A Year of Front Porches……

Our porch is our favorite place to hang out….and we eat as many meals as possible on it. It’s where we sit with friends. Have long talks. Hash things out. Visit. Catch up. Read. Curl Up. Contemplate. Have quiet times. A place for lemonade and iced tea.

Last week I looked back over a year of mantels….and I thought it would be fun to look back at a year of porches.  We enjoy changing our porch with the seasons….or for whatever happens to be going on at the time in our home.

So, here it is….a year of porches:

{You can click on the links and see the entire post of each porch with more pictures}

Christmas 2011

Winter 2012

Spring 2012

Summer 2012

Autumn 2012

fall front porch

Do you have a porch? Do you enjoy changing it with the seasons?

What’s your favorite thing to do with your entryway???

On the porch~

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo

Advertisements

Saying Good-Bye to Summer…..

Today is the last day of summer.

saying good-bye to summer

{source}

To me September 1st is the official first day of autumn….and I am so happy!  I love autumn and I am ready to welcome it in.  We’ve had a wonderful summer…..filled with fun and great memories and mile markers.  I’m ready to move into the next season.

welcoming autumn

{source}

Tonight is the full Blue Moon….I hope that wherever you live it will not be cloudy and you can go outside to check it out. I have a habit of going outside each night before turning in to walk down our garden paths and check on the moon and the stars. It puts things in perspective to me….whatever might be weighing on my mind or heart….the One who made the moon and stars has already got it covered. I can lay down and rest.

blue moon

{source}

We are headed to some friends’ house for dinner and then to Busch Gardens this weekend…what are you doing fun this weekend?  Relaxing at home? Having a barbecue? Taking a quick trip? Visiting family or friends? It all sounds fun to me!

Whatever you do this weekend….I hope it nourishes your soul and refreshes your body.

Happy Weekend~

Summer Evenings…..{A Fond Farewell}

We just have a couple more weeks of summer here at our cottage. It has gone by so very fast. Even though fall is my very favorite season and I’m looking forward to it….I’m not quite ready to give up the carefree evenings and days of summer.

We have several traditions that we enjoy each summer. One of them is to attend lawn concerts…..and our favorite is always the symphony. We have some great memories from this summer, and have gotten to have lots of fun, but as I look back through the pictures our evenings on the lawn listening to the symphony always jump out at me.

The program is always wonderful…..our teenage son ends up finding new pieces that he would like to add to his repertoire within each concert.

summer evenings

We enjoy our picnic and the lovely smell of clover wafting in the evening breezes.

summer evenings

And sometimes have fun playing a game…….

summer evenings

Handsome’s favorite is hacky sack…a game played with a small ball filled with sand in which you can only use your feet and body to keep in the air. He takes his hacky sacks everywhere he goes, and usually draws a crowd of curious onlookers that want to learn to play….or at least just watch the fun.

summer evenings

summer evenings

It is said you can always tell a ballerina by the fact that she can’t ever keep her feet still. It’s true…I’ve never known a dancer that could keep her feet still. Mine move even in the bed at night until I fall asleep. So, when the symphony is playing Strauss waltzes….it is all I can do to not hop up and start dancing; but usually I gain control and dance in my place on the blanket.

summer evenings

This particular evening there was a gorgeous full moon over the water and blooming magnolias……just adding to the perfect evening.

summer evenings

And, of course, the night was capped off with fireworks over the water.

summer evenings

I will miss these lovely summer evenings.

How about you? Are there any summer traditions in which you don’t want to say farewell?

Blessings~

Unique Gardens {Fun Discoveries}

If you saw the movie “Julie and Julia” do you remember the scene where Julie is in the kitchen trying to make dinner and has a complete breakdown…crying, laying on the floor in a fit of desperation, waving the white dish towel? Yeah. Well, that has been me today. It’s been one of those days.  So when I came across these fun pictures…they made me smile and giggle. Martha would say “It’s a good thing”.

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies….and whenever I go somewhere I love to check out the gardens in the area. Strolling through a garden is such soul ministry to me.

I had fun finding these unique gardens over the past few weeks….some of them make me laugh and giggle; and others make we want to run out and get the supplies to duplicate them in our yard!

Check these creative, fun gardens out……..

How fun is this garden in a shoe bag!? What a fun idea!

garden in a shoe bag

{source}

This garden is planted in copper gutters and then hung from the porch on small chains.  This would look great on our front porch! {“Oh, Handsome, dear……..”}

garden in hanging gutters

{source}

In an old tree trunk…one way to not have to call the stump grinder…..

tree trunk garden

{source}

We love to make fairy gardens. We usually make ours outside and use only all natural ingredients that we find in the garden and yard. {Supposedly a true fairy garden only has things from nature in them…..}  This one would be fun on a table on the porch or inside.

fairy garden

{source}

A garden planted in a pallet…..great way to make use of vertical space. This would be perfect for apartment balconies or porches; or any other small area.

garden in a pallet

{source}

OK..this one I’d like to do! We’ve planted many things in furniture before….but check out this rooftop garden! It’s a work of art! L.O.V.E. I.T.

unique garden

{source}

This is the one that I cannot stop giggling at….no matter how many times I look at it. This is just hilarious….but to add to it, check out the faces of the people inside! Cracks. Me. Up.  I laugh every time….I’m laughing now.

car garden

{source}

Here is a link to a list of 10 of the most beautiful botanical gardens…with pictures. It’s so fun to walk through botanical gardens. Such a treat.

america's best botanical gardens

{source}

I’m still laughing.

I must get control…..

Song of the South…..

As summer begins to wind down over the next few weeks I think one of the main things I will miss is the evening sounds….the cicadas verifying how hot it is, the crickets, the bullfrogs. I love sitting in the porch swing after dinner and just listening to these sounds along with the evening birdsong. It’s the Song of the South in the summer.

Another thing I will miss is watching the butterflies in the garden.  I snapped these pictures the other day………

monarch butterfly

We’ve planted many flowers that they love…three of their favorites are butterfly bush, lantana, and verbena.

monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly

We also make sure to have small, shallow water available for them and keep a butterfly feast awaiting……You can read about attracting butterflies here.

monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly

There are tons of them out in the mornings and evenings at dusk.

monarch butterfly

It’s so inspiring and relaxing to sit and watch a butterfly.  They are so free. Unencumbered. Graciously confident. Lavish beauty. Simply extravagant.

monarch butterflyI had a wise friend ask me one time…”Do you know why butterflies fly so free?”

monarch butterfly

I didn’t….so I waited for her answer.

monarch butterfly

She said it is because they are not judging themselves.

Love that.

Happy Tuesday~

Holding on to Summer {Before it Slips Away!}

Summer is quickly slipping away…but I am holding on for dear life!

For the weekend….some visions of summer that I’m holding onto……

Quiet wonder……

{source}

Seeing the power and beauty in nature…..

{source}

Farmer’s Market mornings…..total freshness!

{source}

The best peaches EVER……

{source}

Family fun at night in the yard……..

{source}

Getaways and paths that lead to new discoveries……

{source}

Diving in….no reserve……..

{source}

Fun and laughter…..

{source}

Afternoon berry snacks……

{source}

Reflection on my many blessings…..they are more than the blades of grass.

{source}

Beach days in the sun….and the shade…beach naps under the umbrella……

{source}

Date nights outside……

{source}

Lawn games and family fun…..

{source}

Buying watermelon on the side of the road…..

{source}

Movie nights on the lawn…….

{source}

What are some summer things that you are holding onto???

I hope your weekend blesses your socks off….it’s too hot to wear them, anyway!

Dreaming of Sleeping Porches….

We absolutely LOVE our front porch….and use it everyday.  It’s therapy.

I would love to have a sleeping porch.  Sleeping porches came about long ago – mainly in the south – when there was no air condition.  It was much cooler in the evenings outside because there was air movement.  So, beds were pulled out onto the porches for the night.

Here are some I am drooling over…..

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

sleeping porches

{source}

Do you have a sleeping porch?  Ooooo, I just love them! That’s what I’m dreaming about this weekend…….

Have a great weekend~

Summer Places to Visit

We love to travel….and have many favorite places that we’ve been.  I thought I would share a few of our favorite summer places to visit that we’ve enjoyed visiting through the years as a family. These are by no means ALL of them, just a few.

We absolutely LOVE Vermont…..and planned to move there; but when we found out we were expecting we realized that would mean that our children would never get to see family.  We would still love to live here…..

We always stay in Stowe, VT

summer places to visit

{source}

summer places to visit

{source}

summer places to visit

{source} 

 Kentucky is also a wonderful family vacation….beautiful and so many neat adventures to be had…….

summer place

 {source}

summer place

{source}

Cape May is by far our very favorite beach at this point.  We just love it….and return to it each summer that we can…..

summer places to visit

{source} 

summer place

{source}

summer place

{source}

Where we always stay…The Inn of Cape May

summer places to visit

{source}

summer places

{source} 

Just this past weekend we went to Ocracoke Island…off the coast of NC.  Infamous for many reasons…but probably the best known would be as the spot that Blackbeard the Pirate loved….and lost his head. Literally.

summer place

{source}

The mountains are where we feel most at home.  Our soul rests and just nestles in……we love western NC and go in every season, as often as possible. We haven’t completely shelved our dream of moving there ASAP. 😉 It’s our kind of place…..

summer places to visit

Where are some of your favorite spots? Would love to hear about them!

May your adventures always be great~

It’s Been A Great Week….

It’s been a wonderful week….we have one more day full of master classes, and then an evening of wonderful concerts.  I hope you guys have had a wonderful week.

Now…onto a big weekend.  It’s Handsome and #1 Son’s birthdays!

birthday weekend

{source}

One will be 17……and the other one will be, well, *ahem*, not 17}

I’m looking forward to celebrating them and making them feel special.

Aren’t they cute?

Handsome…..

and #1 Son

 Who now looks like this…..

Can someone explain to me when this happened? The whole thing of from one picture to the next has just gone to fast! He’s being featured tonight in a Mozart piece with the whole orchestra backing him up……I remember when we were working on “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”!

We having a fun adventure for their birthdays this weekend….I’ll let ya know about it….

Have a great one~

Drying Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are one of my very favorite flowers….so we have planted many around our cottage.  When we first found Oak Cottage one of the first things we noticed was the beautiful blue hydrangeas on the side of the house.  No one was living here so we picked the hydrangeas and dried them.  We still have those dried hydrangeas as a reminder of the first time we saw our cottage.

hydrangea drying

There are several ways to dry hydrangeas…I have a friend that literally picks them off the bush, throws them into the trunk of her car on a super hot day; and within 48 hours she has perfectly dried, gorgeous hydrangeas. ha!  I tried this and when I opened my trunk it looked like a hydrangea mass murder had occurred.  It was pitiful.

I know a lot of people that use the water method…….cut hydrangeas, remove all of the stems, place them in a jar/vase with 1/2 water and just let the water evaporate.  When the water evaporates the hydrangeas will be dried.  This method is hit and miss with me.  It has worked a few times, but mostly when I’ve done this my lovely hydrangeas shriveled up and became unrecognizable. ha!, again.

Here’s the method that works every time for me….I suggest you try all of the methods and find the one that works best for you.  None of them are difficult.

hydrangea drying

I wait to cut our hydrangeas at the end of their blooming season {which is right about now for here in Eastern NC}…and as they just begin to lose some of their color.  Once cut I tie 2-3 hydrangeas together with twine and hang them upside down from whatever I can find…..sap buckets, lamps, cabinet knobs….wherever.

drying hydrangeas

They are usually dried within 2-3 days…but I leave them there for about a week.

Right now I have drying hydrangea bundles all over our home…hanging from sap buckets, lamps, easels…….can’t wait to use them!

drying hydrangeas

Drying hydrangeas is super easy…and they last forever once dried.

Do you have any special ways that you like to dry flowers?

Happy Wednesday~

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieNot JUST a Housewife,  Between Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic Home,Uncommon Designs