Inspiration… Everywhere!

Hi Friends!

Early Saturday morning we drove out into the countryside ~ passing lush, green fields, tidy, white farmhouses, and faded red barns. We were both looking forward to being outside in the morning sunshine and soaking up inspiration. As we pulled into the quiet, little town of Morris, our car knew the way to our usual out-of-the-way parking place. (The perfect spot just in case we wanted to carry some inspiration back to the car!)

It was 8 o’clock and Canalport Park was already filled with people. The friendliest people gather at the 3 French Hens French Country Market very early on the second Saturday of each month, from May through October. Everyone is seeking their favorite kind of inspiration!  Young and old, couples, singles, and families with pups on leashes wander through the park in search of antiques, upcycled art, handmade jewelry, artisan soaps, fresh-baked pies and breads, flowers of all kinds, and so much more.  Locally grown produce and a variety of tempting, hot foods and cold drinks often inspire a spur-of-the-moment picnic in the park, too.

As always, my husband and I started off together looking at the tables and displays filled with antiques. Before long, we each ventured off in search of our own favorite types of inspiration. I am drawn to antique furniture, vintage dishes, antique teacups, and interesting stoneware crocks, enamelware pitchers, and Mason jars to hold bouquets of garden flowers. He is drawn to antique books, old tools, and historic memorabilia.

Before long, he will walk across the wooden footbridge crossing the historic I & M Canal ~

to find inspiration

in a quiet walk in nature.

 

He enjoys hiking the wooded path to the Illinois River

to observe the local fauna and watch all kinds of boats on the river.

This was my Saturday morning ‘Artist’s Date’ seeking inspiration for our home and garden, as I nourished my creative heart and soul.  I have been truly smitten with Farmhouse Style decorating lately. Fresh, white beadboard, walls covered with wood slats, natural wood finishes, and pops of color and natural textures have been calling my name. Old and rustic, yet simple and fresh! What better place to soak up that Farmhouse feeling than in a lovely park in the countryside! I have always been drawn to wooden signs ~ the words, the lettering styles, the rustic textures, and the soft colors. Walking through the 3 French Hens French Country Market felt like I was walking through my favorite Pinterest boards, with inspiration everywhere!

Come on along… so I can show you a few things that caught my eye on Saturday morning!

These muted colors and different textures made my heart sing!

Everything on this table could find a place in our little ‘nest.’

Bunting makes every day feel like a little celebration!

Hand lettered signs add just the right touch of warmth and coziness to any room.

I love the brush lettered style (especially bouncy brush lettering!).

I think I’m going to need some old, rustic barnwood! 🙂

This ‘Artist’s Date’

surrounded me with inspiration… everywhere I looked!

Lettering inspiration embellished

fluffy, white pillows,

embroidered, straw hats,

and more weathered barnwood!

As I walked along the edge of Canalport Park, I came upon something that stopped me in my tracks. Right before my eyes, a Tractor Parade turned slowly onto Illinois Street. Vintage farm tractors and modern tractors of every color and size passed by very slowly. Most of the tractors displayed American flags and many had shade umbrellas, too. A local artisan told me that farmers love to parade through small towns on Summer weekends in their beloved tractors, gathering for breakfast together in a small cafe. I just had to stop and watch…  🙂

This parade brought back such wonderful childhood memories of riding in antique car parades on Summer weekends. My dad drove our Model A Ford Coupe, that he had lovingly restored, blowing the ‘ooh-gah’ horn often. Dad and Mom rode inside the car, while my brothers and I waved to the parade watchers from the rumble seat! 🙂 

It’s such a wonderful thing when people discover their ‘tribe’ of kindred spirits ~

car people, tractor people, boat people, train people,

readers, gardeners, runners, cyclists, collectors, crafters,… ! 

Inspiration is everywhere, if we just take the time to look for it.

More lettering inspiration ~

on rusty metal and rustic paper!

 

These signs were lettered on upcycled kitchen cabinet doors. What a great idea!

One of them just had to come home to our cozy, little bungalow.

Can you guess which one?

It’s a good thing our perfect, out-of-the-way, parking spot was nearby!  🙂

After two inspiring hours, my husband came to find me in the park.

