Sunday, February 28, 2016

Old spaces refreshed ~

The shower in the master bath is somewhat unique, when the room was designed I thought it would be fun to have a sunken tub and shower with sliding doors leading to an adjoined enclosed deck. And it has been nice. A little quirky but is like showering outside, but with privacy.

Over time rambunctious raccoons leaping from the roof onto the protective Plexiglas cover of the deck damaged it and the space had all become to look a little scruffy and neglected. I finally had the cover replaced and now it was time to clean the deck up and make it look a little more inviting. 

 I decided to use blue and white to match the tile in the shower, the Chinese garden seat and cement planter were already here. With this in mind I  purchased the floor mat at Cost Plus. Made out of recycled materials and washable it is perfect for outside use.

The plates were sitting unused in a kitchen cabinet. The plant stand and chair were in the barn, I just freshened them up with a coat of white paint. The blue solar light was out in the garden largely unnoticed.

I potted up some succulents from the garden, they should do well here and won't need frequent watering.

Now it looks better from afar...


 I love my new view when I am taking a shower. The ficus vine is trailing down and I will probably cut it back but right now I am enjoying the effect, it reminds me of a very old orangerie I once visited in France where it was allowed to trail down in a most magical way.

Miss Twiggley's likes it, this is the closest she gets to going outside. When she came out to help me she really didn't want to go back inside. She found lots of interesting bugs and new spaces to investigate. 

Come on Miss Twiggley...we're done!

Thank you for visiting.

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Early signs of spring ~

This morning when I went out to walk the sun had just come up and cast a glow that allowed the garden to be in perfect light. That kind of light that makes everything look good...even weeds. I stopped, went back inside for my camera and took this picture.
Although it is very early, I am beginning to see signs of spring. Some of my vintage roses are starting to bloom along with the daffodils, iris and alstroemerias. The clematis are sending out tendrils and I can see tips of  Oriental lilies just breaking through the soil.

Back garden taken from the deck

The little weeping cherry tree your can see here, a baby at two years, is just setting blooms and the trees in the crab apple allĂ©e are covered with buds. Even though we haven't as yet gotten the full force of El Nino the rain we have gotten has made a difference.

It is days like this that make gardening worth all of the work, bother, and frustration. And, hopefully more rain will come. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thank you for visiting. 
I hope that you day started out as lovely as mine.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A box for all seasons ~

 This week my garden group is holding its annual event to raise money to fund our speakers for the coming year. I decided to make a wooden box to take for the raffle. A dual use container that could be used as a planter or for display, such as the box I made for myself which currently sits in a sunny kitchen window planted with succulents. During the holidays with the succulents removed, it was filled with greenery, pillar candles and ornaments and used as a centerpiece for my dining room table.
There are so many things you can do with one.

I started with a standard 24 inch plastic window-box from Home Depot and built a wooden container to put it in. Getting the dimensions right was a bit tricky but I finally solved the problem. I wanted it to be easy to lift out.

 Decorative molding and side handles were added to to dress it up a bit. It was then stained, and for protection, and a some richness given several coats of polyurethane.

here it is early this morning in the car ready to go to the raffle.

At first I was going to plant it with succulents but then I decided on winter and early spring annuals. When I was at the garden center I couldn't resist the violas and these amazing yellow primroses.

I hope that someone will enjoy having it.

PS. Thank you Alexa

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Almost free ~

I have been looking for a large mirror for my dining room for some time. Ideally I would loved to have discovered an amazing and beautiful antique mirror, or a frame, that I could have had made into a mirror at a yard sale, antique store or thrift shop. My brother, the source of all things beautiful and interesting had mirrors but none of them were large enough.

So...I ordered the mirror you see below from a catalog. Stylistically it came very close to what I wanted, was the right size, and on a special sale.

When it was delivered and I managed to get the very heavy package inside and opened I found that although the frame was okay the mirror was in shards. Somehow during shipping it was damaged. I completely expected to pack it back up and return it but when I called and told them what had happened to my amazement they told me that they would refund my money and to throw the empty frame in the trash.

What! The frame is the most important part of the mirror and this one was far too lovely to throw in the bin. Instead I took it to the glass shop and they easily cut a new mirror to fit the frame for a fraction of the cost of the original.

So this is my 'mostly free'  new mirror. It is perfect for the room and much nicer here then in the trash. This is my bargain by happenstance; wouldn't you agree.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Food, books and flowers ~

I have the most wonderful local library and sometimes when I see new books that sound interesting to me I go first to see if the library has them available. Often if they are not in their collection and they sound worthy they will buy them. Such is the case with these three books. 

The first is My Paris Kitchen, David Lebovitz. This is a beautiful book, it just feels good in the hands, and full of lovely antidotes and ideas for cooking in the Paris manner. It is just too good to pass up and I definitely want one of my own.

The other two, In a French Kitchen and The French Beauty Solution (do you see a theme here) are also great. In a French Kitchen has really made me think about a new way to look at food and the way I eat. It offers suggestions for honoring fresh ingredients and elevating the humblest meal into a treat. Her recipe for a blue cheese quiche sounds divine. The author, Susan Herrman Loomis has written several other well received books, most notably, On Rue Tatin.

The French  Beauty Solution is a detour from cooking. The author, Mathilde Thomas, is one of the founders of Caudalie skincare products, it is written in a practical manner and offers lots of suggestions and ideas for taking care of your skin. What I like is the emphasis on practical and low cost products that don't offer miracles but bring out the best in your appearance. She also has a nice section on do-it-yourself masks.

I think I am fated to buy these two books too.

About bringing out the camellias this year are amazing. I can't remember when they have been so lush, and the sizes are amazing. I have no idea what this one is called, it is very old and has become a small tree. I love the soft blush pink color. I just had to share it. This bouquet is really brightening up the office.

If you enjoy food, books and flowers I guess this is the post for you.

Thank you for visiting.