Monday, July 28, 2008

Eudora Welty


"I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within."

The photo above is one of her self portraits. I meant to honor this fine southern writer and photographer on July 24 to commemorate her passing in 2001. Sorry I am a few days late! If you missed it, you will definitely want to read her obituary by Albin Krebs in the New York Times. It is 4 pages long and is a wonderful tribute. I often think back on her words expressing her early love of books.

''It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that storybooks had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass,'' she wrote. ''Yet regardless of where they came from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them."

Have you ever seen a simpler work space? Why do we feel that we just can't be productive unless we have a big place? There are blogs, flickr groups, and websites devoted to this subject.

She was organized too. I guess it could go either way after 76 years in the same house. She probably never fell victim to the computer. It is a good thing too because her hand-written and typed archives are invaluable. Look at the ball fringe on the curtains. I can remember sewing this on my kitchen curtains in the early 1960s.

It makes me feel so much better to see these piles of books on her dining room table. Now I don't feel so bad about the piles on my kitchen farm table.

Her home in Jackson, Mississippi is open for tours by appointment.

She lived in this very house from the time she was 16 until her death at age 92. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Garden lovers will want to view the gardens designed by her mother. The photo above shows one variety of the many camillas on the property.

A garden tour seems to be forming outside the lattice-work fence. There is always something in bloom.

The garden arbor. I love the look of this ~ especially the height of the fence. I wonder if this would keep the deer out?

The garden plan. Nothing has changed. The gardens are maintained by volunteers.

Eudora Welty biography
Eudora Welty garden
Eudora Welty house ~ don't miss the virtual tour!

Content in a Cottage

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One of my favorite things...

I have had this little hedgehog pincushion for so long I can't even remember where it got him. He was completely black and was full of holes and I didn't really know what he was. I think this was one of the items I found in a desk drawer. Believe it or not someone once sold me a desk and said the purchase included the contents of the drawers! I had such fun going through them and found some treasures.

He is from England you know! The hallmarks on his belly say that he's sterling (the English always say solid silver) made in Birmingham in 1903. He is stuffed with some kind of hair. He really took on a new personality once I filled all the holes with pins. Isn't he wonderful? I have always loved hedgehogs...just like Beatrix Potter! I can just see her mending while using this item and suddenly see it come to life!

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Friday, July 25, 2008


If today is any indication, it should be a wonderful weekend. Have a great one!

Avoiding housework in summer...

I like to sweep the front porch steps;
The sun shines and the birds all sing.
I hate to sweep the kitchen floor ~
I never see or hear a thing.

I have always wondered why I dislike doing housework in the summer. This little cartoon sums it all up, doesn't it? I find it quite impossible to take care of the inside and the outside all at once. In the summer I concentrate on my outside rooms. Winter is for inside work.

I scanned this page from an old book of mine entitled The Cheerful Cherub by Rebecca McCann published in 1928. She contributed a daily cartoon of this cute little guy each day in The Chicago Post as an antidote for gloom.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to subscribe to a blog...

I am going to attempt to teach you how to subscribe to my blog. Notice I said my blog but my tutorial will enable you to subscribe to all blogs or anything that has an RSS feed. Confused? Don't know what an RSS feed is? Well I didn't either until I watched a video on YouTube. You will thank me a thousand times once you master this simple technique.

First I have to ask you a few questions. How do you log on to my blog? Do you have a shortcut on your desktop? Am I listed in your favorites? Do you click on my blog often only to be disappointed that you have already read my current post? Wish you could be notified when I post something new? Well you could if only you had a Google RSS Reader.

A really cool dude from Common Craft will now teach you in a very easy to understand film.

Now wasn't that easy? I found a page on that has picture icons of all the products they offer. I couldn't possibly exist on the internet without a great number of these items. I am a Google Girl all the way! When the page comes up, look on the right side under communicate and click on the icon for the Reader.

Now I will teach you how to subscribe to MY BLOG in your reader. At the top of the page under SUBSCRIBE TO I have two boxes. Click on the one that says posts on the little arrow to the right and some choices drop down. I have no idea what the first few mean...just look for the little orange box at the bottom with the word Atom. Click on that. Then copy the URL in the address box at the top of your toolbar. Then paste it in the add subscription box in your reader. And there you are! Aren't you proud of yourself?

Still can't do it? Don't know how to copy and paste? We could never be friends! Just kidding ~ I will do it for you. Here is the URL:

Now go and ask someone to teach you how to copy and paste. I read somewhere that if you don't know how, you should just put your computer and monitor out at the curb on trash day. Just bite the bullet and do will make your on-line life so much easier.
PS...UPDATE: I just tried something new and it's awesome. When you click on my POST box a little icon pops up with a + sign and a Google box. If you click on that another box pops up that will enable you to put the subscription directly in your reader. Cool. I try to learn something new every day and just did! Please share your new-found knowledge with a friend.

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Heat wave is over...

Thank goodness the overnight rain brought a wonderful cool front to New Jersey. The heat wave is over! It's a good day to play inside without guilt. You could curl up with a good book, watch movies, read the New York Times, or work on your blog. I slept much later than usual this morning and am so glad this is a free day for me. I searched through my photos and found some raindrops on a window to share with you. Now what I really need is a second cup of coffee. See you later!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reflection in a Faux Bois Birdbath...

This is another one of my very own photographs. I wanted to add some interest to this shot of the top of my antique faux bois birdbath. I think the hand reflection does the trick, don't you? I should have provided another shot of the entire piece so you could see the tree trunk base. Maybe later.

