We are having the MOST wonderful summer!  Doing nothing with a capitol N. That’s why I haven’t written ~ what is there to say about nothing? Nothing! But I’ll see what I can do. Because some days I think nothing is better than something, and this is one of those days! Musica.

The Island is all back and going full-speed again, summer people are back, opening up their little summer houses at the shore . . .

And the big ones too … we have all kinds here, and they’re all some kinda wonderful. I think the actual reason I moved here was for the architecture!

The fourth of July was wonderful. As usual, everyone decorated to the nines.

We’ve been walking every day … the weather has been heavenly. No humidity at all, which is a great surprise . . . so far we haven’t even had to put in our air conditioners, knock on wood. It’s been all blue skies, lovely ocean breezes, gorgeous bug-free sunsets, perfect sleeping weather, perfect napping weather too! Oh yeah. Read a little book, take a little nap, let the curtains play in the breeze as you sleep, wake up to lawnmower noise three-doors-over, or an argument between two birds at the feeders. Yawn. Deep breath of happiness. Play some old music. Wander in garden while listening. Joyful nothingness of summer.

The sun shines bright on our walk in the morning…Joe waits for camera-wielding me in a shady spot.

While I stop to wave at you.

So gorgeous. I could never be a city girl. I like to visit . . . but this is my place . . .

Lovely in the woods . . . all dappled and shady …  takes us 45 minutes to do our walk. Best time of our day.

I find myself standing in front of the screen door in the kitchen, leaning on the door jamb, eating my bowl of shredded wheat (the way many women have done, at this same door, before me), watching the bees flit through the roses and the birds play in the birdbath. My heartstrings are tugged, I wipe away a tear . . . words like awesome, wonderment, stupefied come to mind. And gratitude. And joy.

This was a knot garden we saw in England (at Barnsley House). It’s one of the places we learned about shrub textures and colors. I used to plant almost all flowers, but notice here there are no flowers and it’s as beautiful as if there were. It’s because of the different textures and colors of the foliage. We try to do this in our garden ~ we haven’t quite mastered it but we are better than we used to be!

I’m pretty sure, from looking around, that the two things that grow best on Martha’s Vineyard are roses and hydrangeas.

And herbs too … they do well here. See the little purple flowers? That’s lemon thyme … try stirring those little flowers into softened vanilla ice cream. YUM. You can see our tomatoes are coming along nicely.

The old fashioned single hollyhock is blooming …

And Jack waits for me at the kitchen door.

Once in a while we force ourselves to leave the house, like to go to Farmer’s Market ~ we take the van, we turn on the air-conditioning, put down the windows, turn up Frank, drive up-island, stop and get coffee and a donut at the Scottish Bakehouse, pick up some French Marigolds at Vineyard Gardens, and make every excursion an adventure.

We went here for the Fourth . . . to our friend’s home on the water for a pot luck. I’m photographing from their deck, over the garden, to the sunset . . .

Fireworks across the water . . .

The kids out back with their sparklers . . . So wonderful it’s hard to believe there’s ever been a winter around here! That’s why so much celebration! We know what’s coming!

This is Jack when we come home from anywhere. He hears us at the kitchen door, I watch him through the window as I turn the lock, he curls onto his back and begins wriggling around until I pick him up. He makes us feel so welcome!

I made a pie, banana cream, with the most delicious pie crust (from Heart of the Home) . . . and I made three batches of potato salad over the weekend, for all the celebrations we attended! Mas Musica?

And ice cold gazpacho (with lobster), from the Farmer’s Market goodies . . .

While I cook, I watch/listen to old movies on Turner Classic Movies. TCM, the soundtrack to a perfect summer day. Also, the new series Anne with an E (she’d much prefer to be called “Cordelia”), which I LOVED, even though it was a bit different from the original. I hope they do a season two!

I made pancakes for my sweetheart ~ with crispy edges, and heated maple syrup, just the way he likes them. We ate while we watched the last episode of another wonderful new series  ~ a Masterpiece Theater production called  The Durrells in Corfu. Just in cases you’re looking for something new.

Washing breakfast dishes, listening to old movies, looking out the kitchen windows to see birds at the feeders and butterflies flit through the garden, hearing the bells ring from the church across the street. Playing with Jack. Painting Jack. Nothing with a capital N. Gimme more of that.

