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
 

 

The Patio Garden Changes

If you read my posts and/or live in Southern California, you’re aware that we are still struggling with a drought.  Last summer we maintained the yard as best we could, minimizing our watering schedule, mulching the planting beds and removing plants as they died of thirst.  As a garden enthusiast I was in denial.  I did some research into plants that were drought resistant, but never pulled the trigger on actually planting or buying those plants.  I was in a garden funk.  Now, determined to make some improvements, I’ve started on the planting bed adjacent to the patio.

BEFORE:

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden change

Note: While I love a good before and after, I’m not always willing to show the before. This is taking some courage on my part to let you see how horrible this flower bed became. (This picture was taken in January of this year) 😦

The Japanese boxwoods were transplants (3 years ago) to begin with.  It was a surprise to me that they all survived, but they never truly thrived.  Then my gardener decided he needed to hedge them more frequently than he should have.  This is the result.  It’s my experience that once a portion of the boxwood dies back, even with trimming and cleaning up the boxwood they rarely flourish again.  So, a clean sweep was made of the flower bed, except for the Iceberg roses, which have become a mainstay since they seem to be happy no matter what.  And I kept my Eden climber, for pretty much the same reason.

I decided to remove the Cecile Brunner rose since it had become so large and very high maintenance.  I wanted to plant some sun loving plants below so I removed it. More on that later.

Garden, Home and Party: Patio Garden, finally

Without the boxwood we needed some bender board.  Mr. B. did a great job of installing the redwood bender board I chose (as opposed to the synthetic product).  I know there’s more longevity with the synthetic, but I like the look of the wood, so we’ll see how long it lasts.

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden change

The ‘to do’ list for this area was:

  1. Remove the Cecile Brunner rose – done
  2. Remove the Japanese boxwood around the patio – done
  3. Amend the soil with an organic compost planting mix – done
  4. Plant a border plant such as Polygala ‘Petite Butterfly’ (this plant is drought resistant and blooms nearly year round here in Southern California.

AFTER:

I confess, while several of my sweet readers asked when I was going to show this planting renovation, I was waiting for the delphiniums to bloom and the Polygala to fill in a bit.

Garden, Home and Party: patio flower bed, finally

The Iceberg are just about to pop into bloom, the Polygala ‘Petite Butterfly’ are filling in, the heliotrope seem happy and the delphinium need to be staked, always a precaution since they are often top heavy, especially if we get any rain.

Garden, Home and Party: Patio garden, finally

The only drought resistant plant is the Polygala, but the delphiniums are going to live only through summer, so I’ll most probably replace them with lavender.  The heliotrope may outgrow this space, but I hope not.

Here’s the final plant list:

Polygala ‘Petite butterfly’ – border plant; drought resistant; will grow to 2′ wide and 2′ high at maturity; it’s an evergreen in our zone 10 and blooms most of the summer:

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

Delphinium: 1-2′; come in a variety of colors, most in purple, lavender and blue shades. Toxic to humans if consumed.

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

Heliotrope; 1-2′; the flower is scented.  The plant is just this side of the delphinium in the picture.

The extra space around the plants are to give them plenty of room to grow, I’ll take pictures this summer and share the progress.

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

One last garden note, I cut the Cecile Brunner down and it took most of a morning. Cutting is easy but cutting up the canes for the recycle bin, not so much.  So we left the stump, which is sizeable as the rose has been planted for years.  Now I have 4 pretty strong canes coming out of the stump, my thought is to leave them, see if they’ll bloom and hope that, since the canes are small (like a new bare root rose) that it will be manageable for a year or two.  Any experience with this situation? (See it on the far right of the image below?)

Garden, Home and Party: garden patio, finally

Now I think we’re ready for spring/summer outdoor relaxation.  Since I’ve prepared for warmer weather, we’ll probably get some remnants of El Niño, which eluded us this winter.🙂

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

Garden, Home and Party: patio garden, finally

Any plans for your garden?  ♥ Karen

 

Happy Spring ~ Happy Easter

I’m always excited for spring.  I hope you stopped by earlier this month and checked out the vast array of ideas for the season via Project Design Now – Spring Mantles.  There are some great ideas for decorating—and not just the mantle from the team of design enthusiasts that participated!

This beauty was one of my favorites…Ciao Newport Beach created the fresh, spring look

Garden, Home and Party: Easter

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Spring brings some new bird friends to the area…I’ve spotted a blue bird on my walks, not as vibrant as this fellow, but still very pretty and we’ve had up to 6 Robin Red Breasts visit our birdbath at the same time!

Garden, Home and Party: Spring Summer

 

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For me spring always means spending more time in the garden.  Warm days, cool nights.  Sparkling sunshine (have you ever noticed how the light changes with the season.  Spring has it’s own special, sparkly light).

The patio bed needed a major renovation.  I’ve completed this space and will share a post about it, and other little changes in the garden, later.

Garden, Home and Party: Happy Spring

Garden, Home and Party: Spring Easter

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It’s a dream of mine to be able to walk through my garden and come up with a bouquet as wonderful as this!  I am growing sweet peas, I hope they provide me with bundles of blooms.

Easter eggs whether chocolate or real are a staple for Easter.  There have been some really pretty ideas for dying eggs.

Garden, Home and Party: Easter

Garden Home and Party: Easter

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Garden, Home and Party: Easter

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Garden, Home and Party: Easter

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So if you haven’t dyed your eggs yet, visit HERE to receive step-by-step guidance on these beauties (above) and HERE for a general overview of how to dye Easter eggs.

Spring also brings with it the chance prepare a few more meals on the BBQ and to generally lighten up on the mouth watering calorie laden casseroles.  True confession, I still enjoy the occasional casserole even during the summer.

Garden, Home and Party: Easter-Spring

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These lovely to look at tea sandwiches made me want to plan a spring tea party for a few friends!

Garden, Home and Party: Easter/Spring

This meal above is pretty typical of our traditional Easter dinner.

If you saw this recent post, you know I love to set a table.  These charming Spring/Easter tables give me some ideas for the upcoming season.

Garden, Home and Party: Spring/Summer

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Garden, Home and Party: Easter/Spring

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How cute are these little bunny plates?

Garden, Home and Party; Spring/Summer

One last note, if you haven’t already filled an Easter basket with a few goodies for yourself, I’d like to mention the newest book by Kristen Woodson Harvey, Lies and Other Acts of Love which will be released April 5th.  If you pre-order from the Design Chic blog site, you’ll automatically be entered to win a $1,000 gift card to Shop Design Chic their online store.

I’m excited to reviewing this wonderful book on April 5th right here.

 

What are you doing this season.  Special plans for Easter Sunday?  I wish you a happy spring and all the “new beginnings” it can bring, and a very happy Easter.  ♥ Karen

 

 

 

Coffee and the machines that prepare it for us

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I first started drinking coffee when I was in my late teens.  It was a bit of an acquired taste for me and I added half and half and sugar.  When I met/married Mr. B he had lived in Germany for 2 years and loved well brewed coffee.  I dropped the sugar once I tasted a really good cup of coffee and have never looked back, but adding half and half is still my first choice when drinking the dark pick-me-up.  Whipped cream and cinnamon is welcome on a cold day!

Garden, Home and Party: Coffee in kitchens

I  enjoy 1 1/2 – 2 cups every morning but am pretty cautious about drinking it past noon as it keeps me awake.  Through the years we’ve had a variety of different machines to prepare our coffee, including a French press—some of the best coffee was made using our French press.  So today’s post will include some very pretty kitchens and their placement of a coffee maker of some kind.

This is one of my favorite kitchen ideas…utility mixed with the right amount of art and flowers.  If I was confident I could style shelves this well, I’d definitely go for open shelving in some part of the kitchen next time.

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in kitchens

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Oh, and the inspiration for this post was an article in the New York Post talking about how coffee can help reverse liver damage from drinking alcohol.  I don’t drink that much but I do enjoy a glass of wine after work most evenings, so I thought this might be a win-win.🙂

Now here is where it’s crazy in the GHP house.  We own this beauty.  It makes espresso and steams milk…it’s very pretty, however, we own a drip maker as well.  Seriously, Mr. B!?  My kitchen counter space is limited…2 coffee machines?!

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in kitchens

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in kitchens

After whining discussing this with family, I was given this clever machine by our California kids.  It makes espresso and a regular cup of coffee, all from one machine.

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in the kitchen

But, (there’s always a but) it’s an expensive cup of either espresso or coffee, comparatively.  And environmentally safe disposal of the pods is a bit of a headache.  I love the sleek lines and I appreciate only one machine on the counter.  Am I ever satisfied? Um, maybe not.

The forethought of this kitchen design feature is pretty cool.  A coffee cupboard that has it’s own water source.  And you can close the doors when not in use.  Maybe in another house.

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in the kitchen

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The coffee maker in this kitchen has the bonus of a shelf for coffee cups…convenient.

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in the kitchen

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This lovely kitchen has what looks to be a stove top percolator…a blast from the past. Fitting for such a beautiful kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: coffee in the kitchen

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An Ikea kitchen, isn’t it pretty?  It looks like their coffee source is an espresso maker tucked in the back corner.Garden, Home and Party: Coffee in the kitchenGarden, Home and Party: Coffee in the kitchenCoffee makers continue to change and possibly improve.

This is a Siphon Coffee maker from Williams Sonoma.

I haven’t read the reviews, but it looks pretty, doesn’t it?

Tell me, are you a coffee drinker?  Several of my friends won’t touch the stuff. If you are a coffee drinker, do you make your own or rely on Starbucks, Peets or some other fabulous coffee house?  Have a great Wednesday and a beautiful upcoming weekend!  ♥ Karen

Project Design: How To Style Your Spring Mantel — Two Ways

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Garden, Home and Party: Design Project

Let me begin by saying how honored I am to be here among the creative women of each of the sites linked below.

SPRING is right up there with autumn for me.  I love both seasons equally.  Nature provides us with so many visual inspirations this time of year.  So when it came to creating a Spring Mantle (two ways), I knew I’d have fun working on the assignment.

Full disclosure, this lovely bouquet was a gift for my late January birthday from my sweet daughter-in-law.  It positively is the picture of spring with tulips and anemones, so I had to start early on my spring mantle ideas.

My first spring mantel is fairly simple.  I’ve been attempting to declutter all around the house and this mantle reflects my version of restraint.🙂

GHP: #ProjectDesignNow

The Hare graphic came from The Graphics Fairy.  I printed it on vellum and cut it to fit a frame I had in my stash.  I framed it over a page from an old book.  The Graphics Fairy has a library of free graphics.  I can usually find something fun for any occasion.

Garden, Home and Party: ProjectDesignNow

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

I collect nests and when I find an abandoned nest on one of my walks, I always bring it home with me.  The metal rabbit stand is something I’ve had for years.  It’s meant to hold a pillar candle, but I’ve used it for candy and now nest-holding at Easter.

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

For spring and summer I turn to my glass candle holders, the candles are the best buy around, from Trader Joe’s.  They are dripless and unscented and value priced for $3.99 for a box of 8.  At my TJ’s they come in ivory and white.

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

My second spring mantle is a little different—more of a nod to the delights of Easter through a child’s eyes. Being a grandma does this to a person! 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

The pink tulips from the grocery store.  They opened overnight! Tulips are one of my favorite spring flowers.  The blue vase is one of two that normally stand on either side of the mantle.  I bought them shortly after Tina of The Enchanted Home opened her online store.  The nest is the same one I used for the other mantle, but this time it’s sitting in a silver candy dish atop a few Beatrix Potter books.  I have a collection of Halcyon Day boxes and the hot air balloon egg was from Easter of 1985.  It commemorates my first trip to England, a wonderful memory.🙂

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

On the other side I have a favorite ceramic rabbit—he’s carrying real carrots and some sprigs of parsley, health food, right?  The Hare graphic is the same but the little metal birds are eating some bird seed.

