Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Too Neutral

With apologies to everyone who loves Oil Rubbed Bronze and/or Rust--they have their place but I'm finding they just don't show up in my garden.

Like this adorable dog planter. He's lived at our house for years and no one ever notices him. Doesn't matter whether he's inside or out--he's basically invisible.
Poor little guy.

I decided it was time for a drastic change. Spray paint to the rescue.
(Look! He's started smiling. I think he approves.)

No more Mr. Invisible.
He's got personality now!

He shows up anywhere I put him.
I'm pondering giving the white a bit of Zsa-Zsa treatment. Any suggestions? Polka dots? Colored trim?

As long as I had the paint out...
I thought my little rust birds deserved some attention too.

A few coats of Ivory craft acrylic instead of spray paint (just in case I decide to revert to rust, all I'll have to do is scrub them in hot water) while I was watching the Espana take on Portugal in the World Cup and whoo-hoo!
Rosemary and Basil Fawlty aren't shy anymore.

A paint convert,

I don't know why it took me so long to find some other cherry-red loving bloggers but I'm joining the REDnesday party!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rose Babies

It's mini-rose season! Ya gotta love roses that come from the grocery store, get plunked carelessly in the yard, and are trouble-free compared to regular roses. Cold can't touch them. They bloom wildly. They're so little and cute I want to pinch their little baby cheeks!

Spunky orange
Soft apricot
Soft, soft pink
Glowing orange
Cheerful yellow
Even our cool Spring and delayed Summer can't slow down the mini roses. Thank heavens!

Come check out more fleurs and potagers here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Guideposts - Week25

It is better to travel well than to arrive.

LAX during a holiday season, arrived only an hour ahead, incredibly long check-in line, missed our original flight.  What could have been a rocky ending to our trip ended up being a memorable sunset dinner with a scenic waterfront view during our layover at the Oakland Airport.  Just thinking about that meal makes me smile and relax.

Sometimes those irritating roadbumps turn out to be unasked blessings if you go with the flow!

Sunny Sunday Smiles from

Join me in visiting Notes from A Cottage Industry for other inspirational quotes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Glued To My TV

Every four years my schedule revolves around World Cup TV coverage. I can recite the schedule for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ABC by heart. (I know, I know, I could be doing other things but I'd rather watch soccer.)

The U.S. is seriously taking years off my life by giving up early goals.  I've been a soccer mom/coach/ref/fan for too long to forgive "silly mistakes".

Still, they do have their moments.  If there were style points in soccer, I'd award some to this goal.
Love his field vision and the way he buried the ball in the top of the net.

I just about died through ninety-one frustrating minutes of missed chances against Algeria.

Saturday morning I'm going to be riding that roller coaster every soccer fan knows about, the one that jerks emotions and plays with a country's hopes.  It doesn't matter if you cheer for soccer powers like Brasil and Italia or upstarts like the USA and New Zealand, apparently the roller coaster comes free of charge.

Offering sacrifices to the Soccer gods,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Celebrating Summer

Summer means Queen Elizabeth roses and pink petunias, home-grown cherry tomatoes and green filet beans, al fresco breakfasts and barbecued dinners, long days and warm nights, crickets and ladybugs, no school bells and no paychecks, walks with Kharma and hikes with friends, strawberries and blueberries from Costco, books from the Paperback Exchange and Saturday morning yard sales, seven summer birthdays to celebrate, two-liter bottles of Diet Mountain Dew and pitchers of lemon water, family visits, naps in the hammock, and five gazillion projects to choose from each day.

It's anticipation rather than an alarm clock that wakes me each morning.  I love-love-love creating my own schedule!  I focus on three daily goals--time for exercise, good healthy food choices, and a solid achievement of some sort.  Some days I'm so energized that my feet don't stop from the time they hit the floor in the morning till I put my jammies on at bedtime.  I become a multi-tasking whirlwind--juggling garden chores, livestock, craft projects, sewing, housework and home repair and still working in some "me" time.

I want to look back with satisfaction at summer's end and know I filled it with enough good memories to last until the next summer vacation rolls around.

I love summer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Guideposts - Week24

Manual labor to my father was not only good and decent for it's own sake but, as he was given to saying, it straightened out one's thoughts.
~Mary Ellen Chase

My father and I had bedtime stories and games, holidays and camping expeditions--but to this day I think of my dad with gratitude when I grab a tool.  I can feel him looking calmly over my shoulder reminding me by example not to get impatient.  And when the job is finally done, I know the credit is his not mine.

Wishing you a Father's Day filled with warm memories,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Silver Spoons and More Creamy Whites

You know how you see something and get seriously tempted?  I was browsing at my favorite vintage store here in The Biggest Little City and became enamored by a display of silverware. "Only a dollar each", I thought to myself, "so worth it!"  

Then I realized that somewhere at home I already possessed silver teaspoons handed down from various elders.   (I'm a softy for old laces and linens, embroidered tea towels, the odd china plate and silverware.  I guess it's nice for grandparents and great-aunts to know someone will cherish their treasures no matter if it's bent, scratched, stained or cracked--just adds character--or mint perfect.)  Somehow I'd put away my vintage silverware and forgotten about it.

