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August 31, 2011

Simple Pleasures...blogging buddies

In case you live on the moon and haven’t heard, Brenda over at Cozy Little House, found her new cottage in Oklahoma. I am so excited for her to begin her new life with the many blessings and adventures that await her there.

This is her adorable cozy house kitchen...don't you just love her creative style?

I started reading her blog because I really liked how she decorated her home plus she is an avid gardener like me and created the most magical outdoor spaces.  I kept coming back because her beautiful pictures inspired me to think outside the box.  

It didn't take long for me to be drawn to the blogger and not just the blog. 

My buffet holds my candy station and a wire basket of everyday placemats...

Now it's hard to believe I’ve never met her or so many other beautiful, kind hearted bloggers in real life. They feel like neighbors and friends. I laugh with them, cry with them, shake my fist with them and praise God with them. 

This "vintage" style wire basket is a recent purchase from Home Goods.

In a time when women need the support of other women that used to be available over the fence or around the quilting table, it such a wonderful feeling to know that there are kindred spirits out there to connect with and offer support to. I am not diminishing the importance of family and face to face friends, only offering thanks for the added blessing of my online kindred spirits. My husband doesn’t get it when I say, “Brenda is going through this, or Teresa’s son just got married”, and I explain that they are blogging friends. He just shakes his head and says to be careful, there are predators out there in disguise…lol

I've had these tin canisters for years.  Now instead of cookies in the kitchen they hold extra silverware and small household tools.

My Simple Pleasure for today is…Blogging Buddies. 

A special thank you to my B.B, the beautiful Dayle at A Collection of This and That for hosting this party every week.

 And to all my other BB’s that take the time out their busy schedules to read my posts or leave sweet comments or send/return an email, a heartfelt thanks to you, too.

August 30, 2011

cottage roses

I shared with you last week that my rose bushes were full of buds. I noticed a few flowers opening up this morning while watering so I quickly snapped a few pictures to share with you.

These are from my back perennial garden which has become overgrown with creeping ground covers and in need of a major overhaul. As soon as the weather cools, most of what’s in here will be ripped out, the soil tilled and fresh compost will be added. 

It seems my need to purge has crept into the garden as well. This off season will definitely be a time of plant editing and a major overdue clean up of this section. I think I’ll resist the temptation to plant new flowers until the spring and just live with the open space (and weeding that goes with it) until then.

I might even draw up a plan and be purposeful in my plant buying instead of letting my whimsical heart purchase everything I fall in love with at the garden center…Nah, who am I kidding, that’s never going to happen.

Thank you for your well thought out comments on my last post. What fun it is to hear your heart on such diverse subjects. The conversation has been so insightful that I think I’ll continue it on my Saturday reflections post. 

Hope to “see” you there…Patty

I'm joining A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

August 29, 2011

random thoughts over coffee

Some mornings just lend themselves to a relaxing cup of coffee or tea. Sadly, these mornings are the exception for me through the week and not the norm so when I do get the chance to sit outside and indulge in all the sensory goodness a wonderful hot cup brings, I relish in it.

Normally my workday has me out of the house by 7:30 each morning but today my little dog Bear had an over due (insert guilty conscience here)  appointment with the veterinarian at 9:15, so I took full advantage of that extra time with a nice cup of coffee out back in the garden.

I wish I could say that my outdoor furniture is always clean and ready to be lounged in but that would be a lie…most days it takes a little extra time to prepare the chairs and table for a lingering cup of coffee.  The effort easily pays off with the joy of being outside, hearing the birds, watching the squirrels and even listening to gentle cha, cha, cha of the neighborhood sprinklers rotating back and forth.

If you were here with me I’d love to share the random thoughts that go through my ever wandering mind, both heavy and light. 

I’d have you to take a look at my “stuff purged” pile and invite you to help yourself.
I’d ask you what is it that’s lacking in our society that makes young women bored with just being a mom and seek reality TV lives?

Why are grades in school more important than integrity and loyalty? 

What brings you more joy than an inquisitive child? 

What feels better than a cool breeze when you’re working hard in the garden?
What you think about the yellow and white fabric I picked out for the living room windows?

If you have a minute or two (or sixty)…I’d love to know what goes through your mind?

I'm joining Lucky Number 13 for Virtual Coffee...

August 28, 2011

cottage corners

It's amazing what looking at things with fresh eyes can do to your attitude.  As I have begun the process of clearing out clutter and pairing down to what I truly love, I am rediscovering what a gem my little home is. 

Simply refreshing a few corners of my cottage has made me excited to continue with the long, laborious task of editing and purging.  As an added bonus, I'm finding a bit of my personal style along the way, too.

I've also discovered that if I don't make an immediate decision to put something into the purge pile that more often than not I end up putting it the storage pile, which is the pile that should be the smallest.  Old habits are hard to break, that's for sure.

While I will never be a true minimalist in decorating, I am starting to love having open space and blank walls.  What a revolution to find out that every wall doesn't need a picture or a plate to make me happy.  Displaying what I love in clusters and leaving some areas free seems to be the best mix for me.

Does this mean I don't love stuff and enjoy seeing it in other homes...not hardly, nor does this mean that when I look at a beautiful home with minimal things displayed I'm not tempted to follow suit.  It means that I'm finally starting to find the balance that works for me, right now. 

After all, isn't that what style is all about?

I'm joining these lovely linky parties...

House in the roses for Show off Your Cottage Monday
Dittle Dattle for Amaze Me Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphis Monday
Mellow Yellow Monday
Boogie Board Cottage for Masterpiece Monday

August 27, 2011

reflections on a saturday morning

I had to head outdoors early this morning to beat the August heat wave we’re experiencing here in Southern California.  The forecast is calling for a few more days in the triple digits.  Not that I’m complaining after the mild summer we’ve had so far and the hurricane conditions on the east coast, what's a little heat?

My thoughts this morning are of the decorating kind.  I’ve been busy making lists of what I’d like to accomplish around the house, what’s working and what’s not, what I can realistically accomplish before the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  Sometimes I almost wish that I could wipe the slate clean and start my decorating from scratch.  To somehow go back to that sense of excitement I had when we first moved into Lemon Lane Cottage. 

It seems I’ve been giving advice that I really need to follow myself.  Do you ever do that?  I caution others not to settle, to hold out for what they truly love and yet, as I look around my own little cottage I see areas that I put together in haste only to never really love the results and grow dissatisfied with my own surroundings.

So…this weekend, with the AC blasting, I have started to take down everything in my house that I don’t still (or never have) been totally smitten with.  I will fill in the holes, retouch the paint and reassess.  Leaving walls, shelves and counters empty for a while if necessary, until I find just the right piece that makes my heart sing.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress…

August 24, 2011

decisions, decisions

With summer winding down I have a desire to turn my focus from outside to inside.  It seems like a good time to tackle the many unfinished projects here at Lemon Lane Cottage. 

I am in search of just the right inspiration piece to jump start my living room makeover.  I also need to make a final decision whether or not to replace the carpet or extend the wood flooring from the dining room. 

On the one hand, I love the look of wood but on the other hand I love the comfort of carpet.  I am hoping to have the floors done in September so that I can finish the room before the holidays so a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later...

Just curious, what do you think?  Carpet or hardwood?

August 23, 2011

late summer roses

My roses were a bit of a disappointment in May and June when they are normally at their prettiest.  I think it was mostly because we had such a late start getting a string of sunny days together.

Needless to say, I was a bit excited when I noticed the fresh flush of buds on the bushes as I puttered in the garden this past weekend.

I couldn't resist snipping a couple of them to bring inside and enjoy.

These big cabbage roses are some of my favorites and I can hardly wait to see the show they'll be putting on in the next few weeks. 

I know fall is just around the corner but for now, I think I'll hold onto summer just a little longer.

I'm joining these garden parties...

A Beach Cottage

August 22, 2011

red tomatoes

My grandson and I have been working on our story telling skills.  We take turns adding details to very silly stories.  At three years old our stories usually start out with a color and something that is that color.  For instance, he'll pick the color red and name tomatoes. 

That will lead to tomatoes rolling down the street into the ocean and somehow sharks will enter the picture, (they always do) and we'll roll faster and faster and just as we're about to be caught, a red train (James with his shiny red coat to be specific) will show up and rescue the tomatoes and deliver us back home safely.

That's one of the wonderful things about being gramma,  enjoying more nothing time.  You know, that time when there really isn't anything to do that can't wait till later.

When I was mom, that nothing time was always filled up with dishes and laundry and a hundred other little tasks that took priority.

This is definitely one of the areas where with age comes wisdom.

Story telling is one our favorite front porch activities...that and calling out the colors of the cars as they go by.  Silly little nothing time activities...

I know the laundry won't wait forever but every day should have a little nothing time in it.  How do you fill yours?

August 20, 2011

reflections on a saturday morning

As I sit outside with my coffee this morning and think about this last week, I can't help but be grateful for God's goodness in my life.  Sometimes the things (or people) that can prove the most distracting or frustrating, upon reflection, are the biggest blessings.

Those little feet that follow grandma around the house 24/7 can certainly take a lot of my focus and energy but the thought that they may someday move away brings me back to reality very quickly.

The adult child that has come back home and all the dynamics that the situation brings with it can certainly try my patience but I need to remember it tries hers too.

I went with good friends to see The Help last night.  What a powerful story...one filled with the very worst of what mankind is capable of but thankfully, also what courage and strength and kindness look like, too. 

There are so many images swirling around in my head, so many relationships, both good and bad, that I will need to chew on for a while but this morning, for this grandma, I can't help but reflect on the one between Aibileen and the little girl she cared for raised.    The tenderness she showed her, the encouragement she spoke over her and the unconditional love that she treated her with will forever be etched in my mind.  The final scene when Aibileen is thrown out of the house and little girl is pounding on the window broke my heart.  That was her "mommy" walking out the door not The Help.

We can't choose the family we are born into, but we can choose to love those God puts in our lives, those easy to love and those that try our nerves, those who give love back and those that seem ungrateful, even those that are down right mean.  We are called to love them all...

What more beautiful way to demonstrate that love than to speak those same words that Aibileen spoke over a little girl who desperately needed to hear them...

You is kind.
You is smart.
You is important.

I wonder, is there someone who needs to hear those words from you today?

August 15, 2011

summer porch

I've been busy getting Lemon Lane Cottage ready for company and just wanted to share a few pictures of the front porch this morning.

I brought out the lady bug summer pillows just in the nick of time...

since Fall is only a few weeks away and it will soon be time to change to the autumn decor!

Doesn't it look comfy and inviting?  Especially with freshly potted impatiens to finish it all off.

There's still lots more to do so I need to make this a post a short one.  I'll be back soon to share more.

August 11, 2011

little touches

I've noticed that what draws me into a home are the little touches.  Those little spaces that you tuck your treasures into...a collection of vintage glasses, perhaps.

Stacks of plates on the sideboard or those adorable coffee bars that I'm just itching to create...

The mish mash of found objects that speak of who you are and what you cherish...

Imperfect bouquets from the garden in make shift vases and old ball jars, especially those gorgeous aqua blue ones I'm in search of.

It's the little touches that make a house a home.

Happy Weekend!

I'm joining
LaurieAnna's Farmhouse Friday

August 9, 2011

perked up perennial bed - late summer garden clean up

Yesterday I promised to share some pictures of my newly perked up perennial bed. 

 I know it’s backwards but I purchased four six packs of annuals, (two of impatiens, two of blue salvia and two of zinnias) and two one gallon containers of blue salvia, before I even started my clean-up.  What I should have done is first finished the clean-up, determined the holes to be filled and then purchased the flowers….but the flowers always get the best of me and any extras find homes in my containers. 

I am amazed at the bang I got for the buck.  My $20.00 dollar investment paid big dividends in freshening up the garden. 

I must confess the secret ingredient to keeping my beds fresh, aside from the new annuals, is really no secret at all…water. 

At least once a day during the summer months I am outside hose in hand providing a nice long drink to the flower garden. 

We only water the lawn a couple of times a week so that I can use that ration of water for my flowers.  It’s an easy compromise for my husband since he knows how much the gardens feed my soul.  

I admire gardeners who can rely only on rainfall but in our hot, arid climate even using drought tolerant plants, daily watering is a must for my wannabe English cottage garden.

If your not tired of seeing gardening posts, I'll be back with my container plantings soon.

I'm joining Kim for Wow us Wednesday, A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and Fishtail Cottage for Flora Thursday.

August 3, 2011

the sunflower

In the spring my three year old grandson and I planted a packet of sunflower seeds in a pot.  Every time we ventured into the backyard we would check for signs of green leaves.  For whatever reason, only one seed actually germinated and produced a sunflower.   After all the waiting, you can imagine our excitement as that one lone flower grew taller and taller each day. 

After a few weeks the sunflower’s head grew heavy and the stem began to bend until eventually the plant was horizontal.  I told my grandson that the sunflower was very tired and his head was getting too heavy for him to stay awake…reluctantly I cut the stalk down being careful to save the seeds for next year. 

Yesterday, out of the blue, my grandson very sweetly asked if the sunflower was awake, yet.  (They remember everything don’t they?)  I explained to him that the sunflower would stay asleep until next spring and that we would use the seeds he left behind to grow new sunflowers.

I couldn’t help but see an analogy in the story of the sunflower…

We go along in life scattering seeds hoping to produce a harvest and more often times than not, only a seed or two will flourish into flowers growing tall and strong for a season, leaving behind seeds of their own.

Sometimes it seems our seeds are weighed down with heavy burdens and may even seem to wither and die but they are only sleeping until the time for a new harvest draws near. 

Take a look at those seeds you’ve scattered being careful to look to the next generations harvest and ask the question of a hope filled child…

Is the sunflower awake, yet?

I'm linking to Fishtail Cottage for Flora Thursday.