Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life's Little Instruction Book | Volume II, page 44

More wonderful advice from H. Jackson Brown, Jr. I love this little plaid book that tells us what he told his son.

Restful Bedroom

My mind is still racing too fast to get a really good night's sleep. Plus I've been waking up way too early. Wish I could sneak off and at least get a decent nap in this lovely bedroom. Things are almost back to normal but not quite.

My thoughts and prayers are in Vermont right now. I can't believe what my eyes are seeing on the newscasts. 

I hope everyone will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wrath of Irene near My Cottage

I haven't done too much today due to my busy day yesterday. This is a photo I took yesterday 11 properties away from me when I tried to check on my listing on the other side of this stream over the road. I couldn't get there from the other side either because there was a telephone pole over the road. Those poor people lost power in the wee small hours Sunday morning and it has not been restored yet and the road is still impassable. I can see the driveway on the other side of the river and it's high and dry which is encouraging to me. Here are a few more photos in a Web Album I uploaded. Now do you see why I feel so fortunate? Thanks for all of your comments and well wishes. I shall answer them in time.

I'm Back from The Basement

Illumination on paper faux parchment. The letter B is gilded with fine gold leaf and is painted in egg tempera, pigments and egg yolk. via studioartemesia

I woke up early Sunday morning (hurricane Irene day) to some water in the basement, the Amazon River flowing past my house into the wetlands, and a day of hard work ahead of me. 

Luckily we had power so I set up my pumps, got the big wet vac out of the garage, put on a pot of coffee and did not stop for one minute until almost 7pm.

This letter seemed perfect for my post today since it is my initial, and also signifies that I'm back from the basement. 

The sun is shining brightly and all of my sticks have been picked up. I have fans and dehumidifiers set up downstairs so all in all everything seems to be back to normal. The water coming into the house was more of a seepage problem than anything. Just enough to be a royal pain in the *#@! if you know what I mean.

I hope all is well with all of you. xo

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Big Little House

I think this house is lovely, don't you? The proportions are perfect. I love that it still looks big and grand but it's actually a small house in disguise. via

So far, so good today. The banding effect of the storm has been an on again/off again rain. The worst is supposed to be at my cottage tomorrow morning around 7:30. Sometimes I think being ultra prepared keeps things at bay. Be safe and I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight.

Lovely Office for Two

I really love this fabulous desk for two, especially all of the delicious cubbies. I've been organizing my upstairs (third floor) studio getting ready for our town's once yearly trash pickup and auction at the firehouse. Anyone who stops by is given something to take away. Good stuff too. How many laptop bags does one person need? I have at least 3 of every item that was ever produced. What I can't give away or donate goes to the curb at the end of September. via

Yellow Bird at My Cottage | Goldfinch

A beautiful goldfinch paid me a visit this morning at the cottage. I woke up at 6:45 to a power outage for no reason. When I called it in on my cell they said a substation was out and 3,000 other customers were having the same problem. Luckily I have a gas stove, matches, and a stovetop coffee maker. Mornings without coffee are not an option. It came back on at 8:45. I would have made a lousy pioneer woman.

I have some giant black flexible piping in the garage that I am going to cut and attach to all of my downspouts to keep Irene's rain away from the house. I have a million other things to do too.

Stay safe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mexican Lasagna | Vegan Recipe Gluten Free

Marly’s Mexican Lasagna, Oh My!
via One Green Planet

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package fajita seasoning
1 package soy crumbles
½ cup water
½ cup corn meal
1 package tofu, firm or extra firm
1 medium avocado, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt to taste
2 – 3 cups salsa
18 corn tortillas (6″)
1 package vegan “cheese”, shredded

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. In cook-speak that means, heat your oven to 350 F.

1. ”Meat(less) Sauce”

Sauté onion and garlic in a skillet with the oil until tender. Add soy crumbles* and fajita seasoning. Next, add 1/2 water and corn meal to the mixture, stir to combine and cook on low for 3 – 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

* You can use vegan soy crumbles from a package or sometimes I will use 2 – 3 Boca burger patties that I break apart using a spatula. If you’d like a non-soy (or gluten-free) ingredient 2 cups of cooked lentils can be used to replace the soy crumbles and will work perfectly!

