Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Books: The Historical House Series

Thought this coaster was cute; you can see more

Not too long ago I mentioned in a post that I was reading a good children's book and would share about this series of books written for girls when I had finished them ... which I have.

The six books are entitled:  Mary Ann & Miss Mozart (1764); Lizzie's Wish (1857); Cecily's Portrait (1895); Polly's March (1914); Josie Under Fire (1941); and Andie's Moon (1969).  The protagonist of each book is a girl, age 12, who lives in the huge house at No. 6, Chelsea Walk in Chelsea, London, England.

Mary Ann longs to be a singer; Lizzie wants to be a gardener and also help her mother who is in dire straits; Cecily yearns to be a photographer; Polly decides she will be a very young suffragette; Josie tries to find herself during wartime and has to choose between having friends or doing what's right; and Andie is a budding artist with real talent.

Perhaps I'm the only one who didn't know about these books, but just in case, I want to say that I thought they were wonderful!  Reasonably priced at $5.99 each, I think they would be a delightful group of books for your daughter or granddaughter or even yourself to read.

There are two books each by three different authors.  I was a bit skeptical at first, but the authors' styles blend beautifully.  In fact, it was difficult to tell that the books had different authors.  Each book even seemed to be a little better than the previous because it incorporated little references to characters or information revealed in the prior books.

(Not in the correct order.)

I don't want to mislead any adults who might want to read these books.  The reading/interest level of these books is age-appropriate for 9 to 12 years of age, and each book includes a short, helpful glossary at the back.  Yet even though easy and quick to read, I found them very enjoyable.  (Although they aren't that old, published since 2000, I included them in my quest to read children's books I missed while growing up.)

Anyway, check into them and see if you agree they are very interesting books, historical yet current, that some special girl in your life will love!  If you're interested, here's a link to get you started (and thanks to any and all who enter Amazon through my blog):

Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25: 4-5

Off to settle in this evening with a good book and then the Good Book,

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Name is Bess, and I'm a Negative Thinker

By working to avoid negative thinking,
the beauty in our lives gradually comes into focus.

I have lived nearly two-thirds of my life as a hardcore negative person. Maybe it is a disease. Or maybe the result of too difficult or traumatic a life. It doesn't matter. I just wanted to be free.

I may not ever be completely free in this life.  I still battle with my negative thoughts every day.  But the fight is getting easier, and I gain a little ground after each skirmish.  Most importantly, my thought life has improved significantly.

You may not have this kind of war going on in your life.  But if you do, or you know someone who does, may I humbly suggest the methods posted on my sidebar ... especially displacing negative thoughts with singing to oneself (silently or out loud).

We hardcore negative thinkers can't think of anything positive when told to think about something that is not negative.  Or if we can, the positive thought is short-lived.  But when given the simple method of filling the mind with happy, wholesome songs and/or heartfelt hymns and worship songs, a miracle happens.  We are able to stay with the songs and the songs stay with us.  The negative thoughts can't get through nearly so easily.

And before we know it, we're engaged in some activity of interest, free from niggling worries and destructive thoughts.  If we're in bed and can't sleep, we use the double-strength method of singing our songs and visualizing the words at the same time.  Keep focusing on singing your song and seeing the words.  The next sound you'll hear will be Zzzzzzzz.

This method is so simple, a child can use it.  In fact, I would think it likely that casually planting the seed (the idea of singing happy, fun, peace-giving songs) in a child's mind might be a tremendous gift to a child with a tendency toward restlessness and uneasy thoughts.  I have no way of checking that out, however.  If one has concerns over such a thing, then she could work with the method herself before suggesting it to her child.

At any rate, if you're a diehard negative thinker (and first we have to realize that we are, if we are), please give this "King David Method for Fighting Negative Thinking" a try (among his many battles, he also battled negative thinking, relying heavily on singing - and God, of course - for help and comfort!).  I'm convinced it's a winner!

And so are you!

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
Psalm 47:6-7

I'm joining Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.  Please stop by her site to read some wonderful posts!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Royal Doulton Calais Tableware

Oh my.  Some days it seems that it's rush, rush, rush from the time one gets up to the time one finally gets in bed with a sigh of relief.  But I wanted a new post, so today at lunch I hurriedly took a few snaps of another of the Royal Doulton place settings I inherited from my mother.  Mostly I wound up with some really bad photos, but I'll share a few anyway.

This pattern is called Calais, from their Moselle Collection.  It is not very old (1984).  As I've mentioned before, somewhere along the way my mother purchased eight Royal Doulton place settings (at a bargain?), and I kept six of them.  I've shared two other patterns here and here

I think the figurine was my grandmother's, but I'm not sure.  The only marking is a number.

