Hello Everyone, welcome HOME . . .MUSICA
As we have discussed before, I’m a house person, I love them ~ I’ve loved them forever. All sizes, big and little ~ some so little they can fit on the shelf on top of my stove, and some even smaller that light up with votive candles. I even loved the little red houses in our monopoly game and seeing them all lined up, even if it was just Baltic Avenue, was a feeling of great comfort! I wasn’t even that wild to change them for a hotel. I liked my houses.🏡 So today I think I’ll show you lots and lots of English and Scottish houses and some New England houses too; houses we walked by, houses we went into, houses we lived in, and houses famous people lived in… and some we just drove by while I scrambled for the camera. Won’t that be fun? But before I do… We have some unfinished business don’t we Girlfriends? We have some prize winners to announce. I thought we might do this a bit quicker than usual, because, as you know, Vanna can take FOREVER to wake up, she’s such a princess. So when she came in last night, while she was still alert, I got her to draw the two winning names! Brilliant eh?
So here we go! Over 3,000 of you left comments to enter the drawing which sounds like a lot (a real lot if you ask me!) until you remember how many millions of people buy lottery tickets ~ you have a MUCH better chance of winning! This is my favorite part of the drawing… the moment in time where everyone is still a winner. I do not like announcing the actual winner, no matter how happy I am for them. I just wish everything would divide itself into loaves and fishes and pass itself around. But let’s be excited, because here we go . . . The first name Vanna drew will receive what you see above, a personalized copy of the 30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, plus, a bird-in-a-gilded-cage ornament (that I found in England), and, in addition, two of our limited edition Dream Charms for your necklace or bracelet: “Christmas Joy” and the new “Heart of the Home.” SO. Are you ready???? Here we go!! Fireworks please!
The First Winner is . . . Sandra Stephens (who wrote in her comment that she has a “new dream of visiting England”). Congratulations Sandra‼️I hope winning this prize sets you on a path of luckiness that takes you everywhere you want to go!♥️
And now, for Drawing Number Two:
And here’s the second prize, the teapot I bought in an antique store in the Peak District in England in 2012… I painted it for A Fine Romance, and now it’s waiting to hear about its new home ~ that, along with two personalized books, A Fine Romance, and Heart of the Home, and a “Girlfriends” Dream Charm.
And, the winner IS, eeeek, . . . . . Joy in Alabama‼️
Congratulations to you, Joy💛 ~ hopefully this will bring you even MORE Joy! I’ll write both Sandra and Joy to find out what names they’d like me to write in their books and to get their addresses. Thank every one of you for your amazing, wonderful, funny, evocative, sweet comments. It’s you that makes this Blog such a nice place to come to. Thank you for your contributions!! LOVE YOU!♥️
We’ll start with one of my little top-of-the-stove houses ~ this one only comes out once a year.💛
And now, in no particular order . . . Homes sweet Homes. Rainy day or sunshine, in focus or not, houses have such sweet allure. Much more than just shelter from the storm, they are havens of hopes, dreams, memories, births and deaths, grief and joy, youth and age, school days, holidays, snowstorms, daffodil lawns, barbecues, careful economy, report cards, grilled cheese sandwiches, energy, creativity, birthday cakes, new shoes; our homemade, everyday lives. All of these houses have one basic thing in common, besides the fact that normal people, like us, just trying to get through this life with everything intact, live there ~ it’s also something about the mystery in each of them that makes me think that I might like to live there too. One of my favorite things in travel is to see how others live. What home looks like to them.
So many houses in England have names . . . Just like my own Holly Oak, which must have had English roots to have always had a name. A name always makes me wonder. Why? I like to wonder why. I come up with all kinds of plausible and implausible possibilities, and Joe is my victim. He’s trapped in the car with me as I muse out loud. Luckily he doesn’t listen to me, other wise I might drive him crazy. 💛
Thatched roofs are not something you see too often in America. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. But there are many in England, and in Scotland, some of them are made with heather.
Just like in the USA, different parts of the country use different kinds of building materials…mostly what was available locally and most plentifully.
Joe and I stayed in Owl Cottage for three glorious weeks and church bells rang everyday.
Walking home from shopping in town passing church on the right . . .
Charm is a dime a dozen in the United Kingdom, I think you will agree. This is just a normal house in a normal town on the Fife Coast in Scotland (highly recommended) that just coincidentally has bunting draped across the street. Perfectly normal. But doesn’t it make you wonder who lives there? I love the putty color, the red door and the step roof. Scotland, land of Highlands and Lowlands, lairds and lasses, pipes and lochs, legends and faeries, shepherds and dogs, castles and plaids, bagpipes and unicorns, castles and cottages.
This is another house in Scotland. Looks like not too much from the outside, but it was one we could go in, because it’s part of the Highland Folk Museum ~ 30 historical buildings that show how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up to the 1960s. Lots of interesting homes here, and best of all, they are all furnished and you can go in! Here’s what this little house was like inside:
Sweet and simple. The people who decorated these houses for the museum worked hard to collect just the right vintage for each house.They kept it real so we could get a flavor for the times, running water and everything. This would have been an amazing luxury compared to some of the houses we saw there.