We had just enough time to look for inspiration in the nearby vintage shops ~

before driving one more hour through the peaceful countryside

to spend a lovely afternoon with our dear family.

♥♥♥

Thanks so much for visiting today!

Where do you find inspiration on a Summer weekend?

 

Perennially yours,

♡ Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Timeless Treasures

TimelessTreasures

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!

⚛⚛⚛

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!

Nesting…

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Hi Friends!

I hope you are enjoying nice Springtime (or Autumn) days in your little corner of the world! Our weather has been so crazy in the Midwest for the past few weeks. It seems to change every few minutes ~ raindrops, snowflakes, a bit of sunshine, and high winds. Our bright, yellow daffodils and forsythia add a touch of sunshine to the garden, as their cheerful blossoms dance in the strong Springtime breezes. Near the front porch, our magnolia is already showing its bright fuchsia blossoms. Sweet, green leaves are so welcome as the trees and shrubs wake up.  We have squishy, wet lawns and lots of mud, too! Robins are everywhere. I’ve never seen so many! Yet, it’s still much too early to clean up our garden beds here in USDA Zone 5b. Our nighttime temperatures are still dropping into the 20s. Snowflakes are dancing down even as I write…

So, I have been very busy nesting… and resting, with anticipation!

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I’m enjoying spending creative hours downstairs, in my little ‘Paper Garden’ studio, where the sun always shines. (Thanks to daylight bulbs! 🙂 )  I’ve been busy playing with watercolors and stamping petite, garden scenes for my handmade cards. Sometimes we just have to make our own bits of Springtime!

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Since childhood, I have been passionate about writing old-fashioned letters to family and friends, near and far. So, I’m taking on the challenge of writing one letter or note every day this month. By spending less time online, I have found much more time for the joy of letter writing!

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I’ve gathered pretty stationery from my writing desk, a favorite pen, and lots of postage stamps. Letters carry handmade smiles, since they come right from the heart. Nothing makes me happier than mailing off a handmade card or letter to someone special! While writing or creating, I think about the recipient the entire time… so it feels almost like a little visit. Sharing handmade kindness has always been my cup of tea! (I think I’m going to need more postage stamps soon! 🙂 )

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My favorite project for the past few weeks has been a secret, surprise, family memory-keeping project. 🙂 I’m enjoying it immensely, and find myself smiling the whole time I am journaling! Can’t wait to deliver this heartfelt gift of family memories, in person, very soon! ♥♥

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Reading is always one of the best parts of nesting! Finding new inspiration for the garden, the front porch, and our home is just one of the delights of the changing seasons. I’m already dreaming of antiquing trips to the 3 French Hens French Country Market and have marked the 2016 dates on our calendar!

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The past week, I’ve been rereading The Fairy Tale Girl by Susan Branch. It has been so lovely to enjoy this volume of her beautifully illustrated, handwritten, watercolored memoir again. It’s filled with both smiles and heartbreak, as we learn more about Susan’s early years. Published last year, this volume of Susan’s memoir ended with a real ‘Cliff-hanger.’ So, I’ve been waiting… and waiting… and waiting enthusiastically for ~

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Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, the second volume of Susan’s memoir.  Her excited fans were able to preorder this book last November, while Susan was still lovingly writing, illustrating, and watercoloring her story. It feels like I have been waiting for this book for thirty years… since Susan published her first Heart of the Home book. It arrived in our mailbox just yesterday!! 🙂

Oh my! I can’t tell you how much I adore (and connect to) Susan’s story of buying a little house of her own, transforming it into a cozy home, honoring the history of the previous homeowner, planting a garden, and creating a happy, little ‘nest’ to write and watercolor, in her own special, handmade way! I’m trying to read s-l-o-w-l-y…  to savor Susan’s wonderful story and artwork. Of course, I read into the wee hours of last night. (I just couldn’t stop!)

