A Shepherds Purse

The Shepherd's Purse is a very common plant 
and many would say it is little more than a weed.

It is often found by the roadside or in unattended city lots

But after the flower has withered 
the seeds begin to grow and take the shape of
a small green heart
....a little shepherd's purse
It easily self sows and makes its home in un-likely and often odd locations 
with little regard for dust or disarray...

It seems to thrive along
the side of the road or in a crack in the pavement

This is not a pretty "gardeners" plant 
but...I love the Shepheard's purse

It finds it's way into our garden's 
wherever the wind 
and birds take the heart seeds
 it shows up each Spring without a care
to flower and bloom 

it grows from weed
to wild flower

 As I begin this new year full of changes 

 My promise to myself is to accept my life's crazy path
with grace and a cheerful heart

to follow the breeze and sow seeds where they land

to enjoy the 
smaller moments 
I so often take for granted

wishing you all 
a healthy
New Year

A Patchwork of Inspiration

It's often interesting what can inspire us....
is it an image on Pinterest?

 a fabulous evening silhouette and big green lawn
 a simple humble work table
 beautiful natural elements
 clean and modern spaces with interesting antiques
 whimsy and white
a place to have tea
  a chic and warm restaurant
a simple morning in the garden
filled with sunshine

It's probably all of those things
a patchwork of a bit of each

 My inspiration usually comes from the colors and textures
of things that I enjoy looking at

and most often a house and it's architecture
will tell you what needs to be placed inside

But since I'm not sure where or what style exactly our next house will be
I have chosen this little Plein Air Painting as my inspiration
 for a few new furnishings

It has wonderful coral and turquoise hues
as well as yellow, rich greens, terra-cotta and salmon

 The colors of this old Roseville Wisteria vase are similar 
And something about the terra cotta, greens and blues in this glaze 
are so beautiful together

I think this vase dates from 1920-1940
 so those may have been the colors that people really liked 
during California's golden era

 This old basket has wonderful old paint in oyster white with just the right amount of wood peeking through....
beautiful simple color

 Old storage firkins are a beautiful example of how color can become
 more rich and interesting with time

So I purchased a few things to get me started....keeping in mind the colors of the little painting

first up
a clean and calm Ushak rug

Millie...of course is quite pleased with this purchase
I found a few old indigo batik pillows
with blue-green
and cream 

For some of the larger pieces I like the neutral texture of linen in stripes and solids
and maybe some ticking thrown in

These are a fun colors to use as large pillows....
I really like the bright melon and turquoise velvet
colors found again the the painting
And a really unique fabric I purchased is this
Antique Japanese Boro panel

Japanese boro's are folk textiles, 
 pieced together as the fabric became worn 
because cotton was highly prized for it's warmth
The fabrics are all hand loomed, died with indigo
 and stitched together by hand 

randomly... but with great care
this beautiful boro dates to 1800-1850 
the color and texture is really quite amazing 
and I have never used anything like this before

 I love the fact that all of the patches are sewn by hand 
and the textures are both rough and soft

So I need to get started right away 
to furnish a new living room

 and I will be using
 my patchwork of inspiration

see you soon

Opps I did it again


You may have noticed that my blog posts have been a bit sporadic.  
We have been busy with fall projects, work 
and of course the usual hours of weekly garden chores. 

Life in the fall is usually a slower simple rhythm 
 the days grow shorter
 the sun dips lower and thankfully the temperature has fallen a bit 

But then...."change" 
that crazy little devil 
 knocked on my door 
and I knewI was really in for it

 About a month ago I got a call from a friend and neighbor who happens to be a realtor.  She asked me if  we would consider selling our little ranchette here in Ojai.

Now let me say this....we have thought about selling a few times before
 but never really got too carried away with the notion.

The allure of the land and my love of the gardens
was just too much of a tug at my heart.
Owning a large property with orchards, oaks and gardens of all sizes can be wonderful but it can seem at times, a never-ending to-do list.  It has definitely kept us busy!
 And loving a house like this is really quite easy,
 especially when it gives back great rewards
 I have become the gardener that I never knew I could be...without really knowing it and learning the do's and don'ts along the way.
Its not really hard, it just takes time to find a good balance of
time, energy and enjoyment

 I have also become a florist of sorts
mostly arranging the simplest of things...sometimes even weeds

I have found much solice in clipping and arranging and just walking this property to find a bloom or two to put in an old jar...it is truly a therapy for me 

 I can't seem to have too many flowers in this house 
and  always find time to create another, however simple 

 Birds and animals have been my constant companions and have taught me a love of nature I will never be without

 I will always view birds, animals and insects with fascination and enjoyment

Having a dog like Millie here has been wonderful and I will never forget her!

She had become a country dog for sure!
Never with out dirt, fleas or something weird and mossy attached to her fur and her paws which...
well who knows what they are... but in the house they come....
riding long with Millie

 The garden and fruit trees have provided an incredible opportunity to test my skills as a cook and to truly learn the lessons of stainable growing and how to use vegetables and fruit in more creative ways than I ever thought possible

Eating from the garden will turn you into a cook
even if you think you aren't one!

Some of my very best meals have been created using the hodgepodge of little orphans
that pop up on a daily basis
If you have a garden...grow what you like to eat
 and cook what you grow

Let the harvest shape the meal and let the flavors do their thing
with out over cooking and seasoning

 The very best chefs know that great food is simple food
and simple is easy

 eating a warm tomato right off the vine is my favorite snack
 along with a fresh peach, a crunchy radish, a green apple, a juicy lemon....etc

 and herbs have become much more than a savory seasoning
I have learned to use them as a treat for breakfast
an appetizer for lunch
and the star of a salad at dinner

 The compost bin has been a great inspiration to us and we have learned from start to finish about soil, and all of the good things that can be found right under your nose
if you look hard enough

Soil preparation is the backbone of a great garden
It's also the most labor intensive part of gardening

Talking about gardening is great but the process is quite a bit harder

Most of our weekends are spent working the soil to make sure we don't over water
and to nourish the plants in the most beneficial way possible

worms and all the living soil dwellers are our friends
and the trees and shrubs
thrive on the rich healthy compost we churn out each month

It  takes time to get it right but when you do great things happen 

 The daily swing on the old gliders with a glass of wine or cup of coffee is something of a ritual for us

even though we don't sit to long 

 The gravel drive became more of a path...leading the way to beautiful trees,  grassy lawns
and large pots and tables with flowers 

 places to linger and watch the birds and squirrels

 Dining outside is alway so wonderful and I wish
 we had more long lunches and breakfast like this one

Decorating this little house....often using cast off treasures and 
quirky collections has been tons of fun 

used "stuff" 
much of it not at all valuable or actually needed
found a home here
 camp blankets and quilts
 bottles and books
 wicker and wood
 much just a mish mash of little things, not an important antique but well loved 
and cherished none the less

 and the holidays always bring in more color and green 
than my usual daily arrangements

 the tangerine trees are loaded this time of year and so orange 
becomes a yearly part of my holiday decor

Re imagining a county kitchen was a joy
and I love this small kitchen with its simple plan and useable features 
and best of all it is wonderful to cook in

 what I like most about this kitchen is that even though many of the elements are very different they all blend nicely together

and I must t certainly thank those that have come through the front door...slammed the screen  and helped create this home

many are friends and
many are family

 we have enjoyed the company of new guests and interesting people who happen to have found their way here for what ever reason

thats what a country house does
it open its doors and shares wonderful memories

you come in
you sit down
and it just feels like home

thank you to all of the stylists and photographers who seemed to like this house
and for giving us an incredible opportunity to share it with others

so now we are giving it to a new family
someone who is starting fresh on her own new journey....a bit more polished than when we first began 
but there is still much to do here

  the new owner has purchased the house furnished and much of the little collections, old pillows and small treasures 
 will stay with the house too

so what is next for us....?

right now we are taking a breather and have rented a very modern condo 
in a down town city location....and we don't have anything to sit on!!!!
Does that sound familiar?
I don't even have a house plant yet!!

  I hope to share that journey too
something different yet similar
because it's a house story

it will have gardens and tress....just not so many!
And it might not be in the country but we will shape it into something unique
and comfortable
no matter where it is

as always....thanks for stopping by
 a new adventure begins!