I have been uploading pictures from the camera, which I haven't done for ages. In fact, I haven't taken pictures for ages, because first we lost the camera-battery charger, and then I couldn't find the camera, not that it would have done me any good, since the battery was dead, which has also been the story of my mobile phone . . . anyway, the other day, lo I went into the bathroom and found the camera battery charging away in the outlet by the sink. That which was lost had been found, I know not by whom, though I can make an educated guess.
So here are some shots I've taken recently, to record the state of the garden, circa April 2012:
The vegetable and herb garden on the south side of the house, by the driveway. Not looking like much yet, but everything's in. Cosmos, which we direct-sowed, are starting to come up between rows of peppers at the far end.
Another view of the vegetable garden.
Rosebush we inherited from previous owners. It's still a bit grass-choked, but is loaded with blooms this spring.
Now here, in no particular order, because this is how they got loaded, are some pictures from inside the house. After three-plus years, this past winter we finally got around to painting -- that is to say, we had saved up enough money to pay someone else to paint (and that was interesting: in the end we wound up paying two completely different sets of someone elses, which is its own story, the moral of which is that you do, in all kinds of ways, get what you pay for . . . and then some).
Here, first, are some "before" shots of the dining room. Now, I love green. It's my favorite color, hands down. But somehow . . . in a room on the north side of the house . . . with no direct sunlight, ever . . .
(Note: These pictures of the dining room are from the first winter we lived here. The table is set for fourteen, because we were having friends over after Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Note in the photo below that there's still a moving box in the corner. I forget when we finally unpacked that box, or what was in it.)
We made the best of it, with lots of bright pictures, which did sort of pop on the dark walls. And now I wish that an "after" photo of the dining room followed directly, but no! To get there, you must first enter the living room, which used to be yellowy off-white, but is now . . .
. . . still neutral! But I love it. Throughout the house we used this gray-y, taupe-y, stone-y color: "Jute," by Benjamin Moore. And it's wonderful. It's cool but not cold, and very, very serene. The trim is Linen White, also by Benjamin Moore.
Here's one of my favorite spots in the house: the end of the hall between the kitchen on the left and the study/library/schoolroom on the right. Here, in this funny little cul-de-sac looking out on the back porch, is where people crash with books and quiet, on-your-own schoolwork. As you can see, the dog enjoys it, too.
Ah, here's the dining room in its "after" phase. Not so dramatic, perhaps, but serene and versatile, and in lamplight, beautifully glow-y. This is Linen White, done on both trim and walls:
The window in our sunroom/music room:
Piano, with real-life post-Christmas clutter:
The home-magazine shoot I'd love to see. Speaking of real life:
Freshly-painted stair pickets. Yes, one of my children did in fact pick paint off one of these pickets as an anti-taking-a-mood-break-on-the-stairs statement. They had been unbelievably dingy before, and I was unbelievably angry at that child for about an hour . . . you know, you ask for the grace to be more forgiving, and this is what you get: more opportunities.
Phone alcove, repurposed as shrine.
The window above the comfy loveseat at the end of the hall. The view onto the back porch is not so great (there's a reason why you're not seeing pictures of my back porch), but the deep windowsill, with room for books, makes up for that in spades.
The front door used to be white. Now it's BM Van Deusen Blue. My mother found that chair by the road years ago, and my brother taught her how to weave the Shaker-style seat.
The kitchen used to have busy striped wallpaper, the kind with vines loaded with grapes and eggplant, because you know that's how things are in real life. Now it's Linen White as well, which is both fresh and very warm, especially at night. Those things on the wall are framed land deeds dating mostly from the eighteen-teens, which my parents as newlyweds found in my grandparents' house and framed, to have something to put on the wall. They're kind of off-center on the wall, because I wanted to leave room for some paintings of my dad's, which I have yet to have framed. That tablecloth is a 1940s twin bedspread which I found in our local junk shop. For a while it was on our bed, but then I decided to co-opt it for the table.
Oh, hey, back to the garden. (I'm in kind of a hurry here, and I don't have time right now to cut and paste these pictures so that the narrative makes sense). Now we're in the back yard butterfly garden-in-progress. It looks pretty scrubby right now, but the coreopsis are lovely:
As is the yarrow.
Not to mention the hen-and-chicks.
And suddenly we're standing in the driveway, looking at the front of the house:
As you can see, we have an oak tree, and our lawn is almost solid clover. Amicus cut it yesterday, so right now it's passing as verdant grass, but we know better. Anyway, the irises have been gorgeous.
Now, by the magic of computers, we're whisked to the back gate, and the little dooryard by the back door:
Finally, welcome to our bedroom, where I'm sitting right now in the quiet and the sun at the window. This room used to be the same dark green as the dining room, only faux-finished: it was like living in a green suede cave. Like most of the rest of the house, it's now painted in Jute, with Linen White trim, and it's airy, quiet, and calming . . .
And would be a nice place to sit all day long, by myself, except that I'm already late for a scout planning meeting, alas alas. But you go ahead and make yourself at home.
PS: Now that I'm home again and waiting for dinner to cook, I've gone back and enlarged the photos, so that you can see better. Well, I can see them better, anyway.