 I stop to watch shadows shimmer on the walls, greenish light reflected by the leaves of the trees feels like swimming in the pool when we were young. Pulling the shades in the upstairs bedrooms to keep out the afternoon heat . . .When I was little, I could lay on my bed and listen to the birds and the neighborhood noises and stare at the ceiling for hours ~ maybe write or read or fall asleep, just doing nothing.  I have no scientific proof, but I believe in my heart of hearts, all my inspiration in life came from that nothingness. All my romanticism and all my dreaming ~ there must be something in the nothing.💞

I’m still moving forward every day, I need to work, but I’m doing it in a much less frantic way, because first and foremost, I’m trying to fill my creative heart to the brim and overflowing ~ and I think it’s working. I still need more though.

I’m doing a little painting, early mornings when all is quiet, for the joy of it, with just the seagulls screeching over the harbor.


Sometimes I turn on music  . . .

I had to paint my new cup . . . I wob it…. I put the video on Twitter . . .

Perkiest dang thing . . .

And look what came in! The 2018 calendars! Can you believe it? That means, and you know it does, soon it will be time for us to go back to school! 

I know lots of you are waiting for these! Maybe at the end of THIS month … or the first of August … they’re being made as we speak!

And this? I’m still waiting to see how the company that makes these does with color. Fingers are crossed that it will be good. This is a different company than the cup company, so we’ll have to see. I love this little teapot, I hope it works! Things take much longer than we imagine, but I should hear soon.

And this adorableness? I’ve also spent lots of time wandering around the Internet, looking at houses, and then just yesterday Joe and I rented this exact one! For two weeks next year, for another trip to the Mother Country. 🇬🇧 Eeeeek. You can’t hear me but I am SOSOSOSOSOSO excited. It has two fireplaces! SO cozy. I can’t wait to show you (and me) the inside, in real time. Our own little thatched cottage in the English Countryside.  I may have to paint it.  I’ll fill you in when we get closer. But this house was too irresistible not to show you now!I just realized, I haven’t shown you our last year’s visit to Downton Abbey yet!! I will do that next post!

Oh yeah. Until then . . . Hasta la vista, baby. Love you. Enjoy your precious moments.

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Hi Everyone, First MUSICA!  I hope you received your Willard! If not, don’t worry, it just started going out this morning and it takes a while these days, it has to go in batches so we don’t break the Internets . . . but it should be in everyone’s mailbox no later than Saturday afternoon. If you are new to my Blog and are wondering What in the heck is she talking about? ~ Willard is my Newsletter, go HERE if you’d like to sign up for it (it’s free), and read about how Willard got its name.  Past Willard’s are there too, just in cases you need a little something more to read! 🤓

This is the blog where we like to talk about all things Home Sweet Home.  Since we’ve become acutely aware that we have no control over World Sweet World (not that we eschew it totally; we don’t, since we belong to it and are proud citizens of it) but we have narrowed our interest to our own little bits of Paradise where everything is just the way we like it, because for once in our lives, as opposed to school or work, or the fickle finger of fate, at home we are totally in charge! We can turn off the MUSICA any time we want. The curtains can be lace, or linen, or shades or blinds ~ or none at all. And if we want something, and it’s too expensive, we figure out how to make it. Or save for it. TV can be on all day, or never . . . We can feed the birds, or we don’t have to. And no one cares because it is our own world and no one else’s. It is highly empowering to realize that it’s true, our home IS our castle, and that we all live much better than the king of England, Henry VIII did on his very best day, no matter how many jewels he had, because jewels don’t keep you warm and because we have heat and indoor plumbing, and we recognize how lucky we are, so the other thing we enjoy doing is counting our many blessings.

We do it by kissing our little petty pets (who know you want to take a photo and so they do this), by admiring our clean kitchens, and hanging wet laundry on the line ~ by baking birthday cakes, or knitting socks ~  

Or digging holes to make the garden beautiful . . .

Then taking pictures of it . . .

