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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Creating Outdoor Spaces & Focal Points



The pupsters look pretty comfy. Abi is her regular diva self. And Charlie is looking around for cats that might be hiding in trees. He is not accustomed to cats.


This is the corner just left of the seating area. When I begin to develop my outdoor space, I first locate a seating area. Because that is a simple focal point that is easy to establish. How did I establish this one?

Two reasons I chose this particular spot: One, it is in the shade part of the day, and two, I can see it from the patio doors. Which gives me much pleasure.

And why did I choose the plants that are there? A lot of shade, so I put ferns and hostas in this corner.


Here you see the continuation. I begin my garden areas. There is more sun here, so I put the plants that will grow best in this location for the best possible outcome.


This is the length of the patio. I hate to have so many plants just lined up like soldiers. But many of them will grow vines that need the support of the fence. 


Now we shift slightly to the right. Sorry about the rolled up fencing. That is left over from fixing spots to keep the pupsters inside the fence. 

You can see here that I've brought in an alternate element to the equation. This container garden.


Here you can see it better. I "built" this area by first putting two galvanized tubs not very far apart. Then I overlapped the old washer tub three or four inches on each side. Then I put another tub in front. This creates a "garden" effect. 

(See the sturdy little tree in the background. I followed the advice of a commenter to trim the top 3-4 inches and it has indeed started filling out!)

Here is how it started...


In these tubs are many plants. Herbs, daisies, pin cushion, columbine, plants that attract butterflies, ornamental grasses to give height and texture. Geraniums, marigolds. All plants that do well in sun. I am trying the herb stevia for the first time. You know, like the sweetener you can buy?

I have placed a few plates on the inside edges of the tubs for a touch of whimsy and color.


I planted most of this yesterday, so it hasn't started to "perk up" yet. This is the time of day it gets some shade. But it will get six hours of sun, which is often suggested. 

Many I brought from the other house, some I bought. Home Depot this week had a big sale on perennials (love those because you're planting things that will come back year after year!) and also herbs. 

I could not find rosemary, which I always have in my gardens. And apparently the harsh winter here killed the one at the little blue house. 

Another thing I like to do is to stick solar lights in my containers. They look beautiful at night.


I began here, added the chairs, and worked outward. You want to situate pots together for that "garden" feeling. And because it is more pleasing to the eye. 



Here is the colorful sun you all love. It is adjacent to my patio door. There will be climbing morning glories and hyacinth bean vines growing here. Remember the passion vine covered the sun last year.

I think I may have brought a few seeds from that vine, but haven't located them yet. It became very invasive. 

A problem I have: Over toward the far end, where the two trees are, I hung a bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds about a week or so ago. And I have no takers! I have two bird baths. And no takers! 

I hear the birds. But I can't figure out why they aren't coming to eat the sunflower seeds. Thoughts? It is not too close to anything where a cat might lurk.


People ask me how to create settings outside. Just use your gut. Believe me, I do a lot of moving and shifting around. And I will continue to as I add more things out here. 

You can have color-themed gardens or just a blast of color. In some of the containers against the fence, I have a white-themed and a purple-themed container.

Occasionally a breeze brings the scent of the white and purple alyssum drifting in the air. Oh, I love that scent!

Your aim in your garden/outdoor space is to fill all the senses: sight, scent, sound. Often birdsong and water fountains bring sound. (Which I hope to be able to also do, but I have no electrical outlet outdoors, so may have to go the solar route.)


Each plant or decorative object you bring to your garden often has symbolism attached. I have one house-shaped metal sign I had made when I lost my best friend in 2006. She died eight years ago yesterday. I also have the Pepper dog sign, the dog I lost just six weeks prior to her death.

I had these made by the Garden Deva, who happens to be right here in Tulsa. She shipped them to Texas for me. They were custom made. 

When you create gardens and spaces in honor of a loved one you have lost, it is cathartic to create a garden, something alive and growing, to remember them by. 

You can look up Victorian meanings of flowers and herbs and create a garden or container garden around what feelings they evoked in you. Such as rosemary for remembrance.

I find that this gives me a measure of peace and a place to remember them.


Next I plan to start tackling a few fairy gardens. I have all the little miniatures from other fairy gardens. But just have to carve out time to work on them. 

Right now I've got to carve out a space in here to accommodate my washer that has already shipped! And I'm having to work the kitchen decorating around that. So I haven't done much there yet. And I need to finish the bedroom too!

Get out in the sunshine and smell the roses today! It's gorgeous outside here. And I plan to enjoy it.


If you'd like to see and perhaps vote on my lampshade in the Lamps.com lampshade decorating contest, you can go here to vote.


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72 comments:

  1. Your patio is looking lovey, Brenda. Iris are one of my favorite flowers. Love seeing yours. But, you know me, the pupsters look so cute, especially Charlie on guard.

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    1. Poor Charlie. He should just lay his little head down and relax.

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  2. your garden looks very pretty and soothing! I love your tall fence something I think is needed in the city for a private space. So many plants - I wish I was good like that with plants - I try but I'm no where near like you - I have too much space (live in the country) and most of my space is shady

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    1. I find it is much harder to figure out very large spaces than very small spaces. Just take one spot and work outward I guess! I basically picked this place for the patio.

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  3. Your patio is beautiful!!! Do you put holes in the bottom of your galvaized tubs for water to drain? Cant wait to see your fairy gardens! Oh Brenda so happy for you. It all looks like you and your magical touch!!

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    1. Yes, I put holes in the bottom. And then add pine cones and/or pottery shards.

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  4. Brenda, what a sweet beautiful garden! Your love for gardening shows in your beautiful blooms!

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  5. So pretty! I'd like to sit out on your patio and enjoy all the flowers. I think you are going to really enjoy living there. And I think it's wonderful your doggies have an outdoor area to hang out in.

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  6. I love the picture of darling Charlie and Abi. They seem to be displaying their sweet personalities in their poses. Charlie the guard and Abi the diva. Seeing them always makes me smile!

    You are beautifully creating such a lovely garden. I really enjoy looking at your beautiful photos. I know right now, I will adore your purple-themed container, as I always love purple flowers. I'm just thrilled for you that you have such an adorable gardening spot! And I'm so looking forward to watching it grow and thrive...



    ReplyDelete
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    1. That patio, and not having to walk the dogs, sealed the deal. I wouldn't have given up my washer/dryer (and had to order a more expensive unit) if I didn't have something I really wanted. And that was the patio.

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  7. My goodness, I had no idea you had that many plants/flowers already. And you have some very big pots! Love the galvanized tubs. That took a lot of dirt! I have an old horse trough that leaks, so I'm going to use it for herbs and tomatoes! They are so serviceable. Who knew your patio garden could be so beautiful in such a short time? You are truly amazing! It's like 94 today, 104 yesterday!

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    Replies
    1. Judy brought me a bunch of pine cones from their yard, so some of the tubs are filled halfway with pine cones. I did the same thing in the big pots, except I didn't have the pine cones yet. So I used broken pottery and the small plastic pots flowers come in.

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  8. You've done a lot of work and it all looks so lovely already. I have a delicate question -- where do the pups go to the potty now? I'm not trying to be nosy or weird, I'm just wondering how you handle something like that with two dogs in a small space. We have a cat in a rental and don't have an ideal place for a litter box, so, I know what it's like having to try to come up with solutions for such problems. I'm wondering if you have fixed up a place for them inside of your fenced patio, or if you have to take them on a walk outside of the fenced area. I hope it's not a difficult arrangement for you and your ankle issues.

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    Replies
    1. Good question! I was just wondering the same thing.

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    2. Not nosy. Everyone asks that. There are dirt perimeters around three sides of the fence. Just not against the house wall. They are anywhere (different in different beds) from a foot or so to probably two feet. I have planted plants there, because in TX that's how they started out. They're accustomed to going in flower beds. I had no grass for them in TX.

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    3. OK, I think I see the dirt perimeter in a couple of the photos. Thanks for the answer. Going back to look at the photos, I noticed the moon-shaped decoration with the graceful lady in it, and the metal sculpture of the girl reaching for the sky. I love both of those! You have so many nice decorations, but what is best, you have a way of putting everything together so that it is pleasing and not cluttered.

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  9. Brenda! Your flowers are so fun and pretty! I worked out in my patio area today. Whew! Im pooped! Where do the pupsters go potty??? Do you walk them?

