Trials and Miscues

I’ve never been much of a gardener choosing to make a yard as low maintenance as possible.  In Maine, however, it’s impossible not to get a little excited about gardening as flowers are, in the words of one daughter, so brave and outspoken.

All you have to do to see that is visit a nursery

where the selection of growing things edible and decorative is overwhelming.

My attempts at gardening so far are mostly trials and even more miscues.  What I am striving for is a cutting garden  with blooms lasting through the summer and into the fall.  While that is possible, there’s lots to learn about what works.  Take delphiniums which are beautiful to look at, but they get so top heavy they topple over, especially after a rainfall.

And, that flower around them, which I think is a type of geranium, is the right height, but rather than stand up it spreads all over the place destroying other plants with their weight.

So what have I learned about gardening? A successful garden has a blend of annuals and perennials.  That means investing in new plants every year, but to get the right combination of color and texture, it’s worth it.  Thanks to a series of trials and miscues I realize that defining scale and developing a cohesive color scheme is a must to avoid chaos.

Flowers and herbsPerhaps the most important lesson is that successful gardening can be done in pots! It is ever so much easier to combine interesting plant materials in pots than to try to balance them in a garden.

 As I continue to learn to create the bigger picture, I’ll not abandon my successes!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Gardens Galore

A Peek Inside

From the minute you enter this home, you know that it’s going to be special.

The walls are neutral backdrops for a world of color gathered in Mexico, Cuba and New Mexico.

No piece appears by accident as I happen to know how much thought has been given to each one.

There are interesting collections throughout,

 all of which have their special place.  Thinking ahead about how to display eliminates the potential for clutter.

Color abounds lending its own energy to every space, 

but it is not used carelessly as the same colors repeat themselves in different ways throughout the house.

There is much to  catch the eye be it the accessories 

or the upholstery fabrics that blend effortlessly into their surroundings.

It goes without saying that the folks who live here are comfortable with color and texture and have used both to their best advantage.  There is something to be said about knowing your style and carrying it off successfully.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind



Getting It Right

Not only was I bored spending most of my time in bed for 10 weeks, but I began obsessing on things wrong in the bedroom.   The hubby knew that was going to lead to some kind of overhaul, and, indeed, it did.

bedroomSeveral years ago, some walls in the bedroom and study were done with Venetian plaster  that blended more than one color.  The color chosen for the remaining walls was never right, but since I saw them in the dim light of morning and night I let it go.  Not possible after looking at it day after day.

So, the first thing was to choose a new color that would blend a little better.  After sampling several grays, the selection was Sherwin Williams Lazy Gray.  A new color meant new carpet, darker than the one that had shown every little bit of dirt. How much airier the space seemed with those changes!

The hubby thought that was enough, but no, I wasn’t finished.  Every picture was relocated.  I don’t know where the botanicals came from, but I found them in a closet.  What made them a great choice is the frame which picked up the tones in the piece over the bed.

Art that hung over the fireplace was pleasing, but the frames were mismatched. Again I shopped the house, gathering pieces that not only had matching frames but played off the colors dominating the room.  And, note those shelves.  All the clutter is gone and what’s there looks like it belongs.

Now on a roll, I gathered a few other odds and ends as accessories, and they, too, look like they were made for the space.

Though the hubby groaned  thinking the project was unnecessary, he admitted when all was done that the changes were quite an improvement.  That made it all worthwhile, but he’s hoping I don’t have opportunity to obsess over something else in the near future!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Flowers As Art

Beautiful floral arrangements are works of art, particularly when they are created to meet a challenge such as that demanded by Florescence, an annual themed flower show in Houston. For two days the entries are displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts where huge crowds marvel at the astonishing creativity. 

 With so many of you interested in tablescapes, how could I not share these with you!  The arrangements  were to depict a dining experience at an exotic destination on a functional table for two. You may not find every element of the tablescape to be practical, but there is inspiration on each for our at home tables.

This is a very formal table with layers of textiles complementing the gold accents on the stemware and china.

Unique features are the unexpected use of orchids on the candlestickand the fish jumping into bowls filled with iridescent baubles.

As with the first table, a tall arrangement is the focal point.   I couldn’t help but think of sitting at either and wanting to move the arrangement to the side.

Two things, the teacup as a containerand a natural leaf secureing the napkin, are features  worth remembering.

This table is all about fun and thanks to the clever arrangement I could almost forgive its size as a centerpiece.  The use of pattern and color is consistent in every detail

right down to the elephants suspended at the layered corners.  What sets this table apart is its touches of whimsey.

Here pattern is key,and the layered textiles define the color palette used in both the flower selection and tableware.  

Overall, this is a simple table made warm and inviting by color and texture.  Did you notice that the floral arrangement is on the side?

So, there you have it, four different looks.  Keep in mind that in each case the table is secondary to the floral design. As beautiful as they are, the arrangements are a bit overstated for an at home table, but there are wonderful ideas for presentation and flower selection. Hopefully, there is something on each table that would translate to your personal style be it flower selection, color combination, the layering of cloth, the mixed textures or touches of whimsey.   I’d love to know your take away.

  i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Wow Us Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Last Minute Doings

Planning ahead is not one of my long suits.  No, last minute spontaneity is my game, and more often than not it works pretty well.  Sometimes it takes a couple of phone calls to make something happen, but rarely does last minute not work out particularly when the invite includes food!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile dinner is cooking away,  I prepare the table, and there is usually something on it  that gets me started.  Here, it’s some of my trusty  bottles filled with flowers from the garden.  What would I do without them as they make a centerpiece so very easy. These are left from San Pellegrino beverages, and I find them perfect for grouping.


My table settings are generally simple and defined by color, pattern and a touch of whimsey, all combined here in the placemats and napkins.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASubtle hued dishes, one of my many sets gotten at TJ Maxx, are tonight’s choice.

Now, I could have stopped here, but I couldn’t resist adding these salad plates, each one different and suggestive of something that could have been created by Picasso!  As I think about them, I can’t help but smile remembering the unexpected snowy day in Provence where an artist kindly opened his shop and let my daughter and me have a look.  He definitely came out ahead!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust as I was finishing the table, the placemats made me think of the little monkey bells sitting on a bathroom shelf.  How could they not become part of what is turning out to be a very fun table!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, that’s it.  Everything is about ready, and in a few minutes the doorbell will ring announcing the friends who we are lucky to have join us.  I do love these last minute gatherings!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Inspiration Thursday

Tablescape Thursday

Let’s Go West

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all it has to offer, Houston is a great place, but from time to time it’s fun to leave the big city behind and go exploring.  Come along and let’s go west.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom Houston to San Antonio, there’s not a great deal to see, but once past  San Antonio, scenery changes dramatically.  First comes the rolling Hill Country, quite different from Houston’s flattness.

IMG_6243In no time at all that gives way to wide  open spaces and an 80 MPH speed limit which means making pretty good time on the road.

IMG_6250About the only thing dotting the landscape is hundreds of wind turbines which make Texas the largest provider of wind power in the country.

IMG_6406First stop on this adventure is Marathon, 8 hours from Houston and quite a bit above the sea level we are used to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Marathon’s main attraction is the historic Gage Hotel and its excellent restaurant.  It is the reason most folks choose to stop in Marathon and reservations are often hard to come by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat being the case, we opted for Eve’s Garden, a funky B & B.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all its bright colors and unique architectural features, Eve’s struck me as a west Texas version of Gaudi.  It was astonishing to learn that the construction is of bricks made with recycled paper, clay and water.  That made me think all that paper I recycle is worth something!

Eve’s provided many an opportunity for photographs as everywhere there was something to catch the eye.   I doubt that Bernie left this sign behind, but it was interesting to think his appeal reached even the smallest of Texas towns.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs night fell, the rooftop proved a great place to capture the waning sun,  a sight seldom seen in Houston.  Such color made me think about how it could be incorporated into one of my woven pieces.  Nature provides such great inspiration for creativity.

With morning came a delightful breakfast, made so by a colorful presentation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst on the menu was a grapefruit topped with an impressive meringue.  How could I not find out how to do this!  Once the meringue is heaped on the grapefruit, it goes in the oven for about 4 minutes.  Sounds easy enough, huhn, but I forgot to ask about temperature!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext came a fragrant frittata, and if one desired a little kick there were lots of hot sauce choices.  Who would have guessed there were so many?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith appetite satisfied and glimpses of Marathon in the rear view mirror, it was time to move  on to Big Bend, a national park you won’t want to miss so stay tuned.

i so appreciate your visit  and the comments you leave behind

Mixing It Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor as long as I can remember, these decanters have been a visual presence.  My mother got them from from my great grandmother’s house which makes them well over 70 years old.   If my guess is right, they probably once held Tennessee or Kentucky whiskey!  I have no idea why I’ve held on to the decanters other than liking them and appreciating that they are some part of my family’s history.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow that I think about it, the decanters are always out.  Filled with colored water, they are pretty anywhere they happen to be thanks to their differing shapes and sizes.  Today, and for the first time, they are on the dining room table.  Combined with some of the bells from my extensive collection, a colorful cloth and some candles, they become part of a centerpiece that is likely to inspire the next table setting.

It didn’t take long for that to happen as yet again friends are coming for dinner.  You know by now that I’m crazy for color and texture, and the centerpiece provided ample inspiration.  Garage sale dishes, World Market salad plates and Anthropologie napkins playfully combine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClay and glass add touches of texture.  Around the table the wine stems don’t match. I’ve never had crystal, but for years I’ve bought an etched glass or two or three at some antique show or garage sale. I so appreciate the uniqueness of each piece and can’t help but wonder how and why it was chosen/used by the original owner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA finished table often suggests what food should be served.  This one, I think, says something like paella that also combines a variety of ingredients.  What do you think?

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind


Tablescape Thursday