Monday, March 30, 2009

The colors of early spring...

We took a drive up to Cranberry Cottage on Sunday to see how things are doing up there. It was the first time we went up since the hospital stay and my treatment. We want to try and go up this coming weekend and stay as it is our 22nd anniversary. We have a favorite restaurant in the area and my husband would really like to go there. I want to give it a try even though there have been no improvements so far with my breathing and eating.

We were glad we got to see a last few of our crocuses in bloom. Isn't it just beautiful? I love this deep purple in the green grass!

Another bloom in our garden at the cottage is lungwort. It grows there wildly. There is a spot in our gravel drive that it keeps coming up. I transplant it to the back in the garden and suddenly there is more coming up in its place in the drive. I have promised a friend to bring some back with me for her garden. It is such a cheerful little bell shaped flower and the bumblebees are enjoying an early spring drink of nectar as you can see if you enlarge the photo.

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Our forecast this week is for warm and sunny days so our daffodils will be out to shine for us when we arrive for the weekend. They were already starting to burst open and greet the sunshine. Do you have a favorite spring blossom in your garden?

Monday, March 23, 2009

A light exists in Spring...

What is it about March that sets us off in a light mood wanting to reflect that mood in our homes? Is it the change of smell in the air? Or increasing hours of daylight? Or seeing things outdoors come to life again?

I have been bitten by the decluttering bug and am editing my home from things I have no longer any use for. These items that don't bring a little money in from selling used items online will be donated to the thrift shop in our city. I like knowing there is perhaps someone else than can put these items to good use.

And then I got bitten by the spring decorating bug and am puttering around my home creating lighter and cheerful vignettes.

What a lace tablecloth and a spring floral arrangement can do to your home! I love making flower arrangements that are of the season. I have used freesias and violets with some greenery.

I find this mix of lace, plain glasses with tea lights and flowers in a rusted urn I borrowed from my garden table a pretty mix of textures. They are all things I have in my home so the spring transformation costs me only my own creativity. Do you have items around the house that you can use to say spring?

"A light exists in Spring
Not present in the year

at any other period

When March is scarcely here."

~ Emily Dickinson

Friday, March 20, 2009

A day at the opera

No, not for real but perhaps in my mind. Jos is not a fan of opera so I will simply enjoy the aria on my playlist for this entry. Not only can I enjoy the music but also a very dear gift given to me by a fellow blogger Elizabethd. She had emailed and told me that she wanted to give me her mother's opera glasses for my collection. I got the package on the day I arrived home from the hospital and they were a joy to open. She had told me there were not any special ones but I disagree. They are so lovely!

These are lorgnette opera glasses with a sweet little case to hold them. I did not have anything like them in my collection. Elizabethd said her mother loved going to the theater and opera. She said this pair was well used in her mother's lifetime. I just love them and will cherish them in my collection. I find things I receive in this vein mean so much to me. I received lacemaking bobbins from my friend Carolien and I love them more than any of my own bobbins, my aunt gave me some very old glasses when she cleared out her home which I treasure, another blogging friend Mary has given me an pair of vintage reading glasses and book both of which I adore, and a sweet gift I will show you next time from a blogging friend Janneke. I love old vintage items and just find these gifts so dear to my heart.

Elizabeth spoiled me but sending along more little treats including a patchwork fabric bag. It will be a great thing to use to carry small projects along with me when I am traveling or off for a day out.

And if you only could smell the scent of the French lavender from this handmade and stitched bag. The lavender is from her own garden even. It makes me long for a vacation in France. Who knows, maybe this year...

Thank you so much Elizabethd for your kindness to me! I love knowing the story of your mother behind these glasses. That makes them the most special pair I own along with my very first pair I ever bought.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The meaning of art...

Do you remember moments when something of intense beauty touched you very deeply? Do you find it travels with your very person and does not let you go? That is to me what great art is all about whether a painting or a poem. As a girl, I remember watching Anne of Green Gables and hearing Anne recite the famous Tennyson poem The Lady of Shalott. Years later, 18 years ago to be exact, I was visiting my neighbor for tea one afternoon and she told me I had to listen to a CD her husband just bought her as she was sure it was something for me. There is was! The poem set to the most beautiful music. It was a song by Loreena McKennitt which is now playing on my songlist. I have loved Loreena McKennitt's music ever since.

Around this same time, I had started to discover the Pre-Raphaelite movement. I love all things William Morris and found there were so many more like him in his philosophy. It was then that I first saw the Waterhouse paintings of The Lady of Shalott. He painted three over a number of years. Each is moving in its own right. Yesterday at the Groningen Museum, I finally got to see two of these huge canvases up close. To say they took my breath away would be an understatement! I was walking in one room and saw the third and last of his paintings of this subject from a distance. I stopped and left the room I was in drawn to that painting. You have never really seen it until you see the actual painting. It is amazing! It is so real that you can see, smell and feel all in this great work. I noticed things about the painting I had never seen before. I felt as though I could reach out and touch the water and it would move with my fingers. It was so real. I wanted to reach out and keep the third candle protected from going out so the Lady would live longer and see her Lancelot. I wanted to shed a tear for her and yet rejoice with her in the curse that now no longer had hold of as she left the tower and entered the boat which was to become her deathbed.

