31 October 2010

Halloween's Past

Dare I mention names here?  Dare I risk damnation from my own children?
Shoot yeah.  It was five years ago!  They were 7th graders!  
Ah heck, I'm trying to win a Canon Rebel T2i from the Sits girls.  I just love those girls and their blog.  Tiffany is so pretty!  Dylan here was (an air traffic controller) and he is sending you right on over to The Secret Is In The Sauce, as you can clearly see.  Go check them out.  Their contest runs all week and maybe you can win the Canon too!  I can cut my loses if it's for one of you - cause ya know I love you more'n my luggage.




19 October 2010

California, Who Do You Think You Are, Seattle?

What were you expecting, sunny California?  No siree, them there's raindrops in my bird bath.   

When I think of rain, I think of rainy cities, like Seattle for instance.  The average rainfall in Seattle is 142" per year.  They don't advertise Seattle as bright, sunny and mellow, like they do California.  Seattle once had the most rain in any place in Washington in one day.  14.26." I'm not kidding;  I looked it up!  The rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rain forests in the continental US  You EXPECT rain in Seattle. 

But I live in California.  Here in California we're supposed to be the golden state.  One thinks of golden sunshine and golden poppy's.  People come here chasing beach time and sunshine! 

So what's up with this? This looks more like the birthplace of Starbucks!  I don't even like Starbucks.  However, I heard today that Starbucks is going to start serving beer and wine. Off track again but, Interesting.

One of my favorite blogs to read is Nana Diana Takes A Break.  Now there's a woman who loves her Starbucks.  She even says she loves Starbucks in her profile!  Give her a visit and I'll bet you come away wanting a good cuppa the joe.  Sorry about not liking Starbucks Diana, I still like people who like Starbucks!  Especially you.

But seriously,  back to Seattle.  Although the wealthiest man in the United States lives there,  (nothing to scoff at mind you) and my all time favorite rocker, Jimi Hendrix was born there, (that definitely says something about the fun factor),  I need me some sunshine.  Come on baby, come back to California! 

My new garden has had plenty of rain now.  Thank you very much.  It looks amazing, smells tropical and flowery, and is thriving in all this beautiful rain.  But now, now I think its time for some sunshine so it knows what to do next.  My plants are California thrivers.  They need sun.  Just like their momma.  

Here in San Diego our average rainfall is 9" per year.  Remember back in the day, when I first started this blog?  It seems like a million years since then but it's been more like 12 months, 5 days, 3 hours and  6 seconds ago?  Remember when the cottage looked like this, at the very beginning before we even started.  Click here and check it out.

It was a sweet little cottage and I loved every inch of it.  But we had some big dreams for our cottage by the sea, and this blog has been about sharing our dreams and watching them become reality through lots of pictures and the nightmare adventure of the remodeling process.  Blogs are kinda awesome because they give you a chance to reflect and look back on the many changes and events that occur in just a short time.  I can't believe in one year a year that seemed like a lifetime, kids grew up so much, we have lost friends and family, gained friends and family,  experienced all the holidays, the ups the downs the Ins and outs.  My mom had her 80th birthday, my 6th grandchild was born, my daughter graduated college.  I wonder as I look back, as you only can in a blog, what each new month will bring and how it will compare to last year.  

One thing I know for sure is that I'm loving my front yard more than I did last year at this time when it looked like this. 

However first it took a lot of work.  We had to clean this mess up.  If I could only tell you the Man/Women hours that have gone into this.  But I'll spare you.  We had to dig and dig and grade and lay sprinkler lines and install sprinklers and fertilizer.  Then we raked and raked and raked some more.

This was the state of my front yard for months and months.

Then we started to do the initial ground work.  We formed patios and poured them full of cement.

Walk -ways were born.

Plants were discussed, researched, chosen and purchased.

This plant is a Mandavilla called Stars and Stripes.  When it blooms the flowers will be a deep red with a small white stripe. They were planted along walkways to grow up fences where they will thrive and bloom in the sunshine. Come back home sunshine.

We lay cobble stone pathways and planted, umm...   Where's my Latin vocabulary when I need it?  Anyway, it's a little kind of mossy grass which thrives in sunshine and will fill in nicely between the stones.

We chose tropical ferns and scuparum, on which blossoms a rich pink flower called "ruby glow".  It blooms almost all year long.  Even when it isn't blooming it has a beautiful green foliage.  

We already had the palm trees and they are very appreciative of our attempt and success at saving them from the savage happenings which occur during a full remodel.  Some of our plants weren't so lucky.
When I wrote this post, RIP I'm Missing You I was mourning the loss of my favorite Bird of Paradise.  Note to all:  Construction workers do not listen when you ask them to make sure to save your favorite plants, even when you point out the obvious.  But I regress.

After all the plants were planted, we got to put in the finishing touch.  The lawn.  The, pies de resistance. It came on a truck already all grown.  Wouldn't it be cool if kids came that way?   Just saying'.   Kind of...  Well, at least maybe skip over the teenager part and go straight to where they love their parents and think you are very wise again.  You know, as opposed to the complete idiot you are when they're between 14 and 25 married with kids of their own.  Off track again, sorry.

This is the topper.  It fertilizes the grass and keeps it nice and green and protects it from, from, I don't know what it protects it from but it makes it look really grand.

Just a few more strips to lay out and just like "Total Home Makeover," (minus 12 months, 5 days, 3 hours and  6 seconds), it will be an instant, amazing, beautiful front garden and courtyard.

Ta Da!  Just like that. 

 From this- 
To this.
Our Lady has a special spot in our garden.  She is surrounded by roses, which will look much better in the spring and summer when the sun is shining on them.

Here's a peek at what I see when I walk out my front door now.  {Sigh of happiness and contentment}.

Just under a year ago, not long after we did the cruel and unusual gutting destruction of our little cottage and were starting to rebuild, the front porch looked like this.  Then after a lot of labor and interesting changes, there was the Birth Of The Arch.  That was pretty exciting and we were very pleased with ourselves for thinking of it as it wasn't in our original plans.  It was our ode to Solana Beach where many of our landmarks and monuments including the train station and more importantly, The Belly-Up Tavern, where my hubs and I had our first date have an arch as their entrance.

Now the front porch looks like this.

And like this.  Can't you just see you and me sitting on the rocker and glider having a tall glass of something cool to drink?  Or maybe due to the inclement weather; the Seattle like weather, a cuppa tea or a Starbuck's together?  You're welcome to come on down.  Whatever the weather, we can sit and listen to the tide come in and out, and let me tell you, there is not a better sound than that.

If you come speedy quick, maybe you can get me out of doing the laundry.

Cause at this point my pup is buried in it.  But as soon as the sun comes back-

Its return will have the state ready to surf and shimmy again in the warm rays and high waves of tomorrow.  For goodness sakes we face Westward people!

  • P.S.   Seattle, I hope I haven't offended you.  I love your Pikes Market, especially all the fresh produce and crafty crafts.  My niece Natalie goes to school there and loves it so much I think she's going to make it her permanent home.  Elliot's Bay is gorgeous and from the hotel I stayed at there once on the 4th of July, I could see the fireworks from my room.  Besides Seattle, anywhere that has people with the ability to invent Pictionary and Cranium (my fave board games) is okay with me.  
Blessings from the Golden State where the sun almost always shines.


13 October 2010

Link Me Up Baby

Last week, THIS came to my cottage and it was on a mission.

It was HUGE.  It took up practically the whole street.  They refused to give me one of those cool fluorescent vests but, even so,  I  re-routed cars myself, no orange cones or anything.   I just asked, "Could you please go around, we're moving mountains trees here?"  Most people just pulled over, parked and marveled at he attraction.  You'd a thought we were at the drive-in.

First this thang was lowered onto the street and then hooked up to our new Monterey Cypress Tree. Here following is the Wikipedia explanation of the Cypress.

Cupressus macrocarpa, commonly known as Monterey Cypress or Macrocarpa, is a species of cypress that is endemic to the Central Coast of California. In the wild, the species is confined to two small populations, near Monterey and CarmelCalifornia[2] These two small populations represent what was once a very large forest on the west coast. The surviving trees from this forest are as old as 2000 years.

