Friday, October 30, 2009

French Home Tour of a Small Villa

While in Spain (Basque Country) last summer I found it "interesting" having a washer and dryer in the kitchen area. Now, I don't find it so interesting, but more so, a great idea. Quite handy. I love the three french windows over that sink. The color theme isn't my favorite and doesn't seem to match what the outside of this house says.

One view of the living room/dining area . . .

. . . and, another view. I really LOVE having different spaces for dining spots. LOVE that patio area and the view - amazing.

Seriously. I'm there. A little evening alfresco with my husband or some girlfriends.

Ta - da. . . when I saw this farm - blue on these shutters and doors my heart was drawn. Obviously, I'm much about blue and white.

The sales pitch for this French home says, "This small traditional villa has been well modernized. It is approached by a long drive, set in a secluded third of an acre garden, within a 10 minute walk to the beautiful hilltop village of Seillans. The spacious living area has patio doors opening on to the deck with a glorious south-easterly view towards the Esterels.

An archway leads to the well-equipped kitchen. There is a double bedroom and an attractive bathroom with en-suite shower room, compromising shower, basin and toilet.

The house, built in 1975, is light and bright and only 395,00 Euros or 581,717 $USD

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Notebook on the Pantry

One of the things I'm going to love about the Cactus Rd. Farm house is the room I'll use as a pantry. It's just about twice the size of my current pantry and it has a little window that lets in a lot of brightness.

Tonight, I almost finished painting the room. OK, let's just all admit it - I stink at painting but I'm thinking the blotchy-ness is because it wasn't all dry - at least that sounds like a good excuse. I'm just hoping that when I go back over to the house Thursday morning that it looks great.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Cactus Road Farm

The secret is out - our family is moving into the Cactus Road Farm house complete with this beautiful Spanish courtyard and fountain. The fam consists of dd, her hubs, three cute grandkiddos, Michael and muah. All the details of why and how will be for another day, but for now, we're in the process of cleaning out, getting rid of, scraping, painting and anything else that goes into a move of this kind.

When the decision was finalized, we'd all agreed (the 4 adults in the fam) that our focus would be on preparing the house first. We decided to wait to to begin any of the farm/garden projects until after we moved in.

Mornings are my garden tending time. Usually, I have a baby on my hip and a red coffee cup in hand. I like talking to baby boy about how God grows the garden in the night while we sleep. I talk to him about suckers and birds and flowers and all that God's given us to richly enjoy. He likes it too. As a matter of fact, this morning ritual has dubbed him "the outside boy."

This Monday morning, I particularly noticed my "gone wild" 36 tomato plants. I must be doing something right because they seem to keep growing incrementally overnight. In spite of the "agreement" to get the house ready as a home for us, I had concern that these plants needed to get transplanted NOW - before they got too wild and we couldn't move them at all. I hated the idea of not being able to enjoy the plants.

I gently and systematically approached my farmer/gardner husband with nothing but a sincere request. It didn't take long for my husband to respond to a sugary-sweet bribe (pure motive) to start building a few raised beds at The Cactus Road Farm specifically for those 36 tomato plants.

He agreed. So, before we headed to Home Depot, a plan - a big picture of what would go where needed to be in place.

Michael's the kind of guy who likes a plan. He wants the big picture vision. Me, I like to randomly fly by the seat of my pants. We make such a good team.

So, we sat down on the back patio and I watched him as he surveyed the land and as his own creative juices began to churn.

When I'm quiet and watch, I always learn many invaluable LIFE lessons.

Interestingly enough, in the beginning of this garden to farm adventure - we thought I'd be the one to design this back section of the property. Since we assumed that, I've been inquiring of experts, researching, getting ideas, visiting other farms, taking tree classes, thinking about the sanctuary spaces I want to create and yet for some reason with all this I just couldn't come up with a master plan.

I have definite elements that are important to me like - a French garden feel, beautiful and peaceful. I want anyone coming to The Cactus Rd. Farm to have an experience of worship. I want there to be this sense of life being celebrated. I want it to be a place where hearts and hurts are healed. I want spaces where one soul connects with another in away yet to be experienced. I also want spaces for alfresco: Sunday morning egg breakfast served with fresh garden greens, my special home made bread and of course, my French Press.

We also, both desire that The Cactus Road Farm be a blessing to the surrounding community and we know it will.

Anyway, something truly magical happened as I LISTENED to my husband and as I supported his ideas. It is gonna be awesome!

Note to self: get quiet and listen to the man - as he puts words to dreams . . . and as he owns it.

One thing I have learned is that my husband will (and other men too) often get the big picture and it's women who fill in the in-betweens with beauty and feminine touches.

So, with a plan - we headed to Home Depot. I really love that store - especially when my man's buying lumber for raised beds.

My very favorite farmer man.
Hubs is good at building raised beds. Check. Done. Twenty yards - BIG piles - of compost ordered and due in around 11 a.m.

Now I could I "comfortably" start uprooting a few of the tomato plants. I think I should have waited as they didn't look quite so happy when the compost finally came closer to 3 pm.

My not so happy looking tomato plants.

One of Cactus Road Farm's first volunteers - doing starts of a variety of good things.

More to come - along with some pics of the inside of this house with charm and character. For more beauty and inspiration - visit my friend Melissa at The Inspired Room.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blank Spaces to Create Sanctuary

Creating sanctuary has been important to me for years. It's the thing a woman longs for, has the ability to do and if understood - will have potential to influence the two generations beneath her.

To me, creating sanctuary is about bringing order and beauty to spaces and places where peace and life and hope do not yet exist. It's about bringing the calm to the storm.

I desire to create that sanctuary so that my husband, children, grandchildren, friends and guest breathe a little deeper, feel the freedom to sigh and then in a moment of mercy, know that God is for them and has nothing but good, eternal purposes for Him.

Sanctuary is something that has been God-breathed - God-God touched.

The idea to create sanctuary began a few years in my home and then a year and half ago creativity moved to the outdoors.

Michael and I began to garden February 2008 and that decision has forever changed our lives. Just this morning I counted 36 tomato plants, tons of arugula, turnips, beets, radishes, bok choy, fennel, swiss chard, kale, cosmos, basil, purple beans, bush beans, broccoli, onions, butternut squash, chervil, cilantro, dill, and more . . .

One of the ways I create sanctuary in our garden is to weave pops of color in and throughout my garden.

And, now a change has come for Michael and I. Change is the one thing constant in life. We are moving - leaving the space and place that's been 'home' for the past ten years. Leaving the home I love and have lived in for ten years has not been an easy decision to make, but after much prayer we know it's the right thing and it's a God thing.

Here, I will create sanctuary - both inside and out. As I look at the piece of dirt above - it is not just dirt - but a blank space - a canvas of God sized proportions to create, to grow, to point heaven-ward for the weary and parched soul.

I am excited. There are endless possibilities on this blank canvas - of which I must and will - and get to create sanctuary, and I'm also excited to share it with you - the inside of the home and the outside as it unfolds into sanctuary.

In all this, attitude toward today, tomorrow and this life are what matters most. How have you, today, considered the space and place around you to be sanctuary?

Monday, October 26, 2009

St. Ignatius Sanctuary

We spent January 2008 in the Basque Country (Spain/France) and during one of those brisk winter days we took a lovely tour through St. Ignatius Sanctuary.

This sweet little gentleman stood in the portico holding the tape player - that gave us a mini guide of the place in English. Periodically he would point to something. I couldn't resist taking his picture or at least pretending I was snapping a photo of the statues behind him.

The Basilica is Baroque style designed by Italian architect Carlo Fontana, a disciple of Bernini. This photo is looking up at the pipe organ.

This is the Tower-house of Loyola and is what is known as the heart of the sanctuary. It's the place where Ignacio Loyola was born and spent his early years and then later where he returned after being seriously wounded in the citadel of Pamplona (1521). It was here where he had a God experience and where he wrote the "Spiritual Exercises."

This bronze sculpture depicts the scene of Ignatius arriving home after being wounded in Pamplona.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amazing Friends

I celebrated my 55th Birthday this month and here I mentioned how I'd love this cute Frenchy shirt to linger in the garden.

Well, Maria - AZChica blog, just happened to read this post, gathered a few other girlfriends to go in on it - just for me. I am so loved and feel it. Thanks girlfriends!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Little Secret

I love secrets and so I'll let you in on one. It has to do with the above. Lot's of transitions for us, and it's a beautiful thing. A hint: creating sanctuary.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

COTE DE TEXAS: A Reader’s House

Are you looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon? Head on over to Joni's.

Happy Sunday to you! xoxo

COTE DE TEXAS: A Reader’s House

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Alfresco - Morning Glory Cafe

We could see it in the distance and I could hardly wait. Beauty. A Garden. Al-fresco. My husband.

Yesterday, Michael took me on a little morning breakfast date. An alfresco morning, indeed. I'd been wanting to visit the Farm at South Mountain (here in Phoenix) for quite some time. Being a lover of beautiful things and gardens, I was close to being in heaven with this little morning date.

I mean, wouldn't you be? A little romantic morning in an outdoor cafe such as this?

I just love mornings like this. Don't you?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

French Home Tour

The sales pitch for this lovely French home says, "Set in natural peaceful surroundings with a panoramic view facing south . . . "

Even though this lovely bisque-yellow home with an inviting entrance is in France, it looks like one that could be nestled into an Arizona hill side.

Don't you love those two sets of French doors - gives a sense of openness to this narrow living/dining room. My grandmother, a proper NY woman, always told me you touches of red - just touches throughout your home. Guess the owner of this house knew that. Probably my favorite spot would be just outside those French doors - on that patio - overlooking the valley. Too bad I couldn't find a picture of that.

How embracing is this kitchen! Note her (assumably so) the copper pans hung to the left of the window. The typical French country kitchen isn't set up for aesthetics, but for practicality. Many French country kitchens have a large table - often in the center of the room. Obviously there's no room here, but plenty of counter space makes up for that.

Have a wonderful weekend! BTW - Melissa at The Inspired Room has a list of other beautiful things you just won't want to miss - along with this Hostess Gift: Apple Pie in a Jar - recipe which dd and I will make soon.


I'm Into Succulents, Lately

A little cute friend of mine gave me a sweet gift the other day - a plate of succulents from her flower shop (Camelback Flowers).

Her little love gift has opened my eyes to the beauty of succulents. So, while at Laguna Beach last week I snapped these pics - of succulents.

Now, I'm into succulents, lately.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Have a Happy Sunday - Baby in Basket

She's got to be kidding! Doesn't she know that every time she sticks me in this darn basket I'm limited on what I can get in to. I mean, I just love pulling down her decorating magazines and ripping out those colorful pages is awfully entertaining.

This is totally one of my worst nightmares. I mean babies need to have freedom to explore and develop fully all their tactile senses by touching everything.

Maybe it'll work if I give her my cute "pretty please with a cherry on top pouty face look."

I guess I'll just have to sit here, then and try to get a little creative.