musings

This old ranch…

6 April 2011

I wanted to share some pictures of the magical ranch I live on.  We feel like we live in a time warp here.  Once you pull onto the property life seems to slow down, it is wonderful!

There are delightfully aged abandoned buildings scattered about.

I would love to restore this before it is too far gone…  It was built around 1915 used to be a stable for horses.

The old wood is so beautiful.  No mater how hard folks try you just can’t mimic the look of aged wood.

It has the most glorious rafters.

A tree has grown up right through the middle…  isn’t that wonderful?  If I had the money I would make this building into the most amazing home…  and I would definitely keep the tree.

Or I guess I should say trees…

Here you can see the top of the trees, they are rather huge!

All of the buildings have such beautiful doors.

There is a paddock adjoining the building with another tree going out of the side…

Looking down the front of the building towards another paddock.  Those are the foreman’s horses in the distance.

Another view of,  it is so magical especially in the setting sun.  Part of what is so lovely here is how peaceful everything is.  Just the sound of the ocean in the distance and the birds.  As the evening comes in the crickets start to sing.  Just beautiful!

My husband is doing some work nearby and we both feel like is it almost a sacrilege to start up the power tools.

However some “noise” suits the place wonderfully…

This is Tomas, our neighbor.

He has worked on the ranch for 30 plus years.

Can’t you just hear the music for the “Milagro Bean field Wars” playing softly in the distance?

We even have old Amorante’s pig living down at the end of the street…

If you haven’t seen the movie I can’t recommend it enough!  Directed by Robert Redford back in the 90’s it is about a small magical New Mexico village and how they adjust with the modern era.  Absolutely delightful!

Gosh I love this little “Milagro” ranch…

Blessings!

Snippetts…

4 February 2011
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What do you think?

Our lovely, eclectic, scitzophrenic, stuffed home

10 December 2010

I always love to look at beautiful home decorating sites.  Places like Vintage Rose or French Larkspur.  These sites always have gorgeous pictures of serene white on white homes with beautiful vintage items all in soothing shades.

I pour through old stacks of Victoria magazines admiring the sophisticated homes with everything just so.  I have created weddings with that beautiful cream and white rustic/vintage look.  I just adore them!

I have tried so often to create a similar look in our home…  but to no avail.  The 50 cats and the devastation in their wake not withstanding, I just have way too many wonderful, crazy, disparate, colorful,  things!

As I said in an earlier post I have been clearing out a couple of storage sheds and putting our house back to rights (we had to evacuate in a fire, lucky the house didn’t burn).  I didn’t remember how much wonderful stuff I had.  And of course over the last year and a half that our stuff has been in storage I collected (as I am wont to do)… more lovely stuff!

I am ready to move into the mansion any day now, one with at least 20 rooms,  a barn, a garage, work spaces and a huge library and kitchen.  Unfortunately those are a bit out of our price range (not too mention I would have to CLEAN those 20 plus rooms and of course we would have many more cats with all the extra room!)

So here I sit with all my lovely stuff thinking wistfully of those beautiful cream colored magazine homes.

I look at my Moroccan rugs with all their warm desert colors and imagine replacing them with a huge sisal or Berber carpet in shades of oatmeal.  No.. can’t do it.

My colorful Tiffany style lamps with their jewel tones glowing at night.  Instead a beautiful linen shaded lamp or wall sconces?  No,  not really me.

What about my Indian Sari collection in a rainbow of hues?  Put them in a cabinet and hide there joyous celebration of life’s happy colors?  No, the doors on the cabinet would have to be left open.

The other item that causes me such decor consternation and one that I rarely see in those beautiful pictures of pristine homes are books. At least not in the quantities that we have.

I wouldn’t mind them so much if we had an old English library, the kind that is two stories with walnut shelves, a huge fireplace and a brass ladder on railings that went around the room.  They would fit beautifully there, though maybe we would need three stories…

Did I mention we have a lot of books…

Ours are not the gorgeous large coffee table art books, ours are much loved, read and re-read tattered friends.  Some of them look like the cats dragged them in (or at least curled up on top of for long catnaps in the sun).  Many of these came from our families who also read and re-read them.

I actually do have a few beautiful art books, these came from my Grandmother.

Look at these precious tiny books…  I think they belonged to my Grandfather.

I saw in a magazine once a home that had turned all the books in the bookcase so their colorful spines faced the inside of the bookshelf and the plain pages side faced outward.  Maybe I am missing something but the obvious question to me is how do you know which book is which?  The plain paper edges blended in nicely with the color pallet of the living room but I DEFINATELY could not do that!

And my china.  I have dishes from both sides of my family going way back!

Hide them in a cupboard because they are jumbled and colorful?

No… can’t do it.  I love to have them out so I can feast my eyes on all their loveliness!

Look at this beautiful tea set from my Mom,

She would have no problem getting me to finish my tea…

You see there was a lovely surprise in the bottom of the cup, waiting for me…

Another fun item from my Mom…  The Old Man…

He is really a tall candle holder. Maybe he was supposed to be one of the three kings, I don’t know.  I just thought he was so cool when I was a kid, still do…

Our bathroom…  my husband is really very indulgent!!

I love vintage clothes…

A garden pot holder, sometimes I use it for flowers in a vintage wedding…

(More clothes…  for faeries…)


(our bedroom…  we love trees, can you guess?)

(my side of the bed…  I just love vintage suitcases!)                 (Vintage trunks across from the foot of our bed)

(My vintage steamer trunk… with curious Cleo the kitty)

(Across from the foot of our bed.  This used to be a display cabinet in my store 15 years ago.  Now it houses our TV)

Looking into our tiny kitchen…

I got a little crazy painting the walls in here (they used to all be white, now the bathroom and the kitchen cabinets are the only white left in the house!)

After sponging several colors onto the wall I then stamped old postal markings, watches, and dragonflies in various complimentary colors.

Vintage cloth napkins in a letter holder on the wall (the stethoscope is for the kitties…)

Our pantry… and tea storage…  My Mom trained me well with the lady in the bottom of the tea cup…  I am constantly drinking tea!

So as I carry on trying to find a place for everything and those things I can’t find places for shoving and tucking and squeezing them in all the nooks and crannies I am reflecting that my home though not the polished show home of my dreams is however my husbands and my home and should reflect us.

This is always the counsel that I give my brides and grooms, that their wedding should be about them and not about the latest style in the magazines.  I guess I am taking my own advise.

Unpacking these many boxes and discovering all my treasures, the road markers from my life and that of my husbands’ makes me grateful for my eclectic style and the generations of “crapstakers” that I come from (a friend once called himself that and after I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard I thought that aptly described me).  I am so lucky to have all these wonderful, beautiful keepsakes!  What a joy to look at and use!

So when you get tired of dusting and organizing all your lovely wonderful stuff visit this post again and remember that these things are part of who your are, these things tell your story…  and be grateful you don’t have as much stuff as I do!!!!!!!

WHEW!!!  That was exhausting!!!

PS  I just got the Christmas goodies up…  I will post that soon (hopefully).

cat tales… cat naps

8 June 2010
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I love to watch the many ways our cats sleep.

There is nothing more sweet that a sleeping kitty.  However I do wonder how they manage to get any zzzzzzs in some of the strange positions they get into.


This just makes my back hurt!

I kept waiting for him to turn blue, but he stayed orange…

I am not sure if he is sleeping or paying homage to the kibble god.

I have heard of feather pillows but fur pillows?

Wishing you lots of sweet dreams no mater where or how you sleep, but I do hope you have someone dear to cuddle with!

Natural beauty

17 May 2010
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I have been deep in the creative process working on a precious wedding that happened last Saturday. I will show you all the pictures in a few days. For now some beautiful images and a quote that I find very true.

“The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.” Unknown source

Photos by Elizabeth Messina

Cat Naps…

3 May 2010
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It’s been a bit cold here…   can you tell?

“gosh,  I am just so sleepy…”

“Can you PLEEAASE turn out the light?!?”

Wishing you puuuuurrrrfect dreams…

Leslie Clark

30 April 2010
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I wanted to show you an incredible artist whose work I just revisited.  Her name is Leslie Clark and I love her paintings!  I went to Ojai the other day for a beautiful photo shoot with Elizabeth Messina (I will show you those photos a bit later) and afterwards I stopped in Leslie’s gallery.  I had first seen her work several years ago and admired it then but have not had an occasion to go back to Ojai.  It was such a treat to see her gorgeous work again!  She spends half of the year in Africa painting the people she lives among, capturing their beautiful faces and traditions with her magic.  She particularly focuses on the Sahara and the Niger regions but has traveled all over Africa.  She also has the Nomad Foundation, a non profit foundation that “… seeks to blend cultural preservation with economic opportunity”.  Feast your eyes on these amaizing paintings.

… and of course one of my favorite things, saris!

Cat tales

3 April 2010
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I mentioned earlier when I talked about Nipper (The best tip we ever received!) that I would write about his brothers and sisters, so as promised here they are (some of them).  My husband and I are very privileged to run a charity for unwanted cats.  We have only in the last couple of months made it official by creating a non-profit organization and establishing a web page and in general organizing ourselves.  When we moved onto the beautiful ranch where we live now we discovered a staggering number of feral (wild) cats desperately in need of food and medical attention.  Thus began our crash course in cats and unbeknown to us the beginning of our charity.  Prior to our hugely expanded family we had only one cat.  We basically now live with a herd of somewhere around 40 plus!  We have as of now spayed and nuetered 60 plus!  For all the details and lots of cute pictures and great stories please visit our web page The Lucky Few.  For now here are some snapshots of a few members of our fuzzy family…

“Munchkin”

Shortly after moving in I found this precious little girl soaking wet, shivering, eyes newly open, only 3 weeks old under a bush positively howling for her mother. There were no other cats around and if I didn’t get her dry and warm soon she was in trouble.  I actually let her sit for a bit hoping a mother would show up but no one came so I was it.  Not just love but infatuation at first sight! We absolutely delight in her!  A few weeks after we found Munchkin we saw this in our back yard! Munchkin’s litter mates

We couldn’t approach them because they would scatter!  We just kept food down and over time they became lap cats.

