They're back...those little red guys

This post title reads (oddly) those little red guys are back
like I was having a serious break out or perhaps a case of poison ivy
but fear reality I finally have tomato plants in my yard (again).  
Whew...tomato panic over : )

 Not sure what it is,  but a kitchen garden just isn't complete without these little red guys.....
the lowly and much maligned tomato plant.
The tomato plant can either be your crowning glory or the agony 
of your forever present brown thumb

which are you?

I often hesitate (even today) to purchase the little buggers at the grocery store. 
I'm spoiled. I've tasted tomato heaven...nirvana in a red suit. 
Yes my gardening gurus...we are equally appalled
and overjoyed by the often scary quantity of offspring 
a single plant will give and....
we are in love with all things tomato..ey

We sauce them and caprese salad them
We creatively arrange them on little toasts with basil fronds 

 And lets not forget the joy of knowing that their own them
you grew them 
and now you may eat them (all 4000 little cherries?)
 any which way you choose.

I had many, five to be exact,bumper crop tomato summers 
while we were living in Ojai
I've grown the best heirlooms, 
Cherokee, Black Krim, Green zebra
Yep... San Marzano, little yellow pears, 
The Mortage Lifter, Super Sauce, Sweet 1000, 
Early Girl and late Harvert.... the list goes on and on

 I've picked them green, gold, peach, red, orange,
 broken, split, oozing, buggy and just plain ugly
 and I have love and enjoyed each and every one.
Eating a tomato off the vine, mid summer, hot from the sun is one of 
God's great gifts.

The juice flows and the sweet taste is like none other. 

The serious gardener and the "wanna be" beginner and urbanite 
all rejoice in their first ripe tomato.
You've earned it kids!
 Eat your work!
 It will slay you

The tomato is a rite of gardening passage 

 Camera in hand I photographed them on the vine,
 in a bowl, on a pizza, in a basket, on the grass, 
in a  salad, on the porch....yes everywhere but in the bedroom

 They gave me the inspiration
 for some of the best dinners I've ever eaten
 Will you deny that they are not beautiful?
Yes they are and we love them

I have so missed the vegetable garden and my little red buddies 
and I finally have a nice spot in our new house.
 It's small and not perfect but...
I vowed I would get at least one tomato plant in the ground by June 1st 
and I actually got to plant 4!!!

wish me luck
eat your tomato's 

their good for you

carry on tomato gardeners



Late Summer Getaway Wardrobe


We have not been able to get away for any long trips this summer but we have a few weekends planned and love to take off in September when the weather cools a bit

I'm not an advanced awesome packer but I have learned a few tricks, one of which is to take a wardrobe that essentially is all in the same color family 

In this case I'm taking every thing in 
soft blush pink 

I try to keep jewelry to a minimum,
 usually one necklace, a great watch and two pairs of earrings
(do you own an Apple watch?  I don't but they look pretty darn fun)

I always pack a's that crazy hair thing that happens to me ; )
Maxi's work because that can transition from day to dinner fairly easily 
This is a pretty light creamy skirt from Zara

and I like easy comfortable pants
usually jeans or drapey linen
and tailored cropped trousers are a great call

For a quick weekend trip, I wear one pair of shoes and bring a spare but never more than that because I never wear them!  
Seriously..... I have packed more shoes for vacations 
and wind up wearing only two pair the entire trip

Always a pair of sneakers
chucks are a great choice 

and a pair of low heals or maybe a great comfy boot

I found these on Zappos and I loooooove them

Our little getaways are alway by car 
so luggage is simple 
with duffles that work both as a purse and for clothes

I love this classic Branch Tote
from LL Bean
you can have these monogramed too

and throw a simple clutch inside the tote for shopping or dinner

this simple white one is from Brooks Brothers

So here is what I have planned for two days 
on a foodie getaway in Northern California

 turquoise necklace @Nordstrom
bucket hat @UrbanOutfitters (Stussy)
belt @JCrew
heels @Macy's
sunnies @Salt
chucks @Zappos
sweater@RalphLauren (Denim & Supply)
cashmere wrap scarf@White+Warren
basic tee@Gap
white jeans@LaurenRalphLauren
knit maxi@Polo 
nails@Dior (Tra-La-La)
lips@Dior (Creme de Rose lip balm)

(I didn't give you all of the links but these are all items that are really easy to find)

oh and don't forget the wine opener

see you soon!

