Doors of Alabama…

105FF74C-B6D6-4E87-A0EF-152CC880117CThree years ago, when I first started writing – I was sorely lacking in photographic skills. Not much better now, but have learned a thing or two… Anyway, award winning photographer Jeremy Miniard took pity on me and provided some stunning photographs, then generously offered to let me use them! One of the first groups of photographs I asked him about were Doors; Jeremy has a treasure trove of photographs taken during his ramblings throughout Alabama. The doors he sent to me were amazing. They still are! I posted ‘Doors of Alabama’ using some other photographs offered to me- also out of pity I’m sure. This time… a poster worthy collection of Doors of Alabama are all Jeremy Miniard’s work… be prepared to be impressed!

Doors of Alabama

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7C9AC56D-50F6-4311-86EE-32B22FEC71F2Thank you Jeremy! This journey just wouldn’t have been the same without you! Now. Y’all. I hope you’re inspired as I was by Jeremy’s photography – and also the beauty and history that surely was behind these old doors…peeling paint and all! Now….on your mark, get set and.. Get out there and take some photographs wherever you are! I’d love to see what you come up with! By the way, can you believe we’re still around after three years? Me either. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your support, for following this blog and for your kind words; and yes! the funny comments too! And as always…

Love y’all, Camellia

And I saved one of my favorites for last! E90E7D9E-F75A-438B-BF27-6CEC82C5FA30

 

*All photographs are the sole property of Jeremy Miniard, please respect this and do not use them without his express permission. You will find his work at  Remy Photography- jeremy.miniard.fineartamerica.com

5 Ways to Style a Spring Transition Wardrobe…

0293CC97-4C79-440D-AC0A-DB0E6E985787Late winter and early spring always brings fickle weather which presents wardrobe challenges too! If there was ever a time to shop our own closets- it’s in the transition seasons. One dreary days several weeks ago, one thing to remember- it’s still Early Spring! That’s why we pull together a Transition Wardobe! There are pops of bright colors showing up- still black, camel, denim and classic navy’s are still good in early Spring, there will be plenty of time for late Spring pastels! I pulled out some of my favorite light weight winter pieces and played with a few new accessories, most were inexpensive finds- that frankly perked up almost everything!

Here’s Five Ways to Style a Spring Transition Wardrobe!

  1. Scarves! Unless your scarves are heavy or holiday prints, keep your scarves ready to layer over a dress, sweater or jacket. You can also add a bit of spring color with lighter weight scarves.BAC59E60-8166-45E7-A2E7-3F144FA8C5B1
  2. Accessories are my favorite way to update a wardrobe any time of year! I found these ribbon badges recently, since they weren’t expensive- I bought several! Pretty necklaces, or Iconic Pearls, worn alone, clustered together, or even with a pin- these pieces certainly update a suit jacket, a dress, even a favorite sweater blazer. Remember, it’s still chilly! Transition is a blend of two seasons ! And- here’s an inside tip: If you add a bit of sparkle on your ears- it automatically brightens your face, at least until the sun begins to give it a natural glow! And  let’s face it- you can never go wrong with a Chanel style felt camellia! Perfect this time of year!9AA21B43-37CA-4C58-A6A1-E52C4C8EA1F9
  3. Dress up a Sweatshirt– Another ribbon badge dresses up a sweatshirt here, I’ve also seen sweatshirts with tasteful scattering of pins, brooches and embellishments  (strong emphasis on tasteful, darling) just look at these silk roses clustered with a crown pin! You’ll feel absolutely regal! 044FBEB3-8325-41D4-B2DC-F39D421E008A658771B8-81A3-4752-B424-7FDCB55E8533
  4. Layer on a Vest– I certainly don’t pack away classic vests until late spring. The white down vest definitely won’t be put away until after we get back from our spring vacation to Colorado Springs! Vests can also help create a bit of shape to shapeless dresses, tops and blouses.0293CC97-4C79-440D-AC0A-DB0E6E985787
  5. White Blouse- the great white shirt is the one thing I would encourage you to buy in Transistion Seasons! Why? There’s nothing like a white shirt to update a wardrobe, though the white blouse can become dingy, yellowed or even have small stains. I checked my white blouses, a few needed to have stains removed, treated and soaked, then taken to the cleaners for a heavy starch! Also, I do love a starched denim shirt to layer any time of the year- in spring? Almost an essential.DA3E66F6-AC77-42FF-8851-77F36CD51A87

And-  as a Bonus– we have a few tips!

  • This spring the color story is filled with bright color from head to toe, if you can’t bring yourself to be that bold- use pops of color, in a first layer- tank, lightweight tee shirt, scarf or a cute rain coat.
  • And while my small handbag, a gift, is black- small handbags are still making a good showing…especially if they’re like this one and convert to a backpack! Great for hands free travel too!893044B0-A277-437D-A777-98CCD37B014D
  • And…walking on the wild side is still going strong… Shopping your closet is a good idea! I’ve had this cashmere animal print sweater for years (I added a leopard print blouse last fall) Even if you add an animal print belt, driving mocs, loafers or shoes can perk up your wardrobe- check your closet- I’ll bet you have an animal print in there somewhere!
  • Speaking of shoes- block heel shoes are a smart move any time, in spring with fickle weather- block heels offer more stability along with style! I updated this year, with a black suede. However, I’ve seen block heels in lots of color too! Head to toe, think about adding a pop of color to your Spring Transistion Wardrobe.
  • And, while we might joke about not wearing white before Easter, White Jeans are the exception! For the Spring Transition Wardrobe- especially on a beautiful day- the classic pairing of White Jeans and a black Sweater, Blouse or Top almost makes us feel like summer is on the way!

So! Head to your closet, pull out a few things you love, accessorize, layer, add pops of color, check out your great white shirts (even a denim one or two!) on pretty days, White Jeans and Black Top are a classic. Then…Pull out your walking shoes, add a pair of block heels and swap out your pocketbook.  There you have it! Our 5 Ways to Style a Spring Wardrobe!

Love y’all, Camellia

p.s. Feel free to email for a few sources on accessories and great white blouses! This is not a compensated post, however, we’re happy to share some resources and tips!  Send us a email with Spring Update in the subject line to –  brenda@camelliascottage.com

*All photographs are obviously mine!

A Fresh Start for 2019!

I think we’re all ready for a fresh start after the holidays each year. By fresh start, I don’t mean getting rid of everything….more that I prefer to refresh, renew and repurpose what I already have, even what’s worked previously but for some reason has fallen by the wayside in the middle of … well, life. I try not to set goals that honestly set me up for failure, especially when it comes to exercise. Why? Ok, I’m not proud of the fact that I’m not athletic… one of the top posts here was written in the first year- it’s called Instinct or Fitness which regales a few of my various mishaps. Not included was a more recent splat on a sidewalk in upscale Georgetown DC. I literally tripped on an uneven sidewalk about an hour after I arrived with my family. I had made reservations for our first tour- a moonlight ride through our nation’s capitol of the iconic monuments that evening. We had to re-schedule the wonderful tour due to my less-than-graceful splat  on the sidewalk! In fact, our first tour of D.C. was in a large rescue vehicle, the EMT’s graciously let all five of us ride to the hospital! I ended up with a few stitches on my forehead, a seriously sprained arm and a torn meniscus! Once again my fall-back exercise after I finished rehab was the only exercise I’ve ever been able to actually do and that I truly enjoy- Yoga! I have literally worn out 2 yoga DVDs and protect my third one like it is gold! The DVD is from Gaiam and is called Yoga AM by Rodney Yee.

With my first knee surgery, also from an injury, I recovered full rotation of my knee and I believe due to this yoga practice. My yoga practice has been sporadic but always effective and enjoyable for almost 20 years now!

A few years ago, I also became intrigued with the health benefits of meditation, using guided courses but inserting special Scriptures when appropriate to enhance my own meditation. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 19: 14 ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer.’ This practice of meditation became critical to my well being when I underwent a series of radiation treatments in 2017 to shrink a non-cancerous tumor on my carotid artery. Controlled breathing combined with meditation on special scriptures enabled my anxious and claustrophobic self to not only endure but sail through the treatments with very few side effects! As it turns out, my balance had been affected by my condition which could explain the falls I had! (Finding underlying health issues is important too!) Still.  I’ll never be a great athlete. Finding exercises I will actually do is a priority– yoga is one of those! So! Imagine my delight when Gaiam, a leader in these healthy practices of yoga and meditation along with fine products shared an offer with me, that I could pass along to you! I  think yoga and meditation are great for any age- but especially for folks of…ahem… a certain age like me! It improves breathing, circulation, flexibility, posture and is uplifting and energizing. Best of all, many types of yoga are low impact and can be done in your own home, at your own pace and level of capability, no matter what age you may be.  I am thrilled to extend an offer to you for 19% off all yoga and meditation products along with free shipping on all orders over $49 from Gaiam to jumpstart your 2019 goals! I think you will find yoga and meditation require very little equipment to get started. The main thing is to find exercises you enjoy and will do, yoga, gardening or… kickboxing? I for one am grateful that a yoga DVD from Gaiam is where I began. And it’s where I’m beginning the New Year; for my health and well being will once again start with my Gaiam yoga DVD. All the best with your own fresh start in 2019!

Love y’all, Camellia

* Click through this link to get your 19% discount with Gaiam

Roses speak of Love…

055A03E8-DF37-4282-87B9-542C8669F4F1In the language of Flowers, Roses speak of Love…

Whether in Spring Bud- full of sweet possibility and promise…

Or Winter’s gently fragrant comfort, speaking with wisdom, beauty and age.

Both as vibrant and vital to our well being as Love…

‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.’ I John 4: 11 KJV

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Photographs of Dried Roses obviously taken by me. The roses were grown here, clipped to adorn our Cottage Christmas Wreath, when dried, the amazing colors and calm fragrance were an inspiration. Pottery tray by Earthborn Studios in Leeds, Alabama, Tena Payne- Potter. Find them at earthborn.net Amazing story and products!F7E34875-1EC4-41BA-B449-FEF066E9BF5F

Barns of Alabama…

SONY DSCI always feel that Barns are like ladies- Caretakers of Domestication…

Some are Well Maintained-

Or Run down and Lonesome…

Some are Stunning Beauties,

Some are Serene- barn jeremy 28

Some are Falling Apart-

Some are Showing Signs of Wear and Tear, Some have Weathered Storms, a Tornado or Two…

Others are  Aging Gracefully, Silvered and Gray….

barn jeremy 8When I see a Barn…  If she’d tell me her Life Story-SONY DSC

I’d listen all day.

Love y’all, Camellia

*It’s always a good time for a Road Trip along the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of life…SONY DSC

I hope you enjoy these outstanding photographs from Jeremy Miniard’s Backroads of Alabama…the beautiful Barns of Alabama. Photographs are the sole property of Jeremy – find him at www.jeremy.miniard.fineartsamerica.com

 

Summer in Full Bloom…

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‘In a world that values only what is young and green, Summer reminds us that maturity and ripeness were designed to be the biggest prizes. A tomato or a melon is best eaten at it’s peak. A rosebud is lovely but incomplete. A meadow in full bloom is more beautiful than one just beginning to grow. In nature, grown ups are the leading players.’

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A Rose in Full Bloom…

This lovely Summer Sentiment is about more than blooming flower gardens, lush meadows or roadside markets filled with ripe fruits and vegetables;  it is about Life itself. Being a child is wondrous, yet we must admit- Life often saves the best for last… Sunsets blaze with far more beauty than the sweet light of Dawn, being a Grown Up has it’s own rewards; like tomatoes, melons or even begonias… IMG_2727

Aging gracefully as a fragrant full blown Rose- might just be the biggest Prize of all.

Love y’all, Camellia

*the lovely quote is from Martha Stewart magazine- July 1996, author unknown  *photographs are mine, with the exception of the beautiful rose in full bloom- by our own Jeremy Miniard, right here in Alabama

Sailor Girls…

img_2144Several months ago I wrote this tribute to my sister. Well, today’s her birthday and I just wanted to say… ‘Hey doll, Happy Birthday! When I’m with you it’s as if someone has waved a magic wand and everything is funnier, more outrageous and definitely sweeter. Have a wonderful day.’img_2146

I hope you all enjoy reading ‘The Sailor Girls’ all over again! She’s amazing!

Love y’all, Camellia

Snowed in…

jeremy-winter-22Weezie Walters opened her door with the intention of going out to get the newspaper and was hit in the face with freezing cold air, she eased it back shut and thought better of it, she was snowed in..for two whole days now. This is almost unheard of in the South- one day, maybe- but to be snowed in for two whole days, rare. The menfolks had braved the weather the day before to check on road conditions; one man opened his law office-a couple came by who were considering divorce after being snowed in for 24 hours. He talked them down with strong cups of coffee until a compromise was reached. The problem started when the husband let his hunting dogs in the house to keep warm- they had a running fit-knocked over the wife’s heirloom silver and crystal epergne and snagged her mother’s antique Christmas lace tablecloth. The husband had paid a whole lot for those hunting dogs, and were arguably worth more than the heirlooms but the sentimental value of the antiques rendered them irreplaceable. So with the lawyer’s help, it was mutually agreed upon that the dogs needed to be put in the garage with the heater running full blast while they were snowed in. As soon as possible, the husband needed to try to replace the heirloom epergne with one of equal or greater value with the firm understanding that one way or another he would spend the rest of his life paying for it. crystal-and-silver-epergne

Another man opened his Used Car and Antiquities location. He actually sold two cars and an old sideboard too. Now he had customers on the way over from the law office. He thought to himself, maybe it wasn’t so bad being snowed in. Another fellow noticed the dire reports of road conditions were true in some areas; one particularly well travelled road had slick spots bad enough to be closed off, folks all along that road were snowed in too. There was a pile up on the Interstate, which had changed the travel plans of several who were determined to get to Tampa to meet their Cruise Ship.Instead of flying they decided to just drive, the roads would be better the farther south they went and at this rate, it would take longer to wait at the airport than to bite the bullet and drive-far better than cancelling the trip because they were snowed in. William and his brother Billy decided to get out in the yard and split some extra firewood until the axe handle broke and they started hollering at each other about whose fault it was; they gave it up since they were set for firewood anyway and just needed to let off some steam. jeremy-winter-24

Mary Belle sent her grown son outside with a step ladder to break off some icicles, she held the step ladder for him and together they packaged them up in zip lock bags to put in the freezer for the next time her grandchildren came for a visit. Ray Vann’s Aunt Lizzie decided to close up her home, so- along with her two of bridge playing friends- they were headed to his house because icy sleet threatened their power and cable television. Ray Vann planned to make up a fourth and was well pleased; the ladies brought a chicken casserole, a pound cake, a big pot of soup, hot curried fruit and the makings for a hot punch. 2015-12-21 11.08.39

Ray Vann’s house has a generator and like his sweet momma taught him -if things got testy, he could always fortify the cider with cooking sherry. Ray Vann was pulling out the cooking sherry when he recalled that he had heard the Public Transportation Van had to cut the route short due to inclement weather the day it snowed…only one stop was made after weather reports were beginning to come in. First on the van that morning were two meek women who needed to run to Walmart for milk and bread. Then a church lady got on-she asked to be dropped off at the AME Church of the Jordan River to prepare the building for shelter.img_2264-1

She smelled of lavender and lemon, tight curls freshly coiffed, a starched shirt under a wool shirtwaist with a worsted wool coat, silk scarf, sensible polished shoes and a small overnight case, she was ready to get snowed in.  She sat right behind the driver to keep an eye on things and had a good grip on her large pocketbook. Next a third woman from one neighborhood over, got on-bundled up in her wool scarf, puffer coat, thick socks and puffer boots with fake fur, sort of trashy looking truth be told. The last stop took on a large male passenger who appeared to be a grouchy Veteran of Foreign Wars. He sat down so hard that it felt like the tires had gone flat on his side of the van and alarmed the others. It was told on good authority that he abruptly stated to the driver- ‘ABC Store!’ Well, the church lady looked indignant, stiffened her spine in disgust- while the other women cleared their throats and looked out the window nervously.   Since the Alcohol and Beverage Control Store was close by, the van driver pulled in there first- getting directives as to how to proceed due to weather concerns. This apparently pleased the veteran no end- he turned to the ladies and gallantly said- ‘Would you ladies like for me to pick up anything for you?’  The puffer coat woman began fumbling in her bag for cash; with a large cough said ‘Why yes, I feel a head cold coming on. A hot toddy might do the trick since it’s clear the doctors offices’ll be closed.’ One of the two women said, ‘Well if you’re asking, here’s a ten- get me a smallish bottle of bourbon- I need to replace what I used making fruitcakes.‘ The church lady peered her way disapprovingly. The other woman sniffed loudly and with a look of abject dismay said ‘Why no! I don’t need a thing, thank you very much!‘.  The church woman looked kindly on her. Oh the indignity of it all. While the man was in that evil store, the church lady withdrew her Bible from her pocketbook and began to read, “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty..” Raising her hands toward heaven the dismayed woman cried-‘Amen!’ Another weak ‘Amen’ from the fruitcake lady. The woman with a cough, just coughed louder and shifted down in her puffer coat. The driver said, ‘Ladies, no Walmart stop today- this weather is getting bad.’ The heavy veteran got back on- all smiles now and began handing out the plain brown paper bags. The fruitcake woman had withered under conviction, and said- ‘Just keep it.’ Her friend nodded with stern approval. The puffer coat woman narrowed her lying eyes and with a cough said- ‘Look, it’s just a precaution.’ The church lady began humming ‘We shall overcome’ as the van pulled away from the ABC store. Apparently the wind was taken out of the passengers, but the air in the tires held out to get them home where it is reported the cough has miraculous healed, the righteous are intact and the veteran is rewarded. Snowed in. jeremy-winter-23

