Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Busy days ~

The past couple of weeks have been very busy, I started  the redecoration of my living room and entry hall. I have been planning this for quite a while. I loved the floral Laura Ashley wallpaper but it had become dated and all of the upholstered pieces had become very worn. The rooms definitely needed a new look

All of the furniture has been heaped into the center of the room until I can sort it out and decide what I will keep and have reupholstered and what I will get rid of. I want a much more spartan feel so I know that I won't be using everything. 

I had help in stripping the wallpaper and with painting the ceiling. I thought I might feel a little sad when we started stripping the wallpaper...but not at all. I bought the electric steam wallpaper stripper you see sitting on the table at Home Depot, it was a well spent $50.00 but even then it took several days and a couple of people to remove the paper and oh, what a mess!

It's finally gone, down to the original 1927 walls, I think the room already has a lighter feel.

The ceiling, the ceiling surround and the fireplace have been painted in Raffia Cream, by Behr, The shutters and all of the wood trim will be in Decorator White another Behr paint. After I get the trim painted I can start putting up the wallpaper.

Wallpaper and drapery fabric

It is a start but there is a lot to do before the room is livable again...making the drapes, picking out upholstery fabric and all of the other small details. I am hoping to have it all together in time for the holidays.

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Potager ~

In a far back corner of the garden I have a small potager. It is basically comprised of two 4X8 feet raised beds which I made of recycled concrete blocks.

For the past couple of summers because of the drought I haven't planted any vegetables here and it had really gotten to look sad. Here it is earlier this spring, weedy, neglected, and in need of attention.

If nothing else I decided to clean it up, get the poor scarecrow new outfit and maybe plant a couple of tomatoes.

Six weeks later and here is the result of the few changes I made...

First of all Mr Scarecrow got a new outfit.


 I ended up planting tomatoes, squash and bush beans. I added a one cup mixture I had read about on line, of Epson salts, bone meal and sugar to each tomato plant, it is supposed to make them more productive with sweeter tomatoes. I thought it would be fun to experiment. I mulched the beds with straw to help retain moisture and deter weeds.

  It is now a few week later and I have already been eating some of the squash.  The tomato plants are covered with little fruit but is it will be a week or so before any of them are ready to pick. It's nice to have my little potager up and functioning again.

Thank you for visiting

Friday, June 3, 2016

Quack quack ~

On a trip to Costco last week I saw this set of ducks for the garden.
I immediately knew that I couldn't leave without them...they were so cute!

I love garden ornaments I think they add so much to a garden, but I try to control myself  because they can be overdone,  These however would be perfect...waddling down a walkway or in a border.

 So I bought a set.

I had trouble finding a place to put them because they looked good everywhere

I finally decided the best spot would be in the front garden.


So adorable in fact that the next day I went back and bought another set...now I have a whole family.

Quack, quack.

If you are interested these are probably still available at your local Costco, but don't blame me if you come home with a whole flock.

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Larkspur ~

It is a lovely holiday weekend here, in Southern California, sunny but not too warm. Perfect weather for gardening.

Last week I took out all of my Larkspurs. I have never had such an abundance of them before. Over the past weeks I have picked several bouquets, some fresh for the house and others for drying. 

This is the last bouquet. So pretty and so fleeting. But of course that is one of the things that gardeners must learn to accept. I scattered lots of seeds while I was pulling them out so I am hoping that next year their bloom will be equally luxurious.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you are enjoying the long weekend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New borders ~

The removal of the big shade tree last year required some changes in the back garden, including a new gravel sitting area and two new borders lining the brick pathway that bisects the garden.

Last year the two new borders looked like this:
This spring they look like this:

Looking into the new border from the driveway

Looking out onto the gravel driveway.

After a spring rain

What you can't see in these pictures is the new gravel sitting area to the left of the path. I eventually want to plant a new shade tree here but I must wait a bit. Meanwhile an umbrella does the job, I hope to share this spot with you in a later post.
Since I took these picture the larkspur has put on quite a show, this is the first time I have ever had what I considered enough larkspur. I will be cutting lots of it to dry before I pull it out to plant my zinnia seedlings. Zinnias are wonderful annuals for our hot, hot summers.

Thank you for visiting

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bird feeders ~

I have never had bird feeders in my garden before, I was always convinced that in our mild climate the garden alone provided plenty of food for the visiting birds and over the years I have tried to plant things that would facilitate that. 

Then I recently read that hanging bird feeders outside of your windows was a good way to keep house cats entertained...and to feed wild birds at the same time.

So, in what begin as an attempt to have a happier Miss Tiggley, I now have several bird feeders in the garden...outside of the bay window in the entry hall...

another by the kitchen...

and for Mother's Day I received a very charming humming bird feeder as a gift.

I decided to put this one by the Tree Man to keep him company, Miss Twiggley and I can also watch the action from the office

I really did this for Miss Twiggley and it certainly is keeping her entertained, but I can't tell you how much I am enjoying watching the birds too. Now I must get a book on the birds of our area so I can start to identify these wonderful creatures.

I just filled the humming bird feeder this morning, I wonder how long it will be before they discover it...we will see!

Thank you for visiting

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A summer project ~

I have always enjoyed my living room but in the past few years it has become very dated.The vintage Laura Ashley floral wallpaper is still quite lovely but way too busy for what is happened in interiors today. I didn't really realize what a muddle it all was until I took this picture.
The whole space needs to be uncluttered, simplified, and lightened up.

At first I was just going to strip off the existing wallpaper and paint the walls but the curved ceiling, one of the best features of the room, is best set off with a bit of pattern. Instead I choose the cream striped wallpaper  you see below. The fabric will be used for the new drapes. My plan is for a soft, subtle and more elegant room, with a lot less clutter.

All of the furniture including the settee below (which needs some explanation) will be reupholstered with fabrics in various shades and textures of cream. Raspberry will be my accent color.

And now for what might possibly end up being a good choice or a major mistake.

This french settee was my Mother's pride. I will never forget her delight on the day many years ago when it was delivered. I am planning on using it in the living room. This might be a huge error on my part but I think I can tone it down by adding a long, soft cushion; using a casual linen fabric to upholster it in, and doing away with all of the elaborate tucking.

A few days ago I ordered the wallpaper, when it comes I can start picking out paint colors and dismantling the room. It will be a lot of work and will take quite a while but I think it will be worth the effort. I will keep you up to date on the progress.

At least I will have something to do this summer when it is too hot to work outside in the garden and if everything goes really well it might be finished for the holidays.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Simple joys ~

There is something about going out in the garden in the morning with your secateurs and a basket to  pick a few things for the house. Nothing too fancy or exotic, certainly not my bearded iris which I can't bear to cut, but just a few ordinary flowers that are blooming at the moment.

Recently I have been experimenting with foliage and flowers for cutting, things like Santa Barbara Daisies, that I didn't think would last or be good for bouquets. I have been surprised and it has broaden the range of materials.

Here is today's bounty: a few of the waning roses, larkspur, phomius, lantana, valerian, altromeria, and what appears to be a species salvia. 

These look so pretty to me simply placed in the basket that I hate to disturb them, but after a good soaking in a bucket of water they will make nice bouquets.

Simple joys are best.

Thank you for visiting