Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When Gardeners Fall In Love

Girl sees plant blooming in nursery and is amazed. Girl wants hibiscus.  Years pass.

Girl buys hardy hibiscus. For a lot of money. And is thrilled with late summer blooms.

Girl doesn't have the perfectly-drained and sunny spot for said bush so she leaves it in the pot for the winter. (Because hardy hibiscus can survive minus 30F.)

The winter is endless and cold.  Very cold.

Girl is dismayed at dead-looking stems in the spring. (What was she thinking?!)

Girl hopes for a miraculous rejuvenation.  Nothing happens.

Girl begins to rehearse her story to get a replacement plant at her local nursery which only has a six-month replacement policy.

Girl notices that the neighborhood roses-of-sharon are also dead-looking in spring.  Maybe there's hope.

Stems begin sprouting new growth. (June 9th? Miracles do happen.)

Hibiscus gets a haircut.

Inspired and relieved, girl digs up wisteria that hasn't bloomed since the fence fell on it years ago and puts in hardy hibiscus instead.  Plant grows and flourishes.  Buds form.  Buds show color.  Waiting is hard!

First hibiscus blossom on August 27th.  Smaller than a dinner plate, much larger than a salad plate.  Girl shares her delight with family, neighbors, passing strangers who all are forced to must admire it.

  Kharma investigates huge flower as possible alien invasion.
"It's safe, Mom."
August 29th.  For some, this is memorable as the first day of school.  Girl will always remember this side-by-side set of incredibly large blooms at the end of summer.

Love the two-toned swirl and the bright green leaves.  Amazed at how many blossoms it has.  She's a winner!


This was the nicest of happy endings.  And I'm happy to share at a very special party for all us gardeners:  an end of the season gathering of favorites over at An Oregon Cottage.

After sharing at these parties earlier this summer:

Monday, August 29, 2011

When the Gods Smile

I must be living right. I only had two things on my Garage Sale list--picture frames and a barbeque. Needed, but mundane.

Instead I was lucky enough to find these silver beauties...fifty cents each.  Don't hate me.

Fate also handed me the frames I was hoping for.  Three of them!  The gold one (minus the mat) will hold a new oil painting. Please forgive the artistically arranged silver on my vintange pink suitcase as temporary art. 
The long rectangle (with a little repainting) is perfect to re-create a chalkboard for my neighbors. More silver and suitcase art.  Hmmm.  Sensing a theme here. 

Not really.
The small one (currently looking even uglier than when I bought it) is for...something.  Not for laundry room art, which was my intention. 

I'm kicking myself daily for not buying the two wood frames that probably would have been perfect once they were painted.  Why didn't I? Ack!  I can't even say they cost too much--only free would have beat the price.  Kick.  Kick.

Check out this brand spankin' new Weber.  It wasn't a bad price when I first saw it at the church rummage sale, but I decided I'd return closer to the end of the day to see if it was cheaper.  Uh, yeah, half of the original amount made it a sweet buy to replace its decrepit/rusted/very short predecessor. 
And a lightbulb moment came along along free with it.

I like to chat with random people (something that used to drive my teenage boys crazy) so I expressed my delight at finding this amazing deal exactly when I needed a new barbecue as the Baptist volunteer took my money. I don't sling the Almighty around much and I'm not comfortable with people who do, but I realized her spontaneous "praise the Lord" was pretty much the same as my usual "there are no coincidences" mantra. Finding that similarity between us was my best bargain of the day.

The garage sale gods also had a good laugh at my expense.  I also bought a cotton lace tablecloth and have been wondering why I used pink suitcases for backgrounds instead of ecru lace. I ironed the tablecloth this morning and found that I'll soon be testing my mending skills on one gigantic and one smaller hole in the lace netting. 

They had all their linens taped into bundles and I was more concerned that the size was right.  It never occurred to me that these wonderful folks who teach craft classes and have an adorable gift shop would hide a flaw.  I don't really think they were hiding it--I just should have checked better. Drat.

Oh well, my intent was to fancify the picnic table anyway and I certainly won't feel guilty about hauling lace outside now!

