Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Hold...

Dear readers,

Sagewood Manor has been put on hold while I take some time to breathe, to create art for art's sake and to just BE.

Please join me at my other blog, From Inkstained Hands (the blog formerly known as Woolgatherings).

Thanks for understanding!
Jen

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brief Shop Update

I'd love a brick and mortar like this some day!

I have been working, dear friends, on my shop. Just nothing has been coming together as I've planned and I've discovered new avenues and have decided against a few others. I've been pursuing my own business for some time now and it's been quite a process in discovering my niche and what's best for me and my own personal style. I apologize for the lack of updates and the lack of pictures. It's been a rather stressful year so far and not that conducive to creativity. Thank you for sticking with me though this transformative process.

Most sincerely yours,
Jen

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A St. Patrick's Day Sojourn

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Slainte! Good health to you and yours. And welcome! Once everyone arrives, we'll be moving this party to the Emerald Isle. I hope you packed for a bit of rain. Nothing serious. Ireland has what they call "soft" mornings, and a daily dose of a bit of drizzle. Just enough to keep the island lush and green.
Everyone here? Good, good. Benson has taken all your luggage out to the cars. We'll be riding to the air strip together.
We've rented the luxury of a private jet for this affair. Sit back and relax. Drinks will be served shortly after take off. Thanks to the luxury of the Internet, we won't have to wait the 8+ hours it normally takes to fly across the pond.

If you look out your window, you'll see the green patchwork quilt that is the Irish countryside. I feel refreshed already.
Wasn't that much more pleasant than taking a commercial liner? Now then, into the waiting cars we go. Quaint villages pass by in a delightful, colorful blur as we wind our way along the narrow country roads. The cottage is just up ahead.


The locals promised to greet us. There they are now! Don't be shy, they're very friendly.

Ah, there's the cottage now! We'll see to the luggage and let you know about room arrangements shortly. Stretch your legs and breathe in that fresh air. Balm for the soul. If you ramble across the bridge, you'll meet our neighbors lovely herd of sheep. You'd better take some feed for them. A handful will do, just there is the bag. Go on. They won't bite! And you'll make some woolly friends for life! The gardens are just behind, up against the tree line. Pick as many roses as you like. There are vases a plenty in this cottage.


Now then, how about some lunch! If everyone's ready, we'll take a quick trip into the village. There's a wonderful little pub there we like to patronize while we're here. The atmosphere is cozy and if we're lucky, there will be music.





Oh good! The house band is playing! Excellent! You there! No dancing on the tables! At least not until 9pm ;)


The Guinness flows freely and is exceptionally tasty here. I'll buy the first round. Too early? Nonsense! It's good for you!



Now then. Are you ready to order? I do recommend the fish and chips. With extra malt vinegar.





Once we've all eaten our fill (careful there, lad! Don't want to drink too much!), we'll all wander back to the cottage. Yes, wander. On foot. It's not that far. I thought a brisk walk after lunch would do us all some good.
Dessert is waiting. A lovely Guinness chocolate cake. Please, dig in!



I do hope you can stay a good long while. We'll be here for two weeks, enjoying the peace, quiet and soft light that can only be found in old Ireland. I need a soul vacation and this is perfect! Your rooms are open to you for as long as you'd like to stay. Feel free to come and go as you please!
If you get a moment, you may want to wander over to the old church. It's deliciously mysterious.




Thanks for joining me on this brief sojourn to the Emerald Isle! I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day! I leave you with happy thoughts, full stomachs, warm ale, and a blessing :



Cheers,
Jen
(PS: Sadly, none of these photos are from my trip to Ireland. I only had a film camera then and have yet to scan them into my computer. If you're curious, you can click on the photos and be taken to their original homes.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Art of Slow - A Manor Journal



I see my life the way I wish it, all faded blue and denim, brilliant peacock and watery grey tweed. A full circle of natural spectrum - nothing artificial, neon or blinking. A slow pace, beyond hustle and bustle, above NOW and instant. Where the bleating of sheep is my alarm clock and fresh turned earth mingles with morning coffee.

I am by no means backwoods (I am Lady of this Manor, after all). I don't necessarily wish to live off the grid. I've lived in the middle of nowhere - with honest conviction I say it is NOT for me. But nor is the city. The hustle, the bustle is not me either. A little patch of land, a garden for my flowers and veg. Several sets of hooves, a cackle of hens. These, yes these are me.

Hurry up, world says. Savor life, says I. Why hurry, I ask? Make more, the pursuit of muchness. Stuff. Ahead. The top rung of the proverbial ladder. At what expense? Health, well being, relationship, sanity? I'm tired of NOW. What about later?

Slow roasted, aged, fresh baked, stone ground. The way grandma made it. All day luncheon. Up with the chickens to feed them then coffee in woolly socks with companionable notepad and pen.

I crave slow. The smell of rain and the taste of sun. These things we rush past. I'm tired of rushing, of enslavement to ringing phone and time clock, of work to pay bills and not to feed the soul. I long for a stroll, not a race of breakneck speed. I don't want to wait until brakes must slam and tires must squeal. Casually I want off this carousel. Incessant spinning, I want to leap. TO experience a momentary weightlessness as toward destiny I fall.

I'll land, barefooted where wild flowers grow. A front porch will greet me with creaking steps and my lungs will shudder at the crispness of air. "I want to walk and not run, I want to skip and not fall". To sip and not gulp. To puddle hop and not race from lot to doors, cursing the weather for not cooperating with my agenda.

Slow. Deep breath. Exhale. Let life happen, not flash before my eyes. To that end I aspire. To shed this convention imposed chain mail and wrap my arms in cotton and wellie my feet and walk on.

Wanderingly yours,
Jen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Magpie Tales - The Elephant in the Corner


"Welcome to my garden," said the spider to the fly.

"Is that a-"

"No it isn't. Kindly follow me."

I followed, craning, watching, wondering at what I saw. I was certain, convinced an elephant was in the corner.

"Over here you'll see my latest, a pristine example of capital form and function."

"Yes," I scarcely heard her, "but I swear I saw a-"

"You didn't. That's unheard of. Pay attention and keep quiet."

The crowd around me tut-tutted, clacking tongues and lashing eyes. I found my way at the back, looking bored at picture perfect, well groomed and manicured. I'm tired, said my brain, this is maddeningly mundane. Black and white, black and white; all the same, all the same.
"Hush," I whispered, or so I thought. She glared at me, black widow, a hint of red at her throat.

"What was that you said?"
"Nothing."

Liar.

"Would you be quiet!"

"I beg your pardon?"

The brooch came undone, fell to the floor. Out splayed her spider legs and she lunged for me. The other watched without concern as she wrapped me in her web. I was hug upside down, in a corner off to the right.

"That will teach you to go against." She hissed, re-pinned her collar and the crowd walked on.

The pachyderm smiled and lowed me, his kindly trunk outstretched. He took my hand and together we walked around the bend. There was color there.

I wrote this for Willow's Magpie Tales. It's a bit different, don't you think? Wander on by and check out the other amazing stories she has collected.

Cheerio,
Jen

Friday, March 5, 2010

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child and the smiling faces. Smell the rain and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

~ Ashley Smith

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Bit of Fun

Today I wanted to post some pictures I took during my blog break. My husband surprised me with a spontaneous trip to our "home" town of Savannah, Georgia one Saturday and we spent the day enjoying a rare appearance by the sun, sipping lattes on Broughton Street, buying candy on River Street, sticking our toes in the *FREEZING* Atlantic, and spending some time with a very dear friend.

"The cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." ~ Isak Dinesen



"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour, but mood to moment.
We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun." ~ Anon
You never know what you're going to see...




My long-tailed, miniature polar bear, Colby (aka: ragdoll)



"I am you, you are ME. You are the waves, I am the ocean. Know this and be free, be divine."
~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba



Random castoffs from Calypso's closet
(I always bring home a treasure chest full!)


Call me crazy, but I think it would be fun to be a tugboat captain.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Living, Manorsteading, and New Decisions

During my ten day hiatus, I learned a lot about myself, about my intentions and about my heart. I learned that some of the dreams I was holding tight to weren't things I should have been clinging to. Dreams I thought were dead were revived and some, sneaky little blighters, appeared again, fresh and clean, polished and shining like new silver.

Out of all of the new decisions and re-commitments, I saw one shining underlying thread. Like blue velvet laying against coffee stained burlap, the slow living ideal is tantalizing and hypnotic. Even flown? Rivers from 30,000 feet look like shimmering ribbons woven in a tapestry of greens and browns. Even those that wind through cities lend a magic quality to modernization. This is how I see the thread of slow. I'm reminded of flying out of Paris. The city sprawled below me but the river wound through, trudging onward as it had for thousands of years. Slow and steady, uninhibited by man and his trophies.

Life runs out of control but we hold the reigns. I know, work beckons (demands) and we cannot leap off the merry-go-round as we wish. We sometimes simply have to hang on with calloused hands and gritted teeth, praying for a pause, a glitch, a nod from the Divine that we can, at long last, let go. That's where I am at the moment. I cannot, at the present, quit my job. I am thankful for it and am in the process of making peace with it. It fits like a too small sweater, raw wool rubbing wounds against my once sun kissed skin. Now fluorescent light pale it bleeds but the pain reminds me of life out there, waiting, watchful, always beckoning with open arms.

I may not be able to jump ship (yet) but I can make the ride a little less bumpy as I continue my winding, twisting, convoluted way to the edge. A lot of thinking went into these past ten days, dear friends, and I'm more determined now to work for myself, for my visions and not for someone elses.

It has always been my dream to own my own business and to make a life via the work of my hands and words on the page. That is the end to which I am working. During the next few months, I will be posting the various twists and turns of this new commitment. I intend to be more diligent about pursuit as well as sharing photographic evidence of it. And yes, I will let you in on the little "secrets" revealed as the days go on. I'm just not ready to do so without concrete proof. Castles in the sky still need solid foundations underneath. Those foundations are what I am working on now.

In other news, it's snowing again in Georgia. Bizarre. Cold. Over staying welcome. I love winter. This year, however, I'm in desperate need of summer! Knowing that spring must precede the prescribed season, however, I am beckoning the pollen laden blossoms and stuffy sinuses in exchange for grey overcast skies. Skies dressed in woollen jackets with icy buttons that snag on branches and fall, tumble down, onto street and lamp post. As soon as it sheds those garments, I, too, will be able to shed some burdens.

Until then, I wish you blue sky dreaming and warm breezes,
Jen

Monday, March 1, 2010

Throw those curtains wide!


Dearest friends, it is so good to be back! It was a much needed break, but I am ready to return to my daily chronicles of life at the manor. Flinging open curtains does let in the sun but it also makes noticeable the cobs and dust bunnies. Would it be easier to keep them in the dark, deceive myself into believing they aren't there? Of course, but what good would come from that in the long run?

I was enlightened during my brief hiatus and it is that enlightenment which I want to share with you. Throughout this week, I'll be sharing glimmers of light and mussing up the order of things. It's good to rock the boat now and then. Keeps people on their toes.

My vision is clearer and I'm more focused in terms of goals. It's been a rough week, honestly, but for the best. I'm ready to get moving towards my goal of opening shop. Yes, it is still scheduled to open 01 July and to that I am holding. Be it a menagerie of glorious goodies or a single twig, I will open my Etsy shop the first of July if, for nothing else, to prove to myself that I can do it! I have been known to put things off indefinitely for fear of what others may think. Part of the weeks enlightenment, that? Yes.

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughtful encouragement while I was away. And welcome to my newest followers! I was happily surprised when I opened up the doors to find new friends in the wings. Always a pleasure.

Happy Monday to you all! It's so good to be back.
Jen

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creative Tuesdays

I'm in blogland long enough to post this little duckie for Mr. Toast's Creative Tuesday. Wander by to see the other fabulous entries. Happy Tuesday!

The Lady


Friday, February 19, 2010

It Is Time


Dear hearts,

It has come to my soul's attention that a much needed break is in order. I know I haven't been in the Manor much these past two weeks. My mind is as cluttered as the attic of a hundred year old house. I feel the need to regroup, to de-moth and fling open the shutters.

Winter has taken a toll on me like never before. I usually revel in the greyness of dawn and the whistling, howling wind. But this year -be it the weather or life's challenges- spring is overdue.

I will be unplugging until March 01. It's only a week (plus a weekend). I will be visiting and will comment on the blogs to which I wander.

Have a marvelous weekend, dears, and I pray the snow is thawing and the sun will be shining. I will see you all here at the Manor on March 01.

