Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Backyard Chickens | 5-Week Old Chicks

As most of you know, my family and I are embarking on a little backyard chicken project. Our future egg-layers are five weeks old and just about ready to head outside. We're a week away from installing their permanent coop, which will be done just in time, because these girls are growing fast!

Every one goes through that awkward puberty stage, and chickens are no different. Half fluff, half feathers, skinny neck, insane eyes - they're quite a sight to behold. But goodness, we couldn't love them any more! So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed these baby girls. Plus, they are hilarious. Sometimes I just sit and watch their antics in the brooder. I call it "Chicken TV".


In the front: Aretha. Left to right in the back: Etta, Mavis and Gladys.


Aretha and Gladys


Aretha

Mavis

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reupholstered Channel-Back Chair

A few years back, I bought a gorgeous vintage channel-back chair from a local consignment store. The upholstery was yellow brocade, but in bad condition. But the price was low, so I brought it home. The shredded upholstery held up very well and gave off a cool, shabby, boho vibe. But all things must end.






My brother and I had plans to reupholster this puppy during his next visit - he was super handy like that. There was a fleeting moment when I considered digging into it myself, but I thought better of it and sent it to a professional. After a little research in the DFW area, I found Back Alley Furniture in Carrolton to help me with the job.

I decided to save some money on fabric by covering the chair with a gray canvas drop cloth, purchased for 30 dollars at Home Depot. It's super durable and the color and texture is awesome. I could not be happier with the results. Back Alley Furniture was AMAZING to work with and the chair was done in a week! The cost was also very reasonable.





Monday, October 20, 2014

Household Shuffle


It's Monday! Time for the weekly installment on my Radical Homemaking efforts. Want to learn more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 


I'm a form and function kind of girl. I don't care for wasted space or money and in my estimation, a home is a living entity in service of the humans that reside there. Through my Radical Homemaking journey, I've been challenged to look at my home in a new way. If it is truly a unit of production and creation, rather than one of consumption and waste, then where are the empty, unused spaces? Where is waste happening?

The main issue that I saw with our home was that the guest room, which remained empty most of the time, was being heated and cooled with expensive forced air. Additionally, my art studio, which I work in all of the time, was being heated and cooled with separate units. I was wasting a valuable resource every day.

So, my latest undertaking here at La Maison Boheme is to completely rearrange my household layout. My goals are to create communal spaces that better serve the needs of my family and to heat and cool only those spaces we're using.

I have already flipped our dinning and living rooms. This provided a cozier seating area with better natural light in the living space and a bigger, more expansive space for the dinning area. (I'll share photos in the following weeks). I have also moved my boys out of their bedroom and into the smaller guest room in order that their bedroom, which is the largest in the house, could become my studio.

Why why WHY would you change your studio?  I can hear you now. Why would I, after all the WORK I put into my current studio, tear it all down and change rooms? Just hear me out. The studio space, while beautiful and functional and working for me, was not working in harmony with the rest of the household. My goal is for everything in the house to work together. Harmony, sustainability, form and function and smart use of resources - these are the stars at which I must now set my compass.

This week, I'm moving into my new art studio. Here are some quick snap shots of the space as it stands right now. Again, once this whole transition is complete, I'll post photos. Until then, wish me luck. It's an enormous undertaking, but one that is well worth the planning and effort.






Read more Radical Homemaking posts HERE.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Married Ten Years Today

Today, I'm celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary with a quiet morning at home, some light gardening, grilling lunch on the back patio and an evening out to dinner and a play with my beloved.

And of course, I'm pouring through our wedding photos, remembering that glorious day in Cayucos, CA. The wedding site is across the street from where we just held my brother's memorial. So much joy and sorrow in such close proximity. This is what makes life beautiful, I suppose.


Wedding photography by Jose Villa

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review | The Writer's Garden by Jackie Bennet

The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors, is a beautiful coffee table book by garden writer and historian Jackie Bennet. Gardens have long been a source of inspiration for artists. While the influence is seen directly in the work of painters and photographers, the effect is more subtle and frequently more personal in written work. The Writer's Garden walks us through the beloved gardens of Roald Dahl, Virginia Woolf, Wordsworth, Austen, Robert Burns, Rudyard Kipling and countless others; 20 authors all told.




I am a writer who has only just begun to explore the joys of gardening. Two years ago, I dug up a small plot in my suburban back yard to create a raised bed for veggies. Since then, I've expanded quite a bit. And while my garden isn't the grand meandering English countryside that inspired Winston Churchill, Bennet's book will inspire even the tiniest literary garden.

I found the biographical and historical anecdotes to be the most interesting parts of the book: the family ties, the eccentric landscape designers and the emotional relationship between writer and garden. The photos by Richard Hanson are gorgeous. The sweeping wide shots are juxtaposed with beautiful botanical detail shots. Definitely check out his lovely book, especially if you're a literary geek like me.


Roald Dahl at Gipsy House

Winston Churchill at Chartwell

Henry James at Rye Harbor

John Clare at Helpston

Thomas Hardy at Hardy's Cottage and Max Gate

William Wordsworth at Cockermouth

Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Home from my Brother's Memorial

Home to Dallas.
Home to begin again.
Home to take stock.
Home to lick my wounds.
Home from the coast of my childhood.
Home from my brother's memorial.





Childhood home in Paso Robles, CA.







Friday, October 10, 2014

California Coming Home

Today, I am headed west with my little family of four. We are returning to the place of my birth. We are returning to my home - my real home. The central coast of California is where I grew up, went to school, came into my own and met and married my husband. All roads lead there.

And today, I'm taking my children there to dip their toes in that delicious cold water. We'll meet with family and friends. We'll explore the shore, cry, feel the warm sand between our toes, embrace loved ones we've not seen in years, share stories and mourn the loss of my baby brother. It will be difficult, but it will also be healing. I'm ready to start healing.


Cayucos, CA


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
On Sunday, my beloved brother returns, as we all must, to the sea.