18 June 2015

Dear Garden: Summer Garden Party

Dear Garden,  These clogs have come a long way. Note to self: take better shoes on vacation, so you don't have to buy a pair of these to walk in. (Though you are perfect for gardening xo)

Brenda from Cozy Little Cottage invited us to share at her Summer Cottage Garden Party today. This is my first time participating in one of these, so this is new and fun. Thank you, Brenda, and her pupsters. 

2015 Summer Garden Party

It is so hot out here already that your lettuce has gone to seed into beautiful white puffs.  I want to collect your little lettuce seeds to plant in September.

Blackie is your helper, because he keeps pack rats away. I've never seen one here, only one squirrel that is nearly as big as him that taunts him as he runs by. He wears a silver warning bell for the birds. I wonder what he is watching?

Dear garden, your mini-meadow has gone to seed now too, but it provided beautiful colors for five months now. In December, I threw the wildflower seed down in one of your beds, because I was curious as to what would happen, and what a wonderful surprise it has been. Layer upon layer of blooms...

Oh that is what Blackie is watching! This lemon tree is on its second bloom, and the hummingbirds love its blooms. It already has good size fruit, but they are still green.

The basil is blooming too; many of the basils were grown from last years seed.

Since you are a desert garden you work most of the year: from January to June and from September to December.  Now it is your time to rest.

Here' the little guy, Francis, who loves to explore, make messes, and snatch cat food. He thought he heard someone whisper breakfast.

Oh yes, it's two Gordas (that's what these ladies are called) on the bench.

But the table is empty! See the size of the lemons!

I've arranged some scrapbook photos of your gifts this year. Right now we have tomatoes, basil, chives and mint. But we had broccoli, peaches, lemons, and oranges. The peaches were the woolliest little peaches I have ever seen.

Earlier this year we raised eleven butterflies to help with pollinating. We keep the aphids away with lady bugs, but they were not working so hard this year, so we made a solution of boiled tobacco, soap, and Listerine to keep them off the roses.

Here's the morning's harvest.

What's that you say?

What a relief, there is breakfast after all for Francis.

Wait a minute, he says, "yuk, I don't eat fruit."

I tossed a toile sheet over the table, and used the dish towels as napkins, because they really are too pretty to be dish towels.

The bumblebee glasses were my birthday present. It's hard to see, but there are clear, raised bumblebees on them.

What's on the menu? Tomatoes and basil from the garden and lemonade.

Italian Mozzatini

Equal parts of cantaloupe balls, mozzarella balls, and cherry tomatoes.
Basil leaves and a sprig of basil.
Optional: Trader Joe's balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) & a touch of olive oil
and topped with a few of their shelled roasted and salted pistachios
(My daughter said it is better with blueberries and strawberries instead of cantaloupe.)

Honey Lemonade
(I used Williams Sonoma's recipe)
I used mint from the garden and a lemon to garnish it, and the honey is imported from Germany,
though I do love mesquite honey that comes from the Sonoran desert too.
1/3 cup of honey
juice from 4 to 6 lemons ( about 1 cup lemon juice)
bottled water (11/2 cups of steaming water)
a sprig of mint and lemon for garnish.

(I did not receive compensation from TJs, WS, or Gallbani. I just enjoy their products and recipes.)

Thank you, for visiting our Sonoran desert garden, and here is the front garden.
(P.S. I just realized this is my blog's third year anniversary.)

P.S. I'm featured Kim's Living Vintage.

xoxo Su

There are nine blogs to visit from the east coast to the west coast from the mountain areas to the sea.
I think up next is Cathy.

15 June 2015

Summer on the Sleeping Porch

The sweet bird was purchased from Dore Callaway at Burlap Luxe

The days have sort of flown by here, and my home is actually quite in disarray at the moment.  

There was one more room to put the flooring down in, so the library is currently stacked almost to the ceiling, and the overflow is on the sleeping porch. This is not hyperbole. There is not a lot of places to put things in a cottage. My spouse still has to do the baseboards. We left the floors on the sleeping porch that pretty epoxied gray, because it works perfectly out here; I'm not sure why it stays so clean compared to the rest of the house, but it does, despite two sets of double doors to the outside. The new floor in my bedroom is that same pretty gray, distressed, and scraped bamboo that doesn't look like bamboo at all that we put in the kitchen and open areas. In the meantime, I have something beautiful to hang up that I purchased from Dore.. Also, check out  Daphne's Diary . It's one of my favorite magazines and Dore's designs are in one of the photo shoots on weddings on p 30-35. Dore  left me a message in the post below that explains it. It really was a surprise to her.

We have busier than usual. Presently, my daughter is finishing a couple of classes, while doing a summer ballet intensive and piano, so that involves driving. But we are also packing for our mother daughter trip next month. This year, I have a better camera and hope to get some great shots. I took many photos last year, but in the end, I didn't share many, because my daughter thought our trip was so magical that she wanted to keep it between us. We will be returning to Europe, but we have some familiar and some different places on our list this year. We save all year, so she can study piano with some world class teachers. So the precious little garden bird reminds me to relax.

There are always flowers...
Some fresh blossoms from the garden, and some dried ones...

