Monday, December 17, 2012

One More Week

A week from today these beautiful creatures will be flying around the world pulling Santa's sleigh. They look to be in fine shape, don't they? via

Cottage House Plan, Circa 1929

I really like this dutch colonial cottage from a 1929 home building catalog. I would want a full bath on the first floor and maybe a bedroom on that level too. It's a very sensible and charming plan that would work just as easily today with a little tweeking. Agreed? I love the green roof. Found here.

Carved Angel in Rome

Such a beautiful image. I hope the families in Newtown are able to be comforted in their time of sorrow. The whole world weeps for and with them. via

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spider weaves love web.

Delivering the Egg Nog

I still have such fond memories of the milk man. Nothing today compares to those glass bottles full of fresh milk with the cream on top. Ours delivered eggs, butter, cottage cheese and probably a few other dairy products too. The egg nog at Christmastime was the best! Leaving the empty bottles in the milk box beside the front door with a note in one containing the next day's order was recycling at its best. Now that you can have your groceries delivered to your home after placing an order online, I say bring back the old-fashioned milk man! via

White on White

I love this photo. No footprints, just snow and shadows. I wonder if this was a color photo converted to black and white and shades of gray or if it was just a gray day? It's absolutely beautiful. You can hear the quiet, can't you? via

Saturday, December 15, 2012

One Horse Open Sleigh

I can hear the jingle bells, can you? via

Goose Crossing in Hampshire England

A delightful thatched country cottage on the south coast of England. Charming! via

Perfect Tree Lined Drive

I hope there is a wreath on each of the gates now that the trees are (probably) bare. I'm curious about the driveway. Is it patterned concrete or stone pavers set in concrete? I'd like to see more of the walls with the diamond espalier. I love the way the canopy of the trees has formed a natural arch. Lovely! Have a wonderful weekend. via

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wonderful Weathered Door with Wreath

Another great old weathered door with a grapevine wreath covered with berries opening to a great room all decked out for Christmas. via

White Poppies

These white Oriental Poppies are beautiful. Must look for some seeds. Now is the time to sow them. image source

Red Tulips in White Ironstone Pitcher

The red tulips from Jill are lovely and they really stand up straight. I don't own many vases. I usually run for a pitcher or this ironstone coffee pot. Don't look too closely at the dust circles on the top of my bookcase. [my photo]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hooked Rug with Not Quite White Owls

Not Quite White
21" x 27"
#8 and #6 cut wool on linen 
Designed and hooked by 
Karen Larsen
Crows’s Foot Farm Designs 
Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania 

I recently reconnected with an old friend from this area who now lives in Pennsylvania. She has been hooking since 2006 and one of her original rug designs is on the November/December 2012 cover of Rug Hooking Magazine
Read about why these owls are "Not Quite White" in a portion of the article Creating White from Colors. I think she did a wonderful job, don't you? Her home was just photographed for an upcoming feature in Rug Beat. The owl rug looks beautiful on her dining room wall.

Works of George Eliot

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. George Eliot." 
I couldn't agree more ~ Quote from  'Mr. Gilfil's Love Story,' Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857 
[my photo, my books]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Wreath on Cottage Door

I put the wreath on my front door a couple of days ago after I gave the outside a good cleaning. A red bow looked too garish for me so I left it unadorned. Yesterday I got some beautiful flowers with a big white bow and quickly put it between two pinecones. It looks amazingly perfect, doesn't it? To me it represents the purity of my mother's spirit. [my photo]

Tulips and Spatterware

White tiger tulips in a blue and white spatterware pitcher. My friend Jill brought them to me to remember my mother. They get more beautiful each day and she says they are very long lasting.

A Sweet Kitchen

Sometimes I wish I had done a cooktop and built-in oven below in my kitchen. It makes for a more seamless countertop. I like open shelves for other people but for me, I prefer closed cabinet doors in the working part of the kitchen. via

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY Stamped Christmas Wrap w/ Tutorial

I've always been a fan of brown paper Christmas wrap and love the idea of carving a custom stamp to decorate it. Fabulous tutorial here. Once you make your stamp, it can be used for gift tags, Christmas Cards, Christmas ornaments, and you could probably even decorate cookies with it. 
Garden Arch, Regents Park, London, England. What a lovely place to sit and reflect. via

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beautiful Double Door in Italy

Wonderful old door in Rome. You can't fake patina like this! via

Sunless Days

This word describes the weather we've been having lately. Tomorrow is supposed to be very cold. I want to finish clipping my boxwood so they will all match. I sort of quit in the middle for some reason. I never put everything back in place after storing things before the hurricane either. I want to replace the tops on the birdbaths because they look nice filled with snow.
Thank you again for helping me with your wonderful words. We all have to deal with letting a loved one go at some point in our lives. My mother and I both knew her time was at hand and she told me she was not afraid. Even though her body was weak, she was strong of spirit up to the end. She was even able to climb into my big car with the running board to go to the nursing home. She walked inside with my help but we didn't get too far before she agreed to ride to her room in a wheel chair.
Because she was a nurse herself she was able to convey her appreciation of any kind care she was given and everyone admired her for that. There aren't many thank yous and hugs given to professional caregivers by the patients these days. My mother didn't forget. She made me proud and I always tried to make her proud too.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Losing My Mother

