Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tulip Time at the Biltmore Estate

Regardless of how many times we visit the Biltmore Estate, 
               there is always something new to see,
                              something new in bloom~~

In all the visits that we have made to the Biltmore -
(and we've been there a lot!)--
 this was our first opportunity
to see the tulips at their peak 
of full bloom. 
follow me through this gate
into the beautiful
walled garden~

such a beautiful
mix and mingle of colors

 stunning pink blooms
in front of the grape arbor

standing inside the grape arbor --
looking out at the gardens~

(I wish I had worn shorts that day~
the morning was cool -- 
and then it got hot-

looking down towards the

lost in her own world-
a perfect spot for

You can actually drive all around the perimeter
of the walled garden-
but the best way to truly appreciate
 the beauty,
is to walk the paths that meander 
through the beautiful

These next few photos were taken in the late evening
at Antler Village,
the newest addition to the
Biltmore Estate~

The Inn at Biltmore
sits on top of the hill,
the view from up there is truly amazing~

A few photos from one of my favorite places on the estate~

 the Reflecting Pond

evening shadows~

(he didn't mind that I took his picture)

when the water is perfectly calm,
you can see beautiful reflections of
the house
(the water had a few too many ripples 
this evening~)

 a better reflection~
(when the wind died down)

I'll be back in a few days with the second part of this post -- 
some beautiful photos of the Conservatory and more pictures taken around the estate~

Just keepin' it real~
I'm listening ~ to a great audio book-- Princess Elizabeth's Spy -- a delightful series. This is the second in the series that I have enjoyed.  Just perfect for when I'm sitting by the pool--(and knitting!)

I'm eating~ trying to take advantage of the fresh veggies that are just starting to become available. Summer is the easiest time for me when it comes to watching my weight -- I could live on fresh fruit and vegetables. My post on my own weight struggles to maintain my weight loss is coming up soon! Like in the next few weeks~

I'm doing~ working on some beautiful new designs for my ETSY shop this fall. Playing with colorful beads and some stunning embellishments~

I'm needing~ to feel some Caribbean breezes.  Sigh~

I'm watching~ have just finished the entire series of Upstairs, Downstairs -- the old version and the new.  Loved them both. Have also just finished watching Top of the Lake (a little odd, but I loved it!) Hubby and I are totally caught up on Scandal now (OMgosh!!) And --I have just finished watching the cutest 7 part series on Netflix - Last Tango in Halifax.  Loved it!  

I'm reading~ Just finished the Orphan Train --(I totally loved it.)
Now I'm reading All the Light We Can Not See -- I think this may be one of the best books I've read in a while~ 

I'm loving~ the warm beautiful days. I play in my flowers every morning, love mowing the grass (yes, I really do!), and am enjoying just being outside every chance I get.  Finally -- I feel that summer is here! I'm sorry that I've been gone from my blog for a bit -- but there has just been SO much to do around the house now that the weather is nice. I have SO much more energy in the sunshine!

Thank you so much to each of you who visited my blog and left beautiful comments to enter my Spring Giveaway -- your words have truly touched my heart. I would give anything if I could return every comment --- telling you each how very much I appreciate your visits and support.

If you have somehow missed my Spring giveaway -- you can find it here    (You have until June 21 to enter.)

Sending much love and gratitude to you all~

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nature's Artistry-- My Spring Giveaway! (My Biggest Giveaway ever!)

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,
       and paints his own nature into his pictures~
                                     Henry Ward Beecher

 this beautiful little booklet of quotes and sketches
was a gift from my dear friend Patricia Eaton
I thought this lovely verse was the perfect
choice to begin this post~

 Spring is here!
a time for rejuvenating our spirits
 and renewing our

Spring is the season of
new beginnings~

fresh buds bloom,
and animals awaken~
the earth seems to come to life again.

farmers and gardeners plant their seeds~
temperatures slowly rise
as the sun's warmth
brings us all
outside once again~

simply stated --
 this has been a long and miserable winter.
I am so happy to once again
feel the warmth of the sun on my face~

some things I love most about spring~
bird songs
the smell of fresh cut grass
tender blooms on shrubs and flowers

longer days~
and the chance to play in the dirt!
growing up,
I used to love to make mud pies with my sisters.
we would decorate them with flowers
and set them in the sun to dry.
even now --
I am always happiest,
when at the end of the day
I have had the chance to play in the dirt.

spring cleaning~
throwing open the doors and windows
the chance to refresh our home
after this long, long winter

flip flops~
and brightly painted toes! 

watching our kitties basking in the rays
 from the sun~

driving down the road in my
brand new car (!!)
the wind blowing on my face
(the radio turned up loud!)
(after 10 years, I finally gave in and bought myself a brand new Subaru Outback.
  It was about time -- my Subaru Forester had almost 250,000 miles on it!) 
all the different shades of green
in the fields, and the forests,
and the farms~
green is my favorite spring color!

and my most favorite thing about spring~
this opportunity to thank you all for
the love and support
that you send my

my "thank-you" giveaway is all about
and nests
and beautiful things~

A very special celebration
 just for

Listed below are all the wonderful things
that are to be gifted in this giveaway~
to enter --
simply leave a comment
on this post,
and perhaps share
something that you love most about
if you would like to share this giveaway
with you friends
(on your own blog or on your facebook page)
you can leave another comment here
telling me that you have
shared the love!
this contest is open to all of my
readers and followers
regardless of where you live!
the winners will be announced 
at the bottom of this post
on June 21,
the summer solstice.

one lucky winner will receive one of my
Woodland nests~

these nests are made every winter
for those on the waiting list~
this year I made an extra one
to share with you!

My friend Sidney Hanner
makes gorgeous jewelry~

Sidney's unique nest necklace designs
are simply stunning.
In addition to her beautifully crafted nest,
she adds vintage buttons and beads to the chain
making this a necklace like no other! 

this beautiful necklace
was created by Sidney just for this giveaway!
you can find my friend at her beautiful blog

 your necklace will arrive in this
beautiful crafted special
 gift bag
if you would like to contact Sidney
about your own custom made
you can email her here-

(for the period of this contest- until June 21-
Sidney will be offering a 10 % discount
on her custom made nest necklaces)
(just mention in your email that you saw her creations on my blog)

you will love this
"Anthropologie" inspired handbag
that I found just for you~
This beautiful vintage handbag was made by Margaret Smith, Gardiner Maine. These handbags are highly collectible, known for their quality and lively designs of nature and florals.

Margaret Smith first began making beach bags and totes that were sold in specialty stores in the 1940's. By the 1950's and '60's she added handbags and was selling out of Bonwit Teller of NYC, where her line was highly sought after.

this lovely little "mini-book"
of garden verses and quotes
was specifically designed for this giveaway
by my friend
Sue Kosec

each page
has it's own special design
and garden verse
you can email Sue here-

my dear friend Marsha,
hand painted her special nest design
on this
 beautiful teapot
and cups
one of you will win this
beautiful set!

Marsha's talent is amazing!
I love her beautiful nest design!!
you can find some of Marsha's other lovely
hand painted designs
for sale in her new ETSY shop. 
To help you celebrate the arrival of Spring -
she is offering FREE SHIPPING
in the US on her hand painted

My friend Jill makes the most
exquisite needle books
beautifully embroidered and felted-
with amazing details
such as her gorgeous beaded flowers
and stunning designs

One of you will win a gift certificate
allowing Jill to custom design
your own beautiful 
needle book.
You can find my friend Jill
at her blog
and at her ETSY shop

Are you starting to feel the love?
my sincere and heartfelt gratitude
for all the kindness and love
you send my way!
more special surprises
for you--
keep scrolling!

This gorgeous little pitcher
was created specially for this giveaway
by my friend
Cynthia Crane.

One of you will win
this beautiful and unique piece of pottery~
Cynthia's own design,
embellished by her special
whimsical painted flowers, birds, and butterflies. 

Isn't it gorgeous?
you can find Cynthia at her blog
you can find her pottery ETSY shop here 
and her ETSY shop for
paintings here

 Also from Cynthia's creative artistry-
a collection of bluebird items
these beautiful note cards

a little bluebird book marker
 bluebird button
petite flower buttons
someone will win this entire collection of
bluebird items created by
Cynthia Crane.
(the little bluebird figurine is not included in the giveaway)

and lastly~

my friend Marsha created these precious little
hand painted nest tags

~these precious tea stained gift tags
are accented with a variety of beautiful
ribbons and trims

 someone will win a set of 10
little hand painted
nest gift tags
you can find more of Marsha's
nest tags in her etsy shop
(free shipping too!)

NOW do you feel loved?

to summarize-
the following items will be
given away to lucky winners on
June 21
(the names of the winners will be noted below by their prize on June 21)
please make sure in your comments that your email address
is available
6/21/14--Update -- winners announced 

This contest is now closed.

Woodland nest
 #1 Deb -- Just Cats

Nest Necklace
#216 Julie -- My Threadbare Life

Vintage Margaret Smith purse
#36 Kim -- Picking Poppies

Mini-book of garden verses

Hand painted tea pot and mugs
 #48  Bonnie Larson

Coupon for custom designed Needle book
 #110  Audrey ?

Bluebird and flowers hand painted pitcher
#159 Terri Gordan- Designs by Terri Gordan

Bluebird collection-
(notecards, book marker, buttons)
#55 Emma Elliott- Bubsiekins

Hand painted nest gift tags
#23 Meredith -- Mereknits

I'll be back in a few weeks with some lovely spring photos of the Biltmore Estate -- we visited there a few days ago while the tulips were brilliantly in bloom~