The Color Purple

Empurpled

Even though it seems like we are missing some of it, spring really is here. And Easter will arrive in just a couple of weeks. I can’t think of spring without thinking of the colors we associate with Easter eggs. While I love them all, the most Easter-ish has to be purple.

I did not know the word empurpled. I had never met it until just a few years ago when I read Anne of Green Gables. I fell in love with the book and with Anne as soon as I became accustomed to the formality of the early twentieth century – 1909 – writing of Lucy Maud Montgomery. If you want a treat, find this book to read. 💜

After the Mayflowers came the violets, and Violet Vale was empurpled with them. Anne walked through it on her way to school, with reverent steps and worshipping eyes, as if she trod on holy ground.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Purple seems to flow in literature and poetry, too. It makes me smile. It’s just a happy color. And these are happy quilts. Imagine the love stitched into these works of art. On the right, a Double Wedding Ring pattern comes alive with spring patchwork on a purple background.

On the left, patchwork strips divide the blocks which are embroidered before being quilted. I would love to own either of these beauties.

Now, I’ve never done a room in purple, but I would fold either of these quilts over the foot of a bed or the back of a couch. How about on a sweet blue kitchen table on Easter morning?

Maybe with these in the center?

When Lilacs Last in the Door-hard Bloom’d ~ Walt Whitman

And some eggs tucked under them. Purple ones, of course. How sweet are these?

Dear March – Come in –
How glad I am –
I hoped for you before –
Put down your Hat –
You must have walked –
How out of Breath you are –
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest –
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me –
I have so much to tell –

I got your Letter, and the Birds –
The Maples never knew that you were coming –
I declare – how Red their Faces grew –
But March, forgive me – 
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue –
There was no Purple suitable –
You took it all with you –

Who knocks? That April –
Lock the Door –
I will not be pursued –
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied –
But trifles look so trivial 
As soon as you have come

That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame –

~ Emily Dickinson, Dear March

My favorite of all poets, Emily Dickinson, wrote this poem, and this one is my favorite of hers. Can’t you just see March, arriving in a gust of wind, tossing her hat on the bed, and preparing for a good gossip? And the violets covering the hills were lost until she arrived…

It isn’t actually named anything. She numbered her poetry. This is actually No. 1320.

Look at that sky! This photo was taken by Karina Del Carpio Miller.
It is the purple sky above the lake behind her home in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


And how about this sweet purple pin cushion snuggled into a vintage teacup? I found it on Etsy. A woman makes and sells these for ten dollars! Wouldn’t it look adorable sitting on the sewing machine or a laundry room shelf? 💜

These aprons are sold out, but can’t you picture them hanging on a rack in the kitchen?

Like this one that I am just head-over-heels in love with. It’s from stonegable.com, and I love it so much I keep showing it to you because some day I am going to quit talking about it and actually make one and then I will be talking about how I made one and showing you pictures and how-tos…I hope you read that all in one breath because that’s how I wrote it! Take a look…

Yes, they are wonderful. And I know they aren’t purple, but I wanted you to see how wonderful they are and to picture how cute our purple aprons would look hanging here. And then I was hoping you would go to her blog to read about how very important it is for us all to wear aprons because I find aprons irresistible. See how she changes hers to go with the seasons? Our purple ones would hang here in the spring. See? And besides, her house is very pretty. Go see…

And then I found this precious square Spode plate. It’s called Mayflower Periwinkle. Imagine a spinach-strawberry salad on here. Or a slice of strawberry cake. At Green Gables.

And purple glassware and a pitcher. Did you know there’s such a thing as Lavender Lemonade? I think it belongs in this pitcher. Go here for the recipe.


And to go with our lemonade, I think we need some lavender-lemonade cupcakes as long as we’re having a tea party.

Visit Mary at homeiswheretheboatis.com for the recipe for the prettiest cupcakes made from lavender and lemonade.

And a kitchen towel because I love them as much as I love aprons.

This particularly beautiful one is from The Paper Source.

And we can’t leave yet because I haven’t shown you the most beautiful, fragrant purple of all. Wisteria. Now I know the little yellow house in At Home in Mitford is on Wisteria Lane. And there is a store full of gorgeous items for the home named Wisteria. But the prettiest of all wisteria is a pest. Something you can’t turn your back on for a minute or it will take over your yard and house and trees. Only it is so worth being watched without ceasing. It’s amazing. A beautiful pest. I believe God painted every one. The blossoms are just that beautiful.

I told you.

And now for my favorite poem of all. Wait. Second favorite. Sorry, Emily. So read the poem more than once. And read it out loud. And pause at the commas. Now, do it all together. 💜

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,

And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,

Sell one, and with the dole

Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

~ Sadi

See? Purple soothes our souls. We need that.

Faith, Hope, Love

The Lord’s Prayer

To quote my three year old grandson, I have an idea!

Only he would say it with his little finger in the air as if the thought had just at that very moment Eureka!-ed into his little head.

Stop singing! he cries. It’s not my birfday! No. It’s not. But I have heard him singing it quietly to himself as he scrubs his little hands.

So are you tired of singing Happy birthday to you, happy, birthday to you…TWICE each time you wash your hands? I’m kind of with my Jeffrey on this one.

In case you are thinking I’m crazy, that’s supposed to be the amount of time we wash our hands. Sing the Happy Birthday song twice while you wash your hands! Germ experts want us to soap up for 20 seconds. It takes me 23 seconds.

I timed it. Self-quarantine affords us such nonsense.

So here’s my idea!💡

What if we replaced Happy Birthday with The Lord’s Prayer? I did it quite by accident today. And then, because I had the time, you know, to time it, I did. 33 seconds! Plenty of scrubbing to pop the membranes on those evil little viruses.

So let’s start a movement! Replace the birthday song with The Lord’s Prayer! What a revolution we could start…millions of us reciting the most powerful prayer of all time several times a day. That would be – using my extensive math skills – a kazillion times Every single day!

What would God think? I wouldn’t presume to say, but I’m guessing he would at least smile about it all.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Amen.“

Jesus Christ, as he taught us how to pray

33 seconds. It could change the world.

If you would like to hear it sung beautifully by Charlotte Church, performed in Jerusalem in 2001, click here.

Post Coronavirus Activity #1

Gardening 101

I’ve had big yards, tiny balconies, and a plant window. I’ve killed plants that should have lived, brought some back from the brink, propagated, rooted, and transplanted. I’ve never been very good at dividing, but I sure would love to learn how. So let’s talk.

Geraniums

I’ve decided these are my very, very favorites. They are available everywhere in early spring, you don’t have to remember to plant them in the fall or store them in the fridge, and they will live through just about anything.

Well, not a freeze. Be sure to bring them inside when temps dip below freezing. I put mine in a sunny spot, and they bloomed at Christmas!

And they do require water, so you can’t just go off on vacation and leave them in the full, hot, July sun. They. Will. Die. If that sounds like a confession, it is.

So the next year I bought those colorful glass bulb-ish watering gadgets from those as seen on TV! sections of The Walmart.

Ad lib: I’m a part-time Arkansan, so if I say The Walmart, I’m joking. We know our Walmart lingo.

Anyway, those watering-bulb-things don’t work. I filled them up with water, pushed the snout down in the soil, and planned for them to keep the soil moist. I would have been better off praying for rain. Heck, I should have done a rain dance right there on the deck. They died.

So from then on, I moved them to a flowerbed where the sprinkler system hit, and voila! they lived. Just like magic!

Take a look at these beauties! My favorite thing about geraniums is that they come in all kinds of pink and coral as well as white and red. They are just classic, cheerful, hardy plants.

This pair came from the porch. The one on the right was just about dead. One dry looking stalk and two very pale leaves. My husband suggested throwing her away. Instead, I fed her, moved her to the sun, and whispered kind words in her petals. She now has four blossom clusters with three more ready to open. 🌸

Banana Trees

These are such entertaining plants! I bought this little guy, just about three leaves, maybe 18” tall, and planted it in a huge decorative pot. It is square and white, ceramic, and really heavy. Especially after I filled it with soil. We fed it as we planted and it GREW!