My mother lost her own mother when she was very young. I think she was around 7 years old and of course it affected her deeply. We all need to be nurtured when we are very young. My aunt Elizabeth looked exactly like my grandmother. My grandfather was handsome even after losing his hair and he had the best laugh I've ever heard. We all adored him. He remarried and we all loved Grandma too. I think this photo of my mother's parents is probably their wedding portrait April 12, 1914. 

The flowers in the lobby of the funeral home yesterday were very pretty and my mother would have loved them in real life.

I brought some of the special things she saved over the years to send away with her. A small book of poems with an inscription from my brother Tim dated 1970 with an old picture of him tucked inside. The saddest day in my mother's life was the day he died in 1978 after heart surgery. They had a mutual admiration society that surpassed the normal mother-son bond. I also included a book of poems dated 1974 inscribed from me.  I sent her away with the first Christmas card received this year from her friend Tom who still lives in her old condominium complex in Charlotte. I found an old mother's day card from me dated 2006, a picture of our pets, the leash she always used to walk Tabitha, three dog biscuits from Webster, and some chocolate-covered raisins. She never failed to comment about how much she loved these treats covered with her favorite confection. The lipstick kiss on her forehead is from me too.
I helped load her in the small black van that didn't look at all like a mortuary vehicle. I rode up front with the driver and asked him if we could stop by the cottage on our way to the appointment in Basking Ridge and he complied. I wanted her to leave from home.
I chose cremation because the body doesn't have to be embalmed if it's done within 48 hours and there is no public viewing. She wore a flannel black-watch plaid dress that she always favored and she looked like a real sleeping beauty. 
After stopping in the driveway at the cottage we went to the place and I was with her all the way until the end. I'll scatter her ashes in special places up here and down south in the spring.
My sincere appreciation to all of you who have taken the time to walk with me down this last path with my mother. You will never know how much comfort your wonderful condolences have given me even though we are virtual friends. I hope I will continue to inspire you as you have inspired me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

XO Gate

How nice. A gate that gives you hugs and kisses every time you come home or go out. David Fuller photo.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Anna in April

This photo of my dear departed mother was taken on April 8, 2012 [Easter Sunday]. Your comments have been a great comfort to me during my time of great sorrow. My mother was my biggest supporter and my best friend. We both always loved home and were never bored there. She was a beautiful person inside and out and I'll miss her every day I walk this earth but will carry her in my heart. God bless her and keep her.

Friday, December 7, 2012

So Hard to Say Goodbye

My dear 92-year-old mother passed away peacefully early last night. I helped the assistant bathe her before I left the care facility to come home and was headed out the door to walk Webster when I got the news. I made the call to the funeral home and a wonderfully caring member of their staff met me at her bedside shortly after I had my last visit with my mom. I fixed her hair and said my last goodbye in private. Then I helped put her on the stretcher and walked her to the waiting car. Everything fell into place almost effortlessly and my mother's dignity was maintained up to the end.
Today is my first full day as an orphan and I feel very sad but surprisingly strong. Mother always wanted to die in her sleep and she got her wish. We had a great 10 years together, the last 8 spent here at the cottage. It won't be the same without her and neither will I. It was a privilege being her daughter.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Small car - big Christmas tree.

How cute. via KateSpadeNY

Perfect Chocolate Pot for The Season

This would be a great addition to any transferware collection, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, it's in the Smithsonian. via

Recent Snow Seen from Front Door

You can see the droplets of melted snow on the lens of my iPhone when I stuck it out the front door to get a photo of the snow without the distraction of a screen. Do you take the screens out of the window for the winter or do you leave them in place the way I do? I figure they will last longer and not get accidentally damaged while being stored. Plus I like the idea of being able to open a window on nice days to get some fresh air. This snow melted rather quickly and we have been having some really nice "vest" weather. [my photo]
Thank you for your words of comfort during this difficult time for my mother and me. xo

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Mom has Become The Sleeping Beauty

Today is the second day my mother has been in an unresponsive deep sleep. She looks as beautiful as ever and very peaceful. I hope she knows when I'm there watching over her. Painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Kitchen Drawers Galore

If I had this many wonderful small drawers in my kitchen I would probably spend most of my time opening them searching for things. Eventually I would get a system going. Anyway, it's a great look!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Living Room

I love the raised hearth in this charming room all decked out for the Christmas season. via Country Living Click on the link for more views of this lovely home in Arizona.

