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Posts Tagged ‘outdoor decorating’

ZenFrog

I was passing a paving place (is that what you call them?) today, and right in the front they had a sign saying “Take Me Home”, above a bunch of statues. I glanced at them, never really liking statues in my garden, then saw a meditating frog. It looked so peaceful, and it made me smile; as I sat at the red light, I wondered how much it was, and imagined where I would put it in my garden. But it was a frog, not the Dalai Lama, or some kindly gentleman in a complicated robe.

Apparently, meditating is such a trend right now, that everyone is doing it. I have always been one of those informal meditator’s; I don’t declare it from the rooftop, I try to do it often, but I sure as heck don’t add it to my To-Do list (which is so funny to me – why would you add meditating to a list of things you have to do, potentially setting yourself up to fail? Isn’t that creating more stress, which means you need more meditation?).

Anyway, statue’s definitely don’t create stress; love them, or hate them, no-one can be annoyed at a garden statue. They feel happy to me, and I always think it means that the owner is bold in their choices; not caring if they are judged, and wanting to express themselves in a very obvious way. I wonder if the same people have interesting rooms in their homes, declaring their style with lots of colorful personality and pretend concrete.

I know that some are for good luck, and many are a religious declaration, but others are just because they are cute to look at. I don’t have one, but I imagine, if I went outside and saw a gnome every day, it would be a very good way to begin. Just a small gnome, hidden in the shrubbery.

Perhaps, this is why we need garden statues. To make us smile (and to remind us that even a Frog needs a quiet moment every now and again).

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph from Dutchmans Fountains catalog

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Dog Traveling in Car

So, this is taking a bit of artistic license, but if you squint as you read, it kind of ties into our love of a designed life…

To me, Summer seems to be one of those times when we try to capture a different American Dream; we suddenly want to create the perfect BBQ, drink strange, frozen drinks with our friends, and watch the children run through sprinklers on a perfectly manicured lawn (stopping occasionally to eat a red Popsicle, say “Thank you”, and smile lovingly at their doting parents).

We are inundated with photographs and commercials, showing us snapshots of a pretend family, and implying that we only have a few months left to grab some fun; that now is the time to whisk up a laborious, homemade, special hot sauce, go camping with the neighbors, and (inexplicably) take our dog on a long road trip to find the zombie brewery that we saw in the “Weird NJ” magazine.

So, we plan the BBQ, and we find the zombie’s, but we decide to buy the hot sauce. Our days aren’t as perfect as the photograph in the magazine, but we find some new places to visit, get the garden in good shape, and we try to spend more time with the children. Life is like that; a jumbled mixture of ideas that get thrown together and sifted through. We can’t do it all, but we can always figure out a way to do some of the fun stuff.

Although I don’t like the idea of saving my fun for Summer, I do see that for some people it is the best, guaranteed way to plan their down time. Almost like forcing you to relax, without feeling (too) guilty. Some people still find it difficult, and even their relaxing seems too exhausting for me. They look for gadgets and “things” that will make their Summer easier, and save them time. Honestly, I get tired just looking at them (never mind reading the directions on how I am supposed to use them). I prefer to try and use what I have, or do without; I tend to luxuriate in my lazy days, and keep things as simple as possible.
But, if you are someone who is less lazy than me, and your heart flutters at the thought of the newest widget, then you still have a few weeks left to buy one of these time-saving lovelies…….

Pig Tail Food Flipper:  This, I am putting first, because I know I would be the person who would misunderstand the directions, and flip my steak onto the lawn. Surely tongs are easier? But, it comes in a nice, wooden box, so would be a lovely gift.
Hot Dog Forks: Another easy way to quickly lose your food on the grass, but, it would be great for roasting marshmallows, and making S’Mores.
Doggles: Perfect for protecting your dog’s eyes on those long, hanging out the window, road trips.
Outdoor Chair with attached table, pockets, drinks holder and more:Perfect for the beach, outdoor concert, patio, camping, or even your favorite bachelor’s Living Room.
Meatball Grill Basket: I have heard that this works very well, and it looks very cute, but it seems like a lot of effort to get twelve piddly meatballs (and I can’t even imagine cleaning it afterwards).
Barbecue Dining Boat: Just to see if you were reading. This has a built in grill, a retractable umbrella, and seats ten people. (But is it worth $50,000? Personally, I would prefer the Hot Tub Boat at $42,000)
Beach Towel with speakers and a pillow: Why not? Great for your backyard, vacation by the pool, or the beach (compatible with most music sources).
Ice Cream Insulated Bucket: To me, this is the best one on the list. Sharing optional.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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Shabby Chic Wedding - lounge area

For many of you, the outside is just another place to sit; a place to soak up the sun, have your morning coffee, or take a break from the everyday. But for some, it is an extension of your home, somewhere that demands a little bit of personality before it can be fully appreciated.

