Friday, May 30, 2014

Lefton Heritage-Green & More on Happiness

I've shared these before, but decided to re-post just a few photos. There appears to be quite a bit of the Heritage-Green pieces available through Replacements Ltd. The bud vase and bone dishes I have belonged to my grandmother and mother, respectively. I do love the color combination. 

Do you paint china or know someone who does/did? I've always been in awe of women who can paint the delicate, pretty flowers on china. I know nothing about the technique or process involved. Guess I will add that to my list of things to Google ... but not today!

On another note: I'm reading Living a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran. It's a series of essays, as are many of her books. I've owned quite a few of hers, then donated them to the library a year or two ago (books in, books out is a must around here). But I had missed reading this one, ordered it with my Mother's Day Amazon GC, and will keep it around awhile. (Even though I don't believe in the same vein as authors like Moran, Alexandra Stoddard, and Sarah Ban Breathnach as to spiritual matters, I do like to read them for their take on living a positive and happy-as-possible life.) 

So far my favorite essay has been the one entitled "Keep your sunny side up" (sic). In it she says that positive people can be annoying, but yet "it's those positive-thinking bright-side-lookers with the changed attitudes who are routinely called to the front of the line. ...The way I see it at this point is that I have two choices: I can either be negative, sophisticated, and miserable, or I can keep my sunny side up, seem to some people a bit of a lightweight, and be happy." I so agree with her, and I guess that was what I was trying to say in my post "Happy Intellectuals." 

I've been speculating that with regard to happiness/positivity, perhaps there are, among others, these three types of people somewhere on the happiness continuum: those blessed persons who come with the "happy gene," meaning happiness comes easily for them; those who argue for their right to avoid happiness, considering choosing happiness as being beneath their intelligence; and those who (forgive me for my bluntness) are bright or logical enough (or blessed with lots of plain old common sense) to comprehend that thinking/acting/being happy makes one happy (aka Think Happy Be Happy). I'm not there 24/7 yet, but I'm there much more than I used to be.* As with any diet, cutting out negativity takes determination and practice. And singing to myself. :O)

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
Civilla Martin 1905

(Click here to read how this wonderful song came to be. It's short!)

Just thinking on this Friday evening, and praying that all is well with you and yours,
* As I've said in previous posts, I'm not saying appropriate periods of grief or mourning should be supplanted by attempts to choose happiness. Everyone needs and deserves to grieve a loss. But eventually there comes a time ...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Roses in the Rain

I hope you are having a relaxing holiday (or regular) weekend! We have been in a drought, but at least yesterday we received .15 inch of rain, and this morning it rained for maybe a half hour or longer. Since it was a lovely Sunday morning, I was put in the mood to sit at the kitchen table (like in the movie Green Card?) and watercolor some roses while it gently rained outside my back door. I wanted to try a painting using more water and less control.

I didn't spend much time on it, especially adding the green. But I somewhat followed the gist of a tutorial, found here. It's amazing how different the same method turns out when used by different persons. However, I did the technique from memory, having watched the video a few days ago, and it turns out she used a larger brush than I did, and probably more water, on the roses (unless that's an illusion).

Then I decided to run out and photograph my neighbor's rose bush. The rain was coming to an end, but as I was still in my PJs I put on my winter coat, shoes, and hurried out for a few photos. (You can well imagine what I must have looked like!) I've lived in my house nearly 35 years and this rose bush used to be quite large. Unfortunately, there's not much left to it now, but I have enjoyed seeing the roses through my bedroom window.

Then also this morning, flipping through the few cable channels I take now, I happened to land serendipitously on Antiques Roadshow, an episode that was showing clips from several different locations. At the very moment I turned to it, there was a woman sharing a 1960 watercolor painting by Katharine Hepburn. I thought it was a pretty little painting of a coastline - perhaps the beach where she lived? A Google search went right to it, with the appraisal conversation verbatim, here.

The whole painting, scanned.
I was told the green looks like a monster, and I concur!
That's what I get for being lazy!

As a very humble, and no longer overly proficient, piano player, I've always enjoyed listening to others play the piano. Now I find I'm fascinated by watercolors done by others. In fact, you can check out some of Jane Seymour's paintings here. Kinda fun to have a new interest after all these years! 

It was so dark and gray outside, the flash went off on this shot, making the water droplets look like glitter. The actual roses are between red and pink in color: hot pink or fuchsia? But I painted mine with simple Prang red (and just a touch of orange).

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.
Job 8:21

I hope your week glitters with all good things,

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Peonies, Positivity, Peace, etc.

Grateful I noticed these peonies before they began to shatter!

This morning I finally finished reading Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. I thought it was excellent, but then I like English Village books very much. This one, as you probably already know, is about the clergy of the Church of England in the 1850s. I had to read it with a dictionary because I wasn't familiar with much of the terminology. It does have a romance in it, although it comes to fruition very slowly. There was a BBC mini-series made in 1982 based on this book and Trollope's first Barchester book, The Warden. It is entitled The Barchester Chronicles, and I hope to watch it online (youtube?) before too long. (I think I have said all this previously!)

Anyway, for as much as I enjoyed it, I only wrote down two quotes from the book (although there were many wonderful lines and passages). The first is:

"Mrs. Bold would have given the world not to blush,
but her blood was not at her own command."

I used to blush often. Now, at my mature age, I blush less frequently. But it does still happen on occasion. Do you blush? It feels uncomfortable, but is considered to "speak well" of the one who is blushing. So I say we keep our hands away from our faces and just go with it.  :O)

"Blushing is the color of virtue."

And perhaps the color of these peonies?

I used the blur reduction setting, but it's quite windy today.

The second Trollope quote is Mr. Harding speaking:

"Every day that is added to my life increases my wish for peace and rest."

I can certainly identify with that sentiment as well. However, my new job has made me feel that this old girl has enough energy to put off complete rest and relaxation for awhile yet! I had a fun week and hope to have another and another and another!

Which leads me to my final quote I'm sharing today, which is from Joyce Meyer in her devotional Trusting God day by day (sic):

"When you focus excessively on the negative elements of a certain situation and overlook the good aspects, you are 'filtering out' the positive and exaggerating the negative. ...When you're constantly focusing on the negative, you'll find it very difficult to trust that things will get better. But when you choose to find the positive things in even your worst challenges, you'll never run out of hope or the ability to put your trust in God."

This devotional, by the way, has been very good and has helped me to stay positive when sometimes circumstances haven't appeared very positive. (I will be through it June 30 as I began reading it July 1, 2013.)

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4  NKJV

Many thanks to those (few) of you who enter Amazon through my blog. Your kindness is much appreciated!

Praying you have a delightful week, and thanks so much for visiting!
The photos today are courtesy of my neighbor's flowers.  ;o)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Back to Work!

My mother, late 1920s.
Note the embroidery on her little dress.

Rejoice with me, Dear Ones. I start a new job on Monday! In a prior post (sometime during my 4-month hiatus) I mentioned that I was going to let the Good Lord decide my future as to whether I could/should retire, semi-retire, or postpone retirement indefinitely. I simply applied for every suitable opportunity, part time and full time, and waited to see where God would lead.

This is the dress she was wearing in the photo!

So delicate and sheer.

And the "winner" is ... semi-retirement! I will be working part time, nearly half the hours weekly I used to work, and the job seems hand-picked for me. And of course, it was. :O) I am beyond thrilled! Later this year, I will add early Social Security, so I should be OK.

Another from the same little bundle of dresses.
That's actually more embroidery in the middle of the photo on the right.

The third dress of three.
A pair of Mom's baby shoes; not worn in her photo above.

I apologize for not washing out and pressing my mother's delicate little dresses. They would have looked so much nicer, but my priorities before Monday didn't include that. So they are as they have been since packed away in, probably, 1929. Mom was born in 1927 and was small for her age. I don't think she could have been older than 18 months to 2 years.

Mom circa 1964. That's my arm behind her.

You can see more photos of my mother here and here. Actually, much of this blog has been about treasures I've inherited from my mother, plus her mother, her grandmother, and her two aunts. I feel blessed to have their heirlooms. Although very few are valuable, they have value to me (not to mention my house would look very bare without them).

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:26,27

I wish you a very Happy Mother's Day, whether you are a mother in fact or a mother in spirit. Thanks for visiting and see you soon!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book: Martha's Vineyard with photographs by Lisl Dennis (plus two more little watercolors)

The other day, I read with great pleasure a post by Carolyn of Aiken Home & Gardens, full of photographs of the wonderful homes of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, here. If you enjoy charming exteriors, be sure to look at Carolyn's lovely post!

Her post reminded me I had never read a book I chose for my birthday via an Amazon GC back in 2012. Nothing slow about me! So I've looked about a third of the way through so far. The very first home showcased is that of our beloved Susan Branch! And of course, thus far I've liked her decor the best. But that's because the book is not all about one particular style: it's about MV homes of real people, and many did their decorating themselves.

If you're curious to see inside the homes of people who actually live on MV, most for many years, you might enjoy this coffee-table book. If interested, you can check it out here.

Each is one-fourth of 9x12 watercolor paper.

My watercolors this week reflect that I had Beginner's Luck on my previous attempts! :O) They are on 4.5" x 6" pieces of paper. The lavender I did freehand; the little landscape I sketched first. Seems like there is often "one more thing" (or several more things) I decide to add that I would have been better off not to. 

But that's the fun of experimenting. I want to try lavender again, and also more landscapes. I worked on this teeny landscape a little at a time for maybe ten days or so. It's very loosely based on a photo from Victoria magazine's June 2000 issue, page 88:

Scanned. That's a tiny field of poppies on the righthand side.

I didn't have the courage to put the poppies in. I just didn't know how to get that effect of looking through them.

Scanned. Can't draw a straight line without a ruler!

When Daniel was lifted from the [lions'] den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:23

The holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever- yes, for ever and ever.
Daniel 7:18

That's all for today. The temps are really heating up; will be using some AC this week!

Keep the faith!