Each morning I would go out on the deck to see him, and every morning he had a beautiful new leaf. I would trim off the lower leaves as they yellowed or split. I wanted him to look healthy and pampered. Isn’t he gorgeous?!?

Around the base of his trunk, I planted some tiny pink petunias. I kept those trimmed back so they didn’t get leggy, but they still cascaded over the sides of the pot. I enjoyed that banana plant as much as anything I’ve ever grown. He lived until he froze. I’m heading out to get a new one when I’m no longer quarantined!

Hostas

Hostas are perennials. You plant them once and they come back every spring. I forget them every winter, and they peek through the soil right when I’m so ready for spring! They need (mostly) shade, but there are variegated varieties that need sun for their streaks to really show their unique beauty. Slugs eat them, so you might need deal with that.

I plant mine with ferns, impatiens, and Fashion azaleas. It makes a beautiful shade bed. I’ve used wood ferns and Boston ferns. I love that flowerbed. But it is shaded by some very, very tall trees. Those trees offer the perfect amount of shade.

Every spring, the Master Gardeners and Hosta Society in our town have a plant sale. I’ve bought some wonderful plants at those sales. And their potting soil is the richest stuff plants can grow in! But it is here that I search for irises. Blue and purple irises. These are my favorites flowers of all time! Did I say that about geraniums? And my banana tree? And I haven’t even said a word about hydrangeas…

Iris

A friend brought me some deep purple Japanese iris. The blue ones I have growing in big blue pots.

I’ve planted them in the yard, too. The best thing about irises is they multiply. And when they do, other people want to get rid of them. Talk about loving them, and your friends and their friends will offer them to you.

These pots are full of little Plant Show Blue irises. Did you know you can propagate them from seed? If you let the seed pods grow and dry, you can crack them open and spread the seeds in a large pot. Keep them moist in a bright room. I followed the directions I found online, and many tiny irises popped up. They were adorable. I am better at seeds than dividing plants. We will see if they ever bloom.

Daffodils

So now I will tell you about my daffodils. We bought our house in late April. The daffs had already bloomed. I was a neophyte. I didn’t know!

The next spring, they bloomed! Everywhere! The lined our property. The popped up among the rocks. They surrounded trees. They were so artfully arranged. Whoever had landscaped our yard did a wonderful job. Must have been a Master Gardener!

We had a late freeze. I heard it was coming! I put cardboard boxes and blankets over as many as I could, desperately trying to save them…I didn’t know!

And then, in a last ditch effort to save them, I cut them. All of them. And took them inside. I thought the freeze would kill all of the flowers. I was clueless. After researching what I should have done – nothing – and what long term damage I had caused – none – I was sure they were never the same. But for that first year, they were so darling and perky and yellow. For a few hours, anyway.

There is nothing as satisfying as looking out across the yard and seeing the work of a gardener. Clean, mulched beds. Blooms and greenery. A bird bath full of splashing birds.

Want to feel like a miracle worker? Nurse a dying plant back to life. Feed some hungry hummingbirds fresh off their long journeys home.

Want to feel like Mother Nature herself? Bring home some geraniums and clay pots, a bag of potting mix and some plant food. Plant them, water them, and watch them grow.

But let me warn you. It’s addictive. Next thing you know, you’ll be wanting a banana tree.

  • Garden gloves from eBay, Williams-Sonoma, and Terrain.com.
  • Paper dinner plates from Caspari.
  • Liquid Soap and paper table runner (left) from The Paper Source
  • Weekly planners from Papier
  • Weekly Desk Planner and Bunny Garden kitchen towel from The Paper Store

Faith, Hope

It Is Well with My Soul

Have you ever heard the story of Horatio Spafford? Do you know why we know him without knowing his name?

