Friday, May 18, 2018

Royal Wedding, Fond Memories

It seems everyone is obsessed with the upcoming royal wedding of 
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19 at Windsor Castle. 

While we celebrate the royal marriage this week, 
we also remember William and Harry's mother, Princess Diana. 
People are recalling special memories of Princess Diana, 
whether it's of her many charities or something more personal.

I have my own special memory of her.

Although I have traveled to England a few times, the visit I most remember was in the late 1990’s. We had enjoyed a double-decker bus tour of London, marveled at Harrods Department Store, 
minded the gap in the Tube, and swooned over the lush gardens and amazing architecture.
(I found some old snapshots from this trip which were taken before digital cameras).

Then, one day we boarded a bus to Eton to see Windsor Castle,
the oldest castle in the world, built in the late 11th century. 

As we strolled along the cobbled streets and admired the royal swans 
floating along the River Thames (apparently the Queen owns the swans!), 

we heard that Princess Diana was visiting her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry,
at Eton College to celebrate Prince William’s birthday
and that she had taken them to McDonalds for lunch. 

Although we didn’t get to see her, we were thrilled that Princess Diana was nearby,
doing what she did best -- giving her boys a “normal” experience,
one they probably still remember as do we.

Best wishes and happiness to Harry and Meghan on their wedding May 19 
which happens to be my own parents' wedding anniversary.

They would have been married 77 years.
Many happy years Harry and Meghan. 


Friday, May 11, 2018

It All Started with a French Tablecloth

I've wanted a colorful French tablecloth for years 
so when I spotted this one at a recent street market, 
I had to have it.

The blue and yellow colors gave the patio that warm ambiance of Provence 
and it was the perfect size for my bistro table in "Cafe Bleu."

With olives on the print, the fabric is coated with something that resists stains and dirt. 
Love that!

The tablecloth inspired me to spruce up this corner of the garden. 

Although it's a bit early to plant annuals, many of my perennials are at their spring peak.
(The blue flower pot picks up the blue of the tablecloth and, yes, it was an alley find!)

This private space in the garden is alive with white candytuft, lavender phlox, 
and pale blue forget-me-nots with blue and pink larkspur and red bee balm ready to bloom. 

The fragrant lilac bush that hugs this small patio is also peaking. 

In back of the bistro table I placed a small bench with watering cans 
and a concrete urn holding a transplanted ostrich fern. 

So please come on in and join me. 

Cafe Bleu is always open.


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Friday, May 4, 2018

My Favorite Haunts

Recently, a lovely reader asked me for recommendations of my favorite places to shop. 
My reply was: antique stores, estate/yard sales, thrift stores, and I just had to add . . . alleys! 

Some of my best finds have been while riding my bike down the alleys in our old neighborhood. 
And now that it's spring-cleaning weather, people are obliging me 
by kindly putting their unwanted items in the alleys for my perusal. 
So, I'm dusting off the bicycle and looking forward to adding to my Ethan Alley Collection.

You just never know what you might find cruising the alleys. 
Can you believe we recently found this discarded Adirondack set,
complete with table and foot rest? 
I spent two days scraping and painting but didn't it turn out nice?

Sometimes it's a big item like those chairs and we need to pedal home and get the car; 
other times it's something tiny that fits in my bicycle basket. 
Like these sparkly crystal doorknobs.

Another place I love to shop are antique malls. 
Recently I found a beautiful small demijohn (left) wrapped in wicker. 
Although I love the big boys, they're out of my price range so I was delighted 
when I found this one that was just right to add to my collection in the foyer.

This gorgeous copper tea kettle caught my eye at a vintage market and it was calling my name. 
I think the reason copper is so popular is it evokes the feeling of a hearth in the kitchen. 
Every time I walk into my little kitchen, it's the first thing I see and it reminds me of old kitchens where everyone gathered close to a roaring fire to keep warm, eat dinner and talk. 
I love its warm glow and many well-loved patches.

Estate/yard sales! Yippee! It's sale season again. 
Yard sales are starting to pop up all over our neighborhood. 
Although you can find some great bargains at yard sales, the real treasures are at estate sales. 
Check out for weekly listings in your area. 

My most favorite estate sale find was this beautiful old clock for $5!
It needed some TLC but was well worth it.

Yard sales are a great place to find vintage linens, dishes, old books and silverplate.
I lucked out when I scored this beautiful floral print for a few dollars.

Thrift stores like Goodwill and ARC can be amazing sources although you do need 
to check back often. We swing by our thrift stores about once a week. 
Fridays seem to be a good day because they're stocking the shelves for Saturday sales.

One of my favorite thrift store treasures is this amazing chair. 
An antique dealer told me it was probably 1800s English. $13. Sold! 

And, if you're feeling adventurous, you can keep an eye on construction dumpsters. 
Remember this chippy column I retrieved from an overflowing dumpster?
Be still my heart! 

Happy Sale-ing!!


Still looking for the perfect mountain cabin.
It's been a week of highs and lows, literally.
I found an incredible cabin that looked a lot like my Pinterest favorites.
But it went under contract almost immediately. I was so bummed.
Then, I found a hunting cabin near Rocky Mountain National Park
but it was on the worst road I've ever driven on and then,
when we finally found the cabin, it was just a disappointing mess.
So, still looking.


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Saturday, April 28, 2018

After the Rain

A late Spring shower is a bath for our senses.
It doesn't rain here often so the sound of rain is magical.

Like a hum before bursting into song.
We stop what we're doing and listen
as the rain refreshes the grass and bathes the flowers.

Then, after the rain . . . glistening jewels quiver on delicate spider webs.

Pools of crystal beads lie on a leaf like a broken string of pearls.

Everything is fresh, dust bathed away and stale air cleansed.

Birds take shelter, then venture out after the rain, beady eyes searching for worms.
Pigeons splash in puddles like little children; 
chickadees and finches shake the wet from their feathers, then refuel.

The heat of the day evaporates in the cool mist.
After the rain, the earth turns dark -- rich, fertile, moist.

And it sings.
Breathe it in and listen.


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Friday, April 20, 2018

A Spring Refresh in the Dining Room

Spring has arrived in the dining room.

It doesn't take a major make-over to refresh the dining room with a few Spring touches.

Removing the tablecloth and adding a metal tray with a green-filled garden urn 
instantly changes the mood of the dining room table.

I like to keep it simple. Adding a few old books adds height and interest.

And some fresh violas complete the spring look.

A bit of green in a French champagne bucket brightens up one corner.

A garden statue on the vintage sewing machine base adds a whiff of elegance.

The other corner features some white blossoms, an old mirror, and a vintage violin.
So romantic!

Happy Spring! 


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Friday, April 13, 2018

A Cozy Change of Scene in the Office

I shuffled into the sunroom this morning to find it snowing outside.
A heavy wet spring snowstorm is not uncommon in Colorado but it's hard to believe 
after yesterday when it was warm enough to tidy the winter garden in T-shirts.

As I stood by the sunroom window, watching the drifting snow suddenly transform into
a horizontal storm, I felt lucky to be indoors where it was warm and cozy. 
And then, I had a thought.

Why not bring my laptop in here, turn on the little gas stove, and move my office for the day?

Setting up at my old farm table, I could look out the windows while working. 
Why didn't I do this sooner?
Isn't it interesting how we view things so differently depending on what we're looking at,
as if seeing through different eyes.

The warmth of the stove felt wonderful on my back as I checked e-mails.

I was excited when I saw several from Realtor Phil. I zeroed in on one cabin that sounded promising so I replied, asking it we could take a look at it. 
If you haven't heard, I'm on a quest to find a rustic mountain cabin,
a getaway from the ever-expanding city. If you missed that post, you can read about it HERE.

Something like this would be perfect!

Once the idea of a cabin became a real possibility, I began envisioning how I'd decorate it. 
Seems like everything I see would look nice in the cabin.
And then there's all the stuff currently stored in the attic 
like my Dad's old rocking chair and some beautiful elk antlers.

At an antique mall I recently found the perfect red plaid throw I'd been looking for, 
a cozy accent to my red farm table. The table and blanket both might make their way to the cabin. 

During my "southwestern" phase years ago, I collected tiny cowboy boots.
I probably have about 30 pairs!
Packed away for years, wouldn't they look cute on a shelf in the cabin?

A vintage Indian print blanket will look nice in the cabin someday too. 
For now, it adds warmth to this green velvet chair. 

This room is always cozy and my thoughts often turn to dreams of my cabin in the mountains. Imagine looking out the window as a majestic elk walks slowly by. 
Here, I'm more likely to see a finch, a nuthatch, a chickadee or a dove visiting my bird feeder. 
Such a lovely distraction. 

Yesterday, we saw a large hawk chase our little birds through the yard, 
It was a thrill as we were sitting on the patio and had front row seats to the chase. 
Happy to report, all little birds escaped unharmed and the hawk continued on his way. 

So, it appears my office assistant thinks we're working way too hard
and has decided it's past nap time.
The first of many naps to come today in one of her many beds.

The snow has slowed down now, leaving a white dusting on the lawn and spring flowers.
This much-needed moisture will be good for the garden and will help green up the grass.

But for now, it's time for a cup of tea and more daydreams. 
Pull up a chair and let's look for mountain cabin ideas on Pinterest. 

Cabin Quest Update:
We went to the mountains this week to see the little cabin mentioned above.
The cabin was perfect -- 365 square feet and adorable.
Sadly, there was another house right next to it that didn't show in the listing photos.
Kind of defeats the whole purpose of a getaway, don't you think?
I'm glad we saw it though. With each viewing, we refine our wish list.


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