Friday, September 1, 2017

Pastoral mural, heirloom roses, romantic wedding tent and Piper

 Its been exactly one month since I last posted, and there is a very good reason
for the delay.  These dogs are running my life, and its just not right. Sure Piper
looks all innocent sitting calmly on the step, but she is a puppy in hyper mode a 
lot of the time.  In between puppy and dog care, we also hosted a funeral for 
my husbands cousin right after the book shoot, started planning a wedding for the 
courtyard in six weeks, as well as getting prepped for doing daycare for baby Reeve.
 Life is getting busier by the second!  So let me explain about the wedding plans,
my son Brandon and his fiance Mimi have decided to take the plunge after almost
ten years of living together.  They recently moved back here from LA, and they
are letting me plan it!! Woohoo!! 
So I came up with the idea of an enchanted courtyard wedding.
 The vows will be said on the upper lawn terrace in front of the arbor.
We will have a tent over the courtyard down below,
for an intimate outdoor wedding dinner after the ceremony at the end of this month.
I found this magical photo of a wedding tent, with a ceiling lined in tulle and tiny
white lights with chandeliers.  Mimi and I love the look, so that is what I plan to create.
The tulle is on order, and I will dedicate a blog post when I make it, so others can do
the same if they wish.  Essentially a rod pocket will be stitched and a nylon cord threaded
through the center of it, and then it will be hoisted up to the center pole and ziptied to that.
Tiny white string lights will be run over the pole framework first, then the sheer tulle will
go over the lights to create a dreamy effect.  I have an old gilded chandelier that I will ask
Mr. Maison Decor to wire and that will hang in the center of our snug 15x15 tent.
This inspiration tent is enormous...I wouldn't be so sure I could do a tent that big, but 
our tent is going to be manageable, or so I predict.  Stay tuned.  
 All of the furniture in the courtyard needs to be relocated to another area so the tent can
be installed and the tables and chairs laid out.  So that is the first part of the courtyard wedding.
But in other areas of our lives we are trying to get a grip on how active the dogs are as they grow.
At first everything was nice and normal, but once Piper was allowed up onto the couch, the shenanigans began in earnest.  Here they are acting all calm again.  This is not real life folks.  They had taken to running circles in this room and leaping up on the couch as they ran around and around chasing one another.  OY!! The couch was taking a beating, and so was the room.  
 As I planned to start watching my granddaughter Reeve in the fall, 
I had to think of a space that we could use together, without the dogs.  
For her safety and my sanity.  So it came to me....this room would now be OFF LIMITS
 to the four legged variety. I will put a gate across from the
 staircase to the front door to keep them out!  The french doors to the dining room 
will be kept closed, with the dog beds on the other side so they can watch if they like. 
I had a practice day for several hours with Reeve and it went great!
  She is an easy baby and I really felt myself exhale and just revel in her care.  
She is a little character, smiling and making fun faces and sounds. 
 Looking forward to watching her grow right before my eyes.
 Our roses came into full bloom at the end of August, and they are the finicky variety of 
David Austin.  Finicky in that if you cut them, they don't last but a day, 
so I mostly enjoy them in the garden.  Which kind of stinks, 
because they are amazing and I love to bring in a cut flower that smells like a rose,
which actually is rare these days.  The David Austins smell fantastic!!  
 The climbing rose on the arbor is New Dawn and it is finally getting established. 
 I am not sure how to train the canes to grow up and over...
I tied some twine to long branches and attached it there, but when Nora Murphy came, 
I untied them all as it looked ugly.  Anyone with knowledge on this process?  
 Piper is getting so big, she just jumps up the rock wall and has access to the terrace and beyond.
Colby never does this, even though he easily could.  For some reason he respects boundaries and borders and doesn't cross them, which meant life in the courtyard was easy with him.  But Piper has created a whole new ball game out here....I may have to install a rabbit fence in behind the bushes and trees up here to contain her.
 Since the dogs have been banished from the living room, their hangout couch is in the family room. 
This room has new IKEA sofas, and I purposely picked the color sand for the slipcovers to match Pipers fur color. Hahah!! Seriously, I did.  Again, here they are looking all innocent. Anyway, I redid this room for the Nora Murphy Country House book shoot, painting the walls the prettiest shade of green, new beige furniture, linen draperies in a similar shade as the walls. 
All these pics are with my iPhone, just because I don't have time anymore for setting up the camera and tripod. At least not right now. But this room is so pleasant to be in, and I wanted to show the mural that I painted.  There is a door behind it that was always a decorating nightmare.  So the mural was my way of making the door disappear.  I just love the calming effect it has on the room.
And I guess sometimes it may have a calming effect on Piper too?  The walls are Hollingsworth Green by Benjamin Moore.  Its a wonderful color and it continues the Swedish color palette I have used throughout the house. I used all kinds of paints to create the mural, wall paint and colors from my stash of Annie Sloan chalk paint too.  A spritzer water bottle helped the paint to move and give me a watercolory effect.  Its just so much fun to create, and when I get the chance to do that these days, I really relish the process.  I am hoping I will be able to post more often, so I can go into detail on the wedding plans, which is going to be romantic and rustic and elegant, all on a budget.  

