Friday, May 13, 2011

For The Most Luscious Month - A List and A Giveaway - Extended!

Due to blogger's unfortunate crash yesterday, this post lost quite a few comments. So I am extending the giveaway till Sunday night, the 15th, at midnight. If your comment disappeared, as many did, do re-enter here!

A List For The Most Luscious Month

“The fair maid who, the first of May
Goes to the fields at break of day
And washes the dew from the hawthorn tree
Will ever after handsome be.”
Mother Goose

The cold winds have blown away to other corners of the earth, and though he is searching, summer’s heat has not yet found us. The maple trees, once austere and so dreadfully bare, are now wearing fancy frocks of baby green, and the roses are simply a miracle. It is May, that most luscious month of the twelve.
A most fortunate girl, as you can see from that photo above, I spent the first week of May writing and dreaming the hours away in the Low Country, that mysterious part of South Carolina where the waters hold hands with the land.
I took long rides and filled the basket on my bike with oyster shells - God’s own jewelry - to line a new flower bed and remind me of the marshes when I’m far, far away.
I followed a sandy trail through a maritime forest where baby frogs dashed across my path like tiny commuters late for work on a Monday morning.
I slept with white gardenias beside my bed and ate fresh raspberries for lunch.
And I also came up with a few favourite things just for this most delicious of months.
I hope you enjoy this Maytime list!


1. The Wedding
What can I say? I’m a sucker for a wedding, royal or otherwise. Even though being away in Los Angeles on the big day meant I had to rise at two am to witness the festivities in real time, you can bet your boots I did precisely that.
I loved the trees in the Abbey, loved the Sarah Burton dress!
Loved the little frowning flower girl.
Loved the Queen in lemon yellow.
Loved the music.
And especially loved the adoring looks shared by the bride and groom.
Ah, true love.
May they have many, many years of happiness together.
The London Times captured my absolute favourite photo of the day, above.


2. Embroidered Book Covers
With the increasing, and sometimes worrying, popularity of ebooks, I am thrilled to see so many old classics being reintroduced these days, brand new editions with creative and imaginative covers to entice a new reader and delight an old one. In February, I picked up several of these redressed classics at Hatchard’s, that peerless old bookshop on Picadilly in London. I suppose I have prattled on here enough about the incomparable experience of holding a fat, gorgeous book in one’s hands - catching a whiff of that deliciously booky scent as you turn crisp pages on a porch by the sea, or maybe under the covers at midnight. Despite the undeniable convenience of the computerized copy, (an on a plane, they really are convenient) to me, there’s still nothing quite like a real book. And all these new editions, from White’s Books, The Folio Society or Penquin Classics, are a joy to behold.
Just take a look at these charming new covers embroidered by Jillian Tamaki.
Don’t they make you want to add to your library??
See more HERE.


3. Treehouses
When we first saw our cottage years ago, the back garden was a well manicured green. There were fairly large trees, but nothing like the forest we have around us now. Those trees grew! Poplars and maples, hemlocks and oaks - they stand all round our cottage now like protective sentinels, and we adore them. So what if a carpet of tidy grass is out of the question now. We much prefer dwelling beneath these magical creatures of green. The other day, as I was sitting in their shadows with my morning coffee and newspaper, I began to look up into their leafy arms and think..... wouldn’t it be the most wonderful treat to have my builder come right over and put a treehouse up there?
My mind was positively racing with ideas!!
What about the one pictured above?
I wonder what The Songwriter will think?
You can find it and more, HERE.
It must be an inspired idea, because I came across this splendid treehouse last week during a forest bike ride in South Carolina.
That's me at the tippy top.
I felt right at home up there.


4. Upstairs Downstairs
Okay, yes I know I’m a sucker for British television. I love Jean and Lionel in As Time Goes By - love their pink entry hall, the vase in the sitting room always filled with white lilies, and Lionel’s affinity for custard tarts. I still laugh at Fawlty Towers (the rat episode remains my favourite) and I’m wild for Doc Martin. Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Morse and Poirot. I love them all. So it was no surprise that I became smitten with the new Upstairs, Downstairs from the very first frame. But it was the divine Eileen Atkins as the deliciously eccentric Maud who really won my heart. As the mother of Lord Holland, she arrives from India with both her purple-turbaned secretary and her rather irascible pet monkey and immediately commandeers the study on the main floor for her own room. (The set decoration of this particular room is my idea of complete and utter heaven!) Miss Atkins is a supreme delight every single time she’s on screen.
I mean one has to love a character who says of her pet monkey,
”Every morning, as soon as he sees me open my eyes, he applauds me.
I can’t tell you how that boosts one’s confidence.”

