Another milestone. 5 Years of a blog that began in January of 2012. 5 Years of sharing. Five years of compiling images. From behind my lens and sourced from the vast world of the internet. All with the continuing goal of delving deeper into creating a greater appreciation of what surrounds. Life is a gift. Attitude is destiny. Appreciation and gratitude is a worthy goal, indeed.
Thank you to each and every one of you that have stumbled upon this blog and have followed along on my journey of sharing and expounding on those things that comprise our world and our lives. With the intent of redefining appreciation for what surrounds us in all aspects of life. Awaiting our focus. Perhaps it is a greater awareness that brings furthered appreciation. For certain, in every moment there is something beautiful to focus on. Something to find appreciation for or merely gain a renewed appreciation upon connecting historical background. Renewed perspective. Life moves swiftly. What better goal in our daily lives than to look at the world closer. Ponder with appreciation what surrounds. Ponder what is beautiful, timeless and enduring…
It was in 2014 that I had deemed the word “Onward” as my mantra. In 2017 that word still holds true. A word that is defined as “In a continuing forward direction; ahead” and “going further than coming to an end or halt; moving forward”. Since 2012 my life has changed vastly. I made personal choices and decisions in 2015 that would change my life forever. Yet change is good. Deciding to make changes, no matter how difficult the journey through them, and actually following through with those decisions, is the key. When you know without any doubts that you are forging in the right direction, it is merely owning the challenges every step of the way. Moving forward. Moving onward. Never doubting yourself. That, therein, is personal growth. Onward, indeed.
So for a blog that covers the world of fashion, interior design, nature, life’s events and city inspirations…onward with the goal of inspiring with ponderings and inspirations of living a beautiful life. Although the blog posts have lessened, the desire to share has not faded. That passion will never fade.
Thank you for being a part of the journey thus far. Onward to inspire…
“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Rosemary. Termed “Rosmarinus officials”, rosemary is an aromaticwoody evergreen perennial herb native to the seaside regions of North Africa and the Mediterranean. This fragrant herb presents flat pine needle-like leaves that grow on an evergreen bush. Who knew that rosemary joins the ranks as member of the mint family, Lamiaceae? The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “Sea” (marinus), or “Dew of the Sea”. Of note, the ancient legend that rosemary grows “where one can hear thesea”. The Rosemary plant itself is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word ἄνθος, meaning “flower”. Rosemary is said to resemble lavender when shimmering blue flowers appear in mid-Winter in native climates. The leaves themselves can often appear to be touched with silver. But commonly green and fragrant, this woody citrus offers so much to our world beyond the culinary and herbal health benefits. Beyond its aromatic offerings this fragrant plant that offers us natural beauty when gracing events of our lives and brought within our interior worlds.
However, the past precedes this coveted plant. It is noted that rosemary held a strong association with ancient Greeks and Romans. “As early as the Fifth millenium B.C. references to rosemary were found written in cuneiform”(the earliest system of writing of wedge shaped slash marks) on stone tablets. Ancient appreciation of an herb, indeed. Coveted for what was believed mystical and healing properties, it was the Roman armies who would eventually bring this herb to Britain. From there, this scented herb would travel through Europe and eventually reach the New World…
“As for rosmarine, I lette it runne all over my garden walls,
not onlie because my bees love it,
but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance,
and, therefore to friendship . . .” -Sir Thomas More,(Aka Saint Thomas More, (1478-1535) English lawyer, author and stateman
A “rich crown of stone and pearls set with rosemary in her hair”
-English royalty, Anne of Cleves,King
Henry the Eighth’s fourth wife /1540
Long associated with remembrance of romance and matrimony, rosemary has been used for centuries in courtship and weddings. Oh, the beauty of tradition. In fact, French legend holds that “if a man didn’t like the scent of rosemary, he would be an inferior lover”. Who knew? Empress Josephine is said to have asked Napoleon to wash in rosemary water before entering her bedchamber. The power of an herb, indeed. Interesting that rosemary is said to have been Napoleon’s favorite fragrance. A love affair, indeed.
As for this scented aromatic herb traditionally appearing during the holiday season, perhaps its history can be linked to the entertaining in the Middle ages. It is said that rosemary was spread on the ground so its fragrance would fill the air when guests would walk upon it. The belief was that those would smell rosemary on Christmas Eve would have a year of health and happiness. A tradition of celebration with nature, for certain. It is no wonder that rosemary would continue as a traditional embellishment during the holidays.
In appreciation of the rosemary herb and the adornment of and celebrations of an herb of visual and fragrant delight….
Consider the natural delight of the fragrant and distinctive herb, rosemary. Nature’s bounty offers us the scented delights with which to appreciate. Beyond a mere herb, rosemary will certainly grace our worlds in simplicity with natural beauty. Scented and natural appeal, indeed. Onward to the celebration of life’s moments with the tradition of a fragrant gift of nature…
“There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember”
Nestled within a twelve acre landscape “Comprised of winding pathways,meandering streams, koi-filled ponds and plunging waterfalls“ awaitsAnderson Japanese Gardens. Located east of the Rock River and north of Downtown Rockford, Illinois, a trip to this garden is a breathtaking and memorable visual experience that will linger. Serenity of nature, indeed…
“Rated as one of North America’s highest quality Japanese gardens for more than a decade”, the artistry found within showcases master craftsmanship and 16th century traditional architecture throughout. Serene bliss for those that appreciate the intricate layers and planned gardens of purpose. This authentic Japanese garden certainly brings forth a meditative state of contemplation and appreciation of nature and its gifts. The walking surfaces vary and the pathwaysmeander one through a landscaped oasis. Oh, the beauty of the stones and the water features! With the placement of every rock, the alignment of every tree, bridges and paths planned, one would think it was always there–part of nature, for certain. Yet this particular Japanese garden only began in 1978 upon what was John & Linda Anderson’s swampy backyard located along Rockford’s Spring Creek. Who could tell that this garden that holds a seemingly magical history was so young? Nature planned that holds a timeless feel of organic and natural beauty. Part of the fabric of the land now. Indeed a treasure for Rockford and a destination for those that appreciate the beauty and serenity of Japanese gardens.
This photographic journey, from behind my lens, offers only a mere sampling of the visuals to behold during the Summer months. In fact, it is not even a whole visual of the garden itself. And of pending season’s change? Oh, the Autumn colors of the Japanese maples that await! The Spring blooms surely offer a heaven sent visual of nature’s appreciation…seasons to bring me back to this oasis of nature, indeed. For certain, a love affair from behind my lens ensued. The beauty of the Japanese garden in the Summer….
Although with appreciation of nature and acknowledgment of the mastery to the art form itself, there truly is no single image that can relay the experience and true understanding of the beauty of these gardens without one actually stepping foot onto nature’s planned yet natural paths of a Japanese garden. It is merely my hope that the images can express a mere essence of the beauty to behold. For in my mind, when I view them, my mind drifts back to the sensations of being surrounded in this lush, cool and stunning surrounds. Inspiration, onward, indeed…
“In order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand-or at least to learn to understand-the beauty of stone” -Lafcadio Hearn
“The art of stone in a Japanese garden is that of placement. It’s ideal does not deviate from that of nature” -Jsamu Noguchi
Red Geraniums. Showy flowers in clusters of brilliantly bold red. Perhaps the red geranium itself could be considered a bloom that boldly proclaims Summertime. Like a burst of colorful fireworks, these red blooms are striking with their delicate flowers and dainty petals protruding from strong stems and interesting foliage. The geranium offers a delightful appeal when thriving and spilling from garden beds as edging plants, filling flower boxes, window boxes and potted in pots or various containers. Seeking the sun these blooms of red are said to grow best when they are planted in clay pots. Who knew? It is no wonder the two seem to be paired together so often. A classic combination, for certain.
Although there is variation in flower color, growth habit, leaf pattern, and scent within the world of geraniums, it is the red annual geranium that I am drawn to. From trailing vine types to upright garden forms, the geranium in red is a distinctively bold addition of vibrant cheer to any setting it is placed within.
