Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Seasons of Change...


Softly and quietly the Seasons are changing here... I find that I, too, have begun to make many changes... this past month gave me countless hours as I rested and recovered to think about so many things... things that really matter to me in my life... I reflected on how I want to live my life with even more happiness in it each and every day... no longer taking some things for granted... like something as simple as a cold glass of water or a mischievous smile from Jack... I thought about my wonderful family... and my friends who are always there for me, in good times and in bad... supporting me when I am down and out... then I thought about those who only visit or call when times are good... I will no longer worry about them... I appreciate all of you who have been with me through all of this so very much... I am reaffirming my vow to myself to surround myself with positive people... and avoiding those who are negative at all costs... I always thank God for the beautiful blessings He has given me... I shall thank Him more often... funny how sometimes it takes something like an illness to make one see more clearly... life seems so much sweeter to me now... the tiniest things make me smile... I want to do so many things... I want to do it ALL!... grab at all of the possibilities that come my way... my attitude is changing as well... I have always thought of myself as a kind person... I shall be even kinder to those in need...

Two very special friends gifted me with the most wonderful tresors while I was sick... my dear friend Celeste of Celestina Marie Designs sent me the most fabulous book!... "Summers in France" by Kathryn M. Ireland... it is a treasure trove of gorgeous photos and the true~life story of the author's journey to the south of France in search of a farmhouse to restore and spend the Summers in with her family... I read it so fast, then re~read it again it is that wonderful!... and to my delight, the town the author's farmhouse is in, Toulouse,Tarn France is just a mere 100 miles from the town of Soual, Tarn France where all of my relatives on my daddy's side of the family are from... the countryside is unspoiled to this day... open fields of sunflowers, quaint bucolic little towns, and friendly folks... I picture it looking just the same way when my family all lived there... I love the cozy, laid~back attitude the author shares... and want to make it mine as well... just making these simple changes in my mind about how I want to live my life has given me much calm already... from now on... "C'est la vie"...

One of my other dear friends, Marie Antionette (yes, that is her real name, and yes, that is how she spells it)... of Toni Dolls Creations sent me these beautiful sparkly acorns for Autumn... Marie said she knew she wanted to send me something to do with Nature, as I am such a Nature lover... these are so pretty!... they look just adorable with my little vintage Steiff squirrels for Fall... Merci ladies!... I love you both!...

C'est Moi... last week at the Farmers Market I went to with my niece Liz... it reminded me much of the photos of the open markets in the south of France... I shall pretend I am there...

And yes, I splurged... I have wanted an authentic Louis Vuitton handbag all of my life... not a replica... I never make purchases this expensive but my new mindset told me to go for it... I will use this beautiful bag the rest of my life... it's not just a new bag... to me, it is a reminder of my French heritage.... my family... the French way of life... to be lived to the fullest and enjoyed each and every day... to slow down... to slowly sip my glass of Pinot Noir, (which by the way, I just learned helps prevent kidney stones) and toast La Vie en Rose... A votre sante!... Bisous...



Friday, August 26, 2011

Do You Salsa???...


I love salsa... both the music and the kind you eat... yesterday, my niece Liz and I went to our local Farmers Market... it was my first big outing since my surgery and it felt sooo good to get out and about. Liz and I had so much fun and bought so many yummy fruits and veggies... I got everything to make my salsa... I was still feeling good today, (thank you God), so I decided to whip up a batch... I just love getting out my old enamelware pot and cooking my salsa in that... just seems to give it a burst of flavor by using that old pan...

My fresh tomatoes from the Farmers Market, grown just down the lane from me at the Bangerter Farm...

Fresh green, red and yellow Bell Peppers, Anaheims, and Jalapenos... Bermuda onions and Spanish onions... and garlic, of course... the house smells so deliciously yummy today!...

And now comes the most fun part... eating it!...

Let's salsa!... xoxo...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Approaching Autumn...


Autumn... my very favorite time of year...


