How Does Your Garden Grow?

Lately, because of traveling and other commitments I haven’t been able to post very often. We’ve been enjoying outdoor concerts, grilling farmers’ market vegies and gathering with friends. However, in spite of and in the midst of everyday living our garden is doing surprisingly great. With all the rain we’ve had and some extra help from my friend L, my flower pots are having a banner year. She gave me a formula (“thrill, fill, spill”) for planting the pots and introduced me to some plants I’ve never used before. It was really a fun experience working with her and discovering new textures, sizes and plant colors. They provide amazing color, scent and beauty every day. Take a look – enjoy!



FlowerPot 1-13


ZenGardenEven our Zen garden – with its herbs, scented flowers and native grasses is happy and content. Plus the wood is getting a nice weathered patina that I really enjoy.

This quote, also sent to me from my friend L, says something about what flowers and all things beautiful can bring to our lives;

26 Iyar 5773 | May 6, 2013, 41st Day of the Omer

Beauty takes us beyond the visible to the height of consciousness, past the ordinary to the mystical, away from the expedient to the endlessly true. Beauty sustains the human heart in the midst of pain and despair. Whatever the dullness of a world stupefied by the mediocre, in the end beauty is able, by penetrating our own souls, to penetrate the ugliness of a world awash in the cheap, the tawdry, the imitative, the excessive, and the cruel. To have seen a bit of the Beauty out of which beauty comes is a deeply spiritual experience. It shouts to us always, “More. There is yet more.”

Joan Chittister, Illuminated Life


Kitchen & Living Space Refresh

We live in a very small townhouse – more like a doll house really. Compared to the other homes I’ve lived in, it seems small, compact, efficient, easy to clean — and easy to decorate – or redecorate as the case may be.

You may recall that last year I revamped every room with an update – mainly using what we already had.

Our kitchen is dated looking, mainly due to the hunter green¬†counter tops. Most often people will remark, “Just get a new counter top.” But there is nothing wrong with this counter top. To spend a ton of money just to change the color is a waste of resources. If I could afford to change a counter top just to change the color, that money ought be going to Mary’s Pence or another deserving organization. This is the reason we live more simply – to free up resources for those made poor by the policies of over-developed nations like the U.S.

Instead, better for me to get creative and think of something cost effective that works.

So . . . what do you do with a hunter green counter top? Is there anyway to update hunter green that looks fun and contemporary? I’ve tried bright orange, soft yellow and sage green. They were OK but nothing special. Today I tried something a little edgy on the back splash – a bright, yellow-green called “tangy apple.” It’s fun. Goes with cobalt blue glass mugs DH loves. We hung the mugs on a rail under the cabinets (Grundtal from IKEA). A soothing light grey (“silver cloud”) was painted above and wraps around the snack bar. Love the more contemporary feel. Take a look.

Meanwhile, switching out artwork in the living room along with two pillows and a throw (from another room) changes the feel of the living room. I added some candles for autumn.

Changing things up keeps them fresh – at least to my eyes. It’s also a way to be creative and see immediate results. For those of us who almost never get to see immediate results from our work, this is a welcome change.

You may also like Simple Living and Romantic “Porch” Before & After.

Of Thick Towels & Warm Comforters

Bathrooms and bedrooms don’t need to be large for me to enjoy them. I seek simpler creature comforts. During cold Minnesota winters thick towels, a down comforter and a soft throw make me smile – as seen in these tiny jewel boxes below.

Marie Claire Maison

Of course a pair of nice warm, wool slippers are always nice to pad around in, on tile floors or cold days. Add a scented candle and hot tea. Snuggle in.

You may also like Colorful Container Garden, Easy Summer Travel Wardrobe and Guest House to Go.

One Room Living

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I enjoy exploring one-room and two-room living spaces. The earth’s resources are limited. Justice demands that we learn to be content with less, for two reasons; to repair our earth and to share excessive resources with our sisters and brothers who struggle with poverty and hunger.

Around the world people are learning to “lighten their lives” in fun and elegant ways.

Here’s a couple of good examples I’ve seen around blogland.

Don’t forget the Element Hotel green environmental apartments –

Element "Green" Hotel

You may also like “Dallas Snow-Over” or Patio Zen Garden.

Simple Furniture

In a prior post I talked about what works as a Simple Wardrobe for me.

Along the same lines, the idea of one or two people living in a one or two room space (under 900 sq. ft.) is intriguing to me. It appeals to my sense of economy, simplicity and overall consuming fewer resources.

For the most part, if you think about it, in larger homes people gravitate to only one or two rooms most of the time anyway. For me, larger homes, with one or two people living in them, signify poor space planning and poor design. Why does anyone need more than one space in which to read, work or converse? Why live in a home with more bathrooms than people who use them?

There are better alternatives. Here’s the fun part. Living in a small space requires simple but thoughtful and flexible furniture. It should also be beautiful and elegant – why not? Everything should be available for numerous purposes. Plus it should be light weight and easy to move around as necessary.

It would be best if items were obtained from consignment or resale shops, Craigslist, garage sales or swapping. Many of the items below are no longer manufactured by mainline furniture manufacturers. Why not? Again, the furniture industry is DEEPLY ASLEEP.

Here are some ideas for a one or two room spaces. Many of the photos are from a Swedish real estate broker/stager – but the ideas are good. Get ready. Here we go.

Start with a sofabed. A few sofabed possibilities – most easy to create:

Add just one table. Your only table should be flexible. Extend and contract as needed for dining, cooking, office work. I wouldn’t recommend creating a separate dining area as it takes up way too much space compared to the amount of use. However if you want a table that can expand to create a dining area as needed try something adjustable – like these gate leg tables.

If you are using just one table, I would recommend a tea table (round pedestal 36 – 42 inch) that serves as coffee table, end table by a sofa, a desk or dining table. It can easily work as a bedside table too. Notice that those below are height adjustable.

Desk or small dresser can also work as a bedside table.

2 small storage ottomans or even stools at bed foot or foyer could be moved to the living area if needed for extra seating.

Here’s a bench that also works as a landing pad for the entry hall.

4 folding chairs to add to dining if needed but used elsewhere too – such as bedside tables in the bedroom perhaps? Extra points if the chairs also fold up for easy storage.

And of course consider flexible tables if you decide to go for a separate coffee table. Again, all of these have more than one possible purpose, starting with this chat-height table which can be used as a coffee table, end table, or for casual dining.

In the end a small space could be furnished with as little as a sofa or sofabed, one table and a side chair. Simple. Beautiful. Flexible.

You may also like 2 Mattresses + 1 Bolster = Sofa, Our Furniture Moves Around and Women’s Apparel Industry is Asleep.