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Friday, September 19, 2014

My Favorite Five~ Susan

As I am in the midst of moving I am wrapping up the “My Favorite Five” series with a lovely post from Susan.

It was so gratifying to read that Laura invited fellow bloggers to post on “My Favorite Five” in order to spread kindness and hospitality in blogland. There are so many incredible kindred spirits out there and Laura is one of them. It’s no small feat to make the world a better place! So thank you, Laura, for letting me participate.

Four and a half yeas go, I started my blog, Writing Straight from the Heart. It has, from the very beginning, added immense happiness to my life. As anyone who blogs already knows, maintaining a blog is a labor of true love! I’m a native New Englander but for many years lived away from this area of the country. I moved back to Massachusetts, probably permanently, in 2002.

These days, I do freelance writing, primarily for a weekly newspaper, and work part-time with an independent teen program. Sometimes it’s challenging to fit-in time for hobbies but when one loves something, it’s possible to make time, even if it’s late at night or a few minutes squeezed in during busy days!

So today, I’d like to share five of my favorite hobbies.

1) Collecting and reading books go hand and hand with being a writer. My hubs built all the book shelves in our living room which are filled to the brim. I wouldn’t even begin to count all the other bookcases there are in other rooms throughout our house. Books are wonderful friends!

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2) Let’s see, attracting birds to our yard is another beloved hobby. My hubs answered my dream of installing a fountain, found at the end of one summer season. When birds fly into our yard and perch on it to take a drink or a bath, it’s cause for instant happiness!

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In our yard, we also have birdfeeders, a bird bath, little sculptures picked up at yard and estate sales and lots of flowers!

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3) Favorite hobby # 3 is dollhouses and miniatures. I have a dollhouse in the dining room and am in the process of adding a yard! Upstairs there is a house that’s being made into shops, including a bakery, candy store and thrift store! Then there’s a small scale house as well as one last unfinished one in the attic! Its restoration will be a future project!

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4) While not a big tea drinker, I love collecting tea cups. Almost all of my collection has been gleaned from yard and estate sales or thrift shops. There’s not too much room left for more, though.

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5) Cranberry glass is a deep pink color, very collectible and quite beautiful. My late Mother started that collection by gifting me a few pieces many years ago. Throughout the decades, whenever coming across this beautiful glass, it was challenging to find room in the budget to add to the collection. It really looks so pretty on windowsills or shelves and now, on top of the tv armoire as well.

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Many thanks to Laura for letting me post today and many thanks to you, dear reader, especially if you’ve read down to this point in the post.

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Life is so very precious and having hobbies adds to its enjoyment!

It is so easy to see what a lovely heart Susan has. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful hobbies today.

Laura

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Charmed I’m Sure

I have several nice things to share.

First, the Storybook Charmer looks like it will soon be ours!

It has been quite an adventure already with this house. The inspection period had to be extended not just once, but twice as we dealt with a host of issues that hopefully now have all been resolved. We are now in the escrow waiting game. As many of you know it is not over until the keys are actually in one’s hand. It is so hard because in my mind I have already been painting the kitchen and taking down the monkey wallpaper in the upstairs bath and replacing it with this:

Amrapali wallpaper from Designers Guild

Or possibly this…yes, without windows it needs to be bright!

Zoe Feldman Design - bathrooms - Schumacher Birds and Butterflies Wallpaper

Late Sunday afternoon we took our dogs for a walk around the new neighborhood and all of our possibly new neighbors were VERY nice. We also received the good news of an offer on our Arizona home.

On Monday the Fashionista went for a job interview and happily will now be the manager in training specializing in visual merchandising (store displays) for the Free People store in Fort Worth. She starts next week.

I need to straighten up our hotel room and then see if I can get Sweet Guy enrolled in school.

Thankful for abundant blessings and you!

Laura

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue~ A Beautiful French Town Filled With Antiques

We began our day trip to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue fairly early. This is a good idea when attending antique markets so that you can get there before the good stuff is gone.

First, a quick trip to Madame Giuseppi’s patisserie (bakery) in Plan d’Orgon to pick up the worlds best sweet bread and espresso to get our motor’s running.

Isle sur la Sorge-Gorde 011-001 This charming town nestled upon the banks of the Sorgue river hosts a traditional food market as well as an antique market almost every Sunday. It is also famous for its antique shops and waterside cafes.

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We began at the temporary antique market. Rows upon rows of temporary vendors set out their wares.

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The tables are filled with furniture, art, dishes, crockery and of course antique linens.

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The stroll along the river was so lovely and peaceful.

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While crossing a bridge I looked down into the water and swore I saw a stone fragment of an ear. Perhaps a long ago Roman statue?

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On the other side of the bridge there is a traditional market held every Sunday as well. Here you can find soap, olive oil, cheese, vegetables and darling vendors tucking cherries behind their ears.

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After viewing both markets we found ourselves a bit peckish. So we had a light lunch before continuing on to the shops. There’s nothing like eating a lovely quiche in France.

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Afterwards we began walking in search of La Boutique de Francine. The front of the shop looks like this:

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The interior of the shop holds so many sweet secrets I almost didn’t know where to begin. It is the thrill of the hunt at its finest.

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Every little box and drawer is filled with antique buttons, trims and tons of luscious lace.

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Rows upon rows of handmade tablecloths, runners and curtains.

