Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Give Him Another Look

Charles Dickens: give him another look.

Trying to think of what might interest you in books for today's discussion, at first I thought, most people might be bored with what I am reading right now.
But after much thought, I realized that probably many of you have never read Charles Dickens, or, if you have, it has probably been, A Christmas Carol.
And even more than the reading, many of you may have only seen the movie!

Not that I am suggesting the movies aren't worth watching. On the contrary.
We recently watched the latest BBC version of Little Dorrit and I must say it was absolutely fantastic!
We enjoyed it so much, that we bought the DVD set to have as our own.
If you haven't seen it, borrow, buy or rent a copy - you won't be disappointed.

Back to today's book. Yes, it is true, I am actually reading, Oliver Twist.
No, a high school teacher is not twisting my arm, and yes, sometimes the language is challenging, however, the story - oh my!
The story is fantastic!
There is a reason this author has won so many hearts and his fame lives on over 100 years from his original publication dates, and his reputation for having written 'classics' holds true; his books tell marvelous stories and his characters are unsurpassed.
If you have never read Dickens, give his works another look. I am almost finished with Oliver Twist, so Little Dorrit, is next on my reading list . . . well, after the book I will talk about next week, anyway!
If you have read Dickens in the past, have another read. You will be glad you did!


Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Reveal!!!

OK so now I am all set and ready to go with my latest little creations!
They have been months in the making and I am delighted to be able to introduce them t you in time fr Mother's Day (US) and Graduations for students at University and High School.

Drum roll, please . . .
Introducing Wee Lucky Penny Books and A Penny for Your Thoughts books!!!

Wee Lucky Penny Books feature greetings similar to those found on greeting cards. Messages like, Happy Birthday, Congratulations, New Baby, New Home, Success, Good Luck, appear in their pages.
A Penny for Your Thoughts books feature poems, sayings, quotations, and thoughts.
Both book sets have all of the following:
  • fabric covers
  • string, ribbon, yarn, or trim closures
  • acid-free end papers identifying the monarch and years of reign
  • an over-sized vintage British penny with one of the following monarchs: Queen Victoria; King Edward; King George V; King George VI; Queen Elizabeth II
  • pages with greetings and vintage illustrations or decorations

The wee little darlings can be custom ordered, and/or personalized.
Additionally, most of the books you see can be ordered in your selection of pennies.
Just email me with your requests at: luckypennybooks[at]gmail[dot]com

Watch for more styles coming soon and please take a look at my most recent Treasury!

More to come!

PS - I have listed five Lucky Penny Books tonight and will add more tomorrow.
Today's additions include: Congratulations New Baby; Congratulations Graduate; Mother's Day; and two inspirational cards: one with a quote from Queen Victoria about overcoming obstacles, and the other about aging gracefully.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wednesday Book Club: The Curtain Bible

I adore this book!
The simplicity of the designs; creative use and reuse of fabrics and linens; colours; and gorgeous setting makes it a must have - especially if you are redecorating.

Sharing is catching . . . in searching for a source for you to find copies of this fabulous book, I discovered more titles in the series by the same author, Katrin Cargill.
Soooooooooo it will be fun for me to look, purchase, and read some of her other fabulous-looking books:
Lampshades: Home Living Workbooks
Simple Soft Furnishings: 50 Stylish Sewing Projects to Transform Your Home
Katrin Cargill's Simple Curtains: Creative Ideas & 20 Step-By-Step Projects
A Passion for Pattern
Pillows: Home Living Workbooks
Bed Linens: Home Living Workbooks
The Home Furnishing Workbook: With 32 Step-by-step Projects
Embroidery: 25 Classic Step-By-Step Projects (Traditional Needle Arts)
Easy Country: A New Approach to Country Style
Swedish Style: Creating the Look
Katrin Cargill's Simple Pillows: Creative Ideas & 20 Step-By-Step Projects
Fabrications: Over 1,000 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Fabric
Painted Furniture: Making Ordinary Furniture Extraordinary With Paint, Pattern, and Color
Creating Cottage Style: Stylish Ideas And Step-by-step Projects
Contemporary Painted Furniture

I own a copy of The Curtain Bible, and love it, so I believe some of these these titles will also be coming home in the future!


