Monday, April 28, 2008

Welcome to my city garden.....

Hello dear blogging friends! Welcome to my little garden here in the city. Please come in...

I have placed the old pitchfork by the door holding my Home, Sweet Home sign again which some of you might remember from last year. I wish I could find more 'garden junk' to do fun things like this with.

We have seen our daffodils doing wonderfully again this year but they are now finished blooming. We have a pot filled with grape hyacinths and one of Golden Apeldoorn tulips to enjoy yet along with some other spring bloomers...

I am so anxious to see my large wisteria vines in full bloom. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, it should go quickly. They have just started to open their blossoms. Our beech hedge is filling in so nicely and the two maple trees are so pretty in their fresh new green coats of leaves.

We stayed home this past weekend as Jos wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather on Saturday to get our gate painted. This gate was especially made for us by a man we found down towards the south of Holland. We are so thrilled with how pretty it has turned out. He told us to let it sit as is for a while in the garden to rust. We installed it while the bathrooms were being renovated. Jos needed help holding it all in place while pouring the concrete. It stayed too cold to paint in so it was very well rusted.

Now the gate is painted a pretty black and puts that just right finishing touch to our 'secret garden'.

We enjoyed the sun rays of this past weekend. Did you also enjoy some sunshine in your part of the world?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mensinghe House in Roden

This is the manor house we visited last weekend in the village of Roden. It was lived in as a private home until 1985 after which the city hall took over the house to be restored and turned into a museum. The entrance is through these beautiful iron gates. You are able to take an online virtual tour here.

The former porter's house is now a restaurant. They have done a wonderful job of making it a really welcoming place to come for a meal.

Can you imagine having these original tiles at the entrance to your front door. They are just beautiful and I am always glad to see things like this have been well preserved.

A little side window of the former porter's house which is so ornate.

The manor house itself seen from across the water surrounding it.

There is a bridge which you cross to get to the house. Isn't the white gate on the bridge so adorable?

The house has been completely restored and the furniture was for the most part left in the house giving the illusion that the family still resides there.

I had to think of an online friend, Margaret, when I saw this door knocker in the form of a mermaid.

I am unable to share photos of inside the house as we were not allowed to take any. Here are two from in the scullery.

Notice the old pump and the water filter. It is a cream colored ceramic water filter that came from England.

This was the cutest idea! Wood was cut in triangles and covered with moss and branches for daffodil bulbs to be stuck into. They are mounted on a tree branch giving the look of small trees. Don't forget to enlarge any photos you would like to see in more detail.

The former coach house is now an exhibition center. Can you imagine drawing your carriage up to it and driving in through the large center stable doors?

I just love old trees. This one was so majestic with all its knots and gnarls.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If you go out in the woods today......

I wanted to give you an update of my mother's visit. We spent a long weekend up at Cranberry Cottage. We drove to a village to visit a beautiful manor house which I will share with you on my next blog entry. I was able to take some pretty photos to share. This is a windmill we pass on the way to the manor house which dates back to 1857. It is in the village of Norg and thankfully has been well preserved.

It is finally getting to the point where things are slowly starting to bloom here in Holland. We had a warm winter but the last month or so have seen many cold nights which have kept the plants from budding quickly. Just a view of how the woods are starting to come to life with these pretty little flowers.

And if you were out in the north woods of Holland today.....look at the gnome you would have run into! I actually made my mother go out and take a walk in the woods today. It was not such a punishment as she did enjoy herself.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Among the hyacinths.....

My mother and step father have arrived safely and on time early Tuesday morning. We spent Tuesday here just catching up at the house. I baked this Norwegian Apple Cake for a treat that day. It is a recipe from a blogger named Mia who has such a beautiful home. It was because of this recipe, which I decided to give a try, that I have developed a blogging friendship with her. I had to let her know what a yummy cake it was and we started commenting on each other's blogs. I serve mine with vanilla custard and a little whipped cream.

Thursday, we drove over to see the flower fields near the west coast of Holland. It is still a little early so we got to see mostly hyacinths. There were some daffodils still blooming but not many.

