Isabelle which came roaring into town on September 19, 2003. Isabelle hit the Carolina coast as a Cat 2 hurricane and did terrible damage. By the time she made her way up the coast to us, she had been downgraded to a Cat 1 storm, with winds of 74-95 miles per hour. Keep in mind, Harvey which has torn through Texas, was a Cat 4 with winds of 130-156. 

When Isabelle decided to move out of town, we did not have a shingle left on our roof – it was all bare wood. The windows blew out of our garage and it took my husband several days to cut the trees and move them which were down across our 400 foot driveway. However, we did not have a drop of water in the house and our house stood up to the winds. We were blessed beyond measure.  

Although, I will tell you this storm took the life out of both of us. My husband is a tough, rugged- type man and he can most always find a ray of sunshine in the darkest of days. But not this time. On one of the days following the storm, in 95 degree plus heat, he was outside clearing tree limbs.  I took him some water and he sat down, looked up at me, looked around our property said: “We are never going to get cleaned up from this disaster.” That was the first time in our married life, I had ever seen him defeated.  

The sweltering heat continued, the mosquitoes flourished, water became rationed and there was no end in sight to the power outage. But on day eight of no power, I saw a huge white truck coming down the narrow road in front of our home. Knowing the truck was a power truck, I went outside. As I was walking down our lane, I noticed on the door of the huge truck, a blue outline of the state of Texas with the words TEXAS POWER.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Texas Power, along with power companies from all across the country, had traveled to our corner of the world just to help. Just as I am sure Dominion Power and many others from across the country have made their way to Texas.  

So, on that boiling hot September afternoon, as I approached the truck, two handsome young men effortlessly jumped from the truck. They looked at me and one said, “Mam, we are from Texas Power and we are here to restore your power.” I cried. Understand, no one can pronounce Mam or Texas like a native Texan. The men told me there were lines down across a marsh area on the other side of the road. My first thought was to caution them about the snakes, as many poisonous water snakes reside in the marsh areas. As I explained to the men about the snakes, they were pulling on their heavy, long boots.  Then, with the best grin I ever saw on a young man, one of them looked at me and said: “Mam, we’re from Texas, we’re not afraid of spiders and snakes.”  And, off they went through the marsh.

During these last many days, as I have watched the horrific devastation unfold in Texas.  I have thought so much about these two men, I can still see their smiling faces.  I have wondered how they and their families fared, prayed if they needed help that a huge truck, with smiling young men (not afraid of spiders and snakes) would drive down their street and help them, just as they helped us. The hope they offered us is more than I have words to explain.  I know in my heart each and every flood victim who has received such assistance shares my feelings of overwhelming gratitude.

While the destruction from Isabelle was minuscule in comparison to Harvey, it was enough to give me a clear understanding of the horrendous time those effected are experiencing and will be for days, weeks, and many months to come.  In time and with God’s help, their lives will be pieced back together. Their homes will be restored or rebuilt. And, it will happen all because the people involved and others from across our great land understand, “we don’t live in a world alone – our brothers are here too.”

    

The Texas State Motto – “Friendship”

 

Thanks for visiting “Where Inspiration Blooms.”  Have a lovely week !

Au Revoir,

Sandra  

 

Photos: Pinterest

Ready or Not, Here She Comes !

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and autumn was awakened.”  – Raquel Franco

 

Ready or not, fall is on her way.  To be exact, she will arrive in 23 days – September 22, 2017. While I know there are many folks who love summer, and want to hang on to her very last hot, humid day, I am not one of them. I love fall. Fall is a glorious time of year in the Mountain State of West Virginia.  Our state magnificently wears her stunning “coat of many colors.” And, many travel from far and wide to see her dressed in her finest. Truly, “Almost Heaven.”

As summer becomes fall, There is  “…A distinct smell… A mixture of dried leaves on the ground and the smoke from the chimneys and sweet ripe apples…” – Arlene Stafford Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mulled Cider

2 quarts fresh apple cider

2 cinnamon sticks

2 whole allspice berries

2 whole cloves 

1 orange thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.  Place pan on the grates of grill or stove burner.  Simmer until hot on low heat.

