Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring

Today is the first day of Spring.  I'm loving the longer daylight, the little buds on the trees and shrubs and the occasional little sprout.  This little vignette I put together in a crate from Elizabeth with items I've used for years to decorate for Spring.  Using things in a new and different way.
 I can't tell you how long I've had this little piece of stained glass.  It finally went up in the window.  A perfect touch of green and pink for Spring.
 I started on these signs in the summer.  Painted the boards I got three for a dollar at a flea market.  I made a Christmas tree sign that was sold at our auction in December, and now I have almost completed these two.  One for Elizabeth and one for me.  I toy with the idea of selling some of my vintage at one of the summer markets, or even having a sale of my own.  English Valley Vintage has a nice ring to it.  The signs now need to be distressed and sealed.  Hubby will drill some holes for a hanging wire or rope.
 Those flower accents are Wallies.  Wallpaper like additions.  I have a collection and have used them on many surfaces.  I am not sure they still make them.  If you are interested, I will share.  Leave me a comment.

 Someone was visiting this weekend.  Penny spent the night and we took her and the wagon to the Botanic Garden.  It was cold and windy, but Penny ran like the wind.  She is getting so tall and has so much energy.  We did have to urge her to get out of the wagon, she's a smart cookie and loves a ride.  We took almost 7,000 steps according to my hubby's pedometer.  I bet Penny took twice as many.

Grandpa got tired and sat in the wagon for fun.  The things we do for love!  We don't mind looking foolish to make our girl laugh.  She lights up our lives.
 There is some blooming going on at home...
 The geranium I brought in, in the fall is blooming again.
 also a orchid is sending up a shoot.  This is exciting.  I haven't had a orchid bloom in a couple of years.
 "Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." William Wordsworth

 "When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils..." William Wordsworth
 I think my sewing machine has sewn it's last pillowcase.  Dear Kristen is letting me use her machine until I decide on a new machine for myself.  Thanks sweetie.
A couple of thrifted pretties.  

"Be a gardener of life.  Lots of what you do doesn't show, like the roots of a tree.  No work is ever wasted if it expresses something important to you." Alexandra Stoddard

Thanks for stopping by and for your friendship.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A March Snow

 We had almost eight inches of snow fall on the 13th and 14th of March here in Chicagoland. Certainly not as bad as our friends in Sharon Springs, NY who have thirty six inches today and the snow is still falling there.
 I love snow, always have.  I went out to shovel and my sweet neighbor Peggy came by with her snowblower and did the driveway and walk while I did the cleanup.  The cold crisp air, the snow crystals flying from the snowblower...it is awesome.
 I know many dislike the cold, I might be part polar bear. 
 Nothing is as beautiful as freshly fallen snow.
 A bright blue sky, it's the only time we get that high altitude blue 
I saw in Aspen, Colorado in my youth.
 In a few weeks the leaves will pop...
 Tiny green sprouts will shoot up from the ground...
 until then, I will enjoy the beauty, bundle up and walk in this 
winter wonderland because it is fleeting.

 Soon the sound will be of lawn mowers...
 Kids laughing in the yard...
 but today, I love a March snow.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, March 13, 2017

Winter, Out My Window


We woke up this morning to a beautiful covering of freshly fallen snow.
Since I was a child, March snow is not that unusual in Chicagoland.
Many a Easter Sunday came with snow on the ground and dashed hopes of wearing the new spring coat or sweater without the winter coat over it.
Well, if winter wants to stay outside, I've got a spring vibe going on inside.
 My SIL Elizabeth brought me the little jadeite covered bunny jar, and asked if I had others...
I walked her into the family room to see my mantle already decked out with all my covered
jars and a space, I swear, where her gift fit perfectly...
Elizabeth anticipates my every whim.  It's spooky sometimes, but we know each other so well.
When I bought her an olive bucket for Christmas, Elizabeth said, "How did you know I wanted one?"
I wanted one too, so I knew she would like it.