Sweatshirt weather Jack and I call it. It is my nieces Filly and Liz's favorite time too, and we have so much fun preparing for it... I love the cool, crisp days when the sun just seems to take on a more beautiful glow... the evenings are just right for opening the windows and listening to the sounds of Nature preparing for the change of Seasons. Our daily Nature walks take on a different look as the surrounding countryside begins changing it's Summer colors to those of Fall... I love absolutely everything about my most favorite Season... the crimsons, rusts and burnt oranges of the foliage, watching the little squirrels on our walk scurrying about, gathering acorns and walnuts for their winter stash. This is my time to make my homemade salsa, with all fresh ingredients from our local Farmers Market... baking just seems more pleasurable this time of year too, and I love it when our home is filled with the pleasant aroma of my homemade zucchini bread, apple pie or a simmering crockpot of stew... soft, cuddly plaid throws are placed here and there in our home, ready to snuggle under for a cozy afternoon nap, or to relax with a cup of coffee and read a good book by the fireplace... for me, it is time to unwind from the garden's chores of Summer, and just relax and watch the changes taking place there... I can hardly wait to get our smoker out and smoke some fresh salmon... I love the smell of the smoldering woodchips permeating the air... funny how neighbors suddenly appear to see what the Heavenly scent is coming from my back yard... I am happy to share... Jonagolds and Honeycrisps, my very favorite apples start appearing at the little fruit stand down the lane... I stock up on these, they store very well throughout the entire winter... I also stock up on our favorite winter squash... Hubbard and Butternut, Acorn and Spaghetti squash... soon, I will decorate my porch with pumpkins and gourds... cornstalks and Indian corn... as the days become shorter, and night time falls, a relaxing glass of wine with Jack, a long soak in the tub, then off to bed to dream about the beautiful new Season as Autumn comes to Centerville... wishing you a beautiful beginning to this most glorious Season as well... xoxo...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Life is Sweet at Na Da Farm...


I know, I know... I said in my previous post I was taking a little blog break while I wait for three kidney stones to pass, otherwise surgery is needed... I also said though, that I have a very hard time sitting around doing nothing and letting others wait on me... the excruciating pain hits unexpectedly, then subsides with a pain pill somewhat... it's kind of like in the movie "Jaws" when everyone was waiting for the next shark attack...you knew it was going to happen you just did not know when... okay, silly comparison but that is all I can think of right now...

But a package came in the mail for me today that Jack picked up at our PO Box and I was soo excited to share it with you... I first read about and fell in love with NaDa Farm in Romantic Prairie Style... beautiful Anne Marie's home is on the Illinois Prairie, and to me is the epitome of Prairie life... her posts are all so inspiring and uplifting and REAL... nothing uppity or pretentious about it... recently, she posted about her pure, organic Prairie honey being available, and I immediately ordered one from her... beekeeping is a family affair, and they all do their part...

So, I made myself a cup of coffee in my favorite cup... my great~grandfather's old "restaurant~ware" cup, toasted an English muffin, and sat down for a rest and a treat...

Anne Marie packaged the honey so perfectly in darling reusable jars that are made in the USA (love that!)... I hated to break the cute seal, but I wanted to get at that honey!...

I also am a strong supporter of local farmers, whether it is here in Utah, or Anne Marie's farm in Illinois... and I buy products made in the USA every time I can... isn't their little logo adorable!...


Now I really AM going to take a little blog break, follow my doctors orders and pray this ordeal is over with soon... but first, I made you a cup of coffee and toasted you a muffin too... then I drizzled Na Da Farm's honey all over it so I would leave you with something incredibly sweet!... see you all when my ordeal is over, hopefully real soon... in the meantime, please visit NA Da Farm and meet Anne Marie... don't forget to tell her Julie Marie sent you... xoxo...



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No... not again...


Tomorrow it is one year to the date since I had my huge 6.6 kidney stone and subsequent surgery... I know, that sounds like an earthquake reading, it felt like an earthquake... I was just telling Jack several days ago I was glad it was not this time last year... so what happened today?... first thing this morning, the pain hit again... after four kidney stones, I knew what was happening... and could not believe it... I CAN'T go through this again... I have too many things to do, like start decorating for Fall... it is mine and my nieces favorite time of year... I had started a little with my pretty new Autumn arrangement in my vintage French pitcher... and I have Jack and Tessy to look after... and my gardens... my daddy always told me I could not carry the weight of the world on my shoulders... I guess I think I can... I am not one to let others wait on me... I am not trying to build myself up, it's just the way I am...


