Monday, April 21, 2014

Pretty things

Hello! I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. We enjoyed ours very much. We had relaxing time together at home, as well as a fun event with friends. Today, it's back to the normal routine. I've been straightening up the house and putting away holiday stuff. I breathed a sigh of relief when I managed to get strawberry stains out of a vintage tablecloth. Easter dessert had nearly taken its toll. This is the first of the final five weeks of the school year for us, can you believe it? I feel like I just sent them back, last August. This coming year, both will be going to the same school! How did it happen? I have to admit, my head is spinning a little bit. It will be good, though. We're ready.

Did you have good weather on Easter? We did. I think it had a lot to do with Easter's lateness this year; I hardly remember an Easter so late into April. Our weather was quite bad on Saturday, rainy and cool, but Sunday was splendid. We spent a lot of time outside (well, maybe not me so much, I had a lot of cooking to do, but I did get out a little). It felt like summer, with temperatures around 80 degrees. I actually said to the Bear that this is what it would be like to have Easter in the summer - bikes, bubbles, shorts and sunhats. I had such a good week. Our spring break chilled me thoroughly. I did so little but I did take lots of photos over the week, trying to capture the springiness of right now, seeking out the pretty, peaceful things around me.


Our irises are just starting to bloom. I don't love them the way I love my tulips, as I've discussed before. But they are very pretty and there are so very many of them. We'd had a quarter-inch of rain the night before I took this photo. That's a lot of rain for us. Everything looked so fresh and clean, the colors brighter, the edges crisper somehow. I don't get to see this very often and it sort of alarms me when it happens. It's like looking at everything through a magnifying glass - one which enhances every possible quality.


The roses of Sharon, growing on either side of our bedroom's door to the back patio, have their leaves now and had also collected raindrops that morning. The sight of rain on these leaves was beautiful to me, as was the sun shining weakly through the new greenness.


Our pyracantha hedge is just getting its flower buds. I didn't have any experience with pyracantha before we bought this house. It's really a strange plant. Our hedge runs the length of the back wall surrounding our property, providing some measure of security from the arroyo (large municipal drainage canal) behind us; the pyracantha boasts inch-long thorns on its brambly branches. If you don't know pyracantha, I assure you it's quite evil. But it's pretty too; these buds will become small clusters of white flowers, which will eventually become bright orange berries in the fall. Pyracantha is strange, but changeable and colorful. It's an interesting plant to have.


Somewhat guiltily, I admit that Betty is still my favorite chicken. She's a Barred Rock and I really love the way her feathers look. She's still as sweet and skittish as she was as a new chick, and she's fast - she zooms around the yard like the Road Runner (the Loony Toons one, not my local guys) when she gets free. The kids seem to prefer Ginger (unsettlingly huge Buff Orpington at the rear of this photo), with Penny as a close second, but I love that purty Betty.


Is there anything better than a brand-new box of crayons? The Easter Bunny brought one for each of the small Bears. Neither has ever had the 64-count package before, so it was an exciting moment. I searched through the GB's box to see whether they still include my favorite crayon - cornflower blue - and they do! It made my day. It felt really good to find that crayon and see that it still looks just the way I remembered it. As soon as they let me try their new crayons, I'm going to draw something fabulously cornflower blue.


I don't know how much longer I'll have egg hunts in pajamas in the backyard on Easter morning, but I promise that I'm savoring every moment while I can. And this boy is so kind to his sister, letting her find most of the eggs, almost always resisting the urge to outrun, shove or otherwise hinder her progress. *sniff*


I finally found vintage sheets worth a darn at the my favorite thrift shop. YES! I was so excited. They're 70's-era, I'd guess, but I don't know much about this area at all. I just really liked the colors and the fact that they're in very good condition. This is a set of two standard pillowcases, for which I paid $1.69. For the pair! I think that seems kind of low. Not that I'm complaining, you see. They had a matching flat full-size sheet too, but it was not in good shape. I only bought the pillowcases, which felt sort of like stealing them at that price.


I bought this skirt there too, on a different visit (I go there a lot). The skirt was $2.99, which was also a pretty good deal because it looks like it was hardly ever worn. It's made of gauze, with a drawstring waist. The strings have little copper bells attached to the ends. I love clothes like this. I mostly wear a Mom Uniform of jeans and t-shirts these days, but I didn't always. There was a time when I was vaguely cool. Well, I thought so at the time. I went to music festivals, participated in mosh pits, and wore weird fair-trade clothing items. Woven belts from Peru! Patchwork dresses from Tibet! This skirt is from India. I have a mom-ish black tank top which will look good with it, I think. In any case, it will cover my bra, so there has been at least one improvement.


