Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charmed By October... My Favorite Month of All...


"Listen!... the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
we have had our Summer evenings,
now for October eves" ~ Humbert Wolfe

Magical October is almost here! ... to me, the most delightfully enchanting month of all... a month full of holidays and celebrations, Fall festivals and fairs... of birthdays and anniversaries in our family... Saturday October first is Jill's birthday... my sister, my confidante, my best friend... Jill... I hope all of your birthday wishes come true!... you are the best sister in the world and I love you so much... we have shared many an October's magical spell together... from the time we were little girls, we have loved October so... starting with your birthday, then decorating our bedroom with cutouts of squirrels and Autumn colored crepe paper streamers strung about... pouring over our copies of Jack and Jill magazines... setting up our Halloween candles and pumpkins... scaring ourselves as we told ghost stories in the dark... deciding what we were going to be for Halloween... trick or treating... going to the pink house first as they always had the best treats... eating carmel apples and Autumn mix candy... just being together... I have such happy memories of all of our special times together... every time we are together is special... just like you... I love you!... enjoy YOUR day Saturday!... but first, we will enjoy our annual "Ghouls Day Out" lunch on Thursday to celebrate!... I can hardly wait!...

October is filled to the brim with seasonal pleasures... the sights and smells of the season delight my senses... cornstalks and pumpkins adorn front porches... squash of all kinds fill bins at the little fruit stand down the lane... butternut and spaghetti... hubbard and acorn... I shall stock up on all of them... they store well throughout the long winter that looms ahead... this morning the air is crisp and the sun is a magnificent shade of golden... the heady scent of woodsmoke fills the Autumn air... I breathe it all in and decide it is a most perfect day to pack a picnic and head for the woods in the mountains above our home... there are many trails and campgrounds... a Nature lovers delight!... Jack has gone to coffee with the guys today, so I shall spend some time in quiet solitude... at one with Nature... my vintage picnic basket holds everything I need for this blissful morning I am looking forward to... I have wanted a vintage picnic basket like this all of my life, but have never found one in nice enough condition... I recently bought this at a yard sale down the lane for a mere $5.00... c. 1930's ~ 1940's and in perfect condition... I tuck in a snuggly woodsy fleece blanket I made to lay on beneath the towering pines...

Small binoculars for leaf~peeping or Fall bird~watching... and of course a vintage Thermos of hot coffee to take the canyon chill off the morning air as I let my thoughts drift away... dreamily lazing away the day in my beautiful surroundings... I shall take along some of my very favorite old Victoria magazines... the October issues from years past... my treasured copies I bring out every year at this time... I have every single one of them since Victoria came out in 1987... I enjoy them every bit as much today as I did all those many years ago...

This has got to be my most favorite issue ever from October 1996... isn't this little girl just adorable... the epitome of Autumn... by now a grown woman with children of her own perhaps...

Fall is a time for comfy, casual clothes for me... my favorite jeans and a soft flannel shirt... my brown fleece vest and one of my oh~so~soft mufflers I crocheted last Autumn... my chocolate brown Uggs, favorite sunglasses, and I am ready for all of the pleasures a serene Autumn day has to offer...

I shall stop at Cutlers cookies on my way and pick up some fresh~baked Snickerdoodles and Gingerbread cookies to eat as I sip my coffee amongst the stunning crimsons, reds, burnt oranges and ochres now painting the trees up the canyon... on my way home, I shall stop at the little fruit stand down the lane and buy some Honeycrisp and Jonagold apples... which I shall eat at least one of right away, so sweet and delicious... not even caring that the juices run down my face...

I have brought along my journal to capture and preserve every incredible moment of this most beautiful Season of all and the upcoming magical month of October... it is almost the beginning of my most favorite month and I plan to revel in each and every second of it... maybe even decorating my bedroom with little squirrels and crepe paper once more... beautiful memories that never fade... yes... I must call Jill now... I just know she too will want to celebrate October like we did as little girls... xoxo...

"You aren't just the age you are...
you are all the ages you ever have been"...



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Under Autumn's Spell...

Well... ten days ago I decided to take an extended blog break... for a number of reasons, but mostly because I had been feeling crummy and had a bad case of the blues... still no news on my other two kidney stones... they are still with me, and other than a bad backache, didn't seem like they were going to pass any time soon... I sat here feeling sorry for myself... I normally don't do that... then I began to miss posting and reading my favorite blogs... wondering what you all were up to... then a couple of days ago, I had a long talk with myself (yes, I do that often!)... I told myself to get off my bum and back to being "me" again... must have been put under Autumn's magical spell, because then I started to feel like doing things again... it could be months before those stones pass, and I don't want them spoiling my most favorite Season of all... Autumn... so I did a bit more decorating for Fall...