Faux No

 I finally broke down and purchased a new camera.  My poor little Canon was so battered and grimy that I could barely see through the view finder.  It's also about time I took the time to use my camera properly and quit taking the easy route of shooting just about everything in Auto mode.

So here are a few shots of some faux flowers!!!!
 shhhhhh don't tell
using my new camera and experimenting with exposure and shutter speed

I found these flowers at Crate and Barrel

Shooting manually is actually really fun and gives you the opportunity to play around 
with exposure and depth of field

 Here are some close up shots of the little fake peonies

 The hydrangea are not nearly as realistic but still pretty I think

these last two shots are really washed out and over exposed but I like them anyway

Can you do fake flowers?  
 They are pretty darn easy and are still looking fresh after a month!!!
woo hoo
; )

A Living Room Mantle Renovation


Most the original details in this 1925 Spanish home still reside but there are some recent interior additions that just don't really work
 The fireplace has been reimagined (I'm being nice) using stacked ledger stone with the TV 
front and center...ugh!
So off came the TV and we were able to see the old plaster work 
and the original outlets for sconces.  
The wiring was hot and actually buried behind the stone....

While starting this project, I actually came across this wonderful intact fireplace surround 
from the same time frame manufactured by Claycraft.  
Claycraft was one of the many companies producing scenic tile during California's Golden Age which included Batchelder, Cal Art and Alhambra Kilns to name a few.
  After taking a few more photos and all of the measurements back to the house
 it would have worked!  
I couldn't believe it.  
But after much thought we decided it would overwhelm the room so we went to plan B
We opted to completely re-plaster over the added stone and re-plaster the walls.  
All of the walls throughout out the house will need to be re-plastered so this gave us a glimpse as to how the finished walls will look
 After 3 coats the fireplace started looking like the original circa 1925 probably did
 Millie found this whole process boring and decided a little nap on the workers jacket was in order
 The fireplace looks a little pink here, but it has no pigment at all and will dry almost white 
 Before we could finish all of the walls (which were also a patched cobbled mess) 
the electrical needed moving and updating. 

 In order for the plaster to adhere the walls are sanded and then a layer of glue is applied
 The ceilings are quite high and the corners have a soft rounded curve which is really pretty
 Two coats of plaster was hand trowled on all of the walls 
and then burnished when almost dry
well not actually presto but pretty close 
The walls will dry much lighter and have a really natural patina and texture
Now for some sconce shopping....holy cow! 
 One of my favorite Antique stores in Pasadena is California Revival Antiques.  
They have an impressive collection of lighting (understatement ) 
as well as furniture, art and garden Antiques.  
The owner Marie is wonderful to work with and the staff was really a pleasure.  
 In addition to lighting I purchased this great rattan lounge chair and ottoman, as well as the two small bamboo end tables.
 Ironically these came from the Ford Estate in Ojai when the owners recently sold it.
 Marie helped them originally to furnish the home with period pieces, many of which she recently

 The fixtures and furniture in this store are incredible and most of their acquisitions come from homes and large Estates in
Los Angeles
 that are being demolished or remodeled.
The paneling along the very back wall is from Phyllis Dillers home in Beverly Hills.  
 I purchased some great little pots
 And a wonderful tiled side table, all
of which will go in the newly refreshed living room
The Television will be hidden in this cabinet from Restoration Hardware...if I ever get it!

I had some great pillows made from patched Japanese indigo and African Mali fabric
 And of course the fun chairs with patches 

The new/antique sconces are installed and the plaster has dried a nice creamy white.  
I hung my first piece of art over the mantle.   
Why is it so fun to hang your first picture in a new house?  Sigh ; )

I will share some more snap shots of the room as we get it the mean time....
you can find me in the garden ; )

Hope your summer is bringing wonderful things and happy memories