Organize Simplify Create Design

It is perpetual, living life and keeping it simple. Peace of mind comes from having a place for things. As I watched "Horton Hears a Who", with my grandchildren I thought about no matter how "tiny" the thing, it deserves a home. So I live by the old adage, a place for everything and everything in its respective place...

About Me

My photo
Houston, Texas, United States
Ten things I am or have been: 1 Wife, 2 Mother of five, 3 Grandmother of 16, 4 Hair Dresser, 5 Bookkeeper 6 Bank Teller, 7 Scrapbook Store Owner, 8 Reporter, 9 Gardener, 10 Photographer,

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Changing place setting and JOY

Place setting called "ART"

Call me Crazy?

Changing my place settings bring me JOY

I adore beautiful dishes and tablescapes! I walked through model homes with the table set beautifully and admired place settings in magazines and on Pinterest. There was a perfect spot at the end of our island in the new house that I staked as my place to set up my staged table settings. No breakfast room where I could continue my tradition at my new home.
I occasionally buy a couple of plates or new bowls, maybe napkin rings or jazzy napkins in a new color. I scout thrift stores for finds, I watch sale tables and flea markets. It might be a new placemat too, but mostly I mix and match things I already have and I set two place settings as seasons change or holidays arrive. It's true, I mostly have two's of things, but the way I use them and trade them out, I don't need more than two, I don't have to store more than two and besides it's just the two of us if we decide to eat fancy. :) Friends have commented that they love coming in to see the new setting when they visit. 
I change them on a whim. It makes me smile, and keeps the clutter away. I do this for me because I love to.
Then one day, my husband stood at the end of the bar and said, "This is ART!" I love that he appreciates my little vignettes. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tomato Super Cage

Critters! Tomatoes! Off-Limits!

We love heirloom tomatoes! The taste is divine! I passed by that beautiful Cherokee Purple just about ripe. One more day I said. My husband anxiously awaited a BLT with the first one of the season. Out I go for a morning stroll and to pluck up that beauty...

Darling hubby is DONE! Reclaimed wood and hardware cloth and a weekend later.
Tomato Super Cage Anti-Critter
This photo was taken before the doors were installed, but you get the idea. I figure when the heat gets bad we will add shade cloth to the top and in winter try adding some plastic wrap to prolong the growing! The pallet herb garden on the right was a housewarming gift from a dear friend! However I grow herbs everywhere!
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, one of our favorites!

Yesterdays harvest. The bright reds came off a volunteer bush last fall that produced all winter in the greenhouse and is still going! The Cherokee Purples are the first keepers we protected with our Super Cage! First bell of the season. Have you noticed how long produce lasts just out of your garden compared to store bought?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Garden and Greenhouse Progress

The Garden & Greenhouse Progress

Garden and Greenhouse Layout

The fall garden has been a huge success. I have been able to grow greens for my morning smoothies and have enough to share with neighbors. I love the 10 x 15 greenhouse. We assembled it last fall, (of course you always wish you'd gone bigger!) The auto opening roof vents are great. We zoned the greenhouse with auto drip irrigation. Working perfectly.

View from the west. The boxes are made of cedar. It is perfect! They are 18" raised, 3' wide with 3' walkways. We recently laid crushed granite. This has really helped with harvest. No more mud! :)
We set up drip waterers for each raised bed. They operate on their own zone. 

My hubby and I assembled the perfect potting bench out of treasures I have collected for a couple of years. I love having the old door on the back. I can see out and it gives me space to hang things especially with the solid panel on one end. The original doorknob is perfect for hat hanging. The old copper sink was picked up at a garage sale for $25! Turns out it came out of an old railcar. The brass floor vents were purchased in Lake Charles. They came out of an old mansion. Old funnels hold garden string and I love how the little clipboard hold seed packets I've planted. The cabinet was made from all recycled wood. The door was picked up on my travels and the cabinet holds special supplies or soil additives and homemade sprays for pests. The bins hold garden hand implements and extra pieces for micro waterers. The bin on the right end is my favorite part. It's modeled after a garbage tilt out bin seen in some kitchens. This hold my potting soil and the vents on tops allow me to brush the dirt back into the bin after potting. The rope is a handle pull and my husband put a small metal rod to push into the side of the cabinet to hold the bin open when in use.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Easy Fall Decor Tour 2015

Fall is Here!

Friends who know me, know I play throughout the year with fun ever changing place settings. There are only the two of us now and I change out, mix and match, placemats, chargers, plates, bowls, napkins and rings according to the season at the end of my island where the barstools are! I search for two's of things at thrift stores, sale racks and garage sales. I even go to my yard for vase fillers or napkin holders. I love how bright and cheery that end of the counter is. 

Even though I admit to having favored seasons I change out my flowers to reflect mother nature's changing color patterns. BESIDES, there is always a one of a kind sunset each day.

I dress up the entry table. It's fun to have containers full of fun choices to change it up each year.

Things don't have to be complicated. Toss a pretty runner on the table, fill a vase with flowers and scatter some leaves! I scored this and two other lovely copper pots in a local yard sale recently! I love its character.

I love grasses and grain stems. They seem to hollar "fall". The piece at the top of the bucket? It's just a swag bent around the edge. Simple no fuss arranging!

Above is the fall fireplace and mantle. The fall tree is up, but still adding things to it. It's near time to put up Halloween and then after Thanksgiving the fall tree retreats to the Master area undresses it's fall adornments and brings Christmas to our bedroom with woodland creatures.

Left is my Coffee Filter wreath, I use it year round, moving it from place to place. I love it's simplicity

Below is a snap of the mantle. Again simple and rustic.

 Vignettes are so much fun to create. Using odd numbers be sure your use varying heights. You can't go wrong. Notice that even though the items are different they share sparkle.
The entry is always a good place to share seasonal blisss!

Tomorrow I'll share the entry! I hope you are inspired and see how easy it is to bring in the seasons.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

7 Steps for DYI Garden Planning

The property began coming together last spring! It's all a matter of patience...
When moving into a new space and you're staring at dirt, and the dust seems never ending there is a garden ready to be born. We spent the first year: 

Step 1 
Other structures included in your master plan. I always divide my space into rooms, so to speak. Places for cooking, eating, relaxing, visiting and entertaining, play area, flower beds, paths, vegetable or herb gardens, even utility areas where air conditioners, generators, propane tank if you live rural, septic systems, composters. Some things aren't easily changed, so be certain you know where you want these spaces to be located, such as outbuildings, pools, greenhouses, sheds, pools, trampolines, firepits, outdoor kitchens, patios, gazebos, and playhouses. Flower beds and shrubs can be altered pretty easy, but tearing out a pergola or patio can be costly. So after considering all of the above we spent the first year building our barn and putting in the pool. 
Step 2 
Then came drainage. All will be for naught if your property isn't draining properly. Hauling in dirt, putting in french drains and even rain gutters can be expensive, but very necessary to be able to enjoy the end result.
 Step 3 
Irrigation, putting in a pool will tear up your irrigation system. Not everyone will choose to put it in, but in our area it's a must have to keep things alive. Sit down and sift through some online sites like Pinterest or Houzz and collect the look you like. Take your survey to a copy shop and print off a few, have it enlarged if you like. I bought a can of spray paint that landscapers use to mark the land. I drew my beds with it, so the sprinkler guy knew what my needs were going to be. Try to decide what you plan to put in the beds. Be sure to allow enough room for the shrubs you want to use. Irrigation from lawn to beds requires different heads and zones. Don't skip this step if you are putting in sprinklers. I also use a lot of container plants, I had micro watering installed at the same time for these.
Step 4 
Fencing, obviously when you put in a pool you must fence it by law in most areas. You may choose fencing for pets, livestock, children, gardens, privacy etc. You will choose your fencing according to your own needs. We put wood across the front and most of the side of our lot to match what the neighbor to the east already had. We have a pond behind us so we used black chainlink along the back to be able to see the pond and forest view.
Step 5 
Flower beds Once we reached this point we began bed building (no plants at this point). We had them drawn on the dirt and chose a rock edging and then brought in the dirt and mulch to keep from tracking over the new sod when it is laid. Try to decide on the general location of beds, and remember they can be altered even after they are in. Hold off on buying plants just yet unless they are large shrubs and trees that are easier planted with equipment. 
Step 6 
After smoothing the surface in preparation for your new lawn, you are ready to really make a big impact on how your yard looks.  We chose to do sod, timing is everything with seed and we wanted to cut down on all the dirt, dust and mud immediately.  It's a labor of love and envisioning to get to what you see here
Step 7
Choose shrubbery and plants for your beds. Buy your largest specimens first. You will feel more impact. Consider maintenance of what you plant. For me, gardening is therapy. I love working in my garden. You may not have the desire or time to work outside. Choosing low maintenance plants is a good idea if this is you. 

This year we will continue to landscape, move anything that isn't thriving, adding new plants, planting tropical palms we purchased in the fall at 80% off and planning raised bed veggie gardens (last years veggies A COMPLETE FLOP) and a greenhouse. 

The pine and oak pollen has spread it's yellow dust everywhere. We always wait to uncover the furniture and clean pool filters when it's done. I'm just happy spring is here.

As you can see I'm not a daily blogger. I enjoy writing and sharing my photos with family and friends. So I'm glad you've stopped in. I'm not into blogging for money, if I write about a product or item it's because I truly love it.

Below are some of last years photos, they inspire me of what's to come this year now that winter is done.

Before and After Photos of Courtyard update
Slate all the way to the entrance. Still under construction.
 In the late fall we re-did our courtyard. There were a lot of different surfaces, it was uneven, and the mondo grass was lovely, but oh the weeds were horrific, I couldn't keep up with it. Soon I will post photos of the new surface. We tore out the stamped concrete and put slate down the entire walk to the courtyard opening. The remainder of the patio is now stamped concrete. I moved the fountain over to give more useable space and changed the bed design slightly. Instead of the sprinklers spraying the entire courtyard I had drippers installed to water potted plants outside of the beds, as well as the succulents I keep on the etagere. The photo above was shortly before being finished. Below is during Christmas.
Before and After Courtyard updates! Finished for Christmas!
The Mondo Grass looks so Italian authentic, but the upkeep was horrid and a trip hazard for certain.
The stamped concrete is smooth and low maintenance. The area seems much larger and after moving the fountain over the usable space it perfect. Plus better views of the fountain from the street and inside the house. Triple PLUS!
 The space seems much larger now and is so easy to keep. I moved the mondo grass to line a path in the backyard. Nothing gets thrown away here.
 I lost nearly all my plants in the courtyard gardens during the construction process. So I will be starting again.  The small fireplace was relocated to a seating area in the back off the outdoor kitchen. It gets more use there.

 Another view of the changes that were made.

Last year I bought bright pillows to add a splash of color to the sectional on the back terrace. Soon I will add updated photos to this post so you can see the latest. A garden certainly is not static, ever changing. Nature always has surprises in store for us. :) Hope spring is on her way to you too!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January Decor

When Christmas has come down and all is put away it always feels so bare, yet clean...

My foyer post Christmas. I was in the mood for simple and wintery, yet natural feeling. The wreath is a coffee filter wreath that was fun to make.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

After Christmas Winter Decor

Once Christmas is over

Once I have taken all of Christmas down and it's tucked away in its bins for next year, I always enjoy the clean, uncluttered feel. It actually echo's in here! There doesn't seem to be much out there on Pinterest or otherwise to inspire cozy winter decor. So I had to use my own imagination. I wanted a wintery feel, like pinecones and a bit of colorless scape. I haven't completed much yet because of my closet cleaning/purging goals for this month, but here are my entry choices. What's in your entry?
Coffee Filter Wreath
My coffee filter wreath seemed appropriate for the season. A friend gave me the cute note card, I've left it tucked inside the wreath since she sent it to me. I like how it greets you no matter where the wreath is. A bowl of pinecones and a tattered birdhouse stayed with my idea of a natural feel. There on the left is one of my new hobbies. It is a collection of air plants! These are so fun, they even offer up flowers on some varieties. Such a nice surprise when winter is on the "kill" outdoors. I'll warn you though, they are addicting. :) The little iron birds nest dish is a favorite display for this bowl of undemanding plants. 

Displaying Air Plants

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sort of Shabby guest room

 Sometimes I like to just go in here and sit..

 I'm working on the guest room. I purchased an inexpensive Bed in a Bag. This is where all my cherished shabby pieces hang out, that I couldn't bear to part with. This little buffet piece is one of my favorite chalk painted pieces, it houses my special dishes I collect. The space still needs work. Stay tuned.
 I have some things I'm going to use together for a headboard. Looks lonely without anything huh?

I love this corner, it sings my name. :)

10 Steps for Decorating your tree like a pro

10 Steps for Easy Christmas Tree Decorating

Step 1- Set up your tree with lights. Years ago, we finally bit the bullet and bought a beautiful artificial tree. I put up three trees normally and have my mind on a pencil type tree for our master bedroom this year, we shall see. So whether you have a real tree, pre-lit tree or artificial tree you have to put lights on this is your first step after setting the tree up. I begin assembly at the bottom of my tree and add the lights as I go. As you can see I like a lot of lights. I also place plug strip that is wired, (zip-ties work great for this) to the tree trunk, place it about a third of the way up the tree so as you string your lights together you don't end up bogged down with extension cords. Your lights usually have a warning as to how many strands you can string together. (Sometimes as few as three) So now you have a place to plug them in hidden from view. I also plug in one of those step on plugs at the bottom, so a toe tap turns the whole tree on or off. :) Another huge helpful hint that will be hidden by a tree skirt is go buy yourself a set of furniture floor glides. The ones we have are for hard floors, but they sell them for carpet too. I got mine at Lowes.
Waxman 4-Pack 5-in Round Reusable Felt Hard Surface Sliders
Item #: 36797 |  Model #: 4713395N
Step 2 - If you want garland, ribbon or beads on, now is the time. You can measure your tree height and add a few feet, cut all your ribbons the same length, string them from the top, maybe from a bow, or let them fall across the tree tucking as you go like mine is done here. I just have a spool of wire handy. Just step back occasionally to be sure they are spaced properly. No perfection, remember you'll have decorations on soon.
 Step 3 - Layout your decorations on the table or island. (I have a big island, the floor even works) Now if you haven't stored your tree trimming things in a bin, buy one now, so at the end of the season everything goes in the bin or bins for the tree you are designing. Organizing tip.. :) If you can't afford a bin this year and cardboard box is fine. No matter what you use, LABEL IT! In my opinion the tree is the first thing to go up. So you can go right to that box when it's time. Put all like items together in piles.
 Step 4 - Gather your hooks and try to keep same size items close to each other. The small ornaments become filler.
 Step 5 - Pull the tree out from the wall or corner. See how those little glides help? Lowes sells them or you can even get them at Amazon. These are Waxman Reusable Furniture Sliders. It is sheer magic how easily the tree slides in and out. Get your ladder out and you are all set.
 Step 6 - If you like clusters on your tree, preassemble them. I use my hot glue gun to glun down those pesky ornament tops that like to pop out when you want to bundle them together. Hot glue those hanger tops on, work in threes, choose to bundle them with ribbon, raffia, mesh, whatever you like, but start with wire to keep them secure. Assemble as many large bauble groups as you have. Then you'll know how to place them on your tree.
Step 7 - Begin to place your ornament groups. Begin with the first one at the top. It helps to know now what will go on top of your tree. Be it angel, bell, special tree topper. Don't place it just yet, but know how much room it takes and if it trails down at all. Allow for that as you place groups. Place your next grouping near the bottom opposite the one you placed at the top. Continue going up and then down opposite to create balance. Stand back and adjust if you need to.
Small groups of baubles are next, glue the tops and wire them together. Place these the same way you did the larger bundles, filling in between where the others go. 

Step 8 - Leafy or feathery filler is nice to tuck in beside the small ornament groups. Choose colors that compliment your color groups. The thing I love about these is that if I decide to add in a new element of color in future years, this is an inexpensive way to add that pop of color to make it new as my tastes change, or my mind, which ever comes first. :)

Step 9 - Specialty ornaments This can be specially themed ornaments. I have used butterflies, dragon flies and other insects, just because we love the outdoors, adore our wild birds and such. This is very individual. I always place these randomly about the tree, however, each piece holds a prominent place that can be seen as the tree is gazed upon. Other individual ornaments are chosen because of their ability to bring out the colors of the tree and are used to fill in bare spots. Many of mine clip on the tree branches.
The photo to the right shows the special hangers I use. Target even sells these if you can get there before they sell out.
Here are a few of the themed ornaments I have collected through the years. My red butterflies are stored away for a year when my reds come back. I switched to aqua a few years ago and still like having my tree done to match my accent aqua pieces in my home.
I like glitz and bling. Your tree does not have to include these. I use this same design principles on my traditional tree I set up in my dining area. I also have a Beach themed tree that is set up on the patio.

Step 10 - Add your tree skirt, or gathering of Lam'e, or burlap, you can even arrange a table cloth to hide underneath. Now you can add your tree topper. Ours is an old angel that had been our girl since our first Christmas. Again this is a personal choice. You can put a bow up there, feathers? Pinterest is full of ideas. Now sit down and admire your lovely tree. (confession...i find glitter until about July of the following year, it's like fairy dust?)

Now you can go about adding the rest of your favorite things to the house.

Be sure to visit my earlier blog post "How to decorate your tree like a pro", more photos, more hints. Spreading out your decorating so it's enjoyable....
Do your mantle, entry. Front door and guest bath. Pull out your favorite things first. I like a little Christmas in every room.

Lamp shades don't mind bows, and neither do clocks. I put this here and my husband said "Oh that looks good there!" So I left it.