Thursday, July 5, 2012

Drawing while enjoying the day

In the hustle and bustle of summer it is easy to keep yourself so busy traveling and "relaxing" that you don't take time for the simple things.  The other day, my daughters and I went shopping for miscellaneous household items and came across some really sweet sidewalk chalk.  It was just the inspiration we needed to put off some household chores, ignore the phone, and spend the afternoon together appreciating the beautiful day.  It was not expensive, we did not have to travel hours away, and all concerned had a great time.  Simplicity is wonderful!
Cute sidewalk chalk makes driveway drawing fun!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dr. Seuss Birthday Dress Up

Every year at my kids school they celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday by having the children dress up like their favorite Dr. Seuss character.  This year the kids wanted to be Cat in the Hat and Cindy Lou Who.

Before we agreed on what characters the girls would be, we decided to evaluate what supplies we had on-hand that might be helpful in making a costume.  We had a hat and a dress I made last year out of Dr. Seuss fabric.  Therefore, their choices were perfect for the supplies we had.

My younger daughter's Cat in the Hat costume was super easy.  We had a black t-shirt with a heart on the front that I covered with white sheeting cut into the shape of a oval and attached it with a zig-zag stitch.  When I had mostly finished zig-zagging the oval but not completely, I stuffed it with three grocery store bags to give the oval dimension and loft.  In my ribbon stash, I had some left over double sided satin ribbon from making Christmas hair bows for the girls.  I cut a length, tied a bow, then hand stitched it to the top of the t-shirt.  We already had hand-me-down blacks pants.  We added the hat and some eye liner for a nose and whiskers, and we were done.

My older daughter used the dress I made for my younger daughter last year as a shirt this year.  I love simple a-line dresses for this reason,e specially special occasions dresses because you can get at least two years of wear out of them.  On most patterns the neck and arm sizes don't change very much from size-to-size.  We added some leggings that we already had (if you look really close, you can see that the colors in the dress and leggings don't match exactly) and used the same double sided satin ribbon for her hair that we used of our Cat in the Hat bow tie.  The hair is a loose copy of the Cindy Lou Who hair from the movie.

Tomorrow at school they will be more than ready for their Green Eggs and Ham.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Getting Ready for Spring

These planters were just what I had in mind for the pool.  Filled with blue tip juniper, deep purple violas and blue star creeper, they add interest.  They would also be really pretty with large rounded boxwoods.

This is the time of year that so many of us get the itch to start preparing the outdoors for spring.  Although the weather may still be cold out, we know it will not be long until we will be enjoying balmy afternoons on the back porch. I find that one of the best was to prepare for the coming spring and summer is to take time to evaluate your outdoor living spaces and make changes accordingly.

Unlike many popular TV homes shows, most people cannot afford to overhaul the backyard in an afternoon.  In my design experience, I find that focusing on a few high impact pieces at first, and then adding other pieces on an as-you-go basis works for most spaces.  I like to make a wish list and prioritize based on that years budget.  There is nothing wrong with having a multi-year plan for an outdoor space, as long as you start with a well thought out master plan.  Always buy durable pieces with great style.

I started to evaluate my own patio and garden spaces in January.  I needed some work space on the back porch as well as some planters to give the pool a little boost.  I find this to be a common, as well as constant dilemma when designing.  Do I focus on functional pieces or go for the aesthetic ones that will give me the look I want?  The answer is, a little of both.  Just like with most things, striking a balance is important.

As I have discussed in prior writings, I have an affinity for concrete elements in the garden and on the patio.  They are my go-to items for their durability, permanence, and beauty.  Terracotta is great too, just not as durable.  I don't generally recommend fiberglass anything unless there is a weight issue with where it will be placed.

If you are looking to add furniture, most home improvement stores and online retailers have their selections ready for purchase early in the season, so shopping for items from your master plan can be done fairy early.  Take your time to decide where things will fit in your plan, and avoid impulse buying.  

By being deliberate in your planning, purchasing and implementing you will make the most of your time and budget.  Getting an early start, your will be able to enjoy the very first warm spring afternoon. Good Luck!

This is the console table for the back porch.  After looking at the photo, the visible outlets underneath really bugged me, so I moved a larger terracotta planter with a medium sized boxwood in place of the mint plant pictured.  The scale is much  better and outlets are obscured.

The grass is still brown, but I can't wait for spring!