Our True Colors…

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A patriotic display at the 3 French Hens French Country Market, along the banks of the historic Illinois & Michigan Shipping Canal.

Hi Friends,

We are celebrating Memorial Day weekend across our country… and our colors are showing! Americans always think of this weekend as the unofficial start of summer. Our hot, humid, rainy days in the Midwest suddenly do feel like summertime!

The delicate blossoms of Cranesbill Geranium, Lilies of the Valley, Daisies, Allium, and Spirea add color to the garden in mid to late May.

The delicate blossoms of Cranesbill Geranium, Lily of the Valley, Daisies, Allium, and Spirea add color to the garden in mid to late May.

Our perennial and herb gardens are flourishing with all of our recent rains. This week, our Friendship Garden bed is just beginning to show its lovely Springtime colors as pale, pink Peonies, light purple Iris, and deep purple Siberian Iris bloom in abundance. Clematis vines fill the arbor with fuchsia and purple blossoms. Springtime color is everywhere!

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Yesterday I gathered Peony, Daisy,  Anemone, and Ajuga blossoms to fill a festive vase. The small, red, silk poppy was made by veterans in our veterans’ hospitals.

In honor of Memorial Day, our true colors are the most important ones on display everywhere. Our flag on the front porch is blowing in the warm, May breezes. Pots of geraniums are all abloom with tiny flags, too.  Small red, white, and blue bunting hangs across the archway in our dining room. A white, stoneware pitcher is filled with a collection of American flags.

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Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, in Elwood, Illinois.

Last week, when I drove into the grocery store parking lot, I noticed an elderly man, sitting quietly near the door. He proudly wore his VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) uniform and held a big bunch of red, silk poppies. As shoppers exited, he greeted them and collected donations for our veterans. Of course, I couldn’t wait. With my donation in hand, I walked right over to thank him for his service, made my donation, and accepted the red, silk poppy with so much gratitude. When I asked where he served, he named several battlefields in Korea. I told him that my dad also served in Korea, and that I recognized some of the same battlefields from my dad’s stories and carefully documented Army scrapbook. He kindly asked me to thank my dad for his service, too… and I promised that I would. Later, as I packed all of the ingredients for our Memorial Day celebration into my car, I knew that the most important thing I brought home that day was the small, red, silk poppy.

The simple tradition of wearing a silk poppy pinned to the lapel dates back to 1918. Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” by Canadian poet John McCree, the red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for all of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. We show our true colors when we observe this special ritual over Memorial Day weekend.

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During visits to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, prayers for peace and quiet gratitude, for the sacrifices made by these men and women whose lives were lost in service to our country, always bring tears to my eyes.

One of the most important ways that we can show our true colors is to help our children, grandchildren, and students understand the significance of Memorial Day. Hopefully, during their lifetimes, a day will come when we no longer have to send Americans into harm’s way. When my sweet neighbor, Karla, comes to visit, she always notices the flag that hangs on our front porch from May through November. Sometimes we talk together about why we display our flag and what it means. Now that she is seven years old, Karla is just beginning to understand our true colors.

On Memorial Day, the flag is raised quickly to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to the half-staff position, to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.  At noon, the flag is raised to full-staff for the remainder of Memorial Day. This ritual of remembrance helps remind us not to let their sacrifices be in vain and calls upon us all to continue to work for liberty and justice for all.

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The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial, in Marseilles, Illinois, is the first memorial of its kind, honoring our fallen by name, while the conflict is still going on. Since 1979, every year right after Memorial Day, the names of servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives over the past year are etched into the granite of the Wall.

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… and so many other brave men and women who made the the ultimate sacrifice.

Remembering those who gave their lives in the Middle East.

Remembering those servicemen and women who gave their lives in the Middle East.

We all share the hope that no more names will be etched on The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in the years to come…

Bundles of letters sent home during World War II

A vendor at an antique fair told us recently how she found this collection of letters written during World War II. These bundles of letters document the lives of men and women in service to our country. It would be so interesting to read the stories these letters hold.

