Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The countertops

Back to the little white cottage right at dawn to retake what I left unfinished the previous evening. The cute Cottontail was already there—I like to think waiting for me? He saw me and started to flee up the hill… but then, something strange, and magical, happened. 

It was a natural response in me; as spontaneously as morning sunshine I pleaded: “Oh please don’t go”. And to my utter surprise, the rabbit stopped—his peripheral vision and right ear turned toward where I was standing… as if listening.  Of course, that prompted me to continue. “You can stay if you want to… I say.  I won’t hurt you—I promise”. Then, without further ado, I kept onto my business, never turning back to verify whether the rabbit was still there… 


That’s how I made the first contact… now the little cottontail and I have gotten acquaintances... he knows me and knows I don’t pose a danger whatsoever. Back at the house in the roses I used to talk to the mourning doves that lived in my garden. And they listened… oh they listed indeed.

Once, one particular female decided to make her nest right among the thorns of the Sally Holmes roses growing by our bedroom window. When I discovered her, I made sure to introduce myself. I told her it was OK to make my garden her home. We both could share that wonderful place God had given us, but on one condition. “This is my domain”—I said. You can have your babies here, and I promise I won’t hurt you, or hurt them, but you’ll have to trust me… You’ll have to let me go on with my duties in the garden without freaking out every time you see me... and it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen happening in my garden. I walked and worked so close to her it amazed me, but the dove would not minded a bit. She lived there until her babies where able to fly… Then one day a dove and her young showed up in the garden… they were so trustful and their eyes… oh they could talk those eyes could.  Looking at me everywhere I went… I knew immediately who they were… but that’s another story for another day.

Anyway, going back to the little white cottage... it was lovely this morning when I got there… love the peacefulness breathed in songbirds and Oak Toad’s chants.  And there are birds nesting in the cornices in the front porch.  They like it there, it seems, and I saw one bird standing on the new pendant light I put in the front porch… maybe looking for a place to make a nest?


I started weeding today to prepare new beds for planting… just by the front porch… I cut out and removed sod layers and weeds, and weeds and stems and roots stuck to the soil…  awwrrrr!


I want to get rid of the holly bushes surrounding the house; maybe plant hydrangeas, or roses, but my husband likes them and wants them there… and they do provide some privacy, so I may have to leave them. Shall I go against hubby’s wishes and get rid of the hollies?  


I like hostas and candytuft and want to plant them by the front door…  I also cleaned both bathrooms today.  Cleaned and unpacked and put everything in their new place.  Then… the guys arrived!

With the new granite countertops!

Happy happy meeee!


Yuck...

Things always get worse before they can get better!


Isn’t this a beauty!


Waiting patiently...



The granite guys did such a good job.  I particularly enjoyed talking to them in Spanish.  We were supposed to buy a couple of corbels to support the island countertop overhang, and have them installed at a later time, but these guys were so nice and provided them for me, and even installed them… for free.  I only have to paint them now.


The sink and oven had to be unhooked in order for the granite to be installed, but the company who Home Depot hired was not duty-bound to put everything back in place.  They said I needed a plumber to do all the connecting… they could offer names, but I had to pay… so I had to contact Home Depot and pray that they could send someone to do all the connections for me… thankfully, they did send someone; a very nice gentlemen by the name of John who did all the connections on my appliances and even helped me with the old latch on my back doors that wasn't working… free of charge.    

I brought more roses to celebrate...


I’m so happy and pleased with how my kitchen is looking and humbled, oh humbled and gratified by God’s mercies upon this speck of dust that I am… 

I will post more pictures tomorrow and will answer your questions on my previous post soon.

Thank you my friends... for your kindness and words of encouragements and for being you and you and being always here with me... you know who you are! THANK YOU




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First roses...

I finally finished painting the inside of the cabinets this morning… up in a ladder  boxed up in the interior of cabinetry as I painted them away like mad… do you get a lot of paint on your clothes when you paint?  I had to throw away two sets of t-shirts and slacks, my hair is green and my hands, nails and arm a happy potpourri  of white and green…   but it was all worth it!


Everything looks clean and it smells so fresh… and I’m loving the aqua paint inside the cupboards with the glass doors.  It reminds me of a calm ocean and of a tranquil afternoon in the Caribbean…  This is exactly what I'd envisioned...  so soothing, and pretty… the color is Pastel Jade 480C-2, from Behr, but I added a little bit of white to make it a bit lighter. If you care to know, the color of grout I chose for the kitchen tiles is Polyblend Snow White #11.


