Archive

Archive for the ‘INSPIRATIONS’ Category

“Room to Bloom!” Guest Blogger at “Living Large in Small Spaces”

IMG_9718

Dear Friends,

Today, I am excited to be guest blogging over at Nancy Reinke’s “A Joyful Cottage”.  Do you know Nancy, particularly her “Living Large In Small Spaces” series?  It is really fantastic and so many fresh ideas await.

Nancy happened upon my post that I shared a few years ago about my mom’s tiny room at a personal care facility and thought her readers might be inspired by it.  I transformed my mom’s room there from an uninviting, lifeless space into a cozy, inspirational cocoon that she immediately loved the moment she opened the door unto it.  Elderly people, after all, enjoy beautiful surroundings the same as anyone else does. So, I hope you will join us over at Nancy’s blog, particularly if you have a special senior in your life.  Even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll find lots more at A Joyful Cottage to set your thoughts going. You just might want to put the kettle on and settle in for a bit!

I am so honoured that Nancy asked me to share on her gorgeous blog today. I’ve never been a guest blogger before – ever- and I am very excited!  I hope you will drop by A Joyful Cottage for “Room to Bloom!” and say, “Hello” to Nancy.  See you there!

I would also like to thank the lovely Kathy, author of the blog “A Delightome Life” who kindly featured my last post, Kitchen Leftovers that Sparkle, at her a A Return To Loveliness party, and also to sweet  Sherry at “The Charm of Home” for featuring the same post at Home Sweet Home. You are so very kind ladies, especially since I was so late sharing those holiday images! Lol.

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! EnJOY!

Linda

I’m partying at Make It Pretty MondayAmaze Me Monday, Much Ado About Monday, Creative Mondays,  Inspiration Monday, Teatime Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Friends Sharing TeaTweak It Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Wake Up Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday, The (not just) Homemaking partyWordless Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, What To Do Weekends, Show and Tell, Feathered Nest Friday, Simple and Sweet Fridays, Home Sweet Home.

Pink Trees and Cherry Tea!

P1070154

Happy Spring,

Dear Friends!

Today, I am steeping one of my favourite teas – Kyoto Cherry Rose scented with natural cherry and rose flavours.  It is pale yellow in colour with a heavenly aroma and sweet taste.

Would you like a cuppa in my prized vintage China pattern? “Apple Blossom” is a stunning profusion of pink-petaled apple trees.  I LOVE this pattern!  I found it when I wasn’t looking at a roadside antiques barn while vacationing on Prince Edward Island a few summers ago! It was such a thrilling and unexpected find. Isn’t that always the way! I think I must have danced right out the door with my newspaper-wrapped bundles of joy! I hope one day to stumble across a matching teapot to complete the set.  I will just have to keep on treasure hunting…

I LOVE this pattern’s history in that it was insightfully commissioned in the early 1960’s by the Chair of Nova Scotia’s Apple Blossom Festival, then in just its second year. This enduring pattern is an artist’s rendition of springtime in Annapolis Valley when the apple blossoms are exploding all over the countryside. All these years later, the festival remains a much-loved annual tradition there.

I LOVE, too, pink-flowering trees! But you probably could have guessed that already? Each spring, I make a special pilgrimage to a particular street in the heart of our city that is lined with gracious century-old homes on handsome, mature lots.  One home on the street stands out from the rest.  Along its perimeter marches a legion of stately Japanese Cherry trees.  Their entangled branches, thickly laden with exquisite fluffy pink blooms, reach way out over the hefty black fence that rings the property, and bend down to the street like low-hanging frothy clouds of cotton candy!  Delicious, pure pink abundance!  My feet and heart always dance together at the sight.  It makes my day every time!

P1070224Wherever these frothy pink specimens grow in abundance, there is an intense ‘Bloom Watch’ and visitors queue by the hundreds to see the magic of the cherry trees unfurl in a fleeting spectacular show of renewal. Their pink vapour of nature’s perfection fill the landscapes with intense beauty, wonderment and emotion.

To the Japanese, the fallen petals of the cherry blossom symbolize a soldier who has died in battle long before his time. But Spring blooms also represent strength, rebirth and hope for the future…

Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow!” She was so right about that. To plant pink trees is to beautify our communities and to help grow a future without breast cancer…I believe! The seeds of Pink Days In Bloom’s “The Pink Tree Project” in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic Region are just beginning to be sowed…

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time already may know that I am a breast cancer “Thriver” and that when I was on medical leave a few years ago recovering from treatments, I decided to combine my love of gardening with the overwhelming need to do something, anything, to help fight this disease in some way…

IMG_3802
0001GpHere are several links to some of the articles about Pink Days In Bloom in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic Region that appeared in our local newspaper last year. It’s a bit of a story and I think these next few articles probably best summarize how the seed was first planted and how it has continued to grow and flourish with the support of an amazing group of like-minded, dedicated volunteers and a caring business community:
P1100386
PHOTO:  Pink Days In Bloom’s Signature Garden Faeries ‘Hope’ and ‘Invincibelle’ with O’Brien’s Boat Tours‘ mermaid mascot, Miss Shell, during ‘Pink Days In Bloom On the Sea!’ in the Town of Bay Bulls last summer…
__________________________________________________________________________________________
The Empress Hotel’s world- famous Tea Lobby is a glorious place to enjoy a spot of tea!  You can see some photos of this grand lady in my previous post, THE ELEGANT EMPRESS.
During “Pink Tree Day in the Park” and “Tea Sea-to-Sea” on June 8, at the same hour that we will be planting a pink-flowering tree in Bowring Park, one of our city’s most cherished parks, here St. John’s, Newfoundland on Canada’s East Coast, our dear friends at The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia on the Country’s West Coast will also plant a pink “sister” tree on their hotel grounds.
And, while we are celebrating and FUNdRaising over tea and champagne at The Bungalow, The Empress team will host a Pink Days In Bloom Tea of their own and “Sip in Support”. Isn’t that AWESOME!  
IMG_2468IMG_2692
On June 8th, you, too, can pick up your cup in support, whether on your iPad, in the office, at the kitchen table, by the pool or wherever you happen to be via a Virtual Tea!  I would love it if you could join us. Simply brew your favourite cuppa and click:  cbcf.org/GetInvolved/Donate.  Ask your family, friends and co-workers to join in, too. It’s that easy!
__________________________________________________________________________________________
For TWITTER LOVERS:  On June 8th, Tweet about your tea experience at #PinkDaysInBloom and your Tweets can be seen by guests of The Empress on a screen near their world-famous Tea Lobby, bringing us all even closer together in ‘growing’ a future without breast cancer!
IMG_9071
I am so excited about this next beautiful event! THANK YOU to our dear friends at The Empress for sharing in the cause! Please show them your LOVE! ‘Like’ The Empress on Facebook. Or, visit them at Fairmont.com/Empress-Victoria to discover their fabulous get-away packages and legendary afternoon teas…If you haven’t visited The Empress and Victoria yet, it’s a must to add to your bucket list!
P1070208
Read all about this exciting and meaningful event below! I hope it will help explain why I have been away from my blog these past few months!
I have met so many beautiful people on this journey. Thank you Proven Winners for the ‘Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea’ – a tough plant that is working hard to find a cure, to all the committed volunteers and amazing supporters.  Without you, it would not be possible.  It means so very much to me and so many others. XO  I hope you will join us wherever you are on June 8th for pink trees and cherry tea and for HOPE, AWARENESS AND SUPPORT!
000134
I hope you enjoy the photos of pretty china and the pink tree cookies made by my sweet friend Maria of Petite Sweet! Thank you so much for taking precious time out of your day to visit with me. Please leave your beautiful footprint to let me know that yo were here, and so I can visit you in return!  XO
Wishing you a beautiful day and Happy Mother’s Day weekend,

Linda

 Please ‘Like’ Pink Days In Bloom on Facebook.

