Saturday, April 20, 2019

Owl Hatches a Wood Duckling Egg

This is my "feel good post of the week". A wood duck moved her last egg to another nesting box because it had been raided and only one egg had survived. Oddly enough, a mother owl sat on the duck egg for over a month and the hatched duckling thinks he's an owl. Read the charming story here with lots more photos. Am I forgiven now for being missing for almost a week?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wonderful Eat-in Kitchen

A simple eating arrangement in a kitchen with amazing millwork. Wouldn't you love to have Easter breakfast, brunch, or dinner here?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Charlotte Moss: Quiet Place to Sit

Design by Charlotte Moss 
A Quiet Spot to Sit
If you had to describe my garden, it's not so much about parterres and sweeping vistas as it is about intimate spaces, small rooms—gardens within gardens. We invited Gilles Guillot, the head gardener of the Prieuré Notre-Dame d'Orsan in Maisonnais, France, to re-create the same rondel-like windows into our hedging as he did at Orsan, and to weave similar willow benches, a gloriette, and frames for the espalier. Like rooms in a house, exterior rooms also want furnishings. Drawing your eye to a quiet corner, at the end of an allée, or under a tree, garden seating begs you to stay awhile, to sit and enjoy the view and the fruits of your labor. via

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Baby Bird Feeding Time

“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hanging Box for Spring Flowers

I love this idea for an outside hanging box to plant with seasonal flowers in bloom! It would be easy to change varieties as the current ones fade and bloom out. via

Monday, April 8, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Spring Cleaning Checklist

This photo is on the cover of a book I own on Spring Cleaning. 

Refresh throughout the home:

  • Wipe down doors and trim work
  • Clean interior and exterior windows – let the light in
  • Spot clean walls and touch up any scuffed paint
  • Clean and treat floorboards - especially if you’ve had wet pets in and out all winter
  • Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures

Entryway and mudroom closet

  • Store your winter gear including snow boots, heavy jackets, hats and gloves – if it wasn’t worn this winter, consider donating
  • Thoroughly vacuum closet floor and re-organize any storage bins
  • Corral small items into baskets


  • Empty the refrigerator and throw out expired food. Wash drawers and shelving with warm, soapy water
  • Purge the pantry and clean all shelves and drawers. Forgotten crumbs can attract unwelcome visitors like ants and pantry moths
  • Remove all appliances from counter and clean behind each one
  • Remove build-up on kitchen cabinets – try Parker & Bailey Cabinet Cream or something similar
  • Polish stainless steel appliances – always with the grain
  • Deep clean microwave and dishwasher; be sure there is no trapped food
  • Check countertops to see if they are in need of sealer (stone) or catalytic finish (wood)

Living room and dining area

  • Deep clean rugs and upholstered seating
  • Remove all books and displays from shelving and clean
  • Polish silver
  • Add fresh flowers to dining table


  • Purge closets of winter clothes, shoes and accessories – consider donating items not worn by family members
  • Remove heavy winter blankets from bed and change to lighter linens
  • Flip all mattresses


  • Change shower curtains
  • Purge worn towels or bath mats
  • Organize vanity – dispose of expired medications and cosmetics
  • Clean tiled areas and check grout for discoloration
  • Clean mirror thoroughly

Are you exhausted yet? I found these detailed instructions by a Boston/Martha's Vineyard Architect with photographs here. Enjoy your weekend. xo

Friday, April 5, 2019

Robert Frost Quote about April

This quote describes an April Day perfectly. via

Yesterday afternoon I did a first mowing of a large portion of my rear property. I did not do a fall cleanup and my walk-behind mower did a fine job of cleaning up the overgrowth and crunching the leaves the wind didn't blow away. When my Robins return, they will love it. The deer are mad at me and are staying way back where the high field growth is and more long shoots of spring grasses. This is fine with me! It felt good to be outside and the weather was ideal for just a fleece. Today it cold again and rather gloomy with showers coming later. I wanted to do the front today but I need more gasoline and I am too lazy to rush out and refill my cans before the rain starts. It will just have to wait for the next nice day. I want to go over the front before the wild violets come up.
Happy Friday -- have a great weekend. xo

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Bluebirds Building in A Nest Box

This photo brings joy to my heart. I fear I won't have bluebirds in my box since the wrens took over two years running. So far, it's empty and cleaned out so I still have hope. Photo and a story found here. The females do all the interior decorating!

I have had this bluebird photo saved to my desktop for a long time because it's so lovely. I cannot remember where I found it but will post the source when I find it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Duck and Ducklings

This proud mama's babies have hatched and are already almost too big to wrap her wings around. I hope I will be able to photograph some wild turkey chicks on my property this spring. Duck photo found here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Duplex Bird House

I guess the black-capped chickadee likes privacy and the mother robin doesn't. Robins build messy nests like this one on a ledge below my balcony and I do believe this chickadee is judging it. Can you see a look of disgust on her little face too? via

Monday, April 1, 2019

The PERFECT Living Room

I wouldn't change a thing. Teleport me there now. 

