valley forge

valley forge

Thursday, May 29, 2014

June Kitchen Window



My collection of vintage wooden darners is part of my June kitchen window display. The collection started many, many years ago, when I was in my teens and found a small chest that held my grandmother's sewing items. In that chest was her darner....it became the first of many. Through the years, friends and family have gifted me with darners. I have another collection of darners painted black. Housed in a large glass cylinder, I have moved it from it's spot on the bookcase to the window for the month of June.


I like when a group of similar objects become a piece of art.



This dolly was painted by Stacey Bear and usually hangs in my laundry room. A multi-media work, the painting is painted over layers fabric and printed page. I was drawn to her because she bears a likeness to my MW dollies.


This sweet rosemary topiary was made by the talented Pat Gaddy 
of Olde Bittersweet Farm.


Dolly and darners in my kitchen window for this month of June...


Have a wonderful weekend!

Enjoy the day,
Robyn







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Reading List



Remember summer reading lists? Some years I actually read all the books I was suppose to. Sometimes not. Some of my all time favorite books were on those lists...The Jungle by Upton Sinclair remains one of my top ten. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich...a wonderful story of pioneer life and wagon trains. A Separate Peace by John Knowles, another on my top ten. 

Gift From the Sea is a book I have read multiple times. It remains required summer reading for me and I usually reread it on one of our trips...preferably near a body of water. It's a soothing, insightful read and a wonderful way to launch summer.


We are bibliophiles. Our bookcase displays our taste in reads...a lot of American histrory. Mr. MW is a fan of the history of the American Revolution. He reads non-fiction exclusively...all sorts.


I like that era as well...but I occasionally will pick up a piece of historical fiction. I also like the books about the ladies of that time.


This morning I pulled some books from the bookcase for my summer list. Some of these I have begun and for some reason or another abandoned. I've been working on Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick recently...I need to get serious...it is wonderfully written, laced with anecdotes that make it so interesting. Philibrick is the author of one of my all time top three books...


In the Heart of the Sea is simply a wonderful read.  
It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend it...but it is not for the squeamish...it is a graphic depiction of the perils of life at sea as a New England whaler, in the early nineteenth century. It will hold your interest from cover to cover!


I like to read books about the history of inanimate objects. The history of coal is highly recommended by Mr. MW. I need to read this because it is a part of my family history.  Big Cotton...I need to finish. I love fabric and this is an enlightening read...the history of the "fabric of our lives".


I will only allow myself to begin this tale when I have finished the others I have abandoned. The pictures alone will be worth the wait.


Next...?

What's on your Summer Reading List? Do you have a list of all time favorites? Do you read and reread a favorite?

I will be pulling some books for Annie and I to read together this summer sometime later in the week. I'll let you know what we come up with soon.


Enjoy the day,
Robyn







Thursday, May 22, 2014

St. Augustine



We are in St. Augustine for a few days. Professing to be the "oldest city in the U.S.", it is a wonderful place to visit. The Spanish influence is felt throughout the city...the buildings, the art, even the food...we dined last night on Spanish bean soup and Cuban sandwiches (the real deal).


We meandered down the big stretch of street frequented by tourists.


Mr.MW checked his emails and Annie requested dinner.

(this kid has her father's long, long legs!)


We stopped by the little wooden school house...again, the oldest in the U.S...



...the old water mill...Annie and I will be out and about today...with the tourists.

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This huge artisan mirror hangs in the lobby of our hotel. The hotel serves as a gallery for artists so there are a lot of interesting things to look at...all over.


The mirror, and all the lovely adornments that dangle from chains, is made of tin.


The detail is unbelievable! 


It is a magnificent work!


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We are staying in an "historic" hotel. When you hear that word to describe a hotel in Florida, it usually means old and musty, with small windows and slow plumbing. In this case, we were pleasantly surprised. We have a nice room with a great view of the Lightner Museum. The room is spacious and full of natural light from three large windows. The t.v. is a big one. 

Bearing in mind it is historic and has a Spanish Moor influence with heavy, dark carved furniture...I still was not prepared for this... 


...two of them actually...queen size. Annie thinks they are wonderful!




Hope you are all having a great week...we are so looking forward to having a quiet Memorial Day at home.

Enjoy the day,
Robyn


Friday, May 9, 2014

My favorite day...



When I was in grammar school, around the third grade, a classmate of mine had a younger brother who had polio. The little guy was in kindergarten and walked with the aid of heavy leather and metal braces. One first Friday, when the whole school was attending Mass, this little boy was walking up the long church aisle when his crutches hit a slick spot on the marble and he fell flat on his face. Without skipping a beat, and within seconds, he maneuvered his braces and was back up and walking down the aisle as if nothing happened. I remember thinking, even at the tender age of eight, this was courage.

Years later, in college, a young woman with cerebral palsy was a freshman when I was a sophomore. Sophomores picked freshman as "little sisters". I picked this young lady. 

Somehow, I have always felt these events were some sort of preparation for me...preludes to coming events.

Years ago my mother-in-law gave me a book of Erma Bombeck essays. She wanted me to read the one entitled "The Special Mother". I love the poem...except for the last part about the mirror...I just don't identify with the ending...it just doesn't fit. I know that not all mothers of special needs children can "handle" it. I have known people who placed their children in foster care. I know that for me, after the initial shock, they couldn't pry that little bundle of pink out of my arms. I don't think that makes me special...I think it just makes me a mom. All moms are special to their children!

Mother's Day...it is my favorite day...for the last twenty seven years I have been a full time, stay at home mother. As the years go by, I find myself pacing myself, trying to conserve energy for the future. Some days, I only have enough time and energy to be a mom. Other days, I can do a little stitching or hooking. Lately, I have been working on Mugwump Woolies holiday dolls. I can't seem to fit it all in, so I have been away from the computer. I wanted to come here today to wish you all the very best and happiest Mother's Day! 

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The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
"Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia."
"Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew."
Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But has she patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."
"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that's not going to be easy."
"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps - "selfishness? is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'". She will never consider a "step" ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!"
"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice....and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side".
"And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

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The first time Annie tied her shoe by herself they called me from school so she could tell me the big news. She was fifteen. I cried happy tears.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day! 

Enjoy the day,
Robyn