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My cousin Linda went in search of antique quilts. She was not disappointed as there was a very long table filled with quilted delights.

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It truly is treasure hunting at its finest. To be honest I was a bit overwhelmed at first.

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But then I began to see that the sumptuous velvets were color coded.

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All of the tapestries are folded in one corner near a dusty ladder.

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Yes, there is a method to Francine’s madness. When asking for dishtowels with an “EL” initial she went right to a certain section and found exactly what I was searching for.

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For the most part everything is marked with a price tag. I still think about the two fabrics on the left. So, so lovely.

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L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a town I will happily return to. My dear cousin is once again in France as we speak gathering the paperwork to purchase her home I featured HERE.

Who would like to come with me?

Laura

Madame Giuseppi’s Patisserie

rte 570 Cavaillon
13750 Plan d’Orgon, France

La Boutique de Francine

1 Avenue Julien Guigue, 84800 L’ Isle sur la Sorgue , France
+33 4 90 38 55 81

Monday, September 15, 2014

Considering Stripes On Walls

I love stripes on walls.
white and gray stripes on wall
I love horizontal stripes.

I like vertical stripes.
This entire house is beauuuuutiful, but I especially love the compass in the entry way
I like striped walls in offices.
Tiffany Blue is my favorite color!  Great pop of color for this office!
I think they look great in reading nooks.
I'm really diggin' on the striped walls and pattern of the matching pillow and bedskirt... could I get it in red please?
As well as in wee closets.

They are even better in bathrooms.
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When done right, they can look fabulous on ceilings.
26 Fabulous Kids Room Design Ideas That Will Delight You - ArchitectureArtDesigns.com
Right before we moved from Phoenix I found a bedspread for Sweet Guys room that he liked.
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You may remember I had just used some Rit dye on some bedding we already had for a temporary solution.
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But he loves stripes and the price was right on this Max Studio set I found at HomeGoods. (The back reverses to solid gray.)
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The stripe on the bedding made me wonder if it would be overkill to add a few stripes to his new bedroom walls.
stripes, painted ceiling
One of the elements of design is repetition.This photo is a good example as the stripe on the wall is repeated in the draperies and lamp shade. The circles are repeated as well.
Painting-Stripes-on-Wall.  I would add:  After placing your tape, paint the wall color AGAIN where the new stripe colors are being applied BEFORE painting your stripes.  Your stripe colors will be crisp and clean edged.
Orange letters in little boys room.  My son wants his room painted orange...this is how we will get around that!
I would pull colors from the bedding itself.
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What say you?
Laura

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Miraculous Staircase

If all is going well the Fashionista and I (plus Rudi and Franz the doxies) are driving through the great state of Texas by now. We hope to reach Fort Worth by sundown tonight.

When I began planning our travel route I remembered that I had never written about the gorgeous church we had visited while in Santa Fe two years ago. Today I was ready to share this miracle.

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The Loretta Chapel is a former Roman Catholic church and now a museum and wedding chapel. In 1827 the archbishop of Santa Fe, Jean-Baptiste Lamy, commissioned the building of a convent chapel to be named Our Lady of Light Chapel. It would be in the care of the Sisters of Loretto, a group of nuns who are committed "to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity".

1-santa fe 033 French architect Antoine Mouly designed the chapel in the Gothic Revival style which features gothic arches, spires, and buttresses. It is rumored to be on a smaller scale of the famed Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. The stained glass windows were imported from France.

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Mouly passed away suddenly during construction before the builders realized the chapel was lacking any type of stairway to the choir loft. Given the chapel's small size, a standard staircase would have been too large. For a time the sisters used a ladder but this was a difficult and dangerous solution given the long habits the nuns wore.  In addition, there was no money left to fund any additional construction.

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So the sisters began to pray. This is a historical account of their story.

“Needing a way to get up to the choir loft the nuns prayed for St. Joseph’s intercession for nine straight days. On the day after their novena ended a shabby-looking stranger appeared at their door. He told the nuns he would build them a staircase but that he needed total privacy and locked himself in the chapel for three months. He used a small number of primitive tools including a square, a saw and some warm water and constructed a spiral staircase entirely of non-native wood. The identity of the carpenter is not known for as soon as the staircase was finally finished he was gone. Many witnesses, upon seeing the staircase, feel it was constructed by St. Joseph himself, as a miraculous occurrence.”

Can you imagine??? This amazing staircase was built with three tools: a carpenters square, a saw and warm water!

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The staircase ascends twenty feet and makes two complete revolutions up to the choir loft. It was somehow constructed without the use of nails or an apparent center support and is not attached to the wall. Numerous specialists have inspected the staircase, even x rayed it and all concluded with the same verdict~it is a miracle.

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The railing was added 10 years later, in 1887, for safety purposes.

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To further add to the mystery the sisters reported that they never saw any lumber being delivered, even though the staircase is made of non native wood. The carpenter also disappeared before he could be paid by the Sisters.

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I never wrote about this church because shortly after our visit our family met with a tragedy. At the time we could not imagine that sunshine would ever fill our lives again. We have rebuilt….slowly. Through it all we prayed.

This move to Texas feels like a beautiful fresh start for our family.

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Although at times we may feel far from God, He truly is never far from us. 

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So if you are struggling, I offer this story as a form of hope. There are always miracles.

Laura