Now they are all grown and part of our huge family,

Munchkin now

Some of her litter mates now

Princess

Back to front, clockwise: Timmy, Stripes, Princess(white calico), Solo, Morgan (the two gingers).

Tiger

Tiger is one of the patriarchs on the ranch. We think he is around 15, no one knows for sure.  His family left and couldn’t take him with them.  He joined our family about 2 years ago.  All you have to do is look at him and he starts purring.  He is on my lap right now purring like mad with his chin on my wrist (typing is a little interesting at the moment). I couldn’t ask for a better floral design supervisor!

So as not to overload you too much I will stop for now. Stay tuned for more cats and tales.

Puuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

My imagination at work

1 April 2010
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I have some ideas rummaging around in my head, thought I would share them with you.  As you may know from an earlier post the ranch we live on has a wonderful old barn that my husband just restored for a wedding.  I was poking through some of the ranch’s old buildings looking for salvaged wood to build tables for the barn and my imagination started going off.  I have a couple of scenarios in my mind, both I would like to try, so here goes…

First thought would be to use some of the old doors and windows I found for an unusual ceremony look.   This site exists across from the barn and I have always thought it would make a lovely ceremony tree.   I drew a picture below…  see what you think.

I think hanging several windows from the old Sycamore tree with some flower garlands intertwined would be kind of fun.  I just inherrited two beautiful stained glass windows from my family that would make a beautiful “altar”.  The colors are very muted, not at all strong.  Unfortunately I have not picked them up yet so there are no pictures to show you.  The entrance to the aisle would be an old head board from a vintage bed that I have.  Just before the bride walks down the aisle it could be opened with a flourish.  We have some old church pews that I would use too.  One long Asian carpet would be the aisle runner, with another for the bride and groom to say their vows on. would be a long Asian carpet with another one at the vow site (of course I own lots of carpets too!)  A fairly eclectic look but beautiful I think.

On the left is an example of some of the windows I could use, we would need to replace the panes or knock them out, not a problem.

Here are some of my own windows along with a wagon, table, and bench.

The other variation would be more in keeping with the barn theme.

I would take an old window pane door I have (pictured above) and create a frame for it and set it at the vow site. I would then set next to it a hay bale or two with some beautiful garden urns with flowers.  I would also set next to it my old wagon filled with flowers. I would still use the Asian carpets and pews.   For the entrance to the aisle I would set some old fence gates I found.  Here are some pictures of various props I own and some of the old windows and doors on the ranch.

The large doors behind the gates in the first picture on the left we might be able to take down and use for the vow site.  They are huge and beautiful if a tad worn…   The white gates would be the entrance to the aisle.

My husband and I will be making tables out of these doors, I think they will be wonderful for the barn!

There are 7 doors like the one on the left.  It is hard to tell in the picture but they have a wonderful patina.

The ones on the right will be joined together for one large table.

This old grain bin we are going to turn into a couch.  We will take the front off and then make cushions out of white denim and filled with goose down for the pillows.  To this I would add lots of luxurious throw pillows in the colors of the wedding.

This door on the left has the most wonderful old paint on it.  I will wax all the doors so the color will really stand out and the finish will hopefully be nice and smooth.

I also have a few old benches that would be fun to throw in somewhere, maybe as a coffee table for the grain bin couch?

I also thought it would be whimsical to fill a few odd items with flowers like the top suitcase in a stack of suitcases, or a beautiful old steam trunk.  They could also be filled with blankets for the guests to borrow for a chilly outdoor wedding.

The stack of suitcases would also make a great check in table or cocktail table.

I would also use several of my own vintage wooden tables, may be for check in or gifts or a family photo display…

Pardon the mess but these tables I use as my desk and art table.  I believe the level of messiness directly corresponds to how creative you are…   that’s my story and I am sticking with it!

How fun are these old wagons?

Now lets imagine we go into the old barn for the reception and though the barn itself is very rustic with a dirt floor, the decor is very sophisticated!  I just love the unexpected mix of old and rustic with beautiful elegance.  I would hang from the rafters large crystal chandeliers and then have some of the old wood tables with sheer organza linens on them so you could see through the fabric to the table.  Some of the old tables would have a heavy damask runner or a beautiful old brocade.  I would mix in a few regular tables so I could have a gorgeous heavy linen all the way to the ground.  The centerpieces would be silver bowls filled with flowers and silver candelabras.  I have kept a few pictures from an old Anthropologie catalogue that has a great color story.  I also cut out an old photo that created lots of beautiful possibilities in my mind.  There are definitely some great ideas for table linens and colors in these photos!

Here are some fun fabrics of my own that would make lovely table linens or even curtains for the barn.

Well…   thats the way my imagination has been going, hope you like my ramblings!

Dancing with the faeries,

6 March 2010
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“When we dance with the faeries, we dance with the reflections of our true selves and the true inner self of the world.”

Brian Froud

Photo by Elizabeth Messina

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