Jul 26, 2013

Friday Finds

Last week I was in beautiful Montana visiting my husband's family. Montana is known as Big Sky Country, and it's easy to see why in this sunset photo taken just outside of Red Lodge in the south central part of the state. Red Lodge is nestled at the foot of the Absaroka Mountain Range and a popular tourist stop on the way to Yellowstone Park (or Jellystone Park, as we call it) via the winding and steep Beartooth Highway. Red Lodge is a little slice of heaven on earth.

Since I missed Friday Finds last week due to a slow internet connection in lovely Montana, I decided to add last week's and this week's Friday Finds together. Double the fun today!

So let's get zipping right along!

 Isn't this a pretty little vignette? Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow shares her tutorial for making and dyeing these bright paper peonies. 

I would love to have a galvanized metal horse trough filled with yellow sunflowers like Chris' at Red Gate Farm.

 This lovely poolside garden belongs to Lynn from The Vintage Nest. Wait until you hear where she found all these beautiful plants. If you're like me, you'll want to start shopping where Lynn shops!

 Stacey over at A Sort of Fairytale shares how her new deck and cottage gardens have transformed the back of her house. You'll be amazed at the change. 

 If you're familiar with Becky over at Beyond the Picket Fence, you'll recognize her unique creative style right away on this freshly painted bistro set. Isn't it fabulous? 

 At Rustique Restoration Jennifer designed and built this wonderful rustic dining room buffet from wooden crates and castors.  I love the way she styled it, too. 

 If you think it's too late to make a summer wreath, think again! Vanessa from At The Picket Fence put this burlap and starfish wreath together in only ten minutes, and you can too! 

 Francine at Ethereal, Plus What I Love painted a plain brown lamp with a faux zinc painting technique using a kind of spray paint I haven't seen before. It looks amazing, and I can't wait to try it out!  

 Over at In My Own Style Diane shares her great advice for decorating with thrift store finds and finding the best stuff. Thrifting is an art form, and Diane's a true artiste!  

 Another very talented repurposer is my friend, Gail, at My Repurposed Life. Gail is celebrating four years of sharing her how-to's with us with an entire week of fantastic giveaways.  

 Set aside some time this weekend to sit in the shade with a glass of something cool and check out the Summer 2013 Showcase of Homes. For the complete list with links, visit Anita at Cedar Hills Ranch

 I love iced chai tea, hot chai tea, chai muffins and chai scones, so I was pretty excited to find Nat's recipe for Dirty Chai Cookies with Whipped Espresso Ganache over at Nat's Adventures in Baking. OH YUM! 

For the perfect summer dessert head on over to Allrecipesdotcom for this Southern Peach Cobbler recipe. With 1,498 reviews and four and a half stars, it just has to be fantastic! Except for someone forgot the scoop of vanilla ice cream. 


I am so glad it's Friday. I'm looking forward to pulling weeds in the garden this weekend, and my daughter gets home from France. I can't wait to hear all about her trip! I hope you have lots of good stuff going on, too. 


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Jul 19, 2013

Friday Finds

Hello from Montana! 

I spent the past hour trying to produce a Friday Finds post for today, but I'm afraid the internet connection where I'm staying here in Montana is so sporadic and so unbelievably incredibly S-L-O-W, I'm about ready to pull my hair out!

In the interest of sanity, I'm giving it up for this week. I'll be back to civilization the middle of next week when I'll catch up on all your sweet blogs, comments and emails.

But I couldn't let the day go by without at least wishing you a 


Jul 17, 2013

My New Yard

Are you ready for some pictures? I have a whole bunch of photos of our new yard to share with you today.

  To refresh your memory, we had a huge tree removed from our backyard and a new sprinkler system installed last spring. 

 This is the sad before photo after the tree was removed. The heavy equipment trashed almost everything. 

Some background:

By the time the destruction faze was finished and the sprinklers were in, it was really too hot to replant, but I just couldn't live with this barren landscape until fall. So we replanted our big grasses, transplanted our hostas, and bought some small perennials that we thought would have a fair chance of surviving the summer. Then we mulched the heck out of everything to help hold in the moisture and cool the roots. 

The temperature hit 112 degrees on the day I had planned to shop for annuals to fill in the bare spots, and it hasn't eased up much since then, so I gave up on that. Instead, I've been enjoying our new sprinklers (supplemented with some deep watering on the hottest days), and imagining how it will all look next year full of flowering perennials.

Enjoy the tour!

 The new grass in the front yard. Oh my, is that green or what?

 Other than widening some flower beds in the front, the only new plants are these large Emerald Green Arborvitae planted to screen our neighbor's yard.  We'll be finishing the front yard this fall.

 Behind the front gate is a little side yard. This is the view looking towards the backyard.

This is the view standing at the back gate looking towards the front gate. You can see how narrow this area is.

 We fit a lot into this little space, including three sunny 4' x 7' raised vegetable beds. They're empty this year because the sprinklers weren't done in time to plant.  :(

 Against the fence in this little narrow yard is the only shade I have left now.

 I transplanted all my hostas over here, and they didn't seem to mind at all.

 I added a new white ball hydrangea.

 Next year I'll tuck some dainty little flowering perennials and impatiens among the hostas.


 I never appreciated a shade garden so much until I had so little shade.

 There's even some room over in this side yard for a homemade potting bench.

 On the other side of this little gate sits the barbecue on a concrete platform. We planted the non-invasive clumping bamboo for privacy on the deck. It's appropriately called green screen. 

 blue fescue grass

 Between the barbecue and back alley gate is a new Eastern Redbud tree and the birdbath.

 We planted new city lot-appropriate sized trees for privacy screens as well as future shade.

 Becky shasta daisies will multiply and spread out in this corner, filling it with a drift of white.

 Evergreen euonymus japonicus will grow 2' - 3' tall and maintain a round shape with little pruning. They also won't sunburn like boxwood's will, but look very similar.

 Following the back fence past the alley gate you'll find our Karl Foerster Grasses.

 The beautiful waving plumes will open in the fall and last all winter.

 Beneath the tall grass we planted Hidcote English Lavender. 

 I researched lavender quite a bit for one that can take the desert sun and will reflower in the fall when cut back. This variety gets about two feet tall with dark purple flowers.

 In the other corner of the yard by the shed we planted for symmetry and repeated the eastern redbud tree, the daisies and the euonymous.

 By next year, this little tree will screen the house behind us.

 Turn around, and here are two small beds in front of the deck with Stella de Oro' daylilies. 

 They're just starting to be visible from inside the house peaking over the edge of the deck.

 The deck is behind those little flower beds off the family room. (That small window to the right is my craft room.) We bought a new dining set and two huge umbrellas to shade the entire deck. The sun goes behind the house by 3:00 in the afternoon, though, so we don't feel the need of a permanent trellis which would block the view and stars at night.  

 I'm learning which sun loving annuals do well in my deck pots after twenty-five years of growing impatiens. Dainty pink and white impatiens were pretty in the old shady yard, but I think these tropical colors stand up better to the new bright sunlight.

 This is the view from the family room just after a summer thunder shower yesterday. Our new little plants are holding their own in the desert sun so far, and we're loving the new view and sunlight.

Thanks for checking out my new yard today!

Stay cool out there! 

I'm heading over to the July Garden Party at 
Elizabeth & Co. Come and share your garden, too!

Elizabeth & Co.

Join me also at  these great parties.