Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Solitary Adventure

This Weekend will find me out on a Solitary Adventure. I didn't travel the world like I wanted to in my Twenties, but I got pretty good at going out on my own and trying something new.

Today, I will be heading to Charlottesville, VA for an herbal workshop at Sacred Plant Traditions, checking out Monticello and spending the night at a hostel. All things, I have never done before. I can't wait!

Enjoy your Weekend!

(Photo is courtesory of my Lovely Mama)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Month of Beauty...All in 425 Square Feet

Screens separate kitchen/ living room and bedroom.

I apologize for being a little House Obsessed this Month on this blog. I've got houses on the brain. I wrote about this little Gem here (if you missed it). I am so in awe of this lovely Tiny House. 

A steel breakfast bar opens into a full kitchen with downsized appliances. Shelves below the counter/sink offer storage space, with shutters as cabinet doors.

Through creative design, the bathroom feels downright roomy.

Teina Manu designed and built this modern bed frame. The small bedroom also boasts a walk-in closet.

Lila Cohen and Teina Manu's tiny 425-square foot Phoenix home is featured on the 2011 Architects' Own Homes Tour.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Month of Beauty...Gee's Bend Quilts

This is a gorgeous painting, right? Wrong. It's actually a quilt - one made by one of the Ladies of Gee's Bend.

I have declared my love of "Gee's Bend Quilts" here. If you haven't heard of the Quilters of Gee's Bend, do yourself a favor and read my post.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Month of Beauty...A Sentence

As mentioned here, I've been reading this this book. It's been an anchor for me. I flip it open and randomly read a paragraph or two throughout the day. I inhale each little gem.

Have you ever read a sentence and gasp and have to put down the book? Because those few words, arranged in a such a way, touch you in a way you can't adequately explain?

"We don't need to travel the world, collect impressive experiences or achieve endless milestones in order to feel complete."

She goes on to say, " What we seek is within us. The answer is to change where we look for it."

Thank you, Sarah Napthali. I needed to hear those words right now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Belated 14 Months!

Dearest Daughter,

Mommy has been a slacker. I never got around to writing you a letter when you turned 14 Months Old. I started this post a few weeks ago...but never finished it. Yesterday, you turned 15 before I write your 15 Month Letter, here's this one.

This Month has been lots of fun. Instead of writing you a long letter, I thought I'd just share with you your Current Top Ten Favorite Things to Do.

1. Doing Jay-Jay (Dadi showed you how to bow and pray to Ganesh and the Other Gods. You love to give Buddha and Ganesh lots of hugs and kisses each day. Videos coming...)

2. Opening and closing Ra-Ra's front door.

3. Feeding the Cats.

4. Identifying the Cats (Hi. Kitty...Pepe...Dainty).

5. Saying hello to the Cows.

6. Identifying your belly-button, nose, ears, mouth and eyes.

7. Helping fill up the Birdhouse with Birdseed.

8. Playing in the Sandbox.

9. Running around naked on the Farm, squealing with delight at being sprayed with the hose and getting in and out of the baby pool.

10. Taking care of your various doll babies and bears by hugging them, giving them sips of water and food, putting them to bed and pushing them around in an ancient baby carriage.

As you can see you've been a very busy Girl this Month. It's been such an incredible experience watching you interact with the world around you. Can't wait to see what comes next! We love you so, very, very much.

Tons of Kisses and Hugs,

Down on the Farm


Happy Belated Summer Solstice! Lina and I have been trying to stay cool here on my parent's Farm as Summer has made her Fierce debut. Lots of pool time, lots of naked time (her, not me).

We have made lots of inroads on our Summer List. The second photo was taken at #17 on the List (Catoctin Mountain Orchard). The Children's Play Area was even more exciting than I remembered. The Children's Fort was brilliantly designed, the sand-box was enormous and the tunnels were exciting. Even my Step-father had a blast! We will be returning soon.

