blue and white

While I love lots of color combinations, blue and white is probably my favorite.  There is something clean and fresh about it that reminds me of summer.  Right before Country Living came, Melinda and I quickly stitched up a little white canvas slipcover for the ottoman which will surely see lots of barefoot feet this season. You may notice the pre-WWII platters that I recently picked up at a yard sale for $1 each.  As I was leaving the lady in charge shouted out to me, "The platters are good for steak and corn on the cob!"  Gosh I love yard sales.

I really liked the way the room looked and thought CL would too.  Turns out they had their own vision for the room which was fun to watch them put together.  We will all have to wait and see what they came up with....but in the meantime, it's back to blue and white for summer living.

Have a beautiful holiday weekend and be well.  x


country living photo shoot

Hello everyone, long time, right?!  Country Living was here and gone in 4 days and what a 4 days it was.  The above photo is just about half the props that were brought in to shoot the house.  Can you believe that?!  While I'm not allowed to show any interior shots of the house that I took, I can show you this photo of just some of the things that were brought in.  It's apparent they thought my house needed more stuff. :)

I'm not going to lie, when I saw all this I had a slight panic attack.  But no worries, it all worked out. In the end, only a couple of lamps, pillows and other small accessories were used.  Under the guidance of stylist Janna Lufkin, her beautiful assistant Carolyn and the talented and charming photographer Roger Davies, the house looked incredible.  Janna has a sharp eye for style which you can see here on her Pinterest page.  Roger Davies has photographed some of the most beautiful homes in the world.  I am so pleased and humbled that he shot my house.  He is a fellow small home owner and prefers living in a cozy little home too.  Like I said, most of what they brought were pillows, towels and small accessories. They over-buy to be sure they have enough and also so they can play with different ideas.  They used all my stuff in ways I never thought to display it which was so interesting and cool to watch.  They were both great at styling, which by the way has nothing to do with the way you actually live in a house.  It's a very slow process of setting up each shot, getting it just right and then sending it to the editors at CL and getting their approval before moving on to the next shot.  They really have so much patience.

I think you are going to love the way it all comes out but we have to wait all the way til next Spring or Summer before it will be published! 


alex and b's renovation

I thought I'd bring you in on A and B's renovation of a 1940's California ranch/bungalow.  It has come a long way since they started just a few weeks ago.  There are no after pictures yet.  They along with B's dad have been working tirelessly every day trying to get the house ready.

As you can see, they need to get this thing finished and moved in because they need to set up a nursery. :)

The original mailbox was probably the cutest thing about the house.

Here is the before shot of the living room.  It actually does not look that bad here, but in real life the floors were covered in a thick gummy dirt, the walls were filthy and the whole house was overrun with cockroaches.

A look into the dining room

The kitchen had to be gutted because of the sinking floor.

Same with the bathroom.  

This will be B's sewing room.

This girl does not stop!  There isn't anything she won't do. After photos will be coming...


my little black house

Well here it is.  Up until a few days ago everyone knew this house as the little red house in the park. Now it's the little black house in the park.

So far we haven't heard a negative thing about the color change.  Everyone that walks by has given a positive shout out.  The neighbors have not said a word either way so who knows what they really think?!  The important thing is that the house desperately needed painting and it's done and we love pulling into the driveway now.  It has a cape-cod feel now and the shingles really stand out.

This is the back step area. Larry added the porch railing and we painted the old light fixture red.  You never even really noticed the railing on the roof before either.  Now it stands out and looks great. Overall I think it came out well.  We spent right about $500 on paint and supplies.  A huge saving from the $3-5k estimates we received.

In other news...

I cannot ever thank you enough for your prayers and well-wishes for Melinda.  She underwent her chemotherapy last week and is emerging with flying colors!  She was warned that she would have skin lesions but has come away with none.  She is SO strong, you wouldn't believe it.  She is going for short walks and continues to be positive and serene.  She actually cheers me up!  I love her so much and can never pay you back for your love and prayers.  Really, you are the best.

And in other news...

We've been helping Alex and B renovate a 1940's house and it is coming out so nicely.  I can't wait to share photos with you about that whole adventure.

And in other, other news...

Country Living magazine is planning on shooting my house.  A big thank you to Catherine for submitting me.:)

So that's all.  Thank you again for your prayers and have an outstanding weekend.  xo


roses and prayers please....

For anyone who likes looking at pictures  of old rose gardens...

Melinda and I 

If I may ask anyone reading, if you believe in the power of prayer, we could really use them for my dear, dear friend Melinda.  If you've been reading for awhile then you know that back in May of 2011 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because by the time symptoms present themselves it is usually already in the late stages. That was the case with Melinda.  She has been through 2 rounds of Chemo and has been doing SO well.  But last week things suddenly took a turn for the worse.  Your prayers and good thoughts would be so appreciated.  Thank you so much.

Here are the warning signs of ovarian cancer.

Take care and have a beautiful weekend.  x


painting questions answered

Our house from our neighbors backyard.

Good morning.  I'm laying in bed with the laptop and after 11 days straight of prepping and painting my body is really feeling it.  My tendinitis is screaming for relief.  It's so hard to not use your right arm and so I'm paying the price.  But anyway I thought while laying here enjoying this slow morning, I'd answer all the questions you guys have about the painting and the color.  First off lets start start with my inspiration ideas...

Way back on my Garden Tour trip to England, when I first laid my eyes on this gorgeous office addition that Ashley Hicks made to the family home, The Grove, it took my breath away. If you have a few minutes and want to transport yourself back to England, click here. It was a long, freezing cold wet day and it was getting close to dusk but when we rounded the corner and saw this I lit up.  I was walking with Faux Fuschia  and Romy and said, "That's it, I'm painting my house black."  That was 2 years ago and in the interim I have flirted with white and pink but I'm so glad I stuck to my original inspiration.

