Weekend Reading (I Was Optimistic)

I didn’t lift a one from my weekend reading stack, even with good intentions.


But I did take in some tulips.  Just a few.


I refereed some rough-n-tumble boys.


I breathed it in and whispered thank you.


I contemplated a brother swap for the mischievous little one.  He’d fit right in.


I made a note-to-self:  get some sheep, STAT.


But I positively, absolutely didn’t do any reading.

(I adore the Biltmore Estate in spring.)


A tough gang of colorful-bag-toting chicas took to the streets of Asheville this last weekend…can you Guess-A-Blogger?

guess-a-blogger1.  This is a trick question.  She’s not a blogger…but this sweet tall brunette may be my long-lost sister.

2.  She gives a mean make-up tutorial.

3.  She’s a magician who turns spoons into flowers!

4. She doesn’t leave home without C.S. Lewis.

5. Even though she’s famous and just wrote a book, she’ll take a turn sleeping on the sofa.


Did you get them right without looking?  Please let me encourage you to waste not another minute and to get together with your friends for some girl time.  I can tell you these five ladies are tops and blessed me huge with their company in the mountains this weekend.

More photos of the weekend are here at #4 and here at #3…plus they sum up beautifully the fellowship of the weekend.  They are much more eloquent than a Guess-A-Blogger game.  And, the cottage gets dittoed!

Studio Bon & 24 Hours of Girl Time

The last room to be touched in our house is the boys’ room.  It is ugly.  Even the boys complain.  I’m a little stumped because of the layout and the mismatched beds.  There have been a few false starts, but nothing major has happened.  So at the start of a girl weekend with my daughter, we stopped at ADAC to check out the Studio Bon fabrics as a possibility for her brothers’ room.


I’m really liking this direction.  Fun for boys, huh?


Then we had a little stop at Lewis & Sheron to pick up fabric for the cottage.  All the pinks got her seal of approval.


Post dinner was an early PJ party snuggled together on the bed–first, messing with Siri on my phone to belly laughs; then, we sank into our books, her, Harry Potter book 4, me, Life with Picasso.


The pace picked up after a walk to breakfast.


There was her first oil painting lesson.


Then we paused to give a group of 10 or so ladies a tour of the loft.

Hurry, jump in the car to pick up Big Red Chandy, freshly uninstalled from the Cathedral Showhouse.  It’s going in our kitchen–thanks, Ally!


Next up, the Cinderella ballet!  We fought traffic…


….and made it right to our seats when the lights went down.


With ballerina costumes still dancing in our heads, we stumbled upon this polyester and acetate wonderland to top off our day.


There is nothing to say except it was the stuff of 7-year-old girl manic-ruffle dreams.  She couldn’t dart from dress to dress fast enough.

IMG_3201 And that is how we TPH girls spend 24 hours.  (I’m so exhausted, guys!)

Queer Funny Ache of Beauty

The chickadees and I started Anne of Green Gables last week.  We like to have some leisure reading after dinner, and it’s been the perfect way for me to read all the classics I missed out on in my childhood.  Can you believe I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables?  I LOVE it!

Here is a little passage for your weekend that struck me as a familiar feeling.  Anne is riding to her new home from the orphanage with her new guardian Matthew Cuthbert.

The “Avenue” so called by the Newbridge people, was a stretch of road four or five hundred yards long, completely arched over with huge, wide-spreading apple trees, planted years ago by an eccentric old farmer.  Overhead was one long canopy of snowy fragrant bloom.  Below the boughs the air was full of purple twilight and far ahead a glimpse of painted sunset sky shone like a great rose window at the end of a cathedral aisle.

Its beauty seemed to strike the child dumb.  She leaned back in the buggy, her thin hands clasped before her, her face lifted rapturously to the white splendor above…

She came out of her reverie with a deep sigh and looked at him with the dreamy gaze of a soul that had been wandering afar, star-led.

“Oh, Mr. Cuthbert,” she whispered, “that place we came through–that white place–what was it?”

“Well now, you must mean the Avenue,” said Matthew after a few moments’ profound reflection.  ”it is a kind of pretty place.”

“Pretty?  Oh, pretty doesn’t seem the right word to use.  Nor beautiful, either.  They don’t go far enough.  Oh, it was wonderful–wonderful.  It’s the first thing I ever saw that couldn’t be improved upon by imagination.  It just satisfied me here”–she put one hand on her breast–”it made a queer funny ache and yet it was a pleasant ache.  Did you ever have an ache like that, Mr. Cuthbert?”

Yes, Anne, yes!  I have had that queer funny yet pleasant ache.  It is a familiar pang to those lovers of the wild beauty of nature.


I remember it especially this day.  It was one of those dreamy, out-of-body, otherworldly kind of days.  We encountered more goats and sheep than people as we explored this rugged Mediterranean coastline.  Isn’t the beauty of nature best marveled in the scant company of one or two?  That is what made the day so perfect.  And my eyes couldn’t register the beauty fast enough.


Mallorca, Spain

And, the ache, I know it well.

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!  And thank you so much for the encouragement and shopping support of The Painted House Joss & Main sale…it’s the last day!

Drayton Hall | Charleston, SC

Drayton Hall charts the top of my favorites list from our Charleston trip last November.  A plantation home preserved in its near-original 18th-century state, it has survived two wars, hurricanes, and an earthquake.

The grounds are quiet, still–just like the empty interior of the house.

The trim–chains, key, daisies, sunflowers, and dogwood blooms–and the paneling in each room wear the perfect patina that only time can produce.  Each craved leaf, petal, and shell testify to the skill of many enslaved hands.

It is an impossible feat to wrap my brain around the history this house represents, at what cost this beauty came.

But, almost three hundred years later, the delicate handiwork remains.

I closed my eyes and tried to connect with the rooms as they were newly constructed.  I’m weird like that; and, if I thought that you wouldn’t judge me, I would tell you that I think I have some sort of 6th sense about place.

The Ashley River runs behind the house.  The kids threw pebbles.

The house still remains in the Drayton family.  Our tour guide told us that they reunite on the grounds for a Thanksgiving picnic every year.

You can visit Drayton Hall’s website for an online tour.

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