Walls with a “Wow” Factor

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Hi friends, happy Wednesday!

Today I’d like to talk about walls.  Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you have walls.  Painted walls can be wonderful, and comparatively economical, a benefit I always appreciate.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

They can also add drama to a room.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

I’ve had walls on my mind lately since I’m seeing lots more wallpaper ideas online providing options for texture and color.  You know how tempting a concept, like wallpaper, can become when you see a gorgeous room!

Wallpaper today is manufactured in so many patterns, including some with great texture. I’m happy wallpaper is back in the design spotlight.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

This textured wallpaper [below] (grasscloth?) gives depth to the wall while providing a similar contrast to the trim, as paint would.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Custom paneling, whether more formal or informal, can be the wow factor for any room.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

The knotty pine tongue in groove in the bedroom below is ideal for the room’s decor and the pitch of the ceiling.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Reclaimed wood, whether man made or actually aged, adds character.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Then there’s the unexpected.  The walls in this room [below] convince me it could be a lodge in England as easily as America. Love this room!

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

The talented Amy Meier brought warmth to this kitchen with the addition of brick on the wall.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Stone walls are a favorite of mine, maybe because they are not often seen unless the home is custom. A custom home isn’t in my immediate future, but I love the look.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

This stone wall with the farm apron sink set in an antique cupboard gives the room a historic feel.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

The materials available to those building a custom home can create authenticity in any room.

Using aged, or distressed beams, stone on the wall and floor gives me the feel of an old farmhouse kitchen even though this may be a newer home.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Actual age is hard to fake.  That’s a good thing for some of us—but we’re talking about homes.  Oh to live in an old house in Europe!

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

If these walls could talk.  My imagination runs away with me when I’m in a room such as this.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Living in a tract house, our walls in most rooms are painted and we have beadboard in a couple of the rooms.  No stone walls in our little cottage.  I’ll have to get my stone wall fix from the beautiful homes I find online. 🙂

♥ Karen

 

End of summer

I’m back and ready to pick up where we left off—where was that, exactly?  Happy Wednesday!  Summer is not quite finished yet.  The summer weather here in SoCal has been manageable overall.  We typically get really hot in September, just when I start to think about cool weather, fires in the fireplace and turtleneck sweaters!

Labor Day marks the ceremonial end of summer, but there are still a good few weeks to enjoy the season, even after the three-day weekend ends and schools begin their calendar year. This year, the last day of summer is officially on Sept. 22.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

As I mentioned on National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday in July), I’ve worked hard on relaxing during my off hours.  I know it’s weird to say I have to work hard to relax, but it’s the truth.  As my mother used to say, “Karen, sit still!”

This is what I’ve been up to…

I did a lot of gardening, made plenty of time for entertaining friends and family and actually relaxed a little more than usual.

I shared the patio garden reveal back in March.  I wanted to update you with it’s progress.

March 30, 2016: Newly planted patio garden

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

June 22, 2016:  My, how you’ve grown!

The heliotrope and Polygala ‘petite butterfly’ have filled in nicely.  Yes, I share the garden with a variety of caterpillars who have been munching on the leaves of the heliotrope as you can see on the leaves in this picture.  The delphinium are getting ready to bloom for the second time and the iceberg roses are photo bombing this image (in the background). They’re such show offs.  😉

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

About the time I feel as if maybe I’m pretty good at gardening I try my hand at planting a few tomato plants and this happens.  Gardening can keep you humble with the frequent occasional failure.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

I don’t usually plant edibles, except for a few herbs.  I have only one spot in the yard that gets “full sun”.  So this year I planted 3 small tomato plants in the large clay pot (above-right), in the sunniest location we have.  Did I over water?  Possibly.  The leaves started turning yellow and then shriveling up.  Experts on growing tomatoes [in blogland] weigh in, please.  I’d love to be able to grow a tomato in this planter.

Here are the other tomato plants, they seem to be surviving.  They are in the ground. Wish me luck.  We’ve already seen evidence of a critter taking the green tomatoes off the vine and sampling them!  {Note to self: This is why I buy my produce at the market} 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

One of our close friend’s had a milestone birthday and we hosted a small dinner party for him.  It was very fun and since he’s the first to hit this “milestone” birthday, we teased him unmercifully about age!

