Monday, August 27, 2018

A Moment of Zen

 Close your eyes, a moment of solitude.
 Center your focus away from all distractions.

 Listen to the birds, the wind in the trees/
 Breathe deep the scent of Mother Earth and all her wonders.
Take a moment to see the greater meaning of it all.

This is the reality!  A few days, 400 miles, 20+ family members, a rehearsal dinner and a wedding!
Serenity now, insanity later.
 A accidental craft.  Looking for something, I found the makings for a wreath I started in the spring and gave up on.  While my dearest worked through the weekend, I packed and sorted and shopped for last minute items and made this wreath. 
This is truly how I am feeling.

Thanks for dropping in and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Simple Unexpected Moments

Taken from the TV.
 A weekend with our girl is always a delight.  We had pizza and ice cream and went for a long walk. She fell asleep before a story and slept soundly until the morning when she woke happy and energetic.  Sunday we visited the Vintage Fair in Long Grove.  Penny discovered the delights of the candy store.  A place often visited by her Mom and Uncles when they were young.  We bought flying saucers, a kind of wafer candy filled with sprinkles, for Mom and Jon and Mike, just like in the old days.  Penny was not tempted...until we were at home and she wanted to taste just one of Mom's.  Poor Kris, no flying saucers left from that taste.  Good for Penny, all the candy she choose was not to her liking, except the lone Hershey kiss. 

Sunday was the Air and Water Show on Chicago's Lakefront.  We have yet to sit on the sand and watch in person, but WBBM News Radio, live streams the whole show on Facebook and we were able to watch on the big screen at home.  I am so excited to watch and found that Penny enjoyed it too.  Penny, on a field trip on Thursday had seen the Thunderbirds practicing overhead the Lincoln Park Zoo.  I have experienced the roar from the car, and it's awesome!

Mike and Amanda came by and shared dinner . We watched Penny's favorite (for the moment) movie, The Greatest Showman.  She knows all the songs and sings along with her Broadway voice. Our Bride and Groom are pretty stressed out.  It was good to visit and compare notes.  I have reminded them that it's just one day.  Everything will be fine and a blur of  happy memories. 

Monday was Penny and Grandma day.  Shopping at Target, playing with the toy we bought and another movie, Enchanted.  Grandpa worked all day and then we drove our girl home.  We were caught in a heavy rain on the way home, but home safely.  We love Penny's visits and miss her when she's back at home.
 Last week I did a bit of crafting.  I tried to stamp on flour sack towels with some IOD stamps. Iron Orchid Designs.  The flour sack towels are a much looser weave now and I should have washed them first. They came out of the wash better but not dark enough.  More trials in the Fall when I have some time.
 At the Vintage Fair I found this crate.  Penny lived in Brooklyn when she was tiny, and the man who sold us the crate was from New York too.
 We visited the thrift before Penny arrived this weekend.  A ten yard roll of Offray ribbon for a dollar/
The silver cast metal votive holder was 50 cents.
 A candle pedestal for a dollar.
 These two wall hangings were $2 each.  Funny thing I almost bought one at our local nursery for sixteen dollars and change, but thought I really didn't need another thing for my wall.
 Gloomy morning photo, but they are pretty and green and bright.
 I want to seal them and use them outside next spring.
 Perfect for a fall accent.
 A diversion from the wedding to come.
Out my kitchen window.
 Even though neglected, the flowers are still blooming because of our rainy weather.
 One more bargain...his one at Target.  I wanted something to go along with a gift card for a certain SIL's birthday.  Elizabeth loves Joanna Gaines and these were in the Hearth and Hand collection. 
No one likes a bargain as much as Elizabeth.  For her birthday we had a picnic dinner, a fresh peach and blueberry trifle, and went to see our dear pals Sue and Ron.  They played with their band Peach's Beach Party at a neighboring community's library.  It was fun and Elizabeth really enjoyed it. Betty is just getting sweeter and kinder with every year that passes.  

A Pic Collage of our weekend with our girl!
She'll be a first grader in a few short weeks.

"It is often, the simple and unexpected moments in life, which are the source of our greatest joy."
-Mary Anne Byrne

A special thank you to Lynne from Irish Garden House for the yards and yards of fabric she donated to our service project, Ryan's Case for Smiles.  Lynne is a special and generous soul.  Thank you so much for your kindness Lynne, love you.

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

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