So I went "shopping" in my china cabinet and came up with a nice selection of silver-plated spoons. So far I've discovered that Cheerios taste better eaten from a silver spoon as do strawberries.  I suspect peach cobbler and ice cream are going to be a bit more special this summer as well.
Adding to our dining pleasure, my last foray at the nearest thrift store turned up another white salad plate for the lovingly-mismatched collection accidentally started by Mrs. Santa.  I love the perfect amount of embossing on this plate.  Some have so much relief that they're more decorative than useful.  And the fruit theme is so perfect for summertime!

What do you do to turn an ordinary day into something magical?  Do tell!

With a smile,

Come visit the party--so much creativity!


There's nothing much better than a quick-and-easy result.

Scrub, spray paint, add flowers.  Sit back and admire.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Could You Hear Me Laughing?

I guffawed at the movie trailer and thought I'd like to see it. How could I know that the movie would be even funnier and more entertaining than I thought?
Let's just say I'll never look at a laptop computer in quite the same way again.

Still chuckling,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One Thing Leads To Another

and another...and another--

It all started when I decided to move the birdhouse bench out of the chicken run to make room for the coop.

The girls loved sunning themselves on it, but it was the only place I could fit the coop.
So I moved it out and Mr. Pogonip helped me drag the coop into place.
It feels great to have the coop inside the run, even if the coup isn't painted yet and looks more like a kitchen cabinet than the doghouse it was in a previous existence.  A real roof would be a good idea sometime too. Maybe before next winter?

Then of course my shabby chic bench needed a new home.  I thought it would look nice under the incense cedar but that meant moving the prunings/seasoned firewood first. 
So now I have all my firewood neatly (more or less) stacked all in one place.

And once I had them stacked and the bench in place, I decided I needed to trim back some of the lower branches.
Otherwise they'd whack our heads every time we tried to sit on the bench. As I found out firsthand.

So now the trash can is filled to the brim because I got a little carried away.
Good thing today is Trash Day so there'll be room for more clippings tomorrow.

And with the branches pruned, a little more sunshine filtered through and I got the idea to use my narrowest veggie planter and making it a nursery bed for seedlings. 
So I shoveled the soil from it into the wheelbarrow, moved the planter, leveled and refilled it.  I'm planning to sow foxglove and columbine seeds...because you can never have too much of either at a cottage.

So now the bench is situated invitingly in the shade of the incense cedar.
Worth all the work because the dogs approve.  The bench looks inviting but the area around it was, well, a little junky looking. (Dog toys and bones don't count as junk--just keeping it real!)

My clean-up uncovered this unloved and neglected green watering can.  I soaked it clean, scrubbed off the label with my trusty chain scrubber, and now I have that spray paint gleam in my eye. 
Ah, but that'll have to wait for tomorrow, the goddess willing and the winds don't blow...

It was a busy Monday!

Peony Love

My neighbor inadvertently became my gardening instructor when I realized her peonies bloomed wildly and lushly in full sun, regular soil and average water. See, I thought they looked like delicate southern belles in need of shade and moisture. I know better now.

Her lovely soft pink is one of my favorites.  
I had one very much like it, once upon a time.  She hated the shade and moisture and competition in my backyard and didn't survive the move to a better growing area, poor girl.

I love the white blossoms with the color breaks.
They remind me of huge hundred-year-old bushes still flourishing in a farmhouse garden.

This double white--oh, my!
Positively, joyously bridal!

My little red girl did survive the move to a hotter, sunnier place a few years ago.
She's a reliable bloomer now.  She's happy and so am I.

Last year I bought this as a bareroot at Walmart of all places.  This is her first season of bloom.
She's a simple creature and a little shy each morning.

But she opens to display her golden heart to the sun and passers-by.
I'd have a garden filled with peonies if I had more sunshine and dog-free planting area!  They might not have a long season, but their exuberance and loveliness remind me to carpe diem.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Imposters and Renegades

Silly me--when an acquaintance asked me to join in an order of Buff Orpington chicks I thought that's what we'd be getting--Buff Orpingtons. The chicks came and it's hard to imagine anything more adorable but...doubt began creeping in. I thought it was a little strange that our yellow chicks had chipmunk stripes, and when they began to get their grownup golden-brown feathers all four girls had white petticoats.
I wondered if maybe they were a Buff cross but I haven't seen my friend to ask more about the order so I wasn't sure.

This weekend I saw some familiar looking chicks as I was browsing on Backyard Chickens.

Mystery solved.  I have Imposters Golden Comets (White Plymouth Rock crossed with a Hampshire rooster)  not Buff Orpingtons. I'm not unhappy that I have Golden Comets which are friendly, cold-hardy and spectacular egg-layers by all accounts, but I'm not happy that I don't have the Buff Orpingtons I was counting on.  Does that make any sense?  Just color me Naive Novice Chicken Farmer. Meanwhile I'm reading up on Golden Comets as well as other sex-link (little girls are a different color from the boys making them easy to tell apart) breeds.  At least I know they ARE chickens.

In other livestock news, I was adding new water to Lilypad Pond, sticking the hose between the rocks to flush debris into the filter and hoping to see one of our new little goldfish when I was unpleasantly surprised to find a garter snake slithering across the water.  Although my two big strong men were right in the kitchen getting lunch and couldn't help but hear me screech, neither of them came to my aid.  I had to beg my (unimpressed) sweetie to catch the snake and convince him to take it away.  I pointed out that all our goldfish had disappeared as well as our frogs and that SOMEONE apparently liked our pond buffet.  I guess it's time for another trip to PetSmart for another batch of goldfish (as soon as I'm satisfied the garter snake has moved on).  
The good news is that our first water lily just bloomed!