In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking Americans to stop and remember, at 3:00pm on Memorial Day.  As we pause to remember, it’s so important to remember the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. While volunteering to help our military families, I was fortunate to hear the stories of mothers, wives, and sisters whose loved ones are currently serving in the Marines. Today we are fortunate to have email and Skype to keep families close during military deployment. While volunteering with Operation Write Home, I learned just how important it is for families at home to receive a letter or card from their hero, written by hand from the heart. My mom still treasures the letters that she received from my dad while he was serving in Korea. Their cherished bundle of letters, still tied with a ribbon, is such a tangible reminder of the sacrifice that so many families make in service to our country. Military families continue to experience the ultimate sacrifice, as precious lives are lost or changed forever. Our military families show their true colors every day!

 

How will you celebrate Memorial Day this year?

Do you have any special Memorial Day traditions?

This Memorial Day we are adding an extra-special event to our Memorial Day weekend. My parents are here visiting from Arizona. Today we are having a very special family gathering to celebrate my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary!! ♡ What a blessing to celebrate this special day with both of them!! We will share their memories of their wedding day, planned while my dad was away serving in the Army. Luckily, Dad was granted a very short leave and arrived home on the day before his wedding! He moved his new bride across the country, to live near the military base. Before long, my mom had to carry on bravely at home, as her new husband shipped off to serve our country in war. Such a heartwarming story of true colors and true love! ♡♡

Cherish the day!

♡Dawn

 

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Timeless Treasures

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Hi Friends!

Two of my favorite timeless treasures have always been old houses and antique quilts.

The chance to admire both, in a peaceful, charming setting

is always a wonderful treat for me!

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a special visit to the

9th Annual “All Around the House” Quilt Show,

at Fischer Farm. 

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The main farmhouse was built by the Fischer family in the 1920s. Over the years, it has been lovingly restored,

telling the story of this hardworking, Midwestern farm family.

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The original 1838 homestead was built when the Fischer family immigrated from Germany.

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The Milk Barn and other preserved buildings offer a glimpse of farm life between 1838 and 1930.

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For one glorious weekend each Spring,

Fischer Farm invites quilters and quilt lovers to gather here.

Over 100 quilts were carefully hung on all of the walls throughout the farmhouse.

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Some of the quilts are original to the Fischer family.

Many more have been shared by private collectors and local quilters for display during this show. 

Several of the quilts were for sale during the show.

(I would love to give credit to each of these quiltmakers.

Please let me know if you can help identify any of the talented people who made these quilts!)

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It was so delightful to slowly walk through the farmhouse admiring all of the

beautifully preserved woodwork, floors, and furniture.

Admiring the antique quilts was truly the ‘icing on the cake!’

(I wished that I could reach out and touch each quilt,

but of course, these treasures can only be touched by their owners.)

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White-gloved volunteers shared a fascinating ‘bed turning’ presentation.

As they carefully turned back each layer of quilts on the antique bed,

they paused to tell the story of each quilt.

It was so interesting to see how the styles, patterns, and colors changed over the years.

Most important of all, each quilt held a story!

This Embroidered Baskets quilt belonged to Esther Fischer (1904-1999), who grew up in this bedroom.

She became a teacher and taught at the nearby, one-room Fischer Schoolhouse.

Esther lived in this farmhouse until she moved in 1986.

There were tears in my eyes as I heard the story of her special quilt.

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The soft fabrics, muted colors, and delicate stitches of antique quilts always warm my heart.

Oh, the family stories, hopes, and dreams that have been thoughtfully stitched into each quilt!

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Although I am not a quilter, I have always had a passion for quilts.

As I was growing up, I watched my mother lovingly create a beautiful quilt, block by block.

I will always remember all of the love that was handstitched into her beautiful sampler quilt.

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I have enjoyed visiting quilt auctions, quilt shows, and quilt shops for so many years.

A small collection of Amish and vintage quilts adds such warmth to our home. Each one holds a wonderful story of how it came to be part of our home.  I often think of the countless hours the quiltmakers worked designing, cutting, piecing, and quilting each treasured work of art. “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” will always be my favorite traditional quilt pattern!

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As I admired the timeless beauty of each quilt,

I had the chance to talk with several of the talented quilters.

They were all so welcoming,

while sharing their passion for quilting and teaching me more about antique quilts.

Although I explained that I am not a quilter, just a quilt-lover,

they invited me

to come to their twice-weekly gathering of quilters.

At that moment, I discovered what makes quilts such timeless treasures ~

it is the quilters themselves,

and the love that they stitch into their works of art!

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As I left the farmhouse, I followed the path to the old barn,

filled with antique quilts, vintage linens, fat quarters, and quilting books for sale.

All of the friendly quilters continued to share more

about their beloved art.

To thank each of the quilters for their kindness,

I shared the happy news

that fabrics designed by Susan Branch are now available online.

Quilters will absolutely love Susan’s charming, hand painted designs!

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Although I didn’t purchase any quilts or fabrics at the quilt show,

my heart was filled with wonderful inspiration!

I soaked up lovely color combinations and designs to bring into my papercrafting studio,

where I love making little paper-pieced ‘quilts’ on my handmade cards.

What an inspiring morning it was!

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Ever since the quilt show, I have been thinking about how

writing a blog is a tiny bit like making a quilt.

Bloggers create a handmade

patchwork of stories,

stitched with the warm comments of their readers,

pieced together from all parts of the world,

 with patches of

wisdom, memories, and joy.

These delicate threads hold us all together

through good times and bad times,

sharing the present and remembering the past,

always comforted with love.

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Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes is two years old today!!

I’m ‘sew’ grateful

for all of the warm friendships

that our little blog has stitched together.

 Each of you

helps to piece together our stories,

with warmth and love…

and tied with heartstrings!

♡♡

Thank you so much for stopping to visit today.

Warmest hugs!

♡Dawn

P.S.  One of my very first blog posts was about the 2014  “All Around the House” Quilt Show at Fischer Farm. ♥ Do you have a favorite post or type of story that you really enjoy? ♥ I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Making Friends…

Mary Engelbreit has captured my feelings perfectly today!

 

Hi Friends!

Rabbit! Rabbit! Sending an abundance of good wishes as November begins! It’s the perfect time to celebrate all of the friends that gather here at our little blog! Some are dear friends that live nearby, while others are dear friends that live in other parts of the U.S., and in other parts of the world. Some are brand new friends that have already touched my heart in so many ways. We are kindred spirits, one and all, and that is a wonderful thing to celebrate!

{via Pinterest}

The comments you leave each time you come to visit are such lovely gifts! Sharing our stories, encouraging one another, learning new things together, and sharing smiles makes it such fun to check in each day. I hope you can feel the joy of gathering here with friends, whether you are near or far. Our connections keep our friendships growing!

Today our little blog is six months old! Our friendships have grown through three seasons in the garden. Time flies so quickly, but spending time in the garden always seems to slow time down to a most enjoyable pace. Gardening always helps me focus on the little things ~  often the most important things in life! From our front porch swing and rocking chair, I’ve been watching our Magnolia tree. It’s easy to see how long we have been gathering together here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes…

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Early Spring

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Late Spring

June

Early Summer

Labor Day Weekend

Late Summer

Late October

Autumn

Our friendships continue to grow and blossom here!

Thank you all for taking the time to visit

and sharing your thoughts, too!

YOU make our little blog such a happy place to gather. 

♡♡♡♡

So, of course, I had to tell you in my favorite way…

with a little card ~ made just for you!

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One of the joys of making cards is thinking about the special recipient the whole time that I am making their card. It feels almost like a little visit. As I made this card last night, I was thinking of ALL of the friends, old and new, who visit our blog.

For our papercrafting friends: First I embossed SU ‘Crumb Cake’ CS with the Embossalicious ‘Florals’ EF, and distressed the edges with Distress ‘Tea Dye’ ink. Next I added a Wilton doily, and added the sentiment using Wplus9 ‘Hand Lettered Thanks’  dies and stamps. Then I embellished the focal point, using the SU Sizzlits ‘Little Leaves,’ the CTMH sentiment ‘Kindred Spirits,’ a CTMH corrugated star, button, and DMC floss. The paper roses were made from vintage pages of a German book. A butterfly from a SU punch was the finishing touch.

