Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Setting the Stage for Sharing

Raleigh 3 speed English racer - long ago matching bikes Christmas gift from John

A plant exchange is the perfect way to meet new neighbors and to share the earth's bounty. Our neighborhood had a plant exchange this past Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, and it was posted on a couple of our neighborhood sites - Nextdoor and our facebook page.

We hosted it in our front yard, since it is more visible, and according to some studies on building neighborhood, people feel more free to join you in your front yard than to impose on your more private back yard.  So John, thankfully, put himself in charge of bringing backyard tables and chairs, plus the sign, and the bike out front, so we could make it clear where the sale was. The table and shelves for the plants also had to be set up (not really knowing if anyone, or how many would show up.)

I was in charge of what goes where and how it should look, and what we should serve, so I will share a few of John's photos.

Crib-end Sandwich Board used at shop and for Faith's and David's Wedding

The bike (vintage, of course, but new when purchased years ago), 
was tethered to a new little tree on the parkway, with a plant and flags in its basket. The sign, my old crib end one from the shop, was placed in the middle of the boulevard. I am obviously not a "chalkboard artist" especially when it is being designed the morning of the 9:00 event. 
Bridget - granddaughter and Valedictorian Morris H.S. 2015

We left town at 4:00 PM the day before to attend the graduation ceremony of this beautiful young lady. Bridget happens to be our"favorite oldest granddaughter" and also class valedictorian. (not TOO proud:)

Fortunately, I had made the rhubarb cake a couple of days ahead of time, so I just needed to put together the coffee, and cut the fresh pineapple the day of the event.

Chippy old patio Tea Cart/Server

I tried to keep it simple, but there are still plenty of last minute details to work on. Coffee had to be placed, and plugged in. Cake had to be cut. Color scheme and accessories to cover both garden and Memorial Day had to be determined.

Matching vintage tablecloths from an aunt, floor-length on small table and short skirt on large patio table
Neighbors visiting, shopping, and enjoying cake and coffee

Neighbors came, some for plants; others for coffee, cake and a chat. Many plants were exchanged or purchased. Donations for the neighborhood association were received, and it was a beautiful sunny day for the event.

We do have quite a few plants left and gathered on the porch - FREE for the taking. There are a variety of tomato plants, including purple and black, other vegetables, herbs, and perennials. 

Garage shelves emptied and brought out front to display plants

And I have included a favorite family recipe from my great aunt, copied by one of our daughters.

The rhubarb was fresh from our neighborhood market, and the cake received rave reviews.
Great Aunt Vig's (Virginia) Rhubarb Cake Recipe

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Winter to Summer with a few minor touches

I love so many decorating styles - traditional, primitive, rustic, cottage, and to a lesser extent mid-century. We have a bit of each in our home. The room in this post is an addition we put on several years ago when the children were young and all living at home. It is a combination eating area and family room - a gathering room as they were called in an earlier era.

Changing out the decor for the season is always fun, but I decided to give this room a lake cottage look for the summer and I can actually keep out the plaid blankets and pillows and make them fit the season by adding other touches such as a rustic "cabins" sign, a picnic basket, a duck, and a farmer's market veggie basket watercolor.

This room, when all six windows are open, can actually get a bit chilly in the evenings, so the blankets continue to be put to good use.

Summer is the red, white, and blue, season, with all the summer holidays - Memorial Day, Flag Day and, of course, the 4th of July. So the architectural stars and the flag pillow plus the colors in the weaving add to the spirit.

There are so many memories in this room - my mother's high school sampler on the brick wall, the antique weaving, a gift from David's mother after Faith and he were married in Charleston last Spring. The antique checkerboard was a gift from John many Christmases ago. It had been covered in white paint and was part of a chicken coop wall before it was rescued.

The water color is one I did in one of Ingrid Dohm's classes when her studio was a gathering place in the North End, and she was an integral part of our First Thursday celebrations.

Having a booth instead of a store, where I had regular hours, is giving me more time to spend at home and more time to enjoy the rearranging, something that was a bit neglected during my five years as a shopkeeper.

Homes tell the stories of our lives, and I often marvel at how fast those stories move from chapter to chapter.