Red and White: New Year's thoughts

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" Isaiah 1:18

May the New Year be a new beginning
And may our hearts be renewed too.



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

While I'm out walking through the frozen December rose garden, deep in snow, I can't help but think of those lucky gardeners in warmer climates (south Texas, southern California, Florida, and parts of the Southwest), possibly with their roses still in bloom...



We're expecting more snow for tonight, old snow turned ice crackles under my feet, deep silence has descended upon the garden, not a sound, not a flower in bloom... yet, there is magic in the air... the garden is filled with perfume from forgotten roses.



Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Welcome to “Show Off Your Cottage Monday”, a blog party I host at the beginning of each week to celebrate the things we love about our homes and how we live.

Today, I'm celebrating the return of light...

It's 5:26pm as I write this... and is still light outside. Goodbye to short days and long nights! We're spinning back towards the light.

My steps are lighter these days, because I see the change taking place in Nature... I see a future filled with hope and flowers!

May the light brings hope for all humankind...
In the mean time, light yourself a candle bright
and dance within that gentle light.

What are you celebrating today?
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re celebrating.
If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below.
Just please be sure to:

1. Add the perm
alink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.

2. Link back to the house in the roses from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is celebrating today!

3. Copy and paste our little logo on your blog so your readers can also join our celebration.

4. And enjoy your home!

Of birds and another blessing

The sun decided to come out again this morning, and as soon as his glorious golden face came into sight, I was transported to this magical blissful world where my dreams usually become reality. Unicorns, dragons, sprites, rabbits and birds came out of their holes and nooks and into this enchanted world of mine…. as through the pages of an ancient book.

My mind soars, and as the morning sun warms the earth, I feel my spirit being lifted up... What is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that I should follow it to its bounds and know the paths to its house?

Only a real human being can set things right by giving the birds names: “Abutilon”, with feathers like those of maple trees, and that other tiny Western Tanager, "Serissa”, which remains me of spring, and flowers that resemble dangling miniature hibiscus….

They all came to my window... to enchant me, to give me stories that never end.

Their story began again and again and again as Abutilon with feathers like those of maple trees, and Serissa with a song like dangling miniature hibiscus, kissed each other in front of me, oblivious to shame.

And fight over food with amazing aggressiveness

As I contemplated this magical world from across the window, Abutilon and Serissa took the challenge and flew across the Swamps of Shadows and the Silver Mountains, meeting sorcerers and giants, bats and night-hobs, gnomes and racing snails… but really, all they did was wait bravely for the apparition of the terrible "Plectranthus"... the beautiful but ever so cruel black hawk that has been visiting my garden frequently this winter.

"Plectranthus", a mysterious figure in disguise, soars the air where I stand, just a few feet away from me... I know what he’s up to, but I don't have time to warn my little feathered friends... till suddenly a unison flight of tiny wings, tiny feathers scattering away, leaving behind a muted sound, like a sad song filled with premonition and death. Then I see it…. grayish black feathers and legs yellow drops from a low glide on something.... Tiny feathers disperse in the morning air, like diminutive butterflies... but I know it's not.

A new visitor then entered the scene... pointed beak to acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. I've never seen him here, what is he? An ivory-billed woodpecker... maybe?

The lure of the unexpected and the surprises that invariably appear in nature, entice me... invite me to linger a moment longer and look a little closer. I am blessed, and I am blessed by you, my faithful readers. Two whole years have gone by since I began my blog. And what a marvelous journey it has been, what a lot of fun and inspiration, what a lot of lovely folks, (like you) I have met. To all of you who come by, who fill my life with dreams and tales I must tell, I am so thankful... I've been truly blessed by your company and your kindness. Your words have given me so much joy... Thank you!

May you and yours have a joyful and blessed Christmas.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We woke up to a world swathed in more snow. This time, however, is more ice than snow. It is windy, and tree branches in white seem to glitter. A magical glow has settled upon the land... like some mystical banquet content in its repose. I can hear, or imagine, the small critters beneath the snow; the ground moles and field mice scattering beneath their white world. What do they feel--I wonder. Do they like snow? I don’t see any snow fairy dancing in this winter wonderland, but the world certainly seems calmer, quieter, and at peace.

People enjoy snowy days in different ways. Skiers, snowmobilers and boarders flock to the mountain as soon as the first flakes invade the ground, but when winds from the west whip across my garden, I yearn for the conform and warmth of my home.

I don’t know why it is, but whenever snow and ice arrives, I have this sweet urge to cozy up by a quiet window and look at this magical world outside from the warmth of my nest.

I can hear the music that frigid wind makes; its taunting melody carrying mystery and voices that remind me of laments of misery. The music of the wind is spellbinding; it makes me appreciate the warmth and coziness of home like nothing else.... I am thankful I have a safe place filled with light and warmth to call home…


Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Sunday, December 20, 2009
Welcome to “Show Off Your Cottage Monday”, a blog party I host at the beginning of each week to celebrate the things we love about our homes and how we live.
Today, I’m celebrating “scent”

At The house in the roses we believe in living the simple life... which means that other than a very small Christmas tree illuminating one of our windows, I don’t decorate our home for Christmas. I know, that's pretty unusual. Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Well, for once, I believe that Christmas is driven by commercialism, and sadly to say, the real reason for the Christmas season has been long forgotten.
So, you won’t find roads of reindeers, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus in our home, but I do love the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Especially the smell. A home smelling like cinnamon rolls and pies being baked, speaks of Christmas and holidays.

Aromatic smells coming from the kitchen is the sign of a welcoming home, but if you don’t happen to be baking at the moment, you can still have fabulous smells wafting out from the kitchen, by using liquid potpourri.
Today, I created my own Christmas potpourri by simmering liquid over the stove with some spices I had in the pantry… Almost any spice would work. Almond, lemon or vanilla are common flavorings. If you don't any of these ingredients on hand, just substitute some herbs, seasonings or fruits that you have available that you enjoy. For my liquid potpourri, I used 3 cups water, some chunks of apples, including the peel, nutmeg, and of course, cinnamon sticks. I love the smell of cinnamon; cinnamon evokes memories of holiday festivities, family gatherings and favorite seasonal treats. Cinnamon's aroma is simply soothing.

I also bought some greenery... fresh pine boughs and branches to dress my house and fill simple bottles, vases and jugs with it.

I loved the fresh smell of pine wafting through the house. Some fresh pine boughs and "Silent Night" are all I need.

What are you celebrating today?
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re celebrating.
If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below.
Just please be sure to:

1. Add the perm
alink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.

2. Link back to the house in the roses from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is celebrating today!

3. Copy and paste our little logo on your blog so your readers can also join our celebration.

4. And enjoy your home!


Saturday, December 19, 2009
And so, fog has settled like a wet blanket upon the valley. Slowly, like a ghost moving in slow motion, it invaded the world before me, blinding me….

If you pay close attention, you can see the forms of fog as it filters the frosty sunlight through its damp doubtful fingers… Fog makes me think of blindness and ghostly apparitions, it makes me feel trapped…ensnared somewhere in the world of dreams and the imaginary….

I don’t like fog…. But I’m finally home now. Like a wild rabbit in her cozy burrow in the ground that shelters it from cold wind, shades it from hot sun, and keeps it snug and warm during snow and rain… that’s how I feel, when I’m at home.


Thursday, December 17, 2009
The other day, I was making the rounds at our local thrift store and found this cute little table with bamboo drawers for just $19.99—so perfect for my “cottage style” reading room upstairs, of which, by the way, I have talked about before here, and here.

Of course, I had all the intentions in the world to paint it white, and maybe even practice some antiquing techniques on it too, but then, I thought about that one room upstairs that needs some extra TLC (including some new furniture) and changed my mind.

I was thinking of painting it in a sweet Robin’s blue egg color and put it under the window with a girly lamp on it to spice up that room. Have I mentioned how I love to look at my house from outside when dusk begins to descend upon the land? I love the cozy feel and glow of a window softly lit by lamp. It’s absolutely magical!

In the mean time, until I can decide what to do with it, the table will remain here, by this wall in this corner of our family room. The picture on the back would have to come down a little bit for some symmetry, and a wicker basket must be added to the bottom shelve to match the drawers and cover the electrical cables. Other than that, the table has been dusted, cleaned and shined. I’ve explained here, how the two macho-guys living with me are totally against painted furniture. In fact, they’re totally against anything to do with thrift store Cottage Shabby Chic frilly fussy girly stuff. So you know how it goes.

They have accepted I keep the table here, but only if I leave it as it is. Of course, I can always take it upstairs (my own domain) and do as I please with it (if only I can decide what) Do you find it hard to make decisions? Having to choose has always been a real dilemma for me.

What would you have done? Leave it here as is? Take it to that "special" room of yours and paint it white? Or maybe paint it in a Robin’s blue egg color and place it by a cozy window in the guess room?

Humm, decisions decisions... if only life was just as easy as making decisions!

Linens and things

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ordinary acts...

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home

are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

Thomas Moore, Irish poet (1779 - 1852)

A winter wonderland - My world today

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Another winter storm blew through our area bringing more snow and white frigid air along....

Streets, rivers and valleys are hidden under the purest of white,
and in the far distance you can see the hills dressed in sparkling diamonds...
like a bride before the altar at her wedding day...

Snow has veiled the garden. White white white….
White saturates every corner of it, impairing my vision.

This afternoon, I wanted to paint the garden…
like a painter before her clean canvas;
bring in the reds of the Fragrant Cloud,
the pinks of the Chicago Peace and
the purples of the tall delphiniums…

But it is winter, and white is the predominant color.

I can't say that I was all that disappointed though.
The garden was
a peaceful sight.
I could even feel the presence of angels watching over it….

And see fairies hiding behind bushes with snow cones on their heads...

The birds were having a party to which, naturally, I was invited.

They were making such a pleasant racket around the bird feeders
Fresh snow and new goodies in every food station
certainly make happy birds

Ah yes, let is snow... but only when I'm at home
Nothing like watching the snow from the cozyness of home!

Is it snowing in your part of the world?
Do you like, or dislike winter?
I would love to hear your story.

The joy of soup

Thursday, December 10, 2009
I don't like winter, but even as much as I dislike winter, good can still be found in the worse, and winter has its own few joys. One of them, besides leaping into pretty stockings and scarves, is soup.

Winter is for soups. I want to arrive home to a warm house filled with the smells of soup bubbling away on the stove top. My favorite soups are: split pea soup, lentil soup and savory red bean soup. Tonight, however, I chose to make a simple hearty tummy warming goodness in no time flat chicken soup!

Soups are comforting and warming, and perfect for any winter night, especially when the temperature outside is -5.

What's your favorite winter dish? Is it soup?
What's your favorite soup?