Friday, June 24, 2016

Let The Games Begin....

... or in this case, Let the Boules begin!

A year and a half ago my parents rented a cottage on Omaha Beach, Normandie, France and took all of us on an amazing vacation. 

The cottage was a converted gatekeeper's cottage from an old, large estate! 
We toured the D-Day beaches by day, visited the local markets for delicious food to have at "home" in the evenings and had so much fun playing on the Boules court in the backyard of our cottage.

From this viewpoint ( picture above) you look through the fence and over the rolling hill to hedgerows that are still thick and standing. If you remember WWII history the hedgerows in France helped to stop German tanks. It really was an amazing place to visit. So many stories came to life ... all the history class lessons and movies and books through the years. My family lives in Bedford, VA which is home to the DDay Memorial. The "Bedford Boys" are a very famous part of the story of DDay and the liberation of France. My brother in law grew up in Bedford with some of the Bedford Boys who survived DDay.

We had such a great time drinking delicious French wine and eating fruit and cheese from the markets that we wanted to replicate the fun at home!

So last Fall we began our Boules Court believing that it would be ready for Winter fun.
We have a sunken firepit off of our porch and we thought wine, cheese, firepit fun and Boules sounded perfect.

But like all outdoor projects in Georgia, it begins with leveling the rolling ground :)
Last fall. Dreary and gray weather.

It gets ugly before it gets better!
We had most of the timbers and we had to transplant a few things to make space.

And  we  my husband dug and dug. 
And then we seemed to be responsible for causing the rainiest Fall
 in recent Georgia weather history.
We couldn't get a dry day or the ground dried out to dig.
So the project just sat in it's half finished state through the Winter.
It happens. #unfinished projects!

And then it warmed up and we got productive in the Springy weather!
We just do better when it's warm and sunny.

So we started digging and leveling and hauling stuff around.
The Mother's Day crab boil with friends became the new deadline.
And we made it!! Barely.

I mean barely!
It's a construction zone!
If you look closely you can see saw horses
and ladders leaning where we worked on the small pavilion
 that has Adirondack seating on it.

Propped up lattice and the "burn" pile from pruning around the court..
Generally a mess!


The only thing we really had to purchase was a truckload of finely ground granite.
In this picture it is newly laid and leveled and still not compacted.
It has become very firm over time and we have a bin of loose granite that we can sprinkle and level the court with as needed.

( Wheelbarrow and dirt pile still at the end of the court on Mother's Day.)

The construction mess did not keep us from having a ton of fun playing Boules
 (Bocci, Lawn Bowling - choose your country!)

Our court is not the regulation 91 feet. 
The one we played on in France wasn't regulation either and we had a ton of fun. 
We made ours as long as we had space for, added some seating and in just the few weeks we've had it we have had a ton of laughs out back!
We still want to add some lights and a holder for the balls and a sign with the rules.
Maybe I'll have pretty, blogworthy pics by Summers' end.

But we haven't let that or the lovely dirt pile and unfinished landscaping keep us from enjoying our Boules court with family and friends!

Having a boules court in the backyard?
C'est magnifique!

Monday, June 20, 2016

from my iphone...

I have not compiled one of these "from my iphone" lists in quite some time.
So here goes, in no particular randomness...  

(And most of these are images saved from IG)

Planning to get a Lily Planner is still one of Mollie's favorite things to do. I can't wait to use one someday.
 I have to use one provided by my workplace. 
Maintaining two would be too confusing. 

I need to go here. 

I am a big fan of porches. 
Especially this one. 
I have a blue ceiling on my porch.
 I think it's a given. Porch ceilings should be blue. #itsasouthernthing

Makes me want to paint something "serious" 
a bright, fun orange! 

Mollie and friends took my phone on the flight from Honduras and gifted me with 38 selfies while I was talking to someone. 
They had it maybe two minutes. 
Mollie says #yourewelcome

I love this feed cause I love Charleston. 

I want to line my steps with hostas. 
This is a fabulous gardening inspiration IG feed. 

Obsessed with this room. 
I'm freshening up the Master with things I have already and this is my kind of "look".
 I love the OKL feed! I save images all. the. time. 

