Clean the inside of the cup first.

The problem with waiting to take photographs is that things never look quite as stunning as when the project is first completed, especially with two toddlers around marking their territory by toy droppings.

Nevertheless, I’ve finally photographed the garden. IMG_5035

We trimmed down bushes, (to be further trimmed or relocated in the future), taken out a spreading, prolific, unattractive-when-it-dies, orange and yellow flower, added some new plants that will get us closer to our totally edible garden. The prizewinning additions (in my opinion) are the Spanish lavender and English lavender. We also have basil and purple basil, lemon balm, and zucchini plants. Everything is drought tolerant, because we believe in going green.


I guess it doesn’t look like much at the moment, but we have the future in mind!

My husband and two strong men attempted to move the dolphin fountain from its prime real estate to a dolly while we wait to sell it or give it away. However, with “grunting power,” as my husband described, they were only able to lift the dolphin section and were unable to budge the rest. IMG_5037


The conclusion: we try to sell it on craigslist for someone who can move it or we use the base as a planter for succulents and find an appropriate way to discard the sea-life.


On to the indoors…where things look better generally under our care (Christ did say to clean the inside of the cup first…)

My pillows arrived! To complement the Art Deco chandelier (still not up yet) I purchase three different types of pillows, two of which have definite Art Deco references: zebra print and a geometric print both from Pier 1. IMG_5011

The other, Bingham Suzani Indoor/Outdoor Lumbar Pillow is from Pottery Barn with shade of brown that tie everything else together. An outdoor pillow makes me feel more at ease and less worried about it getting soiled by yogurt moisturized little hands.



I’ve added this last picture so you can see how the pillows complement the wildlife here.IMG_4998

…pretty good, I think.

I’ve gone to all the Dollar Tree stores I can stand to find the frames I need to complete the Stations of the Cross. We’re two stations short of the traditional complete set, and three short of what I wanted (I planned to include Easter for a teaching moment).   I hung them to encourage a minimalist graphic look, meant to draw the viewer in. The small prints make the viewing intimate, as a meditation on the Stations should be.


Last but not least, after visiting Selective Consignments in Hughson, we negotiated an amazing price for a stunning 1935 Wurlitzer baby grand piano (approx. a fifth of it’s value).   We’re hoping to have a concert here during a party next month. It’s the first stick of furniture my husband actually cares about. It makes me want to get renters’ insurance.

I also found this early to mid-century end table.IMG_5030

I’m thrilled with how it complements the World Market Rowen dining chairs turned living room chairs.



The home feels like ours. The details of the home that were glaringly not us are gone and we’ve made our mark. I’ve even found some inspiration for the kids’ rooms: turquoise (pool) and gray for our eldest child’s room (soon to be shared by a boy and girl) and coral and flax for the nursery. My current plan is to get a sample quart of coral (I’ll have Sherwin Williams match the color from a West Elm catalogue) and paint an accent wall. The windows are perfectly placed for it! Pair it with botanical prints and we’re in business. The actual scheme beyond the pool-colored curtains and sheets, and gray paint I already own has yet to be developed.

More to come!

An intro to the great outdoors

We continue to move along.  The living room is nearly done (at least for this stage of the game).  I’m so pleased with the clean, modern look of Collonade Gray in the walls.  We have our World Market basket weave lamp shade is up in place of the already-here chandelier.


When I walk down our hallway I see this focal point.


New pillows are on the way.  Our centerpiece pillow from Pottery Barn and the accompanying pillows are from Pier 1, all referencing Art Deco to honor our new chandelier for the entryway (!).





Here is a closer shot with better lighting.


The chandelier is original Art Deco beauty.  With it came the original glass for the fixtures.  We’ll take down the ceiling mounted light and move it to the hall bathroom to replace the purely utilitarian (although it doesn’t work) ceiling light fixture.  With my father’s help I’ll rewire this treasure piece and she’ll be up before the end of the week. Genevieve Gorder of HGTV calls these sorts of pieces the jewelry of the room.  And I agree!


I’ve yet to post any photos of the exterior of our new home.  Here she is!



The house faces east so the living room has tons of light.  The orientation does make it warm in during the day, however, the excellent layout, plantation shutters and ceiling fans in every room limit the discomfort we might have had.  Our previous home faced west, had no ceiling fans (except a large on in the tiny master) and the layout provided little opportunity for circulation.


Gardening has begun!

Here is our starting point:

IMG_4956 IMG_4962 IMG_4955

The tall shrubs are on their way out.  I’ve been gradually trimming down the large round shrubs as well.  The previous owners featured a dolphin water fountain which we look forward to selling.  For now we’ll have to plant around it as it has been difficult to schedule muscular friends to help my muscular husband move it.  My feeling about this landscaping is that it is entirely too busy and that the proportions create a visual dissonance.  I’d like to see more balance and visual flow.  I like shrubs, but when their size is controlled.

So, we’ll clear out the clutter and begin the process of growing an edible garden, focused primarily on perennial herb plants.  The color scheme will be purples and “fire” colors (yellow, orange, red).  I love crape myrtle trees but I’m not sure if this one will stay.  We’ve talked about planting fruit trees along the side of the yard and possibly adding a short iron fence to keep our wild children safe.  Time will tell what we have in store.


First Musings

I am considering having a blog.  I am not sure why.  Could it be beneficial to others?  Would others enjoy seeing my little crafts and decorating projects?  At one time, I was a good writer.  Could this perhaps be a useful venture?  Let us see…

This weekend I put the home through what it takes to get over the rainbow (a tornado) in a desperate need to realize some blocked up creative energy.  So in our great room which has no walls and little wall space, we removed the piano (placing it against the sliding glass door in my daughter’s room), moved the living area away from the fireplace orienting it to the backyard sliding glass door, and created a eat-in kitchen feel by giving the dining table a much smaller footprint.

Emotionally how did it fair?  The room feels more spacious.  The couch faces the kitchen so we can chat and relax and nurse without a sense of hiding from the world.  A beautiful old world painting hangs over the bar reminding me of the Irish pub in Portrait of Jenny and Michael Collins going to battle (even though the painting is really more like a landscape from a Thomas Hardy novel). Miriam threw herself on the empty rug as we moved furniture and said she would go to sleep on it. My little darling’s playing vigor is renewed in what feels like a new space.

I love making seasonal adjustments.  It feels like spring is almost over since the weather predictions hover around 90 degrees and we can’t run our air conditioner.  But I am reminded that it is spring because my first ever in-ground flowers have begun to bloom.  I saw two iris plants blooming: one, that iconic purple and white beard Iris in Van Gogh’s paintings and the other, a periwinkle blue.  I never knew flowers could look so beautiful and I did not even plant them myself, but I tended them and weeded them and worried for them.  I am at this time ignoring that something seems to have nibbled holes in the petals of one.  I cut it just the same, paced it in a vase as the first fruits of my labor and love.  So it has a proud place on the dining room table.

I will continue to make adjustments to the room and prepare it for the changing of the seasons. The cute spring items will be packed up make room for the hot colors of summer. I plan to focus on using orange.  That is the change the takes place here in the valley.  Spring is beautiful and fresh and green and full of life.  Summer can beat down on us in the intensity of its heat.  Then the home becomes a refuge and the game is closing the curtains, opening and closing the windows in order to maximize the evening and nighttime breeze and minimize the dry slow heat the follows during the day.

It felt good to think about writing again and spend some time doing it.