As with so many blooms, within the Geraniaceae plant family,there are perennial geraniums and annual geraniums (Pelargoniums). The common garden geranium, which continues to be a timeless favorite outdoor and indoor plant, is Pelargonium hortorum. From the genus Pelargonium, the term itself means “stork” in Latin as its “long, slender fruit capsule” are said to resemble a stork’s bill. Again, who knew? Of note, there are over 200 Pelargonium species and hybrids. Most species of the geranium originated in South Africa and have maintained themselves as a gardener’s favorite for over a century. Perhaps the geranium can even be considered an old-fashioned standard. Timeless appreciation. Pelargoniums have 5-petalled flowers, which are distinguished by colours and patterns; with two petals at the top and three below. Thus the flowers have “a single plane of symmetry” (zygomorphic). Nature’s perfect design, for certain. Although some species of pelargoniums have attractive smelling scents, including mint, rose, fruits and spices, I accept the simplicity of the basic red geranium and its strong bold scent. Onward to a classic bloom in red…
Consider the red geranium. For certain, the geranium, whether in a single pot or found in mass, these blooming bursts of red offer a splash of color, visual delight and cheer. Perfect. Blossoms of joy, indeed…
The Winter wedding. At a time where snow flakes dance and the world is layered in frozen snow, visions of a Winter white wedding bedecked in blooms of hues of white evoke a pureness of the season itself.
It is interesting to note that the term “White Wedding” refers to a traditional formal or semi-formal wedding originating in Britain. The term itself “originates from the white colour of the wedding dress, which first became popular with Victorian era elites after Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress at her wedding”. Of course the term would evolve to cover the Western wedding traditions (Fashion’s Iconic Dress Of White: The Wedding Dress). The color of white represents purity in its neutrality. Perhaps a sign of a fresh beginning. How befitting, as a New Year and Winter and its effects settle in, to layer a wedding in white blooms. Whether massed in a wedding bouquet with natural elements of Winter, a boutonnière gracing a groom’s lapel or bedecking tables of celebration, blooms of white in the Winter are stunning and striking in their own simplicity and sophistication. Of course, flowers of white and various hues therein are elegant during any season. Yet Winter is white. Visions of white and a Winter wedding are dreamy combinations, for certain. Beautiful and lovely, a visual appreciation of pure white delight…..
Consider the elegance and simplicity of blooms of white. Pure beauty of neutral appeal. Forever a classic visual when paired with a bride swathed in white. Timeless with enduring appeal. Winter white delights, indeed…
“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication”
-Leonardo di Vinci
The holidays always bring forth bursts of color. But perhaps the natural colors of nature laden upon the wreaths of green found upon the historic streets of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, offer hues of vibrant bounty. What is referred to as “A living-history museum and private foundation presenting part of a historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia”, the historic streets offer a walk through yesteryear and a visual delight to the eyes to behold when swagged and bedecked in Holiday style. Williamsburg style. The festive and natural Holiday wreaths of Colonial Williamsburg seem to inspire a simplicity of elegance. Wreaths and swags reminiscent of yesteryear. The wreaths that grace the historic structures of Colonial Williamsburg are bedecked with all things natural such as festoons of fruit, flowers, boughs of holly, fans of apples, oranges and pomegranates and other natural embellishments of visual delight.
Elements of nature found in the borders and decorative motifs of these wreaths of evergreens hold distinctive and enduring appeal. Historically, the swags of fruited appeal that have decorated America’s front doors and exterior spaces is linked to the beginning of the 20th century. Paired with the significance of Christmas and the Colonial Revival, it is believed that these fruited decorations harkened back to the decorative styles of the eighteenth century. Yet the custom of affixing fruits, vegetables, dried flowers, herbs, and other natural details to evergreen wreaths, swags, and roping has often been referred to as “Colonial Williamsburg Door Decorations”. A practice that was adopted and adapted by Colonial Williamsburg had popularized the fruited and bedecked natural appeal of holiday greens. Designs fashioned from boxwood and magnolia greenery paired with imports by the colonists of pineapples, lemons and oranges from the West Indies, would have longstanding impact on the celebration of Christmas within the Southern state of Virginia and beyond. The mere cause of admiration of these fruit laden wreaths and swags have drawn throngs to view their annual natural display. On a recent holiday in Virginia, I too, was drawn. From behind the lens I was struck with admiration and appreciation at the simplicity of bounties of nature in grand display of elegance and artistic display from nature’s gifts itself.