Then Jack and I decided we wanted some new carpet for our living room... we picked out a beautiful deep plush chocolate brown called "Double Fudge"... love the name of it!... they will be coming out next Tuesday to carpet the living room and the stairway to the downstairs... we moved everything out of the living room, and when we put our old (25 years old, but reupholstered several years ago) loveseat into our den (does anyone but me call it a den anymore?)... we decided we liked how it looked in there... so, now we will be looking for a new couch~loveseat for our living room... I want something in rich woodsy browns and creams... soft and mushy... to sink down deep in and read or daydream... while the living room is empty, we decided to clean it... so, Jack and I totally housecleaned it, top to bottom... blinds, ceiling fan, the works... I noticed I started feeling even better and my mind was on other things than myself... that started a whole cleaning frenzy for me, and I have now cleaned the entire upstairs of our home, top to bottom!... feels good and looks so pretty!... started sorting cupboards and closets... will donate some things, and will take others to consignment shop...

I had recently pre~ordered Mireille Guiliano's newest book "The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook"... I love her other two books I have and this one promises to be just as great... it's not just about cooking and eating, it's the whole French attitude... I already loved reading part of it that must be the French side of me coming out... she states "French women love to cook, and love to eat, and are always planning their next meal"... well, I love to cook and I love to eat, and at breakfast each day I am already planning lunch and dinner... her recipes look delish and I will share some soon...

Friends have been bringing us yummy fruits of the Season... nothing like a juicy peach or pear this time of year... (enjoying lots of fresh fruits is a big part of the French woman's menu)...

My friends down the lane called the other day and asked if I wanted some Fall raspberries... Yes!... I have been getting my energy back, and made another batch of jam... yummy!...

Jack and I still take our Nature walk every morning... this is our favorite time of all to walk, "sweatshirt weather"... cool and crisp with a sky of blue and a sun of gold... also down the lane, I spotted this teensy little Butterfly Bush growing in a crack in the road... so petite and sweet with a bloom even!... I knew the street~sweepers would be coming along soon to get all of the leaves out of the gutters and this little baby would be destroyed... so, after our walk, I went back with a little shovel and dug it up...

I took it home and planted it in my garden... several days later we spotted another one, even tinier, but no bloom... so, home it came too... they are thriving in my cottage garden and next year should grow rapidly... Butterfly Bushes are so hardy and thrive almost anywhere (as you can see in my photo above!)... plus, I love all of the beautiful Butterflies they attract...

Then, I decided to start organizing my old Victoria magazines... wow!... big job!... here are just a handful of my October issues (my favorites!)... I have every issue of Victoria since I bought my Premier issue when it first came out in 1987, with the exception of several I must have loaned out and not gotten them back... soon, I shall have them all as a friend is making them available to me!... the old ones when Nancy Lindemeyer was editor were sooo gorgeous and I am so happy I kept them... I first read one of my favorite quotes in one of these old magazines... "Because Nice Matters"... it still does...

With the cooler weather here, Tessy needed a new Autumn jacket for our early morning walks down the trail... I found her this cute burnt orange colored little jacket with a brown corduroy collar... I love this dog so... can you tell???...

So, that is what I have been up to... I also recently bought a fabulous vintage picnic basket at a yard sale down the lane and I can't wait to show you how I have it all fixed up for Fall... (my next post)... next week is my sister Jill's birthday and we will have our annual "ghouls day out" lunch, but will so miss Filly and Ellie this year as they live in London now... I will send party favors to you in London, I promise girls!... Now I will be visiting everyone and catching up ... xoxo...



Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn's Simple Pleasures...

Decorating my porch with Autumn's bounty... colorful Indian Corn...

A beloved old scarecrow...

The colors of the Season...

A beautiful potted Mum on the porch steps...

A stunning mum in our garden...

Brilliant red Yarrow in our garden...

Garden~fresh tomatoes...

The critters of Autumn...

Favorite Autumn magazines...

And my delicious homemade apple pie...

To share with special friends... like YOU!... xoxo...



Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11th... Shame on You Mayor Michael Bloomberg...

September 11th... tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country... my heart is aching as I think back on that September morning... and now, my heart is aching once more as the day draws near and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has intentionally decided not to invite any clergy, police officers or firefighters to the official ceremony tomorrow... he states he wants to focus on the victims and their families, not God or the heroes who rushed into the burning towers to save as many as they could... what is happening to our country???... SHAME ON YOU Michael Bloomberg!...


I read a quote by Rudy Washington, Deputy Mayor under former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who organized the interfaith service at Yankee Stadium following the attacks in 2001... he stated "This is America, and to have a memorial service where there's no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me. I feel like America has lost it's way"... Amen Mr. Washington... Jack devoted his entire career to being a police officer, and mine was in law enforcement as well... after almost 35 years together we have pretty much seen it all... we have many friends who are police officers, firefighters and paramedics... who risk their lives daily to protect and defend all others... a police officer (or firefighter, or paramedic) does not come home at the end of the day and forget about the traumatic events that occurred on their shift, the lost lives, the devastation... Jack will always be a cop... all cops will always be cops, long after they have turned in their badge and retired... I know from our own experiences, the nightmares continue the rest of their lives... replaying the scenes over and over again in their minds... seeing the victims faces and wondering what they could have done to save more... the heroes of 9~11 are no different... this will live with them forever as well, just like it will the families of the victims who perished in the attacks... and do not forget many police officers and firefighters lost their lives in the attacks too... the firemen, police officers and clergy did not wait for an invitation in 2001 during the attacks, they showed up and did their job!... watching many of their comrades die as the Towers fell... ... So Michael Bloomberg... I have zero respect for you, as a Mayor or as a human being... tomorrow, I shall be praying to GOD and remembering ALL of the victims of 9~11... and asking HIM to bless their families and ALL of America... and to give strength to those currently devoting their lives to serving as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, clergy and our Armed Forces as well... my heroes... xoxo...


Friday, September 9, 2011

A Peaceful Home...

Tuesday my sister Jill and my niece Liz stopped by for a visit, to see my home decorated for Autumn, and to pick up a yummy tomato~zucchini bake I had made for each of them... I am certain I am one of very few in blogland who does not have an all white home... as beautiful as they are, I have said before, they are just not me... I need color in my home... and what more beautiful colors than those that reflect the new Season of Fall that is upon us... I swoon over the deep, rich rusts, browns and crimsons... ochres and reds... burnt oranges and deep plums...

As we walked room to room, showing them my Autumn decor, my niece said to me "you have a very peaceful home Juju"... (I will always be Juju to my nieces)...

I think that is the nicest compliment I have ever received about our home...

That is exactly the feeling I want our home to exude... quiet corners to sip coffee and read a magazine... write in a journal... or simply daydream... "a peaceful home"... thank you Liz... you made my day!... xoxo...



Sunday, September 4, 2011

Autumn Story...


It is Autumn in Centerville...my favorite time of year... it is also the woodland critters favorite time of year as well... you will find them scurrying about our home... gathering acorns and nuts, seeds and berries... making their little secret stashes for the winter that is inevitable... but for now, we are all delighting in the brilliant Autumn sunshine, the cooler days and pleasant nights... the smell of woodsmoke in the air and the aroma of fresh baked pumpkin nut bread coming from the kitchen... Autumn is a most busy, enchanted time at Brambly Hedge as well... "Brambly Hedge is on the other side of the stream... across the field. If you can find it, and if you look very hard amongst the tangled roots and stems, you may even see a wisp of smoke from a small chimney, or through an open door, a steep flight of stairs deep within the trunk of a tree. For this is the home of the mice of Brambly Hedge" (quote from Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem)...

If you are not familiar with the Brambly Hedge stories, you simply must find yourself some... I have the books for each Season, and also the beautiful teacups that match each Season as well... the stories are so enchanting... and the pictures just adorable...
Many of the woodland critters have chosen our living room to gather in and chatter amongst themselves about how to pick the proper acorn, which tree branch is best for Owl to perch on... where to find the most luscious berries down the lane...

Squirrels have already gathered sooo many acorns... but then, we have sooo many squirrels to feed... and they are most happy to share...

Mama Hedgehog keeps a watchful eye on her two little ones... they get into sooo much mischief!... sometimes they snatch acorns from Squirrel... and sometimes they meander down the lane and around the bend to the thicket... the thicket is dark and a little eerie at night... one night, baby girl Hedgehog could not find her way out of the thicket and was sooo scared!... just like when Primrose got lost in the Brambly Hedge story...

Owls have picked out a wonderful old branch to perch on and watch over the comings and goings of all the critters... they eat sooo many berries... I hope they don't get sick tummies...

Pinecones are carefully gathered as well...


I love Squirrels so very much... (Jack says they think I am "nuts", tee hee hee!)...

Preparing for the long winter ahead... which we shall not even think about today!... but rather bask in the glorious fall weather...

Vintage Steiff Squirrels are cozy and comfy...

Pumpkin pie sounds soo good to these two... they tell me they shall bake some soon!...

Nature has such a way of bringing me peace and serenity... the woodland critters instincts tell them just when it is time for the Seasons to change... slowly and carefully they gather their treasures and prepare...


"Nature does not hurry,
yet everything is accomplished" ~Lao Tzu

Wishing you all the beauty Autumn has to offer... do you have your own Autumn Story to tell?... xoxo...