Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Rhondi over at Rose Colored Glasses is the hostess of "Thankful Thursday" every week. I have always meant to join in, and today I finally got my act together! (I am thankful for that, by the way!*Ü*) I really love the idea of sharing these thoughts with one another. So Rhondi, I am also thankful for the opportunity you're providing us!

I am so thankful for my home in the country!

This is a photo of our very long driveway. I am up and down this little road many times a week. But not until a young photographer got down on her knees and took this picture, did I really see it! The photo always reminds me that sometimes we have to shift our perspective only slightly, to our knees, to really see the world around us!

I am blessed with a special "country" quiet (unless my husband is out on the tractor) which isn't really quiet at all. There are birds, frogs, crickets & bees, all were so much more difficult to to hear amid the cacophony of a less rural setting.

Though I'll admit I prefer heading up the driveway toward home, to going down the driveway, I am thankful for the view each way!
Surprise! My next post will be my 50th! I'll be hosting a giveaway, so be sure to check back!

Thankfully, Chris

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

PLEASE read me!

Whew! My "few days off" stretched into more than a week! I was able to read & post a few comments on some of my favorite blogs, but I didn't have time to think about and prepare anything for my own. Actually, I think I had a slight case of blogger's block...

Then, when I finally felt inspired to share some more photos of my teapot collection, the camera has no batteries! I had the tray all laid out with my chinese pot & cups and all the fun accoutrements. What do I get when I press the button? Beep...beep...beep! Nuts! Gotta go find the batteries. The box is in not the drawer where it ought to be (of course). Ask husband, who hands over the box found under a pile of papers on the top of his desk.

He says: "Some of these might not be good."

She says: "Whaaat? Why not? Have you been putting old ones back in the box?"

He says: "Yes."

She says: "Who does that? Did you mark them?" (This man is an Electrical Engineer, I'm sayin' a college graduate!?)

He says: "No."

She says: "So how do I tell which are good?" (By now, I knew I wasn't taking any photos today!)

He says: "Just switch them in and out".

She says: "There are 4 batteries in the camera, and 12 in the box. Do you have any idea how long this could take?"

He says: He doesn't say a darn thing, which is probably smart of him.

So, I begin switching batteries in & out between the camera & the box. After about 5 different configurations, I put ALL the batteries in the box & tossed it in the recycle bin!

He says: "Hey! Some of those might be good!"

She says: "Then you figure it out!"

The batteries are still there. One of us might just retrieve them and try again to figure it out, but don't count on it!

All of this leads me to an apology for a photoless post and for exposing you to our marital meshuge (makin' each other crazy! *Ü*). I can only hope that I come up with a title that is so compelling that you'll have to read on!

Heading out for batteries, Chris

P.S. Men really are from Mars!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Three French Hens

No, I am not referring to those most famous of hens, that were given to me, by my true love, on the third day of Christmas! But these were also given in love and are precious to me!

You see, my husband and I owned this 10 acres of beautiful Northern California soil for 8 years before we built our home here. For a time, it looked like our dream of living in the country might never happen. But even before we moved here, we spent lots of time out here, visiting our dream!

My parents loved this place too. We used to all drive out here on a Saturday morning, bringing our thermos of coffee, doughnuts & lawn chairs, to sit and visit in the shade of the biggest oak tree. Then when we had cleared enough of the land and fashoined a driveway, my parents took their 5th wheel RV out of storage & moved it on to the land. That was the beginning of many family breakfasts and BBQ's, and even camp-outs, "out on the ranch".

My daddy passed away before he could see our home standing on this property he loved so much! That always makes me sad when I think of it. Happily, Mom was able to see and spend time in our new home, and she loved everything about it. Before she became ill, she was considering building a small home for herself here. That would have been wonderful...Both parents were country folks at heart. I am grateful they taught me to appreciate it too!

One time when Mom came for some get-together, she brought me a gift - the Three French Hens! She said when she saw them in a catalog, she knew she had to get them for me! "They fit right in with all your other hens and roosters, and will look perfect on your countertop". She was right, don't you think?

I still want to build a coop & have real chickens. Until then, these girls keep me company in my kitchen. They are a sweet reminder of my loving parents and of how lucky I am to be living my dream!

I'm traveling for a few days next week for my job. I'll check in if/when I can. You all have a wonderful week!



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Which One?

