Tuesday, February 7, 2012

UK Celebrates Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday

He wrote about life in the modern city, with its lawyers and criminals, bankers and urchins, dreamers and clerks. He created characters still known to millions — Ebeneezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim, Pip and Miss Havisham, Fagin and Oliver Twist. And it made him a star, mobbed by fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

His Bookplate
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, joined Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, actor Ralph Fiennes, a host of dignitaries and scores of Dickens' descendants at a memorial service Tuesday (2/7/12) in London. Prince Charles placed a wreath on Dickens' grave in Westminster Abbey's Poet's corner.

Today's iPhone Cottage Photos

A bad house fire destroyed a very old cottage on a nearby estate a couple of years ago. Everyone is in love with this new replacement. The standing seam metal roof is nice. There is a garage to the left but there was a car in the driveway that I didn't want in my photograph. It's bigger than it looks. One day I'll snap a side view.

Now you know this is so much better than going to the mall, right? There is a complex of small cottage shops nearby painted in off the wall colors.

I've been meaning to stop and photograph them and today I did!

Bryce Canyon National Park - Utah

This windswept tree growing on the side of a cliff is hanging on for dear life. I have never been to Utah, have you? via

Monday, February 6, 2012

Do Want This Woodie Wagon

I can't tell you how much I love this big vintage woodie station wagon. I like the dog and the beach house too. via

Bike Shop Sign

That's a pretty bold statement from such a small bike shop. I photographed this from my car on my way home from a doctor's appointment this morning. A yearly check up resulted in having the doctor tell me that I was perfect. At least one person thinks so!

Vintage Bookmobile from Chicago Public Library

One of the joys of my childhood was the bookmobile! The other was the ice cream truck.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Looking Inside Plus A Wonderful Reflection

I took this iPhone photo at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago and I wasn't even aware at the time of the wonderful reflection. I feel as if I'm looking inside and behind me at the same time.

The Queen of Hearts wants Lemon Tarts

While the mini tart shells are cooling, you can start working on your filling. It’s very simple. Whisk 4 whole eggs in a big bowl, add 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar. Whisk everything together and pour it into the mini tart shells with a measuring cup. Bake the mini tart shells in the oven at 325 degrees for about 15 – 18 minutes. Now you’re ready to make the whipped cream. Again, very simple. Put 1 cup of cold heavy cream in a big bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar. Beat the mixture with a hand mixer until it becomes thick and makes a soft peak. Your whipped cream is done. Full recipe including instructions for tart shells here

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Visited My Farm Friends Today

I had a real estate showing this morning and on my way home I stopped to visit and photograph these animals.

George the donkey and Penny the horse. She gets her name after the copper coin.

George was the first to come closer. His namesake is George Washington.

The two goats in the background never moved an inch. The white goat is Rufus and the black one's name is David. His human often takes him for a walk leading him with a leafy branch. I think I'll invite both of these goats over this summer to eat some of my weeds. 

A Gathering of Friends

This is the perfect weekend for hanging out with your friends. Are there any sea otters that aren't cute? via

Friday, February 3, 2012

Still Life with Globe and Books

A lovely still life by Todd Casey
Have a great weekend.

Rockin' Robin

I took this photo last year -- don't remember when. I have big fat robins hopping around all over my lawn but they won't pose for a picture. Spring must be right around the corner if these birds are back, right? Have a great weekend.

The benefit of making plans

I love it when this happens, don't you? via Millie @TheLaurelHedge on Pinterest

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trust Your Instincts

DIY Hanging Embroidery Hoop Basket Tutorial

I might make some without the hoops with drawstrings for the upcoming farm-market season. Wonderful tutorial here.

Interesting Figural Wrought Iron Gate

I love seeing the artistry of a talented ironworker. This folk-art gate is dated 1963. It has held up well but it's missing a bell. If it were mine I would move the bottom bell to the middle if I couldn't find a suitable replacement. via

The Groundhog Has Spoken

6 more weeks of winter
Groundhog hibernation gave rise to the popular American custom of Groundhog Day, held on the second of February every year. Tradition dictates that if a groundhog sees its shadow that day, there will be six more weeks of winter, though such a prediction seems a sure bet over much of the groundhog's North American range.
National Geographic photo

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mansion Gone to The Dogs

Where are all the humans? I'm lonesome. via

Another Painted Bathroom Floor

Here is another painted bathroom floor I had the pleasure of seeing in an old house I toured yesterday.

Paperwhites and Robins and Groundhog Day

It will be interesting to see what the groundhog sees tomorrow. What should we wish for? Another six weeks of the winter that wasn't or spring around the corner? Is there any difference at all this year? My lawn is full of big fat robins hopping all over the place and my indoor paperwhites are still going strong as you can see from my photo taken in this morning's sun.