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

I used the Portmerion Botanic Garden dishes, my wooden handled flatware, and my green and white plaid napkins for the summer party.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

The handsome guy with the apron is our guest of honor.  We found the apron HERE. It’s a fun gift for a guy that enjoys grilling!

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

Recipe and table settings for summer entertaining.

We logged in some wonderful family time, complete with our Austin son and family.  Seeing the cousins enjoy themselves while the “adult kids” caught up warmed my heart beyond measure.  Icing on the cake!  Olivia, our 5 years old granddaughter marching and singing, which tickled Fae our 1 1/2 year old! {bottom picture: Fae at our local park—playing at the “cafe”}

Garden, Home and Party - Summer 2016

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

We celebrated with long time friends (almost family) at the wedding of their oldest daughter in a spot that is so swoon worthy—add a romantic wedding and I’m a puddle of warmth and emotions.

Congratulations to the wonderful couple and best wishes to our dear friends, Gretchen and Stu!

Garden, Home and Party - Summer 2016

Garden, Home and Party , Crystal Cove

I read a few books and by far, my favorite was Eligible: A Modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld.  It was a fun read that stayed mostly true to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

This pretty much sums up summer.  My day job is great and I enjoy the challenges and the camaraderie it provides. What have you been up to?

Karen♥

 

National Ice Cream Day

Hi Friends, Happy Summer!

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

{When Olivia comes for a visit in August, we’ll be headed to the beach at least once}

I’ve been enjoying a relaxing summer so far, how about you? When I’m not working at my day job I’m spending time in the garden (I’ll have to provide a post on some of my successes, and failures, on that score), entertaining via backyard BBQ’s, and reading a few good books.

Today is National Ice Cream Day and I couldn’t let it pass without sharing a few images of summer fun and ice cream.  They truly go hand in hand, don’t they?

Garden, Home and Party: national ice cream day

For obvious reasons I try not to eat ice cream everyday, but when I have an excuse [it’s hot and only ice cream will cool me down; we need a dessert for our back yard BBQ; I’m on vacation so calories don’t count, or it’s the weekend] I like to enjoy a scoop of ice cream in a bowl or prepare an ice cream cake for dessert for a summer dinner party.  I make it a health food by throwing on a few berries! 🙂

Summer activities for Mr. B and me might include a Duffy boat excursion.  There is a group of us that chip in, not only for rental fees, but to provide easy appetizers and a bottle or two of wine. This is one of my favorite summertime activities.  Unfortunately, no ice cream can be included since there’s no way to keep it frozen.

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

This recipe from Southern Living looked too delicious to pass up.  Find the printable recipe HERE This recipe is one I plan on trying for our upcoming backyard BBQ.

Garden, Home and Party national ice cream day

Garden, Home and Party, National ice cream day

During the summer months, ice cream seems to be the ideal treat no matter what form you prefer. I love the idea of individual desserts and this sundae in a pastry shell with freshly made blueberry sauce looks scrumptious.

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

Ice cream sandwiches from Williams Sonoma sound like they would be easy to make and oh, so delicious!

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

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These little ice cream cups look delicious and healthy topped with blueberries.

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

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Pioneer Woman’s Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce looks like something I’d make year round.

Garden, Home and Party: National Ice Cream Day

Now I’m hungry for ice cream!

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

I hope your summer has been filled with more than your usual share of fun and ice cream!  I’m planning to be back to blogging weekly in early September, I hope you’ll stop by!

 

Fathers and Father’s Day

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Hi there, happy Wednesday!

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

My own father passed some time ago, but I’ve been blessed with a sweet husband that is a wonderful father to our two sons.  In addition, both sons are happily married and each a father to a little girl. It’s been fun buying for girls! 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Mr. B with the boys at various ages and various events.

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Now we delight in observing our kids with their kids…

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Kyle (firstborn) with our granddaughter Olivia.

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Kevin (younger son) with granddaughter Fae…(below is Fae now 1 1/2 years old)

Garden, Home and Party: father's day

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

They shine at participating in these girl’s lives and at their ability to make them smile!

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL!  ENJOY THE DAY!

I HOPE TO BE BACK TO BLOGGING BY SUMMER’S END, I NEED TO RECHARGE THE CREATIVE BATTERY PACK. ♥ KAREN

 

Library week

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Okay, so library week was actually April 10 – 16th but I have been about a month behind since this year began.  Anyway, I love libraries and look for any excuse to share my favorite images of libraries, both great and small.

Home libraries, or bookcases to many, bring such warmth and interest to any room.

Garden, Home and Party: Library

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Garden, Home and Party: Library

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Garden, Home and Party: Library

{St. John’s College, Cambridge England}

Garden, Home and Party: Library

A terrestrial globe in the Study at Bateman’s, East Sussex. Made by Philips. Ebony and Metal. Bateman’s was the home of the writer Rudyard Kipling from 1902 to 1936.

A staircase library seems like such a great use of wall space.

Garden, Home and Party: Library

Garden, Home and Party: Library

{Harvard University Library}

The Hoose Library of Philosophy, USC (University of Southern California) is one of the prettiest libraries I’ve ever seen in person. [below]

Garden, Home and Library: Library

Garden, Home and Party: Library

{University of Oxford Library, England}

Garden, Home and Party: Library

Do you have a favorite library?  ♥ Karen

 

Mother’s Day delights

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In memory of my mom and my grandmother, and the joy that our two respective daughter in laws bring us as they mother their daughter’s (our granddaughters) with love and skill…here are some images that conjure up Mother’s Day memories, new and old.

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

Grandparenting is the best.  You’ve heard the reasons why and it’s all true!

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

~Olivia, age 5~                                           ~Fae, age 1 1/2~

a sweet guest room for granddaughters (not mine, but it’s sure pretty).

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

hydrangea the size of small cars.  My grandmother grew them and I’ve seen them in the south, but never mastered this size in my own yard.

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

I believe this is a Charles Faudree image.  I love the way he could successfully create beauty in a room with both feminine and masculine touches.

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

…my mom would have loved these hydrangea cupcakes.  If you know someone that would enjoy these, visit HERE

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

…gardens always remind me of my mother, who loved to work in her garden and taught me the love that past time as well.

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

…picnics, what a beautiful way to spend a Mother’s Day.  We simply don’t picnic enough anymore.

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

roses are a standard for mom’s, aren’t they?

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

I wish you a Mother’s Day starting with breakfast in bed…

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

…and a long soak at the end of this special holiday.

Garden, Home and Party: Mother's Day

Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers, and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world.”
— Kate Douglas Wiggin

 

Purses, the final frontier for organization

I don’t typically write posts about personal products or fashion, although I love reading sites that do!  Inspiration to break out came by way of Polished Pebble, a blog site written by the very talented Kelley.

Early this year she published a  piece about New Year’s organizing.  You know what that’s like, second only to spring cleaning, it’s such a great way to start the new year. She covered the essentials where her winter wardrobe (enviable) is concerned and mentioned in closing,

Will someone please write a post about purses and analyze why we put so much stuff in them…it’s truly amazing.  It’s as if we women were taught at an early age that the ability to cram your entire life into a smallish bag (which you will then carry around your neck until you need surgery, is part of growing up

Garden, Home and Party: Purses I have loved purses since I was a child.  I’m sure that there are a lot of you who share similar feelings for the essential handbag most women, and a few men, carry.  But
I do wonder sometimes why I feel the need to carry so many “what if” items.  Yes, I was a Girl Scout, and their motto [Be prepared] must have stuck.  Or maybe it’s because I’m a mother, albeit of adult children with their own children, but maybe that’s when it began.

I carry this Coach bag  when I trade off on purses (a favorite) but it weighs as much as the other one when loaded with my stuff…heavy.

Garden, Home and Party: Organizing

So I just couldn’t resist the temptation to pare down my handbag contents.  I’ve successfully pared down most of the closets, drawers and cupboards in our home, why can’t I do this?  It should be easy, right?

