{Garden, Home and Party} My report card for 2014

Hi Friends!  I’ve been very energized by the onset of the new year.  I believe that may be pretty much universal, right?  Are you still enjoying the surge of excitement that accompanies the onset of a brand new 365 days? Days you can do with what you will.

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

I use WordPress to host my blog site, and  for those who have read my posts for some time, you may remember that my eldest son set the site up for me.  We’ve tweaked it a few times but basically, I’ve been very happy with the simple way it functions for me (read: User often technology challenged).  Wordpress sends out a report card of sorts each year, or at least they have for the past 3 years.  The report gives you the stats for your site with details such as 1) Posting Patterns. I post only once a week most weeks and I usually send out that post on Wednesday, so no news there. 2) Attractions.  This is where they tell you your top 5 posts.  It turns out my best day this year, as far as views go, was my 500th post.  {Thanks for dropping by that day!}. 3) How did they (visitors) find you?  Pinterest was the single most referring site.  A mixed blessing.  Does anyone besides me marvel at the number of hours that can evaporate when visiting that online wonder?

I hope to continue to practice both my writing and photography.  Who am I kidding, my photography is awful.  But what we practice has to improve, right?  Onward and upward in 2015.  I’m really looking forward to the year, and to time spent with you, my friends.

If you’re interested, here are the posts that received the most views in 2014:

Garden Home and Party: year end report card

{Cozy and other adjectives that describe home}

Garden Home and Party 2014 report card

{Adieu Pierre Deux}

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

{Cottage Living ~ Moody Cottages}

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

{Front Yards – alternatives to lawn}

and last but not least…

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

{Rooms that enjoy a Neutral Palate}

I’ll be back next week with some tips on organizing and weeding out.  I’ve mentioned here, more than once, I’m really simplifying my house.  I want only what I use and love around me.  I no longer need to hold on to random items…more on my perspective next week.

Happy 2015

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Garden, Home and Party: Happy New Year 2015

Another year has flown by.  I’ve worked hard this year on living in the moment and it has been helpful, even if sometimes I forget to do just that.

I don’t do resolutions anymore but I like the idea of selecting a word that can provide you with a course towards something you’d like to strive for.  Goals seem somehow easier to stick with than a long list of homework for the soul.  Do you make resolutions?

Garden, Home and Party: Happy New Year 2015

Again, the opportunity has come to start off with our best. Make sure all the 365 pages of your book are worth the writing; as well publishing for. ― Kaushal Yadav

I wish you all a happy, healthy and joyous new year to come.  I feel a kindred spirit towards you and you all make this blog-biz a fun journey.

See you next year!

{Home} Christmas Cozy

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Garden, Home and Party: Christmas CozyChristmas / Cozy, these two words play well together…in our hemisphere Christmas usually means a cooling trend.  Even in the desert, December is cold at night.

What better way to enjoy the season then wrapped in the comfort of your own home, fire in the grate (if possible) and a throw at your feet.  To me these rooms are cozy and inviting by design and furnishings.

Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

Artist Carl Larsson

Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

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Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

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Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

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Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

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Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

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…one of the coziest homes in blogland…Kelly, of talk of the house always gives us cozy with style.

Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

Garden, Home and Party: Christmas Cozy

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My home version of cozy…this is before the tree went up.

Garden, Home and Party: Christmas  Cozy

Here is our tree…

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Christmas 2014

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

~the conductor; The Polar Express (2004)

I hope you are allowing yourself some time just to enjoy the season.  This final week will be hectic to be sure, be safe and have fun in all that you do.  

{Party} Ideas for setting the table for a holiday meal

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Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings for the season

*I know I posted images of table settings for Thanksgiving, but I really love the inspiration for something a bit different each time I get to set the table for a dinner or lunch.  I hope you’re able to retrieve some inspiration for your holiday entertaining.

One week down, already!  Let’s all take a collective deep breath and slow down.  We need to enjoy the beauty that the season has to offer.  Make time to sip hot cocoa or a cup of tea as you review your ‘to do’ list.

This week I’m sharing table settings dressed for the season.  I realized a long time ago that while I thoroughly enjoy setting a table, most guests are in your home to share some quality time with you, and while they may subconsciously enjoy the lovely setting, its not as important as you may think it is.  That doesn’t keep me from always trying to make it as special as possible, but it does mean we can all relax and keep it simple.  It’s all about enjoying the moment this year.

Garden, Home and Party: Table setting for the season

This is my table for most Christmas entertaining.  The center piece is made up of a bronze reindeer I purchased one winter while visiting a friend in Snowmass, CO.  I love him and I have a florist set him in a low container with florist foam and then it’s filled with various evergreen pine and pine cones and faux berries.  As long as it’s watered as needed, it lasts the entire month.  