He was a wealthy lawyer and businessman living in Chicago in the late 1800s, married with four young daughters. He invested heavily in property on the north side of the city. When the Great Fire devastated Chicago in late 1871, his home was spared, but the inferno destroyed most of Spafford’s holdings. His fortune was greatly diminished.

He and his wife worked selflessly to help the displaced, opening their home to those in need and caring for hungry, lost, desperate friends and neighbors.

Their sweet girls

The couple’s unselfish work to restore Chicago took its toll, and when they were given the opportunity to live for a year in Europe, Horatio and Anna chose to go. Traveling with them were their four young daughters, the governess, and a young family friend, 12, who was returning to school in Paris.

After traveling to New York to board the SS Ville du Havre, Horatio was called back to a Chicago on a business matter. His new plan was to set sail in a few days to join them.

The family never arrived. Their ship collided with a British ship traveling through the Atlantic, and the girls were lost at sea. Anna was found floating, unconscious, on debris in the wreckage. After her rescue, Anna cabled her husband.

These were her words: Saved alone. What should I do? Children lost.

Horatio left immediately, traveling also by sea, to join his wife. When he neared the area where his children had drowned, the ship’s captain sent for him and shared with him where they were. Horatio went down to his cabin where he wrote the uplifting words to the hymn, It Is Well with My Soul.

Available at lindsayletters.com

A wonderful young artist, Lindsey Sherbondy of Lindsay Letters, created a graphic version which she sells in her shop. Her artwork reminds us of the story behind this beautiful hymn.

The girls were 2, 5, 9, and 11

Can you imagine his grief?

The depth of his faith?

Listen to this beautiful version by Audrey Assad here.

Maybe Horatio Spafford’s words can offer perspective to us today. As we live in this time of uncertainty and unanswered questions, maybe through the words of this hymn we can find peace.

Home, Style

Let’s Go Shopping!

Well, from home. And not really. Just looking…

Some cute finds at Ballard Designs. Just for fun.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
Books

Corona Virus: Reading During Self Quarantine

I’m reading – as always. I have a TBR stack that still needs to be read, so I’m working on it. I thought I would share a few favorite reads with you just in case you need some ideas.

I checked Barnes & Noble to see if they are still shipping. They are. As of Sunday morning, their store was still open. I think they have limited their hours. Nook downloads are available, too. Also check your public library. If you have a library card, you likely have access to their online services.

Jan Karon’s Mitford Series

And you can always re-read the books you have on hand. I’ve read this series twice, and will probably pull it out again. It is the most uplifting. Pretty good medicine for this unsettling virus.

These are the first eight in order. There are six more in the series. Such happy books!

Kristin Hannah

I read these books in this order, but only because I bought them in that order. There’s no need to.

I loved the first one – it’s historical fiction about the Holocaust. The second is modern-day. I didn’t love it and almost gave up on Hannah completely.

I loved the title, Firefly Lane, but it was too 70s for me. So I didn’t read the sequel and instead went to True Colors. It’s a good one! I loved learning about a horsewoman’s life. And the relationship between the sisters is the basis for a good story. And, of course, romance, heartbreak, and life.

I also recommend The Great Unknown. My favorite thing about this book was the setting. It is so powerful that it becomes a character. Alaska! It’s wild. Another plus about Hannah’s books is they are long. She writes stories that go on and on. I like a book to be an investment of my time.

Helen Simonson


My latest read was The Summer Before the War. I loved it. It is set just before World War I in a tiny English town. A new female gasp! Latin teacher is hired to teach the children of Rye and not everyone approves. It is her story. There is war, love, death, social constraints, refugees, gossip, family…in other words, a good book.

It makes me want to read Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. So I’m going to find it on my bookshelf. Or in a To-Be-Read stack. It’s one of my Book Sale! books that I have never gotten around to reading. You do that, too, don’t you? Please say yes…it can’t be just me.

Mine used to look like this. Seriously.


Pat Conroy

Now he’s a little bit of a controversy. He was recommended to me by someone who thought Beach Music was the best book ever…and I loved it. But two! people I suggested it to didn’t like it at all. Go figure.

