04 May 2017

Revisiting Madhatter's Library and Creating a Home Library

Since it has been awhile, and a few changes were made again, I thought we would stop in and visit the Madhatter.

Interviewer: What makes a library?
Madhatter: Collections... books, shells, rocks, art, teacups... whatever one loves to collect...
The Madhatter loves clocks and art of other Madhatters.

Interviewer: Have you read the books?
Madhatter:  I get asked that question all of the time.
Probably 75% or maybe more, maybe less, have been read over the course of many years.
The paperbacks are in the cabinets.
Let me point out that the crown molding at the top of the cabinet is new. I bought a piece that would reach the ceiling. I think it makes the bookcase look more grand.

Interviewer: What does a library need beside a shelf?
Madhatter: It needs a table... or a small side table for a a cup or tea or drink...
and a comfy chair... at least one...

Interviewer: Excuse me, but your library looks over the top. Do things have to be new?

Madhatter: No... Most things in the Madhatter's Library are second hand finds, even the books collected over time and not expensive, even the special tall chairs.
75% maybe more of the decor and collections...
not just the chairs, but the table, the glass cabinet, gold mirror, and so on...
books, teacups, clocks... were found in vintage and second hand shops. It's a process. Over the years the library grew.  In my first home, I started with just a few dedicated shelves, a chair, and a light in the corner of  a big closet. In the second home... it became two bookcases... in the third home... the books were moved to one room with the same bookcases... and so on... until today's

Interviewer: What else contributes to a library's function?
Madhatter: If you have tall bookcases, and you are short; you need a step.
This one was just repainted to this Swedish dusty pink with a Jeanne D' Arc chalk paint.
And lighting is important...  Here is an old photo from a few years ago showing our overhead lighting... There is a lamp beside the chair.
In this photo, you can also see that the crown molding on the bookcase was not the right size, and that we moved this light gray table to the sleeping porch.
I also put the trunk filled with costumes in storage, so I would have room for the rocking horse. I also rolled out the rug again.

Interviewer: How did you choose the colors?
Madhatter: The walls are the same color as the kitchen...
and the colors are the same ones used elsewhere in the house... just less white... with emphasis on the gray and the moody blues... and then a bit of white, and an occasional touch of pink, so the room would transition nicely to "Jill's" bedroom which is darker, but uses the same scheme with more white.  These rooms are a "Jack and Jill" arrangement... Two bedrooms side by side. The bigger one has two entrances, one from the porch. Oops! I left a fruit bowl on a chair that I was putting back in the kitchen. )

Interviewer: What makes this room You-nique You...
Madhatter: That giant Chess piece from a match in the garden...
Rabbit vases... hat boxes... scissors and measuring tape, images of other hatters...
including a painting collected by a family member when traveling...

Interviewer: What do you do to make your library special?
Madhatter: At dusk, I cut fresh flowers, herbs, and roses from the queen's garden and turn on the twinkle lights...
and have a cup of tea... I would watch others play chess, but they gave it up several years ago, because a cat would knock the pieces over.

Thank you for visiting.

My home tour 2017 is here.
My living room is here.
My master is here.
My desk is here.

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29 April 2017

Making Garden Magic

For some time now, I've had grand plans for this little wonky cabinet found for fifteen dollars. I had something in mind, but did not get around to starting. Everyone can understand how that goes.

 Some of you may recall that the last three summers were spent mostly in the Italian Alps.  Over there, there are roadside wild flowers and meadows, and steep hills and crooked stairs along and leading to hiking  trails where petite shrines to the Blessed Mother and other saints as well, decorate the route. It's enchanting folk art constructed by people who have lived there for generations. It is fair to understand why these shrines exist. What if you were to get lost in climate weather or have an accident on a narrow winding road on the edge of a cliff that looks down a valley one thousand feet below? Yet, in the Dolomites you are also close to resplendent nature, and perhaps one of the most magnificent places on earth that reminds one of greatness.