“Of late years, besides the staple wreaths of plain greens to which we have long been accustomed, the holiday’s emblems have blossomed forth,–or perhaps we should say fruited forth,–with richness of color produced by the use of either natural or artificial fruit as an embellishment. This idea was undoubtedly suggested by the gorgeous Italian carvings and terra cottas of the Renaissance…”
-1926, House Beautiful
The quote from the 1926 magazine issue of House Beautiful is said refer to the fifteenth-century Italian sculptor from Forence, Italy, Luca della Robbia (Luca della Robbia (1399/1400–1482) who became “synonymous with fruit and foliage swags on glazed terracotta roundels”.
Of note, during the 1700‘s Sculptor Grinling Gibbons also produced festoons of fruit and flowers on architectural detailed wood carvings and decorative motifs for English cathedrals and English royalty. Yet it is “della Robbia” that is given the credit for the emulation of fresh fruit laden wreaths that inspired and were popularized in the mid 1930’s within the rich history of Colonial Williamsburg.
In the early years of the Colonial Williamsburg restoration, visuals of these fruited swags and wreaths would spread across the country through images in decorating magazines. Thousands of visitors, fascinated by the imaginative and natural decorations, continue to pay homage every year to the idyllic setting festooned in greens and natural delights of holiday beauty. Interesting, it was 1936 when Colonial Williamsburg first decorated for Christmas. At that time it is said to have been merely the simple greenery of plain wreaths with running cedar (a low growing evergreen) that would adorn the the Governor’s Palace and the Raleigh Tavern. Yet the embellishment of fruited appeal would embark upon the green decorations with longstanding impact. Credit is given to a “Mrs. Louise Fisher”, responsible for the decoration of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg, who is said to have brought pictoral examples from the Library of Congress of English and American decoration styles to guide her in her feat. By 1939 the “della Robbia” wreaths of Mrs. Louise Fischer had deemed the phrase the “Williamsburg Christmas look” and the embellished wreaths of natural appeal was forever launched. What would soon become a serious contest within Colonial Williamsburg, complete with blue ribbons affixed to the houses of five to ten winners, would become the “Christmas Decorations Tour” in 1969. The contest continues. Decades of fruited and natural appeal, indeed.
With appreciation from behind my lens….a visual of natural delight in festive appeal….
Consider with appreciation the festive wreaths and swags of enduring appeal. Graced with fruit and other natural elements, such as holly berries, seed pods, pepper berries, eucalyptus, pine cones, magnolia leaves and other wonders of nature, the decorations offer a visual appreciation of the blessings of nature. Upon the historic structures of Southern architecture and charm, the visuals have impacted since.
And of myself strolling the streets of Colonial Williamsburgyearning to capture the essence of the visuals of exuberant and festive holiday styleembellishing this historic setting? Enamored. With a love for history and architecture paired with an appreciation of the natural and elegant delights that bedecked the surfaces of this quaint historic town, my camera continued to frame and capture. Yet the visuals I set before you, from behind my lens, reflect only a sampling and a mere moment in time within the seasonal surrounds of Colonial Williamsburg. Captivating in the moment, indeed…
The fireplace mantel. Embellished in festive Holiday appeal. The fireplace mantle or mantelpiece is also known as a chimneypiece. Having originated in medieval times as a hood that projected over a grate capturing the smoke that emitted, the term has evolved to include the decorative framework around the fireplace and even the elaborate designs that can extend to the ceiling. The term Mantelpiece is now a broad term for the “jambs, mantel shelf, and external accessories of a fireplace”. I harken the world of centuries past in which the mantel or chimneypiece became the focal point as an ornamental and artistic feature of a room. Appreciation. A fundamental element in the history of western art, holding elements of European sculpture carved in detail in wood, marble and stone, these structures of form and function continue to endure in interior appeal. Design, proportion, and detail. Details of distinction, indeed. Although time itself and interior design changes the form, the appreciation of the fireplace and its mantel deserve a visual bedecked in holiday delight…
Consider with appreciation the distinctive beauty of the fireplace and its mantel. Although personal in style of display and the objects, trimmings, nature’s greens or decorations that may bedeck its horizontal surface, consider with appreciation the mere mantel and its offerings for visual display. A personal homage to the Holidays, for certain. In appreciation of the embellished mantel that enriches our interior spaces as an enduring focal point. It is all in the details. Timeless adornment of festive appeal, indeed…
PS: And for those fortunate to approach decorating in Holiday display upon your own awaiting mantel?