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectdDesignNow

One last photograph.  I kept thinking both stylings were sparse.  My sweet daughter-in-law suggested I try the clock that normally lives on the mantle, in addition to the rest. Here it is…too crowded?  I think I like it better without, maybe I am learning to appreciate the less is more trend!  :-)

Garden, Home and Party: #ProjectDesignNow

I hope you enjoyed my two mantle vignettes.  Be sure to visit each of the talented bloggers below.  You can never have too many ideas for the prettiest season of the year…SPRING! You can also visit the Pinterest board for more ideas.

The talented designers, Cindy Hattersley [Rough Luxe Lifestyle] and Mary Ann [Classic Casual Home] host this series and I have loved every Project Design post they, and the participants, have shared.

{If you’ve missed these special posts, filled with inspiration and creative ideas you can check them out here—“Gallery Walls”, “How to Style your Coffee Table”, “Refresh your Living Room with these Inexpensive Tips” and “How to Create a Beautiful Bed”}

Be sure to visit the creative team joining this Project Design episode.

Amber B. Design Studio

ciao! newport beach

classic ⋅ casual ⋅ home

Dimples & Tangles

Katiedid

Lisa Mende Design

Lucy Williams Interiors

Rough Luxe Lifestyle

The Pink Pagoda

Garden, Home and Party: Design Project

Table settings with a touch of whimsy

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Before today’s post I want to invite you to join me, and a talented group of others, this Friday [March 11th] for the next installment of Project Design #ProjectDesignNow.  We will be sharing “How to Style Your Spring Mantle Two Ways”.  It’s sure to be fun and chock full of ideas for putting some spring touches in your home.

Garden, Home and Party: Design Project

Amber B. Design Studio

ciao! newport beach

classic casual home ⋅ home

Dimples and Tangles

Katiedid

Lisa Mende Design

Lucy Williams Interiors

Rough Luxe Lifestyle

The Pink Pagoda

Now to Table settings with a touch of whimsey…

I have enjoyed setting a table since I was a little girl.  Once I moved into my own apartment I found any and every excuse to have people over for a meal.  It was very brave of my friends to accept since I wasn’t a very accomplished cook back in the day. The joy was, and still is, the creative process of setting the table.

Garden, Home and Party: setting the table

Once a new bride, I used my china, crystal and silver for every dinner party we hosted. With time, I realized that it was just as much fun, if not more, to keep it casual. Today, I still enjoy setting a formal table for the right occasion, but I mostly use my everyday pottery / porcelain dishes, and simple glassware.  I interchange my sterling flatware with a couple of other, more casual, sets of flatware depending on the dishes I’m using.

of course I have my ruler handy when setting the table to make sure the utensils and plates are the appropriate distance from each other and the edge of the table. 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

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I enjoy the fun of thinking of new ways of setting a table, and find there are lots of out of the box ideas online that inspire creating a table the reflects a season or a theme. A bit of whimsey never hurts.

Last summer my friend Wendy hosted a birthday celebration.  I love her use of Lori Mitchell figures that reflect summer fun.

Garden, Home and Party: tablesettings

Shells were on the table as well as her beautiful crystal bowl filled with water and floating candles.

Garden, Home and Party: tablesettings

{table setting by Wendy M.}

My winter birthday was celebrated at Carla’s, where she used a winter wonderland theme.  It was lovely and worked well with our cooler than usual weather at the time.

Garden, Home and Party: table settings

Garden, Home and Party: table settings

{table setting by Carla W.}

One year for St. Patrick’s Day I planted little pots of 4-leaf clover that Trader Joe’s sold and then gave each guest a chocolate leprechaun.  I enjoy using nursery plants for the table, you can plant them in the garden afterwards. 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

Easter of 2014 I pulled out the Beatrix Potter figures and a few of the Beatrix Potter books I used to read to my kids (and now read to our granddaughters).  I planted a concrete planter with sweet pea and viola.  The violet china pattern was my grandmother’s, and a friend made the runner {thank you Gretchen}

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

Garden, Home and Party: Table settings

This image inspired a table setting of my own when hosting our birthday group.  The guests of honor, Tom and John, identical twins, enjoy an October birthday and I felt it called for something more masculine.

Garden, Home and Party: Table settings

This was my version… {sorry for the glare coming through the window}

Garden, Home and Party: table settings

Garden, Home and Party: Table settings

Last month I hosted a birthday dinner for Mr. B and our youngest son’s birthdays.  I wanted to keep it simple and decided this rusty urn went well with the rustic look of my Jan Barboglio candle holders.  I filled the urn with tree fern from the yard and added a bag of Granny Smith apples.  The candles could have been taller but we didn’t light them since we ate early.

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

Moss on a dining table is one of my favorite uses of the sheet moss sold at craft stores. I love the earthy feel to it.  Mixed with roses and other flowers, it’s natural and lovely and transports us to an outdoor setting, even indoors.

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

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Setting the table in an outdoor “room” is where you can enjoy mixing things up a bit. Setting the table with a moss base and using terra cotta pots as the candle holders is clever and fitting for a autumn gathering.  The twigs and berries conjure up an image that a gust of wind blew these pieces to the table top.  This same setting could be recreated indoors.

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

{via Michelle Edwards ~ Sweet Something Design}

I’ll end with a table setting compliments of Martha Stewart.  Woodland creatures, birch tree-looking candles and small pots of moss or fern complete the look.  It’s whimsy at its best.🙂

Garden, Home and Party: table setting

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I’m out of time, but I’d like to invite you to visit my friend, Kelly over at “talk of the house” for further inspiration for table setting.  This talented blogger takes table setting creativity to a new level.

How do you entertain?  Is there ever a bit of whimsey to your table settings?

43 years and counting

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Hi Friends!  Happy Wednesday!  Is anyone besides me feeling like time is flying by?  How can February have only 5 days left…thanks to Leap Year we get an extra day this month.  Hooray!

Mr. B. with Winnie, our rescue that thinks she’s a lap dog.  

Garden, Home and Party: happy anniversary

This will be a short post but I wanted to take the time to wish Mr. B. a Happy Anniversary.  This past 43 {gulp} years have been fun.  Hope we can enjoy another twenty or more.

Garden, Home and Party

One of the truths of a successful marriage is a little compromise, even when home decor is the topic. Today I want to share rooms that convey (to me) a certain masculine feel. No surprise, a few are Ralph Lauren. This is for you Mr. B. ♥

The heart of the house.  I love art and unexpected furniture in a kitchen.  This is a favorite room with the side table, lamps, ironstone tureens and equestrian paintings.  {sigh}

Amelia-Handegan-kitchen-equestrian-art

Navy wall with white trim?!  A timeless look. I’ll have to take the leap and paint a room in a dark color such as navy or black one day.

Garden, Home and Party

A touch of black, you know how I’m drawn to that!

Garden, Home and Party

Grasscloth wallpaper, black bookcase dotted with blue and white porcelain and a spectacular side chair adorned in zebra, who could ask for anything more?

Garden, Home and Party

A room that has a masculine quality yet seems inviting.

Garden, Home and Party

A room with the perfect touches of feminine (chandelier) and masculine (antlers) and old (fireplace surround, detailed ceiling trim) and new (modern art over the fireplace), a winning combination in my book.

Garden, Home and Party

…and at the end of the day, who wouldn’t sleep well in this dark, well appointed, bedroom?

Garden, Home and Party

This is me, waiting for Mr. B to get home from a busy day at the office! (yeah, right) doesn’t everyone stand around in their strapless gown?🙂

Garden, Home and Party

I imagine this room as a getaway second residence in the mountains.  Daydreaming here.

