Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Color in the fall garden ~

I may be wrong, but I think that along with football games, falling leaves, and cooler weather most people associate Chrysanthemums with this time of year. Mums are very abundant now in shops, nurseries and gardens. They are beautiful, and a pot of chrysanthemums can add instant seasonal color. I do love them and every year add more to my garden.


there is another flower that means autumn is really here for me, and that is the fall blooming, perennial aster. 

These asters are hardy garden plants, in many ways almost garden thugs. They really would like to take over whatever bed they are planted in and need judicious thinning over the summer months in order not to run rampant.

But for any gardener willing  to put in the work, this is what you get; the most splendid display of  tall stems bursting with flowers that provide marvelous color to the fall landscape.

These will continue to bloom like this for several weeks. Then I will cut them back to the ground and wait again for their return next year.

Pretty, don't you think? You might want to add some to your garden.

Thank you for visiting, have a wonderful day.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Best laid plans ~

In the beginning phase of planning the redecoration of my living room I found the fabric you see below for the drapes and  thought it would tie in well with the wallpaper I was using. that the painting is completed and the wallpaper is up I have had a change in direction. This fabric in very pretty and I will eventually use it in another room, perhaps my bedroom, but I decided it just wasn't right for the living room.  

I thought I needed something with a bit more of a wow factor, so I set off on a search for a different fabric.

This is the result
My first option was this charming print, but when I got the sample the background was too dark and didn't tie in with the wallpaper. 

Waverly Sanctuary Rose Linen:

This one has a gorgeous 'gently worn' look which I like and the color was okay but it didn't offer me the range of colors that I might like to use as accents in the room. 

Richloom Queen Tearose:

Next there was this Waverly stand-by, nice. but really two dimensional in it's color range.

Waverly Norfolk Rose Fabric:

Then I found this. I ordered a one yard sample and crossed my fingers that it would turn out to be exactly what I wanted.

Covington Belle Fleur Tea Rose Fabric:

And it was.

 It completely matches the wallpaper in color and the range of pinks and raspberry will allow me to use some of the furniture I already have without the cost of reupholstering.

 With the exception of two raspberry checked bergere chairs that I will be using this will be the only print in the room, so I think the boldness of it will work. I can just image a velvet throw pillow across the room on a cream colored chair in that wonderful dark, mossy green.

Whenever I redecorate a room and and along the way make mistakes like this I always wonder what professional decorators do, do they also make these errors and have to rethink a decision. Probably not. Meanwhile I will continue to bumble along.

Have a splendid day!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall decorating ~

I am a little late this year with my fall decorations, last week I finally ventured down into the basement and brought up the storage boxes. It's always fun to go through everything and discover things you fondly remember and those you completely forgot you have.

With the main part of the house still in disarray with the redecorating project I decided to limit my holiday decorating to a just couple of rooms: the kitchen and the media/library.

I love adding seasonal decorations to the kitchen, probably because I spend so much time here. For the shelf under the kitchen window I brought out the wooden box I made last year and filled it with pumpkins, gourds and fall foliage. Then added a wreath.  

Next to the sink I just 'plopped' a few of the extra pumkins in a very casual, but colorful arrangement.

 Once again brought out my little black witch to put on the bookshelf in the library/media room. I have had her for a very long time and every year when I take her out I am reminded how cute she is. This year I added the lighted jack-o-lanterns to the vignette. When I go in this room at night to watch TV it is fun to click on the light....spooky!

After Halloween I will replace the little witch with a turkey. Voila, Thanksgiving.

Miss Twiggley is her own holiday decoration. She is starting to get her winter coat and is looking, as you can see, quite beautiful for the upcoming holidays. She likes to sit in this window and watch the birds and insects flitting around outside. I left just enough room on each side to indulge her.

That's pretty much it for fall decorating this year, the living room project is still taking up a lot of my time. It is slowly progressing but more about that in a future post.

Have a great day.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Stumbling across something new ~

In my quest to make my home a more inviting place I am always looking for a way to add fragrance. I love coming home to be greeted by an inviting aroma, or walking into a room that smells clean and fresh. Herbs, flowers, and fragrant foliage from the garden are the ultimate, but not always possible.

 Scented candles are another option, they not only lend a yummy smell but provide a romantic and soothing atmosphere, however I don't feel comfortable leaving them in a room unattended. 

And then there are reed diffusers. I always keep one in each bathroom and the powder room. They seem to do best and last longer for me in smaller, enclosed spaces.

up to now these have been my choices, but... 

 just recently I stumbled into the world of essential oils.

I think I am pretty late in finding out about essential oils. My yoga instructor always uses them in class during shavasana, the final resting pose at the end of class when she comes around to properly position us. But that they could be put in a diffuser and used to add fragrance to a space was something completely new to me, and very exciting.

I bought this very inexpensive diffuser online. I am not especially recommending this brand although it certainly works well enough. There are lots and lots of them available at many different price points and styles, but to begin with I wanted something very basic.

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, it is very simple, you fill it with water, add several drops of the essential oil of your choice and plug it in. It gently emits puffs of fragrant steam every 30 seconds When the water runs out it automatically shuts off. All of this allows you to leave it in a room relatively unattended.

The one caveat I have found is that for maximum effect you need to use a good quality essential oil; you cannot use synthetic products. There is a huge array of different oils available, my current favorite is rose oil with a bit of lavender oil mixed in. I turn it on in the early evening in my bedroom and when I go in to go to bed I am greeted with the most lovely, soothing fragrance.

This has worked out so well that I will definitely be getting a couple more for other areas of the house. 

I am curious to know if any of you have tried using one of these and what your experience has been. For me it has offered another opportunity to enrich my daily life.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a fragrance filled day!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Showcasing ~

I was browsing through some of my past issues of Victoria and I saw a  picture of a lovely bouquet comprised of all foliage except for one perfect flower.

I thought this was a brilliant idea, so I decided to make my own version and showcase one lovely late blooming Dahlia...and one little ant.

For the foliage I used all herbs:rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena and rose geranium. Now the kitchen smells wonderful, an added plus.

What an great and easy way to bring the garden inside. This offers up a lot of possibilities during the winter months when flowers in the garden are somewhat scarce but there is always some type of greenery I can use.

Thank you for visiting. I hope there is a bouquet in your day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall changes ~

Even though it is a hot 98 degrees today it is beginning to feel a bit like fall. The evenings are much cooler, out in the garden some of the leaves are starting to drop, flower buds are filling out on the chrysanthemums and the fall-blooming asters are ready to burst forth in bloom.

To add a bit of seasonal interest inside the house I decided to put away all of the silver pieces in my kitchen cupboard and bring out my Franciscian Apple dishes. An apple theme seems appropriate for this time of year and gives me an opportunity to enjoy and use these dishes which are otherwise hidden away.

Before bagging and boxing up silver I add one or two of these silver protection strips, they really help to retard  tarnishing during storage. You can buy them online.

It has been quite a while since I have made any changes in the kitchen, over the summer I got too caught up in gardening and the living room project. This was a lot of fun to do

It's amazing how a few seasonal items can make a room look so different. 
I will probably leave the dishes in place for Halloween and Thanksgiving and just add other holiday touches.

Now I am eyeing the tiered stand next to the sink...time for a change here too.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a lovely day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My plant of the year ~

Something interesting has happened in my front garden this summer. With the hot weather all of the pink roses stopped blooming and what was a predominately pink border is now a blue and purple border.


mostly to this plant,

Salvia guaranitica commonly known as Salvia Black and Blue. And this I have decided is my Plant of the Year.

I like just about all of the Salvias. I have a lot of them and have made an effort to add even more to the garden this summer. They perform so wonderfully in our hot, dry, climate.

But this one is special.

 The beautiful bright blue flowers are complimented by the almost chartreuse foliage; a magical combination. I cut them almost to the ground last winter and have pruned them drastically through the summer months and they continue to come back again and again with more bloom.

As the weather cools down and fall begins to assert itself all the roses will have a repeat bloom; here in Southern California, we call this our second spring. Then I will cut back the salvias and let the roses shine. But until then they are providing me, the butterflies, and the hummingbirds, with a great deal of pleasure. 

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a magnificent day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wallpaper ~

Where did August go? It zipped by so fast and I wish I had gotten more accomplished.
At least I  finally got all of the painting done in the living room. One of the problems when you do things yourself, at your leisure, is that they take a lot longer. With the painting finished I can now move on to...

the wallpaper.

Among the jumble of the room, with all of the furniture pushed together in the middle I made a place for a worktable.  I haven't wallpapered a room this size for a while and I was a bit intimated but the first piece, always the most difficult, went up with ease and so far I haven't had any problems. The hardest part was finding a new wallpaper paste brush, I ended up ordering one on line.

Wallpapering is a very simple endeavor and the paper is forgiving, but there are some things that you need to adhere to. One of these is making sure it goes up straight, especially with a stripped paper such as I am using.  So it is necessary to draw a plumb line every time you turn a corner. There are some fancy devices to do this with but I use the simple method I have always used, a string attached to my seam roller. Don't laugh, it works.

Here are the first couple of pieces. It is such a departure from the elaborate floral I had before. 

This gives you a better idea. I love the simple elegance of it and the fact that it will go with just about any other color. It looks really nice with the drapery fabric. I still haven't picked out any of the upholstery fabric or decided which chairs I will be keeping.

As of today I am past the halfway mark. I hope to have it all finished by next week. Then I will start making the drapes.

Thank you for visiting I hope that you have a very happy day!