Summer Dreams and Schemes

Happy almost summer Girlfriends! Just checking in, lots of summer schemes to talk about! But first, le MUSICA, something I heard for the first time while driving through the Cornish countryside in England. It shot an arrow into my heart where it remains today.

One of the very best things about this time of year . . . it will be four whole months before I have to buy flowers again! Isn’t it wonderful? Bounty from Mother Earth who, as the saying goes, is laughing in flowers right now! That’s sweet-smelling mock orange, peonies and beauty bush.

There is a never-ending flower display on the shelf over my kitchen sink as things come into bloom. Pick a little flower, put it in a jar, voila, insta-contentment. My little vases are getting a work-out! I stand at the sink and stare out at the birds at the feeders and the garden and feel so blessed.

This is our first crop of Strawberries!!! We planted them years ago and back they come every year, free of charge. Nothing else you could call it BUT a miracle!

I go out in the morning and there they are, breakfast!

Yes, I’m still eating for health! Losing weight very slowly . . . but as I said, I don’t care how long it takes, and that seems to have set me free because it’s not a diet. I’m never hungry, I feel great, and just today I saw a number on the scale I haven’t seen in many years! So far, there are 97 sticks of butter off me! Lots of you have written to say you’re working on upping your food-health too! I hope you’re enjoying this long slow way as much as I am!Our garden has been such a big inspiration . . . all those fresh vitamins so crisp and alive . . .

We bring in lettuce, chives, arugula, and kale, add it to organic spinach, cucumbers, red beans, fresh tomatoes, red onion, and chunks of steamed salmon, a little minced garlic mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of mixed organic sprouted seeds (⬅️ click and see, you will love them, sooo healthy!) for the MOST delicious lunch.

Our tomatoes are coming right along . . . there are lots of blossoms on them, we planted six different kinds. I can’t wait to see what we get! Just thinking about a fresh-from-the-garden tomato sandwich with lots of pepper and salt makes my mouth water.

This is a salad that starts with a little pile of quinoa dressed with sesame oil and lime juice, chopped mixed nuts, fresh ginger and green onions ~ the basic, most delicious recipe from p. 84 of Girlfriends Forever . . . topped with roast chicken, chopped kale from our garden and half an avocado.

This is the quinoa . . . See what I mean? It’s the best!

And then, just when you thought it was safe to read on . . . Part of my rules is that if we go out, I get what I want. And how could I NOT have Strawberry Shortcake in June? 🍓Mmmmm, so good. This was at a restaurant called Little House here on the Island. In case you’re planning a visit, I can also vouch for the Fish Tacos (Yum!) and the Power Salad (YumYum!). Equal division of Yum in both! 

Speaking of Island . . . I’m making Post Cards! For the Simon Gallery here on the island . . . 

Oh, yes, had to show you this, one of our Girlfriends, Kitty D., went to Avalon on Seven Mile Island and found this on the cover of the local paper and had to send me a picture of it. Made my day! Just another week and it will really BE summer . . . I hope you are making memories! We’ve had a quiet spring here on the island, no hot days yet, just enough rain so that I rarely have to water the garden, wonderful sleeping weather with all windows open ~

~ leafy sun-splotched dawns, the greenest of greens, and cool breezes up from the harbor. But the quiet is just about to come to an end! Memories are about to be made!

Speaking of memories . . . This is Joe and me the night before our last yard sale! It’s been a LONG time since we had a yard sale! And yes, champagne. Lowely thought we should celebrate after a long day of setting up. We could easily have slept there! Yard sales are WORK. But throwing perfectly good things away is unacceptable!

We live at the end of a long street. Perfect place to advertise!

We cleaned out the barn, closets and drawers, and I was out there early, still putting prices on things, trying to make them look nice. Like a store!

People started lining up hours before we opened our “doors,”  so we decided to have “rules.” Because we wanted this to be FUN. And you know what my Grandma said about the “creep in the crowd!” Rules are good. Because

And it was! We had the best time . . . Lowely, from two doors over and Martha, from across the street, set themselves up to make crepes outside, with blueberries and whipped cream. Not for sale, just to eat! Passed out little plates until everything was gone! Festive! Girls after my own heart.

Our garden was packed with people, islanders, off-islanders, and wash-ashores, from here, there, and everywhere, we had a ton of stuff since we don’t do this often enough, lots of our neighbors have a yard sale every year! Summer on Martha’s Vineyard! I rarely buy anything new, this is how I get everything too! I like things with history. What comes around goes around.


Happy to see others feel like I do . . . things being recycled and not wasted! Take it away! Out with the old!

So, guess what? We’re about to do it again! Every 20 years whether you need it or not! This is our dining room right now . . . I’ve been trying to organize, put the kitchen stuff together, rolling pins and potholders, put the books together, put the straw hats together, his and hers. But this is nothing, the barn is a nightmare. And we need it done by June 22, eek. Rescue 🙏 is on the way, I have helpers coming. Phew. If they knew what they were getting into they might think twice ~ shhhh  ~ hopefully they won’t see this post before they get on the plane.

This is my youngest sister Shelly. She’s 14 and a half years younger than me. (Yes, she does want that “half” included!)In this picture of her 7 siblings, she wasn’t even born yet!

She used to spend her summers with me when she was little. So we became very good friends. Isn’t she cute?

We stayed friends even when she grew up! We stuck together through thick and thin. (This is the house where I used to have Tuesday Girls . . . see the pillow on the right? It was my project when we learned how to quilt by hand.)

And then Shelly got her own project, had twin boys and became a mom!

Mason and Paden are their names. I do not know which is which. I have to relearn every time I see them. This is an old photo, they are sixteen now!

Shelly and the boys live in California.

We visit them every time we go out there . . . but this time, they’re coming HERE! ON MONDAY. TO HELP! Oh boy! We have a lot to do to get ready! 

As you can tell, I can’t wait, for more reasons than one. I’ll get new pictures of them! Joe’s going to take them clamming! They *might* even taste lobster for the first time! Memories galore!

I have other news . . . but first, in remembrance of my dad, and our blog daddy, I want to wish all you dads, your dads, your dads in heaven, and your dad-like besties, a ton of love and aAnd next: Unfortunately, to put it mildly, I just found out that some of you have NOT received your little vases and things . . . and that the manufacturer didn’t send us the entire order after all. This thing.⚡️ Anyway, I just heard from them, they shipped the rest of our order yesterday! Fingers fatly crossed that this is really it ~ and that we have enough to get us through Christmas with no glitches! We will likely receive them on Monday, and once again, they will go out the minute they come in. I’m so sorry. What a marathon! Best laid plans . . . My heart was in the right place.💞 I’ll try to never do this again.So that made me worry and check, just in cases, to see how our calendars were coming along, and, sigh of relief, the news is GOOD!  They’re right on time and will be here soon! Thinking within the next two weeks. I’ll let you know! We’ll have all the regular suspects, the Purse calendar, the Mini, the Wall and the extra large Blotter calendar.And this one, I know lots of you are waiting for, A Year in the English Countryside, is coming with the rest of them! I’m excited to see how it turned out . . . it’s my first photo calendar! Not to mention 12 months of whimsy in the English Countryside!!!

I was just saying on Twitter that the first thing I have to do in the morning is make a decision. Which cup should I use? It actually has turned out to be quite a decision. My hand hovers over one, then goes to another. Proof of idiot in residence.😹 Then I do the same thing for Joe. What message do I need to send him when I take him his tea? Shall I remind him we live on an Island, give him a “Red Letter Day” or take him for a trip through the “English Countryside?” And equally idiotic, two of those cups on the shelf above would really be the WRONG choice, since they are paper mock-ups and have no bottoms! Surprise! 

These are the last four that came in . . . for some reason I just don’t get tired of making them even though I know I’m running out of room and someday will have to stop!

I guess you can say I have a cup fetish! That’s okay, I came by it organically, a very long time ago!

This may have been my first “cute cup” my first, unaverage, not-bought-at-a-dime-store cup . . . it came with me when I moved to Holly Oak, it might even be the reason there are hearts at the end of the paragraphs in my books. I think everything is inspired by something!

See it, on a hook under the cupboard? This is before I remodeled the kitchen. I love looking at the “stuff” in my first little house on the island ~ things I still have, the pots and pans, the copper warmers, the apple painting, that’s Agnes’s fisherman’s sweater I’m wearing, it was in the house and I wore it all winters until it was ragged. (Assuming you read Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams this will all make sense to you! Otherwise . . . eek, it’s a long story!)

I painted that cup in my hand in the book, and put it on the 2018 calendar, no other cup would do because it was real, like everything (including the outfit). It was an inspiration, got me started collecting and I never stopped!

So we are doing something we’ve never done before. We are reprinting a cup that went waaaaay too fast the first time. Robin at the Gallery here on the island has called asking about it several times, so we’ll do some for her and a few extra for us, just in case you missed out on the first production. And they are going up for presale today!

Here’s the back side  . . . it’s the larger-size 16 oz cup,  fine bone china, with a nice thin lip, and of course, infused with dreams.

AND, Sunday was the Anniversary of my 8th year of blogging so, in honor of Girlfriends, and to celebrate that first red cup, and because of our girlfriend Carrie who reportedly has a new kitchen that requires RED, I decided maybe we all need RED. And maybe an all-over pattern like we’ve never done before . . . so this is the newest collection, it’s already in production in England and we expect to have them in the Studio before the end of August! If interested, there are more pictures, including of the bottoms, in the web store.

 This one is called “Hi! Tea!” … it’s the perky smaller-size cup, the 11 oz. bone china ~ because we needed a red cup for everyone, little and big.

“A Breath of Fresh Air” is covered top to bottom with whimsical sailboats on a clean white background. A cheery vote-getter (Pick Me!) for first cup of the morning! It’s the larger size, 16 oz, fine bone china, made beautifully and especially for us in Jolly Olde England.

And last but not least, the direct descendant of that first cup I loved so much, our Eighth Anniversary “Go. Be. Love. Champagne Hearts.” It’s also the larger size, 16 oz, fine bone china. All four of them should fly over the pond by the end of August. Plenty of time for those long lacquered days of Autumn, and hopefully we’ll have enough for Christmas because I’m dreaming of a red Christmas!I’ve been receiving lots of questions asking if I’m going to be doing any signings on the Cape or Islands this year . . . so I thought I’d tell you about a couple of workshops I’ll be involved in for the “Islanders Write Conference” a yearly all-day literary event, focused on the art, craft, and business of writing and what it is/takes to be an author, publisher, agent. It’s Monday August 12, at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs. It’s open to the public and free of charge (and, glory be, air-conditioned!). I’ll be participating in two panels, one at 8:30 am, is a discussion on food writing with other cookbook authors, and the other will be from 2-3pm, a group discussion of experiences in both traditional and self-publishing. Soon they’ll post the lineup of workshops and panel discussions HERE. Just in case you’ll be here on the Island, I’d love to see you. And I think it would be fine if I signed books there.💞

Blooming flowers this spring has been heaven, once again I say thank you to Mrs. Bowditch who lived here before we did and planted so many things that still bloom and send me to the moon everyday. That’s beauty bush below, another Mrs. Bowditch contribution along with her “Teahouse of the Vineyard Moon” in the background. I could write a book about it!

but I’ll save that along with an update on our squirrel situation for the next post, I know you’re on pins and needles! But, I have to get going on the yard sale or my sister will kill me! until then, a little something I hope you will like. A new bookmark, just click HERE, print it out on card stock, and have it laminated if you like. 

Have a wonderful day! XOXO


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RABBIT-RABBIT Me again, I know, shocking! But, it’s June, and something is coming! But first? MUSICA!But I couldn’t let today go by without saying Rabbit-Rabbit and a wishing you Happy first day of June! 🌸

June is wonderful on Martha’s Vineyard . . . the roses bloom! They aren’t yet, but soon fences and walls will be covered in them!

    Go get a cup of tea and let’s talk about the little things in life. 🌸

My hour for tea is actually anytime I want! But half-past-five in the morning is perfect! We had some moody Island fog today ~ the fog horn was blowing all morning long. I like it. Makes us invisible. We’re out here hidden in the mist.

We’ve been busy doing probably just what you’ve been busy doing, putting away winter and getting out the things we need for summer ~ including pulling the yard furniture out of the barn.

And taking off the last of the storm windows . . .

We brought the screens from the barn and exchanged them for the double windows. This old house! These are really the old fashioned kind of storms . . . like modern double windows, only in two pieces so not as airtight. We only have a few of them left, most of our windows work the modern way. But I like doing it the same way Mrs. Bowditch did. I know after we leave this house no one will ever do it this way again.

Speaking of this old house! This is a close-up of a page in one of my scrapbooks. This month of June is our 30th Anniversary!🎉 That’s the first photo I ever took of the house, standing on the street, poking my camera through the bushes because I was already so madly in love.It’s still a miracle to me!

And out comes my collection of seashells . . . I love to scatter them around in the summer . . . this little pile is now rinsed and clean and piled in the middle of the table in the garden next to the Adirondack chairs.

Our little fountain is out of the barn and gurgling away on the kitchen porch, I added a couple of seashells to make extra gurgle.

These will be sitting on the bricks when I get everything organized on the porch.

Ahhh, Mother Nature. 💞

Time’s passing . . . petals are fluttering off the clematis, waving a sad little goodbye to spring  ~ but the Rhododendrons and peonies are already vying for attention  . . .

Chives are in bloom ~ they provide a triple garden whammy, come back every year, for free! The flowers are pretty, and the whole plant tastes delicious!

I think our peonies have finally established themselves,

. . . we have lots of blooms on them this year.🌸

We’re replanting our little shade garden ~ our old hydrangeas outgrew the space, so we moved them and put in smaller blue hydrangeas, white impatience, hosta, browallia (flowers like little white 🌼 stars), white bleeding hearts, and lily of the valley. This garden is next to the picnic table and I hope the white flowers glow in the dark this summer.

I also planted different kinds of marigolds . . . they protect the garden from bugs, but also . . . 

. . . They look great in vases in September and October ~ plus, the petals add charm to soups and salads and look very sweet sprinkled on ice cream or zucchini bread.

Yesterday I picked my first salad from the garden! 

I took a leaf or two of everything out there, plus a few chives, a bit of thyme, a sprig of parsley . . . The nasturtiums are planted but no flowers yet!

I gave it all a rinse under cold water and tore the leaves into bite-sized pieces,

And put the whole delicious, fresh, crisp, and crunchy health-tonic in a bowl with a bunch of other vitamins like mixed seeds, sliced red onion, kidney beans, and chicken (see, I’m like my mom, nothing is actually food, this is roughage and protein) . . . and drizzled it all with a homemade balsamic-garlic dressing. It was delicious, and I felt like Superwoman when I finished eating it!

Something else that goes really well with that salad . . . these little exercises from Girlfriends Forever . . . I do them every other day!

With help from Jack my fitness coach.

Here’s another easy, delicious, and healthy lunch . . . scrambled eggs, Ezekiel bread with avocado, salt and pepper, and roasted chicken on spinach leaves with some balsamic and olive oil. I’m still working my way back down the scale. It’s slow but steady, but like I said, I don’t care how long it takes. It gets better every day, and I’m never hungry. Of the two choices below, I decided to get what I want. 😁So Guess What??? A miracle has occurred! 

To all my patient, darling, and loyal Girlfriends who stood by me while we waited FOREVER for the new dishes to come . . . they’re HERE!

I was so happy when Kellee called and said, “They’re Here!”

I’m glad I didn’t give up  . . .

They turned out great . . .

Kellee and Sheri have them almost packed up . . .

They’ll be shipping all next week!

So take time for the little things Girlfriends!

Adorable little pin tray . . .

And this is a little vase has a place for flower stems in the back so the blooms will show over the top.

Life IS good! If you end up wanting more of anything, we will be getting another shipment in a couple of weeks …

Thought you’d like to see the people who make it all happen . . . Sheri and Kellee sent me this photo when I first got Jack!

You looking’ at ME?One more thing before I go . . . I haven’t put this recipe up in a long time, but it’s so delicious I don’t want you to forget it ~ perfectly pink for summer!

Our new feeders should be up this week. We got safflower seed too! Thank you so much for all your brilliant suggestions. I think we may outwit them. It takes a village! (I mean, with squirrels, it REALLY takes a village ~ luckily we ARE one! 💞)Be sure to take time to smell the flowers! It’s a good time of year for that! Happy June! XOXO 

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