Thursday, September 30, 2010

Come Sit a Spell

One of my favorite expressions is, "Come sit a spell." It reminds me of quiet moments shared with family or friends when you sit and visit, or just spend some quality time together.

It also brings to mind images of cozy places that beckon you to "come sit a spell." It could be a couple of lawn chairs under a tree, like the ones in the above picture, or perhaps a porch swing ...

There are also kitchens that make you want to linger for a while, like this one:

And speaking of lingering ... who wouldn't love to sit a spell on this elegant window seat, especially with a view like that outside ...

Here are a few more pictures I borrowed from the Internet that say, "Come on in and sit a spell."

This is a picture of a room I cut out of a magazine probably 20 years ago and saved in my "decorating ideas" notebook. It has a "come-sit-a-spell" look to it to me, and I still love it as much now as I did 20 years ago.

This sunroom is one of my favorites, too:

Wouldn't you love to have your morning coffee in this beautiful room! Nothing makes a room look cozier and more welcoming to me than bookshelves that actually hold books.

I love this little corner — even though it's elegant, it still beckons you to come sit and read for a while.

Outdoor spaces can also beckon you to sit a spell, like this beautiful bench and peaceful path:

And these rocking chairs overlooking a beautiful Spring garden:

I would love to "sit a spell" in one of these Adirondack chairs and admire that glorious Fall foliage, but I doubt I would be able to sit still very long without trying to capture some of that awesome view with my camera.

The same is true of this breathtaking beach scene ...

All of those places are gorgeous in their own way, but you don't have to have a beautifully decorated room, or garden, or tropical beach to enjoy the magic of "sitting a spell" with someone you love. You can sit at your kitchen table with your children when they come home from school, and share a snack with them. Ask them about their day, or share something about your day with them. Meet your husband at the door when he gets home from work, and "sit a spell" with him and relax before dinner.

A "spell" doesn't have to be long — just long enough to let them know you're glad they're home.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Perfect Fall Day

Although the official "First Day of Fall" was last week, we had our first real Fall day in Mississippi yesterday, with an early morning temperature of 59 degrees, and afternoon temperatures in the 70s. It was a glorious afternoon, and my husband and I decided to celebrate Fall's arrival by driving out to our land, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes (one way) from Vicksburg. It was well worth the drive.

We have five and a half acres on a lake near Canton, Mississippi (about 25 miles north of Jackson). The brilliant blue sky was reflected in the lake, and "the trees were alive with the sound of wind" moving through them. That reminds me of the first line of "The Sound of Music" (The hills are alive, with the sound of music), and that's the only way to describe it — it was magical.

Of course, I had my camera with me and here are a few of the scenes that caught my eye.

I loved the tall grasses swaying in the breeze on the lake bank ...

I spotted this bottle in the lake and wondered if it had a message in it, or if it was some priceless relic that had been unearthed when they made the lake.

Upon fishing it out with a long stick, it turned out to be an old beer bottle covered with algae, but it was fun imagining for a little while, anyway.

I took this picture of minnows to show our granddaughter Avery Grace.

She loves exploring around the edges of the lake with my dad, and I wouldn't take anything for this picture I captured of them Labor Day weekend. Talk about priceless!

This next picture will be featured in an upcoming post, and I hope you will join me to hear the story about it.

I love seeing all the interesting seed pods that are everywhere this time of year, and this plant caught my eye. I'm not sure what it is, but isn't it pretty!

I hope to capture it when all those little buds open.

I hope you are enjoying Fall as much as we enjoyed our time at the lake yesterday. I'm looking forward to many more days like that one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Chills and Tingles" Music

I love music, and appreciate all kinds of music, ranging from classical to the old "classic country" songs sung by Hank, Merle, Loretta, Conway, and George. I am awed by Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma, and have been known to rewind the cd to hear those last soul-stirring notes over and over again. The same is true of Hank Thompson's rendition of "Wild Side of Life." Quite a difference between the two, I know ... but I can't help it — I love that song!

I can't listen to music without being affected emotionally. It can bring me to tears (both sad and happy), cause chills and tingles to run up and down my spine, and give me a "lump" in my throat — sometimes, all at the same time. There are some songs that give me chills every single time I hear them, no matter how often I hear them.

I've made a list of some of my favorite chills-producing songs, and I'm sure some of these would be on your list, too. For instance, #1 on most of our lists would probably be The Star Spangled Banner, followed closely by Wagner's Wedding March, Taps, Pomp and Circumstance, Amazing Grace, and How Great Thou Art. Here's the rest of my list, which is in no particular order:

Danny Boy
The Way We Were (Barbra Streisand)
You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban)
In the Arms of the Angels
Scarlet Ribbons
I Believe
The Lord's Prayer
You'll Never Walk Alone
Silent Night
Ave Maria
There is a River
The Holy City
America the Beautiful
God Bless America (Kate Smith)
I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton)
Cover Me (Percy Sledge)
Anything by John Fogerty

I created a "playlist" which includes some of those songs, and if you would like to give them the "chills and tingles" test, just click on the arrow and then click on the songs you would like to hear. I would love for you to share some of your favorites, too.

