Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thankful & Grateful

Mary & I made an executive decision.  We closed the shop for a few days this Memorial Day Weekend in order to get some much needed r&r.  Yes we know it's a busy shopping weekend with sales and promotions all around us, but we decided that spending time with family was way more important.  So, we're both off to some of our favorite places for a nice relaxing couple of days.  To all of our veterans, their families and those who have sacrificed so very much so we can enjoy the beautiful freedoms we have here in this great country . . . THANK YOU is almost not enough.

Last night the sky was the most amazing shade of pink!

Jackson enjoying a little dip in a very very cold Bay.

God Bless America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

I've picked up some great small architectural finds scouring through the barn sales yesterday . . .
Wishing you all a great holiday weekend, see you back at the shop on Wednesday!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peonies & Concrete

So today's the day I have been dreading . . .  as a gardener that is.  For weeks I have been following the progress of the construction crews on my walks with Jackson as they install new sidewalks all around town.  I knew they would be getting to my house sometime around now, by the speed with which these guys are working. . . and of course the timing just coincides perfectly with the opening of my long awaited peony garden in the front.  Here are some pics from last year's garden.

Yes I was worried.  No matter that I've been counting the days and waiting the 11.5 months to see the amazing blooms as they unfold into magnificent riots of pinks and fuschia . . . it could all be over before it even began this year as the men with shovels and chainsaws and the HUGE dozer parked themselves right next to my street garden.

Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to my garden I can be as protective as a mother with her puppies.  Ask my husband.  When I hear his chain saw,  I go into panic that what he's sawing is something that is just about to bloom.  Wild roses, wigelia, climbing hydrengeas.  It's happened.  Many times.  Now,  I'm right out there being a big pain and watching his every move.  So, this time I decided to make friends with the crew DAYS BEFORE the action began on the sidewalks.  Al, the crew chief, was so incredibly nice and assured me that the garden would remain intact as we did a walk through on Friday.  I have to admit I was skepictal . . . how do you work with a humongeous bulldozer in a limited 4 feet of space and not rip out everything in range?  Well, I'm happy to say that maybe I jumped the gun.

This morning at 8am the digging began, so I was out there with my coffee just watching as they moved closer and closer . . . .and I was totally amazed.
Look how close they are here . . . omg.

 But, between the dozer director John, and the dozer driver Luis, they worked SO carefully moving this big bucket shovel around my peonies to get to the required 7 inches of depth for the sidewalk forms.

Getting closer . . .

The thing came within millimeters of the buds, but never hit them.  Luis was like a surgeon with that bucket arm, swinging it around, picking up the dirt, dumping it into the truck, all the while being very watchful of me and my flowers.

 Marcelo, Carlos and Eduardo who did the finishing hand work on the forms.

Here comes the cement mixer, another BIG BIG piece of machinery, ready to pour the concrete.  I'm still praying.

 Dumping the mix . . .

 Spreading it for the first pass . . .

 Rough hand smoothing first . . . 

 Then all hands working together.  Very Quickly.  Finally smoothing out with a large (for lack of a better word), flattener.

John inspecting the progress.

Moving right along . . .

It seems no day lately would be complete without a little rain to complicate things.  Covering up for 24 hours.

So the good news is that yes, the peonies have been spared their closest call EVER.  It was actually so interesting to watch this whole thing unfold and to see how each and every part of the job was timed so perfectly and organized so well.  It may have looked easy, but I'm here to tell you that it takes some major planning and synchrony to make it all happen so perfectly!

I am very, very thankful to Al and a great crew Luiz, John, Marcello, Carlos, & Ramondo for a careful & amazing job.  I think the entire front garden will look even better with the addition of our new sidewalks after all . . . Peonies left unscathed to come into their glory, and a good day's work for the guys who made it happen.

We've got some great looking vases and containers in the shop now for all those gorgeous looking blooms you'll be cutting from your garden.  Stop in & see . . .

Have a constructive day :) . . . 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Courage of NieNie

Watching TV is not something I do a lot, but I was grateful that I turned it on one night last week . . . to be able to view a heartbreaking but truly amazing story of a young woman's courage in the face of unimaginable tragedy.  Her name is Stephanie Nielson . . . and when and if you watch her story,  I know you will be touched as I was.  

Her life as a young mother was literally filled to the brim.  As a vibrant, beautiful and super creative mother of four, loving wife, and, for those who follow the blogosphere, an amazingly talented writer,  NieNie's story of survival and subsequent road to recovery after a devastating plane crash in 2008 is nothing short of miraculous.  Aired on abc's 20/20:

Stephanie's blog, NieNie Dialogues, continues after a very long hiatus and her spirit is unbelievably inspiring.  The love and support of her family, friends and fans is a very beautiful thing.  You can visit her blog here:

Isn't this a great family wall?  I wish I had thought of something like this when my kids were growing up.

image from Anthropologie
Interesting.  Leave it to Anthro's fab designers to come up with something SO creative using cork.  I'd do this one in all whites for pure texture.

Another great wall design . . . created by one of our Switch customers.  Very organic vibe, lots of texture, and looks stunning on the wall behind her dining table!  It's HUGE and represents so many great memories of dinners with family & friends.  Love this Lynne! 

Yay!  Family . . . celebrations . . . Mary & I are off to the last of our girls' college graduations today. Bittersweet, but we couldn't be prouder of them!  The shop will be closed, but we'll be back on Thursday . . . stop by when you can!

Hoping for sun soon . . . have a great day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Thank You

Thinking about my own dear Mom is something I don't need a special day for, she is with me always, but it is so nice to have one day set aside to honor her and all the great moms past and present, who have given so freely to their children.  Love you all & thank you.

Mother's Day is always one of my very favorite days . . . thanks to my wonderful kids and husband who always make it so special.  This year, the biggest gift I could have received was all the kids coming home and spending the day with me making sense of the chaos that is my house these last few weeks!  Organizing stuff, emptying out cabinets, moving furniture, and generally putting some rooms back into place was a welcome relief and soooo much appreciated.

For as long as I can remember, two things always happen right on Mother's Day

The white azeleas in the front garden come into full bloom . . . 

. . . and the blue Forget-Me-Nots in my quiet Mary Garden explode with color.  

May just has to be considered in the top 3 as far as glorious color.  It's everywhere, and what better decorating inspiration for the upcoming warmer months than looking just as far as your eye can see right now.  

Lush new greens of every tone, the soft pinks of dogwood and magnolia, cool blue iris and lavender lilac, and, of course the range of whites in azaleas, hydrangeas, not to mention the spectacular show of flowering trees.

image from 
An amazing Bohemian bed dressed in the cool blues of spring . . . 

image from
Just a few touches of green here on the floor and in the vase bring new freshness to a neutral palette. 

image Better Homes & Gardens
Bringing in just this one pop of violet makes the room sing.  This is so easy to do with a white or neutral wall as a backdrop.

We've got lots of color going on in the shop now as well . . . 



And as always, lots of whites to mix in . . . 

Hoping you will get to enjoy some of this gorgeously beautiful day!