 

 

It is a “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!” – John Keats, “Ode to Autumn”

 

Our kitchens are alive with the preparation of all sorts of fabulous goodness.  The marvelous aromas can instantly transport one to a treasured memory of another time or place.

 

Perhaps, the memory of an apple tart your mother or grandmother would always prepare during the fall.

Rustic Apple Tart

1 Refrigerator Pie Crust

3-4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored

1 Tbls. lemon juice

1 Tbls. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch

3 Tbls. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut peeled and cored apples into 1/4 inch slices.  In a large bowl toss apples with lemon juice.  Sprinkle in the cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon and dried cranberries. Set aside.

In a 10 inch pie plate, place pie crust.  Arrange apples in a mound in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.  Fold the border over the filling.  It will only cover the apples partially and does not need to be even.  Bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake another 40 minutes until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with glaze – all over the top of the fruit and crust.  Cool, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

Glaze:  1 tsp. honey, 1/4 tsp. boiling water, mix well.

 

 

 

Autumn makes everyone feel like a child again.  I don’t believe anyone is ever too old to play in leaves. Indeed, “Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” Shira Tamir

Beautiful fall weather truly beckons us outdoors to enjoy the spectacular views and to do the things we enjoy. “Doesn’t it seem as if autumn were the real creator, more creative than spring…?” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Most of all, I believe, fall draws us home.  It is a time to be by the fire, enjoy those we love, soak in magnificent beauty, and count our many blessings.  

 

 

Because, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

 

Wishing you days  full of gorgeousness, and may this beautiful season bring you great joy !

Thanks for visiting.

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

All photos:  Pinterest

Sunday Thoughts

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful.” – Emerson

 

Have you ever read something wonderfully written and thought to yourself, “That is exactly what I have been trying to say?”  Well, on this lovely Sunday morning, I feel compelled to share my experience with you – the beautiful and moving words of Steven Charleston.  Mr. Charleston is a Native American elder, author and retired Episcopal Bishop of Alaska. He ‘so’ eloquently states my very thoughts about beauty.

 

 

 

 

“The hint is in the beauty all around us, wild flowers and hummingbirds, sunsets and waterfalls, fireflies and forests, all of the countless works of art in motion around us, that surprise us and delight us, stopping us in our tracks, causing us to pause, to look, to see, to wonder that such simple perfection could exist.  Dolphins and snowflakes, still pools and evening shadows:  the mind that made creation set signposts along every road, reminders of what is really behind the illusion of time, glimpses through the cracks of our digital age into another world, a world that is not and yet always coming to be, if only we take the hint and believe.” – Steven Charleston

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours a glorious day!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra 

 

Note:  Further information regarding Steven Charleston is available at his website, http://www.redmoonpublications.com

 

Photo: Facebook

Creating A Beautiful Home

“Home is where we express our passions and our unique creative vision.  We should seek and celebrate the poetry of every day at home.” –  Alexandra Stoddard

Everything matters in our homes. From the comfort of cozy chairs to the color of our kitchen towels and everything in between – it all matters. However, it is not about perfection.  

 

To me, an ideal home is about comfort.  One that meets the emotional needs of ourselves and of our families.  While I love beauty, appreciate quality and fine workmanship, I am not a perfectionist. We can create a beautiful and comfortable home without striving for perfection. There is no perfect human, house, or garden. When we strive for a perfect home we lose our way, and are robbed of joy. What we create is an uncomfortable atmosphere.  Home, our refuge,  is the very last place anyone should be uncomfortable.  

 

 

 

Additionally, through the years I have seen too much of the mentality, ‘saving the best for company.’  Or, when a home is perfect one will host holiday dinners and entertain friends. Personally, I believe both of these lines of thinking are wrong. They take away from the joy each day brings.  Each day is a gift and should be celebrated, not reserved for special occasions.   

 

A beautiful home is created when we surround ourselves with the things we love. Truly, our homes are our stories. They should tell a great deal about us.  Where we’ve been, what we’ve done and who we are.  So, don’t hide those beautiful old vintage books or tuck away your stack of lovely monogrammed napkins. Display, enjoy and use them. And, place those gorgeous silver spoons where you can enjoy taking one to stir your morning coffee or tea. You will smile every time you pass them, realizing you have created beauty in your home, by displaying things meaningful to you. When we put forth the conscious effort to make our daily lives more beautiful, we are on our way toward living a more beautiful life. 

