Sunday, July 5, 2015

Celebration


Celebration
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Erma Bombeck

And from my Father’s favourite tv show….


Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten


Old Times There Are Not Forgotten

No matter what movie she saw, my Mother generally expressed the same frustrating, yet humorous, review.  If the guy got the girl, she liked it.  If he did not, then she did not.  This cinematic peccadillo of hers was rigid and it applied to any and every movie she saw, including those in which it was difficult to conceive of any characters paired up in a satisfactory way. ( I’m thinking of E.T. and Driving Miss Daisy here.)  I blamed this rather skewed way of viewing film on Gone With the Wind.  That moment when Rhett finally walks out on Scarlett has greatly affected Southern women for ages.  The film ends with Scarlett determined to “get him back” and no Southern woman ever doubted that she would.

To be honest, I’ve never revered the fabled Gone With the Wind as much as other born and bred Southerners.  The movie never made me nostalgic.  I could never manage to work up a wistfulness for what the opening credits declared to be “this pretty world” where “gallantry took its last bow”.  Instead of seeing Scarlett as resourceful and tenacious, I always found her manipulative and mean.  Melanie’s legendary “goodness” was too saccharine for my taste and, to the bewilderment of some of my girlfriends, I never could fathom the knee-buckling attractiveness of Rhett Butler. But more importantly, no matter how many red petticoats Cap’n Butler gave Mammy, I always saw her for what she was.  A slave.  

On the sunniest day the shadow of slavery still colours the South.   We have come so very far out into the light but that shadow still lurks.  It can still lie between the lines of a politician’s speech.  It can still crouch behind the eyes of a darkly closed mind.     This polluted shadow of our region’s past shows up all the darker when it is thrust into the light of the world as it was last week in Charleston, South Carolina.  In the horrific glare that bore down on that murderous scene we can easily see racism for what it is:  pure evil. And as the inevitable selfie images of the murderer surfaced, the eyes of the world saw the symmetry of symbols:  the same flag he celebrated was flying over the capitols of many Southern states, including South Carolina itself.

There are some white southerners who will tell you that the confederate flag is a symbol of loyalty and honour that speaks to the attributes of our heritage.  Some will tell you that our nation’s only civil war was fought to preserve state’s rights.  I have always found  both assertions to be delusional at best, disingenuous at worst.   While a lot of us have forefathers who indeed fought, and died, in that hideous war, I have never found it disloyal to say that they fought on the wrong side and that, thankfully, they lost.  I have also never found it difficult to imagine what my black brothers and sisters must feel when they see that flag flying today.

It is just as impossible to defend the South’s moral history as it is a mistake to let that history define it.  The South is full of graciousness and kindness.  It teems with a beauty and a mystery impossible to duplicate anywhere else on the planet.  But the Confederacy was not the lovely “Old South” of Gone With the Wind.  It was a ugly place of well-documented cruelty and horror.  We should not venerate its symbols.  Take that flag down.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Stopping To Think


Stopping To Think

Every frame of the recently aired television production of Hilary Mantel’s, Wolf Hall, was magnificent; I cannot recommend it highly enough.  But one scene in particular has stayed with me.  It occurs when Cromwell is wandering the netherworld of fever dreams.  His beautiful dead wife is suddenly sitting beside him on the bed in a shaft of morning light, her hands moving, fast and fluid, as she weaves.  “Stop”, Cromwell says.  “Show me how you do it.”  Never looking up, his wife replies, “If I stop to think how I’m doing it, I won’t be able to do it.”

So much meaning in that one statement, at least for me.  In turning it over in my head  I’ve begun to see the many feats I perform on autopilot.  Cooking.  Knitting.  Occasionally, driving… God help me.  So for the past few days I have decelerated and considered every single moment in an attempt to give each the attention a good life deserves.  

