Cutter, Leaver, or Hider ?

“Anything which grows is always more beautiful to look at than anything which is built.”  – Lin Yu Tang

 

So, which type of gardener are you?  Yes, there are different types, three exactly. In case you are not familiar with the different types of gardeners, I will explain.  They are:  Cutters, Leavers, and Hiders.

I will confess, I am a Cutter.  One of the main reasons cutters garden is to bring magnificent beauty inside their homes.  You see, we fill everything imaginable with gorgeousness and place such gorgeousness throughout the house. Filling every spot large enough to hold a vessel. And by the way, cutters also haunt garage sales and thrift stores in search of containers for their fabulous garden cuttings – but that is really another post.

Next, are the Leavers.  Leavers never cut a bloom from anything in their beloved garden.  Truly, it pains them to do so.  My dear friend, and former neighbor Cathy, was a leaver.  I would cut blooms and take them to her.  She would invite me to see anything and everything blooming in her garden, but she couldn’t bear the thoughts of cutting.  However, I knew I was her special friend. From time-to-time, she would cut a single bloom of something she knew I admired, and present it to me.  True friendship and love.

Last, are the Hiders.  The hiders may possibly have some issues.  They secretly want to be cutters but can’t quite manage to constantly carry snips in their pockets – the trait of a cutter. They adore blooms inside their homes, but don’t want their lovely garden to look as though a cutter has been there.  So what do they do? They cut from deep inside, or to the back of a stand of blooms.  Thus, the foliage from the other blooms cover the trail of their work.  No one will ever know what they have done. Shameful, isn’t it?

 

Now that you have the ‘dirt’ on the different types of gardeners.  Let’s do something fun.  

The lovely iris above is named, “Stairway to Heaven.”  She is the child of Edith Wolford x Breakers, is 39″ in height, and a vigorous grower. Below are her credentials.

1995 – Honorable Mention Winner

1997 Award of Merit Winner

1999 – John C. Wister Award Winner

2000 – Recipient of the Dykes Medal Award Winner

Her awards were bestowed upon her by the American Iris Society. The Dykes Medal is the highest award of the American Iris Society and is awarded to no more than one iris per year. An iris is eligible for this award for three years,  following winning of a classification medal.  

I have enjoyed this beauty in our garden for many years.  Yesterday, was time for her thinning and due to her height, she needed a spot where she would be more visible.  All this brings me to: it is time for a GIVEAWAY .  There will be three winners.  To enter and win a healthy start of this beautiful award winner, you must respond via the contact button on the blog. Tell me what type of gardener you are and  explain why you feel you are a cutter, leaver or hider.  Entries must be received by Monday night, July 10, 2017.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday morning, July 11, 2017.  Note:  An objective 3rd party will select the winners.

Get busy, find a nice sunny spot in your garden for this pretty girl and enter the GIVEWAY– you just may be a winner !

Thanks for visiting.  Hugs and Love to you !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

photo:  Pinterest

Food for the 4th !

“Bold stripes, bright stars, brave hearts.”  – Unknown

Our big summer holiday is almost here.  The Fourth of July is a day of wonderful celebration all across our great land.  Fireworks, family, fun and food.  Ah, the smell of the charcoal grill, loaded with sizzling hamburgers and hot dogs.

Here in West Virginia hot dogs are a serious matter.  While they are most always served, with chili, yellow mustard and onions, the chili will make them as different as night and day.  Chili is what creates the magic and there are many great recipes for this goodness.  Most, highly guarded. So today, I am sharing one of those guarded recipes. The recipe belonged to my mother-in-law, no doubt she was sworn to never divulge the ingredients.  However, during her time as president of the Football Mothers Club, she was in charge of making the chili for the hot dogs. During those 4 years she made a gazillion gallons of this marvelous concoction for the famous hot dogs which were sold every week at Friday night football.  Also, coming your way today are recipes from, my treasured Mississippi cookbook. Mustard Dill Potato Salad, and the absolute best Three-Bean Salad you will ever taste.  All are perfect for a Fourth of July gathering. Bon Appetit!

Betty’s Hot Dog Chili

1 lb. ground chuck

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients, place in large saucepan and cover well with water.  Keep adding water 2 or 3 times and cook all day.  Do this until it is reduced to a reasonably thick chili.  Cook uncovered on an extremely low setting. Cool to lukewarm. Place a grilled hot dog on a warm bun, top with yellow mustard, a generous amount of magical chili, and finely chopped onions.  You have created, Perfection!

Mustard Dill Potato Salad

3 lbs. red potatoes, quartered (don’t peel)

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 tsp. grated onion

1 1/2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise

1/4 cup yellow mustard

6 hard-boiled eggs, grated

4 tsp. dill pickle relish

4 tsp. sweet pickle relish

1 – 4 oz. jar chopped pimientos, drained

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbls. chopped fresh dill

2 Tbls. sugar

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt

Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.  Drain well and transfer to large mixing bowl.  Let cool for about 15-20 minutes.  While the potatoes are still warm, add the celery, onion, mayonnaise, mustard, egg, dill, relishes, pimientos, vinegar, dill, sugar, paprika, salt/pepper.  Toss with your hands, breaking up some of the potatoes as you go, mix well.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.  

Three-Bean Salad

2  – 14.5 oz. cans cut green beans, drained

1 –  14.5 oz can yellow wax beans, drained

1 – 12 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup sugar

1 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, mix well.  Refrigerate overnight.

As you celebrate please remember the men, women, and families of those who have served, along with those currently serving, in our armed forces.  Dedication toward making our country and world a better, safer place.  And, let us never forget those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms, as well as their families whose lives are forever changed.

Enjoy the recipes, have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July – Thanks for visiting !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photo:  onecharmingparty/Pinterest

Color Your World !

“Take a flight of fancy and let your imagination soar as you become more and more aware of your personal connections to C R.  Leatrice Eiseman

The anguish over the use of color has, and probably always will, be a major decorating decision for home owners and decorators. Today, we are fortunate to have available many decorating resources. We have wonderful design books, written by celebrity decorators showing us in detail, the color choices made for grand homes we all would enjoy. Often, we may, envision ourselves in these magnificent homes and we become inspired to bring such colorful beauty into our own homes. 

However, let’s be honest.  While our eyes may be drawn to bold and bright colors of photographs in design magazines and books , we must decide if we would be happy living with these colors on a daily basis.  Color has power and can affect not only our moods, but the moods of others as well. Our homes are where real living takes place, where we enjoy our family and friends and nourish our souls.  Truly, our castle.

So, here is where color comes to play.  We must select colors which will enhance our lives. You may or may not be aware, but there is no place where color has more influence and is more powerfully felt than in the place we call home. Because, color affects our moods: Remember, we carry these moods out into the world, therefore, effecting our interaction with others. Colors and color combinations can be stimulating as well as relaxing.  The key is: Choose the color palate for the atmosphere you wish to create, for a specific room or your entire home. Or as the French say – the “ambiance.”

Perhaps it is the many years I worked outside our home, but to me, home means peace and refuge.  A place of calm and a shelter from the craziness of our world. Because color is key to establishing a mood, I chose a Sherwin Williams color – Paper Lantern.  This color is very similar to the color in the photo below and creates  a peaceful, calm mood.  This color runs through our entire home with the exception of the bedrooms, kitchen and bathrooms.  It is peaceful and creates a seamless flow in the home.     

While I enjoy light and airy rooms, possibly you are happy in rooms with vibrant or deep colors, such as in the photos below.

Whatever your taste may be, always consider the room size, other furnishings, and the type/color of flooring in the room.  Also, a most important consideration, the amount of natural light in the room. For example: Here in North Central West Virginia we have many cloudy days, dark can become dreary and dreary affects our feelings. Therefore, a deep, dark wall color, is probably not a wise choice for a room without a good amount of natural light.

As you can see from this post, or maybe you already knew, there is a tremendous amount of information to consider with regard to color. Way too much for one blog post. So, for fear of boring you to death with color specifics, I will close for now. But before I do, I want to share some interesting information. It may offer an explanation as to why you are drawn to a certain color or colors.

Lovers of Red:  If you are drawn to red , you are very self-confident.   You are unafraid to take risks.  You are passionate, dramatic and dynamic.

Lovers of Pink:  If you are drawn to pink, you are soft, romantic and refined.  You are upset by violence of any kind.  You are talented but not overambitious.

Lovers of  Yellow:  A preference for yellow is a preference for sunshine.  Yellow people are original, imaginative, idealistic, creative, artistic, highly intuitive,  and often spiritual.

Lovers of Orange:  If you are drawn to orange, you work and play hard, are adventurous and enthusiastic.  You have strong determination.

Lovers of Blue:  If you are drawn to blue, you are calm, trusting, confident and are sensitive to the needs of others.

Lovers of Green:  If you are drawn to green, you are intelligent and understand new concepts.  You are a caring companion, loyal friend, partner, with a high moral sense.

Lovers of Purple:  If you are drawn to purple, you are generous, charming, super sensitive, keenly observant and can be moody.

Lovers of Brown:  If you are drawn to brown, you love simplicity, comfort, quality, harmony, hearth, and home.  You have firm strong views.

Lovers of Gray:  If you are drawn to gray, you are practical and calm and do not like to attract attention.  You crave contentment.

Lovers of White:  If you are drawn to white, you are neat and immaculate in your clothing and in your home.  You are a cautious buyer, you are sincere and kind.

 

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

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Note:  The color-personality reference is from an interior design course I completed in 2014.

Photos: Ethan Allen, Dunn-Edwards Paint,House&Garden-uk/ All photos/Pinterest

A Weekend Thought

“Wouldn’t it be an exhilarating tonic for the soul to take a moment to appreciate the simple, good things in life which are so bountiful?” – Author Unknown

 

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours, the “simple good things.”

Happy Weekend !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photo:  Pinterest

Decorator or Designer?

“Talent is good, practice is better, passion is best.”  – Frank Lloyd Wright

Are you thinking about a room makeover?  Perhaps you are exhausted with the entire idea, but a change is something you desperately want to see. Often, due to a wide variety of reasons, we become stuck in our tracks.  And because we are stuck, creating beauty and making improvements may not be totally appealing. This often happens when we are way deep in our busy and demanding lives. We want, possibly need, to undertake a project but we just can’t seem to pull all the pieces together.  

At this point, be honest with yourself with regard to your schedule.  Absolutely no one knows it but you.  Do you honestly have time to shop, paint, sew, and transform the space into your beautiful vision?  Also, is tackling this type of venture something you enjoy?  If your answer is yes, then proceed.  Do a little each week until your vision becomes a reality.  If your answer is no, it may be time to call for help.

(Notice the repeating theme in the fabrics.  Small circles in bed skirt, circles in duvet cover and shams, drapes and shades.  Also, the porthole mirrors.   The bed linens, head board, and wall color are of the same color tone.  Great attention to detail.)

Help can come in the form of a marvelously talented friend who will sit down with you, and help make necessary choices required to carry on with your project.  This person, who knows you well, may also assist you in deciding if your project is too much for you to assume.

(Notice the header of the drapes,the bottom of the shade, and the tiny lip cording.  The fabric is cut on the diagonal and the lip cording provides separation.  Both of these elements offer an unexpected touch of interest.  Details make the design.)

However, if you don’t have such a friend, it may be time to enlist the help of a decorator or a designer.  But, which one? Perhaps, you are thinking, “They are the same.” Not true.

An Interior Designer should hold a degree in Interior Design from an accredited four year college or university.  He or she has been trained to well understand issues such as:  Structural integrity of buildings, local building codes and building laws.  Additionally, a designer is comfortable working with, and knows local architects,   personnel from government agencies and businesses.  A designer also knows and has access to: The best of skilled trades, general contractors and interior decorators. The designer has the responsibility for the entire project.  You can expect to pay $150-$500 per hour for the services of an Interior Designer, based on locality.

An Interior Decorator, often, but not required, holds a certificate in interior decoration from a community college or adult education program. Decorators are concerned with the appearance and functionality of indoor spaces. There are many fabulously talented decorators such as Charles Faudree, considered a master of French design, who had no formal training in design.  Most decorators possess an innate sense for creating beauty. Decorators are so often responsible for the magic of a stunning space.  They mix fabrics, trims, paint colors, textures and are obsessed with details. To say they can create beauty is an understatement.  A room placed in their hands, is a gem upon completion.  You can expect to pay $50-$200 per hour for the services of an Interior Decorator. Again, based on locality.

While the expense for a Designer or a Decorator may seem costly, it might not be in the end. Consider your project and decide the type of assistance you require. Once you have made your decision, remember it is your home.  Be sure you convey your taste, love of certain colors, and your total vision for the area. And, by all means, the utmost important  issue is:  Know deep down, without a doubt, the person you have chosen is full of passion for the work they do.  Their desire should be: Not only to fulfill, but to exceed your expectations by creating magnificent beauty in your home. When you know this, you will see magic.  