First of all, here is an inventory of what I carry in the current suitcase purse I lug it around (the items I’ve lined through I’m going to try to eliminate).  {By the way, I’ve never managed to be organized enough to change purses for different outfits.  I tend to carry a purse until it dies, or I tire of it, and then buy or switch to another to start a new cycle}

Garden, Home and Party: orgainzing

  • Mobile phone
  • 7” x 4 ½” makeup bag that includes lipstick, magnifying pocket mirror (don’t ask), sewing kit, nail clippers, small blush, highlighter, eyeliner maybe I’ll switch to a smaller cosmetic bag
  • Tissue and a couple of band aids – you never know when you might get a blister from a new pair of shoes.
  • Pen & Field Notes book
  • A few coupons keep the coupons in the car?
  • Hand lotion smaller size?
  • Gum maybe I don’t need this
  • Small tape measure
  • Travel sized pill box, filled with antacid, allergy and headache pills – I rarely use these items, but when you have a headache, you know how important they are.
  • Comb
  • Smallish wallet
  • Travel sized sunscreen maybe make sure the sunscreen is on before I leave the house?
  • Reading glasses / Sunglasses
  • Keys
  • Superfluous items ie. the dozen or so frequent buyer cards, promising deep discounts and the like. keep these in the car?

I weighed my purse and it’s 5 1/2 lbs.  Seriously?  Why am I carrying so much stuff.

So I received a bag like this a couple of years ago from my sweet daughter in law—in black.  I don’t think I can manage it for daily use, but I love carrying it to evening affairs.

Garden, Home and Party: organizing

I’m going to make it a goal, pare down the handbag, try really hard not to need some of the items I’m used to having on hand, and start shopping for something that will be more manageable—any excuse for a new purse!

Garden, Home and Party: orgainizing

What’s in your purse? ♥ Karen

A few changes around the house

2016 is well underway (What? It’s April?!) and I was determined to make a few changes in the house.

#1.  I changed out a chair that had been in our family room, with a chair that lived in our reading room. [It’s the little things]  The energy to clean, organize, and maybe mix things up a bit around the house hits occasionally and I have to take advantage of it. That’s the fun of making changes with items you own, no harm, no foul if it doesn’t work out. 🙂

BEFORE READING ROOM:  This is the chair and ottoman that was switched to the family room.  {The reading room gets its own little pre-lit tree each Christmas} 

Garden, Home and Party: a few changes

BEFORE FAMILY ROOM: This chair is oversized and while it looks comfortable, the upholsterer overdid it with the wrap on the back cushion and it feels like you’re being pushed out of the chair when you sit on it.  I plan to have this corrected with our upholsterer.

Garden, Home and Party: a few changes

AFTER FAMILY ROOM:  The toile chair and ottoman provide a little more space in the room and I was able to move one of my ceramic garden stools indoors and use it next to the chair.

Garden, Home and Party: a few changes

AFTER READING ROOM:  I sit in this room to read during the winter.  The room’s south facing window provides me with plenty of light and warmth when the weather cools.

Garden, Home and Party: a few changes

#2.  In February I reupholstered the red check sofa in the family room.  I’ll be shopping for some pillows and hope to eventually have a variety of cushion covers that I can change out for the seasons.

BEFORE RED CHECK SOFA: I took the pictures for this post when I first changed out the chairs.

Garden, Home and Party: a few changes

AFTER:  I purchased the khaki colored fabric from Dorell Fabrics for the sofa.  {If you live in Orange County, it’s a great source for upholstery fabric} While I shop for new pillow fabric, maybe something more spring/summer like, I was able to switch the reading room black and white pillows with the red pillows.  The red pillows are now in the reading room.  Isn’t it great when you can make changes without spending any money?!

Garden, Home and Party: a few changes

#3.  The final change for this particular post is my header on the site.  Kevin, younger son, changed it for me.  {Thank you Kevin!}

Future changes in store are mostly aimed at the yard.  This year I plan to start small. The first planting area I’ve tackled is the flower bed that surrounds the patio.  Stay tuned, I’ll share other updates as they happen.

Have you been busy around the house this year?  I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.  ♥ Karen

Repeat favorites from blogland and beyond

One of my goals this year was to post more about goings on in my garden and home. That gets a little more challenging as I share all there is to share that’s new.  So today I’m sharing images of some of my all-time favorite rooms.  You know, the ones you go back and look at time and time again and they still make you smile? You do that too, don’t you? 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: favorites

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This kitchen is perfect to me.  I love the design work of Marianne Simon and this kitchen is one of my all-time favorites. Not too big, not too small.

Garden, Home and Party: favorites

Garden, Home and Party: favorites

Garden, Home and Party: favorites

I first discovered Christy Ford on and George blog site (I’m not sure the site is still up and running), and her publication The Scout Guide.  I absolutely love her style.

Garden, Home and Party: favorites

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The rustic touches in this room and its overall loveliness are attributable in part to Bethany Puopolo, Architect.  Do you ever find a common theme when you’re admiring a room, or that many of the rooms you love are designed by the same handful of designers/architects over and over?

Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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This corner of a room (which is all I can find ~ source unknown) is so charming as a small library / desk space.  The books look like a collection of some kind and I adore the painting (wallpaper?) on the wall.  Details like the lantern are icing on the cake for me!

Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

Instagram introduced me to Trinity Holmes of c.1934.  I love all of her images and wish, oh how I wish, she had a blog site.  This kitchen vignette is absolute perfection, in my humble opinion. 🙂
Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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Are you noticing a theme?  Buffalo check fabric?  I do love it, especially when mixed with other prints.  Francie Hargrove designs some of my favorite rooms.

Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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Ever since I received Gil Shafer’s book, The Great American House: Tradition for the Way We Live Now I’ve been in love with each and every project I’ve seen that he’s had a hand in.

Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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Wendy Posard is another talent that I seem to be drawn to.  Her work for clients always seems fresh, less formal, more comfortable.  A deconstructed kitchen at it’s best.
Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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I even find certain retail sources provide inspiration and are wish list worthy, like Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.  This isn’t the old Sears Catalog, my friends! 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: Favorites

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I’m certain you have favorites too.  I’d love to hear of a few of your ‘go to’ designers. ♥ Karen

A book recommendation – Lies and Other Acts of Love

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It was only 1 year ago that I reviewed Dear Carolina, written by my talented friend, Kristy Woodson Harvey.  Dear Carolina is Kristy’s first book, a wonderful story with characters that are easy to love.

Garden, Home and Party: Book Review

Garden, Home and Party: Book reviewSo I was thrilled to be asked, once again, to review Kristy’s latest book, Lies and Other Acts of Love, released today!

I confess, I found this story even more riveting than Dear Carolina (and Dear Carolina was fabulous!)  The multiple viewpoint of the story, woven between Lynn “Lovey”, the matriarch of this family, and Annabelle, Lovey’s granddaughter, kept my interest and made it difficult to put the book down.

Garden, Home and Party: book review

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Like Dear Carolina, this book takes place in Kristy’s beloved North Carolina.  After reading both books I feel a deep kindred spirit with the women of the south. I’m not trying to over-generalize, but the women are often strong, highly principled and well bred, these are characteristics I’ve always admired.

Garden, Home and Party: Book review

In this story “Lovey” is a woman of wisdom, due in part to her 60 year marriage to the love of her life, Dan, and  raising 5 daughters.  You don’t bear 5 children and grow older without getting wiser along the way.  With that wisdom there are nuances to truth, and the occasional white lie can be beneficial to all concerned.

Garden, Home and Party: Book review

Annabelle is a beautiful and caring young woman, with what she believes to be a perfect family.  Her life becomes a little less idyllic when she breaks her engagement with the man most would consider her ideal mate, to marry a musician.  Annabelle is convinced Ben, her musician husband, is the love of her life, much like her grandmother [Lovey] and grandfather’s [Dan “D-daddy”] devotion to each other.  Her youthful idealism is inspiring, but as most of us know, maturity teaches us that live isn’t always black and white.

Garden, Home and Party

There are some unexpected events and an exciting finish makes this book a favorite story of family, love and life lessons.

Garden, Home and Party: Book review

Garden, Home and Party: book review

If you need an extra something for someone for Mother’s Day, this book would make a wonderful gift.  In any case, I believe you will enjoy Lies and Other Acts of Love.   ♥ Karen