A Sweet Dream~Post-Mommy Blog: Vol # 1: Issue # 2

We all have dreams. Hopes, wishes and—if we are tremendously honest and—we have removed every ounce of our political correctness—we have…expectations. The P.C. I am referring to has nothing to do with politics, ethnicity or religion. This area of political correctness is far more powerful and has the opportunity to be even more damaging. This version of political correctness I refer to as “Mommy P.C.” The unspoken, unsaid wishes of Mom’s everywhere, which by the way, are as varied as the wonderful children on the planet.

Here’s an example of a “Mommy-P.C.” I struggle with. (Please note; the “Mommy-P.C.” changes, dependent on the age of your children and is never stationary nor to be considered true for all time! Whew!)

EXAMPLE A: “When you have children, if that is what you choose to do, I hope you will invite me to participate.”

Do you see the disclaimer? The empowerment granted to the child and—the angst of emotions I am feeling as I try desperately not to place my beliefs and my personal decisions onto my child?

What I mean to say is, “When you have children, as many as you can afford, (Ha-Ha I like that part!) I hope to be very important in their lives.” I have dreams! Gigi dreams! (Gigi is the self-selected Grandmother name I have adopted, albeit pre-Grandchildren.)

Back to the story of the stairs and dreams. One day as I was basking in the warmth and beauty of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge the peacefulness swept over me, as it always does. It is in this little cottage that I write, paint, create and ponder. The downstairs of the cottage, at this time, serves to room our guests, while the upstairs provides a sanctuary for me to be an artist—which I am so very grateful for.

As I was sitting one day I gazed upon the tiny wooden stairway that leads up to my studio, I found myself projecting forward in time as a daydream gently unfolded before me. I saw little children climbing up the stairs. My daydream sent me to a future point in time when the upstairs could no longer be relegated to just me, but also to little (visiting) children…grandchildren…my grandchildren! Opps! I said it!

As I traveled on the clouds of my charming little dream I envisioned one-piece jammies with rubberized feet, soft baby hair and giggles. Simultaneously, as I traveled forward in my daydream an aspect of my mind transcended backward in time to the past—where memories which held the scents and sounds of young children filling a home would always live.

It was during that daydream that the inspiration came to me to paint words on the stairs to be read as children went upstairs to have sweet dreams of their own. (Not to mention the perfect photo opportunity of the children sitting on the stairs next to the word of their choice.)

The staircase is wonderful in the cottage, the wood has aged and resonates with a character and history of richness that only time can bring. It’s memories are etched and dug into the knots and nail holes which we refuse to erase.

With stencils in hand, I began, completely forgetting every ounce of “Mommy-P.C.” I have learned through the years. As I painted the words; now—I—lay—me—down—to—sleep.

I just did it—I put my dream out there for all to see. I choose not to attach any expectations, but rather, I shall just relish in the joy it brings to know that I still have dreams, even…Post-Mommy!

The Sign Says…

We love signs, all kinds of signs…homemade, neon, vintage and new retro signs. Signs can say so much, evoke a mood, make a statement, add humor and in doing so add to the personality of a home or a place of business.

At a casual party or a get-together with friends, quick and easy signs create a theme and serve a function.

Often when the host and/or hostess are busy tending to guests a well placed sign can answer a simple question regarding what is being served or the kind of ingredients used, in that way, always tending to their guests.

“How do you like your coffee?” signs.

This vintage Kendall Motor Oil sign hangs in the kitchen of the House at Rooster Ridge.

The new retro Washroom sign points guests to the right direction when required!

We love the sentiment of the Gather sign (Sundance Catalog) while the subtle color-on-color positioning of the Eat subliminally makes a suggestion to those who enter the kitchen. (Wall color: Benjamin Moore-Raisin Torte)

This antique glass Exit sign was spotted lying on a shelf in a NYC store, purchased years ago—finally our vision of having it lit and installed has come to fruition with the renovation. A brass ring was forged to hold the glass to enable mounting to the wall. A small light fixture was in-wall mounted to create an authentic exit sign! Perhaps this should be illuminated as a cue for guests to depart…it’s late and so many dishes to do…

Guests in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge are greeted by a welcoming sign— Hotel.

The “boys” bathroom in The House at Rooster Ridge has an appropriate race theme in honor of our resident race car driver!

The pendant which serves as general lighting to the bathroom has a wonderful vintage look! (Magnolia Pendant in Historic Nickel – Barn Light Electric)

When in doubt at Rooster Ridge, we encourage you to Read the Signs! Add some signage to your own cottage and let the reading begin!

Hydrangea Harvest

The warm ivory blossoms of the Hydrangeas have begun to transform. Initially, the petals shyly tint themselves with a blush of pink. Each day, the sun-exposed top portion of the blossoms appear to become sunburned from the Autumn days, while the underside—hidden within the shade of each blooming globe, gently moves from pure-pearl-ivory into a hint of celery-green-ivory. This new expression creates a magnificent study of contrasting colors. This metamorphosis in the early Fall signals their readiness—the Hydrangeas are ripe and ready for harvest! It is time for them to come indoors for the winter and grace us with their loveliness in the months to come.

With garden hand clippers at the ready, the time for cutting has arrived. There is a window of opportunity which varies from year to year and is dependent on the temperature, the rainfall and the number of sunny days which continue to grow shorter and shorter. Cutting the flowers too early will not produce the desired effect—a colorful and lasting bloom for months to come. Paradoxically, if the blossoms begin to dry to a golden brown while still on the plant the opportunity to capture the color has been missed. It is interesting to think of Harvesting Hydrangeas as exercises of observation and in patience. Often,  these efforts proves challenging—as life continues to evolve—unfortunately, there is not a “pause button” that one is able to press while waiting for Hydrangea blossoms to become ripe. In certain years the harvest is missed, becoming a footnote in the passage of time and life events.

Incorporating twigs and sticks that have been gathered into a Hydrangea arrangement adds dimension and texture to the finished product—additionally they assist with creating a web-like matrix that prevents the top-heavy blooms from tumbling out. A full and impressive arrangement requires building the blooms one on top of another. The most effective system is creating a foundation by beginning along the sides of the container and working upwards. Adding a rock to the bottom of a light-weight vase will assist with the tendency of the top-heavy display to topple over.

Arranging the Hydrangeas in the location where they will reside is the most convenient way to visualize what you are hoping to achieve and the space you wish to occupy. The downside to that system is that the messiness of leaves and blossoms travels from room to room!

Hydrangea Harvesting can be messy and somewhat overwhelming! Expect tiny white and black spiders to emerge from their homes within the blooms as you work, usually they are amenable to relocation back to the outdoors with some assistance. Do not add water to the vase, as they Hydrangeas are ready to become a dry arrangement. For the first week you can anticipate a little bit of an odor of drying leaves which will disappear shortly.

The outcome of this lasting visual and natural presentation is worth the time spent on observation, patience, cutting, arranging and…cleaning up! These arrangements will dry in place and retain their color as they move into deeper golds and yellows as they dry over the next month. As nature would have it, around the same time the following year, the arrangements will begin to show their wear and tear, dusting will be difficult—the best approach is to dust them with a dry paint brush and gently vacuum—from a safe distance of an inch away.

A dried Hydrangea display provides a beautiful and bountiful natural expression of flowers. At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge the Hydrangea Harvest is always shared with family and friends as boxes are packed to overflowing and delivered complete with spiders! The Hydrangeas blossoms have served as centerpieces for parties, additions into wreaths, as ornaments on Christmas trees and placed in clear glass containers for candles.

During the Autumn and the Hydrangea Harvest we are once again reminded—Joy Surrounds!

Monet’s Walk

A new tradition has grown on the grounds of Rooster Ridge. Certain areas of plantings, walkways, gardens…and trees are honored with a celebratory pronouncement of a name! The photograph above is Monet’s Walk, a pathway which begins on the cobble stone drive of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge and leads to the backyard. The beginning of the walkway is graced with a beautiful arbor which serves as the support for several trumpet vines and honeysuckle vines. The flowers of  these vines grant us the pleasure of an occasional visit from a hummingbird!

This pathway is named Monet’s Walk due to the magnificent plantings of six hydrangea trees, three along each side. From a distance their clusters of globe shaped flowers create a Monet-like effect of being visible in a out-of-focus sort of way. It is a treat to walk through this path with it’s abundance of flowers and aroma! Bees visit daily to gather the sweet nectar.

During the late summer months we relish the opportunity to walk along Monet’s Walk and we also enjoy bunches of hydrangeas in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. As the summer begins to fade, the flowers begin their transformation from warm ivory white to pink—becoming deeper in color as the days become shorter.

Once fall is here, it is time for the Harvesting of the Hydrangeas! Bountiful flower arrangements are created, placed in vases without water and allowed to dry in place. The hydrangeas from Monet’s Walk have been transformed into party centerpieces, wreaths and flower arrangements. Once the harvest has arrived there will be more to come!

I hope you enjoyed this walk at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge—joy surrounds!