Saturday, September 20, 2014

Celebrating Fall.... A Special List

Celebrating Fall.... a Special List

It was a day peculiar to this piece of the planet,
when larks rose on long thin strings of singing
and the air shifted with the shimmer of actual angels.
Greenness entered the body. The grasses
shivered with presences, and sunlight
stayed like a halo on hair and heather and hills.
Walking into town, I saw, in a radiant raincoat,
the woman from the fish-shop. 'What a day it is!'
cried I, like a sunstruck madman.
And what did she have to say for it?
Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:
'We'll pay for it, we'll pay for it, we'll pay for it!'
by Alastair Reid

The photograph and poem above might give you a clue where The Songwriter and I are.  
Needless to say, I am in my favorite land at present. 
 More later.
For now…. here’s a few treats for an early fall.  

1.  Outlander Knitting
For those people who have always questioned my tendency to head to Scotland whenever I go on holiday... (“What about Italy??  Wouldn’t you prefer a more tropical clime?”)... I have only to point to the new television production of the book, Outlander.  An endless stream of scenes from the Scottish Highlands, romantic and achingly atmospheric, I dare anyone not to be seduced by their beauty.  As I lover of Scotland, I haven’t missed an episode.  But there is another reason I have become a devoted viewer.  And yes, I am well aware of the remarkable handsomeness of the show’s male lead, but he is only a distraction to the real temptation of this eye-catching show.  I am talking here about the knitting.  Shawls and scarves, sweaters and capes - enough to make a knitter positively swoon.  Just take a gander at the fabulous cowl worn by the show’s star  in the photo above.  Sigh.
The knitting community is nothing if not resourceful and new patterns for these Outlander creations flood the internet after the airing of each new episode.
See HERE.  And HERE.  And HERE’S the cowl that I made.

And of course, here’s my favourite model in two of my latest finished projects.
 I am wearing these in the Highlands right now!
(I tried to make him smile, but he took this modeling job very seriously.)

2.  The Bartering System
As someone who loves to bake but is reluctant to partake of every concoction in its entirety lest I become rounder than tall, I have recently entered into the most satisfying deal ever.  One of my favourite neighbours raises not only three adorable children, but a mini herd of mini goats, a rabbit, two cats, and a flock of designer chickens that seem hand-painted by angels; I see designs for rooms and sweaters in their feathers each time I visit.  Well, here’s the thing.  Even with a family of five, my friend was gathering far more eggs than she could use each and every week.  So.  We have joined together in an old-fashioned arrangement known through the ages as the bartering system.  I bake something fabulous for her family, and in return receive a large basket full of fresh eggs.  All colours, all sizes, as befitting a flock of feathered individuals rather than a bunch of poor systemized, programmed, industrialized fowl.  These eggs have transformed my breakfast into a tasty treat I look forward to every morning.  Plus, I get to wave my wooden spoons over desserts both delicious and ambitious.  A win-win for everyone!  Highly recommended if you have the right neighbours.  That’s the adorable middle child, Dahlia, pictured above. 

 3.  Kitchen Tiles
I think it started with the kitchen so prominently featured in the 2003 film, Something’s Gotta Give.  A somewhat beachy kitchen, with white cabinets, white subway tiles, black countertops and dark wooden floors.  Almost instantaneously it seemed, that kitchen was absolutely everywhere.  It’s undeniably beautiful, but so sadly ubiquitous now.  With each new copy it seems more and more unoriginal and bland; it could be anyone’s kitchen.  I don’t know about you, but I am longing for colour and individuality in design these days.  Even wild eccentricity, if it accurately represents the personality of the owner.  To that end.... these tiles by Welbeck have me entranced.  The whole line sends sparks through my mind.  Can’t you just imagine the kitchen these could inspire?
It would definitely require an Aga.
Find them HERE.

4.  Dog TeePees
Edward loves to hop up in our bedroom windowseat to view the back garden at his leisure, and to nap. Apple has a special spot in the family room just behind a painted monkey book stand and just over a floor vent for the air-conditioner.  Both of them can also occasionally be found snoozing together underneath the piano, a hiding place  where they are guaranteed privacy as well as an excellent view of the front door.  Every dog loves a special spot to call his on.  Which brings me to the photo above.
Find it HERE.

5.  Two New Books for Fall
With fashion weeks in New York and London just past, 
 two books sound like so much fun.
I’ll Drink to That 
by Betty Halbreich
If you happened to see the delightful little bonbon of a film, Scatter My Ashes at Berdorf’s, you’ll easily remember Betty Halbreich.  She stole the movie away from everyone else, including personalities as gilded as Lagerfeld and Armani.  A personal shopper at Berdorf-Goodman department store for years, Betty has stories to tell, all with a snooty, imperious tone than somehow manages to charm rather than repel.   She’s now written a book that’s sure to be an entertaining romp of a read.  
Find it HERE.
and here’s a bit of Betty from the film.....

Vivienne Westwood
by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly
One of the most original and iconoclastic designers writes her autobiography.
This one has to be a good time.
Find it HERE.
6. Artistry and Kindness
I’m not particularly sure how I came to be so fortunate, but I’m convinced I have the best readers in the entire world.  Whenever I hear about the horrors of the internet, I don’t say much, for my experience through this blog has been nothing short of lovely.  Case in point:  the charming Tish Jett of the blog Femme d'Un Certain Age … posted a photograph of Edward and me a few weeks ago along with the words, “somebody should paint this!”.  A few days later, I received a letter from the gorgeous artist, Helen Tilston, who informed me she had done precisely that.  Whilst on holiday in Ireland, she placed her easel beside the sea  and painted the image of Edward and me.  It arrived this week, along with two special pebbles from the very same Irish shore on which the painting was created.  What can I say to such generosity?  A mere Thank You seems quite anemic to me.  Needless to say, I shall treasure this forever.
Visit Helen and see more of her work, HERE

Helen painting Edward by the sea in Ireland.
Love this!
And before I go,
 a bit of Outlander for you to enjoy....

I'll be in touch soon! xoxox,


  1. Can't wait to hear about it. And, I am enjoying Outlander. Just finished watching An Honorable Woman on the Sundance Channel. It was wonderful too.

  2. Working backwards, I adore the painting Helen created of you and Edward, she is so very talented! Your book recommendations are on my list as I love biographies and autobiographies; memoirs as well! If the doggie teepee isn't just THE cutest thing ever! I think Miss Belle would even like it! Bartering for eggs, a grand idea! Perfect for both of your families!

    Now to the first. I am not able to view Outlander with my limited channel availability, I love hearing from my fellow blog friends all about it and AM reading the series. How can a girl order an infinity scarf....I do believe it is one of your callings Pamela!? That lovely cobalt blue is gorgeous and looks cozy beyond!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. To be in Scotland at such an historic moment. You must be dizzy.

  4. Enjoy Scotland,I had not heard about Outlander, I must look it up, thanks for the info.
    A lot of bartering goes on here in Greece, olives, tomatoes exchanged artichokes and aubergines, even as payment for odd jobs! It's wonderful isn't it!
    The painting is beautiful, Helen is very talented, you are lucky.

  5. Your words are inspiring me to love Scotland too. I love the poem you posted here "We will pay. We will pay", a dark response indeed.
    How kind of the artist to send you the portrait of you and Edward.
    Long live barter, my husband and I have done that too.

  6. I have just discovered your blog! I was in tears when I heard that Scotland did not vote for independence. I have been moping around since. Of course I love the show Outlander!!! Plus the fabrics and knitting, the beautiful country side. I wish I could visit.

  7. I knew that was Helen's work as soon as I saw it! She is as generous of heart and spirit as she is talented! Enjoy your time at your favorite must be quite electric to be there right now...

  8. I visited Scotland for the first time two weeks ago this month and cannot wait to go back! There is so much about that country that I find alluring and beautiful! I am looking for a way to watch Outlander, it sounds amazing.

  9. Sadly the 'we'll pay for it' attitude exists here too. When our snowdrops came very early one year and I remarked to a lady passing how beautiful they were, she said the same!
    Glorious photographs, lovely words - hope the Scottish weather is being kind to you.

  10. Hello Pamela,
    I love this post and all the wonderful tartans and images. I am in very good company.
    I could not resist the suggestion made by Tish Jett and I have always loved this image of you and dear Edward. Thank you for welcoming the painting into your home.
    Have a glorious time in Scotland.

    Helen xx

  11. Have a wonderful time in Scotland - were you there for the big vote? My Scottish brother-in-law was quite relieved.

  12. Ha, you are in Scotland, hope you had a wonderful time, the weather has been spectacular here this year. I'm rather fed up we can't watch "Outlander" though!!!


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