Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"What's new?"

What a glorious surprise to find an envelope of handmade Christmas ornaments made and sent by my friend Suzanne Lamprecht (Down in the Meadow) of South Africa. Her card touched me deeply. Sometimes it is hard to imagine the deep and meaningful friendships we form with bloggers all over the world. Thank you, dear Suzanne, for the beauty you create for your family and friends. My family will treasure these for years to come.

Even the envelope is gorgeous!

Dear Friends,

Your sweet e-mails and gifts continue to fill my life with light and love, but the recent e-mail from my long time girlfriend Susan Branch made me realize that just dropping out of blog world isn't an option.

Sue's e mail (received last night) said, "I just went to your blog to see what you've been up to. So now I'm worried.  What are you doing?  Are you traveling??  Hope everything is OK and you're just having too much fun!!!  Let me know, what's new pussycat? Love you, Sue"

Ok Sue. I'm a flake. I have been wanting to write a post, but my life has been boring. Nothing but work and tending to some medical conditions. And about the holidays? YIKES! How will I ever do all the things that need doing, especially for the young ones in my life who expect a fairyland holiday?

My little bird book is time consuming, but lucky for me, my husband Jeff, who has the eye of an eagle and the grammatical finesse of his tough parochial school English teachers, is giving me some much needed help. In the next two weeks, I'll be finished, the book will be in the copy editor's hands, all art will be in the art and production department, and I will collapse and ask the next day, "I wonder who will buy my next book?" Which, by the way, I am working on in the wee hours of the morning and night.

Jeff talks with my editor.

What would I do without dozens of yellow legal pads? 

The kitchen table is our command center now.

Lists, lists, check lists, compare, make sure everything is covered.

Catalog all the tiny bits of art and tell the art department where they belong in the text.

We drink lots of water. To jazz up the taste, I slice lemon and lime and add spearmint. This container of water lasts a couple of days. I empty the container, rinse it, and add fresh lemon, lime, and mint. It is wonderful!

To keep myself sane, I stop working, run out to the garden and pick fruit and herbs, make arrangements, pick up fallen leaves to press...and then the voice bellows, "SHARON, where are you? Get in here and let's finish." He always gets me back on track.

My 'Bonanza' peach lost all its leaves last week. I wanted to save all of them, but settled on three!

The little niche in our hallway is where I do a daily display of beautiful bits of nature.

Okay, I got off track here. What I want to say is that I haven't had time to visit many of you, but that doesn't mean I don't care...or that I don't want to. So please bear with me and know that when my time is again my time I will be back on track.

Please take a moment to view my TV interview that aired last month on Central Texas Gardener on KLRUWatch the complete children's gardening segment, edited by the amazing Linda Lehmusvirta. Linda did a job above and beyond. It's a must watch if you are interested in school gardening. THANK YOU, LINDA.

Sending love across the miles and stay tuned. My first book Sunflower Houses is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this month. I will be doing a give-away after the holidays that includes an original, hard cover copy of SFH and some of my other books.
The original, hardcover, 1st printing in 1991
A true collector's item
The "new" 2001, paperback version now in its 13th printing on its 20th anniversary




One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Walk slow
some rest....

Thea said...

Your new children's book is already on my list. Can't wait! Hugs, T

Kay G. said...

Dear Sharon,
Love your photo of the lemon and lime with the water, it looks like a painting! (And are they nasturiums in the vase? Lovely!)
Can't wait for your bird book, it must be a lot of work but think of the joy it will bring!
And you know, we LOVE JOY!!! :-)
Sharon Kay

Susan Branch said...

Aha!! Well that definitely explains it!!! I'm in the throes of writing a book myself, so I know how it is!!! All that paperwork you have everywhere? I have it too; my new kitten Jack goes under it, bites it, flips it over, and knocks it off the table!!! I pick it all up, he does it again. I layout the new calendar, he slides through it, knocks it all off. What was I thinking? :-) We are waiting for him to knock over the Christmas tree. It's tied to the wall, but that may not stop him.

Anyway glad to see you are well, fine, drinking lots of delicious lemon water, and opening your mail. Those Christmas decorations are so charming!!! Lovely amazing gift.

We'll talk when you come up for air! Good luck, and break a leg. xoxo to Jeff too. What would we do without our guardian angels??? Merry Christmas honey!

Betty said...

Hello Sharon,
Good to see you back on your blog and to know that all is well, albeit busy!
Hope you will take it easy soon and enjoy some time for yourself and your family.

Terra said...