P1100283

P1070144P1070147P1070151P1070163P1070153A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water. – Ancient Chinese proverb

P1130626

IMG_0209

Hope yours is a blue-sky kind of day…

I’m happy to be sharing today in honour of Mother’s Day at Inspiration Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Return to LovelinessMartha’s Favourite, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Do Tell Tuesday, What’s It Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, Wake UpWednesdayWhat We Accomplished Wednesday, Before and After WednesdayHope in Every SeasonCottage Style Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Simple and Sweet FridayFeathered Nest Friday,  Show and Tell Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Shabbilicious Friday, Saturday Show OffWhat To Do WeekendsPink SaturdayThe Charm of Home, Bouquet of Talent!

Life Can Be A Walk in the Park!

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” ― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

P1050707

Dear Friends,

Thank you for dropping by.  I hope you can spare a little time to come for a walk in the park with me.  It is a bright and invigorating day and so I am bringing my camera along to capture some of the winter beauty…

“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.”   ~George Macauley Trevelyan

P1050647

Our small city of St. John’s, Newfoundland of about 100,000 people is touted to be the oldest city in North America (I’m not sure how factual the claim because I once visited St. Augustine, Florida and I believe this, too, is their claim).  I do know that St. John’s is steeped in history with a colourful culture and a warm, fun-loving people.  Here’s an introduction to some of the flavour of our city:

 COLOURFUL ST. JOHN’S

Bowring Park is a well-loved destination here and is synonymous with the beloved literary figure Peter Pan! Are you curious to know more while we walk? It’s a bit of a story…

P1050697The Bowring family has had a long history with Newfoundland since the early 1800’s when first Benjamin Bowring came from England with his family to set up shop as a watchmaker and jeweller.  His wife later set up a small dry goods shop which evolved into a general department store. Five generations of the Bowring family would branch out, very successfully, and build a global empire of trade and shipping including oil tankers, cargo fleets, passenger liners as well as a coastal mail service.  In 1911, to commemorate their 100 years of successful business in Newfoundland, the Bowring family dedicated 50 acres of parkland to the City; today Bowring Park encompasses over 200 acres.

Two world wars wiped out much of the Bowring fleet.  Following the Second World War, the main business of the company in Newfoundland became retailing.  For many years, the company operated its famous department store on Water Street in St. John’s (I remember it well – my husband and I still have many of the Christmas ornaments we bought there when we were first married).  The stylish downtown store was later expanded into a chain of “little shops”.  These were the basis for the nation-wide chain of 50 plus beautiful Bowring stores that exist today.  Interestingly, the company logo “Terra Nova” was a Bowring ship that was chartered by the British Navy for Admiral Scott’s famous journey to the Antarctic in 1911, although the stores are no longer  connected with the Bowring family. The chain is currently celebrating 200 years of business in Newfoundland and Bowring remains one my favourite places to shop. 

P1050649

In summer, Bowring Park is popular for its splash pad, playgrounds, day camps, tennis courts, skate parks, soccer, swimming, picnics, beautiful trees and plant conservatory, concerts in the outdoor ampitheatre, weddings and even lawn bowling!  In wintertime, citizens enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and, on occasion, horse-drawn sleigh rides. For over a decade, the Annual Festival of Christmas Music and Lights has been attended by thousands. Many residents have fond memories of their childhood and family outings in Bowring Park. Does anyone recall learning to skate on Fountain Pond? 
P1050665
My favourite feature of the park, apart from the majestic swans and rustic fencing and benches, is a playful statue of Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up.  He can be seen from the entrance to the park, near the main gates, and stands confidently high atop a bronze tree-trunk, beckoning believers…You can almost hear the playful notes of his pipe as he charms the faeries and woodland animals to him. He is, undoubtedly, one of the park’s most enchanting centerpieces. The park belongs to Peter Pan, the idea of magic, the young and the forever young-at-heart.
P1050678
Although Peter Pan symbolizes the innocence, wonder and joy of eternal youth, how the statue came to be in our park is especially sad. Look closely and you will see the inscription:
“Presented to the Children of Newfoundland by Sir Edgar R. Bowring
in Memory of a Dear Little Girl Who Loved The Park..”
 A second inscription on the opposite side of the statue reads simply:
“Betty Munn”.  
All who are familiar with the park perhaps know from their parents or teachers, the story of Betty Munn …
P1050680
Sir Edgar Bowring was a partner in the thriving family business, Bowring Brothers.  He was also a politician and philanthropist.  Betty was Sir Edgar’s granddaughter. On February 23, 1918, Betty and her father, John Munn (also a managing director of Bowring Brothers), boarded a Bowring-owned vessel S.S. Florizel bound for Nova Scotia and New York.  They were to meet Betty’s grandmother, Mrs. Munn, in Halifax and all three were to head south where they would spend the winter months due to Mrs. Munn’s ill health. Tragically, their voyage would be cut short.  Later that same night during a fierce winter storm, the Florizel crashed into rocks off the coast of Newfoundland.  Sorrowfully, of the 138 passengers, 94 perished in the icy Atlantic Ocean.  Among them was young Betty who was nearly 4 years of age.  Sir Edgar’s sweet grandchild would never have the chance to grow up…In loving memory of little Betty, Sir Edgar commissioned leading British sculptor Sir George Frampton to create a likeness of his original Peter Pan statue located in London’s Kensington Gardens to stand in beloved Bowring Park.
P1050709
Delicate faeries dance around the middle of the tree trunk on their climb to the top.
P1050683
Peter Pan has stood nobly in Bowring Park, fuelling imaginations, since he was first gifted to us on August 29, 1925 as part of a dedicated “Children’s Day”.  It was reported that several thousand children were present for the much-anticipated unveiling of Peter Pan and the festivities that would follow the ceremony. The Mayor of the day, Tasker Cook, encouraged the children to “learn to know him and love him with all your hearts…”  Frampton, too, attended the ceremony and noted to the crowds  that “... the animals and fairies on the statue are listening to the pipes of Pan, one of the mice is completing his toilet before going up to listen to the music, (and) the squirrel is discussing political matters with two of the fairies”. 

P1050689

Replicas of Frampton’s Peter Pan statue, cast from the original mold, can be found around the world including: Liverpool’s Sefton Park, the Gardens of Egmont Palace in Brussels, Toronto’s Glenn Gould Park, Queen’s Gardens in Perth, Australia and Rutgers University’s Johnson Park in Camden, New Jersey.  Frampton commented that his Bowring Park version of Peter was superior in location to his statue in London’s Kensington Gardens due to “the wholly natural surroundings and flowing river being more in keeping with the spirit of Peter and particularly animals and faeries…”   If you have seen the other statues of Peter Pan, I would love for you to share them with us…

The enormous resplendent linden tree located in the park near Peter Pan fell during Hurricane Igor on September 21, 2010.  It had been planted nearly a century earlier by England’s Duke of Connaught when Bowring Park was opened on July 15, 1914.  Since Igor, a class of local elementary school students helped our Mayor plant a new linden tree in its place.

P1050714

The Peter Pan Festival, with the focus on children and the wonderment of childhood, was a magical time in Bowring Park: music and children’s performers, skateboard demonstrations, inflatable rides, sport challenges, car shows, multicultural concerts, fun food, bingo and more.  The Peter Pan soapbox races were a highlight, “… open exclusively to drivers with valid Bowring Park drivers licenses, which are issued only to people between the ages of 7 and 14…”
P1050691
Paul Russellafter having visited Bowring Park in 2005, described his Peter Pan festival experience in the British newspaper The Telegraph“One thing I have noticed since moving to Newfoundland, two years ago, is the focus on the family. Everything here is geared towards the family. Newfoundlanders possess an immense love for the family, and their children are very precious to them. All activities are family-oriented, and children are the focus of most of those activities. Here the children come first, something that appears to be less and less the case in this day and age.”  
P1050713
The Peter Pan festival began in August 29, 2000 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Sir Edgar’s gift to the park. Sadly, the much-loved festival is no longer active for reasons I don’t know.  
P1050685

Russell further wrote, “Pan, the boy who never grew up, could be used as a metaphor for the people of Newfoundland.  They are, in the best possible way, an innocent people.  Newfoundlanders have a reputation the world over for their warmth and friendliness…” I love this!

P1050706

How blessed we are to have been graced with this beautiful park and its charming statuary.  Peter Pan is, indeed, magical. P1050711

DID YOU KNOW?  Sir Edgar Frampton’s original sculpture of Peter Pan ‘magically appeared’ in London’s Kensington Gardens on May 1, 1912. The statue was erected in secret overnight at the expense of J. M. Barrie, the author and creator of Peter Pan. The next day, an advert by Barrie appeared in the British newspaper The Times: “There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning.  Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine, they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around…”  

Barrie chose the exact location of the statue in Kensington Gardens.  It was lovingly placed there because Peter made his first appearance in literature in Barrie’s novel “The Little White Bird” which is set in Kensington Gardens. It was also in the Gardens where Barrie spent cherished time with the children who inspired his creation of Peter Pan.

P1050702A peace dove tucks itself in under a crevice in the bronze tree trunk. Did you spot the inscription to the right?

The network of serene walking trails and attractive bridges feature magnificent views complete with flower beds, a rose garden, waterfalls, duck families and graceful swans.  Indeed, countless children have had their picture taken by the Duck Pond feeding the ducks.  Through the years, the park as become deeply rooted in the lives of those who live here.

P1050705

I hope you enjoy seeing the details of the statue.  A collection of faeries, mice, squirrels, rabbits, birds, frogs and salamanders climb their way up the tree trunk to Peter Pan listening to the notes of his magical flute…

P1050668

DID YOU KNOW?  It is recommended that you not feed bread to the ducks and birds.  Bread has little nutritional value and its high salt content dehydrates the birds.  It also promotes bacterial growth in the ponds and rivers.  By purchasing healthy duck food, you will be doing the birds and their environment a favour.  Duck food is available at various Marie’s MinMarts around the city for just $1.00 a bag; 100% of the proceeds from the feed sales is forwarded to the Bowring Park Foundation in support of the park. 🙂

P1050670

DID YOU KNOW? The statue of Peter Pan is probably about 10-feet high. The widespread popular appeal of his Peter Pan statue led Frampton to produce a 18.5″ bronze reduction of the main figure expected to bring at auction £50kBowring Park will proudly celebrate its centennial birthday next year. Wouldn’t you love to have your very own miniature of Peter Pan to commemorate the anniversary? Hmmm….Special celebrations are being planned by the Bowring Park Foundation for the park and its patrons.  We will all look forward to the party!

P1050674

Bowring Park is a gift to all who visit, the crown jewel of our city.  If you live near a beautiful park, I hope you will enjoy a walk there very soon. Oh, and remember to bring your camera and share the beauty…

P1050644

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.  ~Henry David Thoreau.

Wasn’t that a beautiful walk?  Shall we go inside where it’s cozy?  I hope you have a little more time to join me in a hot cuppa.  I am using some of my prized teacups in your honour today. This stunning tea set was a ‘surprise gift’ to me by a dear friend.  I’d be delighted to share that story with you on another day, if you wish…Now, how would you like your tea?

IMG_4387

I am thrilled to be sharing at Mop It Up Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, What’s It Wednesday,  What We Accomplished Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, Pearls and Lace ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayFeathered Nest Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Saturday Show Off, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Sunny Simple Sunday, Seasonal Sunday,  Sunlit Sunday, Home Sweet Home, Open House,  Be Inspired, You’re Going to Love It!

Sources: Bowring Park Foundation, Newfoundland Tourism, The Telegraph, Bowring.com

Pink Days in Bloom!

These roses bloomed from a rose tree-standard in a planter on my deck last season.  They are called ‘Waterfall’…

Welcome Dear Friends, Old and New!

TEA ANYONE?  I invite you to sit and sip a cuppa with me. Do you like raspberry herbal? I enjoy it very much without anything added, but you may like to try a little lemon or honey.  It’s a tasty rosy pink tisane!  I am so excited that you stopped by for a visit today!
A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN A YEAR!  Things are happening which I alluded to in a past Christmas post and promised that I would tell you about.  We have much to talk about. In fact, I have so much to talk with you about today that there are two parts to this post!  If you are a regular visitor to ‘Beautiful Ideas’, you may have noticed that I have been taking a little break from blogging lately.  Actually, I have been so busy partly because of the blog and the amazing opportunities that it has brought with it this past year, which was my first year of blogging!  Whew! A lot can happen in a year!  First, have a listen to this gorgeous Celtic Woman with the voice of an angel.  I love how she sings, “When You Believe”.  What happens when we believe in something?!  It fuels our enthusiasm, uplifts our spirit and often becomes our passion…
I think this performance was filmed at Powerscourt House and Gardens in Ireland – a place to add to my “Must-Visit Gardens” list…

“WHEN YOU DO nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.” ~ Unknown

GROWING PINK DAYS! I have been occupied in recent months tending a garden of sorts – growing ‘Garden Pink Days’ a high-spirited fun’draiser for breast cancer research, equipment and programs in my home province. The first local Garden Pink Days was held last July at a favourite garden centre, Pat’s Plants and Gardens.  It was a beautiful success!

Pink Days is about Awareness, Hope & Support for persons with breast cancer, their families & friends; while at the same time, promoting gardening as part of healthy & beautiful living.  Raising funds for breast cancer research, programs & equipment is a bonus.  Pink Days is a way like no other that enables garden centres to connect with their gardening customers in creating a future without breast cancer.  Pink Days is a Win-Win for everyone involved!”

 
THE SEED IS PLANTED…  The first seed was planted last June as I was browsing the pages of a gardening magazine. Proven Winners, a well-known grower to many gardeners, was promoting its first hybridized pink Annabelle hydrangea, ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, specially developed in tribute to persons with breast cancer.  For every plant sold, Proven Winners will donate $1 and up to $1 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. To date, proceeds from sales of ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ are climbing to nearly half a million dollars for breast cancer research!

The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities. ~Author Unknown

TRUE BEAUTY AND DEEP MEANING IN THE GARDEN   I loved the idea of having a way to add beauty and true meaning to my garden, and to honour my beloved mom-in-law,  Ethel, who died from breast cancer in November 2009.  She was an avid gardener, a best friend, a kindred spirit… Every day I miss having her in my life. And, off I went in search of the ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ for my garden to honour Ethel’s beautiful spirit in our garden. I found the pink plant at Pat’s Plants and Gardens, Bay Bulls. Many of you know already that I was on medical leave at the time myself recovering from breast cancer treatments. So, for me, the plant has even greater significance.
IF YOU BELIEVE … When I returned from Pat’s Plants and Gardens, I googled the plant and discovered that Proven Winners has a ‘Pink Days’ campaign.  I immediately contacted Pat Puddester, the owner of the glorious garden centre where I had purchased my plant, and asked if she might consider hosting a Pink Day to raise funds in support of breast cancer research, programs and equipment in this province.  Pat not only said, “Yes!”, she insisted that we hold an entire Pink Weekend! What a woman! In addition to funds raised from prize draws, auction items, and other fun activities, Pat offered to contribute 10% of pink plant sales throughout the weekend!  Pink Days generated a lot of excitement and positive buzz about town. Just a few short weeks later, we had ourselves a beautiful and successful Garden Pink Day! We raised over $2,300.  You can see what we did and photos here, here , and here .  Pat and I, and many of the volunteers that day, have since become good friends – another beautiful bonus of Pink Days!

Make your optimism come true. ~Author Unknown

A TRULY BEAUTIFUL IDEA! Proven Winners actively promotes their Pink Day campaign in the U.S.  Initially, I emailed the company and thanked them for the beautiful idea of the Invicibelle Spirit pink hyrangea.  They were thrilled to know that Pink Days was in bloom here!  Shortly after that first contact, Proven Winners asked to use this blog post about our local event as part of a presentation to their major growers to let them know the impact of the plant and the Pink Days campaign in this part of the world!

Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way. ~Abraham Lincoln

 EXPERIENCE PINK…  A month or so after the inaugural Pink Days here, Proven Winners emailed me (while I was on holiday on Prince Edward Island, meeting my new friend Carolyn Aiken of the popular blog Aiken Home and Gardens!) to say they would be attending a huge international industry conference in Chicago the following week, and could they use articles from my blog posts possibly for distribution in their media kits.  Over 10,000 people would be attending. And could they, too, incorporate some of the blog photos from this post in their table centrepieces at a luncheon they would be hosting for 500 guests – just to let people know what they’d be missing out on if they didn’t host a Pink Day!!  No problem! WHAHOO!

We will either find a way or make one. ~Hannibal

I CAN’T BELIEVE!  Okay, here’s where I say, “I can’t believe what just happened!”  Barely four short months after the first-ever Pink Days was hosted at Pats Plants and Gardens here in Newfoundland, I was invited to Toronto to speak at a national industry conference of representatives from independent garden centres across Canada hosted by Sheridan Nurseries.  I was to tell about my own story about having breast cancer and my personal Pink Day experience. The beautiful Stacey Hirvela from Proven Winners was presenting and she was playing the photos on the big screen behind her of our fun’draiser as an inspiration to others! The dream for me has been that in the years to come, the idea of Pink Days will catch on and continue to spread across our fair Island.  I could never  have dreamed in a zillion years,  that I would have an opportunity to champion the cause to owners of garden centres across the country!!!

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. ~Mayo Angelou

I am thrilled to tell you that Pink Days has grown this year to include five (Yes, 5!) AWESOME garden centres on the Avalon Peninsula in Summer 2012.  Pat’s Plants and Gardens is excitedly looking forward to hosting its Second Annual Garden Pink Days on July 14-15.  Generously joining in the cause are:  Hickey’s Greenhouses, both their Dunville (June 30) and Kelligrews, Conception Bay South (July 7) locations; Shand Nurseries, Pouch Cove (July 21), and O’Neill’s Gardlenland, Spaniards Bay (July 22).   And, interest is growing…

I hope you enjoyed your tea!

PINK BLOOMS!  This year, Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador, too, has joined the cause in kindly contributing space at its Spring Landscaping and Garden Show and Symposium on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th at the Jack Byrne Arena, Torbay enabling ‘Pink Days in Bloom!’ to be promoted to the thousands of visitors to the show.  Canada’s own gardening guru Mark Cullen will be their special guest!

INSPIRING WOMEN… More recently, I was invited to a meeting of a local breast cancer support group (the first time I’ve ever been to anything like this) specifically to talk with members about Pink Days.  Many of them volunteered to help get the word out at the Garden Show!  Thank you to all you lovely ladies who signed up!  You are the best!

Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more. ~A. Lou Vickery

THANK YOU!  I am over-the-moon by the enthusiasm and support demonstrated by local businesses and volunteers; including women living with breast cancer, survivors, and their families and friends.  It is beyond inspiring to see all of these people so willingly give back to their communities. The high energy, big-heartedness, and all-embracing spirit – even among strangers – that springs from a Pink Day event is palpable and infectious.
A WAY LIKE NO OTHER… Garden Pink Days is really a way like no other in connecting with people, young and old, who live in our neighbourhoods, while offering comfort and support to fight the disease.  Raising funds for breast cancer research is a bonus!  To someone like me,  Pink Days mean the world.  We have to believe that the cause and cure for breast cancer will be found in our lifetime, so our children today will not have to suffer tomorrow.

 

And, speaking of children…I could not resist sharing with you this photo of my precious young grandnieces Victoria, 8 and Lily, 1. Big sister just adores little sister!  I played with the special effects a bit…I love how it looks a little like an oil painting.  What do you think?  

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.  ~Maya Angelou

THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTION:   “Is there inequity between the iconic ‘Pink Ribbon’ campaign proceeds and breast cancer research?” Is your curiousity peaked?  Stay tuned for ‘PINK TWIST’ – Part II of this post…

PLEASE BE SURE TO VISIT PINK DAYS IN BLOOM ON FACEBOOK…

Many thanks for choosing to spend some precious moments of your day here!  

I’m so glad you came.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

I am joining Meet Me MondayMasterpiece MondayTeatime Tuesday, Bloomin Tuesday, Tuesday Garden PartyYour Cozy Home PartyTea Cuppa TuesdayTea Party TuesdayA Return to Loveliness, Friends Sharing Tea, Outdoor WednesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, Time Traveller Thursday, Open House Party,   Simply Sweet, Seasonal SundaySunlit Sunday and Spring Link Blog Hop Party!!


A ROOM WITH A VIEW!

Bringing the outdoors in…A garden table, chairs and cushions from Pier 1; ceramic rooster, table linens and glassware from HomeSense; and an inviting teaset from Bowring all combine to breathe new life into a teeny senior’s room.

Dear Friends,

It’s freeeezzzzing outside, so come on inside and stay awhile where it’s warm and cozy! The kettle is whistling and I’m just about to brew a pot of comfort tea…

Today I thought I would share with you a video that I made of my Mom’s room when she moved into a ‘Seniors’ Home’ last May. Would you like to see it?

The room ‘BEFORE’ was institutional, bleak, impersonal and, admittedly, depressing…While Mom had decided that she would like to move into a ‘Home’, I think when she first saw her room empty (except for the standard furnishings provided and that were adopted by the former occupant), the prospect may have seemed somewhat daunting to her. I was on medical leave from my work at the time recovering from breast cancer treatments, and I felt sad about it all. But I knew in my heart that it was the best for everyone concerned. The staff at the ‘Home’ are all such beautiful, supportive people; and I knew instantly,too, that she would be given the best care possible there.

I set to work straight away dreaming about improvements I could make to the space and how to turn it into a REAL ‘home’ for Mom. The following few weeks were spent planning, choosing paint colours (I had convinced the wonderful owners of the Home to allow me to paint over the existing ‘cold stone’ shade), shopping for furniture and accessories, scheduling deliveries and pulling it all together.  Mom hadn’t seen any of the things I had purchased for her new room (her own furniture was way too oversized to fit); and although she knew that I was working on the space, she never saw it until it was entirely finished. When she walked into the room for the first time, it was a total surprise to her!  My mom loved the transformation, as did the owners of the Home – a relief on both counts. The ‘AFTER’ was warm, inviting, personal, charming and uplifting!

My 83-year old mom sees her room for the first time! Her new friends from ‘The Home’, Ruby and Laura, can’t wait to see the transformation either!

The paint colours are Martha Stewart’s muslin and sugar white. I kept the backdrop neutral to accommodate the cheery mix of pattern, hues and textures that were introduced into the room. The industrial-style blinds were camouflauged, layering gold silk panels (Pier 1) over floral-embroidered ivory sheers (Madison Mackenzie) hung on a brass rod with glass finials (Wal-mart) that extended well beyond the window molding giving the illusion of a larger space.

I had trouble finding a table small enough to fit in the room. Given it functions as a TV room, study, dinette, parlour and bedroom, it is, indeed, a tiny ‘multi-tasker’ of a space! Fitting numerous, much-needed furnishings in the room while maximizing storage and ensuring safety and ease of movement posed a real challenge.

At Pier 1, I discovered a creamy-white wrought iron patio table with a glass top (it accommodates  a ‘sunbrella’). It just happened to be the perfect size, and the clear glass gives the illusion as though it ‘floats’ in the room. A solid table would have crowded the room, lending a much heavier feeling. I don’t think the space would have been ‘up for it’.  And, I was going for an airy, refreshing look so I decided to bring a little outdoors in. I purchased it along with a pair of coordinating chairs with pretty fanned backs (they provide interest) along with some outdoor, easy-care cushions for beauty, comfort and practicality! Additionally, the wooden tri-fold screen strategically positioned in the corner behind the settee (it warms the wall), petite ivory striped chest with crystal knobs near the closet, and brown wicker foot rest with red silk tufted pillow at the foot of the bed all came from Pier 1.

A bargain mirror at HomeSense for just $34 helps to create the illusion of additional space. A second mirror in a varying shape but coordinating frame (behind the dresser on the opposite side of the room)  was a find from Cohens at just $54!

A glorious ceramic rooster (HomeSense) sits atop the table.  His base fits nicely over where the umbrella is normally inserted in the table.  My mom dearly loves the rooster and laments often that it doesn’t cocka-doodle-doo! Pity! Although, I don’t think her ‘Home mates’ in neighbouring rooms would appreciate a rooster crowing at the crack of dawn!

The pretty blue transferware plates that hang on the wall came from my own cupboard!  The wall sconce was a purchase from Bombay Company (the candle inside the hurricane is battery-operated). The beautiful yellow-and-red ceramic lamp with silk shade, petite black-and-floral camel-back settee (my favourite piece) and gold armchair are from Hayward Interiors, a favourite design store. The custom headboard (it had to fit below the thermostat and fan control on the wall) was constructed from fabric found in the bargain bin at a local upholstery shop.  The cheery rooster bed linens were ordered on-line from Garnet Hill, and the buttery matelasse bedspread and sham were also ordered on-line from J.C. Penney.

The larger dresser with a stencilled pattern was a real find, just $295 from HomeSense! It is charming and lends less-bedroom and more-dining-room feel, and doubles as a TV/lamp stand.  The pair of smaller crystal lamps, coordinating mirrors, framed prints and floor rugs, were good buys at Winners.  The rugs really warmed up the hardwood floors and seemed to complete the room,  making it snug and appealing.

The scrolly iron plant stand (Winner’s) hosts a fountain with a lifelike frog (Alderberry Blum). Water bubbles up through a bamboo shoot; the sound is soothing. Realistic silken flowers and leafy ferns surround it and contribute a breath of spring to the room.  The framed prints of birds, butterflies, and dragon flies, as well as the colourful florals on the settee, and winged faeries that alight around the room in unexpected places all help to carry the enchanting garden inspired theme.

When I first toured the ‘Seniors’ Home’, I immediately noted  the doors that opened into most rooms, first revealed the person’s bed. I purposely arranged the furniture in Mom’s room so that the bed is the last thing to be seen.  Rather, a beautiful patterned rug, the pleasant music of a water fountain, life-like gorgeous blooms and an illuminated garden lamp with a tin shade (O’Neill’s Gardenland) reflected in a large mirror, that seemingly expands the space, greet visitors upon first entering the room. A marvelous chair and brightly coloured divan (I love how the yellow, melon, red, and lilac floral pattern wakes up the black fabric)  accented with a wooden screen draped with ferns beckons in the background.

I wanted the space to feel less like a hospital room, or a bedroom, and more like ‘home’ where family and friends are comfortable. I easily change up the accessories just a bit with the celebrations of the seasons, and that keeps it fun and interesting for Mom and her friends at the ‘Home’.

And, well, let’s just say that since the room has taken on a new personality  (thank you to Judy and Lolly at the ‘Home’ for letting my family do this for our Mom), our outlook has changed regarding what it means to live in a Seniors’ Home.

I tried my darndest to keep the room bright, light and joyous, a space where Mom would be content and love coming ‘home’ to.  I want her to feel good about her room and look forward to it whenever she opens the door to it. And, when family visit, I want them to feel encouraged to stay longer and enjoy their visit with her. With a little imagination, Mom’s room is now an inviting, cheery space that offers a sense of relaxing comfort and hospitality that says, “Welcome Home!”

Click here for the video of Mom’s Room With A View

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I love seeing you! And, I’d love to hear your ideas about decorating a small space for a senior…Join in the conversation!

Wishing you a beautiful day every day,

Linda

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

More photos…I’ll be adding some over the next day or two, so be sure to come back!

Before…

My 83-year old mom looks out the window of her new room at ‘The Home’

My hubby helps me to measure the room…

After…

Today, I am delighted to be joining Masterpiece Monday, Make the Scene MondayMetamorphosis Monday, Meet Me Monday, Show Off Your Cottage Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Do It YA Self MondayYour Cozy Home PartyTea Time Tuesday, Knick of Time TuesdayWOW Us WednesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, Southern Lovely for Show and Share, Home and Garden Thursday , Home and Garden Thursday, Open House, Thrifty Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Feathered Nest Friday, Inspiration Friday, Vintage Inspiration Friday, Thrifty Things Friday, Furniture Feature Friday, Potpourri Friday, Fridays Unfolded, Saturday Splendour, Home Sweet Home, Once Upon A Weekend,  Show Me Extraordinary, Seasonal Sundays, The More The Merrier, Creative Bloggers Hop PartyFriends Sharing Tea and Healthy Wealthy Moms Blog Hop!

Random Acts of Kindness…

Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person.
— C. Neil Strait

Some carrot cake left over from “A Special Tea, Tour and More”…Click on the photo with this heading in the sidebar and it’ll take you directly to the post!

Happy New Year Dear Friends,

I love you all! Thank you to each of  you for being so encouraging and supportive this past year. It has been an amazing journey with you so far.

I first began blogging in 2011 as a source of ‘happy therapy’, a positive focus while on medical leave from my work  recovering from treatments for breast cancer.  The warm words you wrote on my blog and my heart helped me get through some dark days and lifted my spirits more than you can ever imagine.

And, I could never have imagined the amazing opportunities that came these past months from blogging!  I’ll tell you a bit more about that in a later post, I promise…

First, let’s have a ‘cuppa’, shall we?  And, would you also like some home baked carrot cake with snowy cream cheese frosting to go with your tea? This is a moist and delicious-tasting cake.  There was a little left from “A Christmas Tea for Lucas” so I popped it in the freezer and saved it just for our visit today.  It still has its wonderfully ‘fresh-from-the-oven’ goodness! Yum!

As you can see, I am still enjoying my Christmas decor.  Indeed, many of my friends and neighbours, it seems, are also a little reluctant to say good-bye to that holiday feeling.  I’m sure that will likely change in the next week or so.  For now, the house is all cozy with the warmth that the holiday decorations provide.

Today I heard something beautiful, and I just have to relay this story to you as it made my day!  TRULY!