I would start with it if I were you. It has so many good stories woven together. I learned about sea turtles and the shag and the Carolina coast and Sherman’s march to the sea and so much more.

It was one of those books I just experienced. I would read, go do life, come back and read some more. Each time I picked it up, I just looked forward to what was coming next. Have you ever read a book like that? I loved knowing it was waiting for me to return.

And I loved that it was so southern. I could just see it. The homes. The streets. The trees dripping with moss. The life. I mean…the shag! I kept my iPad beside me so I could look stuff up as I read. There really is such a thing as beach music! How did I not know?

Now South of Broad is good, too. It’s got some rough stuff in it, though. A loss of innocence, for sure. I saw things that I didn’t want to see. But very real things.

And The Water Is Wide. I love this book for so many reasons. I saw the movie before I knew anything about the book or Pat Conroy, so I could picture Conrack as a young, long-haired Jon Voight. Plus he was a teacher. And the story is based on a time in Conroy’s life when he moves to an island off the Carolina coast to spend a year teaching in a tiny school full of uneducated children. He’s loving and funny and unconventional.


A Few Suggestions

I highly recommend all of the following. If it’s here, I loved it or at least really enjoyed it. They are a mix of genres and some are older than others. Take a look at these. I bet your library has them all. Read them on your iPad.

Corona Virus

I’m So Bored!

Has anyone around you said that this week? Have you?

There has been so much grumbling. Aside from the obvious fears of health, the economy, a crashing stock market, our jobs, non-voluntary home schooling, lack of essentials, i.e. toilet paper and bread…should I go on?

No. I shouldn’t. We might want to focus on more uplifting pursuits. I believe this will all end. I read on social media something along the lines of we will get through this. Games will sell out, the economy will come roaring back, a cure will be found, America will win this fight. This I believe.

I am the eternal optimist. I’m Pollyanna. My rose colored glasses are right where they belong. So I choose not to worry. There is a bright side to self quarantine.

We have time at home. We can sleep late or stay up til two in the morning! And then sleep late again! We can bake our own bread…I haven’t done that in years! Or make a pound cake from scratch. Just like my Nanu used to do.

Let’s brainstorm some ideas for activities to fill some of our new free time.

Read a Book.

Tackle your To Be Read stack!

That’s just almost too easy. Surely we have something we’ve been meaning to read. Or re-read. I highly recommend The Summer Before the War. I just finished it. The war is World War I and I knew very little about that time. It is set in England and is rich in story.

Isn’t she cute?


Work a Jigsaw Puzzle.

Find one with at least 1000 pieces. That should keep you busy! You could order one at Barnes and Noble to be delivered so you won’t have to leave the house. I just finished the New Yorker. She was a birthday present that I’ve been saving for the perfect time…I think I found it!

Pull out the sewing machine.

Of course, the big IFs are IF you own one and IF you know how to use it.
But if the answer is Yes I Do!…then get busy! I have a Pinterest board full of cute aprons. Why not use some of your fabric stash to make one for yourself, a friend, and your sister?

This one is from pretty-ditty.blogspot.com
And this one is from etsy.


They are so pretty and feminine and practical. Check out Yvonne @stonegableblog.com as she explains why she lives in an apron. You will be convinced that you need one, too. She also has the most charming apron rack made of plates and hooks that I’m so going to copy as soon as I can head to a thrift shop for cute plates. I am totally in love with it. When I build it, I will share it here with you. Cross my heart!


Make a Playlist.

  • My Church by Maren Morris
  • This Old Porch by Lyle Lovett
  • Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash
  • The Tennessee Waltz by Patti Page
  • Act Naturally by The Beatles
  • I Can’t Stop Loving You by Ray Charles
  • Faded Love by Bob Wills
  • Mama’s Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert
  • Cotton Fields by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Tim McGraw by Taylor Swift
  • Prop Me Up Beside the Juke Box by Joe Diffie
  • Help! by The Beatles

And then dance to it! Mine is on my iPad and bluetoothed to a speaker. Sunshine on a cloudy day!


Follow a fun new blog.