2. ”Guac Sauce”

Add tofu, avocado, chickpeas, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to your food processor and mix until well-combined. You may need to add a little bit of water to the food processor to get the Guac Sauce to a desired consistency.


Layer One: Spoon some of the salsa into the bottom of a 9 X 12 baking pan. Place 6 corn tortillas over the enchilada sauce. Spoon half of the “Meat Sauce” over the tortillas, followed by half of the “Guac Sauce.”

Layer Two: Add another layer of corn tortillas followed by half of the grated vegan cheese and a layer of salsa. Follow that by spreading the remaining “Meat Sauce” followed by the remaining “Guac Sauce.”

Topping: Finally, top with one more layer of corn tortillas. Cover with remaining salsa and add remaining shredded vegan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese melts.

This looks perfect for a hurricane weekend. Yum.

Dogs on Chairs and Birds on the Wall

I scanned this image from a magazine years ago because I have these first edition 1878 Studer bird prints I used to sell on eBay and I love the way they look on a wall. I uploaded all of the antique prints to a Picase web album HERE. You can also view the link as a slideshow. Let me know if you have any interest and maybe we can make a deal.
First Edition Antique Lithographs from
published by JACOB H. STUDER and CO.,COLUMBUS, OHIO 1878
Stay safe.

Waiting for Irene

Today is prep day and it is the most beautiful morning ever with cloudless blue skies...what? This really must be the calm before the storm. I've been getting emails right and left sending me real time hurricane tracking software to download free and maps with evacuation routes. Thankfully my county is not even on the list. I am going down with the ship and staying put. I've been told there is no milk in the markets. I shopped 2 days ago so I am fine as long as we have power.
Stay safe and do everything you can to keep Irene from your door.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kitchen with Blue and White Checked Curtains

I love the farm table with the marble top as the center island. The rest in black and white is fabulous and you know I like the checked curtains. I'll take it. via

Reading Books Makes You Better

Fine Art Flower Painting | Gerald A. Cooper

Gerald Cooper was a painter of landscapes, figurative and still life subjects. He lived in Chelsea, London in 1928, Wimbledon in 1933, and East Horsley, Surrey in 1940.

Cooper's still life paintings have become very popular since his work has been bought to the attention of the picture-buying public. His work is in the Dutch tradition of still life painting and the subjects are synonymous with the best of the early still life artists. Flowers, fruit, jugs, bowls and glass vases are visually effective tools for example, but he also used marble ledges and stone plinths sometimes draped, adding another dimension to these cleverly conceived images.

Cooper exhibited 9 pictures at the Royal Academy and 5 at The New English Art Club as well as exhibiting at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pretty In Pink | Flower

Don't you absolutely love this spectacular image from Flower Garden?

Hummingbird Girl

Rick Beerhorst Hummingbird 2009. I think this painting is delightful, don't you?

Edward Gorey Bookplate | So True

I've always loved Edward Gorey and would love to visit the house and museum devoted to his life and works.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Awesome Mushroom at My Cottage

These mushrooms keep popping up here and there. Maybe the earthquake made this one emerge. I felt it just before 2:00 this afternoon here at the cottage and our local paper online reported that groceries fell off the shelves at Whole Foods. It made me feel momentarily dizzy. Hope everyone in Virginia is okay since it originated in Richmond. 

Homemade Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Ever since reading 'The Help' I've been hungry for some hot biscuits. I think I finally found the perfect recipe. I just took these out of the oven and my mother and I nearly finished them off. I have the worst oven in the world so I cooked them longer and next time I'm going to set my oven at 500 degrees. Chances are you have all the necessary ingredients on hand now so why don't you make some too. The photo above doesn't show all of them. Quote below by the author followed by the link for the recipe. I did not use my food processor. I cut the butter in with my pastry blender and did everything by hand. These were just as good as those I remember from my Southern childhood. I like my biscuits brown too.
"These biscuits are authentic - this recipe came from my Great-Great Grandmother, and was handed down to all the women in my family, and we are all Southern. I am the first one to commit the sin of using a food processor (lol) but I find it works very well. I would put these biscuits up against anyone's - they are perfect in every single way. I hope you all enjoy them. "  
Recipe here. A reader made these with gluten free flour and it worked perfectly.

