Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Patriotic Decorating with Crafty Ribbon Flag

 Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are enjoying some 
sweet summer pastimes.
This special season goes by quickly, so I am trying to 
savor every moment. 
Especially with time spent outdoors. 
Now that we are 'retired', we love 
just hanging out at home and making our little 
slice of paradise as cozy as possible. 

Most of you know that I love decorating for holidays
and that usually involves some type of sewing or craft project. 

For Independence Day, I decided to try my hand at making 
a fun ribbon flag! 

I found the idea in an old issue of one of my favorite magazines. 

It's from the summer of 2018. 

It was so easy and quick to do. 
I used a straight stick (a dowel would work, too), 
and went through my stash of ribbons and trims 
for anything red and white. 
Rick-rack, lace, seam binding, holiday ribbons - it all works. 
I cut them all to length, starting with the widest ribbons. 
For the length, I just went by sight. 
It would depend on how large you want your flag to be. 
I hot-glued the widest ribbons on first, spacing them out evenly
and filled in with the rest.
Then I cut a rectangle of blue from a tea-towel and fringed the edges
a bit and sewed on buttons from my collection for 'stars'. 
(The magazine flag used denim and fabric paint to stamp stars.) 
Once that was glued on, I covered the front edge of the stick with 
a length of rick-rack to hide the glue. 

I tied a string to both ends to make a hanger. 

And Voila'! 

It looks so pretty with the sun shining through it, fluttering in the breeze! 

(The bottom corner of the blue cloth curled up a bit)

It only took me a couple of hours of an enjoyable afternoon, 
using my deck table as a work surface. 

Of course, I had to sew a cushion cover to match! 
I used two patriotic handkerchiefs I found at my local department store. 

Flags and potted geraniums complete the patriotic theme. 

I found the red bucket and vintage sign at a flea market a while back. 
I had almost forgotten that I had them and had to go searching...

The Mr. recently replaced the top of my little potting bench. 

I just love it. 

Even my hummingbird feeder adds to the theme. :)

Kai seems to approve. 

I continued the patriotic theme with a sweet table setting, too. 

Everything was gathered over time. It's fun when it all comes together. 
I just found the red gingham plates. 
I had the blue enamel dishes and the utensils are from way back when. 

I plopped the flags into a vintage Pepsi bottle. 

I put my flag pillow on the daybed to bring the theme inside. 
I made it from tea-towels a couple of years ago. 

A little bowl of leftover trims. 


Even though we won't be home to celebrate Independence Day, 
I wanted to show my patriotic spirit! 
I think it is pretty enough to keep all summer. 
It has a sweet 'picnic' vibe. 

I hope all of my American friends have a fun and safe 4th. 

We will be going to my daughter, Jennie's lake house 
with the family. There will be a bbq and even a little boat parade! 
I'll be sure to take some photos to share. 

Happy Independence Day!! 


"True Patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, 
freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people 
on earth. 
-Eleanor Roosevelt-

"I think Patriotism is like charity - it begins at home."
-Henry James-

"We're blessed with the opportunity to stand for something - for
liberty and freedom and fairness. 
And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting 
our lives to."
-Ronald Reagan-

"The fate of America cannot depend on any one man. 
The greatness of America is grounded in principles
and not any single personality."
-Franklin Roosevelt-

"Ask not what your country can do for you, 
ask what you can do for your country."
-John F. Kennedy-


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Summer Solstice

Hello, Dear Friends! 
As I write this, it is officially the summer solstice. 
The day we wait for all year! 

I am sitting outside on my deck, listening to the twitter of little birds, 
the hum of an airplane overhead, and the slight breeze whispering through 
the trees, occasionally creating lovely songs in my windchimes. 

I've completed my potting chores for the summer (for now, anyway), 
and Ramblin' Man has repaired and painted the deck. 
The umbrellas and canopy are in place, the grill is clean, 
and we are ready to celebrate the season! 

I potted up flats of petunia, alyssum, impatiens, marigolds, geranium, 
and begonia. They go on sale at the end of April and I make sure 
to be the first in line. 

My Herb Bed

I potted up some herbs, too. 
Basil, cilantro, oregano, chives, thyme and mint. 
They were so tiny when first planted, but 
now are ready for some larger pots 
before harvest. 

unusual purple petunias

New Guinea impatiens

I was gifted these beautiful baskets for Mother's Day. 


Our 'Summer Room'.

The center barrel table is actually a gas fire pit. 
Ramblin' Man made a wooden cover when not in use. 

One of my pots of coral impatiens. 
I just love this color and they bloom in total shade. 

My birdcage angel presides over red geraniums. 

You can see where Ramblin' man replaced 
and stained new boards on the end of the deck
before painting. 

Once it is all done, it looks so nice and we get to enjoy 
this space all summer long. 
 It is high off the ground, so 
we can enjoy it even at night without fear of wildlife
Although, one night about a week ago, I woke 
up in the early hours and saw a young raccoon 
nosing around. 
Luckily, the dogs were sound asleep... 
That little raccoon would have had to make a quick escape! 
We have a pet door that leads to the deck. 
There is a high-fenced potty pen at the bottom of the deck stairs
with a gate that we open during the day. 
So convenient at night and when we are away. 

It's hard to tell, but the deck is over 6 ft. high off the ground. 

The ferns are 'bracken' ferns and grow very tall. 
With our mild winters and abundant rainfall, 
everything is supersized! 

The path to the playhouse. 

My 'snowball' viburnum put on a beautiful show this year. 

You can see them at the bottom of the photo. 
Can you see the tree aura? 

The grandboys created a picnic for us with play food. 

And much to our surprise, Ricky decided he wanted to 
be part of the festivities! He just leaped right up onto 
the table and had a good look around! He loves the kids. 

We went on a real picnic at a local park on the last day of school
for the grand-boys. 

Daughter, Heather made croissant sandwiches - turkey, cranberry, cream cheese
and chicken salad with grapes and walnuts. 

Daughter, Jennie made delicious pasta salad and 
served it in individual cups. So clever. 

I brought chips and dip and watermelon. 

The kids had a blast on the playground. 

Littlest grand-boy on the swing with Mom, Jennie. 

Papa and his entourage of little boys. 

A fun climbing set. 

The view. 
It was a beautiful day. 

Some flowers in my gardens. 

My side garden with bugleweed, allium and lilac.

Half of my old lilac was broken under heavy snowfall
this past winter, but it has survived and is regenerating 
new growth at the break. 


Columbine grown from seed a few years ago. 
They have re-seeded themselves and every year 
there is a different variety! 
The deer don't seem to bother them either, or the slugs. 

My rose arbor is a popular place with the birdies. 
Check out these sweet young darlings. 

Some beautiful wildflowers on the woodland side of the house. 
Wild honeysuckle and foxglove. 

They keep company with bleeding heart and wood hyacinths. 
This area is where I would like to expand my woodland flower garden
by planting more seeds, bulbs and rhizomes this fall. 
A large hemlock died here, which was sad, but it opened 
up the area to some filtered sunlight, and Ramblin' Man 
cleared it all out for me. 
He knows to leave the wildflowers and ferns alone.  

I sewed some laundry bags with lavender sachets 
as a gift for a dear one. 

I need to make some for myself, but with all the 
gardening chores, I haven't had much time to sew. 

Afternoon light through my laundry-room window. 

Any day now. 
Oh, wait - that's me! 

I've done some redecorating in the kitchen for summer. 

Because, of course! 
I do get tired of looking at the same old things. 

I've given it a bit of a southwestern theme this time, with artwork, pottery 
and hanging chili lights. 

My daughter, Heather, gifted me with the blue patterned vase, 
basket tray and wicker orb for Mother's Day. 
The blue enamel plates have matching bowls and cups
for impromptu dinners on the deck. 
I found them in the camping section of my local department store. 

I've been collecting pottery and artwork for years, 
dating back to my newlywed days of living in Tucson, Arizona. 

I used these mugs to serve a delicious chili one night.
I used a corn bread mix from a box.  

Here's the recipe:

Mild Southwestern Chili

1 1/2 lbs lean hamburger
1 package mild Taco seasoning
2 diced bell peppers
1 large, diced, mild yellow onion
2 cans S & W chili beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 large bay leaves

(I use low sodium Taco seasoning and 
canned goods when available)

Sauté ground beef in fry pan, drain.
Add Taco seasoning according to directions on pkg. 
Meanwhile, sauté peppers and onion in oil in 3 quart saucepan. 
Add rest of ingredients to saucepan, including ground beef.
Cook on medium-high heat to bubbling, then on low to 
simmer 1 hour, stirring frequently. 

Serve with grated cheddar, sour cream, and corn bread. 


