Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Believe ...

I'll show this tea set in detail in the future.

With God's help, we should strive to:

... be holy in all [we] do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
   (1 Peter 1:15, 16)

... rid [ourselves] of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from [our] lips.
   (Colossians 3:8)

... set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

   (1 Timothy 4:12)

Another tea set we'll have to look at more closely.
( No cups or saucers for it.)
Because:

... the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
   (Titus 2:11-14)   All verses NIV, my changes in [ ].

The plate and kitty are gifts from my sister-in-law.
The glass basket was my mother's.
I bought the pitcher!

And then our "house" will surely be in bloom!

Have a blessed Friday!
Bess

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Books by Victoria Magazine


Today I thought I'd share the books I own that were edited by Victoria Magazine.  (There are too many to take staged snaps of all of them for this post.  I have twenty-three, and I'm sure many of you have more than that!)  A few were my mother's, a couple I "earned" from points from a book club I used to belong to, and the rest I've purchased. 


I suppose it's almost blasphemous to admit I'm not much into books on Christmas decorating, so that's why I only have The Heart of Christmas that belonged to my mother.  (After her passing, I even sent two copies of Tasha Tudor's Take Joy to auction!  And yes, I sometimes regret I didn't keep a copy.)  Otherwise, I pretty much have the Victoria books I most wanted, but someday I might pick up the ones that involve crafts and sewing.


The only Victoria book I've purchased that I was somewhat disappointed with was The Pleasures of Staying in Touch.  I expected it would also contain photos of desks, writing paraphernalia and papers, writing nooks, etc., instead of being solely a narrative on how to write various kinds of letters.  At least I bought it for a song, and I do like the cover and contents save for the lack of photos of gorgeous vignettes. 
 

The closet shelf where I now keep my Victoria books
so that they stay safe from the kitties.  I have Romantic Country Style, also,
but it is safe in a stack of red-spined books beneath my alarm clock.
About the kitties:  They see the direction the tone of this blog is taking.  They are seeking an attorney to determine if they have a case against me for libel, slander, and defamation of character ... and also for dereliction of duty for not retrieving their cat toys from underneath the couch on a frequent enough basis.  I fear they are preparing their attack case, which is probably why they refuse to pose for photographs.  I heard them muttering something about mugshots.  Someday, however, the camera and I will prevail!

In the meantime, I'm thinking that reading beautiful books and magazines is another way to displace our negative thoughts!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150:6

"Praising my Savior all the day long,"
 Bess

I plan on linking this post to:
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Thank You, Ladies!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is for the Birds!


Literally, that is, and one of the things I especially love and celebrate about spring is welcoming back our fine-feathered friends. 


First, though, let me welcome everyone visiting from Kathy's wonderful blog, A Delightsome Life, for her Celebrate Spring with Victoria blog party.  Hello and welcome!


Something we all should aspire to, wouldn't you agree?!
(You can click on any photo to zoom in for a good look.)
We don't have a huge variety of birds in the rural area where I live, but what we do have is very enjoyable.  Canadian geese fly over by the hundreds, maybe thousands, as they migrate with the seasons, and I always say a prayer for "travel mercies" for the dear creatures. 


The pencil drawing is my attempt to sketch the bird on the cover (upper left).

Victoria - March 1992
Seems like we saw our first robin early this year ... on Valentine's Day.  Our sparrows and cardinals are always with us, then come the house finches and mourning doves.  The starlings are here, the grackles will arrive in droves, and coming soon will be the blue jays, flickers, and Baltimore orioles.  We also get to enjoy the magnificence of Mississippi kites and turkey vultures.  Once in a while a hawk will stray into town from the country.

Bird Postcards and Prints
I like this time of year when the birds are here, yet there are still no leaves on the trees, making it so much easier to birdwatch.  And isn't it so pleasant to wake up to the sound of birds chirping and singing?!


I've been blessed to have house finches build their nests under the roof of my front porch for many years.  There are usually two nests every year.  The first is built in March, and the second in June.  (They are extremely clean birdies and never leave a mess on my porch deck!)  There are almost always three or four babies each time, so I have been the honored godmother to a slew of newborn house finches!  A few days after the eggs are hatched, I begin to see wide open little beaks bobbing around at the top of the nest.  Some of the daddies are very helpful to the mamas, feeding both mama and the little ones, and some seem to make themselves fairly scarce.  It takes all kinds, I guess, even in nature. 


By the time I can see them really well, it is about time for the babies to test their wings and fly away.  The parents stay in nearby trees and call and call and call.  It is still such a thrill to watch a baby house finch stand on the top edge of the nest and ponder the situation ... sometimes for hours.  If my timing is spot on, I'm privileged to watch the fledgling leave the nest.  This year mama and papa house finch began building their nest on March 18 ... right on schedule.

The bottom photo is last year's nest,
middle left it's all cleaned out and waiting for this year's finches,
top and center is the new nest in progress and Mama Finch.
If you would like to learn more about birds, check out Cornell University's All About Birds.  There you will find wonderful photos, range information, and audios of bird calls and songs.  Another great source on birds is Birds and Blooms magazine.

My father made the birdhouse and it was painted by my mother.
She also prepared and painted the two large ceramic geese.
(The kitties beg you to forgive them
for any tatters in the curtains you might see!)
When I was in my very early teens, I found an injured bird ... a damaged leg, I think.  I can't remember, but I think it may have been a robin.  I fixed a shoebox for it, gently placed the bird in the box, then left the bird alone, because I knew that was what one was supposed to do.  Later, when I returned to check on it, the poor thing had already died, very probably of shock, but perhaps it had internal injuries.


And I've sometimes wondered since then if my going against traditional wisdom would have been better for the little bird.  If a little companionship; a few soothing whispers; a gentle, melodious song; perhaps even an occasional caressing stroke- would have been at least comforting, if not lifesaving.  (Has anybody tested that approach?  Indoor birds enjoy small talk, singing, piano ... but I suppose they have become acclimated to people by the time they are purchased.)


Willow Tree's "Angel of Learning"
At any rate, I'm ever so grateful that God doesn't leave us alone to mend ourselves.  Whatever we go through, He is there with us in the midst of it all.


Alas, there are no hummingbirds where I live,
or bluebirds, or chickadees, or ...
Just as the birds do, I hope you'll come visit me again as well!

Those who hope in the Lord
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

With a hello and loving thoughts going out to all of my family, I am:

Thankful for God's sweet gift of birds ...
and for each one of you, Dear Readers,
Bess

I'm linking this post to:
Kathy's Celebrate Spring blog party
at A Delightsome Life
and to
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show off Your Cottage Monday
Thank you, Ladies, for your gracious hospitality!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan on Our Hearts

Please join me in reading Brenda's comforting words today at Coffee Tea Books and Me.
(click on link above)

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:9,10

Father God, we know you hear the thousands upon thousands of prayers going up to You for the people of Japan.  We know You love them.  We love them, too.  Please be with them in this desperate hour.  In His name we pray. Amen.

Bess

Friday, March 11, 2011

My New Toy

Hello Friends!

My new little Kodak Easyshare C143 arrived, so I have been taking some photos and then deleting most of them!  Hopefully I will improve.  I still don't think it's going to take outstanding close-ups, but I can see it's definitely an improvement over the old camera (see example here).  Below is my tea table that sits in my tiny hallway.  (I keep it covered now to protect it from the kitties, but sometime I'll snap it uncovered for you.)



The photo is my mother as a toddler.

The next photo includes the painting over the table.  It is a watercolor of my mother and a friend on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Her father (my grandfather) was a professional artist, who unfortunately died in his late 40s.


Below you'll see the pretties in my hutch.  It's from a dining room set that belonged to my grandmother, and most of the contents belonged to her also.  I have been their steward since 1988. 


And finally, a photo of my main thimble collection.  (I see the glass needs cleaning!)  I began collecting thimbles in the 1970s; most were given to me as gifts.  You can click on the photo for a closer look.  The two larger sterling silver thimbles between the Precious Moments figure and the coffee pot thimble belonged one each to two of my great aunts.  There was a third one that would have belonged to my grandmother, but it was never found.  The little sterling thimble between them was a gift from a friend.  It reads "For a Good Girl" and is very old also.



That's all for this post.  Since each photo contains some pink, and even a little green, I'm linking to Beverly's Pink Saturday.

Looking forward to sharing better photos of my pretties with you, along with more of my writings!

Be back soon,
Bess