Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pretty autumn decor

Thanks for your kind thoughts from the previous post. Everything is really ok. And believe me, ok is much better than horrible. People tell me I’m strong, and I don’t know about that. I think that you never know just how strong you are until something comes along and forces you to be so.

Tonight before I go to bed, I spent a bit of time perusing beautiful things that I love for autumn so that I could share them with you. I can’t afford most of them, and I don’t need any of them . . . but hey, it doesn’t hurt to look, does it? Besides, looking at beautiful things lowers your blood pressure, calms your worried mind, and generally gives you a peaceful easy feeling. Really, it does. I think I read that somewhere.

:   :   :

I fell in love with these velvet pumpkins when I first saw them a couple of years ago. There are many imitations out there, but it’s the stems and the squiggles that give away the originals. Too bad they’re super expensive.

But they’re really gorgeous. And I love those little acorns, too.


Plush pumpkins3

Plush pumpkins1


Plush Pumpkins by Monya Inc.


Saw these ceramic pumpkins in the Pottery Barn catalog last month. I have a spot ready on my shelf for a trio of them. Unfortunately, I’m making a car payment this month (for the first time in years) so these will be out of the picture.


Punched Ceramic Pumpkin Luminaries – Pottery Barn


I love these tea towels, though. And they would look perfect in the manor house kitchen.

I may order the feather one. I think I can afford that.


Handcrafted Dishtowels from LoveFeast Shop


Mercury glass is always a beautiful holiday accent, and when it’s etched, it makes it even more distinctive. I love looking at autumn décor.

etched mercury glass pumpkin

Etched Mercury Glass Pumpkin – Pottery Barn


There was a time when my boys were young and I was crafty. That sounds weird, I know, but I was into crafting. I was one of the first customers to sign on for Martha Stewart’s new magazine back in 1990 – Martha Stewart Living. I believe I have several years worth of catalogs packed away somewhere in the attic. These celestial pumpkins were featured in an issue in the 90’s or the early 2000’s and I remember making several of them for my front porch that year.

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Martha Stewart – Celestial Pumpkins


I actually made these, too, using tools I found in my husband’s toolbox. They are time-consuming, but they are incredibly gorgeous when finished. I’d rather invest in a ceramic one, though, and spend the time I saved doing some knitting or reading. Or hell, drinking.

* snort *

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Martha Stewart – Lace-Patterned Pumpkins


And finally, vintage cards for Halloween.

These are just plain old-fashioned fun.

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Sundance Vintage Halloween Cards

:  :  :

I’m off to bed early again. It seems to help.

And I’m only boring on the weekdays.


Hope you liked my autumn décor offerings. If I’m not back tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Until later then . . .

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

For such is the kingdom of heaven

Sorry for my long absence, my friends. I have a lot going on right now but I wanted to stop by and share some photos that I hope don’t seem too depressing.

Last weekend, I went to scout out a location for a photo shoot I will be doing this weekend for a former colleague who is being ordained. It’s being held at her church, which happens to be one of the oldest in the county where I live. It was built in 1742 and the parish was created in 1706.

I saw some very old photographs taken of the church in its early years in a display case in the little vestry house which led me to my editing choice for the images I’m sharing today. I used Old Skool (HD) by Totally Rad Actions, giving an old-time wet plate effect that emulates the look of 19th century photographic processes.


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I love the trees on the property.



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And I could feel the history of the place as I walked among the grave-strewn lawn.



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(There are gravestones everywhere.)



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The church, although very tiny, actually holds 150 people. This will be one of my vantage points during Saturday’s ceremony.



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The windows are incredible with their wavy glass edges.

But what really got to me were some of the gravestones.



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Lydia and her sister, Mary, both died at a young age. Lydia at age 18 . . .



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. . . and little Mary at age 11. Their poor, dear parents.

The tombstone reads:

Suffer little children, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

The entire quote is not here. Perhaps it couldn’t fit on the tiny tombstone. It should read:

14 But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven”.

(which means to let the little children come to Him, and not hinder them in doing so because the kingdom of God belongs to them as much as anyone).

: : :


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There are two giant oak trees on the property and they are called Big Red and Little Red. Above is Little Red, which sits off to the side between the church and the vestry house.



