Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hillcrest Cottage in a Magazine

Here's a cool local magazine that I liked even before Hillcrest Cottage got to be a small part.

The June 2013 issue has a great article on area lakes. The sad part is that even I had difficulty finding an issue. In the past I have stumbled upon the magazine and had enjoyed it. I went to four places looking for his issue with no luck.

I can spy with my little eye  two suitcases, a tackle box & my Coke cooler. There are several other photos sporting Hillcrest Cottage wares. Some of the items are from my personal collection, while others are for sale.

My friend Kimberly Cyr Calhoun from Mums the Word was the stylist for the article and filled up half her car with Hillcrest Cottage goodies for the shoot.

It was my first magazine in which to be mentioned, so I wanted to share the news.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Scarlett O'Hara and Lobster Buoys

Thinking about summer today. 

Shades of blue like the Arkansas summer sky on a clear day, but slightly overcast with a gentle breeze so it's not too overwhelmingly hot. 

Shades of blue like the ocean seen from under a beach umbrella's shade. The vintage Maine lobster buoy reminds me of the good seafood meals eaten while slightly burned shoulders are whispering, 

"It was a great day because nothing  but laziness was accomplished." 

Happy vintage art and calligraphy make summer afternoons last a bit longer. When the leaves start to fall and the fireflies have flown away and the cicadas have become silent, a great summer art piece celebrates laziness all year long.

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." -Albert Camus

I am revisiting a used book bought on a snowy English afternoon. Gone with the Wind is an American classic; I snagged this one printed in Great Britain as the 1939 Holiday Edition. It was 2 pounds sterling. It was purchased for such a day as this and must be read in a hammock set- up under a spreading live oak... or on the front porch with cushy pillows and a ceiling fan gently twirling.

"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm...." 

Bring out the sweet tea.

And...what about an impromptu picnic with homemade chicken salad and pickles made by a great aunt? Also add brownies fresh out of the oven. Spread a vintage- 50's- yellow- rose tablecloth somewhere shady and wait for the ants to arrive.

Enjoy whatever says "summer" to you.

Framed Art, Lobster Buoy for Sale at

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Consider the Birds

Once upon a time, a lifetime ago in1982, I had jumped straight out of the sorority house into the work- force frying pan. I had been plucked away from the small college-town fun-life and support of friends to be thrown into big-city Dallas and its web of crazy expressways. I was newly married and learning how to depend upon my husband and myself instead of my parents.

My Grandmother tried to teach me needlepoint. I think I finished this piece in the 6th grade.

I had survived fours years of college without ever having done my own laundry. (My Dirty Clothes would ride home with whatever car was hometown-bound; my mom would buy Clean Laundry a bus ticket back to university- town where I would happily greet Clean Laundry at the local bus stop. This is a true story, no one could make up this stuff. Okay, so I was  a little spoiled.) I had never been on much of a budget, especially when it came to my clothes closet. (So, I was the only granddaughter of a very generous grandmother who also loved nice clothes.) I think you might be getting the picture here of an unprepared-for-the-real-world type girl. That was me.

 Talk about life-stressers. 

I had a huge learning curve ahead of me! We were on our own for the first time and were figuring out how we would survive four year's worth of my husband's grad school. It wasn't easy, but I did survive... and I learned a lot and grew a ton.

Matthew 6: 25-34 became my daily food.
Artwork by Ellen Barr

Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. (A huge trust-curve for young me!) Is not life more than food, (Sure, I was cool with shedding some unwanted pounds by not eating.) and the body than clothing? (Well... I would have to consider this one.)
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span?
And why are you anxious about clothing?(Seriously, God? Having all the right clothes had always been a "given" in my young life.) Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.
But, if God arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith. (There was my problem... never really had been in situations where I was forced to trust God for my daily needs.)
Do not be anxious then, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "With what shall we clothe ourselves?" (Ummm... creepy... was God recording my whining for all the world to read?)
For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (E v e n t u a l l y, my response had been, "I'm willing to try this trust-thing"but my new experiment didn't guarantee an apartment on Easy Street.)
Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Amen to that.)

Thirty one years later, I have never moved past Matthew 6:25-34. My love of nature, God, and simple living always bring me back to these incredible life verses. To have birds in my life reminds me all- the- more to give my daily anxieties to the One who created me.

My Bird Nest Collection:

Enter: THE birdcage.

Enough whining about the urban chickens I will never have. When I saw THE birdcage, I began a plot to feed my feathered-fantasy. Only problem was its $450 price tag. But, I wanted it, so I started saving my pennies to make my dream become reality.

Life happens... and I didn't get very far on my savings plan.

Meanwhile, I heard that my dream cage was back-ordered everywhere. Meanwhile, I walked into my local department store to discover my cage with a $525 price tag. ( At this point, if I ever achieved my goal, I knew would never be able to admit to anyone how much I had paid.)

I Began Preparations for My Bird-filled Room

I remembered Matthew 6 and continued to pray. God and I both knew that this bird cage was not a life- or -death thing. We both knew it was just for fun.
(I think everyone should have room on their prayer list for fun-stuff.)

Next, I spotted my cage at my favorite flea market venue. The exact cage... for only $225. Only problem was... it was already sold. Dang.

I talked to the cage  lady, she told me she had one more cage, she brought the cage to the market for me, she changed the price to $290, I talked her down to $250, I discover the new cage had no seed pans, I told her I was putting real birds inside the cage and needed seed pans, she offered to sell  the cage for $95....


THE Cage...I'm Having Seed Pans Custom-Made

I love this story of my bird cage and the singing residents are a daily reminder of God's great faithfulness to me in the past as well as in the future.

"Tabasco Finch" (This Spice Finch flew crazily around Hillcrest Cottage before entering cage)
 and "Atticus Finch" (Morning Bath = Fluffy Feathers)

I hope we will live happily ever after... for at least 5 years, anyway... 'cause that's a finch's lifespan.

The End.