Monday, August 13, 2018

Everything Good

                                                  
Shopping the thrift last week I spied this table.  This thrift has that sliding scale, if it's not sold at a certain date, the price drops.  It's gambling to walk away from something you like, hoping it will still be there on the date the price drops, but I was happy when my guy pointed it out to me.  It had been moved so I thought it was gone when we came back this week.  Hubby took me on his lunch hour. He said that he wanted to be there for me in case I was disappointed.  Yes, that's what I'm dealing with over here.  The sweetest kindest man. 
 It's solid oak with five legs.  At some point it held many leaves, but none were included.  I just needed a small table and have been looking for a drop leaf table for a while. 
 On another adventure I found a couple of beautiful books and an orphan hand tossed bowl.
 Marjolein Bastin is one of my all time favorites. I originally found her work at Hallmark and she is now licensed many beautiful items with her work.
 Glorious photos, daydreams in a book.
 To add to my collection.
"Everything good, everything magical happens
between the months of June and August." 
-Jenny Han

The garden once babied before our garden party has been neglected. I got out this morning and was surprised by how resilient these once pampered plants can be. A good watering and deadheading the spent blooms was all they needed.

 We had our last Ravinia concert of the season.  It was Steve Martin and Martin Short and the Steep Canyon Rangers.  We had the best time.  We laughed, the music was great.  The weather cooperated.  The crowd was huge but well behaved and respectful.  Penny who enjoys listening to the latest Steven Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers album with us asked this morning if they played her favorite songs.  One called Caroline and another song The Strangest Christmas Yet.  They did not play her songs but it made me smile she knew the titles, and that she loves the songs too.

 The show was shown on a big screen on the lawn.
 It was just a bit hazy from the fires all over the west and into Canada.

We met a nice woman from New Jersey who had just relocated to Illinois.  She said it was her first time at Ravinia and we told her we have been coming for forty two years!  We enjoy this outdoor venue so much.  It's a part of summer we love and the last time we come each year, signals the end of summer is near.

 Two little sneak peeks.  Amanda's bouquet,
and an arrangement.  All the flowers for the wedding are finished.  The bride's headpiece, veil and bouquet, all the corsages, boutonnieres, bridesmaid's bouquets.  Elizabeth was amazing as usual and made the loveliest  arrangements, and helped finish the bouquets.   Elizabeth works at a "fancy pants" florist.  The arrangements she made would be worth hundreds of dollars in her shop.  I'm grateful for Elizabeth's help and artistic vision.  Did I mention we had so much fun working together.  Betty I love you and you're the best.

GOOD NEWS!  My dear friend Jean received excellent news, her scan was great.  No more chemo!    Thanks so much for sending good thoughts and prayers for my friend. It is such a relief.  Jean and her family so needed this wonderful news.  Now for the  slow and steady recovery. Let the healing begin.  Still praying for you my friend.

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

Monday, August 6, 2018

Listening to the Rain

 After weeks of dry weather, it's so good to hear the rain this morning.  The trees are sighing, finally refreshed after some brutally hot days. 

The time is flying here at  English Valley.

Jobs are getting accomplished, lists made and checked.  The kids Mike and Amanda came over for a pow wow, dotting the i's and crossing the t's of a million and one items still to do for their wedding. Trying to enjoy this summer in spite of all the things that need our attention.    We went to our first carillon concert at the Chicago Botanic Garden on the eve of our anniversary.  It was very soothing but not quite as melodic as I expected.  Also the songs were mostly unknown to us except Danny Boy and Send in the Clowns.  Still a beautiful evening in the garden.
 On our anniversary we went to the amazing Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, Illinois.  It is a garden center, gift shop, nursery and wedding venue.  It's a beautiful ride in the country to get there, an a lovely place to shop and drink in the beauty.
 This is not the year for purchasing much, but there is inspiration galore.


 We were wondering if our shed out in the yard could support a sod roof.  Sure looks charming here.
 I love the mix of plantings and pots, something I used this year in our garden.
Loving these paver paths and brick walls as a gorgeous backdrop for the plants.
 Next year our arbor will be covered in bittersweet.  In fact, it needs a trim so we will still be able to see the beautiful ironwork.  The bittersweet was cut all the way back last year when our new arbor went up.  The plant came back like gangbusters, but just one tendril wrapping around the wooden post, the rest a large bush at the base. Fall project.  Wonder if I'll have honeysuckle berries to decorate with?
 Can you imagine how beautiful a outdoor reception would be here?
 Such an unique and lovely space.
 What a great idea.  Some vintage chairs, placed among the pots under a shady tree.
So welcoming and serene. Not the expected outdoor furniture.
 Hibiscus, big as a dinner plate.

These terracotta orbs.  Wow! Yes I'd like a half dozen to drop into the garden at home.

I have already remade Amanda's veil after it was attacked by a naughty cat.  I also made her headpiece.  Elizabeth and I will be working on flowers this week.  We are using silks, which are so much nicer today and  more realistic than in the past.  Photos will follow the big day.