And celebrating and loving just being in the place that means the most to us. I’ve felt the honor of living in this old house every day since we bought it in 1989. I give it things. I give it old lamps and old dishes I find in second-hand stores. And when I come home, its arms wrap around me. We are symbiotic.💞 We belong to each other.More blessings . . . out picking flowers from the garden for my little vases then inviting somebody wonderful to lunch. And one of the wonderful people I invited to lunch lives here . . .

In the house on the right . . . look familiar? Is anyone screaming yet?

It’s called Castle Cottage, does that ring a bell?  And my guest for tea lives there right now, the only person in the world to live in this exact house has come to America for a visit. How impossible is that? When you think about it? Totally not possible. But there she was!

Yes, my guest for tea lives in the house in the village of Near Sawrey in the Lake District in England where this couple lived and loved for thirty years, lived their very abnormal normal little lives ~ Beatrix Potter and William Heelis.

So, I started to get ready . . . I brought in spring peas from my other blessing, this picket-fence garden. Twenty years of loving this spot. Want one? Here’s how! First? Mas MUSICA! (We’re in the groove…)

There might be one or two of you that don’t know that Joe made my picket-fence garden ~ I wrote about it in 1996 in my Summer Book . . . it’s been a gift that keeps on giving.💞

. . . and I watered the lawn and came back in and there Jack was waiting, behind the screen, my shadow.💞

I made lunch and added the peas to my coleslaw . . .

And gave the Beatrix Potter People a bath . . .

And dusted my studio shelf of BP love . . .

 And had a wonderful little lunch of Coleslaw with lobster chunks (For recipe, scroll down HERE) and Clams Casino in the garden. Joe joined us, along with Betsy Bray on the left, who is the first overseas Trustee ever elected to the Beatrix Potter Society (which I know several of you belong to too!) ~ if she looks familiar, it’s because some of you saw her last year with me at the 150th Birthday Party for Beatrix Potter . . . and Betsy brought her friend Mandy Marshall (don’t these girls have fairy tale names?) the current resident of Castle Cottage. BOY! Was I ready for some brain picking. And my first question was and always will be, what was Beatrix Potter’s kitchen like?  Because Castle Cottage has always been a private home, and rarely open to the public. I may never get the real answer to that question, because, as Mandy explained, it’s been changed and moved and is no longer the kitchen where Beatrix made her tea. 😩 (I took it every well.) So my imagination will have to suffice. But I learned a lot. About the views from the sitting room across Post Office Meadow to Hill Top, and the life Beatrix and William lived there, we gossiped about them like we were in high school and they were the popular kids every one knew but didn’t know . . .  and Mandy told us that when they first moved in, she and her husband had discovered a secret garden so overgrown that from the ground it was just a wall of thicket and nothing more. Time had made it invisible. It was only from an upstairs window that Mandy’s husband was able to spot some sort of outline that made him curious. Anyway, Mandy brought a whole book of detailed photos of Castle Cottage, and it all came alive. She was so good, answered every one of my questions with a smile. Now I think I better go visit her. We toasted to that great idea with tea in two of my brand new English cups that I’ve been telling you about (samples came in! Real things are being made right now!)

Beatrix, in her third life re-invention (after scientist and author), became a farmer committed to the preservation of Herdwick sheep, she won awards for them (that’s her proud self in the hat). She was an amazing person. The Life Story of Beatrix Potter is something to be reckoned with.

And Mandy, being a business woman, honoring all things BP, has gone into the sheep business herself  . . . having beautiful products made from the wool from these very particular Lakeland sheep.

Betsy is about to lead her first tour called “Beatrix Potter’s Lake District Legacy” ~ she’s the perfect person to do it, she’s been there dozens of times, gives talks on Beatrix Potter’s life and knows all the secrets, including how to get inside her friend Mandy’s house! Some of our Girlfriends are going with her! I’m so jealous! She is so excited, she leaves on Saturday… The tour is full, but that link I gave you is for this time NEXT year, if any of you have a yearning to go, she’ll be doing it again . . .

So everyone’s gone, and here I am, just me and Jack in my studio, writing you . . . and this is the view I have from this very spot where I sit, window wide open, birds landing in the rhodies, spring is out there sparkling away. And I’m going out to get me some of that! I hope you enjoyed a little Beatrix Potter in the Heart of the Home.Blessings on you all! XOXO

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