I made the wreath, the painting, the chalkboard drawing, and the two white garlands.
I purchased the red, white, and blue banner, but I made a bunting last year; I was waiting to put it out in July. 

And I am excited about participating in  Brenda's Cozy Little House 's Garden Party on
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Sharing with:

Shabby Art Boutique

Nita's Mod Mix Monday

Thank you for visiting.

27 May 2015

Butterfly Wreath

I have been making wreaths. This one is a little time consuming, but the result is pretty.

The supplies needed are on the collage. (P.S. it's a foam wreath form.)

I made two different kinds. Personally, I prefer the one with the more expensive moss, but it took an entire bag. The expensive moss is prettier, cleaner, smells fresher, and is more compact. In contrast, the wreath for the front porch was made with inexpensive moss.  I used a punch to make butterflies, because it is faster than cutting my own. I used scrap booking paper that I already had, though any will do. If the paper is thinner the butterflies are a little floppy. The pins were tiny silver ones from the sewing section, though on the outside wreath I added a few colored ones for accents. I found the wreath form at a dollar store.

One For the Front Porch...

I hot glued the moss on, pinned the cut-out butterflies, pinned the ribbon, and that was that.

And One for the Sleeping Porch...

Have a wonderful week.



Featured at:

Ivy and Elephants

Sharing with:

Cozy Little House


Ivy and Elephants

25 May 2015

The Old Front Porch

I'm actually not blending in with this house, and I've gone outside my comfort zone. My spouse's too. (It also may be a shock to your system, because I use a lot of grays and whites here. ) When we first moved here, there were only a few houses fixed, and most were a shade of beige or brown, a safe desert color, but brown is extremely dreary on these types of old houses. Fortunately, on these old houses there are no rules and no HOA. Then came the pink and white house, and it was so adorable. Well, I decided then to paint ours blue and white. But in addition to SW rain and SW Pure White, it now has accents of SW Lime Granita (a custom color, because it was an interior color, and the formula had to be changed to create the shade we wanted. So if you actually want to use it, you can ask me for the formula.) (I actually do love color.)

We added shutters, which are on most of the houses in the neighborhood. I could not find old ones, so these are custom made from either sustainable redwood or teak because they needed to be 59 inches. (Vinyl will disintegrate here.) In front of this window is our flowering cottage garden. It can't be seen from the street, because it is behind the grasses. It is a little sitting area under the tree, and someday when the tree has enough shade, I'm going to place a bench under it.

Now, the 71 year old house is cheerful, and it puts a smile on our faces when we see it from the street.


2.5 years ago
(The tree on the right was moved to the back and replaced.)

3 years ago
Everything was dead! You can't see it in this photo, but the front door had a jagged hole in it that someone made with an ax, and wrote in sharpie "mail here". We restored the giant corner windows, and when we replaced the roof, we restored the roof line with the tiles, moved the roof vents to the backside of the house, and used new energy efficient material. Around here, the attic is probably 30 to 40 degrees cooler in the summer with a white roof. (White roofs were common and still are on the old houses that have not been repaired.) The porch support was not original and probably from the 60s or 70s, and it had to be removed day one, because it was rusted through. See how drab it was.  

When the shutters came in, it was my daughter that encouraged me to go beyond white. She selected three shades of green in sample cans, and then we painted canvases, which we leaned against the house in order to get an idea of how it would look. It's sort of a variegated agave color. You see there is a rhyme and reason to this choice.

Yes, it is very different from the back! I wanted the back peaceful and besides, I like white wood. On the front all the wood trim and the wooden carport are white. So I have a house with two blue sides, and 2 white sides, but the only one that knows is us and you. The concrete brick is blue except for in the back where it is white. The front is for us, but also for the neighborhood.

The Bell is the Doorbell 
Now in our neighborhood, in addition to ours and the pink house, there is  a yellow house, a sage green, a gray one with bright red trim, a mustard, a shamrock green with white, an orange and green one... and so on... The orange and green one is pretty cool, though it doesn't sound like it when I write it. Neighbors suddenly felt free to do something different. The original color of this house was mint green. How do I know? My daughter's wall in her closet was an outside wall, because at some point  her room was an addition, and the once outside wall is an interior wall and it was mint. (But we had the blue paint already.)

My spouse rebuilt the companion Adirondack chair to the other, because they were retrieved rotted from a dumpster pile.

Now, you might be thinking where are the cacti? These are all drought tolerant plants, and I have no cacti in the front. I personally don't like cacti in front of old houses, unless they are Spanish or mid century modern. It's not that I don't love cacti; it's just that they are sculptural and not, soft. I wanted grass, but a lawn won't grow, because we are too close to the mountain, but ornamentals will. These do not seed, so they do not spread. (Some do spread, so you need to check before choosing.) If you want to make more of them, you have to separate them. And depending on the lighting and time of day there is a lot of cranberry in them.

It's a very simple home, nothing fancy, but small and sweet and it makes us want to eat macaroons and sit at the beach. Vibrant colors are pretty on certain older desert homes, mid-centuries, and more modern/contemporary ones. 

Later this week, I will show you the wreath(s) we made. One is outside.
Thanks for visiting.