Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Red and White: New Year's thoughts


"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" Isaiah 1:18 

May the New Year be a new beginning

And may our hearts be renewed too.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS, FROM THE HOUSE IN THE ROSES

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reminiscent

While I'm out walking through the frozen December rose garden, deep in snow, I can't help but think of those lucky gardeners in warmer climates (south Texas, southern California, Florida, and parts of the Southwest), possibly with their roses still in bloom...

We're expecting more snow for tonight, old snow turned ice crackles under my feet, deep silence has descended upon the garden, not a sound, not a flower in bloom... yet, there is magic in the air... the garden is filled with perfume from forgotten roses.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Welcome to “Show Off Your Cottage Monday”, a blog party I host at the beginning of each week to celebrate the things we love about our homes and how we live.


Today, I'm celebrating the return of light...

It's 5:26pm as I write this... and is still light outside. Goodbye to short days and long nights! We're spinning back towards the light.

My steps are lighter these days, because I see the change taking place in Nature... I see a future filled with hope and flowers! May the light brings hope for all humankind... In the mean time, light yourself a candle bright and dance within that gentle light. What are you celebrating today?
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re celebrating. If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below. Just please be sure to:

1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address. 2. Link back to the house in the roses from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is celebrating today! 3. Copy and paste our little logo on your blog so your readers can also join our celebration. 4. And enjoy your home!

Of birds and another blessing

The sun decided to come out again this morning, and as soon as his glorious golden face came into sight, I was transported to this magical blissful world where my dreams usually become reality. Unicorns, dragons, sprites, rabbits and birds came out of their holes and nooks and into this enchanted world of mine…. as through the pages of an ancient book.
My mind soars, and as the morning sun warms the earth, I feel my spirit being lifted up... What is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that I should follow it to its bounds and know the paths to its house?
Only a real human being can set things right by giving the birds names: “Abutilon”, with feathers like those of maple trees, and that other tiny Western Tanager, "Serissa”, which remains me of spring, and flowers that resemble dangling miniature hibiscus….
They all came to my window... to enchant me, to give me stories that never end.
Their story began again and again and again as Abutilon with feathers like those of maple trees, and Serissa with a song like dangling miniature hibiscus, kissed each other in front of me, oblivious to shame. And fight over food with amazing aggressiveness
As I contemplated this magical world from across the window, Abutilon and Serissa took the challenge and flew across the Swamps of Shadows and the Silver Mountains, meeting sorcerers and giants, bats and night-hobs, gnomes and racing snails… but really, all they did was wait bravely for the apparition of the terrible "Plectranthus"... the beautiful but ever so cruel black hawk that has been visiting my garden frequently this winter.
"Plectranthus", a mysterious figure in disguise, soars the air where I stand, just a few feet away from me... I know what he’s up to, but I don't have time to warn my little feathered friends... till suddenly a unison flight of tiny wings, tiny feathers scattering away, leaving behind a muted sound, like a sad song filled with premonition and death. Then I see it…. grayish black feathers and legs yellow drops from a low glide on something.... Tiny feathers disperse in the morning air, like diminutive butterflies... but I know it's not.
A new visitor then entered the scene... pointed beak to acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. I've never seen him here, what is he? An ivory-billed woodpecker... maybe?
The lure of the unexpected and the surprises that invariably appear in nature, entice me... invite me to linger a moment longer and look a little closer. I am blessed, and I am blessed by you, my faithful readers. Two whole years have gone by since I began my blog. And what a marvelous journey it has been, what a lot of fun and inspiration, what a lot of lovely folks, (like you) I have met. To all of you who come by, who fill my life with dreams and tales I must tell, I am so thankful... I've been truly blessed by your company and your kindness. Your words have given me so much joy... Thank you!
May you and yours have a joyful and blessed Christmas.
Cielo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thankfulness

We woke up to a world swathed in more snow. This time, however, is more ice than snow. It is windy, and tree branches in white seem to glitter. A magical glow has settled upon the land... like some mystical banquet content in its repose. I can hear, or imagine, the small critters beneath the snow; the ground moles and field mice scattering beneath their white world. What do they feel--I wonder. Do they like snow? I don’t see any snow fairy dancing in this winter wonderland, but the world certainly seems calmer, quieter, and at peace. People enjoy snowy days in different ways. Skiers, snowmobilers and boarders flock to the mountain as soon as the first flakes invade the ground, but when winds from the west whip across my garden, I yearn for the conform and warmth of my home.
I don’t know why it is, but whenever snow and ice arrives, I have this sweet urge to cozy up by a quiet window and look at this magical world outside from the warmth of my nest.

I can hear the music that frigid wind makes; its taunting melody carrying mystery and voices that remind me of laments of misery. The music of the wind is spellbinding; it makes me appreciate the warmth and coziness of home like nothing else.... I am thankful I have a safe place filled with light and warmth to call home…
 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Welcome to “Show Off Your Cottage Monday”, a blog party I host at the beginning of each week to celebrate the things we love about our homes and how we live.

Today, I’m celebrating “scent”

At The house in the roses we believe in living the simple life... which means that other than a very small Christmas tree illuminating one of our windows, I don’t decorate our home for Christmas. I know, that's pretty unusual. Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Well, for once, I believe that Christmas is driven by commercialism, and sadly to say, the real reason for the Christmas season has been long forgotten. So, you won’t find roads of reindeers, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus in our home, but I do love the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Especially the smell. A home smelling like cinnamon rolls and pies being baked, speaks of Christmas and holidays. Aromatic smells coming from the kitchen is the sign of a welcoming home, but if you don’t happen to be baking at the moment, you can still have fabulous smells wafting out from the kitchen, by using liquid potpourri. 

Today, I created my own Christmas potpourri by simmering liquid over the stove with some spices I had in the pantry… Almost any spice would work. Almond, lemon or vanilla are common flavorings. If you don't any of these ingredients on hand, just substitute some herbs, seasonings or fruits that you have available that you enjoy. For my liquid potpourri, I used 3 cups water, some chunks of apples, including the peel, nutmeg, and of course, cinnamon sticks. I love the smell of cinnamon; cinnamon evokes memories of holiday festivities, family gatherings and favorite seasonal treats. Cinnamon's aroma is simply soothing.

I also bought some greenery... fresh pine boughs and branches to dress my house and fill simple bottles, vases and jugs with it.

I loved the fresh smell of pine wafting through the house. Some fresh pine boughs and "Silent Night" are all I need.

What are you celebrating today?

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re celebrating. If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below. Just please be sure to:

1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address. 2. Link back to the house in the roses from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is celebrating today! 3. Copy and paste our little logo on your blog so your readers can also join our celebration. 4. And enjoy your home!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fog

And so, fog has settled like a wet blanket upon the valley. Slowly, like a ghost moving in slow motion, it invaded the world before me, blinding me….

If you pay close attention, you can see the forms of fog as it filters the frosty sunlight through its damp doubtful fingers… Fog makes me think of blindness and ghostly apparitions, it makes me feel trapped…ensnared somewhere in the world of dreams and the imaginary….

I don’t like fog…. But I’m finally home now. Like a wild rabbit in her cozy burrow in the ground that shelters it from cold wind, shades it from hot sun, and keeps it snug and warm during snow and rain… that’s how I feel, when I’m at home.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decisions

The other day, I was making the rounds at our local thrift store and found this cute little table with bamboo drawers for just $19.99—so perfect for my “cottage style” reading room upstairs, of which, by the way, I have talked about before here, and here.



Of course, I had all the intentions in the world to paint it white, and maybe even practice some antiquing techniques on it too, but then, I thought about that one room upstairs that needs some extra TLC (including some new furniture) and changed my mind.

I was thinking of painting it in a sweet Robin’s blue egg color and put it under the window with a girly lamp on it to spice up that room. Have I mentioned how I love to look at my house from outside when dusk begins to descend upon the land? I love the cozy feel and glow of a window softly lit by lamp. It’s absolutely magical!


In the mean time, until I can decide what to do with it, the table will remain here, by this wall in this corner of our family room. The picture on the back would have to come down a little bit for some symmetry, and a wicker basket must be added to the bottom shelve to match the drawers and cover the electrical cables. Other than that, the table has been dusted, cleaned and shined. I’ve explained here, how the two macho-guys living with me are totally against painted furniture. In fact, they’re totally against anything to do with thrift store Cottage Shabby Chic frilly fussy girly stuff. So you know how it goes.

They have accepted I keep the table here, but only if I leave it as it is. Of course, I can always take it upstairs (my own domain) and do as I please with it (if only I can decide what) Do you find it hard to make decisions? Having to choose has always been a real dilemma for me.

What would you have done? Leave it here as is? Take it to that "special" room of yours and paint it white? Or maybe paint it in a Robin’s blue egg color and place it by a cozy window in the guess room?

Humm, decisions decisions... if only life was just as easy as making decisions!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Linens and things

Ordinary acts... The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. Thomas Moore, Irish poet (1779 - 1852)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A winter wonderland - My world today

Another winter storm blew through our area bringing more snow and white frigid air along....

Streets, rivers and valleys are hidden under the purest of white, and in the far distance you can see the hills dressed in sparkling diamonds... like a bride before the altar at her wedding day...

Snow has veiled the garden. White white white…. White saturates every corner of it, impairing my vision.

This afternoon, I wanted to paint the garden… like a painter before her clean canvas; bring in the reds of the Fragrant Cloud, the pinks of the Chicago Peace and the purples of the tall delphiniums…
But it is winter, and white is the predominant color. I can't say that I was all that disappointed though. The garden was a peaceful sight. I could even feel the presence of angels watching over it….

And see fairies hiding behind bushes with snow cones on their heads... 

The birds were having a party to which, naturally, I was invited.

They were making such a pleasant racket around the bird feeders Fresh snow and new goodies in every food station certainly make happy birds 
Ah yes, let is snow... but only when I'm at home Nothing like watching the snow from the cozyness of home!

Is it snowing in your part of the world? Do you like, or dislike winter? I would love to hear your story.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The joy of soup

I don't like winter, but even as much as I dislike winter, good can still be found in the worse, and winter has its own few joys. One of them, besides leaping into pretty stockings and scarves, is soup.
Winter is for soups. I want to arrive home to a warm house filled with the smells of soup bubbling away on the stove top. My favorite soups are: split pea soup, lentil soup and savory red bean soup. Tonight, however, I chose to make a simple hearty tummy warming goodness in no time flat chicken soup!
Soups are comforting and warming, and perfect for any winter night, especially when the temperature outside is -5.
What's your favorite winter dish? Is it soup? What's your favorite soup?

Is it really winter?

It’s cold, but I can’t help but pause, and gaze at the frozen garden with dusk descending upon it like a soft blanket of quiet white cotton. The texture of the snow layers, glittering under the fainting sun, made for an enchanting world, and beyond this frosty world a red geranium is just the thing for a warm counterpoint—the image of our days in which we plunge from despair to hope.


May your days be warm and cozy, and all despair melt in the December sun.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter in the garden

My little world is currently shivering through the coldest day of the year thus far. Can you hear it? Old snow turned ice crackles under my feet, a magical shroud of deep silence has descends upon the garden, and as a faint sun sets in the horizon, trees and bushes are crowned with tiny winter jewels like diamonds.


This is dusk in the garden... this is my world before total darkness envelopes it. Wild things (most likely just birds and a cat) have left queer prints in the winter snow. I love to study them. Footprints in the snow reminds me of art, of a painting smeared upon the land and of leaving our own marks for those who wants to read the true nature of our heart. They’re all dissimilar in their uniqueness, and they all carry the distinctive nature of its creator—like art.

The darkening sky looks like a new blanket, and is to the silent land as a beautiful memento of God’s presence in nature, discovered as silently and delicately as a foot-print in the snow.

Daydreaming

It’s -3 degrees outside. White is the color that pervades the eye and rivulets of dead leaves scuttle along the garden’s floor. Sunlit makes the ground and tree branches sparkle, and birds are busy around the birdfeeders. I can imagine the glowering clouds in inky sky dispatching faint rays of sun; warming up my window. 

TODAY I SIT at my desk, here at the office, thinking of all these things, looking out with my mind’s eye at the blizzard of wild garden-swirling-snows and birds, and my comfy chair by the bedroom window. My soul is trapped. I yearn for freedom.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Welcome to “Show Off Your Cottage Monday”, a blog party I host at the beginning of each week to celebrate the things we love about our homes and how we live.
Today, I'm celebrating friendship and dinner parties as a gesture of comradeship and happy moments together.
Have I mentioned lately how stressed I get when having people coming over for dinner? Maybe here and here too. Oh yes, I am something of a perfectionist, a quality that would seem at odds with my ability to keep on throwing dinner parties… stay calm while cooking for a number of people is hard for me. Somehow, and despite my constant worry, I always seem to succeed.
Ah yes, we had to have dessert too!
The big key for me is planning ahead. Understanding what can be done ahead for any and all recipes, is crucial. Make sure you have all the needed ingredients, do all the chopping ahead of time, and maybe even have all your desserts ready the night before, that way you can concentrate on the main dish and forget the extra worries… Easy to say, right?
Now that Christmas is approaching, get your pantry and table ready, and start planning for a memorable get together with family and friends. Invite people who don't know each other, and don't forget the lonely and needy.
What are you celebrating today? Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re celebrating. If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below. Just please be sure to:
1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address. 2. Link back to the house in the roses from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is celebrating today! 3. Copy and paste our little logo on your blog so your readers can also join our celebration. 4. And enjoy your home!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday

6:15 am.
I’ve been awake since 4:45 am. Lighting some candles and turning on some lights here and there before I start my day seems to be the right thing to do. The house feels cozy, and wonderful....
Warning: this post is bound to frequent updates. Stay tune! -----------------------
8:19am.
Today is a different kind of a Saturday. Today we have friends coming over for lunch right after church....
It's not the first time. I love hosting dinners, and we do this often; still, it happens every time....
Cooking and hosting a dinner party become a culinary nightmare. Do you get stress over hosting friends for dinner? Inviting friends round to share a meal should not be stressful, but I do get stressed.
It's not so much the thought of my guests not enjoying themselves,
as the fear that my dishes will go wrong... Oh, the thought of it just makes me tremble!
Putting on a number of courses is stressful, and I find it hard to cope, but the vegetables have been prepped beforehand, the table is set, and the chef is putting together the few final elements.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Night wanderings

At dusk, in the garden, I drift among the roots and dry leaves; collecting moments...


Winter, dry soil, lonely garden, naked bushes and bare branches. Then, suddenly, night.
Shadows dancing under a silvery full moon.



Darkness veils the night, across the garden, a house the color of sweet mustard;
drowsy windows illuminated by warm light,
golden beams of light gently flickering
as if inviting the moon to come down and join the spell...


All these things compose a picture of the world before me... when looked at by daylight, the garden becomes a world less enchanting... but tonight, every nook and corner by the cold white light of a full moon is beaming with mystery and enchantment...


I look around me; my eyes searching the unknown... there is a strange weird beauty, a beauty which reminds me of a place I’d never seem, but vividly lives in the recollection of dreams and hunted places inside my imagination...


I see the frozen roses moving. They seem to have eyes and teeny tiny mouths. Sometimes their mouths open showing rows of bright buttercup teeth. Could they be singing lullabies to the moon, or are they just trying to warn me that something is out there, lurking in the moonlight... something in that dark corner, silently watching me?

It is the voice of the silence... The boundless, endless silence it might be, for that’s all I can hear; like that silent darkness which surrounds poor lost souls... I stand amidst the garden catching the wind in my hair, blowing darkness away... a witch enchanted by the moon.
  
I’m shivering; naked skin in the chilled breeze... and thereby comes the comfort of home as place, and comfort of home as inner residence and peace.

I think I should go inside now.