Exhaustedly, but cheerfully, yours,
The Lady
ps: I will be posting my entry for Mr. Toast's Creative Tuesday, but that will be the only post I make in the next week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Epiphanies Beneath the Siren's Seal

Yes, the coffee gods know me by name.

Too long have I wandered amongst the greyness. The clouds suck life from tree and stone. I, who revel in mists, I who pine for autumn come August am longing for spring. Yes. Spring. I don't like spring. Ever. The pollen, the over abundance of pink and frills. It's just not me. But this year, oh, I may buy a bouquet of pink out of protest for the claws of winter that seem to be ripping at my soul!

I am having a rough go of creating. I haven't written in years it seems. I eek out words here and there, more like the annoying trickle of a leaky faucet than the torrent of inspiration I crave.

Out early this morning, I sought refuge in an Earl Grey Latte. It was once called London Fog. Ahh, so atmospheric, shot down by a corporate America who realized, sadly, that modern America's needed something less picturesque for a caffeine addicted order. (I protest: I still order London Fog when it leaps to mind.)

Epiphany comes in the oddest of places. A lonely table beneath the beckon of a siren's seal. Activity around me, a quiet hum, bee hive energy as workers buzz in and out, grinding beans and steeping tea. I am able to lose myself in work. Oh bliss, you are fleeting, and I had to leave after a mere fifteen minutes but it was there. It has not forsaken me fully.

An email, a regular, regaling me with tales of those who work full time at their passions. There is jealousy, yes, but more than that is a joy for them. A joy that I long to replicate. I look at the work, paintings, innocent and full of personality. Different. Unique. Funding a dream.

I am pulled, at the navel, like the port key journeys in Rowling's world. If my feet weren't grounded I would have been sucked out the door. To where? I'm not sure. An easel on the banks of the Seine? A lap desk (remember those?) on a boat in the Nile? If only, I exhale, if only.

Slowly it dawns, you are unique and what you desire to create is like no other. But what will the world think? It matters not, it whispers. Create it you must. Do what you love and the rest will fall into place. Wise words read years ago, tucked away like my grandmother's handkerchief in her treasure chest of a dresser.

A few shots of some paper play things I've been contemplating. What will they become? I haven't the foggiest (the London Foggiest?). I am still searching. My soul knows, yes it knows. Why is it so hard to listen?





Here's to a lovely Wednesday, dear friends. Lavender buckets filled with cream and sugar swimming with tea.


Stay cozy,
The Lady

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lessons in the Art of Slow - A Day Late

"my dream is to walk in my own soul's boots"


Do forgive my tardiness! It seems the week has flown away from me and I've been a day behind since Sunday.

This living slow business: it seems the further along I go I meet more and more who are wanting it, craving it. I meet others who are adopting it, experimenting with it. And yet, when I turn the corner, they are not the people before me, the ones I see with my waking eyes.

It's sad, to me, that so many are caught in the web of rushing when really they are trapped. Trapped in a widow's web of always running, never arriving.

I work for a company that trouble shoots technical issues predominately for medical offices. Doctors are necessary, modern medicine (at times) a blessing. But the hassle and the demanding attitudes that accompany these places all fill me with sadness. Important, yes. Reason for panic attack? No. No, no, and again I say no.

A thought has stemmed from these constant occurrences, two actually (possibly more). I suppose it goes along with my pondering from Woolgatherings. If we were all to follow our own path, not the path given, forced, expected, dictated - our own, what would happen? Why the world would stand on its head! The loose change would fall from our pockets into the outstretched hands of the beggars. They were don purple velvet coats and become the philosophers of the age!

Writers would be celebrated for originality and not for revenue. Artists would paint portraits of dog sitters and ballet dancers. Chefs would cook hamburgers, gourmet cheesecakes and caviar encrusted cheese balls. Doctors would have compassion, lawyers would tell the truth, sales clerks would sell with passion. Magicians would walk, their wands would be pencils and words of inspiration would appear under overpasses.

What if we all walked in our calling? If we all shed the pretense of just getting by? Fast food service would be happier and a wait in the ER would be endurable. To operate in our gifts - to live in a world that operated in flow of gift and love for the work of our hands. My soul leaps, dear reader, at the possibilities.

Stay cozy, dear ones,
The Lady of the Manor

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Promised Pictures

I promised pictures and, behold, I doth deliver! We weren't able to take a lot, but the ones we got were enough to remember the day. It's been cold and grey in Georgia and the day we chose to go hiking was freezing, wet, and *gasp* snowy! So the snow drifted lazily and stuck only momentarily on the leaves of the rhododendrons, but it was snow, dear friends. These pictures were taken on the Bear Creek Trail outside of Ellijay, Georgia. Trust me when I say it's hard to find but worth the hunt!

I'm a sucker for moss covered trees! The flash hit the snow flakes and turned them into fairy lights. Or maybe the flash wasn't turned on and those really are fairy lights?


This is just one of the creeks we had to cross. Three of them were just trickles but two were pretty wild and about a foot or so deep. We had to tip toe over the rocks and still got wet! Brrrr!

Two thumbs up from a member of the peanut gallery :)


This is Lord Beard and me in front of the Gennett Poplar.
We had read it was the largest tree in Georgia.
Okay, a big tree. No seriously: this was a BIG tree!

After this shot, our friends joined us. We were able to stretch ourselves around it.
All four of us made a ring around this tree and it took some doing to clasp hands.


Like I said. A big tree. Sure, if you live in Norther California, this isn't so magnificent. But to us, it was HUGE! Those two little spots at the foot are myself and Lord Beard.


Anyone else have any adventures lately?
I believe these were our first of late that did NOT include the Guthries!
(Thank heavens...)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes

Sometimes I feel my weekends are made for reevaluations and considerations.
Sometimes I feel I may never actually open a shop for these eternal ponderings.
Sometimes I feel I could take on the world!
Sometimes I want to pull the comforter over my head.
Sometimes I dig in, pull weeds, and plant younglings, green eyed wonder with buds already.
Sometimes I find my flowers wilted, weeping and dry as old newsprint.
Sometimes my brush is dipped in red, painting broad strokes of live on skies and clouds.
Sometimes it is vacant, or dredged in stone, chiseling chunks out of the photograph of life.

This weekend I spent some time pondering. Not an uncommon occurrence if you know me well. We meandered up a mountain trail, crossed several shivering creeks while snow dust fell, shaken from shivering clouds. I hugged an ancient tree, clawed my knuckle on balancing limbs, and sloshed over mud paved moss littered paths. Sunday dawned a new life, as all days do, and I found my pen meandering, playing with thoughts again. Tossing balls of light into the air, letting them settle wherever they may. A new vision came forth and I'm enlightened and delighted. Expect some pictures soon.

Tread softly,
The Lady (Jen)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

When last we met, dear friends, I hinted that things were not well here in Willow-on-Sea. It's not that there's anything particularly terrible going on. Just mysterious. Very mysterious. I had noticed the odd stares of those in Brambry, when Sir Jon and I stayed a few days while the Manor was being cleaned as the prior owners had left in quite a hurry it seemed. Of course the whole incident with Lord and Lady Guthrie (who finally returned and seem to be fine and act as if their disappearance never occurred. I have yet to confront the good doctor or the reverend, but I have it on good authority they will both be at the Hobbit Hole Inn this evening. I think Lord Beard and I should make plans to eat dinner there.

Nothing, however, could have confirmed my suspicions more than Alice. I believe I mentioned her in a previous post. I know you remember the strange circumstance of the girl at the edge of the forest? That was Alice. A delightful girl, full of imagination and spirit. But she suffers from terrible nightmares and I have yet to get a complete story from her. She said she was on her way home from her grandmother's house when she was pursued by an unseen assailant. I feel she knows more than she is letting on but I don't want to pry. At least not now. When I asked her where her home is and if I could see her safely there, she violently shook her head and said she never wanted to go back. She was happy she got lost and is even happy the "thing", as she calls it, chased her to the border of our yard. Lord Beard is keen on her staying, as am I, so until we can discuss this further and solidify some details, she'll be occupying one of our upstairs bedrooms.

I'm afraid, however, the clothes she arrived in have had to be discarded. Her white dress, once very lovely, was snagged and filthy. Her red cloak was torn and splattered with mud. She heartily agreed they should be thrown out and gave no argument when Benson tossed them into the bin.

As I sit here writing this by light of a sputtering candle, my eyes cannot help but continue to glance at the edge of the forest. Shadows dart in and out amongst the trees and occasionally I see lights, like those that dress a Christmas tree, flicker in the leaves. I've heard there are fairies in the woods. I'm eager to see them. Perhaps, when the rain lets up a bit, I'll have a look. As long as the shadows don't object.

The Lady

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lessons in the Art of Slow

I am struggling with this, dear friends. In my recent Woolgatherings, I posted about slumps. It seems I am not only in a writing slump but a life slump as well. What to do when your outward life is so far beyond what your soul life is or needs?

I confess I have been neglecting the Manor. Not physically but spiritually. The dishes are washed and the laundry is done. The cat is fed. The bed is (sometimes) made. No, it's more of an aesthetic neglect. A life style neglect. Perhaps it's just a stage. Life really does happen in many stages. From one to the next, first joyful, next bleak, then the dawn cometh once more. I feel as though I am in the Depths of Despair. Imagine that said dramatically, Anne of Green Gables style, one arm thrown over my eyes as I fall onto the sofa with a loud, long sigh.

In creeps the voice of wisdom. It's Marilla's voice: "To despair is to turn your back on God". Have I turned my back on God? I don't think so. I'm searching the scriptures for any semblance of comfort, of message, of spiritual awakening.

No, not a back turning. A life stopping. Not intentional but real, nevertheless. How does it happen? I wish I knew. One minute you're cruising along, busy as a bee, singing like a swallow when *wham*, there's a wall. And what a silly place for a wall. I was doing just fine, moving forward. Forward.

Stuck, drifting backwards now, wondering where the paddles went. Wondering where time and energy and dreams got out and you were left alone in the canoe with a few bread crumbs and a canteen of chlorinated water. All along the river you see people picnicking, enjoying the sun, their cold meats and red wines. A few people drift past you, yearning for the shore. Some even paddle over and join them. So why don't I? No oars? No problem! I'll just use my hands, my arms, my legs...what's this?

A canoe, as battered as mine, if not more, moves slowly past me. Not down stream, as I go, but up. Up stream? I watch, amazed at the concentration on his face. His hands are bleeding, there are tear stains down his face. A face smeared with dirt and the remnants of sleep long forgotten.

"Where are you going?" I call out as he pokes on by.

"Up there," he gestures, not taking his eye off his destination.

"Where? There's nothing up there but more water, more vines, more tangles of sea weed.

Someone just yesterday floated by and said they were nearly capsized by an armada of hippos."

He nods, sagely, exhausted. But still he paddles on.

"Aren't you afraid?"

"Yes."

"What if there's nothing there?"

"I must see for myself."

"What are you hoping to find?"

He looks at me now, then at the people frolicking on shore, "Something more."

I watch him as he trudges onward. I bump suddenly against something and realize it's a log. One end of it rests on the sandy shore. a few turtles are sunning themselves on it. Debris have collected against it and the sand. Bottles, plastic bags, a beer can or three. And an oar. It's old and covered in slime and there is only one. But it's an oar.

I could climb out and cross over the log. I could. I can smell the barbecue now. I sit on the log, one hand holding the canoe, one shading my eyes from the harsh sun. My eyes dart to the oar. A few children run by, laughing. Lovers stroll by their fingers entwined, he whispering, she blushing with delight. The air smells of apple blossoms and lavender. I look up stream. The man is no where to be found. He has paddled beyond the bend. I have a choice to make.

***

***

***

My fingers find the oar and grasps it tightly. It's been a long time since I've paddled. I'm afraid I've forgotten how. One stroke, then another. Then another, and another. Pretty soon, I'm moving. Slowly, yes, but moving. Up stream. I pass the shores and others watch. Some wave, some shrug, some beckon. Others roll their eyes and mumble. One old man made a face! I roll up my sleeves and stare ahead. What's around the bend? My thumb grazes the oar handle, something raised on the end. Curious I look down. Stamped in faded gold are three small words.

Never Give Up

What's around the bend, I wonder?

More.

Do you have a "more"? Would it just be easier to get out of the boat? Are you surrounded by those who don't understand?

~The Lady

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday, Monday, where have you gone?

Hello dear friends! Welcome to February. It seems Monday gathered her skirts and ran without even finishing her tea. Tut-tut; manners!