A song for Ash Wednesday.  Go HERE (be patient with the long intro) to hear this pretty hymn. (And if you don't like that version, there are several good ones on youtube):

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!
S. Trevor Francis  1875


I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!
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
Bernideen at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for Friends Sharing Tea
Dear Lovely Ladies:  I don't leave a comment very often,
but I do visit your beautiful blogs frequently
and always enjoy your wonderful posts!
Thank You, Lovely Tea Ladies!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My New Miss Read Books

I was astounded this past Christmas when, between family and friends, I received an enormous (to me) amount in Amazon gift certificates.  It didn't take me long to decide what to spend them on: I have read all the Fairacre series by Miss Read, and now I own them!  What a haul!  (Well, I did put in just a teensy weensy bit of my own money.)

Each time I returned one of the Miss Read library books, I'd sigh a little as I let it go.  I never dreamed I could own the whole series.  Now I sigh with gratitude and pleasure as I look at them on my dresser (where I actually keep them).  I haven't read Early Days yet (Dora Jessie Saint's biographical works), so I have that to look forward to.  As I recall, Fresh from the Country isn't a Fairacre book, but I've read it and enjoyed it (so naturally I wanted it, too).  Edited to add:  I already owned A Peaceful Retirement.

I was very pleased with the Christmas trilogy.  I almost paid a premium for a nice used copy of No Holly for Miss Quinn from a third party, and then upon more research discovered it was part of Christmas at Fairacre, a lovely hardcover book containing No Holly for Miss Quinn, The Christmas Mouse, and Village Christmas.  And one can't beat the price!

Most of the books are paperback, however, and follow a uniform design, but some don't (go figure).  That was OK with me.  I did have to buy The White Robin from a third party, and it was a "retired" library book, but in very good condition.  Someday I'll probably buy The Caxley Chronicles as well, since Caxley figures in the Fairacre series a great deal.  I have read The Market Square, but not The Howards of Caxley.

Well, possibly for some this is much ado about nothing, but for a bibliophile such as myself, it's a real treat to acquire a beloved series of books!

The painting is one of my grandfather's works (my mother's father).  My mother told me the setting is Galena, Illinois.  Grandpa passed away before his grandchildren were born.  Although he was an art director for a big advertising agency, apparently his work was relatively unknown because numerous Internet searches to find mention of him have been unsuccessful.  I'm just tickled to have a few of his paintings.

The painting still has its original frame.
It has become discolored.

On a blogging note, I've never deleted so many photos!  My camera just did not like the light in my living room tonight.  Sadly, these were the best of the lot.  If you can ignore scratches and a thumbprint, I thought the flash with the worn area on my piano made a neat cross:

Lax, lax, lax.  I'll have to polish my high-gloss piano with Windex tomorrow. Oh, for the pianists among you, my piano is a Yamaha U1AR studio upright, purchased in 1988.  It looks a little worn, but I still love its sound.

Thank You, Jesus, for The Cross.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days, 
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Frances R. Havergal  1874  (Public Domain)
Verses 1, 3, & 5

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite things (including
wonderful old hymns),

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.  Thank you, Lovely Lady!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the Love of Kitties

Four of the five, from L to R: Sweetie, Kallie, Baby, & Misty (the pair of ears behind the wheel).
The container is full of family photos that I want to sort.  Those are very old piano books on
the stand (it has a back) & so far the items in front have kept them "safe."
(This is part of one side of my now less-than-interesting
living room, but some changes are planned.)

Once upon a time I lived a life where there wasn't a cat hair to be found.  But when five kitties came to live with me, that life - and my romantic cottage decor - changed.

How charming my beloved books- including a few very, very old-  used to look stacked in various places about my living room ... well, everywhere around the house in fact, except for the "powder room."  They were surrounded by an abundance of pretties: bells, music boxes, plates, figurines, dolls- often on a pretty lace or eyelet cloth.

And my Victoria magazines.  A sampling of issues was usually given center stage on my somewhat wobbly coffee table/bench, which had at one end - set atop tea books - a ceramic coffee service set.

A few inherited teacups and saucers were placed attractively amongst my vignettes.  There were dolls dressed in velveteen sitting on chairs, and even one in a doll chair which was stationed on the floor.  My pale green needlepoint footstool was conspicuously on display, along with pillows, throws and handknit afghans. 

If I so desired, I could own pretty plants and flowers, light candles, or spray air fragrance.

Adding just the right ambience (before they passed away) to my inherited antiques, along with the piano I adore, were my budgerigar (parakeet) who resided in an aqua cage stationed on my dining room table (not used for meals then and rarely now), and my sweet terrier that could always be found at my feet.

