Hello Lovely People! Happy 2018! I hope you aren’t worried about me! It’s been too long ~ Tick Tock! I’m sorry, but all of a sudden I have two major deadlines looming, one is this Friday. The designs for the Springtime cups are due. I’ve been working in a frenzy, but they’re done… they’re with Kellee now ~ we’ll get them in on time. (A little preview is further down.) Also, I want to design some special badges for our Picnic at Castle Cottage. And, believe it or not, the 2019 Calendars are almost due! Which I’ll get back to doing after I finally say HAPPY NEW YEAR to you! MUSICA (Girlfriend Requested😘)
We had such a wonderful snow on Christmas . . . it was perfect, thick and quiet, and like a fairytale.
A winter wonderland . . .
And just right . . . in an uncertain world, one thing mankind has always been able to trust, the one thing that never disappoints, the seasons will change. You can set your clock to it.
I love how snow blows and drifts and piles up and makes everything more interesting.
Early morning, walking through our pantry, I saw the view of our barn from the window and ran for the camera.
And of course, there’s Joe, as viewed through snow flowers… Joe, who makes it all possible. He loves shoveling snow! I don’t know why, but he does!
We’ve had fires almost every day…
On New Year’s we went to my girlfriend Lowely’s house two-doors-over for dinner ~ and afterward we played Pictionary! I bought the game about twenty years ago at a yard sale, but we’d never gotten around to playing it. It was so fun! We laughed ourselves silly! This is Joe showing off his depiction of the movie, Tarzan! I would have said HangMan, but luckily there were other people playing besides me! I drew Beauty and the Beast ~ but despite excellent “pretty-girl” drawing (including bow in hair and small crown), no one got “Beauty” ~ and despite excellent depiction of beastly beast, no one got that either! 😜 I need practice! But how would you draw “Beauty?” Inquiring minds need to know!I need all the help I can get!
This is the New Year’s “Wolf” moon, early Jan 1, just setting, from my kitchen porch ~ what a gorgeous moon we had, right? Memorable. By the 3rd, our rising moon was still huge and had turned yellow. Which reminds me, I have something for you for the New Year! Our Full Moon Bookmark with dates and Native American names for all the full moons in 2018. Just click HERE, print it out, fold in half, glue sides together (laminate if you like), and Don’t forget to make your wish on every moon!
Most of our decorations are all packed up and back in the attic, waiting for next year. Sad to say goodbye, but they’re a big part of what makes Christmas so different and special from any other time of year!
We still have our lights. We leave them up out back, we light them in the summer too. I took this photo from the dining room window ~ you can see through the porch windows, through the windows over my kitchen sink, all the way to the barn door with the wreath on it! Three sets of windows to the barn. I don’t know why but I like this!
I like this too. 💞Jack is in love with his Christmas kitty toy! He’s ecstatic about this feathery thing!
Those eyes! That mustache! What a baby. Several of you have asked for a Jack Cup ~ I just designed one! I’ll show you soon! Yes, I can tell you true, that is the softest belly in the world.
And now, time is rushing on, soon it will be Valentine’s Day, which is fine with me, I love my heart bunting and especially love something sweet to look forward to . . .And you know me, I think Valentine’s Day was invented for women 💞, it’s as close to the tooth fairy as a grown up person can get! So, perfect timing, because a whole bunch of Valentines just arrived from England! The cups are in!
And for our UK Girlfriends, we found a retailer in England to carry them ~ no more terrible shipping costs! If the new cups aren’t HERE yet, they will be very soon. They still have a few of the older designs.I hope some of you that preordered have received yours already? Kellee, Sheri, and Alfredo been working late at the Studio to get them out ~ I hope you Love them! This will be our first dated collection ~ I’ve always liked things with dates on them ~ all the cups coming from 2018 on will have the year on the bottom. So in the year 2083, people can look at their cups, say wow, old, and wish they could talk ~ just like I do with every old thing I have!
Sunrise is coming earlier and days are getting longer, HOORAY! Each day a step toward spring, spring, SPRING, only 68 days to go! Yesterday, shockingly, we had a rare 50-degree day! We went for a walk for the first time in weeks! Just beautiful out at the water, the seagulls white against the bright blue sky, drifting on the wind off the water, wheeling away with long cries. . . they were celebrating just like us!
Before we know it snow flowers will turn to the real thing! This might be a form of denial, but isn’t it all so lovely? The pure magic gift of the changing seasons always gives us something wonderful to look forward to!
