Monday, June 30, 2008


Just look at all this beautiful milkweed!  It's beginning to smell quite lovely here in the tangled underbrush at our Little Red House.

I just love these flowers -- they are such a beautiful globe shape, with lovely big leaves.  As kids, we would always break a stalk to see the milky sap.

They are quite beautiful up close, too.  (Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them.)  Remind me to get some pictures of the seed pods, when they appear.  Maybe I should try to dry them and make a wreath or something...

Wait a minute, what is that sound?


 Peekaboo, I see you!  Glad you are here, and not in my garden!

What, leaving so soon?  Don't you want to stay and chat?  Oh, well.  Bye-bye Mr. Deer.  Stay out of the garden!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Wherever you are planted, I hope you are blooming this weekend.  Happy Saturday, dear bloggers!

If you have some time, please go on over and visit Shelia, at Note Songs.  She is new to blogging, and I'm sure she would love to hear from all of you.  :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Everyday Magic

There is a moment, at the end of a long summer's day, when the liquid amber sun is about to slip gently between the trees.  Suddenly, it flares to life one last time, catching the most ordinary of things, and making them seem as if they are lit from within.  It is a moment of extraordinary grace, when the world around us glows.  Raise your face to the sun at this moment, and the world is transformed before your very eyes.  The silken threads of a spider's web become the arches of a glowing cathedral.  The tiniest of insects dance in the air, and you feel, for a moment, as though you are bathed in light.  The very earth seems to hum with life.

Then suddenly, the air cools, the light fades, and the sun melts softly over the edge of the earth.  Night descends.  Nunc dimittis

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chippy Redux

No, there is not really anything new to report on the Chippy front, but I did manage to get a few really cute shots of him recently, and I just wanted to share them with you. (Be sure to click on the pictures to see them in large.)  My house is inches deep in dust and my garden more nearly resembles a field at this point, but still I waste time taking pictures.

But I'm having fun, so I guess that counts for something.  When my kids were little, they had a program in their school called D.E.A.R. -- an acronym for Drop Everything And Read.  They would stop whatever subject they were studying at the moment,  pick up a book and read,  just for fun.  

So what do you suppose my acronym should be?  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kitchen Island

This is an old table that my parents got God-knows-where.  It was in our garage for ages, and then did duty as a desk for my son.  It's old and beat up and scratched, which is why I love it.  This weekend, my husband and I decided to put it in the kitchen, and give it a sort of test run as a kitchen island.

Before we had our kitchen renovated, we used a cabinet  from Ikea as an island.   It offered us a great amount of working and storage space.  During the renovation, we moved it to the wall to get it out of the way.  When the renovation was complete, we moved it back to the center of the kitchen, but found that it interfered with the flow we had gotten used to, and made the kitchen feel smaller.  So it stayed against the wall.

However, we did miss the work surface it afforded, so close to the rest of the kitchen.  Hence, this table.  At dining height (30 inches) it's a little too short for working, and the top is in poor shape, so we are thinking about getting a 4- inch- thick butcher block top for it.  That would bring it to 34 inches, which seems manageable.  If I knew how to take the top off and add some height, I would do that also.  I'll have to ask around.

I briefly considered painting it black, but to be perfectly honest, I'm much too lazy and I really like it the way it is -- scuff marks and all.  

So tell me what you think.  Am I crazy, or will this make a cool kitchen island?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


A weed is but a flower unloved...

I didn't get too much weeding done yesterday.  As you can see, I was  busy taking pictures of them. 

 No, these are not in my garden, they are in the wild area at the edge of our lawn.  This used to be where our horse paddock was located.  Now, it is a tangle of pin oak and honeysuckle and wild roses.  There are daisies and thistle, milkweed and wild yarrow.  It is a haven for birds and rabbits, and the deer bed down here at night. 

 For me, it is a reminder of the place I grew up in, when our Little Red House was surrounded by fields of daisies and black-eyed susans.  I would pick armloads of them to bring in the house, where my mother would put them in vases.

