Friday, July 21, 2017

French Country in the City

Yearning to go to France?
The breathtaking French architecture, street cafes, gardens, and markets?
Yeah, me too.

But guess what?
You don't have to travel to France to experience that French je ne sais quoi.
It's more accessible than you might think.

I set out on my bicycle, camera in hand, to see what I could find in the middle of Denver.
It had rained overnight and the air was fresh and cool.
By the time I was done with my ride, I could smell the fresh cafe' au lait and baguettes.

Here's a little sampling . . . 
Entryways with gorgeous French details, 


some with real gas lamps and winding walks.


Whether they're grand with a tower and a porte cochere . . . 


 or small and charming with an arched glass portico in a misty morning, 


their French roots are showing.

These beautiful balconies could be in France.  



Love the modified fleur-de -lis design on this one. 


Here's one more beauty with fancy wrought iron and blue shutters. 
Oh, wait! This one is in France. 


This amazing glass sculpture at a light rail stop in Denver could be in Paris.


To say nothing of the breathtaking gardens . . . 


or the tantalizing street markets.


Flowers at every corner remind me of Paris flower shops.


This little touch of France is right outside my own back door, my Cafe Bleu.
If you missed this post, you can read about it HERE.


And here's my Frenchy patio.
Want to read more. Click HERE.


So, look around your own neighborhood.
You might be surprised at the French touches here and there.
Now, let's have that cafe' au lait and baguette!

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Friday, July 14, 2017

The Three R's: Rethink, Revamp, Reuse

Isn't it fun to find another use for an object . . . something that it was never intended for?
I love to mix things up and re-purpose my finds, scratching that creative itch.

One of my favorite re-purposed finds was this French wine crate
transformed into a unique centerpiece.


Hey, what's that behind door number one?
This heavy old door that I found in an alley and actually got into my car all by myself 
covers up the electrical and fuse boxes on the patio.


Look what's hiding behind door number one!


Here are a few other ideas.
A paint-splattered scaffolding is transformed into a long bench on the patio.



Top an old sewing machine base with a slab of stone or wood
to make a unique outdoor table.


The orchard ladder my neighbor threw away is a perfect rustic plant stand.



An old cast-iron fireplace grate finds a new use as a pretty planter.


Inside the house, there are possibilities everywhere.
This child's hamper makes an unusual container for flowers
or extra pillows in the guest room.


Vintage suitcases? Stack and store photographs and mementos inside.


And what about that vintage wicker planter?
 I turned mine into a bookcase for my favorite interior design books.
 Easy to access and pretty to look at.


An old window frame becomes a shadow box for sweet little bottles.


We found this old adobe brick mold in a dump in Taos, New Mexico.
It sure puts a new spin on "dumpster diving"
and is perfect for displaying some of my white collectibles.


So, the next time you look at something, think outside the box . . . the hat box that is!
My vintage hat boxes hold tissue paper, bows and ribbons.


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Friday, July 7, 2017

My Happy Place

My favorite thing about living in Denver is being so close to the mountains. 
From my front door in the city to a peaceful mountain meadow is only about 40 minutes. 
So, on the day before my birthday, I was happy to trek up to Mt. Falcon Park for a weekday hike.

Although this open space can be crowded on the weekends, weekdays are much quieter 
with mostly older hikers, a few shiny black ravens and an occasional hummingbird.

My happy place!


Signs are posted to be aware and alert to other denizens like bears and mountain lions. 
Although I've seen a few deer and a black Abert's squirrel, I've yet to have a "surprise encounter."


These bear-proof garbage cans do remind you to stay on your toes!


A loop trail encircles this lovely green meadow and the great thing about it is ... it's fairly flat!


The meadows are dotted with amazing rock outcroppings.


You might see an occasional mountain biker on the trail. Although they are generally polite to hikers, we noticed a new sign saying bikers with "bad behavior" would be fined. 


One of the most amazing things about Mt. Falcon is its castle,
not something you'd expect to find in the mountains. 


Now in ruins, this historical site is bittersweet to explore. 
Built in 1909 by John Brisben Walker, a self-made millionaire who owned Cosmopolitan 
magazine among other investments, this was once a grand home with ten bedrooms, 
five fireplaces, a music room, an observation deck and servants quarters.


Tragically, Mrs. Walker died just seven years after the mansion was built. 
Two years later, the house was struck by lightning and burned down. 


Although Mr. Walker left his dream house behind, the four thousand acres 
he'd purchased became what is now Mt. Falcon Park.


By preserving this beautiful land, Walker left a wonderful legacy that many people enjoy today. 


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Friday, June 30, 2017

Shivering in Summer: It's Shopping Weather!

I woke up this morning wondering if I was still dreaming. 
Ron had gone camping and I had the bed to myself. Well, except for Roxy who had snuggled up against my leg. I had pulled my comforter up under my chin and was still shivering. 
The air was definitely cool, no, make that cold.

Didn't I go to bed last night with the windows open and the fan on 
in hopes of cooling the upstairs bedroom?
Hadn't it been a record-breaking 100+ degrees yesterday?


Resisting the urge to stay in bed, I got up, wrapped up in my thick bathrobe 
and pushed my cold feet into my sheepskin slippers. 
I made my way to the coffee grinder downstairs and whirled the beans into a frenzy. 
While they were transforming into nice hot coffee, I stumbled into the sunroom and peeked at the thermometer outside. 42 degrees! What? Isn't this still June?


As I sipped my steaming coffee, I thought about summer and how once warm weather arrives, 
I forget about decorating inside the house.  I'm always outside in the garden, tending flowers, watering the lawn, transplanting young plants and designing outdoor rooms.

But when the weather turns cool in the fall, or unexpectedly in the summer, I start thinking 
about the interior and how I can change things around with new finds
like this unique old "Electrically Controlled Time" clock.


So when this cold front blasted through, what did I do?
Closed up the windows, put on my jeans and sweatshirt, and went shopping!
Lucky for me, some hearty souls had forged ahead with their estate and yard sales
and I found some unexpected treasures.

For the kitchen, I grabbed this sweet little cheese plate. 
Of course, the cows caught my attention but I also loved that fresh green color.


At the same sale, I found this cool French tea towel.
Okay, it's not actually French but it has French words on it and that's good enough for me.
Total: $5.


The next sale produced this beautiful Florentine table.
You know how little tables always follow me home and,
even though I had no place to put it, I couldn't pass it up for $5.
The heavily distressed top grabbed my attention and my heart.


Once home, I found a perfect spot for it in my foyer.
This little table from Italy gave me a push to change up the foyer, still looking a bit wintry,
so I pulled some straw-wrapped bottles from the top of my china closet
and added a vintage clock for a whole new summery look.


Still on the hunt, I found this old sled in a run-down garage under a pile of rags and greasy tools.
It had been on my watch list for a long time so, even though it was summer, I snagged it and
stored it in the attic with dreams of how I'd use it on the front porch or in the foyer this winter.
It costs $20 but I'd seen similar ones in antique stores for $75!


When I returned home, Ron had come home, and we took Roxy for a walk in our neighborhood
once she stopped dancing around him on her back feet.
Then, we spotted another sale in an alley. It didn't take long to find this lovely old mirror which
I stole for $2. It had a few broken pieces of trim where someone must have dropped it
but Ron repaired it with his trusty JB Weld.
Good stuff! In fact, Ron just repaired his glasses with JB Weld. "So long masking tape!"

You can't even tell it was ever broken. 


The mirror filled an empty space in my guest room beautifully.


Ron always seems to find things that I miss.
This time he spotted a small concrete urn about a foot tall hiding behind the garage door.
It looks beautiful in my garden planted with pink calibrichoa.
Another $2. I couldn't believe that price for the real thing. 


Ron bought a set of four rustic coasters and gave me the "Paris" one for my desk. Thanks sweetie!
Grand total for this shopping trip was about $35.


This shopping day is over and hopefully the weather will be back to sunny blue skies and warm temps tomorrow. Or maybe, if I'm lucky, it will be cold again and we can hit the antique malls!

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Friday, June 23, 2017

June Garden: Pretty in Pink

Summer officially arrived June 21 and my garden is awash in pink. 
Some flowers are showstoppers, others blend quietly with purples and yellows.
I've always been drawn to purple flowers so this year
I intentionally tried to incorporate more pinks into my garden. 
Pink speaks of romance and a delicate gentle touch.

This deep pink Knautia macedonia adds movement to the garden
as its long stems sway in the breeze.


The gardens seem to blush in the pink innocence of this Zebrina malva. 


TIP:  If you're like me, you can't always remember the names of your plants.
So I keep the plastic tags that identify my posies in a large baggie
where I can always find them as a reference source . . .
unless they accidentally find their way into the trash.


Case in point -- the name of this rosy plant escapes me and I can't find the tag.
Anyone recognize it?
Some kind of veronica perhaps?


Pink petunias and purple lavender
complement the galvanized tub I found at an estate sale for $1!


Wow! This pink Dianthus "Pink Kisses" really pops.


Other pinks are soft and quiet.
These "Cashmere Sage" Phlomis are the gentile ladies of the garden. 


TIP:  To keep your blooms blooming, snip the dead stems out regularly (deadheading).


I am not usually a big fan of petunias but these two-toned beauties really caught my eye
and are non-stop bloomers, adding a happy note to these urns. 


Hot pink Poppy Mallow winecups add a splash of color to this lavender just starting to bloom.


TIP: When the temps hit the 90s you may need to water every day.
Water in the early morning hours when it's cool and you won't lose water through evaporation.
I enjoy watering my plants; I can tell they appreciate it!



This pink clematis is a feminine addition to the garden,
all dressed up for a garden party.


One pot of New Guinea impatiens is nice
but three is better!
Note: these do not like hot afternoon sun but a few early morning hours are fine.
I had to move these to the front porch to avoid a sunburn.


Pink Bonica rose against my white picket fence.
Perfection.


I think Roxy likes pink flowers too!


I hope you enjoyed my "Pink Ladies."
Come back soon to see what's blooming in my garden.
Happy gardening!

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