Noticed the disaster I made on the countertops while painting?  
Had to do it before the granite got installed.  
Boy, I’m glad the installation takes place tomorrow and not today as I had thought… 


I actually painted two of the cabinets in this aqua color.  The replacement doors for the ones I ‘ruined’ (pictured below) will be arriving soon.  I am excited because they will be glass doors now... and thus, I painted  the inside in aqua too, to match the other… the rest are all white.  


The rose garden in our rented home is coming alive with color and petals unfurling against rain and mountains of yellow dust.  This afternoon, I cut the first one and made two bouquets.  I took them to my little white cottage and placed them on my pretty white mantel…




I am giddy and lightheaded like a happy little girl whose Christmas wishes were granted… I paint, and take pictures, and put things away in an orderly manner in their new places, and take more pictures, and drive back and forth from our rented home to our little cottage and vice versa for the thousand time, filling up my truck to the brim with boxes and stuff and everything else I can lift and handle by myself.    

Then, take more pictures...
I added a new vintage vase to my vignette...


...and take some more pictures.


Lovely...


This is the same antique vase now in the kitchen... behind, the lovely chandelier...


Hope you don’t mind me coming here every day these days and probably talk about the very same things and repeat the same images and scenarios. I’m trying to document our progress since day one of the purchase of our little white cottage, and to be able to keep a vivid recollection of moments. My wish is to create a relaxed home; fresh and inviting, simple yet with a touch of romanticism and mountains of fresh flowers from a garden, which right now exists only in my mind… but it will…it will! ;)


Monday, April 28, 2014

In the Garden of Weeds

It has been raining on and off for the last two days, and from above the white mantel in the living room comes the yellow scent of the ragwort—new to me, different, and reminiscent of wet earth and damp greenery; calling the senses to play with imagination as I work in my tiny cottage kitchen like a true she-beast trying to paint the insides of the cabinetry.


It’s crazy exhausting—that task of painting cabinetry, and I have gone over at least 10 coats of painting and retouching, and painting some more on each cupboard.  I am drained and I’m not even half way through yet… but the kitchen is already looking so chic and pretty, and I love the smell of fresh paint and feel free and optimistic as I paint away with my brushes, all covered up in a variegate rainbow of white and mint up to my soul… a light heart is a blessing, doesn’t it.


It is lovely out there in the weed garden.  This afternoon I took a break from painting cabinets and sat there for a moment—alone, surrounded only by the warmth of the remnants of April and the blue of the sky and the symphony of wings… full of deep silence all at the same time… filled with dreams and absolute clarity of perception. 


I decided to stroll about the property and search my surroundings beyond the privet thickets and see what surprises were there to be discovered… and sure enough.  The privet is thick and verdant with kudzu and autumn olive and trunks with multiple stems and many long, leafy branches… I was thrilled to my bones when I saw something jump to the small creek, disturbed as it was by my presence in the brushy growth… something yellow or brown or olive to gray… Spring Peepers?  And then, earlier this evening when I came back to the cottage, I spied a couple of lovely Eastern Cottontails hopping all over the weed garden as they conversed with each other and munch on all those succulents.  I guess birds are not the only inhabitants of the shrub thickets.  Oh I’m afraid there’s more… much more.    


You can imagine how very thrilled and excited and joyful I was... I have never ever seen a rabbit in my garden... or in anyone's backyard as a matter of fact… and they were so cute too.  I tried to follow one of them; the male, I supposed—perhaps he was the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland who had come to my weed garden to introduce himself and his sweetheart?  To invite me to some magical tea party somewhere… maybe?   All I needed to do was to follow the rabbits on their path, past the old wooden little bridge, onto the thick privet and beyond… see where they may take me? 


Or maybe not? You see, I did some research tonight and learned that all rabbit species can carry a variety of external and internal parasites, aside the nuisance they can represent in the garden.  Cottontails are very productive having 3-7 litters per year that range from 4-7 young per litter.  Young can start eating vegetation after 8 days.  Can you imagine?  A whole army of rabbits.  Maybe I just should forget about hiring a landscaper and have the rabbits do all the work of removing the weeds?

And then the landscaper we’d called finally came by.  We learned of all the poison ivy and poison oak we have in the thicket.  I feel so lost when it comes to what expect from Nature in this place.  What to do?  What precautions to take, how to proceed with so many things I know nothing about?  I am an inept in my field, just a clone of a gardener I once knew…  but I'm already in love.  I'm in love with this cottage, and this place, as foreign as it is to me... and all I know.  And there's no turning back.