Faux Bois (from the French for false wood) refers to the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media. My birdbath is cement.

Content in a Cottage

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Unique way to get fresh air at night...

I recently bought a great set of books from the house contents sale of an old doctor. The original set had five volumes but I only found Volumes 1-4 in the hot attic. They are in great shape. The second picture cracks me up. It shows a man sleeping in a brass bed with half the bed sticking out the window so he could breathe fresh air. And a brass bed at that! Do you know how hard this would be do do? I have a brass bed and it weighs a ton...especially with the mattress and box spring!!! Click on the photo to enlarge so you can read the caption.

The books are entitled: MACFADDEN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHYSICAL CULTURE. A work of reference, providing complete instructions for the cure of all diseases through physcultopathy, with general information of natural methods of health-building and a description of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. BY BERNARR MACFADDEN assisted by specialists in the application of natural methods of healing. My set is the 5th edition published in 1920.

I did a google search on the word PHYSCULTOPATHY and a website called popped up completely devoted to my books' author. Go there if you dare. The website was write protected so I couldn't copy any information about this quack. His life dates are 1868-1955. I think Jack LaLane must have been an early follower. Maybe Charles Atlas too! Bernarr Macfadden was a bodybuilder, health advocate, nutritionist, teacher, author, publisher, resort owner, and Founder of Physcultopathy.

I wonder how much the old doctor relied on the information in these volumes?

Nice composition....

I took this photo in my entrance vestibule using only natural light. I have always liked it. The binoculars and case were given to a friend and fellow birdwatcher. It is nice to have a record of previous possessions. Enjoy your day. I'll be back later.
This is my first time using the bookmark button shown below. Do you like it? Do you think it detracts from my post? Please let me have your thoughts. Leave a comment!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Secret Garden in Bernardsville, NJ

There was a very nice article in this morning's online version of The Daily Record (local paper for Morristown, NJ and vicinity) about a garden that I had all but forgotten. Now I can't wait to go there again. The secret garden is part of the 162-acre Cross Estate owned by the National Park Service. The gardens are maintained by volunteers and members of the New Jersey Historical Garden Foundation.

You might also be interested in A Treasury of Glorious Public and Private Gardens for Garden Lovers to Visit in New Jersey!

Spread the word: New Jersey is a great place to live, work, and visit. It really is the Garden State.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Versailles in the North of England

Alnwick Garden at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

There was the most wonderful article in the New York Times on 7/17 about the controversial 14-acre garden(s) at Alnwick Castle. This was the site of Hogwarts School in the first two Harry Potter movies. The Duchess of Northumberland known as Jane Percy is scheduled to visit Long Island, NY and speak to the Southampton Garden Club on August 22nd. This promises to be quite an event for the garden lover, landscape architect, designer, and socialite. I won't be there.

My New BFF (Best Frog Friend)...

Look what I saw peeking out of the big round black rubber tub that holds my garden hose. Sighting occurred while taking an outdoor shower this morning. Mine has hot and cold water, a big rain shower head, and a nice mahogany platform. I am so glad I put it in when remodeling my cottage. It is one of the best things I ever did. There are two extra faucets down below so I can water the garden and give the dog a bath. You'd be surprised how often I find the need for hot or warm water outside. It is right outside my laundry room so it was easy. I drain the system and turn off the water in the fall.

For ages I have been meaning to switch this orange hose with a black one that's attached to the faucet on the side of my house. I am so glad I didn't. Mr. Frog looks so handsome on a colored background.

Do you think he's a prince? Should I kiss him? Nah! I would rather have a frog or a toad.

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Full Moon Tonight ~ set your moon dials!

I am so happy that I read somewhere that there is a full moon tonight. I promptly set the moon dial and the calendar wheel on my tall case clock. If you are lucky enough to have these features on your wrist watch or clock, you should do the same. I also found a website for tracking lunar phases. I have added a permanent link for you called Moon Phases. Look around for something to scare away the werewolves. A nice hallmarked solid silver georgian meat skewer would make an excellent stake to drive through his heart!

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My desktop is completely full!

This is a photo of my computer monitor taken just a minute ago. As you can see, it is completely full. Now I have to delete a whole bunch of computer shortcuts so I can add more. I am slowly adding links on my blog for many of my favorite sites...some are blogs; others are websites. These links are really bookmarks for me but hopefully my readers will enjoy them too. It is hazy, hot, and humid in New Jersey today. Looks like I will have to pretend that I am back in Alabama again! Enjoy your Saturday.

P.S. ~ I just noticed that my desktop theme matches my blog theme. This was not intentional but shows that I have always liked the dark gray background. I have had my totally awesome 21" HP f2105 monitor for almost two years. It is the best!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pop some bubble wrap...

Who doesn't enjoy popping a little bubble wrap? You can pop bubbles individually or go wild in manic mode. I love the voice in the background when a new sheet is loaded. Have fun here.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bluebird sighting...

I was lucky that my camera was handy when this bluebird perched on a bracket hanging on my balcony railing. I never tire of seeing these beautiful birds. They are very beneficial too since they eat nothing but insects. They like their nesting boxes located in areas with sparce vegetation so they can swoop down on the unsuspecting bugs. This one has the biggest weeds you have ever seen in your life to the rear and mowed grass in the front of his house. The families return every year and I see them as early as February scouting out their territory. I make sure the houses are cleaned out and ready for them. A sighting never fails to thrill me!