{Garden, Home and Party} New blog friends

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During my hiatus from blogging this past August, but just after my post about my feeling I’d lost my creativity, there were several suggestions from my sweet blog friends on blog topics.  These were helpful. After all, when you are blanking on ideas, it’s really nice to hear some solid leads on subject matter.  {Thanks to all of you for your patience and kind words of support}

Garden, Home and Party: blog friends

I plan on using these tips.  Country Meadow Designs suggested I post about new blog friends. If you read blogs you probably have experienced a growing list of worthwhile and talented writers to follow.  Its like a little unexpected present.  If you’re like me, you read certain blogs religiously.  Then one day a blog-buddy mentions a site that has something of interest to them, you hit the link and think, “why have I never seen this site before?!”

Garden, Home and Party: blog friends

I’ve done these new blog friend posts before HEREHERE, and most recently HERE.  I enjoy reading so many different sites that now I find I have to sit down and treat my visits to my favorites much as I do with a new design magazine when it arrives in the mail.  Interestingly, blog reading has replaced many of my subscriptions to magazines. Something I never imagined would happen.  {Welcome to the 21st century, Karen} Has that happened to any of you with magazine subscriptions? 

By the way, some of these bloggers have been blogging much longer than me and I’m wowed when I see how long they’ve been writing and delivering fresh, inspiration-filled, beautiful posts to our e-mailboxes.

So without further delay…come with me, there’s some wonderful people I’d like to introduce you to.

Garden, Home and Party: blog friends

May I introduce: Kristy Woodson Harvey ~ author

Garden, Home and Party: Blog friends

Let me start with one you probably already know and love.  Kristy of the talented mother/daughter blog Design Chic recently completed her first novel (actually she just completed the writing on her second, but her first novel, Dear Carolina will be released in May 2015).  I know, talk about talent in the gene pool. While still contributing to Design Chic (still a must read and favorite of mine, but then it’s probably a favorite of yours too), Kristy started a new blog site, Kristy Woodson Harvey – author and it is so much fun to read.  She has introduced us to fellow authors, shared inspirational ideas for personal goal setting (one of my personal favorites) and in general provides the same fabulous home design leads as the Design Chic team continues to do.  I feel sure you’ll love your time visiting her site.

A relatively new favorite for me…

Garden, Home and Party: blog friends

I don’t remember how I found Leslie’s site, Gwen Moss, home and life inspiration, but for me there was an immediate sense that I could be friends with this talented writer and fellow Californian. She is currently writing about her family’s adventure of a few moves in a short amount of time, and the resulting move to their new (to them) home.  I love her writing and can only imagine how enjoyable following her on her renovation journey and the ongoing discovery of her surroundings will be.  Leslie writes with an honesty that entertains and comforts, like a heart to heart with a dear friend.  Her holiday decorating is filled with original ideas, the kind you like to steel borrow for your own.  I hope you will stop by and say “hi” to Leslie, you’ll be glad you did.

Garden, Home and Party: Blog friends

Her recent Halloween table post

Garden, Home and Party: Blog Friends 10.2014

and finally, for this round of introductions…

Garden, Home and Party: new blog friends

Kim of Tidbits and Twine{don’t you love that name?} is probably the most recent discovery for me.

Garden, Home and Party: Blog Friends 10.2014

In Kim’s About Me tab she shares her story of always being enthusiastic about design— that’s what links so many of us, isn’t it?

Garden, Home and Party: Blog Friends 10.2014

Blogging since March 2013, I find her posts unique in her approach of sharing tips and how to’s on the subject of common stumbling blocks many of us face.  For example, how to style a bookshelf, decorating with texture, do’s and don’ts for decorating the guest bath, etc.

Garden, Home and Party: Blog Friends 10.2014

Naturally, all of her tips are published with great image examples of each topic of design.

So that’s my newest round of blog friends.  I hope you drop by and say hi to each of them.  I think you’ll have fun.

