It doth know so very much: Love, beauty, creativity, curiosity, long walks, books, art, home, furry warm petty pet(s), cozy bed, long sleep, hugs, laughter, a perfect Old Fashioned, a starched curtain, truth, shadows, peace, and beautiful MUSICA! It even knows heartbreak and healing. This is what my heart doth know.💖
I keep trying to end the list but my list does not end! The heart doth know diaries too. And wildflowers from the English Countryside.🥰 And gratitude. The heart doth bend toward beauty.
How are you all doing so far in 2023? How is your heart? Here I am again . . . catching up . . . a little of this, little of that, trying to make hay while the sun is not shining!💖
Despite everything, these days, my heart doth know organization. I mean, check it out! The downstairs bathroom drawer, for the first time, I can find things quickly!! Little box-bottoms have finally organized me! Every time I open it, I smile. I’ve been getting things done!
Yes! First off, the new 2024 calendars are finished and gone to the printer. Clearing the path for everything else on my remarkably obnoxious list! I have mother-creativity tapping on my back, making me want to be in the Studio MAKING something, but Daddy Practicality is saying, you can’t do any of it until you get your work done!
So I am . . . And the new cups are off being made in England . . .
and as of this moment, they are up for Presale!👏
There will be 3 cups, two large (16 oz): Queen Elizabeth and Santa; the Birthday cup is smaller, 11oz. Be sure to place your order so you get one. I never know how many to order . . . sometimes they last us a while and sometimes they go very quickly! All three are due to leave England by ship at the end of April…something ELSE to look forward to in the spring!🌸
I loved painting the Queen, memorializing her, and our wonderful trip last year where we celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. 70 years. It’s a different world without her. But, I’ve put my paint brushes away for now… because my house (which my heart doth know) is saying, “Susan, where are you, we neeeeeeed you!
While repainting the upstairs floors and ceilings and some of the walls, Joe built me a “closet!”💞💞💞 That perfect little indentation has always been there, used to have a hutch in it. You’ll notice it’s in our bedroom, and open to the room (no doors on the closet, you open the door to the bedroom, and voila, you find a walk-in closet with a bed in it!), once he puts the pole up I will, for the first time since we moved here in 1989, have all my tops, skirts, pants, and jackets in one place. All this time they’ve been in five different tiny closets located throughout the house. Pure unadulterated torture! I do not know how I took it for so long.😊 PLUS, he added a very long shelf! I’m beside myself with joy! So now, we’re sleeping in a closet! I close my eyes at night, snuggled under down comforters, saying goodnight to my clothes. I can not tell you how happy I am! 2023 has been very good to me so far!
Another thing making these long winter nights so cozy is Radio Garden! Remember that? I wrote about it once before, it’s the website RadioGarden.com . . . this is a screen shot of their website. See all those little green lights over the UK and France? Each one of them is a radio station! This website shows lights from every corner of the world . . . pick any one you like and click on it . . . and you’ll find you CAN go home again! There’s a free app you can put on your phone! I turn on my SCALA radio station in London, luv-lee classical musica I fell in love with when we were over there, all of it with an English accent, and put on my phone timer for one hour so it will turn off by itself, and that is how I’ve been falling asleep! And sleeping a delicious eight hours! Unheard of for me for a very long time. I’ve had to work to make this happen. I had a bad habit of waking myself at 3 or 4 in the morning only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep each night. I sleep much better in England where I’m further from my responsibilities. I think my sleep is deeper now because a. I’m sleeping with my clothes, and b. Otherworldly magical faraway dreamy MUSICA fit for a Princess. I can pretend I’m in the English countryside and waking up . . .
to this . . . and the mournful cries from the wood pigeons with bad toes.😍
So, back on the cleaning front, besides closet clean-out, I’ve been reading and filing my piles and piles of saved paperwork, from Christmas cards to sweetest emails from my dad, months-old letters (so behind), and saved artwork (reading all of it has actually been quite a nice thing to do, luv-lee letters and cards from many of you) ~ which leads me to send a shout out to “Sarah W.” who wrote me the most charming letter last April, signed-off with “Bread and Butter,” and her name. I got it just before we left for England. So finally, a reply: Thank you, Sarah!♥️ She is 16, goes to high school in Texas, is a perfect kindred spirit with her watercolors, milk cake, tea, her love of April with “roadside buttercups and dandelions.” I hope she sees this!💖💖💖 And in-between all of this goodness, I’m glass-washing, starching old linens, taking things to the thrift store. The kitchen table got its customary January winter oiling! Was looking a little drab and dried out . . .