Garden, Home and Party

Thanks to my readers for indulging me in these little daydreams; and to Mr. B. for making 43 fun and happy. 

 

Organized yet?

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I’m one of those people that actually enjoy organizing closets and drawers.  Still, as we’ve lived in our house for 34 years in April. {I’d love to say I was 10 years old when we moved in, but I’d be lying}  We raised our kids here and we’ve handed off most personal belongings to our California son; Our Texas son still has items in “family storage” [read: our attic space in the garage].

As I reported early last year, the Mr. B. and I have been paring down, analyzing each box with the understanding that we’re not getting younger, and our married sons have little interest in lots of the things we’ve amassed.  We’ve made inroads but it’s amazing how you can pare down so much and still find more!

So, I’m going to share some pretty organized spaces in pictures…it’s what I do to keep me going on projects as large as this.🙂

I’d like to start with the pantry.  I think that’s an easy one for me…I check dates on foods (no, I won’t use the Jello pudding mix which has a ‘best by’ date of June 2012).  I chuck or give away foods that were gifted to us if I know we’ll never eat them.  I’d like to say I only need this much pantry space, but that wouldn’t work.  Still, I like to keep like items in close proximity to make my pantry look organized.  I use baskets for certain foods, like you see here.

Garden, Home and Party: organization

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The use of this typically dead space is so clever.  It appears that it serves to store more than just pantry items.  Do you see the little etched glass letter on the door…too cute.

Garden, Home and Party: organization

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This is the exterior of my pantry.  When we remodeled the kitchen our designer friend recommended that we build something that looks more like a piece of furniture.  I’ve not been disappointed, but certain times of the year I could use a little more space.

Garden, Home and Party: organization

Since we’re in the kitchen anyway, take a look at the drawer organizers the talented Joan, for the love of a house uses.  This makes the kitchen drawers look pretty as well as organized.  {if you’ve never visited Joan’s site I urge you to stop by, you won’t be disappointed}.

Garden, Home and Party: Organization

Garden, Home and Party: Organization

{for the love of a house}

While we’re still in the kitchen, I think cupboards that hold glasses, plates, etc. are important, especially since Mr. B. likes to remind me of the number of sets of dishes we own!

This hutch installed in an Atlanta Home by the talented Carter Kay Interiors is a dream of mine.  It has appeal for the styling of the items, while having a lot of room for stacks of plates. My good friend, Gretchen, has a cupboard similar and I’ve always admired it for its style as well as functionality.

Garden, Home and Party: organization

{Carter Kay Interiors}

This is a nice piece as well…I could definitely organize my collection of plates in one of these.

Garden, Home and Party: organization

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So next on my list is the clothes closet.  This is an ongoing battle.  I should get rid of more of the items that I don’t wear as often as the “organizing gurus” recommend.  I often worry that if I get rid of something I’ll need it for the next outing.  Does this happen to you?

Wouldn’t you love it if your closet held just the things you wear often and love?!  Oh well, it’s a work in progress, I’ll keep trying for a capsule wardrobe.

Garden, Home and Party: organizing

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Leave it to real simple to come up with some handy tips on organizing drawers.  I loved this idea.

Garden, Home and Party: organizing

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Stores, like Pottery Barn, have components you can purchase to help with organizing your closet.  Container Store as well.  This example is nice but I don’t have a spare room to convert into a closet.  I always imagine that if you have lots of space it’s easier to stay organized…is this true?🙂

Garden, Home and Party: organizing

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The final space I have to share is something I’ve always thought would be wonderful.  A room of my own where you could craft (not that I do much of that), wrap presents, store things that you know you’ll need for that next project and a desk space to type your blog posts.🙂  How cool is this…

Garden, Home and Party: organizing

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The biggest obstacle I’ve encountered are the heavy photo albums and photo boxes of photographs.  To scan and save them will take me forever, yet I know I need to do something…any handy tips on organizing and possibly paring down this part of our lives?