This post really and truly needs no words. A few pictures of just two windows inside of Notre Dame from our recent visit to Paris.
I think they are incredibly beautiful! I hope you like them, too.
I’ve missed a few “In a Vase on Monday” memes, so even though it is 11:40 P.M. I am sneaking in with my post! You can join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, and all those who have linked to her blog, to see what everyone has gathered from her garden this week. Here’s the link: https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/in-a-vase-on-monday-xtravaganza/
I was having a little bit of fun with this. You know, sweet smelling flowers on a potty chair! :-)
I love the evening sunlight coming into our front hallway.
My Father-in-law started these from seeds he’d collected from my plants last year. Phew, did you get that? He gave them to me in cute little pots that were supposed to be planted right away… Eventually we got to planting them in the ground! So my plants are very late. I’ve been cutting them now in the hopes of bringing on more flowers. We’ll see!
My vase of Sweet Peas was even more full last week! I loved how they kind of flopped all around in the vase, so I used the same vase this week.
Last week I had the vase in our back room. The scent really does fill the room!
What’s growing in your garden this week that you can throw into a vase? I’d love to see it!
Our children are 16, 15 and 11 years old. When we sat down with them to plan our family vacation we weren’t sure what to expect. We happily discovered that they weren’t too old to go on holiday with us, that they were interested to explore a city, and that in fact they were quite happy to do so!
My husband and I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to Paris a few times. This visit would be to show the kids how amazing, beautiful, and full of history Paris is.
I have to say that planning ahead is helpful. Start by making sure you are fit! There are so many stairs to climb all over the city!
We stayed in what we found to be a central location: Madeleine. We booked an apartment through airBnB which worked out wonderfully. It was a 10 minute walk to the metro station.
The best and easiest advice is to start your day early. The mornings we were at attractions by 9:30 A.M. or 10:00 A.M. we were first in line or nearly so. The mornings the teens needed to sleep late, well let’s just say we spent too much time in queues. ;-)
It goes without saying that everything in Paris is spectacular! Take the Eiffel Tower for example; what a sight! We arrived at 9:30 A.M. and walked right up (no line) to pay to climb the stairs. I would highly recommend taking the stairs, all 670 of them to reach the second level! There are signs with interesting facts to read along the way. I think they have it set up that way so as to give everyone time to breathe while they read! My children preferred to go non-stop, I think to show us up! It is possible to walk around the first level and take pictures. We did this, caught our breath and then began our climb to the second level.
From the second level there is an elevator available to take you to the top. The elevator happened to be closed for an “hour” while we were there so we opted not to wait. We found the views at the first level to be the best, anyway.
We had pre-booked a boat tour of the Seine to follow our Eiffel Tower visit. This was a short distance from the Eiffel tower and since it was still early in the morning there was minimal wait. The weather was lovely to sit and enjoy the sights from the top deck. I’d highly recommend this.
I was always on the look out for flowers and gardens!
Next best piece of advice: use the side entrance of the Louvre (Porte de Lions), and be there for opening time. There was no one at the side entrance when we arrived while we could see the line outside the glass pyramid of the main entrance! That is just crazy.
If you prefer to miss the mob, then head straight for the Mona Lisa. Even when we went there first thing, the painting was surrounded by people. Later on the mob is many more people deep!
It is best to do a little bit of research before heading to the Louvre as it is huge! Don’t go and just wander (experience talking here…).
One of our afternoons we went to Musée d’Orsay, which is on the left bank of the Seine. It was less than an hour wait outside to see the collections of major 19th & 20th century European art. Again, it is so helpful to know which artists’ works you’d like to see because if you just wander you might not have the energy to enjoy seeing everything! I love impressionist art, so I had my rooms marked :-)
We arrived at Notre Dame late in the afternoon to a queue that completely wrapped around the courtyard out front. But this queue went incredibly quickly and within a half hour we were inside Notre Dame. Writing “it was beautiful” is not a strong enough statement.
The downside of arriving in the late afternoon is that we were not able to climb to the top (either first or second levels). Our schedule was such that it was early the next afternoon before we were able to return, which meant an hour and a half wait to climb Notre Dame. We took turns going into nearby shops, getting coffee, and some people watching (lots of people watching). But the wait to climb the 270 (approximately!) steps to the top was worth it. W.O.W.!