After spending the day at the hospital for a CT scan and then at my urologists office, I came home with the news that I have not one, but three kidney stones, waiting to pass or if not, more surgery... I have a high pain tolerance, but kidney stones don't fit into that category for me... and I am not a pill person either... so when I told my doctor I hated taking more pain pills, he said I didn't need to right now... instead, his nurse came in and gave me a shot in my bum for pain and nausea... I swear, that needle was 5 feet long!... okay, I exaggerate... more like 4 feet long... several hours have passed and right now the pain is semi~bearable... as I talked with my little sister, and told her what was going on, I told her I needed to think of something nice to do for my doctor's nurse, as she was so kind and patient with me, trying to calm my fears and my tears... my sister told me it was time to think of ME first for a change... and rest and do whatever needs to be done to get better... okay Jill... I am taking your advice... I will wait until this is over to properly thank the nurse... and I am taking a little blog break and resting as much as I can... and praying for no more surgery... and I will let Jack walk Tessy... and fix my lunch... and do the dishes... it will be hard for me, but I will do it... don't think I'll ask him to post on my blog for me though, (all you would see is airplanes, helicopters and his Harley!)... so I will see you all soon... xoxo...


Monday, August 8, 2011

A Keeper of Nature's Treasures...


I am a keeper of many things... especially Nature's treasures... I find many on our daily Nature walks and as I take Tessy down the trail... I love gathering little special finds along the way... gifts left there just for me... gentle reminders of how precious Nature is... all along the lane, I pause to gather leaves and berries... pinecones and acorns... feathers and seedpods... always in awe of their intricate designs and the beauty they hold... I then display my finds about our home... some in apothecary jars, some in baskets... scattered about here and there to enjoy year round...

Recently I found a little Lane cedar chest at a local Episcopal church rummage sale... it had a few little scuffs on top, but the rest of the little cedar chest was in perfect condition... the price... one dollar... time was when a young girl graduated from high school, she was presented with one of these tiny treasures from local furniture companies... I am sure in the hopes that she would then buy a full size cedar chest that would become her "hope chest"... I received one of these gifts when I graduated from high school, and treasure it still... it is filled with other precious items of mine, my high school diploma, my shorthand speed award pin, my Symphony Sub~debs pin... I don't think they even give these little boxes out any more???... I knew right away what I wanted to do with my newly purchased box... I asked my dear friend Celeste of Celestina Marie Designs if she could paint a little Nature scene on it for me... we talked about what I had in mind, and she suggested what she thought would be perfect... she was right!... Celeste loves Nature as much as I do... here is what it looked like before...

I asked Celeste to keep the inside just the way it was... I wanted to keep the old furniture company's name it read... that company has been out of business here for many years...

Celeste is one of the sweetest ladies you would ever hope to meet... she is always thinking of others and my package today showed that kindness even more... she included a letter to me, in which she wrote that after painting my piece, she went outside to stretch and for a breath of fresh air... as she glanced down, there at her feet lay a pretty little feather... she knew it was one of Nature's secret treasures and sent it along to me to put in my little box... a keepsake from a Texas birdie...

I love feathers and the meaning behind this one is so very beautiful... it shall be the first thing to go into my new little Nature's keepsake box...

The top has a darling little nest, with a feather left in it... perhaps from a mama birdie who raised her young ones there in the Spring... graceful vines with leaves and berries grow along the top and dainty little tendrils crawl over the sides...

I am a true believer in so many things... not only spiritual, but many of them mystical and enchanting... just like Celeste painting my beautiful little nest with the delicate feather in it... then stepping outside to find such a feather and send it on to me... serendipity...

Celeste also included a darling little book "The Bluebird of Happiness"... which will also go into my little Nature's treasures box...

I hope you will visit her at Celestina Marie Designs... she has several shops, including an Etsy shop and her online website... they are treasure troves of beautiful creations she has done, and I know you will fall in love with all she has to offer... please tell her Julie Marie sent you... Dear Celeste... I am ecstatic over my Nature box and the added treasures you included... the little feather will be a gentle reminder of my sweet friend in Texas who, like me... loves all of God's precious little creatures and takes the time to appreciate the wonders He has created... much love to you Celeste!... xoxo...



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Lucille Ball...

Today is the 100th birthday of a most beloved lady, Lucille Desiree Ball... like most of you, I grew up glued to the television watching "I Love Lucy"... many days, I still am... I can tell you every word in every episode... I don't have any one favorite... how could you possibly choose
just one... you know what an incredible actress and comedienne Lucy was, but she was also an absolutely stunning lady, a model and pin~up girl... the photo below is from "Yank" magazine which was sent to our troops overseas in WWII... I had purchased alot of these old magazines at an estate sale, some of which I later donated to a local WWII Club for some of our veterans to enjoy... Lucille Ball was the pin~up girl that month... the date was May 20th, 1945...


