Spotlight: Life Behind the Blogger

Vera from Row Homes and Cobblestones

 Saturday Spotlight: Life Behind the Blogger is a feature done each Saturday that introduces you to a blogger you may already know or a new blogger for you to get to know. This feature gives you a peak into the personal life of the blogger.  Getting to know the special person behind the beautiful blog.

There is so much talent and inspiration in blogland so enjoy getting to know these talented bloggers each Saturday.

Oh my goodness I have wanted to introduce you to this special blogger and friend for some time.  It is so amazing the people that blogland brings together.  I only had to know Vera for a short time in blogland before I knew our souls were meant to unite.  I have never met Vera in person but have come to know her heart and her friendship and it feels like I am home when I chat with her.  I know she and I will meet someday in person and it will seal the deal  of our friendship.  I could go on and on about this sweet and talented person with the most loving heart but I will just let you read her feature and you will see what I mean.  Thank you sweet Vera for finally saying yes to Spotlight.  Love you sweet friend.

So who is behind the blog Row-homes and Cobblestones?

I'm a wife, a Grandmother, a poet, an artist, expressing myself in words, murals, faux painting and Trompe-Loeil.
I'm tenacious preferring to live life incognito and my ambitious efforts reward my heart with great joy.

I'm caring and sharing, nurturing and always persistent, very determined and perhaps to a fault fiercely independent.
My blogging style shares a photo essay weaving stories within a thought provoking post and ends with my poetry, a format planned and intended.

John and I live in the city of Philadelphia where we have old cobblestones at our curb and reside in a row-home. I met John in 1976 during the year of Philadelphia's bi-centennial and quickly fell deeply in love. I soon afterwards moved to Philadelphia, a historic city, which I hold enormous reverence for. 1976 was an important turning point in my life. John and I moved into a duplex together and I proudly call Philadelphia my home. We were married in 1979, a second marriage for both. In many aspects my life is a complete dichotomy yet it has embraced me in complete harmony.

To be honest this isn't the first time Kris invited me to share in Spotlight. She approached me last year when I was still a newbie blogger. But I was dealing with an overwhelming loss and felt it was not the approximate time for me. Long story short my only child, my son Chris suddenly passed on November 2nd of 2013. I ventured into blogging hoping to find a therapeutic healing of my heart. What I quickly discovered was the realization that in vast cyberspace, a place referred to as Blog Land became a place I'd find comfort, friendship and joy. Kris is a blogger I consider a sweet friend, one whom we share our thoughts and hearts. Yet a friend I've never met in person, although I know we eventually will. I am happy to have been invited a second time to be in Spotlight. Thank you Kris, I truly appreciate the opportunity of being in the spotlight.

A purchase back on Nov. 3rd, 2012 of a Christmas Matelassé stocking was the beginning of a friendship and mentoring. OK, perhaps a gentle nudge into blogging.  I sent the photo above to Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe to show her where I hung her pretty handmade stocking I purchased from her etsy store. Soon afterwards we started to share emails and photos as our friendship grew and Doré suggested I enter into blogging. But at the time I was actively and seriously finding comfort in my newest artistic expression of writing poetry. 

Weeks before my son was summoned into Heaven I had a conversation with him at our dining room table after dinner. Telling him about a blogging friend Doré, who I had never met in person was suggesting I blog. Chris's reaction and words were "I think you should Mom, you have much to share." I replied to my son that I was busy dedicating my free time to writing poetry and probably would seek out a publisher. Chris's response surprised me when he said "Mom share your stories and share your poetry, you have much to offer". So now I do. I pushed my first publish button on Dec. 11th, 2013 the day of my Grand Gabrielle's 17th Birthday and the rest is history. 

"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away she adjusted her sails." 
~Elizabeth Edwards~
This quote serves as my motto and is painted on a sign displayed on our kitchen picture ledge,

John and I are Francophile's and our shared hobby and love is vintage French Citroën cars and Formula One car racing. Above is a photo of our painstakingly fully restored 1972 DS Pallas Citroën dubbed "the Goddess". Owning and driving our lovingly restored car is we believe the quintessential French experience. 

We painted (OK the car restorers did) "Jean Claude" doesn't everyone name their cars, Gris Brumaire a nuanced Citroën color, one of only three Citroën colors that change throughout the day into evening. It's a Grey and a choice we love. In full sun it has a Taupe appearance and as the sun changes and sets the color turns into a lovely shade of Grey. The interior color is a French Bordeaux and has a rare dash known as "Le Cerise Jubilee". We have owned Jean Claude for 19 years, we are the third owner.

Throughout our years of French car ownership we have volunteered our artistic talents. 
We've designed altered art photography for Citroënthusiast a magazine (no longer in production). The above photo's are a few of our favorite fantasy altered artwork covers. We designed altered artwork for both front and back covers.

For many years, nearly 10 we volunteered our artistic efforts and handled the manufacturing for "Drive She Said" an all volunteer group that annually on Fathers Day weekend hosts the largest North American French car Rendezvous. John and I together (we also take on free lance work) designed tee-shirts, polos, menus, wine labels and signs for the venue that hosts over 200 people from all over North America, Europe and always several from France each year in Saratoga Springs, New York. The photo shows a few of our tee shirt designs. 

Back in the mid 80's I embarked on a spiritual journey and I'm still traveling throughout time and religious beliefs. Around the same time I started to engage in meditation twice a day to focus and relax. I still meditate. I will confess I am an avid book reader and find sheer magic in the written word. I've chosen to remain a Catholic but I embrace all religions and knowledge learned from religious beliefs rooted in love.

I collect Buddha's centuries of years old. I feel the karma and peaceful energy that they emit. Large and small buddha's are displayed throughout our home that some friends affectionately refer to as the "gallery". The Buddha shown in the photo on the left is a wooden Tibetan and is 300 years old in our living room. One of a pair that guarded a monastery's covered entry in Tibet. The photo in the middle is a Burmese Buddha that sits in our upstairs sitting/reading room. He is as far as I was told 200 years old. I was gifted him from an antique dealer I purchased Buddha's from. The gift arrived with a Sotherby's appraisal. The photo on the right is a 200+ year old wooden antique Burmese that is in our bedroom. 

We dabble/play with creating architectural origami cut outs in our ceilings and walls. I don't think we will ever be done creating in our home.

In our Living room.

My decor style runs on the side of the dramatic and moody mixed with a strong tactile feel. I like to live with the past and embrace the present with a mindful wink and nod to the future. The exposed brick wall that runs the length of our living room window wall to our upstairs guest room door was the cheapest, yet most amazing design choice in our home. I will say when John was chipping away at the plaster it looked like a war zone with all its constant debris. In the end, all the work and dirt was worth the effort because it adds old Philadelphian charm and textural warmth to our home.

A French style floral urn painting I did on our upstairs bathroom door. It is painted in 4 different hand mixed shades of Blue. As an artist I prefer to mix my own acrylic colors.

An Olive branch I hand painted appears on a mirror top in the kitchen. I adore the story behind the symbolic Olive branch God sent Noah in the mouth of a Dove. Olive branches are throughout our home. 

A Cherub positioned in our sitting/reading room upstairs. In different seasons his crown and props change in my vignettes.

In our French style guest room, artful expression embraces and welcomes our overnight guests.

As I write this Spotlight post we are in the process of a kitchen update, a rebuilding of our garage (under our kitchen) my laundry room is being revamped into a unique efficient spot, plus we are also planning to have a powder room built in the main area of the basement. 

Photo shows our new soapstone peninsula and our new Mr. Wolf gas cooktop. I am the cook, John refers to all his cooking as Cajun style (as in burnt). I seriously hope I've tempted you to come visit me at and follow along on our adventures living in our Philadelphia row-home. 


PS. At the end of each post I leave my readers with a poem I've written, but since I wrote a short poem to introduce myself at the beginning of this post I leave you with a profound quote. For all of us who pour our hearts into blogging and sharing the below quote serves as an important reminder. The quote is credited to Plato and the graphic is a printed poster I found on Google free images. 

  Thank you for sharing your beautiful and talented life with us Vera.  If you have not been to Vera's blog please hop over and introduce yourself.  Talent and sweetness just oozes from this girl.  Happy Saturday.  Enjoy this wonderful week end.

Random Acts of Kindness

Is getting the mail the highlight of your day some days!!!! Well somedays it is mine.  I  love my mail man he always brings up my mail to the door when I have a package.  Somehow makes me feel like I am getting a very special delivery LOL!

Just wanted to show you a little something that came in the mail today.  A total random act of kindness from a fellow blogger.

Some of you may know Debbie from Lake House she is sweet and talented.  She sews and I am always in awe of those that can sew.

Today actually on her blog she had a post about moving her sewing machine out to the sun porch at her cute lake house to sew up her wonderful lavender sachets.  I love her sun room and how it looks out over the lake.

So after reading her post about her sewing away out on her porch with these lovely sachets  here in the mail on the same day is a wonderful sachet from Debbie. Gotta love that!

I have to tell you I could smell the sweet lavender from inside the envelope before I even opened it.

So Debbie I thank you so much for this sweet random act of kindness.  I am keeping this on the lamp on my desk.  It smells so good when I am sitting at my desk on the computer.

Hugs and a big thank you.

I love little surprises like this.  Makes your heart smile.  I am doing so great going into week 2 post surgery.  Every day I feel a little stronger and more energy.

Please come back on Saturday for a special Spotlight Feature.  I have someone really near and dear to my heart for this week's Spotlight.
Have a great rest of the week.

Happy Sunday

I would like to say Thank You and send back hugs to each and everyone of you that sent cards, gifts and well wishes while I recovered from my surgery this past week.
I am doing better each day and starting to get my energy back.
All you prayer warriors are the greatest and the power of prayer works.

So now that I am getting my decor crazy energy back and slowly coming back into blogland I thought I would share a pretty creation from Lisa Harmon.  

This is one of my all time fave and comfy chairs.  As you can see by the style and fabric it goes back to when I was into primitive/country decor.  

It is one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever had so even with my decor changing I still wanted to keep this great chair.  Sooooo......

Lisa Harmon from LHarmonDesigns to the rescue. If you remember Lisa did the slipcover for my sectional awhile back.  So I contacted her again to see what magic she could do with my comfy chair.

Lisa did it again for me.  She was able to make this custom slipcover for that comfy chair I love.  It now transformed this country chair into a new shabby cottage chic chair.

It is the small details such as this ruffle trim to the arms and sides of the chair that give this slipcover a unique and custom look.

So now I have my nice comfy chair for reading with a whole new look for just the price of a slipcover.

Thank you Lisa for another really wonderful custom slipcover.
If you do not sew like me and are wanting to update a wonderful chair or other furniture and need some help contact Lisa.  She is sweet and so talented and will work with you and her prices are very reasonable.

Lisa did not ask me to advertise for her I just love her work and always love to give a shout out and good recommendation when I know of talents like hers.  Thank you Lisa.
I love the new slipcover for my chair.

Have a great start to the new week.
I am starting to feel better and hope to start to getting my "blogging mojo" back on and visit all of you and see what you have been up too.