Monday, November 30, 2020

A new week brings changes. . . .


This is how this morning is viewed from the front door.  
A late Autumn day in the southeast with rain, wind gusts, piled up leaves, 
more falling, more raking and blowing ahead, gorgeous colors. . . . . . . . the
 promise of sun later, then cooler, much cooler temperatures both day and
 night all week. 
Coats, hats and boots are at the ready - my favorite time of the year 
for clothes - now just need to be able to go somewhere to wear them!

I'm learning basic editing via the New PicMonkey, but I'm not too keen. 
When it comes to what/where to put my photos, it's complicated!  
So far I much preferred the old version but perhaps if I keep working
 I will eventually know what the heck I'm doing!  

Don't know how Blogger is working for you these past few days but
 here it's definitely having problems!  
Some days blogging is just too frustrating!

Yesterday, the Christmas tree went up in the gazebo.
I added just the lights and large stars. Lovely to look at last night
from the kitchen window, sparkling in the blowing rain.

Today we plan to crawl through the attic and pull out the boxes 
of decorations for the tree and house. It's a hard job for aging knees
 and backs! This will be the year to really edit the collections of glitter
 and shine, to determine what truly is loved and will be kept, what will
 be offered to others, then anything remaining boxed up and taken
  to the thrift shop.

Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?
Playing Christmas music?

Friday, November 27, 2020

A quick Amaryllis peek - and teatime!

I've been spending time today learning the new PicMonkey - confusing
 to say the least - but all work and no play makes Mary a dull, 
non-techie, old lady!
So here's a quick look at the amaryllis situation on the dining room

This photo is from last weekend. My five containers on the tray - the 
repotted bulbs from the past two years - are slowly coming along.
 All have a touch of green so must be alive! Saturday is watering day
 so tomorrow they will drink and hopefully have a growth spurt.

The large pot in front is the newly purchased bulb after potting a week ago.
 It was really leaning over when planted so I spent the week turning it
 around to get light on each side, and. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . as you can see above, today it's certainly straight and has
 its first bud showing a little color (it's pink and white) so is well on its
 way to blooming. Being a large new bulb, I'm hoping for several
 blooms first time around.

Hoping Thanksgiving was enjoyed by all despite many of us not being
 able to be with ones we love as in other years.

It's a beautiful late afternoon, sunny and 70F so right now I'm
 taking a break. Brewed a Thermos of hot Empress Grey tea - my 
favorite - and am taking my most loved one on a little surprise
 drive to view the sunset!
More on the location for afternoon tea, which I hope will be good, 
another time.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 -

No matter where, no matter how, make the most of things 
this different year, and have a happy day.


I may not pop up with new posts for a while! 
I'm now having to switch over to, and learn how to use, 
the new version of PicMonkey. 
With Adobe Flash being discontinued at the end of December,
this wonderful photo editing program of many years - I signed on at
 PicMonkey's inception - is changing.  Some of you I know have 
already managed to take the plunge and now I must do the same.
I'm no smart techie and I admit to not being a very patient
person. Put those two together and coming days, maybe weeks,
don't sound much fun!  
I'll let you know how it goes!

Meanwhile, once Thanksgiving is over, like most of you,
I'll be pulling out the boxes of Christmas items and
'hanging the greens'.
Life goes on - we must too!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday morning in November -


  • Amaryllis - including a new bulb bought this week -
  • Trees changing - leaves falling in soft breeze -
  • Knockout roses still blooming -
  • Almond croissants - thank you Trader Joe -

Hope your weekend is beautiful
Stay safe ~ Be well

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Bedrooms - Sleep - Italian Fabrics. . .

Rest, relaxation and sleep. 
Something we all need
 to help us through this time.

Do you sleep well these days?
Have you made changes to your bedroom
since the pandemic struck?
This is not my bedroom. 
The photo is of a room I really love. 
So different with it's barely there shades on linens,
walls, armoire paint, and the plain scrubbed floor.

SuzAnna's Antiques

 I would add at least one beautiful thing to the wall - perhaps
this collage of a sweet bird and embroidered fabrics.

Then I found this photo of a bathroom in similar colors.

My first trip to Tuscany was twenty years ago before blogging
 began. A dream visit which has never faded from memory.
 I purchased some linens in the lovely small town of Cortona, 
yes, the setting for Frances Mayes' much loved book
 'Under the Tuscan Sun', later made into a movie.

That memorable small shop was filled with beautiful finished linens
 for bed and table, but too heavy and bulky to bring home. 
I purchased several linen kitchen tea towels though, such great quality, 
and I'm still using them. . . . . . . they have even become better with age.

Looking through storage boxes in the attic last week I came
 across a length of woven linen also purchased there. 
The linen is the color of old gold with a blue thread running
 through it which makes it a different color on the reverse.
It really is beautiful, somewhat loosely woven, with a pattern
of leaves.

The pale peach damask on the chair seat is a piece of fabric left over
 from pillow covers I made years back when sewing home decor
 items for customers.

I've no plans to redecorate a bedroom any time soon, however if I do, 
I may gravitate toward these gentle shades. They certainly bring 
back memories of wonderful past trips to Italy. . . . . . where I stayed
in some very special bedrooms, including a palace in Florence,
an olive farm near Sienna, and a 5 star Venetian hotel.
Regarding sleepless nights - do you ever do this?

During these past months I've had nights when sleep is disturbed.
Counting sheep jumping over fences just doesn't work for me!
Instead, I pick a trip to a special place, perhaps a distant island,
 or a city, a safari location, even my expedition to Antarctica.
Remembering my time in those places, and making myself recall
 details. . . . . .believe it or not, I'm soon in dreamland!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Scented ironing. . . . . . . .

Yesterday included catching up on a little pile ironing.
Nothing detailed and time consuming, just flat pillowcases,
tea towels, hand towels. . . . everyday items.
I really enjoy making them smooth, feel fresh, and look 
neat and tidy on the linen closet shelf or in the kitchen drawer.
Winter means much less ironing when it comes to clothes.
The linen and cotton tops and bottoms are packed away until
 Spring, warm sweaters and woolly items taking their place!

I like to use 'linen spray' - makes the iron run smoothly, takes out wrinkles
faster, and the fragrance can making sleeping especially pleasant
when you lay your weary head on a freshly scented pillow.

One of my favorites is old fashioned Eau de Cologne which reminds
 my of my dear grandmother.  
This sparkling traditional citrus scent transports the senses to a slower
 pace of life, similar to a journey through sun parched groves of heady
 orange blossom. Lavender is also lovely of course.

I know we've talked about ironing before HERE some years ago,
and many of us shared personal feelings on ironing and some
 interesting stories.

Have a good Monday and a safe and pleasant week
despite the frightening updated COVID news here in the US, 
and in many places around the world.
The weekend brought numbers we hoped would never be
 seen so we must be even more diligent, especially 
now the regular influenza season is upon us also.

Please stay safe.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Autumn Sundays -

 Enjoying autumn days - especially Sundays.

Mine is busy but pleasant.
Enjoy yours!

Friday, November 13, 2020

. . . . over a hot stove!


I'm back in the kitchen today!  

Up very early so baked fresh

 Southern Buttermilk Biscuits. 

One each with a fresh farm egg and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Scrumptious way to start a sunless morning. 

Yesterday the rains come down so hard there was extremely serious flooding
which, very sadly, caused seven deaths across North Carolina.

We look out now on a saturated garden with soggy leaves clogging pathways,
the back deck, the road. Thankfully dry, sunny, though cooler days are ahead
for about a week. Drying out will happen, the neighborhood will buzz again 
with noisy leaf blowers, and the colorful trees will gradually shed their
 remaining leaves and take on the bareness of winter.

I'm wondering how this winter will be.

Here in the southeast we never know what to expect.
I'm hoping for some snow, especially at Christmastime.
Not piles requiring a lot of heavy work - we're too old for that now.
Just a dusting now and then, with perhaps a few inches just once
in a while so the housebound kiddies can get out with their sleds, 
build a snowman. . . . . . . and let off steam with a friendly
 snowball fight!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

November Skies. . . . . .

. . . . . . have been beautiful the past week.
Yesterday afternoon they darkened early and the heavy clouds billowed
 in . . . . . . . along with an amazing rainbow which lasted for quite a while.
I might have missed it however my neighbor, who was mowing his lawn,
 tapped on the front door, told me to grab a camera, go into the garden, 
and look up!
It was a beauty.

My knockout roses are still blooming in the side garden . . . . . 

 . . . . . and will need a major pruning as they are tangled up with the
 Japanese maple.

Leaves are turning, falling and blowing.
Today we have heavy rain showers expected to continue until Friday.

Tonight I will take my 'soldier' out to dinner for Veterans/Armistice Day and
thank him yet again for his service to America in the '60's.
This was also my parents wedding day in 1942 when both were serving
 Great Britain in the Royal Air Force during WWII.
I'm thankful for all veterans and their service to their countries.

 Today's Veterans Day recognition meal is only
 our second meal away from home since March.
I'll be back in the kitchen tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Red Robin keeps bobbing!

I haven't done a bird post for a while so thought I'd share a few of the
 American robins hanging around the garden now.  
It's almost as if they watched me from a distant branch on Saturday, 
scrubbing the bird baths - we have four - with a metal brush, rinsing
 numerous times, leveling the wonky ones so the fresh water was level,
 and cleaning the stones which I add for the tiny visiting birds to
 stand on when they drink. I try hard to be a good garden bird stepmother!

"Splish splash, I was taking a bath"...............I'm sure many of us
 remember that lively Bobby Darin song!

The American robin is quite a large bird, compared to the European one.
I recall last Christmas almost every one of the cards I received from overseas
 had a photo or illustration of a small, pudgy, 'robin redbreast' as we called them
 when I was child in England.  
The robin always makes me smile.

Monday, November 9, 2020

A new favorite in my wardrobe. . . . .

Nothing beats cozying up in a cashmere sweater on a
 cool day. . . . . . or a chilly evening.
 Does it?

This is my recently acquired sweater for fall/winter of 2020, and actually
 my birthday gift from Bob.
Above you can see the horseshoe cable design better on the lighter shade, 
below is the same sweater in black which I chose.
It is gorgeous! 
Ticked all the boxes for me, plus I managed to grab it during a sale!

Note: Although described as a 'tunic sweater' I would call it more just a
longer length, but not a tunic which usually comes further down the thighs.
I'm tall and for me this length is perfect.

Luxurious, slightly heavier textured, pure cashmere.
Well constructed and finished.
Roomy but not baggy.
Funnel neck - so much more comfortable than a turn over
 turtleneck - which is often too warm here in the south - and
looks best with my now much shorter hair.
Longer length - can be worn with pants and skirts.
Sleeves also a great length, I often can't find those.
So soft and cozy.

Cabled funnel neck cashmere from Garnet Hill

This is not an ad for Garnet Hill, however I have purchased several sweaters,
both cashmere and alpaca, over the past years from this New Hampshire company.
All have been great. Being a small company, they have always had excellent 
customer service.  
If this sweater goes on sale again, I may just buy another color . . . . . and then
 move somewhere with a cooler climate so I can wear it every day!

Are you buying a new sweater for the winter days ahead?

Next, I'll be searching for a new, perfect for me, robe.
A perfect Christmas gift and certain to be worn a lot this winter
with more time at home.
This may be difficult as I do not like heavy, bulky robes which
make me feel just that - heavy and bulky! I'm already dealing
with a few extra COVID pounds, how about you?
It also has to be the right length, long but not too long so I trip 
on it going up and down the stairs.
Fleece is fun but only if a thin, lightweight version.
Flannel is comfortable but looks somewhat wrinkled after lounging.
Velour can be perfect and comes in gorgeous colors.
I like a shawl collar, deep pockets, substantial tie belt - definitely
 with belt loops - that doesn't end up like a twisted rope, and
 makes me feel like a sack of North Carolina sweet potatoes!

Here's to a new week - let's make it a good one.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

November weekend -

This week has been busy around the house.
Our guy did the crawlspace work under the house - took out old
and replaced new waterproof vapor barrier, made sure insulation
was secure, and checked there was no mold. . . . . or a large
black snake such as found in a close by neighbor's crawl space recently!
Now, any mice sheltering in winter have a safe, squeaky clean area
to play in!

I was in the kitchen doing my usual flipping through cookbooks, searching
 for something new to bake, but resorted to a batch of pistachio muffins,
 most of which went into the freezer.
Made the quiche to use up last week's eggs and a bag of baby spinach.
 I ordered two dozen eggs for this week from my farm lady Linda - picked
 them up yesterday - as her chickens are laying well again so I wasn't
 limited to just a dozen as during the past couple of months.

I changed up the quiche a bit this time. Added a big dollop of that
pumpkin seed pesto to 1/2 cup of Ricotta cheese. That was
spread on the bottom crust after the 15 min. par-bake, then 
added the grated Gruyere cheese, the chopped spinach, the
 egg/milk/cream mixture, and topped with the remaining Gruyere. 
Baked as usual and was pleasantly surprised when I cut it and
 found all the layers visible, making it look really neat.
Also it was very tasty!

Garden chores to be revisited today as the weather is lovely - mostly
 emptying/cleaning the summer pots remaining. Still some basil which won't 
survive winter, the dahlias which are just about over, and annuals now
 on their last legs!  Planning to scrub out the bird baths also, they're a mess.

Amaryllis bulbs did get planted up in narrow pots on Thursday - they
 like to be snug - four large bulbs and one surprise bulblet. 
My fingers are crossed they will all grow.  

I have few areas to place them where they will get enough sunlight,
the best being right here on the dining room table.
Note I've already stuck a twig in each pot ready for tying up
leaves and hopefully tall blooms!

Boxes of Christmas cards are at the ready - I plan to start writing a
 few a day which is easier for me with this often achy shoulder/arm. 
Rotator cuff surgery is still on my To Do list, needless to say it's close
 to the bottom as I'm not excited by the thought of being out of commission
 for several months. I plan to wait as long as I can!

One cooking pumpkin remaining - will prep it this weekend.

I bought a few holiday items, including this door mat, when at Target
 this week - and must say I now feel better about Christmas coming.  

At first it sounded all too much to bother with during these
stressful times, now I'm going to make the most of it with
perhaps a bit less baking as I won't be throwing my usual
parties/meals, but plenty of decorating, roaring fires, candles 
lighting up the winter nights, and of course, as always,
 will be hoping for a White Christmas!

What are you planning for this November weekend?
Whatever, I hope it's relaxing and fun.