Another afternoon walk led us to the Arc de Triomphe (Arch de Triumph). This is also climbable. At this stage we’d already seen the city from up high and we opted to just enjoy the views from street level.
The Catacombs in Paris were on my husbands “must see” list and so off we went to 1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy to investigate. This was one time we’d all wished we’d started our day a whole lot earlier. The wait was going to be more than two hours long. We decided to join a guided tour at a much higher price (€29 instead of the standard €10 entrance fee) but which allowed us to skip the queue. It was so worth it! Our kids were enthralled! Do you know the history of the catacombs?
We learned that the catacombs home the remains of six million Parisians. The tunnels from the original quarries of the city were used to house the remains of people from the late 18th and mid 19th centuries after the graveyards were closed due to public health issues.
The bones are arranged in ‘a macabre display of high Romantic taste’ ( see more at http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en/catacombs/more-2000-years-history). This was such an interesting tour that we are glad to not have missed.
Phew! Those five days were so full and exhausting and wonderful!
My next post will be about our visit to Monet’s garden in Giverny! So much to write, so little time! :-)
In preparing for this post I have spent hours going through photos and remembering the many wonderful things we did and enjoyed on our trip. I have only mentioned a few things here!
I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer where ever you may be.
Did you ever make something and just could not believe how well it came out? :-) I *love it* when that happens! My little God-daughter’s sixth birthday was coming up and I wasn’t sure what to get her. Then I learned she was having a fairy themed party because she’s taken a liking to fairies…
I had this lovely little fairy doll that I decided would be perfect to give her. The fairy has bendable arms and legs. I found a website for the company that sells them: http://fromtheretohereimports.com/?page_id=6 The fairy dolls are actually designed and made by a family business in Thailand. It is an interesting story, but I’m getting a bit off-topic!
But wouldn’t it be nice to have a ‘fairy doll’ handbag to carry the fairy doll? Such is the way my brain works, and thus the idea was formed. The doll inspired the colours for the handbag; that and the fact that I had the yarn to hand so I was happy to use those colours! I have to say that the Caron ‘Simply Soft’ yarn is fantastic. I have done a few different projects with it now, and every one is that bit nicer because of the softness of the yarn.
The ‘passion’ colour is definitely my favourite. The soft pink did a nice job of breaking up the sameness of the two main colours. The lime green yarn is not the Caron brand. In fact, it was some scrap yarn I bought to only make flower petals with. But I loved the way it really brightened up the passion colour!
Those two buttons were in my button collection, just waiting for a neat little project like this!
So… my least favourite thing to do is sew. That is probably because I am not very good at it. This small task of creating a lining should have been a very quick and easy job on a sewing machine. But I don’t have a sewing machine, and borrowing one was going to take longer than just getting to work and sewing it myself. I’ll chalk it up to being ‘good experience’! (But next time I think I’ll make the effort to borrow one!)
I was really surprised with how it came out. It even fit! :-)
I spent many, many hours on pinterest looking for pattern ideas for the handbag. I could lose so many hours on Pinterest, it is not even funny. I love getting new ideas there!
I designed the handbag myself, based on a couple of different styles I found. I challenged myself a bit with the top flap. It would have been easier to just leave the top open. But sure, then all of the little princess’ things would fall out! ;-)
It all just fell into place. (read: I figured it out as I went along!)
The handle is called a ‘granny strap’ and involved learning “foundation single crochet”. But it is really easy to find instructions on-line and videos, too! It was worth learning as I really like the look that it gives.
I was quite happy with the finished project. I had used my 11 year old daughter to roughly gauge how long to make the strap. I think it worked out O.K. based on how cute it looks on the little princess.
Go on, try making something new! You just might end up making something beautiful and having fun, too!
With crocheting needle,
The websites I used for inspiration:
I am not sure if a love of gardening is something that is inherently inside of you. Or maybe the interest starts with a teeny tiny seed of curiosity and then with tending, time, and trial & error that curiosity grows into a full fledge love of gardening.
My first memory of noticing flowers was when I was in college. Is that late? Even at that I was just thinking “hmm, those are pretty”… It was not until years later that I had the chance to grow my own flowers. I was pretty busy with young kids, so it was a very small garden. My next door neighbour, a Master Gardener herself, assured me that one day I’d have plenty of time to have a garden, and that a small garden was a great start. A very kind and wise woman!
It was a good start! It was also a great learning experience. What I love about our garden now is that we mix it up every year and try something new. This year, our new addition is the sunflower. Oh wow! I am in love!
These guys are only about two to three feet high but boy are they lovely! My father-in-law started them from seed in his glass house for me. He could grow *anything* from seed! That is a whole other story as he is simply a gifted gardener!
I know these guys are rather short for sunflowers, but our area is incredibly windy. One afternoon I was watching the bigger plants sway back and forth and I just couldn’t sit there and do nothing. My daughter and I tied up some sticks in a teepee formation around the bigger plants. They just seemed that bit more secure to me!
They are all coming into bloom now and it is a lovely sight to see.
Our garden is definitely a work in progress! We have strawberries on the far left, peas front right, with blueberries behind them. On the left in front of the strawberries we have garlic and squash. Way in the back on the right are the asparagus fronds. I think the sunflowers frame the garden nicely!
The most important aspect of gardening though, is having fun with it. I now have my growing love of photography also spurring on my working in the garden. That makes all of the required weeding worth while!
I hope I have encouraged you to try growing something new in the garden! What do you think, will you give it a try? :-)
Just recently I found myself looking through my past blog posts. My husband and I had a discussion and he felt I’d strayed away from my original ‘blogging about the garden’ plan since this past year I mainly posted on Mondays for the meme ‘In a Vase on Monday’. I saw his point in that I certainly need to blog more about what is going on in the garden. But I loved looking through what flowers I was able to create arrangements with during the different months.
So I will continue to join Cathy on Mondays at Rambling in the Garden https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/in-a-vase-on-monday-baby-face/ for her ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme, and I will set a goal of having at least one other post per week. Start out small and go from there! :-)
This week my delphinium ‘cobalt dreams’ had one stem that was broken. I bought three of these plants just this past month and they are doing so well. They are quite showy! I think the blue and white are lovely. So I was happy enough to use the broken stem.
The dusty miller Lychnis Coronaria is just going crazy in my garden this year! It has taken over half its bed. All of this is from one small plant two years ago! I will have to move some (a lot?) of it to another location where it an spread without getting in the way of other plants.
The above picture shows my blue delphiniums and my not yet blooming shasta daisies (to the right of the delphiniums)! That was taken late last week and they only started to bloom yesterday! They were divided early this spring, so they’ll be in two places along the ditch-wall garden.
A rather simple arrangement, with an almost red, white & blue hue! Maybe you’ll join the meme? Or at least visit to have a look-see at what others have created? I hope you will.
Happy Independence Day to my American friends and family!
It is a day to celebrate everything that being an American entails, but most of all our freedom.
It is a day for parades, picnics, bar-b-ques, being with friends and family, and fireworks.
It is a day to celebrate.
Happy 4th of July! I hope it is a wonderful celebration for you and your friends and family!!!
Strawberries: growing this fruit in the garden works for us. When we first moved into our home and looked out onto the open space of our lawn, my husband and I both saw potential for “growing our own”.
Getting the garden ready to “grow our own” would require a little bit of work! It is now five years later and we can really see a transformation. There has been quite a bit of learning involved, too. Learning, making mistakes, learning, making mistakes: you get the picture. We’re not done with either the transforming or the learning!
The above picture isn’t the same view as the one above it, but it is the same space, just all filled in! (Note that we have since moved both apple trees, a perfect example of learning, making mistakes, learning!)
We’ve decided to grow veggies and fruit that are the least amount of maintenance because like everyone else in the world, time is precious and always in short supply.
It is important to do what is right for you and your family. Right now, this is right for us.
Strawberries do require a bit of work. In the fall the plants should be thinned out and divided to provide a mix of mature plants and new plants. Those new plants, formed from the “runners”, really do run rampant, so you’ll have plenty to share with friends, family and neighbours!
It is good to have space between the plants, too, for air circulation.
For some reason, basically family life, we weren’t able to work in the garden at all last fall. That made for a messy strawberry patch this winter. Very early this spring my husband divided the plants and cleaned up the beds. I was worried we’d left it too late, but thankfully that was not the case and we have plenty of strawberries. Our beds this year are more full than I would have liked. (Did I mention that my husband is in charge of the strawberry beds?) :-)
We cover our strawberries with netting after the fruit has formed. It does keep out the birds for the most part!
