Sunday, July 19, 2009

Just Hanging Around the Cottage...

(I finally manged a focused non-flash version of this,
but I had to put it on the front door!)

Perhaps some you have wondered where I have been...well, I have been right here at home. As many teachers do, I keep a running list of projects I will get to during the summer. Without going into all the boring details, one of the biggest projects was emptying two closets which needed painting. These two caverns had many hidden treasures and yes...much trash. One was in our bedroom upstairs, so we moved to the downstairs guestroom. I must say it has been pleasantly like staying somewhere else! If not for the long, tedious tasks of sorting through "stuff"-- I might have been on a vacation. One of my lighter chores has been to carefully clean all glass and frames of pictures, dusting and vacuuming all books and shelves, and keeping my small flower pot garden going. I cannot really say it has been all work. I enjoy the leisure of taking care of my dogs or enjoying my doll collection (rearranging, changing, and sewing new clothes for them). Blame that on my parents. They bought me a set of encyclopedias when I was five. Looking over the old set, I noticed that I have nearly worn out Volume D: dogs, dolls, Dickens, Dickinson, etc. I loved my World Books. Since I have been just hanging around in the house, here are a few images for you to see where I retreat indoors from the heat and humidity of July.

This is one of twelve folk images - blurred- for the year by Nancy Thomas.
The entire set is displayed on the dining room hutch, but I put the current month on the guestroom door.

Here is my favorite old volume. I was the youngest of four children, often left behind each year when school began. I lived in a rural area. I was outdoors a great deal, but loved to curl up with books whenever the weather kept me indoors.

I have always loved dolls --- baby dolls or dolls that look like children. This beauty is an Italian felt Lenci from the 1930's which I had to pass up on eBay! My sister Sue once led us right up to Santa at Loveman's department store in Birmingham and announced, " I want a cowboy outfit, guns and holster, and NO doll. Get my baby sister a cowgirl outfit and a baby doll. "

I wore my cowgirl outfit. Sue wore her guns, and I carried the baby doll when we got on the pony!

I used this page to identify our beloved dog, Ruzzy. He looked most like a Great Pyrenees with thick white fur with pale rusty splashes. He was a stray who wandered into our yard. I wanted to name him Fuzzy, but Sue wanted to name him Rusty. We compromised. He was not as GREAT in size as a Pyrenees, but he was GREAT in heart and spirit. I used to tell my dad that one day I was going to have a Bobtail---Old English Sheepdog. He told me about seeing them when he was in England. When my husband returned from Vietnam, he got us one for a first anniversary gift: Beau is featured in the side bar pictures.

I have to say, we like posters as art. This is one I found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford during the summer of 1989. Sadly, the exhibit of children's literature had been in 1987, but there was enough in brochures to help me understand the significance of the Opie Collection and its role in preserving and promoting children's books. I was able to explore and read in the library. As a member of a seminar, I was issued a library card, but I had to take an oath first! (More on that in an upcoming post!)

Speaking of children, here is one of my German girls, Gerda. She is made by Zwergnase and designed by Nicole Marschollek -Menzer. You really must click on the photo to enlarge this one to see her darling freckles!

Here is a Madame Alexander Margaret (face sculpt designed after Margaret O"Brien and used as Princess Margaret as well). I bought her on eBay from someone in England. She did not have her original Princess Margaret dress, so I found a pattern on eBay....and well -- she looks ready for school!

Here's our getaway from Upstairs....Downstairs. Another little German girl named Ada keeps the pillow fluffed. The large poster is an original 1930's travel poster for London & North Eastern Railway of England & Scotland featuring Lincoln Cathedral. The artist is Schabelsky (?) I need to check this. The name is in script and hard to read.

Joan of Arc keeps watch over us in the dining room. This is a WWI American campaign poster encouraging the women of America to save their country just a Saint Joan saved France. It only required buying War Savings Stamps from the United States Treasury! The artist is Haskell Coffin.

One small project: Find the RIGHT frame for the portrait of an acorn by Country Girl. This is the most charming photograph. It came as one of the "get one free" extras when she had a sale last spring. Some of you may remember when Sesame Street had a parody of This is Your Life. It featured a Big Oak Tree. Of course, his baby picture was a little acorn in a baby bonnet. I loved watching that show with my children!

Ironically, the flowers which are thriving in the heat are named Diamond Frost (euphorbia). Click to enlarge so you can see the delicate blooms. Feed the plants!

Feed the birds. Pick up the dog toys. Feed the dogs.
Ahhh, the dogs, denizens of our kitchen!

Hanging in the kitchen.....Wind the clock. Clean its glass. Dust the clock. Set the clock. Start the clock. It is midmorning...when all good dogs should be napping.

