Saturday, November 30, 2013

As Autumn fades.....................

A soft quietude takes over the landscape 
as the Winter Solstice comes closer.  
Thoughts of dustings of snow are on my mind.
I would love to have a 'White Christmas'.

Do you have plans for Winter travel?  
Perhaps you are ski buffs and head for the 
mountains or cross-country trails.
This year I feel I will not be straying far from 
home during the Winter months.
Cozy thoughts of being 'snowed-in' for a few days
cross my mind. Some quiet time to stay put instead
of always having to be somewhere.

I have this new garden friend, 'Chippy', a really cute 
little Eastern chipmunk. He/she (and there may be more 
than one) lives under my garden, entering and exiting the 
burrow through this old tree stump. I've read that, for safety 
reasons, they have several 'doorways' to their subterranean home. 
Also, it's very clean down under as they even build a bathroom! 
These little guys, unlike western chipmunks, 
hibernate here in the east, so I'm thinking with this 
colder weather we won't be seeing them much longer.

 Lastly.........a few nights back, when we had our 
first below freezing temperatures, a tree we have 
never discovered the name of, dropped all 
its still bright green huge leaves within an hour 
as we watched from the kitchen window early morning.
It was as if they had a chat and decided it was time, 
then all let go and fluttered down together carpeting
the ground and the roof of the potting shed.

Yes, beautiful Autumn is almost over for this year, and what 
an amazing season it has been.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, now a lovely memory...................

Thanksgiving Day, which for us was lovely, tasty, friendly, and with some of our family present to share it with, was special this year. For we two oldsters, a total of three days prepping, cooking, cleaning up..........was all worth the time and energy spent, and hopping collapsing into bed early last evening after the hugs and goodbyes, we were exhausted but truly thankful for all we have, and the love shown to us.

Many blogging friends are showing their lovely 
Thanksgiving photos today - 
here are a few of mine as several overseas 
friends asked to see what we do here at the cottage 
for this very special American holiday. 

I really didn't have a chance to take many photos, 
not even one of the turkey, or of all the accompanying 
dishes - just too busy in the kitchen! These are shots 
of the table as I was setting it - 
so at least you can see my centerpiece 
(using those lovely pumpkins as promised), and the 
fantastic apple pie (Penny's recipe HERE
I baked at 6 AM that morning!

On the sideboard is my gorgeous linen - monogrammed 
with my initials inside - French bread basket, waiting for 
rolls which my daughter brought later. This was a gift some 
years back from a dear blogger friend who has now returned to 
live in her beautiful Cornwall after many years in Brittany, France. 

Just visible above, those golden acorns, thanks to the 
idea and tutorial from Gina HERE - I tucked them into 
the pumpkin - and will also be 
using them at Christmas.
Also, a tiny glimpse my new floors - I'm still thrilled 
with them!

Here's the special young lady who wanted me to fix 
Thanksgiving dinner this year, how could I refuse. 
Granddaughter Jasmin tucking into not only my apple pie, 
but trying pecan pie (that one thanks to Costco's baker) too! 
She liked Grandma's apple pie best, LOL!

Hoping you each enjoyed Thanksgiving Day if you are 
here in the USA, or, if American, you were able to celebrate 
this very special day someplace else in this wide world.

P.S. Remember I refused to do the Black Friday shopping thing - and I'm sticking to that promise. Here it is already afternoon and I've not gone out the door. Actually I'm still in my jammies! Just enjoying some lounging about time after all that excitement yesterday.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day 2013......................

Remember how I suggested recently that you visit 
fabulous ceramic artist Gina at to view her 
beautiful blog, Art and Alfalfa.
Whilst there, you could enjoy her tutorial on how to turn dull brown acorns into golden gems to add to your Holiday decor. Gina first used a gold pen, then upped the ante by actually gold leafing her acorns, and they are gorgeous. Here are my embellished acorns - and I admit I used just a KRYLON 18kt Gold Leafing Pen because I couldn't find my gold leafing supplies - hidden somewhere in the depths of the attic. I then used the same pen to make the place name tags for my guests when they arrive to eat at my Thanksgiving table today......these little acorns are now 
part of my table decor.
I'm off now to start cooking - most of the prep done yesterday. The rain has gone thankfully and later, when the sun comes up, I'm hoping it stays bright for the entire day.

Happy holiday wishes.
May today be a blessed Thanksgiving Day 
wherever you may be.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rainy Day.................

That's the only word to describe the view from the 
window this morning..........
...........with millions of leaves plastered to everything 
in view after an all night drenching rain. 
It's still coming down.

Thankful of course that all this rain isn't 
snow preventing people from traveling safely to
visit their families and friends around here.
Later today the rain should clear out, then tonight
temperatures will plummet to below freezing.
Thanksgiving Day will be sunny and chilly, 
normal for the season.

Off to start on preparations for tomorrow - just thought 
a weather report from the southeast would let all of you 
up north know, if it's any consolation, that it's far from 
warm in North Carolina too. 
I hope everyone is safe in the northeast US and 
eastern Canada as the big storm passes 
through your area today.

My Sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these 
dark days of Autumn rain are beautiful as days 
can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; 
she walks the sodden pasture lane.

Robert Frost..............My November Guest

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Thanksgiving table......................

As I will be cooking and serving a sit-down Thanksgiving 
dinner this year, I will need to decorate the dining room table. 
Looking around the house and garden I see I already have 
the makings of a centerpiece waiting in the wings. 
I will be utilizing these lovely pumpkins purchased 
back in October. They are still as good and fresh looking 
as when they left the pumpkin patch just a few miles back 
down that country road.

I also have millions of leaves of every shade of gold to 
choose from right outside the back door, but need to grab 
some pretty ones before the expected heavy rains come.
Setting the table is going to be an enjoyable task and I 
think it will look great. 

If you're serving a sit down dinner on Thursday, do you have 
your table decorations decided yet? 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

From acorns grow mighty oaks.................

This week a very special blog friend Gina posted on 
her gift of giant acorns from Texas. 
Although acorns are perfect in their natural state, 
you should see how stunningly beautiful they become once 
Gina's amazing artistic talent goes to work on them!  
Click HERE for the link to the special acorn post 
on her beautiful blog 
Art and Alfalfa and see her golden beauties.

Visit Gina HERE in her alfalfa are 
in for a real treat if you've not stopped by before.

Meanwhile, following my visit to Gina's studio, where she generously shares a tutorial on turning everyday acorns into little golden gems.............I was out in the garden yesterday foraging through the now ankle deep fallen leaves, searching for my own acorns, and taking a few pics of late Autumn offerings. This sad looking heap of mostly empty acorn cups was about it when it came to gathering.

Last year we had millions drop from our very old oaks, this year hardly any. Last year they rolled down the roof by the hundreds, falling in groups when the wind blew, covering the deck in a thick carpet, and requiring daily sweeping to ensure walking was safe. Our ever growing family of squirrels were in acorn heaven! This year hardly a one. Acorns are cyclical, read more HERE, so it looks like the squirrels will have a problem this Winter......and our bird/squirrel feeders will be very busy!

But all is not lost. 
I will have three large lovelies to transform! 
Luckily I saved these from last year and I think they will 
look beautiful dressed in gold. 
Thank you Gina for the great idea.....
.....even Mother Nature might be envious!

The back garden - November 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

What are you wishing for?

Retail merchants do seem overly anxious to rush us 
through the seasons, don't they?

Today, while shopping for Thanksgiving groceries, I felt overwhelmed more by Christmas items left, right and center. 
Once Thanksgiving is over will I be out there gathering more stuff for Christmas on that crazy Friday? No way! I refuse to go anywhere near a retail building be it a gigantic mall or a tiny boutique. I will stay here, opening the big green storage boxes waiting patiently inside the attic door, taking my much loved Christmas decorations out of their tissue wrappings. If time permits, and the day is warmish, I will put up my small faux tree in the gazebo. Yes, I will be wishing for a gentle start to the beautiful season of Christmas. Still a bit early compared to those childhood days when we didn't do much until Christmas Eve, but, like most people these days, I will make a start.

What are your plans for Black Friday?
Will you shop 'til you drop....or stay home 
and start your decorating?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A southern season....................

Quick, take a look before it's gone.....a memory of color 
such as this will be all that's remaining very soon. 
The leaves will soon be soggy piles along the curb, then 
sucked up by the city vacuum truck and taken to the 
mulching center
Click above to enlarge and view the colors at the cottage 
on these beautiful Autumn days here in the south.