I think they are a bit later this year, as usually June is strawberry month. Our last bumper crop was two years ago, but this year is nearly as good as then. Most importantly, they are incredibly sweet! Some of them, well actually most of them, are not a deep red, but nonetheless taste delicious!
I posted a wonderful recipe for angel food cake during our bumper crop season. That year we had neat and tidy beds, too! You can have a look here: https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/bumper-crop-of-strawberries-an-angel-food-cake-recipe-with-strawberries/
I would highly recommend growing strawberries! You don’t need a lot of space as they can even be grown in containers. What’s the point of my post? To encourage “growing your own”, because it is much easier than you think, and so tasty!
Contentment. Do you ever think about whether or not you are content? It is something I’ve thought about a lot over the years. These thoughts on contentment all first started while I was in the throes of really struggling with my strong-willed toddler. I attended a parenting course in the hopes of finding a magic solution to the challenges I was facing.
Turns out the main discussion in this course was actually about contentment. When the teacher started talking about contentment I had too many “yes, I’m content, BUT…” thoughts in my head and more importantly, in my heart.
I wasn’t “there” yet; that place where you find peace no matter what the circumstances are. It would take me quite a few more years to be able to feel contentment.
My life has been so full and I just feel so fortunate, even through the many ups and downs.
Recently I was lucky enough to steal away for an hour to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin. (http://www.botanicgardens.ie) It was a perfect afternoon for a relaxed stroll through the gardens.
The weather was amazing; warm but not hot, sunny but not too sunny to bleach out photographs!
I love this statue.
Their faces sure look content to me!
It was just me and my camera, and we had a ball together!
I was following two elderly ladies on part of my walk. Not in a stalking kind of way, but simply because I entered the garden behind them. I loved their conversation about the different flowers and where they source their own flowers, and the new varieties! O.K., maybe I was eavesdropping a little bit! :-)
I was enjoying my time of peace in such a gorgeous garden. That is when a wave of complete contentment came over me. I even sent my husband a text about it!
I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.
I know I’ve said it before, but I have the most amazing people in my life. I actually had a motto for a while: “People First”. I think at the time I was struggling with some issues, and the clarity came when I started saying “people first” to myself. So simple, but so important.
I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made over the years, especially with regards to being a stay-at-home mom, working from home, and finally working outside of the home. I’ve done it all, and I have enjoyed it all. I’m not saying it was a piece of cake, but it was all worth it.
Life is still full of challenges but along the way I’ve managed to find my inner peace, my contentment. What a huge difference that makes!
Being content doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to improve myself, or work with less effort in the many projects I’m involved in. Not at all.
It does mean I have a much better attitude about everything!
I hope you’ve found your contentment, too.
I have lived in Ireland for almost seven years. Really, this is home. But I will always refer to the United States as “home” because that is where my heart also is. It isn’t an either/or thing for me. I love both places. What I miss absolutely the most from my U.S. home are my friends and family.
It is tough being apart, especially when those people are as special as they are. Do you have friends and family like that? I have been so blessed with the friends and family that I have in my life. Definite keepers.
One group of friends that I made “back home” was through our church. I helped to start-up a women’s group when I first moved to the area and boy was that wonderful! We had a very original name: The Women of I.C. (Immaculate Conception parish). :-)
We were a diverse group of women. Some were stay-at-home moms with young children, some worked, some were grandmothers and everyone was welcome.
I miss that group of women… lots. So I was delighted when one of those special ladies said she was coming to Ireland! She has also moved away from where we used to live, so there was so much to catch-up on. But what we both realised was how special those bonds were that we had created through the women’s group, that fellowship. It is not something easily replicated.
Given that it is still going strong 16 years later, I have to say there is something special about it to facilitate that.
We had a special dinner for my friend and her husband. A traditional Kerry (lamb) pie. As we set the table I decided that I would like a few flowers from the garden on the table, too.
My roses are just starting to bloom, and the Lady’s Mantle (alchemilla) has popped up in more than a few places! I believe the burgundy coloured flower is astrantia. It is new in my garden as it was given to me from a friend just a few weeks ago.
Yes the flowers were perfect, the food delicious, and the fellowship was priceless.
I hope you, too, have such amazing friends in your life. …and if not, maybe start-up a women’s group!
As always, the “In a Vase on Monday” meme is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the garden. Stop by and see what other vases people have created from flowers in their gardens. https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/in-a-vase-on-monday-summer-breeze-makes-me-feel-fine/