 

Autumn Entertaining

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I enjoy this season [possibly] more than the others, although spring does play a close second.  By July September, I start looking forward to cooking more.  Or, I should say cooking more comfort foods.  I realize that is often code for calorie-laden, but my take on it is, all things in moderation, right? So with a menu in mind, I started planning a party.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

{Big Bear, California ~ 2012}

The “birthday group” Mr. B and I have celebrated with for umpteen years now, consists of 5 couples and each couple hosts a dinner once a year in celebration of two birthday honorees.  If you’re interested, I have shared previous celebrations HERE, HERE and HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

{Side note: I recently replaced these homely shades with a pair that are better scaled to the barley twist lamps—pictures to come later}

This year I had the good fortune of hosting the birthday party for the two friends I’ve known the longest (we’re talking pre-children friends, Carla & Wendy).  Since it was mid-September I took the opportunity to make the table setting and menu a reflection of the greatest season’s arrival—in just 1 short week from the date of the event, but who’s counting? Was it cool and crisp outside?  NO. But with the aid of the air conditioner we managed to pretend.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

 I’m not usually much of a DIYer, but I did manage to make these invitations and envelopes — I used Paper Source pre-cut cards, a sunflower stamp and their envelop-making kit with paper from Michael’s.  That’s it, easy.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

I used white chargers and a vintage set of Villeroy & Boch, ‘la chasse’ dinner plates in black and white.  They go with the newer pattern by VB called Audun, but they feature vintage pictures with hunters and their dogs. There are 6 different images.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

I confess, sunflowers inspired this table setting.  They always seem the ideal flower for fall.  I added some yellow alstromeria and a few guinea fowl feathers.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

Note: I had to have a saucer under the planter because it seeped water (somehow) through the bottom.  There weren’t any cracks but the very bottom stayed wet.  Fortunately I discovered it before placing it on my table, phew.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

If you look at the left corner of the image (above) you’ll notice some candy.  One of my favorite traditions with the “Birthday Group” is we hand select each person’s favorite *See’s candies and have them on the table.  We all know which candy we consider our favorite and there are a couple of us that can identify each piece that See’s makes by shape and design, in case someone (the men) forget which is the Marzipan (Thomas) or white centered Butter Cream (Tom). :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

Even though it was only mid-September, I decided to put a few of the fall decorations out.  I’ve really scaled back to mostly pumpkins, wheat stalks, feathers and berries.

Garden, Home and Party: Fall Entertaining

My menu was a repeat of one I had done a couple of years ago…fortunately, everyone loves this dish and it is what the birthday girls requested.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken with Herbs and Mustard Cream Sauce

As hostess, I only have to prepare the main course and sides, others bring appetizer, salad and dessert.  I prepared the above recipe with oven roasted potatoes and green beans.

Do you cook differently for the cooler months than you would in summer?  

 

Acorns, a sign of autumn

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Hi Everyone.  Are you as energized once the weather cools as I am?  The season, when behaving as it should i.e. cooler temps outdoors, gives me the same boost of energy I feel in the spring. Maybe even more so.  So who do I write to to request a few days of fall?  We’re still in the mid-eighties, not exactly sweater weather, she whined.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

On of the less showy symbols of the season are acorns.  It’s always been a source of beauty to me, whether a collection of the little nuts are displayed in a bowl or embossed on a serving piece.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{These little cuties are from Pottery Barn}

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

Today I thought I’d share some of the prettiest examples of acorn-adorned bits and pieces I’ve found.

This pottery is wonderful, subtle yet stylish enough to use no matter what the season.  I love white dishes, don’t you?

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

There are 600 species of oak trees world wide.  As a result there are a lot of different shapes and sizes of acorns.  There is a grove of oak trees in one of our local parks, unfortunately, the acorns that fall are not the rounded kind, the seed pod is elongated and pointy.  I prefer the chubby little acorns you see depicted most often. Like the ones in this door embellishment. It looks like it might have been a pediment on a piece of furniture at one time.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

The wine coaster above and napkin ring below are favorites, I don’t own them, and I don’t remember where I found these images.  If you have information leading me to the source, please drop me a line.  Wouldn’t this be a pretty addition to the Thanksgiving table this year?

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

What would fall be without a smiling squirrel sitting on an acorn the size of a baseball?

The beautifully detailed creamer/sugar bowl and tray are favorites and if I weren’t trying to pare down I’d add it to my Christmas list.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

Detailed hardware such as the drawer pull below sometimes makes an ordinary piece of furniture shine.  This one looks old, all the better.  Try finding more than one of these beauties.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

I like this finial, if I had a staircase, I would consider it.  I’d like it stained a dark walnut with some distressing, please.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

The simple acorn and the oak branch are favorites at the table this time of year.  Homemade napkin rings, like this rustic twine piece with the faux acorns is such a great accent…it appears the seed is painted a burnished gold.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

Each autumn I use Redfern, my pheasant {thank you, Sarah}  and scented candles with a surround of leaves, berries and acorns.  My friend Linda W. finds these Cinnamon candles each year, this was a gift that was appreciated for each hour of delicious fragrance it provided us.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

Since acorns come from oak trees, this is probably one of my favorite ways to display acorns.  This arrangement looks like its been cut fresh from trees, not preserved.  So pretty.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

This little Etsy frame is so cute, I’m tempted, except it doesn’t appear to have glass or a stand.

