Home & Garden

Help with Color

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Did I ever tell you I have some very talented neighbors? One is a painter who was the only American asked to paint on the Berlin Wall back in 1990. I have several neighbors who are architects and landscape architects along with the mom who will tackle any crazy project… even resurfacing the leather on an old chair. Who does that? One of my neighbors.
Last week I worked along side my neighbor Cecilia Tanoni as I photographed a home where she worked her magic. She chose paint colors, paintings (by Mary Mackey) and floor tiles for each of these rooms. She also sourced those cute owl decals for the nursery.
It amazes me the paint colors and finishes available out there. I get totally thrown just looking at a paint deck. Too many choices! Knowing there is probably something cooler or better quality (cause the faucet I just spent $300 on is already loosing its finish) out there. Not knowing what is best really makes it difficult to get a home project going. I can’t wait to have Cecilia help sort through it all for us and guide us as we make some very necessary upgrades to our home.

Spring Has Sprung

Our crab apple trees have finally bloomed. I mean to say, bloomed for the first time in the 3 years we have lived here. It’s sad we have missed this beautiful display each year because of late freezes. I think the first spring we arrived the trees bloomed (we didn’t live in this house). But coming from lush Maryland this high desert spring couldn’t compare with the one we had left behind. Our yard is quite beautiful in its spring glory.
Some new developments in the Smith home. Zed is walking and Ezra finally decided to play with the counting game I made him for Christmas.

Home Tour = Home Improvement

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Well, if you ever decide to open your home for a home tour to benefit a school or something, just know that craziness may ensue. As with the Smith household, there were a few crazy moments. Walls painted, juniper bushes uprooted, bathroom redone. Then there’s the cleaning. Oh, the cleaning. What a big pain.
But really, I think it was all worth it. The school raised $3000!

This is the tile around our tub now. I wish I had taken a before photo. Oh. My. Gosh. it was soooo bad. The tub surround was lovingly called a tiger eye pattern by Anson. The floor was a mix of ceramic tile in a stucco color along with particle board and ugly brown linoleum in patches; some places in layers 10-20 thick to fill in holes around the edges of the floor. The sink was made of the same tiger eye material and the cabinet was rotting and just disgusting. This is what it looks like now. The cabinet Anson made for the tour is a mock-up in birch. Lovely, but I will wait for the final product before I photograph it.

This piece lived in the bathroom and hung horizontally over the sink.  It is original to the home, unlike the other lovely (yuck) pieces that we gutted from that room.  The problem is, we would like to have a towel bar over the toilet, which keeping this piece on the wall wouldn’t allow.  So I got the idea to make it into this.  Anson put in the shelves and I painted it up.  I think it looks very nice in India’s room and fits perfectly next to her closet.


Painting this wall in I’s room may have caused some contention in our home.  It wasn’t on the list.  But I got it done and I think it is perfect.

CSA- Community Supported Agriculture

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I first became aware of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) while we lived in Boston. My friend Anna and I joined a CSA. We were lucky to have a neighborhood group so we could take turns driving out to the farm, about a 45 minute drive, to pick up the food.

The farm was a 3 acre clearing in the forest directly east of Walden Pond (yes Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond). We would first head to the storehouse to collect whatever the farmers had harvested that morning. Everything was displayed in baskets and on tables in this cool shed dug into the side of a small rise. It had three walls in the soil and was always at least 10 degrees cooler than the forest surrounding it.

Next we would harvest the rest of the share. Mind you, we would harvest 8 shares. We would pick raspberries, beans, tomatoes, flowers and bunches of herbs. It all depended on when things were ready. It took about 2-3 hours to pick all 8 shares.

Our girls would help a bit, then run off and play among the herbs and munch on peas or carrots. This is where India learned to eat snap peas. I was amazed! She loved them (why wouldn’t she?) and I soon became a huge fan of working the farm.

One of my favorite memories was picking up our shares on a rainy day in August or September. Zach came to help, since Anna had already moved to NC and I was about 5 months pregnant with Ezra. We had to pick tomatoes, and raspberries. The rain came down in torrents as Zach filled a bag with golden cherry tomatoes. He probably had to pick 8 pounds.

India and I stayed in the car and when the rain began to ease, we jumped out to harvest some raspberries. The sun began to shine from behind the clouds. We were just commenting on our luck when we arrived to the huge raspberry patch. The bushes were well over my head on either side and a loud humming could be heard. The bees had come out to pollinate while the sun shone. India was a bit frightened but I tried to play up the fact that the bees were busy with their thing and wouldn’t be bothering us. She was a brave 3 year old and decided picking (and eating) a few raspberries was worth the risk. It was an ideal setting. The damp air, the warm sun, the humming bees, and the tasty raspberries. I haven’t seen a raspberry patch its equal since.

While in Baltimore, our good friends the Reads worked the CSA. They just happened to move into our ward about 8 months after we did. They actually lived on the farm in a little rundown cottage that would often be plagued with ladybugs. I remember keeping India home from preschool so we could spend a nice day at the farm. On the porch helping Nick split the garlic, getting it ready to plant. We would often compare notes about different CSA’s. My one experience lending a bit to the conversation.

Now here in Denver we have finally joined a CSA. Apparently purchasing a share it is akin to getting your first born into a good Boston school… or camping out to buy concert tickets. Thankfully I remembered to get on the waiting list sometime in February and we actually got in!

It has been nearly impossible to work the 3 hours required for our share each month. India has been really helpful, but the rain, the baby and a groggy preschooler has made us seriously behind. Thursday at I finally remembered to ask how I could fulfill my hours without working the field. I am now making a photographic record of each item of produce for the farm. This is some of what we picked up this week:

Arapahoe Acres Home Tour

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My latest project. We’ve got 10 homes for the tour! Any other AA folks want to add their home to the list?
The money earned from the tour will go to the local elementary school’s Victory Garden. We are hoping that this garden will teach the kids all about sustainability, nutrition, science and how satisfying it is to work for food. India was amazed that I pulled 3 zucchini from our garden the other day. She said “It looks just like what we would get at the store!”