This morning I got the okay from my fashion consultant on my shoes for the wedding.  She said, and I quote.  "Grandma, those shoes are fashionable, they look like a princess' shoes."  So, I have that going for me! Penny has her first loose tooth.  It makes me weep.  I remember waiting for that tooth to pop out.  Have I mentioned lately, that girl is tremendous!  

On a serious note, my dear friend Jean is waiting on results of a scan she had last week.  Jean has been through hell and back, and I pray for good news.  Sending good thoughts and prayers for you Jean.  God bless you always.

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


Monday, July 30, 2018

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Shower


 The teapot hanging from the arbor welcomed our family and friends to our shower for Mike and Amanda.
 The white rabbit ("That rabbit is not white, he's gray!" Penny doesn't mince words.) stood guard over the festivities.

Leading our guest to the back garden decked out for a party.

 My dearest and I have been working for weeks.  The last minute rush on the morning of the shower brought everything together. We purchased the tent for Penny's first birthday.  This was our first ever
garden party with perfect weather.
 All my potted plants were blooming nicely and the hydrangeas filled all the vases.
 The frames came from Charlotte, borrowed to Amanda for the wedding, borrowed by me for the party.
 I used many of my vintage tablecloths.
 Notice the power washed deck.  It really made a difference.

 This is the guy, he makes all my ideas and dreams come true.  Being very tall was a big help hanging things from trees and putting up the tent.  We work very well together, even when I get bossy.  He overlooks my foibles, and I couldn't do what I do without him.  Love you babe.
 Tea cups and silver spoons were a touch of tea party decor.
 My wheelbarrow.  The same one I used at Jon and Charlotte's barn wedding.  The same frame now with Fuzz (Amanda's nick name, and much shorter than Amanda to stamp.) and Mike stamped with liquid chalk.
 The frames had keys and a heart in them.  It's gonna be hard taking them down.
 Inside we served the food.  Charlotte did all the legwork there.  Handling all the purchases of sandwiches, salads and a yummy and beautiful cake.  She also made a sangria punch that everyone loved.  Kristen and Charlotte were the official hostesses.  I was just the venue.

 I was thrilled to handle that part of the party.  It looked so pretty.

 Penny really wanted to drink these.  That's why I just filled them with water and food coloring.

 These little touches were fun to do.

 We even had a croquet set.  My sweet niece Gina and Penny played while we waited for the guests to arrive. The yard looks huge here.  Our house sits on a 1/4 acre, which by city standards is huge. We have been in our home for 24 years now.  Seems like yesterday.
 Love these girls.  Gina is an amazing woman now.  She used to be one of the babies I got to take care of.  Penny had the best time.  Helpful and fun. 
 Here they are the bride and groom to be Amanda and Mike. They brought me some flowers from the farmer's market.
 Friends, family and lots of laughs.
 Hey, I know this group!  My beautiful daughter Kristen and her hubby Doug.  Gina rode from the city with them. My baby grand the girl of a million expressions.
 Here the kids are opening the gifts, with the help of a flower girl!
 I made a special gift for Mike to open with some advise and some jokes. 
 My baby boy!  Yes some tears were shed.  (Under that bushy beard is a marshmallow heart.  He's the sweetest.)
 See the Mad Hatter's Hat?  I made it from an oatmeal box!
 Kris kept track of the gifts while Gina did the traditional bow bouquet on a paper plate.

 This girl loves her Aunt and Uncle, and they love her right back. Amanda is so sweet with Penny.  They like to play games and talk. 

 Everyone was in the shade or watched form the deck.



 Then they cut the  yummy cake. 
 
 I actually remembered to have someone take a family photo.  These are my treasures.
So blessed that they are such nice and kind people, and so good to each other. Beautiful inside and out!

 These are the favors...a collaboration.  I found the cups, Kris got the teas, Charlotte found some honey sticks from Amanda's home state of Michigan, and Charlotte also made some honey oatmeal soaps.
 They put them together before the guest arrived.

 My King and Queen of Hearts banner.
 I made all the paper flowers, and painted one of the roses red as per the Alice in Wonderland story.
 My girls!  I am so happy for Kristen.  She always wanted a sister, and now she has two! I am so happy for me, being out numbered by 4 brothers all my life.  Great to have girls, and wonderful, smart and accomplished girls in our family. We were missing a few family members.  Elizabeth was in Las Vegas and Lynette was traveling, and Amy was working.  The cousins were just in town a week ago so had to miss the festivities.

 Here they are, the bride and groom to be.  We wish them a lifetime of love and happiness.
They were so happy with the shower, and we were all so happy to celebrate with them.
Now both showers are over.  The countdown begins to the wedding!

Speaking of weddings, our 42nd anniversary is tomorrow.  For anyone who knows us or reads about our life here, you know I won the lottery when I met my husband. We were (and still are) crazy kids in love.  Sending love to all of the family and friends that helped us along the way, to our children who have made us so proud and our grand daughter Penny who is making getting old so much fun.
To my heart, my husband...Though the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they're only made of clay but, Our Love Is Here To Stay!  Love you forever!

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