Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The joy of creative friends

Sometimes memory brings the sweetest sunshine...

When the temperature drops and I long for spring, I bring out the photos of warmer times.
And today, it's the memory of a special artist retreat held at my house in summertime...

Are you, too, dreaming of warm weather and friendships?

Are you dreaming of picnics and laughter?

Afternoons in the garden with those you hold dear?

I can hardly wait for those long sunny days.

While the earliest leaves begin to emerge and we're preparing the raised beds for a salad garden, I'm thinking up plans for outdoor days with friends.

What do you love to do for time together when the warm days arrive?
Let's exchange some ideas.

Because (oh, happy thought!) sunny skies will be here before we know it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quiet corners

A quiet corner and a delicious book, a steaming cup and that soft pillow can be just right for an end-of-winter afternoon treat.

How wonderful to give oneself permission to abandon duty for that occasional luxury-above-all-luxuries...
an hour-long personal retreat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Little drops of water...

Sometimes the smallest miracles are the best.

A single drop of rain, for instance, magnifying a budding branch.

One. Tiny. Drop.

What a work of art.

I am in awe of the ordinary miracles of life.

What a Creator who dreams up amazements like dew and rain and the first green  hints of spring!

Are you, like me, amazed by a simple puddle that reflects the sky?

What magnificent things, those little drops of water...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spring fever

The flower and garden show always gives me spring fever.

The display gardens were so dark this year it was as if we were viewing the gardens at midnight! 
But I asked, and no, it was not a mistake.

"It's like kissing in the moonlight is always sweeter," said the lady I'd asked. 

But I still managed a few photos in those gardens that had more light than most.

Like the Parisian garden.

Vertical plantings are the very hottest thing around this year and even the humble pallet made an appearance. 

Perfect for a small space! But don't use a pallet for anything you'll be eating, as they are treated with nasty chemicals.

And you'd never expect two women with spring fever to skip the booths, would you?

I always go with my gifted friend Jane Shasky, whose botanical watercolors are delicate and feminine, and this time we shopped more than usual!

How did I miss the lingonberries? 

And I leave you with a tip.
Molbak's had a sweet-smelling bowl you can copy at home easily.

The centerpiece of it was oranges which had simply been sliced vertically
and then heavily dusted with cinnamon, cloves and other aromatics and left to dry.

Subtle but perfect. 

Spring, come quickly!

We are waiting...

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Oh, the pure joy of a sunny day!

We had to go out...
simply couldn't stay indoors!

We couldn't miss the joy the warmth on our faces,

the strong contrast of light and dark.

We had to savor the sculpture of the land and barns and the trees bare of leaves.

Just on the other side of the footpath, 
the sea and the birds and the tide rushing out,
leaving strange-looking channels where the water runs rapidly to the ocean beyond.

How is it that someone invented the word "ordinary"
when even the most common things are stuffed full of the miraculous?

Sea gulls, for example, and water lapping at the shore.

The way water and sun make reflections in the sand...
how can anyone call this "ordinary"?

We spotted a heron hiding while he hunted.

Camouflage, how can that be anything but wondrous?

We meandered past the old pier...

 Past deserted buildings... what stories do they have to tell?

And then we turn back toward home...

We pass ducks waddling through the silty muck of the bay...

...past more ordinary extraordinary life and sparkles on the water.

Back home through the sunset.

Inspired. Refreshed. Glad.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Away with the winter doldrums!

There's nothing like a bright spot when you're feeling winter's dull gray.
And I admit it: I've been sluggish, mired in a sort of lackluster muddiness of the brain.

Perfect timing for a trip to see the family.
California called out to Mr. Wonderful and me.

How could I have forgotten the picturesque quietness of the beaches at this season?

What a perfect color palette!
Serene and glorious in its beachy splendor.

Ordinary sea birds, like this one dropping a mussel to crack open his lunch, what a perfect subject for a beach collection.

Yes, the beach is definitely on the drawing board.

The sunshine begins to wash away the dullness...

and then there is a rollicking family party, the unaccustomed joy of jokes and old stories and shared history that seldom happens when you're a thousand miles away. 

Laughter washes away more of the winter doldrums.

Music and laughter.
Are you feeling sluggish and gray, too?

Maybe it's time for more parties and trips to the shore.
Time for laughing and singing and telling silly old jokes.

Hurrah for family, for sunshine and enthusiasm.

I can't wait for spring, can you? 

But meantime, away with the drabness of winter.

I've got sunshine on my mind.