I've also picked up some mismatched china on other recent trips to the same store. They're all small saucer-sized plates. The one on the left with reddish roses is sort of Corelle-like, that vitreous, semi-translucent material. It probably isn't old at all, but I like that it looks old. The one on the upper right is vintage Fire King! I'd never seen any in a thrift shop before and I snatched it up when I saw it. The flowers are wearing off a bit, but it's in good shape otherwise. The blue-rimmed saucer has no markings at all, but it was cheap and I think it's beautiful with the gold-leaf scrolled design. I'm using that one on my dresser to hold my bobby pins and hair elastics when I take them out at night.


Lately, I've had a fire under me about the circles for my flowers-in-the-snow blanket. I've got 51 of them now! Seriously. I couldn't believe it at first when I laid them out yesterday to count them. I really enjoy making them; the color combinations can be challenging to come up with but with so many yarns in my palette, I can usually make a good match. A few are a little questionable, yes, but I like most of them. My plan is to have this blanket ready for Christmas this year. It's for the GB, to keep on her bed just like the granny stripe I made for her brother last year. I have plans to sew a duvet cover for her in a couple of years. I want to use pretty vintage sheets for it, rosy-floral and feminine. I have visions of this blanket folded at the foot of her bed with this future duvet cover, and a mismatched pillowcase for the sham. Or a patchwork one...crocheted garlands and fabric bunting on the wall above, where I already have her name spelled out in painted wooden letters...fantasy decorating makes me so happy.


Lastly, I was bursting with delight when I had a peek in speed-demon GB's bicycle basket last week. We bought her a boys' bike at a consignment sale about a year ago. It's red and black with hornet decals all over it, so I felt duty-bound to girl it up for her. I bought a dainty basket, with pastel stripes and a big plastic flower affixed to the front, as well as a little bell for the handlebars. She collects things on bike rides, sometimes putting one of her dolls in the basket for a little ride. This day, she was carrying her Disney Princess gardening gloves from home, a curly wood shaving from the garage, a pine cone from down the street, and a seed pod from one of our mimosa trees. Later, a chicken feather was added. I asked her about her collection and she said, "Oh, it's just some things I like." Simple as that.

48 comments:

  1. I love ally our pretty things! That bush sounds like a fun one - even with thorns! Those little flowers are so sweet - can't wait to see the finished product!

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  2. How sweet she is. I'm glad you've had a good Easter. It's been like summer here as well, on and off. Your little man sounds wonderful, so kind to his sister. Here it is every boy for himself most of the time I'm afraid. Do you have any tips?! I love the start of the blanket. I've been contemplating a crochet blanket. I've got some wool, but I just can't seem to settle on what to do with it. Ripple? Granny? Or maybe knit? Decisions, decisions. I agree that this year has gone ridiculously fast. It's scaring me how quickly. In September my biggest boy will be in his last year of little school. I can't bear to think about the year after.

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  3. It sounds like you've had a lovely Easter, Jennifer, and have been pretty busy, despite your spring break. Those 70s pillow-cases made me smile because I can remember having bed linen very like that first time round. :-)

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  4. Pretty things, indeed! From flowers on porcelain, plates and petaled blankets, all adorable!

    Poppy

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  5. All very lovely things...and it's even better when they come at bargain prices. Great finds!

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  6. Jennifer, you know what I love about you? You're so real and honest and natural and good. I loved this post, and all of them really. I'm taking that book I got after seeing it on your blog.. to the beach so I can read it.
    We leave tomorrow! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  7. I have one vintage bed sheet in a very similar pattern, it's for a single bes and it's in very good condition. I wonder if it is worth anything?

    Lovely post.
    S xx

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  8. Beautiful photos as always. I had fond memories of the little collections I used to put together at that age - it sounds like your daughter is inheriting a very creative, craftsy mind from you!

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  9. Sweet children, new crayons!, pretty flowers, beautiful bargains, and great progress on GB's blanket! So glad that you and yours had a Happy Easter celebration, Jennifer. We did too, although I was fighting off a cold virus. My daughters fixed a lovely dinner, the day was sunny, and I got more rest and am feeling better today. Wishing you a happy week! xx

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  10. Isn't it brilliant when the things they like are so eclectic? I always wanted a basket on my bike, but all my bikes were hand me downs from boys. If my knees were ok I'd get a Pashley......

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  11. I love reading all about your adventures in life and this is a lovely post as always. Sounds like a happy & blessed Easter holiday was had by all. Your crocheted blankie & the decorating in GB's room is going to be just perfect - fantasy decorating is fun, don't you think? I know you'll make it happen exactly when it's meant to be. And I love the little collection of things in her bicycle basket too - what an interesting and imaginative little bear you are raising, well done!
    Have a happy, relaxing week xx

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  12. The plates look so lovely! and your photos always make me happy. Have a nice week. Hugs :D

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  13. I like the skirt Jennifer, it may be vintage, I remember my Mum wore a skirt like that in the seventies with little bells on! The blanket looks promising, I love making circles. Must do some crochet! Heather x

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  14. Such a sweet collection of things in your girls basket. I love the vintage pillowcases you found and the crochet blanket looks like it will be gorgeous! Glad you had such a wonderful Easter. xx

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  15. What a lovely Easter round up, so many lovely things and so many lovely thoughts.

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  16. Very pretty post from those beautiful flowers to that adorable china. My particular favourite was the vintage pillow cases, I just loved the colours and pattern.

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  17. I love your this and that posts most of all! My children are all up against each other most of the time but cooperated nicely for the Easter egg hunt (what relief). I love your crochet flowers. I made a flowers in the snow blanket but called it fireworks at midnight because I used dark yarn to join them all together. You'll see, even the circles that are not your favourites will look beautiful in the finished blanket. Have a lovely week, Jennifer. xx

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  18. such a shame Easter holidays are over for many.looks like you have had fun.What a new routine you will be having with both kids at school.A new chapter hey with great beginings

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  19. It sounds like you all had a lovely Easter, Jennifer. Lots of pretty things in your sweet post today. I loved seeing your crochet, it will be a gorgeous blanket. The picture of the new box of crayons made me smile....I often give my grandchildren crafty gifts as well as some chocolate :)
    Wishing you a happy week.
    Helen xox

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  20. Jennifer, that is a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your sweet things.

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  21. Oh Jennifer I love GB's collection - and the 'just some things I like' comment - it took me right back to collecting small stones and rose petals when I was a lass! Can you believe the Easter Bunny still has to visit our house? Big Sis went off to uni two years ago now and at fifteen we thought Little Sis wouldn't want to have an egg hunt on her own but after much disappointment and protestation it was reinstated this year! (Sadly this also involved me having to get up at 4am to leave little rhyming clues around the house!) Little Sis was so thrilled and I must admit I was too - these things make such lovely memories. Love those sheets - I have a similar pair of pillowslips but can't quite decide what to do with them yet - Mr K suggest I actually put them on some pillows - crazy man!!! Glad you and your family had such a lovely break x Jane

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  22. I guess this post is one of "the things I just like!" You had a lovely Easter! We had gorgeous weather too, totally unexpected! Your iris photo is stunning, and I enjoy seeing the progress on your colorful little circles. And then there's the chickens! They look so happy. You have such a peaceful and happy life. I think they sense that and will become prolific layers because of it!

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  23. How sweet is the GB?! I love the things she collected. Lovely post, as always. The pillowcase and skirt are great finds too.
    Marianne x

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  24. Your crochet circles are gorgeous, such lovely colours, they will make a beautiful blanket. I always wanted a basket on the front of my bike when I was a child but I never got one, awwww.

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  25. I'm glad you had such a nice Easter, Jennifer. It's funny, but when I looked at the picture of the box of crayons I could "smell" them. I guess that memory has been firmly planted by my own childhood, followed by all the years when my kids had crayons. And cornflower blue is my favourite colour too!

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  26. what a wonderful weekend. great finds at the thrift store!

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  27. Hey Jennifer,
    That's a post full of loveliness. Olly's man bag is usually full of bits and bobs he's collected. This holiday he has filled it with shells and and bits of wood from the beach. Your blanket is going to look beautiful. I envy you your girly bedding plans very much.
    Leanne xx

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  28. I love this post, so full of wonderful things to savor. Memories made.

    Hugs to you and by the way I think you are ubber cool, jeans and t-shirts and all.
    Meredith

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  29. Your Flower in the snow blanket blocks are looking fantastic,. I think your children had a lovely Easter Day. Love your Iris. it is gorgeous. Hugs Judy

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  30. Those Easter egg hunts might last a while yet. My children in their twenties wanted one but it was too wet in the garden this year! Glad you had a good time too! Sarah x

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  31. Ahhhh, such pretty things! I think GB's collection of "things" are so cute and shows she can find beauty in the most simple of things, like her mum! The photos of your plants are beautiful too, you can really tell Spring is happening - yay! I think your son really has such a nice character, you can tell he respects his little sister and likes to be a big brother, my oldest two are the same. It really is nice to visit here as I think we have a lot in common. It really makes me feel proud of them when they want to do things for each other, and help each other - I bet you feel exactly the same. Happy Easter to you and your family, Jennifer. :)

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  32. I love your fantasy decorating Jennifer - most things begin with a dream . . . .
    Your GB is so sweet, no wonder you're so proud of her! I'm loving your crochet and all your goodies, especially Betty hen - I'm with you on that one, definitely, and the new crayons are such gorgeous colours and so exciting for youngsters (as well as oldies) to be gifted new colouring equipment!
    I'm glad your family Easter time was so happy and enjoyable! Love, Joy xo

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  33. Such a lovely post I always love your wonderful photographs thank you for sharing - we had a lovely day but it was a bit chilly and overcast x

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  34. That is one nice big brother, so many lovely moment from your Easter week.

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  35. What a lovely Easter you all had! Your new skirt is so fun and colorful... great find!

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  36. Jennifer, such lovely things. I've been wearing a few maxi skirts now that the weather is nice. -Well of course on some days. I think you got an awesome deal on that skirt! Way to go. ;)

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  37. How lovely is the LB, letting the GB find the eggs?? Cute. Bella's style is to run, find and grab, THEN share with Angus...she could do better there! Love your vintage finds, that skirt is especially lovely. I do like a nice floaty skirt on a hot summer's day. x

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  38. Your Easter sounds lovely Jennifer. My Kids still wear their Pyjamas for the Easter hunt and I can't see that changing anytime soon... And , wow, yes, memories of the Crayola Caddie I received on my 9th birthday have come flooding back - I always liked "Burnt Sienna" :-) Mel x

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  39. That iris is indeed beautiful. And I'm so envious of those new crayons. I suffered crayon envy the other day when a friend pulled a brand new box from her bag... I vowed to replace our blunt and broken ones at the first opportunity!
    S x

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  40. Just catching up with you :) The iris and your photograph of it are gorgeous! And I love the skirt and the story you've attached ... me too!

    Can you believe my Mum didn't like us having the Crayola crayons, we always had pencil crayons instead ... I think I missed something, looking at that box of delights!

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  41. Iris beauty is a month away here..at least. Enjoying yours. NEw box of crayons…a simple pleasure Indeed

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  42. I loved this post Jennifer and so many pretty things. The photo of the Iris is stunning and I think your skirt is gorgeous. Glad your Easter was such fun for you all.
    Patricia x

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  43. My mother used to grow the prettiest irises growing up. They are such pretty flowers! Love the skirt :)

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  44. So much color and so much beauty! And no...there is nothing better than a fresh box of crayons! I am loving those chickens! And those vintage sheets rock as does your skirt!!! Wishing you a lovely week friend! Nicole xoxo

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  45. I'll let you in on a little secret...I have a box of the 64 crayons, too! I haven't even used them yet, but I love opening the box and smelling the crayons. ;-) And one of my favorite colors is the Cornflower Blue, also. And your skirt...I bought an almost identical one at a thrift store yesterday! I was so disappointed when I got home and tried it on and found it's way too long. It actually drags on the floor. I will pass it on to a friend who's a couple of inches taller than me. I love the 70's pillowcases you found - the colors and pattern are awesome!

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  46. Lots and lots of happy moments and treasures, my favourite was always the magenta crayon
    Clare x

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  47. Another fabulous post Jennifer. I'm often finding little bits and bobs that BigR has gathered up in a bag or basket to carry around. We have named them her 'collections'. Lots of good memories :)

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  48. Splendidly beautiful photos of life's simple, amazing pleasures (of which, I totally agree, few tops a classic box of crayons - that smell is so lovely and evocative of childhood).

    ♥ Jessica

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