Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From an artist's palette...

Hello! I hope that fall has gotten off to a good start for you.

The last time we were up at Birdsong, we had the great experience of watching the transformation of a common old storage shed into something unbelievably beautiful. Our neighbor dates a gal named Diana who is an artist (and by that, I mean the real kind), and when we first arrived her work of art was in its early stages. Each day brought a new surprise as we got to witness the ongoing progress that she made.

If you follow this blog, you know that our getaway home is in an older mobile home park in the mountains of Hendersonville, NC. There are guidelines that dictate what we are, and are not, allowed to do, and this is what obviously keeps it pretty nice (not too different than what we live with in our "real house" community), but there is also a lot of conformity and not a lot of color.

This beauty is such a refreshing change to our street! We had fun watching people driving by and turning their heads to look at it, with others walking by commenting on Diana's work and how much they liked it.

From the palette...

...of this artist...

...a common old metal storage shed became a footpath...

...through a pastoral setting...

...of beautiful trees covered with fall leaves...

A sunflower, standing in the foreground,
 is hanging on from the summer,
and a small barn is seen in the distance...

Alas, it is only an illusion, 
a mere storage shed
blending into the yard behind it!

And the best part?
One of the other residents commissioned
Diana to paint a masterpiece for her.
Diana sent me this photo of it,
and we'll get to see it this week,
as we are heading up there tomorrow.
I love this little guy's nose and the sparkle in his eyes!...

If you would like something painted for you,
I have scanned the front and back of Diana's business card.
Here it is...

Have a great evening. I may not be by again until we return from Birdsong in a week or so!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Debbi and I: A Tale of Two Friends

Not too long ago a dear friend, well actually, my oldest friend whom I have known since I was three, contacted me and said that she would be in North Carolina this month. She wanted to know if it might be possible to get together for dinner, as she and her honey, whom I had never met, would be staying not far from here in Raleigh for one night.

I suggested that I cook dinner, and that they cancel their hotel reservations and stay here instead. She graciously accepted my invitation and on Sunday they arrived. To say that we had not seen each other for awhile would be a gross understatement, as it had been about 36 years. The last time we had seen each other we both lived in New York, and my daughter, now 38, was only about a year and a half old.

We kept in touch over the years. Holidays came and birthdays went. Careers were made and retirements took place. Divorces occurred, homes were purchased and sold, and a generation of children grew up and started their own families. More than half of our lives have passed since we last saw each other. I moved to Florida and then to North Carolina, where I remarried and then retired. Debbi retired to Arizona where she lives with her long-time love.

As they walked into our house, introductions were made and hugs given. The years vanished into thin air. Suddenly we were three years old again, and nothing had ever really changed at all. That's the way friendship is.

My fourth birthday...

...with Debbi helping me blow out the candles.
And no, that teapot is not growing out of my head. 
Mom was not the best photographer. 
I guess you can see where I get it from...

My fifth birthday....

When we were about seven.
I doubt that we were really shoveling snow...

Here we are in third or fourth grade.
By this time, Debbi had beautiful long hair.
I had funky pink glasses.
(The little blond girl in front, Maureen,
became my other best friend,
and both she and Debbi were in my wedding
party when I married my first husband.)

Debbi said we should hold hands for a photo,
just like in the old days. 
I said that the only difference now
was that we were getting old and 
we needed the assistance to stand still!
The guys must have thought we were nuts.
We are. 

I don't think that we changed all that much in sixty years,
do you?

We ate breakfast out the next morning, and then they had to leave to visit Debbi's sister on the coast before they started heading back to Arizona. I wish we could have had more time together. I hope that we see each other soon, and that this time it doesn't take 36 years.

By the way, you can see another story about Debbi and I in one of my previous posts, seen here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A temporary leave...

Good morning! 
I just wanted to drop in to say hello and let you know 
that, like the couple in the beautiful photo above,
I will be walking away
 (from posting) 
until sometime around September 20th.
We have friends coming to visit.
How great is that!

As an FYI, the above photo was taken in 1899
in Plymouth, Mass.

I'll miss you!

Stay well.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A recipe to share: Dark Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake

Good morning! 

A couple of weeks ago my neighbors had a cook-out, and we all brought a dish to share. I must tell you that my heart is actually in cooking rather than baking. Well, it's not so much that I don't like to bake, but I love to cook actual meals, and by the time I'm done with them I have neither the energy nor the time to bake something besides. Who needs the sugar anyway? Especially since Mr. Perch can't eat sweets (diabetic), so who gets stuck eating the entire cake but moi!

In any case, I decided that I would attempt to hone some of my baking skills and try this recipe for Dark Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake, then bring it to the party. Wow! If you think that it looks complicated, bear in mind that it was I who made it, so dive right in. It was not only simple to make, but delicious, and practically the whole thing was eaten. Philly Cream Cheese, thank you for your help!!

Here is the recipe,
which you will need to enlarge
to read.
Save and print!...

And my very own attempt, 
served on a pedestal cake plate...

Who says you can't be fancy at
a cook-out!?...

Have you tried any great recipes lately?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

And here is Miss Phoebe!

Hello out there! I hope that you're having a great day! 

If you have been with me from the beginning, you may remember my first post, two years ago and found here. I talked about why I named this blog what I did. And though the bird up there in my blog's banner is not really a Phoebe, I did recently find a trade card that shows one. If you do follow this blog, you also know that I just love Victorian trade cards.

So, I thought it only appropriate that I share this little darling with you to save and use in your art, or anyhow you like.

 Meet the real Miss Phoebe! 

I am also showing the back of the card, 
where you can see that it advertised 
Arm and Hammer...

You can still find on eBay many trade cards, 
as well as scrapbooks from Victorian times that include 
the trade cards that gals collected and saved. 
Wouldn't it be nice if we could still receive these beauties with every product that we buy?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pretty packaging and the grey buttons inside...

Hello everyone! If you read this blog you know how much I love old buttons, along with my little finds from eBay. I also love the pretty packaging that some creative sellers use.

I recently purchased a small lot of grey mother of pearl buttons. Below are some photos of them, and the package that they arrived in.

I have been collecting some grey fabrics
and trims lately, 
so I thought I should buy some buttons
to go with them. 
Just in case I ever have the time
to work on some projects. 

I loved the way the seller packaged the 
A pretty cellophane bag
tied with ribbon,
and a matching Victorian scrap to boot...

Don't the small things in life just make
your heart sing?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Time spent at Birdsong Cottage, Part 6: St. John in the Wilderness...

Good morning! I hope that you are enjoying your three-day weekend and will have a nice Labor Day. Is the summer already over so quickly?

One of the things that we never had time to do while up in the mountains on previous trips was to visit a wonderful old church in the historic section of Flat Rock, NC, which is funny since this church is right down the road from us (our place is on the border of Hendersonville and Flat Rock). The church is St. John in the Wilderness, and not only is the church itself beautiful, but the cemetery that surrounds it is lovely. We finally got to spend some time there on the last weekend of our stay. This church is everything that I think a church should be, but I will let the pictures below do the talking.

I love that it's filled with history...

It sits high on a hill, 
and the beautiful grounds encompass
two corners off of the main drag that
goes through Flat Rock...

There is a series of old stone steps that take
you up and down throughout the grounds...

...not to mention beautiful old wrought iron everywhere...

...and gorgeous old monuments to honor those 
who walked before us...

Some covered with moss...

...and others surrounded by ivy...

The people buried below must have been
prominent in the area,
as the street that we are off of is 

This was for a famous person
and buried right up near the church...

You can walk all around...

...enjoying the gardens...

...and the peace...

The church itself was opened and visitors
were welcome.
This is the front with the alter...

...and here is the beautiful pipe organ...

...and the back,
where the baptismal font awaits
the next special baby...

Being laid to rest on the grounds 
of a church such as this 
must surely be as close to Heaven on Earth
as one could possibly get.

I hope that you have a peaceful and tranquil day!