    MJ

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  10. There is dirt along the perimeter of three sides. Just not against the walls. I have planted stuff in them, because they are accustomed (or were in TX) to going in flower beds. No, that's why I chose this place. Don't have to walk them, and have a big place for plants.

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  11. Charlie and Abi look like they are already right at home. I really like those galvanized tubs and the red dishes in front! I have a gardening question. My posts are on a screen-in patio yet there is still a lot of little "knat" type bugs around my strawberries. I was thinking of getting some organic insecticidal soap to get rid of them. Do you ever get pesty bugs on any of your plants, and if so, what do you do?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't had a lot of trouble with that. Been lucky I guess. But then it's been ages since I grew strawberries too. I'd google home remedy ways to get rid of them. I just hate to use pesticides of any nature.

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  12. Brenda-
    I voted on your lampshade the other day. I must say, in the past, sometimes I've gone to vote at certain sites and found that I was torn on who to vote for; but not this time! I TRULY LIKED YOUR SHADE BEST...voting for you was easy! :) Now...do we only vote once--or is this one of those, I can vote for you once every 24 hrs? Cause I'll vote for you again,girl!
    Love your patio garden-- it is so nice. I was wondering about accommodations for the pupsters too?
    The purple iris is so pretty! Mine did not bloom this year. Only the whites on the side of the house bloomed. :/ No purple.
    Pat

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    1. There are little strips of flower gardens they go in. When they were pups in TX, they were trained to flower beds because I didn't have grass on that side of the house.

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  13. Love your patio full of potted plants!!! Simply stunning!

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    1. Thank you! There is a lot one can achieve with container gardening. Especially good if you are disabled, in a wheelchair, of just have a bad back. I sit on my little garden roller and have a ball.

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  14. Love your outdoor space. It is much larger then I thought and such a great space to have your garden and room to sit and enjoy. Love the big glass doors to bring the outside in. The pupsters are so cute!!
    hugs, Linda

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    Replies
    1. I almost didn't get this space. But I'm so glad it worked out that I did. It's probably one of the biggest spaces here. Some people don't use their space, I've noticed. Boy, I sure do!

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  15. I love your outdoor space Brenda, it is looking real good, I especially like the galvanized garden area. Loving the purple iris. I voted for you and yours is the best. You spirit seem happier, and I am so happy for you! I think you are certainly making this your home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We (I say we, it was actually Judy and her granddaughter) put up some pretty dark bamboo like shades I'd ordered for the front window. It was just too much white over there with the white blinds and white walls. I love the way it looks. Will show you all soon. We left the white blinds up and they are underneath. I know this will probably help my cooling bill.

      Delete
  16. I love how you stacked those garden tubs. I wanted to make a fountain out of one this year, but maybe I'll plant in it instead. I'm afraid the mosquitoes might like the fountain (and me) too much. I just voted for your shade. I love it! It's sort of like a doily quilt.

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    Replies
    1. I've never been one to ask for votes, or ask people to "follow" me, etc. If you guys go over there and see one you like better, you should certainly vote for it. I'm not a fan of asking people to do things. Just like I don't have rules for my Tweak It party. I think we can get carried away with all the rules and such and take the fun out of things.

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  17. Brenda, You have made yourself a nice little oasis. I love that you can see it while in the kitchen. I think it would make the kitchen seem larger. Love you tubs. Lots of wonderful flowers. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Susie. I just moved the refrigerator to make room for my washer closer to my sink so I hopefully won't have to move it to attach it to the kitchen faucet. Things are coming together and I'm pleased with a smaller space to clean. My ankle and back are pleased as well!

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  18. Brenda your pups are too cute!! You did a wonderful job with your outside garden!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martina. I actually prefer not to have grass. It's a pain in the butt to me. I would rather have garden after garden if I had dirt. Seeing as I have cement, it might get a little hotter. I will just have to make sure all my containers are a good size so the sun and cement doesn't overheat them.

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  19. Give the birds some time. They may not be aware the seeds are there yet. When I moved and added birdfeeders it took several weeks before I got any birds there. I think it just took awhile for them to find them.

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    1. Well, I sure hope so. I love to take photos of birds, and I can't do it if I don't draw some in!

