Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Stolen Gold, Oh Happy Day!

Oh there you are!
Thank you for coming by to see me...
and my Stolen Gold.
You know, I'm not sure that I have ever bought a bottle of rum before in my entire life but I decided this week that I really, really needed some; to make my own vanilla essence with. Do you have any idea how easy it is to make vanilla essence!? All you need is vanilla pods, alcohol (vodka or rum) & a jar. You can make a little or a lot..either way it tastes amazing & lasts forever.
 Simply soak your beans in liquor for a few months & viola: magic! I will retrieve my beans quite soon & cut them open & pop them back in again to steep some more. I use a lot of vanilla in things like our instant banana ice-cream & baking so it's really worth while making my own. The last few batches have been small & made with gifted vodka. I feel sure that this brew will taste like Stolen Gold...wonderful! 
 I am also brewing some violet kefir water. Kefir water is probiotic, delicious & so easy to make. My kefir grains decided to make their own "mother" which was good of them. I have added violet flowers & honey this week. It tastes like spring!
 I couldn't resist buying the other kind of dragon fruit just to see the inside mostly. Aren't they intriguing? Not sure I'll ever grow one in my garden, however, they are just a really big cactus kind of plant.
I loved the view out my sewing room window this week.
Occasionally we had a little sunshine.
 And then Happy Day, my Katie & Daisy calendar arrived from the Book Depository. They are wonderful The Book Depository, they'll send anywhere in the world for free.
 I love the words on each page...
 And it's true I have seen wonders...
The man who never reads, or only very slowly & sometimes, has turned in to a Book Thief!
There, he just said it again: "Let's go to bed & read eh?"
Have you read the Book Thief?
We thought we might watch the movie quite soon.

I often buy books because I like the title &/or the cover.
I bought this from Connections a few months ago "Good to a Fault". Such an intriguing & original story it stayed with me for a very long time after I finished it. Sorry, borrowed this bit from Good Reads:
 "Clara Purdy is at a crossroads. At forty-three, she is divorced, living in her late parents' house, and near-ing her twentieth year as a claims adjuster at a local insurance firm. Driving to the bank during her lunch hour, she crashes into a sharp left turn, taking the Gage family in the other car with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara decides to do the right thing. She moves Lorraine's three children and their terrible grandmother into her own house—and then has to cope with the consequences of practical goodness: exhaustion, fury, hilarity, and unexpected love. 
What, exactly, does it mean to be good? What do we owe each other in this life, and what do we deserve? Good to a Fault is an ultimately joyful book that digs deep, with leavening humor, into questions of morality, class, and social responsibility. Marina Endicott looks at life and death through the compassionate, humane lens of a born novelist: being good, being at fault, and finding some balance in between." 
 I also found this lovely book for a dollar. Actually, I just liked the feel of it; it's colours & beautiful texture, but I'm really enjoying it beyond first appearances. I will share with you a little of this soon. 

I have been meaning to tell you about Alice for a very long time. Alice Hertz-Sommer is the most powerfully inspiring woman I have ever "met". She only recently passed away aged 109. I read her biography "A Garden of Eden in Hell" quite a few years ago. I found it in the library. She & her son were Holocaust survivors. As a pianist she could play Chopin from memory & gave many glorious concerts in the camp; a rare & sustaining nourishment & escape for those who lived with her, entrapped. In later years her son went on to become a world renowned cellist. Music was to sustain & saturate & bless their lives & all those who heard them play, so profoundly through all the years.
Interestingly Alice was a twin. She & her sister Mariana were born in Prague in 1903. Polarised at birth, Alice was born an optimist & Mariana a pessimist. Alice has her arm around her sister. Mariana died at the age of 75, as I recall & Alice lived to 109 in full positive strength.
This is my favourite picture (it was in the back of the library book) of Alice with Raphael in the background.
 She, along with her son, survived the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt.

Alice's life long passion for learning was given to her by her mother:
"Alice’s mother had a love of learning and instilled in her children a desire to hungrily pursue knowledge, “to learn, to learn, to learn, to know, to know” Alice remembers. All through her life, it is the strength of Sommers’ mind that sustained her. She believes in putting something in your mind everyday that no one can take from you. Up to the age of 104, Alice would make the trek three times per week to a nearby university to study history, and philosophy. Even now, every Saturday, she keeps her intellectual brain limber by playing Scrabble with a friend."

"When asked the secret to her long life, Alice responds, “in a word: optimism. I look at the good. When you are relaxed, your body is always relaxed. When you are pessimistic, your body behaves in an unnatural way. It is up to us whether we look at the good or the bad. When you are nice to others, they are nice to you. When you give, you receive.”
This info found

Alice's story The Lady in Number 6 is now available. Here is the trailer if you're interested:  
The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational stories ever told. 109 year old, Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest pianist and oldest holocaust survivor, shares her views on how to live a long happy life. She discusses the vital importance of music, laughter and having an optimistic outlook on life. This powerfully inspirational video tells her amazing story of survival and how she managed to use her time in a Nazi concentration camp to empower herself and others with music.

 I do love the cover of this book The Language of Flowers.
 I wonder if any of you have read it?
I think that will be how I live my life...a life lived & expressed through the language of flowers. The optimism I am working on....a little every day; changing the energies & the legacy of defeat & struggle with all my strength & best grace. 

Happy Day to you, my friends.
Have a lovely week.
Thank you for your friendship & presence.
Much love Catherine x0x0x 


  1. Oh, you are in for a treat! The Language of Flowers is the best book I've read in a long time! I love it so much that I'm reading it again and illustrating it, just for me and in honor of the author's lovely writing. I also loved An Altar in the World! You will, too. You have good book taste, GK!

  2. Oh I would love to see these two movies! I wonder if we can get them in the US - at least hopefully somewhere online.

    Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  3. I went to the movie 'The book thief' and really enjoyed it, so the book should be great. You sure have some good reading to get through. Love your view from your sewing room.

  4. Every time I visit your garden I feel pure delight, and at home too. After al, we seem to have so many pleasures in commonI love vanilla and go weak at the knees when purchasing a few gloss, fat pods. So I will most certainly be making some vanilla essence - often used in this house - before the week is over. And violet scented Kefir? What a lovely idea.

    I too am a fan of Katie Daisy, and those books you recommend (I know and like The Language Of Flowers) are just up my street, or should I say garden path?

    Happy September to you.


  5. Hello Catherine, I dont think I have ever bought a bottle of rum either, but that Stolen Gold sounds most tempting. I did not know it was that simple to make Vanilla Essence. My friend Donna has been making Kefir Water too & we have been chatting about it. She tells me how good it is for you. I havent seen The Book Thief yet but would love to, & also read the book. I think if I had that view out my sewing room window, I would just sit & enjoy it & not get much creating done :-) Your new calendar looks just gorgeous, isnt Book Depository great. Have a lovely Wednesday my friend x0x0x

  6. All your books look like good reads, infact, I am going to search my library catalogue to see if any come up - The Language of Flowers I think might be. I always look forward to opening your posts when I glimpse them in my browser, so cheery and full. Thankyou, Betty x


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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