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“Room to Bloom!” Guest Blogger at “Living Large in Small Spaces”

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Dear Friends,

Today, I am excited to be guest blogging over at Nancy Reinke’s “A Joyful Cottage”.  Do you know Nancy, particularly her “Living Large In Small Spaces” series?  It is really fantastic and so many fresh ideas await.

Nancy happened upon my post that I shared a few years ago about my mom’s tiny room at a personal care facility and thought her readers might be inspired by it.  I transformed my mom’s room there from an uninviting, lifeless space into a cozy, inspirational cocoon that she immediately loved the moment she opened the door unto it.  Elderly people, after all, enjoy beautiful surroundings the same as anyone else does. So, I hope you will join us over at Nancy’s blog, particularly if you have a special senior in your life.  Even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll find lots more at A Joyful Cottage to set your thoughts going. You just might want to put the kettle on and settle in for a bit!

I am so honoured that Nancy asked me to share on her gorgeous blog today. I’ve never been a guest blogger before – ever- and I am very excited!  I hope you will drop by A Joyful Cottage for “Room to Bloom!” and say, “Hello” to Nancy.  See you there!

I would also like to thank the lovely Kathy, author of the blog “A Delightome Life” who kindly featured my last post, Kitchen Leftovers that Sparkle, at her a A Return To Loveliness party, and also to sweet  Sherry at “The Charm of Home” for featuring the same post at Home Sweet Home. You are so very kind ladies, especially since I was so late sharing those holiday images! Lol.

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! EnJOY!

Linda

I’m partying at Make It Pretty MondayAmaze Me Monday, Much Ado About Monday, Creative Mondays,  Inspiration Monday, Teatime Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Friends Sharing TeaTweak It Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Wake Up Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday, The (not just) Homemaking partyWordless Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, What To Do Weekends, Show and Tell, Feathered Nest Friday, Simple and Sweet Fridays, Home Sweet Home.

Blah-Blah Bath Makeover

Dear Friends,

I realized that I had never shared any photos of our bathroom makeover and so I decided better late than never.  When we first moved into our home, we declared the first thing that “had to go” was the bathroom. It took some 20 years to finally get around to it.  Bathroom renovations are alot of work, particularly when you strip everything down to the wall studs and start over.  It was a job we had been dreading.  The entire renovation took 3 weeks and we were without a working bathroom for 3 days during the final part of the process, while the floor tile was setting and the plumbing was being done.

The original bathroom had grey fixtures. They came with the house. I  couldn’t wait to have them gone.  And, while waiting for the makeover to happen, I had painted the walls grey, too, so the fixtures would ‘disappear’.  I think I only made things worse.  So, I was determined when the makeover finally came that I would not make the same mistakes again.

I never liked our bathroom.  Now I LOVE it!  It’s just a teeny bath that packs a punch!  Like a little jewel box.  The wood trims alone took our finish carpenter several days to complete.  He did a great job, painstakingly crafting each piece of molding, crown, and baseboard himself.  And, he was a dream to work with – I had a vision and he totally achieved it!  Thank you, Gerry!  The look I was going for was fresh, clean and sophisticated.

I took a trip to France some years back. The new bath is somewhat Parisian-hotel inspired… Some people thought a chandelier could never work in this little space.  And, what on earth was I thinking installing a chandelier in the bath anyway?  Just sayin’.  lol

What do YOU think?   Click on the Smilebox slideshow if you’d like to see the end result. Turn up your volume to hear the music. 🙂

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Here are some more recent pics of the bath with a few little touches of Christmas cheer.  Why not?

Paint colours:  Muslin and Sugar White by Martha Stewart / Chandelier – Pottery Barn Online / Mirror and Light Sconces – Restoration Hardware Online / Faucets and Fixtures – Moen / Towels and Accessories – HomeSense

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Linda

A ROOM WITH A VIEW!

Bringing the outdoors in…A garden table, chairs and cushions from Pier 1; ceramic rooster, table linens and glassware from HomeSense; and an inviting teaset from Bowring all combine to breathe new life into a teeny senior’s room.

Dear Friends,

It’s freeeezzzzing outside, so come on inside and stay awhile where it’s warm and cozy! The kettle is whistling and I’m just about to brew a pot of comfort tea…

Today I thought I would share with you a video that I made of my Mom’s room when she moved into a ‘Seniors’ Home’ last May. Would you like to see it?

The room ‘BEFORE’ was institutional, bleak, impersonal and, admittedly, depressing…While Mom had decided that she would like to move into a ‘Home’, I think when she first saw her room empty (except for the standard furnishings provided and that were adopted by the former occupant), the prospect may have seemed somewhat daunting to her. I was on medical leave from my work at the time recovering from breast cancer treatments, and I felt sad about it all. But I knew in my heart that it was the best for everyone concerned. The staff at the ‘Home’ are all such beautiful, supportive people; and I knew instantly,too, that she would be given the best care possible there.

I set to work straight away dreaming about improvements I could make to the space and how to turn it into a REAL ‘home’ for Mom. The following few weeks were spent planning, choosing paint colours (I had convinced the wonderful owners of the Home to allow me to paint over the existing ‘cold stone’ shade), shopping for furniture and accessories, scheduling deliveries and pulling it all together.  Mom hadn’t seen any of the things I had purchased for her new room (her own furniture was way too oversized to fit); and although she knew that I was working on the space, she never saw it until it was entirely finished. When she walked into the room for the first time, it was a total surprise to her!  My mom loved the transformation, as did the owners of the Home – a relief on both counts. The ‘AFTER’ was warm, inviting, personal, charming and uplifting!

My 83-year old mom sees her room for the first time! Her new friends from ‘The Home’, Ruby and Laura, can’t wait to see the transformation either!

The paint colours are Martha Stewart’s muslin and sugar white. I kept the backdrop neutral to accommodate the cheery mix of pattern, hues and textures that were introduced into the room. The industrial-style blinds were camouflauged, layering gold silk panels (Pier 1) over floral-embroidered ivory sheers (Madison Mackenzie) hung on a brass rod with glass finials (Wal-mart) that extended well beyond the window molding giving the illusion of a larger space.

I had trouble finding a table small enough to fit in the room. Given it functions as a TV room, study, dinette, parlour and bedroom, it is, indeed, a tiny ‘multi-tasker’ of a space! Fitting numerous, much-needed furnishings in the room while maximizing storage and ensuring safety and ease of movement posed a real challenge.

At Pier 1, I discovered a creamy-white wrought iron patio table with a glass top (it accommodates  a ‘sunbrella’). It just happened to be the perfect size, and the clear glass gives the illusion as though it ‘floats’ in the room. A solid table would have crowded the room, lending a much heavier feeling. I don’t think the space would have been ‘up for it’.  And, I was going for an airy, refreshing look so I decided to bring a little outdoors in. I purchased it along with a pair of coordinating chairs with pretty fanned backs (they provide interest) along with some outdoor, easy-care cushions for beauty, comfort and practicality! Additionally, the wooden tri-fold screen strategically positioned in the corner behind the settee (it warms the wall), petite ivory striped chest with crystal knobs near the closet, and brown wicker foot rest with red silk tufted pillow at the foot of the bed all came from Pier 1.

A bargain mirror at HomeSense for just $34 helps to create the illusion of additional space. A second mirror in a varying shape but coordinating frame (behind the dresser on the opposite side of the room)  was a find from Cohens at just $54!

A glorious ceramic rooster (HomeSense) sits atop the table.  His base fits nicely over where the umbrella is normally inserted in the table.  My mom dearly loves the rooster and laments often that it doesn’t cocka-doodle-doo! Pity! Although, I don’t think her ‘Home mates’ in neighbouring rooms would appreciate a rooster crowing at the crack of dawn!

The pretty blue transferware plates that hang on the wall came from my own cupboard!  The wall sconce was a purchase from Bombay Company (the candle inside the hurricane is battery-operated). The beautiful yellow-and-red ceramic lamp with silk shade, petite black-and-floral camel-back settee (my favourite piece) and gold armchair are from Hayward Interiors, a favourite design store. The custom headboard (it had to fit below the thermostat and fan control on the wall) was constructed from fabric found in the bargain bin at a local upholstery shop.  The cheery rooster bed linens were ordered on-line from Garnet Hill, and the buttery matelasse bedspread and sham were also ordered on-line from J.C. Penney.

The larger dresser with a stencilled pattern was a real find, just $295 from HomeSense! It is charming and lends less-bedroom and more-dining-room feel, and doubles as a TV/lamp stand.  The pair of smaller crystal lamps, coordinating mirrors, framed prints and floor rugs, were good buys at Winners.  The rugs really warmed up the hardwood floors and seemed to complete the room,  making it snug and appealing.

The scrolly iron plant stand (Winner’s) hosts a fountain with a lifelike frog (Alderberry Blum). Water bubbles up through a bamboo shoot; the sound is soothing. Realistic silken flowers and leafy ferns surround it and contribute a breath of spring to the room.  The framed prints of birds, butterflies, and dragon flies, as well as the colourful florals on the settee, and winged faeries that alight around the room in unexpected places all help to carry the enchanting garden inspired theme.