Now we are surrounded by houses, and the fields are few and far between.  But given a bit of untouched land, the daisies and milkweed still survive.  And although I can no longer count on armloads to pick, I will still have a few vases to fill, and a reminder of days gone by here at Little Red House.

Who says you can't go home again?

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Dream Garden

This wonderful garden belongs to someone in the center of our town.  It is my absolute favorite cottage garden, with tons of pink and blue flowers, all barely contained by a white picket fence.

The house is just gorgeous, too. I hope they don't mind my posting a few pictures here.  They are in the middle of an extensive renovation, which looks like it will double the size of the house.  White clapboards, cedar shingle roof -- beautiful!

Will you just look at all these beautiful roses and catmint?  If I remember correctly, the garden is only a few years old.  They are in the center of town, so I'm guessing they don't have much of a deer problem.  Lucky them!

Yes, this is definitely my dream garden!  My own garden is sorely in need of some weeding, and I have pots on the deck which are crying out for color.  So that is my plan for the next few days.  I'll be gardening.  :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008


May you find whatever it is you search for.  Happy Saturday, dear bloggers!

Friday, June 20, 2008

On My Mantel

Yes, I realize this is a tad late for Kari & Kijsa's Mantel 101 Party, but better late than never, right?  Anyway, I was a little preoccupied with my news yesterday.  I actually wanted to show you my mantel because I have just this week changed it out using some things I got at my favorite thrift store, for 75% off.

In the gold frame is a bit of antique needlework.  It was originally marked at $50. which was way too steep for my blood.  But at 75% off, I got it for $12.50.  I've had my eye on it for months now, and was lucky to nab it for that price.

In the center above, you can see one of a pair of framed beadwork pictures.  Five dollars, marked down from $20.

Here is a small china dish, and matching cachepot.  With no markings on the bottom, I'm not sure when they were made, but they look a little like Japanese export porcelain with their golden chrysanthemums.  You know me, I'm a sucker for china, especially lidded dishes.

Here is a closeup of the second framed beadwork picture.  I was actually just going to buy this one, because the colors are better for the room, but the woman who runs the store offered to give them both to me for $5.  I felt bad accepting that, because the store benefits charity, so I bought both for $5. each.  Still quite a bargain.

The moss topiaries on either side of the mantel were made by yours truly many years ago.  They are shedding terribly, but I love the color of the moss, which has faded over the years to a lovely mix of olive greens.

So that's my mantel -- hope you enjoyed the little tour.  To see some truly fabulous mantels, follow this link to Kari & Kijsa's blog, and scroll down to "Mantels 101."  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Can You Believe This?

Can you believe this?  I have actually had one of my photos published in this fabulous magazine!  I am over the moon thrilled!

Earlier this year, I was contacted by the assistant art director for Old House Journal, who was interested in using a photo she had seen on my blog here.  It just goes to show you, you never know who is reading!

The photo shows our front doorknob at Little Red House.  I reshot it several times, trying to refine the lighting and depth of focus.  Jessica, the art director, was very encouraging and helpful.  Thank you so much, Jessica!

Here are the results:  a thumbnail on the contents page,

and a large, three-column photo to illustrate the story,  Age Before Beauty: The Art of Patinas, by Tony Seideman.

Can you believe this?  I can still hardly believe it myself!  So will you all please go out and buy a copy, and email the editor, telling her how much you enjoyed my photo?

Just kidding.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Here is the story of Chippy, full name: Chippydoodle.  Our tame chipmunk at Little Red House.

It all started several years ago.  My husband and I were sitting on the deck, reading the Sunday papers and munching on some roasted almonds, when suddenly a chipmunk appeared at our feet.  We were surprised to see the little fellow, and my husband tossed him an almond.  Thus began our acquaintance with Chippydoodle.