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  20. I love watching you build this garden space, Brenda...so much personality and special pieces...love it! And I voted for your shade...it was the best!!

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    1. It is so much fun to fiddle around out there. To make it fit my personality. Hope you're finally getting to garden in your neck of the woods.

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  21. Hi Brenda! I've just come back from voting for your darling lampshade! I thought it was the sweetest one! Now your patio area is looking great! The puppies seem very comfy there too. I'm so thrilled for you that you have this space and it seems pretty spacious too! You've been a busy little bee too - everything looks so pretty and healthy. I've not been around too much as we've been to New York and now home and busy busy busy, but I had to pop in to see what you were up to. I'm glad you were up to digging in the dirt! ;)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I've been busy. I've got to slow down. I tell myself that every day!

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  22. Oh the birds will wise up soon : ) I voted on your lampshade the other day and it was an honest vote too...as in, while I went there to vote for you, you blew the others away :)
    This might be a matter of taste but I just loved what you did with it. Old-fashioned, sweet, and delicate.
    As to the patio garden I just knew that this was going to be fun once you'd settled in :)

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    Replies
    1. I've got to get the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen in better shape, and clean out the boxes from the closets. Then I will be free to garden!

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  23. Your patio garden is already looking great. I am really liking the stacked galvanized tubs. If I can find some more I will add to the two that I have and stack them. The way you have used the plates really adds some nice pops of color.

    I had to keep going back and looking at your pretty garden pictures---so much beauty and creativity! Wonderful collection of suns. How nice it must be to sit in your living room and be able to look out onto such a pretty space. Another good thing is that you can let the pupsters outside and keep an eye on them from inside.

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    1. It is wonderful to sit while I'm working on my laptop and gaze at each new leaf; each new bloom.

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  24. I so enjoy your voice and the ideas from your blog, but I'm ready to unsubscribe because of the way the updates are delivered to my email; with no information as to the content in the post. I suppose it is what the blogsphere recommends, but it is such a shame.

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    1. I have no say on how they do the emails that go out. Because I use free Feedburner. I am looking into other options, but I will have to pay. Perhaps it would be worth it. I am researching that now, because Feedburner seems to have dropped the ball on sending out emails.

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  25. Brenda that is really looking great! I think you have done a great job back there and once things fill in a bit and the vines start to climb they won't look so "lined up". Love that ladybug from Judy. That is so like her! It took several weeks for the birds to find us once we moved in, Brenda. The birds were at our neighbors house but didn't come to us for a long time. I don't know what the magic is....How about something on top of the fence to lure them in-some seeds pushed into the wood a bit ...or held on by some peanut butter or something? xo Diana

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    Replies
    1. I think it just takes birds awhile to trust you. I'm hoping so. Someone else said I might try smaller seed in another feeder. I'll try that.

      Delete
  26. Your outdoor room and gardens look wonderful, Brenda! I love all your colorful pots. The pups look like they are enjoying their new home, too. I finally got to vote for your lampshade. It's by far the prettiest in my opinion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I plan to keep expanding on what I have out there when the ideas strike me. I just love color you know!

      Delete
  27. You seem so much happier in your new place. I love that you have this small garden space right out your patio door. I'm really going to enjoy seeing how your little garden grows. I think the place is very cute on the inside too! Cuter than your house. I'm having a hard time blogging of late because I am working so much. But I have been able to buy a few things I've wanted for awhile - now I just need to blog about them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read about your new job. Congratulations, Nita! I hope you like it. This place was built in the sixties, so is not by any means new, but that's fine by me.

      Delete
  28. Wow! You're well on your way to a gorgeous garden! I love the galvanized tubs and your puppies are just adorable!

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    Replies
    1. I like that the galvanized tubs lend a vintage feel out there.

      Delete
  29. Your garden is coming together so nicely. I love your colorful sunshine face. He makes me smile with him. I have a big fence that could use some color, I might just have to be on the lookout for something like that. I never thought of planing something who's fragrance would carry in the air into the house. What a great idea. You being out in the garden really makes me want to get out and play in the dirt. But, it will be a few weeks for me. Until then I will live vicariously through you.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I can say I'm having a ball out there.

      Delete
  30. Your container garden is beautiful...and I would think so much easier than plants in the ground.
    And those little dogs are sooo cute.

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    1. With the little rolling cart I've had for years, it makes container gardening so easy. So easy on your back and stooping. I really don't think I could do it all without it.

      Delete
  31. Reading some of your own comments here makes me wonder if you aren't still in the blue house of your daughter's ?
    Did I miss a move?

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    Replies
    1. You did indeed miss a move. Just over two weeks ago.

      Delete
  32. You are definitely the Plant Whisperer. This week I guess we will work on getting some plants for the pots and to hang in the pergola. My husband does the gardening because he's the one with the green thumb. I do love looking at what you have been able to accomplish is such a short time.

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    Replies
    1. I would love to have one of those Target gazebos I had in TX. It was so nice to sit out and read while it rained. I'll be looking into that when the funds are there. I hope!

      Delete
  33. Brenda, you have done a beautiful job with your courtyard patio. It looks huge. That's funny about the pupsters and the cats. My toy poodle thinks he is a cat. We have him and three outdoor kitties and two of them are bigger than him. One of those kitties and him are best friends. When he goes to the groomer, he can be found hanging out in the cat condo when we pick him up. xoxo

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    1. How sweet! Those cats better be good to him!

      Delete
  34. I love the washtubs and the fence. They take you right out of the city to the lovely countryside. When the vines take hold and cover you can
    light them with the solar up-lights that look like rocks. Such a beautiful spot on a soft summer night. All of your pots are gorgeous. Anything we have in pots on concrete is already
    frying...100 degrees today!
    You're so lucky! And the birds will
    come. Maybe the previous resident
    used to chase them. They just need time.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Brenda your lampshade is the best of all!!!! It is just beautiful.....all you!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am in LOVE with those washtubs...what a sensational idea! It's going to look like a waterfall of color in a few weeks! You have done a really wonderful job on your patio and you are going to enjoy it so much! Yay!

    XO,
    Jane

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is just what I needed today! I've created a new garden space outside my kitchen window that will just have potted plants and a bird feeder (I don't want another flower bed to have to weed!) My problem is how to make it all look connected and "pulled together". Thanks for your tips! I love your galvanized tubs and I'm going outside now and stick a pretty plate in my pot :-)
    When I first moved in here 3 years ago, I was so jealous of my neighbors yard. Birds would fly over my yard and go to their feeders and I'd pray "just one bird to come to my feeder, please". I even tied a red ribbon on the feeder so they might spot it easier. Then God sent a beautiful Monarch butterfly that very moment, to land in my yard just a few feet away from my feet. It was just what I needed to remind me that other wildlife would come - I wasn't forgotten - and today my yard is full of birds and squirrels.

    ReplyDelete
  38. While I'm not a gardener myself I certainly enjoy looking at gorgeous ones like yours. You've been a very busy girl. The pups seems to like it also. Your new home, new garden, getting settled in pretty well. Things take time, you don't have to hurry, give yourself a break. Glad you found yourself such a perfect place for you and your furry kidz.
    It is nice not to have so much to clean up after. The older I get (will be 74 in July) the more I realize that. We just have a small 3 bdrm, 2 bath single wide manufactured home 16x80 and it's too much for me most of the time. I want to spend my energies/time on making things not cleaning house.
    I had to print out the photo of your lamp shade so I can keep the idea in mind. Making a big glass jar into a lamp, your lamp shade style would be so pretty on it. I did vote for your shade also. Happy days

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow, you have so many things already for your garden. So glad you could bring them from the other house. It all looks really good. What til Charlie next door sees this. I bet his wife will have him planting, hah.
    Yeah, I was finally able to vote. Yours is the best lampshade hands down.
    Love the pupsters pictures. How does Charlie () balance up on top of the cushion. They look right at home. The squirrels really bother my springer.....even more than the deer. It may just take awhile for the birds to come. I don't really know.
    Rest your back and foot, you have been working hard.
    It's so hard loosing a best friend. I lost mine 10 years ago. So ironic that I now watch her one year old granddaughter. I think she would be pleased.
    Have a good week.
    Debby

    ReplyDelete
  40. I went and looked at the shades and thought ok I will be objective and....I voted for your shade . Ioved your use of old linens...go Brenda!

    ReplyDelete

I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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