Friday, June 19, 2015

The beauty of a cottage garden...

After more than a year of work, our front yard renovation is nearly complete! I have finally finished planning and planting my cottage garden, which took forever. Because I want a cottage look, with flowers climbing all over one another and the fence in a bit of messy, gorgeous color, I stuck to a few basic plants. There are climbing roses and yellow Carolina jasmine planted in front of the fence to climb all over it, along with a hydrangea and a couple of gardenias. Filling the beds are things like dahlias, peonies, salvia, lavender, more roses and hydrangeas, gladiolas, daffodils and hostas. I kept the annuals to a minimum ~ some zinnias and a couple of impatiens ~ and planted things that will bloom spring, summer and fall, along with some items that are evergreen. All in all, I am thrilled with how it turned out.
Here’s the before shot of our front yard:

And here’s the after:

We planted climbing roses along the side of the fence, by the driveway. In a few years they will be climbing all over the fence, peeking through on both sides.

My husband was able to finish his extensive walkway project. He replaced the old brick paths and sidewalk and built a new walkway that leads into the side yard. I’m now working on a little garden in that part of the yard, which I’ll show you later.

We are still working on creating a screen to line my neighbor’s chain link fence. A retaining wall and a couple of other issues make it nearly impossible for us to the continue the picket fence on that side of the yard. I have an idea to turn some old french doors into trellises ~ build them into long flower boxes and plant climbing roses in them. We’ll see how it all works out.

The hundred year old oak tree on the other side of the yard (you can see in the before photo) had to be taken down because it was dying and dropping large limbs. Once it was gone, it really opened up that side of the yard to more sun.

Love these zinnias lining the walkway. I planted a few around the tree as well. They were an experiment ~ I planted them from seed and they have done wonderfully.

All in all, I think it looks wonderful, in large part to all the work my husband did building the fence and walkways. What do you think?

I am linking to:
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life
Before and After Wednesday at The Dedicated House
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A kitchen update...

I had been thinking for awhile about adding a bit more color to the kitchen when a couple of things happened. First, we had the electric in our house upgraded. That meant the old circuit breakers in the kitchen wall came out and everything was moved where it should be. The second was that I happened to spot a gallon of red paint in the mis-tint section of Lowe’s for $5 and decided it might be just the color I was looking for.
Once the electricians were all finished and the wall in the kitchen repaired, I got out my leftover yellow paint and painted the wall to match. Below is where the circuit breakers used to be, now replaced with plain old drywall and some pretty pictures.

Since I had my paint brush out, I decided to go ahead and paint those bottom cabinets red. After all, the paint only cost $5 and if I hated it, I could just paint them back.
But it turns out I didn’t hate it. In fact, I liked it quite a bit more. So did my husband. The kitchen feels warmer and those red cabinets look better against our new stove. The lighting in this room is awful for taking photographs, but I think you get the idea.

I still can’t wait until we renovate this room completely, but at least it’s warm and cheerful in the meantime. Here’s what it looked like before:

And again, the after:

Better, don’t you think?

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Homemaking at Hope in Every Season
Before and After Wednesday at The Dedicated House

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The beauty of gardenias...

How I love the scent of gardenias. The large gardenia by my front door is in bloom right now, which means you always get a whiff of lovely scent as you come in and out of the house.
I was a little worried about the bush earlier this year. We had a late snow/frost and the bush really seemed to take it on the nose, turning brown and generally looking unhealthy for a couple weeks afterward. But it seems to have recovered and is now putting out beautiful blooms.

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Introducing Tilly the Goose...

Everyone, meet Tilly. Tilly is quite possibly the coolest goose around, even if she is made of cement. She belonged to my grandmother and the two of them had a ball together. My grandmother got a kick out of making Tilly outfits and Tilly was happy to model them. Gram dressed her up for pretty much everything over the years and then took pictures and sent them to all of us. My grandmother died earlier this year so Tilly has flown south to live with me. Naturally she brought her wardrobe with her.
Since it has been hot here, I put Tilly’s straw hat and her sunglasses on her for now. I’m also going to give her a little TLC this summer; she needs her paint touched up. Wait till you see her outfits, too, which I will share. I hope you enjoy her as much as everyone else has over the years.

Tilly says bye for now...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A sun porch redo...

Come on in...

As I mentioned earlier, I recently redid my porch. I had no intention of redoing it, but I was cleaning out the attic and some other rooms, gathering items for a yard sale, when I realized I wanted to do a thorough clear-out. That meant making some decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. I decided if I didn’t love it, couldn’t use it or didn’t have a realistic plan for it, it had to go.
In doing that, I found this latticework rug I had in the attic that I loved and wanted to use. Because the purple rug on the porch was really too small, and I had just seen an article in a magazine about putting different pattern rugs together, I decided to give it a try out here on the porch. It took me a bit to figure out the configuration, but I did it.
And then I realized that some of the metal porch furniture I had really would be better outside in my new side garden (more on that later) so I moved it out there. Which meant I needed a couple more chairs, so I brought one from inside and bought another. And before I knew it, I was well on my way to rearranging and reworking the entire space. (You can see what the porch looked like before here.)

It took a few days to get it where it felt right. The funny thing is after I got the rugs situated and nearly the entire floor was covered with something soft, I noticed Miss Emily loved spending time out there. And I noticed my husband and I started spending more time out there ~ the space just seemed more comfortable. Of course, after spending a few days out there, my husband decided he needed an ottoman. Normally he would just use the floor pillows stacked up but it turns out Miss Emily likes to lay on those. So when I found an outdoor pouf on sale at Target, I snatched it up.

I also had an extra round table that I decided I needed to put to good use, so I moved it out here ~ it’s perfect between those chairs.

The seashell mirror still sits on top of the old mantle we pieced back together and painted. You might also think that yellow chair looks familiar. I picked it up for a song, unsure of what I would do with it, sometime last year. Working on this redo, I decided it belonged out here, so I painted it yellow and gave it a little skirt. I also made some pillows in that fabric and covered a piece of canvas to dot the colors all around the porch.

I love how it all turned out. It’s bright, cheery and comfortable ~ a perfect place to spend time this summer. What do you think?

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully