“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It Goes On.”
Robert Frost

Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Unexpected Gift

I could say these tulips were from my garden, but I would be lying. They were an unexpected  gift from friends we had over for dinner the other night. They brought wine and flowers! Talk about great dinner guests! It was so nice to receive these lovely spring beauties. It had been a busy week and it gets a little crazy sometimes, and I get a little stressed out!  But then someone does something so nice that it makes me just stop and think.... and then smell the roses, or in this case tulips!

It got me thinking about how even something small like having someone hold a door for you, or getting a grocery item from a top shelf for that elderly lady in the store, can change both your days. A simple act of kindness can be an unexpected gift!  Thank you my friend and to all those who give the unexpected gift, no matter what it is.

Has anyone recently given or received an unexpected gift that brightened your day?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shawnee Pottery Collecting

Here are a few of my favorite Shawnee Pottery Company pieces. These items have been collected over the past twenty years. One piece I inherited and didn't even know it was Shawnee. These items did not actually start my collection though, it was a single teapot found in California. Then it was another, and another and well you know how it goes!

In April and October I do a complete cleaning of the top of the cabinets in my kitchen where my collections reside. In between I do a little bit of dusting, but twice a year I haul out the ladder and climb up there to remove everything from the top of my cabinets. I run them through the glass cycle on my dishwasher and they come out beautifully clean. My pottery has all the paint under the glaze so I don't worry about hurting it. I also do not use the heat cycle on the dishwasher. Since they were all so clean and shiny, I thought it was the perfect time for them to get their pictures taken.

These are the Puss-N-Boots cats. The two little ones are creamers and the large one is a cookie jar. They are probably the most valuable  pieces I own.  My husband and I found them over 15 years ago in Missouri. I took the color from the pottery for my kitchen cabinets and I hand mixed the blue paint for the trim to match the blue in the teapots and kitties. I just love the colors of the pottery and their cute little kitty faces!

The Little Chef cookie jar belonged to my mom. She had it on her kitchen counter for forty some years and it was always filled with homemade cookies!  Only after she passed away and I inherited it did I look at the bottom and realize that it was a Shawnee piece.

Teapots started the collection over 20 years ago in California.

This teapot has gold trim and gold decals.

Shawnee Pottery was started in Zanesville, Ohio in 1937.  The company closed in 1961.  Most pieces had paper labels to denote their origin, however most of those have long since disappeared. Many pieces have USA incised into the bottom of the pottery.  Shawnee Pottery was sold at the local Five and Dime store very inexpensively.  Pieces are becoming more collectible over time, especially the cookie jars and gold trimmed items.

The kitty on the right is wearing a pink straw hat, just because!

I have three teapots that have a blue and pink flower on them.

I have four teapots with blue flowers.

Notice the different handles on the teapots. Also the styles of the base are different, some have a scalloped border and others are plain or have a horizontal border.

The top of the wall between the kitchen and living room is open. It's the perfect place for my teapots! I have a total of twelve teapots, plus one without a lid that I use as a pen/pencil holder. I also have several Shawnee salt and pepper shaker sets, but I will save them for another time!

I am happy with the size of my collection and don't plan on adding anymore teapots or Puss-N-Boots. Sometimes it's just good to enjoy what you have and be satisfied.

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Trees Please

Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22nd. Today I am focusing on trees.  I have always been fond of trees. I spent many hours playing among the trees in our windbreak next to the house.  Our land had been in the family for over a hundred years and my great grandfather planted many trees and an orchard on our farm. After leaving home to go to college and then find a job, I realized how lucky I had been to have this experience as a child. Sadly, no one in my family wanted to manage a farm and the land has been sold and most of the trees have been cleared for farming.

I grew up on the Great Plains where areas of trees can be few and far between.  There are trees in windbreaks and a few in clumps around farmsteads but there are miles of land with no trees at all.  If you have ever driven across the Dakotas, Nebraska or Kansas you know what I mean.  That is somewhat the nature of the area; flashback two hundred years and think vast acres of tall grass and buffalo.  Now and then a fire started by lightening would burn out all the poor trees that happened to sprout there.  The grasslands persist to this day in some areas.  Much has been converted into farmland and grows wheat, corn and soybeans.  The photo below is probably a harvested cornfield. Even though I still feel that the plains states are lacking in trees, it was much more barren some 150 years ago. This all changed when J. Sterling Morton moved to Nebraska.


In 1854 J. Sterling Morton, a journalist from Michigan, brought his family to the Nebraska Territory and became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper.  He and his wife were both nature lovers, and their new homestead was quickly planted with trees, shrubs and flowers.  Through his newspaper, Morton spread his enthusiasm for planting trees.  Many other pioneers missed the trees of their homelands and embraced his ideas for agricultural plantings of windbreaks and shade trees.  The pioneers also grew trees for fuel and building materials.

Morton proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called "Arbor Day" to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.   The first "Arbor Day" took place on April 10, 1872 and over one million trees were planted in Nebraska!  Originally April 22nd (Morton's birthday and now Earth Day) became the official date for Arbor day. Now it is typically celebrated on the last Friday of April. As Arbor Day spread around the world, it is celebrated on different days to coincide with the optimum planting time for trees in that area.

Morton's home still exists and is now the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum and is located in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The surrounding area also includes Arbor Day Farm, Lied Lodge and much more.


More Trees Please

My husband and I have lived in several different parts of the country and over time decided that one thing we wanted was a home with trees. Not little stick trees that you see in all the new housing developments, but big mature trees. Years ago we built a house on a lot that had large mature trees. I was a plant novice at that time and did not realize until a few years later when they didn't leaf out in spring that they were American Elm trees. I cried the day they came and cut them down.

Now many years later I have a home with beautiful mature trees. We made sure none were elm trees this time. We have enjoyed them and nurtured them and admired their strength and beauty. Our trees  have brought us joy because of the all the wildlife they bring almost within our reach. A friend once said our house was like living in a tree house, because when you look out you are up high where the squirrels and birds live! We have sugar maple, ash, silver and Amur maple, spruce, pine, birch, mountain ash, mulberry, oak and willow on our property. They are not completely leafed out yet but here are a few pictures of some of our mighty trees.

Looking up the trunk of a large silver maple tree under the squirrel house.

Under the canopy of white birch, maple and ash trees.

When you celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, I hope you remember this prayer for the trees.

The Forest's Prayer

"I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,
the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun,
and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your
thirst as you journey on. 

I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table,
the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat.

I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead,
the wood of your cradle, the shell of your coffin.

I am the bread of kindness and the floor of beauty. 
You who pass by, listen to my prayer:  do me no harm."

Traditional Portuguese Prayer

Natasha in Oz
Earth Day Spirit at the Heart of a Wizardess

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Blooming Garden

The other day our gloomy skies cleared and when I saw the sun popping out from behind the clouds, I grabbed my camera and took a few snapshots of my garden. The sun didn't stay out long and before I knew it, raindrops were falling again. Actually, I am very thankful for the rain, we have been in a drought for a couple of years.

Walking around the garden, I spied this pretty red tulip flower just laying on the ground. Mr. Squirrel does this almost annually! Squirrels must think these are some luscious berry or fruit. They usually chomp out a big hunk of the flower and promptly spit it out when they find it is Not a luscious piece of fruit! This time Squirrel just bit it off at the base of the flower and then must have realized his mistake. Maybe my squirrels are getting smarter!

I rescued the pretty red tulip and placed it in a shallow bowl of water. I think it looks rather lovely there! I have so few tulips, that I usually don't cut them and bring them in. Maybe my squirrel did me a favor after all! Now I can enjoy this pretty little tulip close up.

These yellow parrot tulips do not seem to attract the squirrels attention like the red ones do. These have been in the garden for three years now. That is actually pretty good for our climate, most only last one season and never return.

I feel so fortunate that I am able to have time to enjoy my garden and all the incredible wildlife that visits. Even though the little critters chew off my flowers or steal my strawberries, I would never harm them because this has been their home much longer than mine. I hope where ever you are today that you have some time to stop and smell the flowers too.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished"
Laozi (6th Century BC), China

Weekend Flowers

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some Cute Vintage Finds

This past week just flew by! I took a couple of days to tend to my flower gardens and a couple more days to go to some estate sales. Today I would like to share my wonderful vintage finds with you.

This cute kitty planter is from the 1950's.  It is unmarked, but some research has led me to think this is a Shawnee Pottery piece. I have not been able to verify that for sure, so I need to do a bit more digging. She is so cute with her long beautiful eyelashes! I may be falling in love with this little sweetie!

I found this extra large watercolor paint set, by Page of London. The theme is Alice in Wonderland and features a detailed lithograph of the famous tea party. This tin has most of the paint blocks still intact and the tin itself is in remarkable condition.

A quick search found that a few years ago one sold at a Christie's auction for around $500.  However some have sold recently for much less.  My husband has several more of these tins with different themes, but he will not let me sell them (even though they have just been sitting in a box in our basement for years)!

I love the magical creatures!

Pose for the camera and say peanuts!

Look at these cute little elephant salt and pepper shakers from Hull/Leeds Pottery. They are just so cute, one has yellow ears and the other has blue ears! They are from the 1940's.

This poor little lass has lost her mate! She is supposed to be singing, while he accompanies her on the accordion. Right now I think she is saying "Boohoo! I'm all alone!" She is one half of a set of the Shawnee Pottery Company Swiss Children Salt and Pepper shakers. I did find her mate for sale in another online shop. Maybe the two will be reunited! She is also from the 1950's.

Here is another Shawnee Pottery piece, a small planter of a rabbit peeking around a tree stump. I have to say I think this rabbit looks a little deranged, but that's just my opinion! I am sure someone would love the little guy!

Our outdoor sales and markets are just getting started so can't wait to get out there and look for more. Now if I could just focus on getting them all listed in my shop I would be doing great!

Oooh, I think the sun is coming out! Off to take some pictures of my garden!   ~~ Diane

Monday, April 9, 2012

We Have Violets

Yes we have violets growing and blooming in the wild areas and the flower beds of our yard. I picked a few and placed them in this little antique crystal flower basket next to the vintage bunny. The bunny looks as though he is just about to give them a taste!

Growing up on a farm during a time when the farm chemicals (herbicides and pesticides) were frequently applied to any "weed", I never really remember seeing a wild violet. The only violets I knew of, were the fancy African Violets that my grandmother grew in her living room.

Vintage Bunny Candy Container checking out the Violets!

I guess I secretly always loved violets, even though many people consider them to be pesky weeds.   On the farm most anything that was not edible by livestock or people was considered a weed. So the Violets and the Milkweed were sprayed and chopped into oblivion.  Of course now, many years later, we are starting to see the error of this misguided thinking.


I still remember my father's warning about violets and milkweed many years ago, which of course I ignored. Now that I have my own garden they both can grow almost anywhere they want. Violets make a wonderful ground cover under the trees and shrubs and when the rabbits eat them they just grow back as though nothing ever happened. So while the other plants come and go, my violet's are always there for me each spring.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Grace

The great gift of Easter is hope. With hope we may have joy.  
Joy for life and all it contains. 
On this beautiful day of hope and joy, I would like to 
share some beautiful images and music with you. 
The images in the video below are from my spring garden. 
The music is by David Tolk.

Before playing the video, go to the top right of the blog to pause the music track. The song "Grace" by David Tolk may be purchased here.

OMG!  A tiny bunny in a dress!

Vintage Easter #23

easter eggs

I hope you have a special day!

Happy Easter

Friday, April 6, 2012

They are Here...

The Flowers Emerge...

Siberian Squill (scilla)

Cherry Blossom

Blood Root (Sanguinaria canadensis)

White Squill