I've been worried about my rose bush. Not that I know jack--er--poop about roses.

Backtrack....

Several years ago, Frank and I vacationed in Bar Harbor, Maine. Along the public walking trail (which rims the shore) were these huge, old-fashioned roses. I mentioned how much I liked them and Frank, ever thoughtful, bought me a little pink beauty.

I've been pleased with this little bush for the past 3-4 years, but Frank wasn't sure it made it through this year's harsh winter. Since my mother fractured her knee a few weeks back, she was in no position to take a look and advise us. So we lit a candle and prayed it would come back to life.

But in the meantime I've been studying up on rose ornamentation--particularly hand-painted roses on china. One of my home decorating magazines told me that beautiful examples can be had for as little as $3 a specimen. Oh yeah? On what planet?

Painted_plates I have a booth at the local Craft Antique Co-Op and I can tell you that such examples of hand-painted plates are averaging $18-$30--not the $3 mentioned in the article. And mind you, the co-op has much better (can you say cheaper) prices than any antiques co-op I've ever been in and I've visited them from coast-to-coast.

I'm not sure where this recent "girly fixation" I've had is coming from. I was a tom boy from get go. Maybe it started last summer when I got my day-glo pink Crocks--and I'm even wearing nail polish. But I suspect the seeds were sown back in 2001 on my last trip to England. I bought a little ornate plate for 50P in a charity shop in Portsmouth. I hung it in my bedroom and seeing its girliness made me dissatisfied with the very corporate blinds the former owners had installed throughout the house.

First we replaced the blinds in the living room with sheers and valances. Then the bathroom, and finally just last month in the bedroom. Wow--it looks like a bedroom instead of a conference room with a bed in it.

Still, my quest for hand-painted roses on plates continues. I did find a pink rose transferware plate at a garage sale over the weekend, and it's quite cute. It's slated for B&B Cottage (which is what I call our summer home), along with a very girly gold mirror I bought a few weeks back, a dust ruffle for the twin bed, and a couple of Nippon candy dishes.

I have a lot of ideas for B&B Cottage--all of which require big stacks of money. The thing is, being a novelist actually pays less than working part-time at McDonalds (and you thought we all made the same kind of money as Nora Roberts and Patricia Cornwall).

Right now I don't have a plan as to where I'll put my Nippon bowls or transferware plate. That will come to me over time. Still, the planning for such things is half the fun.

Pinkrose And by the way, I examined the rose bush yesterday and found the tiniest of leaves had sprouted. I'm looking forward to another summer of seeing pale pink roses outside my office window.

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