Have you ever heard of  ‘Random Acts of Kindness’?! I got the idea while watching the Oprah show one day many years ago.  Hubby and I were inspired by the program’s theme and have been doing little spontaneous things like this ever since, and it always brings us so much joy…

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.— Mother Teresa

This morning, my husband and I dropped by our regular weekend haunt for breakfast.  I was anxious to talk with our waitress Kim to find out the reaction of a group of four police officers (two male and two female) whom we had surprised last time we visited the cafe (the day after Boxing Day) by asking her to add the price of the police officers’ breakfasts to our own breakfast bill – but, please, not to tell the officers about their complimentary breakfasts until AFTER we had left the restaurant and they were waiting on their bills.  We wanted it to be a SURPRISE to them.  🙂

And, apparently, it was!  A BIG SURPRISE! Kim told us that the officers were totally blown away when she announced to them that their breakfasts had already been been paid for by the YOUNG (she did say young :-)) couple that had been seated at the table next to them. They hardly knew what to say and couldn’t believe that someone would actually do something so nice for them – I can’t imagine why NOT?!  (Police officers, and other uniformed service persons, are often under appreciated for the potentially dangerous work that they do on behalf of public safety.) The officers told the waitress that IT made their Christmas, as well as their New Year’s! And, I could hardly believe THAT!  I started to get goosebumps to know that they were just so thrilled by the treat.  Kim went on to tell us more…

When you carry out acts of kindness, you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, “Yes, this is how I ought to feel.”
— Harold Kushner

As the four officers were leaving the cafe that morning, they were still commenting on the anonymous gesture that had so pleasantly shocked and surprised them.  Within mere seconds after the door had closed behind them, one of the male officers quickly popped back inside and headed toward the cash with a purpose in mind. He told the waitress that because someone had been so nice as to buy breakfast for him and his colleagues that he wanted to pay it forward and asked to take care of the breakfast bill for the couple who had been sitting at the table behind him and his fellow officers! Oooh, the goosebumps are getting bigger by the minute. But wait, there’s more yet to tell…
Sooo, when the waitress informed the equally surprised couple that a police officer had paid for their breakfast, they understandably questioned, ” Why would a police officer pay for OUR breakfasts?!” And, Kim was excited and delighted to explain to the couple WHY the officer had, indeed, done so….The  amazed and grateful couple announced, “Well, it won’t stop here!” They then asked to pay for the breakfasts for the persons who were sitting behind them, and so it went…  Our good deed was paid forward a total of  four times before it all ended!  Talk about ‘the ripple effect’!!! WHOO HOO! Ya just gotta love it, my friends!
Isn’t that awesome?!  Who knew?! Just imagine if EVERY PERSON demonstrated an act of kindness EVERY DAY  toward someone else and there was such a chain reaction! What a better world this would be in no time!
DID YOU KNOW?  ‘Random Acts of Kindness Week’ is February 13-19. The week-long awareness initiative is an invitation to individuals, businesses, schools, community groups, health institutions, service clubs – ALL – to join hands and hearts together in the ‘Kindness Revolution’ to make a positive difference in this world, not just for one week but EVERY DAY.  BRILLIANT and BEAUTIFUL!
The only New Year’s resolution that I am making this year (and one that I know I will try very hard to keep) is to do more “Random Acts of Kindness”…

Try to make at least one person happy every day.  If you cannot do a kind deed, speak a kind word.  If you cannot speak a kind word, think a kind thought.  Count up, if you can, the treasure of happiness that you would dispense in a week, in a year, in a lifetime!    Lawrence G. Lovasik (The Hidden Power of Kindess)

Some ‘Pink Love’…See more in posts Ornaments of Wonder and Angels Among Us!

Thank you for visiting.  I appreciate your spending time with me.  I hope that someone is kind to you today and that you are, in turn, inspired to perform a “Random Act of Kindness”…

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Linda XO

Fashion your life as a garland of beautiful deeds.  Buddha

I found the news clip below on-line and had to add it to this post.  It seems this is happening in many other places, too!  Isn’t it so refreshing?!

 RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS MULTIPLYING AT A BLUFFTON COFFEE SHOP

A CHRISTMAS TEA, TOUR AND MORE…

No one has ever become poor by giving. – Ann Frank

CAUTION:  There’s alot of Christmas spirit in this post!  Take a few moments to yourself away from all the hustle and bustle, settle into your favourite armchair with a cuppa, put up your feet, and just breathe…

A Christmas “Togetherness Tea Party” at our home was actually a fabulous fundraiser.  Holiday teas were poured from beautiful teapots. There were sweet treats, hugs and lots of fun!  At long last, it seemed, the Christmas season had officially begun…

Welcome Kindred Christmas Spirits,

It is such a pleasure  to relate to you something wonderful that happened just over a week ago! Last Sunday afternoon (December 11th), my husband and I hosted the most beautiful Holiday Tea that we have ever held in our home.  It was an open house: a buffet tea and tour of our home decked out in all the season’s finery. The event was actually a fundraiser named: “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”

THE SEASON OF GIVING  Over 60 persons (50 adults plus children) gathered at our home over a few joyous hours for the sound of jingling bells, twinkling lights, a rejuvenating cuppa, home-baked treats and heartwarming friendship – a time to celebrate all that is good about this time of year. Together, feeling inspired by the beauty and giving spirit of the season, we raised a grand total $1,475.00! Isn’t that AMAZING in just a few hours over tea and dessert?!  A Christmas miracle, indeed!

OVER TEA AND BLOGGING  I had been planning “A Christmas Tea for Lucas” for months – since late summer when we visited Prince Edward Island solely to meet my new friend through blogging Carolyn Aiken (you can read about it here) of the popular blog Aiken Home and Gardens. Undoubtedly, many of you already know Carolyn and are long-time fans of her gentle blog about her romantic life on glorious Prince Edward Island.

Lucas with a sock monkey named “Linda” that was made specially for the Tea and sent along in the mail from Prince Edward Island to my Island of Newfoundland. I must admit that I’ve never before had a sock monkey named after me!

On the final day of our visit with Carolyn and her husband Andrew back in August, and before leaving the Island, Carolyn and I sat together at her table in her welcoming kitchen and shared a cup of friendship.  She relayed to me that she and Andrew are blessed with 7 children and 9 grandchildren. One dear grandson, 6-year old little Lucas, had been diagnosed at the young age of just 2 years with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It  affects only boys – as many as 1 in 3,000. I never knew that. In fact, I knew very little about DMD at all before then.

Lucas and his mom, Jen (Carolyn and Andrew’s daughter), were about to embark on a journey that would cause them to travel from their home on Prince Edward Island to a Montreal hospital each week for 52 weeks for Lucas’ participation in drug trials there.  It is hoped that these drugs will slow the progression of the disease. We are all wishing the best for sweet Lucas and his family.

As Carolyn and I were chatting on for hours, the time seemed to just fly by!  We shared  our common interests, pursuits, dreams, AND worries while sipping soothing peppermint tea and eating Carolyn’s tasty home-baked scones and pie. I promised my new friend then and there that come the holidays, I would host “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”.  It would be a way to embrace dear Lucas and his family on their journey, to let them know that someone was thinking of them, sending them positive energy; and to demonstrate, in some small measure, financial support for Carolyn’s daughter and her family during a most challenging time in their young lives. Christmas, after all, IS a time for family.  And, aren’t we ALL family? Every one of us needs a shoulder sometimes and a helping hand. The kindness of others helps to make our load a little lighter at times. People, even strangers, were so kind to me when I was going through treatments for breast cancer not so long ago; I just wanted to pay that forward somehow.  And, thus the seed was planted there on verdant Prince Edward Island at Carolyn’s hospitable kitchen table…

Singing angels (from left to right Memorial University of Music students Steven Griffin, Courtney Woodford, Chris Davis and Teri Slade) lend a neighbourly caring to the afternoon’s event. These outstanding (pardon the pun) young people volunteered their precious time to raise funds for cancer research! Carolling is a rare and precious treat nowadays in this age of cds, music dvds and satellite radio! Thank you for the beautiful gift of your voices. You were truly wonderful and just made the day for all of us! I hope you will come back and share with us again next year…

FOUR MONTHS LATER, ON ANOTHER ISLAND… Christmas carollers with the voices of angels spreading the good news of the season greeted guests as they came up the walkway to our front door on that festive afternoon, immediately elevating everyone’s mood!