When I first toured the ‘Seniors’ Home’, I immediately noted  the doors that opened into most rooms, first revealed the person’s bed. I purposely arranged the furniture in Mom’s room so that the bed is the last thing to be seen.  Rather, a beautiful patterned rug, the pleasant music of a water fountain, life-like gorgeous blooms and an illuminated garden lamp with a tin shade (O’Neill’s Gardenland) reflected in a large mirror, that seemingly expands the space, greet visitors upon first entering the room. A marvelous chair and brightly coloured divan (I love how the yellow, melon, red, and lilac floral pattern wakes up the black fabric)  accented with a wooden screen draped with ferns beckons in the background.

I wanted the space to feel less like a hospital room, or a bedroom, and more like ‘home’ where family and friends are comfortable. I easily change up the accessories just a bit with the celebrations of the seasons, and that keeps it fun and interesting for Mom and her friends at the ‘Home’.

And, well, let’s just say that since the room has taken on a new personality  (thank you to Judy and Lolly at the ‘Home’ for letting my family do this for our Mom), our outlook has changed regarding what it means to live in a Seniors’ Home.

I tried my darndest to keep the room bright, light and joyous, a space where Mom would be content and love coming ‘home’ to.  I want her to feel good about her room and look forward to it whenever she opens the door to it. And, when family visit, I want them to feel encouraged to stay longer and enjoy their visit with her. With a little imagination, Mom’s room is now an inviting, cheery space that offers a sense of relaxing comfort and hospitality that says, “Welcome Home!”

Click here for the video of Mom’s Room With A View

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I love seeing you! And, I’d love to hear your ideas about decorating a small space for a senior…Join in the conversation!

Wishing you a beautiful day every day,

Linda

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

More photos…I’ll be adding some over the next day or two, so be sure to come back!

Before…

My 83-year old mom looks out the window of her new room at ‘The Home’

My hubby helps me to measure the room…

After…

Today, I am delighted to be joining Masterpiece Monday, Make the Scene MondayMetamorphosis Monday, Meet Me Monday, Show Off Your Cottage Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Do It YA Self MondayYour Cozy Home PartyTea Time Tuesday, Knick of Time TuesdayWOW Us WednesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, Southern Lovely for Show and Share, Home and Garden Thursday , Home and Garden Thursday, Open House, Thrifty Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Feathered Nest Friday, Inspiration Friday, Vintage Inspiration Friday, Thrifty Things Friday, Furniture Feature Friday, Potpourri Friday, Fridays Unfolded, Saturday Splendour, Home Sweet Home, Once Upon A Weekend,  Show Me Extraordinary, Seasonal Sundays, The More The Merrier, Creative Bloggers Hop PartyFriends Sharing Tea and Healthy Wealthy Moms Blog Hop!

A Garden Tea Wreath

“Symbolizing eternal hope, the wreath goes ’round and ’round, And where it starts or ends cannot be found. Woven of things that grow – for life, and hung for holiday delight…”

Wishing you a beautiful day, everyone!

I love my garden, and I love to create very personal garden decorations, sometimes from found everyday objects. These grapevine and floral wreaths are in tribute to my garden where I enjoy a cuppa and find much inspiration.

I like to hang my wreaths on walls, doors, chair backs, mantels, bannisters, garden gates, or sometimes even display them on an easel or column to welcome guests to a special garden tea or event.

And, I especially love to give floral-inspired handcrafted wreaths as gifts to tea lovers and gardeners,  as well as for fundraiser garden-themed teas. The wreaths always seem to be received with “Oohs” and “Ahhs” and wide smiles.  It’s a beautiful thing!

Tea is a cup of life.  ~Author Unknown

To make a garden or tea-inspired wreath, you'll need:
  • Grapevine wreath form
  • Faux floral stems and some greenery (*If you’re using fresh flowers – maybe for a special occasion tea or a bridal shower – you’ll need water picks to keep your flowers from wilting, unless you’re inserting the stems directly into an ‘Oasis’ wreath form made especially for fresh flowers.)
  • Wire cutters (These are necessary to cut the faux stems the desired lengths.)
  • Green floral wire and tape  (Use the tape to bind several stems together and attach them to the wreath with wire. Don’t forget to make a hook using several pieces of wire that is wound together so you can hang your wreath when it’s finished.)
  • Gluegun and glue sticks (You can use glue to attach broken bits of china or other design features that you may be using to add personality to your wreath.)
  • Suggested design accents: varying sizes of feathered birds, teeny watering cans and garden tools, pretty garden signs, wired ribbons, bits of old lace fashioned into tiny scent-filled sachets, small photos of loved ones, lightweight cherubs and winged faeries, frogs, berries, twigs… possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Faux flowers reclaimed from a co-worker’s ‘surprise wedding’ were given new life in a beautiful wreath! See the slideshow below for some more pics of the wreath and of the wedding cake that I made for the big day.

