"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Uncle March's library.....

I love books and libraries. But I love the libraries of old that are a beauty unto themselves. I love the smell of a book...the feel of a book in my hands as I read.

We will be moving in the autumn and I have decided to start packing up my bookshelves. I want to do this myself and need to take time for it, so in the terrible heat we are having this week here in Holland, I am packing book boxes. These are special boxes made for books. Jos will then take down our bookshelves. It will mean living with things packed for the coming months but that is okay. There is a sadness of not being able to see my precious books though. I am pulling out a few books along the way to read in the coming months.

I am considering how I am going to be decorating in the new house and one of the things we have discussed is the fact that I have an extra room in our new house. Jos asked if I wanted to finally create a library which is something that I have always dreamed of having. The only thing is that this room is up on the top floor of the three story home but still I am considering it.

Have you ever dreamed of having a library? Or perhaps you already have one or a reading room? I love going to look at libraries in manor houses and castles. One of my favorites was at the Château de Chantilly just north of Paris. This room is breathtaking as you can see from the photo. When our tour guide took us into this room, I never wanted to leave again. I have never forgotten it years later...

As part of my All Things Alcott challenge for this year, I am rereading 'Little Women'. I really do love this book! I will be using it for a post later on its own but was struck by how fitting the description is of Uncle March's library to this entry...

"I suspect that the real attraction was a large library
of fine books, which was left to dust and spiders since
Uncle March died. Jo remembered the kind old gentleman, who
used to let her build railroads and bridges with his big
dictionaries, tell her stories about queer pictures in his
Latin books, and buy her cards of gingerbread whenever he
met her in the street. The dim, dusty room, with the busts
staring down from the tall bookcases, the cozy chairs, the
globes, and best of all, the wilderness of books in which
she could wander where she liked, made the library a region
of bliss to her."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Been shopping?

When Saskia and I were getting ready to leave for the tea garden, I mentioned that I am looking for a doll cupboard to use for my doll quilts that I hand make. We stopped at a brocante shop as she needed to pick up something for her house. Next thing I knew she was asking me if this cupboard was what I meant? I could not believe it! If you need something just ask Saskia and she will find it within the hour. *wink*

It is like a little apprentice armoire and is about a half meter in height. When you open the very well made doors, it has three shelves just waiting to be filled...

...with little doll size quilts.

Before we left the tea gardens, we stopped in at the shop there and I found these beautiful porcelain balls. I have seen these often in black or blue and white which does not go with my interior. When I found these in brown and cream, I did not hesitate.

For now, they are in my wooden trough until I can make some tiny patchwork cushions. I have long wanted to make miniature patchwork cushions for in a wooden bowl and was so happy to have found this nicely shaped trough recently.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tea anyone and everyone?

Put down your gardening tools! There is no time for work. It is time for tea!

First find a nice secluded table in the shade and look at the menu...

Place an order for two chicken salads and two cups of Earl Grey tea...

But Saskia also bought a cherry walnut muffin for us to share. And look who we shared it with! Can't you see him?

And now?

He flew away after eating the crumbs but muffin paper blew to the ground by my feet and the chickens came running (pardon my leg) ...

You are not allowed to feed the animals but could I help it that a few crumbs fell???

We even had a regal visit from this peacock...

Saskia says they peeked in her garden as she has a ladder with old tea kettles on it too...

This handsome fella joined us for tea. Rover sat with Saskia (now pardon Saskia's leg) and munched on our toast and grapes from our salad...

We visited the shop at the tea gardens but I will share my pretty new buys in my next post...

In the meantime, these little ones waved goodbye...

It was time for "Home, sweet home". What a fun afternoon!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nothing like a challenge.....

Last week I discovered Margot's blog through a challenge she is hosting for this year. As some of you who read my blogs regularly may have realized, my favorite books or writers influence some of what I do in my house and garden. Remember my showing you my own version of The Secret Garden which influenced how I created the garden we have? I had already planned to blog about Louisa May Alcott but being part of this challenge to do so over the course of 2010 will be great fun. And I hope to learn more about her along the way...