“Decorate with intention”
“I believe in doing the thing you feel is right. If it looks right, it is right”
-Dorothy Draper (American Interior Designer/1889-1969)
Autumnal glory of nature. Ornamental Indian corn. Autumn heralds the arrival of the decoration of ornamental Indian corn. The hard kernels of various colors and Autumnal hues offer distinctive impact of timeless appeal when found on display decorating table tops and doorways during the Autumn season. Perhaps it can be said that the Fall harvest and its offerings would not be complete without the appearance of Indian corn. Ears of Indian corn in Autumnal jewel tones of distinction. Termed as “any primitive corn having ears with kernels of various colors”, it is no wonder that these hard kernels offering a multitude of color have become a visual of Fall.
Historians link the origination of these colorful ears of corn to China, India and South America. It was not until the 15th century that the kernels and husks of colorful delight would travel around the globe via explorers and traders. The name “Indian corn” is said to have been taken from the indigenous natives of North America who originally cultivated it. Of interest, rather than decoration, Indian corn was ground to make flour. Who knew? Although the kernels themselves are hard, the ears with larger kernels are now typically used for flour or cornmeal production, while those with small, pointy kernels are perfect for popcorn. Indian corn varies in ear size, kernel, husk and stalk color. The most common husk colors are ivory and purple. Visual delights, indeed. The term “Flint Corn” (hard, and like stone) would also reference these jeweled ears. Yet in most countries this hard corn is known as “Indian corn” or “Calico Corn”, which is the same species as Indian corn but a different variant of maize. Oh, the calico colors! It is interesting to note that the Indian corn that we recognize today are several hybrid varieties that have been developed within the last 50 years. These calico-patterned or speckled varieties of Indian corn are the result of cross-pollination of single-shaded plants. In addition to the multicolored ears, there are also solid ears in shades of red, gold, yellow, reddish brown,dark purple, white, ruby, blue and even black. Bold, colorful and unexpected hues of Autumnal delight, indeed! With hard outer layers, each colorful kernel endures to delight with Autumnal appeal. The unusual texture and composition of hues go far in providing Autumnal interest when brought into our interiors or used as decoration in events. Calico patterns of delight, indeed…
Consider the decoration of Indian corn as the Autumn season settles upon us. The hues of Autumn are sure to provide us with seasonal enjoyment when embellished within our interior and exterior spaces. A natural visual in bringing the outdoors in and a focus on nature when gracing our exteriors. Autumnal glory of nature, indeed…
“A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine”
Impactful spheres of “Stone”. A contrast among the landscape they are grounded within. Shape and form. A sphere (from Greek word “sphaira” for “globe, ball”) is referred to a round geometrical object in three dimensional space. For certain, these circular stones of solid form are rounded objects with visual weight, height and substance. Distinctive globe forms(with the surface of “stone” or other hard materials, such as limestone or concrete) that offer visual and architectural interest to the surrounds that they settle and embed upon. Firmly and deeply embedded. Objects of impact, for certain.
And of the history of round objects of spherical formation? Thought to be linked to the references of astronomy and navigation, circles also represent the eternal whole are an considered an archetypical form representing the sun, the earth, the moon, the universe, and other celestial objects between. No beginning and no end. Perhaps the round, spherical form is a reminder of the galaxy beyond us –“a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas and dust, and dark matter”. Holding a visual of free movement, the graceful shape of a circle offers a seeming calm and soothing appeal. For certain, there is something unexpected about the spherical circular shape found within the landscape of our exterior worlds. Yet delightful.
Of course, one cannot focus upon spheres of stone without acknowledging the ancient stone spheres of Costa Rica. Enduring as one of the strangest mysteries in archaeology, the discovery during the 1930’s of over 300 round, massive stone balls have continued to pique the interest of the world. Sculpted from the hands of ancient sculptors from “grandodiorite”(a hard, single block of stone solidified from of lava), these monolithic sculptures were found ranging in size and varying in workmanship. Found in the jungle, twelve miles from the Pacific coast, upon excavation for a structure built by the United Fruit Company, those that would come to research these massive objects of stone would find that these were nearly perfect spheres. Amazing. It is also interesting to note that no “unfinished” spheres were ever found. Of even further interest is the fact that the Costa Rican quarry was over 50 miles from the locations of these massive, mysterious bolders of spherical form. Imagine! Since moved from their original locations (and some destroyed) the basis of a scientific layout of these boulders of round form, by the ancient hands that revered them, can no longer provide an answer as to their true meaning and purpose. Stone “globes” which held great importance and significance of which will remain unknown. Objects from an ancient culture that still survive without knowledge of their true purpose. A mystery that will never be answered. Perhaps there are some things in life that will always remain a mystery but will always endure in earning appreciation. Enormous stones of intrigue. Round spheres of solid form that will continue to offer enduring appeal of massive proportion and visual delight…
And of the polished, stone orbs that fill the landscape and add architectural interest within the lush green natural world that surrounds us? For certain, the form itself deserves a visual appreciation. Unexpected, perhaps, but distinctive just the same. The solid forms of sizable impact go far in providing a focal point of contrast and texture. Consider the spherical formation of solid “stone” globes. Architectural interest within the landscape, indeed….
The spherical form as an classic emblem of architectural structures & embellishments endures to provide historical appeal. A timeless emblem of classical form…
A nod to the world of horticulture and the artistry of shape found within…
Consider the spherical formations of meticulously pruned and shaped emerald green boxwoods. An artistry of form that hold an appeal of classicism. These ball-shaped foundation plantings offer visual delight of the highest form of gardening. The stately boxwood itself is deemed as “Man’s Oldest Garden Ornamental”. Timeless…
Of course, the round object of solid form found within the interior also earns an unexpected delight. Appreciation of this form with no beginning or end…
Consider with appreciation the spherical “Stone”. Form and contrast, texture and interest. Although the mystery of their original formation remains unknown, the visual display of intriguing appeal within the landscapes of our exterior world (and even our interior worlds) will endure to offer an ongoing unexpected delight. Circles in nature. Perhaps the mere visual of “polished” stones offer a nod to the “Circle of Life”. Polished reminders of solid form. Enchanting, indeed…
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help”
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for”
The outdoor wedding reception under nature’s canopy. Sheer delight of dreamy appeal. On a day in which the moment of a lifetimeculminates into a celebration of significance under the sky of natural wonder, those that gather are seemingly transported within the magical setting set forth. Perfection. The scenery that is offered, courtesy of Mother Nature, offers breathtaking, natural elegance that pairs with the elegance of a grand affair. Nature itself provides a spontaneity and perhaps even an unexpected element that brings another dimension to a memorable celebration of life. The natural atmosphere paired with the embellishments of wedded celebration is simply magical. For certain, the charms of nature paired with the joy of a lifetimeevent are a perfect marriage in entertaining.
Simply stated, the visuals of magical moments of elegant affairs of wedded bliss under nature’s canopy deserve attention and mere appreciation. For those that will plan a moment under the brilliant sun filled sky or under the twinkling, star dotted sky perhaps the images, sourced and compiled from the wide world of the web, will offer inspiration of a grand event yet to unfold. And for those that merely seek inspiration for creating an event under the canopy of nature, may inspiration follow….
Consider the beauty and elegance of a wedded celebration under the canopy of nature. Whether the event is filled with beaming sunshine or the twinkling stars from above, the outdoor event will offer memorable moments experienced by all. The beauty of nature is everywhere. Pairing that beauty with the beautiful moments of life? Perfection. Wedded bliss under nature’s canopy, indeed…
“There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature”- Aristotle