Enjoy the three paintings this master Waterhouse created while listening to the moving music or reading the poem by Tennyson. Enjoy and escape for a little while to Camelot...

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower'd Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott."

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance --
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Signs of spring!

This gift set on the bench by our front door by a friend gave me the idea for my post today. She had called me on Thursday after I got home from the hospital to ask how I was and said she was leaving me a little something at the door. What a cheerful sight to open the door to!

When I came home from the hospital, the first of these miniature daffodils was starting to peek its pretty yellow bonnet out to say hello. Since then, they are starting to flower well. The air has really taken on a change here in the last few days. Spring seems to have sprung!

We have placed our large pot of daffodils in a sunny spot to encourage them to start to grow even more. This year, I planted four kinds of daffodils in the one pot. I am looking forward to seeing them bloom.

This area right beside our front door is all in pink this year. I normally don't use much pink in my garden but decided to use it by the door this year.

We brought our little bench which is normally at Cranberry Cottage home to use here. I just love the hearts carved out of the side of the legs.

Our jasmine needed to be planted up in a larger pot with taller stakes this year. I am hoping it will grow much taller this year. If you peek in the background, you will see a project waiting for us. We got the heavy wrought iron table leg and the mismatched tabletop both for really great bargains. We plan to repaint it all black and refinished the chair beside it. I think it will be a cute little set once it is redone.

Our table on the terrace is fun to dress for various times of the year...

Don't mind this snail at all. He never seems to bother any of our plants. *grins* Spring has definately come to our garden and we see things awakening slowly. I hope you find a glimpse of spring here a cheerful part of your day even if you are still in the throws of winter's end.

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

I wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day if you celebrate it. This is my last day of isolation and a friend and I are off to see an art exhibition tomorrow. I am excited to get out and cannot wait to see the paintings of Waterhouse up close. I have been looking forward to this since I found out the paintings would be coming to Holland. Thank you all for your comments on my last post! I appreciate all of your good wishes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

When you're a cat... can be tough at times! Right now I am a very upset little kitty and decided to come on my mommy blog and tell you all about it. My mommy was released from the hospital on Thursday. Boy was she glad to come home. I got to talk to her on the phone on Wednesday evening but she was going a little stir crazy. I meowed really happily for her when she called my name but it did not help. The doctor says her body was doing a great job of disposing of the excess radioactive material so after he measured her, he told her she could call her husband (my daddy) to come pick her up. The poor lady in the room next to my mommy was still in there and going on her 5th day as her body was not letting any of the excess go. Mommy even had a shortened isolation period at home as it was going so well. Now there in lies the problem!

I normally catnap on this bed which is my grandmother's room when she visits. Oh the joy of laying in the sun for my 20 winks of beauty sleep! Yes that is even important for us male kitties. But that door is shut to the room and I am no longer allowed in. The first day of my mommy being home, I just gave her my hurt puppy dog eyes to try and get her to pet and cuddle me. When that did not help, I figured I needed some stronger tactics on the second day......just plain mad! So I stayed up until 3am screaming and crying at her bedroom door. 'Let me in, let me in!' Normally this works a treat and I always get my way. I am the boss in this house after all. I finally had to give up and go cuddle up against my daddy in their bedroom. I just don't get it. Why does she have to sleep all alone. I could be taking very good care of her. She must be so lonely all by herself in that room. I always snuggle up and keep her warm.

I keep trying to sneak up on her while she is sitting in the living room and sit on her lap. She keeps making me get off. Today she let me sit on her lap for a little while. She leaned back all funny to keep me far away from her neck but it was heaven. Then she made me get up AGAIN. I was not happy, I can tell you. She says she feels fine but just tired. Her neck is starting to become swollen today but we hope this is just temporary. Swallowing is more difficult so lots of soft foods are still in her diet. It will be 4 months at the earliest that we find out if the treatment will have any effect and a year before we know if it is successful. All I know is that I want her to start cuddling me again now!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The best made plans...

Thank you all again for your comments on my last entry. I really feel wonderful support from the blogging community. I had made the best of plans but these are laid aside for right now. I was told this morning that I will have to be admitted into the hospital to start the isolation. I wish I could just run away back to home and let my mommy tuck me in. Don't you get those moments? Oh to be a little girl again. Of course, my mother just had her cataract removed in one eye today so we could just lay in bed together and be sick. *grins* I have talked to my mother who is home already and doing great. This procedure had to be done to an eye where she had an earlier emergency procedure done so I was hoping all would go smoothly for her which it has.

Now I am not worried about being alone although the room is going to be like a prison for a short while. I cannot go out and no one can come in. I am not worried about taking the radioactive therapy. What am I worried about? How as an addicted needleworker, I will get through a minimum oftwo days of not being able to stitch or quilt! I am not allowed to take along my needlework as they would have to dispose of it afterwards. I had so hoped I would not even have to be admitted. I had the idea of sitting in our spare bedroom here with my needle and thread, a pot of tea and the DVDs on my laptop.

The doctor says she thinks I should be able to go home sometime in the late morning or early afternoon on Thursday. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that it will be so and not longer? I have to wait until they register a legal amount of radioactive level to be allowed to leave the hospital and the first day it will be too high a dose. I kind of find it amusing that I don't use a microwave as I find the idea of nuking food unappealing. Now I am going to 'be nuked' myself but I know it is for my own good. I have found these first two days of testing easy as I know they are doing their best to make me healthy again.

I will be back again very soon and sharing more of the season and warm thoughts from my home...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

It isn't easy being green.....

Remember this song by Kermit? Just put on your speakers and listen for yourself. I have been joking with my family and friends that I will be turning green this week. That is followed by Kermit's rendition of Who Let the Frogs (oops Dogs) Out which I thought was very amusing. My treatments start on Monday. So a dear quilting friend Elly, lent me her daughter's Shrek DVDs for my isolation. I think I might be about the only person on the planet that has never seen Shrek. *grins*

Another plan is to watch my DVD set of the Brontes of Haworth. I have never allowed myself the luxury of sitting and really enjoying this all at once. Now the time will not be a luxury but certainly time which should be made enjoyable.

Had you simply looked at the photos, you might have questioned what they all have to do with each other? Here is another project I am getting ready to work on while I am in isolation. A friend's birthday is coming up and I am making her framed monogram letters since she loved the ones I made for myself and my niece. I will be making 3 letters. Once this is finished, I have another stitching project in the wings but I cannot reveal any of that as that friend reads my blog regularly.

Last but not least of my 'entertainment' during this time, I will be reading. I have a new mystery which I just started. It is a knitting mystery by Maggie Sefton. I had bought these books for my mother as a birthday gift and she brought them to me to read. I keep a wooden tray on my bed with books. I love having books in every room in the house. I just had a large order placed recently as there was a sale with the bookseller I purchase my books from and will be happy to finish a couple of books to pass on to a friend before the order arrives. It will be nice to make some more room on my bookshelves.

As you see, it might not be easy being green but I am finding many silver linings to focus on this coming week. And I find that life works better with a sense of humor!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Luck of the Irish!

Yep! That is what I have today...the luck of the Irish! I just got off the phone with the doctor at the hospital. The biospy is okay although she is not happy with the amount of cells removed and wants to repeat it in 4 to 6 months to be sure but says I can go ahead with my treatments starting on Monday. I will not know until Tuesday whether I am able to go into my isolation here at home or start it with a hospital stay. I also have no idea yet how long the isolation will be but it is a maximum of three weeks. Thank goodness for blogging as it will keep me in touch with the world. I am used to seeing my stitching and quilting friends here and while I am allowed to have visitors it is with restrictions. I will leave them the choice as to whether they want to come or not.

Sorry for this repeat if you visit both of my blogs but I thought my shamrocks I finished yesterday were very appropriate for this post. I sewed seven of these and each has a different word or saying.

This was a fun way to give my entrance a real St. Patrick's Day feeling. And now I know that this day is special with thoughts of Tracy's wedding anniversary and Jo's sweet daughter's birthday. I will be thinking of both of them that day. And then when I thought I had all the luck, I find out I won Marie's blog giveaway. What was the prize to include but a set of shamrock linen napkins from Ireland. Thanks Marie!

I leave you today with another Irish blessing as so many mentioned that they loved them in my last post. This was holds very true for me today and I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and supportive words.

"May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer."

And my ornery and evil twin (*wink*) sends this blessing...

"May those who love us, love us
And those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts
And if he can't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping!"

Now if that did not make you smile today, nothing will.

Monday, March 02, 2009

All covered in clover...

Hard to believe but we are already into the month of March! I like to truly celebrate the seasons and each holiday as it approaches. March is, of course, the month of St. Patrick's Day. Now I have no Irish blood in me that I know of but on March 17th, we are all a little Irish. And why not?

Each March, I get out a beautiful set of dishes I had started collecting many years ago. I fell in love with this set of dishes called Limerick by Arklow. At that time, we did not have much money and I was buying just a couple of pieces at a time. The shop which carried these dishes told me they would no longer be available as the factory closed down. I never was able to buy them as our dinner dishes as I had started with the tea and coffee service. I was able to buy some bowls and small plates along with one dinner plate. No problem as I use them for breakfast or lunch or when having coffee or tea.

"May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go."

It makes a sweet display for St. Patrick's Day with the added Irish doily that has the same shamrock pattern in the corner (see the first photo). My mother found this while on a vacation in Ireland. I also placed a March pinkeep I made and a wooden shamrock my sister made for me on a tray on our table. Celebrating the season can be done in simple ways...

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any special way? Try it this year if you don't. It is fun to be Irish for a day.

"There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
'Twas St. Patrick himself, sure, that sets it;
And the sun of his labor with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It grows through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland,
And they call it the dear little Shamrock of Ireland."