The bouquet of daisies hanging from my living room ceiling it simply delights me.  It enchants me… I love how it sends off offerings of daisy petals to its surroundings, freely and wonderfully tattooing ceilings and walls in lovely designs and enchantment.  It almost looks like a round magical moon hanging from the sky, slowly descending down to earth...

Thank you for following me on my adventures.  
Tomorrow our new granite countertops will be installed.  
I can hardly wait... 







Sunday, April 27, 2014

The little cottage

I am so pleased at how things are coming along with our cottage renovations… what a huge difference a few improvements along with some pretty details can make to the overall appearance of the unassuming abode—in this case, our little white cottage.


Love how the small sun room feels now with the new hardwood floors.  The nasty looking kitchen tiles look awesome with the lighter grout and wider widths.  Just a few changes and I'm already static with joy... what a great looking kitchen I have! 

    Oh and remember the dark vinyl in the cupboard?

It's no more! 

Happy happy…


The handyman I hired to do the job while I was away decided not to paint the cabinetry, as I had asked him to.  He assured me that because the cabinets are not real wood the paint will peel off, and he didn’t want to take the risk.  Thus, I am doing the job myself  ;)


I have been creating this pretty dream in my mind all this time, and refuse to put it down just because someone says it’s not quite doable to make it real.  If the paint peels off, so what… I can paint again. Right? Even if it doesn’t work, I'd have to try you know!  Stubborn.

The chandeliers are a dream… they remind me of mid-summer nights and sapphire starry skies and whimsical fireflies when their candle lights are on.


I wasn’t too sure about covering those church-like pretty windows with panels or curtains, as I’ve noticed that the trends in window treatments have changed considerably in recent years… have you notice that too? Gone are the ruffles of lace and the layers of heavy fabrics… so I debated on the issue for a while… but, we do need privacy so I opted for simplicity without all the frills… simple white panels and some modern, weightless sheer panels for added depth… from Ikea. 



And the Pendant lamp from Ikea?  Oh I’m in love.  I love how beautifully the patterns reflect onto the ceiling and on the walls, creating enchantment and happy thoughts.


Outside, in my wild flower garden I spotted some lovely yellow flowers.


Perhaps you might you know their name? 
Wildflowers make me happy… more than ever they make me joyful. 
I have learn to appreciate them.
They have the power to change my mood and make this world a better place…


How very lucky and thankful I am to have these wildflowers growing in my backyard…


I made two posies and brought them in...

I know, I should cut the stems a little shorter tomorrow...


My first flower arrangements… and I haven’t even started a garden yet!  


A traditional mantel with a touch of glam me thinks!


I am centering a nice size round mirror that I already have over the mantel, but that's it

Simple beauty



Hope you're having a wonderful evening...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Home

We are home. The color green has taken over the land all the while we were away. The woods are alive and in full bloom, and the song of birds is the music of the skies. I can’t really say anymore whether the old adage “home is where the heart is” holds all the truth we may think it does, because, perhaps it really should be the other way around and “your heart is where your home is”—wherever you have make a house your home?


Your home is whatever place you long to be. And my heart is definitely at home where I nurture and cherish my nest--like a little bird of the skies... and the skies possess a bluer tint to it here, and the sun shines brighter; filling the earth with mirth and magic, and enchantment everywhere I look. I am happy to be back and I can hardly believe what I’m saying, or writing or thinking… but I am! I’m truly and honestly am happy to be home, here… our home here in the South. That’s not to say I don’t miss my girls. I miss them terribly, but… home is where my little heart fulfils itself according to its own laws, and builds up its own forms and represent itself just the way it wants to be… that’s home. And nothing is holier; nothing is more satisfactory and beautiful.


Rhododendrons and azaleas are the native flowers around here.  They’re everywhere, filling the earth with color and beauty.  Because we moved here right at the end of the fall, last year, I hadn’t seen these bushes in full bloom before, and I am enamorated… in love with the beauty and splendor of their leaves and flowers.  


I want to believe that every living thing; whether in the Animal kingdom or the Plant kingdom have their own unique language in which they communicate, not only among themselves, but with us humans as well.  Organisms like trees, bushes and grasses have their own song to sing, their own language in which to express themselves, and I have heard the voices of the azaleas.  And I like where I’ve heard.  


I will plant azaleas in my little white cottage.  I haven’t been there yet… but we will be visiting this afternoon.  I had already packed a few boxes before we left to go up North (almost a whole month ago), and will start taking things over there tomorrow morning.  I can hardly wait to see what new changes I will find in my little white cottage… 


I’ll keep you posted soon.

Just like spring... I hope you're blooming 
wherever you're planted.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Updates and blessings

This is what our kitchen at the little white cottage looked like when we bought the house…


It got worse instead of better real soon...  
Of course, I have only myself to blame for that nasty boo-boo you see on the following picture.
See it?


I didn’t know there were such a thing as Thermofoil cabinetry… you?  Thermofoil is a vinyl film that's applied to particleboard or plywood.  It can mimic wood detailing more closely than laminate and it is also a good choice if you’re looking to refresh your home with a budget makeover. Our little cottage came with this type of cabinetry.  But I didn't know this.  And thus, I thought I was just removing a small paint chip off the cupboard, but ended up pulling off a huge chuck of the Thermofoil instead…

A foolish and careless mistake indeed… or maybe not? You see, secretly I’m glad I did this, but please don’t tell my husband, K? ;)


So, we ended up ordering a new pair of glass doors to replace my boo-boo (hehe). They will match the glass door cupboard on the other side…  which make me very happy indeed, because I do love glass door cabinetry.


The kitchen doesn't look as bright as you may think, but that's just because of all the dark countertops (which soon will be replaced by white granite) and the awful dark insides of the glass door cupboard... I cannot imagine why would anybody want to cover the inside of their cupboards with something as yucky and dark as whatever this is...


Plastic?  Some type of vinyl paper?  I dunno.  Have you ever seen anything like it? This was such an eye-sore from the very moment I discovered it.  So we’re removing the dark vinyl and painting the inside of the cabinets to something that can brighten up the space and make me smile each time I look at them.  I have chosen a lovely teal color, from Valspar.

Something like this… my inspiration.  Taken from Houzz  


Or this… 


I’m so loving this color right now… 
turquoise, teal, aqua, aquamarine, green-blue…


The backsplash will be in a very light green marble and glass tiles - And I'm also replacing the hardware on cabinetry.   Don’t know yet what I’ll be choosing… most probably, something from Hobby Lobby in aqua to match the inside of cupboards (see above pic).

I also wanted a chandelier in the kitchen... to spice it up a bit and give it some French country flair!  Of course, I didn't want to spend a fortune on it, so fortunately for me, I found the perfect chandie at Home Depot...


Hampton Bay Maria Theresa 6-Light Chrome Chandelier, Model # C873CH06- Internet # 202184534. At the marvelous price of $99.99.  I love it so much, I bought two.  One for the kitchen and one for the dinning room area.  Love the curvaceous scrolling arms and crystal cut French pendants... I thinking I now want one for every room in the house… hehe!

I also love this chandelier on this next pic, here... and I'm thinking I must add some touches of hot pink to my tan, black and white decor... what do you think?  Pretty?   


The original chandelier in the living room, which came with the house, was too outdated and heavy for the style I’m envisioning, and thus I had it replaced for a MASKROS Pendant lamp, from Ikea.  Price - $49.99. Just like the one on this photograph... Very stylish and contemporary…  we’ll see how it looks with the overall d├ęcor of our little cottage.


I should get another one just like it for my gypsy room for sure.  It's so pretty... and kind of throws you for a loop too, because each time you see it you think it's from a more expensive vendor. It's quite eye catching, but made of paper.  At an incredible price.

(photos from Houzz)

We’re going back to our South home this coming Friday. I am excited. My heart is breaking. I am looking forward to this new chapter of our lives in our little white cottage. I fear distance, and departures. I am two hearts beating in one soul. I am tired, I mean really tired, pressing my own small time into tiny heres and nows and somewhere in the distance… I can hardly feel my legs right now, except for the pain emanating from them; from working all day long without stopping. But my heart is at ease and I am thankful and sanctified by the blessing of serving others. I am fortunate to have those I love in my life… love cannot be described with mere human words. My love—all of my loves, I lay in Thy precious hands o Lord of lords… I am content. I am thankful. I lean deep into the mysteries of Thy mind and recognize your perfect beauty in all of my imperfections… 

I like how Henry Drummond puts it: “You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love"… 

 Have a good night my friends!

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