22 June 2008
No picture today, just food for thought. I had the priviledge of watching the John Adams miniseries produced by HBO this weekend as it is now out on DVD. For anyone interested in American History who desires an amazing look at life at the time of the Revolution, this is a must see. I've long been a fan of some of the writings of John Adams. He always struck me as a man of great insight. In looking up more information on him and after watching the David McCullough special, "Painting with Words" (also on the DVD set), this quote struck me as one that is as pertinent today as it was 200 years ago. What a change would be effected in our world if each of us took this to heart and encouraged our children and one another to excell in these ways.
21 June 2008
This week's to do list includes many things that I need to "catch up" on. Lots of projects nearing completion, a trip to prepare for, swaps to acknowledge and time to process the passing on of one of my life inspirations.
One of the sewing projects I've been working on is a set of small linen zippered bags. I finished the smallest one and had to show you! It gives me a chance to use some of the cherished mother of pearl buttons that have been languishing in the button jar. When I got the embroidery done, I thought it needed something more, so I added the bone bunny charm.
The inside is lined with a soft green calico that I love.
Earlier this week illustrator and author Tasha Tudor passed away at 92 years of age. While I mourn her passing, I also stand in awe of the enormous body of work she left behind. I've been collecting her books and have a shelf full of them that I peruse frequently.
My favorite Tasha Tudor book is "A Time to Keep". Each month is depicted with verse, pictures and activities that I find charming and beautiful. She illustrated an idyllic world that has been an enormous inspiration in my own, ever since I received my first Tasha Tudor book, "And It Was So" when I was 2 or 3 years old.
Probably the best glimpse into her life is the three books photographed by Richard Brown; "The Private World of Tasha Tudor", "Tasha Tudor's Garden", and "The Heirloom Crafts of Tasha Tudor." The family of Tasha Tudor also operates a website which offers many of her works for sale and a short biography as well as monthly "Tea Stories" about Tasha's life. The family is also working to create a museum to honor Tasha's life.
One of my fond memories of Tasha Tudor occured In 2002 when I was priviledged to meet Tasha in person and to hear her speak . We had a delightful conversation about spinning wheels and making lifestyle choices in this day and age. The event was held at the Adams Family Farm and many of the individuals mentioned in her books as well as her daughter-in-law Marjorie and grandson Winslow were there. We were able to participate in many of the handcrafts that Tasha undertook in her daily life such as spinning and dying wool and making and using herbal preparations . We also had tea, observed the process of processing maple sap into syrup, gardening Tasha style, sheep shearing and more. My memories are of a wonderful day and I'm so glad I was able to make the trip to Vermont and meet Tasha.
On to other inspiring artisans. A little while back I participated in Karla and Beth's Birds and Bonnets swap. Each participant created 4 panels, decorated front and back using images supplied by The Vintage Workshop. I made 4 nearly identical panels. Some of the participants created panels that were all differentl. We sent them to Karla and Beth who then compiled them into sets of 4 and sent them to all the participants. I received my set a week or so ago. What fun to see the way everyone used the same sets of graphics in such varied and interesting ways! I've displayed mine on a shelf in my living room with two birdhouses.
Here is a closer look at the front side. From left to right, the panels were made by: Rachel Whetzel, Colleen Jew, Jan Thomason, Sharon Mansell.
Here is the reverse side. Artists are same as above but from right to left.
19 June 2008
This past week, the grocery store had lovely flowers in my favorite shades of ivory blush and pink. A gorgeous bouquet of peonies and another one of roses came home with me. The roses have opened beautifully. They add a touch of beauty to the simple summer display on top of the china cabinet. Sadly, they don't seem to have any scent at all.
The peonies were in various states of buds and blooms when I bought them. Now, all have opened into lush flower heads. I had forgetten how lovely the scent of peonies can be. So delicate and feminine. Lovely to have the bouquet sitting near to where I am sitting.
I got a new camera this past week and have been playing with it. My old one still works but is becoming outdated and I'm finding it imcompatible with my new laptop. I still think it takes nicer pictures, but that might just be because I am still learning how to operate the new one. The Kitties made great subjects to try the new camera out. Here is handsome Thomas sitting beside the sliding door where he likes to sit and watch the chipmunks, mice and birds at play on the patio.
Miss Mollie becomes Princess Mollie from time to time. Doesn't she look like a pampered and precious kitty sitting on top of the china cabinet amidst the roses, lace and other floral decor?
14 June 2008
Southwestern Iowa was my home for two years while I went to nursing school. I loved the rural countryside, the pace of life that respected and worked with the seasons. Many of my happiest days were spent exploring the countryside and finding hidden treasures of beauty. Since Iowa has been much on my mind the past few days, with all the news of flooding across the state, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite spots through some of the photographs I took while there. Recently, I discovered dumpr.net and their "lomo" tool to saturate photos, so I have used it on all of these. Now the photos match my memory more accurately as Iowa in the spring has to be one of the worlds greenest and lushest places.
Winterset City Park is lovely and catches one by surprise. Who would expect to see exquisite stonework bridges and medieval type towers in a small community in the middle of Iowa? This became one of my favorite places in Iowa. A glimpse of the stone bridge and the park were seen in the movie, Bridges of Madison County.
Clark Tower was built in the 1920's as a tribute to some of Wintersets early citizens. To get there, one follows a winding narrow dirt road through the woods. It is lovely and peaceful.
The park also contains the Cutler-Donahoe covered bridge, moved here to preserve it for posterity. It is lovely in spring with the magnolia blooming and woods leafing out.
Not far from Winterset, is Pammel State Park. Here there is an old mill dam and a wonderful "bridge" carved through the stone outcropping. I love how the greenery dangles down across the opening.
The green verdure of this area is stunning. The woods are filled with oak, sycamore, hickory, redbud, hazelnut and black walnut trees. Underneath there are wild roses, elderberry and a host of smaller trees and shrubs too numerous to name.
North of Interstate 80, along a rural road is a woodland park known as Sutcliffe Woodland. Here, a couple who cherished Iowa's woodlands, worked to preserve and collect a broad selection of the area's plantlife. In a glade with picnic tables, they planted peonies and ressurection lilies. It is a spot straight out of fairyland. When my daughter and I "lucked" upon it, the ressurection lilies were in full bloom. It was magical!
Spring in Iowa is a thing of beauty. It is the spring that I always dreamed about. I loved to drive the back roads, the windows down, smelling the rich damp earth, the smell of green grass, of blossoming trees, listening all the while to a symphony of birdsong. This lovely pastoral scene is one of my favorite and you may recognize it as the inspiration for one of my paintings.
I have so many beautiful memories of Iowa. In the future I'll share more of them with you, such as a trip to the Bridges of Madison County, a trip through the countryside, to the lakeside and a view of autumn in Iowa. In truth, if my family were there, I would move back in a heartbeat and never look back.
11 June 2008
Come take a walk with me, down memory's lane, and visit my old garden. I have been missing this garden and it's bounty of luscious roses and other flowers. These pictures were taken between 2002 and 2004 before I moved away.
Come down the sidewalk and visit for a bit!
The rose was planted by the previous owners. All they were able to tell me about the climbing rose was that it was pink. When we bought the house, it was cut all the way to the ground. By August it had reached the gutter and I knew it was really a climbing rose, so a dear friend built the lovely arbor for me. The rose flourished on the arbor as you can see!
On through the arbor towards the front. The rose by the front porch is the English rose, Abraham Darby, one of my all time favorites! Such a lovely spicy scent and luscious colors!
As you walk down the front walk we pass the table where we can sit and share a cup of tea.
This is the front bed in early June, before the roses have taken over. Filled with soap wort, flowering thyme, sea thrift and small varieties of campanula.
Later in June, the Delphinium skyrocket with lush pale blue spires amidst the roses. The climber on the left end of the porch is a New Dawn rose. In Colorado's intense sun, the blooms are nearly white and only blushed with a tiny amount of palest pink.
I've posted more pictures of my garden to my Flickr account. I would be delighted if you stopped to take a look! The potted plants on my patio pale in comparison to my garden of old. One day, I'll have another garden. Until then, I'll dream of the pink and apricot roses and pale blue delphinium of my old garden.
09 June 2008
I reorganized the linen closet today, refolding the linens and stacking them neatly. I find it a calming task. Lovely old linen, filet crochet, embroidery. All in peaceful shades of white. These are my favorites, the ones that exhibit the time and handiwork of someone in the past.
