Finally! Our Informal Hedge!

From the minute we closed on our Dutch colonial,

I have been trying (but failing) to design our lot line landscaping.

Then this happened.

Just last weekend, I found (my favorites!) Oak Leaf hydrangeas

at Menards, a Midwestern home improvement store:

oak leaf alabama

$11 each for one gallon size plants!

Can you believe it?

Yesterday we drove to a Menards about an hour away,

to find enough plants (7 total) to  make our informal hedge.

Like this, hopefully:

oak leaf hydrangea big hedge

Back to NOW — here we have our new plants,

marching along our lot line, at left (below).

Imagine, if you will, what our hedge will look like, in a few years:

Good things come to those who wait!

Oak Leaf hydrangeas grow to 6′-8′ tall by 6′ x 8′ wide.

This means our backyard will be less of a fish bowl.

Our hedge will begin + end  between 2 large existing trees —

a huge walnut (L) + a gorgeous maple (R):

Oak Leaf hydrangeas have cone-shaped white flowers

which turn a pretty, faded pink as the blooming season progresses.

Yes, those flowers are gorgeous,

but in my opinion, their leaves are the all stars.

Look at what happens in the Fall:

Is it any wonder that Fall is our favorite season?

Anyway, I am so relieved + happy,

after suffering through all those months of indecision.

oak leaf hydrangea 2

It’s hard to believe I found one of my favorites,

+ at such an affordable price!

Fingers crossed we’ll find the time to plant them THIS week.

Stay tuned!



Do + Don’t Curtains

We’ve happily lived in our Dutch colonial since last October,

although I wasn’t all that happy about that stupid sheet

covering our bedroom window.

I’ve looked + looked, but I just couldn’t find the perfect curtains!

Until Sunday.  Yes, Sunday.

We broke our “no IKEA on the weekend” rule + came home with these:

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The minute I saw that print, I was smitten, as was G.O.!

Prints are a thing, + I’ve been wanting to add more in our decor.

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DSC00311

So.  Mission accomplished, am I right?

But wait.  Not so fast.

I wanted them hung really high, like high above the woodwork.

How could I not?  I saw this on Pinterest!

curtain hung high do and don't

Oh, dear.  As I often do, I failed to give G.O. the heads up about this rule.

Oops.

.

cat fight

Luckily for me, that same Pinterest  has dozens of photos:

curtains hung high

HGTV Dream House

curtain hung high

Ms. Career Girl

Wait.  Not so fast.

On a whim, I popped in one of our living room cafe curtains:

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I like them because we can’t see our neighbor’s messy yard,

nor can he see us, + yet, there’s still plenty of natural light.

What I really wanna know is: are they hopelessly granny?

You’d tell me, wouldn’t you?

I shall stay tuned + wait for your recommendations.


Beautiful Stone

Another morning, another walk with Chloe the Dachshund:

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Here she is, admiring the tile sidewalk

at the entrance of a former movie theater-turned-church in our downtown.

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What a neat feature, don’t you think?

I wish I knew more about it, like what material it is

+ how it stays so good-looking through our area’s long, cold winters!

Next, here’s a church message board that caught my attention.

JAZZ?  Yes, please!

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Actually, I’ve seen this post before — several times, in fact.

Each time, I make a mental note to attend said jazz service,

but I’ve not yet made it.  Stay tuned.

But back to the church.  Here is a photo of its front facade:

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Here’s a close up of one of its windows.

Notice the wedge-shaped stone in the middle, on top:

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Architectural fun factoid:

that feature is called a keystone.

Geography fun factoid:

Pennsylvania is known as “The Keystone State”,

+ the distinctive shape is often seen in various logos, like these:

keystone penn

keystone penn 2

Now we’re all set, just in case the Final Jeopardy category is State Mottoes.

You’re welcome.

Perhaps, if you’re really paying close attention,

you recall that our house’s beautiful stone foundation

is nearly identical to that of the church.

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DSC00206

Interesting, no?

Once again, my curiosity is piqued.

What kind of stone is that, + was it locally sourced?

Is one person or company responsible for its installation?

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I also need to find out the year in which our house was built.

Stay tuned!


$3 Garage Sale Happiness

It’s Thursday, which means one thing in my little world:

GARAGE SALES!

You never know what treasure you’ll find!

Just last week I enthusiastically bought this homemade magazine rack:

DSC00112

SURPRISE!

 As you can no doubt tell, I shan’t be using it to hold mags.

Instead, I plan to use it to display some of my beloved platters.

Exhibit A:

 4 of my ironstone platters on our most recent past kitchen wall:

platters on walls bungalow

For our current kitchen, I wanted to do something like this,

on the end of our island:

platerack atticmag

atticmag.com

plate rack kichen island eclectically vintage

eclecticallyvintage.com

Normally, I would just ask G.O. to make me something.

He’s so talented!  But he’s just so busy!

IMG_4572(1)

Instead, I have been searching for one to buy, for months.

I liked this from an etsy seller,

Apple Tree Woodcrafts:

plate rack applewoood crafts overall view

https://www.etsy.com/listing/232695125/walI

$146

Since I hoped to find something more affordable,

my plate rack project was put on the back burner for a while.

Then, last Thursday — this:

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HA!  Yes!  $3!

When I spied it, I knew it would be perfect for my plate rack hopes + dreams!

I couldn’t buy it FAST enough!

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The bottom portion will have to go away so that it fits our island like a glove.

No worries, though — I know that super talented G.O. will be able to do that.

DSC00113

The dowels have to go, as well, but that’s not much of a problem (not for Greg!)

DSC00114

So.  Other than those few tweaks to make it perfect,

I must also decide what color to paint it.

The color must complement + contrast

with both the dark wood island + my light-colored platters.

Right now, I’m thinking this blue:

Chambray by Pittsburgh Paints

blue kitchen ceiling

 I think I shall distress said blue,

as our kitchen is skewing a tad too “new”.

Stay tuned!


Small, Charming Brick Houses

Another day, another walk with Chloe the Dachshund.

This a.m. we strolled through one of my favorite neighborhoods.

But first, here’s our girl at journey’s end,

enjoying a refreshing drink from our bird bath:

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It is one of those concrete bird baths with the pressed leaves design.

Its pedestal is actually an old, hollow log.  Genius!

Okay.  Time now for a few look-sees at that neighborhood I like so much.

There are about 5 charming brick cottages, including this one:

DSC00091

Please.  They had me at the arch doorway.

Look closely at those lanterns which flank the front door.

I’m pretty sure they are original to the house.  Lovely!

Oh, + I like the brick’s basket weave pattern in the gable.

Meanwhile, here’s another “sister” cottage:

DSC00093

I am a huge fan of the front bump out with that small window,

 which must mean that there’s a charming vestibule inside.

Chances are that the blank wall to the door’s left means there’s a coat closet.

It’s not just me, is it?

Doesn’t everyone think about such things when passing a cute house?

While we ponder that, further down the block

there’s yet another brick cottage:

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This house, with its “busy” front yard, was on a garden tour one summer.

What are our thoughts, regarding “busy” front yards?

Part of me is a fan, but I still want our house to be seen.

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Yes, that’s our front yard, + yes, it’s pretty much a blank slate.

That lonely evergreen may or may not make the final scheme.

Stay tuned!


My Old Store + Home Above It

In my last 2 blog posts, I’ve mused about having another retail store.

I say another because I did have one (in another lifetime!)

It was called Heart-In-Hand.

heart in hand front in snow

My first shop space was in a mall, but within 3 years,

I had the means to actually buy a building downtown.

How brave I was!

A few years after that, I decided to build an apartment upstairs.

This  “before” photo must have been taken on demo day:

heart in hand apartment disheveled

The “after” is the epitome of 90’s country style.

Oh, how I loved it (at the time!)

Look at my stencil border at the ceiling line!

heart in hand apartment tv armoire

My only real splurge was this gas fireplace,

enjoyed by my sons + our late, great Dachshund, Susie.

heart in hand upstairs fireplace with boys and susie

I bought that bench at an auction when I was only 18 years old.

Here’s another blast from the past.

I kind of wish that I had that pencil post bed back.

heart in hand bedroom

Honestly, I cannot imagine having another store,

no matter how many bouts of “retail fever” I may experience.


Imogene + Willie In Nashville

So.  We’ve had our look-sees at a couple of old gas stations

that were repurposed into awesome Ralph Lauren stores.

There’s yet another groovy gas station conversion in Nashville, TN.

It’s a high-end jeans store called Imogene + Willie.

imogene and willie neon sign and gable

I love their orange cross or plus sign logo!

imogene and willie outside people sweeping

The jeans are custom made + sell for $200+,

which is just another reminder that I’ve made bad life choices.

imogene and willie gas station sign and patterns

Still, I’d love to visit the store + soak up all the hipness.

It looks like a very fun place.

Have you been to Imogene + Willie?

Do you know of another business that began its life as a gas station?


Ralph Lauren’s Gas Stations

Just a few days ago,

Chloe the Dachshund + I enjoyed a walk in our city’s charming downtown,

where I imagined having my own retail store/home above.

Here:

My last possible store candidate

was this former gas station-turned-repair-garage:

DSC00006

So.  I hear what you’re saying.

You’re crazy!  What a dump!

That would be the worst possible building to re-do into a retail shop!

Or is it?

Check out this awesome Exhibit A:

ralph lauren gas station

Please.

It’s my retail idol, Ralph Lauren,

+ this is his epic gas station makeover in sunny southern California.

My pal, James, shared this photo with me.

You must read his blog, + here’s just one reason why:

You’re welcome, by the way.

But back to  my gas station hopes + dreams.

There’s even more (from Ralph Lauren)!  Exhibit B:

Let’s have a closer look-see, shall we?

ralph gas station store doors up

Please notice that the garage doors were saved

+ that they are flung open during biz hours!

When our biz hours occur after dark,

as they would for Girls Night Out or Cruise Night, we have this:

ralph gas station store at night

Admit it.  You’re feeling it, too — am I right?

Funny how a bit of online sleuthing can be so inspirational!

Speaking of which, there’s more!

This garage makeover is in Nashville, TN:

imogene and willie neon sign and gable

I KNOW!!!  It looks like it’s awesome!

I’ll share more tomorrow.  Stay tuned!


Crazy Retail Hopes + Dreams

Come along with Chloe the Dachshund + me

as we walk downtown + fan the fire of “Mommy’s” retail fantasies.

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Only a few blocks from our house, we spied this charming garage:

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How crazy is it that I’m dreaming of opening my retail store downstairs

+ creating our adorable apartment upstairs?

Okay.  That’s not going to happen.

Let’s view this darling restaurant, which was recently sold + renamed:

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Perhaps we should have purchased said restaurant for my work/live dream,

as there is already an apartment upstairs.

Okay.  No worries.  Plan B is right next door.

A vacant lot!

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Don’t worry, in my head, it’s already been sold — to us —

+ we’re going to build something like this:

allison ramsey store and apartment

Naturally, I’ve already selected my architect,

Allison Ramsey from Beaufort, South Carolina.

http://www.allisonramseyarchitect.com/index.cfm

So.  While my plans continue to be thwarted,

it’s good to know that someone out there is realizing their new biz dream.

That someone is opening a new restaurant,

+ from the looks of it, someone has excellent taste.

That facade + those lights rule my little world!

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Oops.  Sorry about the trash barrel closeup!

But wait.  What’s this, next to the new restaurant space?

It  was home to a toy + hobby store, which seems to have closed.

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That’s either going to be one huge restaurant or 

one fantastic location for my new biz!

Meanwhile, there’s this:

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It’s the 2 Basset Hounds who, coincidentally,

spend their days in the retail shop of their humans!

Chloe was very excited + insisted that we have a meet + greet.

Sorry Chloe.  Maybe next time.

Speaking of which,

next time I’ll share yet another retail hope + dream,

involving none other than my retail idol, Ralph Lauren.

And this:

DSC00006

Stay tuned!


She Said She Shed

Today’s perfect weather left me no choice.

It was a great day to work outside, so I (we) did!

First thing, I mowed — on the diagonal, like at the ballpark.

DSC09966

Oh, how long have I waited for a re-do of that porch of ours

+ for the chance pop a few (dozen) plants into the ground!

Today’s project, however, was to turn our garden shed into a she shed.

Yeah.  That’s a thing.  She sheds.

Here’s what it looks like now:

garden shed blue with open door

Here’s what it looked like when we bought our house:

garden shed before

OMiGosh!  How nasty!

First up in the re-do — a new roof:

To charm things up a bit, I ordered a pair of metal finials

from architecturaldepot.com:

garden shed finial close up

Ta da!

garden shed 2 finials

Much better, am I right?

garden shed 2 finials 2

Yes, they’re just what that shed roof needed!

Oh, + I forgot to mention — at some point, we painted the exterior

Benjamin Moore’s Blue Spruce.

Those hiddy original doors still await their makeover,

but I know what I want, + I will share soon, promise.

So.  Today we worked inside.

Exhibit A:

DSC09946

HORRIBLE!

DSC09948

These shelves held (just a fraction of) G.O.’s “valuables”

+ if I was to have myself a she shed, they had to move to the garage.

He offered to give me one of those Rubbermaid masterpieces,

but I said I couldn’t possibly take one!

Given the choice, don’t we always go with something vintage?

Yes, we do, + here we have it —

some really swell old shelves from my old booth space.

Got ’em from the curb!  Score!

Check out the chippy white metal shelves!

DSC09947

Here ’tis, sporting some of my gardening supplies.

Disclaimer: It doesn’t look like this now, as I’ve tweaked it a bit.

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Updated photos in the a.m., promise.

My next storage item is made from yet more vintage happiness —

these wonderful yellow metal saw horses:

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Aren’t they great?

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Disclaimer, the sequel:  it’s all been redone a couple times.

That’s how I roll!

See you in the a.m. for some updated snappies!

 


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