Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sailing or Reading?

Has July found you sailing under blue skies?

This magazine cover from the July 1932 Woman's Home Companion is by
Maginel Wright Barney.

If you are a fan of Maginel Wright Barney's illustrations you might want to add this cover to your Pinterest board of her work. As far as I can tell it has not yet been included in her works there and it is one I love. It does typify July for me even though I've never been fortunate enough to sail. Maginel was Frank Lloyd Wright's sister. It is easy to spot her illustrations in old magazines before even seeing her signature as she had a style all her own, one I dearly admire.

No, I've not been sailing this July, nor have I been sunbathing like these beauties from the same time period as the picture above. 

These swimsuit models were in Vogue, January 1933.

My leisure time this July has not been spent sailing or sunbathing but in tamely reading. I read this one--I am a fervent Elizabeth Goudge fan and had never read it:

And I read these:

I won't try to review them for you but I enjoyed each one. Extra special was Michael Sim's book about E.B. White, showing clearly how White's whole life laid the groundwork for his writing of Charlotte's Web. He was truly destined to write the story of Charlotte and Wilbur.

And the three books about Alec Guinness, memoirs by the fascinating man himself, were my favorites. Reading about his acting career was absorbing but I most enjoyed reading of his love of home:

"Tomorrow home: beloved wife, dear dogs, intelligent cat,
outrageous rabbits, Himalayan molehills and 
the tumult of country noises."

Both White and Guinness are now in my Pinterest board named "In My Life I Loved Them All" because I do, I really do. 

That's my July leisure loves, friends. Have you taken time for leisure? Have you gone sailing? Sunbathed at the beach? Read something interesting? I have an enquiring mind and I really want to know.

Sunday, July 21, 2013



by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Something blue in every room;

Somewhere, a touch of red;

A bit of purple on a couch,

Or a pillow for my bed.

I had mauve draperies before--

My new ones shall be green.

I must have yellow on a chair,

Or on the fireside screen.

I'd love an orange breakfast nook,

Or a violet dining-room,

Or any color ever mixed

On any weaver's loom.

Not color-blind, but color-mad!

I cannot get my fill.

When I was young, I fell in love

With a rainbow on a hill!

by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

R.H. and I recently visited our granddaughter and watched her carefully take the crayons out of the crayon box, lay them on her little table, study them and then carefully select ones to put back in the box, over and over. With an artist for a mommie, I know she will always love color. Some day when she comes to visit Mimi's and Pawpaw's house she may beg me to let her change the colors in our house. But not yet. I'm safe for now with my color-mad choices. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Birthday to Our Baby!

"Grown don't mean nothing to a mother.
A child is a child.
They get bigger, older, but grown?
What's that supposed to mean?
In my heart it don't mean a thing."
Toni Morrison

Happy Birthday to our 4th child, our baby!

Happy Birthday, Defee! (Wasn't he darling?)

You have been a joy from the very first!

I know that we tried to keep you our little boy, but the day did come when you had
to tear down your bed-in-the-wall,
as your feet were hanging out the window on the end.

Your senior year came.

Next came graduation from college and your engagement to the sweetest, prettiest girl at school.

Next came marriage, but we'll save that picture for the anniversary coming up soon.
You and Wallace started your home, your jobs--
which sometimes took you to strange places....

But you played hard too...

As well as working hard.

And then the happy day came when we visited you in your home to welcome 
our first granddaughter...

So, Happy Birthday to our baby...

AND, Happy Birthday to our baby's baby, little Miss Nora!

And remember, Defee and Wallace, "Grown don't mean nothing to a mother." 
Or to a father! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An Unplanned Post

When I sat down to view my blog a few minutes ago, I checked my blogroll and saw that Pam of Frippery had a new post up. I clicked on it and found a post on blogging and life and home that was like a heaven sent gift.

I'm not going to waste any more of your time with my own words. Please give yourself the gift of going to Frippery (here) and read Pam's lovely post. Don't bother to comment at Across the Way today. Just let Pam know how you feel about her blog theme after you read Frippery. And today's post is not the only lovely post there.

My thanks to you, dear readers,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Love Ivy?

I love ivy. I love holly. I love holly and ivy. So much so that my nice husband planted lots of both when we bought this old farmhouse in 1990. Within a few years we had enough of each to use generously in decorating for Christmas--ivy dipped in liquid floor polish makes stunning greenery to use at Christmas.

Eventually the ivy grew into a Christmas tree shape around a light pole. You should see it when covered in snow. Every once in a while the barber has to give it a little trim and December is the perfect time for this.

Then it covered the well house, almost looking like a large topiary animal draped across it.

Guess where else R.H. planted it? My husband's wife talked him into planting it around the base of the big, large, huge elm tree. His pride and joy. The tree that sold him on this property.

I thought that all that bare bark hulking beside the deck could be improved on, prettified. R.H. didn't think so, emphatically he did not think so. He thought it would hurt the tree. I convinced him that as long as we kept it trimmed to about head-high there would be no problem. Absolutely no problem. So he planted one flat of ivy at the base. And it was so pretty.

Remember that old song about turning around and your kids are all grown up? Ivy does that too when you're not looking. R.H. did take a good look at it one day, and I guess you could say he blew his stack. He spent hours, hours hacking away at that ivy as far as he could reach on a ladder.

Did you know that ivy's vine can grow really big, and tough, like a rope? It does. But I hope it doesn't have ears because it sure heard some sailor's language when R.H. was destroying it.

 Then it was time to call in the younger generation.

Time for our sons to help Dad out when he rejected Mom's idea to just let the remaining ivy dry up and die. Any further ideas from me about ivy and R.H.'s pet elm tree were obviously not going to be entertained, at all.

Gurn and Zack erected the scaffolding. And then they began meticulously cutting it away piece by piece.


And higher.

What do you want to bet that this was a fun job? Think they might have been a little hot and sweaty when they finished? Felt like bugs were crawling on them for days?

The men at Valley View smiled at me again, after a few days.

The elm tree was a little scarred in places but there was no more ivy digging into it.

Now it's forgotten all about having creepy ivy crawling all over it. It's happy again. R.H. is too, only I don't dare tell him about a pretty vine I saw a picture of on a blog.

Maybe if I kept it far away from his elm?

The moral of this cautionary tale?

You might not want to grow ivy on trees?

You might want to listen to your husband, especially if he was in the garden center/nursery business for most of his life?

It's not easy being green?

Take your pick.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Daphne du Maurier Room

"Although she had closed the long window, 
the billowing casement curtains masking the view, 
the room was full of sun.
I had an impression of blue-grey walls and cushions,
but the effect, instead of being cold, was light as air.

The dahlias that I had seen her carrying from the 
market place were red and gold, 
and now they spilt in profusion from a vase in the corner,
the sun upon them still.

There was a bowl of fruit upon a table...

A Marie Laurencin drawing hanging 
above the fireplace.

Deep chairs stood about the room,

and a Persian cat cleaned its paws in one of them.

Close to the window was a low flat table
with artist's materials upon it,
thin, small brushes and a special sort of paper.

There was a smell of apricots."

The Scapegoat was only the third Daphne du Maurier book I'd ever read. Rebecca I could not put down when I was a young teenager. Her Frenchmen's Creek, which I read when I was 18, was just as riveting. It awakened a sense of adventure in me that I didn't know existed as I was the least adventurous girl I knew.

In du Maurier's book quoted from above, The Scapegoat, published in 1956, I was not enamored of her  English protagonist who meets his Doppelgänger and seems forced into taking his place, even fooling the French family of the Comte Jean de Gue. He does not, however, fool the beautiful Bela whose room is described above. But he was drawn to it. I also was drawn to it and tried to picture it as best I could. 

Two movies have been made of The Scapegoat, and while I enjoyed them, they did not do justice to du Maurier's book. And they did not do justice to Bela's beautiful room. I haven't either but I think the pictures above come closer to it than either movie did.

Have any of you read this book? What did you think of it? It is hard to beat Rebecca and Frenchmen's Creek, isn't it?

Photo credits:
The two room views are from
The dahlia are from
Bowl of Fruit is by Pierre Bonnard, 1933.
Marie Laurencin drawing is Les deux soeurs au violoncelle.
The Persian cat from Pinterest.
The artist table is actually the studio of Conor Harrington, photo by Neil Gavin.
Nosferatu's Apricots is by Alessio Fangano on