You are well justified in having little extra time for blogging, as you near the book finish line.
Those ornaments your friend made are delightful.
Merry Christmas early!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi to all of you and thanks for your words of wisdom. They help.

Now about you Sue. I know you're writing and illustrating a GREAT book because I got to see the first 50 pages. PERFECT...each word, illustration, and thought. You're a better person than I...somehow things tumble out all aflutter and I have to slave to get them in order.

I can't wait for your new book because maybe then you and Joe will come stay with us in Maine.

Love you,


Michelle said...

Love your water idea. Nice to see how you work on a book. I find the process very intriguing. Breathe deep and clear the brain!

Linda Hoye said...

So nice to hear from you again, Sharon! I've missed your posts too!

Terri said...

Thank you for the interesting peek behind the scenes. The lemon mint water sounds and looks deliciously refreshing.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ Friendships made online are amazing and wonderful.

Congrats on the 20th anniversary of your first book 'Sunflower Houses'.
I can only imagine the work that goes into making a book. The creating of words that speak to audiences young and old, the artwork to portray the beauty of your stories.

I do hope the medical conditions will ease up and go away.

Love and hugs to you and your DH. Have a lovely Christmas holiday season.


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I already know I'm getting a copy of your new book (when it is available) for my little granddaughter, Faith. :)

Isn't it true about friends we make through blogging? I have the most diverse of friends (my blog "son" is a Catholic friar and my blog "granddaughter" is a hispanic Catholic... and I'm a very WASP-ish Protestant!).

I have moved your blog on my rss feed under "Friends" instead of "Gardening" so I can see a new blog post quickly.

Vee said...

There's nothing happening at my place so you're off the hook for that visit. I will take you whenever you bob to the surface. You're a busy gal...perhaps too busy for this time of year, but I understand...bills to pay, gifts to's all good.

Take care and I will fervently hope that you get some extra down time very soon and only for a good and pleasant reason.

Pat said...

So good to read your update...and yes we were wondering why so quiet...

Please take care of yourself -

Marguerite said...

How nice to see you again Sharon. As the holidays come up on us I think it's only natural to feel a little overwhelmed, can't imagine having a book due on top of that. Your water jug is wonderful, I've never seen one in that style but I love the idea of being able to add fresh lemon and herbs to your drinking water. Now I'll be keeping my eyes open to see if I can spot one for myself.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Sometimes we get disconnected, don't we? Bonnie and I will be visiting Kathleen's at the end of the week. Will give her your regards. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear Sharon and Jeff too. A package will be on your doorstep in the coming week or so. Have to get it packed up. xxoo Nancy

Lili said...

Oh Sharon I've missed your posts and you always have something to share that is just so simple yet so very beautiful, like your glass water container and your wonderful leaves! I had to chuckle at Jeff keeping you on track; Henri helps keep me focused too (but usually at mealtime--haha)! It's so good to catch up with you on here. Love to you and Jeff. xo ~Lili

Bonnie K said...

Glad you are still out there. Isn't it amazing how quickly time flies. I can't wait to see your new book. Hope you take some time to relax and enjoy the holidays. Glad to hear from you.

Dawn said...

Hello sweet friend! I am so happy about this update, just to see how you're doing, and to know your (much anticipated) bird book is almost finished. Good for you!
I can relate about not blogging because you think your life is boring at the moment...i am always worriedxthat I'll start boring my readers with baby photos. But please be assured that every poem and plant you share is a joy!
Sending lots of love,
P.s. What's Kary up to? I'll have to investigate!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Dawn,

We never get bored with photos of Rafi and word of what is going on in your world.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sending love to you, Ramon, and Rafi,


Lori ann said...

dear sharon,
it is hard to be patient for your book.


a woman who is said...

I just checked...yes I have the original 1991 hardcover. I have been a fan from way back. Susan Branch too...first edition of The Summer Book. You ladies blessed my heart and inspired my life! It is so great to catch up to your busy little lives via blog land. Don't feel pressured friend, drop in when you can breath and enjoy a moment to yourself. That is what we are all here for... when we need a little visit, someone to share our moments with or perhaps a little bit of inspiration from some friends.

I still haven't painted my shed, but my goal is to fix it up for a place of pure garden inspiration like yours...random thought about your last big inspiration for my life <3

suzanne said...

Oh Sharon, I am so happy they made it across the Valley's, mountains and seas~ Just small treasures to brighten your days. Your days seem busy..please don't fluster and panic just go with the flow. My life often takes on different rhythms. I used to fight and try get it back on track until I realised that this is the moment, this is the time I am meant to be here right now.

Enjoy the Grands when they come and all the best with finishing your book.