It’s amazing that kindred spirits gather here from so many continents. We wish our friends in the Northern Hemisphere a wonderful Autumn day, while we wish our friends in the Southern Hemisphere a lovely Spring day. Although many friends visit quietly, I can see all of the countries where they live each time I peek at the statistics for our blog. It always thrills me and it humbles me. I am so happy that we have somehow found one another, in this great, big, wonderful world! ♡

 

Heartfelt thanks for being here…

and making our blog so much fun!

 

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Happy November days!

♡ Dawn

So ‘Glad’ You’re Here!

Gladiolus along the white picket fence welcome sunny August days!

Gladiolus along the white picket fence welcome sunny August days!

 

 

Hi Friends!

“Rabbit! Rabbit!” According to British superstition, you should say some variation of these words on the first day of each month. You must say them out loud upon waking up or say them to the first person you meet that day!  Saying this phrase will ensure good luck throughout the whole month. Do you practice this superstition? As a child, I remember hearing this phrase on WGN radio, at breakfast time, on the first morning of each month. I’ve always remembered this happy, little phrase because it made me smile! Try it… you can’t help but start the month on a happy note!  Hope our UK friends can share their memories of this cheery superstition…

So glad that you are here! We’re celebrating the small moments that make each day special!  Today, our blog Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes is exactly three months old! You, dear friends, are a very big part of this small celebration! ♡ I always say “our blog,” since it certainly wouldn’t be as much fun without you here!

Celebrating our first three months! Ruffledblog.com {via Pinterest}

 

As sunshine and showers have nurtured our garden and helped it to flourish over the past three months, your visits and thoughtful comments have helped our quiet, little blog grow steadily, as well.  You are the sunshine and showers that help us grow and flourish here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes! I must send so much gratitude out to everyone who has stopped by  for a visit during these busy Summer days!

I’ve really grown over the past three months, too! Of course, I’m still learning how to use all of the WordPress tools and features. It’s always so exciting to discover a new skill on my own! I’ve been so fortunate to connect with a wonderful group of brand new bloggers at our public library. Our monthly meetings are filled with inspiration and encouragement, as we each grow in new ways!

While we are celebrating, we should take a little tour of our blog! To preserve the simple, old-fashioned feeling here, some of the special features are hidden from sight. Have you discovered our ‘slide-out’ sidebar? Just click on the dark stripe on the left side. On the sidebar, you can subscribe to our blog via email. It’s easy to search for your favorite topics. All of the posts are archived here. Using the Tag Cloud is another way to find a post that may interest you. Do check the sidebar often, as new features are always being added as our blog grows!

But much more important than learning how a blog works, I’m discovering the absolute joy that blogging brings me Sharing and connecting with old friends and new friends is what makes blogging so meaningful to me. I’ve discovered that any opportunity to stay in touch with old friends during our busy lives is a wonderful thing. My heart sings when I think of all of the amazing new friends I’m making through our little blog! People from many walks of life, throughout the world, gather here and share their thoughts with all of us. I’ve learned so much from  their comments, as we have watched our friendships grow and flourish.  What could be sweeter than discovering kindred spirits, both near and far?

 

Anne of Green Gables (by L.M. Montgomery) says best, what I’m feeling in my heart today…

 

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.

 

It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” 

 

Anne, you were so right… and I am so grateful!

 

Our visitors have come from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and all over North America.  Friends, new and old, have shared the stories of their quilts, homes, gardens, travels, families, and memories of simpler times with all of us. Readers have recommended many interesting book titles along the way. So many lovely Girlfriends have dropped by from Susan Branch’s blog to visit. Many lovely travelers and dreamers have visited from Anita’s blog. Several papercrafters have visited us, too. (I promise to share card making adventures very soon! It’s just so hard during the Summertime, when one passion takes you outside to dig in the dirt, while another other passion must wait for quiet time inside!) My heart overflows with gratitude for everyone who has come to visit!

