Artful Reminders

When we’re traveling, I like to bring home reminders of our trips. Things that will make me smile as I remember our adventures.

Wandering the streets of Dubrovnik last September, our guide pointed out some vibrant artwork from a local painter. After the tour, we made our way back to check out the prints. They spoke to me of the beauty and chaos of this ancient port, and we were happy to bring one home.

 

A signed and numbered print deserves special framing, so I went to the local framing shop to get things all figured out. Who knew there were so many choices? How many mats? Beveled or not? What kind of glass? And now lets decide on the frame… I left feeling a little overwhelmed.

But when the call came a few weeks later and our picture was ready for pick up, I was quite pleased. Then came the tricky decision of where to hang it. We could move around some of our artwork or put it in a less seen area. We need to limit sun exposure, but we also want it to be somewhere people will see it. After all, this little picture is supposed to bring sweet memories of our travels with Baby Girl. What’s the point if it’s hidden away?

After talking it over endlessly with the MR, we finally decided on this corner between the fireplace and the computer area. When I came home from work the other day, I found the MR had hung it in just the right spot.

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Our last night in Dubrovnik, we stopped by one of the museums that had more painting by Romana Milutin Fabris on display. I do love the modern vibrancy.

Our print may be small, but it takes me away to lovely Croatia and good times.

IMG_5148What do you like to bring back from your travels? Where do you find your artwork?

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Can You Repeat that, Please?

There’s just something about repetition that makes a statement.

I’ve read that in ancient Hebrew a word was used over and over and over again for emphasis—in English that sounds crazy. But in flowers, it’s quite divine.

While the MR, Baby Girl, and I were cruising through the beautiful waters off Croatia, our 20-something captain with a so-so grasp of English would pull up to a dock, dump us off, and say be back in an hour.

Since we usually had no idea where we were, we’d wander and buy some gelato. That’s how we stumbled across these.

While one pot would be lovely, two lines of them makes a statement.

We also passed by a little restaurant with bright blue chairs and tables. That punch of color added brightness and cheer. Don’t you just want to sit down and be part of the scene?

Along with picking up some decorating tips, we visited the Blue Cave.

Sailed into a submarine silo.

Enjoyed a lot of swimming, and watched a spectacular sunset.

We totally enjoyed our time exploring the coast of Croatia.

And now I’m thinking the front steps could use a little attention. Maybe pots filled with mums for fall color, or decorative kale and some pumpkins. We’ll have to wait and see what speaks to me.

Do you like lots of colors or one bold statement? Where do you get your inspiration?

Different Takes on White

So many hotel rooms feature a well-made bed with white sheets. In Europe especially, I’ve noticed a trend of white sheets, a white duvet, and a little something extra.

Since we were traveling with several stops in Croatia, I thought it’d be interesting to compare each hotels’ take on white.

Our first stop was at a hotel in Zagreb originally built for riders on the Orient Express. Esplanade boasted old-school charm with dark wood, lots of marble, and opulent chandeliers.

With just a quick night in the capital city, we were off to Rovinj, a small seaside town in Istria. Hotel Molte Mulini offered a relaxed, modern vibe with beautiful views of the Adriatic.

After Croatia’s version of Venice, hunting for truffles, walking ancient walls, and exploring a Roman coliseum, we were off to the big city of Split. Hotel Cornaro was just outside Diocletian’s palace and the old city. A more modern high rise, it was in the perfect location.

We left the big city for the Island of Hvar with its own set of crowds. It was an easy walk from Hotel Amfora into the city of Hvar, but at least half of it was the 10-minute walk to leave the property. I was suprised by the lack of a wall behind the bed. The space opened into a walkway to the bath. I think Baby Girl’s room made had a prettier layout.

 

By this time, our little group was ready for a more low-key place. Hotel Korsal on Korcula—Marco Polo’s birthplace—fit the bill. Not as fancy as some of our other accomodations, We enjoyed the fresh simple look of this boutique hotel situated across the road from the public beach and just a short walk from town.