You know how I'm a lover of all things neutral inside the cottage, but when it comes to the garden and exterior of my home Nature takes over and paints my garden. I have no say as she splashes brilliant color and subtle shadows haphazardly across the house and up into the old, tall oaks. The smaller trees, dogwood and maple, become deep rich red and old gold, the fig leaves, now crumbled and green-grey have dropped to the ground. Camellias, with thick glossy leaves of bright green, now have chunky buds opening into deep pink blooms.........and everywhere a thick golden carpet has been unrolled and laid across the landscape.

Thank you dear Mother are an artist extraordinaire! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November Note Cards......................

Joining in Vee's monthly Note Card Party today....we 
are celebrating November prior to preparing 
for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities.

I used some old wallpaper designs for my backgrounds on 
these cards. The subject is antique and vintage books, all 
of which have been scattered about my home in vignettes, 
on shelves, the mantel, even on the floor, over the past 
few years. Some I brought back from French brocantes, 
others I found here in local antiquing venues.

Stop by A Haven For Vee to see more cards from lots of may want to join in the fun.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Enjoying all Washington has to offer..............

So many places to visit in Washington, D.C. such as 
The United States National Arboretum and The Capitol....

..............but when monuments, statues and national 
buildings no longer hold your interest - although in 
Washington that's really hard because there are SO MANY 
fabulous, sights, museums and galleries to visit...... can always do a little window shopping. 
Real shopping may be even better but be sure to come 
with a large bundle of greenbacks!

Nicole Kidman in her JIMMY CHOO booties and bag.

Old posters at our always favorite 
bookstore/bar/cafe - Kramerbooks & Afterwords 
in the Dupont Circle area.

Noticed many of these bike rental stands all around 
the city - great transportation if you're young and 
feel comfortable riding with so much traffic coming 
from every direction!

On our way out of the city Sunday morning we detoured 
a bit....just to see a few more sights, such as the 
Lincoln Memorial from the other side across 
the Memorial Bridge.......

.....and Arlington National Cemetery dressed for 
Autumn ~ words unnecessary.

As you drive up the hill from Georgetown, this lovely 
small park welcomes you to rest on a bench and take in 
the view - Autumn color was brilliant.....but nowhere to 
park the car so we couldn't stop. 
A great visit to the city, but too short as always.
Perhaps another time we'll take the train up and use the 
Metro to get around as parking a car is either impossible 
or costs a small fortune. 
I did love visiting at this time of year - the oppressive 
Summer heat gone (D.C. is very hot and humid then), 
and the Thanksgiving/Christmas crowds yet to descend.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Yesterday we were silly.................. thought we would be serious and show you pics of big important buildings, statues, monuments............instead you got a couple of old fogies acting like kids in IKEA'S stuffed toy department! They were such cute stuffies though - I fell in love with the elephant, so soft, and admit I almost broke down and bought myself one to cuddle. Don't tell Bob but I'm really sorry I didn't and I may have to go back on the way home!

Meanwhile, as promised, here are some pics of the real Washington, D.C. from today. I have to tell you that the weather turned wet last night and we awoke to a foggy morning. No matter though, we headed out in the murky, bad hair day, and enjoyed hours of sightseeing, shopping, coffee drinking, and of course eating. Many pics were taken from the moving car - I won't show you the fuzzy ones now moved to the trash! 
My days in this amazing city were lovely back in the '60's. Could I live here now? NO. It's still vibrant and fun, but has become gigantic and so busy with horrendous traffic, as in all major cities. I doubt I could manage to get from A to B by myself any longer!

The Capitol - always serene and beautiful.
Throughout the city, Autumn foliage was still 
quite colorful.

Click photos to enlarge.

             The strange-looking Washington Monument. 
Whatever happened here?

Of course I'd completely forgotten that there was 
damage to the easily recognized massive obelisk during 
the August 2011 earthquake. Repairs estimated to cost 
millions of dollars commenced in June of this year.

Also, the beautiful National Cathedral had severe 
damage in the earthquake and is still being repaired. 
Here you can see the pinnacles being replaced 
on the central spire. 

The Lincoln Memorial viewed from the World War II Memorial..........

.....more views of the WWII Memorial above and below.

 Colorful Washington row houses. 

I'll have a few more pics to share later.
Heading home in the morning.