Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday...................

Easter blessings to you and your loved ones.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Favorite Thing - Texture....................

Linens for my bed...................

...........and to dry my china.

A beautiful place to stay, La Madone in Apt, Provence.
These linen pillow covers and the above tea towels 
came home with me some years ago.

Throws from Pottery Barn - aren't they beautiful?

And then there's always cotton.....mixed with linen or wool. 
Don't you love natural fibers in your home, on your body, everywhere!

Linking to Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage for another Favorite Thing Saturday. 
Drop by to see some great posts.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter elephants?

I hadn't been shopping or even looking at the local Homegoods store for months and months and months! So many other things got in the way, especially travel to destinations requiring items such as waterproof clothes and rubber boots......not pretties for the home.

So on my way back from somewhere or other one day last week, my car somehow turned right instead of going straight and I found myself parking, and then walking, towards the Homegoods entrance doors.

If you've stopped by recently, or perhaps you make it a weekly excursion in case you miss out on something gorgeous at a phenomenal discount, you know what I'm talking about. 
The automatic doors swing open. Immediately your treasure hunting eye beholds the china and glass displays......and that's where I come to a full stop. They always have amazing things for a special little nook or cranny in your home, and at a price you really can't pass up.
I don't require more Easter decor for the cottage. I've cut back to my favorite large white rabbits and a few other things............but I'm a sucker for bowls and elephants!
I saw these two on a lower shelf all alone and the colors so perfect for Springtime. At around $4 each they hopped lumbered (as elephants do) into my basket and came home to meet the rabbits. 

As sweet as they are they're also practical - microwave/dishwasher safe. 
When granddaughter stayed 
over for the weekend we loved having our 
oatmeal with berries and cream in these bowls.......
we can't put those white rabbits to such good use. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The demitasse............................

Do you use demitasse cups?  

I have this lovely set of six creamy toned demitasse cups and saucers. Designed and manufactured by the historic Wedgwood company as part of its Queen's Ware line first manufactured in 1765, the pattern is named 'EDME'. My set is of course not that old. One day about 20 years ago while on lunch break from my office, I discovered it in a local antiques shop and grabbed it quickly. It was love at first sight! The design is classical and beautiful. With fluted sides, the small pedestal bottomed cups with graceful handles, are comfortable to hold as one sips elegantly. Yes, I think elegance comes to mind when drinking a strong espresso from a somewhat dainty cup like this. Not used daily in our cottage, but after a special dinner this is a nice way to serve a small coffee if desired.

You can read about the world's he largest collection of demitasse sets - according to the Guinness Book of World Records - HERE. Wedgwood is sadly no longer a family company, but the interesting history of Josiah Wedgwood and the company is detailed HERE.

Right now I'm off to make a large coffee in my favorite big mug. Cheers!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beautiful voices.....................

Raleigh, North Carolina

A drive into the city on a chilly, windy Sunday afternoon 
(last weekend) is well worth the effort..............when 
it's to listen to someone special sing their heart out! 

Granddaughter was performing with her high school 
chorus and the North Carolina Master Chorale in 
Bach's 'St. John Passion', sung in German. 
This music telling the Easter story was really beautiful. 

During the Intermission I was able to catch a quick shot 
(only had my iPhone handy) of Jasmin up on stage. 
There were approximately 270 voices in the combined 
chorale and chorus, several excellent professional 
operatic performers singing the solo parts, 
and a great orchestra. 

We loved it all and, even better news, is that Jasmin will 
now have the opportunity to take voice lessons from the 
lovely soprano soloist who performed that afternoon. 
We are so excited for her........we've never had a soprano, 
or any other lovely voice in the family.

And what did we do this weekend? Jasmin stayed over with 
us and we spent time doing fun things such as shopping, 
eating out, attending a neighbor's Saturday 
night party..........and someone had fun 
painting her nails!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Favorite Thing - Easter dressing..................

Time to bring out the Easter finery.......choose 
hat to wear if the sun shines and the showers, and 
for some of you snow, stay away. 
I love straw hats and have a small collection. 
These were made for me by a friend many years ago.