The All Things Alcott challenge:

If you accept this challenge, please follow these guidelines:

  1. Between May 1st and the end of the year (2010), choose one or more Alcott related things to do (see #2). In the spirit of Louisa May Alcott, each participant will set his/her own course in this challenge. You choose one or as many Alcott related items as you wish.
  2. You will also determine the contents of your challenge. As long as it is Alcott related, you may choose books, audiobooks, DVDs, movies, TV shows, a play or live theater. Anything by or about Louisa May Alcott is the intention of the challenge.
  3. It’s not necessary to compile a list at the beginning of the challenge. I’m hoping this will lead me to discover new items I haven’t even heard about.
  4. It’s perfectly okay if this challenge overlaps with other challenges.

“I will do something by and by. I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t.”

~ The words of Louisa May Alcott

Recently, I had picked back up an old stitching project to finish. I like to try and link my reading to my stitching or quilting. I decided it was finally time to take my book "Flower Fables" off the shelf and read it as I stitch. If you want more glimpses of the stitching, you can go here to my other blog.

This was Louisa's first published book in 1854. She gave advance copies as Christmas gifts to friends one of whom she dedicated the book. The dedication reads...

For whom they were fancied, these
Are inclined, by her friend,
The Author
Boston, Dec. 9, 1854

And what a joy these fairy stories are to read! The excite the child in all of us. Sweet tales of goodness and the beauty it creates. There could be no better read as Midsummer Eve arrives in June which is a time full of fairy magic.

There are 34 beautiful illustrations to this little edition. When I purchased mine, a portion of the proceeds were to go to Orchard House which is the Alcott house. I understand the book is scheduled to be back in print again this year.

Excerpt from "Fairy Song":

"The moonlight fade from flower and tree,
And the stars dim one by one;
The tale is told, the song is sung,
And the Fairy feast is done.

The night-wind rocks the sleeping flowers,
And sings to them, soft and low.
The early birds erelong will wake:
'Tis time for the Elves to go."

This book is a must for children, young and old...
for those who love Louisa May Alcott...
or for those who love fairy stories in the summertime!

Click on the sidebar challenge button to find more blog posts about Louisa May Alcott...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Flea market anyone?

Now I not one to visit the local 'rommelmarkt' (flea market) that is held weekly at our cottage. I think most of what is there is just junk. But when I asked Jos on Saturday morning if he wanted to stop at the flea market before going to the grocery store, he did not have to think twice.

There was still a good deal of stuff there that I thought I would never find anything worth while. I have been searching for very small cut glass vases and have been very unsuccessful in finding them. And then...in the midst of the junk I did find a few treasures. This book is so decorative. A dealer might tear it apart for the beautiful prints it contains. I bought it for 2 euro.

These two regency miniatures are not real of course but that does not diminish their beauty. I am considering whether I should carefully paint the frames black. What do you think?

No little vases as the only one I really liked was very expensive and the woman would not bring the price down. Oh how Jos loves to haggle the prices down! He did however get the price down for these two pieces of glass to only 1,50 euro for both. A little cut glass jug and a very heavy depression glass dish with a gillyflower. They are both so beautiful. I am going to enjoy using them.

Maybe I will have to rethink my opinion of that market and stop in more often?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The forget me not garden...

Our garden at Cranberry Cottage has a number of flowers that are not for the faint hearted gardener. The are plants to seed themselves each year and surprise you are to where they decide to reside in that coming season. Some of these are foxgloves, aquilegia and forget me nots. The forget me nots are in full season now. What started as one small plant has become a field of dainty blue blossoms all over our garden.

They invade this winding path to the side of the garden this year but I have decided we will just have to step over them until the blossoms fade and reseed themselves. This photo was taken at the earliest time of the season and forget me nots had not yet started to bloom. Now the path is blue and makes me smile. In the Victorian 'language of flowers', the forget me not is the symbol of true love. Perhaps a must for any passionate garden?

Our blueberry bush is full of little green berries this year. We never see them turn to blue as the birds have long enjoyed them as a feest before we can even see them...

The old rhododendron bush put on a glorious show again this year. It really likes the soil of our garden on the edge of the woods. We planted 4 very tiny new bushes we purchased for only 1,75 euro each at Aldi. We thought since they were not expensive, we would chance it and see if they would grown. To our surprise this year, they are all four still extremely small but full of blossoms.

This hebe bush has a look of heather which is why I placed it in our garden when we started to plant it. I wish I had written down the variety and no longer know what it is called. Does anyone happen to know?

Our garden sign was so faded that you could no longer read it. The wire to hang it had rusted away. So I brought it home with me and we put new wire on it and searched for some paint. We only had black on hand but I still love how it came up. Now it is ready to greet friends for a few seasons to come once again...