Sweet Memories

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Hi Friends!

It happens every year! After the magic of Christmas comes a quiet week… just right for reflecting. I cherish these peaceful moments as I make time to look back over the past 366 days. Just scrolling through my iPhoto library and Camera Roll takes me right back to those small moments and special times ~ a true celebration of 2016.

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During the last week of the year, I love to set aside many hours to document our family stories in our Christmas Memories keepsake book, by Susan Branch. Each book holds five years of family traditions ~ and we are nearing the end of our second volume. (I’m so grateful to have two new copies of Christmas Memories tucked safely away to hold ten more years of memories.)  A cup of tea, soft candlelight, and the sounds of Christmas music, help me to savor and preserve our stories.

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It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the ‘One Little Word’ that has inspired me throughout the entire year.  I chose the word Blossom for 2016. (Truthfully, the word Blossom chose me!) It was my intention all year long to bravely share my handmade cards with others in the papercrafting community. There were some lovely ‘firsts’ this year… new ways to blossom!

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The wonderfully supportive papercrafting community on Instagram welcomed me with encouraging words as I blossomed throughout the year. It’s always heartwarming when other card makers and the stamp designers comment on our handmade cards.

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Monthly paper crafting ‘Crops’ have been a very special part of my blossoming throughout the year. I always pack a basket of stamps, inks, watercolor paper, and markers with great anticipation. It’s just wonderful to gather with friends on a Saturday, as we each work on our own projects together. Creative hands and kind hearts make the hours fly by. Sharing, learning from one another, and laughing together is a delight. I feel so blessed to have found my crafty ‘tribe’ this year!

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In July, I spent a creative day with papercrafters from around the globe, as we participated in the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire 2016. Inspired by the works of the The Masters throughout art history and the talented PTI Design Team, I stretched my skills immensely as I learned many new techniques. Although I worked alone in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs, it felt so great to be a part of something much bigger! Afterwards, I shared my creations as part of a Papertrey Ink Blog Hop. I cherish the sweet memories of that special day. It was a perfect way to blossom, blossom, blossom!

You can read all about it here.

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Creating cards to let loved ones know that I am thinking of them is a special passion. The time spent on each one-of-a-kind card always feels like a little visit with family and friends 🙂  Sharing handmade kindness is one small way of making a difference… and blossoming!

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Of all the books I have enjoyed this year, there are two that have truly inspired my creative journey…

both touched my heart deeply and brought tears to my eyes.

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Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams, the newest book in Susan Branch’s memoir trilogy, was published in Spring 2016. This handwritten, watercolored treasure takes us along as a young Susan flies away from California for a fresh start on Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts. I felt so many connections as she bought a little house of her own and turned it into ‘home sweet home.’ It was truly fascinating as Susan shared her determination, hard work, and the creative path she followed as she grew into an artist and author.

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What a joy to read! So inspiring! During a tea party and book signing in May, I was so grateful for the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Susan again, and to tell her how much this book meant to me. Of all of the wonderful quotations in this book, I shared the one that inspired me the most… and Susan told me that it was her very favorite quotation, too. Kindred spirits!

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Take a peek back at some of the sweetest memories of that very special day with Susan Branch here.

If you click on the Menu bar of our blog, the Tag Cloud will lead you to many of the ways

Susan has been an inspiration in my life!

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Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, spoke directly to my heart and inspired me to keep practicing even though creativity can feel so scary at times. I revisit so many quotations from this wonderful book often as I meander along this creative journey. 

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Take a peek at the powerful connections I felt as I read Big Magic here.

Although I am always drawn to nonfiction, every so often my heart needs a little ‘escape’ from the news of the world. That’s when I reach for a bit of fiction. Earlier this month, I really enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s new Christmas novel, Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s a delightful holiday story, with a fun blogging twist! 🙂 It is just perfect for making sweet memories…

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It’s been a very busy year of growing and blossoming!

I can’t wait to share my ‘One Little Word’ for 2017 next week.

I began listening for my new OLW in early November. Within just a few weeks, my new word found me.

If you would like to learn more about  ‘One Little Word’ and see how I have used each word, look here and here.

This will be my sixth year of setting my intentions for the New Year, using ‘One Little Word.’

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May the New Year bring you an abundance of joy…

and a grateful heart!

That’s exactly how I feel each time I read your thoughtful comments.

Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts with all of us.

With gratitude,

♡ Dawn

                       P.S.  What were your favorite books this year? We’d love to hear about the books that you loved!

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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!

Joyful

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Hi Friends,

 

Just the other day, I spent some time in our lovely conservatory in a nearby park.

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It is an oasis of calm, peace, and quiet beauty.

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As I admired the stunning Chrysanthemums 

in the Thanksgiving flower show,

each of you

were on my mind.

I was counting my blessings…

and they numbered more than the flower petals.

So I ‘picked’ a few of my favorites… just for you!

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Our little blog has become such a special

gathering place

of kindred spirits.

It fills my heart with

joy

when I think about all of us…

sharing, reminiscing, celebrating,

encouraging, learning and growing

together.

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Whether we are much-loved family,

 dearest old friends,

exciting new friends,

wonderful blog friends,

or quiet friends that I have not met yet,

it fills my heart with so much

gratitude

that we take a bit of time

to gather here.

♥♥♥

Wherever you live in the world,

may you make this a time of Thanksgiving.

Take time every day to count your blessings out loud.

It is gratitude that makes us joyful!

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

So thankful that you are here today!

Warm hugs!

♡ Dawn

A New ‘Garden’ Season!