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Susan Branch’s long-awaited memoir is now complete!! She is celebrating this trilogy ~ with A Fine Romance (dessert, served first!), The Fairy Tale Girl (the appetizer), and now Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (the main course). Readers can indulge in her memoir in any order, and will be immediately drawn into her personal stories. It feels like such an amazing honor to read the lifetime memories of someone I have admired for so long!  A movie or tv series based on Susan’s memoir is already in the planning stages! (We are all wondering which actress will be chosen to play Susan!) All three books are available now through Susan Branch’s website (autographed) and will be in bookstores everywhere in time for Mother’s Day! Next month, I’m really looking forward to another Afternoon Tea and book signing with Susan Branch. Of course, I will bring you along!! ♥♥

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Thank you so much for stopping to visit today!

It’s so sweet of you to keep me company

as I wait for busy, Springtime days in garden!

Happy weekend!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Are you already enjoying time outdoors, or nesting inside… while waiting for warm Springtime days?

Hidden Gems of Cedarburg

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Hi Friends!

On our recent visit to the quiet town of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, we explored Washington Avenue from top to bottom, soaking up all of its friendly, festive, Christmas charm. As darkness fell, the tiny, white lights and buildings decked in fresh evergreen garlands gave this peaceful, historic town a truly magical, holiday feeling. We were looking forward to one more day to explore!

The next morning, after a thoroughly enjoyable, leisurely breakfast conversing with the innkeeper at The Stagecoach Inn B&B, we set off to explore three of the hidden gems of Cedarburg. These treasures helped us to reflect on more simple thymes…

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Cedarburg is home to the last remaining Covered Bridge in Wisconsin. Just imagine how many wagons and cars traversed this pine bridge from 1876 until 1962.

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Now retired, this covered bridge is enjoyed by pedestrians who come to experience this nostalgic part of our history. Today it is surrounded by a lovely park on both banks of the river. It is a joy to behold throughout the changing seasons!

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As we walked across this historic bridge, we lingered to admire the beauty of its construction.

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We also pondered some of the reasons why covered bridges were built in the early days.  There is still much speculation about the reasons for this type of bridge construction among historians and history buffs. A popular theory is that the bridges were covered to protect these wooden structures from the weather. Protecting the wood from exposure to rain, snow, ice, and sun allowed bridges to last much longer.

Covered bridges also helped the cattle to cross the river, without being frightened by the sight of the fast moving water below.  When frightened by the water, the cattle might hesitate to cross the bridge or they may have stampeded across the bridge. Some towns fined travelers if their horses or cattle stampeded across bridges, due to the damage they might cause. Some historians say that the shape of the covered bridges might look like barns to the cattle, so they would enter them more easily.

Covered bridges also gave passengers a dry place take shelter during rainstorms and snowstorms. Engineers say that the roof and walls helped to strengthen the structure. Have you heard any other stories about the reasons bridges were covered? Today the remaining covered bridges offer a lovely, romantic glimpse into life in simpler thymes!

Cedar Creek Settlement

As we meandered through the shops and studios in the historic Cedar Creek Settlement, we discovered another hidden gem. Climbing the time-worn, wooden stairs in this former woolen mill built in 1864, we spent time in several antique shops within the thick stone walls of the settlement. We stopped in our tracks as we entered

A Room to Explore: Tribal Accents and Antiques,

tucked away on the third floor. What had we found? Oh my!

Gallery owners Mark and Mary Jo Wentzel are sharing their lifetime passion of African cultures and arts with the fortunate visitors who enter their shop. They are offering artifacts from many different tribal areas of Africa.

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We spoke at length with Mark Wentzel about his time spent teaching at the University of Sierra Leone years ago. Over the years, he returned to Africa many, many times leading groups of student volunteers to help in tribal areas.

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Along with the one-of-a-kind tribal artifacts for sale, Mark had amazing stories to share about each piece. As he taught us about these special artifacts, Mark often pulled out old photographs taken long ago with the tribal artisans who created these pieces. Oh, the stories Mark can share with the fortunate visitors to this special shop!

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A Room to Explore is filled with the cultural artifacts and antiques Mark has collected over the past 40 years, including masks, statues, baskets, books, textiles, and lithographs. Mark Wentzel is a respected presenter and appraiser on African arts. He has donated so many artifacts to the collections of three universities. His expertise and passion for tribal artifacts is a true gem! We were so grateful for the fascinating stories that Mark shared with us!