We were also blown away by #7 (Clemyjontri Park). The park was designed to be an inclusive playground that's handicap accessible. It's an endless Wonderland and is hands-down the most amazing Playground I have ever visited. If you are visiting the D.C. area, it's definitely worth a detour.

I am so glad we finally made it to #9 (Gravelly Point Park). It's only about 5 minutes from our house...really there was no excuse that it took 10 months to visit the park. My kiddo had a grand time walking across the field, although I was probably a bit more thrilled to watch the airplanes take off directly in front of us. Before our visit to Gravelly Point Park, Lina had not really noticed airplanes. Now, she hears them and recognizes the sound.

My Mama came with us to #14 (Cunningham Falls Lake). I grew up going to the Lake, so it was extra-special to be able to take my daughter.

I took Lina to #18 (Storytime at My Hometown Library), two weeks ago. the new Thurmont Library something to behold! The children's area is the most stunning of any I have visited (and I have been to A LOT of libraries). It is pretty amazing that my tiny, little Hometown is now rockin such a phenomenal library. I can't wait to go back!

Hope you are getting into some Awesome Summer Adventures yourself. Stay cool, if you are enjoying a Heat-Wave right now!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Garden Dreams

We put an offer on a house, yesterday. There were 4 other offers, so it looks like we have a very slim chance. But, it got my wheels turning thinking about gardening. Specifically, gardening in small places.

I've mentioned Micheal Judd from Ecologia Design when I wrote this post. His website is an absolute treasure trove of information on "Edible Landscaping." 

Kiwi Hardy Brick Wall

Poncirus trifoliata Flying Dragon, Flying Dragon Hardy Orange

I am liking the idea of including the following edible plants in our future yard...

1) Hardy Kiwi

2) Flying Dragon Citrus

3) Elderberry

4) Kousa Dogwood

5) Jujube

6) Mushrooms

7) Fig Tree

8) Paw Paw Tree

Thinking about this future food is making me hungry!

Photos Sources: here, here, here, here, and here

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Beauty of Vizcaya

Vizcaya is on my Bucket List of places to visit. I first saw photos of this Miami Estate in a copy of Martha Stewart and fell totally in love.  It's a slice of Europe right here in the United States. (Literally a slice...much of the furniture, art and stone-work is from Europe).

In 1910, James Deering purchased the property and began building with help from Paul Chalfin (the designer), F. Burrall Hoffman Jr. (the architect) and Diego Suarez (the landscape architect).

Deering financed the building of Vizcaya with money made through the manufacture of farm equipment. (I found this fact to be particularly interesting because my Step-father only farms with Harvester International equipment....Deering's family's company).

Deering spent his Winters on the Estate from 1916 until his death in 1925. What some amazing winters they must have been for him and his guests. I am trying not to be envious.

The luxurious interiors are less interesting to me, as the ten acres of formal gardens and forty acres of native trees. These photos make me just want to roam aimlessly around the property for days. "Vizcaya" is open on nights during a Full Moon. I think it would be worth coordinating a trip to Miami during a Full Moon just to see Vizacaya in the moonlight, don't you think?

Since it's the Month of Beauty on my blog, I wanted to make sure you had heard of this astounding place.

Welcome to Vizcaya



Start gallery

Start gallery

*** All the photos except the last two are from Martha Stewart. The last two are from Vizcaya's website.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Current Top 5 Favorite Herbal Posts

I haven't shared any Herbal posts recently, so I thought I'd bring out a few Oldies but Goodies. A post on "Bug Repellent" is coming real soon!

Up. Word of the Week.

I've been really slacking in writing down things in my daughter's Baby Book since she turned one. So, I'm going to attempt to record things here in a very simple format.
Word of the Week: Up (she knows what it means but sometimes asks me to "up" something because she hasn't learned the word "open" yet).

Skill of the Week: Successfully using her toilet 4-8 times daily (this means I am spending A LOT of time in our bathroom, reading her favorite books she has been requesting...I didn't foresee how much of the day would be spent hanging out next the toilet).

