Monday, July 23, 2012

Furry and Feathery Friends

I have a little dream...that our miniature pony, Tinkerbelle, can come live with us....  Unfortunately, our yard won't really suffice- though I would be happy to convert a corner of our garage into her stall....just need to work around the city council and the biggest obstacle, the fact that her little mini stallmate at the ranch can't stand to be parted from her..... but how fun to take her for a trot around the neighborhood...or for my pal while I garden.

So for now, I live vicariously through others who are able to have a small corner of the country in their suburban setting.  I recently went to pick up Lulu at a friend's party and three chickens were running around the yard-  blissful!  Josie has a bunch of pins on her pinterest boards of darling chicken coops that made me so envious....I pulled a few for you to see that are heavenly.  I do love fresh eggs- they are sooooo different from store bought -  but hens aren't the cuddliest of creatures.  Might the ambiance of the coop and their pretty feathery presence balance out the lack of friendliness?? (are you following us on pinterest?  it's a very fun way to track our different interests)

For a while I thought goats would be the answer, but recently we travelled to Ellensburg for a horse clinic and our sweet mare, Chickie, who isn't fazed by anything, was completely annoyed (as was I)by the two little goat rascals stalled next to her- super cute and funny but total bleating chatterboxes! 

Should I do chickens? Mr. Deke might not let me do that...though he is very tolerant....Perhaps I will just have Tinks come for visits...if I can keep her out of the flower beds!

More to come,
Annie and Team Blue Box

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

crazy for boxwood

I've been out trimming my boxwood these last few weeks....I do it with scissors, shears, my fingers...anything but electric hedge trimmers. Those tend to run away from me if I wave at the neighbors who are cycling by....and Mr. Hubby thinks I may just chop off an important appendage. 

I'm not capable of complicated topiary trimming of the Edward Scissorhands fact I have a chicken topiary that now resembles a nondescript chubby bird....however, there is a certain reward to maintaining boxwoods and they DO bounce back if you occasionally give them a lopsided haircut.

I love boxwood for the architecture they give a garden, particulaly in the winter months when all the charming perennials are dormant, the hydrangeas are woody sticks, and the leaves are off the hornbeams and maples.  But then again, maybe boxwoods are even more important in spring and summer?....  When all the frothy, light-hearted plants are showing off, one can be grateful for the humble boxwood.
You all have a little corner of the garden where you could create a centerpiece of box....would love to see this with a sleek modern tapered planter.

such a pretty vista....the boxwoods anchor the scene.
Great squares of boxwood- super mod....and check out the underground garage! Also note the vertical wall planting and stacked wood wall....

Such a serene, sophisticated side yard....

The froth is contained within the borders...this garden will look good in every season.

Love the layering of green on green...

All sorts of topiaried shapes are possible...below are a few from my file- torn out from magazines over the the clarity might not be as good.

so orderly....

tucked away sweetly in a corner pot...

part of the mix...

adding architecture here and there...

love the geometry of box and privet combo

I adore the dr. seussical....

Boxwoods are hardy and resilient which is a good thing for us amateur gardeners.  The only place I struggle with them are when they are under a canopy of leaves and don't get the benefit of the rainfall the others receive.  Right now my box hedge out front is competing with the maples and I haven't adequately nurtured them- so mad at myself!  
If they are well-suited to their site, they are always a pleasure... especially in the spring when they have that lovely chartreuse aura of new growth and then in July right after I've trimmed them all up to be tidy cones, spirals, and obelisks (supposed to happen in June...oh well) .  The only time I feel a bit sorry for them is late July and August when the wounds from trimming are exposed and the brown marks on the cut leaves show.  But heck, that's when all the glam plants are taking over the box stand by quietly and wait for the kids to pipe down....

More to come,
Annie and the Blue Box team


Monday, July 9, 2012

The Relief of Timeless Design

Inspiration comes in many forms.  In my world of constant ideas and images, most of the inspiration I wallow in comes from timeless design.  It's always a "phew" moment when I find it but a struggle to define it --especially when I like all sorts of style-  modern american, new belgian, and old french-they all pique my interest.  I have finally determined that the unifying thread is simplicity.  not sure I'm right....let me know what you think.....

Audrey and Jackie O (in gingham, I might add!) certainly understood timeless design and embraced simple fashion statements...

the timeless mercedes....this car will always look amazing....
never in wild colors (well, maybe a brief, ill-advised stint of horrid blue and burnt orange in the mid-eighties but we all had bad moments then:)
a serene vervoordt landscape...modern? 

a "new" barn--

simple topiary shapes

 In interior design, it seems like creating a home that can be whatever you desire- modern, rustic, cozy, is a trick of emphasizing simplicity which can then blossom into anything.....finding that sweet spot of timeless design is a great relief.  It means your taste can evolve, but you don't have to drive your hubby to drink or call the real estate agent to accomodate it.

david easton does simple---this living room could be turned into traditional in a snap...
(hey client d+d, this pic is for you!)

This house had a former life as a charming english country cottage chock full of goodies....
sills and huniford easily transformed it
-a minimalist twist on traditional-
(very chic but I need a little more comfort)
are these interiors traditional or modern?

This fireplace is inspiring...if you put an antique chair next to it, it would create a completely different mood- the fireplace detail is so straightforward it can handle lots of styles....

Albert Hadley rocks simple...and so can you...
a jolt of color and interesting "finds" are all it takes to give this entry personality.

So into yoga mode we go....this exercise is for me and much as you- I can make myself
c-r-a-z-y with a million ideas....which means I end up paralyzed, which drives me insane, which just makes my darling hubster wonder if we will ever finish the house..... ....let's
"oooohhmmmm" ourselves into timeless design...and keep in mind, it's simply simple......

more to come,

p.s....just getting the image credits thingie down....will do it right next time!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fourth of July Dinner in 30 Minutes

Hello Blue Boxers! 
We were on inadvertent blog hiatus while life, work and kids overwhelmed us!   But we are back in control of our lives (I'd like to think so anyway....) and ready to share more beautiful ideas.  I'm planning to post on Mondays so check in with us:)....
Can't believe the fourth of July is upon us...we have yet to see the sun here...oh wait......we did see it in May briefly. But DEFINITELY not in June.
Just returned from a 3-day horsie show in the oldest, mustiest barn ever....and I am exhausted.  So for our fourth with the extended family, I am not planning anything remotely Martha-esque, bless her perfectionist heart....

this is more my vision for the day:

 If you are wanting for the easiest Independence Day menu without serving hot dogs:) here are my staples all of which can be served room temp so you can prepare ahead and just relax:
grilled salmon
corn salad 
 tomato bread salad
 raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
with homemade vanilla ice cream
....or haagen dazs, depending on how much time you have. 

I know you all can grill salmon, so I won't go there....Below is Ina Garten's recipe for corn salad- the only thing I do differently is I cut the kernels off before cooking so I can control the crispness of the corn better..

And this is a blueprint for a easy-peasy no miss bread salad- I use really good balsamic vinegar and for sure a great olive oil rather than red wine vinegar and god forbid, vegetable oil. But do this salad to please your taste buds. If red onion is too strong for your guests, soak onion in water for a bit to tame it.  Crank some good sea salt and pepper on better have sea salt in a grinder by now, Blue Boxers!  tastes soooo much better.

Put your little desserts in mason jars for the rustic look....somehow it makes it seem like you did something special...If your fruit isn't as luscious as you would like, bake it in the oven (not the raspberries- add those after cooking and the residual heat will be more than sufficient) with a bit of sugar and framboise....delicious.....

So..... go for it....on the simple always!
More to come,
Annie and the Blue Box team