 

 

Decorating a home is something which should continue throughout a lifetime.  We grow and change as individuals, children grow and leave home and therefore our homes should change as well.  A beautiful home evolves through time.  Creating a beautiful home can be one of our greatest achievements. The process should enrich, delight, and bring us great satisfaction.

Eleanor McMillen Brown, a pioneer in the field of interior design and founder of the legendary design firm McMillen Inc., lived to be 100 years old. Her famous words, “without the private world of retreat man becomes virtually an unbalanced creature,” are true.  And, that is the very reason we should strive to make our homes as special as possible and enjoy them to the hilt.  It is the little things, unique only to us, which gives our homes their distinct personality and makes them so enjoyable as our “world of retreat.”

 

Chill the Champagne, Love, and Enjoy Your Beautiful Home.

Thanks for visiting and have a great week !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos:  Traditional Home, At Home in Arkansas/ all photos Pinterest

 

“A Heart for France”

“For as long as I can remember, I have had a heart for France.” Unknown

I sincerely believe the person who wrote the words in the quote above, wrote them for me.  Because, for more years than I care to remember, I have had a love of French design, and pretty much all things French. Why is this?  Honestly, I cannot tell you that it is simply one thing in particular. 

 

However, a few of the reasons I am drawn to the French culture are: Their love of family and friends, appreciation of beauty, attention to details, a respect of the past, an embrace of a beautiful style for living, an understanding that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, their enormous creativity, and a sincere devotion to their pets.

Their homes radiate magnificent charm, and their approach to decorating and entertaining clearly embodies that certain something,’ or ‘je ne sais quoi.’  To me, this ‘certain something,’ is charm and a casual elegance. They seem to effortlessly turn ordinary into extraordinary ~ creating enchanting beauty.  While their grand old homes provide unmatched warmth, the French understand the beauty of details.  Such as in the photo below, which shows a lovely tablecloth falling to the floor. The furnishings are not elaborate.  But, the stage is set to enjoy good food and celebrate those seated at the table.

 

The French believe one cannot improve on nature.  They are, therefore, lovers of a garden, even a small garden.  And, they enjoy nothing more than a simple meal    shared in their gardens, around a wonderful old weathered table where many memories have been made. Treasured times. Surely, you hear the stories.  I can.

Their style of living is not about wealth.  It is about slowing down, taking time to notice the small things, sharing moments with those they love, and not filling every moment of every day with, ‘something.’  They understand quality as opposed to quantity in everything from food to home furnishings.  They are creative, they well know new does not necessarily  mean better, and they are absolutely not a ‘throw away society.’ Perhaps this style is a result of all they have endured. The brutal horrors of war ~ not once, but twice during the 20th century.

So, now you understand a bit about my love affair with France. But, I also want you to know I dearly love my great homeland.  Even with our many issues, I am ever so proud to call America home. However, when we read, study and travel we learn from, and about other cultures.  We grow.  We grow as a nation when we inspire our fellow citizens toward the good.

I suppose one could sum it up by saying my “heart for France” is rooted in a deep respect for their people and their style of living. You see, I believe it would serve each of us well to pause a moment and take a look at our lives.  Do you feel yours is passing too quickly?  Gosh, I do. Sometimes I feel as though I get up in the morning, turn around, and it is time for bed. Sound familiar? But there is a sweeter way of living.  For me, it begins by paying attention to details in our home, lingering over a beautiful meal, pausing to enjoy bird song ~ enjoying time to simply ‘be.’ The choice is mine and yours.  Indeed, the French understand living well and  have shown me an enlightened way. Perhaps they will show you, too.