I’ve slowed my knitting to better enjoy how the pattern forms beneath my fingers and I’ve turned off the radio and television to knit in the quiet.   Before I even taste the sweetness of the strawberry, I’ve stopped to admire the brilliance of its redness.  I’ve put down the newspaper to watch a robin in the birdbath as she splashes about in exhilarating dance, noticing how she dips her head beneath the water before every splash.  I’ve watched as she cleans her orange beak on the side of the bath when she’s done.  One side, then the other.  Rapid fire.  I’ve delighted in the crisp coolness of  freshly laundered linen as I slip between the sheets at bedtime.  I’ve sniffed the fragrance of the pages when I’ve opened the book I’m reading, felt the texture of each as I’ve lifted and turned it onward.  I’ve marveled at the mink-softness of Edward’s fur as I’ve run my hand over the top of his head.  I’ve listened to the wind.  I’ve walked outside in the rain.  I’ve opened the casement window at midnight to sit and stare at the moon.  I’ve relished the smell of rising yeast bread; marveled at the green of the ferns as I water them in the evening. 
Not only have I stopped to think about what I’m doing, 
I feel I’m doing it all just a wee bit better.

****
**That scene in Wolf Hall was played out for real when a neighbour called and asked me to teach her two girls how to knit.  Our first lesson was last week, and both parents decided to learn as well.  The youngest was a promising student even if she did turn somersaults around the room after each row.  The father, oddly enough, was a natural.**



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Books and Beaches... The Annual Summer Reading List


Books and Beaches
The Annual Summer Reading List

I’ve always admired women who carry clutch bags, those exquisite, tiny creations that fit  so neatly under the arm.  They look so professional, so put together, so … unfettered.  I once spied one of these lovely envelope bags in a shop.  It was gorgeous and my heart went out to it immediately.  Fortunately I was seized by a rare moment of wisdom and before I pulled out my dollars to purchase this treat, I decided to take the “essentials” out of the handbag I was carrying and attempt to fit them into this sleek new temptation.  Out came my wallet, my phone and my lipstick, followed by my knitting, several dog biscuits, a green fan, a writing journal, several pencils….  By the time I pulled out the ever present book, the saleslady had seized to smile politely and was laughing out loud.  

There is always a book in my bag, which is one of the reasons I love summer.  In summer it is much more sartorially acceptable to carry a huge handbag.  It can easily be a beach bag, after all.  I may be on my way to the beach. I may have just returned.  Who's to know?  My current handbag is green straw, with a curved wooden handle and it's delightfully capable of holding not just one, but several books.  It's also ready and waiting to accompany me to the beach should the rigors of city life become too taxing as they frequently do in the summertime.  Right? 

Happily, I can read just about anywhere.  The airport, the dentist, on line at the bank… the restaurant, the park, the hairdressers, you name it.  But is there anyplace more divinely suited for reading than the beach?  Perhaps it’s the soundtrack of waves and wind.  Perhaps it’s the soft warm sand beneath bare feet.  Whatever the reason, I would choose the beach above all other summer locales to read this list of books.  Warm beach, cool beach, cold beach.  Sandy shore, rocky shore.  Doesn’t matter.   As long as the ocean stretches out before you as far as the eye can see, as long as a fat, full moon paints its ribbon of light across the rolling darkness, as long as waves crash against the shoreline in constant, comforting music, it’s completely perfect.   

Here are a few of my suggestions for the perfect summer books, along with a few of my favourite beaches to read them.  Please do share some of the books you’re planning to read this summer, and where you’re planning to read them!
As usual, click on the book to see more.
And, enjoy! 