I baked a lemon- blueberry tea loaf for 

Here's the recipe:

*Lemon-Blueberry Tea Loaf*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease and flour 9x5x3" loaf pan


1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp grated lemon peel (from 1 lg lemon)
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 lg eggs
1/2 cup milk
1-1/4 cups fresh or partially frozen blueberries
(toss the frozen blueberries with 2 Tbsp flour to keep from sinking)

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in lemon peel and set aside. 
Cream together sugar, butter, and 2 Tbsp lemon juice until light and fluffy
in large bowl. 
Add eggs and mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk just until moistened. 
Stir in berries. 

Spoon into prepared pan. 

Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 

(If desired)

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Poke holes in top of loaf with skewer. 
Drizzle glaze over top. 

Let cool 30 minutes before serving. 

Yum! Especially good with lemonade! 

This is a tray that I decoupaged with a napkin from Arizona.

Wine and cheese platter from the 1950's. 

Everything to make shortbread cookies and tea. 
I found the shortbread molds and the little bowls 
at flea markets. 
The teapot was a gift from my sis-in-law. 
The tiny green egg-cup vase was part of a wedding gift 
for my Mom back in 1953. 
(The only one left)
I love that they all match.

A painting from Tucson. 

The gold woven pillows and throw were from a recent trip 
to the flea market with my sweet DIL, Jen. 
We had so much fun! 
The throw is an 'African Mud Cloth'. 
It is hand-woven and dyed with indigo. 
It's very soft. 

I found this Bavarian keepsake box recently in a little shop. 
It holds 2 sets of dominoes - 1 black and 1 white. 
Our little grand-boys just love to set them up with Papa
and then watch them fall. 
They have gotten very creative with them! 

My vintage travel poster.
Los Angeles
El Paso

It perfectly captures the beautiful sunsets in Tucson. 

We were married a year when we decided to move to Tucson. 
We were barely out of our teens, but we always knew we 
were destined to leave our childhood in New England behind and make a new start.

 We felt we needed to create a new paradigm and destiny. 
So, with nothing but faith, a small travel trailer pulled by an old Ford, 
a few hundred dollars and a map, 
we made the 2000 mile journey, without knowing a soul,
  never having been there, but excited for a new adventure. 

We found an apartment and jobs at a resort hotel, 
(I as a server, he in special events and airport travel service), 
and had the time of our lives. 

We lived like the original 'Friends' sitcom, 
with other young adults who lived in the apartments around us. 
We had so much fun together, took turns having dinner parties, 
went to concerts, went hiking, and hung out together every evening,
discussing the philosophies of life as we tried to navigate the world. 

But eventually, careers and moves got in the way, 
and we all ended up going our separate ways.
Ramblin' Man and I moved to a little adobe house on the edge of the desert
and built cactus gardens in the walled yard, went on hikes in the mountains
and watched the beautiful sunsets in between long hours of work. 
Soon we discovered the happy news that we were expecting our first 
child. In the meantime, my own parents had also decided to move 
west - to New Mexico - when my Father accepted a job at the Los Alamos Labs
as a tool and die maker. 

They bought land and began to build a home, which we helped out with on weekend visits, but the climate proved too severe, (9000 ft. elevation) and they set their 
sights on Oregon and invited us to come along with them and  
 my young sisters, to start a new life together.
That was the beginning of a new destiny, a new path, and the start of our new family. 

We lived in Oregon four years before moving here to Washington in 1981, 
buying property just down the lane from my parents, and the rest is history.
My parents are 12 years gone now, 
but our family has grown deep roots here. 
Life is good. 

I will always remember those magical days, 
when we were young and full of hopes and dreams, 
living in the beautiful desert mountains, watching the incredible 
sunsets and the endless starry skies together, in that ancient, enchanted land. 


The view of the Tucson Mountains from the window of our adobe home. 

Sunrise over Mt. Rainier from the window of our home here in Washington State. 


My favorite John Muir quotes:

"What a glorious greeting the sun gives the mountains."

"The mountains are calling and I must go."

"Going to the mountains is like going home."

"Into the mountains I go, to lose my mind and find my soul."

"I'd rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains."

"Wherever we go in the mountains, we find more than we seek."

"One days exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books."

"Society speaks and all men listen, 
Mountains speak and wise men listen."


You can read about John Muir Here

Thank you for visiting, Dear Friends. 
Your visits mean a lot to me. 


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