Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Daybed ~

The guest bedroom in my house is very small, 10x12 feet, excluding the closet which completely takes up one wall. A second wall is all windows and there is a door leading to the guest bathroom/powder room on the third wall.  Small, with little wall space this is a hard room in which to place furniture.

When I decided to redo this room I really wanted to replace the old daybed but even a twin bed wouldn't leave enough space for anything else. I was pretty much stuck with what I had. Darn!

It's not that the daybed is so ugly, but frankly I wasn't looking forward to making all of the bedding it required.

No choice...

And now that it is all finished it looks pretty darn good.

I used a matelasse coverlet to make the bed cover and the bolsters, I got one with scallops and cut it out so I could use them on the edge.  The bolster forms were purchased online at Pillowflex. I have never made bolsters this large before but once I got the cording covered it was easy. 

I coordinated two of the pillows and the bed skirt with the drapes.

Online I found this beautiful dusty rose damask for accent pillows. If I had seen it before I probably would have used it for the bed skirt ~ too late now, I'm definitely not making another one of these for a while.

Painting: by my aunt Lily Strauss, painted for my grandfather in 1945

So it's all done. And it really is the best fit. Using the daybed enables me to have a dresser, armchair and a little desk in the room and still leave enough space for comfort.

Sometimes you just have to stick with what you have.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese ~

One of my favorite comfort foods is Macaroni and Cheese. I know it is a calorie dense meal but once in a while it isn't going to hurt you...I feel this way about chocolate, ice cream, wine, and homemade cookies too. Moderation is what's important.

I came across this recipe long ago in the LA Times. One of the reasons it appealed to me is that unlike most Macaroni and Cheese recipes you don't have to make a white sauce which means it is very fast and easy to prepare. And because the ingredients are ones usually available in every pantry it is a wonderful emergency meal.

Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 pound macaroni (2+ cups)
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
3 1/2 Cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Boil the macaroni in water to cover generously until tender. Drain thoroughly.
Stir in butter and egg. Add cheese reserving 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top. Put into buttered 13x9 inch casserole. Mix dry mustard and salt with 1 tablespoon hot water and add to milk. Pour over macaroni. Stir, and sprinkle with reserved cheese. 

(I usually add buttered Panko crumbs on top of the cheese)

Bake at 350 until custard is set and top is crusty about 40 minutes.

Don't overcook

 Simple good food and with a glass of red wine and a nice green salad...


Thank you for visiting. I hope your day is full of delicious things to eat.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ruffles ~

I have been making ruffles. By the way, I hate making ruffles, but sometimes they are necessary and at least I have a way to make them that is fail proof. I set my zig-zag stitch at the widest setting and sew over crochet thread. When I am  done I  pull the crochet thread to make the ruffles. This works particularly well with heavy decor fabrics.

Voila! ruffles made.
 You can see below how the crochet thread method works.

I found this gorgeous brocade fabric at an online remnant store. I thought is would be right for the daybed pillows in the guest bedroom. I bought it without sending for a sample and held my breath when it came and I opened it. Perfect!

When I get these pillows finished  this room will finally be done it seems to have taken me forever, rooms including lots of fabric seem to require the most time to pull together and with this room it was the drapes plus the bedding for the daybed.

I did manage to squeeze in a little sewing time to make a new dress. This is for casual wear. I love this dress pattern. Made out of knit. It is so comfortable to wear in our hot summer weather, goes together like a breeze and is actually quite flattering.

Enough sewing for now, the weather has cooled down a bit and the garden is demanding attention.

Thank you for visiting I hope you have a great day!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Old, new again ~

Two years ago I had my back deck renovated. My first choice would to have been to remove it entirely, but the house was designed around a deck and try as I might I couldn't think of a way to eliminate it was rebuilt. All this was done as efficiently and economically as possible. That is how you do things in a very old house that faces certain demolition when it is next sold.

All of the supports were replaced with new wood but by turning over the redwood planks on the decking we were able to reuse most of them, which was a huge saving. Not perfect but definitely passable.

Then I had to decide which type of finish and sealer to put on it. It had been painted before and the upkeep on that was enormous. After a lot of research I ended up using Arbor Coat, a Benjamin Moore product and it has really worked out well. I would highly recommend it.

But, after two years of hot, hot sun it was looking a little worn and needed a maintenance coat. So last week it was power washed (this surprisingly used less water than a regular hose), scrubbed down, re-stained in a few places and a new coat of sealer was applied.

New again! 
Well...old new again. I think it is good to go for another two years...

and very ready for some al fresco dining!

I hope you have a lovely weekend. The next few days here are going to be very hot. Fall is sounding better and better.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Satisfied ~

It has been a year since I removed my front lawn and put in a new garden.
My hope was that I could create a space that would use much less water, be easy to maintain, be consistent stylistically with the rest of the garden and to do it all with little cost.

Here, a year later you can see the results. A landscape is never really finished, there is always some  things that need to be changed, and some errors to address, such as plants that don't flourish, grow too quickly...or horrors! Die. 

But generally speaking I am pleased. I think I have accomplished what I wanted to do. This area now consists of plants  more accommodating to our climate and yet have a cottage garden feel...or I guess that would be a California cottage garden feel.

The boxwood hedge around the roundel has not completely filled in and instead of planting roses I have left the Santa Barbara Daisy run rampant around the fountain, which because of the drought remains unfilled, and I need to tweak some details; this fall I would like to add some Ceanothus, But I am pleased with how it has grown in and thrived, all in rather adverse conditions.

I think I rather like this better than the lawn.

This post is for far as the replacement of California lawns, I hope I fall in the category of those who did it right. Somehow I think you would approve.

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Minor miracle ~

Minor miracle

We actually had some rain this morning. Not much, but enough to dampen the garden and allow me to turn off some of the sprinklers and save a bit of water.

 It was a lovely surprise. 

I think I will go out and do a little rain dance and see if I can get it to do it again!


Wonderful, wonderful rain in July almost unheard of here!

Thank you for visiting.
I hope your day is off to a good start.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer color ~ Dahlias

With all of my computer problems it has been so long since I have posted that I almost forgot how to put up a post!  

Although the drought continues, so far this has been a rather moderate July in Southern California, with temperatures in the high eighties and low nineties, last week we even had a bit of rain. All this does help in water usage. So far I have managed to stay within the mandatory, for my water district, 24% reduction range.

As far as the Dahlias below...they haven't noticed the difference and have done quite well this year.

I always wanted a place to plant a row of Dahlias and when I redid the area below my deck it gave me the perfect spot. This spring I added more tubers, this is one of the new ones.

I really think this is my favorite I love the pink and yellow coloration of the flowers. Alas, I didn't take note of the name when I planted them, now I wish I had.

I have been cutting some to bring into the house, but I haven't found a way to keep them lasting very long as cut flowers, if any of you have any tips on the best way to do this I would appreciate knowing about it.

Meanwhile, they add much beauty and color to the summer garden.

I hope your summer is going well. It is good to be back blogging again.

PS I am thinking of replacing my current computer with a Mac desktop I have always used a PC and have some concern about changing over to the Mac has anyone done this and  if so did you find it difficult? 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chasing the drought ~

Living with a drought is quite a challenge. 

Many of the lawns in my community are like the one below, sadder still is the loss of so many trees, people stop watering their lawns and don't seem to realize that trees still need water.  Mature trees can take decades to replace and are so much more important than a lawn.

  This summer my life seems to revolve around the water meter. I always knew where it was and how to turn it off if necessary but now I. I keep track on a daily basis to see how much water I have used and how many CCFs I have left to last until the next billing period.

I use buckets in the bathroom and kitchen to collect the gray water which then is carried out...

to watering cans on the deck to be dispersed later.

I am not surprised by the amount of water that is wasted waiting for a shower to warm, but I am surprised by how much is used  in food preparation, washing dishes and cleaning up.

I also hooked up a hose to capture all the grey water from my washing machine, it is a front loading machine and very water efficient so there isn't as much as one would think. Still it all helps.

And, my number one helper and the most valuable thing I ever did, was to install drip systems throughout the whole garden. I use microsprinklers, individual emitters, and drip hoses, all operated by battery timers. Without this system keeping my garden through these conditions would be dire.

The mandatory reduction throughout California is 24%, so far I am at a 40% reduction but the hottest weather is yet to come.

I am going to be very happy when the summer is at an end and cooler weather arrives...and maybe, maybe, this winter we will have rain!

Thank you for visiting