Orange, it’s not just for pumpkins anymore

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Hi there!  Time got away from me (again) and here I am with no solid excuse for my absence.  Besides, I don’t believe in excuses for myself, I know in my heart that what I set my mind to I can usually accomplish.  So, clearly my mind has been elsewhere. :-)

Anyway, before “autumn” gets away from me I thought I’d share my new appreciation for the color orange.  Of course orange works this time of year, but I’m beginning to see its timeless appeal.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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I have never loved “red’s” next door neighbor on the color wheel. But somehow, the magic and beauty created by talented designers using this color has won me over. Maybe Hermès was on to something besides the fabulous scarves, leather goods, jewelry and clothing, when he packaged it all in his coveted, well-made, orange boxes.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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I’ve always loved well made gift boxes, Jo Malone boxes are my favorite.  Hermès boxes are outstanding when stacked, a bold addition to a table don’t you agree?

The Hermès tray has been a favorite as well…lets see, a piece of furniture or this tray? :-)

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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…and the pièce de résistance is this bathroom.  That brass piece is wonderful offset by the subway tile and the orange shower curtain.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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I guess I’ve always thought of orange as too bold, but I’ve seen so many amazing examples of the power of a bold accent color when used subtly.  Chairs in a softer tone of orange make this room happy and inviting.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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Burnt orange compliments the British Colonial furnishings of this room, I love it! {Side note: Is anyone watching Masterpiece Theater, “Indian Summers” season one?}

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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Carol Glasser used a shade of orange in her Santa Barbara living room to great effect.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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The coastal vibe BHG achieved with this wallpaper and the lantern above the mirror is charming.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

Could a room be more inviting.  Just a hint of orange with the pillow and the throw, sign me up.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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I love this shade, burnt umber?  It appears to me as something ageless, a pigment in the plaster kind of effect.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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Black pairs effortlessly with orange.  A clean look with orange adding warmth.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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This chair and ottoman, upholstered in window pane orange with black makes me want to add a room with some orange so I can duplicate this.  I love the simple botanic and buffalo check drapes…a little bit country with an updated appeal.

Garden, Home and Party - orange

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Garden, Home and Party - orange

Do you use orange any time of the year or do you only introduce it during the autumn months?

Have a safe and sane Halloween!

 

Blue and white appeal, and random acts of kindness

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When writing for Garden, Home and Party, it can feel more like writing a personal journal than sharing glimpses of your interests with the internet.  I think this is because the conversation is often short and comments can be few in number.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint, especially since I read a lot more blog posts than I leave comments for.  Time is always the issue and I try to remember that when I don’t hear from folks on my end.

Along the way, you reveal your personal preferences [in my case] for items in the garden, decorative items found in a home and ideas/inspiration for entertaining.  So it is no surprise that I may have mentioned my love of blue and white as a color scheme for homes, and even gardens HERE, HERE AND HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: Blue and white, kindness

Then, just when you think maybe you’ve written all there is to write on the topic of  gardens, home decór and parties, someone surprises you with an act of kindness. This creates excitement to write another post, if for no other reason than to share that excitement with your “blog friends” and thank the thoughtful friend that bestowed the random act of kindness on you.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, random acts of kindness

{BHG}

That happened recently when a friend, who reads my blog, contacted me to say she had been shopping in an antique store and had picked up something she thought I might like.  Surprise and delight, touched by the thoughtfulness of people, all flooded my mind and I could hardly wait to see what it was.  The package arrived and to my excitement and joy, it was this pair of vintage/antique blue cut glass salt and pepper shakers.  Aren’t they charming and wonderful?  {Thank you so much, Marilee}.

Garden, Home and Party

So, as I know many of you love enjoy blue and white inspiration/beauty as much as me, here we go again, down that path of this classic color combination.  Hopefully there are few new images that you’ve not seen before.  :-)

I’ve always loved dark blue paint on walls and built-ins, so striking especially when paired with brass.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white kindness

{Ashley Whittaker Design}

I’ve color coordinated my bookshelves but this, while challenging to find only blue books, is a pretty decorating statement.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

{unknown source}

A lovely shade of almost turquoise blue.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

{Ashley Whittaker Design}

Such fresh blue and white prints  for a bedroom.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

{Lulu Design}

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

{Botticelli House}

Barbara Westbrook recently shared a feature in her Westbrook Workbook on vignettes, but the blue paint captured my attention as well.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

{Barbara Westbrook – workbook}

This is a favorite color combination—blue and white with a few red accents.