And while I'm on the subject of music's effect on our emotions, I would also like to share one of my favorite chills-producing renditions of How Great Thou Art. Be sure to scroll down below the playlist if you would like to see the YouTube clip.

If you were a fan of the TV show Designing Women, I think you will love seeing this clip from an episode featuring Julia (Dixie Carter) singing How Great Thou Art. It never ceases to wreak havoc on my emotions, and is my all-time favorite episode. The expressions on the faces of Suzanne, Mary Jo, Charlene, Anthony, and Reese are priceless (be sure and see Charlene's reaction at the end!).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pretty Words

I love words — especially words that sound pretty, or musical, when spoken. For example, the word fleur de lis, sounds as elegant as the graceful images it brings to mind ...

And the word verandah, with an "h," as in, "Let's have tea on the verandah."

Doesn't that sound more gracious than having tea on the porch?

And with our tea, we could have some Petit Fours, another word I like, probably because I LUV Petit Fours.

Here are a few more of my favorite words and the images they bring to mind when I hear them:




The word "ruffles" also makes me think of "Ruffles and Flourishes," which I've always heard of but never really knew what it meant until I looked it up on Google. Ruffles and flourishes refers to the fanfare that precedes ceremonial music for distinguished people. Ruffles are played on drums, and flourishes are played on bugles. Four ruffles and flourishes is the highest honor, and the President of the United States receives four before "Hail to the Chief."

Picket Fence





Doesn't serendipity sound like a happy word! It means, "a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated," and I experience it often.

Here are some more of my favorite "pretty words" and expressions:

A Gracious Plenty
April Showers
May Flowers
Thee and Thou
Amazing Grace
French Country
Sweet Spirits
Semper Fi
On Gossamer Wings
Grandmama (music to my ears, when spoken by my granddaughter Avery Grace)

I could go on and on, but would love for you to share some of your favorite words and expressions.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Not for the Squeamish

Don't say I didn't warn you — if you are afraid of or don't like spiders, you may want to come back to visit me another day, because today I'm featuring pictures of a Writing Spider. He has been living happily in a huge web suspended over a flower bed along the path that leads from our courtyard to the back yard, and has been there for a couple of weeks. We have admired him from "afar," and he has totally ignored us as we passed by him on the path.

Yesterday, I spent almost the entire day working in our yard, and, as I worked along the path pulling up some Mint that was taking over the flower bed, I completely forgot about our "little friend." When I realized I was working where his web had been, I have to admit that I could immediately feel him crawling in my hair and down my back (shudder!).

Needless to say, I began to frantically brush myself off, imagining all sorts of places on my body that the spider could be. Once I got over my panic attack and assured myself that he wasn't on me, I calmed down and was relieved to see him on the wall in back of the flower bed. I think I actually saw a smirk on his face, probably caused by witnessing my rather "undignified" antics as I brushed myself off (that had to have been a Kodak moment, for sure).

And speaking of Kodak moments — after recovering my dignity, I decided that I needed to capture that smirky-faced little creature for posterity, and went inside and got my camera and ZOOOOOOOOM lens. I felt comfortable looking at him up close through the zoom lens, because I could stand several feet away from him.

This is what I saw (doesn't that look like a smirk on his face?) —

I love the shadow in this picture.

I know he looks really scary in my pictures because of his size, but I googled "writing spiders," and was pleased (and relieved) to discover that they are not aggressive or poisonous.

Some species of Writing Spiders spin a silky "zigzag" type of web (often with a hollow center). These silky webs have been shown to play a role in attracting prey to the web, and possibly to prevent its destruction by large animals. The "silk" is easily seen as the spider busily works to spin its web, but the larger portion of the web may not be that easy to see.

I'm not sure what happened to my spider's web. I didn't notice it when I was working, but I could have (shudder again!) knocked it down without realizing it.

One day last month we were at our land, and I took some pictures of a Writing Spider in its web. You can see the web in the following pictures (if you want to), and also the silky "zigzag" pattern.

Although I don't have a phobia about spiders (Arachnophobia), I prefer to give them their space and watch them from afar — or even better, through a ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM lens!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Decorating with Black and White Photographs

One of the most popular colors used in decorating today is black. Its classic style can be used to complement any style decor ranging from traditional, contemporary, and country — to French, rustic, and Old World. There's simply no shade on the color wheel with more power to draw the eye and provide a dramatic touch to a room. I think it's safe to say that designers and decorators all agree that "every room needs a touch of black to sharpen everything else."

One simple and rather inexpensive way to introduce black into a room is by using black and white photographs. I think they provide an uncluttered look (as in "less is more"), and add a warm, personal touch to a room, too.

I am considering using several of my photographs in the house we're going to build, and have converted some of my favorites to black and white just to get an idea of how they would look framed (I accomplished this by using my Photoshop Elements program).

If you prefer more color, another option would be to frame color or sepia-tone photographs in black frames with white mats. The following pictures show the above photos in their original colors:

I actually have those two sepia photos framed and hanging in my house now:

At this point, I'm still in my "wishy washy" mode as far as making a decision whether to go with black and white photos or color, but I do know that I want to use black frames with white mats. Of course, I could always use both color and black and white pictures throughout the house, depending on the decor of the rooms. There's nothing like having several options to confuse you, is there!

I'd love your input — which do you prefer?