After a little sailing, a little relaxing, an evening walking tour, and some wine tasting, we headed to Dubrovnik to walk the wall, Dubrovnik was hot and crowded after our rest on the islands.Perhaps we should put it at the beginning of our trip next time when we are ready to explore and be amazed.

All in all, it was an amazing trip. Don’t worry; you’ll hear more about it in the future.

What have you been up to as summer winds down?

Drifting Apart

Back in February three years ago, the new furniture and rugs for the great room arrived. It was a fabulous day. Our huge striped rug totally brought the room to life. We had cozy seating areas scattered throughout the room that I enjoyed adding pillows and throws and knick-knacks to. (You can travel back down memory lane to that day at Color Underfoot.)

One of our favorite areas to sit is by the fireplace. We have nice overhead and task lighting, a fireplace for cool evenings, and a place to put up our feet. While we’ve enjoyed many a nice chat in this spot, I’ve noticed one thing. The round rug under the ottoman is a little too small. If you put your feet up and relax, pretty soon you’ll be drifting away from your partner. I don’t like drift.

So I’ve been keeping my eye open for a replacement. The trouble is, we need an odd-size rug. I didn’t want the rug too wide or it would be too close to the fireplace and wander into the walkway. I don’t need any tripping hazards. Most runners that are long enough are too narrow.

After waiting around for years and making do with this small round rug, I decided a 4’x 6′ rug would be long enough to sit under the front of each chair and narrow enough to not run over the hearth or impede passage.

Plush Rugs had a sale over the Fourth of July, so I bit the bullet at ordered Dynamic Rugs, Vogue in the grey and rust colorway. It arrived last week and looks oh so lovely.

The gray in the rug melts into the color of the floor perfectly, and the abstract rust design marries well with the rust in the large rug anchoring our main seating area. I love it when everything plays nice together.

Of course it is summer time now, and we tend to chat out on the deck in the evenings, so we we can listen to the birds and watch Cocoa chase the deer and bunnies. But come winter, I have a feeling we’ll enjoy cozy evenings here. Now, I just have to find a new ottoman, one that’s not too big, or too small, too old-fashione, or too bold, durable without looking ugly. It’s always something.

Snagging any great deals lately? 

 

Making It Inviting

The MR totally scored when he bought our new deck furniture. We wound up with two comfortable seating areas on both sides of the deck. But for a girl who loves color, brown-on-brown just wasn’t cutting it. So while the MR watched David Letterman interview Howard Stern on TV, I shopped for pillows online.

Joss & Main came through with some bright and colorful options. I went bold on the east side of the deck where we hang out when it’s really hot.

Check out the bird pillow; I thought it was totally in keeping with the area where we watch hummingbird wars. Those little birds are feisty.

Off the dining room, I went for a more subdued feel with beige solids and stripes and one punch of color.

The ikat print was brighter than I expected, and the beige was a little plain, but it hasn’t stopped people from using them.

The MR’s folks are in town, and Papa has found his spot.

This was meant to go out yesterday, but we’ve had a few crazy days full of excitement around here. Baby Girl and one of my good friends and her daughter through Sweet Miss a bridal shower over the weekend. So many lovely presents, so much laughter and silly games. We love having the girls home, but boy it wears me out.

On a less happy note, while we were doing girlie stuff, The Fella broke his shoulder blade mountain biking. So that put a damper on some of the festivities.  Monday brought a mini crisis that involved searching through a frosting filled trash bag and an impromptu crochet class. So count yourselves lucky to be hearing from me at all.

As the big day swiftly approaches, we are so happy for Sweet Miss and Her Fella. I’m thinking July is going to be some kind of wonderful.

Hope yours is filled with family, friends, laughter, and maybe a few bright, squishy pillows.

