Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Where to Begin…


Good morning Folks ~ I hope you all had a lovely weekend and that your week is off to a good start.This morning it looks like we may get some rain, which would be nice for the gardens.

Ok, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted about happenings here at Plum Cottage so I’ll try to get caught up in this post.

On the 23rd of January I received an email from Firefly Books Ltd. The lady wrote saying she had seen my blog and noticed that I love roses and enjoy gardening, and asked if would I like to receive books and then write up a review for them. She listed the three books with links to them on their website, and I wrote back and of course, said ‘Yes!’ Well, yesterday I was out front working in the patio area when I heard some talking and it was getting closer as it was coming up my driveway behind me.  I thought who the heck is that and was a little aprehensive. Well, it was a Fed Ex man with my box of books. Yay. I put the box inside my little screened porch, and finished what I was working on.

I brought the box inside and opened it. First photo not very interesting.





Oh my goodness, these are beautiful books. The one on roses is a hardback. I felt like it was Christmas. I felt thankful & blessed, and look forward to enjoying these books and writing up reviews for each one. Also, there will be a give-away, for each book in it’s review, so be watching for that.

Every spring I start thinking about roses, and flowers, even though I can grow them all year, this spring is no exception. But, living on my limited income, I can’t always just go out and get what I want. The other day, I was reading something and this verse jumped right out at me, “be content with such things as ye have”, Hebrews 13:5b. Oh my, a good lesson for me at this time. I walked around my humble little, weedy tropical gardens, looking at everything and started thanking God for my many blessings. The roses I do have, all have new growth, so many things are growing and blooming nicely, there are lots of bees and butterflies, birds using the birdbath, gentle breezes, cool weather, scents are also filling the air. I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, clean hot and cold water, food to eat, clothes to wear, a van that gets me where I need to go, and so much more.

Below is part of my driveway, there is more behind me from where I am standing. This photo was taken after I raked up a LOT of fallen leaves and debris. It looks so much better.


Here are two photos of garden paths on the west side of my main garden area. What paths you might ask, as they are hidden by weeds and overgrowth. There’s a path right in front of me in this photo, and one to the left on the other side of the crepe myrtle trunk and ferns.


Here is a shot of some forward progress. Still a lot more to be done, but this is a start. One thing that motivated me to really get going, is one of the ladies of my small group in the BSF Bible study that I go to, wanted to come see my gardens. YIKES! I gave her excuses as to why I couldn’t have her over right now, and she graciously said to not worry, and just when I can. Here’s the other side to this little story, she has cancer that has come back after many years being in remission and starts her first chemo treatment today. I had asked her if she needed any help with anything or just wanted some company, to let me know. What she asked for, a walk around my gardens where she could enjoy the flowers and I could tell her what things are, and I denied her her request. I feel terribly ashamed. But, I am working on making this little place presentable for visitors. I may not get all of the property cleared first, but that will happen eventually. Keep me in your prayers. Pray for Ola also as she starts these treatments.


For the past two weeks I have been crocheting every single day on prayer lapghans. One was for Ola, one is for another lady in the larger BSF group, Ros, who also has cancer and has been going through treatments. These two ladies have both touched my heart with their love of God and their positive attitudes about their health.

Ola was given hers last week and she loves it. I had asked both ladies what their favorite colors are then went to Walmart to see what they had in the yarn dept. Ola is going to use her lapghan each visit for chemo which lasts 4 hours each session.

Here are the yarn colors.


The variagated yarn to the right was for Ola, the other two colors for Ros.

(the colors in this photo below aren’t true, taken with my smart phone, as I needed to buy new rechargeable batteries for my camera, what a shock the price for them was since the last time we bought any. But, they do last for years.)

I used the Granny square pattern for both lapghans and a large hook.



I hope to be starting another one soon, after I find out the colors needed. Smile

During Christmas time I made two beaded hearts for my sisters, and sent them out last week. They love them, and now I can share them with you here.

We lost our mother the end of last year and I wanted them to know they are loved, so made these for them. Favorite colors used, one likes birds, the other peacock feathers.



Ok, I think that is it. My stomach is starting to tell me it is time to break the fast. Sky looks a little clearer so maybe I’ll be heading outside to work on a project of two. I want to work in the screened room off the back of house. I keep trying to think of a way to fix the wrecked screens by the raccoons, one that won’t cost me $800 as I was quoted by one screen repair person. My dear husband would have already had this fixed, but alas, he’s not here to do earthly projects for and with me anymore. Until I figure it out, I’ll work back there making it pretty anyway. Dealing with plantar fasciitis for 5 months last summer and dealing with some depression, really put a halt to my working on things.

This is the east wall of DH’s workshop, which organizing the inside of is another project, that will take time. (Plum color faded out after years of sunlight hitting it.) We found those screen door inserts curbside, aren’t they cool?


This is looking northeast.


This is looking at the west wall of scullery. I have some nice outdoor fabric to cover that cushion with, and that may be my project for today.


It is the beginning of a new year, and with God all things are possible. He is my strength when I am weak, and I am to be anxious for nothing as He is working all things out for good and His glory and honor.

Have a great week wherever you are, whatever you are doing. If things aren’t going so smoothly, call out to God and ask for help. If things are going smoothly, thank Him.



Anonymous said...

You do amazing work with your gardens. And your handiwork is beautiful. Those books look really good. I have some on gardening in small spaces. I always buy David Austin rose bushes! I love English roses and they are gorgeous and smell wonderful! Andrea

Nancy J said...

Your hearts, so much love and thought into each one. Ola's crochet is so right for her with those colours, and she will understand. Your ferns, beautiful greenery there, and then came those books. What a delight, and they are just the right ones for you to review. Enjoy your reading.

Jane said...

You're such a sweetheart, Rainey! Just wanted to let you know that in case you didn't. I love the peacock feather on your beaded heart. I'm sure your garden will thrill Ola. It looks like such a magical place.

Annie said...

I feel like I've been to your place and caught up on all the news. Those hearts were beautiful and you have a great garden to work in.

Ruth Hiebert said...

You have so much going on.i am happy for you, that you get to read these books and give a review.I love seeing all the growth around your yard.Hope this week will bring you some special blessings and give you reasons to smile.

Terra Hangen said...

You are such a talented sweetie, making the prayer lapghans and the hearts for your sisters. I don't have that sewing/crocheting talent; we each have our own talents which makes the world a richer place. Is that a hot tub I see? Those books will light up your home on a dark winter day.

Rebecca said...

You really MUST invite Ola to your place SOON. It would not matter to me if all was perfectly groomed or not....there is somethings SO restorative about your place (at last as viewed in the photos). The afghans turned out beautifully, and the blue heart just might be my favorite out of the many I've seen!

Enjoy those books, Lorraine! They look "right up your alley" :)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Hi FL, I had Timber Press contact me a time ago to review gardening books for them. It is fun! Enjoy it! It is almost Florida weather here! But snow is on the way! Don't love the temperature fluctuations not good for bugs or plants! I was really ready to attack the weeds! But wait there is snow in the forecast! Stay comfortable and you are so inspiring in your garden and with your projects! Just beautiful! Love from the north, LVL and The Herbal Husband

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Listen lady!!! If someone wants to enjoy your garden, you don't need to tidy up!! Your lapghans are great and I know your friends love and appreciate them. Those chemo rooms are chilly. Great gift to receive...being asked to review garden books. Who would be better suited than YOU!! A blessing for sure.
xx, Carol

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

The beaded hearts you made for your sisters are beautiful and such a special way to let them know that you love them.
Woohoo to the garden books to review. As a garden communicator I've been reviewing books for various publishers or authors for quite a few years and can't seem to ever say no. Any I don't want to keep on my bookshelves become a blog giveaway or door prize for my garden club.
I'll bet the photos in the DA Rose book are stunning!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Those screen door inserts are wonderful!!! You are keeping quite busy. The books are great. So much going on. I'm behind on all your projects. All the best!

NanaDiana said...

You have SUCH a good soul, Lorraine. Your gardens are lovely and I know how much work has gone into them already. I hope you can figure out how to get the screens fixed. That is too bad and that is a lot of money to fix them.

Any chance there is a botanical garden near you? Maybe you could take that lady with the cancer there and spend a few hours with her...that way she could enjoy the gardens and you would not have to feel guilty...and I know you do (because you are a lot like me that way).

Thanks for catching us up on your week/life. I hope you have a great rest of the week, Lorraine. xoDiana

Beatrice Euphemie said...

How wonderful to get the beautiful books, Lorraine! I love gardening books and spend most of my time reading them or other non-fiction books like craft and decorating books. That's why I don't have time to read regular books! The afghans you crocheted are so pretty and look so warm and cuddly. I am so sorry to hear of what your friends are going through. My Mom had lymphoma and I went with her for her chemo treatments and I know she would have loved having one of those beautiful blankets to comfort her. She overcame her cancer and lived another 20 years:) Gardens are lots of work and it is easy to get overwhelmed. I'm sure your friend understands. Your sisters must love their beaded hearts. Hope your week is full of many more blessings. Hugs xo Karen

Deb said...

Hello - Your yard and garden are lovely - no wonder your friend wants to come and walk around. I know you will be able to have her over soon. I love the lapghans you are making for your friend. Those are beautiful. Those books look very nice - you will enjoy reading and reviewing them, I know. Have a lovely week.

Melanie said...

Lots going on in your world with new books to read and review, gardens to be cleared out, beading and crocheting! I do think you should invite your friend over, even if your gardens aren't cleared out the way you would like. I think she will enjoy them, no matter what. I know I certainly wouldn't care if a friend's garden wasn't cleared out. I'd be there to enjoy the company and see the beautiful flowers that were pointed out to me! Have a lovely rest of your week.

Cheryl said...

Such lovely things you do, Lorraine, out of a giving heart! I am sure that your friend Ola will enjoy your gardens as they are . . . filled with God's beautiful creation. They will do her heart good!

Stacey said...

Such sweet kindness you are sharing by making those crochet blankets for others. I bet your friend will not mind if your gardens aren't perfect. Your garden is real and she'll love it so call her up and have her over. :)

Betsy Adams said...

What a busy lady you are. Busy is GOOD --as long as you/we take time for rest and relaxation...

Love the books --and you will enjoy giving reviews..

You are working hard on your garden... We don't have nearly as much garden in our yard --but WE know how hard it is to keep up, especially keeping up with all of the Weeds... That is a non-ending project in itself. Good Luck...

Love your little hearts... SO special.


Deborah Montgomery said...

Those lapghans and beaded hearts are wonderful expressions of your creativity and love. I am taking a crocheting class (one time) to learn how to put a border on a knitted baby blanket I've made. I learned to crochet as a child, and hope it will come back to me. I'm currently working on knitting projects, but I hear crochet goes so much faster, so maybe I'll take that up, haha!
I know you want things to look perfect for your friend, I'm like that, too. But she will so enjoy your gardens as is, I'm sure.
You're right, we have so many things to be grateful for. I do understand about the depression. When it hits, it's like slogging through mud, and it's hard to feel motivated to get things done. I was going to finish my small eBook on coping with depression, but haven't had the energy, haha! I just keep pushing myself to do the next thing, sounds like you're doing that as well. And beauty is so important, isn't it? Very healing.
Love to you, Deborah

Junkchiccottage said...

I always love to see your pretty garden. These books look heavenly I cannot wait to see your reviews on them.

Andrea said...

Hello Lorraine, you are so kind and generous for others, so you are blessed as well. I love those books too, but prefer the 2nd one maybe. I remember putting in Facebook that i like some seeds of some plants, and some generous souls from the US gave me some through the years. How wonderful it is to be with kindred spirits. I just try to pass on the positive energies through the plants i also give to a few people, and i hope kindness is magnified. Thanks God.

By the way what is "plantar fasciitis"? I don't know if you just concocted the term or there really is one, haha!

A Joyful Cottage said...

The lapghans are beautiful, Rainey. I'm sure your friends are very appreciative. I'm so glad you were chosen to review those books. I can't think of a better person to choose. Your gardens are enchanting, even though you think they need work. Your beadwork, as usual, is gorgeous. Your sisters are very blessed. It's so nice to read this post and know you are in a good place. I can tellthat by the way you are counting your blessings. Hugs, Nancy

Celestina Marie said...

Your crocheted blankets are gorgeous and what a blessings they will be to the receivers. You are an amazing talent. Love your hearts and all the beautiful details you add. What a wonderful variety of books you received. They look so interesting and I know you are enjoying reading and reviewing.
Wishing you many special days ahead filled with continued blessings.
Hugs for a nice weekend ahead. xo

sharing divine inspiration said...

Hi Lorraine,

Your purple and green lapghan is gorgeous! My daughter Tracy is getting married in July and eggplant, lavender, and sage green are the colors for the wedding. Looking at your beautiful blanket I am thinking that I should make her a blanket in those colors too.

It was nice to stop by and catch up with your blog.

God bless,

outlawgardener said...

You are so talented and your beautiful creations will be such a blessing to the recipients. We're always our own worst critics in our gardens. Your garden may look weedy to you but to me it seems lush, tropical, and inviting! I hope you find an inexpensive solution to your damaged screen problem. You're in my prayers as you continue to work through the loss of your dear husband.

M.K. said...

Hi, FL :) Your place looks good, cozy. I like that screened room, have never seen anything like it! Would be a great place for a soak in that big tub. I hope you can find a way to get the screening fixed. At first I thought, "Oh, screens. Those aren't too hard. I bet she could learn to do it herself." Then I saw the room you were talking about! That's a lot of screen. Your hubby was quite a handy man! Keep thinking of sunshine and spring.

Karen said...

Dear Rainey, take it from someone who has umpteen visitors every year.......you are your own garden's harshest critic! I do the same thing, trust me, I worry if everything isn't perfect, but most people who love gardens never look at all the work that needs doing, they only appreciate the beauty. I'm so happy that Ola has you for a dear friend and I know she will love your garden when she visits. I will keep her in my prayers.

Darcie said...

That box of books looks like it was written just for you! How exciting to get into those books and read about what you are passionate about.

Your sisters will love those beaded pillows...how precious! They are made straight from your heart and will touch their heart in the process.

Cathy @ My 1929 Charmer said...

Some great books you scored...and as hard work as it is it must be great to work out in your garden...it was 44 and sunny here today and I almost did but i know cold would be back in a few days and I should leave the ground cover until at least march. Gosh that old cast iron rub would be a great item to make a garden out of . God does get us through so much and where would we be without him...

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I love your 'green' natural driveway! Actually, I like it more then my hard aggregate driveway.
You'll be busy reading all those books. They all look like very interesting and informative. Enjoy!

Anne Payne said...

Oh wow!!! Your garden/yard is like a tropical paradise. Lush is right! I bet it is gorgeous when everything starts to bloom. Living down there in paradise has its advantages.

Rainey, your beadwork is extraordinary!!! I'm sure your sisters were thrilled to receive such a loving gift.

I love the screen inserts on your DH's workshop! Such a clever idea. Do you mind if I pin the image on my Pinterest Reuse/Recycle board?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend! I know I have been awol and I apologize. I do think about you often and pray for you. I will remember your friends in prayer too.

September Violets said...

I missed this post earlier, and it's such a good one! I try to never be ashamed of my home and gardens when people want to visit, otherwise I'd never have anyone come to visit. I do hope you can have your friend over for a garden tour, even though we always see fault with our own places, all I see in your photos are gorgeous plants mingling and growing beautifully together! I'm sure your friend would find enjoyment and peace among your happy plants. Thanks for sharing your garden with us ;) Sending prayers for your friends and hoping the cancer can leave them once again. Your lapghans are beautiful ... really like green & purple together in those soft hues. Have a great week!