I've shared these hat boxes here before. Formerly 
flowery patterned boxes from Tuesday Morning, I covered 
them in scrap wrapping paper, adding a piece from a very 
old French magazine.......that hat looks a lot like mine.

I have this pale green, hand-painted, linen dress to wear, 
made by the same talented friend who created the hats. 
Sort of timeless in style and perfect with either of 
these hats.................
a bit vintage looking, mid-calf 
comfy, effortless, and hanging in my closet 
for several years. Out it comes again. 
It will work just fine if we have a warm, dry day.

Linking this post to Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage 
for A Favorite Thing Saturday. 
Stop by there to share some great posts.

Do you dress up at Easter? What will you wear this 
year......and are you expecting warm weather?

Friday, March 22, 2013

'Waiting the wind' - Elephant Island.......

January 24, 2013 - Point Wild, Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands
Good visibility, overcast, snow
Wind: NW4-5; Sea: NW swell; Air Temp: 1C (33F)

Our time on South Georgia Island had been graced with calm conditions. Due to extreme weather, earlier landings attempted by other ships had not always been possible in January. We knew we were lucky. Heading south with planned landings at Gold Harbor, once in the open sea the winds picked up to 45 knots with water whipped into a lather making it impossible for the M/S Expedition to hold position and drop anchor. Heading on, conditions worsened with winds gusting to 70 knots thwarting attempts for any landings and 'waiting the wind' was no longer an option. Reluctantly we steamed southwest. The winds never flagged so it was the correct decision to say goodbye to awesome South Georgia. The Antarctic continent was ahead. 

With two rough days crossing the Scotia Sea, many passengers were queasy and sea sickness pills were being swallowed left and right - fortunately I (and Paula) didn't have any problems - perhaps all this sailing is agreeing with me and I have become a sailor of sorts! Patches of fog kept the ship's horn busy to notify any other ships of our presence. Days at sea are far from boring on expedition type cruises. When not on deck watching for wildlife, attending lectures, movies, chatting with interesting people from many countries, even entertainment, make the time pass almost too quickly.......and there's always knitting!!!!

Approaching Elephant Island, Sir Ernest Shackleton's historic campsite, was quite sobering. Recalling that he had to leave 22 of his men on this unprotected island to survive for 4 1/2 months, living under their overturned lifeboats, was almost impossible to imagine. A giant ice-covered, wind-blown outcrop of rock, lashed by freezing storms, it was incomprehensible to think the men could survive here, awaiting the return of the 'Boss' with a rescue ship. 

 Dropping anchor in light snow to ready for exploration 
of historic Elephant Island.

There is nowhere to land on the island, the small beach where Shackleton landed having been eroded over the years.  The Zodiacs were launched in quite significant rolling swells, probably the roughest water I've rode on this form of transport - quite exciting but bitterly cold as it continued to snow lightly.

Chinstrap penguins heading for a swim.

 Paula readying her camera for her always awesome shots 
of this amazing scenery.

Visibility was quite good in the early morning muted light - photos were mostly monochromatic.........

....with our parkas providing the only bright colors.

The Chinstrap colony of about 2000 breeding pairs were 
quite comfortable on their cold island home.

Yes, that is a statue standing atop Point Wild - a marker of that significant place where men who were thought lost forever, were eventually rescued. It is a bust of Pilato Pardo, Captain of the Yelcho, the Chilean steam tug lent to Shackleton to rescue the group in August 1916. 

Capt. Pardo up close.

The steep tidewater glacier - the color is natural, not edited - proving that Antarctica is not just blinding white!

Although Summer here, there was a lot of sea ice in this area..... holding what could have been a very old chunk of ice. 

Sea ice has been growing in Antarctica. Last Winter, northward blowing winds caused record growth. 
The annual growth of sea ice in Antarctica is the largest seasonal event on the planet.

This visit to one of the most unique locations was 
memorable in many ways.

These marvelous words say it all...............

Most people might be oppressed by such surroundings, 
with its silence and inhuman expanses...
But he who seeks peace and quiet in Nature, undisturbed 
by human activity, will find what he seeks....even though, 
beset in the ice, one is a plaything of the forces of Nature.

- Fridjof Nansen, Norwegian Explorer 1861-1930 -

Next time - we'll visit beautiful Half Moon Island at the entrance to Moon Bay, South Shetlands. An exciting landing where I'll take you climbing along the 'penguin highway'......with our waiting host!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ready for Spring?


This sweet Mourning dove made itself comfortable on my front porch at the weekend. It was actually lying down on the rail for about half an hour at one cameras weren't handy so I didn't catch that pose as it soaked up the sunshine.  Next day it returned, well I'm thinking it was the same one, so I was ready and managed a few nice shots through the dining room window. They are such sweet birds, never causing any trouble, cooing to their long time loved one, and scratching in the garden leaves.

Lots of robins about now, we have counted as many as 20 at a time on the front lawn, and several in the birdbaths, a sure sign that Spring is only hours away! Yes, the calendar shows Wednesday is the vernal equinox, the official first day of Spring........although many of you north of here are still shoveling white stuff and peering into frozen flowerbeds for signs of life.

The birds around me hopped and played, 
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

- Wm Wordsworth - 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Friends in friendly places..........................

I still miss having a booth here at SuzAnna's Antiques where I loved not only 'playing shop', but also the camaraderie shared with like-minded women, and a few men, who enjoy the hunt for, and love of, old things. The shop has grown in so many ways since I first set foot inside the original small building a week or so after it opened many years ago. During my times of travel away from home I often wonder what's happening there, and what treasures I may be missing. Sadly, I haven't been spending much time hanging out lately but hope to get by more as the weather warms up.......and before I leave on another adventure.

When visiting last weekend, besides hunting for green for seasonal decorating, I found some more interesting things to share with you here.

Dealers come and go, some stay for years others move on for one reason or another. All bring their finds to entice and excite the serious shoppers or casual browsers. If one wants to learn about decorating a home, start a collection, add to a previous one, it's the place to be. It's not a business to make one wealthy, it is a happy hobby or pastime where you meet super people who may become lifelong friends. It happened to me, and 
SuzAnna's will always have a big, warm place in my heart.

Recent new additions to the original building are awesome glass houses - and a little bird told me you can order one for your own home or garden.

My granddaughter Jasmin (below in the shop), who spent much of her early childhood hanging around SuzAnna's with me, works here on the weekends, a nice break from the rigorous Monday thru Friday high school routine. I will always be grateful to beautiful mother/daughter owners Susie and Jenny for hiring Jasmin a couple of years ago, giving her a first job and the chance to learn about retail, to love antiques and vintage pretties, and try her hand at creative display.

Here's a link to SuzAnna's Antiques where you will be updated often on all the great treasures being offered. 
The shop has expanded and is part of what has become Vintage Village with several other shops, including Two Old Birds, another of my personal favorites - love those sisters Susan and Debbie. 
A few hours spent here will be fun and often quite rewarding if you enjoy antiques and vintage.
Nothing better than spending a warm, sunny Spring day browsing and buying something wonderful to brighten up your home or garden after the long Winter. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wearing the green..................


..........yes, I know I'm English but I'm married 
to an Irishman so have to celebrate when 
March 17 rolls around each year as it will tomorrow.

I visited SuzAnna's Antiques last weekend............lots 
of great green displayed in readiness for those 
smart thifters and antiques lovers who want 
to decorate for St. Patty's Day or any other day. Think 
Spring green - it's just around the corner too!

There's a green hat tucked in there, but the old 
leather boots grabbed my attention first.......perhaps 
they came on tired and anxious feet across the pond all 
those years back when so many Irish 
(including my husband's paternal grandparents from 
County Kerry) were immigrants to America.

The green damask linen tablecloth, old but never used, 
and just waiting to adorn someone's dinner table, was 
my favorite item.

Off to the parade downtown this morning - Irish Blessings to all.

Claudia - forgive me, just couldn't resist changing your party logo to green today!

Linking to Mockingbird Hill Cottage for our always fun 
A Favorite Thing Saturday party. I just bet there will be 
lots of glorious green being shared in honor of 
St. Patrick and the Irish.