Under the rainbow

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This colorful rainbow appeared above my garden on several occasions over the past week. At times it was accompanied by an identical twin that hovered delicately above it. Other times it appeared alone, it’s colors emblazoned across the sky in a huge and brilliant arc like a floating gateway to the valley below. It’s not unusual to see rainbows and double rainbows in Costa Rica. Oftentimes it rains while the sun is shining, causing the raindrops to refract the sunlight and creating distinct stripes of  intense color. Surely a rainbow this beautiful must have a huge pot of gold at it’s end, hidden there by some sprite or garden fairy. Maybe even two pots of gold, one at either end.

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This was the morning view from an upstairs window. Down below my half-finished fish pond project.

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My grandson and his older sister were anxious to start searching for that pot of fairy gold that was likely hidden underneath the flowers, after all both ends of the rainbow were firmly planted in my garden.

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But alas, no matter how much they searched and dug and poked with their fingers, the only thing they found were earthworms. That’s fine with me though. Earthworms are indeed  a treasure in any flower garden.

Joining: Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Saturday Show Off at The Rose Garden in Malevik

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Door Decor

 

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Our balcony door which is also our front door has always been an eyesore to me  but unfortunately I’m stuck with it for the time being. It’s a very rustic handmade door and I so dislike anything rustic. It was made many years ago by our next door neighbor who is a carpenter but I was never happy with it and I always felt it looked rough and uneven. Over the years the sun had blistered the finish and some of the wood had begun to warp. So I asked him if he could repair the warping, then sand it down and re-varnish it. To my delight he immediately got to work on it, bless his heart. Fortunately it only took him a couple of days to complete the job. But in the end it was still a plain, rustic, boring door. After staring at it for days (and giving it the evil eye) it ocurred to me that it might look somewhat better if I added some inexpensive wood appliques. Surely it couldn’t look any worse. Most of all I wanted to camouflage that unsightly line that ran right down the center panel where two pieces of wood had been glued together.

See the thin line running down the center of the door above the oval glass insert? It continues down below the glass too. It's even more noticeable in person.

See the thin line running down the center of the door above the oval glass insert? It continues down below the glass too. It’s even more noticeable in person.

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Before

Before

Before

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I bought an assortment of inexpensive oak and birch appliques on Ebay.

I bought an assortment of inexpensive oak and birch appliques on Ebay.

Stained them with a stain that matched the color of the door.

Stained them with a stain that matched the color of the door.

Then I glued them on to the door with carpenter's glue.  They're very lightweight but I also hammered in a couple of finishing nails just in case. Then I varnished them with a clear varnish. Oh, and I also added some faux vinyl stained glass to the inside of the glass panels on either side of the door.

Then I glued them on to the door with carpenter’s glue.  They’re very lightweight but I also hammered in a couple of finishing nails just in case. Then I applied a coat of clear varnish. Oh, and I also added some faux stained glass vinyl clings to the inside of the glass panels on either side of the door.

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I will eventually replace the entire door and side panels but for now, this will do nicely I think.

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The door redo is just a part of the renovation of my balcony. Hubby had happily used much of the balcony as a storage area for years until I put my foot down and reclaimed it.  I still have a few things to tweak, but now that I’m almost done I can sit down and compare the before and after pictures. I’m apalled and embarassed that I let it go for so long and hubby has been warned that I never want to see another crate or box anywhere near there again. I’m still waiting on an outdoor rug that I ordered and I have to paint those brown plastic flower pots….but that’ll be the subject of a future post.

Joining: Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Joining: Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Memory Quilt/Crazy Quilt

 

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After coming to the realization that I have far too many plastic bags full of fabric remnants, I decided that I had better either find a use for them or just throw them out. I guess I must be a hoarder at heart because I couldn’t bear the thought of parting with any of them. I figured a crazy quilt would be a good way to use up even the tiniest of scraps and it would give me a new project to work on and keep my hands occupied. Continue reading