{This is last year’s arrangement, this year I went with white berries, pheasant feathers and pinecones.  I’d love to say that it’s still at the florist, but it is in fact sitting on my dining room table.  It’s just been a crazy week and I did not get a picture of it!}  

Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings of the Season

Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings for the Season

This is such a lovely, simple place setting, don’t you agree? White twinkle lights and candlelight, what could be better?

Garden, Home and Party:  Table Settings for the Season

Candlelight, whether achieved with flameless candles or real, makes any tablescape magical.

Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings for the Season

Garden, Home and Party: Table settings of the season

{sorry, unknown}

 You can never go wrong with plaid for Christmas!  Throw in a few nutcrackers and you have the perennial favorite for the season.

Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings for the Season

I like the rustic coasters and name card, paired with sheet music.  I wonder if this is for a caroling party? Wouldn’t that be a fun idea?

Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings for the Season

Garden, Home and Party: Table Settings for the Season

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This is really a great way to introduce some plaid to the table, a couple of plaid throws doing double duty as table toppers.  I do love an English styled room for the holidays. So inviting.

Garden, Home and Party: Table Setting for the Season

All white, even the Christmas trees are set with white lights and nothing else.  It’s simply elegant.

Garden, Home and Party: Table setting for the season

Delores over at Vignette Design always sets a pretty table.

Garden, Home and Party: Table setting for the season

Garden, Home and Party: Table setting for the season

Garden, Home and Party: Table setting for the season

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Garden, Home and Party: Table setting for the season

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Rustic is a favorite look of mine, this setting makes me think it’s a house in a beautiful mountain town….hmm, I wonder.

Garden, Home and Party: table settings for the season

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This is my table set for New Years Eve last year.

Garden, Home and Party: Table Setting for the Season

What do you like to set the table with this time of year?  

I hope you’ll tune in for next week’s installment—“Christmas Cozy”.  Rooms that are sure to invite you in and help you relax, all the while in a cozy setting.

Countdown to Christmas – Gift wrapping ideas

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Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

As we frantically calmly move toward year’s end, and one of my favorite times of year {who doesn’t love Christmas or what ever Winter Holiday celebration you enjoy?}I thought it would be fun to share some ideas for wrapping presents, setting a pretty table, and sharing rooms that evoke a cozy atmosphere over the weeks ahead.  I’m starting this 3-week series with:

Gift Wrap Ideas.

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

If you’re like me you need to figure out not only ideas for wrapping presents for family and close friends, but you also probably need a few items for hostess gifts.  The cookie exchange, a ladies’ lunch, or a Christmas dinner party…these gift wrap ideas are especially fun for little gift items, like a special bar of soap, scented candle or pretty scented hand cream and lip balm for the purse, those little presents are especially fun to wrap.  Good things really do come in small packages!

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

The creative gift wrap ideas seem equally worthy for gifts that go under the tree, they are so pretty they would enhance that space under the branches of a decorated tree.

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

How to wrap a wine bottle from Ann on Sutton Place is a no-sew idea for a hostess gift.  You can always find great looking kitchen towels at TJ Maxx, Cost Plus or Marshall’s and Ann explains how to wrap a bottle of wine, no sewing required, in said towel.  Suddenly, a bottle of wine is a gift with a bonus!

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

So many gift wrap ideas involve butcher paper.  I love it’s simplicity and when paired with a sprig of holly or a red berry wreath it’s a win-win.

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

A little sparkle goes a long way.  I love the beautiful, large bows that so many packages are dressed with, but these simple touches share the wow factor too, don’t you think?

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

Bonus gift, like the kitchen towel-wrapped wine, this little package is fun since it comes with a candy cane!

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

How pretty is this?

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

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Most of the above gift wrap ideas have been in my file for some time and I apologize for not having a link to all of them.  Hopefully, they will give you some ideas that are simple to implement.

Garden, Home and Party: Gift Wrap Ideas

Week 1:  I hope you’re better organized than me!  I really need to get going, I have the tree up and most of the decorations but gift buying is still in the planning stages.  Enjoy the week!

 

{Home} Happy Thanksgiving ~ 2014

Well, the year is entering it’s final laps.  Does time seem to speed by for all of you?  It sure does for me.

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

{my friend’s iron pumpkins : Linda ~ Bainbridge Island}

Hopefully all of you have wonderful plans for a beautiful Thanksgiving day.  Maybe you are the chef of the feast, or maybe you’re being entertained by others, either way, I  hope you have delicious, sane, enjoyable day!