Sadly, we had to take out our beautiful Rubber Tree when we did our remodel.  The roots were invading the foundation of the cottage and we extended the family room out so...  The former tree provided privacy, and some shelter for the backyard.  Also it was evergreen, easy to care for and required little more water than acquired from the fog and slight rain we get here on the coast.  Our new Cypress has the same qualities and when it is mature can be what they refer to as, "laced" to give it the exact height and shape we desire.

RIP Rubber Tree.
Welcome Cypress.

Getting our new tree into the back yard was no easy task.  Since we are in our early 50's we figured we needed a fairly large tree so that we can enjoy it in our lifetime. This tree is a little over 18 feet tall.  There is little space down the sides of the cottage so a tree this size can't be carted on a dolly.  Can't go under, so we had to go over.

There were a lot of wires to avoid as we live in an older neighborhood from the days before they buried wires underground.  The guy maneuvering this crane was an artist in his own right.  I just couldn't believe what it took to get that crane with an 18' Cypress, from the street, over the house and down into our back yard.  Truly,  it was an Aaaaaamazing sight.  If only I could have sold tickets!

This may be my new dream job.  The crane operator is a navigator who knows how to drive heavy equipment.   He gets to work on interesting projects, wear cheery and holiday appropriate clothing and best of all,  he gets to bring his pup to work!  This little guy just sat on his daddy's lap and enjoyed the ride.  I remarked how sweet and relaxed he looked and the operator said, "yeah but he has the loyalty of a Fig Leaf.  If you wanted to take him in your car right now, he'd hop right in and never look back."  Oh.  Well sir, it looks to me like this little guy is just in it for the ride and, who could blame him?

Here comes the tree, right over the roof of our cottage.  You can see the older more mature Cypress in the far right of the picture.  I like to think, that when the new tree passed by overhead, the old one wished it luck and spread on all its magnificence and ancient wisdom.  I also think it said, "you're gonna like it here little one - now that this remodel is over!  Oh and by the way,  sweet ride!"

Our new tree was gently lowered over the cottage and then down
and down...

Right into the nice big hole we dug for it.

So comfy and secure.  Ready to put down roots here,  just like us the rest of us.

So now, here's what we see from inside the cottage.  Someday (hopefully in our lifetime) this tree will be tall enough to lace and then it will look just like the one on the North side of the cottage.

Our new Cypress and a view of the hills beyond.  I can't wait to see the sunrise with our new tree in the foreground.  I plan on enjoying a cuppa on a daily basis whilst gazing lovingly at my new tree.  Maybe some of you could join me sometime?

This is the Cypress that lives on the North side of the cottage.  I can't guess how old she is but, she towers over the house.  A family of Raccoons live in there and we had to make a serious deal with them after several noisy mishaps which kept us awake for many a night.  We won't bother you,  if you don't bother us.  The lady down the street is feeding them now and that's mostly what they're in it for so, as long as that nice, accommodating woman doesn't move, we're all good.   Everybody's happy.  When our new Cypress grows up she'll look just like this more mature one.  Oh, what we have to look forward to!

On another note-
Cooper came home from Uni up in Los Angeles last weekend just to meet his new niece, Miss Abigail Rose.  He was completely smitten.
• ( smitten) be strongly attracted to someone or something he was so smitten with the baby.

Yep, and you can see why. 

Love ya more than all my amazing blessings,


11 October 2010

DIY or Shenanigan - You Decide

Cottage By The Sea isn't a DIY blog but, today you're going to get a wee bit of the do it yourself project I've been working on when time allows.  Actually, I whipped it out in about 2 hours.  I'm speedy quick (read: hyper activity disorder) like that.  Since we moved back into the cottage, I've been trying to save on some of the little things which I can do myself, for the time being.  So here's one of them for your perusal, I hope you like it.  If that's not what you came here for I'll go out on a limb and call it a shenanigan if you wish, since I did warn you in the intro/explanation of my blog that there may be a few of those here.

Here they are were,  my counter stools.  At some point I'd love to have rattan stools with backs on them in their place but, I had these unfinished wooden stools at my former house when I lived out in the country. I decorated them such; and they looked like this.