I mentioned this picture to my dear friend Amy Arnaz, Lucille Ball's daughter~in~law and wife of Desi Arnaz, Jr., Lucy's son... Desi had not seen this photo of his mother, so I was able to find another copy of the magazine and send it to them... it is my favorite photo ever of Lucille Ball, so I wanted to post it... she looks so beautiful and glamorous... a perfect birthday photo... Dear Amy and Desi... I hope you enjoy all of the celebrations of the 100th birthday and life of this most extraordinary lady... I love Lucy, and I love you too Amy and Desi! ... xoxo...


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Treasures From Wayside Treasures...

My friend Sandi certainly named her blog appropriately... "Wayside Treasures" is just that... a beautiful blogspot by the wayside that is always overflowing with beautiful treasures, many of which Sandi herself creates... today, a package arrived for me in the mail, and when I saw her return address I was so excited... recently Mr. Wayside Treasures rescued a precious, teeny little kitty that was out in the middle of a very busy road where she surely would have not survived... he took baby kitty home and she is now part of their family... I just love animal stories with happy endings!... So, Sandi did a post asking for suggestions for a name for her new little furry baby... I left my comment, and suggested a name I thought was cute... Sandi chose the name I thought would suit new baby kitty, and sent me all these beautiful treasures as a "thank~you" for helping name baby kitty... A beautiful card with a heartfelt message from Sandi...

Oooh, one of her new creations... her gorgeous new sparkly tags, with a message from Cinderella herself... "One shoe can change your life"... is this too cute?... I LOVE fairytales and this tag is just adorable!...

A pretty sparkly sign with "Faith"... I love it!... of all the different words out there in crafts, etc, it has got to be my favorite!...

And this package of the most luscious tresors... more beautiful fairytale inspired tags, stunning vintage lace, beautiful vintage millinery and pretty crinkly silk ribbons... also the pretty "France" bookmark~tag... Oooh la la Sandi!...

If you have not already met Sandi's new baby, please welcome "Gypsy" to blogland... is she a doll!!! I thought the name Gypsy fit her because she was just "traveling around"... Sandi loved the name and the reason I suggested it, and chose it over thirty entries... I am honored!... (photo by Sandi, yep, I snatched it)...

I hope you will visit Wayside Treasures and introduce yourself to Sandi if you have not met her yet... she has a beautiful online shop and creates the most romantic French~inspired tresors along with so many other lovely creations... she has a heart of gold, and the cutest sense of humor ever!... please tell her Julie Marie sent you!... Sandi also included a little folded up "Smile to Go" with a pretty quote inside... it reads:

"To share often and much... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded"
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sandi my sweet friend... you have succeeded... Merci!... xoxo... kitty kisses sweet baby Gypsy...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kissed by Raindrops...

For days now I have been praying for rain... my sun~parched gardens have cried out for moisture... this morning, my prayers were answered as the angels sent down a cool, gentle rain to quench our thirst and revive our souls... both mine and my gardens... Miss Gertrude Jekyll looks simply radiant and sooo refreshed!...

A petite bud is also reveling in the coolness of the morning... and shall burst forth tomorrow with her stunning bloom as well...

The flower~fairies are dancing beneath their name~sake rose "The Fairy"... her tender fallen spent petals just the right size for a wee fairy umbrella...


"Cinderella" is bathed in the softness of the gentle rain...

The early morning air is so fresh and the welcome rain makes me smile as I check on my mystery rose... I do not know her name, but soon she shall become quite famous... I cannot tell you why just yet... but, soon...

The sky has darkened and the gentle rain has begun to fall harder and harder... how quickly it has turned into a torrent of heavy drops as I hesitate... trying to decide whether to go inside... or sit on the porch and enjoy the splendor of it all... now the wind has picked up as the rain continues to intensify... it is raining much more than our downspouts can handle now... and my gardens begin to flood some... not to worry... if you are like me, a true lover of gardening, you know you must be able to accept whatever hand Nature deals you... I asked for this rain... and I shall not complain... today is August... for me, it signals the transition of Seasons... the beginning of Summers bittersweet goodbyes and early signs of the upcoming Autumn... Autumn in the garden carries it's own special glow... from the lingering Purple and Yellow Coneflowers to the stunning reds of my Burning Bushes... the crimsons and ochres of my Mums and my favorite Sedum Autumn Joy...

The thunder that was in the distance is now all around me... and lightning fills the skies... time to come inside... make myself a cup of Lady Grey tea and enjoy my new magazine... I wistfully look out at my lingering Summers gardens... now passionately kissed by the rain... and dream about the blissful Autumn days to come...xoxo...



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