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Friday, July 18, 2014

Europe: Simply Irresistible!

Venetian Lagoon

As you know, we're moving to France very soon,  Lord willing, and although summer here on the farm is idyllic, I'm sort of chomping at the bit. I keep thinking of all those places in France that I could be visiting.  And all of those places in Europe that will suddenly be practically next door! So thank you, Anita,for inviting us on another wonderful European holiday! Hop on over to her lovely blog and join us on a tour of Irresistible Europe!

France is my favorite European country, but Italy is right up there, too.  It was the first place I ever visited in Europe, and it simply blew me away. I was an art teacher at the time, and my colleague and I took a group of students on a tour called Belle Italia.

We arrived in Venice right in the middle of Carnevale!  It has been my favorite Italian city ever since.

the approach to Venice in a water taxi

my friend Betsy  and I immediately got our faces painted.  Hey, it was the '90s!

I cannot describe the thrill of my first gondola ride!

Years later I returned to Venice with my husband, and I must say, the gondola ride is still just as thrilling!  And more romantic!

I can't wait to return to this magical city once we are living in France.  I checked the cost of fights from Orly and we can fly round trip for around 70 euros!

Europe, here we come!

santa maria della salute

Off to visit the rest of Europe on Anita's blog party.   Bon Voyage!

p.s. You can follow me on Bloglovin' or by email.  And I promise to talk more about France from now on!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My 100th post…The Magazine Shoot and Everafter Farm for sale!

I'm really anxious to start writing about our new life in France, but before I do that, I want to show you the pix that Mark Lohman took of our house for FiFi O'Neill's new publication, Prairie Style

I showed you this cover in my last post, but I had not seen the magazine yet.  Now I have it, and from what I hear, so do a lot of you.  Isn't it a gorgeous mag?  I am thrilled to be a part of it, and to have had such a fun experience working with Fifi and Mark.  They are true professionals, but so laid back and FUNNY!  They had us laughing all day!  But we were also working…hard.  Running back and forth from the barn for props, moving furniture, cleaning behind things that I didn't even know could be moved, trying to avoid cables and tripods, and finding a lost dust bunny covered slipper!! Hey, I was just back from 3 weeks in France the day before!  Who had time to clean?

Fifi arrived with buckets filled with the most beautiful flowers.  I had my own flowers here, but they were sad by comparison.

Watching Fifi work with the flowers was an education in itself.  She can make a beautiful arrangement quicker than I can trip over the cat.

After Fifi arranges the still life on the tea table, Mark photographs it

Mark Lohman
and this is what it looks like

Mark Lohman
And from a distance

Mark Lohman
Behind the sofa

Mark Lohman
If you notice, the mantle is styled differently in this photo.  Fifi gathered all my little farm animals from the staircase in the hallway and "pastured" them on either side of a painting I had done years ago.

Mark Lohman
I just love the way this looks, and have left them right there. Thanks, Fifi!

Mark Lohman

This is the Dining Room that appears on the cover.  They photoshopped the word "Alleluia" off the front of the fireplace...

Mark Lohman

and Fifi swapped the two chairs.  Again, I liked her styling better, and have kept the checked chair in that spot.

Mark Lohman
it's kind of fun to see my stuff through Fifi's eyes. [ But where did I have that tarnished silver hidden?]

Mark Lohman

The guest room...

Mark Lohman

…used to be Mutti's room.  She would have loved the pink roses.

Mark Lohman

and I loved the red and purple hydrangeas

Mark Lohman

Fifi found my vintage Jadite canisters hiding in an old jelly cupboard.  They are still out, as I realized just how cool they are with the Farrow and Ball Dorset Cream paint.

Mark Lohman

And after all, it's the same color as our breakfast table.

Mark Lohman

I love the way she placed my polka dot rain boots on the checkerboard floor of the mudroom

Mark Lohman

With her stylist's eye, Fifi knew she needed another pop of red in this porch scene.  She sent me to find something in my closet.  And that's how my dad's 40 year old red flannel shirt ended up in this shot. He would love to see that.
It makes me smile.  

Mark Lohman

Gazing out over the beautiful peaceful view from this porch, I wonder how we'll ever be able to say goodby to this place.  But it is time to move on to France and let someone else live this wonderful life.

Everafter Farm is for sale.

If you want to know more about this farm in upstate New York please click here, or contact me at

I am so thankful to Fifi, and Mark, for their immense talent, and  for doing such a beautiful job on this visual record of our beloved farmhouse for Prairie Style.  And a special thanks to Barbara Jackseir, who wrote such a warm and personal story. 

And thus ends my 100th post. Time to start a new chapter...

A bientôt, mes belles,

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Beautiful New Art Book!!

I'm still in the process of deleting messages from my inbox after our return from France.[ I had over 1800 unread, even though I tried to keep up with it on my phone. :/ ] Buried deep down was a message from Gabriela Perdomo of  In this message she congratulated me on being published in the new art book Digital Inspiration. And she has asked me to share this new publication with you on my blog, so I am doing just that!  

This book is a compilation of the best of the artwork from past issues of Somerset Digital Studio.  I had received a copy of this marvelous book in early April, and was delighted to have my 8 page article from March 2010 reproduced here among some really amazing digital artists and photographers, including my German friend Mario Von Middendorf. Although I buy every issue of the magazine, it is wonderful to have so many of the best articles gathered in one place.  It is inspiring me to get back to work!

I also smiled to see one of my favorite photos used as a background for the beautiful woman on the cover!

Here is my original image

Lilac Moon

I hope you can find this book at your local bookstore.  And if not, perhaps you can encourage them to carry it.  Or, you can order it online here.

I just realized that this was my 99th post!!  That's hard for me to believe, as I post so infrequently.  I guess I had better plan a doozy of a 100th post, n'est-ce pas?


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We're Back From France!

It is rather amazing to us to think that we are French Property owners now!
Here we are ready to leave to sign the Acte de Vente, hand over a big check, and receive a handful of keys!
What follows this is two months of intensive renovation, and there is just so much to tell you about that! I will share some photos of this adventure with you in future posts.

But today I must share a new publication with you

and our house is on the cover!

The story of our New York state house, Everafter Farm, is on page 28

but I really can't wait to read all about these other cozy, American Country houses!

This wonderful new magazine is the latest creative offering from the Fabulous Fifi O'Neill. [ Just click on her name, and it will take you to her blog. You will be amazed to see all of her publications! ] PRAIRIE will be on the stands very soon [ Probably May 1], but if you just can't wait, you can pre-order here .

In a future post I will tell you all about our house shoot with Fifi and her photographer, Mark Lohman. What clever and talented folks.  And So much fun!

Mark Lohman

As usual, I will be hanging out over on Facebook at French at Heart.  Would love to talk with you there!

A bientôt,mes amis

Friday, February 14, 2014

Welcome to 2014

Odette in Paris

Bonjour, mes amis, and welcome to what some people call their Christmas letter, but because I procrastinate, this will be my Valentine's Letter. As Deano always tells me, we're late bloomers.

It seems that 2013 was hard for many of us.  My sadness started in 2012, when I lost two of my oldest and dearest friends. That hurt a lot.  But nothing prepared me for the crushing pain of the death of my mother at the end of the year.  And even our precious dog Boo passed away on the day of mom's funeral. There was a huge hole in the fabric of our lives. We had been a family of 5, 4 generations under one roof.  But our daughter Crickett had moved back to Vermont with her son, James, in late autumn, and suddenly we realized that we were rattling around in this big old house alone. 

From the outside it looked like the same old warm and cozy farmhouse, but on the inside it was so quiet. And lonely.  

I started 2013 in a real funk. It didn't help that I saw a really BIG birthday in March [which turned out to be such a fun day.  Thank you, Deirdre!!]. But I refused to be depressed.  I thank God for my wonderful husband, who did all the shopping and made excuses for me for social events. I think the things that got me through this time were my two women's Bible studies, and the loved ones and friends who prayed for me.  I knew God would not forsake me.

And before I knew it, it was the end of March and we were on our way back to France!  My spirit soared again!

We headed out of Orly in our rental car and drove down to our favorite place in the Normand countryside, Le Perche [ If you click on this link takes you to the first article I ever read of this place, and I knew it was going to be a coup de coeur just from the description.]

Château de Monthimer, La Pérriere, le Perche

We spent a wonderful week in Le Perche and met the nicest people, some of whom I had first connected with on Facebook, some,just in the nature of friendly French people.

Isabelle, Christian, and Jean Loup

Bistrot des Ecuries and Martin at Relais del'Horbé

We went out looking at houses to buy, and saw quite a few, but nothing seemed like it was made for us.  The one we really liked the best was just too expensive, and also was 15 minutes outside of the Perche.

But, oh so cute!

This one was way out in a field with no road to the house.  We had to hike 15 minutes to get to it.  Needed too much work. I loved it, but Deano said "uh-uh".

This one was nice inside, but neighbors too close on both sides.

So we didn't buy a house in le Perche.
Not in the Spring.

It snowed while we were in le Perche,but it was gone by the afternoon.

It continued cold during our next week in Paris.  So much for chestnuts in blossom.  But it didn't rain and it didn't curtail our fantastic time.

And Dean bought me my belated birthday present

His favorite place on this trip was a museum that was new to us...

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

We were absolutely alone there, 

except for the guards!!!

No, those weren't the guards!

When we got back from France I was pretty much over my blues, but I had absolutely no interest in doing the gardens this year.  Mutti [ my mom] used to watch me working and it gave her such joy.  But, now I was out there alone, and I could care less about those gardens.  So I just started digging up scores of perennials, calling friends, and inviting them to come over and haul them away!  [I guess you never thought you'd hear me say that, did you,Janet H.? Remember the old days of "you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many perennials?"  Wow.  None of the above for me now, thank you very much!!]

I did keep the spring bulbs, however.

Late spring brings the Wedding Business back to the forefront of our lives.  Well, to Crickett and Dean's, anyway. She now owns the business and Dean works for her.

 Have you seen her new website,

you should go check it out.

The Summer whizzed by and most of it is a blur.  But some very nice things happened.

James spent a lot of time with us catching up on his reading...

…and  we welcomed another Fresh Air friend, Joshua.

We had a little family get-away up to Maine

which was wonderful, even though I got sick and we had to come home early

which isn't so bad, when you think about it

And we went down to Philadelphia

to welcome Jill and Art's new grandson, 
Xavier, to the world.

But in the circle of life...

our dear old friend Connie passed away. She was 98, and had lived a wonderful life. I'm so glad we had stayed in touch over the years. She was our first neighbor in Maine when we were newly married, and she and her farmer husband Bill taught us just about everything we know about country life.  But I'll never be able to make an apple pie as good as hers.

So summer ended.  And autumn began.

We had a killer barn sale during the town wide yard sale, and some of our students came down help us.

We participated once again in the most wonderful art exhibit in upstate New York,
"Landscape for Landsake"

Our sales from this exhibit financed our October trip to France 

Beynac [ film location of "Chocolat" ]

Where we visited the breathtaking area of the Dordogne [ I'll tell you all about this at a future time]

and spent a week in the equally heart-stoppingly beautiful Perche { and I'll tell you all about this, as well]

where we bought each other an early Valentine's Day present

[sneak Peek]

And now I'm going to end this post abruptly as it is time for bed, and tomorrow, Lord willing, we fly back to France to sign the Acte de Vente, which is to say, we finalize the purchase of our petite maison!
And I'll be telling you a whole lot about this for a long time to come!!

We wish you all a loving St.Valentine's Day

Au Revoir mes amis

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quid.di.ty The real nature of a thing; the essence; the essential nature or quality of something that makes it distinct and different from other things and establishes its identity

Some words on art, photography, beauty, nature, travel, Everafter Farm, friends, family and God.

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