I just cannot make up my mind!

I am going to make some changes in my kitchen. I love the layout as it is, but it is time to do some updating. Below, are a couple of photos of my kitchen taken right after we moved in, which gives an idea of the layout.

I have been saving these two inspiration photos for ages. Could they be any different?

The windows in my kitchen provide plenty of light, even with the stained glass going into the transoms. More about that here. That means that the red, black & white with stainless appliances scheme would work without fear of creating a too dark room. The white with white scheme, sans the wallpaper though I do like the colors, using the appliances I have now, is just so bright & cheerful...more of a "country cottage" feel. We are in the country after all.

Which ever style I decide to follow, the cabinets will have bead board wallpaper applied into the insets and then be painted, either red with a darker glaze or white/off white. The wall color will be changing; the counters & floor will also be replaced. All of these choices depend on which style I choose. Aye, there's the rub!

I have always been drawn to very traditional decor. I'm a red, green & gold girl. But as I get older, I seem to be finding lighter, more neutral rooms, (still containing colorful accents of course) very appealing.

After knowing for several years that the red & black inspiration kitchen was what I wanted, I am now actually leaning more toward the white on white example. Were it just paint on walls and cabinets, I wouldn't be so cautious. Although it is work, paint is a "cheap" commodity in the redecorating arsenal, counters & flooring not so much!

I'm anxious to get started! I need to make a decision, somehow. Maybe I'll ask my husband what he thinks.

Good grief! Can you believe I even said that?! I need help... *Ü*


Saturday, July 12, 2008

At Leisure

I have my home all to myself! *Ü*

My daughter Melissa is in Washington D.C. visiting with her cousin, Tim. He is a student at American University, just about to start his senior year. On August 11, Melissa will begin her student teaching/credential program. This trip is their "last hurrah" before starting a very busy year! I hope they're having a blast!

My husband is in NY, on Long Island to be exact. He grew up in Queens, playing a game called "Slap Ball". (A game played with a soft ball where the aim is to keep the ball from hitting the floor/ground by "slapping" the ball upwards with the hand. Usually played in a circle of about 5-6 players but more or less players is just as good.) Every 5 years, a bunch of his buddies from the "hood" get together for a Slap Ball tourney! Mind you, these are 60 & 70 year olds! I hope he doesn't break anything!!!

So that leaves me, the dog & the cat to enjoy a weekend of doing what ever we want! Doesn't that sound lovely? I plan to take full advantage. Today, my girlfriend & I are going to our favorite Home Dec fabric store - Calico Corners! I haven't planned anything beyond that...nice!

I won't be around for a couple of days! See you early next week! Chris

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Heat & More Smoke!

The Sacramento area is once again dealing with smoke from the Northern California wildfires. This time it is accompanied by oppressive heat. It was 108º here yesterday! It isn't unusual for us to have a few REALLY HOT days every summer. But the smoke is a new and unwelcome addition to the mix!

This photo was taken off our back deck yesterday afternoon. The weather is so fickle, that a slight breeze will come up and clear things just a little, then it stops and the smoke filters back into our valley and just lays here!

I have been able to stay inside, but today I have to be out in this stuff a couple of times. Just walking out to the detached garage or to the garbage cans starts the eyes burning! Even my neighbors cattle which are never very energetic, seem lethargic.*Ü*

Today will be cooler, 105º, and the local weather guy (who is pretty right-on most of the time) predicts we're going to get some clearing of the smoke and cooling into the 90's this weekend. It can't happen to soon for me!

All prayers and positive thoughts for an end to these awful wildfires are greatly appreciated!



Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bouquets to Art

Every year, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (Legion of Honor & De Young) present a gala showing of floral design paired with fine art called "Bouquets to Art". It is a spectacular show, and one that I enjoyed so much! The floral designers of the SF Bay area come together to recreate the museum art in floral. These are not traditional "pretty posey" bouquets by any standard, and some were pretty bizarre.

My photos are not at all professional. There were people walking in and out of my planned shots, I got bumped a couple of know, typical crowd annoyances. In a couple of places, I have added links to previous year's interpretations of the same piece of art. Be sure to click and view them, it is fun to see how the designer's works differ.

This beauty with the birch and orchids was one of the stand-alone designs as we entered the exhibit. I am always attracted to anything with birch!

Here's an interpretation of a Diego Rivera painting.

Glass fruit rendered in flowers.

The inspiration for these are the Pre-Colombian artifacts on the wall behind them.

Abstract with stripes, bouquet with stripes.
I loved this colorful interpretation of the red, yellow & blue abstract. And THIS LINK will take you to a previous year's design.
This is the most fun! Gumball photo below, another version HERE.
Finally, I want to show you what I think is the most gorgeous art-floral combination ever! I did not see this in person, and in order to honor the copyright, I can't show the photo here. But I promise, following THIS LINK is worth the time! World-renowned Dale Chihuly's fabulous glass art done in floral by Yukiko Neibert, one of my favorite floral designers - what a treat! BTW, Yukiko's site is a great place to explore!
Enjoy! Chris

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Accent on Accessories - Day 4

Since most of us won't need to be in our offices for the next 3 days, (aren't 3-day Holiday weekends the best?) I thought this might be a good time to discuss the often neglected office space.

If you spend a large part of your week in an office or cubicle, interesting and pretty accessories can make that time more enjoyable. So below, I offer some suggestions for transforming your work space.

Don't forget a green plant or two. They help to purify that stuffy recycled air and bring a litte of the outside in.

Try arranging your furniture & equipment in a new a different way. Moving things around a bit will keep it interesting!

New slipcovers will give your well-worn things a new, fresh look.

Create a new look with wallpaper. Who said foil went out with the 80's??

Here's an example of budget-friendly decor.

Finally, when you want the boss to know that you're not even thinking of working over the Holiday weekend...

Hope you all have a great 4th of July!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Accent on Accessories - Day 3

No single item for a theme today. I'm showing a series of photos, taken from model homes I visited. Each of these photos contains a vignette or a whole room view that represents, to my eye anyway, a effective or creative use of accessories. I'd love to hear your comments...

The use of plants (yes, they are all real) gives this narrow, very tall room room some life. They "ground" it and the green color dispersed around the room causes your eye to take in all of the room, not just the massive fireplace or very tall, box-beamed ceiling.

I thought the way this girl's room was decorated was so clever. Take two unfinished dressers, paint each a different color from your room scheme, then switch out the drawers! Brilliant! I also like the use of the small screen - turned message/keepsake board, to fill the empty corner. It also might come in handy to disguise clutter on a desk, a clothes hamper or other kid paraphernalia.

Don't know if the designer bought this lamp like it is, but it would be easy to recreate with some silk flowers and a glue gun. It was my favorite thing in the room!

This is totally impractical, especially if you have kids, but I love it! A small dessert server, pretty saucers or bowls, a few delicious-smelling soaps (or potpourri) and you have a wonderful powder room accessory.

You all know I love plates, so I just had to include a photo of some. These bright orange plates brighten what could have been a very boring corner.

Enjoy! Chris

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Accent on Accessories – Day 2

Today, let's focus on mirrors. They bring such light and beauty to a room. Whether reflecting a fabulous view, or just bouncing light and color back into a space, they are one of the workhorses of design. No window in a room? A mirror can reflect artifical light to brighten a closed space.

This first photo shows a mirrored wall in a dining room. I’ll admit the room might be a little over the top for some, but the mirror certainly “expands” the room, reflects the light from the windows opposite, and is beautiful…IMHO! The perfect answer to the lament, “we’ve just moved into a new place with this wall of contemporary mirrors…”. Put some moulding around them, fill the room with your traditional furniture & accessories and you’ve got something spectacular!

Here's one I like even better. It also shows off another one of my favorite things, black lamp shades!

I took this photo in a local model home. Aside from the fact that the mirror appears not to be centered on the vanity and too close to the corner, I thought it was a great example of a non-traditional bathroom mirror. With all the hard, angular surfaces we find in bathrooms, the round shape & filigree-style frame are very appealing.

I love everything about this photo. The bench is so wonderful, the decorative painting lovely, the color scheme is just right. But, I also adore the mirror! The designer could have hung a painting, a wreath or swag of some kind, even an shelf for tchochkes. But instead, we find a simple, oval mirror. Any other adornment would have been too much. Besides, the birds with the ribbons that seem to be a part of the mirror are just too sweet.

Finally, this is a picture of my dining room mirror at Christmas. The mirror is beautiful in its own right, but you know I can’t resist the urge to embellish! Told you I was a “more is more” girl...

Enjoy! Chris