I'm still obsessed with my hydrangeas this Summer. 

Again with OKL.
 I have the flamingo print in my downstairs powder room. I'm planning a gallery wall in the Master Bath. I have everything ready.
 The planning part of this is that I just need to do it! 
And I'm late to the gallery wall thing. 
It's probably "out" but I have extra stuff and I've chosen a big blank wall in the Master Bath. 
It's the only big blank wall I have. 

I do not need any more chairs. 
I do not need anymore chairs. 

 So that's my fair share of random things for today!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hola! I've Been In Honduras!

If you follow me on Instagram
then you know I have been on my yearly trip to a remote village in Honduras.
This was our 3rd year in a row to go to the same area.
It is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Mollie and I go together.

Our team does VBS and work projects that are designed to improve the living conditions and overall health of the children who reside in the remote villages.

Mollie and I oversee "Biblia" - Bible School.

Kimberly was a fave!!

Yes, we checked Mollie's bags for small children before we left the country!!

Her bags did not conceal small children (luckily)
 but we did by some wares from the local basket makers.
They are works of art.
They charge so little for something that takes such time and is perfectly crafted.
We can't bring ourselves to bargain.

I'll be showing you some more pictures from our trip and you may notice the casts
 so this is my disclaimer:
These two came pre-injured. This did not happen in Honduras!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Who's Been Good To Me?

Goodwill's been good to me.
And a few other thrift shops and consignment shops, too.

( A very, very good day at one single Goodwill!!
The most expensive item was the Bombay platter at $6.96. I know!!)
I like Craigslist and Offer Up.
( I can scroll through in a very few minutes)

(Listed on Offer Up for $50.00. Seriously?? Must pick up that same day! I'm on it!)

(A Craigslist find. It cost more in gas to go get it than the shelf was priced at. Such a deal!!)

I'm all about recycling and re-purposing, so thrifting works for me.

(Adorable bamboo table with flip up shelf. So many uses.
 And a perfectly styled shot! LOL #nicevacuumcleanerlady )

I have had a lot of nice comments on social media about all the goodies
 in my last two One Room Challenges, the Black Is Back Library and the #motherdaughterorc Chinoiserie Meets Boho Chic bathroom. 

(There's more "stuff" in this room that any other in my house
. But it seems cozy to have all these fun things in a Library.)

The large bamboo china cabinet replaced a simpler one-
 that I bought at a thrift store years ago-
 which I sold at a consignment shop for more than this beauty
 I found at the Salvation Army Store.
The bamboo coffee table cost $5.00 at a yard sale- glass and all.
 The bench in the foreground came from Goodwill.

The ORC library chairs - before. Goodwill. $14.91 with ottomans 
which they mistakenly resold before I came back to pick them up. 
So they gave me $14.91 back. Two chairs for $14.91. 
But I'm sad about the ottomans.)

Someone asked if I spend hours thrifting everyday.

I wish I had time like that, but not so much.

(Only thing that didn't come via thrifting is the limes!)

I have a pretty crazy schedule everyday, I live in a metropolitan area where it can take an hour to go 10 miles in the middle of the day (not even rush hour), and I don't actually like to shop. And I am a complete failure at returning stuff.

(This one barely fit in the car! But it was half price furniture day at the Salvation Army!!
Which I totally didn't know before I got there.)

However, and this is the biggie, I can be in and out of a Goodwill in 10 minutes including checking out.
I live near quite a few thrift stores  Goodwill, Salvation Army, and a variety of thrift stores.
This helps. And a lot of people donate what I think is really good stuff :)
One man's trash is another man's treasure and all that.

(Check this guy out after a little gold spray paint!)

So this is how I go about finding the "good stuff!"
(And please know that I can visit 10 times and find nothing and then...  yowza!
Something amazing is sitting there just waiting for me!!)
I grab a cart on my way in.
I know I'm "supposed" to check the 50% off color at Goodwill
 but that doesn't really matter to me.
 I don't base purchases on that and what I want never seems to be the color anyway!
Then I head directly back to the furniture, where ever that is in the particular store.
I also scan the top of the shelves from a distance as I walk to furniture. That is how I have gotten all of my globes and a couple of amazing lamps.