The weekend was good. Relaxing. What I needed. Never long enough, though. A vacation is looooong overdue. As much as I am in love with the Manor and our quaint village of Willow-on-Sea, it's been a good ten years since I've had the pleasure of that blissful happening known as "vacation". I've even found myself wishing for Hawaii, and, as my husband has noted, that is quite odd coming from this British girl at heart. I love the sun and sand, but I usually pine for grey skies and the pitter-patter of rain on a roof. Yes, dear hearts, I'm contemplating a move to a tropical island!

The only news from the workshop I have to give is that I have finally (FINALLY) organized the attic and it's in excellent shape to begin hosting any crafting sprees I may take a fancy to. I had buckets of fabric and papers to shift around, a vintage sewing machine and a round table (don't worry, King Arthur said I could borrow it. Honest!). I even hoisted a trunk up stairs to hold my writing works in progress. And when I say hoisted I mean it! Not that the trunk was heavy; the stairs are more steep than I thought. It was quite an adventure and Lord Beard laughed when I told him. He knows better than to tell me to wait on him to move furniture :) I'm not against help, I just like to flex my muscles every now and then.

With the newly cleaned attic, I've got an idea a-bubbling on the proverbial back burner. A couple of mini-books are on tap. Now that I'm mentioned them here, I have no choice but to make them. Consider yourselves my personal tab-keepers. Mention something and people will expect it. Ha! Take that, Procrastination!

I do hope your week has started out well, despite the snow and sleet and rain that seems to have enveloped the country in a soggy quilt. Winter is here for a bit longer, dears. It is only February by the way. But today is Candlemas. Also know as Groundhog Day. If it's rainy and cold then spring is near by. If the sun shines, well, six more weeks of winter we can expect.

Of course, no one really believes these predictions, do they? I mean, superstition is just nonsense, right? Right? Hmmm, I'm not so sure. Not after Friday's adventures...It seems something strange is afoot here in Willow-on-Sea. When first we moved, I marveled at the suspicious glances of our neighbors as we bought dry goods. I grew concerned when we visited Brambry and were treated with what I can only regard as fear once it was made known where we now lived. I dismissed it as the well known cynicism towards newcomers that seems to be present in these old villages.

I inquired at the post office and Nancy laughed, nervously I noted, that I was being silly. Brambry was full of superstitious people, Father Algorium chuckled when I told him of my concerns. "Nothing to worry your pretty head about," he assured me. However, I've noticed things that I seemed to have missed during the initial rush of relocation excitement. Doors are barred at twilight. People rarely venture outside after nightfall. No one wants to talk about the Guthrie's strange disappearance. Not even Dr. Helmstrode. Benson chalks it up to "country ignorance". Alice's story, however, sheds a very different light on the subject.

Who's Alice? Well, I think it's best for her to explain her situation. She's in town right now with Sir Jon. Why don't you stop by on Friday. I'll have Cook bake her famous Death by Chocolate cake and we'll bring out the special reserve Assam tea. Prepare to stay a while. It's quite a tale.

Cheers and stay warm, dry, and well supplied with tea and crumpets,
Jen

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tales from the Attic


Lord Beard had a splendid time on his photo safari. The pixies were quite on form! In fact, he said they attacked his lenses the very first day and he got some brilliant photos. Several look to me as if the pixies were smashed against the lenses (they are contorted rather painfully) but that's pixies for you. They are rather annoying but fun sport when chased with a camera.

It's quiet at the manor now. Not so while Lord Beard was gone. I was here, alone save for Benson and Cook. Cook, however, requested to go home to Brighton to visit her ailing sister. Of course, I said, please send her our love. Benson decided to go to market Thursday afternoon and I was left alone with Master Colby (the cat). He and I were blissfully reposed by the fire when a sudden and horrific shriek was heard from the back yard.

"Good lord!" said I, thinking it must be the Guthries again. I had hoped the good doctor was able to quiet things down over there. The Guthries have not been round for a week and I had half a mind to pay them a visit that afternoon, bearing a basket of tea and crumpets as a goodwill offering.

Master Colby looked up from his place in front of the fire. Human hysterics, his expression said. Wake me if it's anything interesting. Like a troupe of rats in the shed.

I wrapped my cape about me and wandered out back. I saw no one but an eerie calm had descended on the manor grounds. Not a breeze whispered, not a rain drop splattered.
Cautiously, I crept past the gardens and into the open field. The stone path that leads to the forest was slippery so I kept to the grass.

I jumped. There it was again. A shrill sound, like a young girl in peril. I raced down the hill, slipping and sliding, until I made it to the edge of the wood. I was shocked to see a girl, no older than seven, standing just inside the trees.

"Good heavens, child, are you all right?" I asked.

"No, ma'am." She said faintly. Her dress had been yellow at one time but was now mud stained and torn. "I am afraid." She was clutching a dark red cloak.

"What are you doing out here in the woods alone?"

She shivered and I heard a strange, low growl, like that of a hungry animal.

"Come with me," I offered her my hand. She hesitated briefly then ran to me. Her hands were like ice and she was shaking from head to toe. I wrapped my cloak around her and we walked back to the manor. As I ushered her inside, the sky began to weep, and I took one last glance towards the woods.

A pair of red, glowing eyes looked back at me. I blinked and they were gone.


...to be continued...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lessons in the Art of Slow

It's sad, really. How we hurry and blurry our way from our day to day to night. I struggle with it. I watch my life pass by like the leaves in autumn, caught in a flurry of chill breeze. Why am I here? This job, I mean, not earth. Is this reason enough reason to stay? What of my life, my real life? The one that throbs and pulses in side, that strains against convention and "office appropriate" attire. The one that suffocates every morning on the ride in, that cries out for five pm.

Home again, home again, or so the saying goes. I stagger in, put down the bag, pet the cat, kick off my shoes. I put on real clothes, the kind my soul an stretch out in. Then it's dinner, then it's decision. Art or Writing? Yes, they are the same, but different mediums. There is another. Exercise? No time. I breathe and dive in. Plunge through the ice. My fingers click clack, my back bends over a vat of pulp. But am I really present? Am I really there?

Slow down. Breathe. Really breathe. In yoga they tell you each movement is a breath. An inhale, an exhale. I struggle even with that. Downward dog, exhale. I breathe shallow, hurrying to the next pose of my sun salute (too often a moon salute). What's going on here? Where did I go wrong.

A call. A challenge. Not quiet this time but loud and demanding. It's my life. Slow down, it says. Breathe. No really. Breathe. Feel the air enter your lungs. Expand until they are about to burst, when your vision goes dizzy and you feel like an over filled balloon too close to a needle. Exhale. Through a tiny hole in the mouthpiece. Let it whistle and whoosh. Do it again, and again, and again. Elongate your muscles, stretch your spine. Let the worries and woes of the day leak onto the floor and run between the boards. They'll evaporate. They'll be gone.

Why is it so hard to slow down? I tell myself it's because I have precious little time to pursue my dreams. I'm not the only one. This I know. But how does one cope? No. How does one decide, resolutely, without flinching, to take up their sword and march into battle, no matter how weary, how hungry, how bone dry? I need a refill, a rest. I need to go away for a week. A place I've never been. A place where I can find myself again.

Then the small voice would return. The one that speaks only truth. I would hear and shed years of grime from the hurry. I would hear and listen. I would return and obey. Oh, precious respite. Now my challenge be to find YOU.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

By the Fireside



How needy I seem today. I'm having a rather disheartening day, dears. I need a plush leather chair by a roaring fire. I need a good cup of strong coffee. Something to get my brain going, something that will fill me with warm energy and force me to focus on the good and not just what is in front of my eyes at the moment.



I need some quiet, maybe a good string quartet album humming in the background. I need the patter of rain on my window sill. I need the sun to come streaming in this afternoon and a walk in the puddles, digging my hands in the cold, rich earth. I could sit and plan a garden, imagining the wonder those seeds and plants will become once the warm, spring sun soaks into their leaves and roots.



I need to build something, get my hands dirty, feel the rust of metal and the splinters of wood. I need the wet delight of clay under my nails, the squish of ink between thumb and forefinger.



Oh, dear readers, how I need to breathe free. I need fresh salt air carried on a sea breeze, smelling like adventure from a thousand years ago. I need the perfume of life to surround me and lift me out of the gloom that has settled.



Have you ever just needed to get away? To board a plane and go somewhere new. A place where everything is different, topsy-turvy. Where the people smile and laugh because you can't speak their language and when you try it comes out all fumbling with a giggle. Where the food, the smells, the very pavement is something to explore, experience. Have you ever just needed to escape to get your thoughts in order?



Do forgive my ramblings. I needed a moment to dream. Have you ever just needed something out of reach? Ah, here's to a brighter tomorrow. Drink deep, dear friends, the tea is, as always, piping hot.



The Lady

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Playing Catch

I know, I've posted this picture before. But I really needed a cup of tea! Indulge me.

Catch up that is. Whew! This weekend got away from me as did yesterday. Things at the Manor are good. Going slowly, but in a way, that's as it should be. I've been experimenting with some transfer printer paper. I bought it several months ago and finally, this past weekend, decided to get it out and have a go.



It's wonderful! I can print any of my own photos or sketches onto it and then iron it on to fabric.
From there, the possibilities are endless! I've made pillows and tea towels so far. They look pretty good. Word of advice: don't try to iron on the print after you've peeled the paper backing off. It lends a nice...um...rustic look to it (read: it melts the print in places and looks like moths attacked it!).



Other than that, I have been feverishly pounding away at the edits of my second book. That has kept me occupied and away from tending to Manor business. No worries. I've learned that as long as I must work outside the Manor, I will have to balance my two loves: Manor tending and writing. Ah, my dream is to camp in the tower all day, creating alternately on paper and craft table.



That sounds like a nice day dream to indulge in, doesn't it? If you only had to work on that which YOU wanted to work on (your soul work), what would you do? What would your day be like? I've outlined this so many times, I could probably tell you by exact timeline what I'd be doing and when I know, life gets in the way,but for just a moment, let's dream together of the perfect weekday.

Would you like cream in your tea? There. Prop those tired feet up. Here's another blanket. I'll get Benson to stoke the fire. It's dreaming time.

The Lady

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tales from the Attic


"I tell you I know what I saw." Lord Beard was adamant.

"Okay. I believe you. It's just that..." I paused, looked out the window. It was still raining. The snow was polka dotted from the large fat drops that were now falling. It had warmed since yesterday (a balmy 52 degrees Fahrenheit) and the lovely snow scene was now being turned into mustard colored mush.

"It's just what?"

"Lady Guthrie said she was going to visit her mother. If that's the case, you couldn't have seen her yesterday."

I sipped my coffee (this morning called for stronger fortification than even the Earl could provide. I shall summarize for you, dear reader, the problem at hand. It seems yesterday, as Lord Beard was loading the carriage for his photo safari, he saw a strange cloaked figure zip past his line of vision and disappear into the trees on the side of our property. The side that butts against The Guthrie Manor. Lady Guthrie, however, informed me just last week she was going to her mother's for a stay. Lord Guthrie was being watched over by Dr. Helmstrode, the village physician.
"Perhaps we should ask the doctor," Lord Beard proposed.

It seemed like a good idea. We put on wellies and took our great, black umbrellas from the stand in the foyer. Benson warned against the rock path cut through. "You'll slip for sure."

We headed his advice and took the road, puddles and slush and all. I had to hold my skirts above my knees in order to avoid getting soaked to the bone. By the time we arrived at the Guthrie Manor, the sky had grown darker and there was thunder to be heard in the distance. I shivered and pulled my cloak tighter about me.

"Perhaps we should have waited until the rain let up." I wondered aloud.

"Don't be silly," Lord Beard remarked, though he was looking at the sky with a nervous glance. "We need to clear this up. If there's something wrong with the Lord and the Lady, perhaps we can be of some assistance."

He's a good soul, Lord Beard.

He knocked on the iron knocker several times before the locks clicked. There stood the doctor, looking as though he'd not seen rest in weeks.

"Sir Jon!" He cried, looking elated and a tad uncomfortable. "And the Lady! What on earth are you two doing out on a day like this?"

"We were concerned," I said boldly, "for our neighbors."

Dr. Helmstrode glanced nervously over his shoulder. "Yes, yes. Come in."

Cloaks, hats, wellies and umbrellas in the foyer, we joined the doctor in the library where a roaring fire soon took the chill from us and dried our fingertips and garments. A tall, dour looking gentleman brought tea. We thanked him. All he did was nod, slowly, and disappear back to wherever he'd been before we arrived.

When we were alone, the doctor pulled his chair to the sofa where we sat. "I do not know how long I have so I will be brief. There is something amiss at Guthrie Manor. I fear-"

A loud thump above caused us all to jump. My tea sloshed and I wiped my hand on a handkerchief Lord Beard handed me.