I have no problem getting out my Spring photos for a little pre-celebration! Daffodils, Freesia, spring rain, and cherry blossoms! That little blue bottle in the window is the one Joe found in the hole he dug when he was planting our Dogwood tree. You should have seen my face when he brought it in ~ just like Jack with his Christmas toy! It’s the little things! 🌸
I was looking for some bergamot seeds on line the other day, and found the most inspiring website that put me completely in the garden-prep mood! It’s British (and unfortunately, they don’t sell to America), but it’s such inspiring reading that it doesn’t matter! It’s a web store for Heritage Seeds, where Brits can buy the oldest varieties of flower 🌺, herb, and vegetable seeds to make their own 15th (16th, 17th, etc.) century gardens! You can go here to see it: http://www.thomasetty.co.uk/seeds/index.html Some of the lovely old descriptions will fill you with ideas for your own garden: Such as this for MEADOWSWEET: ‘..the floures boiled in wine & drunke, do make the heart merrie. The leaves & floures far excell all other strowing herbes, for the smell thereof makes the heart merrie.’ 💞 Who doesn’t love a “Merrie Heart” ~ I want to run right out and get me some of those seeds!
Yup, soon it will be time for this! Lamb Cake! Go HERE if you’d like to see how this guy was made.
So you see? January is wonderful! The month of New Beginnings. All you need is a little imagination! (Help! Turn up the heater, get my shawl, warm my slippers, bring me tea!)
Our temperatures have risen, but for a couple of days last week it didn’t get over two degrees. Brrr! But I discovered something excellent about the cold ~ cut flowers last longer! That’s Stock in that little jar (I have a thing for tiny jars 👏), Joe brought a bouquet home from the supermarket ~ I didn’t have the heart to tell him this is basically a two-day flower and not worth the money we spend on it, despite how delicious it smells. Well, we’re going on a week now and look at that flower! Fresh as new! In the window, close to the cold, they thrive!
I have much to do before it’s really spring ~ I can seriously use all the “not-spring” days I can get … . Calendars need to be finished by the first week of February. I think I may have already showed you September, but just in case you missed it . . .
I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying painting new art for them…
This is my happy place!
Okay, I promised a preview of the new spring cups I’m working on. This is only a glued-together paper mockup, not perfect, but it gives you a fairly good idea. The colors of the pansies will be more like the colors in the paint box. They will be gorgeous on that bone china! Want to see the other side?
Here you go! And those little wildflowers above will go all the way around the bottom.
The handle will look like this except I think it might be in better focus! I adore pansies, such a happy, tender little flower. L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) wrote: Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while.
The “Jack” cup isn’t quite done yet, I’ll show you the other side soon. Here he is, peeking through the books with a ponytail band in his mouth. So “him.” These new cup designs won’t arrive to our Studio until April . . . but soon there will be a new WILLARD where I’ll show the other two designs, the new “Spring” cup, and the “English Countryside” ~ by then they should be ready to go up for presale. I’ll also have a link so you can print out your badge for the Picnic ~ (and BTW, if you are wondering what a WILLARD is, it’s my free Newsletter. Click HERE to read old issues, find out why it’s called Willard, and sign up to get your own💞). WILLARD will also have a new giveaway. Lots to look forward to!
Made this last night, a double batch of Macaroni and Cheese. We have a friend who had surgery, so we brought half to him and we kept the other half. My mom’s recipe. The Best. Comfort food for the ages.
So easy. Whoever invented pre-shredded cheese deserves an award! The recipe is in Heart of the Home, and seriously takes about ten minutes to make! Twenty-five minutes later, you are in heaven.Here are the rest of Joe’s flowers, I just wish I could send you the fragrance, I close my eyes and put my face right in the middle … it smells like a flower store in the spring. The added benefit during this extreme cold when the furnace is blasting and the fire is roaring and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling in the oven … is the pitcher of water these flowers are in. It helps to put moisture in the air so that when you reach for your kitty, or kiss your dearest other, you don’t shock them! So your lips don’t chap and peel off your face. If you don’t like using a humidifier, do what we do. Besides bowls of flowers, we dampen towels (I use the spray thing in my kitchen sink) and hang them in the rooms we use most, the bedroom and the TV room. And I drink water all day, starting with a big glass every morning before my tea, cold water topped off with 100% unsweetened cranberry juice ~ and another glass just before bed. That’s it, winter tip of the day!
Have you seen The Darkest Hour? We just saw it. It’s the story of Winston Churchill’s first month as Prime Minister. SO GOOD, SO SO GOOD! You’ll love it. History, wonderful acting, gorgeous visuals, and no violence. Look how pretty “Clemmie” Churchill is. I would like the whole outfit. Maybe not the head net, maybe not the fur-body, but for sure the rest of it.
V for Victory. I won’t give anything away . . . just go see it!
I came home and Googled Churchill’s wife, Clementine, wonderfully played by Kristin Scott Thomas, because, for one thing, I was curious to see if she really wore those darling curls as shown in the movie . . .
And those scarves, and her other interesting head gear. And she did!
So off I go, off to make new Calendars. Love you Girls, I hope you are all well and fine and doing everything you can to make your dreams come true.That’s what I’m working on! All my very best for a wonderful, peaceful, creative 2018 ~ “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” Love, from your Pal for Life. We share this planet, isn’t that amazing? Born at the right time.💞 XOXO