 

So 'glad' you are here today!

So ‘glad’ you are here today!

 

Wishing you  sunny August days!

Make special memories!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  If you have any suggestions for future posts, be sure to let me know!

New Growth… in So Many Ways!

 

May 1st ~ New Beginnings Watching each day as plants emerged under our Magnolia, after such a long winter!

May 1st ~ New Beginnings
Watching each day as plants emerged under our Magnolia, after such a long winter!

 

First Week of June ~ New Growth! Colorful blossoms add such happiness each day!

June 1st ~ New Growth… in so many ways
Colorful blossoms add such happiness to each new day!

 

Hi Friends!

So glad that you are here! We’re celebrating the small moments that make each day special!  Today, our blog Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes is exactly one month old! You, dear friends, are a big part of this small celebration! ♡ I always say “our blog,” since it certainly wouldn’t be as much fun without you here!

As sunshine and showers have nurtured our garden and helped it to flourish over the past four weeks, your visits and kind words have helped our quiet, little blog begin to grow, as well.  You are the sunshine and showers that help us grow here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes! I must send so much gratitude out to everyone who stops by for a visit during these busy Springtime days!

I’ve grown, too! Of course, I’m discovering how to write posts, add media, and how to use the WordPress tools. But much more important than learning how a blog works, I’m discovering what it means to blog!  Sharing and connecting with old friends and new friends is why blogging has become important to me. What could be sweeter than discovering kindred spirits, both near and far?

I knew I had stumbled upon a wonderful thing the first evening that I clicked “publish” on my first post. Within the hour, a visitor from New Zealand was reading my words. What an amazing feeling ~ both surprised and grateful! In the past few weeks, dear lifelong friends have come often to visit. New friends have shared their thoughts, as we have watched our friendships grow and flourish.

Our visitors have come from Germany, Canada, the UK, Russia, Australia, and all parts of the U.S. I’ve met such interesting people ~ gardeners from the Bronx, Savannah, an island in Puget Sound, New England, and closer to home in the Midwest. Friends, new and old, have shared the stories of their quilts, their homes, and memories of simpler times with all of us. Readers have shared interesting book titles. So many lovely Girlfriends have dropped by from Susan Branch’s blog to visit. Lots of papercrafters have visited us, too. (I promise to post card making adventures very soon! It’s just so hard in the Springtime, when one passion takes you outside to dig in the dirt, while another other passion must wait for quiet time inside!) My heart sings with gratitude for everyone who has come to visit!

Anne of Green Gables (by L.M. Montgomery) says best, what I’m feeling in my heart today…

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.

It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” 

Anne, you were so right… and I am so grateful!

While you are here, let’s take a little walk to see the new growth in our garden on this first day of June. It’s hot and humid today, so a tall glass of iced tea will refresh us as we walk… and soak up the magic of Springtime!

Deep purple Clematis is climbing up the arbor.

Deep purple Clematis is climbing up the arbor, with new blooms each day.

This Rhododendron plant came from our childhood home. It feels like we both grew up together, with love and nurturing from my mom! ♡

This Rhododendron plant came from our childhood home. It feels like we both grew up together, with love and nurturing from my mom! ♡

Our Peonies are in bloom now. In a few days, the palest pink Peonies will bloom, too!   It will be such fun to cut Peonies to fill a crock for the front porch!

Our Peonies are in bloom now. In a few days, pale pink Peonies will bloom, too. It will be such fun to cut Peonies to fill a crock for the front porch!

Dianthus blossoms add a hint of delicate pink  to the garden this week.

Dianthus blossoms add a hint of delicate pink to the garden this week.

Shasta Daisies will always be one of my favorites ~ so fresh and simple!

Shasta Daisies will always be one of my favorites ~ so fresh and simple!

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Thanks for coming to visit on this special day! You are cherished, sweet friends!

♡ Dawn

P.S.   Do you read a lot of different blogs?  Do you like to leave comments or just visit quietly?