Thursday, August 28, 2008

Angels in the Home & an Angelic Voice

The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly. ~ G.K. Chesterton, "Orthodoxy"

When I was a little girl (many moons ago as you can see by this picture), this little angel sat in my bedroom standing guard over me and keeping me safe. She is a birthday angel for the month of April. In her basket is a bunny. She is one of the few things that remained from my childhood bedroom. When I got older she was safely packed away in a box for several years. Once I moved into our first house after being married, she was unpacked again. I saw her with new eyes and became really attracted to angels from that era.

I started to see them in antique stores and a collection was started. Their sweet faces really speak to me. Most of them were made in the 50s and 60s in Japan. I think that these might have been part of a days of the week set. I only found these 3 doing their gardening, dish washing & ironing.

A bride & groom share their love on a little bench.

I enjoy finding books that can be incorporated into my collection.

When this lamp is lit, there is a heavenly glow in this little hallway on the way to the powder room.

I am particularly fond of little boy angels. They are harder to come by. I was thrilled to find this little baseball player. One time I was in a bidding war on e-bay for a hockey player that was very similar to this one. I lost at the last second. That one would have been extra special to me because both of my sons play hockey and we shared a lot of close family times when they were younger and playing travel hockey.

I am very particular about my collection. If their faces aren't "sweet" they don't make the cut. With any collection it pays to be particular otherwise it could takeover the house and that is not a good look.

This is my absolute favorite. He is a May angel (both of my boys were born in May) and he is also gardening. Not only that but I adore his green and white striped pants.

And, best of all, his face hands down passes the "sweet" test.


Music is well said to be the speech of angels ~ Thomas Carlyle.

As I am writing this post I am listening to a song on the Playlist of a fellow blogger. Heidi at Celebrate the Seasons has the most beautiful song I have heard in a long time playing on her blog. I contacted Heidi to find out more. It is called Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy. I have never heard of her, but learned from Heidi that she died at the young age of 33. I have done a google search and read more about her. I have also listened to every one of her songs on Heidi's Playlist. The one I love the most is Songbird. I urge you to go listen to it if you aren't already familiar with Eva's music. It is most definitely the voice of an angel. I remember when Stevie Nicks sang this song years ago and thought it was beautiful then. I am anxiously awaiting my own copy of Eva Cassidy's CD that I ordered from Amazon yesterday. Beautiful, beautiful music.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rain, Rain . . . Please Stay

Today was the first day of school in my neighborhood. My "kids" are in college now so I no longer have that busy morning that the first day of school always brings. I used to always take a picture of my boys on the front porch in their new school clothes and then once they were gone to school, I would enjoy a cup of coffee.

Well, I still enjoyed my cup of coffee, but then I was off to do some errands. When I returned I was eating lunch and looked out the window to see this.

Oh, what a beautiful sight!!
Some of you may wonder about me for saying that, but with the drought we have been in this summer and last nothing could be more welcome. Since we are under water restrictions it is hard to keep a lot of my flowers going. There is absolutely nothing like a watering by Mother Nature herself to make the grass green and the flowers perky.

The thunder was rolling across the sky for most of the afternoon and the drops kept on comin' down. Hallelujah!!
I guess I won't be sitting in this chair today, but that's okay because there's plenty to do indoors.

Rainy days are the best for lighting a cozy candle. They give off a little glow that helps to chase the gloomies away. I enjoy burning candles to match the seasons. This is a watermelon scent I picked up when we were in Gatlinburg earlier this summer. Soon it will be time to replace it with one of my Fall scents.

I whiled away the hours today washing my sheets, ironing and trying to get some things put away & straightened up.

Soon it was time to think about dinner. I saw this recipe on the
Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog. If you have never visited them and enjoy cooking blogs I would recommend that you head right over there. Boy, I would agree . . . those girls sure can cook.

This looks like a tasty way to finish up a cozy day.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Perfect Pesto

The remnants of tropical storm Fay showed up in North Carolina today in the form of some gentle breezes. I would have preferred a good soaking rain, but I will settle for a nice breeze as it did allow me to open up a window or two this morning. Nothing like the smell of fresh air in the house.
It was also a pleasant morning to step out into the garden and see what's new today.
I was pleased to see the first few blooms on my cypress vine. If you're not familiar with this vine it also goes by the names of hummingbird flower & star glory. It is a member of the morning glory family.

The foliage is so feathery & delicate and the flowers are small & star shaped.
I planted my first plant several years ago to grow up a shepherd's hook with a hummingbird feeder on the hook. Hummingbirds love these flowers. Every year they self seed and new plants begin to grow.

The red color is very attractive to hummingbirds as is the trumpet or vase-like shape of the flowers. Can't you just picture a little hummer beak drawing nectar from this flower?

I noticed another sign of fall in my garden today. One of my nandinas is beginning to change color. Soon those green berries will turn russet and then eventually by winter they will be bright red. I had never seen these shrubs until I moved to North Carolina. The first winter I lived here I noticed them growing in people's yards and sporting big clusters of bright red berries. I quickly learned what they were and then planted several around my yard. I love them.

In my herb garden I discovered that my basil plants are getting huge. That is always my signal for Pesto Time. I look forward to this time all summer.

I have many books on the subject of herbs. This is one of my favorites. It contains a lot of nice pictures and practical ideas for using your herbs. It also happens to contain my favorite recipe for pesto.


1 cup firmly packed basil (leaves only)
1/2 cup firmly packed parsley sprigs (stems removed)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, walnut, or almonds
1 large clove garlic (or to taste), quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil

In a blender container or food-processor bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Cover and blend until a paste forms, using an on-off pulse and stopping several times to scrape the sides of the bowl. With the machine on slow, add olive oil and blend until pesto reaches the consistency of soft butter. Use pesto immediately; refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

All ingredients in food-processor except olive oil.

