Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wedding Ring Quilt Giveaway

Got any ideas for a summer wedding outside by the water? Enter vintage "wedding ring" quilt contest beginning today. The last day of the contest will be Sunday, June 12th. Enter your country or eclectic decorating ideas for the July 30th outside wedding at a waterfront setting. The bride is my daughter, Chrissie. The grand prize is a vintage "wedding ring" quilt (old but in good condition) that will be given to the individual with the most entries. The vintage quilt is being purchased from Carriage House Antiques in So Cal. What's nice about this quilt is that you can find any color in it.
Vintage Wedding Ring Quilt Contest Giveaway Prize
Additional prizes (TBA) will also be given to individuals who entered ideas that Chrissie and her fiance choose to include in their wedding decorations. Blogs belonging to individuals whose ideas were chosen for the wedding will be advertised at the wedding and at Southwest Cottage Designs in August.

This is the first day of the quilt contest blog series about Chrissie, her fiance, Elvin, and their wedding. Chrissie and Elvin devote their lives to God and youth ministry. They are scheduled to attend a youth prayer and missions trip to Chicago this year (more on this later). Check back soon for the next article in this series to learn more.
What does the word white make you think of? White makes me think of:
  • purity
  • innocence
  • beauty
  • flower
  • weddings
  • bride
  • paper
  • lace 
White Rose
My eight-listed white items came to my mind in the exact order shown. If you've been keeping up with my blog lately, you know that my latest "white" passion is flowers, specifically my roses. Recently on a Sunday morning I took photos of rain-kissed flowers in my garden. One of my miniature rose plants produces white roses that are sometimes tinged with pink and look so pretty next to the pink and green sedum. Weddings make me think of little children, white lace, white and variety-colored flowers, white paper doilies, white chairs, white bridal carpet and . . . my daughter's wedding coming up in July.
White Flowers
My daughter, Chrissie, caught the bride's bouquet at her cousin's wedding one year before she got engaged.
Three ways to enter quilt contest:
  1. Each decorating idea for the wedding will be counted as one entry. Please list each idea (#1, #2, etc.)
  2. Donations. One entry per $1-$10. Two entries per $11-$20. Three entries per $21 or more. No more than 3 entries will be given for donations. Donations will go toward expense of wedding ring quilt or toward Chrissie's and Elvin's prayer and missions trip. To donate, click on Donations, one of the pages listed at the top of this page. (You can also click on "Donations" listed on the left of this page to make a donation.) However, the Donations page will explain more details about quilt expense, prayer and missions trip, and other causes Southwest Cottage Designs gives to.
  3. Follow Southwest Cottage Designs and comment that you are a follower already or that you are a new follower.
It is possible to win this contest by only submitting decorating ideas. Certainly, no donations are required. However, I did at least want to include entry options for anyone choosing to include donations. The donations will be used strictly for the purposes mentioned. I put the quilt on layaway, and the quilt will be mailed to the winner by the end of June. The additional prizes will be mailed in August after the wedding. Email me if you have any questions about the contest. Thank you for following Southwest Cottage Designs and for entering the contest. I look forward to updating you on the exciting wedding plans.
Stay tuned! Coming next is about white lace and wedding dresses.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pink and Green Garden

What is your favorite pink item? This week is Pink Saturday's third birthday so pay a visit to the Pink Saturday birthday blog party, share your favorite pink photos, and admire many other pink beauties.

Happy Birthday to Pink Saturday! It has been a delight to participate in the Pink Saturday weekly blog party and to meet all the creative bloggers who love pink and flowers like I do. Through Pink Saturday this week, I discovered a new blog that I hope you will go visit - Pink Cottage Rose. Lynn Salerno, artist and author of Pink Cottage Rose blog has a talent for growing lovely tulips and taking beautiful pictures of the tulips. As I browsed through the pretty colors of Lynn's flowers and garden, I noticed one of her blog post titles that expresses my exact feeling about flowers, Color Brings Joy. 

