Cottage Life - Mid-August Musings

Hello Cottage Friends,

As I compose this post in front of an open window at 1:00 in the afternoon a gentle breeze ruffles the flowers outside while a hummingbird entertains me with his aerobic antics at the feeder on the porch. This may seem a ho-hum moment to you, but to me it's monumental. The unbelievable heat wave that lasted weeks and weeks and the later accompanying smoke from wildfires to the north have receded -- at least for now -- and I relish the cooler temperature and clean air. Yesterday and Monday I was so energized I did some much-needed deep cleaning of the cottage. 

Earlier in the season I planted four o'clock seed at the corner of the porch, and though it seemed to take forever for blooms to appear, it was well worth the wait. The multi-colored flowers are so pretty.

I'm a little stumped, though, that they don't seem to have a scent. The seed packet suggested planting them where their "heady fragrance" could be enjoyed. Hmm.

On the other hand, the fragrance from my garden phlox is intoxicating. Just walking nearby I can smell their perfume.

As you can see from the photo, the coneflower is fading. It did put on a grand display this year.

This morning I took flowers in a mason jar to a friend whose husband passed away in June. We sat at her table. She talked. I listened. She likes to talk to me because I've been where she is now. I get it. I know the pain of letting go of a life she loved and the search for a new normal. I know the triumph of two steps forward only to endure the sudden wave of grief that crashes into you, pulls you down and leaves you gasping for air. It comes out of nowhere. And all you can do is cry out to Jesus and surrender. He comes up under you like a giant life preserver and floats you to still water. Peace returns. You keep breathing. You keep living. And God gives you a reason to smile. But you have to open your eyes to it.

Look at this old truck loaded with flowers. 

It's on the main street coming into our town. In the fall the owners decorate it with pumpkins. They had to post the No Trespassing sign to keep tourists from getting inside the truck for photo ops. I suppose there's some liability not to mention privacy issues. Dennis did a watercolor rendition of this truck. There's an antique and classic car show in Enterprise, Oregon this weekend and this painting will be awarded to the winner of the survivor category. The show organizers commission a survivor painting from Dennis every year.

Wayfair did an article on buying the perfect chandelier for your home, and asked me to join six other bloggers by revealing a photo of our lantern and sharing some lighting insights.  It was a well-written article, with a nice variety of chandeliers. If you're interested, the link to the article is here.

My creative mojo took a dive during the summer heat. However, just before the record breaking heat spell ended, when I was dreaming of the beach and cool ocean breezes, I was inspired to create this collage. It's not quite finished -- I have to add a dowel and hanging cord -- but here it is.

This is the first time I've done a collage this large. It's approximately  17" long (including the fringe) and 12" wide. It will go in my shop when it's ready to hang. I'll now be moving on to fall themed items. Can you believe we're talking about that?

It's been really nice to catch up. Thanks for dropping in. 


  1. Happy your heat wave broke . . .
    And you are enjoying a cool breeze flowing through the window.

    Love the old truck filed with flowers . . . and your husbands original . . .
    I am going to share these pictures with a young friend
    who has been creating a cutting garden.
    She has been looking for an old truck for the entrance.

    I really liked your shared thoughts with a friend whose husband died . . .
    "Listening" is a grand gift . . . a blessing . . .
    You are a beautiful person Nancy . . .

  2. So many fun things going on in your cottage, Nancy, thank you for sharing. I am happy that the heat has decided to give you a break. We are just getting another wave of it here, which is ok, since I kind of miss the pool. Dennis' painting is just darling and I love your beach

  3. Goodness, that comment got away from me! I love our beach collage. You have a real artist's cottage over there. Creativity is brewing. AND...I just popped over and read your article. Excellent advice and a darling fixture. Hugs!

  4. Beautiful flowers! and what a cute idea for that old truck.

    Have a wonderful evening! xo

  5. It's so good to have the break in the heat and smoke from the forest fires. I love the new weaving and Dennis's paintings always touch my heart. Your flowers are wonderful. We didn't plant many annuals or a vegetable garden this year because of our travels. So, dear friend, I have to enjoy yours from afar!

  6. I'm sure your friend truly appreciated your listening to her. I also enjoyed reading the Wayfair article. I like the fixture you chose!

  7. Love your flowers Nancy! I love painting of the truck. Dennis is very talented, as are you, with your collage. It definitely has that beachy feel. Love you friend.

    1. Thank you, Sue. Your visits and comments always encourage me. Hugs.

  8. I'm so impressed~~loving the painting by Dennis, your gorgeous collage, and your recognition by Amazon. Stellar!

    I think being a good listener is a quality we all should strive for. I love that you did this for your friend. I didn't know you had suffered a similar loss, it breaks my heart. My husband is a cancer survivor and I often wondered what I'd do, God forbid the worst.

    Four o' fave. They are fussy grown from seed, but the best. My sinuses keep me from smelling anything! lol!

    jane x

  9. "And all you can do is cry out to Jesus and surrender. He comes up under you like a giant life preserver and floats you to still water."


  10. ♥ you have to open your eyes to it ♥
    so true .. i know this on a personal level.
    how lovely of you to bring your friend those
    pretties .. and how pretty your new light is!
    and your woven artistry. and your words.
    they speak deep. hugs.

  11. Cooler temperatures have finally arrived here, but the sky is still filled with smoke.

    I love the painting Dennis did of the old truck.

  12. How about sending some of your cooler temps down here to s.e. FL? :-)

    4 o'clocks are a favorite of mine. They do have a scent that you can smell late afternoon and into the night.

    What a lovely painting done by your husband.

    Your collage is great! It definitely feels beachy and the colors are so soothing and cooling.

    Enjoy the rest of the week ~ FlowerLady

  13. Nancy you are such a sweet angel to be there and just listen to your sweet friend while she is feeling such great loss. It has to be such a gift to her that you understand that devastating pain. Sometimes that is all it takes is someone that truly understands what that pain is like. Love love love that truck. Ahhhh just so much history and I am sure lots of stories and memories were made through the years in this pick up. Beautiful picture from Dennis. Truly captured that great old truck. Beautiful. Happy Thursday.

  14. Great post Nancy! Your flowers are lovely! That truck is great and so it's the painting by your husband! Very talented! Your collage is awesome!

  15. My daughter would love the painting your husband did, just her style. The collage is perfect. Love the colors, sailboat, perfection. Glad your heatwave broke. Still stifling here in Florida so I am heading North for a couple of weeks to visit my sisters in Ohio. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  16. Oh, how pretty! I love your new creation and your beautiful, beautiful flowers! Oh, it is always such a precious joy to visit with you here, sweet friend. It breaks my heart to read of the pain and heartache you have been through. God is now using that depth of hurt to minister to your friend who now walks where you once walked. You are a gift to so many!

  17. Dennis did a great job. Atticus is going to enter an art contest the topic is "Landscapes of Wisconsin" I will keep you posted on his work.

    God is so good to have put you in the place you are for your friend. I know a friend of mine recently was cheated on by her husband. They are a young couple. They have two young boys. We have been watching her boys every now and then for her. I have prayed with her and let her open up as wanted.

    Thank you for your post today.

  18. Your beautiful hanging gave me a great idea for using up some of my ice dye/tie dye bandanas but I don't know how to weave. I'll have to order a book from the library and see if I can figure it out.

    And, so nice of you to be there for your friend. I'm sure it means even more to her that you understand and can identify with her pain. Good deed done.

  19. Oh Nancy, that lantern!!!!!!!! And God is good; I love your description about how He comes to save us in our grief. When my parents both died two weeks apart, 30+ years ago now, I had a "hum" within me, beneath me that prevented me from losing my mind. I couldn't put my finger on what this amazing grace was until a friend said, "That's the peace of God."

    Your garden is spectacular. We've had a wet and even cool August, but I'm loving every quiet moment, every rabbit that comes and eats our weeds, every robin that has come to hatch her eggs in our tree. Enjoy every moment my friend.

  20. Your words remind me of Corithians were Paul speaks of us being comforted in our sorrow so that we can comfort others. So grateful your friend has you to walk through this with her.

    Your lamp is the cutest! Do you get gold finches on your coneflower? I leave mine in the garden long after they are spent because the birds love to eat the seed heads. So fun to watch them!

    1. I think of Paul's words in Corinthians often, Deanna. They're so true. I haven't seen gold finches on the coneflower, but I have seen them on some of my annual flowers. I think they're the prettiest birds in my garden.

  21. We are blessed when we have good friends and family to help us get through the rough times in our life. I LOVE your chandilier, anything with birds speaks to me. How do you get your seeds planted directly in the ground to actually grow. I see so many different flowers I would love to have in my garden. Seeds are great because they are budget friendly which I need. Can you you fertilize the soil first, how often do you water? I would love to learn. Your garden pictures inspire. Thank you.

    1. Hi Betty. You're a "no-reply" commenter, so I hope you come back to this page to see my answer to your question about growing flowers from seed. The back of the seed pak usually tells what kind of soil the flower likes. If it prefers fertile soil, then I make sure I've amended the soil with some compost before seeding. I make sure I don't plant the seeds to deep. Sometimes all they require is a light covering. Again, read your seed pak and if it doesn't specify you can always google the particular flower and how to plant it from seed. The main thing I want to stress is KEEP YOUR SOIL MOIST. This is huge. Don't let it dry out. Sometimes I water 2 or 3 times a day, making sure the soil is moist. Not soaking wet. Just moist. And I always use my sprinkling watering can so the seeds don't wash away. That's pretty much it. Once the seeds sprout I continue to water them with my watering can until they're well established. Then I can use my garden hose and water along with everything else. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. I hope you will try this in your own garden, and let me know how it works out. Thanks for the nice comment, and good luck!

  22. Love your musings for this month. Every time I see coneflowers I tell myself I must plant some in my garden! Love your lantern and your newest collage. Some lucky winner gets to have that painting of the is so wonderful. How nice that you can be there for someone who is hurting and be an example that life does go on.

  23. Hi Nancy, I love it when you post about your life, cottage and surrounds and when we get to see the art created by you and Dennis. You're a remarkable couple, seems that everything you touch turns beautiful. The words you shared about loosing a loved one, touched my heart. When you are married to someone you love and your lives and hearts are so entangled, it has got to leave a huge empty hole in your heart. Your words were uplifting and wise and I am sure they will be good medicine and an encouragement for your friend.
    You're an angel in disguise :)

  24. Listening is one of the kindest things you can do for someone who is sad, and when the listener is someone who has been through it and understands the waves of grief, someone who doesn't try to rush them out of mourning, then that's pure gold.

    Your collage is absolutely lovely! And your husband's painting of the truck is also. What a fun thing for the property owners to do!

    So glad the weather is blessing you with a new energy now!

  25. Nancy I just love that is so pretty and love the colors!!

  26. Hi Nancy, The flowers you gathered for your friend is beautiful and so very thoughtful. Being together to let her talk is the best comfort for her as she finds her new normal. When I lost both my parents close apart, life changed completely, but with God's grace and comfort, I was able to smile again. You are so very kind and helpful to your friend and I know God is blessing you greatly.
    Love the beautiful old truck in your town filled with flowers. Your hubby painted an amazing watercolor of it. So very talented!!
    Love your beautiful collage creation. Just gorgeous in the details and color.

    Thank you for stopping by and your kind comment and birthday wishes to my son. What a sweet gesture!! Have a beautiful weekend. Blessings, xo

    1. It does bless me to know that I can offer comfort to my friend. Thanks for your kind words.

  27. Your flowers are looking so gorgeous Nancy! Love love love your gardens. You have done so much with that plot of land that was flat and square(?).... I like to plant alot from seeds too.. is very gratifying seeing them peak out of the soil and become blooming flowers later in the summer. What you call 4 o'clocks is what I think I have. I planted them with some nastursiums and then forgot the name of them, but they look like what you have. The packet showed so many colors, but mine are mostly white with a few pinkish striped ones.. but they are finally starting to bloom! So hot here.. we water once a day, sometimes twice still. Love your new collage and the colors.. and you were so sweet to go talk to your friend and take her flowers. What a wonderful thing to do. Oh.. and love that old truck and your husband's painting of it! So much to discuss. I've been remiss with posting comments on my favorite blogs... I put a star by them meaning I want to go back and respond, and then life has gotten in the way with this eclipse thing in town. And planning for company that ended up not coming! I hope things get back to normal pretty soon.. but then, what IS normal? So far... normal is not a word I am familiar with in my life these days. Have a great week! Marilyn

  28. So, so happy you flew way down the bottom of the world to visit my little place, Nancy because that means I have happened upon your gorgeous place. Oh my, what gorgeousness to behold in this post, indeed in your blog. Love that rusty old truck overflowing with blossom prettiness. How I would love one of these old relics resting at my place somewhere. Your collage is so very clever, imaginative and beautiful. It is so original and so very whimsical. Flowers are always the perfect gift to give when visiting. How very sweet of you to listen to your friend as she grapples with life without her husband. I am sorry that you have travelled down a similar path to your friend. How wonderful that Jesus is your constant companion. I am going to have the best time visiting your place each time and drink in the beauty within. It is lovely to meet you, Nancy.


Your comments bring me joy! Thanks for stopping by.