Friday Thoughts

Good Morning Everyone:  Happy Friday!

This morning, I would like to share something I feel is beautiful, as well as quite special to me.  The song, “It’s a Wonderful World,” sung by, Louis Armstrong.

Why does this song have such meaning to me?  Many years ago, I had the honor of being part of a staff which opened a grand new middle school.  At that time, it was the largest middle school in the state of Virginia.  Student population of 2,200 and a staff of over 200.  The staff was truly, the finest group of people I have ever seen assembled under one roof.  Such talented, wonderful and caring people, all working together for a common cause – the children.  I often wondered to myself, “How was it I was so fortunate to be part of this special group of people?”  My only answer, God smiled on me, and I was forever grateful.”  The six years I spent with this staff was  life changing –  for me.  Great people change others – it is that simple… they just do.

So, back to the song.  Every August when the staff members returned from their summer vacation, they were welcomed by this lovely song playing over the public address system, as they entered the building.   You see, these fabulous people truly believed it was a wonderful world.  Their positive attitude and extraordinary enthusiasm, for and about, absolutely everything was infectious.   Therefore, this morning, I hope to begin your day with a smile, maybe a joyful tear, as you listen to this lovely piece of music.  And, as you go about your life this weekend, I do hope you will – “Think to yourself, What a Wonderful World.”

Thanks for visiting today – Love and Hugs to you!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

aquieterstorm.tumblr.com/pinterest

Time to “Be”

There are times when we stop, we sit sill.  We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper. – James Carroll

                                                                                                                                                         

 

Good Morning Everyone:

I do hope each of you had a fabulous weekend, with gorgeous weather.  Here, in North Central West Virginia, the weather was simply delightful.  Sixty-two degrees, delightful!  And, that is certainly not the norm for our part of the world.

 

The nice weather found me outside in our garden, pruning our wonderful, weeping Japanese Maple.  Weeping Japanese Maples are beautiful, in my opinion.  They add color, texture and because of their twists and turns, add visual interest in the winter.  However, pruning them is a tedious and time consuming project.  When my back would begin to ache,  I would take a break from my work and wander about the garden, looking to see who was peaking up through the soil.  Yes, it is who.  You see, Cytherea, Abalone Pearl and Sunny Girl are beginning to wake up from their sleep – all peonies.  And, Billy Graham, Pineapple Prince and Rip Van Winkle are awake, up and have blooms set on them – all daffodils.  And, I must not forget King Alfred (also a daffodil) he is in bloom.   Don’t you love the names, I do.  I wonder how one goes about being the person who determines names for these lovely things.  Wouldn’t it be the best fun to look at something gorgeous and give it a name?

In addition to wandering the garden, I also took time out to “Be.”  To sit on my sweet bench, look at the beautiful blue sky, listen to the birds sing, watch my Carolina Jasmine twirl in the breeze, and dream of visions soon to come.  I sat in perfect peace, counting my blessings – my health, my husband and our home.  I also thought of my mom and counted her as such a blessing.  She was a blessing for  many reasons. But, she was a mother who taught me to see.  Such a gift.

So, as you go about your week, take notice of your world waking from her winter sleep.   Because, in the words of  Emerson, “We are all seeking the divinities that are sitting disguised.”  Have a beautiful week!

Thanks for visiting today, Love and Hugs to you!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Note:  Photo – Mary Via/Things That Delight/Pinterest

 

Friday Thoughts

Books are the quietest and most constant friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. –  Charles W. Elliott

Flynn Knihovna C…Junk Bookshop/Pintrest

 

Good Morning Everyone and Happy Friday:

A couple of past posts have prompted readers and a fellow blogger to respond with a few reading suggestions.  So, I thought this morning I would pass them along.   I always enjoy having books recommended to me and I thought you may also.

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant

A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving

The Sense of Wonder, by Rachel Carson

Great Small Things, by Jodi Picoutt

I have not read any of the above, however, they all look like wonderful reads.  One in particular, which really caught my attention, was The Sense of Wonder, by Rachel Carson.   If you are not already familiar with this book, those of  you who have small children in your life, may want to give it a visit.  Ms. Carson encourages parents to take children into nature and for the adults to see nature through their children’s eyes.  Or, as she so eloquently states:  “With clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, what children are were born with.”  This doesn’t seem like it is simply a children’s book – personally, I am looking forward to reading it.  I never think it hurts an adult to have their eyes opened.  Eyes opened, to once again see things in an innocent beautiful way.

Remember, to share your thoughts about these books or others here on the blog.  The fun begins – when the discussion begins!

Weekend Kitchen Happenings

Herb Roasted Chicken – Serves 4

1 large roasting chicken – about 6 lbs.

3 Tbls. butter, softened

1 clove garlic, minced

3 Tbls. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. sage leaves

3/4 tsp. thyme leaves

3/5 tsp. basil leaves

6 Tbls. butter, softened

salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Wash chicken inside and out; pat dry.  Cream together 3 Tbls. butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese, sage, thyme and basil.  This mixture goes under the skin, so turn the chicken breast-side-up and work your fingers under skin at the openings on each side of the breast.  Continue onto thigh and leg and make the skin as loose as possible.  Using fingers, spread herb mixture evenly under skin.  Smear 3 Tbls. butter both inside the chicken and on the outside of the skin.  Put the chicken, breast up, in a roasting pan and then into the oven.  Melt remaining butter(I add about 3 additional Tbls.);  cook chicken 15 minutes, basting once.  Lower heat to 350.  Roast for about 20 minutes per pound, basting with melted butter about every 20 minutes.  Chicken is done when the leg moves easily in its socket and juices are clear yellow when pierced with fork (about 1 &  1/2 hours in my oven).  Allow chicken to rest about 10 minutes before carving.

Serve with your choice of potatoes (we love baked sweet potatoes), a green vegetable and a nice salad.  Easy and beautiful dinner.

Note:  I salt and pepper the chicken on the inside before I begin to loosen the skin on the chicken.  I use about 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper.

Hot Milk Cake with Berries

1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine butter and milk n saucepan, bring just to a boil (DO NOT BOIL). Beat eggs and gradually add sugar, beating constantly.  Add vanilla.  Sift flour and salt;  add to egg mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Gradually add the milk and butter mixture and beat well.  Add baking powder and beat again.  Pour into well-greased and floured tube pan (I use baking spray with flour).  Bake for 1 hour.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Serve with your choice of berries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Note:  This cake is perfect when prepared in half.  Bake in an 8 or 9 inch square pan for about 30 minutes.

Chicken recipe is from:  Heart of The Home, by Susan Branch

Cake recipe is from:  The Virginia Hospitality, cook book

Enjoy the recipes!

Thanks for visiting today, Love and Hugs to you!

Have a Beautiful Weekend –  See you Monday!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

“Love, Sweet Love”

What The World Needs Now – written in 1965, by Hal David, music composed by Burt Bacharach, recorded by Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

No, not just for some but for everyone.

 

 

Good Morning Everyone:

It is almost Valentine’s Day.  That special day of the year when we tell others we love them, purchase flowers, buy sweets, propose, get married and the list is endless.  But, Valentine’s Day this year finds me thinking of love in a different way.  Maybe it is age – maybe not.  Whatever the cause, here are a few thoughts.

I believe everyone will agree, our world is currently not a happy place.  We seem to have lost our way,  forgotten common courtesy and kindness.  We are lacking love.  And, I believe a first step toward restoring a sweeter world,  is becoming fully aware of the lack of love.  As individuals trying to walk a better path, we must keep kindness and love in the front of our minds.  Show kindness to strangers, and set an example for others to follow.

In our country `Grass Roots Efforts` have been responsible for many wonderful achievements and many have altered the course of history.  Examples:  The Women’s Right to Vote, started in 1873 by Susan B. Anthony;  1962, Rachel Carson’s powerful book, Silent Spring, which ignited the Environmental Movement; Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), began in 1980 by Candace Lightner of California  – just to name a few.  And, my humble blog, “Maison De Jardin,” began in hopes to serve as a source of  inspiration.   Inspiration to scatter joy, love and kindness.  Inspiration to create and deepen an appreciation of beauty.

I believe, with all my heart, loving actions are contagious.  And, can therefore be a powerful, driving force in returning our world to a kinder place.  So, let’s each do our part to right the ship – we must.  Truly, we will be forever grateful.

Additionally,  I want to share a few words from Alexandra Stoddard’s latest newsletter  (alexandrastoddard.com)  It is a quote from a letter written to her by her dear friend, Ann.  It reads:   “It is imperative that I focus on joy, love, beauty and HAPPINESS.  That is not a luxury to do so, but an imperative, a responsibility.”  Ann hit the mark, and we can too!

 

Fotki.Yandex.ru/Pinterest

Thanks for visiting today.  Wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Authors Notes:  The flowers in the photo are Lilies of the Valley.  Their meaning is:  Love and a return to happiness.

If you have not read The Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, it is a worthy read which will increase your awareness of environmental issues of the past, and perhaps the present.  We can be thankful to Ms. Carson for her work and her voice.

Friday Thoughts

Good Morning Everyone:

As we end our week and begin our weekend, I want to share with you some beautiful words.   Words that make me smile and I hope will do the same for you.  And, as my dear friend Libby once said, “they place sparkles in my heart.”

Words From:  Elizabeth Hubbard

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.

I believe Elizabeth’s words to be true.  Furthermore, I believe if we focus on her words, we will not only have “sparkles in our hearts,” but we will also improve our daily rounds.  Should you need something visual as a nudge toward beautiful thoughts – the photo below should help.  Visions of peonies, dancing about in your head, are almost certain to inspire beautiful thoughts. 

laughingwithangels.blogspot.com.tr/Pinterest

Setting the stage for a calm, relaxing weekend are easy to prepare meals.  Today, I am sharing a recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Soup.  Serve with a crusty bread, salad and nice red wine.  And,  an easy Cranberry-Pear Gallette for dessert.   Lovely meal, limited time in preparation.  Bon Appetite!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup – Serves 4-6

2 (12 ounce) jars of Roasted Red Peppers, drained – Alessi Fire Roasted Italian Style Peppers

2 Tbls. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups heavy cream, milk, half & half, or a mixture

Juice and zest of one lemon

salt/pepper

Sour cream, optional

In sauté pan, heat olive oil.  Add onion, celery and garlic – cooking just until vegetables are limp.  Cool.  Place the onion mixture and red peppers in a blender and puree them.  Then in medium size Dutch oven, place the pepper mixture, chicken broth and cream.  Cook over low heat until mixture is reduced about 1/4.  Cook uncovered.  Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Add lemon juice and zest to cooled mixture.  Reheat when ready to serve.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Note:  Regarding the peppers:  In my area I have been unable to locate the Alessi peppers.  I have used Mt. Olive Roasted Red Peppers, and they are perfect.

Rustic Cranberry-Pear Gallette

1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbls.

1 Tbls. cornstarch, plus 1 tsp.

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 large pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

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 pan or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.  I use a regular 10-inch Pyrex pie plate and I spray with baking spray with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbls. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch and cinnamon – mix well.  Add pears, cranberries and vanilla – toss to coat.  Remove crust from pouch, unfold it, and place  on prepared baking dish/sheet.  Spoon pear mixture in the 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 and water – whisk until well blended. Brush egg wash onto outer edges of pie crust and sprinkle with remaining of 1 tsp. sugar.  Bake 25 minutes or until pears are tender and crust is golden brown.  If edges brown too quickly, cover with foil after 15 minutes of baking.

Note:  This makes 4 nice servings and is wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Au Revoir – See you Monday, and have a beautiful weekend!

Sandra

PS.  Remember, I love to hear from you.  Should you have any questions about the recipes, just send them to me – via contact me.  I will respond quickly.  And, do let me know if there are certain topics you would like to see on this blog.  The fun begins when the discussion begins!  Also, on the last post a reader wrote with a couple suggestions of worthy reads – will post them soon.  Tell me what you love to read – what “places sparkles in your heart?”

Thanks for Visiting Today – Love and Hugs to You!

Visiting Charles Faudree

Good Morning Everyone:

Thanks for stopping by this morning.  Today, I would like to chat a bit about design, specifically French design.  And, a designer I so admire – Charles Faudree.  Some of you may be familiar with him and his work, others may not.  So, let me tell you a little about what I know of him.  Also, stop here and find your coffee, if you don’t have it.

(Traditional Homes/Dolores Tipton/Pinterest)

Charles was born February 27, 1938, in Ada, Oklahoma.  He was raised in Muskogee and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  After graduation he moved to Dallas, Texas where he sold home furnishings and taught art for several years.   In 1977 he returned to his home in Oklahoma and opened a combined antique shop and design studio in Tulsa’s Cherry Street District.  After decorating a home for his sister, Francie Faudree, a new career was launched and immediately went into full swing.  Within a very few short years, he had compiled an impressive list of clients in the U.S. and Europe.

Charles did not have formal interior design training – but he had talent which went beyond any such training.  And, his degree in art education no doubt gave him considerable skills, taught him to see well and helped train his eyes for beauty.  But, his talent was given to him by a higher source.  He decorated homes all over the world and in 1995 assisted the first lady of Oklahoma refurbish the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion.  He was the author of five books, and the winner of many design awards.  A few of the awards include:  Traditional Home Designer of the Year Award, 1995, and House Beautiful top 100 Designers for the years of 2000 through 2004.   Additionally, in 2008 he created his own fabric line with Vervain.  He is considered to have been an expert in French design.

So, now that I have shared some of what I know about this special man, I want to tell you about the beginning of my walk down a different road.  The book posted above, Charles Faudree’s Country French Living, made me take notice of some things and a way of design I found to be utterly beautiful.

When I look back over my life, I realize that this little journey took root many years ago.  The beginning was most likely time spent as a child in Biloxi, Mississippi and visiting the French quarter. But, as I became a young woman, there seemed to be many items and an unexplained interest of things I would gravitate toward.  Example:  I would pick up a lovely plate and turn it over to see, “made in France” and I always came across hard-to-find French monogramed linens.  I think instead of me finding them – they were looking for me.  Then, I married a man whose ancestors are from France and Belgium.  And, just like Charles Faudree, “I loved French when I didn’t know what is was.”

When I came upon Charles Faudree and his wonderful books, I soaked up every tiny detail.  That led me to further research about the country, the people and their way of life.  I highly admire and respect the French people.  Currently, many French people, are living in homes well over 200 years old.  They seek the best in craftsmanship and in themselves, they value time with their families, they waste little and their attention to detail is unmatched.  I continue to read everything I can possibly find on the country, the people and French design.  And, if it is to be – I hope to visit there one day.

I am sending you some lovely photos this morning, of  Mr. Faudree’s work.  When you look at them, look closely at the fabrics, the trims and the mix he has so beautifully combined.  He was famous for his words, “It is in the mix – not the match.”  And, he certainly was a master of the mix.

  Traditional Home/Pinterest

Di Bodenham/Pinterest

Pinterest

On November 27, 2013, at the age of seventy-five, the world lost a very talented, generous and special soul.  A humble man, who was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army every Christmas in his home of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I hope your have enjoyed your time with him this morning and maybe he has been an inspiration to you to create something beautiful.   Charles said, “my greatest hope is that when I’m gone, people will remember I created something beautiful.”   He did and they will!

See you Friday,

Sandra

PS.  Don’t forget, I love to hear your thoughts about all posts, and I am happy to answer any questions.  Also, would love to hear about your interest.  Let’s chat!

Thanks, Thoughts and a Treat!

Good Morning Everyone!

Where has the week gone – or should I say, where did January go?   

Things have been busy here, but working on this blog has been such fun.  Our wonderful, talented and YOUNG, web designer, Michael of webmeetsdesign.com  has an enormous amount of patience, he is a master of interpreting what I so poorly try to explain, and he has worked diligently to remove the few tiny glitches on the site.   So, Cheers to you Michael and many thanks.

 

This morning as I think of the state of affairs in our country and world, it is helpful to me to read words of far greater minds than mine – for inspiration and hope.  So here are my thoughts this morning,  I hope they will also speak to you.

“The gloom of the world is but a shadow.  Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.  Take joy!”  …….Fra Giovanni, 1513 

Let’s all choose joy and give our world good energy!

See you Monday, have a wonderful weekend.

Sandra

 

Friday Recipe – Terri’s Mexican Pizza

An easy Super Bowl treat to prepare, and one that will bring you rave reviews!

Layer in Order:

2 cans refried beans

Good Guacamole

1 medium size carton of sour cream, mixed with 1/2 package of taco seasoning mix

Several green onions, chopped along with the green parts

chopped lettuce and chopped tomatoes – both well drained

Your choice of Salsa

Shredded Cheddar

Sliced Black olives

Serve with your favorite corn chips

There are no measurements on this, because you simply use enough of the ingredients to make a layer.  I use a really large round platter for this and it makes enough for about 5 to 6 people.   Enjoy and Go Falcons!

 

Photo:  Rosmarie Savignac/Pinterest

 

Opening The Door To – Maison De Jardin


 

Good Morning Everyone:

Thank you for visiting this morning!  If I appear a bit nervous, that is because I am.  This is my first post on my own website.  This is a WOW Moment for me!  Do take a moment to look around the site.  There is a brief note About me, my Welcome to the blog and a special Events section.  I will do my best to stay abreast of special happenings around our country and keep this section updated.  Also, there is a Contact section, should you want to contact me personally.  And, you will also see names of some wonderful books I have recently read, along with several lovely blogs I follow (click on the blog, to go directly to the site).

There is so much I want to say and so many things I hope to inspire.  I want this blog to be special for you – something you look forward to in our crazy world, a source of inspiration.  Susan Branch tells us, “It’s a toxic world but you have the power to protect yourself.  Feed your life from the well of sweetness.”  Those are certainly some thought provoking words.

What is in this “well of sweetness?”  For each of us, the answer will be different.  For me, it is:  Beauty, my husband’s laugh and his crystal blue eyes, nature, the morning, the laughter of children, the voice of my dear friend Janet, good design, all flowers – especially peonies, great books, lovely poetry, gorgeous fabrics, good wine and food, all things French, the smell of rain and fresh cut grass, the feel of the earth in the spring, beautiful music, hearing from you,  and my list goes on and on.  How about you?  Write me – tell me.

Personally, I believe the love of beauty lies in each of us.  I believe it is truly in our hearts – even if we do not know or recognize it.  Often, a moment of grace opens our eyes to beauty.   Beauty is everywhere, in everything and in everyone.  It inspires us, moves us forward, enhances our homes and therefore makes life sweeter for ourselves and those we love.  It holds power.  And therefore, by being open to and aware of beauty, we can change our world.  Because, beauty and grace make us a kinder people.

So, won’t you join me on this journey.  Together, let’s create beauty, scatter joy, share ideas and inspire one another to be our very best selves.  Let’s strive to change our own little corners of the world.   And then dear friends, let us stand back and watch – The Ripple Effect of Beauty.  It will happen – I just know it will!

“Beauty hath strange power. “– John Milton

Live well – See you soon,

Sandra

PS.  I hope you will take a moment to comment.  Tell me your thoughts, ideas you have, issues you feel are important and if there is anything specific you would like to see on this blog.  Just click on the comment section at the bottom of this page.  Also, on the right side you can subscribe to this blog – to ensure you won’t miss a post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: tea green chandelier.com/ just 4 me flower arrangements/ – Pinterest