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving

Since table settings are one of my favorite things to do to get ready for a meal, I thought I’d share with you some of the beautiful tables I’ve found online.

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving

{Cottage Hill Magazine ~ Lauren Holly Photographer}

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving

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Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

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Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

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Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

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Garden, Home and Party: Happy Thanksgiving 2014

We are enjoying the holiday with our new granddaughter and her parents!  You, my sweet blog friends, are on my list of things I’m grateful for!

{Garden Home and Party} Gratitude

Over the past decade science has identified the great social, psychological, and physical health benefits that come from giving thanks.

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

No longer just a thing we remind ourselves to do at Thanksgiving, gratitude is now a tool for reminding ourselves of the things in our lives that we are lucky to enjoy.

family ⋅ friends ⋅ mother nature ⋅ pets ⋅ a roof over our head ⋅plenty to eat

Yes, sometimes appreciation seems a reach when bad things happen, but overall I’ve experienced a certain amount of balance and comfort when you can stop the stress long enough to realize that even though the water heater broke, your car needs a new transmission or a loved one is diagnosed with a health issue, your life overall is blessed and will go on.  This may seem very Pollyanna like, but it works for most who practice the habit.

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

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So as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, and the soon to follow Christmas season, try to remind yourself every day over the next 30 days how much you have to be thankful for.  It will be a healthy habit after 30 days, and we can all use a little good health and comfort this time of year, not to mention throughout the year.

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

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If you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of gratitude, whether you create a mental list or keep a journal, there are some great tips on making happiness a staple in your life here.

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

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Since this is a blog sit, not Lucy’s stand for counseling (remember Charlie Brown?), I want to share with you some images that make me smile.  I hope you and yours have lots of reasons to be thankful not only this holiday but throughout the year.

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

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Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

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Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

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Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

 

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

Garden, Home and Party: Gratitude

The happiest lives belong to those who own the happiest days.  There are the gilded days – weddings and births, Christmas and holidays – that take their rightful places on pedestals in our memories.  But if we can manage to find beauty and happiness in the midst of the everyday, then we are truly fortunate indeed.

~written and published by Pamela of From The House Of Edward

I hope you enjoy the days leading up to Thanksgiving Day.  I’m always thankful for your friendship ♥

{Garden, Home and Party} Celebrating my 500th post.

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What?  How can this be?  I was encouraged by my eldest son to start a blog in 2007. I should have reached a larger number of readers by now but I wasn’t exactly posting with any kind of regularity or purpose.  If you’re interested in my story of my start visit HERE, HERE and HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

I’m still not writing with the energy of those that post daily…how do they do it?  My excuse, and I’m sticking to it, is that I work full time as an Executive Assistant (Read: Secretary).  Blogging was always to  be a creative outlet for me.  That, and the fact that blogging is somewhat addicting.  Do you fellow-bloggers find that to be the case? I take breaks from it and find I begin to miss the process, not to mention the dear blog friends I’ve made along the way.  How can people you have never met become important?  I can’t answer that, other than to say it’s like a pen pal.  A foreign concept to this age of instant communicating through email, IM and social media, but when I was in grade school we teamed with a classroom in another English speaking country.  We were each offered the name and address of a fellow student in that classroom so far away.  We would write letters and my pen pal and I kept that going until sometime in middle school.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

In any event, this is my 500th post and 7th year of blogging and I’ve actually just hit 400+ followers! Hooray and thank you! So I thought I would share some images covering Garden(ing), Home {decor} and Party {cooking, table setting and general fun with friends and family in my home}.

Oh, and I’ve never really gotten as good as I’d like with my photography, but that’s a work in progress, which is why I lean heavily on the professionals (and always try to give appropriate credit).

I’m sharing a few of my favorite images that for me convey the best of Garden(s), Home and Party(ies).

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

Garden, Home & Party: 500th Post

~ home ~

In my imagination, “this is my home”…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

or this…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

…but in reality this is our sweet, little abode and I wouldn’t exchange the love and memories that we’ve enjoyed while living in it (30+ years) for all of the beautiful homes in the world! well, maybe a cottage in the Cottswolds would tempt me.  :-)

Garden, Home and Party: 500th post

The home in Garden, Home and Party is a top priority.  It means a lot of things to me, but for as long as I can remember (even as a teen) feathering my nest (my bedroom back then) has always been a passion that brings me joy.  Creating a happy place for myself and my family and friends is very satisfying.  I can remember rushing through the fashion pages of Seventeen Magazine each month to see what home decor they were featuring, usually a bedroom.