 

 

” Every man has two countries – his own and France.” – Henri de Bornier

 

Thanks for visiting, wishing you a beautiful week !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

Photos:  All photos pinterest/Veranda 

The Love of Blue

“Blue color is everlasting appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.”John Ruskin 

I love the color blue – maybe you do, too.  It makes me happy – truly, a “source of delight.” My heart pounds a little harder when I gaze upon a perfect blue sky, with fluffy white clouds.  And, my love continues to the pale ice blue, deep sapphire blue, cobalt blue and navy blue. But, I am totally charmed, and drawn to French blue. You know, that marvelously soft blue gray color, like the color on the window trim, shutter and bench below. This shade of blue always captures my attention.  It doesn’t matter if it is painted on something exterior or fabric on a chair, it is a magnet for me. 

 

Did you know there is a reason many French homes have  blue shutters, doors, and kitchens?  Well, there is.  The French believe blue keeps away evil spirits.  Blue on the shutters and doors prevent evil from entering the home.   While in the kitchen, blue keeps evil spirits from the food.    

Today, I have gathered some lovely photos which, to me,  convey the beauty of blue.  Perhaps, they may also speak to you.  

 

 

Vincent van Gogh tells us:  “There is no blue without yellow.”  He was correct, it is beautiful.

 

 

 

Beauty by the late, Charles Faudree.

 

 

 

Last, certainly not least, beautiful blue in the garden. It is hard to top magnificent, blue hydrangeas!  Unless, of course, it would be peonies of any color.

And, from our garden my Cobalt Dreams, Delphiniums.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you have enjoyed my “Love of Blue.”  

Have a beautiful week !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photos:  House Beautiful, New England Home, Pinterest, Michael S. Lambiotte.  

Art – Beauty and Light !

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful, but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look…To affect the quality of the day – that is the highest of art.” –  Henry David Thoreau

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you are most likely aware, I am passionate about home.  Our homes mean so very much to us.   The old saying, “my home is my castle,” is undeniably true.  And, we must love our castles, for they are our private world.  Additionally, beauty in our castles sustains and inspires us to live well. Beauty elevates us to a higher place. Art points us to beauty and light.

 

 

My husband, Mike and I were first introduced to the magnificent work of Roger Muhl through Alexandra Stoddard.  Alexandra and her beloved Peter were close friends of Roger and his wife.  They traveled to Mougins, France many times to visit with them. When I first saw his work, truly I was mesmerized.  I had never before seen such vibrant colors, nor had I ever been so moved by a painting. You see, when you fall in love with a piece of art, I believe you make a spiritual connection with the artist.  You become one with the piece, absorbed in the beauty.   

Truly, we benefit from such experiences, and from the influence of having inspiring art in our homes. The art we love and adore should raise our spirits, and find its way into our soul. Whether it is hand blown glass, fabulous pottery, stunning needlework, lovely hand stitched quilts, intricate weaving or glorious paintings, they all stand to remind us we are surrounded by artistic grace. A spiritual atmosphere.  We must be ever so thankful for these talented souls, and for all their significant contributions to our world.     

 

 

 

Mike and I will be forever grateful to Alexandra for introducing us to Muhl’s art, and for her assistance in guiding us to a highly reputable gallery in New York. Through the years, we have been fortunate to acquire several pieces of his work. And, on a snowy, cold West Virginia morning, when the light hits the blue and vivid green on his canvas, I believe he is with us.  I continue to be mesmerized by the vibrancy of the color in is work.  Oh, the vibrant, vibrant blue – it “affects the quality of my day.”

I sincerely hope you enjoy art in your home which captivates your heart and elevates your days. Victor Hugo tells us: “To love beauty is to see light.”  I believe his words are true.  I believe this is art. 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Artist Information:  Roger Muhl (pronounced Row-ja Mool) was born in 1929 in Strasbourg, France.  He studied painting at the National School of Decorative Arts until 1952 when he decided to leave for Paris. Two years later, he met his wife, then settled at Montreaux-Chateau and devoted his time to painting.  He displayed his first exhibit in 1960 at la “Galerie de Paris.” This was the beginning of the artist’s international success:  Paris, London, New York, Milan, and Tokyo. The public enjoyed his work and most especially his vivid colors. He lived in Alsace until 1965 and then moved to Mougins where he resided until his death, in April, 2008. He loved the South of France because the light was so special and as all great painters, he was attracted by its transparency.  Muhl stated many times: “The light is my passion.”

 

 

 

 

Photos:  Michael S. Lambiotte and Pinterest