Deck Days

Hello, it’s been awhile. Sadly when I disappear from the blog for weeks, it makes it that much harder to come back. You see, life keeps going and all sorts of things happen, so I’m no longer searching for something to say, I’m trying to narrow down the possibilities.

Do you want to see the garden or hummingbird fights? The orchard or views of snow-topped peaks? Weekend trips, faux-stucco repair, or the latest on the remodel? See what I mean?

Let’s forget all that for now and enjoy a little time on the deck. With beautiful views of the valley, it’s where you’ll find us afternoons most clear days. Even in the middle of winter with our heavy coats, hand-knit hats, and the help of the heater, you’ll find us outside.

A few years back, I bought a pair of rattan lounge chairs. We’ve replaced the seat cushions a few times, and they’ve been the perfect place to watch sunsets and enjoy a glass of wine just the two of us.

But what happens when Baby Girl or Sweet Miss are home? Or when friends or family are visiting? Suddenly we’re moving the heavy metal swivel chairs from the deck table that we keep meaning to replace from side to side trying to forge conversation areas in the shade when it’s extra hot moving to the western side as the day cools.

The deck wraps around the whole first floor from our room to the laundry room. So as you can guess, we’ve been looking for chairs, furniture, tables, something to help with the situation. The MR wanted comfort, and I wanted mobility. While the deck is ginormous, it’s only 88 inches deep in most places. Oversized comfy furniture is just too wide to easily navigate around.

The MR found a double set on Overstock a few weeks back, and this may be the answer.

First, as with everything, it came at a price. Two nice fellows came in a very big truck to deliver two pallets of parts.

The MR was out, but we had the perfect spot for them in the garage. It only took him three hours to unwrap all the pieces.

The next day, while I was teaching Sunday school, he put together the first chair.

From there, it just got easier and easier—sort of. It’s teak furniture that requires a sealer after a few days out in the elements. I left for a three-hour shift at the yarn shop, while he was brushing sealer on one chair. He’d just finished its twin and taken a shower when I arrived home nearly four hours later. Sometimes it’s nice to have a job.

So now we have a shady side seating set and a sunny side seating set plus a few rattan chairs to bring into the mix.

Adding a rug helps bring the set together. With brown-on-brown, I think a few accent pillows are necessary. I found some at Target for $15 and some at Molbak’s for $35, but I wasn’t that excited about any of them, so I’m still looking. A few accessories, and our new furniture will be wonderful.

We also need to trim back the Japanese variegated willow that’s encroaching on the deck and sweep up the cottonwood that’s everywhere. Add some live plants, candles, knickknacks, can’t you just imagine?

I’ll let you in on a secret, I filled the hummingbird feeder, and this is the perfect spot to watch hummingbird wars and commune with nature.

Come by some morning, and we can drink some coffee and marvel at the feisty little birds.

How are you preparing for sunny weather? Any great places for outdoor gewgaws, brick-a-brac, knickknacks, you know what I mean?

Wishing for Sun

With sun, rain, snow , and wind in the forecast for the last few days, we haven’t had much use for these beauties.

At least it was sunny on the day they arrived. Eventually, they’ll find their way down to the lower deck along with some comfy cushions.

After removing the hot tub last year, we’ve been planning to turn the lower portion into a sun deck. The outdoor shower will get a facelift and be a dog washing station for Cocoa. With lots of mud and meadows to explore, she definitely needs it.

We’ve been looking for new outdoor dining and seating options. For the upper deck, too.

Along with comfort and style, portability is an important feature. With a huge wraparound deck that soaks up the heat, we’ve found ourselves moving to shade quite often. Our current metal chairs that rock and swivel weigh a ton.

We purchased the lounges from Frontgate—on sale back in February. That’s one nice thing about buying outdoor furniture early in the season, you can usually find a sale, and you get to dream of sun, and barbecues, and playing cards, and good times.

Wishing for sunny skies for me and for you.