Thursday, July 30, 2009


My dog loves to dig/sleep in the moist, soft soil, and mulch of new plantings and flower beds. Therefore, I'm always on the prowl for creative, natural-looking ways to make temporary protective fencing.

These offer some ideas. I'm sure Martha Stewart or P. Allen Smith could whip up something like this in nothing flat, just from stick and twigs they preened from their gardens.

This would be great for a little white goat....I'm smiling.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I was right! Wallpaper is back!

Recently I 've noted an increased use of wallpaper. Today it was in black and white - the special 'style' section of our newspaper headlined with "Wallpaper Is Back." Some designers say it never left, but it seems that some east-coast decorators acknowledge it's absence and proudly announced the return.

I don't know if that means faux-finishes are out and paper is replacing texture and design for walls, or if we are in a style period where anything/everything least for now.

Some really interesting rooms....not sure about some.

Pictures courtesy of Veranda
and House Beautiful

Monday, July 27, 2009

Make A Statement!

If the eyes are the windows of the soul, what is an entryway to a home?

All photos from House Beautiful

I want to tour this home....lovin' the PINK drama!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What The World Needs Now

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."
~Margaret D. Nadauld

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Want One Of These

I used to dream of a room of my own, but I am now rethinking that wish. Is this not just about the cutest thing?!!

Advertisement For No Chintz Company Textiles and Soft Funishings In Sydney

Monday, July 20, 2009


Has the word 'tablescape' always been around, and was I just absent the day it was introduced? Is it a term common in the vocabulary/phraseology/vernacular of those 'in the trade' and it's just now trickling down to those of us not in that world?
Surely Sandra Lee (Food TV) wasn't the first to refer to setting the table as tablescape. And, speaking of Sandra, does everyone redecorate their kitchen to match the theme of their menu? Was I absent that day, too?

Southern Accents

Carolyne Roehm photos for Veranda

Whoever and whatever - I like having a single word to replace those 'so last year' simplistic terms - table setting, table arrangement.I think the word/terms mean basically the same thing, but using the word tablescape just has a better ring - so much more creative, artistic, elaborate, sophisticated, cultured. Table setting brings to mind the basic dishes and utensils, and maybe a salt and pepper set for the centerpiece. But tablescape suggests bringing out the 'good stuff' - china, silver, exquisite linens, fabulous, fresh flowers, placecards.

Is it proper for one to tablescape with paper and plastic? It makes me smile to think about it.
Following tablescapes - Southern Accents.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Love This Idea

What a nifty little idea for a quick and simply table arrangement. An inexpensive hosta makes a fresh, green statement, and best yet, it's a hardy perennial that can be transplanted in your garden for years of enjoyment.

I use hostas to fill-in the blank spots in my shade garden. They make a great background for white impatients.

The plant is set in a frog and covered with moss. I'm not sure how long it would last without water, but to make it last longer I'd use a small butter tub, custard up, or bowl, and then disguise it with the moss. The silver/pewter tray makes a nice display.

Design and photo courtesy of Eddie Ross

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Kelly's Korner -
Show Us Your Birthday Party For Children

I love anything and everything about little girls (grand-daughters), entertaining, tulle, pearls, tea parties, fancy and fun, etc.

Last year I helped host a birthday party for Ellie. It was so much fun - for me, and for the birthday girl and guests.

Party Clothes
I keep a red trunk full of dress-up clothes...tutus, party dresses, hats, pearls, white gloves (lace and plain), tiaras, fairy wands, feathered high heels and head-pieces, glitter spray - anything a girl might need for tea party or a parade.

The July clearance sales are a wonderful place to find passed-over Easter dresses - I try to add one new one to the collection each year. Tip: purchase dresses a size or two larger than actual age size - it makes getting the dresses on and off without assistance so much easier for the girls. Accessories are made and purchased - the Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, and Target are great place to find the feathers, ribbon, jewelry.

Heaven help us if a grandson would ever come into our family. Ellie's cousin, Maddox, was the single male at the birthday tea, so I purchased a top hat at a party store, and used some black ribbon and black magic marker to turn a white t-shirt into his tuxedo - he felt very GQ.
The Tablescape
The white tablecloth is one left over from my own daughters' tea table...they are now 32 and 29. It's holds lots of memories. Although we have a variety of plastic, metalware, and ceramic play tea sets (most likely no complete set or any without chips or broken handles) , for this party I purchased clear plastic punch cups at Hobby Lobby. The cup rims are coated with pink sugar sprinkles - also HL. Dip cup rims in a small plate of water, wipe off the excess and then dip the rims in a small plate of the colored sugar. Let dry.The cake is a box mix and canned frosting with a few pink dots strategically placed on the sides and top. I piped Ellie's initials on top. Add paper party/cocktail napkins, clear plastic plates and forks, and the table is ready.

Tea Party Menu
Cake is a must. I typically like to make petit fours for tea parties, but I decided to make a traditional layer cake for Ellie. I used white bread and cream cheese to make tea sandwiches, and then cut them into fancy shapes using mini cookie cutters. Round carrot slices cut with a ripple slicer and banana slices sprinkled with cherry Jello powder complete the tea cart menu.

Party Favors
Pearl bracelets (girls - top hat for the boy), bubble wands, and sunglasses.

I am not a 'game' person, so the party consisted of dress-up time, opening gifts, the tea party, and swimming.

Party Rule
I am a stickler for the rule - the number of party guests is never more than the age of the child having the party. This number doesn't include siblings. I don't know who the intuitive, brilliant person was that created this party rule, but she knew what she was doing...OK, it could have been a man. I have been witness to the insanity and calamity which ensues when this rule is ignored. The fun, as well as party manners are lost in the chaos.

Party Pictures
I am so lucky and blessed to have professional photographers in my family. Dale and Meredith from Benfield Photography covered the pictures while I assisted with the tea party.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where I Go When I'm Crazy

Periodically, I reach a state/frame of mind wanting everything white....everything in my house. The desire typically stems from stress or a messy house - massive clutter. For whatever reason, when my psyche is out of sorts (when my house is really out of order), my yearning turns to wanting everything white. When my house and my schedule are in utter chaos, my need for white takes on a whole new persona - a little farm in the pristine country side. Of course, it's a little white clapboard farm cottage with rolling hills (lush green and manicured), an English country flower garden, several dogs, a cat, and a white goat. Yes, I want a miniature white goat for my imaginary farm, and no, I have no clue why. I can't explain these thoughts...I rarely share these thoughts...but surely someone out there understands/identifies.

I do not have one white room in my house...white wood, but no white walls. I like/enjoy color, but there are times when white seems so orderly, clean, organized that I love it/want it/need it. White rooms just beg for someone to give them the 'white-glove' test, which is the crazy part -I want to live in that white-glove clean house - but I hate housework. That is precisely the reason I've never had, nor wanted a white room in my real world. I can't even keep a white t-shirt clean longer than ten minutes before I've rubbed up against something or dribbled salsa or soda on it.

Those who took a tour
of my backyard during Kelly's Korner Show Us Where You Live may have noticed that all of my plantings and flowers are white...with the exception of the pink Crepe Myrtle I planted this year - I'm already second guessing that choice. White gives me such a wonderful sense of calm - it's like stepping out of a smoke-filled room and taking a deep, clean breathe of fresh air. It's the same felling I get when I purchase a new purse and I
carefully place my basic necessities
in the pouches and zippered pockets - a place for everything, everything is in its place. No clutter. I wish I could get/keep my house clean - white-glove, new purse clean. For now I'll just have sit and look at magazines and try to find pictures of clean houses that make me feel calm.

Ok! Now that I've shared that weird
little tidbit, let me share a few of my favorite white rooms with you...courtesy of

I absolutely love these rooms!

Everything looks so clean. I doubt there is a ring around this tub.
Isn't she precious?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Favorite Picture

Today's Blog Hop Picture Post -

This is 'one' of my favorite pictures because it clearly shows some of my favorite things...grand-daughters, tablescapes, flowers, pearls, parties, playing, lunch with friends....

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fire Bug - Why and How I Built My Firepit

I grew up in a time when green was just a color. Although there were green sayings, such as being 'green as a gourd' or 'green with envy' there were no politically correct attachments to the word green. Therefore, burning your trash was commonplace in small towns across the country. Only larger cities and cosmopolitan areas had trash collection services. Burning the trash was just another chore, like feeding the dog and mowing the lawn. Kids found with matches in their pocket would most likely not have been questioned by an adult. Any suspicion would have been squelched with a simple reply, "It was my turn to burn the trash last night."
In my family, burning the trash was a chore assigned to my brothers. The actual collection, carrying and emptying the trash into the trash barrel (located in the back corner of our yard), held no appeal to me, but lighting the first match and the actual burning was right down my alley. When allowed or given the chance, I eagerly participated in the chore. I was (and still am) drawn to fire. A stick to poke at the slow burning papers and anything that could be used for a makeshift fan to encourage flames were my required tools. I could turn a fifteen minute task into a good half-hour of entertainment.

As an adult, I still enjoy a good fire...just not in my house. I hate the mess and the smell. I have had two houses with rarely used fireplaces. I now have gas logs...the good kind that look like a real fire...I can turn it on and off without worry, smoke, or lingering odor. I love that part, but there is no possibility of the therapeutic poking and fanning. Here's where the firepit comes in.

After seeing a firepit in a magazine, I decided that I had to have one. With the amount of pruning and trimming I have to do in my yard each spring, it just made sense to have a place to get rid of the cuttings...I could sell this idea to my husband based on the merit of it's need and practicality. Knowing he would certainly agree with my plan, I began digging the hole while he was on a golf outing...with the sod up, the hold dug (started), how could he say no or "Not In My Backyard". We finished the projec
t, or at least the digging together. An entire week later, we had a pit... a huge pit - 4' X 3' deep. A little brick of my favorite things to do...and the firepit was a completed masterpiece.

It's difficult to see the first cap-row of bricks in
these pictures, but it's there...hidden by mortar
and the top row.

I love this series of pictures of my grand daughters at my firepit (taken by Benfield Photography).
Not everyone likes it when their
marshmallows catch you can see from this picture.


1)Use your garden hose to form a circle the desired size. Use spray paint to outline the circle.

2)Dig the hole. I angled the sides as I dug to help make bricking the inside wall easier...the top of the pit is about 18" wider than the bottom.

3) Brick the pit. I added a layer of compaction rock in the bottom to help the pit drain, and then used white fire bricks to line the bottom. I used old bricks for the sides and top. Look at the pictures before preceding to a and b below...I think the bricking steps will be easier to understand and envision.

a. I used sand Redi-Mix to anchor the bricks on the inside wall and the top cap-rows. We mixed it one bag at a time in our wheelbarrow. Using a flat, rubber trowel (4"X 8" found at Lowe's), I smoothed the Redi-Mix around the sides (about 1"-2" thick), and placed the bricks in one at a time until I completed the inside wall of the pit. This part is hard to explain, but I'll try...put extra mortar on one side the brick to fill the joint between it and the next brick, place it on the wet mix on the wall, and wiggle it in the wet mix just a little, to help it stick to the wall...continue doing the same with the next brick, the next, etc. Use a mortar tool or your finger to smooth and clean the joints between the bricks as you this while the mix is firm, but not dry.

b. The top was done by creating a 2"-3" circular foundation around the top of the pit...the width of the length of the bricks (my bricks were about 6' long, so my foundation circle was 6' wide around the top of the pit).

I set one row of bricks on top of the wet mix, in the same way I did the inside wall. I waited a day before adding the second layer. The second layer is was done the same way. I put a 1"-2" foundation layer of Redi-mix on top of the first layer of bricks, and began laying the second layer of bricks on the wet foundation. The second (top) layer needs to be staggered. When you begin laying the top row of bricks, center the first brick on the seam of two bricks on the first layer.

We worked on this two or three different days, until we had the bricking completed. The mortar needs to dry for a few days before you use the pit.

4. Get the hotdogs and s'mores ready. Build a fire. We use small logs...limbs cut from trees ...or we purchase 'real wood' charcoal. We use the old fashioned wooden sticks, whittled to a point with a pocket knife, but you can purchase metal sticks online.

Our pit is about ten years old and needs some repair...but maybe the cracked bricks just add charm. Have fun and enjoy!

The following pictures are just other examples of firepits. The one with the flames is from an article by Harry Sawyers This Old House.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th

I've always dreamed of living in one of those quaint little southern towns where holidays are celebrated down town on the square. If I did live in that charming little place, I know for sure that I would have been a flag-waving spectator at the parade today. I might have even decorated a bicycle with red, white, and blue crepe paper streamers and joined in the parade (I don't own a bicycle, but I think everyone in those special little towns must). However, spending the day with family and friends was just as special as any parade I could have imagined.

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Backyard

I've determined that people either love or hate yard work. For me, the words mowing, edging, feeding, weeding, seeding, watering, clipping, snipping, planting, digging, are music to my ear. Yard work is my insatiable passion. My dream would be 1) to live five-hundred miles farther south so the growing season would be longer, 2) to have stadium lights installed in my backyard so I could work all night. Only those who share this 'love' understand or could even conceive of such a notion.
True gardeners can pinpoint their genetic penchant for gardening on their family tree. My maternal grandmother was quit well known for her beautiful flower beds, and my paternal grandfather farmed by the turn of the moon, everything was planted, pruned, preened according to a set, prescribed time frame. The one I remember and faithfully adhere to has to do with pruning of trees and shrubs...true gardeners love to's the rule - plants should only be pruned in months containing the letter 'r'... pruning in May, June, July, and August will send most trees and some shrubs into shock.

"God created rainy days so gardeners could get their housework done" Author Unknown. I use rainy days to sort through my gardening magazines and rip out pages to add to my file of future projects. The idea for the sandpit and the fire pit (see pics below) were both rainy-day ideas...both are used regularly.

My back yard makes me smile. I hope you enjoy the tour.