Friday, April 23, 2010

Little things and little spaces...


There are lots of ways to add beauty to your home - new paint, wallpaper, a piece of new/refinished furniture. And while all of those things are important, I think sometimes it's what we do with the little things, in the small spaces of our home, that matter more. Because while you can do all the right "big" things in a space, if you disregard the little things and the small spaces, it leaves a place feeling flat, like something is missing.
The photo above is from a little corner in my home - opposite is a comfy chair for reading. I decided to display just a few of the bookmarks from my collection since that ribbon board hangs above one of my smaller bookcases, creating a little reading theme in that area. I think it makes a cute little vignette.
Instead of putting the roses I clipped on Sunday from our yard (these are the ones I mentioned in my post earlier this week) in a regular vase, I thought I'd change things up and use my favorite teapot, so I could display both on my dining room table. Aren't the roses gorgeous? Just that little bit of color brightened up the whole dining room. In the kitchen, as you'll see below, I prefer to display my fruit and vegetables in bowls - it makes them easier to grab and adds beauty at the same time. Not to mention I get more use out of all my dishes - a great thrill for a dishaholic like me.
Just little things, I know, but they all add a little bit of beauty, don't you think?



Monday, April 19, 2010

How my garden grows (hopefully)...

The lovely calla lilies I clipped from our back yard Sunday.

One of the main benefits of residing in Southern California is the weather, which is absolutely perfect more often than not. This past weekend was particularly glorious and so on Sunday, I trekked to the garden center so I could get started on my planting. On my wish list: veggies, herbs and flowers.
I came home with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green beans, chives, basil, rosemary, mint, and of course, some flowers - salvia, snap dragons, impatiens and more. I figured that was enough to get started with.
Before I got down to potting everything - I'm container gardening this year - I decided I might as well make the rounds and clip some of the gorgeous blooms already out in our yard. The calla lilies shown above I clipped yesterday, along with a riot of roses - pinks, cream with pink, white, peach. (I've lived all up and down the East Coast and now on the West Coast, and I have to say Southern California seems made for roses - they bloom for most of the year here. I'll post some pictures of those later in the week.)
I haven't grown vegetables in a few years, and never in containers, so I am a little anxious to see how everything does. I studied up a little on container gardening and really it doesn't seem that different than putting stuff in the ground, so fingers crossed. (And if anyone has any tips, please share.) I really wanted to get back into the groove of growing my own vegetables and having my own fresh herbs on hand - I just think it's a much healthier way to eat and stay in tune with the seasons. One day I hope to have an extensive garden of both vegetables and flowers... but that's several years off.
It seemed to take me hours to get everything situated - the right plant in the right pot, in the right location in the yard depending on the amount of sunlight needed. And then some of our other plants needed attention, so they got a little TLC, too. All in all, it was a busy day, as you can see.

My garden - all in containers. We rent and it would be very hard to put a garden in - an effort not worth making since we're moving in a couple years. Clockwise, from the back, two tomatoes, cucumber, onion and mint. I can't wait to see how they all grow.

My little herb garden, in my favorite kitchen window - rosemary, chives and basil. Yum.

Mint - in a pot all its own because it tends to overrun everything else. In a different kitchen window.

Some of the flowers I planted - salvia and snap dragons - and my green beans are in the back. They may need to be staked as they grow.

This one required no potting. Isn't it beautiful?

My dogs did not feel the need to help out yesterday, as you can see. But at least they are enjoying our pretty back yard. Even my dogs know how to enjoy beauty. :)

Believe it or not, I don't think I'm done yet. I'd still like to try to grow lettuce and carrots and I need some new lavender... I think the gardening bug has really bitten me this year. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A fabulous giveaway at 2 Bags Full...

Photo from 2 Bags Full

Vicki at 2 Bags Full is welcoming spring in a big way. She is giving away a Vera Bradley bag - the Emma bag in the new Sittin' in a Tree pattern (seen above). Isn't that a great way to kick off the season?
Aside from the incredibly wonderful and generous giveaway, which is open to everyone until April 30, Vicki has a beautiful blog. It's well worth the visit just to see her beautiful knitted creations.
Click here for the giveaway and here for her main blog page. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pink Saturday... A new pink project!


Happy Pink Saturday, all! I thought I'd share a project I dreamed up this week. I have a nice wood armoire (see below) that I've been thinking needs a makeover. I applied a whitewash stain to it a little over 5 years ago now and while I was happy with it at the time, I'm ready for a change. When I stumbled across the photo above, I suddenly knew that I wanted to paint it pink. So, using the china cabinet above as my inspiration, I'm going to paint my armoire a luscious pink and replace the knobs with something prettier. I'm thinking of trimming it out in white - though I'm not sure about that. I'm also thinking about transforming the inside with shelves - right now, jackets hang in it - so I can use it for linens. I guess we'll just have to see.
Well, I'm off to pick out pink paint chips. I will, of course, post pictures of the transformation - probably on a future Pink Saturday, so all of you can see the results.


Please be sure to stop by Beverly's place - How Sweet the Sound - for a complete list of Pink Saturday participants. Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lavender blooms...


We have some lovely lavender and purple blooms out right now in our yard, so I thought I'd share. I hope Mother Nature is treating all of you to some lovely color in your neck of the woods as well.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Vintage enchantment...

All photos from kimberlyannryan via flickr


I tend to believe the Universe leads you to good things when you let it. The other afternoon, I was wandering around flickr, looking for nothing in particular but hoping for a little inspiration and beauty when I stumbled across these photos. I was instantly enchanted. The more I looked, the more lovely creations I found. Then, I discovered these beautiful works of art were the creation of fellow blogger Kimberly Ryan, so naturally I headed over to check out her blog, Paris Rags. What a beautiful place! I loved seeing her vintage-inspired work - so delicate and feminine - and reading how she created various pieces. Do stop by for a visit if you get a chance - I think you'll leave with an appreciative smile. It really is true that taking the time to make the simple things in life beautiful can pay huge dividends. How can you not be lifted up when you're surrounded by beauty?


