March 31, 2011

Oh Dear....

The last time Mr. H went to South Africa 
he came home with this bronze statue of cheetahs.
A present to himself to celebrate his 50th birthday.
We had to have the mantle over the fireplace rebuilt.
It is big, it is heavy... but it has grown on me.

He skipped off to the airport yesterday in anticipation of his trip to South Africa.
This morning I woke to this text message.

 " Can I buy one or two?"

Any words of wisdom dear friends?
More on that man of mine here.

Artist: Dylan Lewis

March 30, 2011

The winds of change...

Dear Friends

That female intuition of mine is picking up signals...I can feel the winds of change blowing thru my life again. It is a slight breeze but there is no doubt that it is there. I have had this persistent thought running thru my mind lately and I have been trying to place it. For those of you who watch the old classic TV movies, I am thinking John Wayne in black and white, on a ship that is tossing and turning in the ocean. As the searing wind and heavy ocean sprays beat down on us, he looks to me and says...."Brace yourself Jeanne...we are in for a wild ride". I have no idea why John is visiting...but there it is, swaying back and forth in my mind. This is not the first time John has called upon me, which is probably why I have become an expert at marking the winds of change.
What is the solution for this crazy concoction of emotions? I usually start with a good cleaning out. Everything gets moved, shifted and pushed and then with writing pad and pen at the ready I create an inordinate amount of lists. A mindful spring cleaning. That is my antidote.
Thank heavens for all these blogs of mine...they are being put to good use. I have started with a redesign of a few. That Template Designer program and I are at one this week. I have no idea where the blogs will end up but it has been a mighty fine diversion these past few days. My life has been filled with repairmen...for a house that I do not own. I won't even go there but let's just say it has given me plenty of time to organise and create!

Sigh...(with a smile).
My eyes have been resting on these for inspiration. 
What better way to face the winds of change then spring green :)

Now, if I could just get that shade of green onto a blog background...
Before I go, since you were so helpful
with my photo last week....which one of these
blog designs do your prefer?

The Sand (top) or black layout (bottom)? 



In One Place with a camera here

Time to go...I feel an urge to clean the garage!

Thanks for your help Mateys!

March 28, 2011

A Rockport Lovefest

A few weeks ago I received a lovely note from a reader, Janet, who wrote to say...


I'm feeling a "Rockport lovefest" across the miles!  I'm delighted to hear of your very close connection to this favorite place and think it must be wonderful to have been a Cape Ann girl!  So sweet to hear that your parents met on Long Beach.  I remember sand castles and fun times there, and I still have those beautiful round rocks that line my little "Rockport" garden here at home.  I do hope you will write a post about Rockport and all of its's such a special place.  Please feel free to share or use any of my photos anytime--I'm just happy to know that you enjoyed seeing them!

It has finally warmed up around here.  Friday is was in the 60's!!  Lots of melting but still lots of snow left.  I'm continuing to think about springtime ....and warm Rockport breezes.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Janet xo

You can imagine my delight at reading this email. Janet does not have a blog but she enjoys following along. I was touched...I still am. Sometimes we write a post and wonder if anyone picks up on the little nuances, the ones that could only be picked up by someone who has been there. On this occasion, Janet was right with me.

Janet sent along these beautiful photos with her note. She is a wonderful photographer and managed to capture the essence of a place I hold near and dear.

 You may be wondering where this little slice of heaven is located. Rockport is located along the North Shore of Massachusetts. It was not my home town but it was close enough.  Rockport is a seaside village. Quiet in the winter and bustling with tourists in the summer. Artists have lived and painted in the areas for years. My mother is one of them with a gallery of her own featuring her paintings and local artisan jewelry. 

The beaches are rocky but the surrounding area more than makes up for it. The town is charming and 
to be honest, it hasn't changed much in the past 30 years. To me, that  is one of it's most endearing qualities.

It is an area that is bound to my heart. Childhood memories bring forth sandcastles along Long beach, searching for periwinkle shells and playing mermaid draped in seaweed. Big family parties filled with great food and lots of laughter, Long Beach Dairy Maid ice cream, fried clams, fresh lobster, clam chowder, enormous soft fluffy beach towels and brightly coloured flip flops swishing along the hot sandy beach.

As a young girl learning to swim, I took my first tumble to the bottom of the ocean floor and recall my father's strong arms scooping me up to safety. My grandparents cottage was our safe haven. The weather worn shingles and softly painted Nantucket grey steps firmly braced by seagull white railings saw me thru childhood to adulthood. I recall being helped up the steep steps in the hands of my grandparents as a child and not to long ago lending my arm to my grandfather as we made our final decent together.

I have brought my family back to Rockport many times over the years. To this day, we still stop in the penny candy store that I frequented as a child. Our little white paper bags in hand, gingerly selecting just the right pieces to savour as we carry on thru the busy seaside streets. I could go on but I will stop and say from one 'Rockport gal' to another, thank you Janet for sending your note, your photos and giving me an opportunity to reflect on a very special time in my life.

Often I think of the beautiful town
That is seated by the sea;
Often in thought go up and down
The pleasant streets of that dear old town,
And my youth comes back to me.

Rockport is the quintessential New England town
and frequently used in movies.
You can see it in The Proposal here
and The Love Letter here

More on Rockport: here

Images by Janet

March 27, 2011

Handmade by Sweet Beate

My intuition has always been pretty good.
Today, I would say it was spot on.

