SF: Flowers in her hair…flowers everywhere

Despite the drought (a fact of which you are constantly reminded here) San Francisco boasts some of the most beautiful flowers and landscaping, growing effortlessly on every corner. Of course, some people have been more deliberate about pairing, pruning and replanting. But, the city must have a handsome budget for all the public spaces as well. Here’s a sampling.

SF_07_052-sm SF_07_030-sm SF_07_000-smThe lovely garden at our B&B (Misson district). We sat here in the early evenings reading.

SF_07_001-smAround the back of the B&B there was access to the steam room.

SF_07_040-sm SF_07_047-smGraeme is experiencing a bit of bougainvillea envy.

SF_07_070-smIn the “Marina” district. I would take any one of these homes, yes please.

SF_07_091-smWould I need a full-time gardener to achieve this?

SF_07_090-sm SF_07_130-smHays Valley (my favorite area)

SF_07_161-sm SF_07_166-sm(above 2) Lombard St.

SF_07_176-smI could definitely not handle parking on this slope. I could barely walk it!

SF_07_184-sm SF_07_234-sm SF_07_201-smAnd finally…the land of dahlias.


Easter weekend greetings

Laguna Gloria
This Easter weekend, I took Friday off and Graeme and I spent a tranquil afternoon at the The Contemporary Austin: Laguna Gloria. We talked, prayed and meditated on the beautiful gift of Jesus’s sacrifice and reflected on the lenten journey we had experienced for the past 5 weeks. Then, we returned home to prepare the Good Friday feast: homemade garlic herb bread, lamb/beef meatballs in tomato mint sauce.


Around the house: 3 months in Austin

We are feeling much more settled in here: plants are perking up after transplants, our furniture arrived (more photos to come) and we’ve had a series of dinner and dessert guests.

asparagus fern

This is the plant we bought ‘in honor’ of Terry’s bday!

tea tins

I’ve spent free time getting back to those projects I’ve been preparing for: tea storage! It comes as no surprise to those of you who know me that I’m a paper collector and I’m proud to say that I’m finally putting that to good use. We’ve framed some pieces, used some for stationery and I’m using some to cover these sealable tea storage containers that I bought, just before the supplier went out of business! Great timing!!

tea storage

My brother is now happily married and I inherited a few bouquets of flowers and hundreds of candles from the wedding reception.

We have reflected on all the wonderful things we’ve been able to do in the last year. And cherished the thought that one year ago when we began thinking about ‘what’s next’ we could never have imagined all that God has provided to us. We are really loving our new city, feeling inspired by the projects we are developing desires for and are making friends quite quickly. We’ve found a church we think we will make home, we love our apartment (though, not always loving the poolside parties on weekends) and we are finding a groove and schedule that works for our energy levels.

We hardly drive the car (I bike to work most every day), our groceries are within a 5 minute bike ride and living downtown has provided us easy access to many fun, free, outdoor summer events.

Although I feel that our life here isn’t nearly as photographically interesting as the Europe portion of this blog attests, we have spent way more time outdoors, hanging out with new friends and cooking! Which brings us to our next post…stay tuned.


Springtime in France: Paris to Monet (Day 1)

Graeme and I spent our first weekend of the ‘Easter break’ in Amsterdam (a post on that to come). We then boarded a train to Gare du Nord to meet Jay & Ingrid for our 7 day Norman tour. We had a few hours to spend in Paris before hitting the road, so we jumped on a bus and headed to Montmartre to picnic on the green beneath Sacre Cour. What a beautiful day it was to enjoy some tartes, baguettes and quiche.

Welcome the "Donaldsons"

Gare du Nord

The Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

We stayed the night near Vernon, where Monet spent 40 years of his life painting and designing his gardens. For a considerable fee, visitors get to walk through his lovingly maintained gardens, his home and salon and shop in his studio-cum gift shop.

walkways at Monet's garden

turns a cynic into a flower lover!

Amazing color combinations! Monet’s library contained encyclopedias of botany and gardening practices. He filled pages upon pages in his diary about his successes and failures in the garden.

Japanese section of his gardens

His gardens were highly inspired by his love for Japanese prints and imagery

In his Giverny home, Monet surrounded himself with Japanese woodblock prints that he started collecting in the 1860s—a passion that would last for over three decades. At the end of his life, he owned 231 Japanese engravings.

lazer cut edged flowers

lazer cut edged flowers

Cherry blossoms in Monet's garden

Cherry blossoms were very popular in the late 1800s (think Monet & Van Gogh paintings)

Note the gardener on the phone while watering!