"You must go," Dr. Helmstrode said hurriedly. He took our tea cups.

"But what's amiss? What's wrong?" I asked as he pulled me to my feet.

"No time."

"If there is some danger, doctor, surely we can -"

The doctor handed us our things. We quickly put them on. There was another thump and a moan that sent chills up my spine. "Go swiftly by the road. Do no stop until you are home. If I were you, I would bar the doors at night."

We were hurried out the front door.

"I should stay with you," Lord Beard offered.

"No! That is not necessary. I shall stop by when I can and fill you in." And the door was shut in our faces. The sound of someone rushing up stairs was heard and a door slammed.

I looked at Lord Beard and he looked at me. "Perhaps we should do as the doctor suggested?"

He nodded and we hastened home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Slowing Down, Savoring Life


Slowing down has been of interest to me for several years. As most of you know, I started a blog reflecting this interest a year ago. I recently decided that the study of slow was complimentary to the Manor life I am creating here. Consider Thursdays an open invitation into my studies of this "lost" art and my attempt to revive it. In memory of the blog, I'll call these posts Lessons in the Art of Slow.


I'm learning just as you are to take life one breath at a time, to smell the roses, not just whiz by them on the way to my next engagement. Life isn't about getting somewhere. It's in the getting. The wandering, the walking, the journey, the path, the detours, the getting lost. That's where life is found. And the only way we can hope to catch more than a glimpse of it is to slow down and savor the life we have.


The "slow" movement that has really caught my attention is the Slow Food Movement. It is a wonderful attempt to bring back cultural cuisine, time around the dinner table, and a lunch that is more than gulping air and processed food between phone calls. I'll be spending some time with this, learning, experimenting. I do hope you'll join me! Cook is always looking for new dishes to prepare, new quests to serve. And Lord Beard and I are always on the look out for new recipes. Yes, this Lord and Lady like to cook! We just keep Cook on because we like her, she tells great stories, and makes a killer ganache :)


Here's a couple of sites where you can check out the Slow Food Movement for yourself. In fact, I'm headed to these as soon as I finish posting this!







Enjoy and remember to feast on life at every available moment,

The Lady

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

By the Fireside


It's not as cold today, this 20th day of January. Still, I am in need of much rest. I stoke the fire and wander to the window. The gardens are still dusted with snow. The bare limbs, they sparkle, kissed by fairies in the night. The path to the woods is froze over, a ribbon of moonlight in a bright, sunny field. The shadows of the trees play tricks on me, running here, scampering there, making me believe in the creatures said to inhabit these woods. I know beyond the tree line there are things I can not explain. I smile. It is as it should be.


I settle into the plush leather chair, the one that's over sized just enough to threaten to swallow me whole. Benson was kind enough to set tea for me. He's such a dear old soul. I expect Sir Jon to be in the parlor, polishing his camera lenses. He is off on expedition tomorrow, hunting for wild pixies in Bambry (shooting only with camera, of course!). I asked him to bring me back a crocus. They're said to still be blooming there.


For now I'll sip tea (Earl Grey, is there any other for a day like this?) and let my mind wander. I've a thought to get an atlas, to let my fingers plan my next grand escape. Could it be to outer Mongolia? Or perhaps to Shang-ri-la? My eyes are suggesting Nod. With a clink of fine china, and the lull of a blanket wrapping around me, I happily, happily agree.


~ The Lady

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One More Thing


It seems I have been granted a title from her Grace the Duchess of Tea! I am most honoured. As a token of my appreciation to her Grace, I invite you all to wander over and pay her a visit. Her blog is a feast, a feast I tell you! Simply divine.


The Lady

From the Workshop


The workshop has been a bit slow so far this year. Perhaps it's the cold, cold weather making me lazy. All I want to do is curl up in the library next to the crackling fire, a steaming cup of tea between my mittened hands and watch the snow fall magically transforming the landscape into a Narnian wonderland.


I do have a few projects that are patiently standing by. Here's a photo I took of a work in progress. Sorry for the quality! I had to use my phone for this one.


I'm experimenting with printing photos on textiles. Quite magical if you ask me. Taking a photo I adore and transferring it to a swatch of material and then turning that fabric into a darling little pillow? Pure bliss!


Three of them are cut and pinned and awaiting my hand stitching! When they're done, I'll post the final product and we can be the final judges on this new art.


Stay warm, dear friends. Pop by when you have a moment. There's Raspberry tea and delicious lemon scones fresh baked. Mrs. Weatherby, the cook, adores baking and is always happiest when there is a crowd to taste her confections (and give her due praise ;).


In other news, Lord Guthrie hasn't been seen in several days. I got a glimpse on Sunday of a cloaked figure running through the back of the Manor land, but that couldn't have been him. Of course not. Lord Guthrie plays Pidwigen at the pub on Sunday afternoons. Then again...whomever it was had his characteristic limp. I should send a telegram to Father Algorium. He's the top Pidwigen player in the village. He'll know if Lord Guthrie was there. I'd contact Lady Guthrie but it appears she to has disappeared. Taken ill and gone to her mother's so I've heard.


The Lady
PS: Welcome to all my new followers! Thank you, dears, for wandering by.

Monday, January 18, 2010

This Business of Bliss

What is bliss? I suppose it could be defined many ways. For me, bliss is doing what's in my heart of hearts, spending my days creating, be it weaving words or paper or metal. Bliss is defined by what makes you happiest, what brings joy to your heart and your soul.

What makes your life shine?

Is it knitting scarves, woolly socks and hats? Is it molding clay into a vessel or platter? Is it stitching a books binding with bees waxed thread? Is it shaping hot iron into a work of art?

At the Manor, the goal is to spend all my days working on this business of bliss. That's the plan. For now, I take what little morsels I can get and relish them with fork and knife, on fine china, linen napkin in my lap. In my chipped blue goblet are droplets of wine, ruby red and sweet from the fruits of my labors. It's not much, but I feel a queen sitting down to feast.

For the brief two weeks' life of this new decade I've been keeping a journal. I write in it on Sunday evenings, summing up what I've learned or discovered the week prior. There are only two entries but in those entries I find a lot. Unripened fruits waiting to be plucked. I see I have a lot of work to do and precious little time. I see I have to conquer my self (self doubt, self deprecation, self pity). If ever I am to make the Manor my permanent home, I must refuse to be defeated by the mundane of the everyday.

Easy? Of course not. Why, if it were easy everyone would be doing it. What brings you bliss? What do you need to conquer in order to take up residence in your own castle (or manor) in the clouds?

The dawn of a new year seems perfect for doing so, don't you think? Yes, dear friends, so do I.

Happy Monday,
The Lady

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Gracious Bow to the Academy




I wanted to take a brief moment to say THANK YOU to Jessica the coffeelvnmom! She awarded me the Happy Award! And I've only been at this blog for two weeks. Huzzah! When you have a moment, you really should go pay her a visit. Wonderful place in blog-topia :)
The first picture is there because it makes me happy. I saw it just the other day and now here it is again! Have you ever thrown a french fry to a bird? Happiest of happies, let me assure you.
Well, I'm taking my happy and fluttering off to find me some french fries! Happy weekend to you all!
I has a happy :)
The Lady

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Skinny on Lord Guthrie

Apparently there's a bit of scandal over at the Guthrie Castle. It seems Lord Guthrie has a history or mental illness. I had dear Lady Guthrie over for tea this morning and inquired about her husband. She dabbed her eyes as she told me ever since his father passed away he's not been the same. It seems the late Lord Guthrie was stricken with madness when his poor father died.

She's afraid her dear Bartholomew is succumbing to the same dreadful madness as his forebearers. I assured Katrina that things like that only happened in dark fairy tales and most certainly could not affect so strong a man as Lord Guthrie.

We had to pause our tea due to Lord Guthrie running through my gardens screaming. He's calmed now, a strong Assam brought him back around. He was unsure as to how he got there but said something about them man in the woods.

"Man in the woods?" I asked him. "As far as I know, there is no one who's property backs up to ours. It is park land, protected. Unless a wayward hiker got lost."

"No, no, dear," Lord Guthrie patted my hand and tut-tutted. "He's there. I've seen him before. In London. He's the reason we moved."

"Oh my," was all Lady Guthrie could say and began dabbing her eyes once more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Change is Good

*Isn't this lovely? This is my neighbor, Lord Guthrie's wee home. He's debating digging up the roses and putting in a motor cross track. I told him he was mad. Lady Guthrie agreed. She threatened to lock him in the tower if he didn't stop talking such notions. Oh dear...things could get interesting...



Dear readers,


I have been doing much pondering. Dangerous, yes, but necessary for the upkeep of hearth and Manor. I have grand plans for The Manor and I'm delighted in all who have decided to drop by. In order to keep, well, order, there needs to be a good old fashioned To Do list employed. Yes. I think that will do nicely. I consulted with Benson and he said that at his last place of employment (some hundred years ago I'm sure), the Lady kept a list visible at all times. That way she and all who resided at The Manor knew what was expected for the day. A splendid idea! If you'll look to your left, just above that necessary evil about copyrighted information, you'll find my To Do list. It helps to tell people of your plans. You're held accountable then. Frightening? Yes. But not as frightening as Lord Guthrie. He's roaming about the garden muttering something about motorbikes and ramps. Please excuse me. The Constable just arrived.
Yours most delightfully,
The Lady
PS: This new schedule will take effect next week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Review, A Look Ahead, and A Creative Challenge

Dear Mr. Toast's challenge has been up for almost two weeks and I'm just now getting to post my entry. Talk about slow going! But, then again, aren't we trying to cultivate a slower paced lifestyle here at The Manor? Enough excuses. Here it is; my first ever Creative Tuesday challenge: CHEERIOS!

I got the idea while doodling at work. There's plenty of time for that in the bland world of deadlines and ringing complaint calls. I had such fun with this challenge! I can't wait to see what's next. If you're feeling creative (or need a little more art in your life) come on over and check out all the fun!

The first week of 2010 is now past. Funny but I feel as if it's been a month already. I hear how so many are complaining about time flying. It's not flying by for me. In a way, I'm glad. I have far too much to do to have the year go by yet. I've learned a lot about myself and the business in just these few eleven days since the first of a new decade. Good things. Things that will make the process much easier, and much more fun.

I do want to announce that Lord Beard has graciously offered his assistance in this little endeavor. Can I tell you how delighted I am? He's a superb second in command and without his technological know how, I would have never even got this blog off the ground! He's humble accepted title of "Gadget Guru" and will be in charge of the technical aspects of The Manor as well as the hunting and gathering via the Internet. Research assistant extraordinaire! He's got a little cottage in blog-topia as well. You should wander over when you can. Down the hill, past the lamp post, first path to your right. He's doing a little remodeling so watch your step and do be patient. If he's not at home, he will be shortly, and it's worth the wait. Sir Jon is a most gracious host.

As for looking ahead, I've been feverishly typing a collection of business wisdom, ideas and musings that I've collected over the past few years (especially the last) into a compendium of sorts. Once that's completed, it will be printed, bound and placed upon the pedestal that sits in the tower. To be a constant reminder of the commitment I've made to myself and to you, dear friends. This business of bliss isn't as simple as I would like it but the toil shall be worth it.

I look forward to another week of adventures and discoveries, dear friends! Please come by when you are able. The snow has been cleared from the roads and the drive is salted and safe. Dear Benson is back from holiday and will take your coats and hats upon your arrival. He's been with the family for years and is more like a grandfather than a butler.

Have a blessed week, dear friends. The kettle is always on, here, but of course you know that.
Happy Monday, dears!
The Lady

Friday, January 8, 2010

Manor Comings and Goings

It snowed. No really. Snow. In Georgia, when a frozen white substance falls from the sky it officially snow. I had to share this picture with you. What's more hilarious than a palm tree in the snow?

Prior to "The Great Dusting of 2010", the Bearded Lord and I made a deliciously slow cooked meal of fresh baked bread...

...and chili. It simmered in the crock pot for close to three hours. Yum....
There's a few projects brewing in the Tower. One requires the once "banned" etchant solution from your friendly neighborhood Radio Shack.



Another, a patchwork of vintage fabric found in my Christmas stocking and some forms cut out from fabric the Bearded Lord's late grandmother left me.


Finally, here's a wonderful old, fully functional Brownie camera my grandmother gave me years ago. I have yet to purchase film for it, but she left an empty box inside so I'd know what to get. I have always loved using film for photographs. Film has an atmosphere that just can not be reproduced digitally (imho).

Do stayed tuned, dear friends! I shall be experimenting with these (and a few other) mediums in the near future. Wares for the Manor shop? Only time will tell!
Stay warm, lovelies!
The Lady