Thursday, February 28, 2013

Garden Plans

On the recommendation of one of my wonderful readers I am sharing some photos of our yard and what we plan on adding/improving. 

Here is a pic of the beginings of my perennial garden. I finally realized that I didn't want to plant annuals every year as there are other ways I'd like to spend my time! So I decided on the border around one of our flagstone patios. I picked my favorite flowers and spread the seeds at the end of the Summer in the hopes that they will spread and fill out the next Summer. So far so good. This pic was at the beginning of the Summer and by the end there was beautiful Russian Sage taking up most of the garden. The flowers and shrubs I chose are Russian Sage, French lavender, lillies and coneflowers. I planted a border on the patio side of boxwood.

Here is the sage and coneflower

I also have an obsession with roses. I'm not sure how old this bush is but it was here when we moved in eleven years ago and it has really flourished which I'm so proud of!
I hae no idea why that lounge chair is thrown in the bushes but I blame it on my boys!

This is not a pic of the actual arbor in my yard as I don't have one yet. Hubby made me one similar to this pic. It is covered in grapes and raspberries!

A favorite pic of mine of some flowers hubby planted near the backporch (the name escapes me).

According to my father in law we must have great soil because our Clematis really flourishes and blooms well into the late Autumn. We have made some trellises and are growing the vines up the side of the house in the hopes that they will frame the patio.

A greenhouse is on my wish list and hubby says he will build one so hopefully in the near future!

We plan on tearing down the backporch and expanding it. The pillars are small and square and I don't think they fit the scale of the house. The new ones we add will be larger and round, like the ones we have on the front porch as pictured below. As you can see they are in need of a paint job!

We love our front porch as it overlooks a large rolling hill and a terraced lawn. I plan on adding a porch swing this Spring.

Here's a view of the side yard where we have another small flagstone patio and a birdbath that is built into the ground. I'm not sure of its' age but I think it's from about the 1940's.
We also have a large firepit that hubby built and a play area with a little playhouse, again built by my husband.

Here's a view of my perennial garden before I relandscaped last Summer. It was a mess from the Winter before. This area faces our neighbors' house.

A view of the front yard and the terraced garden leading to the front porch. I love how the ivy grows up  
the trees. Hubby wants to add a Japanese garden in the terraced area.

Here is a view of our opposite side yard and our huge, old oak tree with the tire swing. A favorite place of the boys.

The front of the house where I plan on planting rhododendrens in the hopes that they will grow as tall as the windows.

The oak tree with the kiddos favorite place to play in the leaves.

We are very grateful to have such a large yard (one acre) which is unheard of in our suburban area.

Hubby laid a huge brick driveway a few Summers ago but I'm having trouble accessing those pics. I will take some when the weather improves.

I hope you enjoyed our little tour. I will keep you updated as we make more improvements.


Sharing at Be Inspired Friday #128 It's in the Details
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

bel monili Feature

Happy Tuesday all! I just wanted to write a quick entry today letting everyone know to check out the beautiful blog "bel monili". I am honored to be featured there today as one of her favorite blogs in a series of 14 days of favorites.

Here's the link so you can check it out.bel monili by l.marlane: Fantastic 14: Day 10: Tinselbelmonili.blogspot.comAnd if you click on the "bel monili" logo on my blogpage ads it will take you to her jewelry boutique where you will find her gorgeous, handcrafted pieces.

Wishing you a beautiful day!! ~melissa

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different!

So... Pinterest is addicting, and I am unashamed in my guilty little pleasure!! I spent quite some time this week perusing the delights it had to offer in the way of "bright living and dining rooms", which was my search.
Well I got what I came for and then some. I started an inspiration board and realized that while neutrals are beautiful, I am ready to go light and bright. Quite honestly, for those of you who don't know yet, I suffer from depression. Living in a city that gets 3 good days of sunlight a year~yeah saw that on the Weather Channel or somewhere, I need a mood booster!! According to whatever place I gleaned that weather tidbit, we have gloomier weather in Pittsburgh than in Seattle...WHAT?!?!
Yikes! So I am all about self help and was so cheered by just perusing on Pinterest that I resolved to change my ways and the interior of the big old farmhouse. I think I saw it shudder at the prospect of being primed and sanded and painted and tweaked yet AGAIN. But in the end I am sure it will "sing" as my fave designer Alexandra Stoddard says, and bring us much joy and positive energy!

So this is how it all started, with the pins...

These are just a few of the pins that had me craving color.

Today started out like a normal Sunday~chillin' around the homestead.

But then hubby got the urge to paint the dining room red (long story and a few tears shed on my part so we won't go into that). 

That took us to Home Depot and the paint aisle. And remember the scratches in my livingroom paint that I was trying to cover? Big fail. So, I thought, "Hey if we are gonna repaint the whole room this is my chance to go light and bright!". And so it began.

You've seen the before pics of our livingroom if you've been a reader for a bit. Lots of neutrals and not a lot of natural light.

This is where we are right now. One coat on about half the room. The paint is "Allen and Roth's The Bubbly". Nice and bright, pretty white. I can't wait til it's finished in a few days. But I am definately going to enjoy this process and take it a bit slower than usual. I will let the room talk to me and tell me what works in the space. I am so excited to add color!!!

These are some of my color inspirations...

<3 love
 I'm so ready for this big change!!!!

Stay tuned!

Sharing at {Moonshine Monday}

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Little History of Our Farmhouse

I'm super under the weather today so I thought I would write about something that cheers me. A little background of our home. The original house was built in 1831, on land purchased in the 1790's by Barnabus (cool name right?) Highlands. Poor Barnabus was killed by Native Americans while he was on a trip to get supplies. His sons Alexander and Robert built the home for their mother Martha. The farm was originally over 360 acres and is now our lone little  acre of the world.
We are only the 5th family to have lived here and we feel that is such an honor and responsibility. Not many people would take on this type of house but we were up for the challenge and it has been so much fun. It's incredibly frustrating at times but the feeling we get from living in such an old house is unlike any other.
We are blessed to have people just pop by to see the house. We have been named a local landmark and had a beautiful plaque dedication ceremony 5 years ago. We were interviewed by our newspaper which was fun and we have been throwing around the idea of a Christmas historic house tour with our local historic society.
Life is definitely different for us since we moved here. We have uncovered treasures like the original marble fireplace in our bedroom and a newspaper from 1848 that we found in the attic. We have peeled layers and layers of wallpaper . The entire  two story foyer was pink! We removed the grossest "Oscar the Grouch" green shag carpeting. We gutted our kitchen, tore down a wall between two smaller rooms to make one large family room. We have laid a flagstone patio and brick drive (all hubby). But there is still so much to do. The evolution of a house is never complete. But as they say when you stop growing you die. So we plug away bit by bit as best we can with four young boys and hubby running two large practices. Some days you will find me on for hours ready to abandon this endeavor, but it seems we always come back to the place we started 11 years ago. I'm thrilled to be able to share this journey with you but as I face the truth myself, I must admit that this may be slow going.
Rome wasn't built in a day and most good things take time to unfold, I must remind myself constantly. I hope you enjoy sharing in the process with me. I hope I can bring you some inspiration and some laughs. Most of all I hope to convey the message that sometimes it's better to stick with something through really challenging times because the rewards are that much greater.  Although you may catch me surfing the net just in case I decide to give up!!

I love this view of our side yard. This was Alex trekking out for Trick or Treat.

Sharing at  Feathered Nest Friday
Be Inspired Friday # 127 Creative Inspiration

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pinspiration For Our Boys' Room

So I am really seeing that having one project on my mind/to do list just isn't me. I'm constantly planning and jumping from project to project based on my moods. One big one that's on my mind is the bedroom that two of my boys share.

I have an idea of what I want. New matching white beds, black dressers, white walls and white bedding with gray wool blankets across the bottom and gray and white wool accent pillows. I also want to put cute little leather storage ottomans at the foot of each bed to store toys.

I can add color with accessories, I'm thinking pops of red. Noah is insisting on white walls which is fine with me as we need more light in this house!

I have grabbed some pics via Pinterest that I was using to get ideas. I thought you might like to see them.

Layers, layers, layers. I love a full bed with lots of cozy textures and fabrics. Breathable cotton sheets for warmer weather, flannels for cold. Always a knitted or wooly blanket at the bottom and lots of pillows! I love the red of this blanket and that's the red I want to use as an accent in Noah and Alex's room.

I'm obsessed with maps so I'm hoping to find something along this line or black and white (even better) to display on their wall.

Matching beds are a must for me!! I love symmetry.

 ButI'm thinking of using red for the shades, not sure as I usually end up using neutrals.

I love these upholstered beds and the loft play area above!

Love big black and white prints.

This patterned ceiling is super cool and adds a lot of visual interest.

Cute Army look.

Again with maps <3

And globes, another obsession.
Hope these give you some inspiration if you're in the mode to redo a boys' room.

Til next time <3 melissa

Sharing at Feathered Nest Friday

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Art of Doing Nothing

I have read so many self-help books in my life. Do you like self-help books? I go in cycles. Sometimes I feel they are helpful, sometimes I feel they are useless and sometimes I feel they are literally life changing. I have read some great ones like Simple Abundance and some that didn't speak to me much, like Ekhart Tolle. I've read some controversial ones like Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch and dare I say The Bible. And I've read some relatively stupid ones that shall remain nameless. My latest is Slow Love by Dominique Browning and so far, so good. She has a lovely, easy writing style that tells her story of losing herself after losing her job. I'm about 1/3 of the way thru and it is very enjoyable. As a mom who has lost myself occasionally in the raising of my children, I identify with her.
Now I'm always on the lookout for a new self help book that speaks to me because when they're good, they're very, very good. And right now I'm in the cycle of enjoying them and seeking some self awareness and improvement. I remember reading somewhere the phrase "the art of doing nothing". Sounded so intriguing and as I had a day like that today it reminded me to look into the subject. I found it online and hope it's a good read. 
The art of doing nothing intrigues me. I'm used to feeling pretty crappy about myself when I spend a day doing nothing. But, lately I'm learning that those times are not only necessary, but sacred. Yesterday I was so busy, cleaning, taking care of the kids, doing laundry etc., I deemed it a "good" day. Today I slept in til 2 pm and proceeded to deem it a "bad" one. Why? I hadn't gone to bed til 3:30 the night before so it made sense that I would sleep late. Rhys was at his Gramma's, as he is every Tuesday, so I really had no serious obligations.
After rising I proceeded to pick up Nick, take him to Starbucks for an afterschool chat, pick up Noah and Alex, get their haircut, help with homework, do the dishes and a half hour or so of telephone "errands". I started to feel like the day was "valid" after all. 
But, I didn't need to beat myself up about sleeping late. Apparently, at least according to what my body was telling me, it was needed. I have felt so burned out lately with fixing the house and everything that goes along with raising four boys that I really feel my mind needed it as well. 
Louise Hay is one of my favorite self help authors. I won't go in to her life story but if you're looking for inspiration, you will find it there. I recently read an article on her Facebook page about being gentle with oneself. Accepting yourself as you are, at the exact place you are in life. Are you a little, or a lot, overweight? Ok. Are you broke? Are you in an unhappy marriage?, etc. Wherever you are, accept it, come to terms with it, dare I say~bless it... That's what Louise and other teachers, such as herself, instruct. 
How freeing! So I slept in, big deal. I ate that donut when I was trying so hard to diet. You get the point. Start from where you are but not only that, bless where you are.
Just a subject I am thinking about today that I wanted to share with my friends. My readers, who I am so fortunate to even have. It has always been a dream of mine to write and share things with people that have transpired in my life that I feel may be of value to someone else. So, that's all. Just a random musing today that, for some reason, was on my heart. If it blesses you, wonderful. Obviously, I needed to write it. To get it off my chest. To somehow put out into the universe that I am ok with what I've done. 
It's ok to be busy, but I think it's ok to equally have periods of doing nothing.  Maybe it's the way I was raised, or the country I live in that makes me feel well, weird just saying this. Maybe it's more of an Eastern philosophy. I'm not sure, but I know it feels right. I just brewed myself some iced green tea and took a hot shower. I think I will play around on Facebook or Pinterest, watch a program or just sit in the silence. Whatever I do I choose to deem it "good".