I have long admired the creations by my blogging
friend Beate @ Sunday in Bed and decided it was time to act
when I glanced upon a gorgeous handmade blanket
that she knitted herself. The package arrived last night
and I am so excited I am finding it hard to contain myself :)
To start....

Sweet Beate hand decorated this lovely package for me. 
Her creative energy knows no bounds...

It reads...
" The creative is the place
where no one else has ever been.
You have to leave the 
city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
What you'll discover will be wonderful
What you'll discover is yourself"
Alan Alda

To which she added a few Springtime 
bookmarks from sunny Germany :)

and inside...I discovered this beautifully illustrated card

and a "springtime heart" notebook for 
all my springtime thoughts...

and the piece de resistance....the object of my sincerest affections...
This beautiful handmade blanket of cotton and linen wool.

I feel like a girl in love. 
I swept it out of the package, wrapped myself in it
and have had it by my side ever since. 
See that little square tied to the card above? 
It's gorgeous and I can't seem to let go.

Last night, I placed the blanket over my wintertime 
doona and slept like a baby ;)

and... and... and....
for our dog Tika
She is in doggie biscuit heaven!

Some of you may remember Beate from an earlier post
when I introduced her to fellow bloggers, here.

There she is on the right modeling one of her creations
You can have a look at her beautiful work in English here.


With that, I take pause with another of Beate's creations.

and send my sincerest thanks to
Sweet Beate!

images ~me and Beate....
the story behind the last image here

  Wishing you all a lovely weekend...
Jeanne xx

March 24, 2011

A BW Happy Drinker in the Dew thinking about Blog Love

To bw or not to bw?
Ask a blogger a questions and you most certainly will get an answer! 
Thank you all for helping me with my dilemma. It was very close but it appears 
the majority of you like the Happy Drinker photos thrown in with Black and White. 
Very interesting! I have decided to mix it all up and spread them out between the five blogs. 
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it :)

How does thee garden grow?
I read a review on a great book, The Morville Year, here
There was something in "the smell of freshly cut mowed lawn and 
walking in the dew in a dressing gown" that hooked me.
 I am getting that Spring feeling, how about you?

Blog Love comforteth like sunshine after rain...
I want to send out some Blog Love today. 
Some of you may have read my last Blog Love post here.
If not, sending Blog Love is a way of saying...I love your blog
and thank you for inspiring me. My last post was to thank those that started 
with me from the very beginning and are still with me today. I want to thank
them for passing it on and sharing in the Blog Love :)

Today I want to thank more faithful followers whose blogs and comments
I thoroughly enjoy. They have been checking in on me for a while now and 
in some cases they follow several of my blogs. They are true friends and genuine
people who I think you will enjoy getting to know. I am passsing on Blog Love 
to these lovely ladies to say, I appreciate your friendship and love your blog!

To the recipients: I am changing this a bit. You can pass Blog Love to whomever 
you like in any way that you like. I started this with the idea of having everyone post
their very first post when they passed it on. You can make your own rules.
If you wish to just bask in the love and not pass it on, that is ok too!

Anyone can grab the button...spread the Blog Love far and wide!
I'll be back with more Blog Love soon :)
Have a great day !

Jeanne xx

PS...ever played Spin the Mouse?
A house I used to pass on my morning walk
in Gloucester,

March 21, 2011

sunshine, fresh air, long Surrey

Dear Friends
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I am sitting at my desk as the sun falls on another beautiful day in Surrey. We were very lucky to have two sunny days! Amazing what a bit of sunshine can do for your spirits :)  I managed to touch base with my daughter Christine which I am thankful for. She is still holding fort in Christchurch, New Zealand. They had a recent jolt (5.1 earthquake) and I am hoping that is the last of it. Classes are about to resume at her University or I should say in her bedroom. The buildings still are not ready for full classes and her participation will have to start via computer. She is ready to get on with it. Somewhere along the way she discovered a passion for Anthropology....I am still letting it sink in. She is a bit like her mother, my Christine, always onto something new. You don't want to get me started!
I want to thank those of you that responded to my postcard post. I look forward to writing to you all this week. :) 
I thought I would share a few photos from the weekend. Mr. H. and I got out and about as much as we could. Lots of walking...I needed that!
Best wishes for the week ahead to one and all :)
Jeanne xx

We walk down this street to get to town from our house...
it is a brilliant shade of green this week.

This is one of the many homes we pass...I wish I could show them all to you.
It will require a little espionage work on my part but I will try :)

I first spotted this garden on a snowy afternoon...very special.

One of the many sights of the day...we were in car behind the horses for a while.
I took this thru the car window....

We walked along the River Thames where Tika was most anxious to join this swan.

Tika enjoying freedom, off the lead, at last....

It was one of those days.... that encouraged everyone to be outdoors.

I did not capture her
quick enough...this woman
was a sight in her red beret.

Before I go...I wonder if you could help.
In the midst of all this sunshine, I have been playing with my blogs.
I changed my photo...a more difficult task than I thought. The downside
to taking pictures are the very few that exist of the photographer!

I can't decide.... antique finish or black and white?
The original photo is in black and white.

PS...I changed the previous photo after yet another person asked me if I was
drinking a bottle of wine. I started to wonder...maybe you all 
thought I was a happy drinker this past year :)

Well, I am, but not to that extent :)

What is your vote?
Antique, black and white or the happy drinker?