"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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The simple things.....

My blogs are being neglected because I am keeping busy this week. We are in the midst of a warehouse from the looks of our house at the moment. Jos brought home the rest of our flooring and all the baseboards. We literally have paths to where we need to be for the remainder of our time in this house. So, as you might imagine, being at Cranberry Cottage is extra comforting this summer. We can get away from all the mess and planning.

While waiting for friends to arrive, I spent a little time reading my August issue of Country Living. I just love this magazine and my moments spent reading the articles or brouwsing through the beautiful photos is very relaxing.

It was much cooler this weekend which meant sitting outdoors to have dinner was quite enjoyable.

I can spend hours watching the birds come and go at the feeders. They come even as we sit at the table.

I also enjoyed creating a simple bouquet from things from our garden. It is not an elegant bouquet but such a pretty sight on the table.

We visited De Cuynder in Donkerbroek again that afternoon. We wanted to show our friends the camp sight there but also see the gardens. It is an organic farm that specializes in old sorts of fruit and vegetables as well as new. These pretty pigs were there to greet us.

I have a new pet. My friend Sonja gave me Klara the cow when they arrived for the afternoon and dinner. You would not believe how soft and cuddly Klara is!

I bought some green onions at the farm and was thrilled when I saw them! I just love onions and have a real thing for green onions. I came out of the little shop to find Jos chatting with one of the owners. I had a big smile on my face and told him to look at these beauties! Just look at the difference with the ones I had bought at the grocery store that morning. They were even large for our normal standards. It is simple things like this which give me a happy feeling. We had two mixed with our potatoes for dinner that very night but...

...since I had two left, I used them for dinner the next night too. I cut them in half and brushed them with olive oil as well as a few mushrooms and cooked them in our grill pan on the stove top.

So we enjoyed a healthy dinner with lots of vegetables since I had steamed cauliflower instead of potatoes. Simple things really do make me happy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Little Women ... which are you?

For my AllThingsAlcott challenge, I have reread Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I really love this heart warming story! From the moment I open the book, I move as a shadow among the March family watching with as much pleasure and longing as Laurie does as he watches them from his window next door. The book is not the same in many aspects as the various films created over the years. I will do a post about all three movie version in a later post but recommend you read this book if you have only seen the movie.

I was thinking about these four sisters and how, like my own family, they are all different. Have you ever considered which of these four sisters you are most like? Or perhaps you are a combination of some of them?

I think I have some of Meg, Jo and Beth in me. I think I have Meg's sensibility and feeling for responsibility. I have Jo's passion, creativity and sense of unbridled fun. I also have her feeling of shrugging off what people might not approve of. She is not worried about growing up and being a lady but being alive! I have Beth's sensitivity and, at times, her shyness although that has so improved with age. I don't feel I have Amy in me. My mother always used to jokingly call me Homespun Heidi so no Amy there.

What about you? I would love to hear your thoughts on these four sisters.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Perhaps it is the quilter in me.....

.....but when I see things, I can become very inspired by their pattern. For example, I dream of making a quilt after a pattern of roof tiles on a building we visited in France one year. Being on vacation in Quedlinburg last May has also left me with inspiration from various buildings and floors that I have seen.

This beautiful town of timber frame (Tudor style) houses is so quaint and inspiring in itself. The colors of the buildings inspire to work with fabrics, the timber frames inspire to work with pattern and the feeling of the town inspires to something echoing times past.

If you enlarge the photo below, I hope you will be able to discern all the various patterns of brick. This building has a different motif created with the brick laying in each separate section. I wonder if this was perhaps a test for someone learning the trade?

Oh but the floors! Just things of beauty waiting for someone to look at them instead of just passing by quickly from one room to another. They are saying stop and take a moment to think how a craftsman came and laid me out piece by piece...

Even simple terracotta floor tiles can evoke a warm and country feel in its pattern...

I see how many things like quilting have perhaps had influences from things around us. This floor is like a lovely patchwork quilt.

Try to take a moment to look around you at patterns. Maybe you might find inspiration by things around you.....

Thursday, July 8, 2010


...and the livin' is easy, especially when my Papa opens up the front door first thing in the morning when he comes downstairs. He says it is to let the morning cool breezes in. I say it is so I can gaze out into the big world to say 'Good morning' and sniff that fresh air...sniff...sniff...

Since I love my Mommy and Papa so much, I am a good boy and never venture a paw outside. I just sit here and watch the world go by. Until I get tired that is and then it is back to bed to lay on a nice soft pillow for another cat nap. Meow!

Paws to you!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Picture worth a thousand words.....

One of my little quirks is when I am in a castle or manor house, I am totally intrigued by the portrait paintings. I find some will actually capture me to the point of having to stand for sometime staring into the eyes of that person. I recall a portrait of a jonkheer in Castle Doorwerth that was so entrancing that I felt like his eyes were following me in the room.

So when we were on vacation in May in the German town of Quedlinburg, the one highlight was going to be visiting Castle Hill to go into the Quedlinburg Castle. It was a wonderful castle to visit and I was glad we took the steep walk up to the castle in the rain.

There was a number of portraits to capture my imagination many of which were of woman. Women played an enormous part of the history of the town. It was Saint Mathilde, widow of King Heinrich I, who founded the convent on Castle Hill. Her own female family members became the rulers of Quedlinburg as Abbesses.

I now wish I had taken along a notebook and noted the names of the ladies in the portraits. But as I entered this room, I was pulled to this wall with the portrait next to a beautifully crafted cabinet. And then I turned and saw this...

She is by far one of the homelier looking portraits in the castle yet she pulled me in and held me captive. The artist has the proportions wrong in her arms when you look at it well but I was captivated by the details of her dress. The chintz must have been of the most beautiful quality. The floral pattern is so pretty but the lace details of her cap, collar and sleeves made me wish I could touch her dress. Now perhaps that is the bobbin lacemaker in me, but I spent time studying this lace detail.

I took a photo close up hoping it would be sharp enough to see again at home. That lace which adorned this 18th century (?) gown now adorns my blog as my header photo.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A picture of a rose.....

My Edith Holden cluster rose has been blooming so beautifully. And some words written by Louisa May Alcott to celebrate...

O flower at my window
Why blossom you so fair,
With your green and purple cup
Upturned to sun and air?
'I bloom, blithesome Bessie,
To cheer your childish heart;
The world is full of labor,
And this shall be my part.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O robin in the tree-top,
With sunshine on your breast,
Why brood you so patiently
Above your hidden nest?
'I brood, blithesome Bessie,
And sing my humble song,
That the world may have more music
From my little ones erelong.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O balmy wind of summer,
O silver-singing brook,
Why rustle through the branches?
Why shimmer in your nook?
'I flutter, blithesome Bessie,
Like a blessing far and wide;
I scatter bloom and verdue
Where'er my footsteps glide.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O brook and breeze and blossom,
And robin on the tree,
You make a joy of duty,
A pride of industry;
Teach me to work as blithely,
With a willing hand and heart:
The world is full of labor,
And I must do my part.
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

With my journey on the All Things Alcott challenge, I am enjoying discovering new things including this poem which I read for the first time called 'The Rose Family - Song 1'.