Just before adding the olive oil.

The finished product ready for sampling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Family Room is for the Birds

It's still pretty warm here, but it won't be long until the air starts feeling a little nippier, the leaves on the trees start to change colors and the urge to cozy up my nest for fall will hit with a vengeance. Before that time gets here I thought I would share some sights from my summery family room.

I suppose my house lends itself to the spring & summer seasons because of the color scheme I use. Just like my kitchen there is a lot of yellow & blue in here. It reminds me of the sun & sky.
My love of the garden extends into my house. You might have guessed I also like birds.

A few more birds on the end table.

A hand painted table with another bird. Check out the handle ~ it is a bird's egg. Little feathers floating down the sides. . .

A garden angel - oh & look what she's holding - a bird.

I just put this bird out today. He will stay through fall. Notice the fall leaf and acorns. Pretty soon it will be time to put away the birds with nests and eggs.

This little one came out today too.

Just so you know everything in here isn't a bird ~ I also have a cat.
She sleeps a lot. But, at least I know she won't hurt my birds.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy to be Home

I'm happy to be back home once again. It was a busy few days and we got home late last night. I've got lots of catching up to do around here. It seems like this has been the summer for moving people's belongings. In early summer we moved both of our boys home from college. Most of their stuff ended up in the bonus room. Unfortunately my computer is in that room too. I have been trying to ignore the mess and remind myself that it is only temporary. Now one son's stuff has returned to college with him, but in it's place is some of my mom's stuff. I guess I will have to keep my blinders on a while longer. I'm not sure if I'll ever have the bonus room to call my own again, but if I do I already have plans for turning it into a sanctuary of sorts. A place to exercise, de-stress and most importantly ~ blog. Would you say I have my priorities in order??

Anyhow, I was especially happy to come home and see this had come in the mail:

I love that cute polka dot address label and you know it has to be something good when it says fragile all over the box. Well, not long ago I entered a giveaway that Barbara was having. Look here to read the details. Since I am rarely the winner of anything, I didn't have high hopes. So, I was really thrilled when Barbara contacted me and told me I was the lucky winner. Imagine that - out of 76 entries - I was chosen. I am a huge fan of Christmas decorating (you'll see what I mean in a few months) and I especially love old fashioned Christmas decor. I was really intrigued to find out which of her awesome ornaments Barbara would choose to send to me.

The excitement was mounting as I gently tore into the box. . .

Isn't this perfect?

A happy little home for my Happy Home.

I love it ~ Thank You Barbara.

I will treasure it always.

I have two Christmas trees. One is themed with snowmen and the other is for all of the really special ornaments ~ you know the ones that have been given to me as gifts, have been handmade by friends and family and the ones that have been in the family for years. I have already reserved a spot on this tree for Barbara's sweet little happy home.

How many more days til Christmas??

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Short Blog Break

Just a quick post tonight to let you all know that I will be away from the blog world for the next few days. I hope I don't go through withdrawal :-)

Tomorrow we are taking our youngest son to college and then after we get him set up we will continue on to my Mom's house to start the process of getting her ready to move into assisted living. There is a lot of paperwork to fill out, decisions to be made about which of her belongings will make the move with her and hopefully we can provide some happiness and moral support to her as she prepares for this next step in her life.

I hope to be back to blogging sometime next week.

Until then, I hope you all have a relaxing and restful weekend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Thing Leads To Another . . .

While I was eating my breakfast this morning I heard a loud and persistent tapping outside the window. I looked out there and saw a bird banging his beak on the empty birdfeeder. I guess he was trying to drop a hint.
After finishing my Cheerios and jumping into some clothes I went out to fill the feeder. I bought this food the other day. It is supposed to be good near porches and patios because there is no waste. This stuff almost looks good enough to eat.

There, that ought to keep him quiet for awhile. Well at least until tomorrow.
I decided as long as I was dressed and outside and the weather was slightly cooler I would take a little stroll around the garden. When I got to the perennial bed I noticed a lot of weeds that were starting to flower. These weeds are loaded with thorns and have a root system that doesn't quit. There is no way you can just give them a good clean yank. This is a job for the biggest shovel in your arsenal. So, I decided as long as it was a little cooler I would tackle this job. I donned my protective gloves and went at it.

This was my biggest VICTORY.
Look at the root on that sucker!
I wasn't as successful getting the whole root on a lot of the other ones, but at least they are gone and their flower heads can't turn to seed and spread even more.
Then I decided I might as well plant a few flowers I picked up the other day.

I planted this purple cone flower. It seems like I plant these every year and they disappear. Lots of my neighbors have huge masses of them. It is a mystery to me why I have so much trouble with them. But I'm not ready to admit defeat yet.

I had planted several zinnias in early summer. Some of them have succumbed to the drought, others were eaten up by some invisible bugs. So, I put in a few to refresh the looks of the bed and hope they will last until frost.

These lantana are taking over the bed and even crowding out some of the other flowers.

I guess I will allow them to do that since they attract beauties like this.

And this.

These were my companions as I worked out there today.

Look what I found on one of my dogwood trees. Now that looks like a hint of fall, wouldn't you say. It's hard to believe when it's been so hot here.
I thought I just went outside to feed the birds and now I'm ready to feed myself.

I'm in the mood for a chopped salad. I've had these at a few different restaurants and love them. I use what I have on hand. Today I will use romaine lettuce, mushrooms, carrots, red pepper, tomatoes, cukes and cilantro. Chop everything up real small.
Put it in a bowl. Add some grated Parmesan cheese and some dressing. I love this Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette.

The birds are happy & so am I.