Every time I see the colors in my garden, it thrills me. Where there is pink in a garden, there is green. I have been delighted with my tomato plants and flowers this week. There are even two tiny tomatoes already on my small tomato plants. See my photo with the first tomato (tomato is just above "Southwest Cottage Designs"):  
First Tomato
Across from the little tomato garden is my cactus garden. Finally, the cacti flowers began to bloom this week. They are blooming a little late this year.

I think you could knit with those needles!
No touching!!

Prickly Green

Pink Tinge Rose

I call these Periwinkle Glow Circles.

Fuschia in Old Cement Planter
Pink, purple, and red color my gardens mostly but with an occasional touch of neon yellow or orange and blue. Color makes a home attractive and warm. Recently, I read an article in a magazine of a lady who enjoys bringing her favorite furniture like a recliner and art into her garden. Her idea is that if it brings you joy inside the home, it will bring you joy in your yard. As I walked through Carriage House Antiques last Saturday on their special sale day, I saw two lovely pink furniture pieces that I have dreamed of how I could include them in my garden. How do you like these for garden ideas?
Pink Desk

Pink Dresser
Color inspires. Color sets moods and tones. Color is beauty.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunday's Garden Raindrops

Got pictures of raindrops on flowers?  Raindrops on a flower, rainbow in the clouds, rain with the sun shining through...ah, such photos captured show glorious nature without any human intervention. This past Sunday it rained, and I noticed raindrops on the flowers in my garden. I, not able to pass up this beauty, ran to the house to grab my camera. Each flower has the adopted name I gave it.
Pink Beauty

Crimson Red

Pink Lace

Delicate Pink

Pink Snaps

Fuzzy Glistening

Snaps Glowing

White Lace

Pink Tinge

I grew up on the east side of Texas. We Texans refer to our areas as East Texas, Southeast Texas, West Texas, etc. In East Texas and Southeast Texas it rains much with storms often brewing. From the time I was very young, I was terrified of the severe storms with lightening and thunder crashing. But one thing has always amazed me. The rainbow. Through my travels across America, I've seen many beautiful rainbow settings. One of my favorites was a rainbow over the farm my family and I were staying at for a month in our RV that we traveled in full-time, 12 months out of the year. The family that owned the farm had a dog that died in a freak accident during the storm that day of the rainbow. The dog went into the barn, and a pole fell that hit the dog. It was a terribly sad day for all of us. Yet, the beauty of that rainbow over the farm somehow comforted us and reminded us of God's promises. Through my travels across the USA, I've been surprised at answers I've received when I asked the question of various people, "Do you know what the rainbow means?" 
"I don't know. A pot of gold?" and "No, what does it mean?" they've asked.
Not only does the rainbow remind me of its purpose, God's promise to never destroy the earth with a flood again; it reminds me of God's many promises and that He doesn't forget His promises. It reminds me of His constant holy presence, comfort, and love. Like the chorus of a song I once penned and recorded on a tape, He is "Something special, faithful and true, kind and just in all that you do. You give mercy and love, comfort and peace. Lord, you're always there for me." 
What do raindrops on flowers make you think of?
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Snap Dragons

Like a multi-color flower garden? Plant snap dragons. When I planted my snap dragons, they were itty bitty plants. I think the spring season kicked in real good at my cottage just prior to Mother's Day because the snap dragons grew to an amazing width and height. They're gorgeous! The colors vary from yellow to pink, purple, and variations of red. I can't get over the vibrant yellow. It makes me think of those huge tart lemons you can find in So Cal, and I can nearly taste my favorite Lemon Curd from the UK when I bask in the beauty of the yellow snap dragon.
Multi-colored snap dragons
Snap dragon lovelies
Yellow snap dragons make me want to eat my favorite Lemon Curd.
I'm in love with these gorgeous snap dragons in my garden.
 Did you know that Snap Dragon plants:
  • grow best in full sun?
  • grow well in average soil?
  • are native to the Mediterranean?
  • can withstand a heavy frost?
  • often bloom in the fall even after wilting in extreme summer heat?
Snap dragons should be fertilized monthly. Cut the plant back to approximately six inches after the flowers dry up and die. Fertilizer should be added at that time to promote new growth for a second bloom. Fertilizing monthly probably is one reason my snaps took off so fast this spring. Another reason they grew quickly could be because I cut off all the dried up flowers and leaves a few months back. Then the mulch I keep in the garden along with watering helps. 
Rosebuds - Lots of them!

Beautiful nature!
Snap dragons and roses make a beautiful garden combination. I've always favored roses for their beauty, variety of colors, and aroma. Last year I planted rose bushes, miniature rose plants, lavender, a Dusty Miller, sedum and these snap dragons. 
It wasn't until this spring that I realized how much I love the snap dragons. They offer quite a beautiful array of colors and make gorgeous flower gardens without any other flowers included. You can plant them to hide unsightly fences, plant them in containers, and decorate in a floral arrangement. Wherever you decide to plant your snap dragons, you can count on enjoying a beautiful multi-color flower garden.
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    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Kittens at the Cottage

    How many times does a mama cat move her kittens?
    I don't know the exact answer, but she'll move them as many times as she thinks necessary. Necessary in human terms may not agree with the mama cat's way, though. On April Fool's Day I came home in the afternoon to find my surprise in one of my flower beds - five tiny kittens cuddled up close to their mama, Smokey. 
    April Fool Surprises

    After about a week, Smokey moved her babies to a chicken coop.
    Smokey, the Ferrel in the Chicken Coop with Her Babies
    Mr. Fun and I inherited with our cottage cabin. Last spring I used the coop for large pots of herbs. Smokey moved the kittens to one of the coop holes. Then one day she moved them back to the flower bed but to the opposite end of it. Little did I know that day that this last flower bed move was part of her strategic plan for the next big move - somewhere near the neighbor's porch across the street. I noticed her carrying one of the kittens across the road one day and asked the neighbor lady one day if she'd seen any kittens.
    "No," she said, "I haven't heard any kittens, either."
    Smokey moved three of them and left the other two in the flower bed for hours. I put them in a box then called a pet place and asked details about keeping the two. I was advised to let the mama cat continue to feed them. Of course, Mama Cat knows best. So I put the kittens back in the flower bed. Smokey took one and left Black Velvet for awhile, and I took little BV inside the house and held it. I was becoming attached.
    Black Velvet
    I figured that I wouldn't see the kittens again after that. Wrong. The evening before my late sweet mother's birthday my dog that we keep inside would not stop barking. He acted like he heard something. I mentioned this to my husband when I heard a noise. A kitten outside our bedroom window. I ran outside to see if the five kittens were back. Smokey met me at the door with a hiss. She hasn't hissed at me since she moved the kittens to the neighbor's yard. Incidentally, Smokey is my cat - only because she came for a visit to my yard one day, and I've fed her ever since. So she is not particularly tame. Tame enough to come an arm's length close to me. I went to the back of the house and met the first kitten coming around the corner - hissing. Laughing, I said, "I see your mama is training you right." All five kittens had made it back home safe for at least a few days.
    I Want It All

    Kittens Eating

    Calico Playing with Smokey
    About three days ago they had moved under a large juniper. Now she's moved them again. I can't imagine why since I'm the one giving them Cat Milk from the grocery store and crunchy kitten food and can food. They love all of it. For some reason Smokey isn't satisfied with an adobe dog house (that came with our cottage cabin) or the pet taxi or the juniper tree. I've noticed, however, that she looks very curiously inside the doors of my house. We've let her come in a couple of times, but that's as far as it goes. Just a look. I refuse to become the next 101 feral housekeeper. If Smokey decides to keep her babies around our place and will allow me to get close enough to them, I'll share them with families who love cats and will give them a loving home. Maybe I'll keep one or two - at least Black Velvet, the smallest and the solid black one that I got to hold once. The important thing is the kittens need their mother to survive. I'm not that mother. I'll leave the mothering to Ms. Smokey.
    How many times will a cat move her kittens? That's a question I may never learn. All I know is as long as Ms. Smokey stays around my cottage, she'll get to eat. Can a feral make a good pet? It's possible. They'll love you because you feed them, but independent they will be. How can you encourage a feral to love you? Plant catnip in your garden, spoil your cat with treats, feed it plenty of food, provide lots of water - and grant it's wish for independence.