Tintagel, Cornwall
The Green Road
by Anne Enright

Reunion of Ghosts
by Judith Claire Mitchell

A Memory of Violets
by Hazel Gaynor

Portpatrick, Scotland
The Shepherd’s Life
by James Redbanks

Small Blessings
by Martha Woodroof

The Love Object
Selected Stories
by Edna O’Brien
Amelia Island, Florida
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You a Story
by Fredrik Backman

Man at the Helm
by Nina Stibbe

Elgol, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

Burning Down George Orwell’s House
by Andrew Ervin

Dancing at the Edge of the World
Thoughts on Words, Women, Places
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Hunting Island, South Carolina

Hold Still
by Sally Mann

The Music of the Swamp
by Lewis Nordan

Honeydew
by Edith Pearlman

Daytona Beach, Florida

Me… Jane
by Patrick McDonnell

Pride and Prejudice
A Baby-Lit Counting Primer

Swallows and Amazons
by Arthur Ransome

Happy Reading!
Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cannes Not


Cannes Not

No matter how hard we try, it is almost impossible to escape the culture of celebrity.   Even the casual observers -those enlightened few who, rightly, see it as nothing more than  trivial piffle more akin to cartoon than reality - should take heed for they are not immune to its influence.   No, wander deep into some uncharted rainforest, where the native people run free of clothing, prejudice and electricity, and I’d bet you a nickel they’d know at least one of the ample-bottomed Kardashian sisters.  One can find this total saturation of inanity amusing at a distance, but that’s the insidious thing about it:  it rarely stays at the distance it deserves.  Instead, it slyly stretches its fuzzy tentacles into certain unused corners of our consciousness, pushing aside those dusty remnants of our past no longer needed for ready recall - things like pay phones, VCR’s and vinyl records - to take up residence, unnoticed, yet alive.  

This fascination with celebrity has existed for centuries, of course.  Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire.  Evelyn Nesbit.  Lady Caroline Lamb.  Each could readily attest to the insatiability of the public’s interest in their doings.  But it seems that today we literally hold the world in the palm of our hands and these ubiquitous devices we cradle give power to the most insignificant crumbs of foolishness rendering them not only available, but unavoidable.  Is it any wonder the culture is affected?

While I know I’m walking the rapier edge of crankdom as I say it, just try to find something unique and wonderful on a popular radio station.  Stroll through the women’s clothing department of your local store and try to choose something gorgeous that doesn’t make you look as though you’re auditioning for a rap video.  Stand in the mainstream and strike a chord for individuality, and you sing alone.

Like many other women I was a bit irritated by the fashion kerfuffle that boiled up during last month’s Cannes Film Festival.  Seems a decree went forth that women would not be allowed on the red carpet unless they were wearing heels.  No, I am not joking.  Flats-wearing women were actually turned away, deemed unacceptable by their appearance.  This caused me to wonder…. would the exquisite Audrey Hepburn have been banished if she’d dared show up in those delicious ballet flats she wore?  Would Dame Judi Dench, brilliant, beautiful and eighty years old, been required to wear Sex and the City heels?  Have we been so thoroughly indoctrinated in the celebrity dictum of mile-high, toe-crushing footwear that this is now a requirement for the modern-day, well-dressed woman?  

While it’s true that I came into the world with a prickly sense of outrage at being told what to do or how to think, this fashion fiat made me see red.  In fact, it made me want to fly to France and crash that red carpet in my peach espadrilles. 
There are nights when I love to wear heels. 
 Just don’t tell me I have to.
Opinions, please?

“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.”
Alexander McQueen 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

So Much Younger Now


So Much Younger Now

The pattern on the tablecloth was subtle but I was certain I could now draw it unaided, the result of staring down at its weave for what seemed an eternity.  Across the table from me sat a young man, not yet twenty, who had spent the last half hour or so stating his opinions on a wide variety of subjects.   I agreed with him on practically nothing, but that was not the troublesome thing.  It was his unwavering certainty, his rigid, relentless grip on the conclusions he’d reached after so few years in the world, that I found so regrettable.     Several of those in my party attempted to challenge him but his thoughts were stacked, brick upon brick, forming an unassailable wall so high he could no longer peer over to gaze and consider.   My eyes kept focus on the tablecloth.  I didn't dare lift them, lest the young man see the pity I knew was there.  But then I had to smile at my forgetfulness; I was no doubt much like him when I was young, comfortable that the knowledge I’d gained would be sufficient to carry me along on a calm breeze of surety for the rest of my days.  I thought I would never face an unsolvable puzzle, an unanswerable question, an unsurpassable grief.  But as Bob Dylan once so sagely observed, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

Days are long when we are young.  They stretch out before us, uncharted, holding their myriad possibilities in a nonchalant hand.  We gather these days like the flowers of summer till one year we notice how quickly they’ve passed.  They fly past our window - spring night upon winter day, autumn day upon summer night - till they seem a blur of color and light.  Beautiful, but ephemeral.  We reach out to grab them by fistfuls and they slip through our fingers like rain.   The world spins faster the older one becomes.  That’s something they don’t tell you when you’re young.  You wouldn’t believe them if they did.  

I have heard it said that the opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty.  This thought resonates with me the longer I skip cross the planet.  My curiosity has only deepened, but I am not as sure as I once was.  I have seen too much to rest in my own understanding.  I know there is mystery and I find this fact immensely freeing.  We struggle against this knowledge when we’re young; we want to believe every question has an answer just waiting to be discovered, like a gemstone in a desert full of sand.  We want to know we are right.  How much time we all waste.  There is wisdom in the mystery.  Wisdom, beauty and truth.  Untroubled sleep and open-hearted love.  

Last weekend I accompanied a young friend on a wander around her soon-to-be new college campus.  A gorgeous place with a library straight out of Hogwarts.  (I’m visiting again in the fall, she'd better count on it.)  Beyond those stained glass windows lay Shakespeare and fractals, neuroscience and astrophysics, Bach, law, history, theatre.  A kaleidoscopic world of knowledge and possibility awaits her. Her excitement is infectious and I wish her all good things, for I know there is so much good to be found.  From the perch on which I now sit, I still see a realm of choice and prospect.  There is so much I still want to learn - skills I wish to master, horizons I wish to view.  I feel no need to convince anyone of anything for I know I haven’t the answers to life in my pocket.   And that’s ok.
 I’m joyful in the mystery.
I'm so much younger now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Thunderstorm Companion


The Thunderstorm Companion
The afternoon cracked open and the air turned white with rain.
The old cottage winced under cannonades of thunder and lightning burst through the windows, jagged and unnatural.  In other words, the perfect afternoon to cast aside all responsibilities, curl up on the chaise, and knit.  
The big dog watched me, a tiny flicker of unease crossing his furry face with every shudder of thunder.  
“Perhaps she is scared”, he thought. “Yes.  She needs me close.  That’s what I’m here for.” 
So he jumped up to share my seat.


He is a big dog.  A very big dog.  
And, after a few of my wiggles and squirms to get comfortable….


“What do you mean, you don’t have enough room??”
I just love life with this dog.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

One Place Understood


One Place Understood
There wasn’t much to do in Jackson, Mississippi in the years between the wars.  Nights were quiet and the heady concoction of gardenia and jasmine that had steeped in the afternoon heat now hung, almost liquid, in the humid air.  Spared the robotic roar of air-conditioners, the houses that lined Pinehurst Street shared snippets of conversation, music, and laughter through their opened windows.  As the fragrant night darkened to velvet, a crowd began to gather at No. 1119, a gracious Tudor with an arched front door.  Summoned by an advertisement in the local paper, these lucky souls were there to witness, and to celebrate, a lovely event.  A night flower was about to bloom.

The night-blooming cereus is a strange plant; a rather ugly one, if I am completely honest.  A member of the cactus family, it has but one attribute worth noting, but that one attribute is a doozy.  Once a year and only in the dead of night, it produces a spectacular flower - snow white, spidery, magnificent.  Such a sight to behold, it prompted a group of its fans to form a club in Jackson, Mississippi in the 30’s.  The Night Blooming Cereus Club took its name from the popular song of the time… “Life is just a bowl of cherries.  Don’t take it ‘cereus’, life’s too mysterious”….. and the wonderful writer, Eudora Welty, was a founding member.  Whenever one of the club members had a night-blooming cereus about to do what its name suggests, they would take out an ad to announce it and members would flock to their home for a grand, all-night party.  As I write this, I am looking at one of the ancestors of Miss Welty’s night-blooming cereus, something that tickles me no end.

It was the creation of my new back garden that led me to visit Mississippi.  Having read that there was to be a plant sale featuring plants from the garden of one of my favourite authors, how could I stay home?  It was my first visit to Miss Welty’s home and stepping inside felt both revelatory and divinely familiar.  

There is a scent in the air of all well-mannered Southern houses, a melange of lemons, garden roses and old paper.  This perfume met me as soon as I walked through the door, so evocative that I almost looked around for my great-aunt.  The house has been saved as it was when Eudora lived there.  It’s almost as though she’s just stepped out to go to the store.  Books, oh my soul, books on every available surface - a significant sight that assuaged a boat load of housekeeper’s guilt for me.   Miss Welty’s writing desk sits by the large double window in her bedroom.  From here she could hear the music from the choral classes of Belhaven College across the street as it wafted through that open window.  I could almost see her - could almost hear the song.  

Her famous garden was so recognizable I felt as though I’d walked back into my own childhood.  Here were the old roses, the violets, the buckeye trees, fragrant and unbowed in the face of a promised early morning thunderstorm. Here were the camellias and the irises, serenely feminine in their spring finery. It was an unheard of luxury to gather up some of Eudora’s plants to include in my garden.  I see them now as I write, soaking up the morning sun, and I like to think a little of her remarkable spirit is now residing amongst my flowers. 

 Eudora Welty once wrote, 
“One place understood helps us understand all places better”. 
 I understood her place very well.
I’ll let you know when my night-blooming cereus is ready to bloom.  
We’ll have a party.
******

Sidenote:  ……In true Southern fashion, there was cake and lemonade being served on the side porch by ladies of the Welty Foundation and I sat to talk with them for a long while.  One told me of the days when her son was small and she would push his carriage past Miss Welty’s house on walks every afternoon.  Framed in that upstairs window like a painting, Eudora could be clearly heard, typing away.  She would look out as the lady passed by, spy the baby and, waving her hand out the window, she’d call out loudly…”Sweeeeet Baby” … and continue writing.  

See more photos from Eudora's garden on my Instagram Page.
And To Find Out More.....

A wonderful tour through the Welty garden. 
I adore this book.
Find it HERE

A slender volume that introduces one to Eudora.
I adore that cover photo, her high-school graduation shot.
She was sixteen.
Can you imagine looking that self-aware and intelligent at sixteen?!
Find it HERE

A delightful collection of gardening letters, 
something I can never get enough of.
Find it HERE

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Literary Rabbit Hole


The Literary Rabbit Hole
Any voracious reader will tell you, this activity is fraught with tempting diversions.  One book can easily lead to twenty - an interest can become a fascination with hardly a whisper of warning, and before you can say “Hermione Granger”, you have fallen down a wondrous rabbit hole with doors leading off to a multitude of magical destinations.  Is it any wonder London’s King Cross Station installed a Platform 9 and 3/4’s?

King's Cross Station, London

Fall in love with Mrs. Dalloway, for instance, and one is soon delightfully lost on the streets of Bloomsbury, making the acquaintance of all sorts of literary giants from E.M. Forster and T. S. Eliot.  Virginia introduces you to Vita Sackville-West and you take a lateral shift to a love of gardening.  Or you open a door to find Vanessa Bell, working on a portrait of her sister while across the room sits Duncan Grant, and in no time at all you have veered away from letters and plants and are immersed in art.  Soon you are in a rental car heading to Monk’s House and Sissinghurst -  Charleston House, and Berwick Church, a besotted and unabashed devotee. 

Charleston, Sussex, England

Or perhaps you discover an old copy of The Pursuit of Love. You are tickled and enchanted and before you know it, you are reading the all the many letters of the infamous Mitford sisters, from authoress Nancy to communist Jessica.  You become conversant on all things Mitford - from Unity’s unfortunate fascination with Hitler to Debo’s chickens.  If you’re not careful, you’re in another rental car on the way to Chatsworth.....

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England

Daphne du Maurier beckons to Cornwall, the Brontes will lure you to Yorkshire. 
Read Gerald Durrell and you are sure to long for the white-washed sun of Corfu.  But few literary rabbit holes are deeper and more mysterious than the Southern one. 

Most people are introduced to Southern literature by way of Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, a book that rest comfortably and deservedly atop many, if not most, “best books” lists.  From there they are likely to discover Faulkner, Capote and Twain and journeys to Mississippi, Alabama and Missouri are being planned.  I know from experience.  Flannery O’Connor has called me to Andalusia, her peacock-dotted farm in Milledgeville, Georgia and recently, on the week of my birthday, I accepted Eudora Welty’s invitation to visit her lovely Tudor home in Jackson, Mississippi.

It was the late Eudora’s birthday week as well, so how could I refuse?  Plus, known for her garden as she was, the Eudora Welty Trust was having a plant sale in her very own garden.  As I have been in the process of redoing our back garden, this was too good to pass up.  Some of Eudora’s plants in my very own garden, in view of my writing chair on the porch?  What inspiration that would be!  We took a slight side trip to somewhere utterly magical, too.
Watch this space for all the details next!

And I wonder….
Have you ever fallen down a literary rabbit hole like me?
If so, where did you go?
And who lured you there?
Or… who would you like to follow??
*******
Special Note:
Edward and I are now on Instagram!
Follow us for photos of our travels, our home, our garden, our adventures!
We’ll have fun!
Follow HERE.
*******
Some of the authors mentioned in this post, in case you’re interested….
Click on the titles to see more.







Saturday, May 2, 2015

The First Morning in May


Out in my back garden on the first morning in May.
Of course, this poem was being whispered through the rusting leaves. 
“Afresh, afresh, afresh.”

The Trees
by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Life With A Happy Dog - The Best Kind of Life in the World - A Spring List


Life With a Happy Dog, the Best Kind of Life in the World
A Spring List
Perhaps it’s the way the light has changed.  No longer the thin grey light of winter, it bursts pink and gold through the windows these mornings like laughter in church - startling, unexpected, and hard to resist.   I would think it only another of my eccentricities to be so affected by this brand-new season if it weren’t for the bubbling happiness of Edward - the spring in his step so pronounced these days, he practically bounces round the garden.  I laugh at the way his ears bob up and down as I try to keep up with him on our afternoon walks; his unabashed grins make me respond in kind.  We spend these breezy days between the just-departed cold and the soon-to-be swelter reacquainting ourselves with the infinite magic of Spring.  The sound of a fat robin, splashing about in the birdbath reaches us from an open window, we breathe in the fragrance of newly mown grass.  Like life itself, Spring days are short, and we know it. 
The evident joys of being a big, furry white dog are delicious reminders to me:  
It is Spring.
There is Beauty.
Life is Sweet.
Here’s a list of good things for Springtime.
Enjoy!

1.  The Best Spring Shirt
Linen is my go to fabric for both Spring and Summer.  
Yes, it wrinkles.
Beautifully.
I couldn’t resist this shirt, in pink.
Find it HERE.

2.  The Best Little Broom
The lure of Spring Cleaning is no mystery to me.  It follows the throwing open of windows and doors - suddenly we want to shake off the dust of the season of hibernation, delightful though it may be, and clean and polish till everything is as fresh and new.  After all, isn’t that what Mother Nature is busy doing just outside our door?  With our new stone courtyard, I find myself sweeping a bit more than usual.  
And isn’t this broom the most wonderful thing ever?
Straight out of Oz.
Find it HERE.

