Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dutch Front Door, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 15

Hi Dear Folk,

We are coming along in the garden.  Mr. B. cleaned out the pond, second raking on the lawn and another cut.  Sewed some seed where we left the oak leaves on all winter and it killed the grass, ugh!  Cleaned up wood pile, where some wood had toppled over and off the top.  I have a water tub on my Simla Patio and after many years I think the inner hard plastic is leaking.  It did have a good innings, maybe I can seal it up somehow.

Temps are warming up and is meant to be in the eighties on the weekend, so maybe can get to the fun stuff, planting seeds and flowers, I am very late on seed planting, but there you are.

A friend always starts of lots of veges and shares, so I'm good there.  Where to plant the tomatoes, I think they shouldn't be planted in the same soil too often, I do rotate, but probably not enough.

Just want to potter and chill this weekend.

Also The Boy has a visitor.

Take care,

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My American Dream

Hi Dear Folk,

I know at one time I did have more tulips, but I think the squirrels ate them.  I've heard they don't like daffodils, but do like tulips, so I picked the odd ones that have sprung up on their own throughout my garden, and put them right here on the desk where I sit and can enjoy them.

Even in their demise I think they're lovely, such shape and inner beauty.

My American Dream, this is it.  A Teardrop Camper with a Clam Shell back and I'll take the Caddi Convertible that I drove for one whole summer when I first came here, and lets set off down Route 66.

When I saw this stamp I had to go back for it, I had a coupon for 50% off from a competitor which I used at Michael's to buy this.

Back in the fifties, sixties and I think even early seventies, American families would load the kids up in the estate wagon, towing the pop up camper and take off out West on a month long camping trip. To view all the kitsch stops on the way. Long gone are those days.  I doubt if many people take much more than one week off at a time, if not just a long weekend.  Times change.

Route 66 is that iconic road to travel, to step back in time. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath. Route 66 was the first highway of it's kind, built in 1926 to connect rural and urban America, 2,400 miles. It was the road the Dust Bowl migrants used to head out to California, their dream.  Only about 85% survives today.

Depending on which way you are going, out East here I'd start in Chicago, Illinois, then through St. Louis, Missouri, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Amarillo, Texas, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, ending in Los Angeles, California.  The USA is huge, you can drive a whole day or more and the scenery hardly changes at all, not like tiny Britain, where the scenery changes quite quickly.  So would it truly be my dream.  I would not want to see the ghost towns, where dreams have faded, but still somewhere deep down inside me I want to drive it.  I want to try the old style motels and eat at ma and pa diners, see the attractions, we all still dream.

Bad news at the thrift shop, I succumbed to this hand knitted brand new bag.  It had obviously been someones Xmas present, as the gift receipt was still inside dated 9th December.  I love it.

Six Poppytrail plates, made in California, the design is Dahlia.  My absolute favourite design by Poppytrail is the design named Homestead, I think that goes along with Route 66.  I have a friend who is in her nineties and many years ago she saw it in a department store and bought the whole Homestead dinner service, she has always loved it.

A little European black Austrian crystal necklace, they always sparkle.

My beautiful deep purple lilac, which only last about a week and we've had a lot of rain, so will they have flowers next weekend, I do so hope.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Ice Skates for Dutch Canals, Philadelphia Flower Show - Part 14

Hi Dear Folk,

Trying to wind this down on my Philadelphia Flower Show pics.  Some Flower Ice Skates.  Nothing is more Dutch than winter skating on the canals in Holland, this is a theme of many Dutch artists.

Toiling might be the word for trying to bring my garden under some kind of control after the winter.  five hours of work on Sunday and five hours on Monday I think is toiling.  I love the planting and sewing but I do not like all that clean up.

Not sure what those squirrels have been up to in the oak tree, some housekeeping I think, there was a huge pile of minor twigs underneath the tree which I would attribute to nest building, absolutely huge.

A friend stopped by and dropped off the two figs trees that she had promised me.  I love the shape of fig leaves.  I'm going to keep them out in the summer, one I will try and winter over outside, the other I will bring inside, and see how they both do.

So I might say I'm about 70% done on my spring clean up in the garden.  As everyone knows gardening is a never ending project.

Sunday was beautiful, today was overcast and as the day went on it got colder, so glad I was out in the morning and early afternoon, because later one felt quite chilled and this evening I have my stove on.

How is your spring clean up going?


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

10% Done

Hi Dear Folk,

I'm up with the lark, as went to bed at 9:30PM so up at 3:30AM.  I like being up early, hearing the birds rise.  I sat outside on my newly cleaned kitchen patio, on my roadside find white wicker chair, with my little green wooden footstool, under my umbrella with tiny tile table and a cup of tea.  Yes I actually get to steal time and enjoy all that hard work.

Mission accomplished on several fronts, doesn't that feel good.

  • Finished off linen closet
  • Bags of stuff taken over to the thrift
  • Finished assembling and putting up bathroom shelves, but did not get to big clean
  • Kitchen patio weeded, swept, pots and furniture put out
  • Simla patio weeded, swept, pots and all the plants that I was wintering over, geraniums, bougainvillea and calla lilies, put out, now must keep a sharp eye on nighttime temperatures
  • Mailed out the taxes, load off ones mind
With the patios cleaned up, I now only have 90% of the yard and gardens left, but at least I have a sane cleaned up corner to sit in.

Mr. B. took over The Boys wheels and tires to have them assembled and balanced.  As obviously you can't get them all in a Miata, sports car.  I have spoken with The Boy about the need to cut back to austerity measures, at least for a while.  As one does have to reign things in at some point. He's happy though because he is getting some money back on his taxes, which is more than we are. 

That just about sums up our extended weekend, except for making a Jewish apple cake.  Back to work.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Miniature Settings, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 13

Hi Dear Folk,

I always enjoy the miniature vignettes.

Esher's Amsterdam, which way is up?

Van Gogh.

A Dutch Fairy Garden


Changing the Ending

Hi Dear Folk,

I heard a quote in a talk yesterday, which caught my attention and I thought that I would share it.

"You cannot go back and start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending."

Carl Brand

Sunday, April 16, 2017

List of Every Day Life Weekend

Hi Dear Folk,

Lists help the mind clear it's clutter.  So hopefully this will be a weekend to tick off the list, and clear the clutter of my mind, if that is at all possible.

  • Finish cleaning up linen closet and all things that need to go back in or thrift.
  • Assemble bathroom shelves and finish tidying up in there, followed by big clean
  • Start on garden clean up.

All sounds such fun doesn't it?  

I'm taking Monday off as a PTO day.  At work this is not one of our holiday weekends.  I got to leave work early on Friday, which meant I got home at my old usual time 5:30PM.  Tuesday I left work early as was the celebration of the Memorial of Christ's Death, which always falls on Nisan 14 after sunset and I would never have made it if I had not left early.  Was good to be there.

Saturday I also went to a memorial service for a friend who died, Sharon.  A time to remember, Ecclesiastes 7:1 "A good name is better than good oil, and the day of death is better than the day of birth."  Lovely to see a lot of old friends.

Afterwards I went over to my friends house to get my taxes finished off.  This is Janine's last year of tax preparation, she is retiring.  Just need to get them mailed off on Monday.  Nice to chat, Graham her husband and I have known each other since he was three and I was two, how great is that?  To have a friendship that has lasted a life time and two continents.

In the above photo second from left is Graham's mum Doreen and Graham standing in front of her and third from left is my mum with me standing in front, wearing my National Health glasses and a tartan kilt, South End on Sea, circa 1956.

And as this photo sat beside the other one in the album I thought I'd show you this, my mum, sister BB and I circa 1960 Twickenham.  Doesn't my mum look lovely in her dress coat?  And us in ours.

The Boy worked on his car all day Saturday with a friend, he put in new adjustable suspension, now the car is all of one inch lower all round.  Really, all that work and money for one inch?  I guess you have to be an enthusiast to understand.  Now the new rims and summer tires will go on.  He enjoys doing it, it's his hobby and that's what counts.

Before he left, Rob started to assemble my toilet shelf unit, which I had bought at BBB, going back and buying another one, but one piece was not drilled out.  I'm feeling this is an ill fated project.  So bathroom is still a mess.  Mr.B.  took that unit back and exchanged it for yet another one, that hopefully will be OK, and we can assemble it today.

Mr. B.  dropped my car off on Saturday morning to look at the AC which does not work and also check out the oil leak.  They phoned and said filled the AC with dye, run it for a while and see where the leak is, either cheap fix or expensive fix.  Put a new plug in the oil pan, and put in new oil, which was leaking cost $10.99, would not charge us for oil. When I actually went to pick my car up, and gave him my CC, he said, don't worry about it, holiday gift.  Wasn't that nice, I have never left the garage with a zero bill.

My sister BB phoned yesterday as I was sitting in the Studio room sorting through all the bags I had pulled out of the linen closet and while on talking and sorting I found my hand dyed merino hank of wool, I bought on the Isle of Skye almost eight years ago.  A bit like finding the widows mite.  I said "you're never guess what I just found?"  We were together when I bought it and reminisced about the yarn shop and our holiday on the Isle of Skye.  Happy memories.

I need to find a nice one hank scarf pattern, I like the Topelt Shawl, but think I would need more than one hank for that.  Any crochet suggestions happily accepted.

BB also said they were holding a Tudor dress up dinner at Kentwell Hall, it was this time last year that we visited and thought how nice it would have been to go together, dress up and attended that, it's something we both would have enjoyed.

Hopefully on Monday I will get out in the garden and start my spring clean up.  An older gentlemen stops by our neighbors every year and does some leaf clean up for him, and since Mr. B. was home he asked if he could do so for us.  He said he wanted to earn some money to put flowers on his mother's grave at Easter.  Mr B. was only too happy as I had asked him to start on that.  So a dent has been made, but it is far from how it should be.  The initial clean up is always hard graft, it's what comes after that I like, all the planting and rearranging and tiffling with garden paraphernalia.

Birds are up, Sunday has dawned.  Now for another cup of tea.

Hope you have a lovely weekend with family.


Japanese Tiny House on Wheels, Bonsai, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 12

Hi Dear Folk,

I have long loved bonsai trees and have started and lost several, because in the heat of summer you cannot forget to water them even for a short period of time.  Rob and I started several when he was little.  I like to admire them.

Thinking of Japanese culture and down sizing, you must look at this beautifully crafted Japanese Tiny House on Wheels.   The craftsmanship is exquisite.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cup and Saucer Plants, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 11

Hi Dear Folk,

What could be nice than a flowering plant in a cup and saucer.  Wouldn't they make lovely center pieces for a tea party?  Especially if it was out in the garden with several tables.  Yes indeed.

I do like this variegated geranium.  Geraniums can be grown like a vine.  I saw a beautiful example of this in a greenhouse at a stately home in Scotland that I visited.  I was quite surprised to see the geraniums growing all up the trellis work along the walls.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Dutch Indies Trade, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 10

Hi Dear Folk,

Amsterdam street scenes with a little Dutch Indies Trade mixed in.  Butter pat and clogs with socks and a little Delft Ware.

Wednesday was my day off again, I was quite tired so seemed to be at a slow pace all day.  I wanted to clean up and sort the bathroom and hallway linen closet.

In the bathroom I had a four tier rack with all sorts of shampoos, lotions etc, you name it, it was there, most of which we do not use.  So sorted some to go to the basement and the rest to go to the thrift.  Kept what I needed, sorted out the under-sink cabinet and put that there. Even turned up the cat de-wormer which I knew I had but could not find and had bought more, at quite an expensive price. The tiered rack I will spray with a black wrought iron finish paint and put in the garden as plant stand, I think it will look nice.

I want to paint the radiator white and get a new shelving unit to go over the toilet.  I did not realize how much I hate shopping for a specific item.  I was able to get the paint at the first place I went to, a white oil based metal paint one quart and some turpentine to clean the brush, total $20.99, I had forgotten how expensive all that stuff is.

Did not find a shelving unit, I actually went to four places looking for a unit and came home with something from Bed, Bath and Beyond, but I am less than happy with it, so the search will continue. Not only that, I wore my Swedish clogs and went without socks as was quite a warm day, and got a blister on each foot.  Remember do not wear those clogs without socks. So hobbling around looking for something I could not find, with painful feet, did not enhance my mood.  Decided that several other items in the bathroom, such as loo holder and mag rack were all looking grotty so jettisoned them too.  Mr. B. was less than happy because he finds change very hard.  I wanted to have it all done before he came home, fate ac-comply, so he can see the picture, but that wasn't to be.

I got into the linen closet which was harboring all sorts of things I had totally forgotten about, such as a nice white continental quilt cover, and some Dick and Jane fabric, which I know I looked for a while ago and could not find it in the Hope chest where I had thought it was, only needed to go a few steps down the hall and would have found it.  Do have quite a bit to go to the thrift, it will be easier to find things in the closet now.

Everything is a mess because neither project is finished and I'm back at work, chomping at the bit to finish them off.

Rob borrowed my car Wednesday night to pick up a mountain bike that he brought second hand from Craig's list, you know one of those several thousand dollar bikes, not that he paid that for it, it needs some work done on it, but he's been doing up bikes since his early teens so is up to it.  He's happy with it.  A pair of speakers also did exit the house so a bit of income there for The Boy.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beer Lunch and a Bike Basket of Shopping, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 9

Hi Dear Folk,

Americans drink a lot of Heineken, but don't ride bikes in their everyday life, more for recreation.  I like the idea of riding a bike everywhere.

In Amsterdam crossing the road is an event, because you have on either side the bike and scooter path, then on one side the tram and in the center each way the car lanes.  Needless to say for a foreigner not used to this, it took quite a bit of looking to cross a street.  Some places you have sidewalks or pavements in-between, like islands to make it to, before the next crossing.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Picnic by the Canal with Ubiquitous Willow Trees, Philadelphia Flower Show 2017 - Part 8

Hi Dear Folk,

Can't you imagine yourself here.  Nice loaf of fresh bread, butter and a nice Dutch cheese, along with a good bottle of wine, oh yes!  A little boat mored nearby on the canal.  Your crocheted blanket or quilt to sit on. Sigh!

The ubiquitous willow trees.  I was amazed how authentic the bark looked on these trees.

They are amazing.

Can you read the story that goes along with the planting of the willow trees along the canals and why the Dutch did this, a most interesting history.  I enlarged this somewhat, so you can see the detail in the bark and read about the planting of willow trees.

01 09 10