Saturday, May 28, 2016

All Grown Up!

I trimmed the parterre yesterday.  It is not quite finished.  I still need to attend to details and add more pea gravel.  

This is the parterre when it was born; Before we added concrete curbing, pea gravel, the large angel statue, yew hedges at the street and Cleveland Pears behind it, with a Limelight Hydrangea hedge directly in front of the Cleveland Pear Trees, as well as a ten foot privet hedge. 
I thought it looked pretty good then.  LOL!  
500 boxwood shrubs.  
What was I thinking? 

Here is the parterre on its second year of growth.  The neighbor's houses and swing set are now barely visible, thanks to the trees and hedges we planted!

The parterre is situated on an incline in our front yard, to allow for proper drainage.  I allowed the boxwood at the base of the incline to grow higher so the parterre is level with the horizon. It looks as if it is not on a hill at all. 
There is lavender planted in the circles at each end of the parterre. (The other end is not visible in this photo).  The scent of boxwood and lavender is like HEAVEN! 
I trimmed the lilac standards, as well.  They must be trimmed immediately after their blooms fade, as they set their flowers at that time. If you trim too late it will not flower the next year. 

Too tired to take more photos and I have sunburn on my sunburn.  LOL! 

The gardeners in magazines always look so dignified, so proper, so clean
At the end of my gardening day, I always look like I wrestled a pig in mud. 
I suspect they are doing it wrong.  



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More on this as it develops...

We found this table free on Craigslist!  I will be painting it and adding a gravel patio and a pond behind it where the bronze cherub spitter sits!
Every last thing you see here is from Craigslist, including the arborvitae! 

The table is seven feet long and made of pine.  I am just too excited!  I want to paint it right now! 
Can you just hear the tinkle of the fountain and the crushed gravel underfoot? 

I have envisioned this for years, even to the point that I walk around the imaginary pond and encourage others to do so as well.  

Me: "You're standing on the goldfish."

Handsome Husband: "Goldfish? What are you talking about?"

Me: "The goldfish mama is not happy. I don't know what she's capable of...and your shoes are sopping wet!  Will you please just get out of the pond?"

Handsome Husband: Rolls eyes. Steps out of imaginary pond, makes imaginary squishy shoe sounds as he walks toward the house...



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Happy Sunday!

Happy Sunday, friends!
Hoping you are well!  



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Summer In The Entry!

I hope this post finds you in good health and good spirits, friends!

The front entry has been the bane of my existence. 
 You know this.  It has gone through many incarnations.  The thing is...and here's the is a very narrow hallway with asymmetrical everything!  That's why I cannot get good photos.  Well, that and I am a terrible photographer. 
The angles are all cattywampus. The opening into the library is not symmetrical to the entry hall.  The front door is also off balance.  Plus, plus, the ceiling is eighteen feet tall guessed it...asymmetrical. 

 It's as if Miss Jone's Second Grade class, at the Dr. Seuss Academy For Young Architects, drew up the blueprints for the place.   

Architectural ANARCHY! 

When I take photos, I must basically execute strenuous Ashtanga yoga poses, skills honed from years of attempting to document my failures at perfecting this entry.  
Until now...

Ladies and Gentlemen...

I bring you...
The final manifestation of the front hallway...for forever and ever.  
I will always be happy with this and it will never change! 

The sheer epic-ness is difficult to photograph.  The cabinet is seven feet long and three feet tall! The shell-filled urn is almost three feet tall!

Sunlight steals the show! It's as if God, Himself, reached down and declared this to be the personification of beauty and, yes, symmetry. 
And, because I went through all the trouble and it doesn't show, I am pointing out the brown sea fan at the back of the urn.  Squint a little.  See?  Perfection! 

Ever have a life changing epiphany?  Me neither.  But this is close.  It's as if, from here on in, everything is looking up!  The stars have all aligned, I have conquered the front entry...and life is GOOD. 

You may recall the pair of urns from Craigslist.  I think they were $30 for the pair!  The plinths are also Craigslist purchases, which I painted with Annie Sloan's Graphite and Dark Wax.  They are drum tables from the 1970's. 
The clam shell and coral are actually imitations, made from plastic!  I found them several years ago, at HomeGoods!

Sharing a sneak peek of the library changes! 

I will share more soon!



