Thursday, July 31, 2008

Leaming's Run

While on vacation in southern New Jersey, we visited a garden named Leaming's Run.  It was filled with mostly annual flowers, and followed a meandering path through a wooded area.

Some beautiful daylilies here, backed by some cleome.  Don't you love the huge elephant's ear?

Some beautiful annuals, including a red canna.  Oh how I wish my garden was half so lovely!

A gazebo overlooking the water.  This was a terrific place to rest, and escape the hot sun for a few minutes.

The garden is cultivated on the sight of the last remaining whaler's house in New Jersey.  In addition to the gardens, there are several log buildings, a small colonial garden and livestock, which "bring to life the challenges faced by the whalers who first settled in Cape May County."  For more information, click here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden Weary

As much as I love flowers and gardens, I have to admit that I am usually heartily sick of my own by the end of July.  This year I have not been keeping up with the weeding, and so this dooryard garden is a reproach to me every time I come home.  

All my perennial flowers are pretty much spent, and it is just too hot to contemplate preparing a bed and planting more, even if I could be sure that the deer would not decimate them.

I do love the shapes of the garden, and the beautiful seedheads and leaves, but the blush is off the rose, as it were.  In fact, the roses themselves have proven to be a little too finicky for my laissez-faire style of gardening.

Even the nearly indestructible cone flowers are beginning to look a little peaked.

And this guy is just mocking me.

Tell me truthfully now, do you get tired of gardening by mid-July?  Come on, you can admit it.  We're all friends here.  ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


As promised, here are a few more pics from Wildwood, NJ.  I loved being near the ocean, watching the antics of the seagulls and searching for shells.  However, my kids have other reasons for liking Wildwood.

There is a very bright and gaudy boardwalk at Wildwood, which my kids just love.  I must admit that I find it fun to walk the boards, and take in all the colors and the sights.  There are three amusement parks, several tattoo parlors, and enough purveyors of funnel cakes to supply the entire east coast.

But I prefer the quiet of dawn on the boards.  Sunrise is one of the best times -- the gaudy boardwalk takes on a beauty all it's own.

Wildwood Crest is a little less honky tonk and a little more natural.  The sand dunes are simply beautiful.  This is really more my speed.

Sunset on the bay.  We ate at several restaurants on the water, and enjoyed the view very much.  OK, I'm hoping that by tomorrow I'll be able to start visiting you all and blogging again.  :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wild Nights, Wildwood

Hi everybody!  Thank you for all your kind comments while I was gone.  I'm still not quite back into the swing of daily blogging, so I am just going to show you a few photos from our vacation to Wildwood, NJ.

A thick shroud of mist covered the boardwalk on our first night there, giving the lights on the rides an ethereal glow.  The rest of the week was clear and beautiful, including a fireworks display on Friday.  I'll show you some daytime shots tomorrow, and then hopefully I will be back to my normal routine by Wednesday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Five Things I Love

I've been tagged by Kathy, of Kathy's Cottage, to play the "Five Things I Love" meme.  You can probably guess most of them, because I tend to write about the same things over and over again.  But here goes:

1.  Photography.  I LOVE taking pictures.  Right now I seem to be focusing on flowers, like the peony above, but I have been known to photograph everything from funghi to shadows.  I'm hoping to be able to sell photo notecards.  More on that to come soon.

2.  Nature.  I love being outdoors, walking the trails at the park, pictured above, and enjoying the trees and grass and stream.  I really love the mountains -- the Adirondacks or the Green Mountains of Vermont -- but I would also love to see the desert and the Great Plains someday.

3.  Flowers.  I love gardens, although mine is a sorry specimen this year, and I also love wildflowers.  When I was little, the fields around our Little Red House were filled with daisies and black-eyed susans and queen anne's lace, and I would pick armloads of flowers to bring in the house and arrange.

4.  Dishes.  Well, you already knew that, didn't you?  Some of my favorites are milk glass and transferware, pictured above.  I have way too many dishes, but still they call out to me.  And thrifted dishes are the BEST!

5.  Reading.  This is my favorite reading spot.  I feel unsettled if I don't have something to read.  Anything from cookbooks and decorating books, to poetry (Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins are favorites) to mysteries (Dick Francis and Janet Evanovich) to trashy romance novels.

Well, there you have it.  I'm not going to pass this on to anyone in particular, but if you have not played and would like to, feel free to pick it up.

I will be taking a break from blogging for the remainder of this week, and through next week.  We are going down the shore, and I'm not sure if I will have internet access.  I'll be back posting here on July 28th.  I have prepared autoposts for my photography blog:  In a Soft Light.  If you have a chance, please stop by there and enjoy the pictures.

See you later, alligator!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thrifty Dinner

Linda, at Restyled Home, has written an ode to imperfection.  Most of us do not have the means, or the inclination, to have a perfectly decorated home like the ones we see in magazines.  We shop at thrift stores and flea markets, bringing home gently used pieces for great prices. Linda has dubbed this week "Perfectly Imperfect Week," and asked that we show off our creatively repurposed furniture makeovers and great thrift store finds.  

So, in the spirit of imperfect decorating, I have dusted off some of my favorite thrift store beauties to set the table for dinner on the deck.  Almost everything you see here came from thrift stores.  

