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February 29, 2012

craving spring color

As the season begins to change from the short brown days of winter to the freshness of spring, I realize I am ready for more color around the cottage.

Not that I've  ever been shy around color but spring just calls for pops of eye candy goodness.   I started pulling out my Easter decorations, placing them on the mantel to help usher in the season.

I also put together this pretty banner from some left over quilt blocks and draped it across the fireplace. 

If I had to choose a color that just says, "Welcome Spring", I don't think I could decide.  I love them all.

What about you?  Can you choose a favorite?

What colors have you thinking Spring?

February 28, 2012

a quick trip to the nursery

We took a quick trip to the local nursery on Sunday to pick out a few flowers for the garden.  I came home with a box full of my favorite springtime blooms...Ranunculus. 

 Since Southern California doesn't get cold enough for most traditional bulbs, these Ranunculas are the closest thing to classic spring blooms that we get. 

They were on sale so I picked up eight four inch pots and a six pack of lobelia which gobbled up my $20.00 flower budget. 

I had already snuck in a couple of itty bitty tomato plants, a cucumber plant and another strawberry plant from my weekly grocery budget.  I will re-pot the vegetables and keep them in the sun room until the weather warms up a bit.

 As soon as this little rain storm passes by I will be out in the back garden clearing away the winter debris and overgrown vine mess that has all but choked out my rear perennial bed.  After that, I will add some compost and plant these beauties in the ground.

I'm hoping to have pictures of the area to share with you soon. 

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

xo, Patty

February 27, 2012

What are you up to today?

Just sitting in my chair planning my day...

It feels so strange to have the whole day ahead of me with nothing set in concrete.

Sure there's the usual cleaning and puttering to do...

at some point I will throw in a load of laundry and unload the dishwasher...

hopefully, if the rain stays away, a little time working in the garden...

and I know dinner is on the horizon...

but there is absolutely no place I have to be at any certain time.

This is totally new for me, so I was just wondering...

What are you up to today?

February 24, 2012

Happy weekend

It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I was lamenting over the long quiet days and now with the house full of energy, I am wondering what that quietness felt like.

Tomorrow my youngest daughter and grandson will be off to San Diego to live with my oldest daughter and her family while the younger finishes some nursing credits.   On the way south they will stop off at my mom and dad's where we will all gather to celebrate my mom's 78th birthday.  That means both our grand kids and more new great nieces and nephews than I can count. 

Life is all about growth and change.  It can be so easy to want to hold on to what is...but what is to be cannot be denied and so we adapt and encourage and learn to hold our tongue when we want to hold on too tightly.

Life is good...not perfect or always easy...but definitely good.

Have  wonderful weekend!

xo, Patty

February 23, 2012

life interrupted

Just as I was getting into the swing of our empty nest, guess who stopped by for a couple of days and happily caused my new life to be interrupted?

My youngest daughter and my grandson stopped by on their way to San Diego and decided to stay the night.   In a mere matter of minutes my old quiet cottage has been transformed into a noisy, train and hot wheel. little boy haven.

Those of you with snow on the ground might want to cover your ears...we reached 80 degrees today so it didn't take long for the water to go on out back.

What a wonderful surprise...no worries, this time I will be more than willing to let go when the time comes.  I am kind of getting used to this old, quiet cottage...there is a season for everything.

Enjoy your Friday.

xo, Patty

February 21, 2012

morning sunshine

Monday has become my baking day around here.  Last week I made the best chocolate chip cookies.  I fully intended to share the recipe with you but the cookies were gone before I could get a picture to post.  I plan on making up another batch on a day when my hubby is working and the sun is out so that I will have the time and lighting to share just how yummy they look.

Yesterday I jazzed up a boxed brownie mix and they were the perfect addition to my  coffee and quiet time this morning. 

I took a chance, before settling in to my comfy leather chair, to walk around the garden and clip anything that might be blooming to add a pretty bouquet to my setting.  It doesn't take much more than a few wildflowers and geraniums to make me smile.

I made these pretty study notebooks for the ladies at my bible study table.  We start a new series tonight and I wanted to bless them with a little something.  I used scraps of pinks, blues, yellows, purples, greens and reds so they are all different.

I think they turned out kind of pretty and it will be fun watching them pick out the one that's just right for them.

The sun is shining gloriously here today so I think I'll finish up my second cup of coffee and head outside. 

I hope the sun is shining where you are, too.  Patty

February 20, 2012

the backyard path

Our sunny weekend never materialized but that didn't stop my dear husband from tidying up the backyard (it did however stop me from raking leaves and pulling weeds).  I did manage to snap a couple of pictures to share with you.

My plan this spring is to pull everything out of this side garden and fill it completely with geraniums.  They seem to love it in there and their happy unassuming faces always bring a smile to my face.  I love a flower that doesn't mind a little neglect during the long, hot, dog days of summer.

This stone walkway that rings the grass was definitely one of the deal clinchers when we first looked at our little cottage.  At the end of this pathway, just as you turn the bend, there's a small waterfall and pond that adds the right amount of motion and noise to the backyard.

This picture from last summer shows where we added some tall trees along the back fence for added privacy and a couple of new fruit trees for some additional shade and yummy fresh fruit.  This year my hubby will be building a couple of raised bed planters for an actual vegetable plot.  Nothing big to start, just enough to harvest a few tomatoes and summer veggies.  I am looking forward to being more self sufficient now that I have more time (and less money) to piddle around out back.

Any suggestions for easy to grow vegetables that don't take up too much room?  I know I want tomatoes and peppers but would like to put in a few more basics to round it out.  What about you?  Have you started tilling your soil or are you still in the dreaming of spring stage?

February 18, 2012

Spring is in the air

Where did this week go?  Sorry it's been so long since my last post.  I can't believe the weekend is here again already.  I am really starting to enjoy both my retirement and our empty nest.  Who knew you could clean house on Tuesday and it would still look spiffy on Saturday?

While I still get a little lonely at times, I can honestly say I am loving my life right now.  Thank you for praying for me during this time of transition.

I hope you don't mind me showing you a couple of little dresses I put together this week.  I have fallen in love with my sewing machine again and just can't seem to pull myself out of my studio. 

I hope to clean up all the strings and restore order in there this weekend.  It promises to be a sunny couple of days and I want to take some pictures of the whole studio to share with you.  I was smart enough to take before pictures this time so you will really be able to see the transformation.

Besides sewing, I went to see The Descendants with two of my BFF's this week (aside from George Clooney, it was a hard movie to sit through) and I have finally finished reading Ann Voskamp's "one thousand gifts" nearly one year after I started it.  I think God knew that I would need it more now than earlier and he held it for this time in my life on purpose.  It has been transforming.  If you haven't read it, find a copy and be blessed.

My oldest daughter is in town and is taking me to lunch and to see "The Vow" today, so you can see it's been a very full week.

I am so thankful for what I have, not focusing on what is gone, looking forward to what's to come and exceedingly full of joy and it feels wonderful. 

Spring is definitely in the air.

February 14, 2012

love one another

In the big picture of life...

Wouldn't it be great if we could just zoom in and focus on loving one another?

Can you imagine how sweet life would be?

I hope your life is filled with love...not just today but everyday.

xxoo, Patty

February 13, 2012

finding inspiration

I have found that surrounding myself with pretty things, even for utilitarian purposes, inspires me to create. 

Beautiful things in the kitchen...pretty vintage canisters, cute measuring spoons or colorful dishes makes me want to get in there and cook for my family.

The same thing is true in my studio.  All of my crafting and sewing supplies stored in pretty boxes and buckets makes me want to go in there and create something beautiful.

Seeing my things displayed in a lovely way reminds me to use them to make others happy.  One of the best things about art is knowing what you have created might bring a smile to some one's face.

I used to feel the need to justify buying pretty things just for storage or when I already owned a plain version of the same thing.  Not anymore...as my budget allows, I look forward to replacing the "ugly" with the "beautiful" knowing using something pretty can produce just that little shift in attitude that brings joy to those around me.

Don't you agree?

February 12, 2012

after the storm

We finally got some much needed rain yesterday with the promise of another storm tomorrow.  I love the day after a good rain everything just feels a little fresher. 

I definitely feel my mojo returning  so that means it's time to make a few new to do lists.  I always have running lists of projects I want to complete, don't you?

Today I think I'll organize them by category and pick a simple one to start things off with.  I am all about beginning with a little instant gratification before I tackle the big stuff.

It feels so good to be inspired again...that quick visit with my parents was just what I needed.  I am so blessed to still have them and even though they don't live in the house I grew up in any longer, pulling into their drive way always feels like going home. 

That just goes to show you that it's the people inside that make a house a home.

Have a wonderful Sunday, sweet friends.  Patty

February 10, 2012

weekend plans

Any plans for the weekend?

I'm headed out to visit my mom and dad in a few minutes.  My mom and I have plans to attend a local quilt show and maybe check out the new Hobby Lobby. 

The weekend weather should be picture perfect...Can't wait to get it started.  I hope yours is picture perfect, too.

Enjoy, Patty

February 8, 2012

outside my window

Every morning, after pouring myself a steaming cup of coffee, I sit in my favorite old leather chair and gaze out this window.

There is something about the view that just brings me focus and centers my heart.

Normally in late winter not only are the camellias blooming but there is a covering of snow on the distant mountain range.  This year has been exceptionally dry so the snow is absent but the view is still one of my favorites.

I find comfort in the constant of nature.  Don't you agree?  I like the fact that no matter what is swirling around in my head. the view outside my window remains the same. 

My coffee is cold...time for a refill.   Have a wonderful day!  Patty

February 7, 2012

lightening it up

I feel like I'm always thanking you guys for the nice comments, understanding shoulder and words of encouragement but here I am thanking you once again.  Yesterday was the first day I really enjoyed my retirement.  My hubby had the day off so we ran some errands and just really enjoyed being together. 

He has been my rock these last two weeks and I really want to do something special for him.  He loves him some chocolate chip cookies so I'd like to make him the best chocolate chip cookies ever.  He is not a fancy man and I usually go with the basic toll house recipe but would love to step it up a notch...that's where you come in.

I need your input.  What is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you've ever made?  I might even have a special something for the winning one.

Dreading the taste tests...wink, wink,  Patty

February 5, 2012

grandma's house

I have such vivid memories of my grandmother's house.  The lively conversation and yummy aroma's can be conjured up without much hesitation.  I remember she made the best homemade tortillas.  All of us kids would literally wait in line as she carefully flipped each one on the grill and then slathered them with butter before handing one to each of us as we eagerly waited our turn.  I remember the TV was always on in the background with her novellas (Spanish soap operas) and while I didn't understand the words, I could recognize the passion and drama well enough.

I'm feeling a little melancholy today as I come to terms with my grandson's recent move out of our home into his new home over two hours away.  He has lived here since his birth nearly four years ago and the emptiness is just about to swallow me up.

While my head knew this was inevitable my heart is taking it's sweet time getting on board with the change.  I am so thankful that God blessed us with this special time...

Everything has a season...being a mom is an adventure, being a full time mom-mom was amazing but now it's time to just be grandma to my two adorable little munchkins and what a wonderful blessing that will be, too.

In transition...Patty