Monday, June 30, 2008

Rain - Finally!

Last night we finally had a rain shower. It had been weeks since my garden had gotten a soaking rain but last night was a soaker. A fairly severe thunderstorm blew through about 7:30 and by 8:30 the storm was gone. Today at work, everyone was talking about it because after the shower the sky turned a bright chartreuse, then a red-orange color followed by a rose color. Then the sun went down. Following the rain the temperature dropped drastically so it was a perfect night for sitting outside and enjoying the summer evening. The only thing missing were fireflies but maybe they will join us next time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


During the past few weeks I discovered some new housing under construction near where I live. The 3,000 square foot homes are courtyard dwellings. These homes are the ultimate in private outdoor living space. I fell in love with them. They are all on one level with 12 foot ceilings and nearly every room opens up onto the courtyard that has a water feature. For those wanting to be neighborly, each home features large front porches with room enough to host 6-8 people comfortably. Unfortunately the more I drove past these homes, the more I was convinced there was a new home waiting for me even though the house we live in is less that 3 years old. After taking many walk-throughs at the new development, I realized that our house is lovely and that maybe I should do a little more to cozy it up.

It was almost a relief to make that decision. It was time to do more to help make our home feel like a welcoming cottage dwelling. Oddly just weeks after we moved into this house, my Dad died. All the excitement of buying a new home was suddenly over for me and from that time on I never really felt excited about being here. Don't get me wrong, we have a wonderful house and a great neighborhood but I had never made this house my home.

Taking the first step. For some time I had been dreaming of a coffered ceiling. For whatever reason I love them so I decided it was time to do more to give our house a cozy feeling. I found a website with plenty of sample ceilings and then I selected the one that seemed best suited for our dining room. We had someone come and install the ceiling this week. He came one day and sketched the ceiling. Once we approved it he came a second day and installed the trim work.

Here is the before and after (with just primer).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are You In A Club?

I am in a wine club. Many of my friends are in book clubs or bunko groups that are fairly serious groups. Some are serious about the food that goes along with the gathering, while others enjoy vigorous conversation around a book or a game that may or may not be of interest. While I love to read, I find it hard to read a book that has been prescribed so I have always avoided joining such a club.

One day my husband came home and mentioned a group from his office were forming a wine club. It is not your usual wine club. Most of us know very little about wine but all of us enjoy wine or we enjoy learning about the region where the wine is grown. So we decided to get together in club members' homes to share delicious food, taste wines and get to know one another. In wine club, several cultures are represented which has been an huge enhancement. For the first year we used a book to guide us and chapter-by-chapter, we learned about things like legs and how to taste a wine. With enough information to make us dangerous, wine club continued focusing on different wine-growing regions in the world. Over time some of the group started traveling to a few of the regions that grow wines. I didn't go on the last trip but this Spring, seven of the wine club members decided to go to the south of France. Last year's trip was Spain.

This past weekend we shared slide shows and enjoyed foods from the region while tasting 10 different bottles of chateauneuf du pape. It has been such a wonderful experience to be able to get together with a group of people that I know only through an interest in learning about wines. When I get home from a wine club gathering, I always feel that, at least for the evening, I have been traveling.

Interesting note: One of our wine club members worked in Europe as a distributor from the early 60s to the mid 80s. In his dealings with some of the wine suppliers, specifically the Rothschilds, he acquired about thirty years of the wine labels created by some amazing artists. To learn more about the artist labels click here

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Book for Summer

For the past 10 years I have had a copy of The Artist's Way in my reading stack but I have never gotten through the book. This summer I have decided that I am going to finally read the book and work on excavating some of the creativity that has been suppressed over the past 20 or so years. While I have never considered myself a writer I am forced to write with my job and over time my writing skills have improved. Unfortunately, many of the things I used to enjoy such as sewing, sketching or painting with water colors, etc., seems to have escaped me. That makes me sad sometimes. I used to imagine that I could be a potter and I would sit at the potter's wheel, pumping the pedal turning a clump of mud into a work of art.

One of my college roommates is a wonderful writer so I had the brilliant idea for the both of us to go through the book together. While we live in the same metropolitan area, we see each other only once or twice a year. We have both decided that going through the book together will be a wonderful exercise for us and will also be the excuse we need to get together once a month.

