Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Big storms around the country are on the news this morning and, even though, we are in perfect spring - like weather here in our part of Northern California, I hope that you all are safe and warm and will continue to be throughout the remaining winter season.

I wonder if Frances Hodgson Burnett ever thought in her wildest imagination, when she took pen to paper back in 1911, that her classic little story, The Secret Garden, would become such an endearing fixture in American literature?

I know, for a fact, that a little girl of eight years of age would disappear under a spreading acacia tree in her grandmother's back garden and, while there, would escape into the wonderful world of make - believe and secrets.  She never thought, then, this little story book that she avidly devoured each day, would have such an influence and lasting effect on her adult life, and I wonder if the lowly robin, which sprang from the fertile imagination of Ms. Burnett, would dare to dream of an ancestor that would show the way to that little girl and her own Secret Garden every spring.

"The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy onto the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off.  Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - and they are nearly always doing it."

"The Secret Garden", Frances Hodgson Burnett

Whenever I see the first robin of spring, the story of Mary Lennox and all her friends come to mind.  I saw that today and heard the beautiful bird song that is such a harbinger to the coming of spring.  The sun was shining and it was just the kind of morning that Mary would have reveled in.

"Springtime's comin', cannot tha' smell it?  Th' good rich earth is in good humour.  Makin' ready to grow things.  It's glad when plantin' time comes.  It's dull in th' winter when it's got nowt to do.  In the flower gardens, out there things will be stirrin' down below in th' dark.  Th' sun's warmin' em'.  You'll see bits o' green spikes stickin' out o' th' black earth after a bit."

Ben Weatherstaff to Mary Lennox, "The Secret Garden"

It's very possible that it will be awhile before we can be sure that the sweet days of spring are on the way, as there is still snow on the ground, and there is always someone trying very hard to work against the forces of nature.
  This particular someone would be so happy if winter stayed forever.
  But on the inside of a warm and cozy cottage, where we have more control, we can always place a few spring - like vignettes that will remind us of the loveliness of things to come.

The entry table. 

Willow wreath put together with bits from Ben Franklin's.
Ivy, bird's nest with eggs, forsysthia sprigs, pussy willow sprigs and a burlap bow.

The sweetest little bird cage from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale.
Originally $39.00 for $20.00.
Doesn't it look like an old one?

Plate, green transferware, Royal Doulton, England.
Apples and appleblossom spray with bird nest and eggs, Country Living in Amador City.

Two of the cutest little ceramic chicks from Ben Franklin's.

I made this table runner out of faux grain sack toweling. I saw the idea at Debbie's blog, http://confessionsofaplateaddict.blogspot.com/p/tutorials.html 
She has a wonderful blog just filled with ideas and sources for a plethora of DIY projects. 
She has the directions and source for this table runner on the post. Just click on the above link.

The toweling fabric is just wonderful quality. It is so soft and sews up beautifully. So easy to follow Debbie's directions. The fabric comes in a variety of colors. It cost under $20 to make this 5'4" runner, including ruffles.


"He hopped and flirted his tail and twittered.  It was as if he were talking.  His red waistcoat was like satin, and he puffed his tiny breast out and was so fine and so grand and so pretty that it was really as if he were showing her how important and like a human person a robin could be."

"The Secret Garden", Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911

Last summer in the Secret Garden.  Look for some changes to appear sometime this spring.

"She put the key in and turned it...And then she took a long breath...She was standing inside the secret garden.  It was the sweetest, most mysterious - looking place anyone could imagine."

From "The Secret Garden", Frances Hodgson Burnett

The "magic" will return...


I'm sharing this week with:


  1. What a lovely post, Judy. I think I need to read The Secret Garden again as it's been way too long. I love your table runner and the sweet robin photos. We had a nice sunny day here that softened the snow a bit but it freezes again at night quite a bit. We're longing for spring here too. Enjoy the week. Blessings. Pamela

  2. Hi Judy, What a hopeful post (even though I love the snow) of what's to come. Buddy looks like he's enjoying the snow, our little Yorkie won't have anything to do with it. Love your Spring vignette, so cute! And that cage, I did think it was antique! Wow, I was thinking it looked a lot like mine, which is antique. We don't have a Ben Franklin here where I live. Have a great week! Gina

  3. Judy yes it is hard to believe spring is coming soon!Yes we are part of that storm system.Lot of snow around here.Glad to see it all disappear!
    What a pretty vignette!Pretty bird cage too!Oh and that pretty table runner too!

    1. Hi Judy, beautiful vignette on your entry table I love that store Hobby Lobby I whent one in Texas, we do'nt have here in Miami there one in Ocala, Florida,
      Enjoy the week

  4. Hi Judy! Thanks so much for the shout out! I love that runner in red! And thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite childhood books! I loved seeing those illustrations again! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

  5. Judy- What beautiful, beautiful images all the way around. That is a lovely vignette and I love your table runner. The snowy dog is so sweet- xo Diana

  6. Judy what a lovely vignette - love all the things you have on the table. Your doggie looks like he loves to play in the snow. I have to tell you I just re-read the Secret Garden a couple of months ago. My friend Phyllis from Around R House got it at a garage sale for my granddaughter Kelly soooooooo I had to re-read it again and I love it.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Hi, just had to say how I love this book, one of my favorites! I love your spring vignettes. Great table runner.

    The French Hutch

  8. This is a beautiful post, Judy! I, too, loved "The Secret Garden" growing up, and it still appeals to me today (maybe more than ever). Your secret garden is so pretty; I would love to have one of my own.

    Your spring vignette is lovely; all the elements blend so nicely together. You did a great job on your wreath. :)

    Have a wonderful week!


  9. Hello dear Judy,
    I am catching up, after my workshop in _England.
    I remember The Secret Garden. For many years as a girl, I would take myself off behind that door.
    Our robin's have left now.. I wish that i could recognize their song.. having so many birds around here and hearing so many lovely sounds.. I am not sure which is which.
    Your vignette on your entrance hall table is stunning Judy.. how beautiful. You have taken much time on that.. a welcoming sight.
    I love your secret garden....how I would love to arrange something like that ... one just would hide away and not want to be seen.
    A super post.
    sending best wishes for a great Tuesday. (even though i am not in the group)
    love reading your posts.
    val xxxx

  10. merci de ce si beau billet
    je connais bien le jardin secret
    j' avais fait un billet avec le livre " POP-UP "
    et votre entrée est si bien décoré , une amoureuse des oiseaux !!!!!
    je suis enchantée d' être venue sur votre blog
    edith(iris) France

  11. I love that book Judy. This is my favorite version of it too with the illustrations by Tasha Tudor. Your vignette is lovely! It just might get me inspired to do one of my own!

  12. Mu kiddos said that they saw a robin the other day, and on our walks we are seeing the daffodils peaking out too. I can't wait! I really like your bird cage!!!

    1. Thank you for sharing at Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  13. Feels a little bit like spring here today, I love your spring decorations Judy..Secret Garden is one of my favourite, I have the DVD, a lovely Sunday afternoon film !
    Spring Wishes
    Thea x

  14. A lovely post. We had spring all winter - all the birds and plants are totally confused. I love the two chicks and I could not pass up that birdcage at Hobby Lobby either!

  15. Major spring fever here! Love your adorable spring displays. I have always loved that Secret Garden book cover illustration too!

  16. merci de votre commentaire si agréable
    à lire le matin en prenant son thé
    et merci aussi de votre inscription à mon blog
    si vous aviez besoin de quelque chose en France
    je peux essayer de vous l'envoyer
    à très bientôt
    edith (iris)

  17. We are kindred spirits - The Secret Garden is my all time favorite book. It makes my heart stir just thinking about it. Hope you can stop by the enchanted oven for a visit.

  18. Love the photos of the robin, beautiful bird indeed.
    Looks like your four legged lovey enjoys the snow a bit.
    I've come over for a visit from Common Ground.
    Nice vignette!
    Thanks for sharing.

  19. I'm reading alot of wishes for Spring on peoples blogs this week. I guess with March now upon us, it will come true for some of us soon. I like your touches of Spring inside. Won't it be nice to see them outside too?!

  20. den boken läste jag på svenska som barm tyckte mycket om den. så fina bilder du visar på fåglarna.
    Ha en fin helg
    Kram Meta

  21. Pretty spring vignette, Judy! I think a lot of us are having a hard time holding back on more springlike decor. Love the illustrations from the Secret Garden.
    Mary Alice

  22. This post is so incredibly charming! It is amazing how our childhood books speak to us our entire lives. I love the vignette, especially that terrific find from Hobby Lobby. The little bird resting there is so sweet. Loved this and enjoyed the peek at your Secret Garden!

  23. Love your spring vignettes and your ruffled runner too. I can't wait for this snow to melt!

  24. Your Secret Garden is so pretty. Love all of your vignettes. You did a great job on your runner. All of your photos are a great inspiration for Spring.


  25. Lovely post! We are nearly neighbors... I am down in Sacramento. Thank you for the visual escape.. you have a beautiful space and blog. I was looking for how to follow, but could not find a link. Do you only do subs by email??

  26. This is my first visit here, and I like your secret little nook in the dappled shade with the comfy chairs and pillows. Yes that book is timeless and I may read it again soon.

  27. I can hardly wait for spring. It's been so cold here lately. I can wait to wake up to the robins chirping.

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  29. Judy,
    Such lovely pictures especially the garden!! We have yet to see a robin in these parts and have snow flurries predicted for today....



Your comments are so special to me...Judy