Monday, May 16, 2016

Sunroom Courtyard

This was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Well, not easy, but a lot faster than I thought it would be!  
We began at 8 a.m. and finished by 3 p.m.  The hardest part was digging up the grass and hauling two thousand pounds of gravel from the garage!  

One thousand five hundred pounds of paver sand and one thousand five hundred  pounds of pea gravel from Home Depot, just waiting for me to get motivated! 

Are you ready?


I honestly feel like I won something!  This was a simple task, however.  Labor intensive, but anyone can do it!  
Handsome Husband hasn't even seen it yet!  How do you like that?  Exclusive sneak peek!  

We replaced the builder grade outdoor lights two years ago.  There are four more up front.  
The statue and plinth are from Craigslist, of course!  The cherub faces the door to the sunroom.  The limestone finials are from stores in the area.  
We also transplanted several arborvitae!

Here is what the yard looked like when we moved in.  I don't have any other photos.  This is a wreath Gracie and I made together.  Happy memories.  

Yes.  It looked like the surface of Mars!  

This is the yard last Spring before we had our fence installed.  

Such a gratifying experience!  
I can't wait for Handsome Husband to see it! 



Linking to The Dedicated House, Make It Pretty Monday!  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Painted Enfilade and Christmas in May!

Hello friends!

Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers.  It was a long time between posts, for certain! 

 I missed you! 

We are getting back on our feet, here, slowly but surely.  Seeing my old Blogging friends helped so much.  It really did.  

Handsome Husband and I are training for a half marathon together.  That should keep us occupied, both physically and mentally!

Our family was blessed to be a part of another dog transport today!  Two little angels made the journey from Southern, IL to Northern, IL.  One has been adopted and the other will have a forever home soon!

This is something our family loves to do together.  We had not been able to do as many with so much uncertainty surrounding the health of our loved ones and then my illness.

Spring and Summer bring a steady flow of rescues from the South!  We are ready for them!  

I thought I would share some photos of the French enfilade we purchased from Craigslist last year, from the set of the television show, Empire.   I finally did paint it with Amy Howard One Step Paints.  I found them at Ace Hardware, of all places!
I really do love her paint.  It glides on and dries very quickly!

If you recall, this is the original enfilade.  

Painted inspiration found on Pinterest. 
I agonized over the colors.  Then I agonized over the type of finish. Then I second guessed the colors...then the finish...then I realized it's just paint.  I can always paint over it!

...and I moved on...

To give you an idea, the angels are 5 feet tall and the tapestry is 8 feet tall. 

French enfilade painted with Amy Howard, One Step Paints, Atelier on the body and Luxe on the trim.  A little goes a very long way!  
The cabinet is 7 feet long.  It took less than an hour to paint!  
I intentionally painted it on in thin layers and wiped it back to mimic a French antique.
The tapestry is also from Craigslist.  I hung it using a ten foot ladder and barely was able to hang it high enough, standing on the top of the ladder on my tippy toes!

View from library.  I love the lighter tone.  It brings depth to the front entry! The entry is long and narrow, so this is perfect! 

The enfilade embellished for Christmas with a hand made orange and kiwi willow eucalyptus garland.   
I used copper mesh, the kind you use to stuff cracks with to keep mice out,  for the oranges (styrofoam).

I know it's May but I did not work this hard to keep it to myself!


Sienna velvet ribbon, willow eucalyptus and faux styrofoam, miniature oranges. 

I put oranges essential oil in a bowl under the cabinet to mimic the scent of fresh oranges.  
Last year, I used real oranges and they didn't last as long as I had hoped.  Styrofoam was a little pricey but they should last forever. 

Here is more of the orange garland on the balcony railing.

We also did orange garlands in the dining room!  


Willow eucalyptus key tassels

I will share a tutorial on the orange garlands when we approach the holidays, which, by the way, will be here before you know it!

The grey ostrich feather key tassel adds a touch of whimsy for every day.
I just love this cabinet!  It is big enough to store all the front entry Christmas decorations too!

If you have any questions about Amy Howard paints, feel free to ask in the comments!



Friday, May 6, 2016

Master Bedroom

It has been a very long time since my last post.  Lots of sadness this past year.  We lost many loved ones. Just kinda been rambling through, trying to find a way to come to terms.  Then I realized that the only way is to continue on, hopefully bringing my best memories of them with me. 

My beloved angel, Faerie Princess passed away on December 9.  She died in my arms as we lay in bed. For a very long time, she was my whole world. I even named my daughter after her. Her full name was Faerie Princess Olivia. My daughter's name is Grace Olivia Mary. The Mary is after my husband's Grandmother. I miss her terribly. I feel her loss every day. Though she was older, it was unexpected. I can barely type this through my tears. 

On March 2, my husband's aunt passed away after a truly courageous battle with cancer.  She had the faith of a child.  Such a loving woman. 

We barely had time to grieve her loss when my husband's father, Gracie's Papa, passed away after fighting his own battle with brain cancer.  He left this world peacefully on March 13. Part of me still feels like he is still here.  I still expect him to answer the phone when I call my in-law's home. 
I have never seen so many people at a wake.  He had so many friends. He was buried in Abraham Lincoln Cemetery. He was a Marine who fought in Vietnam. The ceremony was beyond moving.

On March 26, our dear sweet McGillicuddy went to heaven with Faerie.  He had tumors in his lungs that could not be removed. He stopped eating. Nothing could be done, so we held him as the doctor gave him an injection. I miss his constant companionship.  He was everywhere I was.  Always. Sometimes, I see a shadow and for a brief moment, I think it is my McGillicuddy. 

On April 3, my husband's Grandmother, Mary, passed away.  She was my heart, so gentle, kind and loving. Her smile was a constant in our lives. The loss of her daughter and her son in law took a toll.  She died peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by loved ones. 

As you may know, my adoptive father passed on May 9 of 2015.  The anniversary is this Monday. 

I am forcing myself to write this but I can barely see through tears.  Just reading it overwhelms me. On top of this, we suffered our final miscarriage. We will not make any more attempts. God has spoken and He said "no". 

 I never really connected all this together in one experience, so to speak. 

The words seem so shallow. It does no service to the full weight of the emotion, grief and sadness behind each letter of those sentences, as if each letter was created of White Dwarf Star matter. 

I have been very sick most of the year, as well, a severe allergic reaction to medicine last June put me in the hospital for three days. There I caught a terrible flu, followed by two bouts of pneumonia, mono and now an inner ear infection, which is waning, thank goodness. 

I really hated not being able to do the things I love to do. The garden needs tending this year, which I am planning on beginning this weekend. 

It is time to stand up and walk on...

Faerie Princess asleep in the sunroom.  You can see a glimpse of McGillicuddy's tail.  

McGillicuddy in the library. 

I did take time in November to redo the Master Bedroom.  We found a bed on Craigslist that I had wanted for a while from Pottery Barn but the price was a bit steep.  

The bed replaced a king size sleigh bed we also found on Craigslist.
Funny, we bought a king size because we thought all our pets would be sleeping with us.  They didn't.  They do now that we have a smaller bed!  
The chandelier was an ebay find. 

We found the cassone, or carved hope chest, on Craigslist as well.  We drove to St. Louis to pick it up. The carvings are stunning! 
My dad loved this and was excited to see it in place. Sadly, he passed away before he could see it. 

Added Italian altar candlestick lamps to the bedsides. 
The painting is Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee". It reminds us that God is in charge, no matter what comes our way. 

Lamp on my side. To give you an idea how big the room is, the table is 40" across.  

Dressing table, mirror, bench, all found on Craigslist. 

Handome Husband's bedside. 

You can see the huge, gilt mirror we found free on Bookoo, a Craigslist-like site. 

Both the Christos figure, from a church in Milwaukee and the Prie Dieu were found on Craigslist.  

My Faerie Princess helping me here. The armoire was a Craigslist find, as are the settee, table and sconces. 

I replaced the settee with this chaise, also found on Craigslist and the bombe chest. McGillicuddy loved this spot. 

Larger view of the gilt mirror, angel statue and the buffet we use as Handsome Husband's night table. 

I have always loved the work of Tara Shaw, her white walls, religious artifacts, French antiques.  Some day, I hope to own some of her pieces, until then, I will continue to scour Craigslist! 

The Master Bedroom exudes a sense of serenity. It is a very peaceful place to lay our heads after a long day. 

Thanks for visiting me, friends!  I am on my way to go visit you!




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