Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lantana ~ Three Months Later

Wow, our Lantana is amazing! It's been three months since we planted Lantana in our mailbox planters. The Lantana has performed fabulously. We, well when I say we I mean Jerry, didn't totally neglect them we averaged watering them every three days. You can see from the photo there are a tons of buds about to pop. Some days we look out the window and all we see is yellow. Lantana has added new life to our entrance.

I guess we will be planting Lantana next year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Take Me Away Calgon . . .

So many things affect how we feel and act. Eating and drinking healthy things not only have an effect on our body they also have an effect on our mental attitude.

We feel better about ourselves when we take care of our body. After all, we were only given one body. I love drinking Silver Needle White Tea from Teavana. I loved it even more because I know I am drinking something that's healthy. When I brew my tea I make extra so I can drink it cold. I purchased a couple of items to make this tea brewing ritual a truly delightful experience.

This cute owl teapot was purchased for me by my daughter-in-law, Casey from Anthropologie. Isn't he the cutest?

Here is the Silver Needle White Tea from Teavana. This tea steeps for a full five minutes and has a very mild flavor.

The honey pot and the spoon rest also came from Anthropologie.

I add a touch of organic honey.

I add fresh mint because I like the taste. I also feel like it gives me an energy boost; although my research can't substantiate my claim. This little green leaf is rich in Vitamins A, C and minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, potassium and calcium. I store my tea in my grandmother's antique Ball jar, which of course, evokes that sense of family feeling. I told you, I turn this tea brewing thing into a full blown experience.
I think everyone should have special glasses that evoke that "Take Me Away Calgon" feeling. I found my hand blown fish glasses from Crate & Barrel several years ago. I instantly fell in love with them. They're so happy looking!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A flower you can neglect!

There's something about flowering plants that gives us a feeling of joy inside. However, most of the time that joy includes some effort on our part. In fact, it's not just the initial effort of planting or pruning, the work continues throughout the summer and into fall. With our busy lives, it's hard to keep the landscaping in tip-top shape unless you are fortunate enough to have a gardener; which I don't. So I am always on the lookout for low maintenance, but BEAUTIFUL plants.

During our annual trip to the Farmer's Market in downtown Nashville, we found the perfect solution for the two stone planters beside our mailbox. Our mailbox is too far away from the house for us to make a commitment to watering the planters on a daily basis. We thought if we could find a plant that we could water once a week or every four days that would be ideal. It seemed like a lost cause, but then we remembered Lantana! We planted it several years ago in our landscaping around the house and it was beautiful, but YIKES, it tends to take over. Lantana is like a desert plant; it doesn't require much water or care. In fact, you can plant it just about anywhere and then forget it. Another benefit to planting Lantana, it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Lantana comes in several different varieties. Check our your local nursery to see what's available.

If you're looking for a plant that has color and is practically care-free, Lantana might just the ticket for you.

I'll take another picture later in the summer to let you know how our neglected Lantana is faring down by the hot busy road.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Traditions

Jerry, my husband, started a Mother's Day tradition about 10 years ago. Before then, Jerry had always taken us out to eat on that special day. One year, after waiting two hours to be seated at the restaurant, Jerry decided he would start cooking for all the moms in our family. It was such a hit that it became an enduring family tradition! This year, we shared this tradition with 20 family members and friends.

Jerry, Owen, Lee, my brother, brother-in-law and his brother all pitched in to help prepare and cook. They don't let the mom's do anything, which all the moms love! We feel so special and honored.

Are you wondering what they cooked and how it looked?

Grilled pork chops
Baked potatoes
Fresh steamed spinach
Macaroni Salad
Deviled Eggs
Sister Shubert's Yeast Rolls
Sweet Tea

Owen, my oldest son, started another tradition. He makes a stepping stone with Maddie and Morgan's hand or foot prints every year on Mother's Day for his wife, Casey. The girls help decorate the stepping stone with colored stones and chunks of glass. Aren't they just too cute? Maddie, the oldest, is going to be nine on May 14th and we always celebrate her birthday on Mother's Day as well. Do you have any special Mother's Day traditions that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear about them!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nashville Under Water

Last weekend was frightening to say the least. Torrential rains lasted for two days with a record rainfall in most areas of 10" - 13". The water rose so fast many people did not have a chance to evacuate their homes. Many of the businesses in downtown Nashville were flooded. In fact, most of the people that work in downtown Nashville were not able to go back to work until Friday and some are still closed. What's even sadder is most home owners and business owners did not have flood insurance. Most of these homes and businesses were not in a flood zone. Total damage is estimated at $1.5 billion. The Cumberland river crested at 51.9 feet, about 12 feet above flood stage, that's the highest since 1937.

The above video shows only some of the devastation Nashville experienced last week.The photos in this video are horrifying.

What was the most shocking to me was the fact that so many cars and trucks were caught on the interstate when the waters surged on I-24 Saturday afternoon and that was just the beginning.

Opryland Hotel sustained an enormous amount of damage. Over 1500 guests had to be evacuated. The hotel will be closed for 4 - 6 months for repairs.