Delightful Painted Floor | Old House Decor

I saw this delightful old-fashioned oval rug that was hand painted on the floor of a bathroom in a restored antique house yesterday.
my iPhone photo 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DIY Topography Pillows with Tutorial

I love quotes by Audrey Hepburn via

Tutorial via my pin on Pinterest

Dog Cache Pot

Snapped this morning at a wonderful realtor open house tour.

Owl's Eye View from Inside a Hollow Tree

I stuck my iPhone in an old hollow apple tree to get a view of what the owls and other animals see when they are on the inside looking out. It looks pretty safe and cozy in there, doesn't it? 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Calm Stream This Afternoon

I walked past the stream today and it looked completely different with blue skies and white clouds instead of the gray skies and fog I showed you last week. I love the blue reflection on the dark water. 

While we are on the subject of SWANS

Will it fit? Don't you wish we knew why this swan needed to be driven somewhere? And on the passenger side too! via

Ex-libris with Swans Circa 1907

From A collection of book plate designs by Louis Rhead, Boston, 1907. via

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Webster on The Timeout Porch

"I promise not to make the lady sick."
I had a really good turnout at an open house I hosted today. I was doing it alone in an empty house so I decided at the last minute to take Webster along. It turned out to be a genius idea. He was Mr. Meet and Greet and [almost] everybody loved him. One lady said she was allergic so I put Webster on the sunporch. He did everything imaginable to keep this from happening. He made himself small and put on his dog brakes. He was in there for 10 minutes at most out of a 3 hour stint. He licked babies, played with little boys, kissed men and women both young and old. He was a great ice breaker too. From now on, he's my new assistant. He is exhausted from all the excitement and has already gone to bed after his early dinner.

Almost February in NJ or The Winter That Wasn't

We had winter in New Jersey in the fall during Halloween and since then it has been unusually mild. Maybe this is our reward for all the damage we suffered when we had a blizzard while all the leaves were on still the trees. Our poor mature trees are still suffering and losing branches and even whole treetops because of their October injuries.  I took this iPhone photo at a friend's house yesterday. I know I sound like a broken record mentioning the camera source in my posts but I still can't believe the capabilities of my mobile phone that's always in my pocket. Enjoy this beautiful Sunday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Following the Already Traveled Path

I think these sheep are very wise to travel in the path made by a big vehicle instead of wasting calories forging a new one. Maybe it will take them closer to the barn filled with hay. via

Snowdrops in January

Mine haven't come up yet but few leaf tips are just barely poking through the  earth. I usually don't get them until February because they don't get any direct sun where they are planted at my house. I photographed these this morning at my friend's house. Snowdrops are always the first sign of spring. 

Architectural Elements This Morning

Webster and I fed the dogs of a friend this morning and I had such fun taking pictures with my iPhone while the animals socialized. As you can see we are having a wonderful spring-like weekend. Hope you are too. More later.

Garden Passage

Hidcote Gardens -- Cotswolds, England. Absolutely wonderful! Actually it's almost too lovely if that's even possible. Maybe that's why the French doors are there...so you can block some of it out when you can't absorb the enormity of it all. Wouldn't you love to sit on one of those benches and soak in the beauty? via Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Imperial March- Barked and Classical?

The Bark Side -- It's not the only Super Bowl ad evoking past hit movies. Volkswagen, which had a hit last year with its little Darth Vader ad, will be tapping into the Force once again with dogs barking out the Imperial March.

Darth Vader's Theme -- I wasn't sure what I was listening to at first with the dogs until I heard it played by an orchestra. I think they did a good job after I listened to the barking version again. It is going to be a Super Bowl hit!

iPhone Photos of The Day

We had pouring rain overnight and real downpours this morning. I went for a walk after it subsided. The stream around the corner was flowing pretty swiftly almost overflowing its banks. I was standing on a one-lane bridge while taking this photo looking into the soft fog.

I was standing on the bank looking in the opposite direction for this shot. I'm so lucky to live in an area with lots of open space and conserved land thanks to our Land Trust.

Countess of Grantham and Lady Mary are to release a record album

Are you watching Downton Abbey? I read two press releases recently saying Maureen McGovern and Michelle Dockery costars on this wonderful PBS Masterpiece series were pairing up to release an album.

I must confess I wasn't that impressed with Lady Mary's voice in last week's episode. We will just have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mudroom in Waiting

I do like this mudroom off the kitchen in New Hampshire. The fine woodworking is wonderful. I love the built-in boot bench and the paint color too. Designed by Smith & Vansant Architects. via

Medieval Woman Feeding the Chickens

I love the woven chicken coop, don't you. I scanned this image from a datebook I no longer own. I keep discovering images I saved before I even had a blog. 

Big Beautiful Dried Leaf

I have a tree on my property with giant leaves and I must remember to gather some this summer for still-life photography. I love this a lot! via

Wednesday, January 25, 2012