Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tea Pot

My fat squat orange pot was finally relegated to the china cabinet among the chipless, crackless teapots, many of which have never been used, so DON'T FEEL BAD, orange pot. You served me well for years. Bear your marks with pride.

But I think I need this fat squat yellow pot from Pacific Merchants. Someone's birthday is coming up. I'm just saying.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Benicia Find of the Week

We were taking a little Post-Easter Dinner Constitutional, mostly so I could show T.H. that tree. On our way back I noticed how the sun hit this little Craftsman just right and I snapped this pic. I was thinking - what little gems there are strewn throughout this city. This tiny little bungalow on a street with a couple of teeny Victorians, some cottage apartments, a few little shops - it's very close to downtown.

When I got home I decided to research it a little to see if I was close with my dates. I figured it was built around the same time as Old Wellington, 1920s or 1930s. And guess what I found out. Go on.

Okay, I'll tell you. According to the latest MLS, this little Craftsman, built in 1911, is 4000 square feet with a ballroom. I know! I was surprised, too. Wish I could see inside, but it isn't mine. Maybe I'll make friends with the owners. I'm willing to bet the listing agent included finished basement area in with that 4000 square feet, because there's just no way. But even so, a ballroom? This calls for further investigation. And I just thought it was cute.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Wellington!

Today is Wellington's 1st birthday! In his honor, we bought these two little chickie birds at Romancing the Home, my favorite little Benicia store. They sit on our table and they fit in oh-so-nicely.

It's also Easter, of course. So The Daughter and I took a morning Easter walk. I took a few pics, but it was pretty drizzly so they didn't come out great. I've been meaning to show our Benicia Firehouse because it's a fabulous new craftsman. This is a pic from across the street, so you can't really see it in all of its glory. It's on a downslope with a wonderful park behind. Better pics to follow in a subsequent post, but isn't it nice?

I've also been meaning to showcase this Prairie style home near downtown. At first it seems very stark, with hard lines and no landscape. But there's something about it that I like. Although it still has some of the regular gabled roof, they have added a flat roof to the porch. The basement windows are glass block. The Daughter doesn't like it, but I think it's kind of cool. Better pics to follow on a sunnier day.

Also near downtown is this Victorian. I was mostly taking a pic because I love this wheepy tree and I want to find out what it is, but isn't it just so cute and lovingly cared for? The Mom and I have recently been inside a much different "Victorian" very near this one. It was musty, saggy, dark and dreary. Poor old thing. It's for sale if anyone's interested! I won't provide a link for obvious reasons. The one above is not for sale. Someone loves it.

Across from the firehouse is this little cutie. I'm not sure when it was built and I'm too lazy to look it up, but it's probably mid-century and I just love its cottage style. I bet it will photograph beautifully on a sunny day in Benicia.

Right before T.D. and I got back from our walk, we met the woman who lives two houses down from us. The Husband met her once when he was gardening, but I have never met her and often wondered about her. She lives in an original bungalow, probably built in the 1920s like Old Wellington. She was surprised to hear that we've lived in Wellington one year today! How funny is that?

Alrighty, time to make Easter Dinner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Westly

When we first bought Wellington, we had a fairly short but important To-Do list. Right towards the top was exterior paint. Poor little Wellington looked so pitiful from the outside. The waist-high weeds made it difficult to recognize his exterior beauty. What were they thinking? Luckily, right at the top of our list was weed abatement. Because as the landscaping improved, the paint color didn't seem quite so bad. A visiting friend who had been warned about the paint said that she thought the exterior was great. She agreed, however, about the interior which by then was much improved. As stated in a previous post , the interior of Wellington was Cinnamon Toast (aka pink) when we first closed escrow. Thanks to The Husband's diligence, the interior was quickly corrected, for the most part.


I still dream of new paint colors for Wellington. If he looks good clad in blue/green, just think what he would look like in something more suited to a 1920s Arts and Crafts Bungalow. I found this picture on Old House Journal. It is an original rendering of a Sears "ready-cut" house that would be cut, shipped and then assembled on your lot. This one is called The Wesly model, and it is very much like Wellington. This was their most popular model and just goes to show that they were building two-story bungalows in the 1920s. Many sites I read say a true bungalow is one-story, which really rankles. Wellington is definitely a bungalow. A 1000 square foot, 90 year old bungalow on the outside and a 2700 square foot four year old bungalow on the inside.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dockage Tester (Robinwood Reclaim II)

This dockage tester was just so beautiful, I had to shove it on the blog. The Husband would never let me have him, even if he wasn't $350. But couldn't you just? I know I could. Find it at Robinwood Reclaim, one of my new favorites. Go there and look around, you'll be glad you did, I promise. What the hell is a dockage tester anyway, and does it matter? No.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pink Buckeye!