Image Via

Blessings to you <3 Melissa

Monday, February 18, 2013

Little Changes

I've had the energy to putter lately and you know how it goes, changing one thing leads to changing another. But I'm having so much fun!! I just wanted to share a few little changes I've made.

I had this Windsor bench in the entry hall forever but when I decided to move the beautiful table my hubby made there I had to find the bench a new home. It works perfect in my kitchen. I added some pillows from the living room and hung this adorable sign I just purchased from The Old Lucketts Store

Hubby brought me this cute little sign from his roadtrip to Cleveland, I finally decanted my dish soap into a pretty glass bottle and replaced the ugly plastic art caddy for this awesome galvanized tin one from AntiqueFarmHouse 

 This is the table Tim built from wood from our farmhouse that was no longer suitable as flooring. It is so long and I had it filled with a ton of mercury glass votive holders and this tall, glass vase with branches but it just looked empty and unbalanced.

I found these large, ironstone vases at Target and snapped them up! I absolutely love them. I added the branches from the other vase into each one and it adds balance to the whole scene. I have to find something for the middle. I'm envisioning a cast iron urn and some moss balls, which I plan on making.

I think I have Spring fever and just feel like nesting. What a blessing to have a home to make pretty and enjoy with my family.
<3 melissa
Sharing at Nifty Thrifty Tuesday No.151

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Prepping For Spring

Winter's time is running out!
I can't say I'm sad about that. I try to embrace Winter. I mean, I live in Pittsburgh, I have to ~ right?  I did my fair share of Winter decorating right after New Year's.
Fresh evergreens and pinecones and lots of candles. Throws everywhere, I even bought a cable knit lampshade.
 Everything looked cozy and inviting. The weather is still so cold here but there are only four more weeks til Spring and I am planning to usher it in as never before! I have never been so ecxited to surround myself with fresh flowers again. I mean grocery store flowers are great but actually having a cutting garden is the best!
I'm ready to throw open the windows and watch the curtains blow in the breeze. I'm ready to see my perennial garden of coneflower, French lavender and Russian sage in full bloom. I'm ready to feel the sun on my face! I am quite sure I am Vitamin D deprived!! So for now I am cleaning and rearranging things in eager anticipation.
Simplifying things, getting rid of the things I don't need, want or use. Spring cleaning~what a wonderful thing. It is a time to refresh and renew and I am up for the challenge! I rearranged the accessories in my living room today, cleaned mirrors, wiped down the shelves in the bookcase. I moved my beautiful "Paris" tablerunner to a pretty new spot under a lamp with a rattan shade. I arranged all my mercury glass votives on the mantlepiece. I have so many now!! I'm so pleased with this sweet little collection and in my mind I see them overflowing with pink and white roses, peonies and fresh boxwood cuttings. The house smelling amazing.
I love putting all signs of Winter away. Bidding them a fond farewell and placing them in their proper storage until they are needed again.

Here's my front hallway as it was yesterday:

Winter filler under the cloche, a star anise wreath and that cable knit lampshade!

 Switched out for Spring with some moss, twigs and speckled eggs under the cloche, some lamps transferred from the livingroom and a shabby vintage frame.

I would post pics of the living room but the boys have a friend over and it is video game central right now. Not super picture worthy.

I mentioned on my FB page a few weeks ago about our leaking bathroom pipe and the resulting damage to our entry ceiling. Here's a pic~

So that's on hubs' to do list today. In fact he's at HD right now. 

Upstairs in the master I am repainting an armoire that was my oldest son's. It is halfway done... I was shooting for today but life gets in the way sometime!! Here is the before pic~ 
After hopefully revealed this week!

  Enjoy your Sunday!!! Melissa

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Make the Scene Monday #62
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