This is a small reproduction of a 1930's travel poster by Paul Henry which hangs in the kitchen near the back door...where all good dogs exit for their morning walk....

More Windex, to clean a poster for Alice in Wonderland at the Auburn University Little Theatre performed sometime in the sixties before I came. This is just one of my mementos from my years and many hours in the costume shop at AU and as costume mistress for several plays.

Here is Lucy, dreaming of chasing a chipmunk. She is the Princess of the Pups and holds court from her chair

She turns to recognize her audience.

Litter mate/sister Paddy suggests she come down
and allow someone else a look out the window.

Gracie could care less, as long as she is close to Mom.

These two are philosophical about the whole "Lucy in the Chair with Diamonds" attitude. Let her have the chair! Give me a Milk Bone, Mom!

Back to napping!

It's summer time and the living is .....
easy. Turn up the AC.

I am back and have lots of ideas I have been saving up for all of you!

Kindest regards to all!


willow said...

This brings back fond memories of the set of Colliers Encyclopedias my family had when I was growing up. I would spend hours and hours pouring over them.

Your doggies are adorable.

Love the new header.

And I adore picked beets, btw. No one else at the manor eats them, so I always buy a jar or two for myself!

FireLight said...

Willow, a man at the campus market every Thursday has been bringing these beets. They are done by an Amish group out of Iowa. The baby beets are super duper! My hubby LOVES them, and so do I! I should have said how much cooking I have been doing! Sheesh, I need to get back to school so I can get some rest! (chuckling)

Alaine said...

I adore your dogs and beautiful dolls. My, you have been busy; they're the sort of jobs to do when it's too hot, or in my case, too cold to go outside. My linen press is bursting at the seams but my problem is, I can't toss out perfectly good curtains and bits of lovely fabrics.

I must also get around to dressing my doll I was given by Aunty Olive when I was three - she's sitting on a chair with the original petticoat, a baby jacket and bare feet and looks so cold.

Country Girl said...

When I let George out, he races to the trees where the squirrels hang out (it's the party tree). My photo looks great in that frame! I remember that Sesame Street episode, too.

Michael said...

Great to see you back Marnie..great photo glimpses. Talk about a dogs
I love Lincon Cathedral, it always seems such a part of the community as well as a place of God.

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight,

Glad to see you haven't simply been sitting, twiddling your thumbs! The dogs look as if it's all too, too much trouble! I like your travel posters as well. We were in Connemara a couple of years ago; beautiful scenery. Looking forward to discovering all those ideas you've been having!

FireLight said...

Alaine, I have the same problem regarding a beautiful piece of fabric...whether it is linens or clothes: Laura Ashley dresses are the biggest culprits in my closet.
And about your doll, as we say in the South, "Put some clothes on that baby!"
Country Girl, that frame was a great find at Target (French ponunciation please!) I love the photo! My male Bernese had the same thing for squirrels & the big maple tree in the front yard!
Michael, I have had that poster for over 30 years, and have been to England many times, but have not been to Lincoln yet! I must put that on my list along with Cheshire, Rowan's many travel destinations, Sir Derrick & Melrose (Scotland), Cait's smallest town in Wales! And yes, my dogs are soooo spoiled! They are getting older...maybe I will change the name of our house to GrayDog Cottage soon! {chuckling}
Now Derrick, don't hold your breath, sweetheart! If you haven't noticed yet,I may be ADD - caught it from students- but I have made a list of the topics for posts that come to mind while I am busy doing something else. A Thumb Twiddler I am not...I usally have several projects going at once!

Please accept my heartfelt thanks to all for stopping by...and for all the great blogs you have created! I enjoy them so very much!

Janelle Goodwin said...

What a fun post! I enjoyed reading about what you've been up to this summer and the tour of your lovely cottage. Hmmm, I have some closets that need cleaning out too.

FireLight said...

Janelle, may the Coat Hanger Force be with you! So glad you stopped by!

Tom Atkins said...

I think perhaps the biggest blessing of your chores has been the time to think and remember things as you came across your treasures. A pleasurable read, for certain.

FireLight said...

Tom, you are always. One item was especially a thrill. My younger son had illustrated the story of Joan of Arc when he was just beginning first grade. He asked me to write down his words under the pictures as he retold the story. He had watch the Ingrid Bergman film with me when I was reviewing for our library at school. He became facinated by her faith and bravery. I had not seen this little family treasure in many years.

Rowan said...

I love the photos of your dogs, they look really cuddly and friendly. Also love that LMS poster and the folk image for July - would be nice to see some of the others too as the months go by. Those 1930s travel posters are just fabulous aren't they? I would love to have travelled then by train or on one of the great liners or on an Imperial Airways flying boat. So much more glamorous than it is today. Sounds as though you've been working hard and having fun as you did it.

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat