Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summertime at the Park

Summer temperatures have arrived! And with those temperatures, people from far and near arrive in our community to camp at the park. Winter walks are quiet, with a few eagles soaring overhead as we walk the paths, and a squirrel here and there observing us along the way. But in the summertime, everything changes! The park becomes a community in and of itself! Campers, motor homes, and tents become dwellings of happy groups of people. The smell of smoky campfires and hot dogs roasting fills the air. Happy sounds of children laughing and people talking create a cacophony of noise. It's during these times that we become observers of others who love our park and make it theirs. The park becomes host to special events like weddings, family reunions, holiday picnics, and a meeting place for friends. Memories are made, and for each memory made, the park becomes an important place in the history of those who inhabited it. Observation is fun as we walk the campground loop, but by the time autumn arrives, we will be ready to take our park back, walking in quietness with only the sounds of nature to keep us company.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Elm Street Nursery

Paula and Teri have so many lovely linens and vintage china in their shop, I sometimes forget to stop to appreciate fully all the lovely infant things in the Elm Street Nursery. How about taking a little tour with me. When I stopped to visit Paula yesterday, she was not there. But instead, a cute little guy greeted me with a dimpled smile. He's sharing that smile with you here as well! Enjoy!

Golden Braids and Rose Arbors

Golden braids fly as sturdy legs and eager intensity fly through the rose arbor to meet the school bus. Kindergarten graduation looms near and there is so much that must be done! School is important and much learning happens there, but I suspect that the morning spent with Grandpa and Grandma while waiting for the school bus is as critical to brain development and learning as school! When Mr. Egg Man built the rose arbor years ago, he probably never imagined the darling little girl that would fly through it's arch each school day as she anticipates the school bus and the rest of the day ahead.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rose Arbor

Blue skies and a climbing rose bush laden heavily with fragrant pink roses invite a garden guest to take a moment to enjoy the quaintness and quietness of Mrs. Egg Lady's rose arbor. A wooden tunnel of lattice was, at one time, white and pristine. Years of weather and use have changed the garden arched trellis into a place that is old-wood gray with white flecked paint. Missing slats and nails that have fallen out over time don't matter, because canes of the climbing rose encase it all and hold everything tightly in place. A slatted gate welcomes guests, or serves as the exit to the exciting world of school as Mrs. Egg Lady's little blond granddaughter flies through it to meet the school bus that takes her to kindergarten each day. Old, yet loved, the rose arbor is the kind of place where dreams are made. Quaintly photogenic, it is both protects from the world and draws through it's safe passage to a larger world beyond.

*Click on photo for a larger view. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A More Distant View

Today we will take a peek at Mrs. Egg Lady's garden from a more distant view. Her garden changes as the spring melds into summer. Right now her roses are starting to blossom and bloom, the foxglove are standing tall, violas and pansies are showing their pretty faces, and little clusters of ground cover are adding color here and there. A fifty-year-old snowball bush reins over a corner of the front yard from am amazing height. Wild roses and climbing roses in yellow, red, and burgundy are dotted along the roadside fence. The red roses grace an arbor and gate that leads from house to road. Can you find it in the montage? Enjoy a moment of serenity as you imagine yourself walking through Mrs. Egg Lady's garden, then sitting on a garden chair sipping on a cup of tea and visiting with her and she shares stories of days gone by. Peace, friendship, and beauty as the troubles of the world slip by; an ideal moment in time.

*Click on the photo for a larger view. Enjoy!

Spring on the Mountain

Double click on photo to immerse yourself in the meadow grasses!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Birthday Luncheon

Karleen came for lunch today so we could celebrate her birthday. It was fun to chat and relax in the quiet of the day. Our menu today was:

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Whole Wheat Toast Points
Herb, Veggie & Viola Salad with Cashew Dressing
Vegetable Tofu Quiche
Saucy Fruit Salad with Dark Chocolate
Barley Tea
Sparkling Apple Juice

Recipes are posted at my My Cozy Kitchen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Best Wishes

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fuji Apple Streusel

With a large Fuji apple orchard next door, we have an abundance of Fuji's available each fall. Their natural 'water core' defines them as one of the best! Great flavor, great texture, and perfect sweetness when picked ripe off the tree. Here's a recipe that I've developed for a sweet and delicious vegan and gluten-free apple streusel.


6 - 8 Fuji apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar (or sweetener of choice)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cinnamon


1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. flour (gluten-free if necessary)
6 Tbsp. oil
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Peel and dice apples. Mix with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Place in a baking dish.

In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, gluten-free flour, oil, cloves, cinnamon, and walnuts. Then sprinkle over apple mixture and gently press into place.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

In a Garden

"The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's Heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth."

Dorothy Frances Gurney

*Simple but beautiful exterior wall arrangement by Paula and Teri on their shop wall.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Bringing bits of the outdoors inside helps bring life to a home. Touches of nature lift the spirit, bring cheer, and please the eye. Little touches of nature can help you feel more home in your house, giving a feeling of freshness and light. A dictionary definition describes alfresco as having origins in 1745 - 55 and meaning 'in the cool, in a cool place'. For me, fresh flowers or greens do bring the cool inside, in more ways than one! Do you have your touch of alfresco in you home today?

"Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my wonderful blogging friends! May your day be blessed with many good things and your time spent with those you hold most dear. God bless you for a task well done!


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Spring Really is Here Now!

As the winter gives way to spring each year, we keep an eye on the mountains, trying to see if there is still snow there. All the while, we are wondering when it will be melted enough for us to make it to the cabin. Usually we try too early in the season to get there, and are disappointed by snowdrifts and impassible roads. We waited until May this season, hoping that maybe we could get through. We tried today, and we mostly made it, but had to walk a ways because the snow was too deep and mushy on the road for a vehicle. Our first little homestead cabin was safe and sound -- a picturesque little place that is inhabited by little critters and is mostly a landmark on the map. We hiked through the meadow, enjoying wildflowers and little streamlets of water seeping through meadow grasses creating mush and mud from the snow melt. As we passed through the woods, our eyes were seeking a first glimpse of the cabin, hoping that all the surrounding trees were still standing and that no winter damage had been done. We were rewarded with a standing cabin, well secured and safe. After digging a high snowdrift away from the door, Brent was able to unscrew the boards he put up to protect it from winter's snow and to unlock the door. How interesting it is to step into after a winter away. Just knowing that everything stayed exactly in the same place you left it months before, and hearing the clock ticking away minutes and knowing it did the same all winter long, gives one a feeling of time and space that is hard to explain. Even when no one is there, life goes on. After resting and exploring the surrounding woods, we hiked back to the truck and headed on home. Happy and content. All is well on the mountain.

One of my favorite things are the wildflowers of spring. They were showing their lovely faces in the sunshine today: grass widows, tiger lilies, yellow bells, buttercups, and more. The earliest flowers of spring are always the yellow, lavender, and white ones. I wonder why that is so? Aren't they beautiful?

Friday, May 08, 2009

God's Voice is Heard

At Thy Door

"Go not abroad for happiness. For see it is a flower that blooms at thy door."

~ Minot J. Savage ~

The front door at Paula's and Teri's Elm Street shop has been restyled for spring. It is adorable and welcoming! A row of assorted chairs line the porch in such an inviting way. And old doors and windows are displayed to add interest and character. Flowers, hats, and welcoming signs just draw you in to it's charm!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Blue Skies

Scenes from a frequent drive along the river reminds me of one of my favorite songs. Blue Skies was written by Irving Berlin for the musical, Betsy, in 1926. It's been sung by many performers over the years, including Jim Reeves and Willie Nelson. It's crossed the lines of many genres with grace and ease. Evidently it has elements that appeal to many. May you have a "blue sky" day today!

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

Irving Berlin, 1926

Free-form Embroidery

Free-form embroidery is fun, but scary! Stitching without a pattern and creating your own designs does give much creative freedom to a project, though. The general outline of the teacup on this tea towel started out as a pattern, but the more of this design I stitched, the more fun I had making each tea towel unique! Different styles and shapes of flowers and a variety of trim on the teacup changed each tea towel into it's own unique creation. Sometimes they didn't end up completely 'even' or 'perfect' in design, but the end result is somewhat like a china painted plate. The little flaws made it all that more special and unique. At least that's what I like to think!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Things are pretty in pink at Elm Street. Teri and Paula have been busy finding and creating lovely new treasures for their shop. Soft pinks, creamy white, and rose decals all work together on tin, wood, and fabric to form pretty shabby chic embellishments for the home. A creamy white tea tin with tiny rose decals was too beautiful to pass by --- it had to come home with me. It's so pretty sitting on my kitchen counter. Charming and sweet, it reminds me of the creative sisters of Elm Street and of all the fun they have together, adding special treats of vintage decor to their antique and gift shop. Great job, you two! Each visit to your shop is a treasure hunt of new and interesting things!

Truckin' & Gardenin'

It's fun to go to plant nurseries and see all the ornaments available for a beautiful garden. Things that hang, sit, and drape are all available for a lovely and elegant garden. But, if you are into vintage decor, it's fun to have some vintage aspects in some parts of your garden too. And if you are the mother of sons, it's fun to include things that remind you of their childhood days. An old Tonka truck, rusty and faded, sits in a garden by the little well house. It reminds me of childhood's joys. This little truck no longer drives on winding roads made in a dirt pile by the vegetable garden. Memories of truckin' and little boys come to my mind every time I walk by this little truck in my garden.

What vintage toys do you have gracing your garden beds? What memories do they bring you?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A True Home

"A roof to keep out the rain. Four walls to keep out the wind. Floors to keep out the cold. Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father. Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship. Home is first school...for the young ones where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind. Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick. Where joy is shared and sorrow eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved. Where children are wanted. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness. That is home."

by Ernestine Schumann-Heink

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Garden Wakes

The spring garden is awake and alive in pastels and grace. Pinks, lavenders, and whites are accented with touches of yellow and an abundance of shades of green. Speckled violets, viola faces, and bells of lily-of-the-valley are tiny treasures. Flowering trees look like popcorn trees, burdened with blossoms and waiting for leaves. The bleeding hearts are laden with tiny red hearts, showing teardrops and reminding us that life isn't always as we plan or choose. Fragrance and flowers; representing hope and grace.

Buttons & Embroidery

In addition to crayons and floss, other embellishments can make a simple, hand-embroidered tea towel pretty. Buttons make a simple, yet effective touch to tea towel decor. Used as a teapot lid topper, or the center of flowers, old-fashioned shirt buttons take on new life as they are used to add interest to common things. This is a tea towel I stitched for a friend --- I hope they are enjoying it.

Kindness and Faithfulness

"It is good to say thank you to the Lord, to sing praises to the God who is above all gods. Every morning tell Him, 'Thank you for your kindness,' and every evening rejoice in all his faithfulness."

Psalm 92:1 - 2 TLB

*Smell-o-Blog features would be awesome this morning! The lilacs are smelling wonderfully fragrant. Walking under the lilac trees is like walking into a perfume bottle!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Garden Sharing

There's something about gardening that brings people together. It doesn't matter what the age or socioeconomic level, when a gardener is in the garden with another gardener nothing else matters. The beauty of a garden can be celebrated by sharing it with someone else. This may be by taking a simple walk together and looking at green growth and blossoms. Or it may involve giving away cut flowers or an extra plant or two. For those who grow herbs, tucking a sprig of sage, lavender, or thyme in an envelope with a card or letter is a great way of sharing your garden with someone far away. Inviting someone to lunch or dinner of your garden greens, thoughtfully prepared in your kitchen is a great way of sharing. Garden gifts in the form of bouquets, potted plants, or edibles make a wonderful contribution to a homeless shelter, church group, or food bank. There are so many ways to share! And gardeners are a very generous lot.

Garden sharing can also be a joint effort. Sometimes I buy tea roses in pairs, giving one to a friend and keeping one for my own garden. Although these roses all have their own official names, I always create a new and personal one for each as well. These names are a combination of my friend's name and my own. The LaGwen Rose in peachy perfection, or the LaKay Rose in deep red are subjects fun to discuss when we talk together. Friends and family have shared their garden abundance with me, and I appreciate these efforts so much. Right now the lilac hedge row is in an abundance of lavender and purple; plants that were started from starts that my mother-in-law gave to me. The snowball tree was a start from Karleen. And the pretty miniature irises were starts from my mom's garden. Each blossom reminds me of them and the beautiful characters their acts of kindness represent.

What ways have you been blessed by garden sharing? I'd love to hear your story! Please leave a comment and tell how you share from your garden, or how others share with you.

*Garden ornament shared with me from mom's garden. It just gets better and better with age.*

Friday, May 01, 2009

Colorful Tea Towels

Embroidered tea towels are fun to stitch, but sometimes a bit more color is desired. There's an easy way to fill in the stitching lines with shades of pretty colors. Here's how:

After tracing the pattern onto the flour sack fabric, color the design with regular coloring crayons. Color gently, but with an even stroke. Areas that you want shaded can be colored with a heavier hand or colored in a darker color. Then cover the pattern with a piece of paper and iron with a warm iron. This sets the color. Then, stitch as desired. Coloring crayons work well for this effect, but pencil crayons will work as well. You can wash and dry your tea towels as usual.

Happy Stitching!

A Spot of Tea

Shall we have a spot of tea? Paula has created this beautiful vignette with a child sized wicker set and a children's tea set. Cute little bunnies sit in the chairs, seemingly conversing over gentle things. It's such a calming and serene scene.

Maybe they are sipping on chamomile tea just like Peter Rabbit. Here's a variation on Peter Rabbit's chamomile that I hope you enjoy:

Peter Rabbit Tea

1 part chamomile flowers
1/4 cup soy milk
Maple syrup to sweeten*

Place chamomile flowers in teapot and pour 1 - 2 cups boiling water over it and allow to steep for 15 - 20 minutes. Strain, then add soy milk and maple syrup. Place in your favorite teacup and enjoy in a quiet place.

*May substitute honey