Can you see the crown of fresh fruit over the door?

Smiling, happy faces. Cheery greetings. Big hugs. Waves of gratitude and giving.

All were met with a fresh pineapple welcome (notice the door crown fashioned from a whole pineapple and bunches of shiny red apples), Colonial Williamsburg style.

Hand-and-tummy warming apple cider on the stove top. Frothy vanilla egg nog served in a vintage amber glass bowl and cups. Steaming flavourful teas poured from beautiful teapots. Fresh-from-the-oven desserts and special sweets of the season in abundance to tempt the taste buds.

The merry sound of jingle bells with each opening of the door. The warmth of twinkling white faerie lights all through the house. A holiday home tour. Prizes to be won and surprises, too!

Even an astonishing pop-in visit from jolly old Saint Nick himself in the finest cherry-red suit that I have ever laid eyes upon! (How on earth did you get word to Santa, good neighbour George, that we were having a special party that day?! And, how did Santa ever find time at this busiest time of year?! Muuuaahhh!). Children and adults alike were wide-eyed with wonder at the sight of the jolly gent. And, oh, the laughter!!! What holiday fun!

Handmade season wreaths plentifully fashioned from natural pine, fir, cedar and LOVE were for sale, contributed by a dear young friend with all proceeds going to the cause. Thank you, Brittany, for your generous heart! Every wreath sold and for a pretty price! People gave way more than we were suggesting – and, in one instance nearly ten time more! WOW!

THE BEST GIFT  Kindness. Caring. Generosity. Sharing. Wide-open hearts. There was a real camaraderie, a connection of some kind in the air that is hard to describe with mere words. The sheer excitement was almost palpable. It was true Christmas spirit like I’ve never experienced! And, to top it all off, snow started falling softly outside the windows, as if we were inside a ‘living’ Christmas card…What a perfectly lovely day!

This door crown (also shown in the photo above) was created in mere minutes while waiting for a wickedly yummy carrot cake to come out of the oven the night before the party (rather, in the wee hours the morning of the party). I have been using the same wooden cut-out in the shape of a semi-circle for this annual project for over 20 years! The fresh fruits are pushed downward over top of long galvanized nail spikes. Cedar branches are hot glued to fill in the gaps between the apples.  Using a large picture hanger attached to the back of the piece, hang atop your door for a Colonial Williamsburg-style welcome and your done. A resplendent door crown! 1-2-3 Easy.

It was an oh-so special Tea Party in celebration of this magical time of beauty and wonder, and giving from the heart. One and all opened their hearts and their wallets in good old-fashioned Christmas spirit and rejoiced in the gift of giving. A THOUSAND THANK YOU’s EVERYONE!  It means the world that you gave so freely and in so many ways. I was able to send the gift of a Moneygram and all your best wishes off to Lucas and his family soon after the Tea. The much-appreciated gift will be used to purchase a special new bed and mattress for Lucas.  Doesn’t it feel good knowing that you were able to help in this way?! 🙂

The sweets table…I was up until 2AM and again at 6 AM baking up a storm before the Tea so everything would be fresh.  The gorgeous window pane and chocolate dipped cookies in the centre were compliments of Sugar Mama’s Bakery!  Thank you Lainie. It was very sweet of you!

The best gift of the season for me was knowing that everyone who came enjoyed themselves to the fullest, and that we were able to join together in sharing a little goodwill at this magical time of the year in effort to help our fellow man.

On that day, our home was filled  to the rafters with the love that is the very essence of this beautiful season…It is something we will never forget.

A handsome guest remarked, “NOW it feels like Christmas…” It was the first time he had been to our home, and he had brought with him his lovely family in support of little Lucas and his dear family.  It  was such a beautiful compliment that they, and all who came to be with us that day, had taken precious time out of their own hectic Christmas preparations – the shopping, baking, decorating, stringing outdoor lights and getting the tree – to join in offering their friendship and strength of support to strangers. Lucas and his family are truly, truly appreciative and can’t thank you every one enough. YOU left a smile on their hearts, as well as ours, and we will always be grateful for  your kindness and generous, caring collective spirit…TRUE Christmas spirit!

Perhaps a NEW Christmas tradition has already begun in our home, one to anchor the coming holiday seasons. Hmm, next year, maybe I’ll host “The True Spirit of Christmas” Tea…

I ran out of greens just before fashioning this urn, so I used other elements from the garden to fatten it up: a garden cherub sits on the edge of the urn with his feet dangling over the edge, an iron obelisk and a shiny red gazing ball inside it are strategically placed in the centre, large pinecones, tall twigs, a garden sign on a stake, almost anything I could find…

LOVE IS IN THE DETAILS  Those of you who have ever hosted a large at-home party and enjoy entertaining can probably relate that in the weeks leading up to the Tea, I spent many blissful hours immersed in my favourite Christmas books and hundreds of magazine clippings from past years, still kept in a special holiday file, making endless notes that I would later tuck into my purse to have with me when running errands.

While perusing my favourite holiday recipes collected, too, over time and planning the once-a-year and first-time-ever fancy desserts I would make, I compiled ingredients lists and contemplated the special serving dishes to be brought out of the cupboards.

Pouring over seasonal decorating magazine issues both current and saved from Christmases past, while sipping spiced tea and daydreaming about how the house would look all decked out, and  the holiday trims I would attempt to make; I spent days and days (time here and there) cleaning and readying the rooms, imparting little inspirational touches of the season into each one, creating Christmas all through the house…

My husband did a wonderful job of orchestrating the adornments on our home’s exterior. The walkway, front door, garden gate and benches, planters and window boxes, statuary and obelisks, and, yes, even the shed and deck were festooned with fresh greens of all kinds in a spur-of-the-moment – yet surprisingly artful – arrangements! In contrast, he did not spend a goodly portion of his time thinking all these things through. He just went for it and all turned out beautifully!  There is something to be said for that! But then, the anticipation is part of the pure enjoyment of the entire process for me….:-)

‘The Christmas Shed’…Didn’t my hubby do a great job filling this planter box?!

Won’t you come with me and have a little look around?!  I promise you’ll find some ideas to dress up every room in your home during the holidays: draping greens over the beds, hanging stockings of every kind from everywhere imaginable (I’ve hung them from knobs on dressers, chairbacks, doorknobs, cupboards, bed posts, footboards, headboards…I looove Christmas stockings), creating lighting ambience with candles and chandeliers, pretty paper wrappings, ways with ribbons, even gift ideas and more…

I don’t think you ever stop giving. I really don’t. I think it’s an on-going process. And it’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life. – Oprah Winfrey

First, before we begin our home tour, please bear with me while I’ll announce the winners of the many lovely Christmas-themed prizes. All the gifts have been delivered, but some of you have been curious, so here goes:

AUCTION PRIZES

Six-year old Natalie Moss won “A Child’s Christmas” package including: Lucas’ Sock Monkey, Christmas storybooks “The Gift” and “House of The Wooden Santas”, along with holiday DVDs “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carey and the newer version of “Miracle on 34th Street”.  Lucky Natalie! Congratulations and enjoy!

Charlene Peckham won “A Christmas Tea”: A precious holiday basket filled with biscuit mix and strawberry-and-champagne preserves both from the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company (I brought them home with me from my vacation in PEI with exactly this in mind even then), Belgian chocolates, pretty beverage napkins, royal-themed teas, and a special Christmas tea book all beautifully presented for giftgivingt…

Harold Hayward won “Movie Night”: “The Bells of St. Mary’s” DVD, a gorgeous pair of red crackled-glass poured candles with tassels, and yummy holiday chocolates…I looove this movie!