Amazing Chalkboard Art

I am so impressed with the artistic talent of Dana Tanamachi and the amazing things she creates on chalkboards. I wonder if she has ever considered designing fonts too? When you open the link click on the first image and use the arrows to go forward. She designed the image I pictured above for a wedding reception.

Udderly Charming Creamer

This would make me smile every morning when I added the cream to my coffee. Lest we forget where milk really comes from.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Woody Allen illustrated quote

I scanned the drawing from an old magazine and added the text myself. Poor Woody.

Hidden Messages on US Dollar Bills

"Don't Tread On Me"
Click HERE to see 10 more hidden messages.

Map Creations Store Display

A store window display in Carmel CA uses paper maps to create unique kids' outfits including shoes. Read more . . .

Low Country Vista

Your instructions from me: Sit back, relax, and enjoy the last full week in August. Summer is almost over.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mt. Kilimanjaro Elephant

An African elephant crossing the road with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. Have you ever seen a lovelier photograph? ©Oleg Domalega

A Lovely Kitchen

I love the plank ceiling, the dark floor, and everything else I'm able to see too.

Topiary Garden in Shades of Green

Isn't this topiary garden in Thailand absolutely amazing? I should really clip my boxwood today while I'm inspired. It's nice and cool and overcast. I finished my book and it will feel good to get some exercise. Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Argument | Birds

Don't you wonder what this heated discussion is all about? I know I do.

Mosaic Elephant

Try to view some things a little differently this weekend.

Big Tall Mushroom at My Cottage

I ran back inside to get my camera after spotting this tall mushroom that came out of nowhere overnight. We had fierce storms yesterday afternoon with very heavy rain and boomers. All is well this morning with sun and cool temperatures.

One of my wonderful blog readers sent me her copy of THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett and I am halfway through it. It's the perfect book for summer reading, especially for a southerner. I'm so glad I haven't seen the movie yet. Thank you JudyMac. xo

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, August 19, 2011

God's Masterpiece by Timothy Faulkner

I'm so glad Tim had his camera handy to capture this wonderful photograph. Have a great weekend.

Beautiful Architecture | Perfect Symmetry

Isn't this little townhouse wonderfully inviting? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time to Say Goodnight

It is pitch black outside and I still have to take Webster and Piggy out for a short walk. Then I will call it an evening and jump into bed for a little TV time. I had a busy day and a birthday party this afternoon. Was fun. See you tomorrow.

Morning Mist -- Somewhere

I'm feeling fall in the air here at the cottage and remembering spring.

Real Life Office

This looks like a real office to me instead of one that was staged. I have piles of stuff in mine too.

Kitchen Lust

Now you'll have to admit this is one fabulous kitchen, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

State Shells | Florida

Florida's State Shell, the Horse Conch (Triplofusus giganteus (Kiener, 1840)), is by far the most imposing of all the state shells, and may attain a length of 24 inches. The species, a voracious carnivore, is common on both coasts of Florida from the shoreline down to a depth of about 100 feet. Although the shell is found throughout the southeast United States, in Texas, and northeast Mexico, it is much more common in Florida waters. Does your state have a shell? Check here.

Simply Super Home Library

The only thing better than bookshelves is book cubbies. I adore this wonderful home library, don't you? The upholstered fender around the stove would be a good place to sit and defrost while reviewing a stack of books.

Guarding The Cottage

Piggy is enjoying his role as watch dog while he's a house guest. Webster has turned this window over to him because it has the best view of the road. He has the most hilarious bark which would scare away any burglar...not! Don't you love his silhouette?

Tranquility and Occupation

"It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness."
~Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Amazing Carriage House

Now this is one wonderful carriage house. I really want to go inside, don't you? The black doors and shutters are perfect.

Perfect Cool Weather Reading Room

I wouldn't change a thing, would you? Well I might just have to hang something over the mantel. We are having a cool day. It's only 70 degrees this afternoon and it feels wonderful. 

A Wonderful Porch

I could do some serious rocking on this front porch, couldn't you?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fresh Bedroom

This bedroom is a breath of fresh air, isn't it? What a wonderful place to while away the hours alternating between sleep, daydreaming, and reading.

The Real Reason for Eating Ice Cream

I try my best to eat ice cream daily. Do you? What a great advertisement painted on the side of an old barn.