Sunday, October 31, 2010

A New Sitting Area

With Halloween behind us and before the big onslaught of the other holidays, I wanted to share a post with you that I have had ready for a while

This summer, as part of my quest to cut down on water usage, maintenance, and because I thought it would add charm, interest and appeal, I took out a rather large area of grass in my front garden and created this new sitting area.

I started out by laying down several layers of newspaper to kill the existing Saint Augustine grass; the newspaper was then covered with a weed barrier. I have had great luck with this technique in the past, with the caveat that any planting must wait until the grass is completely eliminated.

Two truckloads of gravel were hauled in and spread (thank you Juan) and I laid river rock around the edges as a border. I have additional plans to enhance it all but that will have to wait for another post and probably next spring (involving: fence posts, rabbit finials and a swing). But for now moving into the winter months I am enjoying the way that it looks...and my reduced water bill! And what is the view from this new spot? Well, for most of the year except during the high pruning season, why this...

and this..

and best of all...this!

"Mexicoli"  avocado tree
Now what do you it?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Littlest Witch

photgraph courtesy Heather

I have made a lot of Halloween costumes over the years but one of my favorites is this little witch costume modeled here by my youngest granddaughter, Willow. It was originally made for her sister, Zoe but now it is a perfect fit for her younger sister. I think Willow shows it off to a tee!

Happy Halloween everyone!

 This post has been linked to: ,  and

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Little of This and That

A few days ago I paid a visit to my doctor for my yearly physical. Now I am one of those pathetic people who absolutely hate...and I admit it, irrationally fear going to a doctor's office. So, I learned a while back that if I acted like a "big girl" and went as I was supposed to  it helped if I offered myself a bribe; some kind of treat that softened the whole experience. My choice of a treat is usually a new hand bag or shoes. This time I hit the jack pot when I found these shoes.

Aren't they adorable? They really aren't as high as they look because the platform off-sets the heel. Now, this brings me to the second part of this post. I just finished reading this most amusing book...

"French Toast", by Harriet Welty Rochefort. Harriet is an American from the mid-west, married to a Frenchman and has lived in France for the last twenty years. In this book she shares her thoughts on demystifying the french and on some of the unique things about living in France. In one chapter she speaks about her french sister-in-law preparing a seven course meal in a silk blouse and heels without wearing an apron. So, do you think I could wear these shoes to prepare Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe not, but I could certainly wear them to eat it!

To authenticate this we really should ask Catherine, a real French woman with the most beautiful blog:  If you haven't visited it yet you really should to have un peu de beauté pour la journée...a little beauty for the day.

How about you, do you ever offer yourself a bribe?

This post was linked to:  Shedding: fear

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Which Witch is Which

A few years ago my daughter Heather and I each bought this adorable witch at Costco. She is so cute that I always look forward to Halloween so I can bring her out. This year we thought it might be fun to link up and show you two different interpretations of how we used her in our Halloween decorations. Personally, I like what Heather did the best, but I must admit I am a little partial...she is so creative; I don't know where she gets it from...hummm?

So here is my version: "Witch in the Pumpkin Patch" - I think that every little witch deserves some crystal.

And now you need to hurry over to: and see Which Witch is Which. Incidentally, we both love comments.

This post was linked to:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekword: Joy!

Weekword this week was joy. I find joy in expressing myself through painting...being able to paint in my garden...well, that is a very special joy.

painting:  "Meadow Under the Orange Tree" - back garden  9X12 acrylic on canvas board

To see the other Weekword posts go to:


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


spooky tree in the garden...BOO!

I have had this picture for a while but I got the idea to edit it a bit and use it for a Halloween post after seeing a similar tree on Erin's blog at: With a downlight on it for Halloween night I think it will be a "fun" scare for the trick-or-treaters.

I want to also thank Laura at  for encouraging people to explore and use Picnik. I use Picasa and Photoscape but this was my first attempt with Picnik; they have quite a few free Halloween effects to "spookify" your photos, plus other interesting effects and editing tools.

This post has been linked to "Show and Tell Friday" at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Luxe Dix Favoris : ten favorite luxuries

This morning I was thinking of things in my life that I use just about every day. I decided to make a list of ten of the most important ones. None of these things are really absolutely necessary, that's why I deemed them luxuries, but they sure make my life easier and more enjoyable. And I would hate to part with any of them...even for a day.

Retin A, a good sunscreen...and a bit of fragrance. I have used prescription Retin A for years and I swear by it. Sunscreen, well I don't need to say anything about that! Fragrance, I think everyone should smell good when they are close enough to hug.

My computer, it is like my right arm and my brain, I would be lost without it, and horrors - I couldn't blog!

My sewing machine, my old pal way past its prime but still going strong. A present from my husband many Christmas's ago. It has made wedding dresses, bridemaids dresses, Halloween costumes, all of my home-decorating projects and most of my important clothes.

My KitchenAid mixer, Cuisinart food processor and a good chefs knife. I would be lost in the kitchen without these wonderful pieces of equipment.

And lastly, three humble gardening tools: clippers, gloves and a hand trowel, all rather beat up and yes...I could use a new pair of gloves. When I garden I carry these with me in my pockets everywhere!

What are your ten favorite luxuries? It will be fun to see if any of yours are the same as mine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Duel Duty Holiday Cabinet

This is one of the cabinets in my kitchen, built for me a few years ago when I needed a place to house my cookbooks by my son-in-law MacGyver man, who lives at You see it here cleared and empty, ready to be filled with some holiday decorations. (Sorry about the reflection but the mirrored back makes it a little tricky to get a good picture.)

First...I added some old black crows and fall foliage...

along with some pumpkins and decorative gourds...

and then this adorable witch  (I bought her a few years ago at JoAnne's)

I was going to line the mirrored back of the cabinet with scrapbooking paper but I decided for a more natural look, and less $$$, to use torn up brown bags . I think I like it!

Next month I will replace the witch with an equally cute turkey, turn the Jack-o-lantern around to make a pumpkin and Voila! Thanksgiving. With a few minor changes: two holidays in one.

I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eeeek! A Mouse in the House; decorated shelf

I got up this morning and found a mouse in the kitchen...and he is eating the tarts!

And they are eating the cake!

How on earth are they getting in? Oh, my.

This is totally out of control...

I will have to call in some help!

(This is my beautiful Mozart who really wouldn't know what to do with a mouse.)

I stole the idea for the mice blatantly, and without shame from my daughter who used this idea so charmingly in her post: A Halloween Corner Cabinet. If you would like to see her post and download the link for the mice pattern go to:

Tip - in order to make the mice silhouettes stand upright I hot glued a one inch cube of floral foam to the back of each mouse.

Isn't decorating for Halloween fun!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekword - Senses

This week I was invited to participate in Weekword. The word for the week was "Senses". My interpretation (a rather loose one I must admit) is the sense of fun!

The fun of pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns in a jumble on the porch...

the fun of a jolly scarecrow waiting to greet trick-or-treaters on Halloween night...

and the fun of being just a little bit scared by a very, spooky ghost! Boo!

I hope this post brought to you a sense of fun.

If you would like to see more interpretations of this word, or would like to sign up to participate in Weekword please visit:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Falling into Temptation

October is the month to plant spring blooming bulbs here in Southern California. Although bulbs that need a winter chill such as, tulips, hyacinths and fritillaries don't do well in our climate, we do have an amazingly good selection of bulbs to pick from. This year I had decided enough was enough and I was going to skip planting more bulbs and concentrate on other garden projects. Then I remembered this...

and this...

And I promptly got in my car, went to the garden shop, and came home with this! I not only fell into temptation, but this time I leaped headlong into it. I just can't resist such anticipated beauty.

(My wish now, is that these will have the confidence to fulfill their potential beauty. Please visit  to see other wishes on Wish Casting Wednesday).

And...what has made you fall into temptation lately?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rien à l'usure...nothing to wear

I have been invited to a very special affair and after searching through my closet I discovered much to my dismay that I have nothing appropriate to wear...absolutely nothing! rien à l'usur

But...I remembered picking up this nice piece of "Missoni inspired" knit on sale several months ago, and  for a while I have wanted to try making this dress: it is a knits only pattern, few pieces, no zipper to install and it got rave reviews on This seems perfect! What do I have to loose

Voila! Here it is. I am pleased. It was everything that I expected...easy to make and very flattering; this picture does not do it justice. (I have found that it is very hard to take a picture of a garment without a body in it). And, one of the best parts - it goes wonderfully with the new shoes I bought under a cloud of guilt a few weeks ago. It seems that falling into temptation pays off after all...well, maybe sometimes.

I hope you like it. What do you do when you have rien à l'usure?

Resources: Simplicity pattern 3775