Julie Bennet won “The Baker’s Gift”: Large bottles of cinnamon and vanilla, Paderno measuring spoons, Pier 1 measuring cups, festive recipe cards, and snowflake cookie cutter all gathered in a gorgeous red bucket planter!

Linda Harnett won: the ‘Hostess Gift”: McSteven’s delicious hot chocolate in a beautiful Santa tin, coordinating Jim Shore ‘Santa’ dinner and cocktail napkins in a sweet basket…

Terry Richardson won “Holiday Glam”: nail polishes, hand cream and hair product thanks to Signature Salon! It was so very nice of you!

 

TICKET PRIZE:

Gina Reid won the “Christmastime” package (I wish I had gotten a pic so you could see this beautiful haul):  
  • Costco 9-piece set hand decorated red glass Christmas ornaments
  • Punch Studio Victorian gift wrap (Winners/HomeSense has gorgeous papers, tags etc.)
  • Victorian gift bags
  • Red foil gift wrap
  • Victorian christmas tags
  • 2 rolls of sparkly gold ribbon
  • 1 roll of cording in red/green/gold/blue
  • Multi-colour tissue paper
  • Box of Christmas greeting cards
  • Red mercury globe/pedestal candle holder (Thank you O’Neills Gardenland)
  • Coordinating red mercury glass votive holders, candles…

DOOR PRIZES:

  • Lauren Hayward:  McStevens hot chocolate, Punch Studio dinner and beverage napkins
  • Courtney Woodford:  Red mercury glass filled candle, sweets
  • Joanne Bennett, Lauren Hayward, Courtney Woodford:  Swarovski crystal dangling hearts earrings created by Gail Perry, Beadazzler.  Thanks, Gail!

 Special Thank You’s:  

Alderberry Blum, Brittany Brinston, Gail Perry, George Dunne, Joanne Bennett, O’Neills Gardenland, Memorial University School of Music carollers Teri Slade, Courtney Woodford, Chris Davis and Steven Griffin, Pat Puddester, Ruth Wheeler’s card class, Signature Salon, Sugar Mama’s, Eric White, Connie Hayward, Marie and Brendan Hunt.  And, Thank You to Carolyn’s friend Heather who sent an original artwork of hers – Heather painted Carolyn skating with her grandchildren on the duck pond at the back of her house while Andrew builds a fire nearby.  It is so beautiful that my husband and I bought the painting. I’ll show it to you soon in another post…
 

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO JOINED US FOR  “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”!  And, THANK YOU to those who could not be here but sent along contributions.  And, too, to those who heard about our Tea for Lucas and sent along donations with friends – it was very kind of you!!! Now, on with the tour…

Although it hadn’t snowed yet, there was a real chill in the air. Our neighbour Joanne ran across the steet to her own home to grab caps and mittens for our carollers.  They later came inside and serenaded us the entire afternoon.  It was so beautiful…

Our very kind and caring friend Brittany made these gorgeous wreaths for sale with all proceeds going to Lucas and his family…I displayed them on my flower cart!

‘A Pineapple Welcome’  DID YOU KNOW? The pineapple, once the food of Kings, has, through the ages, been a symbol of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family inherent to gracious home gatherings?!  How do you like my door crown fashioned from fresh fruit?  It will last a couple of weeks.

The Christmas Shed!  My husband did a great job of outlining the shed door with a gentle cedar garland and filling a plant cage that hung on the shed door. Can you see the mirror and the statuary tucked among the lushness of the natural greens? The cage normally has an ivy twining through it during the garden season.

This garden furniture’s home is usually on the decking off the shed.  Hubby moved it up onto the deck off the kitchen.  He laid a plain wreath atop the table to encircle a set of glass cylinders that hold cedar and cranberries frozen in ice.  I can’t wait to insert a tea light in the canister in the evening hours. It will look so pretty…

Hubby  also strung white lights in the tree branches off the deck, filled the flower boxes as well as a trough near the barrel fountain on the lower deck portion.  Can you see the heart-shaped wreath hung on the deck post? It will have a wide red-satin ribbon soon. Even the rooster seems happy enough among the ‘winter decor’…

I love the ‘waffle look’ left by the snow on this iron bench on the deck. As it was starting to snow, I removed the bright red-and-black plaid Christmas blanket and ice skates saved from school days that previously rested on this seat.  I’ll save that for another day…The ‘wreath’ is actually a cedar garland yet to be unfurled!

My Aunt Eleanor and cousin Brenda arrive amidst all the excitement.

Was that Santa who just went by?!

 CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE…

 The Front Entryway…

 

A large Santa made by my friend Jean’s heart and hand greets people as they come through the front doorway.  Hubby hung up the NOEL shutter upon the wall above Santa just hours before the party started.  In the process, he broke his toe when he dropped the hammer on his foot! Yikes! On the day of the party, a fresh pineapple appeared next to Santa atop this little chest.

Don’t you just love the donkey and the detail on this gentleman?! This Santa was my reward for setting up my friend Jean’s booth at a craft fair a long time ago.  Her display was featured on the front page of the local newspaper that year.  Ahhh, sweet memories….

 

In The Kitchen…

 

This vignette sits atop the fridge in our kitchen. DID YOU KNOW?!  In France and the Netherlands, the season officially starts on December 5th with a visit from St Nicholas and Sinterklaas?  According to the legend in France, he arrives with a little donkey carrying baskets loaded with gifts.  In Holland, he arrives by boat.  St. Nicholas’ modern counterpart in France is named Pere Noel, a much slimmer version of Santa Claus, who dresses fashionably, of course, in long red robes.

The Littlest Angels.  See this post for more pics.  Just click on the photo in the sidebar.  Remember, you can click on any pic to enlarge it if you want to see more detail…

A trio of ‘Frosty Ferns’ on the the kitchen windowsill above the sink…

 
 

Thank you to Sugar Mama’s Bakery for the gift of the Wow! cookies in the foreground. When my husband stopped by the bakery to pick up my cookie order (I was running late and ordered them up in a hurry), the owner offered them with her compliments! What a SWEET surprise! Thank you Lainie for such a thoughtful gift!

Orange-chocolate swirl loaf sits atop a half wall in the kitchen. It was a huge hit! This recipe is coming, ladies!

In The Living Room…

Wide-eyed little Grace, my co-worker Krista’s beautiful daughter,  was amazed that Santa would stop by my house! And, so was I!

This year’s staff photo! Left to right: Moi with co-workers Joan and Debbie

Santa really knows how to make us all laugh! Left to right: Bonnie, Connie and Lauren

My co-worker Sherri and me

The girls from our street who’ve we’ve watched grow through the years into the most wonderful young ladies! Standing left to right: Best friends Donna and Andrea. In the foreground: Left to right: Sisters Julie and Laura and moi.  We are so proud of you all! Laura and Julie’s mom, (and my garden faerie), Joanne, was a colossal help to me the day of the Tea.  Thank YOU, Joanne!

In The TV Room/Study

In The Bath…

In The Bedroom…

Thanks for coming by to spend some time today.  I hope I didn’t wear you out with all the photos and that you enjoyed the tour!  There’s another room or two to see yet, but I thought I would save those for a little later when you’ve had time to rest.
 
In case I don’t happen to be with  you again before Christmas, I wish you and yours a Happy, Happy Holiday and a Glad New Year!
 
Kisses,
Linda
 
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & 
 HAPPY AND HEALTH NEW YEAR!

Sweet Holiday Wishes, Everyone!

I am joining A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness and Lily-Rose Cottage for Simply Sweet (January 15, 2012) and Jennifer at Traditions and Magpie Cottage (December 2012). I hope you will visit these beautiful blogs. 🙂

I am thrilled to be joining in the fun and sharing this “Christmas Past” post today (December 1, 2013) at The Tablescaper!

http://thetablescaper.blogspot.ca/

%d bloggers like this: