Friday, July 31, 2009

Now Blooming

I know it's a bit late for Floral Friday, but I wanted to share a few things with you any way. It was so nice being able to stay home today and rest up a bit, and clean up my dirty kitchen! A few days of being away from home most of the day, and the dirty dishes seem to multiply! :o)

So, on to the bloomers! First, I wanted to share the seed pods on the blazing star. When the bloom first falls away, they look like this >>>

See that one in the bottom right corner, that's how they look, but when the pod is about mature, they open up and look almost like another flower!

Look at that star shape! I think it's lovely, and soon the seeds will be mature and I'll save them to share with friends.

Next up, I just wanted to show you the white beauty berry bush, now with green berries. When they are mature, the berries will be white, unlike the regular beauty berry which has brilliant 'fuchsia purple' berries.

See this pretty buddleia? I know, it's a bad picture, but it's been rainy for several days now, and the sun is hard to get just right! Anyway, this buddleia was a freebie! A couple of years ago we went to the lake for a weekend of camping for hubby's birthday. This buddleia was about 18 inches tall and kind of leggy, and right smack in the middle of where the lake would have been if it hadn't been about 16 feet down due to the drought. I dug this baby up and brought it home. It grew and grew and grew, and this spring we cut it to the ground. I mean - all the way down! Now look at it, it's gorgeous! I think next spring (early) I'll cut my other two to the ground, too. They aren't nearly as pretty as this one is now! Anyway, the purple blooms are so pretty, and the butterflies, bees and hummers just love it!

The weeds! Well, not really, I never thought I'd say it, but I'm so tired of pulling up morning glories, moonflowers and hyacinth beans! They are still coming up, and I get out at least 2-3 times a week and pull up the babies. They are just all over the place! I do have a few on trellises that are lovely, but if I left them all, we wouldn't be able to see the house!

The zinnia's around the mailbox are just beautiful! Every one came up volunteer from last year, and I've already been scattering seeds from this year in hopes they will come up in other places next year.

The cleome jungle is gorgeous, and I'm collecting seeds - trying to keep them divided by colors, and I'll share these with family and friends, too. Don't you love the views through the trellis?

This one is called 'Rose Queen' and it's very tall (5') and stately. I love the different depths of the color, from palest pink to brightest pink.

And, the star of the show this week! The moonflowers! I have a couple of them, and a couple of hyacinth beans growing on a wire obelisk right beside the garage door. There's just a bit of a wall - about 18 inches wide - and this is tall and fits there just right. Don't they look like a shrub!

And the blooms are gorgeous! They start opening right before dark, and if you are patient and have plenty of time, you can stand and watch the blooms unfurl. The scent after dark is intoxicating, too! The blooms are at least 6" across - about the size of a small bread/dessert saucer.

And the moonflowers will re-seed. As I said above, I'm still pulling them up and throwing them away! I love to have morning glories, moonflowers, hyacinth beans and four o'clocks planted all together, because there is something blooming around the clock right in one spot!

That's it from me for now. I'll be doing the drawing tomorrow and announcing the winner of the giveaway on Sunday. Good luck to all of you, and thank you for entering! Have a great weekend! Becky

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thank You!

Hi Friends! Well, we (mama and I) got to the hospital a few minutes after ten this morning, and my dad was sitting in the chair half dressed, and ready to go home. In less than 30 minutes after we arrived, we were in the car leaving the hospital. I talked to Anne Collins (she's a Physicians Assistant, and just the sweetest, bestest person who cares for my dad!) and she said he seems to respond well to the IV Lasix, and just bring him back if the fluid starts building up again. They sent him home with some antibiotics - STRONG ones! - and no other changes to his meds. We have a regular appt. with his primary Dr. next week, so we'll see what happens then.

He wanted me to stop and get him some cinnamon rolls or honey buns on the way home. He hadn't eaten any dinner last night or breakfast this morning and was hungry. I wouldn't do it, but as soon as we got him home my mom got started making him biscuits, gravy and sausage while I ran up to get his new antibiotics. He ate a big meal, then went to bed. I think he was weaker and more tired than he realized.

Thank you all once again for the prayers and good thoughts. Maybe we'll have a little bit of a break before 'the next time'. I know I for one could use a break!

Don't forget, tomorrow night Midnight eastern time is the end of entry for the giveaway. If all is well, I'll do the drawing sometime Saturday and post it by Sunday evening.

Blessings Friends! Becky

Quick Update

Good Morning! Just wanted to post a quick update on my dad. He's doing much better, and may possibly get to go home today. We'll find out more when we get up there later this morning.

Thanks once again for all your prayers and encouraging words!!! This is very hard, because we know that each of these episodes brings us closer to the 'last' episode. His body is worn out, and slowly giving out. Pure will, determination, stubbornness or whatever you want to call it has kept him going this long. We will eventually get to where the drugs don't work any more, or they are causing damage to other weakened parts.

My dad has been called a 'living legend' by several of his doctors. For those of you who don't understand 'doctor language', that means they no longer know what to do with him! He has outlived any expectations and surprised us all!

Well, I need to get a bath, dressed and out of here. I'll keep you posted! B.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You are blessings!

Just a quick note:

Mom talked to him a bit ago - he's lost 11 pounds in less than 24 hours. All fluid. I bet they were changing diapers and beds all night long! Nurses, nursing assistants and tech are such blessings, too!

Mildred, K-Sue, Aimee, Lissy Lou, Jane and Nancy ~ you are such blessings to me! Thank you a million times over! You have made my morning!

Off to the hospital, will keep you posted - taking my laptop! Blessings all, Becky

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a quick post . . .

I'm exhausted, and as soon as I get my cup of soup eaten, I'm going to bed. It's been a long day. We took my dad up to the emergency room a little after 11 am today (after a battle with him - he didn't want to go and was mad at us for making him go!), and were in there until almost 7pm, and then it was another 1 1/2 hours before we got him settled in his room and answered all the nurse's questions. He'll be there a minimum of 2 days, but more likely 3-4 days. His fluid build up was really bad - he has chronic congestive heart failure, and it flares up once in a while. He had gained @ 17 - 18 pounds in the last 10 days or so, and that was all fluid on his heart, lungs, in his ankles, feet, groin area, and this time even his face was swollen.

The real problem is that his kidneys aren't functioning as they should, and they have to be very careful how they give him the drugs to make him lose the fluid. It's a kind of catch 22 situation: If they don't give him the drugs, his heart and lungs won't be able to handle the extra work of carrying the fluid, but if they do give him the drugs, it can damage his kidneys worse than they already are.

And both my parents were arguing and hateful all day, and I threatened to resign, and they got a little better. Not much, but a little! They had me so stressed out I didn't know whether I was coming or going. And to top it off I heard someone dying in another room. They brought them in and immediately everyone on the staff in ER went straight to that room, and I heard them using the defibrilators = heard it charging and then the shock - but it didn't work. Of course they won't tell you anything, so we don't know what happened. It sure didn't make a fun day any better.

Anyway, that's where I'll be the next few days. Driving between my home, my parents home 25 miles away, and the hospital 10 miles from them - in the other direction! I'm going to take my Trikke tomorrow so if it's not raining, I can get out and ride in the hospital parking lot. I did that before, and it really helped me with the stress levels.

I'm going to extend the giveaway through Friday midnight, so if you haven't entered, please do. As soon as we get him home and I'm back to a more normal routine, I'll do the drawing - hopefully this weekend some time.

Any good thoughts and prayers will be apprecicated. We know that things will not really get any better. We just take each thing as it comes and wait until God is ready call my dad home to be with Him.

I'm going to bed now. Blessings folks! Becky

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Making Over On A Budget!

Hi Folks! Do you remember this fountain??? Earlier in the summer it was on my front porch with sparkling glass stones inside and water trickling over the pineapple and off the little points beneath it.

Well, before long, the pump died (it was about 4 years old, so it was time!), and before I knew it had died, mosquitoes made a breeding ground out of the bit of water left inside. As you can also see, some of the outer covering was peeling off too, so, I emptied it, washed it, and left it to dry while I decided what to do with it.

I talked it over with my hubby, and we agreed that we could better afford a can of spray paint for about $5 than we could a new pump for, oh, maybe $20. In it's new life, it would be a birdbath! So I went on a shopping mission to find just the right paint.

I finally found it! Fusion paint (for plastics) in a 'brown hammered metallic' tone. But that poor fountain sat there, in the yard where I left it for, oh, about three weeks - yikes~!! But the other day inspiration struck, so I grabbed the can of paint and a scrub brush, and went outside. I scrubbed the loose paint and dirt off the outside, wiped it down well, and began to paint.

May I just say that I love it so much more in it's new life!!! Here, take a look for yourself!

The color isn't brown at all, but more of a light, silvery~goldy bronze. And it does have, when looking at it up close, a nice little hammered look to it. Right now I have it in the cleome jungle, but I'm not sure I'll leave it there for long.

Don't you just love it! The color is perfect amidst all the green, pink, purple, whites and yellows in the garden. And it was taken from kind of ugly to absolutely lovely with one can of paint.

And not even a whole can of paint! I had enough left over to paint this French flower bucket I bought at Restoration Hardware on clearance years ago >>>

AND, this planter that I bought at a yard sale a while back for $1, and it's new! (Love those deals!) >>>

Of course I couldn't stop at one can of paint - I had to pull out another can - this time periwinkle blue! Do you see that old plant stand??? The one that is now periwinkle??? I bought that at a yard sale, oh, probably 8-10 years ago and it was an ugly over-painted gold. I used it in the dining room at our old place. When we moved here, almost 6 years ago, it went into the garage, and that's where it's stayed. Now it has a new home here on the front porch.

I think it looks pretty good, what do you think? The periwinkle pops with the yellow walls, pink and white flowers and green foliage.

And I re-positioned all the potted plants on and around it - without the fountain this time. I just love that pop of color!

I also cleaned off the old TV tray, put on a new-old chicken feed sack cloth and set it up where we can play our new hobby - chess - out on the front porch.

I put an old wood step-stool behind it and put the magazines and citronella candle there. Mosquitoes just LOVE me, so I have to have something to ward them off!

So that was my makeover day, and the whole thing cost me about $10 - 11, just for the two cans of spray paint. You don't have to have a lot of money to make things nice! Just use a little creativity and a couple of cans of spray paint, and you've got a re-do!

Don't forget about my giveaway! Go back to this post and leave a comment and I'll add your name to the pot!

Have a great day, folks!!! Blessings, Becky

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Time Has Come - At Last!!!

PLEASE NOTE!!!!! Due to my dad's hospitalization, I am extending this through midnight Eastern time on Friday night. I'll do the drawing as soon as I can after we get him home, but I'm not sure yet when that will be - I'll keep you posted! B.


I wanted to do this to celebrate the 10,000th hit on my blog. But just a week or so before I got there, my hit counter went AWOL, and I didn't know when that 10,000th visitor came. Then there was vacation, two more trips to the hospital with my dad, and yada, yada, yada! I just never got around to it.

But now, it's ON!!!

The first ever Camellia Cottage's Hearth and Home giveaway!!! I've been obsessing for weeks over what I wanted to give away. You know our budget is in a crunch these days, and anyone can go buy something, but I wanted to do something special! I wanted to give away a collection of things that meant something to me, so that you would know it was from the heart, and not just to get MORE hits on my blog!

I've been blogging about a year now, and I've met some wonderful people, and learned so much about such a wide spectrum of things. I've gained much more than I ever expected, and I want to say "Thank You" by sharing some of my treasures!

The giveaway is made up of a collection of seven goodies, a few I've bought at estate sales or the Goodwill shop, others I've made using bits of vintage chicken feed sacks from the 1950's. I know they are from the 1950's because they held feed used at our chicken house when I was a child, and my mama lovingly took out the stitches, washed, dried and folded and kept them, and only a couple of years ago gave them to me. You can read more about that HERE.

So, shall we start with the goodies???

A little pillow (about 5-6" square) I made from an old feed sack with purple cherries and green stems and leaves. There is a tiny packet of lavender inside, so you get just the lightest of lavender scents. This could even be used as a pincushion if you liked.

The center has a button covered with the same fabric on both sides.

A pretty bow (corsage) I made that would go great on a denim jacket! The lace is relatively new, but the fabric is more of the feed sack scraps from my stash. I've had the watering can button for ages and ages! There's a large safety pin sewn on the back so you can pin it onto a piece of clothing, or whatever you choose.

This precious little glass plate (or bowl) that I bought at an estate sale. It's about 6-8 inches across, and I've not been able to find a chip or crack anywhere.

A mini pincushion, also handmade by me! It's about 2-3 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches across. The blue checked fabric is more of the feed sacks, and when I was a little girl, one of my favorite dresses was made from a piece of this same fabric. (Did I tell you we were poor, and most of my clothes were homemade, and many from feed sacks???) The pink lace and ribbon rose are new.

Next up is this precious vintage tea cup I bought at the local Goodwill shop a while back. The gold on the outside is lovely, but the pink rose on the inside is precious!

There are no markings on the bottom, so I can't share a brand or pattern with you, but even if you don't use it for tea or coffee, it would be great for paper clips and such on a desk!

And this is something special! Remember THIS post about sweet Helga who shared her vintage doilies and things with me??? Well, she wanted me to share them, so I'm sharing two of these pretty vintage doilies. They are off-white, and can be used either as squares or diamond shapes. I think they would be lovely on a table underneath simple candlesticks or bud vases, or maybe even sewn onto a pretty pillow!

I'm showing them on an old chicken feed sack, and I think I may have to make a pillow or two for my sofa and sew some of these on them!

And last, but definitely not least, my little BLOOM pillow! I hand embroidered the word bloom onto an old piece of white feed sack while at the hospital with my dad a few weeks ago. I then made a pillow using pink and white gingham for the back.

On the back, there's a pocket that holds a little gingham pouch of lavender buds. This way, if you don't like, or are allergic to lavender, you can remove it.

Well, that's it! Here is a picture of all of the bits together >>>

One lucky winner will receive all these goodies, and to be entered here's what you have to do:

  1. You have to be in the US. I'm sorry, but I'm just not able to afford international shipping charges.

  2. You must either leave me a comment on this post, answering the question below, or send an e-mail answering it to

  3. For an extra two entries, post about this giveaway on your blog, and let me know about it so I can put your name in two more times.

  4. And the question is . . . On yesterday's post (Thurs. 7/23) I talked about 'sensory delights'. Some of my best memories are triggered by sensory delights! The smell of hot biscuits coming out of the oven reminds me of my mama, the smell of freshly mowed grass takes me back to my childhood when I loved to walk barefoot in the cool grass. There are many, many more. But the question is:

What is your favorite 'sensory delight'???

Is it the smell of new mown hay, the sound of a newborn baby's cry, or the taste of a fresh strawberry right off the vine??? And what memories do they trigger? Share with me, please!

The entry period will end on Wednesday, July 29th, and I'll announce a winner sometime Friday, July 31st.

Thanks again for sharing this blogging community, showing love and kindness, even lifting prayers when my dad's not doing so well. Each and every visit, comment, prayer, WHATEVER, is so much appreciated! Blessings friends, Becky!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Day of Sensory Delights!

It has been a lovely day! Here is how I spent it, here at Camellia Cottage . . .

Sitting on the front porch in my wicker rocker . . .

listening to the flutter of birds wings as they visited the feeders . . .

turning well worn pages as I re-read a book I love! It's a fun read - a bit risque' but that's fun on occasion, right? ;o) . . .

smelling the tangy scent of a burning citronella candle . . .

hearing AND feeling the purr of hummingbirds wings as they visited the feeders over my head . . .

listening to the patter of occasional raindrops on the garden around me . . .

smelling the rich, musty smell of rain on dry soil . . .
enjoying the tasty flavors of a nice lunch (it was made of leftover steak, potatoes, onions, cheese and tomatoes, I'll share the recipe soon!) . . .

and hand sewing the last of a project I've been working on for a while . .

It's been an incredible day!
Oh, and that handmade project, well, come back tomorrow to find out more about it, and a few other goodies that I just may be giv . . . . .
Enough of that! It's a secret! You'll have to come back tomorrow to find out more! Blessings friends! Becky

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Wonderful Day!

This past weekend, the weather in our area was just incredible! Lows in the high 5o's to low 60's, and highs in the low 80's, low humidity, blue skies, - just perfect! Normal July temps are in the 70's for lows and upper 90's for highs, with 85 - 95% humidity - killer! So, if the weather is perfect, what do you do? You go to the lake of course! Especially if you live just a hop and a jump from one of the most beautiful, large lakes in the area - Lake Sidney Lanier - named after the former poet laureate of Georgia, Sidney Lanier.

On Saturday night we went out to one of our favorite 'special occasion' restaurants, Provinos, to celebrate our upcoming 24th anniversary, which was Monday the 20th. Afterwards we went riding around to find a place to spend the day on Sunday. We went to several places we'd been before and on the way home saw a sign we've seen many times, but never followed. This time we were so glad we did, because we found a great picnic area - Charleston Park.

Charleston Park is a day use area with a boat ramp, parking for vehicles and boat trailers, and a small picnic area where the picnic tables are spaced nicely apart so you aren't elbow to elbow with other picnickers. It's so beautiful! It's level, only a slight slope down to the lake, lots of tall, tall pine trees for shade, and grassy places just perfect for a blanket and a good book. Here's a look at part of the picnic area >>>

I took this picture fairly early, before anyone else got there. We got there around 10:30, but it was very un-crowded until around 1:30 - 2:00 when more groups showed up.

Here's the little cove - across on the other side is the boat ramp, just far enough away you don't get too much noise or traffic from it.

Here's our picnic table. We chose the shadiest one that was turned at right angles to the lake. That way when we were eating or playing games we could both see the lake. Each table is on it's own concrete pad, and there's a charcoal grill for each table as well.

In case you are wondering why there are two tablecloths, I put a cloth one on bottom, covered with a vinyl one. When we were on vacation a few weeks ago, I discovered that with the extra padding underneath, the dominoes move better on the top, vinyl surface. Thank goodness this table had wooden benches, though - those concrete benches in Hiawassee scraped up my legs good fashioned, that is before I finally put a towel over it to protect my legs! And yes, we played dominoes and chess at the lake. I also read and did a little embroidery. I get bored just sitting there, so I have to have things to keep me interested! :o}

This was our view from our picnic table. As you can see, the lake is still down a bit - about 5 feet below full summer pool. But that's great compared to the last couple of summers during the drought. It has been down over 17 feet, and the boat ramp was even closed because the water didn't reach the end of it!

And this, well, this is my little boy with his new toy! I didn't know until he had actually bought this one that he'd never had, nor paddled around in an inflatable raft. He decided to buy one when we were in Hiawassee and he saw a couple of boys having a great time in the lake there. He wanted to go the next weekend after we got home, but I was coming down with the sinus infection and wasn't going anywhere. Finally we went this weekend, and I still have a bit of a cough, so I wouldn't get in the water with him, but at least he got to paddle around by himself. And he missed me! He said it would have been more fun with two people, so I've promised if the cough is gone this weekend, I'll paddle around with him - should be interesting!

We were at the lake from about 10:30 am until almost 7 pm, and had a wonderful time - in fact, weather permitting, we'll go again this weekend. I think I'll take either burgers or hot dogs this time - those folks who were grilling made me hungry!

Blessings friends! Becky