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An old schoolhouse filled with handmade quilts, be still my heart! 

From 1887 until 1958, Hamilton School was a busy place to learn and grow. The learning continues within these walls even today. Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilt Shop, in historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin is a true handmade hidden gem!

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This treasure of a shop specializes in reproduction fabrics. They offer an amazing variety of patterns, threads, stitchery kits, books, magazines, and notions. Friendly assistance, encouragement, and a warm welcome help make this quilt shop extra special. The Gathering Place, on the lower level, is a wonderful haven for quilters to learn, grow, and share with one another.

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Although I am not a quilter, I love and appreciate quilts of all kinds. I could spend hours studying the patterns, colors, and stitches on these beautiful, handmade treasures. Certainly, this will inspire more pieced-paper ‘quilts’ on my handmade cards!

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As we walked through the old schoolhouse, our thoughts turned to much simpler thymes. Old photos of the former students reminded us of the proud history of this little school. Just imagine the teacher ringing the school bell each morning, calling the students to come here to learn. Even today, this little schoolhouse continues to be a wonderful place of learning!

Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilt Shop, a true hidden gem near the banks of Cedar Creek, was a perfect last stop on our wonderful visit to Cedarburg. It helped to ‘stitch’ together all of the wonderful, heartwarming memories we made during our Cedarburg celebration! We are already looking forward to our next visit!

What hidden gems have you discovered  lately?

We would love to hear about them!

Take time to explore!

♡ Dawn

P.S.   Thank you so much for taking the time to stop and visit today! ♡ The simple pleasures help make life oh-so-sweet!

 

A Cedarburg Celebration

 

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Hi Friends!

Treasured gifts don’t always come in packages tied with ribbons and bows. Many of my most treasured gifts come filled with memories and tied with heartstrings! Each year, when it’s time to plan a birthday celebration, my wish is always the same… I just love to make special birthday memories by visiting an old-fashioned place filled with the magic of Christmas!

The twinkle of tiny, white lights, the scent of evergreen boughs, the sounds of Christmas music, and the jingle of bells always bring these cherished memories to life. Very often, softly falling snowflakes add to the magic.  Most years, my memories come from charming, small towns nearby, but milestone birthdays hold some special Christmas-y memories made in wonderful, far off places.

We just returned from one of our sweetest birthday celebrations, filled with the most wonderful memories! Historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin has always been one of my favorite Midwest destinations. For decades, dear friends and I have been coming to visit this charming, small town in the heartland of America. What a special gift it was this year to travel there with my husband, and to experience this special place, for the first time, through his eyes! It was such fun to share this piece of my heart with him! 

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Walking along Washington Avenue, I am always filled with admiration for the historic, wooden homes and stone buildings that hold so much history here in Cedarburg.

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Settled by Irish and German immigrants in 1845, along the banks of Cedar Creek, this small town has a very proud history. Over the years, the village grew as five mills were built along the creek. The need for workers attracted people from Milwaukee, just 20 miles south, and far beyond.

Cedar Creek Settlement

In 1864, the Hilgen & Wittenberg Woolen Mill played an important part in our nation’s history, by producing wool blankets for the Union soldiers during the Civil War. Today, Cedar Creek Settlement is a lively, bustling home to shops, restaurants, studios, and a celebrated winery set in the three-story, stone structure which originally housed the woolen mill and blacksmith shop.

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Today many of the historic buildings are home to quaint shops, art galleries, museums, churches, cafes, and inns that bring visitors from around the world to this quiet Wisconsin hamlet. One of my special joys has always been walking through these beautiful, old buildings.

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The people of Cedarburg are always so welcoming and friendly, engaging visitors in conversations, inquiring where visitors are from, and offering helpful suggestions about places to see.

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Each time I wander along Washington Avenue, architectural elements of the historic buildings catch my eye. 

I often pause to soak in all of the interesting details.

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Throughout the year, many festivals bring crowds of visitors to Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

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December is the perfect time to visit Cedarburg. All of the historic buildings are decked with tiny, white Christmas lights and evergreen garlands. As darkness falls during the popular ‘Festive Fridays,’ carolers dressed in Victorian clothing sing as they walk along the sidewalks. Horse drawn carriages carry visitors through town, bundled under blankets to chase away the cold.

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Many of the beautiful, old churches offer a peaceful place to pause and reflect.

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On this special visit, we enjoyed a stay in one of Cedarburg’s inns.

The romantic, historic Stagecoach Inn Bed & Breakfast was a delightful choice!

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

Built in 1853, this hotel was a stop for stagecoaches en route from Milwaukee to Green Bay. It was a full day’s travel for the stagecoach to make the 20-mile journey from Milwaukee to Cedarburg. In the early days, the hotel was used by male guests who slept in the unfurnished guest rooms. They would rent a sleeping bag for one penny per night (or 3 cents per week) and sleep on the floor of the hotel. The narrow, wooden staircase could not accommodate the large travel trunks. So, the trunks were hoisted up through the second story windows into the guest rooms.  The stagecoach drivers roomed in the basement in very primitive conditions. Two bunk-style spaces were constructed from rubble stone. Straw was used for the bedding and a pot-bellied stove warmed the dirt-floor basement, where the stagecoach drivers slept.  The drivers would stable their horse at a barn next door and enter the hotel through the outside basement door. Any couples traveling together on the stagecoach were invited to stay as guests in the comfortable homes in town.

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

The Greek Revival style stone building underwent more additions in the 1880s. It has served as a hotel or boarding house during its entire history. Slated for the wrecking ball in the 1980s, this historic building was saved and lovingly restored by owners, Brook and Liz Brown. 

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

They preserved the original materials throughout the building, added bathrooms, air conditioning, and other modern conveniences. The Browns lived and raised their family in the inn for many years. This year, they are celebrating 32 years as innkeepers at The Stagecoach Inn B &B.

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

Our stay at The Stagecoach Inn was wonderful. Our quiet, second story room overlooked Washington Avenue, decked with tiny, white Christmas lights. A lovely bottle of wine and chocolates, a thoughtful birthday gift from the innkeepers, greeted us as we entered our guest room. Antique furniture, including a pine wardrobe for our clothes, added so much charm. We closed the wooden shutters above the wide windowsills to enjoy a warm, cozy stay at the inn. I was in my ‘happy place’ surrounded by antique charm in this historic, little inn. 

I drifted off to sleep in the soft, comfortable bed, feeling blessed to be staying in one of the nine guest rooms in this wonderful, little place.  Old buildings have always held a very special place in my heart. During the night, thoughts about the history of the inn gently awakened me. As I lay awake, an unexplained feeling of excitement added to this special birthday adventure. I thought about how fortunate we were to be guests here, becoming part of the history of the inn. I wondered about the numerous people who had slept within these thick, stone walls over the past 162 years. I wondered if Abraham Lincoln ever visited the inn…

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

In the morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the first floor pub. Since we were the first guests to awaken, we had the pleasure of talking with innkeeper Brook Brown over breakfast. Oh, the fascinating stories he had to share!! He told us about their adventures in restoring the inn. A retired history teacher, he explained how the stagecoach passengers traveled through rural Wisconsin in the mid 1800s. We all shared stories of our travel adventures and favorite places in the world. Brook helped us with our plans for the day ahead, as we ventured off to explore some new destinations in Cedarburg.

Then it happened… and it still sends a chill of excitement through me even now!

Brook told us about some of the previous guests they had welcomed over the years ~ famous musicians, well-known actors and actresses, state Supreme Court justices, many visitors from Europe, and someone who has always inspired me…

Tasha Tudor's garden has been an inspiration for my perennial and herb gardens.

During her lifetime, Tasha Tudor illustrated nearly one hundred children’s books. She is near and dear to the hearts of many, and has always been one of my cottage garden inspirations!

Tasha Tudor!!!!

Yes, several years ago, Tasha Tudor, stayed at The Stagecoach Inn…

in our very same room! 

Tears of joy flowed the moment Brook told us about Tasha’s visit!

Perhaps the unexplained feelings of excitement and joy

that awoke me in the middle of the night

were Tasha’s inspiration for this wonderful new decade in my life!

I hope so!!

I can feel her inspiration, from the bottom of my heart!

Our stay at The Stagecoach Inn B&B was definitely one of the highlights of our Cedarburg adventure! Our story doesn’t end yet,  though. A warmer, sunny day on Friday led us to some other new discoveries. I can’t wait to share some of the hidden gems we found as we explored the quiet, little town of Cedarburg, Wisconsin! ☺ Next time…

Take joy!

♡Dawn

P.S.   What special Christmas-y places have you enjoyed visiting? I hope you will share them with us. (I’m making a list for future birthday memories ~ tied with heartstrings!)

Autumn Treasures

CelebrateAutumn

Hi Friends!

We are celebrating another lovely Autumn weekend here in the Midwest! The leaves are just beginning to show their colors. The next two weekends should be prime time for leaf peeping in our area. Midwesterners are making the most of our nice weather.

Perhaps you can guess why we left home very early on a chilly Saturday morning to drive out to the countryside…

As long as I can remember, one of my very favorite pastimes has been antiquing. I have such sweet childhood memories of tagging along with my parents at outdoor antique fairs, learning about the fascinating things that were part of daily life for our ancestors. As I grew, so did my love for the old ways and the simple things that make a ‘Home Sweet Home.’

Now at a vintage age myself, I still love the anticipation of the hunt and the thrill of learning more about old, well-worn treasures. You just never know when you will find something that sparks joy! It’s always a treat to find inspiration for new ways to use my own antiques. From time to time, a tiny treasure or two might even come home with us!

This pretty park sits along the peaceful, historic waterway.

This pretty park sits along a peaceful, historic waterway. The small town of Morris is just a one hour drive from Chicago.

On Saturday, we visited the last 3 French Hens French Country Market of the year, held in the small town of Morris, Illinois. Over 140 vendors set up their booths in Canalport Park, along the banks of the historic I & M Shipping Canal. I practically danced into the park! There is always so much inspiration here… I could just feel it in the air!

DSCN5941It’s so interesting to peek at the upcycled items ~

especially signs made from old barn wood, vintage doors, or tobacco lath.

I always take time to admire the fonts, the time-worn wood, and the sayings on each piece.

DSCN5939Vintage frames were in abundance at this month’s fair.

Some were turned into chalkboards. Others held chicken wire and clothespins to create display boards.

DSCN5952There were so many memories here, too!

While growing up, I played at a small, wooden, roll top desk that was passed down through our family.

The red handled rolling pin looks just like the one in my kitchen today.

I can remember a Charles Chips cookie tin at our house, too.

It’s always a happy stroll down Memory Lane!

DSCN5943Vintage wooden ironing boards were popular.

Old doors were definitely trending here!

They were repurposed into hall trees with bench seats, book shelves, coffee tables, and chalkboards.

I was thankful to see the original hardware preserved on each door.

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Bittersweet bundles were cut from roadside plants in Indiana.

Farmers brought their fruits, vegetables, and honey.

DSCN5945Pumpkins and gourds were everywhere!

DSCN5950Our search for the perfect pumpkins and gourds

always leads us to Anderson Pumpkins.

These expert growers harvest over 102 varieties on their

farm in nearby Newark, Illinois.

DSCN5949It’s fascinating to learn more about pumpkins and squash from them each year.

We learned that pumpkins will be more scarce this season

due to our cool, very wet June.

(Insider tip straight from the grower ~

“If you buy canned pumpkin for Thanksgiving baking,

it’s a good idea to buy it extra early this year. Supplies could be short!)

DSCN5810The blessings of Autumn

were everywhere we looked at the

 3 French Hens French Country Market.

Beautiful chrysanthemums, long bundles of dried wheat,

bales of hay, and bouquets of bright, orange Chinese Lanterns

were a celebration of Autumn in the Midwest.

A few bits

of holiday magic

were sprinkled in, too!

DSCN5956The most wonderful time of the year

is just around the corner!

DSCN5955What a wonderful Autumn morning!