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And behind lies a small road around the property which is located at the edge of the river. Such a beautiful, yet tiny piece of hallowed ground. And such a peaceful feeling as I walked and took photos on a sterling September morning.

: ~ : ~ : ~ :

I’m headed to bed at an early hour because I am just so tired. It won’t always be this way, and that is something I’m telling myself to help me through this phase right now. Some day maybe I’ll tell you all about it but for now, I’ll simply say goodnight. And I hope your week is a beautiful one.

Thanks for stopping by today. Until later, my friends ~

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Counting my blessings

Good morning from Maryland on this beautiful Thursday. I realized I hadn’t written for several days, and today have off from work due to an appointment for my husband later on in Baltimore. I had planned on sleeping in but my work cell rang at 7 this morning. It was a parent from school who told me that his daughter was sick and she’d be needing her homework.

So much for sleeping in. The cell is only for parents to use in an emergency but that’s ok because lately we’ve been having difficulty with our phone system at school. So far I’ve had two calls from parents this morning.

Because I can’t write a post without images, I picked up the camera and walked around in my slippers, snapping a few shots. I was too lazy to change the lens, so these images were all shot with the 50mm which I rarely use anymore. I like my 50mm.


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The main foyer – I am standing with the front door at my back and facing the door that leads to the little back patio. We never use the front door, preferring the mud-room entrance at the other end of the house.


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Turning to the right and looking into the room we use as our living room. I’m sure it was a library at some point in history, a den at another point, but now it’s our living room. It was built in 1810 as an addition to the main house which was built in 1769. The fireplace would be nice to use, but it needs to be re-lined and we’re just fine without it.

This is thrilling you no end, isn’t it?

* snort *


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Walking out the front door and looking to the west for a view of the hickory tree and the yard beyond.


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The black locust stand with the old outdoor fireplace at the base. These trees are incredibly old and very very high. My husband uncovered the fireplace remains in 2010 but it’s hard to keep the vines off of it. I wrote about his discovery:

Hidden Treasures


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A lone morning glory on the azalea bush out front on this chilly September morning.


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Looking toward the east and catching the first rays of the sun.


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Catching my husband on his walk. I don’t see George although I’m sure he’s close by. The leaves on the dogwood trees are beginning to turn colors.


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And my favorite seat in the house.

: ~ : ~ : ~ :

This morning, I plan on taking a walk with the dog and maybe doing a little knitting later on. I can hear our son upstairs with the vacuum and my husband is in the kitchen making me another cup of coffee. Each season is a gift and I always wonder, “will this be his last (autumn, summer, spring, winter)?” And he continues to surprise me and to surprise his doctors. And I count my blessings. This home and this property is one of many.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Total George overload

I have been having a rough time of it lately and the only reason I’m telling you this right now is because our dog is so often my saving grace lately. Troubles come and go, as we all know ~ and no matter who we are, none of us are exempt, are we?

So in my melancholy mood on this beautiful Saturday afternoon in September, I set up my chair and table under the dogwood tree out back and took my knitting basket with me. I’d just been to the yarn shop and bought some beautiful skeins and a beginner’s pattern for a lacy scarf that’s knit on circular needles which I happened to have in the right size. But I couldn’t understand the easy pattern instructions and found myself becoming really frustrated (which was ridiculous), and before I knew it, I was in tears.

Over a knitting pattern? Seriously?


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I haven’t cried in a long time and I loathe self-pity, but I must have needed it and I’m glad to have it out of my system for now. But the fact of the matter remained that I still couldn’t understand the simple pattern. So I went in the house, found an old project I’d set aside last year, and began the calming, repetitive motions which soon began to help.

I’ll figure it out later, or google it or something.

I detest feeling sorry for myself, especially when I have so much to be thankful for.


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And this dog is one of my biggest reasons.

The mailman came up the drive earlier that day with a box for my husband from REI. Inside was new pair of boots for him and a warm shirt, plus a little something for his best friend.

I took note that there was nothing for me in the box, but that’s really ok. Because the last time something came for me, I might have been a little offended. I remember writing about it here.

Night comes early


But this ball on a string is hands-down George’s favorite toy ever.