Each time I reorganize the linen closet, I come across something that had slipped from my memory. This time, it was this padded satin stitch monogram on linen with deeply scalloped borders done in padded buttonhole stitch. Upon inspecting the entire piece, one can see that it must have covered a small table at one time, each corner wearing a soft spot or hole into the linen.
Another shelf of the linen closet contains stacks of tablecloths. Blue and white, white, pink, printed clothes from the 40's and 50's, crochet and even a couple of modern day cotton cloths.
The top of the linen closet hold other items. The pair of matching old hat boxes that contain knitting supplies and the Buffalo hat and muff that belonged to our dear friend Miss Jessie who wore them when she homesteaded on the Montana prairie over 100 years ago. There is a basket for floral arrangements, extra towels and cotton rugs and a lovely wool needlepoint rug in black with pink roses that is currently not being used.
02 June 2008
"The trouble is, I've got things the matter with my conscience," sobbed Anne.
Oh, this has been such a Jonah day, Marilla.
Anne of Avonlea, Chapter XII
My Jonah day involved sitting there, feeling sorry for myself and moaning to God about it. And believe me, I had quite a list of complaints and things to be upset about. I even grumped at Him about Himself and how sometimes, though I believe deeply even without it, how it would be nice to have sign, a real sign, for confirmation now and then, that he really is listening to me. As I grumbled on, He told me rather sharply that I was becoming a bit like Jonah.
You know Jonah. The reluctant prophet who heard God’s command but didn’t’ want to follow through. And so God allowed him to be cast into the sea into the belly of a great fish, until Jonah was repentant, at which time God delivered him. And so Jonah went and did the task, which God gave him, to tell the city of Ninevah that if they did not repent, Ninevah would experience the wrath of God. And Ninevah did repent and their repentance angered Jonah, so he went outside the city to wait for God’s judgment, but when it didn’t come, he was angry that God didn’t punish Ninevah. So God had a plant grow to give him shade in that place and Jonah was thankful for it. But then God had a worm come destroy the plant as quickly as it had grown. And Jonah pitied the dead plant and thought he’d rather die because the plant had died, though he was still angry that Ninevah was saved. But God showed Jonah how much more important the people of Ninevah that repented were than the plant and that Jonah’s anger and thoughts were not worthy.
God’s challenge to Jonah was this, “Do you do well to be angry…?” And so it was, that I realized that my anger at my ever longer list of “woes” was not worthy of my anger and despair. I learned that what was more important was whether I am being obedient to God, if I am allowing him to use me, where I am and whether or not I am able to be thankful for what he has given me in this time and this place.
It made me see how sad it is when we get so caught up in all the things in our lives that are “wrong” that we don’t see all the good things.
So instead of moping through yet another day, I got up and found that my day held many things to be thankful for. Simple things, like changing the winter bedding of heavy flannels, quilts and comforters to soft cottons and a linen coverlet.
The flowers potted on the patio, Snapdragons, Phlox, Petunias and Pansies.
The box of millinery flowers that I found when I cleaned the storage shed a couple of days ago. I’ve been craving millinery flowers after seeing so many lovely ones on other people’s blogs and wondering how to get some for myself (a little covetousness perhaps? Something else to work on.) And yet here it turns out I have a whole boxful. And what fun to see it paired with this old sheet music. So now instead of wishing, I need to come up with something creative to use these on.
And there are projects in the works. A new dress for wearing around the house. A thrifted pattern that has just the right amount of relaxed ease and alters easily. I’ll make the sleeves fitted ¾ length and a muslin apron right out of Jane Austen’s time to go with it for doing chores.
And my new stash of rosey fabrics to use in various projects.
And speaking of Austen, there is the new version of “Sense & Sensibility” that was produced by the BBC and WBGH. My new favorite movie! I love the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet version, but this new one touches me in a way the other did not. The cottage they go to is wonderful. Imagine my delight then to find that one can actually rent this cottage! Something else to add to my wish list for when I eventually get to travel to Great Britain!
The evening ray of light through the trees that lit up the new leaves.
Even tucking the apartment up for night, shutting the doors and blinds while listening to the lingering notes of birdsong after the sun has set. So many things to be thankful for if I simply stop whining, take the time to open my eyes and enjoy the day. Thank you Lord, for helping me to see.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
Psalm 42:5, 6a