I hung the cabinet on the side of the teen shed. Its rustic vintage looks suits it and looks part of it.
Now somedays, I hang a bouquet here.  In the Alps, bouquets of wildflowers are left as offerings at these roadside shrines. This I understand, because I like to make bouquets for the garden, not just for the house. I place them in various spots in the garden.  Under a bush... on a bench, on the table or a hook...  You walk by and you can enjoy them...

In the Alps, summers are short. When we arrive, after a long ride from Munich, at the end of the first week of July, it is often the first warm week in the Italian Alps. So summers are shorter compared to what I am accustomed. For example, in contrast, the best time of year for our garden in the desert southwest is now, because before long it will be too hot for the flowers and produce until September.  

 I plan to change the scenes in our cabinet, and at some point it may have changing statues, but for now, after changing the black paint to white and the inside to blue, ours is a humorous take on a shrine or even a fairy garden which we indulged in when my daughter was small, even painting glitter on rocks.

For now the cabinet has a vintage statue of a little cat on a piano with a postcard scene of a  Delacroix painting.  Outside the cat's windows are our gardens below. (The Delacroix museum is a magnificent little museum in Paris, where one can tour his studio and garden.)

I added sea shells, a real bouquet, a toy baguette, a faux star fish, and some seeds that look like a grape bunch from the garden.
At night garden paths and ornaments are lit, and I plan to add twinkle lights to this too.
I like to bring the inside, outside, and the outside, inside, and I've done the same for our vintage cat.
There are many ways to create magic in the garden, and this is just one of ours.
Thank you for visiting, and a bouquet for your travels.

The vintage bowl was made in Germany and found by my daughter in a second hand shop here.

My home tour 2017 is here.
My living room is here.
My master is here.
My desk is here.

21 April 2017

Potting Shed Revisited

Hi. I hope everyone is doing well. We have had our hands filled with trying to train my daughter's pug.  Some mornings are just disastrous. The other day, it was not even nine-thirty in the morning and the slipcovers on the porch were put in the laundry after just coming out of the laundry, because she used her head to force open the french door and beat me in from the garden. By that time muddy footprints were all over the porch couch and the clean slipcovers. I waited for them to dry and brushed all the dirt off the un slipped couch and rewashed the covers. We all have days like this!  It's busy, but there is always a lot to be thankful for. Like a clean potting shed...

This gate from the garden right next to the porch leads to the potting shed.
It is right inside that gate to the left. There is a hallway, and that leads to my spouse's office, which is also on the left and then the carport.  I like to hang some fresh flowers from the garden here, and beach towels. It's a welcoming site. Though lately no towels hang, because someone named Esther grabs them and drags them around the yard.

For whatever reason these photos are not as clear as on my computer.
I spent two weeks cleaning here. The room seems to collect things that family members can't find a use for. Also, the room is open at the top of the walls for ventilation and natural light, so dust gets in, especially in the summer, and I had not picked up in awhile.  And a lot of times, I would only work ten minutes at a time, because I would get pulled away to something else. I also walk five miles every day.  But it also took me a long time, because I get interested in something else. That is a long list of excuses.

These baskets store some items that would normally go in a kitchen, because the kitchen is small.
I cover some of the ones I like to keep clean with Ikea mats for 3 dollars. It's pretty effective to keep the dust out. When they are dirty, I just shake them outside and then throw them in the wash.
There is an entire set of shelves to the left that are just as organized, but didn't fit in the frame of the lens I was using. Those baskets contain arts and crafts and extra pans.

You got to love old houses for the odd spaces. When I first saw this space, I thought potting shed, but other people thought goat. We put in these cabinets by breaking down an entertainment unit. The stone countertop was a remnant, and can be seen slightly behind a painting coming up. It is cantera stone, a Mexican "limestone". It's beautiful, but erodes easily.