Mannerism of the Week: Gasping and pointing to her ear when she hears something loud like an airplane or our landlord walking around upstairs.

Favorite Material/Toy/Activity of the Week: Russian Nesting Dolls (I just have to keep the really tiny ones from her since she loves to purposefully put them in her mouth to get a reaction from me).

Bam. That wasn't too hard. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep this up.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Houseplant Help...Parramyd


Check this out. Sometimes your home may have plenty of room for plants to sprawl and other times not. This device is for those "not" times.

You Know You Are In The Country When....

Your daughter falls asleep in a wheel-barrow....while naked. After having insisted that she be pushed like a Homecoming Queen.... in a wheel-barrow....while naked.

She always keeps it interesting, this child of my mine!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Love Notes to Papa

There is a cute and simple Father's Day craft on Twig and Toadstool today.You probably already have all the materials needed for the project. My child is a few years away from writing messages to her Papa. But....I thought I'd share.

When Wood and Hand-made Paper Collide

Custom Bound Wood Journal w/ dark finish

I am a fan of Book-making. I find it to be an incredibly satisfying process.

For those who are less inclined to adventure into the world of Book-making there is Boarding School Bindery. This Brother and Sister team use reclaimed wood from Maine combined with heavy watercolor paper to make exquisite journals.

They cost a pretty penny...but would make a wonderful special present for a very special person. Perhaps one of these days I'll treat myself to one!

For less intimidating examples of Book-making, check out my posts here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art Inspiration for Our House

Since the theme this Month on my blog is Beauty, my posts will be heavy on the visual side. (You probably have noticed this already....don't worry, some herbal posts, as well as some kiddo posts are also coming your way).

This month is my chance to share various future Art Projects, as well as Good Design I have spied around the Internet and beyond. I can't wait to have some time to work on some of these projects.

Today, we are checking out two houses and one of them has a fireplace in the Living Room.

If we end up with a house with a fireplace, I am thinking of using this sculpture I found on Design Sponge as inspiration. I love working with found wood, so this would be a fun project. It's a quirky piece that really goes well with the open shelves, don't you think?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Do You Like Shooting Photos of Old Things?

If the answer is yes and you live in the D.C./VA/MD area, then this Saturday, June 9th may be your day.

Frederick County Landmarks Foundation is sponsoring their 6th Annual Barnstormers Tour. From 10 am until 4 pm, ten historic Barns in Buckeystown will be open to the public for self-guided tours.  

Here's your chance to waltz right into some amazing old buildings and explore to your heart's content. (Make sure you bring your camera). Several volunteers will be camped out at each barn - willing and able to answer your questions about that specific barn. (How do I know this? One of them will be my Mother, who took all these photos by the way).

There will be Plein Air Painters at each Barn merrily painting away throughout the day (all the paintings will be for sale at the Art Show from 5 pm-7pm).

If you are interested in history and have a thing for taking photos of stone, weathered wood and metal, think about attending the Barnstormers Tour this Saturday.

This article has all the details. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kitchen Love

I have been totally disinterested in Kitchen Design for....I'm not sure, but it's been a long time. I love to cook but my eyes just glaze over when I see a Kitchen (maybe because my Mother was a Cabinet-Maker for 20 years and my Step-father has been one for 35 years).

But, now that we are House Hunting....Kitchens are suddenly on my radar.

I used to think white Kitchens were just plain stupid, boring and asking for trouble. I totally didn't get it. I'm not sure what changed. Now, I am on a White Kitchen Kick, specifically a White Kitchen with Open Shelving Kick.

I think the draw is light. All of the houses in our price range are small and, therefore, all of the Kitchens are compact. White paint and some sunlight streaming through the window really does wonders for making a space seem larger.

Maybe I should blame it on this house...

Ever since I saw photos of Protohaus, I've been obsessed with the beauty of a White Kitchen.

I love how the open shelving makes you edit what you keep in your kitchen. No keeping something around that you are not crazy about because your Great-Aunt gave it to you. I'm guessing it would force one to be a bit neater (or is that wishful thinking on my part).

