Friday, June 27, 2014

Being creative by using what you have

Good morning Folks ~ Here it is Friday already.  It is hot and humid down here in s.e. FL. I’ve been staying indoors for the most part.  After Monday’s 3 hour work out in my main garden area, I’ve not felt like working outside. Next week we are supposed to have cooler weather. I hope so, because by then the grass will really need mowing.

Inside I’ve been decluttering, sorting, rearranging. It can be hard at times, getting rid of things, but in the end, it can certainly be good for body, mind and soul. Plus rearranging things gives one a new look and perspective.

I’ve rearranged old Oriental rugs in living room and bedroom. I’m not able to empty the bedroom at this time to lay down the rest of laminate flooring that is stacked in the workshop, so I did the next best thing, worked with rugs to cover up old gray linoleum and repair work on the floor itself. It made a big difference and I feel better.  The little wicker rocker I just got for $3 at a yard sale is in there and last night Miss Tork used it as her bed.  Sweet.

There’s work to be done throughout this little cottage, all in due time. I want to get more sheets  of faux bead board paneling for the bedroom. That’s what I’d like to do next, at least one whole wall, which is the west wall and the wall one sees coming into the bedroom.

The cottage is tiny by today’s standards, 665 sq. ft. But, these days, there is a major trend of downsizing to smaller homes for lots of reasons. We moved into this little place in the summer of 1973, after coming home from my husband’s tour of duty for the US Navy, in Rota, Spain where we lived for three years. This little place sat on 1/3 of an acre and is an L- shaped piece of property. It is now 1/4 of an acre as the county came through with imminent domain, and took footage across the front of our property to take the road from two lanes and no sidewalks, making it into 5 lanes and sidewalks. The noise level has increased, and traffic is much closer than it was, but we worked on making this our little haven in this crazy world that we live in. It is our humble home sweet home.

We built a workshop, a dream of DH’s, and a couple of outbuildings, all to code. I have a small shed for storage of bulk items and my washing machine. I ‘solar’ dry the laundry. Gardens have been created through the years, and junk is being cleared from the property, part of DH’s last wishes for me. It is slow going, but it’s only been a little over 18 months, and everything takes time.

I live on a limited income and am thankful for the many blessings in my life. Yesterday I went to Walmart for a few groceries and to see if they had any nice but inexpensive flat full sheets to use as chair covers for a couple of chairs in the living room. (I am looking for a couple of matching chairs, but they have to be a certain size and of course the right price too. These two chairs have seen better days, for now they will keep on working.) Anyway, I stopped at the Salvation Army thrift store first to see what they might have, nothing, on to Walmart, zilcho there too, and then to Target, and nothing their either. Plain and boring and did I really want to spend the money on something I wouldn’t be happy with?

I thought of a bolt of fabric my boss was going to get rid of and I took and thought why not. Let’s see if it will work. The fabric is upholstery and very nice. I cut it to the size of a full sheet, lengthwise, and width was just about right so I didn’t have to cut that. The fabric is just draped, easy on, easy off.

When I put the fabric on the chairs, I couldn’t quit smiling. It is so ‘gypsyish’ and goes with our style, it changes the whole look of the room, adding more richness in color.  I love it. We have always been eclectic, so this is just part of who I am. My husband would have liked this new look.

The living room is a wreck as I’ve got books and magazines stacked that I am going through and other stuff that I’m figuring out what to do with.  (Excuse the hanging wire as it goes to the stained glass shade.)

The fabric colors go great with the old Oriental rug in here and with all of the art and other colorful things too.  We paid $5 for the lamp shade, and my husband took two matching pieces of stained glass in our collection to make the piece that is in the window. The driveway is on that side of house so after he left this planet, I moved this piece from bedroom window to the living room window.  The morning sunlight shines nicely through it and sheds a lovely glow in the living room.



Morning sunlight into messy living room, which I need to prep and paint.  It looks much nicer in here when the little sofa is cleared off.


This is a view from the living room into my space where I blog and also create.


Here is my latest little craft project, the little beaded strawberry.

I just hung it over the American Indian pincushion I have. We found her many, many years ago, probably at the local flea market we were going to at the time.  DH made the fish lucite etching, and I did the beading for the necklace that it is hanging from. I have Indian blood on my father’s side, and I am a Pisces, oh yea and I like strawberries.


The strawberry is made of a nice creamy colored moire fabric from a dear friend, who gifted me with some different materials from her stash.  Thank you Maggie.

I used some sweet seed beads gifted from another friend, Chris, a few years back when I first started using beads. The felt for the top I had, bought at either Walmart or Michael’s.


Etching done on the back side of lucite domed piece. DH also did etchings on polished seashells.  I’ll have to see if I can find one or two of them to share here.


Well, here you’ve had another glimpse into Plum Cottage living. 

Thank you for visiting.

