Odds and Ends – Plus a Good Book

Posted by mrssmythe on July 29, 2016 in Books, Critters, Family, Shopping, Week in Review |

Some recent items that weren’t enough to prompt a post of their own but are still fun to share…

Hollyhock dolls!


This is the reason I grew hollyhocks in the first place. I’d always heard about hollyhock dolls, but had never made one of my own. I think this is such a clever idea. You can’t beat an disposable/renewable toy that is both good for the bees and improves the appearance of your yard. I wish I’d thought to grow these when the girls were younger.

As I sit and look at this photo, I think, “Someone should write a children’s book about hollyhock dolls that come to life in the garden.” In any other garden, it would be a sweet, sentimental sort of fairytale. In our garden, though, it would be an action adventure/horror book with the hollyhock dolls racing save themselves from the five hungry chickens stalking them at every turn. Eek!

A lovely new book that has just come out:

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Or, rather, has just been reissued. Did you know Olivia de Havilland turns 100 this year? The book was re-released to mark the occasion. It’s a small, witty, fun little memoir full of observations about life in France. It’s light, frothy, dessert reading – perfect for summer. I definitely recommend it.

Next – what are these? Tribbles?


When Pepper and I were at the mall last week, we saw them everywhere – on purses, in clothing stores, and amidst the accessories at Claire’s. Have they invaded your shopping centers too?

The heat.


We have a blessed break from it today, with a much needed round of rain, but it’s been sweltering of late. The animals are bearing up well. They only melt on occasion. Here, Shadow seeks relief in the draft that creeps up the stairs from the (usually) cooler basement.

The heat hasn’t stopped any of the kids’ sports activities, though.


Here’s Ginger in action at the Springfield YMCA-sponsored Youth Olympics, held this past weekend at one of the local high schools. (Go, Ginger go!) She’s always easy to spot in the races – she’s the one with the eight-pound ponytail.

The Pond has provided blessed relief for us lately with so many hot days. Yesterday, Ginger figured out how to construct an arch for her sandcastle. (She wove bits of pond weed together to make a frame).


She was so proud, it was difficult for her to leave her sand creation behind at the end of the day. Hooray for cameras, though, that can at least preserve an image of such architectural triumphs.

And, finally, a toad I saw this morning while going to let the chickens out of their coop:


He looked so much like a stone, I nearly stepped on him.

From the dining room table, grateful the rain is taking over watering duties today,

Mrs. Smythe

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  • Amy says:

    Ooh, I love that color of hollyhock. All of mine ended up being a light pink/peachy color. Also, rain sounds delightful. I am so over summer. Sigh.
    P.S. Thanks for the book recommendation!

    • mrssmythe says:

      That was one of the things that attracted me to these hollyhocks. They seemed unusual in their color. Though, I once lived in a house where a former owner had planted black hollyhocks. I wasn’t as keen on those, though, they too were unusual. 😉

  • Tea Lady says:

    I love Hollyhocks. Such a great addition in every garden! Happy you’re getting a break from the sweltering heat!

  • Ruggles says:

    You always lift my spirits and make me smile. Thank you!!!

  • mooshie says:

    Your mom and I made hollyhock dolls often in the summer when we were growing up. We had so much fun with them! You brought back a great memory!

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