Saturday, December 22, 2018

One last little tree ~

The other morning I was standing at my kitchen sink looking out the window to the deck outside. It came to me how much time I spent here and thought how much a little Christmas tree would add to my viewing pleasure.

All of my decorations have been up for weeks...but...I did have one little tree left languishing in the barn. A little Charlie Brown tree that would be perfect!

I brought it up to the house and rummaged around until I found a few things suitable to be outside: some red glass ornaments and a wicker garland, plus one little bird and a red watering can.


 A little sparsely decorated but still charming and has made cleaning up the dishes so much more pleasurable.

~  Merry Christmas ~ 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Fun and fairies ~

I have had a lot of enjoyment decorating with traditional things this year. To begin, I decided to bring my vintage ornaments out of storage for the tree in the living room, complete with tinsel. I can't remember when I last put tinsel on a tree, I had forgotten how pretty it is.

Then to add a bit of whimsy I tucked in some Mark Roberts Christmas fairies.

I don't have many of these, although they could easily become a bit of an obsession - they are so cute and it is fun to put them into unexpected places as tiny surprises. ( I have been gifting myself one each year for my birthday).

Here on the mantle among the decorations...

taking center stage on a table arrangement...

and presiding among the gifts under the tree.

I think they add a bit of charm and certainly a lot of fun.

~ Wishing you a Merry Christmas ~

So little time and still so much to do!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Holiday mantle ~

I always try to coordinate my mantle in the living room with the tree. This year I did a Victorian themed tree using all of my vintage glass ornaments, with burgundy glass balls and ribbon. For the first time in many years I have tinsel on the tree, but decided to forego it on the mantle.

I tried to reflect this in the mantle decorations with burgundy colored silk flowers, gold beads and ribbon. I used eucalyptus and pepper branches to soften the effect. 

It is a rather dramatic change from last year when I used soft pastels throughout the room. 

Miss Twiggley seems to approve. So far she has completely ignored all of the decorations. I consider myself lucky as many people are unable to decorate with a feline friend in the house.

It's nice to have the house all decorated and so much fun in the evening when I go around and turn on all of the little lights. Houses are never as lovely to me as at the holiday season. It is well worth the effort to add these festive touches.

~ Merry Christmas ~

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Holiday decorating ~

First I needed to spend some time mulling over what to do this year...

Then face the daunting task of going down into the basement and bringing up all of the storage bins.

This is a California basement, not really very big, but a great storage place for out of season holiday decorations. The trouble is they have to be hauled up!

Finally, opening everything up and organizing how I will begin.

I like to mix it up and do some new things every year but there are some old standbys such a Santa theme in the kitchen that I will repeat, for me the holiday wouldn't be as enjoyable with out some of these old friends. 

 I have decided to use burgundy as my inspiration color in the formal rooms and have taken out of long term storage all of the antique glass ornaments for the living room tree. I want a traditional old fashion Victorian Christmas tree with lots of tinsel. 

Now I just need to put on some Christmas music and get busy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pumpkins 2018 ~

Last year I decided to paint a picture of a pumpkin. I hadn't painted for a while, so long in fact that some of my paints had dried up in the tubes. The picture below is the result. I put it on the kitchen counter and enjoyed it through Halloween and Thanksgiving as part of my fall decorations.

I had so much pleasure with the activity last year that I decided to try it again. This is my version of pumpkins for 2018. Maybe next year, if I do this again, I should mix it up a bit and add some other type of gourds...we will see.

 Like before, I slipped this into a temporary frame and put it in the kitchen. It adds seasonal cheer for the holidays. After Thanksgiving to make way for my Christmas decorations I will put it away until next autumn.

I love fall, the weather is cooler, there is much to plant in the garden and the light makes everything look better. I have enjoyed my attempts to capture a bit of it on canvas.

I hope you have a glorious day.

Thank you for visiting.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Indulgance, winter annuals ~

 With the change in seasons I am cutting back lots of things in the garden, including some big grasses, which gives me room to plant annuals.

In the picture below you can see some of the things I bought this week to add some winter color to the garden for my enjoyment: calendulas, allyssum, snapdragons, foxgloves. pansies and a few bulbs, which I never can resist. I call this my table of beautiful bounty.

 Last weekend, I dug up the two areas where most of these are going to go and added lots of planting mix to get the plants off to a good start. 

I will put the yellow calendulas and allysum in the area below, it is near my backdoor, I love the way allysum smells and this way I hope to get a nice whiff of fragrance every time I step out into the garden.

The other space is larger, the tall Rocket snapdragons will go here along with a couple dozen foxgloves and more allysum, leaving space for a new rose bush I will plant later during the bareroot season. If I have extra room I will add some delphinium, I haven't planted delphiniums  for a long time and never very successfully, but it might be fun to try again.

The pansies will go into three pots sitting in the bed along the driveway in the front. I love pansies but have always felt they were a bit fragile to be planted in the ground, planted in pots they should be easier to take care of and make more of a statement. 

 This is such a great time to plant  in Southern California and with the cooler weather watering in not as much an issue. I have decided to indulge myself with some of my favorite annual flowers fleeting though they might be.

Thank you for visiting.
Have a lovely day.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween in a box ~


A few years ago when I made this wooden box I never anticipated that it would be so useful. Every holiday I find new and inventive ways to fill it with various objects to add  to the seasonal decor. Here it is in the kitchen as part of my Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations.
I call it my "Halloween in a box".

And next month as a bonus,

 I can easily add a ceramic turkey, lift it up, put it in the car, and transport it over to my daughter's house to use as the centerpiece for our Thanksgiving dinner. 

Happy Halloween


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fall florals ~

The dried arrangement I made for the credenza in my living room was getting rather tatty and it really didn't look right for the fall season, Nothing else works as well here as a large bouquet. So I decided to make another one that would be more reflective of autumn and this is the result.

Although they are not as fashionable as in the past, I love dried flower arrangements, partially because they last so long. I love fresh flowers but I am too lazy, too busy, and too fugal to constantly be making large arrangements and that is what is necessary for this space.

For this I used lots of eucalyptus, it is such a good filler and dries beautifully, various hydrangeas, including oak leaf, queen annes lace, twigs, grass seed-heads, dried peonies and some berries.

I will keep this through the fall and put it away for the Christmas holiday season.


The little ghosts are only here visiting until Halloween. I have several of them throughout the house and I smile every time I walk into a room and see one. It is amazing how much fun you can get out of a bit of paper!

I hope that you are enjoying the cooler weather and the lovely autumn season. Here in Southern California it is so nice to finally have a respite from the heat.

Thank you for visiting


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Autumn mantle ~

The month of September seems to have flown by and being busy with other obligations I have been a very lazy blogger. I realized the other day just how long it had been since I had put up a new post.

Now with the beginning of the lovely fall season, my favorite time of the year, I am excited to add some autumnal touches to the house and I wanted to share them with you.

In the past I haven't done any fall decorating in my living room - the colors just didn't seem to suit, but since redecorating the room  I now  have a new color palette to work with. Last year I did a small arrangement on the coffee table but this year I decided to do something more elaborate on the mantle.

I was trying for something soft in tone that would reflect the celadon green color in the chairs and drapes. I found the perfect ribbon at Michaels along with the amaranthus. I already had the pumpkins, gourds and seed pods.

This mantle and a large arrangement of  eucalyptus, twigs, berries and other dried plant material on the petite credenza across the room is enough to add a pleasing touch of autumn for me to enjoy throughout the season...and next, well that would be Christmas!

Thank you for visiting I hope you are enjoying the change of seasons.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Pretty pink ~

I  love pink flowers, but normally this time of the year they very limited in my garden,  the more saturated and brighter colored flowers seem to deal better with the heat. This summer has been an exception with this lovely combination of Gomphrena "Fireworks" and Purple Coneflowers in one of the back borders.

I have planted Gomphrenas for several years now but last year was the first time I planted Coneflowers, they are considered perennials but in my climate zone I really didn't expect them to come back, so it was a nice surprise when they did. When I saw they were thriving I of course added more, hopefully next year they will increase and look even prettier.

I love the way that the little puffs of gomphrenas rise airily above the larger coneflowers, really complimenting each other. 


And now for a complete switch in topic. I have been looking for the perfect blush color for a long time and I finally have found it,  NARS powder blush Exibit A. It is so intense that is frankly scary at first glance and I never would have tried it if I hadn't read about it. (The sales clerk at Nordstom's couldn't believe I was buying it). The trick of using it is to pick up the smallest particles with a fan blush. Done this way it gives the most wonderful, natural, pink glow. I use so little that I fully expect this to last me forever.

I still haven't found a signature fragrance but now I do have the perfect blush.
Thank you for visiting I hope you have a colorful day filled with lots of pretty blooms.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Grass be gone! ~

I love the look of an expansive green lawn and grass is relatively easy to maintain, but it takes a lot of water to really look nice. So late last spring I decided to take out the remaining rather patchy grass in the rear garden and replace it with planting areas and mulch.

I planted a flowering pear  (Ovrus calleryana) tree and a Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) tree here a couple of years ago to add more shade to a very hot and sunny garden. At the time I ws thinking that if I ever took out the grass I would enlarge the basins under the trees for planting and as you can see that is what I did. I installed drip irigation for watering ease and water conservation.

You can see how it turned out in the before and after pictures below.





This is definitely a work in progress, I will be adding more plants, including white trailing lantana and perhaps a brick or gravel pad...maybe even a small meadow of native grasses for the bench to sit on. There is always something creative to do in a garden!

Thank you for visiting have a happy day. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Summer heat ~

This has been a very discouraging summer in Southern California for a gardener. The heat has been constant and relentless. Over one weekend the temperatures reached 120 degrees, literally burning the leaves on plants, even established trees and shrubs succumbed. Watering can only do so much when the rays of the sun are so intense.

But instead of showing you my poor burnt plants I am going to share one that doesn't seem to be affected and looks as good this year as any - Crepe Myrtle.

These lovely trees seem to ignore the extreme heat; they have no burnt foliage and are in full bloom.

I have two Pink Pagoda Crepe Myrtle trees, one in the front garden, above and one in the back garden bordering the pond. 

When everything else is looking so exhausted and damaged at least this is one spot of beauty that I can look upon.

Crepe Myrtles come in various varieties, including shrubby types I have been testing one in my garden called, Early Bird White, it has performed well and I plan on planting more of them this fall to replace less heat tolerant shrubs.

Gardens, like life, are always changing. There is no denial that our weather is getting much hotter. This means that I as a gardener must adapt. I am compiling a list of plants that can withstand the higher temperatures and intense sun with the intention to make changes that will allow my garden to still look lush and thrive.

Wish me luck!

And, thank you for visiting

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Perfume bottle painting ~

I had a little framed print on a wall in the bathroom, one day I looked at it and realized that it was so faded from the sun that I could hardly tell what the picture was. That's when I decided to paint a picture to replace it.

 I love perfume bottles and have a small collection which lead me to decided that a painting of a perfume bottle would be very appropriate for a lady's bathroom. So I picked one of my favorites...

First the set up and then the sketch...

 Along the way I decided to replace the single rose with a spray of the Hybrid Musk rose "Kathleen" which was blooming in my garden at the time. I thought it improved the composition.
I work very slowly, and get side tracked on other obligations and projects, from the sketch to the almost finished painting you see below took me several weeks.


finished, framed, and hung. 

 Picking out frames is always hard for me, rather like picking out wallpaper, you never really know how it is going to look until it's done. I had fretted about my decision but when I picked it up I was very happy with how it all came together. 

Now back to working on the arbor, since I have made friends with the impact driver it is going much better, the canopy which is the most difficult part, is almost complete. From paint brush to power tools is quite a switch.

I hope you have a lovely day

Thank you for visiting.