3.  The Best Brand New Antique Pillows
I cannot seem to keep these glorious pillows in my shop.  As soon as they appear, they disappear.  I can easily see why.  They add a bit of beauty and mystery to every room they adorn.  Some have been a wrench to part with, but I have many throughout my home.  I don’t find them that often, and I only choose the ones most special.
There are a few new large ones in the shop now.
Find them HERE.

4. The Best New Take on Toile
There are few fabrics as charming as toile.  I love a completely toile covered bedroom, for instance- beds, curtains, walls, ceiling.  Punctuated by wooden moldings and beams, that sort of room can be enchanting, particularly looking out on a bucolic view.  This new toile from Timorous Beasties takes that old pattern and turns it on its head a bit.  But I love it.
Gone are the milkmaids and sheep.  New, all scenes of London. 
Also designs for Glasgow and New York. 
Contemporary toile.
Marvelous.
Find it HERE.

5.  The Best Spring Bracelet
Rows of hydrangeas line our front garden.  They march down the drive and stand protectively, shoulder to shoulder, along the street.  They are just waking up from their winter’s nap and will soon explode into cotton-candy blues.
  I’ll soon cut masses of them for the house.  
Naturally, I am in love with this Hydrangea Petals bracelet.
Find it HERE.

6.  The Best Fairy House
In the garden.
Beside the pink foxglove, halfway hidden by a chartreuse Hosta.
Magic.
Find it HERE.

7.  The Best Costumes, Ever!
I know from the letters I’m getting,  a lot of us are watching Outlander.Originally enticed by the oh, so, accurate scenes of Scotland, I am now thoroughly besotted with it all. And not least for the amazingly beautiful costumes. (I’ve already knitted one of Claire’s fetching cowls, though mine was done in the color of the sea instead of the earth like hers.) 
 The costume designer for Outlander is Terry Dresbach and all her costumes for this show are intricate, authentic and jaw-dropping.  I thought you all might enjoy reading how these gorgeous outfits are created.
I loved this.
(And I want that Gathering dress, above,  for myself!)
Find all about it, HERE.

8.  The Best Video Ever
I’m not strictly a vegetarian, 
and I often feel guilty about it.
This video doesn’t help me feel a bit better.
You?

9. The Best New English Mystery
If, like me, you were utterly charmed by Granchester, the latest cozy mystery to cross the pond and land on our televisions as a delightful series this past winter, then you might be surprised to know that the books from which this production is taken are current ones, with a new book being published every May, according to the author’s website.  Perfect for those Spring evenings on the screened porch with only the wind chimes and hoot owls for a soundtrack.
Find the Books, HERE.
and, if you missed the recent BBC production, 
you must see it.
Find it HERE.

10.  The Best Colouring Book
Yes, Colouring Book
 A colouring book for adults.
 I know, I thought I misheard when I was informed about this, too. 
But no, it’s real, and it sounds like so much fun to me. 
One could, I suppose, say it fosters creativity, that it teaches a person about colour and form.  But who are we kidding?
It’s fun.
It’s just fun.
Find it HERE.

11.  Whiskeyknitters
Throughout time, knitting has been a congenial group activity.  Women, and occasionally men, have gathered together to knit and talk, to share and, well… occasionally, to drink whisky.  My knitting group is such a clan.  We meet once a month, though our schedule is loose, in an atmospheric pub.  We knit, we laugh, we talk about wildly divergent topics, and some of us drink whisky.  I myself rarely indulge - I have the longest drive and am loathe to drop stitches, something that I’ve noticed tends to happen when one imbibes that particular elixir.  
A few weeks ago, some members of the Whiskeyknitters took a field trip to my side of the city where there just happens to be the world’s most tempting yarn shop.  We shopped, had lunch, and then everyone came to The House of Edward for a visit.
Now the founding members of Whiskeyknitters have started a blog. 
They are fun, witty women.   It was bound to happen.
  I thought you might enjoy their account of our visit. 
Fun was had by all.
Read all about it HERE.

Hope you all are enjoying a Happy Spring.
Just like Edward!
Just like me.
xoxo,
p