The Captivating Charm Of A Vignette

“Gathering beloved objects and collectibles together in artistic vignettes makes a house a home.”  Unknown 

The French word vignette, means “little vine.”  However, today it has come to mean a lovely intimate grouping of things.  A grouping which often tells a story.

While vignettes can become a focal point in a room, personally, I love to come upon them. A beautiful vignette never fails to captivate your heart.  It can hold photos of  family members you cherish or a special celebration, books you love, a treasure acquired on a trip, flowers you adore – many different things. A vignette can be in any room of your home, and grouped in various different ways.  However, it will hold things of meaning, only for you.  These special creations bring such life to your home and provide unmatched charm. 

A vignette is especially lovey in an entryway or foyer.

In the kitchen, a vignette can add interest to a large island or a specific area.

 

 

Vignettes can also be most helpful in the kitchen. They can serve as a means of keeping items, often used, grouped together and close at hand.  

Items on their own can appear scattered or untended.  However, when grouped together they create greater visual impact.  

Items grouped together can also create a softness which they may have standing alone.

 

 

The bathroom is also a lovely place for a vignette.  In this area they can be extremely useful,  as well as visually beautiful.

 

But, there is more – wall vignettes.  These storytellers,  are often carefully chosen pieces of lovely china, treasured heirlooms or collections.

The photo above is a design by, the late Charles Faudree

 

There is a bit of skill involved in arranging a lovely vignette.  Such skill, like any skill, improves with use.  So, gather the things you love, call forth your creativity, and begin to play.  Vignettes are a wonderful way to bring those things you have been hiding in the closet, out where you can enjoy them.  Find a pretty tray to use.  If you need to elevate some things, use a few marvelous old books or a garden planter.  There is no written rule that garden things must be used completely for gardening.  The garden world has some gorgeous containers.  Add a small candle or a vase of flowers – magic!   

In closing, I will tell you something I know to be true, and feel is significant in creating an enchanting home or garden:  “Homes, like gardens, should reveal themselves to you.  One does not need to see everything immediately. When you sit in a room or garden, I feel it is marvelous to be charmed and fall under its’ spell. Simply, taking the time to enjoy the contents of the room or garden as it slowly begins to say, Hello.”  The same holds true for a lovely vignette, it should slowly reveal itself to you. This is when the magic comes alive and you will clearly see the beauty and charm.  Thereby, using a beautiful decorating tool, and affectionately transforming a house into a home, or a yard into a garden.  

Thanks for visiting. Have a beautiful week !

 

Au Revoir, 

Sandra

 

Photos: Pinterest and Facebook

October Thoughts

“But these are the days we dream about when the sunlight paints us gold.”  – Unknown

October is a most favorite month for me. It is the last month before the holiday season swings into full gear.  And, speaking of the holiday season, it seems to be approaching rather quickly this year.  Perhaps, I am simply getting older.  

Whatever the case may be, I wondered if October was moving along rather quickly for you, too.  So, before we loose this gorgeous month, I thought I would send you a few things you may like to place on your ‘to do list.’ Fun things.

Do you have pumpkins for your porch? If not, plan a visit to a local pumpkin patch or farmers’ market and select a few that make you smile.

  

And, be sure to pick up a few small pumpkins.  They make wonderful luminaries for driveways and porches. 

Plan a fall gathering for a few friends or family members.  Keep it simple.  A wonderful soup, salad, crusty bread, and nice wine is perfection.  With a cranberry, pear galette for dessert, of course (recipe included). No need to fuss over flowers for the table. Simply gather a pretty array of leaves, a couple of trailing vines, place in a pitcher or stone crock and you have created magic.  On the table, scatter some apples, pears, tiny pumpkins and add few candles – beautiful.

This is also the time to begin to think about spring. Yes, spring. Now is the time to plant crocus, daffodils and tulips.  When spring arrives and you see these lovely, cheerful things in bloom, you will be happy you made the effort to plant them.

And, most important, take some time to bathe in the beauty of the season.  Pack a picnic, a thermos of coffee or cider, drive to a glorious spot and simply enjoy. Because, the words of Mary Oliver are so true – “We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.”  

 

Thanks for visiting.  Enjoy these October days ! 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Rustic Cranberry-Pear Galette

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. sugar

1 Tbls. cornstarch

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. ground connamon

4 cups bartlett or bosc pears

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp. vanilla

1 refrigerated pie crust at room temperature

1 egg white

1 Tbls. water

Preheat oven to 450. Coat 10 inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray – set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, blend well.  Add pears, cranberries and vanilla and toss to coat.  Remove crust from pouch, unfold it and place on the prepared pie plate.  Spoon pear mixture in center of crust to within 2 inches of the edge.  Fold edge of crust 2 inches over pear mixture and crimp slightly.  In a small bowl, combine egg white, water and whisk until well blended.  Brush egg wash onto outer edges of pie crust and sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar.  Bake 25 minutes or until pears are tender and crust is golden brown.

Note:  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

 

Photos: Pinterest, Facebook

The Thrill of The Hunt!

“To collect anything, no matter what, is the healthy human impulse of man and boy, and the longer and harder the search, the greater the joy of acquisition.” ~ Agnes Repplier

So, what do you collect?  Perhaps there are so many treasures which appeal to you, it is difficult to focus on one particular thing which sends you over the moon.  That is certainly the case with me.  Especially when I see something I know has a story. Such as an old quilt. 

I always wonder about the person who created it, what their life was like, and the hours of work and love it took to create such a thing of beauty. Quilts are great love stories and I have collected many of these beauties through the years.  To me, it is a privilege to be their caretaker.    

Isn’t it strange how one thing can lead us to another? The love of quilts, led me to appreciate and collect handwoven coverlets, which led me to become a weaver. Weaving deepened my appreciation of all handwork and household textiles.


However, my greatest joy in learning to weave was finding my treasured barn loom. My husband and I came upon this great treasure while traveling over the mountains of West Virginia into Virginia. My treasure was found disassembled in a chicken coop. Truly, it was a lovely roost for the chickens.  However, after hours of scrubbing and cleaning, its beauty came shining through and my goodness, it weaves wonderfully. It has a 54 inch weaving width (unusual, most are 36 inches), a dove tailed breast beam and the maker’s name carved at the top ~ John Roher.  Unfortunately, he did not carve the date. My treasured loom came from an old log homestead in Pendleton County West Virginia. So often, I have wished the loom could talk. I do know, it would be fascinating to hear her stories. 

Ah, but there is more.  I have come to think, “Surely, I must have a collecting gene.”  My mother had it.  I can remember going with her, at a young age, to estate sales and antique shops.  This is where I received my education about condition, quality and price. An education which has served me well, as I have enjoyed the ‘thrill of the hunt’ for many years.

So, you ask, what else do I hunt and collect?  Let’s see.  There are butter molds, crockery mixing bowls (especially blue), and beautiful china. Gorgeous vintage china is a wonderful world and it can surely lead you down the hunting path. There are fabulous patterns, shapes, colors and pieces.  And, not to mention stunning teacups, saucers, and teapots.

My interest in teacups and teapots led me to a most interesting course ~ “How to Prepare and Serve a Formal Tea.”  It was a great course and the amount of material covered in the class was amazing. Not only did I learn a great deal, I met many other ladies who also collected teacups, teapots, and various other things. Furthermore, my association with these women gave me the great pleasure of being part of forming a tea society. The society met at a local historic home and we served tea to guests when the home was open to the public. I would never have had this unique experience or met this lovely group of women, if it were not for teacups and teapots. 

These things we hunt and acquire are what can make our homes uniquely ours.  They also serve to remind us of wonderful times shared with family and friends  during our hunting adventures. I enjoy seeing a certain piece in our home and reflecting on who was with me when it was purchased. Such memories …they warm my heart.  

So, if you are not a collector, perhaps you have received a bit of inspiration today.  Grab a dear friend, and take off one Saturday morning. Coffee and newspaper in hand. Visit local estate sales, antique malls and shops. You just might be amazed at what you will find. And I promise, you will make the best memories. Also, you may discover what I know to be true ~ “Antiques offer us an enduring reminder of stability and permanence.” ~ Barbara Taylor Bradford

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy this glorious season and Happy Hunting!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Photos: All photos Pinterest, Vintage Blessings and Victoria Magazine.

Hope

As most of you know, I began writing this blog as a way to inspire others toward seeing beauty all around us. Where ever we may live beauty is there, and beauty does and can change our world.  I know this to be true, I try desperately hold on to this knowledge.

However, I will tell you, today I am shaken to my very core by the recent events in Las Vegas. I feel I have seen one too many horrific acts of violence. And my dear friends, I feel certain you feel that way, too.

Each and everyone of us are joined to all those who lost their lives and their families, to those who survived and their families, and all the first responders and their families.  We are joined to them all because we are humans and that connects us. We care their lives are forever changed.

So at these dreadful times, what do we do?  I look for words and strength from a higher power and from those who can articulate their feelings into words in a far more meaningful way than I am capable of doing. I feel the following words from Neil Gaiman provide hope. “A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams, and a world in which there is hope.” 

This morning before you begin your day, please say a simple prayer for all those involved in this heart breaking event. Pray for guidance as we strive to make a better world.  Together, we must make it so – humanity depends on it.  

Love to all of you and those you love.  

Au Revoir, 

Sandra

 

Photo: Pinterest

The Power of Beauty

“Perhaps I am too attached to beauty, I’ve no idea; I love it, I adore it, I think about it all the time, I strive to create it, and to re-create it.” – Yves Saint Laurent

I love the words of Yves Saint Laurent.  He perfectly states my very thoughts. I love, and have loved, beauty my entire life. It is my passion and is always somewhere in the mix of everything I do. 

My mother had an inherent love of beauty and she passed it on to me. She knew quality and loved beautiful well made furniture, gorgeous fabrics, art and magnificent gardens. She taught me to care about it all, and I do. But, on my own and through many years of living, I have come to know the power of beauty.  

Waking up in a beautiful room has power over our day.   

 

Walking into a lovely kitchen in the morning, with wonderful light streaming through the windows, is a glorious way to begin a day.  The sight of such beauty provides us with joy.  Puts us in a good mood.  And then, we take our moods out into the world.

As we return to our private world of retreat, beauty in our homes can lighten our hearts and instantly alleviate the stress and cares of the day.  Beauty can cheer and nurture us as we relax in our precious homes with those we love, surrounded by things which are meaningful to us.

While beautiful interiors can significantly impact our lives, the same holds true for the world of nature. For me, the world of nature is the garden.  I do understand not everyone is a gardener, nor does every home lend itself to a garden. However, everyone can visit lovely parks or gardens, and enjoy a long soak in beauty.  To stand in front of something magnificently in bloom can be life changing. Truly, it can.

When we enjoy and are aware of beauty in our interior spaces or nature, we are uplifted, we pause and admire. Our hearts are touched – we are forever changed.  And, that is the power of beauty.

 

In closing this post, I would like to share the poignant words from Beth Webb. Ms. Webb is an Atlanta-based home interior designer and author of the recently released book, “An Eye for Beauty.”

 “Beauty enhances life in ways well beyond words.  No day should pass without our experiencing a sense of beauty in one form or another, even for a moment. A glimpse of the possibility of perfection. Something wonderful against the skin. A snatch of melody. A whiff of perfume. A taste of happiness.”

 

 

Thanks for visiting. May all your days be enhanced by Beauty!  

Au Revoir, 

Sandra

 

Photos:  Michael S. Lambiotte, Pinterest, House Beautiful

Peony photos are from Le Jardin @ Maison de Jardin, Clarksburg, WV

 

 

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