cemetery perspectives…

If you ever need a place to immerse yourself in history, find yourself a beautiful old cemetery. You might think that sounds macabre, but I just think it’s a lovely way to visit our history and honor those who go ahead of us.

Fence pole cap

This morning I made a pilgrimage to a lovely little cemetery in Fort Langley, BC with two of my besties–Sarah from Year of Austere, and Kim. We were fortunate enough to run into the very informative and entertaining caretaker, who showed us all his favourite little spots throughout the property and even took us to see some historical photographs in his office.

He told us about his plans to restore some of the beautiful old plot markers and borders, like the one below, which he lovingly referred to as being “hugged” by the tree, which is actually growing around it. Don’t you just love it when people are passionate about their work?!

tombstone flourish

We saw beautiful details everywhere we looked. Little things that you might not notice if you didn’t take the time to look closely. Little embellishments, like these sweet anchors, must have had great meaning for the friends and family left behind.

I like to think that cemeteries are places for the living too.

cherry snow…

I thought I’d share a photo I snapped the other day. The ornamental cherry trees have been beautiful this year! They always remind me of the poem “Cherry Snow” that my writer/artist grandmother published in New Yorker and Chatelaine magazines when she was a young woman. She was also the first woman in Canada to fly a glider airplane–a feat mentioned in a book called “No Way To Treat A Lady”. This one’s for you, Grammy 🙂

playhouse do-over…

Have you ever wanted a childhood do-over?

As a child, I spent much of my time dreaming in my playhouse, and I would love to recapture that feeling of pure freedom. Only this time, I’d do it up in GRAND style!!! (I shouldn’t complain ’cause my dad built me a really amazing playhouse on stilts with windows, a shake shingled roof, and a grand staircase leading to the front door.)

There would be some serious whitewashing and it would be completely over-the-top frilly and girlie–a sight to behold, let me tell ya! My guest roster would extremely selective…only friends bearing lavish gifts and bottles of wine! Gossip would not only be encouraged, but expected!

photo courtesy Rachel Swan Design blog

photo courtesy Restyled Home

photo courtesy Jeanette Van Wicklen

photo courtesy Country House via Hooray

Above: This is a garage that was converted into an outdoor room (featured on Hooray Design). Below: The interior

photo coutesy Country House via Hooray

photo courtesy Moth Design

Above: The inspiration for this blog post. An outdoor room by Moth Design. Below: The interior

photo courtesy Moth Design

dreaming of blossoms…

It’s snowing outside and I’m dreaming of warmer days filled with bulbs blooming and budding branches! In the meantime, here’s a little Spring eye candy shots from Dreamy Whites

photo courtesy Dreamy Whites

photo courtesy Dreamy Whites

photo courtesy Dreamy Whites

photo courtesy Dreamy Whites

living library wall…

I was delighted to spot this magical transformation going on at our local Semiahmoo Library. This living garden wall is the best thing to happen in White Rock since the Whale Wall mural went up in the 70’s. I just want to give Surrey City Hall a great big hug!!!!! I’ll make sure to update you with a photo of the completed project.

happy summer happy color…

Can you hear me sighing with relief? It’s finally summer! Although the sun isn’t shining here, we’ve been promised a peak at it later in the week. When I think of summer, I think of color, so what better post than one on color in decor? I’ve collected an eclectic assortment of colorful rooms.

My inspiration for this blog is a bungalow designed by a fabulous Canadian designer, Jonathan Legate.

Photograph by Stacey Haines for Style At Home

I can see myself living happily in a room like the one above. The combination of warm buttery yellow walls with just the right red–especially the striped chair–and the gorgeous black toile drapes is such an inviting combination! Just the right degree of cozy & drama.

photograph by Stacey Haines for Style at Home

I think I finally get it…fabric is king! Look at how fantastic this room looks with that fabric. I might not give it a second look if I was leafing through swatches, but a designer like Jonathan has the experience to see the big picture and understand how it will make a room shine. Yet another example of why it pays to hire a designer.

photo courtesy Benjamen Moore

Pottery Barn’s summer paint colors for Benjamin Moore are really interesting. As paint chips, they don’t jump out at me, but once I see them in a vignette, they’re fabulous. The brown, blue and red in this room somehow manage to seem light and airy. Go figure! At this point, I think you’ve got a sense of how color-challenged I really am…lettin’ it all hang out here on the pages of this blog.

photo courtesy Benjamin Moore

I just think this cozy turquoise room with the gorgeous-smorgeous bedding is the cat’s meow! I’d never leave my bedroom if it looked like this!

photo courtesy Lonny magazine

You know me…gotta get a little orange in here somewhere. This appeals to the modern side of me.

photo courtesy Midwest Living

For some reason, I’m craving a mojito and a fan! I doubt that Mark would actually join me on this verandah for a drink…hmmmm…wait a minute..!

photo courtesy Elle Decor

This rosy red is “in” right now. So if you want to be super cool (just like me), rose is the color for you! I just can’t decorate with it, ’cause it would be a major clash with my red hair–I’m  a big believer in decorating with the colors that flatter you! My mom would probably claim that horizontal stripes on chairs make you look wider…hmmmm!

photo courtesy Benjamin Moore

photo courtesy Lonny magazine

The boldly colorful couch and the gold gilded picture frame remind me of some of the decor I’ve seen in Britain. It just says, “sit down and we’ll have a really good chat”.

I’m hopeful that this summer will be full of color. Full of friends. Full of fun!

black gold compost…

I have been on the lookout for a good composting system, and I think I found one at Lee Valley Tools–a fantastic Canadian catalogue company specializing in gardening and woodworking supplies. Now I just have to convince the hubby that the $185 price tag is worth it…pray for me and the environment!

photo courtesy Lee Valley Tools

My dad has a reputation for being a great gardener. When I was growing up, we had a small hobby farm, and most of it was taken up by lush green lawns, massive flower beds, and vegetable gardens that he lovingly tended to every weekend. His next-door buddy ran a commercial nursery, so Dad was always growing hanging baskets in the greenhouses. Every corner of every building sprouted a hanging basket with cascading waves of fuschia flowers every Spring. Don’t tell anyone, but I loved to go around popping open the new buds before they were ready–bad girl!!!

The secret to my dad’s enviable garden? “Black Gold”, as he referred to it. It was the thick, black, moist soil he collected from the back-yard composter. It’s nature’s brilliant system for turning waste into garden nourishment!

photo via The Mutt

I looked up “composting” on the Composting Council of Canada’s website, and I was amazed that they estimate 50 percent of our “waste stream” could be composted. That would greatly ease the strain on our landfills and supercharge the fertility of our soil–a win/win situation!!

Do you know what I want to grow with some of my Black Gold? POPCORN!!!!

Who knew you could grow your own popcorn? Okay…everybody but me! I love the idea of planting popcorn seeds and harvesting a crop in the late summer. Imagine how good it would taste. Imagine how clever you would feel. Imagine the look of envy and admiration on your friends’ faces when you serve homegrown popcorn as an entree…oh yes, I will! I’ll bring it up a notch by making my own butter to put on the popcorn too! Mwah ha ha ha ha.

There are tonnes of online reference sites for how to grow popcorn. There are lots of seed sources too. I just looked up some interesting seed on Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co.

I’m laughing as I write this, ’cause it just occured to me that perhaps you need quite a bit of space to grow corn, and I live in a suburban area in a subdivision. Hmmm…my neighbours would have a bird if I planted corn in the front garden! I do have a rather frustrating area in my back garden that would probably look great filled with tall corn stalks.

garden fresh…

I felt completely sorry for myself today, so I went looking for flowers to feel better. My mouth was completely numb after a double filling at the dentist’s office and I could barely talk to shopkeepers, who came running to help the lady with the slack drooling face.

First, I popped in to the neighborhood plant store…

Who knew there was such a plant as a Drumstick Primrose?

My Grandmother used to have English Daisies in her garden and I loved them. So sweet.

Then I sulked my way over to the local florist and I ogled some flowers before deciding on a bouquet of anemones and tulips.

When I was downloading my photos I realized I had some with the gorgeous flowers that I saw at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle last week. Hmmm…I thought to myself…they’ll make me feel better.

Nope…still feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to go pout in a corner!!!!!

dusting off the lawn furniture…

I know, I know, it’s way too early, but I just can’t help it. The sunny weather is lulling me into a false sense of security–as if every day from now on will be beautiful. I say “false” because my rational brain knows that we are probably in for a couple of months of uncertainty before we can rely on “barefoot” weather. Rational be damned, let’s hear it for the dreamer in the left side of my brain!

So this morning, I’m going to make Mark…er…bake some muffins, squeeze some fresh orange juice, brew some hot coffee, and sweetly ask him to dig through the shed for the spider-ridden lawn furniture. I’m juuuuuuust a teeeensy bit hesitant about putting the cushions out. I’ll probably put them out and then play a game of chance with the weather only to panic and drag them all back inside at the first sign of a cloud.

Here’s to all the dreamers out there!

This sweet little vintage set is just crying out for someone to sit and sip iced tea. I love the delicate twisted iron and the rustic surfaces. I have a corner on my verandah that looks exactly like that. Now I just need to find that set! It was featured in At Home In Arkasas magazine.

photo by Nancy Nolan for At Home Arkansas

Hmmm…this gorgeous sunny bench-for-two would sit prettily on my verandah too. Such beautiful pieces of outdoor furniture.

photo by Nancy Nolan for At Home in Arkansas

These sassy plastic Queen of Love chairs are by S.A.W. Italy. I can just imagine sipping mojitos and gossiping over candlelight long into the night!

photo courtesy S.A.W. Italy

These fabulous chairs were featured in Poppytalk‘s post about vintage outdoor furniture. They’re available through Surfing Cowboys. I bet they’re really comfortable.

photo via Poppytalk

I am a sucker for anything that rocks, so a photo like this one from Martha Stewart Living just sings to me!

photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

I must have been a southern belle with porch swing and a a big verandah in a past life. I could sit there for hours with my wool and crochet needle. I found this photo by Evan Sklar on Under a Paper Moon blog.

photo by Evan Sklar via Under a Paper Moon

This is my girlfriend, Patty’s, front porch. I fell instantly in love with her red Adirondack chair. It goes perfectly on her dark slate grey front porch. Her woodsy garden is filled with white flowers–quite striking when everything is in bloom. We did a photo shoot for Nicole Jane Home at Patty’s beautiful home last year, and this is one of my favorite shots by photographer, Reinier DeSmit.

photo for Nicole Jane Home by Reinier De Smit

birdsong…

Yesterday afternoon, I heard a sound that I listen for every year…a robin singing! Nature is leaving wake-up calls all over the place–in the Pacific Northwest it’s daffodils and tulips cresting the soil, and crocuses and cherry trees blooming. I’m enjoying all the activity that’s stirring in the garden, and thinking about all the weeds I need to deal with pronto!

Now I’m on the hunt for a bird house worthy of my warbling robin! I love this little gem by photographer, Bill Dalton.

photographer: Bill Dalton

New York artist, Paula Hayes, creates stylistic garden sculptures, including these exquisite bird houses. I love her tongue-in-cheek interpretation of nature. I love the combination of Hayes’ futuristic birdhouse sculpture and the aging brick high rise in the background.

photo courtesy of Paula Hayes

bird house by Paula Hayes

Even though there’s a pile of snow, apparently, a little bird has been hard at work getting ready for spring.

photo courtesy of Dan {Durango99} on flickr

What bird wouldn’t be attracted to this little rainbow charmer?

from NatCat13's photostream on Flickr

Oh Joy featured these adorable ceramic egg birdhouses by artist, J Schatz. He uses egg shapes to design a whole collection of bird feeders, planters, bird houses–charming.

photo via Oh Joy blogspot

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