Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just Paint It White

Sometimes I just need a TJ's fix so last week I stopped in and picked up a few things I didn't need.

I love the three tiered wire shelf - it's perfect for my creative space.

Lucky me - I've been looking for some galvanized tin to hold flowers at my upcoming retirement party.

 Pink caddy - hate the color, love the design, and, oh, the possibilities for the chalkboard.

I decided to follow the advice of Fiona whose blog is  - Just Paint It White.

A little color change was all that was needed to work with my color scheme.

When I saw the caddy at TJ's, my first thought was "great container for utensils and napkins for the party

 Where should the caddy go until the party?

It ended up on the dining room table holding flowers.

And why the one?

School is over in exactly one week!

. . . . . . . . . . . 

I am partying at

Rooted in Thyme - Simple and Sweet Fridays

Common Ground - Be Inspired

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup Thursday

My Romantic Home - Show and Tell Friday

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Secret Garden

For a long time, I have wanted to show you the gardens of a friend's house.

Our homes were built in the late 1920s and very possibly by the same builder.

I have mentioned in other posts about the fact that our original front yard was on a sidewalk and the present front was the back alley.

Come with me to view the beautiful gardens at Linda's house  - remember that you are entering what would originally have been the back of the house.

Linda wanted to remove her tricycle, but I thought it epitomized life at the beach.

The day was perfect and the French doors were thrown open to the sun.

Now let's head to the back garden - originally the front yard when sidewalks ran down to the beach.

I can't tell if that is Loki or Tucker ready to take you on a tour of the "Secret Garden".

To the right is a feast for the eyes - clever garden statuary, an abundance of colorful flowers and brick pathways leading every which way.

A little birdhouse hangs from a spectacularly gnarled tree.

A deck with a wall of mirrors beckons you to sit awhile so you will notice the birdbath guarded by an oversized frog or the vintage watering can along the fence.

Straight ahead, you realize the gold ball in front of you is really the gold ball next to you being reflected back through a mirror hidden in the wall of greenery.

Eye candy abounds - frogs sing to one another in the flowers, a chipmunk scampers up the roof, a goose hides in a corner, mama duck leads her little ones along the deck and a little bunny guards a cast iron table.

Standing at the back, you see the view if the sidewalks still led down to the beach.

Can you just picture waking up each morning and looking out your bedoom window to the spectacular garden?

It's time to leave so we will head back into the house, but first we must stop to read a little garden poem painted onto a piece of slate.

Linda's garden definitely qualifies as a "heavenly paradise".

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'll be showing of Linda's garden at

Lavender Garden Cottage - Cottage Style Party

Elizabeth & Co. - May Garden Party

Little Red House - Mosaic Monday

Sunny Simple Life - Sunny Simple Mondays

Boogieboard Cottage - Masterpiece Monday

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Memorial Day in America

Every year on Memorial Day, Steve wakes the family up by playing James McMurtry's song "Memorial Day" on the stereo.

It's Memorial Day in America
Everybody's on the road
Let's remember our fallen heroes
Y'all be sure and drive slow.

Memorial Day is one of my favorite days because it signals the beginning of summer.

 Empty towers have been out for several weeks, but today lifeguards are on duty to watch over the hoards of people escaping the inland heat.

Cyclists, walkers and runners are greeted by flags along the promenade to remind us why this day is special.

Families enjoy time together playing on the beach, building sand castles and splashing in the waves.

Surfers are out in droves searching for the perfect wave at The Point.

Sailors take to the sparkling sea heading to the islands

which are just barely visible from the estuary.

A friend snapped a picture on her iPhone while we were out on our morning walk.

We took a leisurely bike ride along the promenade.

And now we will somewhat follow James McMurtry's advice - we're headed to the beach and we will walk slow.

Happy Memorial Day

How did you spend your day?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cottages By The Sea

Short and sweet.

The definition - "make your point"

And, that is exactly what these little cottages do.

What's their point?

Simply, to provide a comfortable place to relax after a day on the beach.

Walk with me through my neighborhood to see a few of my favorite little cottages.

This little storybook cottage sits just 7 houses from the ocean

and is packed full of sweet details -

 mullioned windows

keyhole archway at the front door

romantic turret 

Don't you just love the three long rectangular windows and the tiny window at the top?

I picture overstuffed chairs and a window seat inside.

Right next door is a classic gray and white beach cottage.

Old friends live here and daily their home is filled with the chatter of their two precious grandsons while their mother is at work teaching with me.

Over twenty years ago, I made the lace curtains on all the windows.

 A bougainvillea covered fence hides the patio of the shingled house sporting a red mailbox and a bell to alert the owners that guests are at the gate.

What's a beach house without a dolphin weather vane and a classic blue and white paint job?

A little gray cottage sitting at the entrance to our lane is a short term rental with guests from all over the world coming to enjoy sun and sand.

And, my favorite little cottage by the sea - 

short on space, but sweet in character.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

I am partying at

My Romantic Home - Show and Tell Friday 

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup Thursday

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Little Something

If you are visiting from the party
France Simply Irresistible at 
click here.

Recently I received an e-mail from Kris at Junk Cottage Chic saying I would be receiving a package containing "a little something" soon.

The end of the school year is always was crazy crazy crazy with no time to myself and I literally stored her e-mail in the back of my crowded brain.

Last Friday, I got home from work and saw a BIG box on the table.

I remembered Kris was sending "a little something",  but the box was so big.

I guess a midwest "little something" is different than a west coast "little something."

We were rushing out to an art show (that turned out to be a surprise retirement party) so I set it aside until later that night.

When we got home, I excitedly opened the box and found . . .

There is only one thing wrong with being friends with Kris.

According to google, she lives 2,082 miles from my house.

It would take 1 day and 6 hours to reach Kris's house.

Probably a little far to just pop in for a visit.

I will continue to pop in at Junk Chick Cottage to visit the sweet lady who made my weekend.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'll be partying at

Savvy Southern Style  - WOW Us Wednesdays                  

Elizabeth and Co. - Be Inspired 

Holly's Stamping Addiction - Whatever Wednesday

Friday, May 17, 2013

in the garden . . .

Oh, the excitement just reading about the party at

Castles Crowns and Cottages -France Simply Irresistible.

France - Simply Irresistible - isn't it just!

I knew exactly what I would share.

. . . . . . . . . . .

I'm big on lists - To Dos, I Want, Favorite Books, etc.

One of my favorite, incomplete, lists is my TOP 10 DAYS.

There are days, and then there are DAYS.

I don't include the obviously special "big ticket" days.

I focus on days that were out of the ordinary that happened for no special reason

Such as:

 horseback riding in the rain forest of Costa Rica - monkeys eating from my hands

sitting on the top of a pyramid at Chichen Itza - scared to death to climb back down

moving into our own beach house - 30 years in the planning stage

kayaking in Summerland - the dolphins jumping so close to our boats that we could hear them 'talking'

My #1 day was not with Steve and it happened with little thought or planning.

July 15, 1999.

I was in Paris with my daughter, my sister and my niece.

Below is the story I wrote and submitted to Victoria Magazine - it was rejected.

It was really written as a gift to my sister who gave us the gift of Europe -

 she did not reject my story.

. . . in the garden . . .

We all have special days in our lives - graduation, marriage, the birth of our children.  But most special are those stolen moments which happen unexpectedly that we savor forever.

My sister and I were taking our daughters on their "Grand Tour" of Europe. Marcia, who is  a frequent business traveler, had indulged us through seven countries viewing museums and monuments she had visited on numerous occasions.  She wanted to do something new to her. When we arrived in France, she suggested a trip to Giverny - Monet's house and gardens. The girls were quite unenthusiastic about relinquishing a minute of shopping time in Paris. We decided that it would be their loss. 1200 francs apiece and metro passes satisfied the girls for a day. We, on the other hand, grabbed our rail passes and packed our art supplies for a day of leisure in the French countryside.

A relatively quick train ride - compared to the 22 hour ride from Oslo to our relatives' homes in Northern Norway - brought us to the quaint French village of Vernon. We strolled about admiring the houses and flowers and picked up the requisite loaf of French bread for sustenance.

Bicycles were a tempting offer, but due to limited time, we opted for a taxi ride to Giverny. We were unprepared for the bus loads of school children and tour groups that rivaled the crowds at the Louvre. Undaunted, we lined up for the wait. Marcia got out her sketch pad and I my journal to pass the time.

Once inside the gardens, we were stunned by the beauty, a new color and scent greeting us at every turn.   Each new view was breathtaking. We located a stone bench with a view of the house peeking through the pinks, purples, oranges and reds.  As a dabbler, I merely sketched the abundant array  of flowers in each direction.  Marcia took out her water colors and began to paint Monet's home. 

Light sprinkles and the sense that we were hoarding the bench sent us off to see the lily pond.  We located a new bench with a charming view of the water lilies and a bridge tucked behind a weeping willow tree.

Marcia was engrossed in her artistic endeavors. I spent more time admiring my surroundings and people watching than actually sketching.  Her efforts came to the notice of most people who passed. Some simply smiled, others were intrigued with her work.  Many stopped to chat.  We met a family from Toronto who winters near us in California, a London couple who gave Marcia their son's address since he was job hunting in her field, and a Blackpool couple over to see the tall ships in Normandy. My favorite was the little French girl so in awe of Marcia's art that she lost track of time and her family. She yelled, "Mama" and ran away, but soon returned with her mother.  

Our feelings about the day were summed up by a precious little English boy holding his mother's hand.  As he passed by, he looked at his surroundings and spoke quietly, "we are so lucky to see this."

July 15, 1999 has been added to my "List of Days".  

No bells and whistles, no ceremony - I was simply sitting in a garden, with my sister.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'm (figuratively) on the road, bound for France, with many others at