I love all kinds of containers for my flowers, and I store them out here:
tins, bowls, empty bottles, baskets, buckets, and some vases.
You can also see that we have a refrigerator out here.
This one is a side by side with a freezer. The kitchen is small, and it couldn't fit a conventional size refrigerator, and our retro SMEG has just a box for frozen items, so we have one here.

It is nice to have the counters free again.

Over here is my crafting painting area.  It's in front of that stone countertop mentioned earlier. I found this table a few years ago and gave it a faux zinc top with various spray paints.  No rhyme or reason to my painting, just what looks good. My randomness can drive my spouse crazy. If conventional painting needs to be done, like a door or a wall, he is the best.

Here is an older photo without a project in it. My most recent home tour 2017 is here and my living room changes are here.

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16 April 2017

Easter Pretties 2017

I wanted to publish this before the holiday, but the week slipped by quickly.
With work in the garden, cleaning the potting shed, staining a bench, and the passing of our kitty, Jack, I did not get to this until now. 

Here we have flowers gathered from the yard arranged in a Lenox bowl with a butterfly pattern, but beside it are the linens I have to iron.  They just looked pretty together.
 This post is all about "pretty pairings or things that are pretty together'.

Hard boiled eggs are paired with a white bowl that sort has the cast of an abalone shell.
Pretty together...

These flowers are the inspiration for the eggs' colors.
I love them against the robin's egg blue table.
So pretty together.

Colored eggs next to the bouquet that inspired them with some eggs left white like the white roses.
A pretty pairing...

This is such an easy recipe.  It's  lemon cake with poppy seeds added. The best... Add as much as you like to a Krusteaz lemon cake mix. I added at least a quarter cup, maybe more. It's delicious to pair with vanilla manuka tea.

Here is where the flowers came from. I love this faded blue chair in front of a gray bed.

Here we have roses mixed with the tomatoes just picked. Together they make a beautiful photo. I will use the flowers in a bouquet and the tomatoes in a Caprice salad: mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette. 
Pretty perfect together. 

This is hair. Both beautiful. 
My daughter is past bows in her hair, but Madeline is not. 

Butterflies look pretty with angels.
Happy and blessed Easter and Passover to all.


My home tour 2017 is here.

02 April 2017

The Petite French Secretary

In case you missed the recent home tour 2017. It is here.
I don't think I had done one, and if I did, well we were still fixing this place.
It is really nice to look at what we as a family accomplished.

If you have been reading here a while, you know that the porch is my personal favorite space, and recently, I found another reason to spend time here.

This small space for our French secretary desk area was fashioned out of a unused doorway to a bedroom, and it is tucked behind an open French door to the porch.  It has just the right space with lovely light and a often a morning breeze. A personal spot for relaxing... or light reading or gentle living...

I am not without company. In the mornings, Lucy sleeps across from the desk on the other side of the armoire; basking in the breeze from the French door, and she is quite content.

It's a lovely spot.

Just outside one set of doors where Lucy naps, Esther and the poodles continue their morning play, but that doesn't stop them from trying to get a treat early and interrupting Lucy's nap.

I've started making my bouquets here.  I like to have fresh flowers from the garden in the house.
I may have ice tea; today's is passion. 
I also read here sometimes. That's Somerset Life's latest issue, and you can read the lovely article by Dore at Burlapluxe.

Here's another one of those bouquets. I usually use small vases, bowls, and teacups. Except for one bush, most of my roses have shorter stems, because they do well here.

Sometimes, I prefer hot tea here. Early Grey is fine.

Outside my French doors...

Isn't it funny how you can stare at a spot and not know what to do with it!
Ever since my daughter wanted a different desk a couple of years ago, this one had been pushed against a wall in the porch. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. She never uses that door to her bedroom, because she has a desk on the other side of as well! We closed the door, because the two cats were getting lazy. They were only going from the bed to the porch, because that's where everything is. (In case you were wondering... they have a really nice automatic litter box.) Now they have to walk through the house to the porch. Forced exercise...

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