May 11, 2020 | My Jottings

Hello friends. I have been sheltering at home now since March 19th, when Lloyd and I returned from our trip to California. I go the grocery store when necessary and always wear gloves. I wear a mask if the place I’m going seems to have enough people to make keeping a distance difficult. Once a week my sweet foster resident and I go for a drive, order takeout food, maybe drive through Dairy Queen for a cone, or Culver’s for her favorite, a dish of chocolate frozen custard.

I have been knitting a dark red scarf, very imperfectly, knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2, and the yarn is very forgiving. I also signed up for the German class through The Great Courses, and as soon as I get my workbook in the mail I’ll begin the thirty online classes. I know a bit of German, having lived there in the late 1970s for almost two years. I baked a boule loaf of bread in a lidded Dutch oven last week, a recipe my oldest daughter tried, and it was delicious. I think I’ll make it again, maybe when I decide to put on a big pot of soup. It was 29 degrees this morning, and today’s highs are in the 40s. In mid-May. So soup still seems like a good choice. And I bought the first jigsaw puzzle of my life not long ago, and Lloyd and I completed the 1000-piece The Last Supper and I actually didn’t hate it.

Lloyd and I have still been watching the series called Endeavour and so far like it a lot. We’re on the third season and there are seven, so we try to watch one in the evenings whenever we’re together. It’s on Prime Video for those of you who are Amazon Prime members.

I had a very long to-do list today and it feels good to have crossed almost every task off my list. I’m sitting in my dining room looking out on sapphire colored Lake Superior, watching chickadees swoop in to choose black seeds from the suction cup feeder on the window, and have just brewed myself a cup of tea. Aaaaand…I’m munching on a couple of See’s candies, lovingly wrapped and dropped off on my front deck by my friend Su. She and I grew up in SoCal (as I’ve mentioned on this blog about 467 times) and See’s was a part of our growing up years. Now you can buy See’s online, but back then we stepped into the white-tiled See’s store at the Eastland Shopping Center in West Covina, and oohed and aahed (silently of course) over the plentiful selection while the older women in white frilly aprons waited with smiles for our decisions. (Always a Bourdeaux for me.) Have you ever had See’s Candies? What were your favorites? My mother loved the rectangular, chocolate-covered molasses strips that were always grouped in fours and placed in the lower right hand corner of the box.

Anyway, I’m going to show you some pictures today of things I have in my house that are red. Some of these pictures have appeared on the blog before, but some are new. The older I get, the more I love dark, jewel-toned colors. I’m always intensely drawn to dark blues, reds (not fire-engine red!) and greens. I like purple if it’s a warmer purple, with brownish tones, like eggplant I suppose.

The bricks on this fireplace in my dining room were lime green when I bought the house almost exactly eight years ago. Michael was still here then. We moved to this house because he was getting sicker, and we needed to downsize and to have fewer stairs. I love my home, but I still have a stab of pain when I think that this was the place Michael knew would be his last dwelling on this earth.

My daughter Carolyn painted the bricks a deep red for me, and she helped me decide on the flowing arrangement of blue, red and black transferware plates I hung above the mantel.

I’ve had a thing for toile for years. I’ve had toile wallpaper in the last three homes I’ve lived in, and I think a bit of toile adds interest in a room, unless you’re decorating with an urban, industrial look, and then you can probably omit the toile. I put this little dark red and cream footstool in front of a Glen plaid chair in my bedroom.

And I love red in nature. Aren’t these leaves gorgeous? This was taken last fall in the cemetery where Michael is buried.

I swear by flannel sheets in the winter and fall, and the silkiest sheets in the spring and summer. These are one of two sets of flannel sheets I use. Buffalo plaid has certainly become a trend, which I usually try to avoid, but these sheets make me sigh when I sleep in them, so I will keep them until they’re threadbare.

I no longer wear red much, since my (porcine) coloring isn’t really compatible (although in COVID-19 times, come on, who cares, right?) This picture of me was taken by my dear friend Bob King, sometime around 1985-6. I was 28 or 29 years old.

My current bedroom has too much wallspace for wallpaper, so I opted for red and cream toile in my small office. And velvet turquoise/aqua curtains. I never know what color these are. Light teal? Dark robin’s egg blue?

This adorable little red and gold bird print was a gift from my daughter Sara. I hung it under a plate and a resin moose head. His name is Mendelssohn.

Anyone who’s acquainted with me knows how important cardinals are in my life. If you don’t know the story, you can click here to read the version I wrote for children.

The beautiful watercolor work by Cheng-Khee Chee was a gift from my dear friend Su. It’s on a shelf in my bedroom and I cherish it. And those two little ones on either side? They’re both seniors in high school right now. How interesting that they’re both wearing red.

There was a time I craved dark red so much, I painted my kitchen walls with it. And I used creamy white and lots of dark blue as accents. This is the kitchen from our former house.

These sheets were a Christmas gift from my daughter Sharon, and when my buffalo plaid sheets are in the wash, these cardinal softies go on.

Aren’t these little salt and pepper shakers sweet? Another thoughtful gift from a dear friend.

These are the warmest slippers I’ve had, and I wear them most of the day. They’re wool, made in Austria, and somehow that makes them more special to me, since I love The Sound of Music. That’s how my logic works sometimes, unfortunately. 1. Need new slippers. 2. Search online for new slippers with arch supports and a bit of red. 3. Find wool slippers with arch supports and a bit of red, made in Austria. 4. Think, “Oh, these were made where Julie Andrews (and Maria Von Trapp for that matter) twirled and sang on the hills of the Alps near Salzburg so when I wear them I will be closer to that beauty that touches my heart and makes me yearn so deeply. 5. Put wool slippers in online cart. 6. Type in credit card information. 7. Click “complete purchase.”

When Sharon took some family pictures of us in the last months of Michael’s life, we liked this one a lot. We had it enlarged and it hangs in my bedroom. When I took it to be framed, I chose a textured gray and a dark red mat to go around the black and white photo. The black frame also has some dark red in it — can you see? Mildred the Schnauzer photobombed, of course.

I’ve had this textured pillow for a long time and it has gone from room to room. For now, its home is on another plaid chair in my bedroom. I prop my Bible and devotional reading on this pillow in the morning, set them on my lap, and spend some time with Jesus.

Below is the most lovely quilt ever, from a friend of the heart I’ve yet to meet. Helen in Switzerland sent me this after Michael died, and it is prominently displayed in my living room, reminding me of her generous love and exquisite creativity.

This handpainted red birdhouse was given to me by some of my grandchildren. It’s called The Birdhouse of Prayer, and came with a red pen and some scraps of paper. Over the years when I’ve been overwhelmed regarding my loved ones’ challenges, I’ve written their names and needs on a piece of paper and just dropped it in through the openings, sending it off to the Lord to handle.

And I still love these bird prints, matted in dark red, or burgundy. These hang in the living room above a plaid chair I don’t love. I had it made years ago and when it was delivered I had an “uh-oh” moment when I realized it was not what I had envisioned it would be. It’s comfortable and I like sitting in it, but the plaid isn’t my favorite. Even though I love plaid. I’ll keep it until I need to downsize again, and be grateful for a nice place to sit.

This painted rock was a gift from a friend at Community Bible Study. An older woman named Hope gave it to a little girl named Adah, and Adah decided to give it to me when she was done with it.  That’s a baby bird with its mouth open at the top.

This red is a bit too bright and orangey, except that it’s part of a tartan plaid, and that makes it totally okay in my book. Most things Scottish are welcome and appreciated in this house. I have another one with some blue in it, and I drape it on the arm of my couch, a present from my dear friend Sue. R.

Red, red, red, and blue. One of our Thanksgiving tables, with a plaid throw, placemats, red chargers and other accents.

Is that enough red for now? I agree.

How are you doing during this time at home? Have you taken up anything new? Read any good books? I’d like to know! Thank you for stopping in.

God’s peace,


  1. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Well how lovely to see the quilt again – and I am so happy that you like it!! Yes, one day we will meet!
    Here things are slowly opening up and getting back to normal. I’m working from home until September and just go to the university one day a week on my e-bike to check on bits and pieces. Restaurants opened again this week and I’ve been invited to a birthday breakfast on Friday – it seems like a rash and scary thing to do to go to a restaurant, but apparently they are very organised and socially distanced.
    I hope you and yours are all healthy!
    Much love, Helen xx

  2. Just Julie says:

    I wish we were as far along as you are, Helen. While we don’t have many cases in my area, they are still on the rise, and we will likely have our stay at home order extended until at least late June. The quilt is a constant delight to me, dear friend. xoxo

  3. Machelle Palmi says:

    O. I Remember your old kitchen. So spacious. I have been re-reading a book by Michael Phillips entitled A God to Call Father.
    It blesses me and challenges me.

  4. Just Julie says:

    I have read several Michael Phillips books over the years, Machelle. I don’t think I’ve read this one! Yes, that was a huge kitchen and served us well for the time we were there. God bless your weekend dear Machelle. xoxo

  5. Nancy Roney says:

    Thank you for photo tour of your lovely home. We have quite a few cases in my area although phase one of reopening is Monday. Mostly staying home except for exercise, shopping, viewing religious programs and reflections. I”m going through my husband’s many train movies (super 8 media) he took and sorting them to be digitized. I don’t know what I’ll do with them after that. Maybe put on youtube for other train fans to enjoy.

  6. Just Julie says:

    Hi Nancy. Yes, on June 1st, we will have some limited reopenings. We shall see, huh? I think putting things on youtube is a great idea — I have become aware in my senior years that there are many train fans out there. God be with you, dear Nancy. xoxo

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