Thanks for visiting.  Have a beautiful week !

Au Revoir,  

Sandra  

Photo:  BHG/Leatherwooddesigncompanyblogspot/All photos pinterest

Le Menu – Dining Alfresco

“Cooking is Love made visible.”  – Unknown

 

Summertime is here and that means, it is time to dine alfresco.  Today I am sending along an easy menu, perfect for a warm summer evening outdoors.  

 

 

Le Menu

Gazpacho

Basil/Tomato Crostini’s

Garden Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Vanilla Ice Cream drizzled with Limoncello, served with Biscotti

 

Gazpacho

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 can tomato soup – undiluted

1 soup can of water

1 1/2 cups V8 juice (no substitutes)

1 Tbls. red wine vinegar

1 Tbls. bottled Italian dressing

garlic salt to taste

1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper

4 dashes of hot sauce

dash of Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Stir gently and serve in chilled bowls or mugs.

Note:  A friend gave me this recipe in 1979.  While I have tasted many other Gazpacho recipes, I award the blue ribbon to this one.  Also, the flavor is enhanced when chilled overnight.  

 

Basil/Tomato Crostini’s

1 nice size baguette

2-3 tomatoes good for slicing

shredded mozzarella cheese

olive oil

nice size bouquet of fresh basil, chopped

2-3 scallions chopped – optional

Preheat oven to 400. Slice baguette and toast on baking sheet.  Remove from oven and lightly dip or brush the side, not toasted, in olive oil. Sprinkle with mozzarella, chopped scallions (green tops included), and chopped basil. Add sliced tomatoes, and more chopped basil.Sprinkle lightly with more mozzarella, return to oven,  and toast just until golden.  Watch carefully, to be sure the cheese doesn’t burn.

 

Champagne Vinaigrette

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 cup champagne Vinegar (no substitutes)

3/4 cup olive oil

salt/pepper to taste

1 generous Tbls. honey

Whisk all ingredients.  Prepare an hour or two before serving for the best flavor. Serve over a mixed garden salad.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream with drizzled Limoncello, served with Biscotti

2 scoops of good vanilla ice cream

Your favorite store bought or bakery Biscotti

Limoncello

Store Limoncello in the freezer until you are ready to use.  Scoop ice cream into serving dish, drizzle with Limoncello and add a piece of Biscotti.  The easiest and most delicious summer dessert!

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours a Beautiful Weekend !  

Bon Appetit !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: pinkwallpaper blogspot/pinterest

Timeless

“Things of quality have no fear of time.”  – Unknown

We all have them, certain words that almost make us come out of our skin when we hear them.  The word that arouses such a reaction with me is – “dated.” Honestly, I totally bristle when I hear that word. Understand, I am not shouting for us to do away with indoor plumbing or other wonderful, modern conveniences which are so marvelously helpful.  Nor, do I mean one should keep something which is in disrepair and would be dreadfully costly to repair.  I am though, shouting for the return of common sense, respect of quality craftsmanship, and a sense of appropriateness.

Perhaps, this is why I am so drawn to the French way of life and their design.  A building or home, built in France in the 1800’s, is considered new. When renovations are made to accommodate modern living, great care is taken not to disturb or destroy the character of the home or building – evidence of incredible appreciation of quality and respect for original workmanship. A high regard for the past.  Such appreciation is not only in France. It is prevalent in many other European countries as well.

In the photo above, you will see gorgeous original stone walls.  Hand hewed and honed beams.  A lovely tablecloth, made from mattress ticking or grain sacks. Too many beautiful old homes in our country, with just such stunning workmanship, have fallen to neglect and disrepair.  Ultimately, to the blade of a bull dozier. And, beautiful linens?  Many, thoughtlessly tossed in the bin, along with whatever else was currently not – ‘in.’

 

I have never been one to follow what is ‘currently in.’ One reason, it is costly. Another reason, when you chase after trends you will always be chasing.  Because you can be sure, whatever is ‘in’ today will be out in a year or two.  Nate Berkus hit the mark when he said: “Trends exist to make people feel badly about what they don’t have.”  Truth, isn’t it?

So, what is one to do?  I believe you strive to buy the best you can afford with regard to any purchase.  Purchase classic pieces,”not afraid of time.” Consider the style of your home and purchase with regard to appropriateness. Our living room sofa, for example, is a camel back.  It has rolled arms and Chippendale legs.  This style sofa was made in the 18th century.  A classic, which can still be purchased today. Appropriate for our French Georgian home, built in 1939. Timeless.

 

Trends exist not only in furnishings, but in just about all aspects of home decor. The kitchen is an especially trendy area.  Remember, those avocado green and harvest gold appliances?  Gone.  Kitchen appliances, counter tops, lighting, faucets and flooring are all expensive. Choose carefully and choose appropriately. Choose timeless.

One last and important piece of the puzzle today is – inspiration.  When you are considering any purchase or renovation, educate yourself.  While glossy magazines and design television shows can stir your interest and offer ideas, remember what they are.  Both are in the business of selling.  Read material from decorators/designers that you admire.  Search their work online and proceed slowly with your budget in mind.  Always go with your gut regarding any and all selections. And remember: Your home is your story – beauty is timeless – timeless is never “dated.'”

Thanks for visiting.  Have a Beautiful Week!

Au Revoir, 

Sandra

 

Note:  The follow-up to this post will be:  Consult a Designer or a Decorator?  

 

Photos:  Pinterest

A Sweet Memory

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child

We all have those summertime memories of visiting family and enjoying wonderful times with them.  Of course, food is always part of those memories.  Aunt Jane’s potato salad, cousin Martha’s lemon pie, grandmother’s homemade pickles – special people and fabulous recipes.  

I have treasured memories of spending summers with my grandmother in Mississippi. One especially sweet memory is her Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Frosting. To say I was thrilled each time she made this cake is clearly an understatement.This heavenly creation was always made with the blackberry jam she preserved.  She said, “The jam was a reward for her hours spent blackberry picking.”

Just in case you would like to create this sweet memory maker, I am sending along the recipe.  Do put this cake on your list of “things to bake this summer.” I promise your gathering will be a “party, not a meeting.”

Blackberry Jam Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup seedless blackberry jam

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chopped raisins or dates (my grandmother used dates) 

Preheat oven to 325.  Grease and flour 3 round 8 or 9 inch cake pans. (I use Bakers Joy with flour spray).  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices in a separate bowl;  add to the butter mixture alternately with buttermilk; beating well after each addition.  Blend in jam, chopped pecans, and raisins or dates.  Pour into prepared cake pans.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in the center.  Cool cake in pans on racks for 15 minutes. Carefully invert onto racks to cool completely.

Cooked Caramel Frosting

3 cups packed light brown sugar

2 Tbls. corn syrup

3 Tbls. butter

dash of salt

3/4 cup of heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine ingredients and mix well to blend.  Bring to a boil; cover and cook 3 minutes at medium heat.  Uncover and cook until a soft ball forms when dropped in cold water.  I use a candy thermometer and soft ball is about 238 degrees on the thermometer.  Cool for 3 minutes.  Beat until thick and spreadable. The mixture should begin to lose its glossiness.  Spread on layers and sides of cake.  If the frosting becomes too stiff as you are working, add just a little hot water. Also, dip spatula in hot water to smooth frosting as needed.

Listed below you will find a second frosting recipe.  This one is delicious, wonderful on the cake – but is easier to prepare.

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 Tbls, butter, softened

1/2 cup purchased caramel sauce – such as Smuckers

1 tsp. vanilla

3 1/2 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add the caramel sauce and vanilla; beat until well blended.  Add 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed of mixer until blended.  Add more confectioners’ sugar, if needed.  Increase mixer speed and beat on high for about 2 minutes.

Thanks for visiting.  Enjoy the recipes!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Photo:  Pinterest

The Love of Toile

“…Because every picture tells a story…” – Unknown

I love toile.  Toile patterns are marvelous storytellers, and they have been embellishing homes the world over for centuries.  They are treasured for their beautiful floral, gentle wildlife and idyllic bucolic images.  Toile (pronounced – twal) in French means, canvas or cloth.  Toile de Jouy means cloth of Jouy.  Jouy is the town outside of Paris where the fabric was first manufactured.   

Toile is available in a wide variety of patterns and in a multitude of scales and colors.  Toile lends itself beautifully to many areas of home decor such as: Window treatments, duvet covers, pillows, upholstery, and wall coverings.   Toile can absolutely lend unmatched charm to a room.  However, I would suggest proceeding slowly when considering it for a wall covering.  It can lose its appeal when it is overused.

 

Toile also mixes happily with other fabric selections, such as stripes (especially ticking stripes), checks and some soft florals.

 

So, why do I love Toile?  Ah, it is the charm, the romance and the stories.  Each pattern tells a story.  Stories such as those of barn yard characters, children at play,  and my favorite – courting couples.  Don’t you just love the way the gentleman is completely star struck while admiring his lady?  So romantic.

Additionally, there is Chinoiserie Toile.  In Chinoiserie Toile we see Oriental stories. It is considered to be a classic decorating staple among leaders in the field of interior design.

So, perhaps you are wondering:  Does she have toile in her home? Oh yes! Everywhere from the kitchen to the bedrooms and in between.   Below you will see our kitchen window treatments.  You will notice I chose a ticking stripe, as a coordinating fabric for the Toile.  I decided to make a pleated  edge to serve as trim.  Trim is the jewelry for window treatments, pillows or just about anything.  It is the finishing touch.   

I love to design draperies (another post), it makes my creative side happy. Working with Toile is such fun, because you can see the stories come to life and in turn, enjoy them in your home on a daily basis.  Also, from a design standpoint, nothing changes a room quicker than fabric. Because of the dramatic statement Toile makes,  it transforms a room instantly.

French design is very romantic.  The French appear to enjoy surrounding themselves with romance and a bit of whimsy.  And, this romance and whimsy is the very essence of Toile.  Don’t we all want this?  Romance and whimsy add to our “Joie de Vivre.”  Perhaps, do you have a spot for some toile?

Hope this finds you enjoying a beautiful week.  Love to you and yours !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

  

Photos:  Pinterest and M.Lambiotte

A Treasure From: “My Little Book of Special Things”

 

For many years I have kept, what I refer to as, “My Little Book of Special Things.”  I suppose you could say it may be somewhat like a journal.  This little book is a treasure, full of wonderful things and beautiful words.  In going through this book a few days ago, I came across this lovely piece, written by Dr. Kent Nerburn.  Clipped no doubt from a garden magazine, this piece touches me now, just as it did so many years ago.  So, on this lovely Sunday in June, I thought you might enjoy it too.

“The Gift of Garden – Kent Nerburn, Ph.D

I have not always loved gardens.  They seemed too controlled and futile.  It took a friend of mine, a Jesuit priest, to open my heart to their beauty.  He was a deeply learned man and had spent his life in pursuit of ultimate issues:  What is God, what is the nature of good and evil, what is the meaning of life?  But as he grew older, he had turned his attention to the creation of a Japanese garden.

Inside a small yard, day by day, on hands and knees, he would lovingly pluck a leaf, bend a twig, place a stone, or trim a branch until a new and unexpected shaft of light showered down and danced upon the earth.  He now spent more time with his garden than he did with his books.

I once asked how he had come to this.  “I still ask the large questions,” he said.  “But I no longer seek large answers.  A flower, or the space between a branch and a rock, these are enough.”

He bid me get down to where he was carefully removing a leaf from a small plant. “Look here, he said, as the leaf released and fell softly into his hand.  “This looks like nothing more than an insignificant shrub.  But in fact it is a small tree, strong and full, with a rich and private life than no one knows or sees.”

He pointed to a sliver of sunlight beaming down upon its branches.  “I opened this to the sun last year.  See how the branch is turning to the light?  This took months. But I knew that by allowing the smallest bit of light to shine upon this plant, it would slowly turn its face toward the sun.”

He turned and smiled at me.  “Are any of us so different from this tree – strong, full, with a life almost unnoticed?  And who among us does not grow and prosper when someone shines even the smallest bit of sunlight upon us?  What more do I need to know of God and faith?”

He stood and walked slowly back into his library.  “If I cannot see the face of God in a flower or a shaft of light, why should I expect to see it in ideas and books?”

I have never since ignored a garden.  They are, in all their richness, the bearers of great truths.  A well-placed rock is a statement of eternity.  A flower in bloom is creation made whole.

Life, death, earth, and sky all come together in the intimacy of a garden’s space.  At least once a day, I try to contemplate a garden.  The season does not matter.  The weightlessness of snow, the timelessness of rocks, the time-bound mutability of plants, the fragile immediacy of flowers – somewhere within is a lesson that will touch my heart and link me, if just for a moment, with the universal rhythms that are the source of all true peace.

I reach down and touch the delicate leaf of a plant.  My friend’s words rise up in my heart.  “Everything lives, everything dies, everything leans to the light.”

If I knew only this, it would be enough.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day, full of light and love !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Photo: Pinterest