Monday, March 29, 2010

~ Singing In The Rain with Mr. Phil






The weather is changing so quickly. We are all looking sheepishly towards summer wondering if it will be mild or sweltering since the last couple of months have been cooler than usual. It would have been the perfect time to be out digging and getting into gardening, but instead I've been in the planning stages of a large backyard redo.

I have been out everyday lately, plotting and planning. Moving bricks around as markers along with anything that I can make curve. This morning it is raining, but clearing up soon. The brown yards will soon be green again. Until the heat of summer hits them anyway.

It's hard to believe it has taken me this long to finally get going with it. Each summer something got in the way. At least last year it was just chasing the new puppy around and everybody stayed healthy! Once upon a time I loved going in the backyard, but then we took almost everything out in preparation for redoing the entire yard. And it never got done. Instead, it has looked simply bad for a while. I have renewed hope that it might get done, and hopefully soon.

Do you grow house plants outside? It's a true perk of living so far south. We can grow many indoor plants outside. Mr. Phil (split leaf philodendron) has been moved a few times and is about to be moved again. It will be shocking. But he will most likely recover and live a nice full life and bloom again. There are 3 large ones which will be beautiful to landscape with, and they usually do survive the move quite well. It often takes a season of growth to fully recover.


I know we did a lot of research on poisonous plants when Cody Puppy was little, but I forgotten this one was on the list. I'll have to more diligent since he loves to dig up plants and tug and chew or their roots.



The bloom is spectacular isn't it?

I don't know if they bloom indoors unless it is a perfect greenhouse environment. But out of doors, they put on a rather stunning display. Wish him luck as he gets uprooted again amidst a major backyard overhaul. I think. Wish me luck that I will finally have the nerve to do the work and spend the money. It has been sitting and waiting for a couple of years. And something has to be done. And I think it is now.

Monday, March 22, 2010

~ Building a Faux Fireplace - Revisting ....

Faux Fireplace
One of the topics that I often get emails about is the faux fireplace on the living room. As I was getting ready to re-post this, one as my blog friends, Kim of Twice Remembered Cottage, wrote about her one of her latest projects, a faux fireplace in her dining room. Be sure to check it out. She and her husband are redoing a house into a cottage-to-love. These two fireplaces are different ideas to spark your imagination if you are considering this.


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I have a soft spot of Euro antiques. Usually they are not in my price range, but sometimes I get lucky.

The thought of something special traveling such a far distance from a European country and then somehow finding its way here to the states is always a tale that warms my heart. I understand those who prefer their treasures from the past from our country as well. It's just that I have a love for the ones from across the pond.

I only have a few... Irish, French, English & Italian treasures ... a couple of Minton tiles, some dishes, a chandelier, a table & cupboard, and this fireplace mantel that was destined to satisfied my longing for having a fireplace in the living room.



A fireplace is one of the most important design elements that you can add to a room for beauty and warmth. The architectural statement of a fireplace is loved and desired by most people when seeking a home. But there was no real need for a working fireplace in my living room. We have a nice large one in the family room where the television is. And it is fired up often from the time the temperature goes all the way down to about 50* for the first time each year until Spring when it warms up again.

I never lived in a house with a fireplace before this one, so I'm making up for lost time. If the rooms were larger, I would be tempted to have one in each bedroom or bathroom as well.






The antique insert was in excellent condition. The dealer had completely restored it. Although the gray was not what I needed, it was the perfect base to build on.



The first thing I did was paint most of it white, and part black to accentuate the half-round opening.


I probably had saved a hundred pictures of fireplaces and I could easily have 10 or so in one house just to implement the designs that I love. The look of French and Italian fireplaces still is the most beautiful to me, and I have never tired of this one. It makes me sad to image one day someone will move in my house and might want a mid century modern look, and rip it out.


I began the design around the antique piece we purchased at Renninger's, and all the dozens of pictures I had accumulated. If you are not very handy with miter cuts and measuring, you could have a trim carpenter (or a great husband) match pictures that you might be saving. Sweet Hubby did all the work for me. He not only did a beautiful job with it, but enjoyed it as well.

It is the mix of the details that exist on the original antique piece, the added plaster and resin elements and all the moldings that makes this so beautiful. We added moldings to blend all these different elements into one design.

He built a box above the mantel with angels to mimic the ones I found from France and Italy. In order to add to the realism, we made it so that it came out from the wall a little bit, although it would be more realistic if it was thicker. I just didn't have the floorspace to spare.


You can see that the top of the mantel is cut with a curved design.


The plywood above the fireplace was covered
with layers of drywall mud to give
a stucco/stone effect.
Then it was primed and
painted in a Faux Stone finish.


This is a close up of the
details on the original piece
where it is painted white
then antiqued.


The inside of the firebox is a small piece of plywood
painted like a gray brick.
I found a metal "scrollie thing" that I painted black
and used some "rub-n-buff on the details of it.
This was fitted on the inside of the opening.

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The larger corbels are resin, again painted
to an aged, antiqued white look.

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Detail shot of the bottom.
Shows the mix of wood moldings
wood boxes, and resin pieces.


The beautiful piece in the center is plaster.
Painted & Antiqued for an aged look.


Hope you enjoyed this one!
See Y'all Soon!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

~ In the Kitchen .... Faucets



S
everal years ago when doing a little remodel in the kitchen, I spent hours and hours looking for just the right faucet. At that time I knew I wanted something as different from chrome as I could get and with an upscale look. We chose the sink and the faucet together of course since the number of holes in the sink dictates the choices you have. I knew without a doubt what I did not want. That old standby, polished chrome, or nickle or anything so silver.