Hope you all have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

Remember to be thankful and content, and be creative with what you have too. You’ll be surprised and pleased with the happy results. I am. Winking smile


Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer is here

Hi Folks ~ Heat, humidity, afternoon thunderstorms and hurricane season for the next 6 months. Hopefully, we’ll have no hurricanes.  With all of the rain we’ve been having everything is growing like crazy. Mowing is a weekly occurrence if everything cooperates. Last week I flooded the lawn mower so that it wouldn’t start, only I didn’t know that that was the reason why it wouldn’t start. I cranked and cranked on the rope and nothing, gave up, came inside, frustrated and cried a bit. Sheesh! I was all set to mow because it was early morning and nice out and rain was expected later in the day. Well, after being inside for a bit, I had the thought, and feel it was God, to go back outside and try it again. So, I did, and after the second crank it started just like normal. What a relief!  I thanked God and happily went around mowing the place. This lawn mower is probably at least 20 years old and I hope it lasts me a few more years.

This morning I noticed the grass needs mowing again, but I already had it in my mind to weed-wack so that’s what I did. Plus weeded, trimmed and raked, for about three hours. Maybe I’ll mow tomorrow morning. When I’m working outside, I have a ‘sweat rag’, and water.  You can’t drink too much water, especially in the summer. You must keep hydrated. If I get out there by 8, by 11 I’ve done enough and had enough of the heat.  Thankfully I do have some shaded areas to work in too, and that helps.

I don’t know if any of you are having this problem or not, but for my reading list of blogs I follow, I’m only getting one blog at a time coming up, instead of the normal list like usual.  I went to Blogger to see if anyone else is having the problem and they are and the ‘powers that be’ told the poster thanks for the tip and they are working on the problem.

This morning I got a load of laundry started in my little washhouse and when I came out the door a reflection in the big bird bath caught my eye.  I had to run in for the camera.




‘Hugs-n-kisses’ ~ I just love this hibiscus. No two blooms are a like.


I can’t quit taking photos of the Vanda orchid ‘Miss Joachim’ either.

This cluster is just above my head and you can see some in the background that are at least 10’ into the air. These grow like crazy and I am so thankful for that. I have them all over in the different gardens.  Just break off a piece with roots and stick it wherever I feel like it.




This is ‘Granada’, the rose reflected in the photos at the top of this post. These blooms are a couple of days old so are fading from the original look, but I think they are just as beautiful.



‘Maman Cochet’ climbing rose. The blooms is pretty large and the scent wonderful. You can see part of my hand holding the bud up as it was drooping.



I loved the sunlight hitting this bloom.


This is one of my unknown mini roses.  It is really sweet.


Saturday morning I got the urge to go to yard/garage sales on the way to work so I left early. I ended up spending a whopping $9. Here’s what I got below.

I picked out these frames at one yard sale.  They had been 50 cents, then marked down to 25 cents, and since it was after 10 and she was ready to close up, I got them for around 12 cents each.  There are 17 frames which I plan to use for embroidery pieces to sell in my Etsy shop.


This one feels sort of like suede and is embossed with peacock feathers. I may keep this one for myself. Time will tell.


I’m going to use the beads from the bracelet in crafting, they are plastic not glass.  The earrings I love. I do not have pierced ears so wear and am on the lookout for the older earrings, either clip or screw on types.  My husband would have liked these.  I wore them last evening just for myself. Another name he had for me was ‘earring lady’, because I  match my earrings to whatever colorful top I am wearing. These are sweet and dangle.


This is a sweet small wicker rocker. It needs cleaning and maybe painting, and a little repair, but the price was definitely right.  It is comfortable to sit in, just the right size. Right now it is in the living room, not sure where it will end up.


I love ‘love birds’ and this is now in my collection.


Thank you all for your prayers and encouraging words for my talk at my widow’s group. They said I did fine. You can read what I talked about on our widow’s blog. Anna The Prophetess.

Being a widow is a daily, learning to live, differently. Last week I was feeling down for a few days, then the next morning I woke up feeling positive again. I thanked God for the change in my feelings. I know friends are praying and that really helps me all the time.

Today happens to be ‘International Widow’s Day’. If you think of it, take a minute to pray for widows all around the world. Some have it really, really rough. What some of them are going through makes my experiences seem small. We all have one thing in commen in this sisterhood, and that is missing our husbands.

I found out about a book through Grace Gems that I ordered yesterday. The author is Octavius Winslow (1808-1878). The day after my dear husband went to be with God I found a writing by Octavius Winslow online and it touched my heart deeply.  The writing is “The Godly Widow Confiding in the Widow's God”. The verse: "Let thy widows trust in me." —Jeremiah 49:11. This writing was just what I needed right then. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, God is my strength, seeing me through each and every single day. I am loving Him more and being drawn closer to Him with each new day.

My dear husband told me about Grace Gems a few years back and I get their daily devotionals in my email. He thought I would like them and I do and am being blessed by them, and feel my husband’s love for me too.

Devotional Studies on the 12 Things Scripture Call 'Precious'

I will close this post with a gem from Grace Gems, written by Octavius Winslow.

Lock your hand in His!

(Octavius Winslow, 1866)

"Our Father in Heaven." Matthew 6:10

"Father!" It is the language of the believing heart.

Oh, it is a marvelous fact, a stupendous truth--
that God should be our Father!
Higher than this, the soul cannot rise.
Love then reaches its deepest yearnings.
Only realize this fact, that God is your Father, and it explains . . .
  every chapter of your history,
  every event of your life,
  every sentiment, feeling,
  and desire of your soul.

All that is omnipotent in strength,
all that is profound in wisdom,
all that is tender in sympathy,
all that is rich in infinite plenitude--
is bound up in the endearing epithet, "Father!"

That Father is yours!

You were His child from eternity!

Stupendous thought!

His love to you,
His choice of you,
His purpose to adopt you,
His plan to redeem, sanctify,
and bring you to glory--
are eternal acts of His sovereign grace!

Believe that all that your Father does is for your best;
that your highest interests are all in His hands,
and in His hands are all secure.

Lock your hand in His,
willing to be led,
just where your Father leads.


Have a nice week ~ FlowerLady

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Flowers, goodies, needlework, T-storms

Good afternoon Friends ~ It is Sunday and hot and humid, it is 84 and feels like it is 94 with the humidity at 71%. We’ve had some nasty T-storms the past few days, strong winds, heavy rains and thunder and lightening. More rain is expected this afternoon and the next few days.  We’ve needed the rain, and I am thankful for it.

The gardens love the rain too, not just flowers but weeds too. I’ve got vines and weeds taking over the ‘back 40’, and other areas at the back of the property. UGH!  There’s nothing like ‘liquid sunshine’ for making things grow.

Here are  some of the blooms in the gardens right now.

This is my favorite hibiscus ~ ‘Hugs-n-Kisses’.





Night blooming jasmine.


‘Plumeria’ a bloom blown out of one of my three plumeria trees in the front garden.


Rubber vine


Spicy Jatropha


Vanda ‘Miss Joachim’








Remember me telling about receiving a monetary gift from a dear family member and she told me to spend it however I saw fit.  I told you I thought of a bread machine since my old one that served me well for 14 years pooped out recently. Well, I ordered the same make, and picked it up Friday morning before work. It’s a little bigger than the last one, but basically the same. I did peel off the label after I made a loaf of oatmeal bread yesterday morning before work.



This was a new recipe which had more oatmeal in it than what I usually use, and while the bread ‘fell’ a little Sad smile it was still delicious! This  does happen occasionally, not the fault of the machine, it could be any number of reasons.  There is something really wonderful about homemade bread.  The aroma while it was baking was so ‘homey’ and comforting.


With the money left-over , I decided to get a new ironing board cover. This old one has served me many years, but it’s not really me.


I found out about these hand made quilted ironing board covers from a blogging friend. She bought one and posted about it here. I emailed her and asked her where she got her cover and she sent me the link to the lady who makes these and sells them in her Etsy shop. You can visit her here.

She mailed it right out and I think that was Thursday and I got it Sat. afternoon. She’s in Maine and I’m way down here in s.e. FL.

I love this and the quality is and the workmanship is GREAT!


Here’s the quilting pattern.  Definitely made for ‘FlowerLady’ who loves roses.

The bread machine and the ironing board cover will make me think of this dear person in my family when I use them. I want to say a public thank you to her right now, without telling who she is. She knows.


Now, here are some needlework projects. This one below is still a work in progress. Silk ribbon embroidery, and a crocheted/beaded trim. I love working with threads, hooks, needles, beads and ribbon.


Not sure what I’m going to do with this one yet.


Here is more silk ribbon embroidery ~ Started out with white ribbon for rose and leaves, three different sizes of silk ribbon, colored with alcohol ink markers. The little French knots are  a variegated purple embroidery floss.






The frame I picked up at a little flea market in the spring. It was perfect for this piece, made for a friend who had a birthday. Yellow roses are special to her. I also colored the roses on the frame with the alcohol ink markers.


Tomorrow is our widow’s group, ‘Friends Needing Friends’, meeting and luncheon, and I’ll be talking in front of the group. Yikes! First on how I came to start the blog (one year ago), for the group, and secondly I’ll be talking on the widow ‘Anna the Prophetess’, and how this widow in the Bible has inspired me in my widowhood journey.  If you think of it, say a little prayer for me. Writing a blog is a whole different thing than speaking in front of a group.

“The Lord is my strength”.

He is how I’m able to move forward and grow in His love, grace and mercy.

Thank you all again for being such a great bunch of friends. You’ve blessed, encouraged and inspired me in many ways.

Have a GREAT week whatever you do. 

Trust in the Lord. Call on Him and He will work all things out.