Cold Hands, Warm Hearts!

Hi Friends!

“Snow makes whiteness where it falls,

The bushes look like popcorn balls.

Snow-covered evergreens

The places where I always play,

Snowy scallops on the white picket fence

Look like somewhere else today!”

(Credit:”First Snow” by Mary Louise Allen)

My ‘History Garden’ casts shadows in winter.

We woke up on Monday to blue skies and sunshine… finally! Early in the morning, I bundled up and went for a long-awaited walk through my Winter garden. Very slowly, I trudged through the deep, glittery snow, several inches higher than my warm boots.

We had measurable snowfall every day for nine consecutive days, from February 3rd through the 11th. It truly looked like we were living in a snow globe! 🙂  Each day as I peeked through our lace curtains, while sipping tea from a favorite antique teacup, the snowflakes danced over my garden like Winter’s butterflies. Many times, I reached into my special ‘Basket of Sunshine’ for an extra dose of coziness during our long stretch of snowy days.

Glittery snowflakes falling in a shaker card

Shoveling snow became my daily ‘workouts,’ often shoveling two or three times a day. Traditionally, my husband prefers the ease of a snowblower, while I prefer the peaceful sounds of a shoveling meditation. As I slowly scoop the snow from the sidewalks, I always take time to quietly enjoy our Wintertime shadow garden. Every year, I intentionally leave the tall stems and dried flower heads of my perennials standing, providing seeds and nesting materials for our feathered friends throughout the Winter months. Seeing these dried souvenirs in my flower beds always fills my heart with warm, sunny memories of happy days in the garden last Summer.

Winter snowfalls also provide nice visits with our neighbors, a quick wave or a brief chat, as we shiver together. Neighbors helping neighbors has always been an important part of the quiet street where we live. As a young homeowner when I moved here thirty-one years ago, I loved being the secret “snow angel” often helping my older neighbors. Years passed, and now we have become the grateful recipients of help with our snow.  We are so thankful for our neighbor, Ralf, who loves to help out with his enormous snowblower! Ours is tiny by comparison. During this snowy stretch, we also had a “secret snowman” who cleared our sidewalks and long driveway on two different days to surprise us! Such kindness is truly heartwarming and always so appreciated! 🙂

While the snowflakes tumbled down outside, it was the perfect time for some creative hours inside. I enjoyed playing with tiny Art Impressions Watercolor stamps and watercolor markers to practice some watercolor vignettes. At first, it was fun to create snowy scenes. However, as the snowflakes fell outside day after day, my my heart yearned to create tiny, sunny gardens.

Although it is very chilly in my little Paper Garden studio during the Winter months, I still bundle up and carry hot tea downstairs to make one or two cards at a time. This week, I have been creating floral cards to warm hearts of family and friends. Doing a bit of ‘gardening’ with paper and ink definitely warms my heart, too!

A lifelong letter writer, I have also been warming my heart by putting pen to paper. In quiet celebration of International Correspondence Writing Month (#InCoWriMo2018), I am enjoying writing long letters to dear friends. What a pleasure to decide who to write to, choose some pretty stationery from my desk drawer, and to fill a page or two with the breathings of my heart! I have also chosen a few names and addresses from the long list of international letter writers on the InCoWriMo 2018 website. I’m planning to write a few surprise letters! I chose someone who lives in my favorite little town in Wisconsin, someone in Ireland (a place I dream of visiting), someone in Paris (J’adore Paris!), and someone who has been such an inspiration for my journal writing.

All of my letters sent within the United States will carry a very special postage stamp. The Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp helps to raise awareness of this heartbreaking disease. Each Alzheimer’s stamp costs 65 cents and will help raise funds for the work that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is doing to help those suffering with this disease. This cause is very near and dear to my heart and it would mean so much to me if the friends of our blog would purchase the Alzheimer’s stamps at their local post offices. This new semipostal stamp will be available for two years. All of those small donations will make a difference in so many lives!

All of the special people who gather here

to read each post

and share their thoughts

definitely warm my heart!

This little Valentine

is especially for you!

Thanks so much for stopping to visit today!

Warmest hugs,

♡ Dawn

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Lions, Lambs, and Bunnies, too!

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Hi Friends!

Rabbit! Rabbit!

What a fun tradition!  I can still remember saying these words in my childhood. Saying ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ to the first people you greet on the first day of a new month will (hopefully) bring you good fortune throughout the month. Rabbits have been considered a sign of good luck for over 2,000 years. Written references to beginning the month with this superstition date back to the early 1900’s in the United States. Even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was known to begin the month with this quirky saying. (You can ‘Listen to the Story’ in a clip from NPR news here.) Oh, no! Have you forgotten to say ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ this morning?  No worries!  Before bedtime, you can say ‘Black Rabbit’ or ‘tibbaR tibbaR.’ That’s ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ backwards!  Just wanted to welcome you with a little smile today…

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Girlfriends greet one another with ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ each month on Susan Branch’s blog. Any ‘Downton Abbey’ fans will really enjoy her wonderful recaps of each episode!

♥♥♥

We also have a weather saying for the month of March.

“March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.”

It’s definitely true here in the Midwest today! March is roaring in like a lion, bringing more snow and cold temperatures. At this very moment, I can hear snowblowers roaring in the distance. My garden is still buried under a thick blanket of sparkly, white snow. More snowflakes will fall on Tuesday. It’s truly a ‘Marshmallow World’ everywhere we look. 

Our herb

Our Herb Garden in February

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Our snow-covered Magnolia tree

After one of the coldest, snowiest Februarys on record, so many people are celebrating the arrival of March! Today marks the start of meteorological Spring.  The First Day of Spring (March 20th) is just around the corner!!

Spring is on the way…

and I’m just helping it along!

I’ve been busy inside packing away our folk art Snowman collection

a bit earlier than most years.

It will be lovely to see them again next Winter!

Snowmen

 Bunnies and baskets

have begun popping up.

Bunnies

What fun to dream new Garden Dreams

and make new plans for this year’s growing season!

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It’s heavenly to pour over favorite gardening books,

while sipping a cup of tea,

as the snowflakes dance and twirl outside.

Gardening magazines are overflowing with inspiration.

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It’s definitely ‘Spring Fever’ time in the Midwest.

Spring is my very favorite season…

and I just can’t wait to get started digging in the soil,

cleaning up the garden beds, and planting a few new native plants!

I’m dreaming of daily walks through my perennial and herb gardens,

watching closely for tiny green shoots to appear.

Spending time in the garden always makes my heart bloom!

♥♥♥

{via Pinterest}

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, on March 17th, spread lots of cheer.

Everyone can feel just a wee bit Irish on that day.

Our thoughts turn to parades, wearing our brightest green sweaters,

and the scent of Irish Soda Bread baking in the oven.

♥♥♥

What will you do to celebrate the small moments that make March special?

Are you making garden plans? Or are you already busy working in your garden?

Spring is already on the way!

We can all celebrate its arrival a little bit early… especially this year!

♥♥♥♥♥

Some very special celebrations to share…

Did you know that the Welsh people are celebrating a special day today? It’s St. David’s Day in Wales! My friend, Deb, is celebrating on her lovely blog. Deb will be so happy to share the festivities with you, with photos and videos of the St. David’s Day traditions in her village, in west Wales.

 

Whether you are planning a trip to Europe or enjoy armchair travel, I know you will enjoy my blog friend, Sandy Allnock’s, amazing slideshow celebrating  her recent adventures in London, Edinburgh, Paris, and Rome. Sandy is a true artist, and it shows in everything she does!

♥♥♥♥♥

{via Pinterest}

Thanks so much for visiting! 

Hope you will find a small moment to celebrate today!

