Friday, May 15, 2009



1. vent d'hiver, sibylle d
2. medieval neat boot, anifty
3. friendship blessing basket, crafts by kade
4. italian almond torrone, cupcakes in jars

Yesterday my daughter and I went on our first picnic of the season. We brought comforts and luxuries and we enjoyed the shoreline of Grand Marais. While perusing Etsy on this fine Friday, I wanted to see if I could find the delectable things that can make a picnic such a wonderful experience. The artists did not disappoint me.

During my search for picnic beauty, I mentally listed the essential requirements for a picnic. The first requirement is a good friend. Sibylle D illustrates this idea with stunning clarity in her vent d'hiver painting. Two softly-hued ladies turned toward each other while the wind and leaves blow about them. I have a feeling that their conversation keeps them from noticing the wind. This painting is gentle and lovely with simple strokes and elegant curves.

The second requirement is a good pair of shoes. Every picnic demands a stroll to one's destination and then once the linen and porcelain are laid about, the surrounding area must be explored. The artist, anifty, grasps the idea of comfort, solidity and style with a pair of Medieval Neat Boots. These would pair well with a billowy gypsy skirt or a pair of linen trousers on a cool spring afternoon. What a delicious color for the maiden who wears them!

The third requirement is a sturdy basket for all the goodies and niceties. Crafts by Kade delightfully satisfied my picnicking heart with the Friendship Blessing Basket. What a fitting name. This basket is large enough to hold dishes and treats, as well as a nice bottle of something warm and red. Tuck a gorgeous tablecloth over the said items and off we go!

The final requirement: delicious somethings to sweeten the tooth. The artist, cupcakes in jars, tantalized me with a decadent photo of homemade Italian Almond Torrone. I lived in Sicily for 2 1/2 years and I can still remember the nougat and almond, the soft texture, the absolute bliss. These are the things that make life so utterly beautiful.

I hope that all of you find time to picnic in the great outdoors. Pack a basket with your best dinnerware. Find tender linen, soft to the touch and lovely to the eyes, and spread it over green grass and wildflowers. Take your closest friend and discover a new place to dine. I send my warm wishes to all of you and the hope that this weekend will find you someplace pretty, someplace perfect, someplace picnicking.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday in the Country




1. Barnyard Crimson, Cassandra Russell
2. Golden, Flandersfield
3. Morning Glory, Ola design

I am passionate about farms, old barns, things that grow and fields that go on forever. The only time I have found myself longing for fences is when my neighbor sprays his yard with insecticides and pesticides and all those other smelly "ides" that kill bugs and ruin perfect little ecosystems that nature has built into our yards. I would like a big fence between myself and my neighbor because I believe in growing native plants that shelter and feed native birds and bugs.

While searching for beauty on this sunny Friday, I found several pieces of art that caught my eye and reminded me of long dusty roads and barns with holes in the roof that glitter sunlight into haylofts like stars and comets on a midnight sky.

My journey brought me to Cassandra Russell and her "Barnyard Crimson" painting. A soft red roof with bare-branched trees...they make me think of morning coffee and chickens clucking at my feet with no fences or barriers to nature.

As I thought about my chickens and coffee, I discovered the image, "Golden", by Flandersfield. The picture speaks for the land, the wind, the seeds that grow.

I wandered on and I found myself meeting Ola Design and my heart quickened when I gazed at the "Morning Glory" portrait of a fellow free spirit. The wispy figure holds trees in her hair and nature in her dress. I cannot imagine a better depiction of freedom. It beckons like a siren call--keep nature in mind, wear it sweetly on your body, and forever you will be free. I would like to wear a dress just like that and walk through my wildflowers on a rainy day.

May this Friday in the Country remind you of quiet fields filled with life, old barns that house the ghosts of working families and most of all, may it remind you to dance with nature when the human race demands a less graceful pace.