Saturday, March 31, 2012


It took some courage to post this photo because of all its flaws.  I am not a professional stylist nor a professional photographer, but I threw caution to the wind and posted it because I wanted to talk to you about my new little find.

My favorite color combination is green and blue.  My bedroom is made up of those two colors and has been for several years.  One day I decided I needed to punch things up a bit.  So, that gorgeous color I call persimmon seemed the perfect choice.  I added a rich cashmere throw to the foot of my bed and it brightened my room.  But I needed another bit of that orangey red peeking out from some little nook so a few weeks ago as I was roaming around Target I spotted this pretty metal tray just the right size and color for my bedroom--see it on the bottom shelf of my nightstand? I love it.  It is just right and not too much money--isn't Target one of life's little joys?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


This little Mourning Dove perched atop her nest in our Jacaranda tree was saved in the nick of time.  I was out fertilizing flowers yesterday morning and our tree trimmers had just arrived to give this tree a good clipping when just as they were approaching the tree I happened to look up and notice a bird tail sticking out between the branches.  Oops!  Sorry, guys--there will be no tree trimming today.  My sister took this picture when the mama turned around to keep an eye on all of us.  Don't know how many babies she has ready to burst out of their eggshells but I'll keep you posted.

Just came back from a working week in DC and everything was in bloom.  It was the prettiest Spring week I can remember there and tragically I did not have my camera (pics above taken with iPhone).  But, I came home Friday and on the way home stopped by my favorite plant nursery, Baker, and picked up an "Improved Meyer Lemon Dwarf" tree and yesterday morning went back for a "Mexican Lime Thornless" which is now planted in our backyard.

I remember reading once that shrubs aren't meant to last forever.  To update a landscape, every ten years or so pull out some of those woody, spent plantings and pick something new to brighten things up. So, we removed a few plants (two that were more thorny than I wanted) and moved in the new citrus trees.  See that pick ax above?  Yes, that is required when digging holes in Arizona.  Not kidding.

Last month I fertilized with this organic mixture and now the blooms are just popping up everywhere.  Love this stuff. I put it on all the Iceberg roses, peach tree, apple trees, and flower beds.

We planted these flowers last October and they just keep on blooming.  Typically, the stocks would have died off during the winter but I'm telling you that fertilizer is a miracle drug.

                             Heaps of Geraniums mixed in with Asparagus Fern and English Thyme.

                                      Iceberg roses planted in last month are already blooming.

My sister's cutting garden has been keeping the house filled with Sweet Peas, Irises, Daffodils, Tulips, and Freesias.

These orange blossoms are helping to fill the entire Valley of the Sun with the loveliest of fragrances.

This peach tree bloomed last month and this month a gazillion little peaches are loading up the tree.

                                        Can you see all those teeny, tiny, green peaches? Squint.

And, we've had a ton of spinach.  Loved every bite and will be sorry to see it go when the weather turns wicked.

                         Our Ana Apple trees are lush and ready to produce some yummy apples.

I love spring except for one thing--it means summer is just around the corner.....

Monday, March 19, 2012


As is my usual practice, I finished a serious book and quickly jumped into some fiction. Specifically, a British cozy called Twelve Drummers Drumming by C.C. Benison.  I found this little gem from Mary's Library.

I've not read anything by Benison before (aka Doug Whiteway from Canada) and this book introduces us to Father Tom Christmas, the first in the Father Christmas mystery series.  A very likeable chap (as is usually the case in British cozies) who is recently widowed and is raising his nine year old daughter in the small English village of Thornford Regis.

There is a serious undertone to the story which I liked and the characters were not over blown.  And I figured out who the killer was early on (which made me feel super smart).  A worthwhile read.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Aren't these the greatest?  I was looking for personal cards and read rave reviews about this cute little company called MOO.

These little babies are so easy to create with your own photos on one side and your name, etc. on the other side. I uploaded 12 photographs taken from my various travels (you can choose up to 100 pictures to upload).  Of course, you don't have to use your own photos since MOO provides plenty of pretty prints to choose from.

Right now, MOO is offering 20% off these MiniCards: so, if you're interested take a look.  The total cost for 100 of these little darlings was $24.99 including shipping--what a steal! And that's before the discount.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

CHARLES DICKENS: A LIFE - Tomalin - Book Review

Claire Tomalin knows how to write a biography, that's a fact. If you haven't read Tomalin's Jane Austen and Samuel Pepys biography, I hope you will.  Both were excellent.  Tomalin's books are well-researched, thoughtful, and she's good at putting all the pieces together.  But Charles Dickens A Life was a bit painful and I think it was because frequently Dickens was a monster (Samuel Pepys was no boy scout but I didn't have any expectations that he was). Dickens could also be more generous than anyone in his position.  Meaning he wasn't landed gentry, had a wife and ten kids to feed, parents and siblings to assist, yet he was always looking to help or mentor others when he wasn't being vindictive or cruel.

If you have this warm fuzzy picture of Charles Dickens in your mind and you don't want that to change, then don't read this or any other of his biographies.  The less known the better. The facts aren't pretty but they are very interesting. I'm sure you've heard people say, "you either love him (or her) or hate him", but in this case lots of people both loved and hated Dickens including his own children. 

What I liked was knowing how many failures Dickens had yet he kept writing.  Some books were genius (Great Expectations) others considered terrible, and still others considered half good, half worthless.  But he was good at his craft, believed in his ability, and so kept on going to produce some of the greats in English Literature. That's a good lesson for all of us attempting anything we believe worth doing.

His daughter, Katey, said to Bernard Shaw "that she wished someone would correct the prevailing view of Dickens as 'a joyous, jocose gentleman walking about the world with a plum pudding and a bowl of punch'." This book takes care of that wish.