From accessories…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

…or rooms meant for family, friends and pets…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

to striking pieces of furniture…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

...whether simple or elegant…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th post

I love it all!

~ garden ~

Before I started my blog, before I went to work full time as a secretary, I used to be a partner in Blooming Borders, a Garden design business, with my good friend Wendy.  It was/is our passion, creating gardens that make people happy.  I needed to return to the corporate world for health insurance reasons (Mr. B and I were both in our own businesses and as we “matured” the costs became impossible) but I think gardening will always be my favorite hobby/pastime/therapy.

I’ve shared lots of images showing my small formal garden.  It’s still one of my favorite rooms in the yard.  That said, it’s a challenge growing all that I’d like because of an extensive root issue (due to the Alder tree that belongs to my next door neighbor), so the canvas is always changing except for the established plants you see here.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

It’s easy and informative to find garden inspiration online.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

A boxwood hedge has always appealed to my sense of order, it corrals the wild beauty of penstemon, lavender, roses and the like.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

{Design Chic}

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

The above jasmine grid is in the courtyard of my dear friend, Cayley’s house.  More images of Cayley’s beautiful courtyard in a later post.

 ~ party ~

Who doesn’t enjoy a Party?  For me, it comes down to quality visits with friends and family in the comfort of our home.  I enjoy cooking, so it’s always been fun for me to host guests and prepare some kind of meal, it doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve never become a gourmet, but I enjoy trying new recipes as well as those I’ve found to be tried and true.  Fortunately, our friends and family are happy to accept an invitation and share the food and conversation that happens around this table.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

For me, setting the table is icing on the cake.  Today, we entertain in a fairly casual way…many of our friends who like to entertain allow guests to bring some small part of the meal.  An appetizer or dessert makes cooking doable for me and we all do this for one another when invited to dinner.

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

There’s an endless amount of online table setting inspiration and believe me, I take advantage of it.  It’s fun to see what creative people are doing and then copy borrow the ideas for my own parties.

Whether you love a casual table setting or a more formal one, ideas abound on the internet.  I discover wonderful party ideas at many of my ‘must read’ blog sites, so thank you!

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

The ideas are often so simple yet so unique…I find myself saying, why didn’t I think of that?

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

See what I mean?

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

…and then there’s the food.  Ideas for simple touches that make any event festive…

Garden, Home and Party: 500th Post

…presentation is key for me and I’m always appreciative for the chance to view the talents of the masters.

Garden, Home and Party: 400th Post

Garden, Home and Party: 500th post

 Finally, thanks to all of you that read my blog and to those who comment.  It’s is a very satisfying hobby and I know it’s the readers and fellow bloggers that make it fun!

 

 

It started with a kiss…

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Our clan is growing.  Our youngest son married his beautiful bride in December 2012 at the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art.  The wedding was magical…

Garden, Home and Party: It started with a kiss

…and on October 23, 2014, we were blessed with baby Fae Rosaliind.  For Mr. B and me this is a magical time.  We are now the proud grandparents of 2 granddaughters!  {Girls: 2, Boys: 0}

Garden, Home and Party: it started with a kiss

Sarah’s shower was such a celebration of friendship, given with love by a handful of my dear friends.  Most of us have been friends since our children were in grade school.  We’ve attended graduations, weddings and now baby showers.  This, for me, has been one of life’s best presents, friendships that have stood the test of time!

Garden, Home and Party: It started with a kiss

Garden, Home and Party: It started with a kiss

Garden, Home and Party: It started with a kiss

Garden, Home and Party: It started with a kiss

The beautiful setting for Sarah’s shower was at my friend’s home.  Glenys and friends did a beautiful job. {Thank you all!}

Precious packages, all babies are beautiful.  But getting to buy dresses, and shoes with sparkles and bows is an experience to delight the senses, especially when you’ve raised boys.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely delighted in my boys.  I am an only child so discovering some of the thought processes that go on with boys, as opposed to girls, was eye opening!

Garden, Home and Party: it started with a kiss

{Olivia with Uncle Kevin at the wedding}

Garden, Home and Party: it started with a kiss

Garden, Home and Party: it started with a kiss

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Olivia, our first granddaughter, is the perfect mix of sugar and spice.  Super hero play time, thanks to her dad, and the innate interest in all things hello kitty and Elsa (Frozen) that most girls enjoy.  She is very excited to have a cousin to play with when she visits. We have so much fun!

Garden, Home and Party: it started with a kiss

Congratulations, Kevin and Sarah!  Thank you for adding such a welcome addition to the clan. ♥

 

 

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