You never know what great new ideas are out there until you do some searching. Learn to use napkins to decoupage clay pots. Or how to plant bulbs from Home Depot in an antique berry crate to make a charming spring centerpiece. Frame a baby’s dress. Or make a cool bench from a discarded headboard/footboard.

As soon as you find one, you will find more. The bloggers link each other’s content when they find great ideas. I am drawn to decorating and home blogs that are unselfish in their willingness to show you how to complete their projects successfully.

My absolute favorites:

So this is an update! I want you to see Ann’s gorgeous wreath and her blue door. She’s On Sutton Place. So pretty…I have to make this.

And so much more!

Seriously, did you really say you were bored?!? I can think of a million more…

Corona Virus, Daily Life, Self Quarantine

Corona Virus Shopping

At the grocery store – Tom Thumb – when it opened at 7:00. Well, I wasn’t. But my husband was! Some shelves were empty but being restocked. They had just cleaned.

There were people waiting to go in, about ten older men. In about fifteen minutes it began filling up. Here’s what he found.

  • No Tide Free. Only the scented kind. We will smell funny.
  • No bread. No pimento cheese.
  • Strange spaghetti noodles. In a box.
  • Diet Coke 12-packs. He bought the last case, leaving only those 12-packs.
  • Blue Bonnet margarine. He bought the last Imperial.
  • Chips, fresh fruit and vegetables, hamburger meat.
  • Good paper towels, not great toilet paper.
  • Sausage. He bought the only Polish sausage and a roll of Owens bulk. No Jimmy Dean.
  • Plenty of canned goods.
  • Plenty of milk and eggs.

He forgot to look for Mr. Clean, so no report there. We aren’t hoarding, but our fridge is stocked.

The checker did have good news. She can work as many hours as she wants to. She will have a paycheck!

Life is still good.

Corona Virus 2.0, Spring Break, Vacation

Corona Virus: Plan B

So Disney shut down the parks. We never got on the plane. No hand sanitizer. No masks. No worries.

Instead?

Found this postcard in a bait shop. I couldn’t resist the artwork. And all that blue…

Yep, we drove south. To the beach.

In the sanitary privacy of our own car, we headed to South Texas. No crowds. Everyone way more than six feet away. Just the family, some shrimp, and the ocean breeze. Sand between our toes and a little sun.

Guess what they had at the grocery store? Fully stocked shelves. Meat, bread, bottled water, and paper products. No panicked shoppers.

We bought shrimp from the boat, 9-12 per pound for $7.50 a pound. Joe chopped off their heads while he told us he thought the Corona virus was a bunch of baloney. We wanted to tell him that the Corona virus was why we were buying fifteen pounds of his gorgeous shrimp. We just smiled.

Joe and his wife lived here…with some wild turkeys and a slew of cats. He graduated from the 6th grade. Did I mention how big those shrimp were?!?

Picket fence and all. Impatiens and ferns, hibiscus and roses.

We didn’t see Mickey or Minnie. We didn’t walk anywhere but from our deck to the beach. We went 48 hours before we even turned on the tv.

We played and ate and laughed. We sat by the water and dug our toes in wet sand. We looked for heart-shaped shells.

We baked chocolate chip cookies, flew a kite, watched the babies toddle, and decorated some dinosaurs. I believe the tweens next door call this chillin’. Our grandparents would call it making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. We did what people used to do. We had a visit. We stayed safe.

In the morning we go home. We will see the news and deal with closed schools and restaurants with to-go service only. We will continue to self-quarantine and wash our hands. I will put on make up and blow dry my hair. We will keep a normal amount of toilet paper in our bathroom.

But this was one great way to spend Week 1 of Corona Virus 2020.

Oh. This was the view of the house next door. It’s my new sign.

Life is still good.
Shopping

Blue & White

If you’ve been wanting to add a little – or a lot – of new blue to your home, I’ve found a great source. And if you use the blue, might as well go ahead with a touch of white. It’s fresh and springy and classic. Check out these pretty finds…they are yummy!

At One Kings Lane: So much to love!