Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Garden-Last Year

This was a corner of my garden last year. It was the first time that I tried my hand at gardening and I must say, I was pleased with the lovely array of colours that greeted me each day. This year I have done precious little in the garden, though my wonderful neighbor reminded me that I didn't start this little project last year until late in the season. I do notice that the date on the picture indicates I must have started earlier than this, but then I have never been able to get an accurate date on that silly techie picture taking machine. So, I suspect there is still time. At this moment in time I would say that my garden is definitely a candidate for Melissa's Procrastination Project over at the Inspired Room.

The little 'bench' is one of my friend Linda's touches. I wanted to created a sort of seating area in the garden and had no budget to do it with, so, Linda came up with this idea. She had this shelf hiding in her storage locker and brought it over to me. We painted it white and sat it on top of some old ceramic tile I had leftover from doing a mosaic on my kitchen tabletop. It may not have been the bench I was hoping for but it turned out quite nicely in the overall garden.

Last year I worked with a fevered passion on my outdoor space, creating growing places everywhere and making a lovely outdoor living space on my front porch using what I already had. Let me show you............... Now I realize this space does not equal the wondrous outdoor living spaces that one would see in the decorating magazines, but, it was like a little piece of heaven to me.

The space had been a cluttered mishmash of everything you can imagine, but, with my dear elegant friend, Linda, it became a usable space to enjoy the beautiful days and nights of summer. Of course my dear Gabby Girl found her viewing perch as soon as it was placed. As I look at this picture, I am reminded of all the finishing I was going to do. My winter sewing projects and such. Oh, the cane chair was relocated to my husband's office after Linda and I spent a week redoing that room.
This was another little fun thing I did in the garden. I had found this mirror years ago in a thrift store and it hung in the living room for quite some time. I decided it was time for it to have a new adventure and so, here it is hanging on the weathered fence of this old cottage. The orange netting that is reflected in the mirror ended up supporting a beautiful scarlet runner that provided the neighborhood with beans all fall. Yes, I did get the garden in late last year. It was actually a very cold spring and as I recall, most people who planted early had to redo all their planting. Perhaps I do have time to work on my own procrastination project. :) If the date is right, and we have already determined it may not be, then I am a day or two away from late July. My rose has not even bloomed this year yet. This was the first bloom from last year. Every year this little bush gives me a first perfect bloom and then delights me with throughout the season. My neighbour, Gail, accused me of stapling on silk blooms because they always appeared to be perfect in detail. This year I have 8 buds waiting to bless me and she has been watching closely to make sure they are real....LOL. Yes, there is time.

Perhaps my garden is a late bloomer, in general, and reflects my late blooming. Perhaps that is it.

This is how the garden looked before I started doing anything to it the year before, so I suppose I did alright last year and am quite pleased with my work when I look at the first picture in this blog entry.

Well, I have a day off tomorrow and I think I will do some gardening. I will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Linda's Patio

My friend Linda has the most amazing patio every year. This is her basket of begonias that she uses to conceal the heating unit located next to her patio. I don't have a picture of it in it's full glory, however, it draws your eye away from the metal box it sits on.

Linda is the most elegant woman I know. I met her when she came into the linen store I work in and purchased some beautiful linens for her mother who was in a nursing home. I remember thinking that she was possibly the most elegant woman I had ever met. She was tall and slender and well dressed, with perfectly coiffed hair and make up. She moved with an easy grace and a personality that made waiting on her a pleasure. I wanted to be like this woman when I grew up. She purchased the most magnificent red duvet cover and all the trimmings with magnificent flowers outlined in black with touches of the perfect deep olive green. Then she bought her mother a new duvet to put inside to finish the perfect look while creating warmth and comfort. I found out later that her mother had already retreated into her own mind and was not really aware of her daughter's loving act to surround her with beauty and comfort, but, this was and is...Linda. There was no question that her mother would continue to be surrounded with things of quality and beauty that would simply enrich the grace and elegance that Linda had learned from her throughout her life.

Linda does life with simple grace and elegance easily and effortlessly. Linda and I have become friends over the past few years and I am blessed.

Back to Linda's patio. Linda has a small patio on her ground floor apartment that she turns into a Tuscan like wonder where we have been known to spend an afternoon sharing a bottle of wine, some fine cheeses, hearty bread and delectible assortment of fruits. She just has the knack of making everything she touches into an experience to remember. The most amazing thing about her is that she does it with style, imagination and a comman sense fiscal responsibility. She never wastes a moment thinking about what trendy new item is needed to impress anyone, she works with the fabulous, time honoured treasures she has acquired on her journey through life thus far.

I love this urn and the old dressing table mirror that she has hung on the lattice work behind it to reflect the colourful array of flowers. The little white latticed porcelin basket was a gift of flowers sent to her an one time and each year I see it replanted.

I am always amazed at how beautiful this corner of the patio is each and every year. This site just takes my breath away over and over again.

There is the candlabra above the table and the wicker shelves painted black that are filled with pots and pretty things. So simple and yet creating an ambiance that soothes the soul. I do love Linda's patio.

I am still learning how to present things here in the blogging space and I know that things may not look as perfect as I would like, but that is something else I have learned from Linda. Nothing really has to be perfect to be a source of perfect joy for you.
So, I hope you enjoy this patio as much as I do.
I sincerely hope everyone is blessed with their own elegant lady of simple grace, your own Linda.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little Things

Sunday and Monday night my husband chooses the menu. Last night we had smokies and potato salad. I must admit to grumbling a bit that we were once again eating kid (aka bachelor) food but an agreement is an agreement. I hadn't really thought about how to I could present this gourmet meal in a way that would satisfy my new found passion for getting elegance into my life, but, I thought about it last night. I had my dinner on a lovely china plate with gold scrolling on the border and ate my potato salad with a silver fork while drinking my water from a beautiful balloon shaped peice of stemware. This satisfied me and I decided that next week I would set the table with flowers and candles and call it "Kid Food Chic". So simple, wonder why I haven't thought of it sooner.

Perhaps a part of looking for grace and elegance in life is also looking for the gratitude of having the life that you have. Grumbling and griping can become such a way of life that there is no energy left to look for any other way to handle the situation presenting itself until the decision is made to actively find another way. I became aware of my grumbling and since I have made this decision to consult my "little girl", I also became aware of china and silver for my kid food. How simple to follow little Cara.

After dinner I decided to spend some time pampering myself. I did a pedicure. I have not had time to get to the pedicurist and have one done so I did it myself. I must admit that I much prefer the perfection of dear Fong than doing it myself but the upside of my attempt is that my feet feel much better in general. I had my first pedicure about 10 weeks ago and it was my intention to have one every two weeks. I had some crisis situations arise at work and found myself totally focusing on the need to take care of that and let my own personal needs wait. Now, 10 weeks later, here is what I have learned about pedicures.....a pedicure at my age is NOT a simple luxury. It is a necessity!!! This simple act gave me time to think about things I keep putting off. The most amazing thing to me is the aftermath of actually doing something that I had previously managed to sidestep. 'Doing' feels wonderful. Absolutely WONDERFUL.

Ah, look at the time. I must get ready for work. I may be back later this evening if I have not found some simple thing to do to take one step forward on living my life with grace and simple elegance.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 15, 2009


One never knows what thing will happen that opens up the little crack inside of the mind that reveals a treasure chest of possibility, buried by the daily living of years spent making choices around survival rather than choosing life. The musings of a little girl, those dreams and intentions now appear to have been safely tucked away and not thrown away as I had thought for so many years. I have found all of them, each shining dream, and I believe they want to illuminate my way through the path I now follow to achieve grace, elegance and an easy joy with life.

My childhood imagination, your childhood imagination, all childhood imaginings may well have been the very truth of finding peace the whole time. The treasure chest is open, let's see what wonders I find in there.

I began this post early this morning after setting up this blog and find that I must continue because so many things have been rambling around inside of my head. The things I love that feed my soul, the things I pretended to love to feed someone else's soul and the countless things that fed no one's soul. Far too often the things that I had to do to "survive" not only did not feed anyone, various acts themselves produced an unnecessary starvation for all concerned. It has always seemed like a table for one but I am quickly coming to learn that many women of a certain vintage have shared this table with me.

I love the scent of lavender. I have always loved the scent of lavender. I love the scent of freshly waxed furniture and glossy finishes on table tops. I love the scent of lemon polish. I remember everyone laughing at Mary Hartmann in the late night soap opera of the same name when she finally lost her mind wondering whether or not she had "yellow waxy build up" on her kitchen floor. I feel now that dear Mary simply went to a familar place to find comfort. Mary Hartmann, Mary Hartmann existed at a time when the simple pleasures of being a woman in our culture were being dismantled. I admit to reluctlantly being a part of this movement and in hindsight, I wonder if we lost the right to grace in the pursuit of equality.

Perhaps it is asked only because I am a lady of a certain vintage. Pehaps being of certain vintage, I can now claim my right to the world I created as a girl in a room with tiny pink roses on a white background with old furniture painted a pink somewhere between bubble gum and the inside of a seashell that echoes the sound of the ocean.

This is my first post. I thank Melissa at The Inspired Room for pointing me in the direction of that pretty room that inspired the child so many years ago.