It's all good.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Guideposts - Week72

Adventures are what make a summer.
~Robertson Davies
This summer's adventures:
  • Sleeping under the stars near Williams, Arizona, after a thundershower
  • Sleeping under the stars and a full moon on the way back--no tent, no stove, just air mattresses and sleeping bags
  • Getting a geology lesson in a parking lot
  • A morning hike almost every day
  • Re-building the Queen Mother's pond waterfall
  • Helping organize a family reunion
  • Picking a hundred and ten pounds of fruit in ninety degree sun, washing said fruit and  watching the family devour it
  • High-grading the leftover fruit for apricot jam and plum jelly
  • Seeing how much furniture we can fit in a rented mini-van for the trip to Oregon
  • Surrendering the steering wheel 
  • Moving (most of) TBG's stuff in two days when he finally found a rental
  • Knowing what time it was in Serbia
 Still adventurizing in the hopes that I can stretch summer just a bit further...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Barn Charm

There's just something about them.
Simplicity.  Purpose.  Beauty.
Home to barn cats.  Barn owls. 
Clandestine nests of hens eggs.  Mewing kittens hidden among the hay bales.
Dusty saddles.  Miscellaneous horseshoes.  Odd tools.
And little girls who like to explore and grow up remembering barns with fondness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


If you guessed that I am now tweeting on Twitter, you're right! I started for a really good reason.

My BIL has an extremely-rare illnesses, his medical insurance is through Kaiser and his surgeon considers him an urgent case.  Long story short, there has been poor communication, slow responses, records not sent, approvals moving slowly, and an unresponsive primary care physician.

When you are facing an inconclusive biopsy, a ten-to-twelve hour surgery (including direct chemotherapy in the peritoneal cavity) and a one-to-three weeks in-hospital recuperation as the result of a 1-in-2 million tumor it seems like you deserve just a bit of extra patient care.  You'd think that even a large HMO like Kaiser might expedite your case instead of acting like the Keystone Cops.

You'd be wrong.

And if that's how Kaiser treats a customer/patient who's really ill, imagine how cavalier they must be about patients who have run-of-the-mill cancer.  Or a stroke.  Or appendicitis.

I'm hoping that Kaiser is one of those image-conscious companies who assign an employee to watch Twitter, jump on any negative comments that show up, and resolve the problem as quickly as possible.  Because they are going to get plenty of bad publicity from me otherwise!

My sister and her family are using most of their energy to survive from day-to-day while facing a scary and uncertain future.  They have little time left over to struggle with a faceless entity, revolving doctors and basic foot-dragging.  And since I'm not close enough to march up to their local Kaiser hospital and demand answers for them (just as well since they'd probably summon security to remove the furious lady yelling her head off while carrying a placard stating "Kaiser is a joke"), I'm trying Twitter.  It can't hurt.  And it makes me feel less helpless.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening.

The ".../Tweet" in my title is the lost cockatiel that my neighbor rescued yesterday.  As the resident bird-person in our cul-de-sac I provided a cage, some food and fresh water for the little guy. 
He obviously was much-loved by his owners but his unclipped wings allowed him to fly through an open door and off into the Nevada summer.  Sadly, the little guy didn't make it.  Apparently he'd been away from home too long, hungry and thirsty, or perhaps had been injured.  It broke my heart.

I'd fallen in love with his sweet and gentle personality.  So much so that I found myself checking craigslist and discovered that there are cockatiels out there who need someone like me who enjoys spending time with birds.  Something tells me we might soon have a new family member.

Oh yeah--I tweet as "meadowsweetisme"--because I really am very sweet, don't ya think?  (FYI:  One of the first accounts I followed was Nathan Fillion--I'm a fan of both Firefly and Castle and I find him irresistibly cute and funny!)

Hoping for better days all around,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Guideposts - Week71

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.  Go forth and waste.
~Mary Englebreit

Amen, sistah!

Going forth,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heirloom Wardrobe Makeover

Painted in a vintage ivory-cream color, she looks like she just came out of a California ranch house. My uncle (a former Seabee) built it for my aunt (the love of his life) so she'd have a place for her pretties.  I think my aunt and my uncle would both approve of her fresh new look.
He went to college in Chico on the GI Bill and they lived in one of those older homes with bedroom closets the size of a shower stall. Or littler. I've never understood why anyone would design a home with a miniscule closet space. Hello! Even babies and toddlers need closet space.  Much less a new bride!

We rescued the family wardrobe from my cousin's storage locker last summer and it's been cluttering up the Queen Mother's garage for the past year.  I almost couldn't wait for my priority projects to be done so I could tackle her makeover!  My young neighbor aptly calls this color "Burnt" and it did nothing for the wardrobe.  Neither did years of dirt and a very splinter-y attitude.
It didn't help that someone had made these random cuts for electronics cords sometime. 
But a little hocus-pocus involving a luan skin appropriated from a rickety bookcase and some wood putty combined with a surprise apple-green interior have dolled her up considerably. 
She may have been "Burnt" before, but she's a bonny lass now with a story to tell and ready to be useful once again.  Can't you just imagine her in a craft room filled with glue and glitter and piles of lovely quilt fabrics?  Maybe with a couple of storage baskets on some added shelves?  Or in a child's room with sweet little dresses hung up and small shoes below?  Or in a farmhouse-inspired kitchen holding pantry items?

I enjoy what happens when elbow grease meets vision and creates something worth keeping!  Even more when it's quick and easy!


Party time! Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday (say that fast five times!)

and the ever-wonderful Show and Tell at My Romantic Home!

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Laundry Room

Now that I have the camera, camera cord and a working computer all at the same time...I remember that taking photos of small rooms with no windows is an exercise in color-balance frustration. Just the same, it gives you an idea of how much the mood of this room has changed.
In its neutral and boring color scheme.

It's a cheery place for dirty clothes to hang out.

The cabinet doors are staying off until I've either added trim to jazz them up or replaced them with glass doors. Meanwhile I'm looking for creative ways to disguise the utilitarian nature of the contents.

Or I would be if I had the attention span of an ant--this whole project is soooo last week. I currently have an enthusiastically half-unpainted wardrobe greeting one and all as they enter our cottage.  Serious decorating chops!

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Change of Focus.

The first (and only, final, last) family gathering that I've been working on for seven months was delightful and successful and fun and wonderful and rewarding.  And much more.  There's not an adjective that fully describes how insanely crazy I am about my family!  It was a team effort and I enjoyed working so closely with my cousins.  We're not only still talking to each other after our mega-project but we've woven our heartstrings a bit tighter in the process.

But the get-together is now family history and the loose ends are firmly tied up, so it no longer consumes my every thought and utterance.  Seriously.  The vacation drive back from Casa Encantada involved discussions about condiments.  Really.  (I'm not sure if that makes me detail-oriented or complete anal retentive.)

It's nice to move on to new challenges.  Before I panic and waste what's left of summer. Time to get involved in some other worthwhile effort.

Olympic Organizing Committe?  I'm just not that into sports other than soccer. (Plus the IOC haven't called back.)

World Peace?  Worthy but I suspect more frustrating in the short run than rewarding. I cover up enough grey hairs as it is.  So not into more of them.

I was thinking something creative.  Something tangible.  Something that will improve my quality of life and eliminate half my wrinkles.

Delving into my Summer List, I found the perfect project.  Short-term.  Cheap.  Easy-peasy results. No guarantee about the wrinkle remover though.

And I get to use my Purdy paintbrush.  Love, love, love having a great paintbrush again!  It's my own personal magic wand. 

Yep, I'm transforming my laundry/powder room from soothing natural colors to a palette that has more energy.  Lesson learned: avoid decorating that's subtle, soothing, and/or sophisticated.  It's not me.

The raw silk valance is headed for Craigslist to be replaced with some Cath Kidston-esque fabric that I've sewn. The tan and moss hand towels took a trip to the Queen Mother's. SW Interactive Cream walls received their first coat of SW Buff.  The rooms look much brighter.  That'll happen when walls go from fawn to vanilla ice cream and the trim from KM Bone to KM Antique White.

So.  Much.  Better.

We have turquoise and lime towels now.  The beadboard switchplate covers (Lowe's beat Home Depot's price by $3 each!) make my heart go thump-a-lump every time I see them.  Next up:  white frames for some original flower paintings.

And a search for my camera USB cord so I can download photos for the final reveal.  Where did I put it?

Smiling and contented,

My Guideposts - Week70

Life is short. Summer is shorter.

August arrived along with tiger lily bulblets and these words became the truest thing I'd ever heard.  I've got so much still to accomplish before summer vacay ends!  

Busting my hump,