Monday, August 21, 2017

Sunflowers for the total eclipse . . . . . . . . . . .

This weekend, as I entered Trader Joe's to pick up a ball of fresh
 pizza dough and a couple of bottles of rosé wine (still the best refreshing
 drink for our continuing heatwave - high 90's and so humid), I was again
 blown away by the selection of colorful, affordable floral offerings. 
Five beautiful sunflowers for just $3.99.
My daisies from last week are still fresh, and a few more sprigs of dill
 from the garden are tucked in. Adding sunflowers seemed perfect for
 some happy color on the table.

I'm not planning to actually look at the total solar eclipse today, saving my eyes!
 No photos planned, but we'll definitely be aware of it here in North Carolina
 where it will become dark early to mid-afternoon. 

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot 
see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do.
~ Helen Keller ~

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Look At Life III. . . . . . . . . .

Peaceful moments in England, Ireland, France and North Carolina - 2016

Hope you are enjoying your weekend wherever you are.

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Look At Life II. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Photos from Ireland, England and North Carolina - 2016

Still working at getting back on track here on the blog.
I'm needing some time to plan, organize, think through, relax, discover, detox the
 body and perhaps more importantly the mind. I've stopped watching television news. 
Am I sticking my head in the sand to save my sanity?
 Maybe I am, but at my age I can do that. 
Currently I'm having a difficult time with the world situation. 

I want to enjoy the beauty of life.
For a start, I need to spend more time on my huge library of photographs
 from the seven continents, doing something worthwhile with them.

This past week I watched the most amazing two hour program on my
 PBS station - Ireland's Wild Coast (watch the trailer) with
 award-winning Irish cinematographer, Colin Stafford-Johnson. 
Be certain to see the program if you can.
Since visiting there last year I've not stopped thinking about the glorious
 beauty, magnificence, peacefulness of that lovely country's Western Coast.
If it was at all possible I believe I would move there tomorrow, or even today!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A look at life. . . . . . . . .

The days are flying by much too fast and I feel somewhat overwhelmed. 
The humid days of August have sapped my energy ~ I'm just tired.
 A little break is needed so I'll be missing for a few days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The color purple. . . . . . . . . .

At the weekend I carried home bunches of purple stock, white daisies, and some
smokey greenery, all from Trader Joe's and less than $10.00 total. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . bringing loveliness to the dining room table.

I added stems of dill flowers from the garden - the perfumes mingle gently
 and the colors are cool and refreshing on these sticky, humid August days.

Summertime in the south, especially the month of August, you just have to
 grin and bear it knowing that Autumn can't be too far away.

Did you see that purple is becoming the 'it' color in decor - yes purple is definitely
 in the air. I do love the cooler purple hues, such as a deep periwinkle blue-purple,
 rather than the warmer shades such as fig with more red - and of course 
true blue-black aubergine purple is always my favorite.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A cloud of southern humidity. . . . . . . . .

Southern hospitality is great - but they can keep
 southern humidity!

The past several August days have seen us enveloped in a cloak of humidity
 almost unworthy of discussion!
Just let me say, walking out the door in a pair of 'sunnies' at 5 o'clock Saturday to
 attend a lovely 60th birthday party for a friend, I was immediately sightless as the
 sunglasses clouded over. Trying to take outdoor photos in this humidity is hopeless!

I'm always rooting basil cuttings on the kitchen windowsill - then replanting them
 in my pots outside. Basil has been amazing this year. Pesto-making has become
 almost a daily habit. I've spent small fortune in pine nuts, good olive oil and
 Parmigiano Reggiano - thank goodness garlic is cheap! 
 I'll miss being able to clip big bunches of fresh basil come Winter - I do have
 lots of little pesto packets tucked into the freezer though.
This is pretty, airy dill - another herb I'm growing in pots outside and which also 
makes a lovely fragrant addition to cut flowers in the house. 

~ Some of my many garden herbs ~
Note: I'm allowing the morning glories to clamber over the hydrangeas as
they have few blooms this year due to the Spring freeze. I really miss 
those lovely flowers.

~ Dill and parsley ~

 Think yourself fortunate not to be living in the south right now . . . . . . . unless of
 course you do enjoy heat, and weren't raised in a cool (usually) Summer climate
 as I was. I will never enjoy the heat and humidity even though I've lived here longer
 than any other place. . . . . . . forty very hot and humid Summers.

Today I'm not doing much, just being lazy in the heat with threatening rain
 and thunderstorms which usually arrive late afternoon.
The sun has decided to hide in the cloud cover - it's the kind of day to stay 
home. . . . . . . . I think I'll bake scones, or a cake with some fresh peaches 
eyeing me from a bowl on the kitchen island.

Just realized, this is definitely a very 'green post'.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sunnies, sunshine, summer cooking, Spanish summer wines. . . . . . . .