Like this one, for example. I’ll have to do a whole blog on this Highland museum, because there were some fascinating things there I know you would love. They were re-thatching this 17th century house in several colors of heather which sheds most, but unfortunately, not all, of the rain which Scotland is somewhat famous for. These stone houses were amazing. Living here was NOT easy. There was an open fire in center of the one big room, smoke was everywhere, but supposed to go straight up through hole in roof. The homeowners and their children would have sat on wooden benches around the fire, cooked either in a pot that hung from chain over the flame, or on a huge hook that hung from another chain. There was no heat or light except the fire, no windows, no running water, and btw, no bathroom. Eeeek. This is precisely why I steered clear of every stone circle we came to. I touched nothing. With my luck I’d go back in time and there would be no Jamie, only motherhood, trying to keep the kids out of the fire, in one of these wet, drafty, dark, dirt-floored houses while hanging naked rabbits on hooks. We have it so made, Girlfriends.
Anne Hathaway married William Shakespeare in 1582. This was her family’s picturesque twelve-room, thatched-roof farmhouse in Stratford-Upon-Avon where Will came a’courting. It’s open to the public, you can wander through it and around the lovely gardens, but watch your head.
Though the timber-framed 500-year-old rooms were many, they were made for very short people, and rambled from level to level.
We also went to see Shakespeare’s Birthplace ~ when we walked in the door to get our tickets, these three women were already singing the Star Spangled Banner! 🇺🇸I don’t know why! They didn’t even know we were coming!🎵 We immediately joined in and that made us all laugh. So cute! I think they liked their jobs!
There were costumed docents in the house where Shakespeare was born, full of detailed information, bringing history to life, telling the story of the place where William Shakespeare did his childhood dreaming.
I loved the bonnet she had made and embroidered and asked for a closeup. She was embroidering a little bag to match when we walked into the room.
Tudor style hotel! Built around 1500! Still standing, loved, used, appreciated.
This is the famous city of Bath (“Bawth”), we stayed in the house with the black door. There was a darling little shop on the ground floor, we had the three stories above where we celebrated Rachel’s 50th Birthday. I’ll have to do a whole blog about that too!
Coming out of a pub driveway, this darling brick house was just in front of us. Good spot. Live there, cross the street for lunch, go for a walk out back.
And this adorable loaf-of-bread cottage was just around the corner from where we stayed in the tiny village of Chacombe. I could happily live here, wear 1940s aprons, make Hot-Cross Buns and Victoria Sponge for the church, drink tea from a chipped crockery cup, and ride a cock horse to nearby Banbury Cross to celebrate Remembrance Sunday.
In the middle ages, every workman was an artist. Wm. Morris
So true, but William Morris did not have this ⬇️and I know he would have LOVED it: MUSICA
Had to show you these chimneys! Building was a little hit or miss in the old days. Nothing seems to stop anyone, not roof heights, not beams, not levels and they felt perfectly fine building a house with a much bigger top than bottom. The rules were different. You did what you needed to do, even if it meant this.
There ain’t no rules around here, we’re trying to accomplish something! Thomas Edison
Walking to Rachel’s house from town, crookedness at its most charming best. Another Tudor style house on the left.
This is one of the manor houses near Bolton Abbey (some of the most romantic and prettiest walking country there is), just south of the Yorkshire Dales. . . and owned by the Duke of Devonshire since 1775. (See the duck in the grass?)
I’d be perfectly happy with the little house on the right. Excellent location!
Or this, pure charm, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere in the Lake District. We went here in 2012 ~ it’s the first home of William Wordsworth where he moved in 1799; planted flowers and vegetables, watched birds and butterflies, read, talked and wrote some of his most famous poems.
Another drive-by. I was thrilled that this wasn’t too out of focus and you can read the name on the garden gate of Buttercups Cottage! I mostly just hung out the window with my camera all the time, because, as everyone who’s traveled through the English Countryside can tell you, this kind of charm isn’t just here and there, it’s EVERYWHERE.
Luv-lee Lacock, a mostly 18th century village owned by the National Trust.
This was the house I thought perhaps we should have as our clubhouse. What do you think? Knitting lessons every Thursday afternoon? Sunday dinners at 4?
The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. William Morris.
One more drive-by shot, look at the fox and ducks on the roofs! Look at that thatch design ~ not a fancy house, just a perfect house . . . had to have a photo…
A nice little neighborhood . . . imagine the road is dirt, now picture the people walking by in 1806, carrying baskets, there are horses and wagons, food comes in pots, tins, boxes, and barrels and no one here ever throws anything away!
Just so you can see how England brought their architectural sensibilities to America, this is where Paul Revere lived during the Revolutionary war. The house was built in 1680 and is the oldest surviving structure in downtown Boston. It’s made of wood, because there was lots of it in the New World and not so much heather or Cotswold stone.
In the winter too…. here’s Louisa May Alcott’s “Orchard House” where she lived with her Marmee, father, and sisters in Concord, MA. Open to the public for tours.
Another Massachusetts Charmer.
I’ve always loved painting houses for my books and calendars …
I was even able to send love of houses to the far east via the Chinese edition of A Fine Romance!
All my best to you Girlfriends, happy home, happy life! 🏡 Thank you again for your wonderful comments! 💛 Shall we go to Highclere Castle next? 👑 Or maybe to Carrie’s House in Oxford? 🇬🇧 Or, perhaps we go to Bawth and make dinner 🍾and decorate for Rachel’s Birthday?💐 Or, shall I make you some short ribs in a crock pot right here in my own kitchen?🍽 You choose! Bye for now❗️ Hopelessly devoted to you . . . ❌⭕️