Tuesday, April 30, 2019


New beginnings! 

 Although spring 
has been here for awhile, 
Mother Nature has finally decided 
to align herself with the calendar.

 We are having 
some beautiful weather and 
when beautiful weather happens,
 my mind turns to 
cleaning house!

I have been dusting and doing
 and taking on one room at a time 
to get ready for what,
 I hope, is a
 peaceful and delightful summer.

 Before anything else, 
I would like to give Katie at
 Let's Add Sprinkles 
a tremendous thank you
 for featuring my 
Kitchen Shopping 
post last week. 

 I am always so appreciative 
when someone takes 
their time and efforts
 to give me such an honor 
and, Katie, 
I thank you very much.

As I told you in my last post,
 I am turning the Cottage into
 a blue and white summer place. 
 This is not a new concept.
  These iconic colors are timeless and
I have been reading 
that a lot of you
 are doing the same thing.

I have kept almost all
 of the Victoria magazines 
over the years and
 when an idea comes to mind,
 I look to them to help me 
in my search for 
just the right things. 
 I've seen so many 
wonderful ideas and,
 of course, 
almost all of them use items 
that I could only dream about.
  But, as I am dusting and doing,
 I have been looking 
through my stash of blue and white and
 find that I have more 
than I thought I did.

Because these colors 
are a recurring theme 
throughout the Cottage,
 I think I sometimes 
take them for granted and
 don't really look at them as
 the strong influence 
that fuels the way 
I like to decorate.

I have gathered a small selection
 of blue and white 
that I have on hand and
 while choosing ones to use in my project, 
I will take you along 
as I look at them..
up close and personal.

Some of these 
will be used throughout the project,
 some will be put back 
on the shelf for another time and
 as we proceed through the summer,
 other colors will be added 
to celebrate certain occasions.
All of us 
favor certain colors and styles and 
if we look closely 
at what inspires us, 
it might make it easier 
to put a 
special look together.

When you see, 
up close and personal
 all that inspires you,  
you might be certain that
 you are on the right track or,
 it may surprise you, and 
send your imagination soaring
 into a whole 
different direction.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2019


The sky is blue
The trees are green
The sun is?  White?...

Is that what summer looks like?

  Haven't we always
 thought of the sun as yellow?

Didn't we learn 
as small children 
that the yellow crayon 
was always chosen 
when depicting the sun?
 We think of sunshine
 as a warm color, but yet, 
when we look directly 
at the bright summer sun, 
it doesn't appear
 as anything but 
a white light.

That is my story and
 I'm sticking to it, and 
I am using my story 
to decorate our Summer Cottage
 in shades of 
blue and white with
accents of
 real and faux greens.

It helps 
that the color blue 
seems to be a mainstay in the Cottage.
 As long as I can remember 
blue has been a
 dominate color 
in my life...

...I can remember 
dresses that my mom insisted 
that I wear as a child 
always being some shade of blue and 
the pattern of the dishes
 that served my mom's wonderful 
home cooked meals, and 
which are now lining the shelves 
of our dining room cupboard, 
was Blue Willow.

is an easy color 
to get along with...

...it can be perked up 
with red 
for a patriotic holiday...

...or by adding 
virtual sunshine,
 can take us into 
the fall season.

For now, though,
 in this transitioning time
 between spring and summer, 
blue and white are just
 coming attractions.

The colors of this summer 
are still in the planning stages and 
until the definite presentation is set, 
we will be content with 
what is changing in the garden.

 Maybe it isn't as exciting now
 as it will be, but
 it is definitely 
on the way.

The brilliant greens 
of the spirea 
are awaiting the arrival of
 its pretty pink blooms...

...the tiny pink azelea buds 
are starting to show
 some color...

...sweet little faces of

...the Lily of the Valley 
will soon be a mass of
 tiny white bells...

...and Miss Lady Banks, 
although shy about starting,
 will soon be
 very showy.

The beautiful white camellia 
is almost done blooming. 
 Constant rains 
seem to have hurried 
up the process...

...the little grape hyacinths 
are making a small carpet cover
 around the lawn...

...the maple tree 
is setting forth 
dainty and tender
 green shoots...

...and a fern is
and adding its whimsical shape
 to the garden.

The giant hosta 
is returning in 
the Secret Garden...

...along side of 
the beautiful green leaves 
of a hydrangea bush.

Last, but by no means least,
the lilac is starting to show
 against the blue sky.

The above photo 
is from last summer and, hopefully,
 the garden will come back again.

 When the garden is in 
the transitional stage, 
these same thoughts emerge each year 
but it hasn't failed us yet.

