Garden Project: Creating Dry Creek Beds

The beauty of a garden is that every day it changes a bit.  
New seasonal flowers bloom, butterflies perch and flutter overhead and the bees, lizards and small birds hurry about getting on with the business of the day  
 Per usual....I have yet to finish what I started and there are weeds to pull, leaves to rake and chores that have been put off for what ever reason.
Last week I was able to take a week off at home in Santa Barbara....a little staycation....all by myself.  
The plan was to do some shopping, read a book or two and pretty much try to practice the art of doing nothing, which I happen to be terrible at.

Then the garden called....
Hey lady
It's me, your garden....remember those dry creek things you wanted to finish?
Well put that book down and get to work!
 The dry creek beds are a focal point in this Mediterranean garden.  
They actually started out as  a little side project because I had so many rocks and wanted to use them in a creative way that made sense and would cut down on water and maintenance.
 Initially I created boulder platforms to raise the antique pots above the grade.  Then I tied those together with winding stone "creeks" which are filled with succulents.
 A year later the garden has completely filled in 
and there are now two large winding dry creeks on either side of the fountain. 
The succulents have grown much larger and additional plantings of scented thyme, native grasses, geranium and drought tolerant seasonal color fill the little pockets along the creek, spilling out over the stones and onto the gravel

So here is a quick guide to this project.
For a 4 foot long creek you will need:

1.  Rocks : ) large and small around 20 or so
2.  A flat of small succulents, around 32
3.  12@ 4 inch water wise blooming perennials
(lavender, thyme, salvia, dwarf grasses and seasonal color)
3. A large 2.5 cu ft sack of cactus mix or make your own
(1 part native soil, 1 part potting mix, 1 part sand and 1 part pearlite)
4. A sack of beach pebbles .5 cu ft
5. A sack of small gravel 

 The creek should have some sort of starting point, either the edge of your walk way, a big rock or a tree are good choices.  Remember this is not all that scientific and do what feels right for your garden.
I looked through some old gardening books featuring drought tolerant beds for a little inspiration.  Pinterest is also a great resource.

This is the last section of this creek.  
It begins at the gated vegetable garden area and ends at the base of a little deck.
Your creek should have edges to retain the soil but add stones along the center and more randomly at end which allow the plants to spill out into the bed more naturally
 Add soil and fill the cells with succulents leaving the center areas more open
 Add beach pebbles.  
The pebbles can be on top of other rocks, 
in cracks and spilling over into the areas around the creek.
Don't forget to add your color along the borders 
and in some of the larger cells between the rocks
Water well and finish off the creek with the gravel. 
 Here I also planted some larger agave to give some height to the edges.
It won't take long for this to fill in and little to no water is needed.
When choosing your plants think about color.  
Hot colors looks great in really sunny areas.
I also tend to pick succulents that are variegated and grow more vertically in the larger areas and plant small little dwarf varieties in the center
 Vertical perennials surround the creeks and require a bit more water 
but add height and bright splashes of color.

 I hope you give this project a try. 

 Its very creative and the good part is 
you can easily move things around if needed 
to get the look you really want!

Hope your summer is buzzing along....
for daily photos, projects and other good stuff 
follow along 


Jessica and Jennifer: A Beverly Hills House Makeover

Remember this house?
It was all over the internet and blogs about three years ago.
It was owned by Jessica Simpson and listed for sale for around 7 million.
Guess who purchased it?
Actress Jennifer Lawrence

You can read about the prior owners in a post I wrote here

 What is really interesting today, is how it is now decorated.

 I'm pretty sure I know what everyone is going to say 
about it's young Hollywood makeover

The house from the street. 

 Very private, gated, really large secluded yard, all the things one would need 
to escape those crazy ass paparazzi

Ironically I believe the house was built in 1990 by Kerry Joyce which is the same year that Jennifer Lawrence was born!

When Jessica Simpson owned the house she hired super talented and cool, Rachael Ashwell to decorate it for her after the birth of her first child

I really loved it but thought it was lacking a little in the owners personal style,
 which a house like this house should have and did have with some of the prior owners.
Gorgeous entry 
 Beautiful living room.  I love the drapery in here.
Rachael chose beautiful soft pastel rugs throughout the house 
and added all of the chandeliers 
 Another view.  All of the lighting looks very Rachel Ashwell 
and remains in the house today
Ok....hold on to your corn cobs chickens....
 oh no...really?

 Well?  What do you think?
You get a little peek a boo view of the entry and stair case to the left of the photo.

I really like hummingbirds...but that guy scares me.
Rug? Pillows? 
Accessories? Flowers?

I honestly do not understand the furniture choices here given the style of the house, 
which was described as French

They left the beautiful antique chandelier and added odd sconces 
I realize art is very subjective but it all looks very out of context here

Here is another shot of the same room prior to Jessica.   
Really beautifully classic and timeless.
Does this room look dated to you?  
Maybe a tad stuffy for a 26 year old but still beautiful
Here is Rachael's simple but elegant dining room.  
Love the drapery and lighting
I know I know
Can we all have good cry now!

This entire room is just terribly uninviting and odd.

 I don't care how good the food is 
this would give me an upset stomach if I sat here too long.

...Ok so moving right along
Master bedroom: Jessica and Rachael
Master: Prior owner
Master:  Jennifer.
What is interesting is the lighting looks wonderful here and someone added all the ornate French molding and plaster details which is pretty.

 Interesting that there are no rugs.

I can't tell if this room is French inspired or modern or what.  
Maybe Marie Antoinette 2015?
Another large guest room

 The kitchen got a makeover too. 
This is the before kitchen
And today.
This has all been re-worked and beautifully updated. 
 But I have to say I loved the simplicity of the old kitchen too
This was the en-suite master bath pre Jessica 
and it is gorgeous.
 This actually is the same bathroom but they are so different looking.
I'm just not sure about this bathroom.  The stone is beautiful but it really has lost 
the personality of the older bathroom.  
And why change out the tub?
The property itself it really beautiful and has so much Beverly Hills charm.
So here were the nagging questions while I was writing this:  
First I couldn't find any reference to a designer anywhere.
All of the photos of the new interiors were on "Celebrity House" features
 on a few digital magazine sites.

Why was the house photographed but not really staged properly?

Here's what I dug up...Jennifer Lawrence actually purchased it from another owner
 not Jessica Simpson.
Someone purchased it from Jessica, re-decorated it and Jennifer Lawrence then purchased it from that owner completely furnished.
Which is another reason it sold for about a million and change more 
than what Jessica got for it.
This seems to happen a lot with celebrities and most end up re-decorating.

So lets just hope that she hires a great LA Decorator  
and gets it right!

Who should she pick?
I have a few suggestions....!

We're rooting for you Jennifer!


A lot of thought goes into a personal space and a blog is just that.

Somewhere in the last year my blog morphed into something I didn't recognize.
I kept editing the look, taking away one week and adding back another.
I enjoyed writing again and then I'd quit for a while, taking yet again, another month off to see if I really wanted to do this anymore.

I read an article a while back about a hugely popular couple who stopped blogging.
Their blog was called Young House Love and they went on to write two books, designed home goods for Target, had two kids, renovated 4 houses and yes they managed to stay married.

You can read it here

Their's is a blog burnout story in the extreme but I think we can all relate.
When something we really like doing ends up consuming way to much of our time and energy, it starts to diminish the reason we wanted to do it to begin with.

So anyway, I think it was good to step away and re-think.
I also have a whole new living situation, so creatively speaking I'm doing a lot less of the things I posted about over the last 5 years.

But here is the creative and interesting up side to blogging:

You get to share the things that really interest you,
even your quirks and flaws,
the pretty stuff AND the gum on the bottom of your shoe.

 It really is the daily stuff of life,
  sometimes, often, always a bit sugar coated.
Hey that's just the nature of blogging, you can edit out the stuff
that is not all that glamorous or fun.
Nobody really wants to read about your flat tire
or the gross sandwich you ate from the back of the fridge any way!

So simply put...
blogging is not a job, at least for me. 
 I try to keep it in perspective 
and try not to take myself all that seriously.

The blog now has a new look and a re-launch of sorts.
There are a ton of things I want to share and talk about,
much of which
will be different from things in the past.

I do hope to post more often but not so that it becomes a chore.
Daily photos on Instagram is a great way to fill in the gaps
and you can follow along

As for the re-design, wow are there a bunch of
wonderful looking blogs these days.

I wanted to have everything from the last 6 years in one place 
and easier to navigate 
 I redesigned  a $15 dollar purchased template to make it more my own,
which was a bit challenging, but again a creative process I wanted to try by myself.
I suppose you could call it a blog re-model!
I am still adding things and re-working all of the content
and links so bear with me.

My sincere thanks to all of you who have followed along 
and endured the endless gardening posts and crazy lamp projects.
I honestly astounds me that you take time out of your day to read my ramblings.

I hope to keep the little spark least for a little longer