Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Surprise in My Garden!

Spring is almost here! After the wind and rain of last weekend, the sun was shining and it was in the upper 60's today. Just a lovely day! So, I decided it was time to retrieve a treasure I had discovered in my garden.

A couple of weekends ago, my sisters were all here (4 of us) to celebrate the youngest sister's birthday. Two of them don't get up here too often. So since the weather was nice, we walked around the property a bit. We wandered into my overgrown potager for a look. I always leave it to "go to seed" so that our feathered family have choice pickings during the lean months. To my surprise, peeking up through the weeds and remnants of last years bounty, we found several healthy patches of chard!

I planted two rows last spring, and enjoyed chard well into November, when it began to look a little rough around the edges. I let nature take its course and the garden basically shut down...except for the Rosemary & Thyme, which I had expected to over-winter well. I guess the chard wasn't about to give up either! I am so glad it didn't. I'm having this for dinner tonight! It will remind me that fresh tomatoes, radishes and green beans aren't really all that far off!

Hopefully, I'll get a couple more cuttings before I have to clear the way for new plantings!

Swiss Chard - "Bright Lights".


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Treasured Teapots

I love everything about tea and its accoutrements! Going out to Afternoon tea, serving it at home, there is always time in the day for a cup (or a pot, more likely)! You will be a happier person if you sit for a few minutes over a pot of afternoon tea! I promise.

I don't know which came first, my love of tea or my love of teapots. Whichever it was, I have built myself a respectable collection! Each & every one of them has a story or memory attached. I use several of them frequently, others are just for show. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of my favorites (I guess that is all of them!) and hearing a little about each one. I will break this up over the next several weeks, since "The Tale of 30 Teapots " might not excite everyone else as much as it does me! *Ü*

This photo shows most of my collection.

Here are a few that are fun! The "GirlyFish" teapot below, was purchased in Half Moon Bay, California on the first day of our Honeymoon, 3 years ago! I am fortunate that my husband will wander contentedly in and out of shops with me all day. This cutie caught my eye & I had to have her! She's a very dear momento of a very special time in my life!

Next, is another one with a fish theme. It is a goldfish design by Franz porcelain & it called out my name in a local shop while I was Christmas shopping a year ago. Just wouldn't stop, so I took it home & wrapped & stuck it under the tree, from Santa to me! The goldfish remind me of those gorgeous fantail beauties that you see in aquariums. That was one fun shopping trip!

Last one for this post is a really unusual double pot that I purchased at my very favorite Tea Room, "An Afternoon to Remember" in Newcastle, CA. This tea room does everything right! The owner and wait staff are gracious & very knowledgeable about tea and the ceremony & etiquette surrounding it. The decor is beautiful & appropriate, IMHO, and the food is delicious and plentiful! Almost no one leaves with out a "to go' box. Their gift shop is something to behold! The tea is lined up on the shelves in black & gold tins, with familiar names like Eary Grey, Darjeeling and English Breakfast. But you have to try some of the not-so-familiar blends such as Love Affair, Buckingham Palace, or VooDoo! I get caught up in the atmosphere and just have to have something new!

So, that's it for now! Next time, I'll show you some of my vintage pots. In the meantime, make yourself a pot of tea, put on some good music and for 20 minutes or so, escape!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Makeover

It has been ages since I've written here! I really don't know where December & January went? All I remember is a happy whirlwind of family & friends, great food and drink, and all of a sudden - it's February!

Now that our MBR addition is complete, I am ready to really start decorating the room! I can hardly wait. It is an eclectic mix of furniture (that's putting it nicely) that will need to stay. So I will be repainting and repurposing it to make it fit my dream of and English Country-ish room.

I'll have some photos of the completed addition as soon as I can get my girlfriend over here with her digital camera that has a wide angle lens. I can't get a decent picture with my old Olympus dinosaur. I do have some of the bedroom furniture, paint & fabrics.

I am very excited to get started! There is a lot to do, but I'll show you what I have decided on so far!

This is a picture of our headboard. I have never really liked it, but I know I can change it to work in the room. I have thought of painting it, adding wooden appliques and "antiquing" it, adding cane or fabrics into the insets...but, with a little help from my friends, I have decided to paint it black! It will be perfect! Thanks Jim & Mary Ruth!

Now here is a BIG challenge! This Danish Modern dresser just doesn't work with my vision! More cyber discussion with my "design team" prompted me to find a dresser in a style I like to use as a model to rework this one. I will try to darken the finish to be similar, add the ring pulls in place of the wood knobs & replace the legs with feet similar to the ones on the "model". I think this could be the show-stopper in the room! Now all I have to do is make it happen!

This is my "model" dresser.

Finally, here are the swatches for the room.
The darker paint chip is SW 6213 Halcyon Green which is the color of the MBR & bath. I painted this color 3 years ago, and have never tired of it! The lighter chip is SW 6211 Rainwashed, which is what I just used in the new sitting room & the MBR foyer. It is a really gorgeous color!
The background fabric is a 30 yd bolt of fabric that I will use for the bed coverlet, shams and drapes. I walked into a local fabric store and it caught my eye immediately! But the best part of the story is that it was $3.95 per yard! Cool, huh?
The diamond fabric is for the bed skirt and probably a decorative pillow. I'll use the lattice fabric for the Euro shams and in another pillow or two. I am going to make fabric cubes to cover the night stands, which match the dresser, and place glass on the tops. I'll make them so they open at the front so that we can access the drawers and open shelf.

I have much more to "show & tell", but that is for another day. Besides, I'd better stop writing and get painting, sewing, shopping...