Friday, April 9, 2010

Favorite find... Liberty of London at Target

All images from Target



Liberty of London has a limited edition line out at Target and it is fabulous: cute, colorful, fun, reasonably priced. Of course, the only problem is actually finding it - in the store or online. It seems to be constantly sold out, even online. I am really hoping one of our stores here gets another shipment, because there are some fabulous home items I'd love to have. I did manage to bring home some adorable pink glasses, but I'd like some of the matching dishes. If you haven't checked the line out already, do - they have everything from clothing to home decor to lawn and garden to bicycles. And it's all adorable - a great way to add a little beauty to your life.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Passing on a little beauty to others...

If you have a minute, please consider helping this wonderful organization win $10,000. They are one of 10 finalists vying for the grand prize; you can click here to vote. It only takes a minute and you can vote once a day until April 21. Enchanted Makeovers truly believes beauty does matter in life for EVERYONE, and they do wonderful work renovating shelters for women and children. Click here to read the post I wrote on them last year and see photos of their work.
Anyone who takes a few minutes out of their day to help out this group deserves special recognition in my book, so please grab the award below. Thanks for your help in adding a little more beauty to the world!

Monday, April 5, 2010

'Romancing the Ordinary'... the third time is the charm

Sarah Ban Breathnach's books are some of my favorites. Her writing is beautiful, her quote selection inspired and her ideas interesting. And there's a sense of humor that subtly shines through, despite her serious mission.
I have been reading her book, "Romancing the Ordinary ~ A Year of Simple Splendor," for the last few months. It is the third time I've started reading it, but I've never finished it. The book is arranged by months, and in my previous attempts, I would get to April and put it down. I always seemed to be reading it during years of complete upheaval in my life - and it was as though I would reach a point where I just didn't have it in me to try and find the beauty in the everyday, or the effort to "romance the ordinary." I decided to pick up the book again this year, partly because my life is wonderful and partly because I am seeking inspiration. I feel the winds of change are starting to gather again, but in a positive way, and I want to make the most of it. "Romancing the Ordinary" is full of ideas for just living - by the seasons, by the months, by "your own lights." Everything from indulging in beauty rituals to kitchen rituals - anything that connects you more to yourself, more to Spirit, more to Mother Earth. It's a lovely journey so far - one I plan to finish - and I recommend it to all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter...

Wishing all of you a lovely day full of good food, fabulous hats, Easter egg hunts and lots of chocolate.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Easter-themed Pink Saturday...





For me, Easter has always meant three things: Flowers, chocolate and Easter egg hunts. In honor of today's pink/yellow Easter-themed Pink Saturday, I thought I'd share my two favorite Easter flowers - lilies and tulips. Their beauty says Easter and spring, all in one.
If it seems I've posted a lot of flower photographs lately, you're right. But there's something about this time of year that makes them irresistible to me. I find surrounding myself with all of spring's beauty seems to reawaken my soul. Isn't that really what Easter is all about, on some level ~ a rebirth, a reawakening?
As always, a big thank you to the lovely Beverly for hosting Pink Saturday every week. Please stop by her blog, How Sweet the Sound, for a complete list of participants. Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Beautiful bloggers...


I have been fortunate enough to be honored with several awards recently. Maria-Therese at afiori has given me the Beautiful Blogger Award. If you have never visited her blog, please do. It is beautiful and her work is lovely. As part of the award, I am now supposed to tell you seven things you didn't know about me and pass the award on to seven other blogs.

1. I love British TV shows - comedies, mysteries, the Jane Austen dramas - you name it.
2. I think the South Carolina Lowcountry is possibly the most beautiful, peaceful place on Earth and I would love to have a home there one day. I would also love to live in an English village and regularly shop in Paris. Hey, we all have our fantasies. :)
3. I could watch The Golden Girls pretty much every day. I own all seven seasons on DVD.
4. I was named editor of a newspaper at 26 - a bi-weekly paper in a small town in the Carolinas. In addition to being its youngest editor, I am also the only woman ever to have held the post in the paper's 140-year history.
5. Early in my career, I wrote a headline that appeared on Jay Leno's Headlines segment. Don't ask. :)
6. I turned an extra room in my current house (probably most suitable for an office or nursery) into a huge walk-in closet - and I still have overflow.
7. If I could have dinner with any two people, living or dead, I'd ask Winston Churchill and Stevie Nicks. And I'd want Ernest Hemingway, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Gabrielle Chanel to join us for dessert. Now that would be a party.


I would like to pass this award on to seven of my favorite blogs. (Just right-click or drag it to your desktop.)

Such a Wondrous Place This Faerytale Space - Each visit is an amazing journey.
Rose Tea Cottage - Long may the Duchess reign.
The Comforts of Home - Always full of beautiful ideas and creations. And her home is lovely.
Just a Happy Housewife - Cute, fun, pink. What else could you want?
My French Country Home - A lovely, lovely place to visit.
How Sweet the Sound - The founder of Pink Saturday.


I have also been blessed to receive the Stiletto Award 4 excellence in blogging from Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife, along with the Blogger Buddy Award below. I'd like to pass this award on to a few of my favorite bloggers. (Again, just right-click or drag it to your desktop.)



And last, but not least, I would like to pass the Blogger Buddy Award on to ALL of my followers. Please enjoy it in good fun. :)

I would also like to say a special thank you to Sam for passing on the Honest Scrap Award. I'm keeping that one to give away later.

Beauty and blessings to all ~
Bella