He sat and nibbled on the almond for a short while, then tucked the remainder in his cheek and scuttled off.  Soon he was back for more.  Over the course of the afternoon, he probably garnered enough nuts to take him through the winter.  But that was not the end of it.

Every time we sat on the deck, Chippy would visit us.  Soon, we were buying cans of roasted almonds just for him.  He had a very eclectic taste -- plain, honey roasted, spicy cajun -- they were all the same to old Chippydoodle.  He would sit on his little haunches and, holding the nut in his tiny paws, quickly lick all the salt and flavoring off.  Then, he would nibble the edges a little.  Finally, he would tuck the almond in his fat little cheeks and scamper off.

I became the prime dispenser of nuts.  Chippy would take an almond from my fingers, stick it in his little cheeks, and look up with bright eyes, waiting for another one.  When I had given him three or four nuts, he would dart quickly away, his cheeks bulging with booty.  I loved handing him a nut, and watching his clever little fingers grasping the prize.

We have not had any visits from Chippy this year, which leads me to believe that he may have gone on to that Big Nuthouse in the Sky.  But we have been adopted by the little fellow you see in the picture above.  He is much more shy than our dear Chippy, and has not learned to beg for almonds yet, but hope springs eternal.  Maybe by the end of the summer, I'll have him eating out of my hand.

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back To Childhood

Do you still remember those endless summer days when you were a kid?  The first week out of school was wealth abounding -- so many days ahead, bright with the promise of joy and discovery.  I would leave the house in the morning, and often not return until the dinner bell called me back at dusk.  We would ride our bikes five abreast down the middle of the road, off to catch minnows in the creek or visit the new kittens in a neighbor's barn.  When it got too hot to bike, we would take our quarters and visit the little general store in town, which was always a dark and cool place to spend an afternoon.  We would buy candy or ice cream, and eat while we dawdled on the front porch.

We used to saddle our fat ponies and trail ride all day, delighting in the chance to jump a fallen log or ford a gurgling brook.  Sometimes we would set up small jumps, and practice over and over.  We even spent a few nights sleeping in the stable, relishing our freedom from enforced baths and bedtimes.  On those nights, we would catch fireflies in a jar, and stay up till all hours with our flashlights winking in the darkness.

We brought baseballs and bats to the firemen's baseball field, and argued over who got to hit first.  We would visit the mobile library when it parked at the grammar school, and borrow the latest Nancy Drew.  Then, when we discovered an older girl in town who owned almost the complete set of mysteries, we would haunt her house until she loaned us armloads of books.  

Reading was often my favored pursuit, and I can vividly remember taking an old blanket out under the canopy of a low-hanging branch, and losing myself for the entire day in another world.  I was absolutely certain that I would grow up to be, if not a titian-haired beauty, at least a brave and intelligent young woman.  

And while the titian hair was a lost cause, and the bravery questionable, I do trust that a little of the intelligence came to be.  But the feeling of having the world spread before me, and time enough to explore it, is the thing I miss most about those endless childhood days of summer.  I suspect that is true of most of us.  

May we all have a day of bright exploration still ahead.  Do you have a childhood memory that calls out to you today?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thrift Store Sale!

My favorite thrift store always closes for the summer at the end of June.  But before they do, they have great markdowns -- 50% last week, and 75% this week.  The trick is to get there early and pick up the things you have had your eye on, but thought were too expensive earlier in the year.  So here are two things I picked up last week.

Pictured above is a small 3-piece tureen, porcelain with gilt trim.  It is signed Wm. Guerin & Co., Limoges, France.  It was originally priced at $39. and later marked down to $20.  I got it for $10.  I suppose I could have left it for this week, and 75% off, but I was worried someone else might snap it up.  Of course, I have a real love affair with all lidded china, so I just couldn't resist.

I also bought this vase.  I remember reading about similar vases in a magazine, and I thought they were called Bristolware.  But when I googled "bristolware," I found tin boxes.  So if any one recognizes this, could you give me a shout out?  It was marked $25., and I got it for $12.50.

The best thing about this thrift store is that it benefits a school for children with cerebral palsy.  In the past year, the store raised $100,000. for the school.  And I'm happy to say that I certainly did my part to contribute!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Flower Obsession

I realized recently that I have quite an obsession with flowers, especially taking pictures of them.  I'm going to leave you today with a link to my flickr set: Flowers and Garden.  Take a minute to visit, and I hope you enjoy!  Have a wonderful Friday, dear Bloggers!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Dollar Store

Do you have a Dollar Store nearby?  You know, the sort of place where everything is cheap, cheap, cheap, in price and in quality?  I once bought a tape measure at the Dollar Store and had to leave it outside for a week because it smelled so strongly of plastic, or chemicals, or something...  

Probably not healthy, huh?

Anyway, I thought of the Dollar Store the other day when I came home from an estate sale with this little silverplated cup.  Tarnished, but totally fabulous.  

One dollar.  

Am I a super shopper, or what?

Happy shopping, dear bloggers!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Frilly and Fabulous!

They're pink, they're frilly, and they're absolutely fabulous.  Sometimes they remind me of a 1950's  prom dress, full and frothy.  This is the first year I have cut my peonies and brought them inside.  We had a few days of heavy rain, and I had not staked or supported them, so they were basically in the mud.  I have always hated to pilfer the garden to adorn the house, but flattened flowers do not a garden make. So, I cut them, brought them inside, and had a week of wonderful blooms.  What more can a girl ask?

I'm actually glad I brought them inside, because we had a humdinger of a storm last night.  It started with some thunder, then got very windy.  I was sitting near a window, and  got a little nervous about the prospect of a blowing branch breaking the window.  This is totally unlike me, as I normally love to sit and watch a storm coming.  But it was WINDY.  We later heard that this particular storm had associated wind gusts of up to 70 mph.  Yikes.

Then came the rain.  Yes, it was very welcome after a day of 100+ temperatures.  Strikes of lightning lit up the night sky.  I tried to take some pictures, but it couldn't be done through the window, and when I tried to take some at the open French doors, I merely got soaked.  

It was over in about 15 minutes, but the temperature must have dropped 20 degrees, and the air felt cleansed.  I love a good storm.  How about you?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stayin' Cool

We are in the middle of a heat wave  in New Jersey -- it was close to 100 degrees here yesterday.  So, in the hopes that seeing some snow might make me feel a little cooler, I thought I would show you a little painting that I got last Friday at a rummage sale.  Is this cute, or what?  The whole thing, frame and all, is about the size of a piece of paper.  I think the painting is naive, but totally charming.  On the back is a message:  "To Glen from Nell, 1967."  As always, I wonder about the artist.  Who was she?  Did Glen appreciate her gift?  Why did it end up in a rummage sale?  Of course I'll never know, but it is fun to consider.

I went to this rummage sale with my friend, Robin.  I swore I was not going to buy anything.  Robin just laughed.    That's always the way, isn't it?  But the painting was 75 cents, so I guess I didn't break the bank.  And I got a reminder of cooler weather!  The forecasters say more of the same today.  Some schools in New Jersey have closed because of the heat today.  Stay cool, dear bloggers!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I've Got the Blues

OK, one more time for the Siberian Iris pictures.  I just love blue flowers -- any shade, any hue.  Maybe it's because my house is full of reds and sages and creams.  At any rate, I don't think I've ever come across a blue flower that I didn't like.  I have to pick and choose carefully, however, because I need to find flowers that the deer won't munch on.  And so far, (knock wood) they have left my Siberian Iris alone.  I love these flowers because I don't have to baby them, either.  They pretty much just keep coming up every year.  A few have even self-seeded.  You gotta love a flower that is so obliging!    Right now, they are filling the garden.  They have been blooming for over a week and I just love them.  

Do you have a go-to flower -- one that requires little work and always comes through for you?