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  1. Beautiful..just had ourdaughter's wedding in backyard 2 weeks ago.Great way to accomplish all the things on your to do list in a jiffy! Yours will be wonderful!

  2. The wedding sounds like it will be wonderful! I love that mural.

  3. Your daughter's wedding will be absolutely beautiful Amy.💖 I love your mural that you painted & your wall color is so very pretty!I love how you decorated your room too!
    Your puppy dogs are adorable!

  4. I wondered how the dogs were doing in respect to the house. I have little dogs and as puppies they were a handful. I think the gates are a great idea. You will find as your Grandbaby gets bigger that you are going to have to restrict her area too. My Grandson is 10 months and into everything! Our living room is open to the kitchen and dining area. The open part is too long for a gate and everyday I move furniture around and try to make a blockage. Not the ideal situation. Enjoy your dogs and the new baby! 😊 Good luck on the wedding too. I can really relate to everything you are doing right now!

  5. Such an exciting time for all of you, Amy! Your ideas for the wedding are wonderful, and I am confident that you will pull it off to perfection. Reeve is just adorable! How fun for you to be able to watch her grow first hand. Your house is always beautiful...this post just reminds me of how pretty everything is. Puppys...ya gotta love 'em.

  6. Your yard, mural and home are wonderful. So pretty and I know the wedding will be absolutely magical. We have a lab. She is so playful and the wilder the better for her. We crate trained her at night which she easily adapted to and set boundaries during the day. A training class was a life saver for us......and Maggy too. She quickly caught onto a firm voice. :0)

  7. Sooooo many things going on! Why is it always like that... everything boring and routine, and then all the exciting stuff comes at once!? I love love love the tent idea. It will be so pretty. ... and the courtyard is perfect! Hahaha! Piper is a teenager, and that's when most pound puppies get returned back to the pound. I can totally see them doing zoomies around your pretty living room. Love that you admitted to picking your sofa to match your doggies hair.
    I just used jute colored twine to tie up my New Dawn, and sometimes pretty ribbon scraps too. Eventually the rose will get so crazy big, none of the twine will show...
    Can't wait to see the wedding tent posts.


  8. I'd love to see how to paint that mural!

    You might want to put up the gates ASAP before the baby comes to train them, and so they don't see her as the intruder.

  9. I love that mural! Your backyard is perfect for a romantic outdoor wedding and the tent idea is going to look amazing

  10. I'm giggling over your descriptions of the dogs (after viewing the gorgeous home and yard photos, of course). Like children, dogs will NEVER be the same as each other. We've had several dogs over the course of our 40 years of marriage, my parents used to raise Border collies, and I've helped many a dog owner with training. It generally comes down to two things: 1)Each dog is different (even comparing one dog in a breed to another dog of same breed) and 2) When it comes to training, it's a "train the trainer" situation, usually ;-) The human has to be the boss, or in dog-speak, the human is the Pack Leader.

    Very much looking forward to seeing photos of the wedding design...and following the story about your beautiful dogs. :-)

  11. Absolutely LOVE your mural. So nice you are talented to do it yourself. Gave me inspiration that maybe I could do one also.

  12. Everything is going to be beautiful for the wedding. So happy for you. I will offer a few tips for you regarding the dogs. First, Goldens & labs are VERY active as puppies. They will stay that way for a good 18 pos to 2 years. Around a year they will act like they forgot everything you taught them (just like teenagers). This is when you need to be most diligent and consistent with their training. Now, about allowing them on the furniture.....they should not be allowed without permission. You should invite them up, with an OK, or whatever word works for you. Not all dogs develop dominance issues from free access, but the reasoning for maintaining some control is explained at these links. ttps:// or These links will help you stay the leader in your puppy relationship so things do not get more chaotic.
    I look forward to hearing all about the wedding preparations. So happy for you and the family.

  13. Dogs can be worse than kids at times. You will have so much fun keeping that baby,is she your granddaughter,sorry it has slipped my mind. Your mural is really nice.

  14. The wedding plans sound will certainly be a most amazing wedding with you as the coordinator/decorator! I so love the mural! It actually looks antique and so makes the room. Puppies are like babies for sure...or should I say more like toddlers in the sometimes terrible two's! Your courtyard/garden will be the perfect setting for the wedding.

  15. I love when you do blog posts like this, sharing a little bit of your life. Thank you and please keep it up!

  16. Awwww Reeve is precious - what a beautiful baby!! And Piper is getting so big. I love your Instagram photos of the pups. They must love having each other. I miss having two dogs.
    Happy September my friend!


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