I would often look diagonally across my little house from one end of my bedroom to the farthest end of my living room (because I could), and just sigh over the peace and beauty of it all.  My ultimate sanctuary.  My haven.

Yet ... none of those things were kid kittie-friendly.  Because eventually I inherited five little furry toddlers with access to just about anywhere in the house they've a mind to go.  And because I love the family member who lives with me, I let them all stay.  Begrudgingly at first ... and well ... for a long time thereafter!

It's amusing to me that when I mention to someone who has a cat that I've put most of my pretties away, they exclaim they don't have any trouble with their cat damaging their things.  Oh lucky me!  Have I wound up with the only claw-bearing, inquisitive, adventure-seeking kitties in existence?  But it's true.  As my mother used to say about us children:  "What one doesn't think of, another will."  And then the party's on!

I have to admit I complained.  The cat hair everywhere, the frayed furniture and snagged carpet, the hairballs, the meals that wouldn't stay down, litter tracked all about... all that extra work, only to seem to lose the battle for a clean, intact house.  Really, nothing was safe (except for on top of my china cabinets, most of the time).  And so I gathered in my children (my belongings) to protect them from the horde.  (That's why this blog is as much for me as my readers:  It allows me to enjoy my pretties right along with you!)

But ... you guessed it.  It was inevitable, I suppose.  Time passed and I have grown oh-so-very-attached to those precious felines and their shenanigans.  I've also gradually developed a housekeeping routine that (for a gal who works fulltime outside the home) is going a long way towards keeping an orderly home.

So on this Valentine's Day, my post is a love letter to my cats.  To Sweetie who gently paws my face during the night and wants under the covers to get warm; to Misty who was my mother's cat and loves to bat and attack us for no reason but will also sit on a lap for ages; to Sassy who has her "own apartment" because she was being bullied, and she is utterly, perfectly content to be separated as long as she has her people company (which she has constantly from the family member who lives with me); to Kallie who is the loudest purrer and has taken to screaming like a banshee if she sees a cat outside near the house (and then it takes us all, cats and humans, awhile to settle down); and finally to Baby, the bully of Sassy-cat and her people (see here and here), who has finally stopped seeing me as a threat to her safety and is letting me pet her pretty much at will.  Amazingly, Baby is also the only cat who lets me go "kissy, kissy" - as my mother used to say.  I love you, Dear Little Kitties.

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God lives in them and they in God.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God,
 and God in them.
1 John 4:15-16

With loving thoughts at the end of this day of Love,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hearts, Roses, and Tea

Welcome Readers!  Today I'm sharing a Valentine's Day Tea.  Lots of photos, so please pull up a chair to my tea table and enjoy!

My tablecloth today is this cute heart quilt made by a friend's daughter.  You can see another of her quilts here.  Below are some more photos of the quilt:

Someone else wants a closer look.

I love the patterns and colors and shapes:

I am using some sweet hankies as napkins:

This is the pretty tea set I bought at a thrift store a short while ago. The bottom says Noritake Nippon Toki KaishaI tried to resist, but now I'm glad I gave in...

I'm so sorry!  I haven't offered you any refreshment yet!  I think I'll use my mother's pretty heart-shaped dish made by Mikasa.  Help yourself to a napkin first:

I think this ring holder makes a cute little candy dish:

I hope you've enjoyed this Valentine's Day Tea!  There is still some left, so feel free to stay awhile and sip another cup!  The golden elixir below is Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla Herbal Tea (I drink it any time of the day).

Since I'm celebrating Valentine's Day, I feel like singing a little love song:

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
Judson W. Van DeVenter  1896  PD

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage 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
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Bernideen at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for Friends Sharing Tea
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A New Teacup

Happy Sunday, All!

Just hurriedly doing a shortish post today so that I can finish up a few chores, be ready to relax this evening with Downton Abbey, then finish reading a good children's book after that.  (The book is part of a series that I'll share with you when I've read all of them.)

You ladies are rubbing off on me because I bought another new teacup at a thrift shop.  I have to be careful about that because a) I don't have much room and b) I don't have much room!  But I thought it was very sweet and a steal at $2.50.  Its mark says Royal Dover - Made in England.  The cup is a combination of fluting and curves that I thought was very pretty:

I'm also sharing a little book my grandmother received from Sunday School in 1911.  She would have been almost thirteen at the time:

Two costume pins of my grandmother's.
All my pearls are faux, of course, and sadly,
some strands are in very poor condition.

Some entries from the little book (I assume KJV):

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).

Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13).

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psa. 37:5).

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35:10

Welcome to my new followers!  If I don't get back mid-week (work has been extra-tiring lately), I'm planning to get my Valentine's post up next weekend.  Have a great week!

I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage 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
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Bernideen at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for Friends Sharing Tea
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!