My Royal Staffordshire "Clarice Cliffe" transferware dishes.  I only have a few, but they are my absolute favorites.  And they cost approximately $4. each for the dinner plates and $2. each for the bread plates.

I could have gotten more of them, but I committed the mortal sin of thrifting -- I momentarily walked away to look at something else.  Another customer came along and snapped up half the dishes.  Aaarrrgh!

Delicate embroidered linen napkins, five for $4.  I dare you to find machine made polyester napkins for that price.

A small silver pitcher, $6., that I filled with flowers from the garden and some wild berries from the fields (see picture at top of post).  I added Waterford goblets, thrifted forks,  and  some of my favorite coin silver spoons and there you have it -- a very inexpensive, imperfect but totally wonderful dinner on the deck!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tag Sale Goodies and a Little Birdie!

A little birdie has made her new home at our Little Red House!  She is part of a giveaway I  won recently at the fabulous Kim's Daisy Cottage.  Isn't she adorable?  She is perching among the flowers for her screen shot, but she will make her permanent home in my kitchen, where I can enjoy her every day.  Kim also sent me a copy of the latest Romantic Country magazine, which includes her wonderful writing.  Thank you so much, Kim!  I love them both.  :)

I also wanted to show you a couple of tag sale goodies I got recently.  I never can resist a piece of red transferware, even if it is missing the top.  It is a part of the Johnson Bros. Old Britain Castles collection.  

The flower print just called out to me, which seems to be the way that all my collections begin.  I have quite a few of these prints now, so I need to look around and find a place to hang them all.  Maybe in our bedroom.

We are having some work done in the bedroom, hopefully at the end of the week.  I can't wait for it to be finished and I'll show it to you as soon as I can.  

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 14, 2008

My Favorite Time of Day

Dusk, and dinner on the deck -- my favorite time of day.  The heat of the afternoon has dissipated (somewhat) and the sun is slowly edging under the trees.  All the cares of the day have fled, and we just sit and relax.  We eat a leisurely meal, talking about our day and lounging back in our chairs until the light fades and the fireflies come out.

One of the things I love about dusk is looking in through the windows to our house, all lit up and welcoming.  It just gives me a warm feeling inside, to see our comfortable rooms all aglow.

Sometimes I think that it is a very primitive sense of security that I feel.  The peace that comes from knowing that we have warmth and food and shelter for the night.  Does that make any sense to you? 

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Wishing you a weekend filled with sunshine, dear bloggers!  :)


Since my post yesterday, several bloggers have also made their own magazine covers.  They are amazing!  Take a look:

Lauren, at Amongst the Oaks

Some more of you said you might try it.  If you do, let me know and I will post a link here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Little Red House Magazine

OK, when I saw Cindy's magazine cover  yesterday, I couldn't wait to try my own.  Create yours here at Flickr Toys.

Have fun, and if you create one, post it so that we can all see it.  :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Small is Beautiful

Is this not the cutest little house you have ever seen?  There is a street in our town with a few of these small houses.  I think they were built as laborer's cottages in the early nineteenth century.  I can imagine that it must have been a tight fit for a family with children, but I can't help thinking how charming they are.

As you can see, they have been lovingly kept up, with sweet little front door gardens.  They grey house is a private home, and the yellow one is now a business. 

 I have toured the grey house as part of a Christmas house tour, and the living room is decorated with a dog theme -- a red wing chair with needlepoint dog footstool, hunt prints and canine figurines, all surrounding a tiny fireplace.  Totally charming!

Don't you love the small curved boxwood hedge in front of the yellow house?  I think it is really unusual, and I love the way it encircles the small tree and colorful flowers.  I am also so  enamored of the white picket fence.  Perfect for this little charmer.

As far as I am concerned, small is definitely beautiful!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Unexpected Beauty

As gardeners, I think that we sometimes get distracted by the flowers.  They are the undeniable stars of the show.  But look more closely, and you will see a wealth of beauty in the minor characters.  Leaves, buds, seedpods and hips all have their own quiet fascination.  Even stems can be beautiful.  These are just a few examples from our Little Red House.  For more, please visit my new photoblog, In a Soft Light.


Thank you so much for your anniversary wishes yesterday!   You are all so sweet.  :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 8, 1979

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary.  Yes, I was a child bride.  :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lunch on the Deck

The flower-filled pots on our deck are lovely right now -- much more so than the garden, which has nothing in bloom currently save a few stragglers from spring.  The deer have discovered my carpet roses, and I cannot keep a daylily or cone flower from them.  Sooner or later, they will eat even the bee balm, which I thought might be unpalatable to them because of it's sharp fragrance.  Not so.  I really need a fence, but that is not in the cards right now.  

So I garden on the deck.

And in order to enjoy the show, we love to have as many meals out here as we can.  Here is a table setting I like to play with.  The larger dish is part of my every day set, and the bowl is from a set I bought at the thrift store last year.  

I can't help it, I'm addicted to dishes.

I often try several settings and placemats before I decide what I like best.  That is just part of the fun for me.  I guess I am making up for a childhood filled with mucking out stables and playing in the barn.  Now I set tables for fun.

Fifty-one years old, and I'm finally learning to play house.

We had to dodge the raindrops this weekend, but we were able to enjoy a nice meal or two outside.  How about you?