Saturday, April 29, 2006

Franklin Street Fair

I love this time of year. Franklin holds its annual Spring Main Street Fair. It is always full of wonderful little goodies to buy and it's nice to see all the people come out and support our local artists.

This year, they had this wonderful German, almost life-size, music box (I don't know what else to call it). It was all hand carved and painted beautifully with golds and other lovely colors. The music that it played was so enjoyable, reminded me of the old merry-go-rounds. It was so nice to sit and listen to and watch the rather large characters do their thing. I wish you could hear it. I couldn't help but feel like a child again.

These are some of my favorite booths that were there. I may need to go back tomorrow and see them again. I'm always overwhelmed the first day and always need to think about it before I purchase an item that was to-die-for. Better to sleep on it. I have found some wonderful items in years' past that I absolutely adore to this day. I just can never make up my mind, though, on the spot. The booth on the left was new this year. The one on the right I've seen at several local shows. She works with metals and makes pretty garden and wall hangings. I love the bright colors.

The last one here (above) is a wonderful new artist that took photographs of the old Franklin streetscape and somehow collaged them together which makes for a fascinating view of the old buildings. I have purchased several of his notecards for Christmas and blanks for everyday notes. He's even taken the photos and turned them into paintings on canvas. Really unique work.

And this is one of my favorite buildings on the square. It is so pretty. Wouldn't window boxes full of flowering cascades look gorgeous under these exquisitely large windows? I am always intrigued with the rooftops here. Sometimes, the top floors of these old buildings come up for residential rent. I would love to live up there if it were just me and the hub. The views of the quaint street are breathtaking. Perhaps, one day.

Of course there are several music genres playing about the square. I liked this guy (on the right). He was a little jazzy.

My all-time favorite artist each season is this gentlemen. I'll have to look up his name, sorry I can't think of it right now. I had him draw both of my sons. His technique, using pastels, is fascinating to watch. He uses very fast and quick strokes, removes his hand, studies, and adds some more strokes. He is finished in about 15 minutes tops. Amazing. The finished product is unbelievable. He captures something in the eyes of the kids. I was a little hesitant to have my teenager done, but he convinced me to do so (he was probably about 13). I am so glad he did. He still captured the child within. And, he's the sweetest man. Very gentle and soft spoken.

If I go back for anything, it will be in this booth. I've purchased a birdhouse from this artist before, but this year, he has out done himself! Oh my. I will be dreaming of these tonight--especially the one here on the right. Isn't it absolutely wonderful? The old stained glass caught my eye right away--of course. I make it therefore, I appreciate it, right? There was another one with two old glass panes making the pitched roof. If a bird were to use it, you would be able to see right in to below, a skylight, so-to-speak. Marvelous!

I had a wonderful day just browsing about. It was crowded at first, but then it thinned out a bit so I was able to see a little more. Don't know if I'm going back tomorrow. I'm trying to be good. S-M-I-L-E.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Another Added Blog

ms*robyn has made herself a new blog. It's not really for her, it's for everyone. What a kind soul she is. This is a special blog for prayers. If you or someone you know needs a special prayer, go here to Our World Wrapped in Prayer & Love or email her at She will then post a special request for us all to pray or send special thoughts that way. I mentioned to her that this is way better than the old telephone prayer chain. There's no telling how many people it can reach! How wonderful of her.

I have added it to my listing in case anyone ever needs it. We all need special thoughts and prayers sent to us or someone we know from time to time.

Friday's Favorite Corner

Today's corner is the guest bedroom. Since it's still in order from our last visitors, I can show it to you. This room always goes through so many transformations. I find something pretty and add it to my collection here. It is safe from gangly teenage boys and most of the time, I keep the door shut to keep the animals out. It's supposed to be "animal dander free" for those allergic to all our babies. At least I try to keep them out. As you can see, Ms. Bev likes to get in on all the Friday photo shoots--thinks she's a model, I guess.

Most of the furniture in here is from our Art Deco phase. The hub and my first date was antique shopping and we soon discovered we both loved art deco. This was in the mid 80s before deco got really hot, so everything was to be had at a bargain. (Of course, over the years, I got tired of it in our bedroom and had to switch out to a lighter wood there.) anyway, all of this was purchased before the hub and I were married. I kept all of it at my (as opposed to his) apartment since it was apparent that we would be together for the rest of our lives and it didn't really matter where it went--so I got it (get it?). It is so funny, because the pieces were purchased at different shops and shows around DC at totally different times--yet it looks to be a matching set, or pretty near close. What an exciting time in our lives.

(The hope chest has a wonderful story to it. I don't even know if the hub and I were engaged; but the inlaws had come to DC to visit us. We were driving around and ended up driving by Eastern Market. I spotted some pieces of deco and told the hub to pull over, I was going to just jump out and take a quick look. They could drive around the block. Of course, it was so cheap, I purchased it; and we came back later that day to pick it up. (This may have been my very first--now infamous--speed shopping round.) Oh to be young DINKs again {double income, no kids}. haha!)

The darling side chair by the dresser was given to me by my dear friend Kelly and her mother. This is a piece from her grandmother's set. I had just moved into my first apartment and had absolutely nothing but an old antique table and two chairs--not even a bed! They were so sweet to give it to me. The fabric on the chair was one I purchased from a French shop in DC at the time to wrap my thank you gifts for my wedding attendants (all two--Kelly and the hub's sister Ann). I wonder if they ever got it off, because I glued it! haha. Should have tacked it with thread, but I was young and naive then. I just wanted it to be pretty. And it was. I saved a yard for prosperity and have used it for various projects over the years.

My larger watercolors are from a favorite Ukrainian artist, Arkady Orekhov (not to be confused with Slim Shady Orekhov--the musician, hehe). I don't remember who stumbled upon him first, but the hub surprised me one Christmas when we were first starting out (quite a reach then). It is one of my all-time favorite surprise gifts from him. The first one he bought for me was the one on the left with the cablecar. I still admire it with all my heart to this day. It touches me somehow. The hub's grandmother came from the Ukraine and he remembers her saying the closest town to her growing up was Lvov. These are the things that make pieces so special to me. I believe most of his work is capturing Lvov. The studio the hub purchased them from is no longer there in Old Town Alexandria. I stayed in touch with the owner for a while, a sweet elderly Polish woman; but unfortunately I have lost touch with her. Her gallery was so amazing.

(If artwork comes with a write up, I tape it to the back of the work--or else I would lose it!)

The little French watercolors were purchased in Paris on our honeymoon. You know, the street artists on the Left Bank that sell their work? Yea yea, those are the ones. I've had these in so many places throughout our houses, it's amazing. They are so sweet and special.

And this little collection is my brother Jim's fault. He started me on these little perfume funnels years ago when he gave me several for my birthday. I've been hooked ever since. Think I have enough now, so I don't go looking for them. If they come and seek me out in a shop, well, that's another story. He also gave me the pretty little silver nail file at the bottom. It pulls open with the file inside. Love it!

The lace above the bed belonged to my grandmother. I have had it on tables over the years, but it was beginning to wear; so I thought I better put it up somewhere in order to keep it from unraveling. I didn't want to put it away because it is so pretty, and this is what I finally came up with.

I absolutely love doing these posts. It is so important that my kids one day know why I have all this stuff and where it all came from. This way, it is all written down for them. You know boys, as I've said before, couldn't care less.

The hub was in Texas for a day and he comes home tonight! Yahoo (or yeeehaw). Can't wait to see him. Why is it when they're here, it's so taken for granted but once they leave town, you miss them like crazy? I probably don't tell him enough.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Teaser

I won! I won! I won many of my French auction items! Since I'm not quite sure exactly what I won, grin, I too am in the dark until it arrives--a tease for all of us. (And what is with this "winning" stuff. I didn't really win it, I DO have to pay for it all! So why do we say win?) I did get a tea set, just not sure which--could be the Napoleon set or the pretty flowered one (hoping it's the pretty flowered one). I got some bits and pieces of sets, and again, not sure which ones. Doesn't matter really. I will enjoy them all tremendously. Merci vraiment Raphael et Regis!