Hello, April

Happy April Fool's Day. This calendar page by Walter Crane has the perfect illustration for welcoming in the first month of Spring that we've all been so anxiously awaiting. It's bright and sunny with a blue cloudless sky here at my cottage but still chilly. I can't believe we are already into this year's second quarter. My, how time flies.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

DIY Stuffed Cats + Pattern Made from Old Sweaters

These cashmere cats looks simple to make and you could even add long floppy ears to turn them into rabbits for Easter presents. Directions here.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Dog Rules for My Friend Missy

I photographed this sign in the home of a friend who has a dog named Missy. She is shown below in a field of long grass on an exercise run. She's really well behaved in the house and isn't allowed on the furniture but she actually prefers the dog bed I gave her that belonged to Webster. 

She's a rescue dog too. I'm still not ready to get one of my own but can visit Missy anytime.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Coldwell Banker, Established 1906 (My Real Estate Office)

My real estate office moved to a downtown location on Main Street in Madison NJ in late June of 2018 and today we had a Grand Opening and a Ribbon Cutting by the Mayor. It was well attended and a lot of fun. The catered lunch was amazing as well. I snapped the new storefront decor on my way home. Coldwell Banker was founded in 1906 and when you are standing at the window the cutout dates feature vintage photos of the original founders from that time period. Click photo to enlarge.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Unboxing My Surprise Gift from A Blog Follower

An antique English Ironstone soap dish and two mystery boxes tied with bunny ribbon.

A natural bristle nail brush and a bar of Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Soap. It is infused with rosemary, sage and time and has fine pumice to gently clean my gardening hands.

The verse on my card is sweet. "It is often difficult to tell if a hedgehog is ticklish. If you try, you're more likely to find him pricklish."

I rearranged the cleaning supplies I leave in plain view on the counter behind my double farm sink and now I am ready for spring garden cleanup too. I always wear gloves when I work outside but I also manage to get my hands very dirty when I take them off for fine work. I already had the Gardeners Hand Scrub and my old nail brush was too embarrassing to leave out. I am fanatical about clean nails and I adore this new brush. Thank you, Katherine for such thoughtful gifts in appreciation of my blog. I am also impressed that you were able to find my address at the office. Some of the associates at my meeting yesterday wanted me to open the gifts right away but I decided to wait and open them for you and my other faithful blog followers and friends after I got home. Today's post was fun to prepare and present. xo

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Gift of Miniature Daffodils

I went to a Broker Open House near my cottage yesterday and the listing agent was handing out pots of miniature daffodils to all the realtors who came to the preview. I was so excited and came directly home to plant these bulbs where I can see them when working at my laptop in my pantry office. I told her this gift was so much better than a catered lunch and she smiled. I was able to divide the root-bound pot into three plantings which will multiply over the years. Now I want more! As you can see I have yet to begin any spring cleanup.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Table as Island in Kitchen

I love this long antique table used as an island in this gorgeous kitchen. The tabletop is painted with a diamond design as is the floor. I love everything I see in this photo I found while surfing Instagram.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Wren Building Nest on my Balcony

This is an awful photo but I got one of the busy wrens that are building a nest in a decorative tin birdhouse left on my balcony all winter. I don't have the heart to tell them it's going to be too hot in there this summer. I will put an old painted shutter resting overhead on the railing if they are determined to live there all summer long. Both the male and the female are sharing in the hard work of gathering twigs and debris for their family home. Wrens are my favorite little birds because I love their cheerful chattering all day long. This abode is near my rear bedroom window and I look forward to waking up to their birdsong once I can go to sleep with my windows open. xo

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Barn Owl in Flight

Photographed  at The International Centre for Birds of Prey Newent, Gloucestershire, England by ©Tony Llewellyn - Flickr -- I posted this image back in 2010

See all of my former owl posts here. In case you haven't guessed, I am very fond of owls.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Beautiful Barn Owl

Is she on the inside looking out or on the outside looking in? My guess is the former. Have a great first weekend of spring.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Chicken Wire Wallpaper

I photographed this wall in an eat-in kitchen  last week when I toured a cozy farmhouse cottage on an estate. Don't you just love this chicken wire wallpaper and the star sconces? Click photo to enlarge photo for the best viewing experience. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Antiquarian Print: Rabbit circa 1809

Perfect 19th century Easter Bunny

Full size Natural History plate. Napoleon I, 1809-17, Description de l'Egypte: Histoires Naturelles Planches. Volume 1. Mammifères. Plate 6. Egyptian Mongoose and Lepus aegyptiacus from the rare book collection at Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

First Day of Spring

Happy First Day of Spring.
It's not until 5:00 this afternoon, but it's here. It will be quite a while before real tulips bloom so here's one of my John Derian tulip plates to help you celebrate. The decoupage paperweight below is from his shop.

I have given up on growing tulips because the deer and rabbits love them. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous and pest free so I'll stick with them.