A happy day to you Sharon and Jeff
Warm regards

Julie Marie said...

Hello Sharon... I am excited about your new book!... if you recall, I remember you so from Country Living and Heartsease... love your Nature displays in your little niche...your gifts from your friend in Africa are just adorable!... always love visiting your posts... xoxo Julie Marie

rebecca sweet said...

Oh, how nice to hear from you! Just the other day I was wondering how you were doing since you've been a little quiet. Funny how we get used to hearing the voices of our friends, and how we miss them when they're absent! We all need a break now and then, and I was hoping it was nothing more than that (and am glad to hear I was right!) Enjoy this wonderful, albeit hectic month Sharon and best of luck getting Fairyland ready for your wee ones! Much love, Rebecca

Lori from Indiana said...

Who will buy your book? We all will! Take time to enjoy the season and God bless you Sharon.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi dear Lori,

Well, I am supposed to be a communicator, but I failed. What I meant by "who will buy my next book" is what publisher will buy it. You really never know who is going to want what you write. Especially when you change your genre...and my next book is a middle grade novel (9 to 11 year olds). Novels are a hard sell. Sometimes when I go to the bookstore or library, I walk the aisles and ask myself WHY??? I am adding another to the shelves. It is overwhelming.

So good to hear from you.



Larkrise garden girl said...

Sharon, Do you not realize how the way you live is facinating the fact you appreciate and convey the simple things of Life that make glasses of water with lime,lemon and spearment a new adventure. Hugs to you for making nature as new as when you were a small child and held your first fat brown worm. Cheri

kj said...

a writer has to write, sharon. a painter has to paint. that's why you're doing both. :^) blame it on the great wide universe that you've been blessed with some many talents and an equal amount of interests. i love your passion.

ah passion. i won't go there (hee hee)

i am setting a good example for holiday enjoyment this year. i am seeing people i love, i will bake, i sent out cards jubilantly, i shopped sans malls and i made a few gifts with my own clumsy hands. this weekend # 9 will be decorated, accompanied by pine scents that never fail to connect my memories.

gee, this is a long comment. and it's all about me.

i hope you and jeff will soon have papers off your table and your head and hands will turn to holiday festivity. when that happens, you will no doubt be so proud of finishing that there book.

which i, like lori my sf, will buy too.

much love!

kj said...

oh so many spelling errors. forgive me this once. i got too excited.


Pondside said...

Lovely to have this catch-up from you Sharon. Your life sounds rather full right now, so the note was doubly appreciated!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

KJ, spelink arers furgivn.


black eyed susans kitchen said...

Hi Sharon, I am so happy to see that you are back!! Hope your husband is on the mend. I am adding your not so new books to my list... they look right up my alley...and will be new to me! Your posts are always inspiring.
♥, Susan

Sharon said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and making such sweet comments.
Please visit again.

I plan to add your book to my book collection!

Happy Holiday
(Corgis In My Garden)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Sharon Kay (Georgia Girl with an English Heart),

Yes, those are nasturtium. I cut stem AND flower and root them in my bouquets. Within about a week they'll send out thready white roots and soon I will plant them at the base of my big potted kumquats, tangerines, blood orange, and limes.

Sorry I missed your question earlier.



LindaCTG said...

I'll buy the bird book! And wow, you ARE busy. And how in the heck do you have such a darling, organized, and CLEAN house with all that you do? You and Jeff are totally amazing and I can't believe I know you. What a gift to me!

Sharon Lovejoy said...


YOU are the amazing one! Jeff and I are two of your biggest fans.

What an amazing and beautifully executed show you produce. We love it and check in on your blog postings regularly. So well done.

Lots of love,


Casa Mariposa said...

It's so easy to get sidetracked. I prefer to think that I'm not sidetracked, I've just changed lanes for a bit. :o) I can hardly wait for your next book to come out! I convinced one of my students to do a science fair experiment with bird calls today. Maybe she'll fall in love with birds, too! :o) Love your blog so much!!!

Sonia said...

Hi Sharon,
How exciting that your new book is almost ready to be published. I love birds so will look forward to getting your new book! This time of year I think we all have too many irons in the fire..I get done what I can and don't worry about the rest! Hope you enjoy the season and take time to walk in your garden to rejuvenate your batteries! Love your sweet gifts from South Africa..those stamps are so fun!
Miss Bloomers

Unknown said...

Well hello dear Sharon! I'm so happy Sue was able to get you to let us know that your are well and working hard! I've missed your regular postings! WE ALL HAVE! But, breath, space and distance are often the best medicine to get your motor running again.
Best to you with all of your writing endeavor's and when you feel the urge to share more about your writing life, I would love to know what type of manuscript software today's writers favor and/or if people still do them by hand. I notice that in your lay outs you have printed pages with artwork. I'm chomping at the bit to know how all that works! My ideas come in a flurry too and this may help me get organized enough to move forward! Blessings to you and your guardian angel Jeff!
much love,
Deb ( who is awaiting all of your coming publications )!

Brenda Pruitt said...

You hard-working girl you! I'm living where it's colder. Just leaves scuttling down the road in the prairie winds here. No herbs to pick. I can't wait for spring: there SHALL be herbs wherever I live!

senses of soul said...

your pic make me an idea

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading posts, its an escape from the cold and blizardy weather we have here in Northern Ontario, you sound a little down, I think it must be difficult for you to have so much boring work to do when writing and illustrating your books, you would probably rather just be let alone to write and paint.Maybe when the book is on the shelves you will find yourself renewed.Beautiful gifts your recieved, isn't blog land a wonderful world.I just sent a little parcel to thank a blogging buddy for her kind gift to me, the circle of life, ahhhh, such a wonderful thing.Take care, be happy, I will make a snowman for you!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Laurie,

Thanks for stopping by. "Boring" isn't really a description of this part of making a book. This is the time to catch errors, clarify things, do final illos, make sure that the words are kid-friendly. All these tedious chores add up to as close to near perfect as I can make it. It is all just a part of the process.

Make me a snowman!



My Little Home and Garden said...

Best wishes with your book. That sound very exciting.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

Lakeshore Cottage Living said...

Sounds like you have the perfect job! and that you and your husband have a wonderful relationship.

Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment about my mantel...I hope I was a little break for you like your pretty leaves lol. I am going to spend some more time snooping around your place here if you don't mind. Come visit me again soon. Merry Christmas! Kristine

Lakeshore Cottage Living said...

Oh and I forgot to mention..I am in love with the gift you received in the mail...especially the snowman. He is delicous. I am following too.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

I love the snowman too...well, I love them all, but he just tweaks my heartstrings.


Comfrey Cottages said...

Big hugs to you! I love your little nature display nook! We do the same thing:) 20 years since Sunflower Houses!? I wish I had a picture of the sunflower house I made inspired from your book back then, to share with you! Sigh...pre days of digital cameras and instant shares... Biggest hugs and I hope you have a joyous holiday season xx

Saucy Siciliana said...

I admire people who can write books, I just write nonsense:) I'll be looking forward to your book. In the meantime I'm following you from Rome. I lived in New York many years but I never visited Maine, it must be a beautiful place.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Welcome Francesca,

My husband's family is from Calabria, but we did not make it there last time we were in Italy.

Yes, you would love Maine. Don't start me gushing now.

Happy Sunday,


Comfrey Cottages said...

Twenty years since you wrote Sunflowers Houses!?! Wow I didn't realize that, Sharon. I wish I had a picture of the sunflower house we planted using your directions from that book, all those years ago:) I need to start a new one with this new batch of children in my life, next summer:) Lovely ornament presents. How nice Susan contacted you and instigated you sharing with us what is going on in your life. Excited to hear about this new book you are working on. Nice to see you nourishing yourself with delightful water infused with goodness and naturescapes:) Wonderful interview! big herbal and honey hugs to you always dear Sharon xxxx

Sharon Lovejoy said...

YOU ARE A SWEETHEART! I wish that you had some photos of your sunflower houses. I have received photos of children in their from as far away as Italy. So wonderful.

All joys to you,



Speaking of giveaways, I received my garden book, packed with extra care, in the mail about a week ago. Thank you so very much!! I too have been very busy and not attending to the blog world I love as much as I'd like. I think we all understand. It sounds like your bird book is coming along quite nicely. Congrats on the success of Sunflower Houses. I will always cherish my copy. Stay warm.

Privet and Holly said...

I had similar thoughts
to SB; so glad that you
posted an update so we
know you are busy with
GOOD things : ) !! I have
a little children's book idea
that I plan to flesh out in
more detail after the holidays.
Fun, but busy, stuff!

Enjoy the holidays with
your little 'ins : )

xx Suzanne

jerilanders said...

I'm in absolute Heaven now, finishing up the paintings in My third book. I am not at the point of having all the text spread out all over the table and spilling onto the floor....yet.
Congrats on your 20 years and 13 printings, what a grand accomplishment that is!! I am crossing fingers to win that hardcover 1991 Sunflower book.