Christmas Decor by Mother Nature

Mother Nature is definitely the best decorator, isn't she? via

Monday, December 3, 2012

Great Window + Plaid Arm Chairs

I love the window, the paneled walls and the wonderful pair of red plaid arm chairs. And the lamp too. via

Unique Kitchen

I like this kitchen because it looks real. The only thing I would do is try to clean all the old dried up paint stains from the sink. Love the folk art accents. via

A Light in Every Window

I missed the town Christmas Tree lighting last night because I was with my mother. It was beautiful to see in the dark coming home along with many residents' outside decorations. The weather is still nice and not too cold to work outside. I usually wait until it's frigid and my fingers won't work. Early is better because Christmas will come whether I'm ready or not. via

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Individual Pot of Warm Apple Pie

Such a great recipe with butter pecan crust. Are you drooling yet? Makes 6 large pots. I pinned it here.

Geranium Illustration

Mine are all in bloom in spite of the neglect they have experienced lately. Geraniums are the nicest plants the year round inside and out. via
Thanks for all of you kind notes regarding my mom and her move to a nursing home. She is adjusting quite well and this is such a blessing for both of us.

Words for My Mother

I reached the end of my rope on Friday and made a call to a friend of mine to get names of local nursing homes for my mother. The one at the top of her list is the closest to the cottage; I could walk there if I had to. Luck was on my side that day as I gathered my mother's hospital papers to take to the admissions director without an advance phone call or appointment. I think she could sense my desperation and she worked miracles to get my mother admitted that very afternoon. I was not aware that after a 3 day hospital stay patients have a 30 day window eligibility for a generous number of days in a nursing home to recuperate. I can't remember the exact number but I think it is around 3 weeks. It's a great place and we are both happy with the decision. Of course my mother would rather be home but she's being well cared for by very loving people and the food is good too. It's a small facility so the food is home cooked and is really delicious. Mother eats every bite and sometimes asks for between meal snacks. We went to physical therapy yesterday and she's still being evaluated. I think my mother is the envy of all the people in her wing because I spend as much time there as I can. She was so happy to see me after her first night there. She said she cried and cried because I wasn't there. Each night will get easier. I'm catching up with all the things I neglected while she was trying to get better at home. I miss her and it's my pleasure to sit with her. I can't wait to see what's for lunch today! image source

Saturday, December 1, 2012

14 Free Holiday Fonts

Those of you who know me will remember that I'm wild about fonts. You can never have too many, especially when the holiday season rolls around in December. Click here to locate each one and download. Free is good!


Now that Tabitha has become an upstairs cat, she has tagged this as HER chair. She prides herself in her good taste in antiques. She prefers 18th century American ladder-back arm chairs in original paint with hand-made cushions. [my photo]

Interesting Seed Pod from A Tree

I picked up this beautiful pod from the deck of my real estate listing. I hope the tree that produced it survived the storm and is still standing in the spring so I can identify the species. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Frosty Leaf

Have a cozy weekend. See you tomorrow. Goodnight. via

Shorebird Weathervane circa 1880

I love the cutout heart within the banner. The shorebird motif is rare and the patina on this piece is wonderful. via

Good Morning Staircase

Morning light streams in through a Palladian window at Ruggles House c1818 by Aaron Sherman in Columbia Falls, Maine. via When two early risers meet in the middle, they say good morning to one another. How fun!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A visual essay about not shopping.

Open publication
Click on the link and read this wonderful essay (full size) about not shopping for one whole year called 'A Bunch Of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy' -- a small visual essay about not shopping. It's very insightful about on-line shopping. I loved it.

Baking Day by Elsa Beskow

As long as you are in the baking mood, you might as well do a weekly batch. Charming illustration by Elsa Beskow (the Scandinavian Beatrix Potter) from the book Emily and Daisy.

My Mom would like this place.

I've never been to Amsterdam but this might be a good reason go go. My mother would love the "housekeeping themed house". She grew up doing chores before school every day and she never lost the habit of keeping a nice house. Lately she goes around "dusting" and "washing windows". She always considered housework to be a form of recreation. Listen to the audio portion within the following's very uplifting.
The village where people have dementia – and fun
Click on the washing windows link for a good laugh.

Great Entrance Vestibule / Mud Room

I love the charcoal door against the stark white and the cutouts for the bench and shelf. via

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Caregiver

Replace the kitten with my mother and this is me without the strangle hold around my mom's neck. The symptoms of the stomach flu she had have disappeared thanks to the BRAT diet but her mind is shot. She's still sweet though and appreciative of my efforts to care for her. It's a lot easier now that there aren't so many bathroom breaks. via

Great Family Portrait

I love this. What a great assortment of pets that get along together to pose so beautifully for their family portrait. via