Monday, January 28, 2008

~It's a Beautiful Day....

Walking through the tiny downtown area of Sanford on Saturday a light drizzle fell upon the dozens of people out for their weekend stroll through the shops and the farmer's market. The market is made up of only about 10 booths, and the downtown is just a few blocks long. I snapped this photo of one of the old buildings. It was the fire station in 1928. Although Florida has the nation's oldest city, this is an old building in this part of the state.

I wrote of this town before and how they have been busy renovated and restoring their old downtown to try to bring in the antique shoppers from nearby Mount Dora. There are only a couple of shops that I usually find things at but, it is the small town serene atmosphere that draws me back.

Usually when the sun is gone for a day or two, it makes me a bit grumpy and just waiting for those warm rays of light to come back soon. This day, the feeling of being thankful for a day off with Sweet Hubby and doing something we love to do together and out of town, just a little bit, was more than enough to make it a happy day.

We headed to our favorite restaurant the Black Dahlia, and it was gone. Well kind of. It looked the same but had a new name and new menu so we almost left. But I decided to ask if it was new owners or just a new name, Two Blondes & a Shrimp. Hmmm...not a good as the original. They did however say they still had the same chef. Now this is actually quite amusing, since I think of a chef usually meaning a more expensive uptown eatery. But this is so tiny, one wall of tables. The chef however is fabulous! The She-Crab Soup was fresh and the best I've ever had. The Pecan Crusted Chicken was superb and Hubby had a Veggie Philly, again fresh and delicious. We will go back just to eat, even I don't find a thing to buy.

Sweet Hubby found these treasures for me. It's not that I can't think of what to do with them, it's that I have too many ideas! Old and brass, some aged differently, but each one rather perfect for some art to be done yet.

To add to the wonder of the day, we were also reminded of how very lucky we are when we came upon a very old, homeless man. He didn't ask for anything. But Sweet Hubby took a little cash and walked over to give it to him. The old man, whom somone must have loved once upon a time, looked so surprised at us, and at those little bills as though they would speak to him. I wish I had given more. I get upset that there are any older people who are homeless in our country.

Today the Sun is shining so brightly it is bathing everything in its glorious warmth even though it is pretty cool outside. It's a Beautiful Day....again!

Friday, January 25, 2008

~What, This Old Thing?

I think it was Sweet Husband who found "This Old Thing" while we were out antique and fun hunting. I remember him saying that it sure was in bad shape but he thought I might like to do something with it. After all it was a book about the fabled British legend King Arthur. Fables have been a part of my life since I can remember. King Arthur I didn't discover until maybe high school years, but he and Camelot became a favored fables.

One of our most treasured memories was having the absolute pleasure of seeing the touring play of Camelot....with yes, Richard Harris. I know that there was great reluctance in casting Mr. Harris in the part made famous by Richard Burton, and I guess if had a choice I might have chosen Burton because I would have loved to hear him sing in person, but...... no...maybe, it would have been tough. I had not seen the play on Broadway with Burton, but loved the movie version even though the critics slammed Harris for what they called his lackluster performance. I liked him anyway.

Harris was older by the time we saw him, but it didn't matter to me. He didn't sing as well as Burton of course, but I always thought he brought something else that was uniquely him to the play. Thunder cracked outside and he rolled with the punches and entertained us all. And from a distance I could pretend he was much younger.

So this book, which I forgot to read yet, has been sitting around waiting for me to tear it apart for these wonderful drawings and plates inside. But when I looked at this book with the spine slowly unraveling and showing it's age of more than 100 years, I couldn't take it apart. I might one day, if the exact right project comes along. But today I doubt it. It has all the beauty that I adorn in old buildings, furniture, art & architecture. I even know that's kind of silly. But I hope someone (continues) looks at me that way as I get older, too.

I hope you have a Fantastic Weekend!
Thanks for the lovely comments on Beau. You made him blush!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

~He Wore His Heart On His Sleeve...Beau

Beau Bunny is ready for Valentine's Day! He just had a new portrait taken. Of course it is still the late 1800's in Beau-time, so it looks like an old cabinet card photo. This one was not quite as time consuming as the others so I am able to offer for it at lower price.

If you even like banana bread a little bit, you must try those muffins! I kind of got tired of banana bread after really loving it for years. But the muffins are a brand new take on them. It was very kind of you to wish Rhoda congrats.

I will be giving away another print very soon for the One World One Heart, big BlogLand Giveaway! Here's how I'm going to display one at my house for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

~The Winner is Banana Muffins! And .....

Come on in, I have some fresh Banana Muffins right out of the oven. And this recipe is a winner! Coffee? Sure, I'll pour you a cup. Mine is half cocoa and half decaf. I drink it for the taste not the caffeine.
RECIPE click HERE. (Not on Country Living site, but it's the same recipe.)

The Winner is.... #16 who wrote:
RHODA said... Oh, oh, count me in! Maybe I'll finally win one of your beautiful creations!Rhoda

I had to have the accountants double check the results on this drawing. After all I've known Rhoda about the longest of anyone in BlogLand. We have been friends for several years, hard to believe it's been so long. But I'm really happy that you won Rhoda. I know this will look exceptionally well with your colors.

Can you believe how long these white roses have lasted? As I said I don't buy fresh too much any more because I can buy a live plant will last for months and fresh is gone in just a few days. The white roses have made me rethink about buying them more often. I have enjoyed them so much.

The recipe for the banana muffins is from Country Living Magazine. They published it about a year ago, and our friend Sarah/Sally cooked some up and shared the recipe. They were a huge hit in my house where they even win out over banana bread. I made the with organic sugars and spelt flour with half organic unbleached. They still were perfect. And of course the organic butter has less fat...right? that was just pretend.

If you haven't looked lately, both BJ's and Costco's are carrying more organic products, milk, butter, sometimes eggs, coffee, salad greens, hummus, and organic whole chickens, to name just a few things.
(Yes, those are the same white roses! Amazing how long they have lasted. I'll have to rethink not buying them because they don't last long enough.)

It was so sweet of all you to stop by and leave a note.
I hope you have a Great Day!

Monday, January 14, 2008

~Marie, Liaisons & Twisted, Kudos Ladies!

The new Somerset Studio is fabulous! We all heard about the Marie Antoinette art collaboration of several artists in BlogLand a few months ago. And we got to see a some pictures on their blogs. But the magazine did a fantastic job with featuring their Extravagant Liaisons art collaboration. Congrats Ladies, it's beautiful!

(Edit: Most Somerset magazines , there are many of them, are available at the major bookstores, and craft supply stores, which can be better since you can use your 40% off coupon!)

If anyone is interested in doing a little Marie Antoinette art of their own, I have a wonderful Vintage Wallpaper and Music+ New Paper Kit, Pack on Etsy. It is filled with yummy things to get you started. Just click on the picture to go to Etsy.

Also featured is the delightful art of A Fanciful Twist.
Her work is so enchanting and I think you will enjoy it, too.

I was so happy to hear how many of you are doing as much as you can to help the health of the planet and your selves, too! Publix is opening Greenwise stores, and an anonymous (no name, deleted ) mentioned they shopped at the one open now which is in Palm Beach, Fl. They are redoing their old store in Vero Beach now to change it to a Greenwise. I hope they have one near me soon. I wish them great success.
Kim, so funny they didn't have the cute bags in their 0wn home town! I looked for them this morning, and they were long gone, only the ol' beige and green ones.

Jen, the chair came with that fabric. It has a raised design of the damask and the dots of corduroy on a wrinkled background. I love it and wish I could find just the fabric.

I am going to combine my blog anniversary Give Away with the One Heart Give Away which will start soon. It's a big blogwide event if you remember from last year. Coming Soon! Have a Great Day!

** Thank You! Sweet Andrea for the nice award. Go visit Andrea and find out some more fun things about her! **

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

~Some Gentle Wisdom & Kindness in France

As I was leaving the store I saw this magazine and of course what I saw first was that it had something about chocolate right on the front cover of Victoria. But what really made me notice, and buy, was the promise of a French home inside. I didn't even open it, because I wanted it to be Corey's home , and it was! She had posted about the magazine on her site a short time ago. Corey, Tongue in Cheek, is a gentlewoman, living in France, and living a beautiful life that she shares on her blog. Hers one of the first I somehow found and each time her pictures and writing soothe my soul, and a few thousand others as well.

Whenever I see a post from Corey on anyone's site, it is always something so kind and positive. A little gift left behind after being a guest on the site.

The white roses are opening slowing and beautifully. Usually I love plants which are growing more. However I am truly enjoying these lovelies that Sweet Husband got for me, which I picked out.

I've seen a few posts by different people about how they want to change something in the new year. What have you started with? I wanted more quiet, less noise an stress around me. So amusingly enough, each time I've gone out, someone finds me and needs to talk. The lady at the grocery store caught me because I was in the healthy food section. She had just finished a year of chemo and had a really great head of hair again! She amazed me. She was very thankful for the time I took to help her with food items and to just listen. I was much more thankful for her reminder of how precious life is.
And I didn't need quiet, life was better at that moment.

The way you really know a person is to see how they treat others. Read Corey's beautiful post about her hubby. I understand what she means. But that day, her husband was extraordinary.

You can give away kindness and goodness even if you are far from being a saint yet. White roses slowly opening, goodness taking over the world, a nice start to the new year. Thank you so much to each of you who has become such a wonderful friend over this last year. You brighten the day.
PS...Corey has a new column also in Somerset Life! She has a really fun one in the Winter issue about French flea markets. You can tell I'm behind on just sitting and reading a magazine! :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

~Seeking Wisdom

This is where my Blog Journey began last year, Welcoming Wisdom. The crèche is left up until the day of the Magi's Visit. It is the first thing to come out for the Holidays and the last to be put away.

What better time than Winter to look within and seek Wisdom? It's a natural instinct to slow down. Although we don't hibernate, it sure seems like everything around us, and within us, tells us to live more slowly and quietly. Some people are almost afraid of silence, but I love it. Not as much as the sound of the ocean or the song of a loved one's voice, but the stillness is beautiful. Of course long term as some monks and nuns have lived would be a bit too much for me.

The stories of the Three Astrologers/Magi, followers of Zoraster, have always intrigued me. They are so full of magic no matter which biblical version you read. But it's the symbolism that I like to celebrate each year, the reminder to seek Wisdom and the Gifts of the Heart and Spirit.

The last celebration of the Christmas season is one we look forward to because it is time of French Onion Soup! Since we don't eat red meats, I make it with chicken broth instead. I'm sure it's lighter tasting but after all these years it taste perfect to us. I made homemade chocolate mousse and whip cream topping this year, too. I was looking for a lighter dessert, but by the time I added the heavy cream, I don't think it was light in calories. But it was organic! LOL and very good.

Do you get all antsy when guests are coming to dinner? Lots of people do. This is casual. Whatever is there is fine, it's done with love for my little family. I hope I never get antsy about what to put on the table ever again.

I am still longing for the simplicity of white and silver settings. So the chargers were very simple silver, the white dishes I love, and don't love because they chip like crazy, tarnished silver pieces and white roses.

So I'm Hoping and Praying and Wishing
for a New Year
of Wisdom and Peace on Earth,
For You and All of Us.

Friday, January 4, 2008

~Bearly Awake

We have long celebrated the 12 days of Christmas for years, with very small little gifts, mostly for Darling Daughter. The day went by so fast and we loved making the Holiday last longer. It started with cute little girl things, then new makeup or something small for the teen years, now it's funny grown up things...a cool business card holder, or something other than kid things. I miss the days of little girl stuff, even as I'm so proud of seeing the little girl grown.

There's always a little girl in us isn't there? For a few years I've tried to buy her a new ornament when I found one for the family tree, especially the Radko's which she loves because we have always picked them out together since she was much younger. We tried to chose ones that supported special charities whenever we could find them.

I remember the year we went to the little store that carried the ornaments back when they were harder to find, and we both loved this little Bear in Pink PJ's. The charity was Pediatric Cancer research. We loved the bear and the cause and he has been my favorite each year since.

That was 1996. So when I asked which ornament was her favorite this year, and that was the one, I searched for one for her. The new Bear arrived just in time to be the last gift, and one of the best!

The table is set early for the last dinner of the season. Everything is neatly in place waiting for the Astrologers' Visit. Yes, I saw the one knife in the Christmas Eve photo. You cannot image how proud I was that it didn't bother me an ounce when I saw the picture. I didn't retake it even though the knife had long been turned to conform with the rules as the others were already. I didn't worry about it at all. It's a really good start to the year! The little Bear is barely awake, but I'm working on being totally awake.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!! And Thank Your for your New Year's Wishes!
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