My hope is that this blog is like a visit between friends. I enjoy hearing from you and will try to reply to you in the comment section right after your comment, so stop back by and continue the conversation. - Patty

May 31, 2011

June gloom

With May winding down it's hard to believe summer is just around the corner. 


I know with the terrible, destructive weather in the Midwest, our mild, gloomy days here in Southern California are nothing to complain about.


This has been a very different year of weather out here in the West.  I know it's just the ebb and flow of nature but it sure takes some getting used to.  Normally by this time of the year we would be consistently in 80's creeping into the 90's every now and then.  We did have a sunny day on Friday so I went out and took a few pictures to share while the weather cooperated.


It seems the gray days of May have given way to June gloom.  I know summer is out there somewhere!

I'm joining Fishtail Cottage for Flora Thursday.

May 29, 2011

fireplace redo

Since the weather outside isn't cooperating, I thought I'd share a little bit of the inside of Lemon Lane Cottage.


The last house we lived in had much more of a mediterranean feel to it and when we moved in here I placed the large Italian countryside oil painting from our old place above the fireplace.  As a result I saw the fireplace and mantel as kind of whimpy.


I knew I wanted to lighten it up a bit, so I started collecting little vintage (thriftstore) oil paintings and mirrors.  I painted the frames of the oil paintings this pretty aqua blue and distressed them a bit and went with a cottage white for the small mirrors.


Then I started gathering white pitchers from around the house.


Instant cottage.  Now the fireplace and mantel really fit our little house, dont you think?


I'm joining these lovely linkies...

House in the roses for Show off Your Cottage Monday
Dittle Dattle for Amaze Me Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphis Monday

May 25, 2011

a beautiful day

What a beautiful day we had today.  Absolutely picture perfect.  Highs in the mid 70’s, bright blue skies, a nice breeze in the air.  Such a nice change after a very grey May.



Even though it has been a milder than normal spring here in Southern California, most of my spring blooms have passed their prime.  It seems the flowers are ready for summer’s arrival, too.

Try as I might to stay with soft cottage colors here in the perennial bed, I can’t help but smile seeing the golden coreopsis contrasting with the red of the geraniums and the beautiful purple salvias.  The hot colors of summer have definitely started to take center stage. 


The soft pastels of spring have given way to the bold blossoms of summer. 


I learned long ago that contained abandonment is the most I can hope for in the garden.  I just don’t have the heart to move plants that pop up out of their originally designated spot.  I guess I just can’t squash the sheer joy they seem to have joining in where they don’t belong. 


My mother says I have always been fiercely independent myself, never afraid to cross boundaries or color outside the lines.  How could I expect any less of my flowers?

I'm linking up with Fishtail Cottage for Flora Thursday.

May 24, 2011

a bouquet from the garden

I gathered a few of my favorite blooms from the garden to share with you today.
   


Roses, daisies, scabiosa and salvia to name a few.



I’ve placed them on our latest old house discovery.  Beautiful oak hardwood floors.



When we purchased this house with its white wall to wall carpeting a few years ago, we had no idea that there was such a treasure lurking in the stairway and the two bedrooms upstairs.


Some of my husband’s favorite childhood memories are of running up and down the old, creaky stairs on his grandmother’s farm.  How wonderful to be able to pass those same memories to our grandkids.


 
It’s going to be a slow process but with just the first two steps and the landing uncovered, I know it will be worth the wait.

 
I'm linking up with Kim for Wow us Wednesday.
and A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

May 22, 2011

look what's blooming

Look what’s blooming in my garden. 


I adore hydrangeas! 


Their big, happy, mopheads never fail to bring a smile to my face so I am thrilled that these beauties survived being transplanted last fall.  I received them as a gift last year for Mother’s Day lush and full of blooms. 


I hesitated putting them in the ground because I haven’t had much success in keeping them happy and healthy.  My husband tucked them into our camellia, azalea garden and they seem to be thriving. 



Our California clay soil lacks the acid to turn them that gorgeous blue but I certainly won’t complain about this scrumptious pink color.  To me they are one of the quintessential flowers of a cottage garden. 



 I am so smitten! 


So tell me, what’s blooming in your garden?

I'm joining these fun parties...

House in the roses for Show off Your Cottage Monday
Dittle Dattle for Amaze Me Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphis Monday

May 20, 2011

holy guacamole batman

My favorite part about avocados is definitely turning them into guacamole. Actually, I’m not really fond of avocados but I love, love, love guacamole.


Until they're mashed up with salsa, garlic and onion I can really do without them.

Give me a sunny day, a bowl of tortilla chips and guacamole, throw in a margarita (no salt, please), a pair of flip flops and some Beach Boy music and we have the makings of a perfect afternoon.


Here's my cheater version of guacamole...

As many soft avocados as you can eat in one sitting because it's not so pretty if you try and store it.  (Yes, I know you can add lemon juice or lemon lime soda to help it keep but I still don't think it looks very appetizing after few hours. That's not to say I'm not above stirring it and just dealing with the brownish color because it still tastes yummy.)

A jar of your favorite salsa
finely chopped onion
one crushed clove of garlic or a pinch of garlic powder
salt

Smash the avocados with a potato masher, add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa and re mash.  Keep adding salsa until you reach the consistency you desire.  Add in onions and garlic.  Salt to taste. Refrigerate for 10 - 15 minutes or as long as your family will let you before they start digging in.



Now go pour yourself something cold to drink, crank up the music and come join me.



May 19, 2011

white and roses

I look forward to participating in Photo Friday over at A Rosy Note every week.  She always challenges us with something fun to capture. 


This week our inspiration is “White”. 
For this color loving girl this really was something of a challenge. 


As usual, I first turned to the garden as a starting point.  I cut this beautiful spray of soft pink and yellow roses and immediately knew they would look lovely on the fireplace in one of my hodgepodge of white pitchers.



I always know when something turns out as I envisioned if my family asks me where I got it.   A case in point are these roses…
My youngest daughter, who never notices anything, (I tease her that if a man dressed as Santa robbed a bank she couldn’t pick him out of a police line-up) commented on the vase of pretty flowers asking where they came from.


My garden, silly girl…my garden.

I'm also joining I love pretty little things for Friday Pretties.

May 18, 2011

simple pleasure

I was out working in the garden the other day and my neighbor stopped by with these beautiful avocados from his tree.  I placed them on my wicker footstool as I went about my gardening business not noticing how the texture and color of the avocado skin and the whiteness and worn wicker texture of my footstool created such a beautiful picture worthy moment. 


After cleaning up I went to retrieve the forgotten fruit and immediately knew I needed to grab my camera. 


That’s one thing photography has taught me…


slow down and look for beauty in the everydayness of life. You never know where you might find it.

I'm linking up for Simple Pleasures at A Collection of this and that.

May 16, 2011

pretty glasses

I'd forgotten how inspiring a good cleaning can be.  I learned a long time ago that all the pretty things in the world can't take the place of a clean house.  Don't you agree? 


After pulling these pretty glasses out of the cupboard to wipe it clean, I gave them a quick run through the dishwasher and set them out on the sideboard. 



I love the way they caught the sunlight and mingled with my vintage Pyrex and happy, polka dotted chicken.



It seems a shame to put such pretty glasses behind a closed cupboard so I'm working on some open shelving to display them along with a few other beautiful everyday dishes.

What a joy it's been sharing bits of my home and garden with you.  I'm learning what I'm sure other bloggers already know, this is such an encouraging community and it really inspires you to make your home all that it can be. 


Thanks for welcoming me with open arms.  I can't wait to share more of the nook and crannies of Lemon Lane Cottage with you.

I'm linking to Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Rednesdays at A Very Cherry World

May 15, 2011

one corner at a time

Are you a list maker?  I am.  Not a schedule keeper necessarily, but a list maker.  I don't live my life by a day planner although goodness knows I've tried and I admire those that do.  I am more about seeing a need or having an idea and making a list of what I need to do to accomplish it.



My idea lists usually involve hand drawn sketches just in case the thought is fleeting (which seems to be the case more and more as I age).



I have lists of what I want to do in most every room in my house and every area of my gardens.  When I was younger I could tackle a whole room at a time but now it's more realistic to break them down into projects or corners of a room.



Right now I'm focusing on the living room which is the only common room of the house so it has to function for both conversation and TV viewing. 



When we moved in three years ago, we basically lined the seating up on the west side of the room with the TV and fireplace directly across.  This functioned okay for TV viewing but not so much for conversation.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I had my husband move the buffet into the dining room which freed up space next to the fireplace for this small upholstered chair that was basically a clothes catcher in my daughters room.


I brought in an antique drop leaf table from storage, added a thrift store bench for books and now I have a sweet little reading nook and a place to sit and visit with friends and family.

Still on my list for this corner...

Painting the drop leaf table
Adding a standing lamp
Making a new pillow
Reupholstering an old foot stool

It's still a work in progress but I'm happy with the way it's is coming along so far.


It feels good to cross items off my list even if it is just one corner at a time.

I'm linking with these fun parties...

House in the roses for Show off Your Cottage Monday
Dittle Dattle for Amaze Me Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphis Monday

May 13, 2011

Lemon Lane Studio

http://lemonlanestudio.blogspot.com/

watering can

I found this old metal watering can at a garage sale for .50 cents.  It’s really nothing special but I love the whimsy it adds to this container garden display.  The well-worn patina adds bit of character to this otherwise ordinary grouping of pots. 

I’m having fun using vintage and broken items in the garden and photographing them.  

 A bird house that is no longer useful hanging in a tree can add just the right accent to a large container of annuals on the back porch.   A broken vase or urn can be charming turned on its side with flowers tumbling out.

I’ve seen broken chairs and even vintage beds filled with flowers in the most enchanting cottage gardens in magazines and on other blogs.

It took me a while to lose the seriousness of a proper garden and just go for the joy.  I admit it’s a fine line between whimsy and junky but thankfully, it’s a line that’s set by each individual gardener.  Some might see this old watering can and see a piece of junk where I see the character and beauty in it.  
 Aren't you thankful that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm linking up to the following parties...
Photo Friday at a Rosy Note
Fertilizer Friday
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathering Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
My Favorite Things Friday at Bargain Hunting with Laurie
Friday Pretties at I Love Pretty Little Things

May 10, 2011

strawberry season

While I've been flower gardening for a while, growing fruits and vegatables is new to me.  I originally decided to give it a try hoping it would encourage us to eat healthier and make us just a little more self-sufficient.  I didn't realize the beauty of it, the delicate blossoms, the brightness of the fruit, the different shades of greens in the lettuce leaves. peppers and onions.


I especially love strawberry season.   I can't wait for them to start showing up in the supermarket and at the local produce stand and farmers market each spring so I thought it would be fun to put a few strawberry plants in my produce patch this year. 


I'm amazed at the difference in homegrown fruits and vegtables from the store bought kind.  The color is more vivid and the taste just can't be matched. 


I'm sure I don't have to tell you how much joy I get watching my grandkids picking them and popping them into their sweet little mouths.


Along side the strawberries, I planted radishes that they love to pull out of the dirt for their grandpa who will eat them right out of the ground.   Against my better judgement, he convinced my three year old grandson to give one a try.  His sweet little face went from joy to tortured in a split second.  The hot flavor of that red radish only lasted through a couple of crunches before it made it's way into my waiting hand.   It seems that one of the joys of being a grandma is being the recipient of any food tasting that doesn't meet the approval of the taster.  

One of the less talked about perks of grandmahood, for sure.  You know, I still wouldn't trade it for the world.

I'm linking to this beautiful blog party...

A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday
All things heart and home for All Things Inspired