Once you get started, you’ll find the possibilities are endless in creating a pleasing wreath, especially one that is in tribute to the garden. And, there are so many ways in which you can personalize your creation so that it is meaningful, too.

Photo:  Flowers re-claimed from a co-worker’s ‘surprise wedding’ (See post: The Gift of A Wedding) were given new life in a gorgeous wreath.

I enjoy tea in the garden and so personally I like to pay homage using tiny teapots, pretty silver spoons, Twinings teabags (they come in such pretty colours), inexpensive or chippy china cups, and even bits of broken china.  Shhh! For the wreath in the photo, I sacrificed a beautiful china saucer.  Yep, it’s probably what you are thinking – I wrapped it in a dish towel and hammered it to bits!  The broken pieces are tucked here and there through the wreath, peeping out underneath the cheery and convincing roses.  They do look real, don’t you think?

As I am writing this post, I am thinking I will add a miniature photo of my dear mom-in-law, tucked in among the roses. I miss having many wonderful chats over seemingly endless cups of tea with mom Ethel.  She was a best friend and shared my love of the garden.  We would talk about our garden dreams for hours.

Recently, we had to cut down a 30 year-old willow in our garden that had been badly damaged by Hurricane Igor last fall – the tree was further brutalized in a windstorm just a few weeks ago.  We feared it would crash into the roof of the garden shed one day soon, so we had no choice but to have the tree removed.  We loved that tree!  It was a main feature in our garden.  I managed to save some of its pliable branches to fashion a new wreath for the garden one day.  This way I’ll be able to still have a little piece of the tree that we enjoyed for so many years in our garden.

My late new bloomers!

One of my favourite spots to read and survey the garden is on an iron bench on the deck.

Garden faeries alight on a shelf in the kitchen!

Although, I was dismayed at having to say good-by to my beloved willow, as in so many things in life, there is a silver lining.  I was surveying the property when the willow was coming down, and I discovered a sizeable dogberry tree growing up against the side of the garden shed!  I had never noticed the tree before that day.  I sheepishly mentioned to the gent (Bob) who had expertly removed the willow for us (it was a monumental task) about possibly digging up the new-found dogberry and transplanting it to an area of the garden where I had been wanting a tree for privacy – Bob didn’t think he could manage it because it was a large tree, and he couldn’t guarantee me that it would survive in its new home, even though I was willing to take that chance.  I was a little disheartened thinking that this tree, too, would have to be cut down.  And, I’d always wanted a dogberry tree like the one in my grandfather’s garden – the crimson berries at this time of year are so brilliant. When I returned from an appointment at the Cancer Clinic yesterday, I was relishing a cuppa green tea on the deck, when it suddenly dawned on me that I was looking at that beautiful dogberry tree right in the spot that I had been dreaming about! What? Bob had come by while I was out, bringing with him buckets of soil and mulch, and transplanted the dogberry tree!  I was so happy. What a beautiful thing!  Thank you, Bob. 

“As from a large heap of flowers many garlands and wreaths are made, so by a mortal in this life there is much good work to be done.”

The hydrangea are now blooming and wouldn’t their amazing heads make a beautiful dried wreath to herald autumn?  A perfect salute in their pinks and creams and pale greens to a season that speaks of summer’s retirement and invigorating fall starts – this is my favourite time of year.

Hydrangea abundance (not my tree, though)

Hmm, it is such a beautiful day here that I think I will sit in a corner of my garden with my morning tea and contemplate the next little bit of whimsy. Now, where did I put those clippers..

Close-up of the top of my garden wreath: Life is gorgeous in the garden!

If you haven’t made one already, I hope my post today will inspire you to make a garden wreath of your own, or as a gift for someone special. Happy wreath making! I hope you enjoy your garden tea wreath whenever you have a cuppa. Thanks for stopping by!  
 
Linda
 
 
Would you like to see some pics of  a couple of my garden wreaths and the wedding cake I made for my co-worker and his bride? They’re in the slideshow below.  HINT:  Turn up the volume and use full-screen view. Can you guess the theme music? When I was growing up, it was my favourite TV show. (Visit here to read about the ‘surprise wedding’,)
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