I will keep you posted as I hear more on shipping and receiving! Ohhh my. How exciting!!

A Bit of a Cheat

I admit, I cheated just a bit. I bought this box of Duncan Hines wild blueberry muffin mix at the store the other day. I had used this before, and it is good. Some additives and gunk, but ok for a quick muffin fix--every once in a while.

Of course, I have to add my own goodies, though. I still had some dried blueberries from when I was in Michigan a couple of years back. (Yes, they keep for that long--they're dried for pete's sake!) I had told you about American Spoon's goods in a previous post. Lord knows when and what that was about. Just the best butters, jams and mostly fruit what nots. You can find some of their items at Williams Sonoma but can also order products offline. It's well worth it. Everything is scrumptious. Anyway, I added some dried blueberries to the mix. I soaked about 2.5 oz. in enough Grand Marnier (yum) to cover and then microwaved them for a minute in order for them to soak up the liquid. (Hey, I was having a time to wait for it to soak in!) After rinsing the canned ones that came with the mix, I poured the Grand Marnier/dried blueberry mixture over the canned ones into a mesh strainer (didn't want to lose a drop of that sweet orange nectar!).

After mixing the batter lightly and adding a few drops of lemon extract, I added the mixed blueberries and folded them in. My favorite part of a muffin is the top so I always have to add a crumbly topping. Again, I used the popover pan that always cooks so perfectly. It only made 6 (huge) muffins, but that's a good thing. They go more quickly!

One was a little troublemaker getting out of the pan, and he lost his head. This is the one the kid and I shared!

Of course, some "men" were here and as soon as they smelled the finished product, three were gone in a jiffy, as you can see from the main photo. (This was a different crew--not the usual 2 a.m. snack crowd.) The kid and I shared one and now there are two. One is calling my name right now. Yum! Wish I could share with you.

Three New Blogs

I have added three new blogs to my Favorites' listing. Three wonderful new blogs! I met Marion of Reflection Through the Seasons and Mrs. Pao over at Mumblings through the Vintage Swap that ms*robyn put together. I can't remember now how I came upon Tara at Paris Parfait. You know how that goes, one blog leads you to another and then another. It all becomes a fog of blogs after a bit of jumping about. But, I am so happy to have found them all.

Marion lives in Wales and posts the most beautiful pictures of her quaint village and all the splendor it holds. Mrs. Pao lives with her husband and many cats (see why I like her!) in Kent. Her blog is similar to mine, you never know what you might read! Tara is an ex-pat living in Paris. Need I say more? Je pense pas! I think not!

Give them a visit and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Let Us Always Meet Each Other With a Smile

. . . for the smile is the beginning of love. --Mother Teresa

I am inspired each day by visiting Mrs. Staggs over in Merryville. You see, Merryville is that special place in everyone's heart where we can all meet and enjoy each other's company. We are free to frolic around with not a care in the world. Mrs. Staggs brings so much enjoyment to me by her words, her pictures and her creation of Merryville.

Today she wrote a post about an elderly gentlemen she had once met. She told us about the wisdom of one simple phrase he spoke: "Whom may I delight today?" I kept that phrase with me all day, and I hope to always carry it with me.

It was a dreary day outside--cold and damp--so I decided to finish some boxes I had been working on. I never know what I'm going to put on them until I sit down with the painted set in front of me. I pulled out all my snippets of this and snippets of that to see what would capture my eye and my heart. I immediately went to this delightful calendar with pictures and illustrations of children. Each page has a quaint saying next to adorable artwork. After looking through several pages, I came upon a caption that recaptured the same feeling I felt when I had read Mrs. Staggs' early-morning post. It was a quote from Mother Teresa, the one I wrote above, "Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." Simple words, simple meaning. And so, this was the theme of my three boxes.