If you missed Upstairs, Downstairs on television, you can pick up a copy HERE.


5. The Absolute Perfect Sun Hat
Sun hats, like sunscreen, are a necessary accoutrement for someone of my particular complexion. I can get sunburned walking to the mailbox. A few weeks ago I received a most intriguing letter from Andrea of The French Basketeer requesting my mailing address, and the day before I was to leave for my recent trip to California, a large, mysterious box arrived on my front porch. Edward and Apple, who are always the first in the household to greet the UPS man, sat patiently by my side as I opened it. I pulled back the wrapping and there, resting inside, was the most gorgeous sun hat I’d ever seen. Pure fantasy! That’s it in the photo above. I wore it during my stay in the South Carolina marshlands last week and I can empirically state, it is completely perfect! Andrea also sent me one of her marvelous market baskets and, as an extra treat, a couple of fabulous linen dish towels embroidered TS, for The Songwriter (!) which, I am thrilled to report, he is putting to good use! Of course Edward and Apple thought the best part of the entire treasure was the bag of, apparently delicious, dog treats! Andrea’s kindness and generosity were so appreciated here at The House of Edward and I shall be wearing this fabulous hat every single time I leave the house this summer!
Do pay a visit to The French Basketeer, HERE!
And visit the blog, HERE.


6. A Tiny Cottage of Stone
For the past several months our city has been installing sidewalks on our little street. They were especially considerate of our large stone mailbox and several old trees that we didn’t want disturbed, and they even created a new flower bed for me by taking the sidewalk around the mailbox. As I always love a new place to create, this flower bed has been so much fun to plan. I’d seen one of these charming stone houses at a garden show and knew it would be just the thing for this new bed. I’ve planted a miniature forest around it and added some little sheep for springtime. I plan to add a stream of blue stones and The Songwriter is working on a tiny bridge. I'll place polar bears here in January, leprechans in March, black cats at Halloween, and maybe even a wee Santa and his reindeer when December rolls around. Should be a treat for the walkers to enjoy, don’t you think?
You can order your own magical miniature cottage HERE.
There are many wonderful styles.
Mine is the Scottish Rose which, given my love of Scotland, I simply could not resist!


7. She Walks in Beauty
It is there in that stare. Uncompromising, enigmatic, it sears the camera lens with a rare authenticity. Even in her earliest photographs, it is clear that Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis owned an inner life of great depth. No doubt, it was that inner life that enabled her to keep hold of her soul during her most amazing time here on earth, a time filled both with remarkable joy and shattering loss. It is no surprise to learn she was a great lover of poetry. Poetry speaks the often inarticulate language of the human soul. On the universal journey that we all must travel, poetry provides us with a shiny key to help unlock our innermost selves. We commit favourite lines to memory as a secret gift to hold tight in our hearts. They become part of our narrative, rising to the surface when we need them most, giving us comfort, enhancing our joy, reminding us of beauty. They help us understand.

So great was Jacqueline’s love of poetry, she requested poems from her two children at all the important holidays. According to her daughter, Caroline, the children were to select poems that they liked and copy them down as presents to her. Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day. Could there possibly be a better gift? Imagine the collection she had once those two children were grown. Now Caroline has returned the favour to us all, by compiling a perfectly lovely bouquet of poems from some of the world’s greatest poets in She Walks In Beauty, A Woman’s Journey Through Poems. It is a thoroughly beautiful book, filled to overflowing with exquisite words about women... their loves, their work - beauty and friendship, silence and death, motherhood, aging and marriage. I have had it by my bed now for almost a month, and cannot seem to stop myself from saying... “just one more before I turn out the light”.

I highly recommend this book to to all of you, so much so that I’m giving away a copy!
You know the drill, just leave a comment on this post and you are entered.
Followers of the blog are always entered twice, so become one if you’re not already! We’ll do the drawing at midnight on lucky Friday the Thirteenth, so be sure to get your name in the hat before then.

I’ll close this Maytime list with one of my favourite poems ever, which, I am happy to say, just happens to be included in this gorgeous collection.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and be,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice -
through the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations -
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do -
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Congratulations to Linda!
She's the winner of the book!


  1. I love the little cottage with the sheep. My sister made a little fairy village on the side of her house.

  2. Now that is a beautiful post...ah the month of May!

  3. Ahhh, Pamela, such a list...but I do not think a single item can surpass the sublime nature of that utterly perfect sunhat!

  4. I have been having difficulty signing up to be in Edward's pack.
    Would Edward still include me?
    I love that treehouse with the turret.

    I have always turned to poetry when my life is happy and/or sad. It helps me to connect with other people, espcially Authors that are no longer with us. I feel as if I am awakening their spirit.

  5. Oh Pamela,
    I must go and get me some dew from the Hawthorn tree. I really need it !!!!
    What a wonderful treehouse. Perhaps we need one now that we have a grandson.
    Eileen Atkins was fantastic in Upstairs, Downstairs..... and, by the way, she went to my school ! I thought that you would like to know that they have just finished the next series, so you will have that to look forward to as well as the new seies of Downton Abbey. I still watch re-runs of the old version of Upstairs, Downstairs !!
    ....fresh off the press.....William and Catherine have just left on their honeymoon to, they think, The Seychelles !
    Well, I'm off to find a Hawthorn Tree !! XXXX

  6. A beautiful post thankyou. I love those embroidered Penguin books and quite agree nothing will ever replace a real, paper book!

  7. Lovely, lovely post. I envy you the sunhat, and the cottage is whimsy-on-a-stick fabulous.

  8. The poem breaks my heart. It is my very own.

  9. Oh, I enjoyed your post today! Sitting at the computer the door to the deck is wide open and I can see the lushness of the first strong greens, the azaleas in full bloom and the lilacs.
    It is the most beautiful month in my garden too, all still crisp and fresh, not scorched by summer's heat!
    Reading about the embroidered book covers by Penguin Classics, I right away thought of the price point and learned through reading in the link you provided about the new technic to print these covers. I agree these one of a kind would be very expensive. but I guess I true book lover like you and I would not shy away from spending some money on such a book! It's amazing and beautifully done!
    I guess our friend Lisa could stitch away her own cover...

  10. What a lovely list for May. I especially enjoyed the first photo which is poetry itself.

  11. The wonders of May, Pamela....What a wonderful book, I must read it...xv

  12. Wonderful posting -- and I adore your new sun hat! I am still shocked at how many people comment when I wear a hat -- even on those frying-hot days! Seems to me that having a hat (or ten) would be a sensible course of action in these hotter-than-hades days ahead!

    For the BEST summer viewing:

    a)Rosemary & Thyme -- a BBC series starring a pair of gals who are garden designers who also solve mysteries too! Every episode is a gem -- and the wonderful gardens and homes in each episode are stars in themselves!

    b)Tommy & Tuppence -- set in the Roaring 20s in London -- another series of wonderful mysteries -- and fabulous clothes (especially the hats!)

  13. lovely post as usual. Adore the tree house and your BIG hat. have a happy Spring and hugs to Edward.

  14. This post is chocked full of wonderful things and interesting finds...not to mention the lovely words you've written. I've just returned from the Carolina's, too! Returned reluctantly, I should say. It's so pretty there. So relaxing.
    Please add my name to your giveaway list. And of course, I'm already a follower.

  15. ooooo.... the cottage is too cute! I was struck by the early photo of J. O, how elegant - and regal - she was then and always. And thanks for the Mary Oliver poem, I;'m not sure I have ever read one of her poems that I didn't want to read over and over.... maybe its time to buy some of her books at last!

  16. Delightful post - I kept getting lost following the links! The idea of that wee cottage is perfect - I currently am planning a memorial labyrinth; it would be wonderful to include a small version of Silverwalk. Inspiring as always! The book of poems? Can't wait :).

  17. An exquisite list, from top to bottom!

    Beginning with the British Royals and ending with American Royalty, this list shines regally.

    I'm glad you had such a lovely holiday, your new hat making it even more so!

  18. Pamela, I adore your lists!! Each and every one! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed Maud in Upstairs Downtairs. If you ever need a quick 'Maud fix'. Go here... I love this scene!

    Your look wonderful in your new hat...Andrea knows you well!!

    As for your giveaway...perfect...I may not be able to wait until the prize draw :)

    Best wishes Pamela
    Jeanne xxx

  19. My blog is about poetry and I love that poem.
    Best wishes

  20. I've been living that poem for a little while now. I'd love to read that book. Where in the low country did you go? Fripp Island is my favorite place in SC. I'll be going there in two weeks and can't wait!

