Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mourning with my British Friends

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; 
He leads me beside the still waters. 
 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; 
For You are with me; 
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me 
in the presence of my enemies; 
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 
All the days of my life; 
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Psalm 23

I'm taking a break from blogging 
and will
return May 31.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - A Brooklyn Studio

A renovated studio apartment in Brooklyn, New York is this week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature.

Welcome to the 104th post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

This light and airy space is filled with innovative ideas that make interesting use of its 400 square feet.

Reclaimed ceiling beams and maple floors bring warmth to the space. Lath panels were used to create a bedroom nook. New lath was coated with a mix of water-thinned white primer and a little gray paint to give it an aged appearance. An Ikea bed with large storage drawers acts as a base for the lath panels. The lath panels are a clever solution in that as well as giving privacy they add texture, interest, and allow filtered light to flow into the nook. 

The nook's placement created an entry area for the apartment.

Very cozy. White on white gives the illusion of space.

This studio apartment is bright and crisp.

The unique kitchen island was handmade. A log was sculpted into a spool shape with a chainsaw and finished with grinding and sanding. Then white lacquer was applied and allowed to soak into the wood. Finally, the island was assembled from the spool and two pieces of live-edge cherrywood. 

The kitchen has full-size appliances, and with the addition of the island the prep space is adequate. 

Enclosing the shower with glass is a smart idea in a small bathroom. 

This is a nice space for a single person. 

There are some design elements of this studio that I, personally, would change. I won't tell you what they are, but feel free to guess or add your own critique of the space.

For more details and information about this space see the Houzz article here.

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cottage Living - How to Propagate Geraniums from Cuttings

For several years now I've been propagating geraniums from cuttings. 

It all began when a big wind storm in the middle of the night broke off a large stem from an outdoor potted geranium. I couldn't bear to throw away the damaged stem, so I did a quick search online and learned how to propagate geraniums from cuttings. What began as an urgent experiment to save part of a plant swiftly became a successful way for me to get a plethora of geraniums at almost no expense.

I grow them all year long. This photo of my pink geranium in our kitchen garden window was taken in February. It began as a small cutting.

These red geraniums are currently in the same garden window. They're all from cuttings.

Recently a reader named Betty commented on the Spring Fling Bazaar post where I showed some of the geraniums I took to sell at the bazaar:

Could I ask a favor of you? I've been trying for years
 to have success with growing geraniums from 
cuttings with no success. If you have the time 
in the future could you post how you do it 
from start to the cuttings need etc. 
Thank you. 

I told Betty I would be happy to do so, and while starting some new cuttings this week I snapped step-by-steps photos to share with you. So, Betty, I hope you're tuning in today so you can see the entire process.

Before I continue, let me say that I am not a geranium expert. I'm not a Master Gardener nor anything close. There are differing opinions on how to start geraniums. This is only how I do it. You may do it differently. The how isn't important to me, it's the final outcome I care about. This way works for me.

1. Find a stem that has new growth on it.

2. Cut the stem just below the node.

This is what the cut piece looks like.

And here it is after I removed the lower leaves.

3. Dip the end of the stem in water.

4. Then dip the wet end in rooting powder and just swish it around until the end is fully covered. (Some people say this step -- dipping in rooting powder -- isn't necessary for geraniums, but this is how I do it and I've never lost a plant.)

There are different brands of rooting powder. These are two I have in my potting shed at the moment, and they both work fine. I'm sure any other brand would work as well.

5. Tap the end of the stem on the side of the bowl to get off the excess powder.

6. Push the cutting into a soil-filled pot with about a 1/4" of stem -- below the leaves -- exposed. I use Miracle-gro potting soil since that's what I always have on hand. 

Update: Apparently, I didn't explain this step very well because there's confusion over how deep the cutting is planted. There's close to 2" of stem buried. The 1/4" I refer to is above the soil, between the soil and the crown of the geranium.

7. Water.

8. Set near a sunny window. My potting shed doubles as a greenhouse with windows that face east, south and west. Any of those locations work. In the house I use east and south facing windows. The sunnier the better.

Water only when the soil starts to feel dry. 

That's it. Pretty simple.

Before I sign off I want to thank AnnMarie of the blog Musings of a Vintage Junkie for her A Sweet Gift to Myself post she did last week about my new online shop and her experience with purchasing one of my collages. It really was so very sweet of you, AnnMarie. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Provencal Cottage

A French county cottage in the village of Cheval Blanc, France is this week's Living Large in Small Spaces feature.

Welcome to the 103rd post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Named Le Mas du Bosca-Brun, the cottage's pretty pink stone exterior with blue and gray shutters is what first captured my attention.

Dating back to the 19th century, this semi-detached house, adjoining the owner’s home, has been restored as a holiday rental. The whole cottage is on the ground floor.

Inside the cottage is light and airy. The white ceiling and walls visually expand the space. I like the whitewashed beams.

I'm intrigued with the mismatched throws draped over the sofa, ottoman and chairs. Surprisingly, I find this look appealing. It gives me a sense of comfort and livability that fits the purpose of the cottage. Normally I would want to straighten everything up, but here I believe I would enjoy this very casual style.

The dine-in kitchen is quite spacious, and filled with delightful details like the stove hood, the decorative wall tile and the chandelier. Turquoise modern chairs -- a playful addition to the otherwise traditional furnishings -- provide a burst of color and are nicely paired with the turquoise runners.

Terracotta floor tiles reinforce the carefree tone of the cottage. And did you know terracotta tile is a hot trend now?

There is so much texture in this bedroom: the ceiling, the floors and rugs, the door, the bedding. I really like what they've done.

I think a lot of time would be spent outdoors here. 

At first I thought the green patches were grass, but upon closer inspection I believe they're astro turf. 

Well, why not? This is, after all, a cottage and grounds made for rest and relaxation.

I don't think I'd miss the lawn mower one bit.

What are your thoughts?

Source: French Country Cottages

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cottage Living - Tuesday with Mary

"A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit 
to whom I can confide my innermost soul. 
I've dreamed of meeting her all my life." 
-- Anne of Green Gables

God has blessed me with wonderful friends through the years. I've lived in six different states, and have lost count of the number of moves I've made within each of those states. I know, though, that's all totaled it's pretty close to 30 times, give or take 5 moves. I always wondered as I said good-bye to one home and set out for another if I'd again find that one woman who would become my "bosom friend." I wondered who she would be, but I never doubted that she would come into my life. God always has been faithful to bring her.

After this last move, to a little mountain town in NE Oregon, God brought Mary. Mary with the crystal blue eyes and beautiful white hair. Mary with the deep throaty laugh that lights up her face. The woman of faith who has grieved the loss of two beloved husbands and has now come to a place in her life where she most likely will remain single. She's five years older than me. I call her "Big Sister". She is my bosom friend, my kindred spirit. We built our small cottages at the same time, we both love to garden and decorate, and we both love Jesus. It's a friendship made in Heaven, for sure.

Spending time with Mary is the best kind of therapy, and yesterday I had the pleasure of enjoying her company for most of the day. She picked me up at 10:30 in the morning and we headed east through the countryside to Enterprise -- a 30 minute drive. Just enough time to catch-up on the latest news.

I pulled out my smart phone and took a photo 
while she drove.

"Are you going to blog this?" Mary asked.

I laughed. "Why, of course." 

She knows me well.

I didn't take photos of everything we did. Just the really pretty parts. You'll see what I mean as the day unfolds.

We ate an early lunch at Cloud 9 Bakery and Cafe in Enterprise, then stopped in at our favorite thrift store Soroptomist where I scored --  a gardening hat, tote and some vintage dry goods.

After that we drove 5 minutes out of town to Alder Slope Nursery. In this photo I took at the entrance you can see a bit of the mountains rising up behind it.

Randy and Pam the owners of Alder Slope Nursery are really nice. We have two excellent nurseries in the county, both family-run businesses. In case you're wondering, this is not the nursery where I worked last summer. I'll have to do a post on that one another day.

Mary and I spent a lot of time exploring and managed to fill up her trunk with flowers and veggies.

By the time we finished it was time to drive 10 minutes to the town of Joseph for a kick-off meeting of The Garden Group. Here's where this post gets photo heavy, and you'll soon see why. 

The woman who hosted the meeting has a beautiful view of the mountains from her backyard.

But it was her garden shed that won my heart.

In addition to being an accomplished gardener, she's an artist. Can you tell from her door?

I really haven't seen a garden shed this charming in person.

It's a hard-working shed, you can see that by her tools and supplies.

At the same time she's created a sweet sanctuary.

Even her storage containers are a delight for the eyes.

Did you notice the broom?

Such a cute garden shed.

Speaking of cute, how darling are the bunnies peaking out of this flower box on the shed's exterior.

I'd like to add flower boxes to my garden shed.

Soon it was time to leave The Garden Group and accept the invitation of one of the members to drive over to her home. She's in the process of dividing her Grape Hyacinth and offered to give us some. How could we say "no" to that?

D's vintage home is delightful. I'm crazy about her brick walk.

I took a photo of her garden bed for you.

You can see she has a lot of Grape Hyacinth. GH pairs so well with Daffodils.

D dug up and gave each of us a bag of Grape Hyacinth. Then it was time to return home. But not before D took a photo of Mary and me with the spectacular mountain view in the background. 

I thank God for my friend Mary. The older I get, the more precious friendships mean to me. Thanks, Mary, for a fabulous day. Love you, Sis.

And now I'm off to clean up my garden shed, plant Grape Hyacinths and some Snapdragons and other things I picked up at the nursery, and dream some cottage garden dreams.

Have a great day wherever you are.