 I check the furniture, pull the tag if I am interested 
and then move on to smaller housewares like dishes, etc.
 ( $2.00 worth of bamboo garden stakes repaired this chair that was marked down to $10.00)

Then I look through the decorative items and dishes for blue and white 
(luckily it's easy to spot.)

(All my blue and white has been thrifted!)

I move down to baskets and such because I am after wicker hampers and picnic boxes to use as storage for two spots in my house.

 ( I can pack a car!! Still think KIA needs to use me in a commercial!!)

I run by frames because I usually purchase any bamboo frames or mirrors that I find and can potentially use. I have some I bought 20 years ago at a garage sale!
So basically I am only looking for what I specifically want.
I am not shopping to resell
 although I'm tempted because I have to leave good stuff behind all the time!! #thestruggleisreal
I can be quick because I know what I want and I'm pretty focused on that.
If I find something great that I'm not sure whether I "need" or not I will take a few moments to think about what I can move or replace.
 The full cycle is donating something that I have used and am changing out with a new find.
I don't feel bad if I find a "better" lamp and donate one back when they both cost $4.94 :)
(This came home with me yesterday. You'll see this project in a future post, I'm sure!)

And, full disclosure, sometimes I find something so amazing for such a deal that I will grab it and figure out what to do with it/where to use it later.
I honestly have a bamboo bench, in the way, on the back porch that I cannot for the life of me figure out where it should live but it was less than 20 dollars,
A similar one is on Craigslist and Offer Up for over $100,
and it's awesomeness is too much to part with.
Every week I say I need to give it away and every week I hang on to it for
 "just one more week because it will come to me!!"

I try not to let that happen but sometimes it just does :)

My favorite rooms on the internet and in homes I visit always
 have a variety of items including thrifted items
 and/or furniture and travel or family momentos.
My favorite rooms in the most recent ORC are the ones from the guest bloggers who had to get creative and use that creativity to design amazing rooms of color, texture and depth. I felt like a lot of the "chosen" designers spent massive amounts of money designing rooms that showed off a bunch of sponsors or had very few creative ideas that the rest of us could learn from or use. I am not bashing the One Room Challenge. I love that Linda has created something that gets us motivated ( Goodness, knows this self professed 85%er needs it) but I'm just not feeling the "reveals" that read like the shopping guides from a swanky design magazine. I'm probably the only one but that's my two cents worth. Maybe I'm just grumpy because I don't have sponsors :) Anyway, I hope you checked out all the guest bloggers and saw some of the amazing things they found to use in their rooms.

You can see many of my "finds" in real time on Instagram !

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hydrangea Love!

(taking a little break from all the ORC chatter!)
I love my hydrangea bushes.
A lot. Probably more than I should.

 I had to dig them up and put them in pots a few years ago because
 I really love my two big Goldens as well and they are not easy on gardens.

The hydrangeas outgrew those pots and this year my handy husband
 used pallet wood and a plastic bin to create some great big planters.

An aerial view: We decided to build around the plastic bin to help the wooden framework hold up better and to allow for legs on the bottom so that we could level the planters on sloping ground.
We looked at a lot of ideas on Pinterest and then just went for it.
 I'm sure there are some good DIY's to follow if you want to make some. 
We didn't take step-by-step pics because there is a ton of info out there already!

They are very simple and rustic. 
We knew they would be covered by the plants and 
we really didn't need anything too formal or fancy. 
I just needed a very economical way to get really big planters. 
The pallets were free and the tubs were less than $5.00 at Wal Mart.
 Seriously, nothing swanky going on here.

And look at how the bushes have taken off!! 
They are covered in blooms about to burst into color!!
I'm obsessed!!

The hydrangea behind the pond is in a huuuuge pot and is loaded with buds this year, too.

I add something to the dirt to convince my blooms to be blue but I have lavender and pink blooms this year anyway! I think it must be all the extra soil added to those huuuuge planter boxes. I'm just happy to have so many blooms - whatever the color!

And this hydrangea bush is Limelight and makes all the other bushes green with envy!