Our 'Autumn' Blaze Red Maple reflects the beauty of each Autumn day!

Our ‘Autumn Blaze’ Red Maple reflects the beauty of each October day!

Hi Friends!

Change is in the air in our Midwest garden! Our chilly nighttime temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and brilliant Autumn colors are poignant reminders that a new ‘garden’ season is just around the corner. Now the precious hours spent gardening in the warmth of an Autumn afternoon seem ever so fleeting!

Although the garden colors are fading quickly now, there are still some lovely reminders of our colorful Summer days. Bright pink Cosmos blossoms still dance in the breeze in our old-fashioned Cutting Garden.

These Cosmos grew from special seeds from Rheinstetten, Germany. A gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

These Cosmos grew from seeds sent from Rheinstetten, Germany. What a lovely gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

There was a surprise discovery this week in our Autumn garden! Finding a blossom from an early Spring Anemone, blooming beside a fallen Autumn leaf, made my heart leap! Oh, the small thrills that make a gardener’s heart dance with delight. Surely, you can understand…

A brave Anenome, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

A brave Anemone, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

 

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful in a colorful dance on a Autumn breeze.

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful dance on an Autumn breeze.

After gazing upward, again and again, to enjoy the glorious colors overhead, it was time to begin a few gardenkeeping tasks today. With my favorite herb snips in hand, I headed through the garden gate to begin harvesting bundles of herbs to dry for our kitchen this winter.

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

It’s such fun to snip sprigs of Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, and Thyme gathering each bundle tightly with a small rubber band. Thoughts of winter soups and Thanksgiving stuffing come to mind at harvest time. Our dried herbs will flavor so many meals in the coming months.

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The small bundles of herbs will hang to dry in our cool, dark basement until they are ready to use in the kitchen.

Harvesting Hydrangeas is always one of my special joys. In October, we usually have so many lovely, mauve-colored Hydrangeas to dry ~ enough to fill many baskets, crocks, and stoneware pitchers for a gorgeous ‘winter garden’ inside. Sadly, last winter’s long, severe cold and snow cover in the Midwest meant no flowers at all on most of our mophead Hydrangeas! It was the first time that there were no buds, only large, healthy leaves on the Hydrangeas growing near our front porch. Garden bloggers in many areas reported the same disappointment in their gardens this summer.

Just one small basket of Hydrangeas, mostly of the lacecap variety, was harvested with great care. Each blossom seemed more precious than ever before! I will truly miss having dried bouquets of my favorite, old-fashioned flowers nearby while sipping tea, reading, and watching the snowflakes fall outside the window all winter long! Nature has taught me that nothing is certain in the garden. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about the importance of patience… and hope!

There were only a few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

There were very few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

Harvest time has just begun! Herbs and Hydrangeas are hanging to dry in the basement.

Harvest time has just begun! Some herbs and Hydrangeas are already hanging in the basement to dry.

This week, we had our first frost and the garden is preparing to rest. My favorite Rosemary plant has already been brought in from the Herb Garden and is happily growing in a large pot in our sunny dining room. Its heavenly scent will remind me of summer days in the garden through the coldest of winter days. A gorgeous Mandevilla plant that bloomed all summer on our deck is now blooming in the dining room, adjusting to the sunny, southern exposure. It will be so nice to enjoy this colorful souvenir of summertime in the weeks to come!

This is always the time when a gardener reflects on the past season and looks ahead to next year’s garden. As a garden blogger, there will be new gardening hopes, dreams, and plans to share. Travels to the sunny Southwest will bring some lovely desert gardens to our blog. I look forward to sharing some favorite gardens I’ve visited on past European adventures, too. What fun to remember beautiful castle gardens while our Midwest cottage garden rests!

Yes, the garden is changing…

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

… and a new garden season is just beginning here!!

I’m looking forward to sharing another favorite passion of mine in the coming months! A long-time dream of mine has just come true. I have set up a Studio space in our basement where I can create (and be messy!). It’s a wonderful place to spread out and enjoy making cards, scrapbooking, watercoloring, and to begin experimenting with new techniques in a mixed media art journal.

It will be such fun to sow new seeds of inspiration, water them with passion, and encourage new skills to grow and blossom!

Hope you will enjoy visits to my ‘Paper Garden,’ too…

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Now I can spend my days in the ‘garden’ all winter long! ♡

Banners and bunting celebrate my passion for paper!

Colors, patterns, and texture make my heart sing.

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It was such fun to create a banner for my new Studio space!

For my papercrafting friends:  First I die cut banners using SU ‘Banners’ Framelits and embossed the Bazzill ‘Forget Me Not’ cardstock with the Embossalicious ‘Flowers’ EF. I layered K&Company Floral Tags, embossed with the Cuttlebug ‘Birds and Swirls’ EF. Next I die cut Spellbinders ‘Scalloped Ovals’ on SU ‘Very Vanilla’ cardstock and embossed them with the SU Sizzix ‘Flowers’ EF. Then I added letters die cut with SU ‘Little Letters’ Thinlets on The Paper Company ‘Chocolate Truffle’ cardstock. Finally, I used SU dimensionals to add the sentiment and strung the banner with natural polished hemp.

It’s such a treat to spend time in my ‘Paper Garden’…  now that my perennial and herb gardens are slowing down.

I’m ever so grateful that YOU are here visiting! I truly appreciate the time you spend here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes!

For me, spending time with Kindred Spirits is always such a joy!

Come visit again soon…

Autumn blessings, sweet friends!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Are there special hobbies that you enjoy during the winter months? Or do you continue the same passions year round?

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?