Monday, April 30, 2012

My Lucky Day!

It's my lucky day!  
Paul, at The Magical Christmas Wreath Company had a giveaway celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and I won!
Thank you Paul!  I can't wait for my package of goodies!

Be sure to check out The Magical Christmas Wreath blog here,
and the website here, offering wreaths, centerpieces, garlands and candles.

Oh, and "God Save The Queen!"

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Tuscan Style Now Available Online

That's right...
 Tuscan Style is now available online through The Meredith Store.
So, if you couldn't find a copy earlier, now's your chance.  Oh, and it's even offered at a discount!
  You'll find our home featured in the very back, second to last article, called "Sweet Serendipity."
Just click on the magazine image on my sidebar to order!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kitchen Progress: Going Green

Now I know why I procrastinated about painting the kitchen.
It's a big deal. 

Day one was just taping off and tenting.

The painting contractors formed a barrier between the kitchen and family room.

Everything that was in the cabinets, is now on every table and flat surface in the house!

The moment of truth when the first coat of color went on.

Too late now, we're going green!

As you can see, all the doors and drawers were first removed.
They're at the painter's shop, while the frames, obviously
 need to be sprayed onsite.

The island will remain black, but it gets a newer, distressed look.

After the cabinets were sprayed green, they were distressed, then a brown glaze applied.
The final coat was a clear, protective coat.



Next week, the doors and drawers go back and it's a wrap.
Stay tuned for the final reveal!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Riot of Blooms!

Once a year the Cecile Brunner roses growing on the fence are a riot of blooms.

They looked extra glorious with the sun highlighting them this morning.

I wish they bloomed longer, but alas, they bloom only once. Although a feeble attempt later produces a fraction of the blooms that April enjoys.

I wonder why these roses don't perform like other climbers?
Does anyone know the answer?  

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Water Features In The Garden

Water features in the garden, whether fountains or bird baths not only provide the sweet sound of a babbling brook...

...but it's also a sure way to attract more birds as well.

On our last antiquing trip, we bought this vintage bird bath, but the birds have yet to discover it.
In the meantime, I picked white camellias to float in it.

I love how this is a one of a kind piece, hand made by someone who thought to stud it with pebbles.

I found the perfect place for it in the garden amongst the lilac and azaleas.

In the front yard, the fountain that doubles as a bird bath is a great source of entertainment. 

That's because the birds have a field day playing in it!

If you haven't noticed, this week is gardening week.
Pruning and planting, fertilizing and futzing around in the dirt.
All this to stay out of the house while the painting contractors work their magic on the kitchen cabinets.
It's a green world inside and out around here!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Now That The Lilacs Are In Bloom"

"Now that the lilacs are in bloom,
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room." ~T.S. Eliot

"Just now the lilac is in bloom
All before my little room." ~Rupert Brooke

Both T.S. Eliot and Rupert Brooke got it right about the lilacs!

They ended up in my room--although it killed me to cut them.

Inside or outside, they make me happy with their delicious scent and
perfect little flowers!

"April is the cruelest month,
Breeding lilacs out of the dead land,
Mixing memory and desire,
Stirring dull roots with spring rain."
~T.S. Eliot

I think T.S. Eliot had a thing for lilacs, don't you?
And so do I!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

White Flowers

Today I bring you white!
White flowers in the garden are my mainstay, and they are looking good right now.

The first white "Iceberg" rose.
I wish I could freeze my garden this time of year.
It is certainly at its best from now until June.

Does anyone know the name of this bush?
It came with the house and I've never figured out what it is.

The "Fielder's White" azaleas are magnificent.
I highly recommend this azalea.

Bacopa spilling out of the window box.

Erigeron, or Santa Barbara Daisy is another favorite.
It just keeps on giving.

It's a very exciting week.
I'll be in the garden planting and weeding while the kitchen cabinets are being painted!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Written Word

Remember the excitement of finding a handwritten letter in the mailbox?

Perhaps written by a loved one far away or a pen pal from another country?
I'd like to think those days aren't over.
In fact I long for someone to send me a long letter, full of carefully chosen words and charged with emotion.

A handwritten letter is becoming a lost art because it's so much easier to send an email or text.
After all, writing a letter takes time and effort. To sit down with pen in hand and carefully select the words, write them in cursive, then to have the recipient read them, not just once but over and over.
And to think that the letter could be saved forever in a box, perhaps read by another generation....

Does that generation even know how to write in cursive anymore? Ah, but they don't have to know how to write!
I remember practicing my handwriting in school, trying to make it pretty.

Or writing a secret note to a friend and folding it just so, hoping the teacher didn't catch me. Kids today just text each other!

I had a friend years ago who wrote the most wonderful letters. She was away for three months and would send a five page letter describing her adventures. I hung on her every word as she had a way with words anyway. But it was her beautiful handwriting that I enjoyed as well.
I still have them in my secretary. I can't throw them away because they represent a time capsule of my life. Imagine if her correspondence was sent via email? It would be gone forever.

Last week, I visited our local stationery store, Paper Caper.
It has been on the "Avenue" forever and I'm like a kid in a candy store there.

Imagine, a whole store of cards and stationery all for the purpose of sending a message or invite.
Not an email, Facebook message, or a text, but a handwritten note!
I had a conversation with the owner about how a store like this is becoming outdated with the internet and e-vites. Kind of made me sad...

There is even an online site that allows you to download your own handwriting and send a letter via email. Not quite the same, but I tried it.
Here is what the note looked like that I sent to my daughter.

My 89 year old Mother-in-law doesn't own a computer or even know about email.
She still writes notes and letters to her family and friends, old school style.
When we get a letter in the mail, I immediately recognize her handwriting.
Sadly, I suspect she doesn't get many letters back since we all just want to send her an email.
In a way, she is missing out on a lot, but then, so are we....

When was the last time you wrote a letter?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Carmel is just as charming and quaint as I remember.
It almost feels like we took a quick trip to Europe!

I even spied a Welsh flag outside of one gallery!

We spent all day Saturday exploring the nooks and crannies.

It takes all day just to see all the antique stores, art galleries and boutiques.

There are no bargains here for sure, but Carmel is so romantic that you don't mind.

One of our discoveries was "Forget Me Not," an antique and design store.
Shirley, the owner was a blast to talk to and we hit it off right away.

Her store is filled with unique treasures like this one-of-a-kind sea shell lamp.

I was crushing on this faux bamboo armoire. Isn't it amazing?

There was even an antique bee skep covered with mud.
I thought of my friend Lisa who is collecting them right now.

A lovely collection of tole and crystal chandeliers caught my eye.

And my favorite, Bella Notte linens too.

Carmel is so much fun to visit. I just hope we don't wait for another 5 years until we visit again.

Just north a few miles is Monterey.
We spent time on the wharf and Cannery Row.
Lots of history here, I'm always reminded of John Steinbeck and his novels about this area.

Of course you have to have oysters for lunch here...

...while watching the sea lions out the window.
They were quite a site, lounging in the sun...

...and frolicking in the water.

And so, we headed home feeling like we were gone for a week.
It was our first trip as official empty nesters. It seemed weird that Dexter wasn't with us.
I found myself looking in the back seat a few times to check on him. It's just habit I guess.

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