I had to run in for the camera and get some shots of his happy face.


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We played fetch for nearly two hours (with plenty of breaks in-between) while I sat there knitting and throwing.

Throwing and knitting.


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And he fetched.



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And rested.



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And posed for portraits.



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And had a grand ‘ole time.

* sigh *

If you have a dog who loves to play fetch, I highly recommend this tug ball. And it’s currently 60% off at REI. Here’s the link ~

Life Is Good Dog Toy

ps – george says hello.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little things

Gifts for you from my husband who was sitting outside on the patio this morning snapping some photos. He used the old Nikon D80 and the Quantaray zoom lens he seems to prefer. He shoots in sport mode for the hummingbirds. I actually prefer shooting them in manual or shutter priority so that I can get the wings frozen in time but his sport mode did an ok job of it, I think.

Overlays (the edges) are from Shadowhouse Creations.

Black Box Overlay, Set 2



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I like the wispiness ~



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And I love this hummingbird feeder.



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It’s true, you know.


You just don’t know it yet.


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Does this tree limb make me look fat?


: : :


Maybe you can settle an argument I had with my son at the dinner table. Ok, it was more a hotly contested discussion than an argument, but it provided some lively dinner conversation. And it involves something so silly – tipping for take-out meals.

Lately, I’ve been frequenting the nearby Chili’s at dinnertime much more than I care to admit and every time I go, I leave a dollar tip in the jar at the take-out window. I think my dollar tip is quite adequate, but my son, on the other hand, says it should be a percentage of the meal total and basically accused me of being a cheapskate.

My husband said nothing. I do think he was enjoying the entertainment, though.

I do not think it’s generally required to tip for take-out from a restaurant when you are going inside to pick up the meal. Yes for curbside service, and yes for delivery, but really not necessary when you go inside. My son argued the point, saying that those people are bagging it up for you, making sure everything is included and the order is perfect so they deserve a tip – maybe not what you would tip for a sit-down meal, but still more than what his skinflint mother leaves.

I disagreed, then after the meal was finished, looked it up online, and found that it was a hotly-debated subject on a couple of websites. But I didn’t feel really justified until I read Emily Post’s take on it.

And so I e-mailed it to him. And from now on, I’ll be sending HIM to Chili’s and he can leave whatever he wants.

And that’s what I have to say about that.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday morning

I know, I know. I’m sorry - I haven’t written in nearly a week. It’s either feast or famine with me, you see. I although I certainly have my excuses, too many of them are things I don’t want to go into here. But one of my excuses is being absorbed in reading books.

You really can escape into a good book, can’t you?


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Sunday morning, before I began my leftover Saturday chores, I sat outside with my coffee and my camera.

The air was crisp and lovely with not a hint of humidity. For most of last week, we’d been in a steam bath here which was really getting me down.


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But Sunday, and then today were absolutely lovely.



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Sometimes I like to shoot right into the sun.


Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun, but mama
that's where the fun is.
~Bruce Springsteen, Blinded by the Light


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"If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before."
-Mitchell Burgess


I can feel Mother Earth beginning to close those drapes, and I want this season to last a good long time because I just love Autumn.

And I missed most of it last year.


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I heard them before I saw them, and this was my fleeting glimpse of the geese flying as I lifted my camera to take their picture.



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A pair of hummingbirds were keeping close watch on the feeders, trying to stay out of the way of the European hornets that have been annoying all of us for the past month. It’s chilly tonight and part of me wants to go outside and kill them with my spray, but the other part of me has just read The Hunger Games where the worst part, as far as I’m concerned, was the lethal yellow jackets.

And so I keep my distance.

And they’re so big, I wonder if the spray will really kill the suckers.



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But the hummers sure are pretty.

And I like ‘em in black & white.



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I could go on and talk about the pretty flowers, but I just don’t have it in me today. I’m sure I’ll snap out of this funk soon.

I think I’ll head back into my book. Sorry I’m not better company ~ but tomorrow’s another day. And it will be a better one.

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And I'm driving a stolen car
On a pitch black night
And I'm telling myself I'm gonna be alright
But I ride by night and I travel in fear
That in this darkness I will disappear

~Bruce Springsteen, Stolen Car