Friday, May 29, 2020

Courtyard Planters and French Daybed

Sprucing up the courtyard after the long winter has been underway for several weeks.
 A fresh coat of black paint was needed for a few scuff marks on the French doors,
and I decided to paint the iron urns, as they have been in their original rust
form ever since I got them.
 One on the left just painted, the one on the right still in ancient rust finish.
I was loving the look of the fresh black paint!
Valspar Duramax in Kettle Black was what I used for both the wooden doors and the iron urns. 
It is made for the outdoors and it was really nice to work with. (Not a sponsored post)
Look at how nice everything looked with a fresh coat of paint!
Pretty Piper and Sylvia posed for my Memorial Day flag Instagram post here.
 After trying to install a greenhouse in the courtyard and enduring an epic fail,
I was left with the wood landscape timber platform that was supposed to be the 
base for the greenhouse.  
The platform built for the briefly existing greenhouse....
Because it was chintzy and the wind took it away!!
Anyway,  instead of ripping it apart and removing all the stone,
the solution was to turn it into a destination spot~
 a raised platform for the French daybed and a pair of bistro chairs.
In the meantime the vegetable garden is underway up above in front of
the garden shed and I have to figure out how to get the water up there
in a more attractive manner.  In the meantime the new courtyard layout
is actually pretty nice, and we can have a number of people and still 
be able to practice social distancing easily!
The daybed  is decorated in a French bohemian style.
A mosaic birdhouse in pink adorns the ironwork.
We really enjoy gathering outdoors, and the weather has finally turned for 
the better.  This courtyard is really an entertaining solution right now
during this Covid 19 pandemic.  It hasn't been easy to isolate,
and we are looking forward to seeing loved ones in a safe way out here
during the summer months ahead.




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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Country House Door Baskets


 There is nothing prettier on a door than a basket of flowers!
It is the epitome of a Country Style welcome.
While I often put baskets on my doors, the one who does it
best is Nora Murphy, my friend who wrote her best seller 
"Nora Murphy's Country House Style".

Nora uses baskets with flat backs for charming door arrangements.
 A big basket of white petunias stands out against her black door.
One little story about my photo shoot for Nora's book is that when we
went outside to shoot the exterior of my house, I had a door basket with fake flowers.
Not a fan of faux, Nora asked how about switching it out with a potted flower
I had in my courtyard....so that is just what we did.
It probably could have used a bigger pot of flowers hah!
I love black doors on white houses and I love baskets brimming with fresh flowers
for elegant country style, like this scene from Nora's Connecticut farmhouse.
For the fourth of July Nora dressed up her white petunias with tiny flags.
I did the same with my front door basket.
Because we get full sun beating on the door I must use faux flowers in
the basket, but real geraniums in my garden planters and beds.
Look at this huge door basket made from willow branches.
Nora is stuffing it with all kinds of garden annuals
and it looks stunning.
  I was really taken with this oversized monster basket!
Lucky me!!
While checking out the offerings on Nora's online shop, 
I spotted this willow wall/door basket  and ordered it straight away.
 I can imagine it at the lake house
for a heavy dose of Country House Style a la Nora!!

I grabbed my bunch of faux hydrangeas and got to stuffing the basket.
For now the big willow basket will hang from one of  
our door's at our " Country House in the City", which is what Nora herself
 named our home in her book. I tried it out on one of the French doors
in the back, but I would need two and  thats a bit much.
 Its a tad large on the shed door but I have to say I really loved it here!
The perfect spot is the front door, the scale is just right!
Stuffed with the faux hydrangeas in green and purple it looked beautiful.
By the way, Nora sold her country house and bought a smaller country house
for her next chapter in life which is what I am about to do myself.
She shared a picture of the new old house recently and wouldn't you know...
it had a pretty door basket!

To visit Nora Murphy's online shop, click here
She's always restocking one of a kind vintage home and garden accessories
so be a frequent visitor and browse to your heart's content till you find 
what you love! 

To purchase an autographed copy
 of Nora Murphy Country House Style book, click here

Follow Nora Murphy on Instagram here




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Friday, May 8, 2020

Garden Obsessions of Tuteurs and Peacock Chairs


 This may be the longest break I have taken in blogging since I had my shops.
Just hard to get motivated to put a post together during this Coronavirus thing.
Hope you and yours are safe and well, but the numbers are so alarming its impossible
to feel very safe these days. And it kind of seems silly to blog about decorating...
I haven't been in the decorating mood since this virus hit. 
Its not important.
But one thing I did feel like doing was to get a garden started to have fresh produce,
and so I tried building a greenhouse from a kit, which
failed miserably. Thankfully they refunded my money after the thing blew to bits
in a windstorm. Never the less, I had started seeds for a vegetable garden.
  I am  excited to get my garden going as the weather has 
just started turning for the better here in the Boston area.  
 Mothers day is this Sunday and with that, I took my first  trip for "frivolous" matters to a
garden nursery and picked up some outdoor flowering plants, including a pink geranium for
my 90 yr old mother in law, who lives next door to us.  I also sold my Peacock wire set and it 
was picked up yesterday by some movers to bring to a woman in Virginia who is obsessed with Peacock furniture!  She is lining a path to a reservoir bordering her woodland property with these chairs and has collected about a dozen so far!! I loved hearing that story, as I love imagining her fulfilling her vision as she walks to the water past these fanciful chairs set up in little seating groups. 
 Tutuers are what I have been obsessed by for years....I love them!
And I always figured I would make one or two or three for my own garden.  
These obelisk garden structures can be anything from traditional to fanciful. 
At the nursery getting flowers with my son Colin, I spotted a nice tuteur.  
I realized this thing wasn't going to get made by me this year, so onto the cart it went.
At home, I lugged it up near the garden shed, next to one of the garden boxes that 
has yet to be filled with material.   I can imagine it all painted up and standing over the herbs and vegetables this summer! White paint to go with the fencing and the shed.
 Everything outside needs to be spruced up and sorted out. 
 That is the fun of surviving our long winters as is buying some flowers and a new garden ornament. 
 With the stay at home advisory in play, having an outdoor space or garden to focus on has been good for me. I know lots of people who have started vegetable gardens this year.
My lettuce and tomatoes and other things are doing well and many will be getting into the 
garden bed in a week or two.
 The dogs love accompanying me outdoor for garden chores. 
This winter was kind to the roses on our property, 
with no winter kill and lots of new growth.
 My parents usually come back to the Boston area after wintering over in Florida.
However this year they are staying put until later on, due to the virus.
So I sent my mom a linen cocktail napkin that will be a souvenir of this strange and scary time,
making the most of what we can do during quarantine and not being together.
 My son Brandon and wife Mimi dropped off three dozen pink roses on my doorstep today
to wish me a happy mothers day. I was thrilled, as  I haven't had any cut flowers for three months!
I have been busy working on the lake house floor plan and have a scale version set up on the table so I can add cutouts of furniture to try to visualize how we will use the space.  Its been really helpful to do this, and I can see what will come and what needs to be sold or donated.
Last but not least, is my little farmer girl Reeve. 
I miss her terribly and wish I could spend overnights at the farm in Maine.
But we will have to wait until the threat of the virus passes.
In the meantime Justin sends me lots of snapchats to see her, 
and she is a pro at carrying the chickens around!
She's almost three, and we have our visits via FaceTime these days,
where I can see her personality and sense of humor developing. 

All of this time of separation will pass, and brighter times are ahead.
For now I am planning my garden and lake house.
Hope you are doing some future dreaming and planning too....
even if it means just going out to eat! 
Wouldn't that be nice?

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Don't buy my greenhouse!


 Don't buy this greenhouse kit! I was excited to share with you all 
this little 6x4 greenhouse I ordered from Amazon and I blogged about it
two days ago, with the link and our progress setting up the foundation area.
Well here it sits looking all innocent, but let me say this was a very trying project.
There were a million parts with two million nuts and bolts and a poor set
of instructions.  But since we are accomplished DIYers I thought surely
we could handle this build.  However it took two days, all three of us 
on the job as it would blow over as you tried to build it.  And it wasn't even
that windy out....a few what the F's were tossed about, and since the instructions were
so bad, we had varying opinions on how to interpret them. Which meant for
heated family discussions or some of us running into the house to hide.
By nightfall it was mostly constructed, and we all agreed it was an awful project.
This morning hubby finished putting the door on and then it started.  The wind picked up.

 Around lunch time I noticed one of the panels was loose and about to go flying off....so I ran
outside with the duct tape and reattached the panel from the inside.  Not a great start!
We aren't sure if this thing will survive at all, but I had to get a blog post up quickly to say if
you were inspired to buy the same greenhouse we did from Amazon, well DON"T!!!

I heard from a friend via Instagram that she was pleased with her greenhouse kit
from Harborfreight. I will share the link but can't attest to it myself.

To check out her greenhouse kit click here; harborfreight greenhouse
This one is 6'x8', mine is 4'x6'.  Hubs said we should have just built a wooden
one from scratch, and maybe he is right...so if we ever end up moving to the lake,
after the Coronavirus dust settles, then maybe that is what we will do.

Stay home and stay safe!
To read part one of my greenhouse kit, click here.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Building a Greenhouse kit


There are greenhouse kits, like this beautiful brick based kit from BC Greenhouse, and 
then there are the inexpensive hobby greenhouse kits on Amazon.
This is the greenhouse kit I purchased last week. Its my way of dealing with
the onset of this nasty Coronavirus situation, and having a greenhouse
in our backyard to give our garden plants a head start seemed like a good idea.
 Hubs arranged for making a foundation for the 4x6 unit
using supplies we had in the backyard. Some 6x6 railroad ties
coming out from the stone wall will hold the crushed stone
that will be the floor of the small greenhouse.

Our 18 year old son who is home like the rest of us, has
been hired on as the project manager, and I will be his 
assistant.  The kit has metal frame work, painted green,
that gets assembled, and then corrugated polycarbonate plastic panels
get inserted into the framework. Its not hard, its just time consuming.
During this time of self isolation, having a project to work
on together has been wonderful.  It should be completed this week,
and then it will be lots of fun to go to the next phase of starting
seedlings and watch them grow.  Before too long we will 
be serving salads from our own leaf lettuce varieties!
My friend Laurie has an old greenhouse that she purchased from
someone getting rid of theirs, but she has never put the glass in it.
She told me my little project has inspired her to get her own greenhouse
up and running. Laurie specializes in selling vintage garden furniture,
and you can find her on Instagram at 'plainandelegantantiques'.
Another friend from Instagram, Lisa, has been inspired by
my garden shed, and has one being built to look just like mine!
(Our shed in Nora Murphy's Country House book)
Lisa and her husband are building a potager to hold kitchen garden staples.
I think many of us feel that growing and planting things in our gardens
are ways to handle the stress of the siege of the virus on our world.
Last year we didn't plant our garden as we were up at the lake, but
this year the garden will be re-established.

Greenhouse gardening, however, is a new thing for me.
A book on greenhouse basics came from Amazon in just a few days,
as did the greenhouse, my potting soil and other supplies.
Each day more things arrive for our greenhouse project.
I will be back to show you the finished greenhouse, and 
hopefully it will be very very soon!!

Stay safe and stay home, and find a project that will bring you
satisfaction and comfort during these difficult days ahead.

PS. We were very unhappy with this greenhouse kit and do

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