 A few changes to the buffet.  Some pops of color here and there.
This is DIL Charlotte's pop crate from her Grandparent's farm.  I filled it with all the little ceramic bunnies, birds and a tiny lamb that Penny has been playing with.  At Grandma's house there is a go ahead and touch rule.  Play but be careful, and she is.  I always remember how much I wanted to touch things when I was little.  Especially scissors!  They were off limits, even later as a teen, we had to ask permission.  Buscia's scissors were especially a no no.  I have Mom's scissors and Buscia's too. I cherish then but they are terrible scissors. They don't cut a thing!  It might explain why I have so may pairs of scissors today.  Yes, Penny can use my scissors with supervision, but still NO RUNNING WITH SCISSORS! ;-)
 My dearest was traveling last week, while I stayed home and nursed my cold .  I wasn't alone much.
Elizabeth came to watch Fixer Upper episodes together.  Mike and Amanda came to visit and ate pizza one night.  Doug and Penny visited as they waited for Kristen to land after her trip. Jon kept in touch by phone.   I was so glad to have my guy back home, and for the sleep that only comes when he is close and warm.
 A little something I bought for under the dish drainer at the sink.  Hob Lob, all the Spring is 40% off.
 I walked past this print and went back to buy a yard.  It will lend itself to pockets or small gift bags.
 The prints are so pretty.
Then these little moss covered eggs, also on sale.  I saw similar eggs on pinterest tied with pastel ribbons.  Moss makes such a mess, all I'll have to do is tie some bows for some pretty accents. 

Sunday morning we had breakfast with Mike and Amanda and Amanda's sister Desi.  
It was a pleasure to meet and visit with these wonderful young people.  Desi has a inspirational life story, she has overcome much and is now a teacher. I encouraged her to write about her life and learned that  Amanda and Desi want to write a children's book.  Amanda is a talented artist and Desi tells a important story about children in foster care.  It was so good to get to spend some time to talk with Mike and Amanda and meet Desi.  I will always be grateful to have them close.  
The Sun will set at 6:57 tonight.  I love daylight savings time.  I love winter but not the darkness that comes with it.  We will enjoy walking in the light again, seeing our neighborhood and our neighbors again.  Checking out the progress of the plants and trees as we slide into Spring.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Long Grove Revisited


The last time we were in Long Grove was for Vintage Days last August.  On Robert Parker Coffin Road the storefront that used to house Mangel was empty.  It was my favorite store in Long Grove. I recently started following the Long Grove Face book page and they mentioned Mangel.  I was very happy to find that the store had relocated, just around the corner and across the street on Old McHenry Road.  The next day at lunch I asked my dearest if he'd like to take a little ride. We visited Mangel. and from the moment I walked into the door, it was like the old days.  It smelled like spring, and looked beautiful.  

 Mangel was always the place to find the most beautiful and unique things.  Back in the day the designer named Doug held seminars and taught techniques to make your home beautiful for the seasons. ( They still have wreath making classes).  Though Doug has since retired, the owner (I'm sorry but don't remember his name.) has kept the ambience the same soothing, playful and beautiful place I remembered.


 It's where our tradition of growing wheat grass for Easter started.  So many of the beautiful items I use throughout the year came from this store.
My friend Laura and I would visit every fall, and she would always end up buying a hat, or two.  I didn't notice any hats, but Laura would find many things she would love here.
I found a few.  A spring candle and melts for a candle warmer.  I have a candle holder in my foyer, that I am pretty sure came from Mangel.  I always have a candle burning there for the holidays to welcome the family.  I also found a butterfly themed gift for my little gardener to put in her Easter basket.
We had a interesting and informative conversation with the owner.  He's hoping for a revival of the Long Grove of days past.  My favorite time to go was always on a Tuesday when I would have the whole town ( it seemed)  to myself.  

I hope any local girls who remember Long Grove and haven't been lately to come visit.
Long Grove has many festivals throughout the year, check out their face book page or Mangel's face book page for more info. 

 Our find of the weekend.  Some cubbies for a small girl with a large library.  It's really sturdy and  we thought of our girl. It was $9.99 at the thrift.
 Speaking of being thrifty, they recently opened a Aldi store near home.  Near the door they often have plants, flowers and on the day I visited, bulbs in bulb glasses.  While Penny was visiting she kept on petting, talking to and watering the plants.  I guess it worked for now I have this lovely looking and smelling hyacinth in full bloom.
 This little miracle...a coleus that I sprouted in water before the first frost is flowering.  It is tiny but oh so lovely.
 A little under the weather I cheered myself up with some  roses.  Got a cold from someone...I wonder who would give a cold to a kind old grandma?  She is worth every cough and sneeze.
I added a few springy touches to the buffet.  Just a few weeks till Easter.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for all your kind comments and good wishes for my daughter Kris.  Everything went very well, the surgery was uneventful and her recovery is going well.  My good friend Melanie from Comfy House is also recovering from surgery.  Wishing her well. We need to thrift together soon my friend. 

Have a great week, maybe I'll post before, I'm feeling crafty! 

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny 

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Smallest Elements


"By concentrating on the smallest elements of our lives we see that we are part of a greater wholeness.  When we try to take care of the smallest things, the deepening process begins." 
Alexandra Stoddard in Grace Notes

A sunny Monday morning in late February finds me concentrating on small elements. but first the big... My daughter Kristen will have sinus surgery early in the morning on Tuesday.  Kris is  much more guarded in expressing her feelings, than I am. I was surprised that she posted about her anxiety about tomorrow on face book. We are very much alike, even though I hear a lot of ...Oh Mom.  She's my first, my only daughter and I love her so much. I am very anxious myself, but my kids all know that. If you are so inclined, please remember Kris in your prayers. My job is taking care of a certain small girl, so I won't be with Kris tomorrow, but my heart will, with my prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.     

Later today I'll be cooking for my son Jon.  We have already celebrated his birthday together, but I have to mark the day by making one of his favorites.  Happy Birthday dear Jon Jon.  Wishing you good health, happiness and love always.

Now for the smaller elements...
 We did a little thrifting, and I found this lovely plate.  So soft and lovely,  Reminds me of Christie Repasy's work but is signed by Mary Ruffing
 This is the score of scores, Eleven yards of this beautiful flower print fabric for $5.00.  The first thing I will make is an apron. Designer Matthew Mead posted a photo of a hanging shoe type bag filled with treasures.  Dear Dawn from A Feathered Nest has made some shoe bags dripping with lace, buttons and trim.  I will just let the flowers do the talking as I attempt making one myself.
 Playing with the pedestal that I received for my birthday from my dear SIL Elizabeth.  The little Raggedy Andy makes  me smile.  Many years ago my dearest and I dressed as Ann and Andy for a Halloween party, except he was Ann, and I was Andy. We had so much fun.  This Andy was .25 at the thrift, and I walked away form it.  The next time we visited I looked for him but he was not in the toys.  Someone had picked him up and put him down in another section of the store.  Made me giddy to find him again and pop him in my cart.
 This pic from Saturday afternoon does not do the beautiful effect of the sun streaming through the breaks in the clouds justice, but it was amazing.
 I mentioned that I had ordered a couple of things from Pottery Barn with my birthday gift cards.  This is the coolest, a drying rack.  I have very little wall space in my kitchen, so honey mounted it on a door.  I am using it just for display, but it still can serve it's purpose.
 It's all galvanized and beautiful wood.  A very vintage combo.  Thanks to the kids and my sweetheart for your generous gifts.
 Already changing things up.  Feeling a litle springish.
 Shopped with Penny for a crafty project...
 and a few beautiful things.  These are paper plates!  Saving these for Ravinia this summer.
 I wasn't sure if my vision for the fireplace would translate to the spring, but I really like it.  It looks fresh and clean.
A few real plants are making me itch to get outside and plant.

Adding all these elements, makes my house a home for my sweetheart, our family and friends.  It also becomes the home I always dreamed of, with all it's imperfections...just like me...a work in progress.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for all your kind comments. 
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny