Monday, June 22, 2009

A Tiny Place

Have you ever wanted to live in a tiny place? I don't know why but a tiny house or a tiny space has always appealed to me. Yes, I know you have to clean out, throw away and minimize but it seems so cozy to find that perfect tiny spot. Do any of you subscribe to the WikiHow? Today's WikiHow is how to live in a tiny house and I just couldn't believe it! It means that I am not the only person imagining a perfect life in a tiny place. In fact I discovered companies specializing in tiny home plans!! Take a look at some of the tiny places one could call home.
The Katrina Cottages were a beautiful response to a tragedy.

It made me laugh to just thinking about the Tiny Texas Cottages....I thought everything was BIG in Texas!

Guess I will just keep dreaming of more tiny places . . . .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

My Dad with my oldest son in 2004

Today we'll be honoring my husband and my oldest son but I'll also be taking some quiet moments to remember my Dad who passed away in 2005. As an adult there are so many times during the course of a day that I stop and think about a certain hobby or habit and realize it's something my Dad did or it was an example of good living that he set for me. As far as parents go, my Dad was the nurturer, the heart if you will, rather than my mother. He was also the career Dad, a well-known leader in the community and the person who was known for random acts of kindness. He was an incredible gardener and he continued growing things up until he passed away. My Dad died of congestive heart failure but the month after he died we still harvested cabbage and broccoli from his last crop. His family, church and community all had great meaning to him. By example we learned to be led by faith, to love and do good for one another. He was wise in his advice, being quick to act when necessary but slow to respond when one needed to carefully consider the issues at hand.

My Dad used to sing a lot - mainly old gospel, hillbilly music, old cowboy songs. We had been talking about one song I remembered him singing as a child and the next day I came home from work to hear that he had called and sung the song to me on our voicemail. I want to share the lyrics with you. Happy Father's Day.
The house my Dad and his 11 siblings grew up in; built by my grandfather in the early 30's.

In a vine-covered shack in the mountains
Bravely fighting the battle of Time
There's a dear one who's weathered life's sorrow
It's that silver haired Daddy of mine

If I could recall all the heartaches
Dear old Daddy, I've caused you to bear
If I could erase those lines from your face
And bring back the gold to your hair

If God would but grant me the power
Just to turn back the pages of Time
I'd give all I own if I could but atone
To that silver haired Daddy of mine.

I know it's too late, dear old Daddy
To repay for the heartaches and care
But dear Mother is waiting in Heaven
Just to comfort and solace you there

If I could recall all the heartaches
Dear old Daddy, I've caused you to bear
If I could erase those lines from your face
And bring back the gold to your hair

If God would but grant me the power
Just to turn back the pages of Time
I'd give all I own if I could but atone
To that silver haired Daddy of mine

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Love the Weekends

The past work week was my busiest week ever. Seriously. I am tired and I was never so happy to go home to enjoy the weekend - to retreat, if you will.

A few years ago when we built our house, during the construction, the house somehow began to feel like a beach house. From the outside it doesn't necessarily look like a beach house, but in the living room and sitting on the deck and porch it feels like a summer vacation house so while building I decided to redo our furniture.

Everything in our previous house was all about color and I loved all the color then.

But in our new house, I wanted a change. To lighten things up with a lot less color. We got all of our furniture recovered in various off-white fabrics. For accessories I decided to use beach colors, seashells and other natural items I'd collected from various trips as accents in the living areas.

Here are some of the collected natural items from various places in the world. A couple of years ago a feng shui expert came to offer some assistance with some issues in my house and I have to say she was amazed and happy seeing so much nature indoors. (I'll share the details of the feng shui experience in another post).

Salt from the Dead Sea.

A shell serving as a dish holding shells. One of the shells below I found in Florida but most of these were purchased at a shell shop.

A friend made these beautiful glass coasters with photos from some our favorite places. The glass is the color of sea glass so they're perfect for the room.

We even use a collection of shells and rocks to disguise the fireplace starter key.

And of course I keep my shell guide handy (on top of a basket of shells).

Our dining room is the only room in our entire house with a little color on the wall. The table mirrors the color of the wall with some seashell dishes that I bought from Kohls. The Nantucket basket is full of sand dollars and other shells we found on Tybee Island.

It has been a blessing to be at home, to rest in my vacation home. This weekend was a time for me to slow down, reconnect with nature and my family. My middle child turned 26 today so we went to a nearby hotel restaurant that sits on one of the airport runways. It was a relaxing celebration and nice way to end the week (of course I was dreaming of a trip to the coast - oh well). Hope your weekend is a relaxing one.

P.S. I am nearing my 200th post. It's time for a giveaway. More about that later next week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Serenbe - A Sustainable Community

All beauty is an outward expression of inward good, and so closely are the beautiful and the true allied, and we shall find, if we become sincere lovers of the grace, the harmony and loveliness with which rural homes and rural life are capable of being invested that we are silently opening our hearts to an experience. . . .

