Sunday, June 30, 2013

Don't forget... Google Reader is done tonight

Follow on Bloglovin

Just a friendly reminder ~ as of tomorrow, Google Reader is no more. If you use it to keep up with your favorite blogs, my advice would be to switch to bloglovin’, if you haven’t already. It is the simplest thing in the world to import the blogs you follow to bloglovin’ ~ just log in, click on the heart at the top and go down to “Import from Google Reader.” It will ask you to sign into your Google account and within a couple of minutes, it will have imported all the blogs you follow. Very simple and easy. Bloglovin’ really is a very good reader; I think you will like it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The beauty of blooming with new growth...

Since this month is all about blooming where you’re planted ~ literally and figuratively ~ I wanted to share photos of a couple of my plants who seem to know all about this. Above is a bloom from my gardenia bush. I cut this old gardenia way back over the winter because it had gotten much, much too tall and straggly in the bottom. In the last month or so, it has really come back beautifully. Frankly, with so much to overcome this year, I did not expect it to bloom at all (it usually is full of fragrant blooms). But lo and behold, this weekend I was walking up the pathway to the front door and what do I see? A gardenia bloom ~ two, in fact. The bush looks so wonderfully lush and healthy now, I’m sure that cutting it back was the right thing to do.
And then there’s this poinsettia. I had a number of poinsettias in the house over the holidays and when it came time for the house to change with the seasons, I put the remaining poinsettias out on our porch, which is glassed/screened-in. Several died after a couple of months, but this one has really taken to life on the porch. I have never had a poinsettia live this long, nor have I ever had one that stuck around so long it sprouted new growth, as this one has. At the rate it’s going, it just may see another Christmas. Wouldn’t that be neat? 
Sending all of you wishes for a lovely week ~ may we all continue to grow and bloom where we’re planted...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, June 21, 2013

Front entryway makeover reveal...

After paying so much attention to the inside of my house in the past year, redoing pretty much every room, we decided it was time to give the outside a little TLC. The house has so much charm inside, but the curb appeal was lacking a bit.
In the photos above, you can see what the house looks like now, after some work. We still have some landscaping to do, and the big picture window still needs to have the trim painted, but as you’ll see, it already looks much, much better. 
Here’s what the house looked like before:

It didn’t look awful, but some of the bushes were out of control, and the front step, railings and doors all needed to be freshened up. We cut back the bushes last fall, took out the one I really hated this spring and put in some new plants. The landscaping still needs some work, but I think the house somehow looks more welcoming without the too-big bushes. My gardenia, which is the giant bush in front of the porch in the photo above, is coming back beautifully, I’m happy to say. It should bloom again next year.

Some more before photos ~ the porch door and the white frame around the front door needed to be painted, the railing needed help and I wanted a new color scheme since I had inherited this one when I bought the house eight or nine years ago.

Here’s the house with all the painting done, the siding cleaned and the bushes under control. We decided on yellow for the door (you can see more on the front door makeover here), and a sort of charcoal/chocolate for the steps. The door frame and porch door were painted white, and we replaced the black hardware on the storm door with white.
And of course my faded pink flamingo had to find a home.

In the photo above, you can see we still needed to fix the gutter, which has since been done. We had to do quite a bit of work on the railings, as you can see below. We sanded them down to get rid of as much rust as possible and then repainted them a lovely flat black with some Rust-Oleum paint. The flat black really looks nice against the other colors.

Here’s another shot of the front step, from last winter. I had just cut the gardenia in front of the porch way back. You can really see in this photo how much the entryway needed help, I think.

Once we painted the step (hooray for non-skid paint), I realized the sidewalk leading up to the front door really needed to be painted, too. It just detracted from everything else. We went ahead and put the same color on the sidewalk and it really helped the whole entryway look more polished.

At some point in the next year or two, I want to plant something on either side of the sidewalk that runs through the middle of the front yard. I would love to plant lavender on either side that could sort of waft up as you walk, but I’m told that doesn’t do particularly well here. I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

And then, since we got the front entryway looking good, I decided the porch needed a few additions to help tie all the colors together. I bought some yellow and pink pillows and just this week painted our old white rocking chair the same yellow as the front door. I also have a new rug to go on the porch once we get the ceiling fixed and the new ceiling fan in ~ that should happen in the next week or two.

Wishing all of you a lovely weekend...

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Creative Weekends at The Pink Home
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Home at Rose Chintz Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bright and happy blooms...

Hello, lovely ladies. I hope all of you are enjoying a good start to the week. I just thought I would share these bright and happy blooms ~ a little beauty to brighten your day. They are currently adding a burst of color to my dining room. I simply love the pops of yellow mixed in with all the purple flowers.
Wishing all of you a wonderful day...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Blooming indoors...

Since this month is all about blooming where you’re planted, I thought a little floral decorating inspiration might be in order. These photos came from my inspiration file and, unfortunately, I didn’t save the source. (So if anyone happens to recognize one, please let me know.) I love the soft romance in all of these floral patterns. The chairs are gorgeous and the bathroom is divine. The bedroom is pretty and feminine, but the soft white keeps the floral wallpaper from being overwhelming.
In fact, looking at all these soft florals makes me want some in my home. Just when I think I’m finished redecorating...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Just because...

Emily decided to hang out in the living room with me this evening. She looked so cute snuggled up in my favorite chair that I tried to snap some pictures of her. Of course, she heard me move and then was on full alert. Still, she’s always cute. And we can all use cute pet photos every now and then to make us smile.
Hope all of you are having a lovely week...

I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blooming where you're planted...

Blooming where you’re planted is sometimes a difficult thing for both plants and people. Take this hydrangea bush of mine. In past years it has struggled to bloom, mostly because my dog Russ decided it was in his favorite spot in the yard and when the bush would come back to life in the spring, he would just flatten it down and literally lay in the middle of it. He seemed to think it made the perfect outside bed and there was no budging him from it.
Since Russ passed last fall, the hydrangea bush has been able to grow this spring largely unimpeded. I say largely because my dog Nick sometimes tries to take a page from Russ’s book. For the most part, though, the bush is doing well. And for the first time since I’ve lived in this house, the bush is in bloom ~ lovely pale blue and white hydrangea flowers, as you can see. I cut some of the first blooms yesterday and put them in my favorite blue vase.

Now, I wouldn’t trade my Russ for anything, but it is lovely to see this bush actually putting out blooms. I guess the moral of the story is blooming where you’re planted is a lot easier when you don’t have something holding you back. And that applies to both plants and people, I would say.

One more thing. As I was turning the vase around to find the “front” and snapping pictures, I took this photo below. Only later when I was sorting through the photographs did I notice that in this one, the hydrangeas look like they are arranged in the shape of a heart. Cute, isn’t it? And completely unintentional.

So take heart, dear friends, and remember that blooming where you’re planted always adds a little more beauty to the world. And again, that applies to both plants and people.
Wishing all of you a lovely week...

I am linking to:
Blue Monday at Smiling Sally
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Anything Blue Friday at The Dedicated House
Creative Weekends at The Pink Home

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happiness is...

A new stack of books waiting to be read and a free Sunday afternoon.
The first few books on the pile I just bought at the bookstore this morning (time to leisurely wander around the bookstore or library is one of the great indulgences in life, don’t you think?), and the bottom two are loans from a friend. I’m off to enjoy my pile of treasure.
Wishing all of you a lovely Sunday afternoon...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully