Posts tagged ‘Flowers’

January 6, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year, folks! I can’t believe it’s been a year already since my 2013 year-end review (just 6 posts ago!) I really don’t think I created enough blog content in order to warrant a review of 2014, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to break tradition and look forward instead of backward!

Since Christmas (read: those weeks that I spent ankle-deep in wrapping paper), I’ve been really itching to get organized. The house on Penny Lane may look nice and tidy, but it’s hiding a doozy of messes. I’ve done a few clean-outs here and there, but I decided that 2015 would be the year that I take on the January Cure from Apartment Therapy.

We’re already 3 assignments in, and I’m only behind on one of them. If I can keep up, I’ll be blogging about my process.

Let’s start with the first assignment: Flowers & Floors. this was a bit of an easy one for me and I’ll be honest why: Rob cleans the floors. He’ll thank me when he finds out that I didn’t make him do a thorough scrub down. I will give him credit though, since he did clean them just a day or so before this assignment. The main goal of the floor cleaning, I must say, is to get better acquainted with your home and what projects may need working on.

Fortunately/unfortunately, I can pretty much list of these projects from memory without even going into their respective rooms. I will be doing that, however, since that is assignment #2, Make a List of Projects. I’ll report back with my list in the next few days, but for now, I’ll leave you with the pretty picture I took after “completing” my first assignment.

September 14, 2014


One of the hardest things for me to do is pull together a great vignette. So when I do manage it, I have to take a million pictures to document my success.


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The first is our coffee table vignette. I had searched far and wide for a tray that would fit our large, octagonal coffee table. I was looking for something that would both fit my style and either be circular or square. Not an easy feat. There are lots of rectangular trays out there, but the unusual shape of my coffee table begged for something more symmetrical.

It was during a normal grocery shopping trip that I found myself at our local Asian supermarket. This supermarket has a large section dedicated to housewares. I had never perused this section before and I was quite surprised to find so many beautiful items at low prices. I found the bamboo tray among stacks of woven baskets for a measly $6. Compare that to the $50 tray I had my eye on at West Elm.

All of the other items in this vignette I already owned, including the gorgeous white vase. I have no clue why that thing has been sitting in a cabinet wasting all of its loveliness to the darkness. Actually, I do. Cats.


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The second is our Master Bathroom vignette. This space is teeny tiny and hasn’t changed a lick since the vanity was installed. This vignette is still not done, but the minor additions have made my time in the space much more enjoyable. I bought the faux orchid for $10 at TJ Maxx. I’ve had the Matisse print for a while. It lived in our Master Bedroom for a time before I decided it just wasn’t right for the space. It has since been living in a closet. Again, I have no clue why.

So. Fun stuff. Things that make me smile.

September 6, 2014

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

Hopefully there are people still out there who are willing to listen to my ramblings. Blogging consistently is challenging and I’ve just lacked the energy and inspiration to continue. Luckily, I do have some new and exciting things coming up for the House on Penny Lane. I’ll fill you in a bit more on that later. For now, I want to show off a quick and easy redo of our guest bathroom.

The guest bathroom was one of our first rooms to “complete” when we first moved into the house, mainly because it had the most bewildering decor of the entire house. Picture, if you will, matching wallpaper and window treatments featuring ladies’ hats and handbags in a lovely checkerboard pattern made of blue striped ribbon. Yes.

We removed the wallpaper and window treatments, painted and retiled the floor. The improvements felt like a breath of fresh air, but have recently revealed themselves to be merely an offering of a blank slate. While the rest of our home filled itself with texture and character, our guest bathroom sat blank and empty. It was time to add some life.

As a reminder of what the room looked like before, here are some phone pics I took of the space while contemplating my next steps.


Here’s the updated look.

My first step was switching around some art. Sometimes I love placing small pieces of art on walls that should really have large pieces, just because it’s unexpected. But the piece above the toilet just made the rest of the room feel so expansive, which only added to the empty, blank slate feeling in the space. So I moved the piece to the wall next to the door and added a larger piece of art above the toilet.

I would have loved to do something with the mirror and the light fixture, but I just didn’t have the budget to allow for those changes. Maybe further down the road. Right now, we’re just talking cheap improvements that make a big impact.

The next step was adding texture. This bathroom is used most by visitors that are only staying for a couple hours. So I really wanted to make the bathroom feel like an extension of the living room, not just the room that visitors would spread out their hygiene products in order to get ready in the morning.  So I added a runner to make the room feel less bathroom-y. It also added warmth and texture to an otherwise cold space.

Next was filling up all that counter space. I found the round basket at Home Goods on clearance for $5. I filled it up with toiletries that may be needed by overnight guests. Things like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Himalayan salt votive and marble tray also came from Home Goods. The hand towel and picture frame came from World Market and the soap dispenser came from Target. The floral stems came from Hobby Lobby. I’ve been on a faux floral kick lately and I recently realized how nicely the forms can fill a space, even if they’re not real. I’m no longer above having fake flowers, as long as they’re reasonably realistic looking and arranged well. The large vase, art, and other small pieces were items I already owned, but had no home for.

I’m planning on adding a DIY curtain for the window, but just couldn’t wait to share what’s finally happening over at our place.

Altogether, I spent about $60 on this space. I’d say it was money well spent.

Oh, I forgot to mention… we added framed picture of Polly because we consider this room hers. She loves drinking water out of the leaky faucet. I have proof.

May 19, 2013

The Garden

I’m a little obsessed with it. I stare at pictures while I’m at work. I peek outside at every opportunity. I love my garden. And now I’m going to obsessively write about it.

Earlier this month, I shared the new garden bed in this post, but I didn’t give you the details on what I planted in it. I did include this colorful, yet cryptic landscape plan to better illustrate my plan for the garden.

Before elaborating on where we are now, though, I’ll have to walk you through how we got here. Last year we dug out the shrubs that blocked the view from the dining room window and planted Miscanthus Adagio (‘A’) ornamental grass and Red Yucca (‘Y’) in their place. That summer, the Adagio grass grew nice and full and the Yucca each gave me a stalk of flowers. It got me so excited that I began thinking about what I wanted to do with my remaining front yard. Knowing full sun, low maintenance, and drought tolerant plants did well for me in this spot, I contemplated forms and colors to incorporate into the design.

I adore ornamental grasses because they are very low maintenance, provide wonderful movement on breezy days, and winter interest in an otherwise forgotten landscape. I had to have more. I chose to add at least one more Miscanthus Adagio and Miscanthus Gracillimus (‘G’), which can reach heights of 5 feet, to anchor the bed.

My favorite color for flowers in the garden is purple. There is just something about the green and purple color combination in a garden that feels both lush and modern to me. I chose my two favorite purple flowering plants, Walker’s Low (‘W’) and Lavender (‘L’), to fill in the garden. Last, but certainly not least, I chose to include Echinacea ‘Julia’ (‘C’ for its nickname of Coneflower) for both its bright orange flowers and the beautiful winter interest it provides when left upright until spring. Next year, I plan on adding a third ornamental grass,  more Walker’s Low, Coneflower, and Red Yucca to the garden.

But enough talk, here are some pretty pictures of my young garden.

To the right of this picture is my now year old Miscanthus Adagio and Red Yucca. Both have grown like crazy on very little water and lots of sun. In the lower left corner of the picture, you can see the new and still tiny Walker’s Low and ‘Julia’ Coneflower. Both will grow wide enough to almost reach the sidewalk.



This is a bit of a better image of the Red Yucca. I love how they lean so gracefully towards the sidewalk.



Red Yucca Flower Stalks



This is the Miscanthus Gracillimus that is only 2 feet tall yet and in a bit of curly-bladed transfer shock. Because of this, it may not get as big as it could this year.



Lavender and its blue foliage.



The Walker’s Low has grown the most of the new plants.



And this Coneflower gives me such a thrill with its vibrant orange petals.

May 3, 2013

April Showers…

… Only seem to bring more May showers. Supposedly, it’s springtime. But 34 degrees and raining doesn’t really feel like spring. So my week old plants are covered for protection against the freezing wind…

Covered Plants

What’s that? A new garden bed? OK, let’s take a few steps back. You may remember this landscape plan that I drew up for my front yard.


I created this plan almost a year ago after ripping out the shrubs in front of our picture window. My main objective with this change was to remove the overgrown grass that was impossible to cut and choking out pretty daylilies. Oh, and, ya know, to look nice.

Front Yard Before

But once I started really thinking about it, I realized I wanted to go BIGGER. And I came up with this plan.

Yeah. And I wasn’t scared AT ALL. So two weeks and two freezes ago, I started building a new garden in my front yard. The first day I spent laying out the shape of the bed, which took all of 15 minutes, and digging out 5 square feet of grass, which took 2 hours. It was not happening and I was in over my head. Luckily, there are things called Home Depots and they let you rent large pieces of equipment like sod cutters to help in times like these.

Here I am with the sod cutter whipping around my front yard for another pass at ripping out some grass. I look swift, don’t I? I was not, not at all, swift. I am walking at a speed of about .000000025 miles per hour in this picture. This sod cutter was a beast. The next day, and for 3 days after that, I felt like I had been rowing myself around the Atlantic Ocean. But the majority of the grass was out.