Yesterday while touring The Son's new COLLEGE (congratulations, T.S.!) I noticed a tree I swear I have never seen before. It was positively glorious in all its springiness. Lush droopy leaves with pink spikes of flowers. I crept closer, mouth agape. "What IS this?" I asked to no one in particular. "It looks like a buckeye, but it's PINK." I have always had a special place in my heart for the regular old buckeye. I even grew one in a pot but The Husband did something with it that shouldn't be mentioned on the blog. (I think he threw it away, which I now mention in case someone thought it was something worse.)

I snapped this pic of the tree and as soon as I got home I googled it and low and behold! Aesculus carnea, aka Pink Buckeye! I'm getting me one.


Here are some more pics from yesterday that I just had to share because it was such a beautiful day in Silicon Valley.This last one is just weird. In this little rose garden we saw a giant golden bee. I was aiming my camera phone at him when he turned towards me and hovered so that I could get a good picture. It was kind of creepy, actually.Here's the close up. After extensive research I have come to the conclusion that it is a male carpenter bee. Only the female, which is black and shiny, has a stinger. If I had known I would have scooped him up and given him a kiss on his fuzzy little nose.

Friday, April 15, 2011


At the risk of jinxing it, I have to say that I have a feeling Oscar isn't going to sprout. He's been sitting in his little egg cup with three toothpicks wedged in his sides for weeks and weeks. This morning I dug Oscar II out of the garbage and gave him his very own egg cup. No picks this time because he's just that fat he doesn't need any. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Arbor Walk Update 2

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Benicia. A bit breezy and not quite as warm as I like, but so lovely. A nice day for gardening, or working on the Arbor Walk. Above is one of my favorite flower beds. To the right of the stepping stone is a Sea Thrift. It's a little grassy mound with pink puffy flowers at the ends of long stalks. In front of that is a johnny jump up. To the left of the stepping stone is one of the many salvia greggiis. I have a lot of these because I just love how they look in a flower bed. I have a couple of them in this bed, and many more throughout the garden. Another favorite salvia is Pineapple Sage. I have three different kinds around my yard, and one more, a twig plucked from an unsuspecting sidewalk pot, trying to grow his very own roots (updates to follow). Far left, just out of the picture is a gorgeous bougainvillea - pink/light green flowers. I also have a new currant bush that isn't quite ready for The Blog, but it's coming along nicely.
Speaking of coming along nicely, at first glance you might not notice this little baby fir tree. The Daughter had a teeny terra cotta pot with some fir tree SEEDS that a friend had given her years go. She saved it all this time, and brought it out when we moved into Wellington. Last year we planted the seeds, two sprouted, and this one is thriving! (Don't ask about the other one.) It's only about an inch and a quarter high. But I never even knew you could grow a little pine tree from a seed. But here's proof. Pay no attention to that weed underneath him. Better go pluck that thing out.
Now for the Arbor Walk Update! This photo is taken in the middle of The Walk. In the distance is a small redwood deck as sort of a landing when you come through the front gate. Limestone stepping stones meander through what will soon be planted with little trees and grasses. Then a second, larger deck will have an outdoor table and chairs. Right now we have these two adirondacks. This little deck is beautifully situated for dining. In the morning the sun shines on the right side of this deck, in the evening it shines on the left. If one of us is cold, and one is hot, we can sit at opposite ends. That window leads to the kitchen/dining area inside. I'd like to put a shelf right outside this window for passing food out. From where I'm standing, more limestones finish out The Walk, along with two more decks - one against the house and one on the other side both with gliding benches for sitting amongst the trees. So far the Arbor Walk has the following trees: nectarine, apple, lemon, apricot and two weeping Japanese maples. I'd like to get one more large tree and a couple more small ones.

I have been busily propogating lots of plants for this area. Most I bought in tiny six packs, some I snagged from neighbors and rooted. I have a lavatera, which I grew from a little teeny (stolen) cutting (more like plucking) last year, right after we moved in. It's now three feet tall and full of blooms. I'll be planting lambs' ears, lavender, blue fescue, snow in summer, variegated St. Augustine grass, two kinds of sedum and maybe some glechoma.

Finally, look at my kitchen mid-dinner prep. I had just finished making a pie (it was baking). This is the first time I rolled the pastry out right on the granite countertops and it came out very flakey. The chicken was washed and waiting to be split and made into Chicken Adobo. It was a good day at Wellington.

Monday, April 11, 2011

TriBeCa Loft

Although it has absolutely nothing to do with Wellington, there's something about this loft in Manhattan. I found the slideshow while Blog Surfing. The site is Apartment Therapy. It was hard to choose which of the photos to post, but I love the transom windows above the two bedrooms and their use of picnic tables as dining room tables. The Husband and I are trying to decide on seating for the Arbor Walk. Picnic tables were thrown out there and I threw them out, there. But look at this cute space. And that ceiling. It's worth it to snurk over to that blog and run through the slide show.
Meanwhile, The Husband and I have been working on the Arbor Walk. We went to Home Depot today to buy fittings for some plumbing thing we have to do. Then we zipped home and I held onto this PVC pipe while TH glued some bits together, then I came inside and made dinner while he finished up. I don't know what he was doing out there, but I'm pretty sure we now have a faucet in the Arbor Walk. (Dinner was salmon quiche and collards with tomatoes.)
Yesterday I took my poor little plants that have been all bound up in their six-packs, with their little roots all jumbled and pinched, and planted them into all the extra pots I could find around the place. I'm hoping to be putting them in the ground soon, but until then they can wriggle their toes a bit. Update pics of the Arbor Walk to follow when I'm not feeling quite so lazy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Favorite Blog of the Month

courtesy susk and banoo

There are a lot of blogs that I like. Most are about houses, or house renovation. I have a list running down that >>>> column. I use my blog to check for updates to my favorites. Sometimes one blog leads to another.

Yesterday when I was reading one of my favorites, I found a link to this absolutely scrumptious blog. I spent positively HOURS reading it (I'm a slow reader - it is a new blog started late last year). This blog is about the renovation of a house in Norf Londontown. I'm so in love with the writer, a 6 foot 2 inch blond from the UK who married a Parisian then moved with him to London, bought this scary row house and completely gutted it. You have to start at the beginning and work your way back, that's what I did. And she's a great photographer, too. (See photo above.) Her love of old books and paper remind me of the daughter. <3

Look! A new post!

Monday, April 4, 2011

American Bungalow

Two months ago I went to the local Borders Books, coupon in hand, determined to get something to feed my bungalow fever. With 40% off, I could afford to splurge. I found a great book in the architecture section, on sale for $16, but with the coupon, that would only be about $11.00 (too lazy to do the actual math). When I made it through the checkout line I found that the coupon didn't apply to sale items. Being in a frugal mood, I got out of line, put the book back and continued browsing.
In the magazine section, I happened on a magazine called "American Bungalow." The cover price of $8.95 surprised me (it's a MAGAZINE!), but I flipped through it quickly and decided it was just what I was looking for. And would only be about $5! Still a lot for a magazine, but I had that coupon, so I sidled up to the counter only to be informed that the coupon didn't apply to magazines. I bought it anyway. I had fallen in love with it in the three minutes it took me to get to the register. And I'm glad I did. It was better than any magazine, and better than most books, I had read on the topic. I love the section entitled "Family Album" where readers send in photos of their bungalows along with a blurb about the history of the house. Even the advertisements are uniquely satisfying. Some are from Benicia!
The problem with the magazine is that it only comes out quarterly. Recently I went back to the local Borders. Unfortunately the store is closing, but furtunately the magazines were 30% off! I zipped to the House section and was just quick enough to snag the very last issue of American Bungalow! I'm now on page 14. I'm relishing it. Savoring every morsel. I read a bit with my morning tea and will read more later when the husband and I sit on the new DECK in the ARBOR WALK (which still isn't compete, but is coming along - photos to follow).
Here is American Bungalow's website. It's not as good as the actual magazine, though. Can't wait for the next one!