4 September 2014

Home work

Happy September! Just when I was about to welcome the cooler temperatures and get ready for an early Fall, Summer decided to appear! It's been hot and humid here this week, making me not feel at all like decorating for Autumn.   I know it will be short lived and by next week, we'll be back to normal (cooler) temperatures. The leaves are already changing and falling!  This is the earliest I ever remember that happening.

September always feels like the month of new beginnings.  I'm more inspired to make changes in September than I am in January!  On my list of things to do is to freshen up my home.  I love my home but ... it's been awhile since I've shown it some love.  

It's easy to get sidetracked by all the lovely rooms I see on blogs and Pinterest.  And I'll admit that there are days when I feel totally frustrated because I'll never have the budget or the energy to accomplish the wonderful ideas that I pin.  What I can do is make my home more functional.   I can make it feel, well, like home.  My home.  I might not be able to build those bookshelves I want but I can paint and I can sew.  I can also rearrange the furniture and accessories seasonally to keep things fresh.

I created and printed a collage of photos I've pinned on my Pinterest boards that best represent how I want my home to look.  I like the look of wood, natural or painted a dark colour.  I like neutral colours on my walls and furniture so I can add pops of colour seasonally.  I like lots of light coming in through the windows.  I like things clean and uncluttered.   I also came up with three words to indicate how I want my home to feel - cosy, simple, classic.  These little reminders will help keep me on track  when I'm choosing new paint colours or purchasing something to add to my decor.  I've started a mood board on the bulletin board by my computer and I'll be adding to it and editing it as I begin to make changes in my home.  I haven't done this since design school and I've got to admit, it's kind of fun!

Home is where we feel at ease, where we belong, where we can create surroundings that reflect our tastes and pleasures. - Terence Conran

27 August 2014

Late Summer garden

Oh my goodness!  Where has August gone?  We're getting my father settled back into his home this week so I should be back to blogging regularly again starting next week.  I've always felt September was the month of fresh beginnings and as much as I love Summer, a part of me is anxious to start decorating for Fall.

I thought I'd show you a few photos of my late Summer garden.  Of course, it would probably have been better to photograph it when everything was blooming but I didn't.  Maybe next year.

This is the front of our home.  I love my little birdbath and it is used constantly.  I have to fill it daily (sometimes twice a day!).  The grape hyacinths are beginning to come up here and there around the base of the birdbath.

The Autumn Joy sedum are just beginning to turn pink.  These add really lovely colour to the garden in late Summer and Fall and are one of those plants that thrive no matter what. 

The purple coneflowers are new this year and are planted on the street side of the fence.  We're still working on this part of the garden and I'm hoping that by next year, it will look much more finished (and all those stones will be gone!).

We added the flagstone path last year leading from our porch to our front gate.  I love our path.  I'm still working on the porch trying to make it a little more inviting and have a few ideas that I'll be trying out in the next couple of weeks.  Of course, the big green plastic watering can doesn't do much!  Note to self - remove ugly plastic things before taking photos.

Outside of our kitchen is our courtyard.  It's tiny and quaint but it's my favourite spot for sitting and enjoying a cup of coffee or a cold drink.

Looking back towards the kitchen window - a hydrangea, fern, clematis and lace cap hydrangea.

Caught in the act!  This little rabbit is responsible for all the damage in my garden!  I caught it nibbling on my sweet peas - again.

So that's a little peek into my garden!  We've made a lot of changes over the past two years and it's finally starting to come together the way I envisioned.  Of course, a garden is never finished but I feel we're at least making progress.

I hope you enjoy this last bit of Summer ... see you next week!

30 July 2014

Summer blues

Blue is my all time favourite colour and I love blue hydrangeas!  Paired with blue and white transfer ware, they make the perfect Summer display.

In the past, my cut hydrangeas always wilted which made me hesitant to cut them to bring inside.  I'd pinned a tip about preventing cut hydrangeas from wilting by dipping the stems in boiling water for 30 seconds before arranging them so I decided to try it.  Guess what?  It worked!  My hydrangeas stayed fresh and wilt free for over a week.

We've been dealing with leaks this week.  I discovered a leak in the basement from a broken pipe that needed to be repaired immediately.  Thankfully, I have a very talented brother who fixed it and saved us a fortune by not having to hire a plumber!  While he was here, he replaced my kitchen faucet.  I've learned that plumbing repairs never go as planned.  We're dealing with builder's grade materials that are aging and wearing out so we also ended up replacing both drains in the sink because one was rusted through and broke as soon as it was touched.  A few trips to Home Depot and about two days of work had everything running smoothly again and I have a lovely new kitchen faucet.  In the middle of this, our fridge was leaking from a clogged drain that is also now thankfully fixed.  And a shower faucet that hasn't worked in almost two years has finally been replaced.  Our home is nice and dry again and everything is working as it should.  A good feeling!

22 July 2014

More peonies

I couldn't resist having just one more bouquet of peonies!  Mine finished blooming weeks ago but a vendor at the farmer's market last Saturday was still selling them from her garden.  She said this would be the last week so I decided to indulge.

I chose this barely there colour - not quite white but not quite pink - and tucked them into my favourite vintage ironstone pitcher.

I rarely buy flowers in the summer months as I can usually find something from the garden to bring inside. 

My father is still staying with us after having a couple of falls while we have some modifications made to his home.  We expect to have the renovations finished around mid-August.  Things have been a bit busier than usual trying to organize everything he'll need in a short amount of time but it's all gradually coming together.

Have a lovely week!

8 July 2014

Lavender blues ... and a health update!

Summer keeps blessing us with beauty on a daily basis!  Every time I go out to my garden, there's something new blooming or preparing to bloom.  The Winter was very hard on my hydrangeas.  Four of them bounced back not too badly but my pink one is struggling and I'm not sure it's going to make it.  It's funny how the soil affects the colour of the hydrangeas.  On one bush I can have blue, pink or lavender!  I'm rather partial to the lavender blue colour you see in the photo above.

And of course the lavender is blooming too!  I removed my oldest and largest lavender plant this spring because it had become so overgrown and woody and replaced it with a new one.  It will be another year before the new one flowers.  This plant has been in the garden for a couple of years and bloomed quite well this year.  As I have a lot of dried lavender in the house, I decided to leave the flowers for the bees.  Speaking of bees, I seem to have quite a few of them burrowing in the garden around this lavender plant!  I never knew ground bees even existed but they do.  They don't bother me so I'm leaving them to do what bees do best. 

I saw my oncologist last Friday to see how I'm tolerating the tamoxifen.  My ca125 hit an all time high of 6707 at the end of April, then dropped to 6083 on June 11 and was 1645 on Friday!  So it looks like the tamoxifen is working.  Unless something changes, I don't need to go back until the beginning of September so I'm pretty happy about the results.

The not so good news is that my 84 year old father fell down the stairs last Thursday night.  The ambulance took him to ER where, praise God, nothing was broken.  Then he fell again Saturday morning.  Other than scrapes and bruises, thankfully he's okay.  He's been staying with us since Saturday and we're in the process of making his home more liveable for him.  That will involve things like having stair lifts installed, arranging for more care at home and having an occupational therapist assess his home to make it more accessible.  Lots to do before he can go back home.