Monday Morning Love

This week has got to be good when I am greeted with this reflection of love in my bathroom vanity on an early Monday morning.

Happy week to you all!

Ciao amici,

Cozy Mountain Cottage Gardens

Every summer we are lucky enough to escape the blazing southern heat for a few days and head for the hills to Highlands, North Carolina to visit some of our family who have a couple of cozy mountain cottages nestled among the most charming gardens.

I never get tired of photographing the dancing flowers that border the stone pathways...

...which lead to little spots of garden prettiness.

The foliage is so lush and the flowers are bursting in the mountains...

...while we struggle in the South during the summer to keep our garden flowers from wilting.

Even the simplest flowers ~ daisies, marigolds, zinnias ~ sparkle in the sunshine and...

...are a rainbow of colour!

This spot {below} at the Highlands Country Club is one of my favorite views.

It is a private garden on the lake, so I got as close as I could with my camera lens without trespassing.

It's a fairytale vision of snow white {pun not intended!} oak leaf hydrangeas, stone walls, canopies of evergreens ~ doubling its beauty in the lake's reflection.

Classic garden architecture with a romantic covered swing for two under a gazebo...

...and a graceful white swan swimming by to say hello.

Thank you for your visit today.

Ciao amici,

English Countryside Cottage Chic

The English countryside is breathtakingly beautiful with its rural architecture, pastoral sheep farms, and quaint villages.

I visited England about eight and a half years ago in the winter months, while "with child."  Although we stayed in London, one day we made a day trip and drove to Cambridge and the Cotswolds.

I knew at the time that this would most likely be the last vacation and trip to Europe like this for a long time since a baby was on the way, so I captured as much of it as I could with my Canon film SLR.

When I returned home, I had the film developed, looked at the photos a few times, and then put them away along with some other mementos from our trip and forgot about them...

...until now.

They never made it into a photo album, but taking them out of the basket that I had stored them in and looking at them after so long was a trip back in time.  This part of Great Britain is charmingly exquisite.

Talk about "Prairie Chic!"

I have these images {and a few more to come} listed in my Etsy shop.  I am even thinking of making some large format prints and framing them for my own home.

Speaking of HOME...

Last month a few of my "Prairie Chic" items were featured in Somerset HOME's 2012 Annual Edition.

It's a lovely edition {as always} filled with a soft palette of feminine ideas for your home

My rustic one~of~a~kind farm table candles got a feature story.  {These have been so popular in my Etsy shop for weddings, bridal parties, and housewarming gifts.}

My petite country French inspired frames and paper garden planters each made a one page feature in the Gallery.  I just love the red roses with the black and white Italian Renaissance planter.  Stunning.

Both of these collections are still available in my Etsy shop, although in very limited quantities. Each is one~of~a~kind, so what you see here may not be available, but all are beautiful in their own unique way.

Thank you Beth Livesay for once again choosing some of my work for your lovely magazine!  I look forward to your annual editions every year.

And, thank you friends for your visit today.

Ciao amici,

Coast to Coast ~ Summertime by the Sea, Part III

Welcome back to my final installment of my summertime travels.  Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

What better way to fly the friendly skies than with this little man in the captain's seat!

Whenever I travel by air, before I depart the plane I always make a point of thanking the pilot and his crew for landing us safely. I do not remember when I started expressing this bit of gratitude to airline crews, but I do, just as I always thank my husband for getting us home safely from a road trip {no matter how long or short} when he is driving.

Since we were some of the last passengers off the plane {lousy seats in the back of the plane}, when my son and I thanked the pilot, he asked my son if he would like to sit in the cock pit.  Matthew and I looked at each other and said, "Y E S ! ! !"

Meanwhile, the captain told me to get out my camera and my husband had it in his backpack, so I called him back on the plane and, well, the above photos are a couple of fun shots I quickly snapped.

Marblehead, Massachusetts was our destination for a family wedding.

We were here in July and the town was still showing its Independence with a celebration of red, white, and blue with American flags and banners everywhere.

Would you just check out this flower shop...

...abundant beauty.

I walked as much as I could in this town, exploring neighborhoods and experiencing the details...

...colourful architecture was throughout the town!

And then I came across this little cemetery in a tiny neighborhood...

...with a special spot for contemplation.

Gorgeous architectural details and little spots of heaven everywhere I looked.

The homes have very little land for gardens, so every window, it seems, overflows with boxes full of flowers and foliage.

But what small parcels of land they do have are charming as ever!

I love the vibrance and bold use of the entire colour palette throughout Marblehead.  

Summertime in New England would not be complete without some time spent at a harbor.

Check out the name on the boat in the lower right hand photograph...

...and this one!

I'm lovin' the names on these boats.

Quaint sheds, glorious vistas,

quiet spots...

...and a rocky beach with crystal clear water to cool us off.

Crooked buildings and homes with names of the original owners...

...I would have liked Benjamin to be my neighbor in 1856!

We even found a medieval castle, with gargoyles guarding the wrought iron gates.

And then it was time to say so long... this beautiful New England town.

Thank you for your visit.  I hope your summertime travels, wherever they may have taken you, were as special as mine were this year.

Ciao amici,