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

{Kittrell & Associates Interior Design}

Garden, Home and Party: blue and white, kindness

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Do you love the combination of blue and white.  I really love it, just as I love khaki and black, with a little red thrown in for good measure. 

Entertaining in the autumn

I always jump the gun on fall…which is particularly defeatist since Southern California typically doesn’t see truly cool (a relative term) weather ever until late October or early November.  Still, it’s my favorite season {with spring a close second} and I can hardly wait.

Garden, Home and Party: autumn entertaining

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The acorns and sycamore leaves were gathered on my walk that first weekend in September

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining in autumn

When our Austin family visited earlier this month, I found myself decorating the dining room table for fall.  We have several September birthdays in the family and since September always reminds me that fall is close at hand, I thought why not?!  Besides, we had the a/c running so you could pretend it was cool outside. :-)

I saved the oak leaves from a visit to Big Bear and wrote the name of each guest on a leaf to use as place cards.

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining in autumn

Redfern the pheasant is in his usual spot for the fall season. 

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining in autumn

There were lively conversations among the guests…Olivia (4 years) & Fae (1 year next month) {granddaughters}

Garden, Home and Party

I’ve dropped the ball where entertaining / cooking posts are concerned.  So in addition to the table setting, I’ve included the menu items I served for our birthday celebration {in the season of almost autumn}. :-)

Our dinner menu was very simple and due to the heat, instead of birthday cake I created an ice cream bar with a variety of flavors and toppings for each guest to create their own sundae.

Menu

assorted appetizers

Costco’s Bill Baily’s Santa Maria Tri Tip [Mr. B. grilled] served with Chimichurri Sauce

Crispy English Potatoes from Barefoot Contessa/Foolproof book

grilled green beans

Happy Birthday Sundaes

The Costco tri tip is pre-seasoned and can be grilled or roasted in the oven.  The fresh herbs and bright lemon flavor of the Chimichurri sauce were a hit.  I prepared Crispy English Potatoes from Ina Garten’s Foolproof Cookbook and you can prepare them earlier in the day and reheat when ready to serve.  Mr. B. grilled the green beans on the grill using a veggie basket.  Son #1 assisted since his signature seasonings for the beans are a family favorite.

Garden, Home and Party: autumn entertaining

I will add some pumpkins and mums during the later part of the month…

Garden, Home and Party: autumn entertaining

spruce up my autumn wreath for the front door, borrowing inspiration from creative people such as Studio Choo

Garden, Home and Party: autumn entertaining

and give some thought to a dinner for sometime in October…which will be here before we know it.

Garden, Home and Party: entertaining in autumn

Happy Autumn to you all!  Are you decorated for the season, please tell me I’m not the only one overly eager for the season.

Living small(er) — minimalism and small spaces

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It seems there is a trend towards minimizing. Living a full life with less stuff…the ‘less is more’ theory is alive and well.  There are several blog sites dedicated to helping those interested in accomplishing this task.  I confess I drank the kool-aid.  I too, find myself paring down, weeding out.  I assumed my motivation was due to where I’m at in my life [read: age]. After 7 months of actively working on selling, giving away, or tossing items, I really like the feeling of living with what I love. This, for me, is not minimalist in the usual sense, since much of what I love involves stuff that I’ve collected along life’s journey and I treasure those items. For me it’s culling the boxes of things that are no longer useful, my adult kids don’t want, or that maybe someone might treasure.

Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something. – Nicholas Burroughs

In the same area of interest, I’ve read a lot of articles about smaller houses being in demand.  I think that part of living with less space is so very personal.  One man’s 4,200sf house may seem small for their lifestyle, family needs, etc.  Our 1,750sf house is feeling large in the way of the maintenance involved in caring for it.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re not ready to sell and buy an Airstream, but there have been conversations about the possibility of townhome living in the future.  All of this got me to thinking about that cottage I’ve always dreamt of and what that might look like, as well as some of the larger homes that are labeled as “cottages”.  So here are some pretty cottages, and a couple of homes that aren’t quite cottage-sized by U.S. standards.

I’ve written on this topic before, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Is this the Brit’s idea of a small house? I doubt it, but I have to share a line from an all time favorite Jane Austen movie…

Garden, Home and Party: Cottage and manor house

Are there any Sense & Sensibility movie fans out there?  Preferably the 1995 Ang Lee version, starring  Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet & Hugh Grant?  Fanny, the not so nice sister-in-law, says this of Barton Cottage, “Oh, a cottage!  How charming. A little cottage is always very snug” [while knowing that she [Fanny & her husband] will be moving into the beautiful, large, estate that Elinor and her mom and sisters are forced to move from due to British law.  Does this look like a cottage to you?! -below-

Garden, Home and Party: Minimalist, cottage

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This is what I envision as a cottage…stone walls, nice roofline and a soft, welcoming glow from the windows.  For more images of the interior of this dreamy cottage visit Caroline Holdaway Designs.

Garden, Home and Party: Cottages and manor houses

{Designed by Caroline Holdaway ~ Photography by Simon Brown}

This might be a backyard studio…it appears to be very small, but isn’t it sweet?

Garden, Home and Party: pareing down

The cozy feel of a cottage has been interpreted for us though lots of movies, but I realize I don’t live in England, probably never will,  and that rooms in a smaller home in the U.S. will probably have a different feel.  Still, here are some of my favorite small space rooms.

This charming home was posted a few years back on Cote de Texas.  The home belongs (or did at the time) to artist Melanie Millar.  It’s a charming, but smallish home.

Garden, Home and Party: cottage love revisited

{Cote de Texas ~ Artist Melanie Millar}

Garden, Home and Party: cottage love revisited

{Cote de Texas ~ Artist Melanie Millar}

Garden, Home and Party: cottage love revisited

{Cote de Texas ~ Artist Melanie Millar}

While I love the open floor plans so popular today, its the the tucked away rooms, the surprises, that appeal to me.  The dining nook below may have been something with an entirely different purpose before.

Garden, Home and Party: cozy revisited

{Cote de Texas ~ Artist Melanie Millar}

Cindy over at Rough Luxe Lifestyle did a post on Musoka Living Interiors last month.  I fell in love with their style and this bedroom in particular.

Garden, Home and Party: cottage love

{Rough Luxe Lifestyle ~ Muskoka Living Interiors}

Dan Marty always managed to make any room seem comfortable, large or small.

Garden, Home and Party: small spaces

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Garden, Home and Party: small spaces

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Garden, Home and Party: small spaces

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Sometimes smaller rooms may force you to employ double-duty of pieces of furniture or rooms.  This table, turned desk space, could be wonderful in any living room.

Garden, Home and Party: Small spaces

 

This towel bar serves as a pan holder, clever use for a small kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: small spaces

The breakfast bar doesn’t have to be strictly utilitarian, the canisters and flowers make this bar such a pretty addition to a small space.

Garden, Home and Party: Small space

{Chris Barrett Design}

Garden, Home and Party: small space

Can you imagine yourself living in a smaller home?  Maybe once the nest is empty?  

September is California Wine Month

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Hi friends, I know I’ve been absent.  I will try to be better with the season change.  Somehow I feel more creative in the cooler months, does that ever happen to you?  Thanks for your patience and I’m so happy you’re here.  I miss you guys when I’m not around.

September is California Wine Month.  {Who knew?!} One of the jewels in the crown of this state is the various vineyards dotted along the coastal regions of California.  The Napa Valley is certainly the most well known, but on its heels are Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley. I’m sure there are many more that I’ve simply not visited or heard about.

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month CA

Taylor Family Vineyard

Since I have been known to enjoy a glass of good Chardonnay {Rombauer is an expensive favorite} now and again {almost every evening} ;-) I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite vineyards and some of the homes in the Napa Valley region.

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month CA

Rombauer

I’ll start with my favorite vineyard, Newton.  This winery was made known to me about 7 years ago when the business partners I work for planned their annual retreat to the Napa Valley.  Their trip included the 3 partners and their wives.  One of the wives organized the itinerary and I noted with interest that I had never heard of Newton.  We journeyed to the wine country shortly after this discovery and included a reservation for a tour.

Garden, Home and Party: Sept. CA wine month

The tour, limited to 12, is a relaxing and informative walk around the grounds—ending with a tasting that includes samples of, not only their wines, but small bites of various foods that would enhance each wine.  All were served, and wines were considered, at this table in this room with a view that goes forever.

Garden, Home and Party: CA wine month

The British phone booth is one of the first things you see upon entering the grounds at Newton…

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month, CA

In addition to the Zen garden on the grounds…
Garden, Home and Party: Wine Month Sept. CA

…there’s this…

Garden, Home and Party: Newton, wine month, CA

This (below) was our first visit one rainy day in February {before the California drought}

Mr. B. and I are the couple on the left…our dear, brave friends joined us. Newton provided the umbrellas.

If you’d like to know more of the fascinating story about Newton visit HERE

Garden, Home and Party: Wine Month-Newton Vineyard

The Napa Valley region is one that enjoys vistas of rolling hills, many dotted with vineyards.

Some time ago we attended the wedding of the son of some good friends.  The reception was held at Beaulieu Gardens in St. Helena, a beautiful little town north of Napa.  It was a memorable event not only due to the celebration and marriage of these two lovely young people, but the setting…

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month, CA

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Garden, Home and Party: Wine Month, California

There are some lovely homes in the area and, as expected, many of them are estates with price tags to match.  I want to share a few of homes I found on Zillow, in case you’re ready to pack up and move to this slice of paradise. :-)  All 3 of the homes below are near, or well over the $1,000,000 mark.  Crazy, right?  But it is a pretty amazing zip code.

This cute little home is located in one of my favorite smallish towns in the region, St. Helena.

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month CA

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I like the shutters on this beauty.  The olive tree and architecture gives this property a French vibe, don’t you think?

Garden, Home and Party: CA wine month

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The gray house appealed to me because it looks to be set in a wooded area, something I find so peaceful.

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month, CA

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To end my nod to “Wine Month – California” I also want to share some of the rooms designed by a favorite interior/exterior designer in Napa—Barbara Colvin.

Enjoy the beauty this talented designer creates…

[Barbara Colvin & Co.]

Garden, Home and Party: Barbara Colvin 1

Barbara Colvin, Garden Home and Party

Garden, Home and Party: Barbara Colvin

Garden, Home and Party: Barbara Colvin

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month, CA

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month CA

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month CA

Garden, Home and Party: Wine month

Have you ever visited Napa Valley?

Happy Birthday to my lovely California daughter-in-law, Sarah.  We’ll toast your birthday with your favorite wine in the coming week!

 

 

Spotlight on art – picture lights

Hi Everyone, happy Wednesday.  I missed a week…summer doldrums.  Don’t hate me, but I’m ready for fall.  I always am this time of year.  Mother Nature turns up the furnace around here during August and into September, and I’m always ready for a cool breeze and chilly evening.  How about you?  Looking forward to turtle necks and hot cocoa?  Too soon?  :-)

I’ve been collecting prints, posters and framed art of all kinds for years.  I can be fickle and as a result of this variability, haven’t spent huge dollars on much of what I own. That hasn’t stopped me from loving what I do buy and I started some years ago finding myself looking for original paintings, vintage or otherwise.

Along the way I developed an appreciation for art lights, not because they needed to shine on my Monet or van Gogh {as if} but more because I appreciate the soft light they emit, not only on the painting, but the mellow light they transfer to a room.

Today I’d like to share with you not only my own art lights, but those on some paintings in rooms that I think are inspiring.

This painting was purchased at an antique store in San Juan Capistrano, probably 15-20 years ago.  I still like it, which surprises even me.  When we had some electrical work done to the house, the electrician installed a recessed plug to accommodate the art light.  {We use this light when we’re going out for the evening to shine as a night light when we get home}. I apologize for the washed out look of this photograph…my weakest link {photography}. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Picture lights

This little painting is a transfer painting that a friend made for me years ago.  The original painting is by Sir Henry Raeburn, titled Reverend Robert Walker.  It holds a spot in my heart because of the friend that gave it to me, and because I like the subject… the reverend gliding along the ice on his skates, in his top hat and coat!

Garden, Home and Party: Art lights

The painting above our mantle is illuminated by a light called a fish eye.  It’s mounted in the ceiling and on a dimmer.  The painting came from a shop that sold student paintings for a very affordable price.  All it needs is a British flag and it would be perfect in my eyes.

Garden, Home and Party: Art lights

So, on to some of the lovelies that I’ve saved to my files…rooms that are wonderful, and for the purpose of this post, happen to have art lights used for art or general lighting.

I absolutely adore art in kitchens. I talked about it HERE. The orange and cherries still life paintings are perfect for the kitchen and I like the art light above.

Garden, Home and Party: Art lights

{source unknown}

This inviting space features a nautical theme with the painting over the fireplace, as well as the ship over the sofa.

Garden, Home and Party: Art lights

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The use of art lighting over a bookcase has been of interest to me for some time.  I like the illumination it provides, just enough light.  Maybe someday.

Garden, Home and Party: art lights

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Then there’s this creative art light.  The talented Kristine of The Painted Hive came up with the conversion of a desk lamp, doing double duty as an art light.  Read how to achieve this HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: art lights

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Leslie over at Gwen Moss is currently refurbishing their new (to them) home.  She featured some inspiration featuring (which she always supplies) home office space.  I love this little charmer!

Garden, Home and Party: Art lights

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I saved this image from a post by Joni at Cote de Texas.  I didn’t save the post date, sorry.  I like the modern feel to this room, yet the vintage painting with its art lighting warms the space for me.

Garden, Home and Party: art lights

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I admire the bold  paint color {below}.  I especially love the pair of paintings flanking the fireplace.

Garden, Home and Party: art lights

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The incredibly talented Mary Ann of Classic Casual Interiors posted one of her recent jobs for a client.  This charming picture and picture light caught my eye.  Such a pretty lamp.

Garden, Home and Party: art lights

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What do you think?  Do you, or would you ever, have a light over a not so “important” piece of art?

Knock, knock, who’s there?

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Door knockers have been used to symbolize everything from hospitality to good luck to warding off bad spirits, so although intricate door knockers are popular nowadays, the origins of that knocker may be something far more regal than it simply ‘looking nice’ on the door.

When we first moved into our current house, the realtor who sold us the house gave us a personalized door knocker as a thank you for your business gift.  I enjoyed the hearty sound it made when people knocked on our door.  Some years ago we replaced our set of double doors with a single door and sidelights and made the single door a dutch door and never reinstalled the door knocker.

Garden, Home and Party: Door knockers

I miss not having a door knocker.  They were prevalent in London, and in various villages of the Cotswolds when we visited, and I love their old world charm.

So, while in search of a topic to share with you all, I discovered I have created a file titled “door knockers”. Who knew?!  Some of these are charming all by themselves, others are on incredible doors, making for great curb appeal.  Enjoy…

Who wouldn’t like this pair of beautiful doors.  I wonder if that is mirrored glass or just the light reflecting off the panes?

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

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This beauty [below] was taken by Debra of 5th and State, during one of her trips to England.  She hosts tours of England and France.  Maybe one day…

Garden, Home and Party

{5th and State, photograph by Debra}

This seems to be a classic design for door knockers, and I love the laurel wreath and the address number—all on a wonderful black door.

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

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This pretty door knocker is available at Amazon for unbelievably little $$$.  I love the bronzed/rusty-looking finish.

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

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If I ever move to Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod,or any beach area, this would be high on the list of possible door knockers.

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

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A lion head door knocker is classic.  I love this entry.  Of course the blue and white porcelain urns and ivy topiaries have something to do with my admiration. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

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the classic is back for his close up…

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

{source unknown}

Just as a side note, doesn’t this door [below] seem to have a mail slot in an inconvenient location.

Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

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Garden, Home and Party:  Door  knockers

{tumblr – Barb Dickie Photography}

Garden, Home and Party:  Door Knockers

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Garden, Home and Party: Door knockers

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Garden, Home and Party: Door Knockers

Do you have a door knocker on your front door?

 

Vignettes and their contribution to a room

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Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

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Let’s face it, there are so many details that can make or break a room’s appeal.  Details that draw us in, can be (and usually are) different for each of us.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and such.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

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A stunning antique piece, a window with special detailing, beams in a ceiling, and accessories are my hot buttons.  More specifically, a great vignette can pull me in like a tracktor beam on Star Trek.

Garden, Home and Party:  Vignettes

Some people are so talented at achieving this magic, that I forget to look at the rest of the room.  Here are a few examples I’ve amassed over the past few months…

Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

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An interesting grouping of items can give a room sparkle, make you want to know more about the people that live there.  These items can be collections or simply an attractive arrangement of flowers, books and a lamp.

Any room with blue and white accents is already ahead of the pack, in my book…

I love the use of coral and shells.  Add nature of any kind to the mix and I tend to take special notice.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

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Alison of The Polohouse does such a beautiful job with each tabletop and shelf in her lovely home.  Her vignettes are always of interest.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

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I tend to rotate my own accessories throughout my house on a regular basis.  Seasons, and a need for change, these reasons excuses keep me restless where my tabletop vignettes are concerned. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

Garden Home and Party: Vignette

Even a chippy bathroom shelf, when decoratively adorned with essentials, can be all the charm a bathroom needs.

Jermaine, of French Kissed has a style that I attempt to emulate.  She has a way with collecting, and displaying nature’s treasures and antique pieces that has always inspired me with my own vignettes.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

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This particular tabletop vignette [below] is a favorite.  The porcupine quill lamp shade, the blue and white porcelain vase with blue hydrangea, and the 2 wooden boxes…simplicity is an appealing factor when accessorizing. Less is more, right?

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

I believe I got this image from the Barbara Wesbrook Workbook, but I cannot find the exact photograph.  Visit her Workbook newsletter, you won’t regret it. Her talents are teamed with talented folks that she interviews and features.

I love this shiney and bright mercury glass display—I believe it’s a holiday season display but I think I like it for its cheery brightness.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

{Pinterest}

Another favorite, is the talented Heather Bullard, contributing editor for Country Living Magazine.  Her stylings are always perfect and obviously, she applies her talents to her own home.  Visit her site, you’ll love the recipes and ideas you pick up during a visit.  There seems to be a nature-theme to my favorites, doesn’t there?

Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

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 Marian of Miss Mustard Seed can turn any homely piece of furniture into a treasure, and she’s a skilled stylist.  I love the vignettes she shares from her home and her studio.  She’s got her own line of paints and inspires many of us to convert Aunt Ingrid’s hutch into a fresh, country cupboard.  I always come away from her posts with wonderful ideas for arranging collectibles.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

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The next image, while really a harvest display, comes from a site that no longer posts…and George.  They operate a store that sells antiques and one of a kind furniture and decorative accessories.  You can visit the webpage and you will see what beautiful items they offer as well as the displays they create.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

{Christy Ford photograph}

Open shelving is tremendously popular right now, when I spot a grouping like this, I want to rip out upper cabinets and install shelves to hold a variety of lovelies.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignette

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Is the arrangement of collections something you gravitate towards?

One last thing, if you haven’t read Dear Carolina yet, there is still time left during the summer reading season.  Kristy’s book is such an uplifting, feel good story.

Garden, Home and Party: Vignettes

Life of a homeowner – laundry day

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Garden, Home and Party: Laundry Rooms

Note to self: I might be in need of a new exterior shot of our house…this is slightly dated and taken when the Lace Cascade climber (rose) was not in bloom.  Still, you get the idea of what the front of our house looks like.

We have lived in our home for 33 years.  Hard to believe that I’ve lived in this house longer than in any home I’ve ever lived in, even though I was in the same home from preschool through high school.  Hmmm, don’t do the math on this, okay?

Anyway, anyone one who has owned or rented a house understands that things age and break, or they break for no reason!  Just about the time you think everything has been upgraded and looks great, something will gasp for its last breath, and die.  A couple months ago it was our washing machine.

The good news is that the old machine lasted 12 years without a single repair call.  So we decided rather than calling for a repair man we’d simply shop for a more energy efficient model and start fresh.  The state of California is offering a rebate for energy- efficient appliances, so this helped with the sticker shock.  {If  you’re interested we bought an LG top loader and after 2 months of use, I love it}

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry Rooms

The point of this post…I want to share some dream laundry rooms with you.  Our 1968-built tract house happens to relegate the washer and dryer to the garage.  I’m sure to some of you that’s like saying we have outdoor plumbing! {I guess technically the garage could be considered “outdoor”} It’s always been okay for me since it keeps the hot air from the dryer in the garage during the warmer months, and our house is a single story so it’s not much work to haul the laundry out to the garage to wash and dry our clothing and linens. I’m always looking for the silver lining in any less-than-ideal situation. :-)

I want to start with a laundry room makeover that made me wish Mr. B. and I were more handy than either of us are!

Jenna Sue Laundry Room Reveal  —  if you love before and after stories, you’re in for a treat.

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry Rooms

Isn’t this dazzling?  If you read the list of what she and her Mister did to accomplish this, you’ll be even more impressed.  Love the barn door!

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry Rooms

If I had an actual indoor laundry room I’d be tempted to get a front loading machine and put a smooth surface across the top.  This example (below) is great and with an utility sink centered between the washer and dryer, you’d have everything you need.

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry Rooms

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The beauty of this laundry room is it does double-duty as a mud room.  I like the fresh flowers to soften the tedium that laundry day can sometimes be.

