Blushing Gardener

Blushing Gardener Mood BoardNow, before you go reading this post about landscaping, let me make it clear right from the start that this is what I want to plant- not what I am going to plant, around my front door this fall.

You already know about my gardening skills, but we also have dog issues to contend with at our house.  I’ve given up on putting any effort and money into the yard that will be pulled up and devoured the moment I try to make a milk run to the Dollar General.  When we move past chewy-puppy stage in our family, I’ll be a little more willing to get back into the curb-appeal swing of things.

That being said,  I still wish my yard looked like the after pics of a Yard Crashers episode.  And there’s nothing like October weather to put you in the mood for a pumpkin on the porch.  Which explains my recent trip to the Lowes gardening center with no intention of making a purchase, whatsoever.

There’s no question blush is having a moment now, and when I saw a table of palest pink begonias alongside ornamental kale, inspiration hit.   It reminded me of this photo shoot I saw a few days ago on 100 Layer Cake.  I loved interesting effect the pastels had on a typical mix of autumn color:  a little bit fresh and modern, a little bit reminiscent of the glowing areas of light against rich dark backgrounds in old Dutch Masters paintings.  Love!

Here’s a look at some of the flowers and color combos I played with at Lowes:

Unexpected Blush in the Garden

Isn’t it a Beautiful mix? Sources for photographs follow post.

Want to give this look a try on your own front porch this fall?  Below, a general recipe for a Blushing Fall Garden:

The Blushing Gardener

What are your fall decorations looking like this year?  Any of you trying a mix of pastels in your decor?  Share them with us!  I’m sure they’re wonderful.  Maybe even worthy of the after shots of Yard Crashers.

Me?  I’ll be seeing you on the next episode of Hoarders: Dog Owners Edition.

You are So Cute, Smart and Organized,


Sources for photography :  Light-colored pumpkin with berries on black background by Michael Graydon, from the October 2009 issue of House & Home.   Red-orange mini pumpkins on straw by Danyelle on Dandee.

Neither Lowes nor HGTV know who I am or that Im writing this. :)


A Soft Start to Fall

soft cozy fallFall is taking it’s own sweet time to show it’s face here in Texas.

But, as every girl knows, you shouldn’t let a little thing like a thermometer that reads 98 degrees stop you from adding a hint of autumn to the house.
Cozy your home up for the season with a few accessories in gentle, whitewashed colors.
 …And while you’re cozy-ing, don’t forget this falls Must Have:  The Chunky Knit Throw.
How are you sprucing up for fall?  Share with us! 
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!
Click on Image for Sources

Beach House Style

beach house styleWanting to bring a little taste of your vacation back home?  Try bringing the warm, laid back feeling look of a beach cottage to your house.
Hallmarks of Beach House Style:
Water colors…blues, greens and soft whites are classic choices.
Easy-Going Materials, like slip-covered furnishings and un-fussy accessories, encourage a feet-up lifestyle.
Natural Elements…weathered woods, mother of pearl, sisal and seagrass hint at days by the sea.
How are you bringing a taste of summer to your home?  Show us your ideas!
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!
Click Image for Sources

My Ultimate Cleaning Tools

ultimate cleaning tools
My husband helped me pull out the oven and give it a deep cleaning this weekend, which got me thinking about my all-time favorite cleaning tools…
When I run across something that refuses to come clean, which is about every day,  this is what I reach for.  I’ve found them to be more effective than cleaning chemicals, and they require a LOT less elbow grease than a scrubby brush.  What could be better?
Summer should be fun and carefree.  Here are three tools that will make light work of summer chores now, and will save you a backache all year long.
1.  Magic Eraser Now: I’m getting that nasty grey film off our plastic outdoor toys.  Throughout the year: I de-grime our tennies, rub the burnt stuff off the glass cooktop, wipe the little red marks off the walls that the broom makes when it falls against them, and spiff up the arm rest in the car.  It’ s also gotten ink off our wallpaper, and those little dark specks that the dishwasher ignores around the word “Pyrex'” on our Pyrex glasswear.  I especially love the way it cleans anything with subtle ridges that trap dirt, like vinyl flooring and the bumpy texture on ice chest lids. 
-Be careful with glossy paint surfaces, and go for the store brand erasers at WalMart; 
You can get a four pack for three or four bucks.  Lifesaver!-
2. Pumie Scouring Stone  Now:  It’s ideal for cleaning the grill.  Throughout the year: I can’t get over how well it cleans the lime deposits that we have such trouble with in our area- on tile, the tub and even the toilet.  It was fabulous this weekend for cleaning the enameled edges of the oven door that aren’t cleaned up during the self-cleaning cycle.  I LOVE the way it cleans our porcelain tub.
     -Wear gloves when you use it so it doesn’t rough-up your fingertips, and don’t use it on glass, fiberglass and soft metals, but you’ll be amazed at how many things you can use it on.  Cost: about $2.00.  Love it!-
3.  Pampered Chef Pan Scraper  Now and Throughout the Year: I use it for anything with something stuck on it, like all the cereal bowls I use to hold paint while working on projects, dried paint and soap drips, and absolutely anything else that won’t disolve with cleaner or scrub off with a scrubby brush.  Keep one at the kitchen sink for dishes, and one in each bathroom or your cleaning caddy.  I honestly don’t know why it works so well, but it really does. 
-I’ve tried other brands, but none seem to work as well as the ones from Pampered Chef; they’re more flexible and have both curved and straight corners for different applications.  And, hey, they’re only three dollars for a three pack, so go for it!-
If you’ve gotta clean something this summer, you might as well make it cheap, chemical-free, and easy, don’t you think?
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!

Choose the Best Lamp

Click for Sources
My boys have an amazing knack for breaking lamps at our house.  Here, a few quick tips to file away for Lamp-Shopping Day…
Living Room:
-Go Large, 30-34″.
-Pairs are pretty, or use two different lamps within 2″ of the same height.
-Choose 28-30″ tall for best reading light.
-Try two light sockets or a three-way switch to get the most light.
-Hang a pretty mirror behind lamps to boost brightness.
May your lamps enjoy long, happy lives ;)
Click for Sources

Save Summer in a Jar

beach-sand-jar-completeMy family used to go canoeing in the summer, and my parents were always sweet to help me keep an eye out for small, flat stones with a tiny hole eroded in them from the river water.  I would bring these rocks home and lace onto a piece of string to make a necklace.  If the stone just happened to be heart-shaped, it was all the better.

My boys are constantly bringing home their own little keepsakes like this.  Seashells, an especially pretty branch of pinecones and special rocks all come home from our trips in pockets and suitcases.

I recently ran across this picture in a Ballard Designs catalog that gave me the idea to make little jars for all the treasures they bring home.  Aren’t they pretty?

Inspiration for the Project.  Click for Info

Inspiration for the Project. Click for Info

beach-sand-jar-suppliesHere’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Glass Jars:  I used a three-pack of spring-hinge jars by Spare Parts at Hobby Lobby, $5.99

Clear-drying Glue for Glass:  Try Weldbond, $6 on Amazon

Sea Shells

Metal Label Holders:  I used a multipack by Spare Parts at Hobby Lobby, $2.99

Jute Twine

Paper, Pens, and Scissors

-Get your 40% off Hobby Lobby Coupon Here

…And here’s what you’ll do:

Following package directions, glue your sea shell to the lid of the jar and give it plenty of time to dry.  Patience, patience…

Using your Metal Label Holders as a template, cut the Paper into rectangular labels.  Give each label a title, such as the name of the beach where you collected your sand, or the year of your vacation, and write it out in your prettiest (or your child’s cutest…or your printer’s trendiest…) handwriting.

Mold the Metal Label Holders to match the curve of the jar by holding the Label Holder against the jar and pressing with your thumbs from the center of the Holder to the edges.



Thread a 10-inch piece of Jute Twine through the Label Holder, going in the hole from front to back on the right, across the back, and out the hole, back to front, on the left.  Center the Label Holder on the jar, wrap the Twine around the back, and tie tightly to secure.  Trim the tails as needed.


Wrap another 10-inch piece of Twine around the mouth of the jar, and tie it in the front with a handsome square knot.  Fray the ends of the twine.

Slip your Label into the Label Holder, and you’re all set to fill your jar with treasure.

Here’s another look at the finished product:


Does your family save mementos like this from your vacations?  Show us how you display them!  What kind of keepsakes would you store in your jars? 

You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!


This Weekend…Curl up with a Good iphone ;)

Finally Friday- good pins
The weatherman is predicting wet weekend for those of us in Texas.   Sit on your porch, listen to the rain, and get inspired by these pretty Pinterest boards:
Southern Living’s  Outdoor Rooms
Erika Powell’s garden +pools + landscape
Tobi Fairley’s Fabulous Outdoor Rooms
You know you’ll be on there, anyway!
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized,
Photos, clockwise from top:, Peter Zimmerman Architects, and

Target is Having a Furniture Sale!

Target Livingroom
I’m sure you were needing a reason to stop by Target this week…
Have you noticed the great furniture sale they’re having right now?
I played around with the sale page on their website last night, and found a whole room pretty furniture for under $800.
Here’s the breakdown:
Bailey Accent Wingchair with Brushed Nailhead Trim in Basil Green, $195.99
Hudson Upholstered Setee in Slate Velvet, $194.99
Two Threshold Woven-Topped End Tables in Plum Red, $49.99 each.  In love with these!
Tufted Bench in Birdwatcher, $262.49
And just for fun, I couldn’t resist decorating the whole room ;)  All accessories are also from Target.
Have you picked anything up at the furniture sale?  What did you get?  Share with us!  We’d love to see.
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!

Sweet Summer Afternoon

sweet summer afternoon
Being from Texas, iced tea was a year-round drink for our family. 
But in the summertime, we would pick spearmint from the little bush that grew under mama’s kitchen window, slice a fresh lime, and mix it into tall glasses of sweet iced tea.
Mmmmm….sweet summer afternoons.
Left to right:
Pretty Chevron Napkins by Pine Cone Hill, zinc door
Classic Glass Tea Pitcher by Primula, Target
Bamboo Muddler from EGO, occa-home
Charming Personalized Tray by Sweet Tea Paperie on Etsy, similar here
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!

Looks Like Summer! The Best Flowers Ever

It’s the last day of school for the Wiley boys!  Can we just say, we are more than just a little excited?!!
Pretty periwinkles are just about the best flowers ever, in my opinion, and since they don’t show up in stores until the weather really warms up in spring, they’ve always been a happy little signal to me that summer’s coming!
Years ago, I decided periwinkles, or vinca, are basically the only flowers I’ll bother to plant.  Though I love flowers, and even working in the yard, I’ve never exactly had a green thumb.  Combine that with my so-so soil and our blazing hot climate, and you’ve got to be one tough plant to make it in my yard.

Marigolds piddle out for me, geraniums wilt, and petunias turn into long, lanky strings of pale green stems with no flowers on them.  I know what you’re supposed to do to prevent this.  And I’ve done it.  Uggg.

So, my attitude is, “Why bother?”  Why bother with flowers that aren’t going to work when you can have periwinkles?

They revel in the Texas sun, grow fuller all season, and laugh when you forget to water them.  Ask me how I know.   Add to that the fact that vinca red happens to bloom in one of my favorite colors ever, and you’ve pretty much got flower perfection.

Looks like Summer!


Image above from Burpee