Several of my family happened to be out of town and had to wait until Monday before they could return to Nashville. Since we live on a hill we survived without damage; just an over flowing pool and lots of broken branches from the high winds.

Nashville Businesses have donated millions of dollars to help the flood victims. If you would like to help in anyway, there are several organizations set up to receive donations.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring is in the air!

Spring brings perfect temperatures with very little humidity, not to mention those vivid and vibrant colors and smells of fragrant flowers in bloom; who wouldn't love this season? It is invigorating to be outside. In fact, spring weather is the natural way to get a boost of energy.

For those of us who can't be outside as much as we would like during the spring, we can compensate by bringing a bit of the outside to the inside of our home. Live flowers create energy and positive thinking while adding life to any room. As most of you know, I live on 15 acres of land that my grandfather and grandmother purchased during the depression. Jerry and I are really fortunate to have all the established trees and shrubbery planted many years ago.

The Forsythia bushes were beautiful this year. We have several planted along our fence row.

My grandmother planted a Lilac bush so long ago I don't even know how old it is. I remember the fragrant smell of Lilacs from when I was a little girl and we visited my grandparents home in the Spring.

I also enjoy having the ability to view nature's outside beauty. Be sure to plant flowering trees, shrubbery or flowers so that they are visible from inside your home. Dogwood trees are very slow growing trees, which makes them a perfect tree to plant close to your house.

Inevitably, Spring leads to Summer so we are getting ready to open our pool. We always make sure we add plants with lots of color to our planters around the pool because they are visible from our family room.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Combine Two Photographs into One Great Photograph

Photographing multiple people in one shot can prove to be a challenge, especially when you stir a few children and the sun into the mix. The above photo is my corrected photo. Maddie and Morgan, my grandchildren, and Casey look great in this shot. Of course, that is not what the photograph looked like in the beginning.

Here's the first photograph; you notice Maddie, on the right, is looking away, but Casey and Morgan look great.

In the second photograph, Maddie looks great, however, I guess Morgan is trying too hard to get the photo session over with and her smile is a little too fake. And, of course, Casey looks great in both shots. I always ask the adults to keep smiling and looking at the camera, so I only have to focus my attention on the girls.

Here's what I did to combine the two photographs. I decided to cut Morgan, the youngest one on the right, out of the shot on the left and replace her head on the right. I use Photoshop Elements to do photo editing. First, I cropped the photographs to get the vertical heights as similar as possible. Photoshop Elements 8 includes a Guided Edit, with a Photomerge: Faces mode. Since Morgan's head was pointed down, I decided to use Maddie's eyes and mouth as my alignment points. I opened both photographs, clicked on my Source photo on the left, clicked the Align icon, moved the three cross hairs to Maddie's eyes and mouth. (Click on photo to enlarge.) I then clicked on the photo on the right and repeated the process placing the cross hairs on Maddie's eyes and mouth. Then, I clicked Align Photos. (This step ensures both photos are lined up perfectly. Aligning the photographs correctly is the key to a successful merge.) Then I clicked on the pencil, drew a "C" around Morgan on the left photo and, voila, Morgan's body on the left moved to the photo on the right. It took me a total of five minutes to merge the two photographs. I tried this technique, for the first time, earlier that day and it took me over an hour. I learned the secret to merging photographs is to crop the photo vertically so they are similar in height (e.g. the sky above Casey's head) should be the same distance.

Here's the photograph I worked on earlier today. A couple of weekends ago, we traveled to Huntsville to celebrate Morgan's 5th birthday. Saturday was the "cookie party," which consisted of nine little girls making and decorating sugar cookies. (It took eight adults to pull this off!) Everyone in the family had eaten so many of those sugar cookies that no one could even think about eating ice cream sundae's after dinner, so the Mardi Gras birthday party continued through Sunday also.
Morgan's favorite dessert is ice cream.

Even the "5" candle was not ready for this shot, but I loved Owen's smile. I looked at both photographs and knew that I didn't like either one of the photos by themselves. My only choice, if I wanted this shot, was to cut Owen out of the photo and merge him with the photograph below. Tip: Notice the distance above Owen's head.

In this shot, it seems Owen is not ready. Notice the difference in the distance above Owen's head in this shot. Once, I figured out that I needed to crop the first photo to match the distance above Owen's head, merging the photographs only took a couple of minutes.

Morgan will only be five once, so you don't get a second chance to capture the precious memories. You grandparents that are reading this know what I mean. Just looking at pictures of my granddaughters instantly makes Jerry and me smile!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birthday Celebration With a Bright & Festive Theme!

Last Sunday morning, Jerry and I were up bright and early preparing for a lunch for eleven people. Six people in my immediate family have birthdays within 39 days of each other, so Jerry and I decided to roll the celebration into one big event.

To make the day fun and festive, I decided to go with a bright color scheme. A great table scape gives the impression the food is going to be incredible. Just in case you're wondering, yes the food turned out great too. The menu consisted of baked chicken with gravy, baked potatoes, green beans with fresh garlic, fresh spinach, fried apples, Sister Shubert yeast rolls and blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The day was warm and sunny and the temperature was a comfortable 64 degrees. Once I decided on the fun and festive theme, the first color that popped into my head was Citrus Green. Citrus Green invokes a happy energetic feeling in almost everyone. The weather and the napkins were my inspiration and the simplicity of my white plates made the perfect backdrop. I have lots of white linens and white dishes, which made the rest of the decorating come together easily. Looking back, I realize that I have had so many different colored dishes, but I think the Apilco white dishes from Williams-Sonoma are my favorite. The Apilco dinnerware is so versitle, it's easy to dress a table up or down. Fresh flowers always add the crowning touch to any table. A few yellow tulips added a touch of color and hinted that spring is just around the corner. I pulled out some of my milk glass pieces and found the two vases and a fruited bowl. The fruited bowl filled with lemons was exactly what I needed to complete the centerpiece.

I have a huge collection of vases, which includes those two milk glass vases that I received flowers in as a gift when my sons, Owen and Lee, were born. Wow, those vases are old! Two of the birthdays were celebrating were for my sons; Owen will be 35, and Lee just turned 31. I love using dishes that have been in the family for years. We celebrated a wide age range of birthdays, from 5 - 81 years old. My dad won the prize for the oldest and Morgan, my granddaughter, was the youngest. Family is such a blessing, they are always there when you need them the most.

What a great day. I love entertaining, I should do it more!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Unique Benches & Chairs (part two)

Wing Chair & Ottoman (34w x 30d x 34h)

Here is a sampling of benches and chairs. Notice how many of the pieces have a loose weave fabric which adds a sense of casualness to the otherwise formal style of the furniture.
Rococo Ottoman (20w x 20d x 24h)

Queen Ann Hall Bench (61w x 19d x 30h)

Queen Anne Bench (61w x 19d x 30h)

Library Chair w/ Step Stool (25w x 21d x 34h)

High Back Bench (65w x 26d x 47h)

Cottage Bench (62w x 23d x 40h)

Caned Wingback Chair (30w x 30d x 49h)

Batavia Bench (64w x 22d x 34h)

Barcelona Garden Bench (63w x 19d x 46h)

Wing Chair & Ottoman (34w x 30d x 34h)

Princess Vanity (53w x 18d x 30h)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unique Side Tables

Barrel Chest (36w x 18d x 30h)

As Bettye, Jerry and I were doing research for a project we are currently working on, I opened a catalog from a new vendor we found in October at High Point Market. I love the casualness of their line so much I decided to write several blogs that will showcase many of their pieces.

This blog will show you a sampling of their side tables. If you see anything that interests you give us a call, we will be glad to help you find just the right spot for one of these pieces. I have included the name and dimensions of each piece. Isn't that Barrel Chest the cutest?

Several of these pieces are offered in other color options. Notice the 3 Drawer Chest in the gray color, this company has several pieces in this color. It is such a tranquil color and will work with so many paint colors.Ribbed Side Table (30w x 18d x 28h)

Tall Sideboard (40w x 12d x 42h)

Baroque Side Chest (18w x 18d x 26h)

3 Drawer Side Chest (19w x 16d x 25h)

Provence Drink Cabinet (28.5w x 19d x 30.75h)

Barley Twist Wine Rack (32w x 13d x 36h)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Apple's Big Announcement ~ Come See our Latest Creation!

For those of you that love technology, like me, you will want to know what exciting announcement will be divulged during the press conference Apple has scheduled. The press conference will take place in San Francisco on Wednesday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time.

Rumors are running wild about the "new creation." I have read several forums and most seem to agree it will be some type of tablet pc, with the majority of news and forum speculators guessing it will be 10-inch tablet. Apple has been working on a tablet for years. In fact, the iPhone was created during the development of the tablet. For now, Apple is keeping the announcement very hush hush. Some of the techies on the forums think that whenever Apple launches a new product it should be considered a holiday. I had to chuckle at that one.

Check these websites out for more information:
  • Ubergizmo (Join them for live, up-to-the-minute blog postings with photos)
  • Techradar (the rumor round-up)
  • CNet (lots of comments)
Another rumor floating around is that Apple will announce that they will no longer be exclusive with AT&T and that Verizon could soon be selling the iPhone. Others disagree, saying that Apple will not want to dilute their exciting news about the tablet.

We can also look forward to a new release for the iPhone in the next couple of months. Who knows where Apple will take us in the future? One thing you can be sure of is that it will be exciting!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Our Trip to Atlanta's Mart - Part 3 (Holiday)

It never ceases to amaze me how many showroom specialize in only Holiday items. The market for Christmas items is huge! Some of the holiday accessories were beautiful and very creative.

Bettye and I loved the addition of the beads. You can add these beads to almost anything to add a little glitz for the holidays.

We loved the idea of these simply decorated Christmas trees. Each silver ball was individually glued to the tree.

This pumpkin arrangement was amazing. If you have been reading my blog you know I love decorating for Thanksgiving.