DIY BLUE AND WHITE PLATES

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Lately I’ve become sort of obsessed with blue and white dinnerware. I guess alot of people must share my love of blue and white china because there are many different patterns of it out there. Right off the bat I can think of Blue Danube, Blue Onion, Blue Chatham, Blue Willow, Lomonosov blue and white and the list goes on. I guess now I can add another blue and white dinnerware pattern to that list, but I have to think of a name for it first.   Continue reading

Dividing Staghorn Ferns

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Staghorn ferns are spectacular little plants that can grow to an amazing size if given the water and climate conditions that they crave. A few months ago I realized that  my basket-bound staghorn fern had begun to form clumps where leaves were sprouting  haphazardly causing it to lose it’s fernlike form. My mom had bought me this particular fern more than 15 years ago at a local nursery when she had come down to Costa Rica for a visit.  It had gone through periods of growth and near death over the years and I had finally set it in a shady corner and pretty much left it alone except for an occasional spray with the hose during the dry season. Now it seemed that it had begun to suddenly reproduce faster than a rabbit and the whole thing looked like it was climbing out of the basket. Continue reading

Tree Dahlias are blooming again

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One of the things I like best about living in Costa Rica is the lush greenness and the abundance of tropical flowers growing wild just about everywhere.  The color contrasts are amazing and hues range  from one end of the color spectrum to the other. Last year I was very surprised to see tree Dahlias growing wild in the empty lot next door to our mountain house but this year I was even more suprised to find that a wild Dahlia tree had spouted up in MY garden too!  As soon as I spied the delicate lavender petaled flowers beggining to bloom on the tree I enlisted the help of  Otto,  our handyman  and we cut enough for a bouquet. Continue reading

The Cake Plate That Almost Wasn’t

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I can finally sit back and admire my little pink pedestal cake plate.  But for a while there, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  It started out as a greenware cake plate that I bought at the ceramics shop where I have been purchasing supplies for years.  They were having a going-out-of-business sale that day  and I bought several pieces of greenware at a discount. The cake plate was among them and it was the last one they had left. (Lucky me!)

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I brought it home and cleaned it, sponged it, smoothed it and got it ready for it’s first firing in the kiln.  After packing it up carefully in a carboard box I put it in the car and headed towards the kiln rental place.  I wasn’t halfway there when it began to rain cats and dogs.  If you’ve ever seen Costa Rican tropical downpours you know how much water can come down in just a few minutes. I wasn’t about to brave it so I turned back home and decided to go to the kiln the next day. I brought the cardboard box containing the cake plate back in the house and set it gently down on a side table. In plain view of my cats. Big mistake. Continue reading

Blue Chatham blues

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Years ago when my mom lived in Germany she worked part time in a small shop that sold fine china as well as other fine decor items.  Once in a while they would end up with left over odd pieces of porcelain dinnerware which would be marked down drastically and placed on sale. One of these pieces was this beautiful Blue Chatham pattern teapot. My mother actually bought several pieces of this pattern and divided them up between my grandma and me when she came back from Germany.

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Resurrected Silver

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After years of searching for a good (and fast working) silver cleaner, I recently located one at a nearby jewelry store. I would never have thought of buying a silver cleaner at a jewelry store but hey, this is Costa Rica. The only place to find silver cleaner around these parts is where they sell silver. Go figure. I knew it was good the minute I took the lid off and that characteristic Tarn-x like smell hit me, sort of like rotten eggs.  I’ve never been able to find TarnX outside the U.S. Over the years I have tried every  single silver cleaning method known to man and absolutely nothing had worked.  I’d read all of those “cleaning tips” sites where they tell you to place a piece of aluminum foil at the bottom of a pan of boiling water and then add salt or baking soda. Continue reading

Garden Planting Time

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The beggining of rainy season here in Costa Rica is the perfect time for planting  things and for starting a vegetable garden. This year I decided to start a little vegetable garden in a small area next to the house which gets alot of morning sun.  I’ve been hearing quite a bit about moon planting lately and my grandfather used to swear by it, so I figured I was just in time to give moon planting a try because we won’t have a full moon until the 22nd of this month.  I have all that time to plant stuff.  I must admit, I’ve always been more than a little skeptical about these things but so far it seems to be working out well and the pumpkin seeds I planted a about a week ago sprouted almost immediately, much to my surprise. Continue reading