I later found this photo in my mom's childhood album. It is of her (Sue), her sister (Nita) and their two friends. The smiles on their faces say it all.

May we always have a smile for one another to pass along.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My First Swap

I just received my first swap (Vintage Housekeeping) from Connie over at Mumbo Jumbo. How lovely everything is. Thank you Connie. Take a look at all my goodies.

First of all, it was all set in an old wash tub. I love it! There are all kinds of cleaning things (which I must hide or else I will have to use them)! I especially love the old wooden clothes pins. Wonderful. And the smell. Connie added some vacuum bag sachets. I was noticing a yuk odor coming from the vacuum today. Just in time! You read my mind, C.She included two magazines, one At Home St. Louis (love it!) and the new MS Living, which I don't have. Perfect again. Can't wait to crawl into bed tonight with the mags, especially the one on St. Louis. (Connie, I meant to add our Nashville magazine and forgot. I'll pop one in the mail to you! I have it right here--duh.)

And take a look at these two beauties. Connie made, yes MADE the apron for me, moi. The fabric is so sweet. And the little sachet bag was chock full of teas. Mmmmmmm. Can't wait to try those! Love to have my afternoon tea. But there's more. Oh yes. Ladies and gents, there is more.

Included in the basin of delights was an "I Love Lucy" (C's favorite show) cookbook. Does it have the recipe for Vitameatavegamin, you ask. Of course it does. Any one dare to make it and drink it? haha. I'll be more than happy to pass it along!

Let's see. What else? Oh! The pretty pink guest towel. Look at the charming embroidery on it. So very exquisite. And...... a darling little tea cup and saucer.. Pretty little flowers, a gold rim. Precious!

I keep my guest towels that I have collected over the years in my guest bath--of course. I slipped my new one in; and it looks as if it has always been there. (After looking at the photo, I may have to add some more vintage huck cloths to my top rack. It looks a little pale in comparison to the bottom towel rack, hehe.) I can't stop saying pretty and sweet and all that, and I'm sorry. But everything is so......well, you know, splendid! Isn't it?

The darling tea cup has found a place on top of my stove right beside my other tea items. It's just waiting for me to brew a cup, or two. Doesn't it look perfect?

Connie, I can't thank you enough. Everything was just perfect. The apron is wonderful. It's almost too pretty to use, but I will, I promise. It won't sit idle. You truly outdid yourself. Thank you so very much my new friend!

A Little Gardening

We're supposed to get a little more rain today. What better time to plant than right before a good soaking. Let nature take over. I finished my window boxes, bringing a little outdoors in for when it's too hot to open the windows. I wish I had a window box outside my bedroom window that I could open my eyes to each morning. I have a whole upper deck to play with, but it's not the same as a sweet window box brimming with pretty flowers. Mine are on the laundry room and guest room windows. The cats get to enjoy the flowers more than I do. They spend more time in there than me. And as for the guest room, I keep the door open so I can enjoy the view each time I walk by. So, overall, not too shabby. Can't wait for them to spread their roots and grow so I can really enjoy them!

Before & After (You can barely see them for the new growth on the hedging!)

I found all kinds of new blooms in my "walk about" today. The peonies are dying to burst open. The ants have already found the sweet nectar. My azaleas are in full bloom. This variety actually bloom twice a year, once in late spring and once in the fall. I had never heard of such a thing. And a double bloom to boot! Sweet! The hedging is so overgrown that I could barely see the clematis hiding behind it. It usually climbs up a post to my little bird house, but it has decided to connect to some of the hedging this season. Everything really needs to be cut back! But it's so pretty au naturale too. What to do, what to do. The roses I think will stay bushy for the time being. Even my basket from last fall has found a rebirth. It's gorgeous! And all I did was start watering it again. What a nice gift.

Now I need to get out and deadhead. Oooh, fun.



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