Thursday, February 28, 2019

Skirting the issue!

What are your feelings regarding skirts?  
Do you wear them, and if so when and where?
Time for a fashion post.

I've noticed skirts are fashion's darling once again now that spring is on the way. 
After months of huddling in pants of every description, it seems the time has
 come to feel fresh air on our legs and ready ourselves for summer days in
 shorts, or at my age, a neat cropped trouser! I will wear longer to the knee
 shorts working in the garden or at the beach, but the days of true short shorts
 and 'hot pants' are just fun youthful memories.

But which length skirts are best?
Remember back in the day of dictated skirt lengths when
'to be in fashion' meant we all wore maxi, midi, at the knee,
or the audacious thigh-high mini skirt. 
Hemlines went up and down almost overnight. I tried them all as each
 length was in style, sometimes even shortening hems to get more wear
 out of a longer style when suddenly a shorter one became de rigeur.

Today, thank goodness, any length of skirt is in style.
We no longer allow the fashion houses to tell us what to wear.
We can now feel comfortable in anything we choose to wear 
without feeling 'out of style'.  How much better is that.

Of course designers will always design new clothes.
Those tall, slim, highly paid models will sashay down the runways
in high fashion.
Then high street versions of what are often ridiculous styles for
 everyday living for 90% of us, will arrive at the mall as each
new season comes knocking.

All above skirts ~ ZARA

I do like some of the new, what I call 'flimsy' fuller, often pleated, mid-calf  
skirts. I can see wearing them on a warm spring or hot summer 
evening. I also love the idea of not having to wear really high heels
with them. Flat sandals or a stylish or even classic sneaker pairs up
well with many skirts.

The classic narrow black midi length skirt below is perhaps my personal favorite.
I have a similar one in a heavy waffled cotton knit with an elastic/adjustable tie
waistband and deep walking slit in the back. This skirt (from JJill and looks as
 good as the day I bought it) I've worn for many years with boots, both tall or short,
 and loafers in winter, or with summer sandals, and of course with sneakers any time. 

This post came about following a closet clean out last week!
I found several skirts I haven't worn in a while and decided to 
play with them in new ways, putting together some really different
looks. Yes, I may be older but I still love fashion and always will.

Will you be buying any skirts for spring, or like me,
do you have some hiding in the back of your closet?
If so, pull 'em out and play with them, it's fun, and you may end up
 sashaying through your grocery store feeling a cut above all those 
same old jeans and leggings walking up and down the aisles!

For my trip to the beauty salon this week, a warm and sunny day, I wore
 a 'flimsy' but lined, olive, coral and black print midi length skirt, a mid-weight
long-sleeved olive sweater, and my olive safari vest.
On my feet, clunky but comfy, khaki suede/leather oxfords picked up a few
 years back in Barcelona.
I felt like a million bucks even though nothing was new.
I just mixed things up in a new way!
The biggest secret I'll share with you is the skirt. . . . . . it was my dear 
mother's about twenty years ago! (For the Brits reading this - it's from M&S).
I love it and it's back in style!

This evening we're off to a local restaurant for a wine tasting with a friend's 
a capella group providing live music.
What to wear? It's warm again so a skirt may be in the mix - off to the closet 
right now!

Your fabulous 'skirt stories' shared with us here will be welcomed.

Thanks for the kind comments you left on yesterday's 12th blogging anniversary post.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The twelfth anniversary!

As mentioned in a recent post, I'm trying to become more of a minimalist
in my home decorating efforts. Really I am trying! I've been through several
 styles of home decor since becoming a homemaker. After a lifetime of
 leaving for an office with the daily commute keeping me busy, retirement
 has seen me staying just as busy around the home.
 I am just an amateur interior decorator, wannabe designer etc. If younger, and I 
could start over, I would probably work in that field professionally as I do love
 the creativity decorating brings whether in house or garden.
My efforts at bringing aspects of shabby chic into my home about 14 years ago
 were fueled by several things happening in my life. Having more time on my hands,
 and a little cottage-style home crying out for style, my discovery of SuzAnna's
 Antiques here in, town became my place to hang out. Soon I became part of the
 always fun treasure hunting, antiquing, community. . . . . . . . and then
 I discovered blogging!

Yes, 12 years ago today I tiptoed quietly into blogland' when
 I wrote a post on my first blog, Across The Pond. 

A neophyte who was grateful for all the tips from that first group of vibrant gals
 who suddenly opened up the online world of creativity to me, they shared DIY
 projects we could understand and have fun with. 
Along with photographs and tutorials, we could make our own homes look like
 ones we'd only seen in those early days of HGTV, (those were the best days
 for that show as many of you will recall), and in home or garden magazines. 
We were on our way, supporting one another with cans of paint and brushes, 
'before and after' painted furniture photos, sewing antique French linen into
 pillows or recovering chairs, searching for chipped and cracked china and
 stoneware, silver plated trays and silverware, soup tureens, plates by the
 stack, wooden dough bowls, and making our gardens showplaces filled with
 urns, rusted gates, and vintage claw-footed bath tubs planted with flowers!
No, I did not drag a bath tub home, there were limits, such as never owning
 a pickup truck, but I found some awesome urns that were 
much easier to transport!

Vintage folding rulers - measuring life!

Later, people would actually stop me in stores, or when shopping at
SuzAnna's, recognize me from my blog and we would chat. Some would
email me and in one case, a young woman (who made me feel young too)
 would become one of my very best friends, dear and beautiful Vanessa. 
Eventually we shared a booth at SuzAnna's Antiques. There we had such
a great time together, spending weekly get togethers hunting for beautiful 
things to sell on to others who shared our love of old, often shabby,
 long ago treasures for house and home. We found so much we loved
 we then expanded and had our own adjoining booths for a while. 

My booth at SuzAnna's Antiques - 2011

Some things we never sold, instead taking them home because we loved them
 and couldn't let them go. The old French sideboard I still have and Vanessa painted 
it for me in Annie Sloane's chalk paint. It's a favorite piece with many memories.

I realized I was on a roll and I kept blogging, making a lot of
new local friends and acquaintances, as well as wonderful people around
 the world. . . . .many of you whom I've met in person which is the best part of
 blogging. This spring I am so looking forward meeting up with yet another long
 time blog friend in England - and will share that exciting occasion later of course.

So, along the way, through the years, changes have been made around this
 small cottage. Some things have moved on to other homes, others have stayed
 with perhaps a new paint finish, a little elbow grease to shine up the silver. . . but
 more often left to gather a patina, almost like me.
Our booths were closed when it became too much to handle with my hectic
 travel schedule, and then Vanessa moved away. We were still able to meet up
 now then, but now she has moved across the country so it will be harder. . . but
we'll work it out somehow because that's what blog friends do, right?

SuzAnna's Antiques has also moved to a new location north of the 
city due to their property being taken by the railroad. My granddaughter 
no longer works there as it's too far for her to commute, however she and I 
hope to take a trip there on a nice spring day to share the treasures we
know will be displayed. You can bet I'll take photos to share with you.

So, no more rambling for today.
I'm celebrating knowing each one of you, those of you who have 

followed me for years, and those who may be new visitors here.
I'll be traveling again this year and hope to have both old familiar
places to share again, like my home in England in springtime, along
 with exciting new places, including a familiar ship taking me to exotic
 far flung spots in faraway lands.

Thank you for being my wonderful and very special friends.
I have a lot to thank blogging for.
You make my life happy.

Remains of my Valentine flowers, still lovely.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Just picked - for you!

It's Monday and the sun is brilliant.
Skies are blue again.
Birds are busy singing.
Winter leaves crunch underfoot as I cut
 flowers and refill bird feeders.
I'm listening to beautiful music for almost
 Spring - 'The Lark Ascending' by great
 British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Sometimes February isn't so bad after all!

Photo via iPhone

Have a bright and beautiful week.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bird notes - the Mourning dove.

 I shared this lone dove on the birdbath HERE last week.
I believe this is a male as it lacks the pinkish neck feathers of the female.
 Hopefully it will have a mate soon. We usually have several pairs in the garden.
 These lovely birds mate for life, an awesome seven to ten years.
This handsome boy, perhaps a juvenile, spent quite a long time in the fig tree
 yesterday busily preening between the heavy rain storms.

All photos taken through the dining room window.

Phew!  All that preening and fluffing of my beautiful feathers has just about
worn me out. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . definitely time for a little shut-eye!

The Mourning dove gets its name from its gentle, mournful cooing.
The wind rushing through its wing feathers in flight creates a characteristic 
whistling sound. Other than that the dove is a quiet and very welcome bird 
in the garden, and one of my favorites.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Music, organizing and food. . . . . .

. . . . . . . coping with another dreary Saturday.

I'm listening to Sir. Edward Elgar's beautiful, atmospheric Enigma Variations
 as I write on this dismal, rain-soaked day. 
Music that stirs the imagination, perhaps sad, but always thought provoking. 
The 'Nimrod: Lux Aeterna' is my favorite opus. 
This older orchestral version (Sir John Barbirolli : Hallé Orchestra) astounding
 of course, but I'm also listening, as I so often do, to the amazing vocal from
 VOCES8, the much-loved British a cappella group - do listen if you haven't
 heard this before, or even if you have.

Keeping busy indoors is perhaps the way to deal with weather such as we've
 been having most of this month. . . . . . . . . a lot of wet, dark days.
There were a couple of pleasant days, such as the ones I grabbed and ran with into
 the garden to prune the fig tree, and pick a bunch of the first blooming daffodils!

Here in the dining room, earlier today, working on re-doing my one of my
 filing boxes - the vintage rabbit cage being my catch-all sitting on the floor next
 to my desk upstairs. Found the package of dark blue 'Celestial' folders on the
 Sale shelf of World Market a few days ago.

Leftover from Christmas - packaging not opened until yesterday so still fresh - an
 Italian Panettone! 
 A warmed slice for Saturday breakfast alongside a coffee, then some baked into 
a 'comfort food', bread pudding, yum, and to heck with the carbs right now.

All is not lost though. Perhaps a bad hair day for the 
proverbial 'bluebird of happiness' as the rain tipples down, 
but the beautiful music plays on.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Baby it's cold outside!

Yesterday was miserable - today's even worse - murky hours of chilly rain including
 a spell of frozen droplets which luckily didn't last long. It was enough to visibly 
coat Mr. Cardinal with a little ice but he didn't seem to mind - birds never cease to
 amaze me when it comes to dealing with the weather. 
They don't even bother with raincoats and rubber boots! 
Our now really large fig tree is a year round favorite perch for these birds - and
 as it's outside the dining room windows I'm able to enjoy watching them and
 photographing them at the feeders.

Here are some of the girls - less colorful but oh so beautiful. Note there's a third one
 up in the left corner.  We are blessed with so many cardinals in our garden, I would
 say at least eight pairs, so hopefully lots of baby birds come spring!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lonesome dove . . . . . . . .

Before the freezing rain early this morning there was yesterday. . . . a chilly day
 but with a spurt of morning sunshine before changing to overcast skies.
Sadly, the thick cloud cover blotted out that beautiful Super Snow Moon here.  
Hopefully you were able to see it.

I saw the lone dove when I opened the blinds, such a quiet and gentle bird. 
There are several pairs in the garden so it was unusual to see one all alone.

. . . . . . . . . beaten down by the rain today, but still a spot of bright color in the
 February garden.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Noises off. . . . . . . .

Last evening I was home alone for several hours.
This doesn't happen to me much these days - a lot different from
the many years Bob traveled around the country, and sometimes
overseas, for his job.
After he retired from the company he returned almost 
immediately and worked a further seven years as a consultant,
traveling even more. All in all, 53 years with the same company.
He'd still be there today if they'd have him - and I never, ever heard
him ever say he didn't like his job, or wish he didn't have to go
to work on any given day during that long career.  Quite amazing!

My santos doll, now stripped of decoration as I try to become more of a
 minimalist, but that's another story for another time.

While Bob was out attending the NCSU women's basketball game,
followed by pizza, with granddaughters, I'm not a sports fan at all, 
I sat here listening to noises. 
Yes, when alone in the quiet, my house makes noises.

First came a text from a neighbor advising me of uninvited garden 
visitors enjoying a supper of my pansies! On opening the front 
door I was stared down by three beautiful deer at the bottom
of the front steps, and they didn't want to leave. I had to go outside,
scold them, clap my hands, shoo them away, then chase them 
 across the lawn to the street where they stood quietly, still 
staring back at me and probably thinking about returning as
soon as I went back into the house.
Note to myself:  How did they ever get so big if these are 
the same babies who enjoyed nibbling the sunflowers last summer?

After that I seemed to hear clicks, taps, groans, twigs falling on the 
roof, the refrigerator humming, the heat cutting on then off, more text
notifications, and then a fox - or perhaps a dog - but a fox sounds more 
romantic, barking at the moon.  Did you see that moon last night? 
So amazingly beautiful. Tonight it will be the biggest and brightest
 Super Moon of 2019, called the Super Snow Moon.
Tonight it will be at its peak but in North Carolina, with possible
overnight freezing rain in the forecast, we may have heavy
 cloud cover so may not have a good view like last night.

I played some music from Les Miserables - the stage version - to fill the void
and block out the odd sounds. When Bob's here in the evenings the TV is
 usually on and the house is definitely not quiet.
Not too much later I heard Bob's car coming up the driveway.
He brought me two slices of pizza - I enjoyed one and will have the
 other tonight. 
It was a different kind of evening being here alone. It made me
realize how good it is to have someone else in the house, especially
 at night when there are noises off!