Saturday already! 
I've had a really busy week and am behind in many things. But I haven't been
 basking in the sun wearing new 'sunnies' (I love how Australians call sunglasses
 by that name). . . . . . . . . . . . 

via Zara

. . . . . . . .or lazing on a beach under clear blue skies with my hair held
back by a new velvet turban headband (I'm actually growing my hair a bit and 
one of these might useful).

More sunnies. . . . . . . .but I've been in the kitchen where I only need my
 magnifying readers which I now purchase in a 3-pack - and I really like the
 Costco version. Somehow though they all end up in the same room - and it's
 never the room where I need a pair!

Yes, said I wouldn't make any this year!  Again I was talked into a small batch 
as just when I thought that really severe Spring frost had damaged the trees
 and the figs would suffer, they are awesome and just keep coming. . . . . .  into
 the kitchen via my fig-picking husband! Sharing fresh figs with neighbors,
 friends and of course birds and squirrels - plenty for all.
This year's jam is so good - I added strawberries
 and really like the flavor.

Cutting off fresher than fresh summer corn and cooking up a pot
 of the best Corn Chowder ever. . . . . .thanks to Barbara Kafka's recipe 
in her great cookbook SOUP.

Lastly, drinking good rosé wine is part of Summertime refreshment around
 here in our hot, humid southeast climate. My favorite is always dry but there are
 many for those who prefer sweet wines. I still think Spain produces some of the
 best rosé and these are two I have found to be reasonably priced, available locally
 and good. There's a huge selection of rosé this year from France, California, 
Argentina, and Spain.
 I contacted my brother in the south of France to see what they are drinking and
 he recommended the Garnacha (Grenache) from an area of Spain not far from
 his home. They are fruity with notes of ripe strawberry, orange, hibiscus, and
 sometimes a hint of allspice. Often with more color than the palest pink rosés
 from Provençe etc., they have moderate acidity and must be served well-chilled
 to keep them zesty.

Have a great weekend.

Edited: Aug. 16, 2017
Both of these wines have been tried over the past week and I just wanted to say the LAGRANJA far surpasses the ORONTA for my taste buds!  It's a beautiful color and has much more flavor, dry but fruity. The other one is more mineral tasting. Just a heads up!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A last glimpse of Sicily. . . . . . . . . .

Prior to moving many photos off the laptop into portable storage, 
just wanted to share these remaining ones taken in Sicily in May.
Enjoy, and remember, this Italian island is a truly beautiful place to visit if you
 have the chance. I would love to return some day for the scenery, the history,
 the oranges and lemons. . . . . . and the best pizza ever!

"Arrivederci stunning Sicily".

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . .. . Buttoned

Buttoned up 
Button-down shirt 
Button your lip 
Buttons & Bows

I looked about the cottage and found buttons are part of my life.
They appeared on clothing, sandals, bed linens. . . . . . . and many on 
pillows. Back in my sewing years I was always making pillow covers 
and my favorite way of closure was not zippers but buttons. I have a
huge collection of antique buttons including mother-of-pearl, Bakelite,
metal, and even crocheted. These I loved to use to embellish a pillow 
cover and, fortunately, I had an automatic buttonholer on my machine
which saved a lot of time.

My 'sketch' from a photo, with a little help from PicMonkey and pencils of course, is
of one of my French toile fabric pillows 'buttoned' with antique mother-of-pearl buttons. 

Above you can see the real thing along with another 'buttoned' pillow cover I made.

Scribble Picnic theme for today is BUTTONED, yet another 
fun challenge from Michael.
Hope you will visit there and see what the group have come
up with this week.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Antique Wedgwood find. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There are a lot of antiques shops in the sleepy river town of New Bern, NC.
Across from our hotel was also a large, very clean, well organized antiques
 and auction mall. Booths were loaded with everything from a stunning antique
 $7,000 Scottish grandfather clock, to this perfect, for me, $8.00 china beauty!

I almost missed it as it was on a plate hanger down low on the side of a display case.
I gently took it off the hook and turned it over before really even looking at the 
lovely transferware blue flowers. It's more of a shallow bowl (for soup I believe) than
 a plate and seeing the Wedgwood back stamp I knew it was old.
The crack doesn't bother me, I have a lot of well-worn, crazed, cracked and
 chipped, but much loved pieces of china. The flowers are beautiful and the blue
shades are perfection.

This Wedgwood pattern is 'LACE'  and the intricate lace design surrounds the bowl.
I brought it home and spent some time online trying to locate more of this 
china pattern, only coming up with one cup and saucer, described as 'rare',
 for sale on Etsy.

I have however been able to date my piece via a listing of Wedgwood marks.
It was made by Josiah Wedgwood in 1893 at the Etruria Ceramics Factory, 
Staffordshire, England. So it's definitely an 'antique' and I'm enjoying it here
on the Welsh dresser in the dining room.

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