Friday, March 29, 2019

The Storm Before the Calm!

This is a "BEFORE" post. I hope you'll come back in a month or so to see the "AFTER" photos. 
I know it's barren now but I invite you to use your imagination to see lots of flowers.


After a "historic" snowstorm in Denver, the sun came out and melted all that snow, 
making the grass greener than usual with bulbs popping up everywhere like this Siberian Iris. 

Yep, I have spring fever and I've got the sore muscles to prove it.

These tiny Squill bulbs are one my early favorites. 

Before I can do anything fun in the garden, 
I'm taking advantage of our 70 degree weather to do some garden clean up.
First, I have to rake up all the wet leaves and dead plants and bag them for garbage pickup.

We decided to remove a sand cherry that had messy berries and suckers throughout the garden.
It was a job but will be worth it when I plant this area.

Thanks to Ron for tackling this monster root.

Beginner's Tip:  It's a good idea to cut down your ornamental grasses and lavender stems 
to make room for new growth. 

This little tool makes quick work of trimming grasses and it's fun to use.

One of the first things I like to do in the spring is re-imagine my small patio.
At one end of my patio is a vintage fireplace grate that will hold red geraniums, 
some taller plants in the pots and flowers in the galvanized tub.

Watch out for my little photo bomber!

I picture the metal structure wrapped in battery-powered twinkly lights.

You know in Paris how they have tall planter boxes on the sidewalk to define the cafes?
I'm going to try something like a bench lined with lanterns and flickering candles. 
Or maybe I'll ad a small arborvitae in a big clay pot or a flower stand.

Oh no, now they're saying we're going to get snow this weekend.
That's Colorado for you.


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Friday, March 22, 2019

Hunting and Gathering - Find of the Month #3

Welcome back to my new feature, Hunting and Gathering - Find of the Month, 
where I share an unusual treasure recently found. 

Today, I'm sharing an interesting find -- a surprising book by author Eugene Field called 
"The Tribune Primer."

I assumed this was a harmless little book by a man I always thought of as a sweet,
loving soul who wrote the well-known children's poem, "Wynken, Blynken and Nod."

(You can read more about Eugene Field in a previous post by clicking HERE.)
I'm especially interested in him as my local library is named for him.

He lived in this sweet little cottage in my neighborhood
that later served as a small branch library. 

Well, hang on to your hat!
This book, written in 1882 and published in 1900, was definitely not meant for children. 

I bought it to add to my collection of Eugene Field books without reading the story. 
Boy, was I shocked when I finally skimmed through it at home. 

As Field worked as the editor of Denver's newspaper, The Denver Tribune,
he must have meant this book to be a sarcastic picture of the culture and politics of the day.

Are you ready for some excerpts?

"Here is a Man who has just stopped his paper. What a miserable looking Creature he is. 
One of these Days he will break his leg or be a candidate for Office and then the Paper will
Say Nothing about it. That will be treating him just right, will it not, little children?"

It gets worse!

"This is a gun. Is the Gun loaded? Let's find out.
Put the Gun on the table and you, Susie, blow down one barrel while you,
Charlie blow down the other. Bang! Yes, it was loaded. 
Run quick and pick up Susie's head and Charlie's lower jaw 
before the Nasty Blood gets over the new carpet."

Can you believe it?
What happened to the sweet man who wrote children's poetry?

There's more.

"Here we have a Knife. If you are Good,
perhaps the Editor will Give it to you to cut off the Cat's tail."

The whole book is like this. Disturbing, isn't it?
However, at the time it was published, these comments were
thought to explore the darkly comic aspects of life and government hypocrisy.

This book sure came of the left "Field!"
So, what do you think of Mr. Field's primer?


Friday, March 15, 2019

Keeping the Country Spirit Alive and Well

The year was 1978.
A new magazine hit the racks called Country Living.

It's hard to believe that was more than 40 years ago. It certainly inspired me 
(along with John Denver's songs) to move from California to Colorado in 1979.

The nascent magazine eventually would lead me 
down a winding path to develop my own decorating style. 

Yes, we go way back and I still enjoy this magazine that was 
"committed to bringing warmth back into readers' homes."

Here's an early issue that I still have. Check out that price of $1.95!!

Granted I worked my way through many looks before finally settling
on a style - French Country.
But that was after I'd lived through Southwestern, Farmhouse, Country,
and what Ron called  my "Mary Tyler Moore" look.

Mauve and black, oh dear.
I do wish I'd kept that chaise lounge though.

I recently found a beautiful coffee table book published in 1988 called
"Country Living Country Decorating."
It's a compilation of the best of the magazine over the first ten years
and sure brought back a lot of memories with lots of gorgeous photos.

My favorite feature in that magazine was always "Country in the City."
So this post is a tribute to that time-honored magazine and especially that feature.

I learned to appreciate ironstone,

Mom's dishes that had been handed down,

and hand-stitched samplers.

One of the things I learned from "Country in the City"
is that you don't have to live in the country to feel like you do.
And so many country things complement French Country style. 

It's the feel of a room rather than a particular style.

Country living is all about homespun and heartfelt.

It's about hooked or braided rugs, folk art, baskets, and quilts,

primitive painted furniture and wooden bowls . . .

 and all those things that honor individual expression. 

A wood-burning fireplace warms a room but a gas flame works just as well.
And nothing says country like a roaring fireplace.

Thanks to Country Living magazine for reminding us of the value of home, heart and hearth
and for keeping the country spirit alive and well.


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Linking with:
Little FarmsteadDwellingsStone GableA Stroll Thru Life,
Follow the Yellow Brick HomeFrench Country Cottage

Friday, March 8, 2019

Trek to our Mountain Log Cabin

Trek seems to be the right word for this trip.
It connotes an adventure, an arduous journey, a dangerous undertaking. 

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Okay, I guess we have to delete arduous and dangerous but other than that, it was an adventure. 

We'd been longing to visit our rustic mountain log cabin that we bought this past year
and had been wanting to see it again.

We'd been collecting things here and there we thought would be nice in the cabin
like old snowshoes, pillows (that I made, ahem!), wildlife mugs, and a super-comfy chair.
I'm eager to get up there and decorate!

And we thought "wouldn't it be beautiful in all that snow?"

However, we knew the Colorado Rockies had been having a banner snow year and that we 
probably would not be able to get up the narrow unpaved, unmaintained road at 11,000 feet. 

Still we decided to head up into the mountains, just to see how far we could get. 
It would be a pretty drive if nothing else. 

It was fairly passable up the rough county road 
until we reached the "No Winter Maintenance" sign.
The only tracks we saw beyond this sign were snowmobile tracks. 

Although we only had about five miles to go to the cabin, 
we decided not to be too adventurous (foolish?) 
and turned around at the first wide spot in the road. 

I don't like turning around on this road in the middle of summer 
let alone when there's a foot of snow on the road that drops off steeply on one side. 

So we headed for nearby Fairplay to check out the pioneer museum in the snow. 
It was definitely worth the detour.

You can read more about Fairplay by clicking HERE.

Yes, we had a beautiful drive in the snow-covered mountains but we soon realized
we probably wouldn't make it in to the cabin until April or May. 

That little cabin has been standing for a hundred years so I guess it's not going anywhere. 


Friday, March 1, 2019

Easy Ways to Accessorize your Kitchen

When you have a tiny kitchen like I do, you have to be creative in giving it some personality.

Here's a shot of my compact kitchen.
There's a small stove on the wall opposite the mirror.
And that's it.

The easiest way to jazz up your little kitchen is with accessories.
Since French Country style leans toward soft and muted colors,
colorful accessories can liven up this room. 

I enjoy decorating my kitchen with farm animals but you could pick
your favorite accessory and repeat it throughout the kitchen for more impact.

Love ironstone?
Fill your open shelving with it.

Or maybe you collect silver or copper.
You can always find a spot to squeeze in a pretty silver tray or a copper tea kettle.

For me, farm animals add a simple touch of Provence to my kitchen.
You'll find lots of cows in this room.

Bring on the cows, roosters, pigs and sheep. 
Then add some pretty glass bottles to catch the light.

I love the pig on this lard tin
and pops of red energize this space.

Don't forget the roosters. This symbol of Provence is a must.

The top of the fridge is the perfect spot for a big basket or two to add texture.
 I love the juxtaposition of the wire hen against the woven basket.

Original artwork is an easy way to add color and a fun farmhouse feel.
Those 1960's paint-by-number paintings are inexpensive and charming.

I won this vibrant rooster painting by an art teacher in an auction.

If farm animals, copper or silver aren't your thing,
collectible kitchen items can add a warm feeling to your kitchen.

A large, round breadboard is on my wish list if I can find an affordable one.
Meanwhile I love this hand-carved board.

It may be small but my kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in my house.

And it's not because the wine is stored there!


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Linking with:
Little FarmsteadDwellingsStone GableA Stroll Thru LifeOur Hopeful Home,
A Delightsome LifeFrench EtherealFollow the Yellow Brick HomeFrench Country Cottage