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns {via}

Here is a step by step tutorial on how to grow an oak tree from an acorn.  If you are willing to do this, it’s clear to me you have way more autumn energy than me!  (I’d love to hear your secret if this is the case) :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Acorns

Do you use nature’s seasonal bounty for your home?  I mostly use natural things over the little ghosts, spiders and goblin decorations from the days when the kids were small.  There are some really great looking pumpkins available and I even found bittersweet at one of the markets the other day.  Happy October, I hope you’re enjoying seasonal weather where you live.

Karen

{Home} Kitchens: Light or Dark

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Happy October 1st, how is it possible that we are steam rolling towards the end of the year already?!  O.k. folks, let’s all slow down and take time to sip some warm apple cider with a cinnamon stick, put a fire in the fireplace and/or simply curl up with a good book/Kindle and enjoy the cool days of Autumn.  Let’s start a pact that says Thanksgiving, let alone Halloween, come first.  Christmas is at the end of December!

When we moved into our house in 1982 it showed promise but you really had to use your imagination to see it.  The kitchen had harvest gold Formica, unfinished aluminum steel windows [way past their prime, if they ever had a prime], and a dark linoleum on the floor.  The cabinets were a dark wood(?) that had seen better days. (Sorry, I haven’t found any before pictures, I try to keep unpleasant memories at bay).

The band-aid cure was to replace the cabinet fronts and paint the new doors and cabinet base white, knowing we’d remodel someday.  We added a bay window and found a very inexpensive tile guy to tile the counters.  [You get what you pay for, but that's a story for another post] These fixes made a vast improvement and I loved our white kitchen. Like most of you, I dreamed of my “perfect” kitchen based on a file full of ripped pages from magazines, ideas galore, but I was patient for the right timing [read: funds].

In 2003 we met with a friend who happened to be a designer.  She drew up plans for our dream kitchen and when it came to cabinet color, Mr. B. said he really wanted stained cabinets.  His reasoning was we had lived with white cabinets for 20+ years and he felt we would appreciate a change.  Every other detail in the kitchen had been pretty much my choice, so I agreed.

While I love our kitchen, even after 11 years, I miss a white kitchen.  So the file (Pinterest) is filled with images of white kitchens.  I don’t expect to remodel the existing kitchen since it’s really held up well…yes, the granite may date our kitchen, apart from that all is well.  Still, I think to myself, what if we downsize?  There might be one more kitchen in our future.

You can see, we actually use our kitchen.  Why did I take a picture with a pan on the stove?!  Real life, I guess.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, light or dark

Our granite ages our kitchen a bit, but I don’t hate it.  I remember when we had tile and that seemed classic to me at the time, much like the consensus on granite when we installed it.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, light or dark

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, dark or light

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, dark or light

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, dark or light

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, dark or light

My question to you, my dear blog friends, is if and when I were to do a white kitchen, would I use dark counter tops or light?  

Here are a few of my favorites…both sides of the argument (dark counter tops vs. light) are featured.  There are no wrong answers.  Let me know what your thoughts/experience has been…

I like the creamy white of these cabinets, the dark trim on the windows and dark counter top is very pretty.  Contrast is a good thing for me.  I also like pops of black.  As you can see above, our kitchen pantry was built to look like a piece of furniture and is painted a satin black with some slight distressing on the edges.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, dark or light

Yvonne, over at StoneGable Farm, has a lovely kitchen and accompanying  her white cabinets are dark counter tops. Such a great look.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, light or dark counters

I love this kitchen, from the pendant lights to the subway tile over the stove, it’s easy for me to imagine this as my future kitchen.  The counters appear to be a warm beige color with a butcher block island top. Hmm, more to think about.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, dark and light

My favorite cookbook writer and food.tv star, Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, in her “barn” kitchen.  This was built on her property in the Hamptons expressly for filming her television show.  White cabinets, black counter tops.  A pattern of interest seems to be developing…
Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, light vs. dark

An all-time favorite kitchen from Traditional Home magazine.  White on white, with dark hardware and steel windows.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, light vs. dark counters

 

This is one of my favorite houses online.  Joan of for the love of a house has soapstone counter tops and white cabinets.  Visit here to see more of this incredible kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, light vs. dark counters

Another favorite, Alison over at The Polohouse has a beautiful kitchen.  I remember her telling readers that the island is a piece of furniture she found (or was given, I can’t remember which) in any case, it’s a wonderful kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchen, dark vs. light counters

This Randy Boyd kitchen is exactly the look I’m after, contrast, charm, and a great stove.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchen counters, dark vs light

 Do you like white kitchens?  There are so many options and each one can pull me towards something different.  This is an exercise, just visualizing in my mind what I might enjoy if change were required. You understand, right?

 

 

{Home} Accent pillows?

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I grew up with throw accent pillows on the sofa in our family room so I followed my mom’s lead and have had my share of pillows adorning chairs and sofas.  Most of the time I love the added pop of color and the cozy feel they impart in a room, but I have noticed that guests often seem uncomfortable with too many.  They’ll carefully place them aside.  The fabulous styles and fabrics available today have me rethinking some of my existing pillows.

I have collected some examples of rooms that benefit from pillows.  Share with me your thoughts on the topic.

First I’ll share my pillows…the room below is our reading room.  This picture is older as we’ve changed out the rug.  The window seat seems a natural for pillows since very few people sit in the window.  The ladder back chair has a kidney pillow that I usually remove before sitting with my feet up.

Garden, Home and Party: Throw pillows

Our love seat in that room has a couple of pillows and then Madison, who is convinced that this is her sofa.  This room receives little use, except by me when I want to read in relative quiet.

Garden, Home and Party: Throw pillows

Lastly, this is our family room sofa, the pillows are a chennile fabric and down filled, so they are comfortable but most guests place them aside.  I confess, after a long day, this is where I relax in front of the television, head on pillow, prone position. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Throw pillows

Pillows are definitely eye candy that add to a room, but maybe they do less for a comfortable sit than we like to think?

I love the symmetry of this room from the twin lanterns over the kitchen table to the matching pillows on the wonderful sofa.

Garden, Home and Party: Throw pillows

I really like the pillow with a bit of vintage silk on it.  In fact the pillows that are made with vintage/antique tapestry and other fabrics always catch my eye.
Garden, Home and Party: Throw pillows

I love the room below, wall gallery, side table accents and the day bed made useful by pillows.  We’re shopping for a day bed for Olivia [granddaughter] visits.  I will probably do something similar so that when she’s not visiting the day bed can look a little more like a sofa.  Does anyone truly sit on a day bed?  Without plenty of pillows the seating is usually too deep for me.  I end up looking like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann (does anyone out there remember her character on Laugh In—did I just date myself?)

Garden, Home and Party: Accent Pillows

{Charles Faudree}

This Nate Berkus room has a variety of pillows and an eclectic look…I really like the doors and giant mirrors.  I digress, the pillows on the sofa are all different, in this room that seems fitting.

Garden, Home and Party: Accent pillows

{Nate Berkus}

This is my kind of comfort, earth tones, rich leather chairs and plenty of light.  Again, there are pillows in all but the wooden chair on the right.

Garden, Home and Party: Accent pillows

{Photo by Roger Davies}

For the room below the accent pillows are the icing on the cake.  Visualize the room without the accent pillows…boring, right?

Garden, Home and Party: accent pillows

{http://billybesonco.com/portfolio/lakeside-living/ via http://www.talkofthehouse.com/for-the-love-of-red/}

I appreciate the simplicity of the blue and white—used in traditional stripes for the pillows.  It fits the location of the home (look through the French doors, a bay or shore line is the view {heaven}).

Garden, Home and Party: accent pillows

{Ferguson & Shamamian Architects}

This lovely living space is in the home of Jill of forever cottage.  If you’ve never visited her blog, prepare to be inspired.  I love her use of accent pillows, and pretty much everything about the room.

Garden, Home and Party: accent pillows

Garden, Home and Party: accent pillows

{Jill Hinson}

So, what do you think?  Are you a fan of accent pillows?  I sure am, even if they might be in the way occasionally.  

Enjoy the rest of your week.

{Home} Small spaces

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House Beautiful annually devotes their July/August issue to small spaces. Sometimes these spaces are practically closet-sized small.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

We live in a single story 1,725 square foot home.  By most standards, this is considered small.  I used to think we’d remodel and increase the size, maybe go up, we never did. Now the house seems to be the right sized home for our needs and really always was a comfortable size as we raised our family.  Our youngest son, now an adult, was born within a year after we moved in 30+ years ago! {Time flies, doesn’t it?}

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

Any time there are articles on small spaces I’m sure to pay particular attention. Not just for the ideas on maximizing storage, but for design inspiration and guidance on the best way to create the look and feel of a larger space, while enjoying the comfort a smaller room brings me.

Here are some of my favorite small space rooms.

The large painting below makes the space feel larger.  The raised, beamed ceiling also gives you the feeling the room is larger than it really is.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

The Brooklyn studio below is only 425 square feet of space.  Zach Motl, a window designer for Ralph Lauren, said his goal was to make “one room feel like five”.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

I love the look of a well-placed banquet.  It’s always pretty and practical for smaller kitchen nooks. If I had a space for this arrangement I’d copy it exactly.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

Kitchens, at least for me, are a critical area when finding places for all the stuff.  I’ve pared down many times, but when you have the dish collecting challenge disease, taking advantage of every inch of possible storage is essential.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

The Amy Meier kitchen below makes use of hanging a few plates on the wall, this room has always been a favorite.  Great work on a small kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

Another favorite designer that seems to know how to bring out the best of any space, but especially smaller spaces is Dan Marty.  One of the first introductions to his work (for me) was his bungalow in Corona del Mar.  It remains a favorite where ideas and inspiration for my own home emanates from.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

This dining space was in a later Marty home.  I like the double duty the armoire is providing.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

The kitchen must be a little short on space based on the proximity of the kitchen table to the cabinets. I think it’s stunning because of the beauty of the table and chairs.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

{Photo by Frances Janisch}

This sweet bathroom in a Balboa Island cottage, is a great example of how a light-filled room helps with minimal space.  Our bathrooms are tiny as well.  Maybe in the late sixties builders didn’t think bathrooms were important?

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

{Photo by Victoria Pearson}

This is the guest bedroom of a 1,440 square foot bungalow.  Designer Stephen Shubel said in his interview he wanted the house to feel like you were on a boat. The bed certainly carries off the idea of a berth.  I really like this room, I don’t think I’d enjoy making the bed each morning. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

Tommy Smythe, Sarah Richardson’s trusty cohort in design, has always managed to make smaller spaces live large.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

This mirrored door does what designers have always told us mirrors do for a smaller room…it creates an illusion of a larger room through reflection.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

A great collection on display always makes me heart sing, and it makes the size of a room irrelevant to me!

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

Another clever use of a mirror in a cottage kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: Small spaces

I like the job this display shelf serves…a place to display family photos and architectural interest for the wall.

Garden, Home and Party: Small spaces

This is a wonderful way to extend storage space when a piece of furniture wouldn’t fit on the wall.  You have it built into the wall.  The vintage/antique shuttered doors make it appear to be a piece of furniture while proving great display and storage for the room.

Garden, Home and Party: Small Spaces

{Tidbits and Twine}

 How do feel about smaller, cottage sized homes/rooms? For some they can be claustrophobic, I have always loved the cozy feel of a smaller space.

{Garden, Home and Party} A return to the party. Outdoor Rooms

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I’m back and ready to pick up where I left off.  Some of you read my post about (and were so supportive of) my hiatus from blogging [read: writers block].  Its surprising what a little mindless relaxation and rest from a hobby will do for you.  I was so touched by all of your kindness and encouragement. Thank you!  ♥ Karen

The Real Work

by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

 

Thank you, Anita of Castles, Crowns and Cottages, for the introduction to the above quote.  It truly made me feel better about writing and the ideas required to feel creative.

Garden, Home and Party: a return after a long vacation

My vacation gave me time to ponder what I want the blog to be about and I’ve decided I really do enjoy writing about home interests.  Nothing all that deep, I’m more about the fluff of it all.   I tried imagining me writing about other topics but it always came back to the uncomplicated fact that when asked, “what interests you?” the answer was elementary.  Gardens (both working in and learning new things about);  my home (making the occasional improvements and tweaking, always tweaking, this and that);  and entertaining friends and family therein.  These are what brings me the most pleasure.  Simple, right?

So…for a new post after a long vacation I decided to share some inspiring garden rooms, as I refer to them.  Summer is near its end but here in Southern California we will suffer experience heat through September.

When I was growing up I don’t recall there being the vast array of options for creating rooms outdoors the way they exist today.  Did we have a patio?  Absolutely.  Did we have a table and seating for outdoor dining?  Yes, indeed.  My dad grilled all through the summer months.  But would you have looked at this space and imagined some of the additional comforts and decorative bits and pieces we now include in our ‘outdoor dining rooms’?  NO.

Garden, Home and Party: I'm back and we're outdoors

{T&G}

So, these are a few of my favorite dining spaces and a few outdoor living spaces as well.  I’ve included an image of my current patio and the newer pea gravel space under the cooling shade of two very large Ficus Benjamina trees.  (Are roots an issue? Yes they are.  My gardener takes great pains annually to cut off the roots that creep out from about a 5′ radius of the trees base and that seems to stem their destructive ways).  He also strongly recommends that we prune the 2 trees often, this gives them a reason to put new growth at the top, not at the roots.

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

So, without further ado…here are some wonderful outdoor spaces that can give us one last relaxing sigh as summer heads out and fall comes into focus.

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

{BHG}

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

{Libbey Ranch, Ojai}

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

{Enchanted Home}

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

{Emily Followill Photography}

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor Rooms

{Providence Design}

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

{Enchanted Home}

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

{unknown}

Finally, truth be told, I wouldn’t mind this outdoor experience as well.  I know I’m being naive, I’ve never lived where it snows and I’ve been told by some with experience in such weather conditions, that it would only take one brutal winter in the east to cure me of the romantic notions I have about snow!

Garden, Home and Party: Outdoor rooms

Do you have outdoor room(s) you enjoy during the warmer months of the year?

 

{Garden, Home and Party} I need a detective

I debated even posting this, or anything for that matter.  But decided I owed it to my 10 loyal readers to fess up…I’ve lost my creativity.  I can’t find it.  I’ve contacted Holmes and Watson but he’s busy and really feels this is a case that is simply too boring for his skill set.  Great minds must be stimulated!

Garden, Home and Party, I need a detective

 

I mentioned the idea of quitting the blog business to one of my loyal readers (my sweet daughter in law, Sarah) and she reminded me that I said the exact same thing last year around this time.

The truth is, I’ve tried to alter my attitude towards summer and I’ve certainly had a fun one this year.  [Babysitting our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter for 8 days was a highlight]

Garden, Home and Party: I need a detective

Still, in my heart I really hate do not care for the heat of summer (I know its me, its not the season, its me).  I play a waiting game of tolerance until late October, early November, when signs of autumn arrive here in sunny, Southern California.

So without further whining…I’m taking a break.  Tack it on to the already 2 week break I’ve enjoyed and I’ll do my best to return sometime in September. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll return to read whatever I come up with.  I am still always fascinated by anything to do with home enhancement, and take great pleasure in reading so many of the great posts that appear in my mailbox almost daily.  In addition, I have grown quite fond of all of you…my virtual BFF’s.  :-)

xoxo,

Karen

{Party} Recent entertaining and recipes

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Hello sweet readers!  How is your summer going?  Has it been filled with fun and relaxation?

Garden, Home and Party: Easy entertaining, recipe

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I’ve been negligent where the “party” part of my blog is concerned so I thought I’d share a recent menu for a very simple summer barbecue we hosted earlier this month.  When I say simple well,  that might be an understatement.

Menu

Appetizer – we prepared a simple cheese board with crackers, almonds and a couple of cheeses we enjoy

Main Course – Grilled Santa Maria Tri Tip

Orzo Salad

Dessert – Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Vanilla Ice Cream

Super simple.  Below is the recipe for the orzo salad.  The Tri Tip we used came from Costco:  Bailey’s Pre-Marinated Tri Tip.  I adapted the orzo recipe from Ina Garten’s recipe for Roasted Shrimp & Orzo.  I knew I wanted to prepare the Santa Maria Tri Tip so I didn’t need the shrimp.  If you would like to see her original recipe it can be found HERE.  The chocolate chip cookie recipe is Nestle’s Toll House recipe with 2 changes.  I used Ghiradelli Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chips and before baking I sprinkled the tiniest pinch of flaked fleur de sel.  The cookies were a hit and our friends thought it was some fancy new recipe.

Garden, Home and Party

Orzo Salad Recipe

 {source for image below}Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipe

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipe

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We enjoyed appetizers under the trees and when it began to cool down we moved to the dining room for the dinner and dessert.

 Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipe

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipe

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipe

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipe

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*Readers that don’t have a Costco or a Trader Joe’s nearby here’s a recipe for Santa Maria Tri Tip:  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/santa_maria_style_tri_tip/

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining, easy recipeI wish you a Happy Week during this summer season.  If you have questions concerning the recipe, please email me or leave a comment, I promise to try to answer any and all questions.  I will be taking a bit of time off from blogging as Olivia, our granddaughter, is coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks (oh, and her mommy and daddy will be joining us for one of the two weeks).  

 

{Garden} Inspiration for the garden – Chelsea Flower Show

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RERUN ALERT:  I shared this post at the end of April but I couldn’t resist re-posting so that I could join Anita over at her beautiful blog site Castles Crowns and Cottages, where she’s inviting all of us to share our favorite destination.  England captured my heart years ago and I will share a bit about the Chelsea Flower Show.  I’ve never been but it’s a dream!  Because this post coincided with an eye to spring in the garden I am sharing additional inspiration for creating a pretty garden.  I hope you enjoy and will stop by for a visit sometime. ♥

Garden, Home and Party:  Castles & Crowns linky party

Here we find ourselves on the last day of the month of April (where’s the time going?).  There’s been weeks of activity in the garden if you are an enthusiast and if you happen to live in a climate like my neck of the woods, Southern California.  Gardening is pretty much a year-round hobby here.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

Still, there’s always interest for me to see what others are doing to their own yards and as usual, I gain the inspiration I’m seeking to create a new corner or change out a fledgling flower bed, from fellow blogging friends and international gardens posted on the internet.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

{Charlotte Moss}

Garden Home and Party: Garden inspiration

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

{Restoring our 1890 Victorian, Victoria Elizabeth Barnes}

Above, I’ve added Helebores to my wish list when they’re available.  Below, don’t you love this clever use of grass and concrete squares.  Not to mention, it would be so great to have an outdoor fireplace.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

{5th and State}

Tone on Tone just published a great post on his blue garden, published in Southern Living magazine.  I’ve made a list of blue flowers for my own garden.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

{Tone on Tone – Loi’s beautiful blue garden}

Garden, Home and Party: Garden show

This year my friend, Carla, happens to be going to the Chelsea Flower Show (May 20 – 24th). With the show’s 100 year anniversary behind them (2013), I’d guess this year may be an impressive show of innovative and unique gardens.  Maybe it’s that way every year, but I like to think there’s always a wave of extra talent after a big anniversary of something as wonderful as the Chelsea Flower Show.

The first year (1913) Chelsea Flower Show was introduced there were 244 exhibitors, last year there were over 500.  The show attracts over 150,000 visitors each year.  It’s on my bucket list.  I know I’d love it

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

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Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

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…and for those of you who would like to have their very own follyhere is a company that will build it for you.  They entered the Chelsea Garden Show with this little gem.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration{via}

Since we’re speaking of gardens in England, this past fall the Los Angeles Times travel section featured a list of gardens you can visit more than once per year in England.  The Stone House Garden in Cheltenham, Goucestershire was appealing to me for the home as much as the grounds.  Started by a garden hobbyist, Katie Lukas, she developed her garden on the 2 1/2 acres surrounding her Cotswold home.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

{photo by Nan Sterman}

No surprise, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire offers a learning experience in addition to the wonderful gardens presented.  There’s a garden where plants are grouped by the era in which they were introduced to the British Isles.  I selected this image since I was surprised the garden features our own California Poppy!

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

{photo by Nan Sterman}

What would a garden tour be without a garden by a castle?  Broughton Castle, Banbury, Oxfordshire is a 700-year old castle.  There are sheep on the grounds (wouldn’t it be great to look out your window to green rolling hills, dotted with sheep?  {Maybe I’ve seen one too many period piece movies and PBS presentations?} Climbing roses, “lushly planted garden borders” and more, this one is on my list. To read more and to get ideas for your garden visit HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

Garden, Home and Party: Garden inspiration

My own garden can always use a little tweaking.  I hope to work on the area under the bottle brush tree (the red blossoming tree in this picture).  The roots are so prohibitive to digging and such.  I am currently doing some homework on finding plants that need next to nothing but will grow and thrive in spite of adverse conditions.  Any suggestions?

Have you started planning / planting  your garden?  Any new projects on the table?

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