Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Day By The Sea

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself with some undeserved, unexpected and unearned free time? Recently, a dear friend took our two youngest daughters along with her and her children to an amusement park for the day. Since school was still in session in our area that meant they had the place to themselves pretty much. A score for home schoolers! That left me with a day to myself-oooh what to do, what to do? My imagination ran away with thoughts of painting or decorating/rearranging something or maybe catch up on some overdue reading.

I shared the happy news with Mr. but he had a different idea. He took the day off! The weather was not nice enough for the beach so we spent it in the quaint little area of Wickford, Rhode Island. It is a small sea side village with tree lined streets and the smell of salt water in the air. There are shops and bookstores and a place to sit by the water and eat a nice meal. Come along and I will show you.

I have a slight obsession with entry ways. I adore old doors on old houses. Don't they just beckon you to come in? I have a friend that I joke with that we should just go knock on the door and ask to look around. (I'm really only half joking when I say that.)

Flamingos! I am not the only out there with a flamingo fetish....and who thought to paint them? Genius! I also have a thing for just about anything patriotic (even if it's kitschy) probably because my strong connection to the military. I grew up a "brat"; an affectionate term for kids whose parent or parents were in the military.

I really liked this doorway, the old wood juxtaposed with the painted mill work and topped off
with a square succulent wreath. You will see it a few times in this post.

 I do enjoy history especially since becoming a home-schooled family. We live in a wonderful area of the country. It is loaded with American history and a smorgasbord of field trip opportunities.  I can just imagine colonial times with dirt streets or cobblestone; the sound of horses hooves striking the ground in rhythm as they passed by.

Couldn't you spend the afternoon here or stay for the evening and light a fire?

I was playing with the filter here and liked the effect. The picture below is without the filter. Either way the house is beautiful.


Many of the homes we saw looked as if they were quite fittingly dressed and  anxiously awaiting the Independence Day celebrations.


Yes, it's that door, again.

It was a lovely day strolling the streets and holding hands with my Mr. except when I had my camera going. The shops were nice but I think that my best souvenirs are my memories of day spent with my love and these pictures that I get to share with you. Have a safe Independence Day!

And back home again in our town.
Linking Up:
French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Chic On A Shoestring, Whipperberry, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, Blooming Homestead. Pieced Pastimes, Dwellings-The Your Home, Thoughts From Alice, Inside The Fox Den, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Huckleberry Love, The Dedicated House, Karen's Up On The Hill, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Coastal Charm, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Creatively Living, Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth, A StrollThru Life, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Our Home Away From Home, Cozy Little House, Savvy Southern Style, Blissful Bee, Simply Designing, DIY by Design, Crafty Allie, Common Ground, My Flagstaff Home, Jann Olson, Blesser House, A Delightsome Life, Must Love Home, Life With Lorelai

Pieced PastimesMy Show and Share Party

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Lazy Gardener

Don’tcha love summer! I do. The sun, the gardens, the beach and free time to do projects that have been patiently waiting while we finished our school year. They can wait a little longer. Today, I am enjoying the gardens.  Join me for a walk around the yard.

Grapes growing in the back and raised beds for veggies just behind the fencing. The dwarf spruce took a hit this winter.
My backyard is home to many flowers and plants. I am a kind of a gardener-by-default. When we purchased the home we inherited all sorts of plantings although they had been neglected for almost 3 years before we moved in. There was a lot to do. I didn't have much gardening knowledge but I have learned. *(Most of what you see was already there just hidden and needing tlc.)

Truth be told, I am a lazy gardener.  I like to plant it once and be done so because of that perennials are the way to go for me. I do use annuals in a couple planters and in hanging baskets on the porch.

Roses grow intermingled with bittersweet onto the arbor gate Mr. built for me at the front of our house. 

I love the hosta that spills onto the path.
Along the driveway close to the house grows periwinkle and an azalea that fills in with beautiful pink flowers in late April, early May. By the end of June the bed changes color as Rose of Sharon (at least that is what I think it is) exhibits a sunny yellow.

Ten years ago Mr. purchased four Endless Summer Hydrangeas for a Valentine’s Day gift for me.

Actually, he went to a local garden center and purchased a gift certificate for them that could be used later that spring. It is too cold in February to purchase or plant hydrangea.  I must say that was the best purchase of Valentine’s flowers ever. Roses die in a few days but my hydrangea come back every year and remind of his thoughtful gift. Two sit in the front beds and two on the south side of the house.

We have hosta and day lilies, galore! The hummingbirds like the flowers that the hosta produce. Some other bird friends have made their homes in bird houses Mr. and I made.

House wren
Sparrow in the sunflower bird house.

My absolute favorites are the peonies. I have a row of about ten plants along the fence in the back yard. They usually open just before Father’s Day. I love to cut them and put them in my grandmother’s shallow silver flower vessel.  Despite the large, voluminous blooms these flowers really are rather delicate. For weeks I watch the buds and the ants that busily work around each promise of a flower.  It takes one warm day and BOOM! They open up and I run for my camera. I usually get one week to enjoy them-that’s it. It never fails that rains force them to the ground (in spite of caging them) and the petals fall from the blooms like tissue paper.

The gardens are such that there is always something in bloom. On the rare occasion even my cactus will delight us with a blossom. Soon the black-eyed susan's will be making there debut. I enjoy them and they don't mind sticking around for a while. Amidst all the pretty things you will see herbs like chives that grow next to the cactus, thyme grows by the dwarf Alberta Spruce, sage sprawls out next to sedum, and there is mint among the black-eyed susan. A real gardener would probably tell me I should not grow all those things together but I am not a trained gardener. I do what I like and if it doesn't work I move it. If it dies I divide something else and fill in the hole. So far it is working for me. 

I do delight in seeing all the beauty as each flower comes in and then dies back giving way to something else. Each one is unique and perfectly crafted for often no other reason than to offer beauty that makes me think about it's Maker. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes; "There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."~John Calvin

Isa 66:2  All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD.

Thank you for walking the gardens with me today.During the growing season my posts will document changes in the gardens so please drop by again soon and see what is in bloom.

Linking Up To These Parties:
French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Chic On A  Shoestring, Craft Dictator, Just Us Four, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, The DIY Village, DIY Vintage Chic, Pieced Pastimes, Whipperberry, The Creative Girl, Craft-o-maniac, Nifty Thrifty Things, Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home, Finding Silver Pennies, Thoughts From Alice, Inside The Fox Den, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Huckleberry Love, Plucky's Second Thought, Karen's Up On The Hill, DIY Showoff, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Coastal Charm, Skip To My Lou, An Extraordinary Day, Sand and Sisal, Creatively Living, The Dedicated House, Create With Joy, Carrie This Home, Between Naps On The Porch, Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth, A Stroll Thru Life, A Bowl Full Of Lemons, Our Home Away From Home, Cozy Little House, Just A Girl And Her Blog, Elizabeth and Company, Savvy Southern Style, Simply Designing, DIY By Design, Crafty Allie, Live Laugh Rowe, Lambert's Lately, Grace and Good Eats, Common Ground, From My Front Porch To Yours, Joyful Homemaking, Jann Olsen, A Delightsome Life, Imparting Grace, Too Much Time On My Hands, AKA Design, The Charm Of Home, Life With Lorelai, Craftberry Bush, My Flagstaff Home, Must Love Home

***Featured on The Charm of Home,
 My Pinterventures   My Flagstaff Home  Elizabeth and Co.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Small World

We’ve all heard it but I am beginning to believe it. “It’s a small world.” (all world. We haYou know you want to bust out singing right now.) The past month or so in my blog life this phrase has taken on abundantly new meaning for me.

I posted a small, oh so brief tutorial of our kitchen island and bathroom vanity (respectively) on Hometalk.  Hometalk is kinda like Pinterest but much more focused. "Hometalk is the largest home & garden knowledge hub on the web. No recipes, make-up tips, ect.  Anyways, in a matter of a couple days my posts had thousands of views. Happy dance!

That wasn’t the end of it. I was then contacted by Hometalk to curate a clipboard for bathroom vanities featuring several variations of the same idea-using something other than a store bought vanity in the bathroom. This is what I came up with.

You can see it here at Hometalk.

Now, as if that was not enough, a couple months ago, Anita from Cedar Hill Farmhouse was asking her readers (I am one) for some before and after type projects for a post that she would feature on her blog. I submitted an abridged edition of our kitchen renovation and she chose it for her post! It ran Sunday morning. You can see the post here. When I checked the statistics on my blog Sunday night it showed that in less than 12 hours I had over 500 visitors to the blog! For some bloggers that is a drop in the bucket but for li’l ole’ me-WOW!

This week I have received messages from “across the pond”, Serbia and all over the U.S.A. One woman wrote to me about my name. It turns out that her daughter’s name is the same as mine and her last name was my maiden name! I told her, as I am now relaying to you, that I believe God is using all this show me how small all this world and everything in it really is and just how big he is.

In my introduction on this blog I wrote that I did not know where all this was going to lead and I still do not know…but the Lord does. So, while I linger, I will continue to try to make my world around me a little prettier, I will continue to take pictures and pontificate on things that capture my attention. Prayerfully, as I am allowed to do something I delight in, you will graciously continue to spend time with me. I hope you find enjoyment and encouragement to try something different. Paint something, build something, make something old useful again. After all, we have been made in the image of the Creator!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Step Outside

With Summer in the air (at least according to the calendar) thoughts of cookouts,  gardening and soaking in the sun have been filling my mind. We have a deck area off the small porch at our back door.  Mr. built it about 10 years ago and we have enjoyed it.

We just power washed the deck and painted it with a product called Restore. It is not as thick as other products but did seal the splintering deck boards. Our table and chairs are there and we have a small cast iron chiminea . (I ruined the suspension on my last car lugging that thing home from the Cape one summer!) We really do like to sit out during the summer but when the sun starts going down the mosquitoes make it impossible to stay out.

Don't you love plastic summer dishes from Big Lots! 

Looking at the back yard from the newly painted deck.

Once the porch was screened in last year it was really too late to worry about furnishing or decorating  it. The stores had packed up all their summer stuff by then and we were out of money. We had gotten two rattan chairs and a nice table for FREE from the same place I had gotten our lamps that I upcycled and we made do. The chairs were very straight backed and not very comfortable for relaxing on the porch but they looked nice.

We picked it back up this year with a fresh coat of porch cement paint. The ugly gray cement looks much nicer now!   I purchased an indoor/outdoor rug with lots of colors at the Christmas Tree Shops.  The stuff you can find in these stores-dangerous!!  I walk in there for one thing and before I get five feet in the door I am distracted and totally loosing focus. I found two chairs at Lowes. They have the wicker/rattan look but they are a poly or plastic. I found the cushions there, also and they had all the same colors as the rug! Yay!

The two lanterns I found on a local Facebook yard sale page for a small fraction of the price for new. (Melted candles included!)

Join me for some lemonade?

All put together it is a lovely addition to our outdoor living space; a nice room outside but protected from the sun or bugs in the evening.  It is nice for coffee  and a quiet place to read in the morning.  Maybe it will be where I start writing blog posts from, at least for the summer. If you ring the doorbell and I don't answer come around back-that's probably where you'll find me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

"New" Lamps

It is the first week of June, meteorological summer, and we have not seen hide-nor-hair of summer all week! Last week was gorgeous and so was the week before. We finished our school year and packed away some of our books we won’t be using anymore. We got the yard all ready, celebrated Memorial Day in shorts, power washed the back deck and put in the air conditioners all while basking in 80 degree weather.

 And now,  not so much.  Rain and temperatures that are 20-30 degrees cooler are keeping me indoors wearing a sweatshirt and pants with fuzzy slippers. Tuesday night Mr, and I went for a walk when he got home from work. At 5:30 in the afternoon in J-U-N-E I could see my breath!

I have plenty of projects waiting for my attention and since I can’t go outside I turned  to projects I could do indoors.

I brought home a pair of lamps when a commercial property was closing up and all the staging materials were up for grabs-FREE!

Totally not my style but I did not plan on leaving them look the way they did. I did, however, like the burlap shades.

I had been using a pair of lamps I bought for $5 at a yard sale. I had given them a coat of spray paint and tried to dress them up with some crystals that Mr. managed to knock off all the time.

I mixed up my favorite version of chalk paint  plaster of paris paint and went to work. They did take three coats, no primer needed. 

I sealed them with a spray sealer in matte finish and ta-da! 

 Now I have to decide if I want to make a fabric flower to go on the shades. I did borrow the one from my market bag to try to help me decide. The jury is still out on that one. 

Linking Up:
French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Chic On A Shoestring, Remodelaholic, Craft Dictator, Just Us Four, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, The DIY Village, DIY Vintage Chic, I Heart Nap Time, The Creative Girl, Whipperberry, Lolly Jane, Funky Junk Interiors, Pieced Pastimes, DIY Showoff, Dwellings- The Heart of Your Home, Finding Silver Pennies, Thoughts From Alice, Coastal Charm, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Skip To My Lou, Huckleberry Love, Creatively Living, The Dedicated House, Karen's Up On The Hill, Create With Joy, Mad In Crafts, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Sand and Sisal, Flamingo Toes, Cupcakes and Crinoline, Home Stories A to Z, Elizabeth and Company, DIY Dreamer, Our Home Away From Home, Cozy Little House, Just A Girl and Her Blog, Tip Junkie, Crafty Allie, Savvy Southern Style, Simply Designing, Gingersnap Crafts, The Blissful Bee, The Dedicated House, Live Laugh Rowe, Lambert's Lately, Common Ground, From My Front Porch To Yours, Joyful Homemaking, Grace and Good Eats, Crafts a la Mode, Blesser House, AKA Design,Imparting Grace, Too Much Time On My Hands, The Charm of Home, Craftberry Bush, Must Love Home, The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelai, My Repurposed Life, VMG206

UPDATE 6-30-2015
Chalk Paint is a trademark of Annie Sloan.