As I researched for ideas, every decorating site had lots of people showing off their fancy faucets like they would a new luxury car. It seemed very important to have a faucet that costs hundreds of dollars, was huge and looked very commercial. That wasn't what I was interested in.

When this oil rubbed bronze faucet was first installed, I was in love with it. It was certainly not that "common looking" chrome that I had grown up with. Maybe it was the memories of having to shine those faucets as a kid, or just wanting to update away from the past in general. But when I first had this faucet, it was just perfect. For a short time. Today, it looks dated to me. So I was looking for something "new."


I remember when you could buy a faucet for about $25 and it lasted for 20 years. You also didn't spend a long time fretting over what it looked like. The purpose of just being a faucet was all what truly matter. Yes, it was many years ago.

I understand $25 is not longer reasonable, but a $300 faucet should last for a very long time, and without having to repair it. This one needed some part or another at least once a year. So the lifetime warranty was nice because they did always send the part that you had to figure out you needed, but why was it made so poorly that it needed to be fixed over and over again? A plumber had recommended the brand. And I fell for one good recommendation I guess.

For the new faucet we returned to Moen. We still have one in the bathroom that has been there for over 20 years and has never even needed anything. It will be replaced soon, but only for a new style not because it is not working. And it will be a Moen or Kohler again.



I love the crisp clean look of the new faucet with a more traditional sink. Yes, I do have to clean and "polish" the faucet often. That's OK, too.

A couple of years ago I realized how much I truly love white and silver while staying at a on vacation at a bed & breakfast, and a nice luxury hotel. Both had used this simple but elegant combo. Catch me in another 7-8 years and we'll see how this love affair holds up. But I have found that things I choose in life now, as opposed to when I was younger, have a more lasting love.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
~ See Y'all Soon

Saturday, March 13, 2010

~ A Few More Spring Flowers - Epcot

Just a few more pictures of flowers from on of the Epcot Flower Festivals.
It's been raining for two days and I'm really looking forward to Spring flowers!

(Click on Pictures to Enlarge)



Green Sweet Potato Vine Basket

Lantana in Baskets

Bambi & Thumper Topiaries


Close up of Beauty & The Beast Characters Topiaries
with Knock Out Roses


Can't forget Mickey & Minnie :)


One of my favorites... Lady and The Tramp

See Y'all Soon~

Dear Renee, Circling My Head
The world is a better place that you were kind enough
to walk among us, and give us such Love.
I am thankful that you found me here,
and shared that Love.
May your new journey into Light
Be Blessed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

~ Almost Spring, Epcot Flowers


It's always exciting to see the gardens dressed to their fullest potential this time of year at Epcot. Every flower bed is filled to the brim, and spilling over in many areas. The color combinations are stunning. Here a few of my favorite pictures from another year. Enjoy!



Poo Bear Looks Quite Stylish All In Green

Each year it seems the garden designers just outdo themselves,
and the show stoppers are always the topiary art work.


Colors & Flowers everywhere.


Long Walkway of Knockout Roses
and Beauty & The Beast characters


Topiaries of Cinderella & the Prince

Closeup Cinderella


Brilliant Red Geraniums



Flowerbeds with topiaries
of Beauty & The Beast

The Beautiful Beast!

You can get great ideas for container gardening.
One small sample.

See Y'all Soon

Friday, March 5, 2010

~ Is It Spring Yet?


How about you? Longing for Spring?

This year I think I've been longing for Spring quite a bit more than usual. I just don't do well with cold weather. We don't expect, nor deserve, sympathy from those of you who have really had cold weather. I try to keep in mind that when we have days on end with temperatures near 100*, I'll be longing for these cool mornings. It is said that we just have thinner blood way down here. I'm not sure that is true literally, but it sure seems true when you see us all bundled up like it is snowing outside. And it wasn't even quite freezing last night.



To warm us up a bit, I'm looking through pictures of Epcot Flower Festival which I have saved from another year. Their hanging baskets are always stunning! This one, pink geraniums with deep blue lobelia, and some bacopa draping white over the edges. Name escapes me at the moment.

I'll post some pictures next week for you to enjoy after I find them and resize. Hope you have a great weekend.

See Y'all Soon~

Thursday, March 4, 2010

~ Beau Bunny Rabbit Celebrates Alice In Wonderland

It certainly appears to have been a bunny kind of week around here!

I've had something brewing for the longest time, almost since Beau Bunny was born. He has wanted to be dressed up just like the rabbit in Alice In Wonderland. He just doesn't want to leave the comfort of home. You know nice meals and yummy cookies. He did however want a watch something bad. So now he has one.

5 x7 inch Cabinet Card


8 x 10 inch Antique Book Page Style

I usually have little interest in seeing movies at the theater instead of at home where I can put my feet up, and come and go as I please. But the 3-D thing is pulling even people like me off our comfy sofas. We were thinking about going to seeing Alice In Wonderland next week. The reviews have been mixed so far. But since it is in 3-D it is the only way to see the full effects. At the price of 3-D tickets I sure hope is is exceptional.

See Y'all Soon~

Monday, March 1, 2010

~ BUNNY IN WAITING ....

We might have to revisit this bunny thing. No matter how much I try to ignore the bunnies, there is always one more in the back of my imagination just waiting to come out. This is one of those Bunnies in Waiting. I worked on a little series of the bunny sitting on a chair with some of my favorite backgrounds that I've created. They blend my love of vintage style, aqua & turquoise, an obsession for the architecture of chairs ... and yes, bunny rabbits.



And I think Beau Bunny might soon be chasing Alice (in Wonderland) along with the other "chicks" these days. He keeps looking at his watch and saying he thinks he is late for something. Oh well, I might as well just enjoy playing the bunnies.

Beau Bunny Cabinet Card

See Y'all Soon~