Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What Makes Me Happy

Happy first day of summer (in the Northern Hemisphere)!

Today I am casting my net of virtual blogging friendship a little further in a collaborative series titled "What Makes Me Happy", hosted by Ron of The Uptown Acorn.

Without sounding trite or redundant, let me simply state how appreciative I am of the blogging relationships I have been able to nurture over the past four and a half years.
  1. feeling or showing gratitude or pleasure.

    "the team is very appreciative of your support"

    synonyms:grateful for, thankful for, obliged for, indebted for, in someone's debt for

Whether you are a casual reader here on my blog, or one of many whom I have had conversations with via loyal readership comments and/or emails, you all contribute to the happiness that comes from engaging with each post I write and pictures I assemble for the posts.
I hope you'll stop over at Ron's blog today and read about the other important facets of life and living that instill happiness within my being. In the process, I hope you meet and greet new friends, either among Ron's circle over there or back here among mine. Many friends within our circles overlap, as you will soon find among bloggers. The capacity for friendships in blogging is only limited by the time one has to devote to readership and commenting. If you are a new reader referred from Ron's blog series and you find the topics I share here on my blog common to your interests, I hope you'll return again. Your readership and comments are always invited!

Rita C. at Panoply

Friday, June 16, 2017

Playing House, Piddling

It'd been a long time - just after Christmas to be exact - since I decorated or styled anything in my home. Playing house is what I sometimes call it, others may call it piddling. All my focus had been in organizing and putting things away for the mess of remodeling in January, but now that that's over and the spring chores in the landscape garden are checked off, I got my act together inside again. I did a few things in the house to make it look like people actually live here once more. I started in the sunroom. With dishes, of course.
I have so many dishes it's not even funny, most of which are vintage pieces. I had fun with some majolica and ironstone, and the citrus-y feel of the overall hutch appearance leaves me satisfied.

Starting with a favorite new find back in January is the Tiffany & Co. "Blackberries" pattern - a tea set - made in Portugal, and discontinued sometime in the early 2000's. Love that creamy yellow!
The set to its left on that shelf is a Made in Japan juice set. The pitcher is seated on the basketweave majolica find I mentioned in this post. The plate chargers are Pier 1, first used in this tablescape.
The two plate shelves are a mix of various other vintage majolica pieces previously purchased (the bovine majolica butter/cheese keeper was first mentioned in this post). The ironstone pieces are second-hand, but the glass cake plate was a wedding gift. The two blown glass napkin rings are WV artisan made, and the flatware (used here) is from Horchow.
Next, I moved on to the kitchen, where the shelf and counter spaces had been empty since the updates back in February. I played with black & white mostly, and just a little punch of color with Fiestaware utensils.
MacKenzie-Childs chargers, MacKenzie-Childs' inspired tea set. estate find transferware, and the old scale I used at Christmas here were my choices for this area. That huge transferware pitcher was a great find a couple years ago - Dalton Burslem (England) in the pattern "Iris".
The platter on the quartz countertop is an antiquing find, I believe from a trip with my sisters years ago. It's stamped Doultons Perth Burslem.
The open shelf above the fridge is where the previous cabinet had to be removed due to newer refrigerators being taller than our old one. I stacked some cookbooks and placed my duck casserole (used here) to the right.
The only thing added to my countertop elsewhere in the kitchen is my MacKenzie-Childs' inspired champagne bucket, now holding my Fiestaware utensils. Mr. P. keeps asking where the toaster oven is (hidden - forever, I hope).
Right after Christmas, I had bought a couple of new lampshades for the master bedroom with an after-Christmas sale. Below is a picture of the before and after of the plain shades used previously, and the new shades which replaced them.
However, when the remodeling of the adjacent master bath began, the MacKenzie-Childs shades were put away and out came the old ones again. We weren't sleeping in the master bedroom, and it looked like a mothballed museum.
That's pretty much all I've done through the house since Christmas, but considering the way things looked before...
Things are looking up these days, under my control, and my normal routine of piddling activities feels much better. I'm getting gardening time in, doing some estate sale vintage shopping, more styling in our antique booth spaces, and even kicking back in the sunroom, catching up on reading and listening to music. Piddling....on my schedule. Life is good. Do you like to piddle?

Rita C. at Panoply

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Spring, Early Summer Garden, A Winner

Today's post title is a little play on words. For the most part,  I'm sharing photos from my spring and early summer [landscape] garden. I'm also announcing the winner of the Traveling Totes' sponsored giveaway further below. I consider my garden a winner in that during spring/early summer it's in its splendor, hence the play on words in the title.

We are in Zone 7a, and our landscape garden primarily consists of planted beds wrapping around a teardrop shaped lawn on a 50' x 100' city lot, adjacent to our home. We installed it in 2004, so it is considered mature. Late April, early May is when the garden really starts coming alive with blooming color. Today, I'll walk you through the progression of blooms of the spring, early summer seasons.
Knockout roses against brick wall with heirloom irises in front.
Azaleas, in front of nandina, snowflake viburnum and clematis, wrap around Kousa dogwood in front landscape.

'Joseph's Coat' climbing roses with lavender underplantings in courtyard.
I have nearly a dozen lavender plants from which I start harvesting and drying the buds on cut stems beginning in mid-May.
Harvested lavender late May, first week of June

Below, view from back of landscape, late May: lavender, hostas, and lawn beyond. In the background, Kousa dogwoods at center of frame top out at just below the halfway mark of Magnolia tree on right. The tallest trees in background are sassafras and silver maples on riverbank, across the street.

View from back of landscape
Shortly after the above was taken, I got a new limelight hydrangea plant for the landscape. It was really best suited where that lavender plant was situated (across from where my Endless Summer hydrangeas are), so a domino effect of shuffling my lavender plants began soon after.

The back landscape displays shades of blue, green & white by late May, early June (until the hibiscus bloom saucer-sized red flowers in July). The limelight hydrangea is situated just behind the flag (and to its left). There's also nandina (heavenly bamboo) in the far right corner, behind the hibiscus, which I have painstakingly staked for a continued upright visual once blooming. The nandina are equally tall, but my photo angle prevents them from being seen. One of several transplanted lavender is in front of the season statues.
Below is a labeled photo of the back landscape across from the Endless Summer hydrangeas, showing where the Limelight replaced the lavender. Butterfly bushes are starting to bud now.
Love-in-a-mist grows freely among most of the back landscape plantings, as do the snowflake anemones.
I still have one white lavender (pictured below) among the purple ones beneath my courtyard roses (which had been hard-pruned after their first flush of blooms by early June). The white lavender were a second choice color sourced one year when a hard winter wiped out a few of the purple plants.
Elsewhere in the garden during May, my heirloom poppies and spirea bushes pushed their blooms for happy color.
By the first of June, the bee balm just beyond the spirea started blooming.
Behind my spirea, I have coneflowers (Echinacea)  and black-eyed Susans against the brick wall where my putto with book statue is. For reasons I cannot explain, after about five years in the landscape - 3 of which no flowers bloomed - the coneflowers are suddenly taller than the black-eyed Susans. So I transplanted four bunches to the other side of the landscape. They're a little puny from the jolt of replanting right now, but I think they'll be fine. The smallest bunch had blooms already unfolding before the transplant, seen in photo below. I also placed another of the white lavenders below that bird feeder.
I scaled back on my annual container plantings this year, but still created four for the courtyard.
Annuals purchased Memorial weekend

One pair of containers planted with purple fountain grass, chartreuse Angelina sedum, and SunPatiens in fuschia and white.
I've always planted four mandevilla on the trellis corners, but opted for just two this year, hoping they'll meet at the arch later in summer. The magnolia and yew on opposite sides of the trellis seem to suck any and all water, and the last two years the mandevilla withered as a result. I planted moonflower seeds as a backup to last year's mandevilla, and they seemed to want to take over, not only the ground below, but the magnolia above!
Pink mandevilla planted on opposite sides of garden gate arbor near courtyard.

Another pair of courtyard containers planted with spike dracena, purple queen trailer, pink pentas, and white SunPatiens.
I scored a couple of magnolia wreaths from Kohl's for one-third their regular price this spring, but they seem a little bland to me on the front doors. I may either switch back to my colorful floral wreaths, or add some more color to the magnolias. I bought a much smaller 'Fluffy Ruffle' fern this year instead of a Boston for the porch urn. It should fill in in the coming weeks.
Two different front door looks with wreaths.
The colors of my annuals in the landscape beds at the front of the house are in red, white and blue. I've been doing this color scheme for years. They are red geraniums, blue angelonia, and red & white vinca this year, and just planted on June 7 (two weeks later than normal for me).
So with color in the front flower beds, perhaps the magnolia wreaths keep it from being too busy. Speaking of magnolia, nothing beats the real deal. The photo collage below is the same bloom; the two left-side frames are from different angles at the same hour; the right frame is the closed bloom that same evening.
The Jackmanii clematis in the front landscape seems to do well each year by my simply cutting it to the ground late February or early March. The tuteur (French word for pyramidal shape trellis trainer) was hand-crafted of wood with spiral shaped copper on each leg.

If you look closely in the photo below (taken behind the hydrangeas at back of property), you can see the clematis in the far left back corner, which is the front of the property.
How do I keep all the containers, transplants and annual beds watered? I have three hose carts strategically placed around the landscape, each wound with two 50' hoses. That allows access from the back, middle and far sides of the property. We don't water the lawn, just annuals or new plantings. We have a separate water and electric supply on the riverbank also, so cords and hoses don't have to be dragged across the street when needed.
That's all the dirt I have to share today, and if you've stuck with me this long, thank you, you're all winners in my book! Alas, the Traveling Totes can only choose one winner.

This month's winner of the Traveling Totes giveaway was randomly selected from those who left comments or sent me emails on the last Traveling Totes recap. Our winner is 
Chris, if you will please contact me via email and send your shipping address, your MacKenzie-Childs enamel storage box with lid in the classic Courtly Check will be sent to you!
Thank you to everyone who left your comments or emailed me. Be sure to read our upcoming travel recap on September 1 for a chance to win a future MC giveaway.

If you don't want to wait for our next giveaway, I want to share a promotion which both MacKenzie-Childs and Beekman 1802 are sponsoring in a campaign called "Love Your Neighbor". I don't receive anything for these mentions, just sharing email information I have previously received. Both businesses are situated geographically near each other in upstate New York, hence 'neighbors'. (Pictured below are a few items I purchased from Beekman 1802, including a cross-promoted "Love Your Neighbor" soap and tea loaf pan. Check out fellow tote traveler, Debbie at Mountain Breaths, who made the lavender poppyseed tea loaf recipe in the cute pan! I also bought another set of Beekman soap/lotion, and the seed pod maker. I am using the seed pod maker now to germinate Mexican sunflowers for my garden!)
My recent purchases from Beekman 1802
On the MacKenzie-Childs website through July 30, 2017, if you spend more than $200 and enter MACBEEK at checkout, you will receive a free Morning Glory garden tool kit (while supplies last).
If you Shop Beekman 1802 and enter MCKC20  at checkout on your first purchase (excludes sale and discount items), you will receive their 20% friends and family discount through July 30, 2017.

Now, if you want to see a whole lot more garden tours, plan to visit Pam at Everyday Living on June 12th when she hosts a Garden Galore link party. Anyone can join, just link a post of your garden happenings, past or present.

If all that's not enough, you can read more about my garden by tapping on the 'My Landscape Garden' tab under Home & Garden on the top menu bar (or select it from labels or type in search box on the sidebar). Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Happy Gardening!

(A special thanks to Pam at Everyday Living Gardens Galore! inaugural garden party "picks" for featuring this post!)

Rita C. at Panoply

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tales of the Traveling Totes #11: Spring Flings and a Giveaway!

Ahh, is in the air.....the birds are singing, bees are buzzing, the flowers are blooming and it's time for Spring Flings, aka, Tales of the Traveling Totes Adventures - installment #11!
SCREEEEETCH. Enough of all that pretty and fun stuff. Who are we kidding?

When we recapped our last adventures in winter (click here) I was lamenting about all the places I didn't go while on the threshold of two big home improvement projects. I was beginning to feel like I was in remodeling HELL by May, three months into it all. What you see below is a picture of the worst of the worst of that remodeling hell. Just when we thought our master bath gut job and remodel was complete, the newly installed radiant floor heat did not work. The manufacturer's rep was on site to diagnose the root cause in early May, and the construction crew was waiting in the wings to TEAR UP the new tile floor so repairs could be done. Miss Charley C had to take over project management at that point. I was toast.
No joking. It was a real struggle for this not-for-profit blogger (thank goodness, as all the sponsors would've dumped me a LONG time ago. I HATE home improvement projects).

There were some highlights to the totes' travels, though, so let's go back and focus on all the pretty things, shall we?

Early March had me hosting a wonderful party for my niece in a Breakfast at Tiffany's Themed Bridal Shower. Arriving on the venue scene the morning of, I was ready to whip that place into a jewel box of a memorable event.
Daughter #1 and I orchestrated the planning and execution, much to the delight of the bride-to-be.
No foolin', but on April 1, Mr. P. and I traveled to his college alma mater in Bristol, TN for a celebration of his induction into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
In fact, the entire team was inducted, and ten of the original team members, plus one member's widow AND the coach's widow returned for a reunion and to accept their awards. Impressive!
At the end of April, that same niece for whom we threw the bridal shower tied the knot. The Panoply sisters were together, but I left Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C behind.
Mr. P. and I even cut the rug at the reception. Oh, how I miss dancing regularly! Happy feet, happy heart!

The weekend following the family wedding, my SIL graduated from a grueling Physician Assistant program. Again, the totes were left out, but the focus really was on these two (below). They've been working on undergraduate and post-graduate degrees since 2003. They have finally arrived, together, and I couldn't be more proud.
All of this brings me to the point of my home improvement projects FINALLY being complete, no workers in my home, and time for a little self-love. Ahhhh.....
A couple weeks without daily interruptions, and it's finally feeling like things are getting back on track here in Luna-ville. ;) I even took some time to head out to a local festival on Memorial weekend with a friend. It was a preview weekend of what's to come in our city's 10-day FestivALL in June. The weekend showcased local music and food sampling from local restaurants - a Taste-of-ALL. Restaurateurs were both indoors and out and, although we had heavy rain leading up to the weekend which prevented boaters from safely accessing the river, the event went off successfully without any rain. That's me, below, shaking hands with the headless chef, a balloon creation in progress, made by a local artist that day.
Here's hoping Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C are ready to hit the road in the coming months. We've got miles to go, and places to see!

Let's get busy with this month's Traveling Totes giveaway, of which I am the sponsor! One lucky reader who leaves a comment here, on my blog (or send me an email mentioning this post if you are unable to comment here), will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win the following: a MacKenzie-Childs enamel storage box with lid, in the classic Courtly Check.
Feel free to share this giveaway opportunity with your friends. The winner will be announced by June 10, 2017 so you can enjoy this token gift soon after!

Where have all the other Traveling Tote tribe members been of late? Surely, there have been some spring flings! Check them out at the links conveniently located below. We welcome Linda Primmer from Life and Linda to the crew this time, and now we're traveling from coast to coast!

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester
Linda G with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ "Pandora's Box"
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply (you are here!)
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Until our next adventure (coming September 1, 2017), thank you for traveling along. It's a pleasure to have your company and visit!