Saturday, July 31

feather & glass

I sat down the other night and strung these together from my feather and sea glass collections. They hang now in my studio, catching the light and moving slowly in the breezes, and are so soothing and beautiful.

Thursday, July 29

always time for tea

{note steam coming from camping pot of boiled water}

This is the first time I've ever fired up the camp stove on my own.

My tea was delicious.

It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

Wednesday, July 28


What a life.

Tuesday, July 27

an eventful afternoon

{stormcloud on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine}

Saturday, July 24

camping in Maine

{those aren't antlers, Lucy just has huge ears} the best. I brought my dog, my tent, and myself. We went camping near Acadia National Park.

It was just the break I needed.

I've also decided to partake in Susannah's idea of taking a little break these busy summer days by doing some wordless posting. It seems to fit in with where I am right now.

Hope you enjoy the Polaroids of my trip to Maine! I have many more to share this week.

Wednesday, July 14


...for a break.

I may keep posting the occasional Polaroid
because it's so fun to share them,
but am just taking a little break
from the computer for a while
while I enjoy the summertime
Enjoy your days!

Oh, how good it is to be
Foot-loose and heart-free!
Just my dog and pipe and I, underneath the vast sky...

~ from The Rover, by Robert Service

Tuesday, July 13

de garre warm wijn

Yet it was an old place, even then, for the oak rafters and beams were already black with age - as were the panelled seats, with their tall backs, and the long polished tables between, on which innumerable pewter tankards had left fantastic patterns of many-sized rings. In the leaded window, high up, a row of pots of scarlet geraniums and blue larkspur gave the bright note of colour against the dull background of the oak...

...the weather which had been brilliant and hot throughout the month had suddenly broken up; for two days torrents of rain had deluged [them], doing its level best to ruin what chances the apples and pears and late plums had of becoming really fine, self-respecting fruit. Even now it was beating against the leaded windows, and tumbling down the chimney, making the cheerful wood fire sizzle in the hearth.*

4 years ago and some months, I drew this while sitting in de Garre, a very old pub in Brugges, Belgium with Tim, enjoying a glass of hot spiced wine, with tiny flat almond cookies and a circle of peeled lemon studded with cloves, listening to violin music. You never know when an unexpected experience like that is just around the corner ~ in de Garre's case, around the corner, and down a tiny alley of cobblestones and crooked staircases...

I could go for an unexpected moment like that right about now.

I love looking back through my journals, seeing where I've been, gathering old ideas to polish off and freshen, and wondering where I'll be in years to come. I generally keep my journals positive, capturing butterflies of thought and experience; writing down the gut moments. I journal as a catch-all when I travel (a good excuse to go) ~ whereas my journaling at home consists more of quotes, plant pressings, tea drips, thoughts, lists (my life in lists!), wishes.

I often will write out a page or more of difficult feelings, angers, injustices ~ and then carefully tear it all out and burn it. When I flip back through my journals, I'm inspired and curious, instead of cringing and reliving old tangles. It feels freeing to see the torn edges inside, where I set something down, and then let it go.

*The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

Monday, July 12


I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

~ from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T. S. Eliot

Saturday, July 10

The rain.

The rain has come. Bringing with it damp cardinals full of chirps, pipping across my backyard, shuffling their feathers ~ the papa feeding a young one as big as himself. Tiny bright goldfinches, finding seed during a pause. Symphonic drips, orange tiger lilies glistening and shining with drops. Wet, dark soil, a backdrop to each freshly washed leaf of nutmeg thyme, oregano, sage. Rosemary spires brushed with rain and scenting the air.

The cat coming in, her back in wet spikes from hiding out under the tall grasses during a gale.

Blue skies and birdsong, and still the rain falls. On the windowsill, spritzed with rainwater, lays a little collection of white pebbles I bring back each time we go to the beach, one by one.

I took an umbrella and went to the woods, and brought back a large branch I found on the forest floor, with many arms, which I trimmed to make into a scarf-holder. My scarf collection has been seeking the right branch for a while now. This rainstorm seemed the perfect time to go find it. Scrubbed clean and sanded and trimmed, ready to be drilled in place, and to receive a bevy of scarves ~ perfect.

Thursday, July 8

Grama's Lemon Cake Recipe

my grandmom Elly

I finally called my mother the other day, to request she copy a few recipes for me. One in particular that I wanted was for my grandmom's lemon cake. I ate slabs of this cake at every family get-together for ages. My mother baked a dozen of these cakes for my wedding, with my grandmom's help. 

cooling wedding cakes on Fiestaware dishes

At that time, just over 3 years ago, my grandmom (who has Alzheimer's) could still recall a bit of how to adjust the recipe with her own special tweaks. She put the icing on the cakes.

{grandmom icing a chocolate cake with vanilla icing}


Wednesday, July 7

bookshelf favorites

Just wanted to share...

1. A Well-Kept Home: Household Traditions and Simple Secrets from a French Grandmother, by Laura Fronty. Sea-glass curtains, scenting clothes naturally, preserving herbs, and the art of the wood fire, among other things. I love reading this book in winter, too.

2. The Lady in the Palazzo, by Marlena de Blasi. Number 3 in the lovely trilogy (beginning with A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance) of her life in Italy, after she moved there to marry a Venetian she had just met...a great story of her clear-headed yet very romantic decision. Very inspiring ~ always makes me journal more.

3. Simplify Your Life, by Elaine St. James. A very simple and small book with great ideas (but of course, why didn't I think of that? kind of ideas) on reducing clutter, daily habits, making room for the stuff you really want ~ mentally or physically, and being true to yourself in the process of it all.

4. The Tao Te Ching, by Lao-Tzu and Stephen Mitchell. So thoughtful and inspiring. I breathe deeper when I read something from these writings.

5. Miss Rumphius, story and pictures by Barbara Cooney. A children's book, but great for adults too. There's a cottage by the sea, and lots of travel, flowers...I love this story.

These are all books I read when I want to be inspired, refreshed, enlighted, and/or brought back to my purpose.

What are you reading these days?

Tuesday, July 6

Instructions For Our Grandchild

{me and gramom ellie}

Last year my PopPop handed me some typed sheets in an envelope that he had found in his desk. They dated back to 1978, when I was just over 1 year old, and he and my Gramom had watched me for 6 weeks while my older brother was having brain surgery.  (he's okay now.) PopPop is a list kind of person (a trait he passed on to me) and I found this collection rather great.

I no longer do the dolphin kick when I'm angry, but I do like eggs and cheese for breakfast, while watching the dogs and birds.

Wouldn't it be interesting to have a list like this for each year of your life? I'm going to write one for the present year, and try to keep it up. I'm always looking for something special to do on New Year's day, for instance. I'm going to go put a Post-it on the calendar to remind myself in December...