Did the spoons too, the cutting board, and wooden countertop. . . everything that’s raw wood.
Here’s how it looks once the mineral oil sinks in which takes a few days . . . pretty eh? And we got this table 32 years ago! I take good care of it ~ I want it to last forever because I still love it! I don’t know why but Jack seems to know something is going on and doesn’t jump on it!
The color becomes rich and golden like honey, warm and cozy for a winter day . . .
Honey-colored table and bouquets of flowers bring life to the kitchen at a time of year where warmth is the JOB of the kitchen! Are you familiar with alstroemeria flowers? They are the white ones above, but they come in every color, and last much longer than most other flowers ~ making them one of my favorites. A big bouquet looks like Easter! And they are usually one of the least expensive flowers too! I used to grow them in California . . . they’re extremely prolific ~
perfect cut flowers for the house!
So cheery! and Mas MUSICA!
And while we’re feeding our souls and filling our hearts with all it doth know . . . I thought I would mention my Peace Lily plant. Because it’s the most wonderful houseplant, is one of the least-demanding members of our family, so well-behaved and requires so little … no direct sun … really no plant food, every few years it outgrows its pot … you can either move it to a larger pot, or divide it to make new plants ~ or both! Basically it just sits there quietly looking beautiful. This one started out as a tiny thing, but it’s lived in our dining room for over twenty years now, it TELLS us when it wants water, it visibly droops! Which is why it lives so long! A droopy plant tugs your heartstrings and gets watered and holds-on until it does. This plant is a win-win!
The leaves are shiny green, and it flowers prolifically!
Here’s another easy-growing flowering plant, a Hibiscus! They can’t stay outside here during the winter but it surprisingly does really well indoors, I never knew ~ it pretty much flowers all winter! It sits in front of our south-east facing bedroom windows ~ and we take it out to the porch each summer. Try bringing one in from the garden next winter and see what happens! It’s a joy when it flowers … “Joe! Did you see the Hibiscus??!” Topic of conversation. Morning Science. House plants are a gift, they clean the air, take in your carbon dioxide and provide you with oxygen.💖
That oxygen in the house comes in handy if you’re like me and trying to do a little more of this. My new watch reminds me I need to get up and move ~ I like to make it happy ~ it rewards me with fireworks!🥰 You can do these without weights when you first start and then add little ones . . . until you feel stronger. I do them during little cracks in the day, like when I’m waiting for the water to boil for tea, waiting for it to brew. It’s a good thing! Winter won’t last forever!
I’ve been doing my mending, hemming pants, sewing up little sweater holes for Joe, and fixing a curtain . . . while listening to excellent Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities on TV, a movie made in 1935 starring Ronald Coleman ~ it’s my kind of multi tasking . . .0mmmmm…
Looked from my chair to the sofa, and there he is . . .
Speaking of cats . . . I received a lovely letter from my niece’s mother-in-law, Shirley, who ended it with this: “P.S. As I am typing, there is a cat napping on my lap, and, because he will slip off if I don’t hold him, I’m typing with one hand. So, if at the end of my life, anyone wonders why I didn’t produce more, I hope someone tells them, ‘She had a cat on her lap.'”😻Happens to me all the time with Jack! It’s a world of kindred spirits! Just one more thing (like when we bend to turn the cat’s bowl to make it easier for him to eat), that knocks off a few years from our time in purgatory.♥️ Kitty Love.
More kitty in the kitchen. I love this picture, my old Country Living decorating roots are showing! Look how the rug almost matches the quilt! That Claire Murray rug was a gift and is one of Jack’s very favorite things. When he is lounging on it, I have to be careful I don’t trip over him ~ he blends right in! And sometimes, when he’s NOT on it, I THINK I am tripping over him! That’ll probably be the way I go, tripping over a non-existent kitty.🤣
I “saw” lots of you when I did my most recent Zoom with Enchanted Book Club. I promised a link to the talk for those of you who couldn’t attend so HERE it is! This photo was sent by Susan Shirley (of Moss Hollow) … a picture of her screen AND her Christmas tree right behind me! All I had to do was turn around! Talking all about Posterity, another thing my heart doth know, yours, mine, and ours.💞
I’m honored that my book, A Fine Romance is the Enchanted Book Club Book-of-the-Month for February!💖 I’ve been getting lots of mail telling me people are having a hard time finding it. And yes I know, because it is out of print once more, and is off being reprinted right now! So proud of that little book. Kellee wanted me to let you know that we have 200 of them left in our studio right now, and that will be that until more come in maybe April, maybe May. All out of Fairy Tale Girl too… and more coming. All ordered, done and dusted!
We also had a bourbon tasting party! Joe made Old-Fashioneds for eight friends, we sat in front of the fire, ate shrimp and dip and drank our delicious drinks. We tried individual tastes of bourbon, and I can say, for me? Bourbon needs to be in an Old-Fashioned, not sitting out there buck-naked with no oranges or cherries! (cough-cough) Here’s Joe’s secret recipe, just in cases:
P.S. Cherries matter . . . we’ve tasted lots of them, and if you can, choose Luxardo brand from Italy! Glorious!🍒 They make your eyes water from goodness.
We still bundle up on the days weather allows and go out to the “Wild air, the world-mothering air,” to hear the waves rolling on shore and breathe in the clean, cold, salty freshness . . . .
We walk while listening to our new book ~ we’re so excited to read our books-of-the-moment, it makes us WANT to walk even if it’s cold! We finished Dictionary of the Lost Words (wonderful!), and are now deeply madly in love with a new book called Still Life by Sarah Winman. Joe likes it as much as me. Twisty, beautiful, quirky, lovely, a little bit of England after the war, a lot of Italy (you can smell it, you can taste it), all the things we love (the heart doth know), and we’re learning about things we didn’t even know we loved. I read reviews on Amazon and learned that the author used no quotation marks in the hard-copy version of this book, which confused some readers about who was saying what. But it’s read so expertly with different voices for the characters that we don’t even know it. We’re only the first quarter of the way into it. We have 10 hours to go, and walk about 45 minutes a day. Yay! I want it to last!
I wonder how many of you are still getting your Friends of Gladys Taber Newsletter? “Dedicated to Preserving the Timeless Writings of Gladys Taber For the Benefit of Future Generations.”💙 It’s been a long time since I have written about it . . . I still get mine, and love it, but we’ve added so many Girlfriends since I last wrote about her. So if you’ve never heard of her, this is for you! This quarter’s issue has a wonderful quote on the cover from Gladys about making memories ~ her gentle old-fashioned way of writing is such a treat in this wild world, and this 40-page newsletter that’s sent out every two months via snail mail (never online), is perfect with a cup of tea, and a kitty you can hold on your lap because you can read AND drink with only one hand! From times gone by, there are recipes for treats for birds, kitties, and dogs. And treats for people too. Stories of penpals, bounty from the Quiet Garden, the charm of the seasons, and love of pets ~ also reprints of Gladys’s column called Butternut Wisdom first published way back in last century, and much more. A place where kindness, gratitude, and memories abound . . . If you’d like to learn more or sign up to receive the newsletter, I wrote a post about her HERE … there’s a link there where you can sign up! And ideas for where you can find her delightful books. That’s Gladys’s charming Stillmeadow above, the pre-Revolutionary home that she wrote so much about. Love exudes from the imagination of Gladys Taber, appreciator of life, hygge ahead of her time.💖
“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Isn’t that PERFECT? And here comes Valentine’s Day, sweet day of showing Love . . . What the world needs now! We have lots of things in our webstore to help you do that, lots of cards, a darling heart-throb bookmark in Free Stuff, some fun stuff in Vintage, more Fine Romance loose tea, and lots of other little things to make the heart of a kindred spirit go pitty-pat.
And although my mom’s cereal with red candy hearts is always a sweet and simple way to show love ~ oatmeal with apples, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds is also a wonderful “Good Morning I love you” breakfast for the big day.🍒 This is sweet too, fry an egg in a cookie cutter! All free, all you!
Sweet saying I got from Twitter, “In a world full of cracks . . . be a weed . . .” The world is rough these days, the news reports of cruelty hurt …. there is no reason we can’t strive to give it back a bit of its lost heart. If you’ve got it, my darlings (which you do), flaunt it. Feed your own soul, because that’s the beginning of everything. Never ever lose hope.❤️🩹
Thanks so much for everything dear Girlfriends. I couldn’t do it without you . . . I want you to take that personally! 💘 With all my love . . .
Back to work I go. Want to get back to Mother Creativity as quickly as I can! Maybe sister travel too!👏👏👏 ♥️