Monday, 20 April 2009

I Have a Secret . . .

This is a sweet little bird's nest found at my old home in Williamsville, New York
Thanks to all of you faithful followers who have been checking in these past few days only to find no new posts!
My apologizes are humbly given.

I have been working on something new - feverishly trying to have it ready for my Sweet Scarlett shop in time for Mother's Day in the United States. And graduation day, too!
Universities in the US typically have graduation ceremonies in the month of May, while High Schools celebrate their graduations in June.

My little secret has been in the works for a few months now, and although some of you are aware of it, no one knows for sure exactly what it is.
Well, except my sister in Florida! And two special ladies in California!

Please check back again soon . . . a a surprise will be waiting!
In the meantime, I will try to get to your blogs to catch-up with all that has been happening in your lives, soon!
I call this the 'Daffodil Pub'. We came across it in our travels, on our way to Ledbury, two years ago. I have wanted to return ever since, but so far no luck!
Isn't it spectacular?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wednesday Book Club

What if we all try to share a book we love on Wednesday?
Or maybe just when we have one to share - no expectations for participation every Wednesday?

I will begin with this one:
Bird, Egg, Feather, Nest by MaryJo Koch.
I have had this book for about ten years or so. I used it with my students in my classroom at one time. Since then it has been a fixture in my home. I bring it out every spring, and browse through it.
The book is one of a series of books the author has written, in similar formats.
Some of the titles are:
  • Dragonfly, Beetle, Butterfly, Bee
  • Seed, Leaf, Flower, Fruit
  • Pond, Lake, River, Sea
When I moved to England, I shipped some f my favourite books, surface mail, to save on costs.
This was one f them.
It took about three months to arrive, along with my cookbooks and some novels, and a few 'coffee table' books, all culled from my huge collection, now scattered to lucky recipients.
The book is filled with detailed water colours of birds, eggs, nests, habitats, et all.

The text has all been hand written.
It is fabulous!
There are some for sale on ebay, Amazon, and
I know you will find this book both beautiful and informative.


Monday, 13 April 2009

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny arrived last night, bringing baskets to hide and jelly beans to scatter in baskets and candy dishes.

Jim and Kate had to search for theirs in the morning, (you are never too old to have a basket!) as did the grandchildren when they stopped by in the afternoon.
It was so much fun watching them all hunt for the little baskets filled with treats.

Libby found her basket first, and the look on little Ethan's face, was priceless!
He was so dismayed at not being able to find his!

Because Katie is here with us this Easter, we had no one to send us our Buffalo Easter treats of Niagara Candy chocolate rabbits, Merckens foil eggs, & Peeps. (also look at the peep show - it is unbelievable!)
But we did find some rather pleasant substitutes, so all was not lost.

Calls came in from our son in North Carolina and our daughter in Brooklyn, New York. It was so good t hear their voices.
We found out that Jonathan has found a new job, so we are pleased and happy for him and his girlfriend Stephanie, as they begin their lives together in a new city.
Our day was calm and easy-going, filled with family visits and laughter food and a bit of baking, too.

But my special Easter present actually came yesterday and during the week.

My sister sent us a lovely card, bringing some of the Florida sunshine with it.
And two dear friends sent us Easter greetings via snail mail, which were totally unexpected, and such a nice surprise.

Our friends, Maria and Frank, sent a fun Hoops and Yoyo card along with a gift. Their squeaky, high-pitched voices drive our Border Collie crazy, so there is an added element of fun for the dog, too!

And my dear blogging friend, Natalie Jo, sent me a darling kitty card with a special kitty fabric inside, too!
She said the card reminded her of me after she read the piece on Sugar Mice so she had to have it for me!
I am humbled by the generosity of others.
It is nice to think there are people out there who care so much about us and are thinking of us.
The true blessings of Easter are the friends and family we cherish and hold dear.

Blessing to you all,

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Garden Surprise

A rogue forget-me-not growing in our clay-filled wheelbarrow

Our dear friends, Dave and Ann were visiting over the weekend.
Dave was coming to help Jim work on the Morris Minor car we are readying for use this spring and summer.
This meant a bit of a rush in getting some garden furniture out and ready for the season, as we had been procrastinating in doing so, on the sunny days we have been enjoying.
Jim ventured into the shed and returned with the chairs, one by one.
They all looked rather normal, but one of them held a surprise!

Thinking it had gained a few leaves and twigs via the autumn winds, Jim peered into the crevice
of one of the chairs preparing to remove the debris before washing it.

Imagine his amazement, when looking down into the fold f the chair, he found a perfectly formed nest!
Indeed, the nest was empty, and looked clean, like once built, it had gone unused, but we absolutely loved the idea of the chair being used as a nesting place for birds when humans didn't need it over winter!
Our only regret was that it didn't seem to have a family yet, and it looked like, at least for this year, it was not going to have one.

Ann said some birds build a back-up nest, and perhaps that is what it was being used for.
If any of you can recognize what bird builds a nest like this one, please let us know.

And now I'll leave you with a few photographs of our back garden flowers to share with all of my gentle readers who live in climates still waiting for spring, and for those of you in the southern states where spring never visits.


A gift from Ann - uh-oh - I have already forgotten its name!
You see them growing everywhere drooping over walls.
Absolutely gorgeous! I am so pleased she has gotten this for me!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

A Bit about Easter

The umbrella, mentioned in a former post
Purchased in Witney, Oxfordshire, England

Three vintage, wooden, darling harbingers of Spring from Germany,
purchased from friends, Stephen & Gerry's Antique Shop, in Williamsville, New York

A German paper mache candy container rabbit and cart

My spring cleaning is almost complete, so I have done a bit of decorating for the season.
Here are some of the little things I set out at Easter and Springtime.
Some of them have been with me for decades, and have mad the journey with me across the Atlantic. Others are 'new' finds from England.
And some are actually and really new.

A Bunny Tray from my sister, Deborah, and a black-faced lamb from my daughter

I grew up in an area of New York State, with people predominantly from Germany, Poland, Italy.
So the customs I have are sourced from those influences.

Antique salt and pepper chicks I have had for at least 20 years Reproduction paper mache rabbit candy container, from Germany Vintage chick egg cups from England

New milk glass container on the left, purchased in Bourton-on-Water in the Cotswolds
Vintage white ceramic vase purchased at a car boot recently
Antiqu milk glass container on the right, purchased at an estate sale in Buffalo, New York

Easter would not have been the same without a bunch of Pussy Willows and Butter Lambs on the table. Chocolate foil eggs and trays with chocolate rabbits adorned the table when it was not being used for dinner. And, Mom always had some fresh stems of Forsythia in a vase.

We had white eggs from local hens, and coloured them each year. The Easter bunny hid baskets filled with chocolates and jelly beans and we searched wildly for them as soon as we were awake Easter morning.

Vintage and new paper mache ggs from Germany

When I had children of my own, I found an egg farm that supplied me with pullets - the tiniest of eggs from hens just beginning to lay them.
They were so small they fit nicely in the hands of my young children, and were easy to cover completely, with egg dye in a teacup.

Reproduction chicks, vintage egg; large vintage egg; two ceramic bunnies from Target

We attended church on Easter morning, too. I can still smell the flowers, and hear the hymns if I just close my eyes and listen.

A different type flower child pyramide from Germany Purchased on ebay in Germany

As an adult, I added new traditions to the old - most came from the Poles in our area.
A visit to an historic indoor farmers' market, The Broadway Market, (click on the name to g directly to the market, and also take a look at Hometown Girl for more images from it.) each Easter, resulted in a return home with bags brimming with freshly baked rye bread, butter lambs, Polish sausage, Easter ham, and some treats.

Two cabinets found in an antique shop in Evesham, England filled with Easter & springtime treasures

Television featured the annual egg hunt at the White House and the Easter Parades being held around the country. Later in the day, the movie, Easter Parade was shown, and was watched as we eagerly awaited our holiday meal.

Times are different now, but memories remain. Spring is a time of change, and hope, and renewal. It is when all things breath again and com to life after a long, dreary winter.
I hope these images add a little cheer to your day, too.


Vintage German Pyramide with Flower Children
I traded an antique doll for this and have not seen one like it before or since.
It is one of my favourite things. It traditionally would have small candles
in the little cups.