There were little treasures that

sparked joy ~

a small, silverplated ‘Bride Basket’ plate (made in England) for holiday tea parties,

a bar of handmade ‘Ocean Sunrise’ soap, scented with peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus,

and small pumpkins and gourds to create Autumn centerpieces.

Best of all, my heart is filled with inspiration!

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We bought delicious fare for

our picnic lunch

and headed off

further into the countryside

to our afternoon destination…

This beautiful place is really old!

It’s an original ‘antique’

dating back

 10,000 years!

Can’t wait to share… next time!

I’m so grateful that you made time to stop and visit today.

Wishing everyone bright, colorful Autumn (or Springtime!) days ahead!

Sending warm Thanksgiving Blessings to our friends in Canada!

Cherish today!

♡Dawn

P.S.  What Autumn activities have you been enjoying lately?

3 French Hens

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Hi Friends!

It was my favorite kind of day! We jumped into the car very early on Saturday morning. I could feel a touch of Autumn in the air and excitement building as we left behind the busy suburbs, near the bustling city, and headed southwest to the friendly, little town of Morris, Illinois. Time moved at a more leisurely pace, as we drove along fields of golden corn and yellow, roadside wildflowers, under beautiful, blue skies, accented with puffs of white clouds. It’s the kind of drive that just begs for country music on the car radio. 🙂 If only I knew the lyrics to those country songs, I would have been singing along!

Our destination was the 3 French Hens French Country Market. This popular event, held on the second Saturday of each month, from May through October, draws visitors from near and far. The friendliest vendors and shoppers gather here in a quiet, little park early in the morning… and the excitement begins!

The historic I&M Canal, in Morris, Illinois

There was a nip in the air, as we walked to Canal Port Park, along the banks of the historic I & M Canal. Over 130 booths of antiques, upcycled vintage treasures, and beautiful, handmade wares filled the park. Inspiration was everywhere!

Join us for a stroll through the market…

'Fall' bunting with rosettes

Signs of Autumn filled the air on Saturday morning!

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Amy, at Plaid Umbrella Studios, displayed beautiful handmade wares. Plaid Umbrella Studios is a cooperative of antique dealers and artists who run pop-up stores each month. One of their treasures just *might* have come home with us!

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Angela, of 13th & Olive Designs, followed her passion for flowers as she created beautiful pendants filled with pressed flowers. Her work was truly lovely!

Angela's passion for flowers makes her beautiful pendants one-of-a-kind treasures. I really enjoyed talking with her about her flowers and meaningful text.

Angela’s one-of-a-kind pendants can also be custom-made with meaningful words and pressed flowers from life’s cherished moments. I really enjoyed our conversation about our shared passion for flowers, their Victorian meanings, and old book pages.

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Signs of Autumn were everywhere at the 3 French Hens Market.

Gorgeous mums and yummy baked goods from Shipshewana, Indiana were very popular!

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Finding a patch of sunshine warmed us up,

as the brisk winds filled the air with an early morning chill.

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A cup of Pumpkin Spice tea was also a warm welcome,

to both hands and heart,

as we wandered among the antiques, vintage treasures,

handmade jewelry, herbal soaps,

c0lorful Autumn perennials,

baked goods, and farm fresh produce.

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Anderson’s Pumpkins shared a wonderful variety of locally grown pumpkins and gourds. We look forward to ‘picking’ our pumpkins at their booth in a few weeks, during the October market.

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Have you seen anything that catches your fancy?

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Jennifer, at Olde Farm Creek, brought her popular signs stenciled on tobacco lath.  Check out the large Scrabble tiles! Olde Farm Creek is also featured in Country Sampler magazine.

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There were smiles around every corner at the 3 French Hens Market!

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So happy that you could visit the market with us today.

We are already looking forward to

another morning in the country

at the 3 French Hens French Country Market,

in Morris, Illinois,

on Saturday, October 10th.

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I am always filled with inspiration

after spending a morning here with all of the creatives, makers, and doers!

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Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to visit today!

Where are you finding Autumn inspiration?

I love, love, love your comments…

Cherish the day!

♡ Dawn