Summer Living Room

Summer is in full swing. We try to be outside as much as we can. Coming indoors, especially to do house work can be a daunting task.  Here's my attempt at bringing in some sunshine and the outdoors.

I start with cleaning. I have been mixing up a few herbs to create a mop water mixture. All natural, I mean go out to your garden and clip some sprigs of your favorite herbs-natural.  You end up with mop water that smells amazing and is chemical free. Need I say more? I've been experimenting with my garden herbs to find my favorite aromatic mix.  NOTE: If you are in need of some serious disinfecting this isn't the cleaner for you.

My favorite cleaning mix for floors :
Rosemary, sage, lavender and a tablespoon of salt.
Clipped fresh from the garden, in the hot tap water, with two 'glugh's of white vinegar.
  • Rosemary- helps with relieving anxiety, clearing the mind, and boosting your mood. Said to relieve migraines!
  • Sage- Protects against negative energy 
  • Lavender-helps with anxiety, insomnia depression and restlessness.
  • Sea Salt- removes stagnant and stale energy
Warding off negative energy is always a good thing, clearing mind, boosting mood...always a bonus!
Even with all the positive reasons for using these herbs,  I've chosen them for their scent.
Even after the floors have dried I feel like there is a fresh scent left lingering. Pure Joy.

Anyways, now for the fun part.  Aside from needing a good cleaning, this room was looking a little tired. I decided to clear everything out and start with a blank slate.  With both the couch and love seat being over sized and slip covered, formality is at a low. Luckily we aren't formal people. However, when rearranging the space, it can be a bit like trying to fit a circle into a square.

Sometimes an arrangement just won't work.

This works! 

Cottage. Bohemian. A little mix of farm house, stir in some's quite a mix.  A little bit
like my garden, I just keep adding to my collections. Mixing and stirring it all up. Lot's of  puka shells, beads, crystals, feathers, and a few elephants.  Making a great place for grounding and regrouping.

I enjoy mixing my 'treasures' all together.  Kitchen, dining room and living room, all treated as one. Eclectic? I'm not sure, however, it's cosy. And Cosy is always my goal.
What do you like your living space to say about you?

Bohemian Patio Hangout

First let me say that I hope everyone is staying safe through this severe fire season.
We are fortunate, at the moment our city is not being evacuated. On the day I am writing this post, the smoke is heavy, but I feel like that is a good thing. The wind has died down a bit and we had a tiny sprinkle of rain.  Hopefully helping to get a little control over the fires. Not that they are reading this but...THANK YOU to all those fire fighters!!!They are all so very brave.

With all the fires all around British Columbia, we are encouraged to stay indoors.  I have stayed inside, for the most part.  Except for this morning.  Our patio was covered in dried flower petals and cob webs. Not very welcoming.  I just couldn't leave it any longer.

I gave the whole patio a good sweep, and washed down the tables. Some of my flower pots were
not fitting in to the colour scheme. They went to the front entrance where their pinkish-purple flowers work beautifully.
As I fluffed the pillows I did a little re-arranging and editing.
Through the summer I find my plants start to struggle a bit. Leggy and tired, they
get a little trim and a gentle wash. If they are in a smaller pot I put them in the kitchen sink for a lukewarm soak. They seem to enjoy the tlc.

Our patio is filled with my collection of flower pots and baskets.  It's hard to resist all the lovely
new pots available each spring.  So I don't. My collection has grown to be an eclectic assortment of shapes and sizes filled with an assortment of random plants. Tucking some of them into the garden adds permanent colour to a foliage heavy garden. Smaller pots can be stacked on top of and inside larger pots for a easy cottage look. On the patio, they soften the line between home and garden.

I used to be very strict with my use of colour, or lack there of, but I seem to have a problem with blues and purples...LOVE! With my tastes changing, and my collection growing, it works well with the bohemian style I've been admiring lately.

This is the best view of the garden from the patio. There is a bird feeder hanging on a branch in the
tree to the left, and the waterfall straight ahead, so you get to observe them eating and bathing. This 
is my kind of reality TV.

Succulents and Coleus can sit side by side because of the crazy sun patterns back here.  It's been tricky trying to figure out the right plants for this spot. It goes from heavy shade and quite cool to intense afternoon sun with extreme heat. This succulent planter seems to be managing beautifully.
But that's Costco for you...(#costco), I'm not being endorsed!

If you are wondering what all the ribbons are about...I am trying to bend and shape my trees
around the patio. The ribbons aren't on the branches long enough to leave any marks or wounds. The ribbon gets wrapped along a branch and then tided up or down to the railing.  Slowly, it seems my crazy plan is working.  In a young garden, wanting a slight overgrown jungle look, craving character and charm, I'll try anything.

Many years ago I made slip covers from painters cloth.  When ever needed, I remove them and throw them in the wash.  They are very low maintenance and they still look pretty fresh!

(Click on the picture to see the difference slipcovers can make!)

Hope you enjoyed the tour,now it's time for a cool drink out here.

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Suburban Cottage Garden

We did it!  We've managed to squeeze it all into our tiny suburban lot.
Yes, it's a little tight, and it has been called 'cosy'...but I love it.

(early spring 2011)

(summer 2017)

If you've visited here before, then you are aware that this is an ongoing process.
Working when finances will allow. So far, six summers and counting.
Challenged with a tight budget and close property lines.
Oh, how I would love to have more money and soil to work with!

(my first apple tree- cortland )

(my first pumpkin!)


Ironically, I feel like all the constraints we've had has made this garden even more special to us.

Click on picture to take you to some before photos of my garden.

(herbs, veggies, flowers and a pool)

(view from patio)

Nestling into this home nicely, with no plans to move, we were prepared for serious sweat equity. Making sacrifices to our household budget to get the projects done. It's not complete yet, there is always room for more changes, at the moment I am eyeing up our side yard.  Currently, the side yard is used as a parking lot, but I see a fruit tree and some three sisters plantings.  Not this year though, I will enjoy and dream....and work on a plan.

Here are a few points that I followed over the years. They have helped when I was feeling discouraged and sore.

1. Make a plan
Decide how much time and money you want to spend on your outdoor space.
Will this be your address for awhile? Or do you know it will be short term.
Draw up a rough copy of your yard, what stays and what goes. Add in your wish list. This is when Pinterest, you-tube, blogs and all those glossy magazines are so helpful.  Now go ahead and dream big, this is when it's easy to make big changes.

2. Prioritize
What do you want the, play area, food, privacy, relaxation?
Privacy and grass. They were number one on my list.
With three girls that loved to pass a soccer ball and having a dog, a fence went up and grass was laid.
Shortly after that I carved small corner beds for young trees to get their roots in the ground. That first year was heavy on the sweat equity.  Agghh, who am I kidding, every year is heavy on the sweat equity!

3. Break it up into bite size pieces
Even though I wanted a lot more then grass and trees that first year, I knew I didn't have the energy, money or time to take on any more. Having a prioritized plan in place reminded me that it was going to eventually happen, just not at that moment.  Sometimes the priority list changes but that is completely up to you. The water feature jumped up quickly after experiencing the tranquility in my sister's garden and that moved the front yard project down a few years.

Click on image to see our xeriscaped front garden.

4. Resources...
Work with what you have; a lovely old lilac, a messy path way of pavers, a pile of rocks, broken furniture or toys. All of which can be repaired, reinvented or relocated.
Compost! Compost! Compost!  Nothing repairs the soil like compost. It's free.
Start seeds, divide your perennials, plant exchange with friends, visit year end nursery sales.
Thrift stores and garage sales can be great resource for flower pots, garden tables or garden art.  Be creative.

5. Get busy
Try your best to get each job done before you begin another. Making sure to give yourself time to take a break and enjoy.

6. Changes
After all is said and done, the dream may change, and that's ok.  In fact it's wonderful.
My tastes have changed and my direction has swayed, making this even more personal then before.


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