It turned out to be a really beautiful day and it was extremely busy which made driving more difficult as we had to sit in traffic.

Every once in a while you come across some early tulips and they really do pop out at you! It is a beautiful site!

We drove to Katwijk Aan Zee so they could glimpse the North Sea and have some lunch.

We ate at this charming restaurant right beside the dunes called 'The Swan' and I can tell you that it was absolutely delicious. Three of us had salmon steaks and one 'kibbling' which is a batter fried white fish.

It was then back to the car to battle the traffic home again. It took us almost three hours to drive a 1 1/2 hour trip. We were glad to come home and relax.

I am missing your blogs at the moment. When I do get time, I will try to catch up with some of you but just wanted to say that I am thinking of you all.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New colors...

What is it about spring sunshine that makes you want to bring some color into your life?

On Friday, a friend stopped by my house hoping I had time to chat and pick up her newsletter. She is a member of my quilt group and had to miss the last evening. It was enjoyable to sit and have a cup of coffee and talk. She mentioned needing a certain kind of fabric and did I know if that existed. It did but is no longer in any collections but I have some. I told her she could buy a piece of mine and she also bought a couple fat quarters of other fabrics. My fabric stash is like a little shop. She was thrilled I had the exact fabric she needed and told me she would be back in a little while with money to pay me. She arrived back on her bicycle not only with the money but a bouquet of flowers saying just because I was always such a nice person.

Needless to say, I think SHE is the nice person and looks at the pretty tulips and hyacinths. My living room smells very sweet today as they are opening. Fingers crossed Jos is okay with them but so far, so good...

We did more decluttering and sorting this weekend. I wanted to gather some "garden junk" to take up to Cranberry Cottage for a new project which I will tell you more about later in the late spring. We finally can cross off another project that has been on my list for some time. This end table is a butler tray that we received one year in a Christmas packet from my husband's company. It is lightweight and handy for a quick extra table which I used often even in the garden. But I wanted a new end table and could not find anything I liked. So out came the butler tray temporarily. We did like it but it was very cheap looking. The wood did not have a nice finish. It was rough and had a reddish~orange color to it.

I really thought it could be made to look much better by sanding it and putting a palissander wood stain on it. Three coats later and we are very happy with the results. What a difference it has made from the first photo to this one. I took a photo similar the one before we stained it for you to see the difference. I really think it looks much smarter now standing beside the chair.

I am off to the airport tomorrow morning in rush hour traffic to pick up my mother and step father. I have my fingers crossed that it won't be too bad a drive. Thankfully, Jos has decided to take me first and then go to work.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A thing of beauty.....

Cloche ~ definition according to Webster's dictionary...

Pronunciation: \ˈklōsh\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, literally, bell, from Medieval Latin clocca
Date: 1882
1 : a transparent plant cover used outdoors especially for protection against cold
2 : a woman's close-fitting hat usually with deep rounded crown and narrow brim

Cloche ~ definition according to my dictionary...

A thing of beauty!

I am continually switching around my cloches and what I have under them. It is becoming a bit of an addiction to think of new vignettes to use for them. Yesterday, I placed on a pewter plate, given to us as a wedding gift 21 years ago by a cousin, a little piece of my bobbin lace, a silver grapefruit spoon which was my grandmother's, my silver baby spoon, an old photograph of my grandmother and a friend and a little baby's breath. Sometimes, simplicity is the best way to express beauty.

This month my grandmother was born in 1902. She was a really special lady to me and I wanted to do something in remembrance of her. For this month, this will be my vignette on one of our end tables.

Note: Thank you all for the sweet responses to my guest room. Jos does not want us to use a garden gate of fence as we have done this now with two other beds. In Holland, buying any old item like shutters, doors or windows would cost us a fortune. We are still in the thinking stages and I have loved reading all of your ideas. I prefer to go with a picket fence but will have to come up with something else. As soon as I do decide, I will share photos. Nancy had it right to say it is Dagi's room actually! He is there sleeping even as I write this.

The photo of the pansies is taken in my garden back in 2004. I love violets and pansies.