I have four other books on my summer reading list and I am counting on getting all of them read but the book I am most looking forward to is the one that will be shared with my girlfriend. Have you made your summer reading list? The books I have on my list include: The Sisters, Water For Elephants, Suite Francaise and Burning Bright. If you have made your summer reading list, please share the titles. Most of the best books come recommended by friends.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paris Market

I am still talking about Savannah (or vaSannah as my granddaughter calls it). If you haven't ever been it is certainly a city worth visiting. There is so much history, great food and plenty of shopping. I had read about the Paris Market & Brocante so of course it was first on my list of places to visit and I wasn't disappointed.

When I saw these spoons I just couldn't resist them. They may not be meant for use with tea but look how lovely when pictured with a teacup.

There were other purchases too. Like the beautiful hooks though my favorite purchase is the pearl-studded initial.

The Paris Market is a beautiful place to just to linger.

I just got my copy of Victoria Magazine and surprise...the Paris Market is featured in this issue!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Online Garden Tours All Week

An online garden tour benefiting breast cancer research is being held all week. You can find a listing of all the participating bloggers by visiting

Please enjoy some of the garden scenes we enjoyed on a recent trip to coastal Georgia and as you take the tour, I hope you will consider making a donation to help support the cause. You can access the contribution form by clicking here.

I love the passion flower and while I say that about every flower, this really is MY FAVORITE FLOWER!

You have to click on the tree photos to be able to see the moss-draped oak trees. The grand allee was so beautiful and amazingly cool on the day we were visiting Savannah when temperatures were hovering at 100 degrees.

And of course no garden is complete without a lizard.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day. I hope if you are a Father that today you take a moment to give thanks for the special gift that you have been given. You have been given the gift of precious ones, trusted in your care as you love and lead a family. At least that is what I learned from my Dad. I am a bit melancholy as I write this because I lost my Dad a couple of years ago. At the same time I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a wonderful father as "Pap." Now that he is gone, it is so easy to think of him as a saint and in many ways he was. His ability to overlook adversity and hardship was amazing. Even greater was his ability to love. His love of the earth and growing things, simple living, mankind, community were all evident in his day-to-day living. But his greatest gift was the example he set by remaining strong in his faith and loving and caring for his family. As I celebrate Father's Day I can't help but be a bit sad but at the same time I give thanks for my Dad. If you have a Dad in your life I hope you help make his day a very special day of celebration.

Pictured on the left is my "little brother" and my Dad. The photo on the right is my Dad (L) as a little boy with his sister and brother. My granddad is in the background near the barn.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Online Garden Tour Coming Soon!

Nestle in the Garden, Tour for the Cure, an online garden tour, will be taking place on June 15th. I hope you will stop by and see some of my garden photos taken while visiting coastal Georgia.

Monday, June 9, 2008

So Hard to Go Back to Work

I love vacations but it is so hard to get motivated when the vacation is over, your mailbox is running over, your voice mailbox is full and it is Monday. Lesson learned, next time take Monday off too! We had such a terrific time at the beach. Normally when we go to the beach we go to the Gulf coast of Florida. My mom grew up in the area so we always went back to visit family. This time we went down to coastal Georgia and it was wonderful. While there we (my family and the little crab pictured) took a boat ride over to an area of protected land and there were no humans on the beach, just hundreds of pelicans. We spent the morning dolphin watching, bird watching, cast net fishing and shelling. I came home with a canvas tote full of shells! I can't think of the last time I had so much fun just relaxing and enjoying my family. I love the picture of my grand girls just watching the water.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Photos coming

We took a few days off and went to the beach. It was only four days but what a wonderful vacation.
In the next few days I will be sharing some memories and photos of our trip. Have a wonderful week.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Hydrangeas Are Blooming

I get so happy when I see flowers blooming and the hydrangeas right now are gorgeous. We moved in our house in 2005 and I moved many plants with me from our old house. Most of the hydrangeas I brought along were cuttings so it makes me especially proud that these cuttings are now good sized plants with plenty of blooms.

I just had to share a few photos from my garden.

Footnote: We are praying for rain! Between the high temperatures and the drought, the hydrangeas are looking sad.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Thing Finished

I am still working away on the bedroom but today I finished the redo of a chair that I have had since childhood. Originally the chair was painted black with gold trim and was covered with red corduroy upholstery. The chair has taken on a lighter look and displays an antique quilt my sister gave me for my 50th birthday.