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry rooms

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I’m guessing a large family lives here…why else would you want two washers and two dryers?  Still, such a pretty room with the wall sconces and fresh plants.  I could love laundry-day in this space.

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry rooms

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From my first visit to my friend’s house on Bainbridge Island (Linda), I have loved the idea of a stacked washer and dryer.  Such a space saver and in this instance, the black and white contrast is very pretty.

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry Rooms

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If your indoor laundry room was somewhat out in the open, this would be a cool idea. Cupboard doors designed to accommodate/hide the washer and dryer.

nest egg july 2011

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This would be essential if I had the option of a utility sink in a laundry room. The sink has jets so that you can do delicates in a controlled washing arrangement. How great is that?!

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry rooms

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The last thing I wanted to share with you on laundry day is this clever way to dispense your liquid laundry soap.  If you buy your liquid laundry detergent from the big box stores, you know it’s a little like weight lifting to put detergent in your washer.  This would make things not only look pretty, but you can save weight lifting for the gym!

Garden, Home and Party: Laundry rooms

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Do you enjoy doing laundry?  What about ironing? It would take more than a pretty room to get me to the place where I could state without perjury that “I love to iron”

 

 

Gardening through a drought, Part II

For those of you who are first time visitors—we live in Southern California.  We’re in the 4th year of a drought.  It’s serious.  I posted some early research on plants that are drought tolerant.  To be honest, I haven’t plunged into planting because the garden seems dismal to me right now and I’m optimistic that El Niño will rescue us from this depressing condition!

That said, I’ve soldiered on in my quest for drought tolerant plant material that I could live with.  I’m not a fan of a desert landscape and my goal was to find plants that could almost mimic an English garden, but not require much water.  Before you laugh so hard you can’t read the rest of my post, there are a surprising number, of what I consider lush, green, blooming plants, that would lend beauty to any garden and they aren’t very thirsty.

Garden, Home and Party: Drought II

I’m going to start with two plants that Cindy of the fabulous Rough Luxe blog left with me in comments.  She followed up with a post on her drought tolerant garden, located in California, that requires very little irrigation.  The two plants she recommended are incredible and will be the first things I buy for the back yard when I order.  They are Nepeta Faassenii

This beauty requires full sun or morning sun, afternoon shade and works for zones 4-9. It blooms late spring to late summer—that works for me.  It’s considered waterwise.  Maybe it will impart some wisdom to the plants around it. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Drough II

The second plant that Cindy recommended and I like the looks of is Teucrium

Garden, Home and Party: Drought II

Teucrium chamaedrys -This evergreen or deciduous subshrub is grown for its attractive, dark green aromatic foliage and its light pink to deep purple flowers, which blossom in summer and early fall. This garden workhorse can be used in troughs, containers, low hedges, knot gardens, rock gardens, or as edging…encouraging, right?  But wait, there’s more…

This is a plant we used in our landscape jobs a lot.  It was for those who wanted pretty flowers but didn’t want to do very much work in their garden.  Mexican Sage.  The great thing about this plant is that you can trim it back if it gets too big for surrounding garden and it happily returns within a matter of a few weeks, blooming and happy. (Note: this is Southern California conditions, no frost here).

Garden, Home and Party: Drought II

You may be wondering what I’m going to do for contrast in the color palate, since I have selected pinks and purples so far.  I hope that my Iceberg shrub roses (white) can continue thriving (so far, so good).

The next plant on my list is Yarrow (achillea) which comes in a variety of colors.  Good in zones 3-9.  The appeal for this plant, besides its low water needs, is that you can divide it every few years and make more plants for other areas of your garden and it attracts butterflies.  The plant that gives back! :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Drought II

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A surprise to me as far as drought tolerant plants is the Alstroemeria.  I buy these flowers as filler from Trader Joe’s.  They come in a wide variety of color and are planted from a bulb (similar to day lily) and bloom every summer.  Zones 6-7 and 9-10.  For those with deer issues, they are deer resistant.  They require part sun/sun.

Garden, Home and Party: Drought II

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The final installment for this drought busting plant list is Belleza Gaura.  It’s easy to grow, full sun loving and drought friendly

Garden, Home and Party: Drought II

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If you’re in a drought plagued area,  you may be interested in some tips from Dave of Dave’s Garden.  I’ve been saving dishwater and using it around the garden as a result of his suggestion.  Happy gardening wherever you are.

All Vintage Garden Graphics via Fairy Graphics

 

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