This is a house I found on Pinterest and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it is painted Black Bean Soup too. This is really close to what ours is now.  I adore it.

When I showed these pictures to Dave at Redlands Paint, he said, "You realize these are not pure black houses right?"  I didn't.  He recommended the Black Bean Soup right away and we took a test pot home and loved it.  He was right.  A pure black house would be a bit too harsh for me.

Lots of you are wondering if the floor is painted or if it's a rug.  It's paint.  I painted it several years ago and would like to change the paint and pattern, but am not sure what I want.  Besides I have bigger fish to fry right now (getting the house painted!) so that can wait.

Also my dear friend from Australia, Pammie has asked if us American's really do use our porches. For me the answer is a most definite yes.  This little porch gets used almost daily.  It's perfectly situated to watch the sunrise.  On cold winter mornings I'll bundle up in my comforter too.  During the spring and summer we almost always eat lunch here. Almost all my neighbors use their porches too.  So you may want to ring in on that in the comments.  And speaking of neighbors, so far no one has complained but I'm not sure they have noticed.  We are somewhat tucked back off the street so it may take some time.  But the walkers who have passed by have shouted out their compliments so that's been exciting to hear their reactions.  So far so good!

my friend, GSL wanted to know how many man-hours we have into it so far.  Larry estimates between the two of us, somewhere around 50ish.  We are still not finished but probably will be in 2 or 3 days.  The hardest parts are done.  And by hardest parts I mean the shingles.  As you can see in the above photo, each shingle has to be brushed on each side, top and bottom.  It's tedious work for sure.  Larry has worked tirelessly in the prep and painting.  The prep involved scraping, sanding and a good wash.

My job has been to paint everything low and keep us well fed and hydrated.

Also, there was a question or two about the cost of the paint.  I thought we were going to come in at around $300 total but yesterday I went back to the paint store and got another gallon of the Black Bean and one more gallon of Simply White for the trim.  If you buy 5 gallons at a time the price is significantly discounted.  Individual gallons cost a lot more.  So in the end it will cost almost $400 for supplies.  Which is still a great savings.  Plus, to be honest, it's been really good for us to do a big project like this again as a team.  It's been good for our marriage. :)

In a few days the roses will be open and I'll take some pictures of the house as it relates to the garden now.  See you soon and have a peaceful Sunday.  x  


porch update

I was planning on posting today about the actual task of painting an old shingled house but instead am jumping to show you the completed porch.  Painting shingles has to be one of the most tedious jobs if you are not spraying the house, which we are not.  We are pretty much brushing the entire house!  But I'll save that boring stuff for another day.  Today the porch is done and I like it...a lot.

Some of you mentioned in the comments that this new color (Black Bean Soup) really connects the outside of the house with the inside and you are right.  It feels so much better to me.

A few blue and white plates and pillows placed feels good too.

I absolutely will share the painting process with you in case you are thinking about painting your own house.  The lowest estimate we got was $3000 to have the house professionally painted.  So far we've spent $250 on paint and supplies.  We will probably need one more can of white trim but that should do it.  So well worth the effort!

Take care and have a beautiful weekend...x



Good morning and happy Sunday to you.  What a lovely break it has been.  Over a month of very limited computer use has been wonderful.  I think because I did not grow up with computers or social media letting go of it felt good.  I also have a bad case of tendinitis in my right elbow so staying off the computer has helped that too.  But anyway I'm back and thought I'd fill you in on what's going on around here.  A few days ago I found this beautiful nest in my yard.  It had been blown out of the tree and was resting on the lawn.  I've been collecting abandoned nests for years.  Each one is a study of beauty and function. They remind me of our own homes and how we work to make them comfortable, safe and pretty.

My friend L who lives in San Diego sent me this photo yesterday of a nest that was built right into a wreath she had hanging on her front door.  Gorgeous!

M gave me this Camelia plant when we moved here.

We've been feathering our nest so to speak, as the exterior painting has begun.  Are you shocked by the color choice? I kind of am. What happened to white and pink?  I have no idea.  We decided on Benjamin Moore's Black Bean Soup and that was that. It's actually their paint/stain and is covering the red really well.  In the shade it reads as black but in the direct sun you see more brown.  We've been going out and painting for about 2-3 hours a day and we are making our way to the front.  In fact today we will be painting the front and so the neighbors will see and that's going to be interesting because they LOVE the red and are going to be shocked. So I have that to look forward to today. Yikes!

Have a really good one. x



Hey guys I'm going to be taking a bit of a internet break.  I realize that I am spending way too much time in front of this screen and would like to just set it aside for a bit.  Take care and be good. xo


won't be buying this...

The other day I had about 20 minutes to kill before picking L up from the airport.  I popped into one of my favorite antique stores and came upon this.  It's as if the universe knows I'm trying to stop shopping.  I've been looking for this for years and it took everything I had to walk away from it. How great would this be with white towels stacked on it in a bathroom?  It would not fit in either of my bathrooms though.  How about as a teacart stacked with pretty plates, scones and fresh flowers in a garden scene with beautifully set tables?  Or a bar set-up at a swanky party - which I never have.  See how my mind works? Do I need it?  No.  Do I want it? Uh huh.  Needs vs wants is what it boils down to when I need to save money.  I could justify this very easily.  My anniversary is in a few weeks, Valentine's day is around the corner...blah, blah, blah. I won't be buying this...but someone should.  x