  21. It is indeed the Queen of Months. A beautiful celebration, Pamela.
    I love your cottage. Since we have just booked a few days on the Isle of Skye in the summer, it makes me think of a wee thatched house there.

  22. Fine lists for May! Love the mysterious effect of the first photo, the tree house and of course the most talked about wedding. May is definitely warm and sunny all along. buy aion accounts

  23. I loved Jacki. that book is on my wish list.
    Beautiful post. I love where you live.

    Hugs to Edward

  24. Hello pamela

    Enjoyed reading your post. I love your May list and see so many items I will be checking into.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Tracy :)

  25. If only I could stay here all day and let your writing wash over me, and visit the people you have mentioned!!! And the book of poems sounds wonderful.

    I had a Royal Wedding tea party the day of their wedding and friends dressed up and we all watched it on TV ~ recorded from the middle of the night. It was quite delightful! Wrote about it on my blog if you want to see the fun...

    I love your writing Pamela.
    ~ Violet

  26. I love the little cottage and the sheep; your neighbors are in for a treat as they walk by. I would smile each time I walked by!

    Also, loved the list..could not agree more about the wedding and the tree houses.

    Thank you for the information about the little cottages.

    Enjoy your day.

  27. South Riding on PBS - Are you watching it? Wonderful. I am inspired to made a garden scene with animals. Thanks for the idea.

  28. What a dreamy and luscious place to be! Terrific list. My daughter and I loved the royal wedding footage too and that photo is just so happy – thanks for sharing it. We built a tree house in our backyard ourselves and love it. Go for it! I saw the original Upstairs Downstairs and we own the Fawlty Towers collection – “duck is off” can still set crack me up. I was so sad when Poirot and Morse ended. My work in progress is a novel about an American teenager who goes to England for a year. I have hat envy – you look very glam in it.

  29. Lovely. I feel the same about everything on your luscious list. I have a couple of books on treehouses - can't resist, and the British ones are always the most inspiring. Hope to build, ahem - have built - one for my grandson some day when we can afford the extravagance. I have a wee storybook style toad house in our mountain garden. There's something about miniature houses.

  30. I love coming by your blog cos it's so beautiful. And wasn't the wedding lovely? I'm so glad I got up to see it in real time, and I can't wait for their visit to Canada!

    I hadn't seen that photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy before, thanks for posting it.

  31. How I look forward to your lists...they're the perfect way to 'feel' a month, and this one is no exception!
    It was so thoughtful of Andrea to put dog treats in with your hat, bloggers are so looks very pretty & proper on you too!
    The poem is lovely...and thank you for the book offering, it sounds wonderful.
    xo J~

  32. I love your blog, because it's dreamy!

  33. Beautiful post Pamela, - beautiful links and all for the luscious month that is slowly creeping our way.

  34. So Beautiful as usual. We share alot of favorites..are you watching the new Masterpiece “South Reading” really good. Love Doc Martin...Would love that Jacquie book...cheers to you lovely Pamela...big fat hug to Edward.

  35. Still cold and rainy in the North of Spain. Wonderful post! I love the embroidered books... and anything else.

  36. Such a wonderful post and such a splendid poem at the end. It tugged at my heart.

  37. Hmm, what did I say? Luscious and lovely. I also fantasize about treehouses and have a couple of books about them - would love to have one for my young grandson. The British ones seem to be the most inspired. I have a storybook style toad house in my garden which I love. There's something about miniature cottages, isn't there? What better way to remind us of the beauty around us than in a book of poetry?

  38. Absolutely lovely post! Seems like every warmer May day I think the same word, "lush" and June will be full blown blousy and August...August will be more, yet less, as the earth begins her last gasp before the deep sleep. I adore the seasons and am fortunate to live where each is experienced in fullness.
    Love the sheep by the thatched cottage; my sheep say "Ewe did well."

  39. Lovely post. I too am addicted to English TV programs!

  40. Correcting "English" TV programs to British TV programs. It's been a long day!!

  41. Pamela,
    It's very late here in the Pacific Northwest...early there where you are. I must get the book by C.K. for myself and it would make a lovely gift! Reading your blog is a treat for me as you touch on so many deep seated thoughts I can relate to. I wonder what you have in store for June?

  42. Wonderful post and a lovely poem at the end. Thank you Pamela.

  43. Since first reading your wonderful post, I have been humming "it's May, it's May, the lusty month of May" from Lerner and Lowe's "Camelot". Ah, the power of well penned suggestions.

    I just adore Eileen Atkin's in Upstairs Downstairs - read somewhere that she and Jean Marsh were the producers or writers on the original and here they get to act together.

  44. My post disappeared with all that fuss in Blogger! I was saying that it is stille rainy ando cold in the north of Spain. We are waiting for teh spring, but it hasn't come yet!

  45. So many wonderful links that led me on and many beautiful words, Pamela. Thank you for a lovely post.

  46. Yup, my comment went missing...several of mine came back but not all...silly blogger!

    Anyway, I don't know that I can repeat the brilliance of my initial comment ;) but I know it was about how much I love your lists...and also that the poetry book sounds wonderful...thank you for offering it, it would be a special addition to our library.
    Have a lovely weekend...
    xo J~

  47. Hi Terry, I found a link to your blog on another blogging friend's blog.
    I have always loved things to do with the Kennedys.
    The poetry book looks absolutely gorgeous. It will be a real treasure for someone.
    I have become a follower.
    Regards from Western Canada,

  48. Oh Pamela this is a most beautiful Giveaway! I adore seeing you in the sunhat from Andrea, my friend of The French Basketeer! Mine is in black with the stripes.

    Oh and I have a New Giveaway from Serena and Lily you will love!

    Art by Karena

  49. How utterly delightful, Pamela!
    1. I have to say that I enjoyed the wedding of Wills and Kate far more than that of Charles and Diana, which surprised me. What struck me was the understated elegance of Kate's style, and how their interactions, which seemed youthful and unpretentious, contrasted so greatly with the pomp and circumstance of the wedding itself. Kate almost seemed to be biting the inside of her cheeks to keep from laughing amidst all the seriousness during the vow . I just loved that. The photo you selected is perfect, as if the "real" love birds could finally come out and sing to their hearts' content!
    2. Funny. I just watched Gwyneth Paltrow's version of Emma the other evening. It's so adorable. I love the embroidered covers and hadn't seen them until your post.
    3. Yay for you and your unbridled enthusiasm for whimsical tree houses. I recently heard a story on NPR about a young woman who rented a tree house from the daughters of the larger home's owners. She paid $100 a month, which kept her living expenses way down and allowed her to pay down college debt. Isn't that fantastic? And the children learned some valuable business lessons about being landlords.
    4. Looks like I'm about to acquire a new TV addiction. Looking forward to the new Upstairs Downstairs!
    5. You look positively grand in your new hat. I love it!
    6. I must have a tiny cottage of stone now for my peace garden (a shade garden along the east side of our house). Am I seeing the oyster shells you picked for the fence? I couldn't find the houses on the link, but I'll try again.
    7. For years, I could not appreciate poetry. I was trying too hard to understand it with my head. It was by accident I read a Mary Oliver poem during a hard time, and I suddenly experienced her words in my heart. There's been no turning back since. On my poetry appreciation journey, I borrowed from the library a CD of favorite Kennedy poems, and fell madly in love hearing the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, which I'd heard many times, but for some reasons suddenly truly appreciated the cadence. I'm thrilled that Caroline Kennedy has assembled this lovely collection.

    Just curious: Have you read any of David Whyte's poetry?

    So wonderful to have a moment to pay a visit to your blog, Pamela!

  50. So let's try this AGAIN....blogger's failing have worn everyone OUT!! I loved this post and thank you for hosting this giveaway. Please count me IN!!

  51. She walks in beauty.... YES, please!

  52. Better late than never, I would love to read some great poetry. Love your blog .... so poetic!

  53. Oh bugger that Bloger! I wrote it in my dropped post and it's worth repeating ~ your blog is dreamy!

  54. The blogger melt down caused troubles!

    I'd love to be entered for this and I love your selections for the month

  55. Thank you!! What an amazing surprise in the middle of a deadline-filled working week, with May slipping past outside my office window. I will savour, and slow down, and reconnect, with this book.

  56. Dear Pamela, my favourite period drama is The Duchess of Duke Street. I have both series on DVD, they're currently on loan to a fellow blogger, when she's finished would you like me to post them to you?

    It's wonderful stuff and I think you'll love it xx

  57. PS. Here's some info


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