You may not know the name of this community but you have probably read about this community if you read publications like BHG, Martha Stewart Weddings, NYT, Southern Living or the now expired Cottage Living. Serenbe is a 900 acre community focused on sustainability. Many of the homes in the community have been featured in national publications. For readers in the Atlanta area, the founders of Serenbe, Steve & Marie Nygren have a long history with food—Steve as a restaurateur and founder of the successful Peasant Restaurant Group; Marie as the daughter of Margaret Lupo, owner and chef of Atlanta’s famed Mary Mac’s Tea Room.

When visiting you'll see animals, organic farming, wildflower meadows, restaurants, an inn and a beautiful living community just minutes from Atlanta. It is just minutes from my house so for me it is a nice place to go for coffee on Saturday morning.

Here are the stables where horses and riding lessons are waiting for you.

And isn't this a lovely rustic structure? At any given moment you will see ponies, goats, cows and horses.

Do you ever notice how noisy it can be on Saturday morning in the summer when everyone starts mowing grass? Not at Serenbe. There's no grass in the front yards - really! It's nice to just hear the birds and friendly neighbors saying "good morning" instead of roaring lawn mowers and trimmers.

Wildflowers pop up everywhere. These were curbside on main street disguising a fire extinguisher.

The garbage cans, stop signs and speed signs all have some lovely metal works framing them.
The garbage can has a two-part lid. One opening is for trash, the other is for recyclables.

On Saturday mornings at the market you can by plants, herbs, beef and other organic food products. You can also find art, soaps, plants and other handmade/homemade goods. I brought home a blueberry plant.

Don't you love the railings on this house?

This was the railing next door.

I loved this house. I think because it reminded me of Sea Cottage banner photo.

Aren't these interesting street lights? I've only seen them by day but I imagine these are gorgeous at night.

Isn't it interesting to see this jasmine starting to creep over the front porch. I wish you could enjoy the same scent as me as I stood in front of this house to take pictures.

If you have an afternoon and you live in the metro Atlanta area, you should make a trip to Serenbe. And if you have a weekend to spend in Atlanta, take some time to enjoy a stay at the inn. Either way, I hope you get to make a visit to this sustainable community.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wilkerson Mill Gardens

If you live in Georgia, and you garden, chances are you 've heard of Wilkerson Mill Gardens. Elizabeth Dean is a well-known Georgia gardener who frequently speaks to gardening groups throughout the southeast. (Elizabeth is one of the names associated with hydrangeas). She and her husband Gene own Wilkerson Mill Garden located in Palmetto, Georgia and it's such a nice place to go to spend an afternoon. This past weekend I went to find a tree. The one in my front yard didn't survive last year's drought so I was looking to find a replacement.

Visiting Elizabeth's garden center isn't at all like visiting your local nursery. It's a little odd in that you are still in Fulton County, Georgia but you are in the deep woods when you get to Wilkerson Mill. Yes, there is an old mill on the grounds, and of course a stream, but there are also little seating areas where visitors can relax and just enjoy the bird symphony. While we were there 2 people came just to bird watch and I was so excited to spend an hour listening to my favorite bird song, sung by the wood thrush.

Gene is a terrific writer and one of the things I enjoy most when visiting, is taking my time reading all the plant descriptions. One will find puns, riddles and wit in many of the written descriptions. Elizabeth and Gene used to live in Atlanta and had a beautiful garden in Little Five Points. The scaled back and lived in a complex with a small urban garden. They used to keep photos of both of their breath-taking gardens on the website but they have changed some of their photos.
Oh yes, I got off track. We found our tree. It's a ginko. And I forgot to mention the fresh eggs that are also available down on the farm. If you love visiting unique gardens you might also enjoy the amazing experience in shopping for native plant at Towaliga Plants. Located near Macon, Georgia, this is another garden stop that is sure to please.

Monday, June 1, 2009

From Trash to Treasure - Not Yet

I really wasn't looking for anything special as my husband and I started out for work this morning. We were driving our usual route in an industrial area when suddenly I spotted coffee bags on the side of the road and yelled, "stop the car!" My husband looked at me like I was crazy, especially when I asked him to back up so that I could go ask the shop owner if I could have the bags. Before my husband had a chance to object I had already jumped out of the car.

You may be reading this and wondering if I have lost my mind. Well, it's all this blog reading!!! Sarah at A Beach Cottage is always posting stories about her amazing free or almost free finds. And last week you should have seen her burlap bag table runner! Sarah's blog is one that I try to read daily so that I can enjoy a trip to the beach every day. Last week I read about the burlap party on Southern Hospitality and happened to see some of the many interesting things people have made with burlap. If you missed the burlap party you might want to go back and look at some of the creative uses for burlap.

You can imagine my excitement when I spotted these bags with amazing color and character. There is no doubt this morning I was suffering with blogger-mania when I saw these bags. When I went in to ask if I could have the old bags, the owner of the shop surprised me with, "oh, you will want some of the lighter colored bags," as if he could read my mind. He had hundreds of these bags in his shop and he gave me my pick of the bunch. I knew I was suffering with the blogger disease when I got to the parking deck at work, took the bags out of the trunk and photographed them - in the parking deck. Just ask me what I plan to do with these bags. Simple answer - I don't know. Any ideas?

Is there a treatment for this disorder? I hope not as I have had so much fun meeting so many people at today's Porch Party!!!! Just in case you missed it, stop in at Rhondi's Rose Colored Glasses.