Warm hugs,

♡Dawn

A Blizzard of Blessings!

Snowy Greetings, friends!

What a weekend we had here in the Midwest! A massive storm developed as two weather systems collided, combined with the effect of Lake Michigan. The Blizzard of 2015 dropped twenty inches of snow, while high winds created large snowdrifts everywhere.

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Sunday morning we woke up to several inches of heavy, wet snow.

Frigid. Exhausting. Swirling.

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As the day went on, high winds swirled the snow around in the garden.

Deep. Drifting. Relentless.

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The limbs of our pine trees were heavy with snow, as they swayed in the strong winds.

Dangerous. Stressful. Endless…

These were a few of the words

 that came to mind as we drifted off to sleep,

after spending Saturday evening and all day Sunday

working to keep up with the accumulating snow.

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ABC7 News reporter, Judy Hsu used time lapse to capture the

Blizzard of 2015 in her yard, in just 26 seconds! Amazing!!

Click here to see her video!

{With special thanks to Judy Hsu.}

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This morning,

as a new day dawned,

tiny snowflakes were falling gently.

Bright sunshine and blue skies soon revealed

the ‘Marshmallow World 

that was once our garden…

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Mounds of snow turned our evergreen bushes into huge marshmallows.

Our herb

Snow piled halfway up the garden gate, burying our herbs under a white, fluffy blanket.

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Marshmallow snow caps topped our white picket fence.

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The pine trees were iced with heavy, wet snow.

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Icicles began to form in the cold afternoon sunshine.

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The seed heads and stems of Black-Eyed Susans created a ‘shadow garden’ on the glittery snow.

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Rooftops and pine trees wore mounds of fluffy, marshmallow whiteness.

As I trudged through knee-deep snow in our garden this afternoon,

reflecting on the past thirty-five hours of falling snow,

my whole perspective changed…

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Although we had a very difficult thirty-five hours,

the Blizzard of 2015

had actually dropped a mixture of swirling snow

and a ‘Blizzard of Blessings’ upon us…

Sunday:

∗  Our family and friends were all safe.

∗ Our power stayed on through the storm, keeping us warm and cozy.

∗  My husband and I were together through the entire storm. It’s always nicer with two!

∗  A kind neighbor surprised us (twice!) by clearing our sidewalks with his huge snowblower.

∗  Using our small snowblower and shovels several times, we were able to clear our sidewalks and driveway.

∗  Neighbors waved to one another, as we weathered the storm together.

∗  Our family and friends, nearby and oh-so-far away, checked to be sure we were safe.

∗  Snowplow drivers worked throughout the storm to keep our suburban roads open.

∗  A big pot of lentil soup warmed us inside, so that we could keep shoveling outside.

∗  A cozy ‘time-out’ to watch Downtown Abbey provided a wonderful escape from the snow.

Monday:

∗  This morning, a group of crafty friends gathered to make Valentine cards and shared our blizzard tales.

∗  Today was a Snow Day for many students and teachers, keeping everyone safe.

∗ Huge trucks hauled the snow away from our library, so that families could come warm up with a good book.

∗  Big snowmen began appearing all over town!

∗  The snow-covered garden looked gorgeous sparkling in the afternoon sun.

∗  There was a beautiful sunset this evening.

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Our fifth snowiest storm ever

was a HUGE challenge for everyone.

As we remember the hardships of the Blizzard of 2015,

we are also counting our blessings.

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Now the storm is heading east,

where everyone is still recovering from last week’s historic blizzard.

We wish everyone still in its path a ‘Blizzard of Blessings’… along with all of the snow!

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We are expecting more snow tomorrow.

Today the Groundhog saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of Winter. Brrrrr!

It’s the perfect week for some heartwarming fun ~

making Valentine cards and baking goodies to share!

Stay safe and warm!

♡ Dawn

            P.S.  Are you enjoying a snowy winter or a mild winter this year?