That’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears right there. But the fun part was coming…


There was so much fun to be had that Rob even got into the spirit of things.

He rigged up a time lapse session to document the less labor intensive bit of this whole project.


April 9, 2012

Even Some Free Mulch!

In addition to the work that took place in the front bed, some maintenance was done in the back over the weekend. Some mutant weeds were pulled (I’m talking almost as tall as me and freakishly proportioned) and the existing plants were mulched. Last summer was a real scorcher, so I was pleasantly surprised to find 9.5 out of 10 plants that I planted last spring greening up and some even flowering.

Last summer, my fern was a brown, crispy mound, so imagine my surprise to stumble upon this guy:


The Hostas were also a bit wee compared to last year, but obviously doing well.


The Mexican Feather Grass, on the other hand, thrived during the summer heat and even stayed beautiful through the winter. The Azalea is also doing well with some new blooms. The stick with some leaves on it in the upper right corner is what’s left of my hydrangea. As disappointed as I sound, I’m quite happy with it considering it looked an awful lot like the fern (dried to a crisp) last year.


But here’s the show stopper. As soon as the temperatures got into the 50s, the Clematis went wild. I counted several buds in early March and by the end of the month they had opened to reveal why so many people love this vining plant. Needless to say, I plan on planting more this year.


My backyard plants have turned a year older. Their mulch has been refreshed for free from my mom’s aging stock and from my dad’s vigorous yardwork. Now to feed and wait patiently for an even better showing next year.

Oh yeah, here’s the .5 out of 10 that didn’t make it to the new season. The Gardenia never had a chance. It has some green leaves, but I’m fully planning on replacing it with a Clematis.

… Unless some green thumbs out there want to talk me out of it…

November 26, 2011

Bird Day

Thanksgiving was hosted on Friday this year. It was not my first time hosting; as you may remember my tablescape from 2009.


It’s hard to believe I pulled this off just 3 months after Rob and I moved into the house.

As I said, it was not my first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but it was my first time cooking the bird myself. I got some help from my mom and grandma to prep the bird, but I cooked up the brine and butter and roasted it myself. I put the bird in the oven at 9:30 am to allow time to roast (15 minutes per pound equals 3.75 hours), rest and carve by 2:00pm. My bird was done at 11:30am… Apparently “tenting” is an important practice.

So then it was a scramble to finish the rest of the sides. I had taken a before shot of my kitchen Thursday night. I wish I had taken a during shot Thursday afternoon. It was a sight. Luckily, Rob is a dish washing machine and we had that kitchen cleaned up in no time.

Decor around the house stayed relatively the same from Halloween – subtle and minimal.


And the tablescape was quite possibly cheaper than Thanksgiving 2009. I used small glasses and vases that I already owned – purchased during many trips to my favorite thrift store for about $.50 each and filled with yellow tulips I bought that morning for $9.


Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I’m off to nibble on some left-overs for breakfast.

September 13, 2011

Yellow Makes it Better

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July 7, 2011

Flowers, etc.

The best bang for your flower buck: Baby’s Breath.

And Bells of Ireland.

June 12, 2011

Gardening Progress

I realized I never posted actual pictures of the various ornamental plants that I added to our backyard.

Here’s a quick reminder of how the area looked before:


And here is my progress:

It helps that the grass and trees have come out of dormancy. I planted a Gardenia, Hydrangea and Clematis vine towards the back. I learned after planting that Gardenias are only hardy to zone 8b (I am in zone 7a), so it may not last. I planted an Azalea in front of the meter in hopes that it will grow to block the view of it. In front, I planted shorter growing plants – a Fern, various Hostas and Feather Grass. All have shown growth, I just need to get them through the heat of the summer. This week, the temperature has stayed faithfully in the 90s. Ouch. One thing I can contribute my success to so far is the drip hose I surrounded the plants with. It makes watering super easy. I just need to remember to turn the water off.


A closer shot of the Feather Grass with a couple Hostas, the Hydrangea and the Clematis vine in the background. As you can see, I laid newspaper around the plants then topped it with mulch. I need to finish the installation of the rubber edging by filling the trench I dug with soil.


A Hosta with new growth in the middle.

Another Hosta. I can’t remember which variety I planted where.


The Clematis vine growing from its original wood trellis to its new, taller metal trellis.


Vigorously growing Hydrangea.


Pretty Feather Grass.


The Azalea, no new flowers yet.


The Gardenia. Its first bloom browned out (on the right), but it’s progress!


Lovely Fern.