Like I said, I lived out on an acreage and had a lot of farm animals.  All of these stools represented some of my pets.

Do you know how hard geese bite?  From experience, I can tell you, hard!  They say geese make better watch dogs than dogs, and if you've ever been bitten by one I dare you not to agree.

This stool represented our bunny.  My son Cooper was just a wittle little guy when we lived out in the outer regions of civilization.  When showing off the bunny he would say, "This is mine bunny named Lily."  How cute is that?  You don't have to answer.  It was a rhetorical question.  Just take my word, it was  c u t e.

Back to my hyper activity disorder, you can see I never quite finished the little chicks in this painting.  I was probably too busy changing diapers, feeding kidlets and gathering chicken eggs!  We never ate our chickens — our little farm was just a petting zoo with chickens, pygmy goats and the such.  We did love us those fresh eggs though!

Back to redoing the stools.  We were doing that, were we not?  After a tiny bit of sanding, (I was in a hurry and I don't love sanding.) Also remember these aren't permanent like I mentioned.  You'll probably see them in a garage sale as soon as I find the perfect stools I'm dreaming of, (and get the dough to buy them).  I'd say that will probably happen about the time I'm finished paying for Uni for that adorable little kid who said, "That's mine bunny named Lily".  He's so worth it though. 

Lets see.  These were my choices from the material stash I keep in the studio.  I like all the colors and the 4th from the right is a beauty and matches the blues and greens I use everywhere.  As you can see I love red.  There's a bit of it in almost everything I have to choose from here.  This time though, I went with the yellow.  It's just the mood I was in.  As in, summery, cheery, sunny yellow.  There is a tiny fleurs-de-lis  pattern in the material which added the blue I love and also picks up the color in my dining room chairs.

 I could eat this color it's so yummy.  I also re-covered these dining room chairs which, used to live at our cabin in the mountains and were forest green & cream plaid.  Just not working for me here at the beach, ya know? I won't bore you with the upholstery process of these pieces because I know by now you must be so enthralled with the stools and waiting with bated breath for the termination conclusion, of this post. 

I used the top of the stool as a template, traced around the batting and material and made these perfect little circles. 

My trusty glue gun and I went to work and glued the batting in place.  My poor husband about had a heart attack when he saw me gluing over something I had painted.  Even though most of my paintings hang in the garage or the basement he has an unusual attachment to them and hates when I paint over them, which I often do, if only to reuse the canvas for a new painting I have in mind.  He's been known to go into convulsions when I paint over a mural I've done on a wall, but that's just the way I roll.  The man obviously puts up with a lot.

Such a satisfying beginning to a DYI project.  Oh, oh, oh.  HANG on here a sec.  The song "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carslile just commenced on my ipod and I'm crying too hard to continue writing, but...  {Waaaaa, sniff, snort, sniff}.  K, all right,  I'm gonna be okay. Don't worry about me.  Really.  I cry every time that song plays.  Eve since my first baby went off and got married on me.  Anyway, here are the stools {umm, sniff, stutter, sniff}, all glued, painted and the batting in place, ready for the fabric.  Really, forget about it, I'm okay now.  It's just that it is a long song.  {Ahhhh, why did you leave me baby girl?}  Was it because that cute guy asked you to get married and start a family?  Okay then.  

These are my trusty Ginger scissors.  "They are ONLY to be used for sewing" say I to my offspring.  Yet, last time I went to look for them,  someone (you know who you are) was using them to cut their fingernails!  

There was an awesome staple gun involved in this project too.  Have I told you how much I LOVE staple guns?  I LOVE staple guns.

Ta da! 

 Cost = 2 cans high gloss white spray paint and the risk you will never read my blog again. 

Picture of my pup on a stool,  priceless.

Blessings and, ya know I love you.  More than all the tears I just cried and snuffled listening to that dam Butterfly Kisses song whilst trying to get a post done.

Come back soon because something so exciting is happening around here I can barely keep it to myself for one more second.  I've waited a long, long time for this and some of you have too.  It may just involve dirt and possibly...