Friday, September 25, 2015

Showtime on Kenosha Pass

All it takes is a good stiff wind to strip the golden leaves right off their silvery limbs. 
And then, you miss the Aspen leaves changing colors by one day.
I know, it's happened to me.
But this year, we hit it at just the right time:  the first day of Autumn.
And it was spectacular. I just had to share some of the pictures Ron took.

Usually Aspen turn a bright gold but this year there was quite a bit of orange too. 

At 10,000 feet, a rustic fence zigzagging through a meadow 
adds another dimension to this gorgeous view. 

I wanted to run through this tawny meadow singing "The hills are alive . . ."

These colors simply cannot be recreated by man. 

That blue Colorado sky enhances the gold leaves

and the slightest breeze sends the shimmering leaves all a quiver. 

I don't think I could pick my favorite shot if I had to but this one would be close to the top.

Kenosha Pass has quite a fascinating history. 
It was used by Ute Indians to reach their hunting grounds in South Park, by white trappers in the
19th century, and by prospectors during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush of the 1860s.
During the Silver Boom in Colorado, the pass became a main route to the mines
in Leadville, Breckenridge and Aspen.

This is the other side of the pass looking south.
Mares' tail clouds over South Park. 

Today, although we went on a week day, cars lined both sides of the road and filled the parking lot. Ready for the show!

God's country.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Notes from the Attic

Not long ago, this room on the upper floor was wasted space, used mostly for storage. Then, I decided to transform it into my office. Now, it evokes the feel of an attic in Paris and makes me think of those famous Impressionist artists like Monet and Renoir and many others who all knew each other and actually shared living space in a Parisian attic because they were poor, having spent all their money on painting supplies. Can you imagine the conversations they must have had!

On the east side of the room, I look out tall floor-to-ceiling windows swathed in white sheers tied in the middle with ribbon. In the morning, the sun streams through these windows and fills the small space with golden light. It doesn't take much imagination to see the zinc rooftops of Paris out these windows instead of a narrow residential street in Denver.

I've furnished this room with thrift store treasures and estate sale bargains. In front of the tall windows is a vintage red leather chair and ottoman, now covered with a linen floral slipcover from a thrift store. The slipcover comes off in the winter so the red leather can warm the space. Built-in bookshelves surround the chair and an old white wicker planter that had been destined for an upcoming yard sale has a new life filled with my favorite decorating books.

Next to the chair is a small French-inspired table, a thrift store find for under $10. It came home with me wearing a very dark stain, not looking at all French. But, after several good sandings, a coat of primer and two coats of white paint, it's been transformed. I distressed those edges that would see normal wear and topped it with a lamp (also thrift store) that could have come from a Paris flat. I love the little glass ball on top of the shade.

The centerpiece of this space is my desk which I actually bought at an antique store (okay, I paid retail but it was on sale!). It looked nothing like it does today though and it took an open mind to see its potential. Someone had painted it in stark primary colors...lime green on the drawers, bold red on the legs, stark yellow on the sides and a damaged white top. Ugh. Lots of sanding, priming and white paint turned it into a beauty with a serpentine top, curved legs and pretty carved details. An old piano bench with a sheepskin throw makes it a perfect place for blogging.

An old mirror, a tin vase of dried flowers, some worn books, a rosary and a candle--all from thrift stores and yard sales--create a charming vignette.

At night, lamps and candles lend a warm glow to the space and I can almost hear Cezanne and Pissarro arguing about who has to sleep on the floor!

Special thanks to Ron Boyd for photography. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fall -- a Time for Inner Reflection

It's hard to believe Autumn officially begins this month. 
In some ways, I'm ready for cooler weather and 
the gorgeous colors Colorado is famous for. 
Still I wonder where summer went this year.

At a mile high, we can have some extreme weather in Denver 
and this year was no exception. 
First an early freeze nipped a lot of our tree buds 
resulting in no fruit or dead trees. 
We lost the ornamental plum in our front yard 
but now I have more sun for my garden.

It's definitely been a crazy year of weird weather in Colorado. 
Torrential rains flooded our basement.
Then, hotter-than-usual weather fried my flowers, 
especially those in pots, requiring twice-a-day-watering.

We'll still have some lovely warm weather 
but Fall is definitely in the air, especially at night 
when an extra blanket is starting to feel pretty good. 

Fall is quietly tapping on the door 
and I want to bring a little autumnal glory into the house. 

Don't these old Native American game sticks 
look beautiful with some Fall foliage?

Some twinkly lights, a few red berries and an etched gourd 
from New Mexico 
add a bit of autumn sparkle in my sunroom.

For me, Fall is a time to begin a period of inner reflection. 
I'm more likely to do this now than New Year's when 
most people review the past year and make plans for the next. 
Maybe it's the soft muted colors of autumn that calm my mind 
and help me put things in perspective. 

It's this time of year when our thoughts turn from our gardens 
back to our homes and to getting reacquainted with our treasures. 

I just polished this old silver pot and 
found I actually enjoyed it. 
Maybe I'm watching too much Downton Abbey!

The tallow berries, ironstone sugar bowl and candlesticks 
are a quiet autumn statement that tells me it's time 
to put the garden to bed and curl up in a comfy chair with 
a cup of tea and a good book.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mirror Image

I have a confession. I'm in love with . . . old mirrors.
Oh, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Mirrors set a mood, whether it's bright and cheery or candlelit romance.

They add sparkle to a bland wall.

They bring a sense of drama and history to a space.
This chippy find must have some fascinating stories to tell.

They're elegant. Think the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

They draw attention to high ceilings.
Mine are ten feet but seem higher because of the mirrors. 

They reflect light into a dark room, particularly when hung across from a window.

This beveled mirror hung in my childhood home for many years
and its dark mellowed wood and silvered scratches say "home" to me.
I can still see my Dad's heavy work jacket hanging on one of these hooks.
This is one piece I will never paint!

According to feng shui, mirrors bring good energy into a room,
especially if hung over a fireplace like this gilded gesso beauty in my living room. 

Their hazing makes you feel like you're looking back through time.
Do you wonder who might have peered into your mirror before you?

The sticker on this old hotel mirror states: "Please do not smoke in bed."

A mirror weaves a bit of magic into a room, 
reflecting those everyday objects in a whole different way.
This one seems to distort reality.

Each mirror, especially an old one, is unique--a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

I won this little trumeau in an Ebay auction (my first).

A grouping of mirrors has a big impact, especially in a small room.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Meet me at the Bistro

I like to move things around . . . and not just inside the house.

So I recently moved the bistro table and chairs I found on Craigslist from
their spot under my crabapple tree to a cozy corner in the wildflower garden.

I switched the bench that had been in the corner with the table under the tree and 
now this bench is one of my favorite places to sit, look at the garden and watch the birds.

The little birds like this chickadee seem to prefer this shallow bath
while the bigger birds like the deep one.

Peeking down the flagstone path, I glimpse the table which beckons from its shady corner.

From this corner, I have a beautiful view of the garden.
I like walking on the pea gravel,
so reminiscent of the many gravel paths in France. 

The birdbath is perfectly centered through the arch 
and it's entertaining to watch the robins bathe every day.
They usually splash around but one hot day
I saw a bird just sitting quietly in the cool water.
So cute.

Of course, I didn't have my camera.

Over the bistro table, I hung a faux (that's French for plastic!) crystal chandelier, 
after removing the wiring and rigging it up for a candle.

This corner is now a perfect place for a morning cup of coffee and a biscotti,

an afternoon escape with a cool glass of iced tea and a magazine,

or a dusky evening with a glass of wine . . .

and a bite of chocolate.