 As for now,
 the lawn has just been mowed and 
the scent of freshly cut grass 
is filling the air around the Cottage.

 A trip to the nursery 
is planned 
so some colorful annuals
 will be added to the mix this summer.

  There may be a little less lawn
 in the future 
as our water rates 
are being raised again but 
whatever is in store 
will make for a 
very happy and 
well deserved


A quiet Easter morning 
at the Cottage.

Hope everyone had 
a beautiful and blessed 
Easter holiday.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019


I have been reading a lot lately 
about shopping your house,
 that moving things around
 from room to room 
can make it all seem 
fresh and new.

To be sure,
 I have done that. 
 Most of the Cottage's rooms
 have perpetual "Clearance Sale" signs
 posted and...

...poor Goatzie 
has been moved so many times, 
he needs new tread 
on his wagon tires.

if I truly believed that and 
if I always practiced what I preach, 
I wouldn't have a full room 
dedicated to the exact opposite 
of that idea.
 that is neither here nor there, 
so back to the subject
 at hand.

Our kitchen
 is a far cry now 
compared to how it was
 when the Cottage first came 
into our hands
 for safe keeping. 

 I did a post 
about the evolution 
which you can see (here) if you are interested.

  The island, above, 
is known as Cinderella. 

 You can read about her (here)

 You might call me 
the wicked stepmother,
 but even though
 she was a true labor of love,
at the time, 
she just didn't work out.
She was doomed from the beginning:

1.  We paid too much for the
state she was in.
2.  She was a lot of work.
3.  She didn't fit the space
that she was intended for.


The kitchen is fairly large 
when taken as a whole,
but the actual working part
 only takes up a small corner and 
with the addition of two adults and 
two dogs, always underfoot,
 that doesn't leave much room 
for cooking. 
 Cinderella was definitely in the way,
 so began the plan
 of how to make
 the kitchen 
more efficient.

We listed possibilities. 
 A new smaller island, 
removing the table and chairs all together,
 or moving them to another location, 
taking out the stove, etc.
  In other words, 
removing the charm 
that I love in my kitchen.
  Buying anything new
would cost money, and 
if I was going to spend money, 
I would rather put it into
 a new wood floor...

...but that 
is a story for another day.

 So what did we do? 
 We shopped the house.

We moved 
the Ikea cupboard 
across the room
(which if you went back to the older link,
 you might notice that it has  
been here once before - 
 before the face lift)...

...and switched places 
with the stove. 
 (The Captain will be making a back drop
 for the stove

Although the table and chairs 
remained in the same place, 
we did switch out the table
 for a smaller one 
that was behind 
the settee 
in the parlor.

By moving the bowl tower
 and the little chair, 
that opened up space 
for an antique chair...

...that was hidden in the dining room and 
meant that I could still use 
the piggy lamp on the old crock.

 I think it is as important to have 
lamp light in the kitchen 
as well as in 
any other room.

In putting back the counters,
 I tried to de-accessorize
a little. 
( I refuse to use the word clutter!)

...but, to be honest,
 you must know me well enough by now
 to know that even 
if I really do try, 
that probably ain't gonna happen!

I am very pleased
 how it all played out.

  There will most likely be
 a little more tweaking 
here and there
 as time goes on. 
There always is, and I think
 I might be happy with 
a round, braided rug 
under the table and chairs.
 We shall see.

It feels more open 
and the happy feeling 
I get first thing in the morning,
 when the coffee is perking...

...could be 
just the sun shining in 
but I think
 it's a little more
 than that.

This has been an overload 
of photos and words, 
but I promised the recipe 
for the tomato soup 
courtesy of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa:


3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned leaves for garnish
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
Croutons for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat. 
 Add onions and carrots, saute for about ten minutes, until very tender. 
 Add garlic and cook for one minute more.
  Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt and pepper and stir well. 
 Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes,
 until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup 
and process it through a food mill 
into a bowl,
 discarding only the dry pulp that's left.
  Reheat the soup over low heat 
just until hot and serve.


This is the very first day 
that really feels like spring. 

 I'm wishing you all 
more days like this.


I'd like to take this time 
to thank ones who posted photos
 of their trips to France and Notre Dame.

 A tragedy has occurred and 
it is one that is felt around the world. 
 A thing of beauty 
is a joy forever and
 nothing about this magnificent icon 
will be forgotten 
and, through time, 
it will rise again.

  It is a reminder to all of us that, throughout life, 
 our most precious possessions
 can be taken from us 
in an instant. 

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