Last weekend, I spent some time decorating my patio. I planted some flowers, moved some furniture around, and tried to figure out how I wanted it to feel. When I was done, I knew it wasn’t right. It needed a piece of furniture. From inside.

A dresser, a mirror, a trunk – something that added warmth to the outdoor bits and pieces that were already there. As I searched my garage and cellar for that certain something, I knew it was impractical. Mirrors would craze, furniture would warp, and fabric would absorb the rain giving us all soggy bottoms when we sank into the cushions. But there was something about it that appealed to me.

I am not suggesting that you take your antique dining buffet and place it the garden, but I do think you should consider looking for something different that would add character to your outdoor space.

We often get caught in the land of “should”; we shop for garden furniture in the garden center, or the outdoor section of a retail store, just because that is where we think we should go. But, what about all the other possibilities? Flea markets, garage sales, and even your home, will often have items that are inexpensive, unique, useful, and unused. If you rescue old furniture and accessories, why not take them outside to be enjoyed?

Dangle a broken light fixture from a tree (pull out the wiring, stick a candle in it, or wrap it with LED fairy lights), cuddle up on a red, squishy sofa, and fill an old dresser with BBQ equipment, plates and utensils. Hang a mirror to capture more light, brighten a table with a coat of paint (even the most boring plant will look more interesting sitting on it), and don’t even get me started on the absolute beauty of an old Persian rug casually placed on a concrete patio…

Bringing indoor “stuff” outside, makes a space feel comfortable and cared about. Inexpensive options are everywhere; they should be enjoyed, and they are already absolutely less than perfect (in the best possible way…).

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Gorgeous photograph from Tori and Dean’s Shabby Chic Wedding

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When Summertime hits, we want to be outside; a few minutes of fresh air and sunshine seems to make everyone’s world feel so much brighter. If we’re lucky, our thoughts drift to daydreams, and we remember to look around us a little bit more; absently wondering about the universe, instead of rushing around and complaining about what we should, or shouldn’t, be doing next. I like to believe that Summer is nature’s way of telling us to take a break, and slow down a bit.

Of course, I know that it isn’t all sunshine and daisies, and sometimes our outdoors is not what we would like it to be, but waiting until we have the perfect space is to deny ourselves a whole lot of happy moments. Instead of worrying about what we don’t have, why not adapt what we do, tweak it a bit, and enjoy that extra dose of Vitamin D (see, it’s even healthier to be outside!). Here are my favorite items for getting the most out of any outdoor space.

A round table with a pedestal base – Will comfortably seat four, six at a squish, and takes up very little room.

Mirrors, crystals, wind-chimes etc – Adds energy, and extra space, by creating movement and reflecting light.

A sturdy bench or trunk – Useful as a serving piece, a display area, extra storage, and a place to sit on.

Candles, lanterns and fairy lights – Makes an outdoor room feel warm and cozy (and practical).

Plants – Let these be your go-to item (the garden equivalent of the little black dress); they will soften any corners, add texture, color, and hide the bits you don’t want to see.

Height – Not technically an item, but so necessary to add scale and interest. Use your accessories to go up (hanging baskets, lanterns in trees, tall screens or trellises etc).

Your personality – Probably the most important item of all. Don’t forget to bring some of yourself outside with you. Add a few books, your favorite color, an ornament, or a blanket for when it gets cold…

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/ Beautiful photograph from Sixpence & a Blue Moon

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Don’t turn the heat up and the television on! Just because the days are cooling down, and the leaves are turning orange,  doesn’t mean we can’t play outside for a wee bit longer.

Plan a late Summer BBQ, or celebrate the cold weather with your very own, homemade Fall Festival. Make it easy and fun; decorate your garden with everything seasonal – pumpkins, hay bales, chrysanthemums and of course, piles of apples. Hang some of the apples from a tree (later on, turn it into a game; try to bite them, with your hands behind your back, of course).

Bring board games outside, bob for apples, go on a scavenger hunt, carve and decorate pumpkins. Toast marshmallows over a small fire pit, make s’mores and sit on blankets with hot cider and farm fresh apple donuts.

Why not explore some of the oversized garden games that are available. Consider making your own (eg. for Checkers use a plastic tablecloth and outdoor plastic paint to draw the squares – wooden discs or different colored stones could be used as playing pieces).

 I have one that I found online years ago ( left).  I love the unexpectedness of it as you turn a corner in my garden. When we aren’t playing with it, I have a large wrought iron ant that stands, poised to make the next move!

To buy garden games, or for ideas on making your own, go to:   http://www.lettucemakethyme.com/giant.htm

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