Hello, Possums! I'm back after a break. There's nothing wrong; I was just concentrating on other things for a while, like taking a UCLA Extension class, having a painting party with one girlfriend, and a shopping day with another.
One thing I don't like about the San Fernando Valley is the summer--it is hot as the dickens during the day! But if I venture out early enough, I see beautiful, fresh flowers with the morning dew--no, scratch that; it's probably leftover sprinkler water--still on them.
They are so pretty! We grow roses really well here in the Valley:
And Morning Glories grow almost *too* well:
Zinnias, Penstemon, and Petunias:
Oh, how I love Foxgloves. I can't get these little boogers to grow in my yard, but for some reason my neighbor has them by the dozens:
Penstemon again. What a glorious color:
Dewdrops or sprinkler drops, it hardly matters: roses look beautiful with water droplets on them.
Sometimes midsummer is best enjoyed very early in the morning.
You might remember that a few months ago I dragged home a hutch I found in the alley:
I've had fun dressing up the top of it to show off some of my china and to reflect the holidays, like the Fourth of July:
But I've largely ignored the storage space underneath the hutch:
This past weekend I realized the cabinetry below the hutch would be the perfect place for my flower-arranging things. Up 'til now, I stowed them above the dryer in the laundry room:
But they weren't conveniently located. By moving these items to the hutch, they are closer to the front door, where I go out to gather my roses. And now they are also closer to the kitchen sink, where I strip leaves, re-cut stems, and fill vases with water.
So I made the switch:
(I also tucked a basket of vitamins down there, which I want within arm's reach of the kitchen table.)
And then I had two empty shelves above my dryer. Yay, newly reclaimed space!:
I cleaned the shelving, then moved in a collection of spray paints, chalk paint, and such that had been loitering about on the laundry room counter, looking for a better home:
Ah! That's better!
Still lots of room to spare:
Sometimes, having more space means re-thinking the space you already have:
And now, on to more creative things, like flower arranging!:
A few weekends ago, I spent a delightful long weekend visiting my sister and her husband, who live in the town of Los Gatos, California, near San Jose. What a beautiful little place! The old stores and office buildings had architectural charm aplenty:
I poked around several of the mom-and-pop stores. This floral shop, "Bunches," was one of my favorites:
The shop has a resident duck, named "Pete." (They named her before she laid an egg, confirming her girl status.):
"The Maid's Quarters" is a shop filled with Parisian and Continental things, all of them flat-out gorgeous. Love the glittery bee:
A new shop had just opened, and it was filled with the most fantastic, unusual pieces of furniture and things for the home. I was smitten with the rough, gilt-covered table and the tote that looked like a huge, green Puli dog:
One wall was painted a vivid blue. It made everything placed near it sing:
I have absolutely no need for this side table or end table, but Oh! how gorgeous are they?:
Never seen a piece quite like this. A chair-and-a-half, yes:
But with a herd of camels tromping across it? Brilliant!
A stack of painted metal chairs made me want to throw out my kitchen chairs and start all over again, with these:
This wonderful bench reminds me of how kids turn their defunct skateboards into art, or furniture. It's colorful and kicky. Wouldn't it be fabulous in a large entry, or pulled up to a dining table?
"Natural Creations" sells plants and all sorts of natural things for the garden. It is an enchanting little hole in the wall:
Outside, several water features splashed quietly. I loved this one, with an upright branch serving as the "spigot" for a little cascade of water. And floating on the surface, adding movement and whimsy, were some figs. What a fun idea!
Wonderful textures down low: terra cotta, stripped-bark branches, pebbles, and a soft, trailing plant:
I stayed clear of most of the chain and big-box stores, because why bother? I can see those in my own home town any day. But I did pop in to Sur le Table, where my sister and I were amused by these spatulas, because when we were growing up, her family nickname was "Bee" and mine was "Bug":
If you ever get up in the Bay Area, try to clear some time to visit the charming burg of Los Gatos.