Friday, May 30, 2014

The Energy of Plants

It happened that our daughter Zjena had been taking photos in the yard with her iPad this past weekend. She uses an app called Photo Booth, and it allows a setting whereby you can create mirror images of whatever you're shooting. When she showed me this series of images, I was a little blown away by the captivating energy of the plants. Is that our Bird of Paradise or an alien goddess? Apparently, the plants in our yard are quite mystical beings in their own rights—perhaps we just haven't been seeing them with the right eyes. And it would just figure that it was iPad app that could reveal their magical selves to us. 

We almost removed our giant Bird of Paradise tree, it was so overgrown. But we decided to just clean it up and trim it back. But now, after seeing these pics, I'm glad we didn't get rid of it. I think it's very happy now. 

That's a lavender plant below. It almost looks like an ancient fountain made from a living thing. 

Even the iceberg roses revealed its "hidden" self to us--and dare I say hammed it up for the camera: Are you seeing the eyes and the mouth?

Interesting aren't they? I recommend you take your iPad to the garden and start snapping some photos of your plants with the mirror setting on PhotoBooth. You may be surprised at the otherworldly creatures you'll discover to be the real inhabitants of your space.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Building Our Front Fence

Ever since I first saw the adorable cottages of Carmel, Calif., I've dreamed of having a grape stake fence. 

Rustic and cottage-y. And so pretty.

We started our fence a few weeks back. It all starts with a trench.

We opted to go with a stucco base for our fence because it would give it strength, but also using the same color stucco would help to link the fence visually to our house and overall materials theme. 

This block is the base of our side driveway gate pillars. We had to rip out all of the roses along the driveway. So sorry, roses. But it will be nice to get out of the car and not get stuck by those thorns!

More pillars, more blocks.

Another view. If you look closely, you can see our kids in the background. We created a sand pit just under our bedroom window. They love it and really do spend hours playing in this shady nook.

This is the view of the front entry gate in the making. Imagine a lantern here. A metal mailbox will go on the gate itself. Our postal carriers haven't known where to put our mail for a year now. They will happy when a real mailbox goes in! And so will we.

Topping the stone pillars with bricks helped to tie the design into the brick used on the main house. These are antique bricks. Yes, they are more expensive than regular HD bricks. But, we didn't need a lot.

Here the bricks are filled with cement, getting prepped for the same Vasari smooth stucco we used on the face of our house. We still had some leftover in the garage.

It took a couple tries to match the color of the stucco to the stucco on the front courtyard wall. Still not exactly right. But if truth be told, the front courtyard stucco doesn't actually match the inside stucco wall either. But we do plan to put a lime wash that will tone down everything anyway. 

The pillars have been grouted.

The beautiful grape stakes. They are crooked. Yes, that's just how we like them. And P.S. Home Depot seems to have the best price on these stakes. Their price was far better than any other local suppliers. Here, we're applying a coat of sealer that brings out this shiny wood grain that will also help to tie the fence into the color palette of the wood doors and windows of our house.

Here, the cross bars are added.

And the walkway gate is installed. More pics of the final to come.