Here is are some Kitchens that are Making My Wheels Turn...

You can tell this is a small space but it feels so airy and cheerful. I'm totally digging those red counters.


Maybe we should get rid of our current pots and pans and invest in 4 or 5 copper pieces and hang them on the wall. I've always loved the look of copper and we already have a few non-cooking copper pots at our house. I like the look of the pans directly on the wall, as opposed to hanging from large hooks or from a rack.


More Open Shelving. Not sure how well Art above the stove would hold up with some serious cooking. But I think this space is cute (although I would personally de-cluttter it a bit on the counter to make me feel more calm).

I have to laugh at how popular farm sinks have become recently. My parents have one. Of course, they live on an actual farm. I'm liking the look of this kitchen with its butcher block counters and rustic style cabinets.

This may be my favorite one so far! We already have a lot of wood pieces, so this look would be easier to achieve. White bowls and plates can be found at yard sales and thrift stores for cheap. The only thing I would do differently with this kitchen, would be to have butcher block counters that are similar to the shelves. Gorgeousness!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yellow Rag Rug

I found this rug at the Etsy shop called Green at Heart Rugs. The owner buys T-shirts from local Charity Shops, washes, cuts and dyes the fabric to make these Rag Rugs. I'm kind of obsessed with yellow right now, but that blue rug is a close second.

I grew up in a house with numerous Rag Rugs, so I am very partial to them. I have no desire to make one of these myself right now, but I love the idea of supporting a small American-run business.

My Great-grandmother got into making rugs in her late '80s (when she could no longer knit). Maybe I'll follow her suit and make one of these puppies in 50 years!

Deposit for Midnight Blue braided rug created from recycled t shirts and New organic fabric.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

French Garage Turned into a Home

Papa Bear and I have started House Hunting. Yesterday, we went to two houses (more on that later) and the second house had a solid garage built in the 1950's. I started brainstorming ideas for using the garage and I remembered this video.

A 450 sq foot garage was turned into an interesting modern home full of light. The homeowner also had one massive furniture unit built (a bit too sterile for my liking but pretty darn ingenious). Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Making Lizards My New Friends

I got bit by a Deer Tick a week ago. I've become paranoid about developing Lyme Disease. Each ache and pain I've felt has me wondering whether or not that tick was infected. (I saved the tick, just in case).

So, I was very intrigued when I stumbled across this older article. I found the article through Ecologia Design which is a very talented landscaping company based out of Frederick, MD (do yourself a favor and check out their site...they have some truly fanastic ideas).

According to the article, there are less rates of Lyme Disease out West due to the large lizard population. Scientists have discovered a protein in lizard's blood that kills the Lyme Disease causing bacterium. When a tick bites the lizard, the bacterium "cleanses" the tick's blood. Nature is pretty amazing.

What should we folks do East of the Mississippi River? Help protect lizard populations by providing more lizard friendly habits (lot of mulch, ground covers, rock piles and walls).

The photo above is a habitat wall for lizards at the RBC New Wild Garden built by Nigel Dunnett & The Landscape Agency (photo from Ecologia Design). The wall looks very sculpture and seems like a beautiful and smart solution in the battle against Lyme's Disease.

I love the mix of rock, metal and wood. It looks you could find the materials at a place like the Loading Dock or Community Forklift. I'm definitely adding "Build a Habitat Wall for Lizards" to my list of future projects for our future house.

I am definitely looking at lizards in a new light.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Child's Grocery Store

Okay, so I am officially jealous. I wish I had had one of these when I was a child. This is such a well made child's space and stylish enough that I wouldn't mind it in my Living Room (as opposed to most of the plastic junk floating around).

I think it would make it very difficult to complain about playing Store with your child with such beautiful materials.

Ra-Ra, you see this? I know you could so make one of these. (My Mama is the most creative person I know and she definitely has at least 2/3rds of the materials necessary to make this Shop).

Found here.

Do you find this as inspiring as I do?

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