Yes, Weezie was wise to stay in and not risk breaking a hip on the slippery sidewalk. Women of a certain age, like Weezie have kept civilized society intact in the South. Especially when they are snowed in. She got back in bed with her phone, lap desk, pen, notepad and stationary and here’s what she did:

  • Wrote a nice note to  Ray Vann for taking in her friends
  •  Wrote a letter to the local officials admonishing them to pay closer attention to the delicate sensibilities of female passengers when a male passenger felt the need to fortify himself.
  • She made a few calls to check on her neighbors
  • Received a call from a frantic mother of the bride who was wrestling with the wording for the newspaper announcement
  • She wrote a note of condolence to her distraught friend, offered to let her use her silver epergne any time she needed it- that men are basically children when it came to their hunting dogs and as soon as it thawed out the two of them would get out and take that tablecloth to a seamstress who still does fine lacework and tatting.
  • Weezie made a note to get that axe handle replaced and be sure to thank William and Billy for keeping her firewood warm and dry again this year.
  • She wrote out a check to the AME Church of the Jordan River to help with their shelter efforts again this year
  • Her annual check to the Aid and Comfort Committee of the Veteran’s of Foreign Affairs in honor of her late husband, Fitzsimmons and
  • A check to the local animal shelter if things deteriorated for the hunting dogs.
  • Word came through that the travelling cruisers made it to their ship with time to spare, and yes, she would be looking for a post card from every port.

Weezie got up, put on a pot of vegetable soup, made a couple of casseroles to put in the freezer for an unexpected event, squeezed a wedge of lemon and a swirl of honey into her hot tea, then got back under the covers with her latest copy of the Tallulah Tattler, which was her only vice. Weezie could hear mommas up and down the street calling out to their children- ‘In or Out!’ and thought how some things never change, especially when folks in the South are snowed in.

No, Weezie as long as you’re around, darlin’- we will live like civilized folks instead of like a bunch of heathens, especially when we get snowed in. Oh lord, like any Southern tale this one is part myth, part truth and part outright lies- but I dearly love to tell these tales.

Love y’all, Camellia

All names and places are fictional, figments of my imagination. Any resemblance to an actual event is  coincedental.

*Bible Verse from Proverbs 23:21 KJV

*Photographs Jeremy Miniard’s – find him at www.jeremy-miniard.fineartsamerica.com with two exception-the crystal and silver epergne is from AOL images and may be subject to copyright and the Pound Cake which is mine.

Storybook Wisdom…

the-velveteen-rabbit-hardcover-1958-by-margery-williams

The most profound wisdom often comes from children’s storybooks…One of my all time favorite lessons for adults is found in The Velveteen Rabbit, written in 1958, by Margery Williams. Read along with me and find the Storybook Wisdom from the Skin Horse to the Velveteen Rabbit, who wanted to know what it meant to be Real-

‘Real isn’t how you are made’ said the Skin Horse, ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’velveteen-rabbit-and-the-skin-horse

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’velveteen-rabbit-and-skin-horse-on-being-real


Storybook Wisdom…on being Real. It doesn’t happen if you break easily, have sharp edges or have to be carefully kept. Hair loved off, eyes falling out, loose in the joints and very shabby, now that’s Real- Shabby Chic if you ask me. Can I get a witness? Have a blessed day!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Image of Margery Williams’ Velveteen Rabbit – hardback edition from Amazon.com, other images are from www.commons.wikimedia.org

*As a programming note:) – Cook and Enjoy Recipes honored Camellia’s Cottage allowing us a guest post on their site for ‘Bighearted Casseroles’Bighearted Casseroles – wow what an honor!

Dream of Peace…

Born in Poland, bravely married his sweetheart, Sonya during World War ll, attended Harvard, rose to power as Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shimon Peres was, above all a dreamer. The Star of David shone brighter because he dared to dream of peace for his people and his neighbors. May his life continue to inspire us all to become peacemakers.

shimon-peres                                                         Shimon Peres 1923-2016

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love you…’ Psalm 122:6-8′

‘Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God’ Matthew 5:9


Love y’all, Camellia

*AOL image of Shimon Peres may be subject to copyright