Saturday, July 26, 2014

The beauty of limelight...

My limelight hydrangea, planted as a gift by a friend of mine when I lived in California and affectionately known as Ralph, is putting out the most gorgeous blooms right now. I mean, they’re huge, aren’t they? And just the loveliest pale green, too.
Ralph is a few years old now and this year I followed the advice of a hydrangea whisperer, which was basically to make sure my hydrangeas had lots of water, especially the old one I transplanted, and in the case of this Limelight hydrangea, to quit trying to prune him into something he isn’t meant to be. This type of hydrangea likes to grow tall, so this year I let him. And he is obviously thanking me for it with the largest, prettiest blooms he has ever put out. The best part is, there are still lots more budding up, which means he’ll be blooming for awhile.

Here’s a shot of Ralph just after a light rain. His blooms are so large and heavy they weigh down the branches.

Even Miss Emily is admiring his beauty...

Wishing all of you a lovely day...

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, July 18, 2014

A gentle reminder...

I picked out these beautiful carnations at the grocery store the other day because I was drawn to their lovely colors. It was a simple 3 for $12 deal, so I pulled two packets of peach colored carnations and one packet of bright pink to mix in without giving it much thought. They simply appealed, so I bought them.

It is a slightly unusual color combination and after a couple of days I kept thinking I had seen it somewhere before. Close by. But nothing came to me.
And then a couple of days later, I was whining to myself about not having as much time as I used to for things like blogging and designing fabric & wallpaper and studying interior design. (Even though I completed my year-long interior design course and got my certificate as intended, I still have magazines I want to go through and books to read.) I looked at my desk as I was walking through my house thinking all this and my eye caught on the bag I used to tote back and forth to school ~ it’s still full of lots of goodies from my interior design classes. And I suddenly realized where I had seen that particular peachy/orange/pink color combination before: my school bag, which is in Vera Bradley’s Folkloric pattern.

And then I thought maybe me grabbing those particular colors was my subconscious trying to tell me something ~ perhaps a gentle reminder that I have to make time to do the things I love no matter what, just like I did with those classes. 
I share this because I’m betting I’m not the only one who needs this reminder.
Wishing all of you a lovely weekend, full of things you love...

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The story of The Shell Mirror...

In my last post, I promised you a closer look at (and the story behind) the shell mirror that now sits in its new home on the refinished mantle on our porch. As you can see, the mirror is made up of hundreds of shells; shells my dearest friends and I have collected over the past 10-15 years.
My friends and I all love the beach and we love combing the beach for shells while we talk and walk for miles. Many of these shells are from beaches along the Carolina coast, along with a few from the Jersey shore and the beaches of California.
The Shell Mirror was the brainchild of one of my dearest friends. Right before I moved to California, she decided I needed a visual reminder of all the good times we had spent on Edisto Island off the South Carolina coast, so she bought a mirror with a plain wooden frame and we culled our shell collections to create this mirror, simply arranging and hot gluing the shells as we went. Once completed, the mirror was extremely heavy and very delicate ~ not exactly the easiest thing to transport from one coast to another and back again.
But I did.
My husband thought I was a little nuts, but he went along with it because I loved the mirror. It was unusual, yes, and not normally my style, but it was full of memories and love, and it became one of those things I simply couldn’t live without. The mirror made it to California in one piece but over the course of several moves, it started to show a bit of wear and tear. The final trip back East left it in need of repair, as you can see below.

Once I got our house mostly put back together, the same friend who helped me build what is now known by everyone as The Shell Mirror, came over to help me repair it. While originally it only had shells from the East Coast, this time we added in a few from California, as it seemed only fitting. 

The mirror is one of those things that is far more beautiful in person, but the photo below helps show its beauty. This close up shows just how much detail the mirror contains ~ and gives you an idea of the number of shells it took to create.

The shells in my collection not on the mirror now line the same mantle the mirror sits on.

One of the best things about redoing this old mantle for out here on the porch is that The Shell Mirror has a permanent home.

It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

I am linking to:
Before and After Wednesday at The Dedicated House
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Porch projects reveal...

Come on in, everyone. After what seems like forever, but was really only a couple of years off and on, my sun porch is truly, finally, finished. Really.
Not only are the maintenance-type things finished (glass replaced, the ceiling fan installed, etc.), but the decorating is complete, too. Which means you’re finally going to get to see that mysterious corner.
First up, I painted the table out here again. It went from Sandstone Cove (which is my favorite neutral) to a much brighter lavender on a whim. I was playing on the porch and it suddenly occurred to me that the table should be a different color ~ it simply wasn’t bright enough in the sea of color I had created. The rug has a lovely shade of lavender in it as an accent and I remembered I had a quart of paint in the shed that I had bought and never used because I changed my mind. Within a half-hour, the table was painted. And you know what? The color of the table perfectly matches the accent color in the rug.

And now for the bigger project. One of the corners of my porch has been in desperate need of something. A friend of mine had left an old mantle out in the Magic Shed and suggested I get my husband to put it back together (it was in three big pieces) and paint it since she wasn’t going to be using it anytime soon. It would also serve as a home for The Shell Mirror (which you’ll see more of and learn more about in my next post ~ yes, there’s a story there). Anyway, the idea of using the mantle intrigued me, so I went ahead. Here’s the mantle getting its first coat of paint:

The color is actually a bit more green than it looks in these photos. Rather than fill in all the holes in the wood, I had my husband leave some of them open. I thought they would make an interesting juxtaposition against the gold paint I wanted to trim the mantle with.

The color I chose nearly matches the blue-green in this chair, though that wasn’t planned.

Now, here’s the mysterious corner you have never seen...

Terribly boring, isn’t it? No wonder I never bothered to show it to you. Here’s that corner now, with the mantle completed and the fabulous Shell Mirror on top. 

Isn’t it cool? I am absolutely loving it. I think the eclectic mix of purple, teal and yellow, with splashes of pink, works perfectly out here (oddly enough). My husband really likes it, too. In fact, we have spent more time relaxing on the porch in the past few weeks since I finished it than we have in the last couple of years combined. It’s so nice to have it all feel done.

Here are some more shots of the porch, starting with the doorway and going around the room...

What do you think?

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Anything Blue Friday at The Dedicated House
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday at Kathe with an E

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully