Monday, November 26, 2012

A Cozy Cottage Christmas Story

A Cozy Cottage Christmas Story
Jennifer Grenko

This stream of consciousness story is being told as randomly as the pictures uploaded themselves from my camera.  It seems each image began jumping out of the camera, as if there was some sort of a contest.  It was as if each picture could not wait to tell it's story about the magical weekend...

A short time ago, I visited a tiny town called Mount Dora in the sunny, far-away land of 

Mount Dora is not far from a bigger, Magical Kingdom full of  Princesses, but that is not what I'm going to be telling you about.  

It sounds like an unlikely place for a queen to be living, in a cozy cottage and not a Castle.  

It might sound stranger still if I tell you we celebrated Christmas in November, but this is my story....

The lovely queen cast a spell over the cozy cottage and somehow, Christmas came early for each of us.

Look how sweetly she welcomed us into her cottage in the tiny kingdom.

Each cozy cottage invitee was made a queen for this special weekend too.

We saw girls in white dresses..

This is the cozy cottage... It looks like a normal cottage, only pinker and with some crazy magic never seen before.

There was a teddy bear ballerina riding a pink bike in her tutu and tiara.

Do normal cottages have pink Christmas wreathes before Thanksgiving?  They do not!

Look at the table of goodies and a beautiful snow queen project to be made...

Little gifts appeared everywhere...

The queens brought their craft supplies from far and wide in such beautiful boxes.

Enchanted art from all over the kingdom hung about the cottage, making everything bright.

Every corner and nook held something lovely... 


or cozy

  or vintage

or artful 

 or angelic


or pink


I quickly took a picture of myself in that cottage so that later on, I would know that it had not been a dream and that I really had been there. 

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, is this the coziest cottage of them all?"

Only believers of Santa and fairy tales could believe such a story and that such a place existed...

Pixies came from the forest to peek at our happy party and sprinkle pink pixie dust all about.

Ballerinas peeked out of slippers and you would swear you could see them blowing kisses - so happy they were that we had decorated their slippers for them.


Never was there a more inviting, cozy cottage.

When Christmas comes early, of course so do Christmas trees!

I saw the biggest pink marshmallows ever to be put in a pie!

A cozy cottage is always comfy...

and filled with lovely for 20 queens!

Pretty finery of days gone by...

We met the magical Mixie Chicks, Karen and Elaine, who are real live dollmakers,  and we learned to make a Snow queen pincushion doll!  I forgot to ask them if they had worked at the North Pole with Santa.

Here is my doll, waiting patiently as I design her dress.

Some of the Snow Queen fashion parade...

 They appear so happy with their hats and new dresses, don't they?  It's as if they're saying "How do I look?" and fishing for compliments. 

This is our Cozy Cottage Queen and lovely hostess, Karen Hillman.  Karen is such a talented artist and photographer and probably the most positive ball of energy I have ever seen.

She honestly looks more like a young fairy princess than a queen...

The gifts were never ending.

Every queen was presented with a lovely, fluffy white stole at our delicious luncheon.  No one could have anticipated such a generous and beautiful surprise.  The whole weekend was magical.

The Homecoming Court of Fabulosity made an appearance and rocked the house!

At the end of our visit, we had a pink champagne toast (but what else?).   There were so many blessings of friendship and fun.  

No one wanted it to end, but when it did, we shopped  in a magical 117 acre forest (more like a dusty meadow, really) called Rennigers.  At Rennigers, we found long lost treasures of Christmases past and old things that only cottage queens could love.

Some of us, who just could not leave yet, stayed and celebrated an early birthday.  Music rang throughout the tiny kingdom of Mount Dora that night.  We danced and laughed and rocked the house!

Until next November,  goodbye little cozy cottage... 

Stay Cozy until our return!!

Linking to Cindy's Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gorgeous Autumn Etsy Listing

I have listed a really special set of 
rare Wedgwood dishes for sale in my etsy shop.  
They belonged to my mother but were never used, 
except for display.  

When my parents married, someone very kind gave her twelve of these gorgeous Wedgwood plates!

I estimate that they were from the 1920's due to the Deco design elements.  They are the most beautiful combination of gold, orange and black/brown.  

I've tried researching them, can't find any information, and have decided that they are very rare.

Here are the markings and stampings on the back.

They appear to have been originally purchased at Tiffany & Co., New York.  There are several of these Tiffany dividers included in the listing as well.

The Deco border design appears to be transferware and the orange flowers appear to be hand painted due to their being raised.  The orange is so vivid.

I truly love these very smart looking plates. 

But alas,
I have a pink, shabby chic decor and they don't really go, and I'm not redecorating any time soon! 

 I have two of them displayed on my fall mantel.

These would be gorgeous on a fall or Thanksgiving table or as a display.

Here is a funny outdoor picture of the 12.  

I've listed 8.  The size of the set sold is negotiable.  I am willing to sell smaller sets.

I hope some lucky collector will be thrilled to get them this fall or for Christmas.  

I just wanted to share how pretty they are with everyone and hope they will tickle someone's fancy!

Hope you are having a beautiful autumn afternoon! 

Please be safe if you are in the path of Sandy!



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Precious Pippa

Last week on Thursday, 10/11/12, my precious, darling kitty, Pippa was killed by a car. 

Pippa came to be mine a year ago in early August.   My sister and I needed to run into Kroger on a Friday afternoon.  A teenage boy stood outside with a shopping buggy where he had one, last little runt of a kitten.  

Would we like a free kitten, he asked?  I normally would have said "No, thanks" without a look, but I looked.  She wasn't very pretty but she was tiny and cute with huge ears, a pink nose and slightly crossed eyes. 

It was an impulse.  I said I would take her.  Then immediately, I thought, what am I going to do with a kitten??  My sister stood outside with the kitten and the boy as  I purchased kitten food.   My large orange cat didn't require a litter box any longer, so I had to buy supplies.

The boy told us he had named her Margaret after his best friend.  He wanted the kitten but his mother would not let him keep her.

The first night she was home with us, we had a house full of young people.  My son, his musician friends, his girlfriend and her 11 year old sister were all there.  Everyone wanted to hold the kitten.  The 11 year old held her most of the evening.  She was as small as your hand and weighed just over a pound.

In the coming days, she became covered with fleas.  As small as she was, I knew I couldn't put chemicals on her.  I gave her nightly baths.  She shivered and shook and held onto me  for dear life while I held her and dried her until she was warm and fluffy again.  This went on and on until she was big enough for flea treatment. 

I was convinced this precious baby was an angel and was all mine.  She slept with me, on my chest, right under my chin.  She'd mother me, licking my face and eyes and cleaning my hands. 

I began calling her Pippa because when I first heard her meow, it was nothing more than a tiny squeak.  She became Pippa, my tiny pipsqueak.   Her full name was "Margaret Phillipa",  a big name for a tiny upstart.

She didn't want to be held unless she came to me to be held, which I called Mommy/Pippa time.  I shared my ice cream and bits of sandwich with her.   She never failed to notice when I was snacking on something at my desk and came by for her share in it.

She was the most playful and aggressive little thing.  With no siblings around to, she chose me to pick her fights with.  My hands were covered with tiny scratches.  I couldn't make a move in  bed without an attack!

Sadie arrived at the perfect time.  Pippa needed a playmate.  Sadie was simply sitting in my Japanese Magnolia one morning.  I heard her crying, looked up and saw a small black tabby cat.  I asked the neighbors about her to be sure no one was missing her.  No one claimed her and she became Pippa's surrogate sister.  They would "play all day and fight all night" as if from the same litter!  My hands healed and I refereed so Sadie wasn't abused too badly.

Tiny as she was, Pippa was top-cat.  Sadie was the one on the defense in every play fight tussle.  Pippa mothered her big sister even as she picked on her and helped keep her clean.  

Pippa was fearless and ever curious.  I never let her out without supervision until she was spayed and completely healed this past spring.  Before her time came, she sat in the window watching and hoping that one day I would let her play outside with the others.  I didn't worry as much about Orangina and Sadie.  They were bigger and they both came from outside.  

Pippa was small enough to be carried away by the big hawks I sometimes saw circling overhead.  I waited until I thought she was large enough to let her go outside without me.  

This summer she became an indoor/outdoor cat and came and went as she pleased.  She came in to eat and sleep, taking long naps.  At night, she still slept on my chest or sometimes in the crook of my waist as I lay on my side.  

It was already dark last Thursday,  it might have been 7 or 7:30 when I heard the car hit her.  I ran outside but could see nothing.  I called her name, but saw and heard nothing from Pippa.  Sadie came to me a few times, as vocal as always.  I shooed her and kept calling for Pippa.  I thought maybe she hadn't been hit after all.  There was no sign of her.

At about nine pm, I began calling again.  I noticed Sadie around the side of the house in the bushes.  There with Sadie, I found my Pippa.  She was limp and lifeless.  I held and held my baby.   The girl who would have normally wiggled free, just let me hold her.  The dark blue sweater I wore that night is covered with white hairs.  I haven't been able to bring myself to wash it yet.

This was all my fault.  I let her go.  She wanted to be outside, that was her happiness.  She mostly sat on the top of a hill underneath a pecan tree, stalking squirrels and birds.  She was right across the street just several yards from me, not far.  From my window, I could see her enjoying her vantage point.  

I know she was trying to return home when she was killed.  She managed to run all the way to the side of the house where she died under the living room window.  I hate myself for not finding her sooner so she could at least have been in my arms as she died.  I wonder if she heard me calling.  I hope she died quickly and wasn't scared.

Now, I hate myself for letting her outside, but she would she have have hated me for keeping her cooped up in the house?  Inside was not enough for her and I wanted her to be happy.

With a neighbors help, she was buried in the back yard, not far from my bedroom window.  The spot will become a memorial, eventually when I can face it.

Sadie and I have each other now.  It's not the same for either of us.  I love Sadie and I feel so sorry for the loss of her playmate.  I cry as I write this.

Orangina and Sadie both found me.  I chose Pippa.  I doubt I will ever seek to own another kitten.  It just isn't fair to them.  I live on a busy street and there's a big world outdoors that they long to be in.  I can't fall in love with and lose another cat this way. 

Goodbye my Precious baby Pippa.  

Mommy will always love you and will never, ever forget you.