Garden Roses

Growing up on a cut flower farm, with fields of garden roses, I took them for granted.  It has been nearly a decade since my family said goodbye to our beautiful old farm.  And now, I'm realizing I miss them.  May is the explosion of roses, the first flush.  I picked a single bucket of roses from my mother's garden and it felt spectacular.  The fragrance, every petal and fading bloom makes my mind buzz like a bee to the next one, and the next one.  

If you're picking garden roses, make sure you have a bucket of deep water nearby and place them in that bucket as soon as you can.  Good hydration is key to lasting flowers.  The water should always be room temperature whether in a bucket or vase.

When dealing with roses, make sure you have sharp shears so you can get a clean cut.  When ready to arrange, cut above a node and always cut at an angle so the stem can drink the most water.  Make sure you have plenty of water in your vessel and check it daily, filling as you need.  After twenty years of doing flowers, the single most overlooked thing restaurants and other accounts do is forgetting to water in the first couple of days.  Then, when the flowers begin to wilt, they add more water.  More times than not, this is too late and they won't come back.  If you notice a bloom or two wilting a bit, take it out and recut the stem.  

Part of the beauty of garden roses is the color fading and petals dropping.  I mean, big swaths of fluffy petals.  This has been shown in paintings for centuries.  Flowers are beautiful in all states of life, after all, isn't that why we pick them?

Other posts with roses and strawberries, a rainbow of garden roses, or other spring flowers with roses.

All styling and photography by Silvanie Farmar Bowers

Mother's Day

Mother's Day can feel cheesy and forced, but there are simple ways to celebrate her.  As a mother of a four year old, I really am just looking forward to some coffee in bed and little extra time to sleep.  Once you become a mother, sleeping-in is a thing of the past!

Coffee or tea in bed is the simplest thing in the world.  But, very thoughtful!

You could even jazz it up by adding toast and a gift.  Takes no time at all!

Hand-picked posies and arrangements melt every mother's heart!

Depending on your child's age - pick or let them pick flowers, foliage (whatever they like) from your garden. Give them a nice working space that can get wet (like this tray) and a small vessel and pitcher of water.  Let them explore the stems by themselves and choose how that want to arrange it.  Nothing is better than getting a little arrangement made by your child or grandchild!

roses & strawberries

You can feel spring in the morning now, with light pouring through the windows and the warmth outside. Suddenly, you don't need your sweater.  My sister, Zoe and I got together to make a sweet post about May Day, but then were more inspired by an abandoned birds nest and roses.  Roses growing on her fences and field.  She and I grew up on our family's cut flower farm with 13,000 roses planted in our fields and worked together designing florals for years.  We have always done flowers.

In Asia, roses in fossils have dated back 70 million years.   Even if they don't know any other flowers, most people can identify a rose.  Throughout history, symbolism of roses has meant so many things, from love to death, peace to war.  Wreaths of roses have been found in Egyptian tombs, and Romans used them to carpet their floors for special occasions.  

Roses and strawberries are such a sweet combination, with this single-petaled climber mimicking a strawberry flower.  It is also a beautiful scent combination and can be used to create delicious jams.  They go together so easily.

I spent the summer I turned twenty in France and one of my favorite desserts was a bowl full of sliced strawberries with red wine and sugar to macerate them.  Just soak them in the wine.  No need for cream or anything else.  Delicious. 

Rose water is so refreshing, I always keep a bottle in my refrigerator during spring and summer for a quick face or body mist.  It really helps cool you down and to elevate your senses.  It's also nice to spritz it over a glass of chilled white wine or champagne.

See another easy bouquet Zoe and I did with strawberries.  Or, some of her garden roses.  Daisies and strawberry foliage is also another nice combination. 

Florals and styling by Zoe Honscher & Silvanie Farmar Bowers, photos by Silvanie Farmar Bowers

Tin Can Arrangements

Making arrangements in tin cans has become one of my favorite things.  It's a nice way to recycle, and makes an easy gift of your garden flowers.   I make weekly arrangements for my son's preschool class. Using tomato cans is economical, recyclable, and non-breakable if they get knocked over in the classroom. I save the cans that come though my kitchen, I love tomato cans, with or without the label, vintage or new. I also keep my eye out for them (water tight is a must though) at garage sales and thrift stores.

Some more tin can arrangements from last summer.  I favored the cans sans label.  They look great on a kitchen table, or if you're dining al fresco, you don't have to worry about bringing them back inside or the wind blowing them over and breaking a favorite vase.

Easy Bouquet

An easy bouquet or, more like a posy with fresh cut strawberries my sister, Zoe and I did in her garden. This would make the sweetest and simplest bridal bouquet.  Not too fussy, and full of spring.

Zoe leaning on her fence covered in hops.  Below a little video of her putting the bouquet on the fence and making some finishing touches.  She is an amazing designer.  

Sweetest little thing.  It has strawberries in it, so I have to twirl it!

Flowers should be fun and express the seasons as well as you.  Relax.  

 

Flowers by Zoe Honscher & Silvanie Farmar Bowers, photos by Silvanie

House Visit - Chelsea Dicksion

Chelsea Dicksion lives with her husband Chris and their young son Coleman in a sweet cabin on the outskirts of Sebastopol, California.  The cabin, hand built in the 1970's sits on a hill among dawn redwoods. Their bedroom on the second floor has windows on three sides of their bed, giving the effect that you're in the trees.  Outside, they have a large sunny plot to garden, with a small studio up the hill they are using for storage that has remnants of the past tenants ceramic tile studio.  I spent a recent spring morning with them in their cozy West County cabin eating Chelsea's warm focattica bread and drinking fresh lemon balm tea. 

How long have you lived in your house?  We've lived in our little cabin since late 2012 when we were farming a one acre piece of land for our small CSA, Furlong Forest Farm. We first moved to Sebastopol and lived in a different house about 5 minutes away from the farm, but we got lucky when the couple who lived here were going to move and we leapt at the chance to rent this sweet cabin surrounded by willows and oak trees. It was a really wonderful 30 second commute to the farm property. We had to let go of our farm dream once our son arrived in the summer of 2015 since farming was no longer something we could manage with a baby and continue to make a living. But, we still live in this sweet space. 

What makes a house a home for you? A house is a home when you love adding the daily details to it such as tidying up a particular corner, or adding a tiny floral and foliage bouquet on a windowsill, or making it smell delicious with fresh bread or a home cooked meal. 

How would you describe your style? I'm not sure if we technically have a "style" to our home since we are renting the space and I never feel the freedom to do what I really want within it. I'd love to hang more art, I'd love to simplify our "stuff", and I'd love to put in more time to our garden spaces. 

What are some of the things you enjoy most about your house? My favorite features of our cabin are the inviting red front door, the angular shape of the eaves, and the cozy "sleeping among the trees" feeling in the upstairs bedroom. I also really love our old Wedgewood stove and it's the best I've ever cooked upon. You can see more angles and views of our home on Instagram under the hashtag #ourfrontdoorisred

How has motherhood changed the rhythm of your house? Or new rituals you do? Motherhood has really brought about a slow patience to everything I do in our home. My son and I have, overtime, created a daily rhythm that involves his favorite household chores like vacuuming and cleaning up our messes, we often take a walk down the road, always spend a lot or a little bit of time outdoors in the sun or rain depending on the season with multiple baths depending on how dirty we get, and lots of book reading and some toy play. We also try to do something creative everyday. Our creative time could be something simple like crayon play on paper, chalk outdoors on the back porch, or something more elaborate like watercoloring a collaborative painting, or collecting plant materials for our dye pot for natural dye projects. I also enjoy our recent collaborations in the kitchen through chopping vegetables and adding them to the pot, stirring cake batter or cutting cookies with heart shaped cookie cutters. 

What projects do you have on the horizon? I'm working toward bringing my watercolor back into practice. It's been tough to dedicate much time to focusing on my art since my son was born. Currently, we are collaborating on a 30 day journaling creative practice and my hope is that it breaks my insecurities on perfection and brings on more play in my artwork. With more play and forgiveness on imperfection, I hope to release some new territory within me creatively as a mom artist. I'm also working on an idea to create various nature journals for kids. I have a lot of complicated knowledge on plants that I'd like to simplify for family friendly learning. 

As a plant person, what are the most important things for you to grow?  I absolutely love growing our own garden fruits and vegetables. There's nothing better than going out and picking peas to munch on or cutting a head of lettuce or eating that first tomato. But, my heart lies with growing anything native to where I live. I've always been drawn to the plants that grow nearby, even as a young girl. As a former nursery manager for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, I will always be looking to add natives to my garden, even if I no longer grow them myself. 

What are some of your favorite places to go in West County?  I feel like we definitely need to get out and explore more in West County. We spend so much of our time at home if we aren't in town doing errands. It's a good thing we love our backyard! Some of the places I've loved taking our son have been Bodega Bay, Ragle Park, a secret not- so-secret loop trail in our neighborhood, and any park in Sebastopol. We clearly need to do a bit more exploring in our future! 

Follow Chelsea on Instagram @furlongforestfamily, for more of her artwork @watercolorpaper and @colorsofourown for a community of creative parents.

You can also purchase her watercolors here.

 

More spring flowers and Easter things too...

Little garden bits in some French egg cups.  We lugged these egg cups across France along with antiques (mostly enamelware) for my mom on a family trip when I was a teenager.  Somehow, they've ended up in my cupboard. 

I talked before about using what you have in the garden, even dandelions.  Simple really is prettiest and easy to do.

I love these bare, speckled eggs now.  But, we'll dye and decorate eggs when it gets close to Easter.  It's a very magical time for those who believe in the Easter bunny.  

All florals, styling and photography by Silvanie Farmar Bowers  

Easter Eggs

More non-dyed, bare, in the buff eggs.  I love the soft, natural colors of the eggs themselves with bright spring flowers.  

I always love the mix of colors during spring, and a little can go a long way.  This is only two stems of lilac, a few crabapple branches, a few freesia, a handful of forget-me-not stems and a few snips of viola and maiden hair fern from pots on my front porch.  Most people have more things to cut outside than they think.  Mix it up, even pulling up a dandelion or two and putting them in a small bowl or terra-cotta pot with some eggs around is sweet.  

Time to clean up...

All flowers, styling and photography by Silvanie Farmar Bowers.

Bare Eggs

These eggs are about as simple as it gets.  I had grand ideas about using the viola I pressed in the antique colors I've been obsessing over the last few weeks.  But, after getting dozens and dozens of fresh eggs from my sister's chickens, I decided I wanted to look at the bare eggs.  All of the eggshell variations are so beautiful just the way they are.  Soft, buff, speckled, green and brown.

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All flowers, styling and photography by Silvanie Farmar Bowers

Chamomile Hair Rinse

As a natural blonde, my hair has gotten darker over the years.    I decided to make a couple of chamomile hair rinses to give it extra shine and lighten it up a bit naturally.  Chamomile (or camomile) has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which can strengthen hair, help fight dandruff, and promote hair growth.  Adding it to your bath or placing cooled teabags onto your skin can help anything from burns to cuts to dark circles under your eyes. 

In the summer you can use wild chamomile or flowers from your garden but, its the middle of winter, so I used loose dried flowers and store-bought tea bags.

Here, I used four tea bags and filled the jar with boiling water.

For the loose dried flowers I poured boiling water over them in a pyrex bowl.  I just used what was already in my cupboard, about 1/4 cup flowers to about 3 cups water.

I let them steep about two hours.  You could do it longer or shorter and still benefit.

Strain the loose flowers into another bowl (don't pour the liquid out).

I poured the loose flowers through a fine-mesh sieve so there where still particles floating around.  I'm going to use it quickly so I didn't mind.  You could also use cheese cloth if you didn't want any bits floating about.

I let it cool completely then labeled it for the fridge.  After washing and rinsing your hair, pour the cool chamomile rinse over your hair, leaving it in as your hair dries.  It will continue to lighten as it is left on and you will see results with regular rinses.

Chamomile is one of my favorite flowers, it self seeds very easily and is a nice addition to any herb or floral garden.  It also attracts honey bees and smells wonderful.  In Kate Greenaway's Language of Flowers, chamomile means "energy in adversity".

Flower Friends, Winter, Part Two

After several days of rain, we got a beautiful misty morning for this second part of the winter flower friends.  My sister Zoe and I where joined by our mom Lisbeth.  I love going back to our roots and mixing everyones style together.  My parents raised  our family on a cut flower farm so flowers have always been a huge and important part of our lives.  When my sister and I were kids, instead of having a lemonade stand we picked bouquets for Mother's Day and set up a little roadside stand.  It was the late 80's just as Martha Stewart was becoming popular and the wholesale markets hadn't caught on to our product yet, so in order to sell the flowers from our 87 acre farm, my mom got a stall at a few of the local farmer's markets.  In the summer and on weekends, my sister and I would help her at the markets.  I loved getting into our big refrigerated Iveco truck and heading out into the cold morning.  Those years taught us so much and eventually, people caught on to garden roses and scabiosa (thanks Martha Stewart!) and the wholesale markets did too.  

I have always loved this Bjørn Wiimblad vase my mom has had for as long as I can remember.  As a child, growing up in the Danish countryside she loved to pick bouquets of poppies, wheat, daisies and cornflower from the fields near her house.  With such dark winters there, she feels "its especially important to have flowers inside in the winter to lift the energy".

This monkey egg cup belonged to my dad as a child.  Filled here with violets my mom picked from her garden.  

My mom also dug up violets for us to use.  Here's Zoe rinsing off some of the mud.

Heavenly scented, violets and daphne (again from my mom's garden).

"Look for the beauty in winter, bulbs are the optimistic and sure sign of spring" - Zoe

A little posy I made with roadside ferns and acacia Zoe cut and thanks to all of this rain, some oxalis I picked from the grass and ditch in front of her house.  Tiny bits can make the sweetest posy.

More Hellebores (also known as Lenten Rose and Christmas Rose).  Such a beautiful flower to give life to even the coldest winters.

I cut these beautiful magnolia branches from my friend's tree, not open yet, here they look like giant roses!  We are mid-way through February and here in California spring is just around the corner.  Literally blooming every day.   I'm already looking forward to the next season of flower friends.  

Some previous seasons; autumn, summer and spring.   

All flowers and styling by Zoe Honscher, Silvanie Farmar Bowers and Lisbeth Hansen.  All photos by Silvanie Farmar Bowers.

Flower Friends, Winter, Part One

Winter is mild here in Northern California.  My sister, Zoe and I spent a recent morning gathering bits and branches from her property in Sebastopol.  This area of Sonoma County, called West County is prized for fertile soil and considered by many to be a Utopia.  Zoe has always been an avid gardener, preferring to be outside most of the time, working.  We were incredibly lucky to have grown up on a cut flower farm and nursery so flowers and plants have always been an integral part of our lives.   Being so close in age, we spent our childhood together, outside exploring on our farm and most of our twenties working together as a design team for our family business.  This flower friends series is about getting together just to talk and cut things and put them together without worry.  

Ceanothus with a few gathered heart-shaped rocks.

The delicious smell of daphne, a true sign that spring is on it's way.  Paired here with scented geranium and bare walnut branches in one of Zoe's vintage ceramic vases.

Zoe's chickens were quite happy we found some strawberries in her vegetable garden!

A few beautiful stems of a native flowering Ribes with dusty pink yarrow, artichoke foliage and a sweet, wispy pittosporum.

All flowers and styling by Zoe Honscher and Silvanie Farmar Bowers.  Photos by Silvanie Farmar Bowers.

Flowers. pressed/dried/fresh

I like flowers in all forms.  Growing up on a cut flower farm, flowers are a huge part of a lot of my childhood memories.  Scent, color, a certain flower or even a time of year can all evoke these memories.  When daffodils begin to bloom and the grass is tall and wet, or when the lupines begin to fade from the hillsides and the grass begins to dry.  Eventually turning into the golden hills of summer that California is so well known for.

A pressed dandelion I collected with my son last summer.

The soft scent of dried chamomile and lavender reminds me of warm summer mixed with fresh spring daphne reminds me summer is farther away than I think.

This flower press is just a little children's one we picked up at the art store, but you could easily make one yourself or use a dictionary or other book.  It's always sweet to open a book you haven't looked at in years and find a pressed flower.  This one looks sweet.  Here are some other good ideas for pressing your own.

winter storm

With a storm raging outside and the power flickering on and off I took a few moments to enjoy the last of the afternoon light.  I've been making these little wreaths with bits I collect from my garden and out on walks.  I thought these sweet little apples would be cheerful in the rain.

Strawberry foliage is one of my favorites, the seasonal color variations are so beautiful.

Power went out so I lit some candles just before it got dark.

New Year - Drink Smoothies!

Trying to start off the new year a bit lighter.  Been adding spinach to whatever I can and making smoothies in the mornings.  

These were made with frozen raspberries, blueberries, mangos, coconut water, oat milk and a fat spoonful of flaxseed meal.  Full fledged hippie but I like to get in any extra nutrients where I can and my toddler is happy to drink them.

I like to drink them first thing in the morning, before I make breakfast.   Most days they are different, depending on what we have.  

Flower Friends, Autumn Part Two

Inside Summer Cottage , my mom, Lisbeth and I added a few pumpkins and winter squash with clematis and grapevine we cut from her garden to the booth in the antique collective she share's with Julie Chiodo.   Simple and sweet.

Assorted bits we gathered in a fruit box.  Cut a few apple branches earlier in the morning from my mom's garden.  You really don't need much, just bring a little natural element from the outside.  Whatever is growing in your garden.

This beautiful green pumpkin is from my sister, Zoe's garden.  Julie's demijohns with a bit of apple branches and clematis.  

More of my mom's beautiful hand-dyed vintage napkins and linens.  She uses natural plant based and high quality textile dyes that she mixes herself for her desired color.  Her father in Denmark was a house and fine-art painter who mixed all of his own pigments and paints in his workshop.  He would paint each wall a slightly different shade based on the light.  I think she takes after him in so many ways.   More of the garments she sews in our first part or check out her website.

Check out the first part of our autumn flower friends at Summer Cottage.

All flowers by Lisbeth Hansen and Silvanie Farmar Bowers.  All photos by Silvanie Farmar Bowers.

Studio Visit - Kimberly Rose

Napa Valley native, Kimberly Rose runs her floral design business from a home-based studio behind a sweet 1930's house in Napa she shares with her husband, David (who also works from home) and their two young sons, Emmett and Marlon.   Recently, I spent a lovely sunny morning in her studio.

How did you get your start in floral design?  I used to work at a store in San Francisco that would get amazing florals delivered every week and I was so intrigued by them.  Having a background in art, I thought the idea of being able to use my hands to  create sculptural floral designs would be a good fit.  I decided to apply to different floral designers looking for help.  An SF based florist took me on and taught me so much.  I eventually started working for other people around the Bay Area and then eventually created my own business.

How would you describe your style?  Textural, somewhat structured.  I like to try different things to keep things interesting.  I hope that my designs are always evolving.

What is your favorite time of year and what materials do you like to work with during that season?  I love spring.  Flowering branches are so pretty (I love working with branches) and there are so many different varieties of delicate flowers to choose from at that time.

What do you find easiest and hardest about having a home-based studio?  It's great to be able to walk out of my house and right into my studio, no travel time.  Another thing I enjoy, is to be able to take a lunch break with my family and get quick visits from them throughout the day.  I actually love having a home-based studio for the same reason it can be hard.  It can be challenging when my kids/husband come in and visit while I'm working because it can be hard to get things done with the distraction of my family.

How has motherhood changed your approach to design and your business?  I have come to realize that my time is very important to me and where I put that time and energy is important.  I now only take on business/jobs that I really enjoy the look of and have fun making.  Having the opportunity to be creative while supporting my family is such a gift.  I want to make sure I am spending my time doing what I love, otherwise it's not worth it to me.

Some of Kim's artwork in her living room.

what are some of your favorite places to visit in Napa?  We live pretty close to the Oxbow so we end up going there a lot.  They have a lot of affordable good quality food options and can be quick and easy at the same time.  I've also started doing a lot of kid friendly things lately like going to Connelly Ranch to see the animals with my kids or going for walks and to different parks around Napa.

Flower Friends, Autumn Part One

As autumn is one of my favorite seasons I thought it would be fun to collaborate with my mom, Lisbeth for the flower friends series.  She has been my biggest teacher in style from setting the table to doing flowers themselves.  She and I decided to go to Summer Cottage, the antiques co-op where she sells her aprons and tunics that she sews herself, mostly in linen or denim, as well as her natural - dyed vintage table and bed linens and other antique collectables. 

Beautiful garden roses cut from my sister Zoe's garden.

One of her beautiful linen aprons.  You can find some of her sewing and knitting projects as she works on them on her Instagram.

Who says autumn means orange?  Be creative with what is growing in your garden. 

This is one of the best styles I have ever tried, with roomy front pockets and crossed high in the back so it doesn't shift while you're working.

Take a look here and see my mom's sweet 1940's house visit from last October.  Check out summer flower friends.

All flowers and styling by Lisbeth Hansen and Silvanie Farmar Bowers.  Photos by Silvanie Farmar Bowers.

House & Garden Visit - Kathy Hoffman

Kathy Hoffman of Napa, California is truly one of the very best floral designers of all time. Her design ability, aesthetics and attention to detail go far beyond flowers.  She is creative in all facets of her life.  She comes from an incredibly talented family and is a legend in her own right.  Kathy's parents started The French Laundry in Yountville and she worked with them for many years.  After selling the famed restaurant to Thomas Keller, Kathy continued to be the in-house florist up until her retirement this year .  She and her husband, Bill Hoffman, a well-known gardener in Napa Valley are enjoying their house and garden that they have cherished for almost forty years before venturing out for a simpler life in Oregon where they are planning construction on their new house.

How did you get your start in floral design?  When I worked with my family in the restaurant business (mostly at The French Laundry) it fell to me to help my mom make the spaces feel welcoming.  We did that by changing the dining room on a weekly basis, looking to the garden for the week's color palette.  Then we would choose from our linen collection we owned, I would pull containers out and the foraging in the garden would begin.  So I really truly learned from the ground up - didn't know what a flower market was - it had to be growing in The French Laundry garden, my parent's garden next door, my garden or if were were hitting bottom, a neighbor's garden or an empty field.  I did that for sixteen years.  It was an incredible training ground.  Learning day-by-day, making mistakes and hopefully moving forward and learning what not to do the next time.  If I cut something at the wrong stage of growth or in the wrong weather conditions it hurt - we didn't have a lot of extra to waste.  Then when my parents decided to sell and move on to their apple farm project I had to decide to stay in the food and service business or take a leap and start a flower business - by that time you could say I was pretty hooked - it was all about the pleasures of picking, arranging, and transforming a space into something beautiful...

Her parents apple farm project is The Apple Farm in Philo, California now run by Kathy's sister Karen and her family.

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What are your favorite times of year in the garden?  Some of your favorite flowers and plants?  Each season brings its own beauty and certain goodies - I'm always ready for that next change.  Again, it's my mood that decides my favorites - whether I crave a good dose of color, decadence in a full fat bloom, or just beautiful branches and foliages.  In the spring I love white dogwood, ranunculus, gold peonies, floppy open parrot tulips, the first of the late spring fragrant cabbage roses, green hellebores...   Summer it's all about bright flowers with blooming herbs, vegetables and fruit (I love all the endless combinations).  I'm always ready for fall - to ditch all the flowers in favor of beautiful colored leaves - Bradford pear, viburnum, maple, etc. with all the rose hips, berries and acorns I can get my hands on.  It's all about the textures.  Winter brings the pleasure of just enjoying the form of beautiful bare branches against a wall - hazelnut, birch, colored dogwood branches - I crave the simplicity of them in the winter.  But then that branch sits in a warm house in water long enough and those tiny little leaves start to come and I'm ready for spring all over again!!!  I have to admit that spring is my favorite - it's all about the thrill of watching spring come about, leaf by leaf - there's so much promise in that - of new beginnings... All those shades of green just do it for me.  The sheer vitality of it energizes me like no vitamins ever could...

How long have you lived in your house?  Since 1978 - which adds up to an amazing 38 years - hard to believe!

What makes a house a home for you?  I've always been a nester, started as a child with my room - watched my mom who I owe so much of how I walk through life to - as she has always had such a good eye.  Our houses growing up were so personal and lived in.  I've learned from her to fill your house with the things that make you happy - I love color, texture, form, organic things that bring the outside in - and it's got to be in a light filled space.  I get immense pleasure in handling and touching beautiful things in daily life, whether it's a blanket to cuddle in, a special glass to drink from, a spoon that feels good to stir with.  I see no reason to have something just to get the job done when I can have those objects also give me pleasure to handle and look at.  Our house has evolved throughout the years as our tastes and needs changed, our family grew, my business took off. "My stuff" as Bill has labeled it is part of my life - he is stuck with it beacue it is part of who I am.  Nothing makes me happier than making vignettes in the house - stirring up new combinations really just to please my eyes.  It's really all about feeling good in the spaces you live in...

Ceramic faces made by Troyce, the youngest of Kathy's three sons when he was a child. 

What are some of the things you enjoy most about your house?  The open, light-filled rooms with a garden view out every window and door.  Our second floor space that we designed just for us with our bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom with my tub to soak in...it feels like a treehouse - it's cozy and spacious at the same time, with the views of the tops of the trees and that different perspective you get from looking down on things.  Outside, my studio is just a few steps away which I love - no commutes to work!  And, of course the garden, which has been a total work in progress as the growth of the trees and shrubs through the years has changed the things I can grow.  Many of the sunny spots have changed over to dappled and deeper shade, but that has given us the privacy and actually made it a fairly easy garden to care for.  So the garden has evolved.  My idea of a favorite day is to put my cell phone aside, escape to the garden and just do whatever calls to me - sometimes there are specific tasks, or I will start something and end up totally immersed in hours later, totally exhausted but in a good way.. It's so satisfying and stress reducing.  Then there are all the sitting areas and spots in the garden I can go to rest and recoup - a hammock, a comfy chair, my book or a snooze... and lastly, our dinner deck "in the woods" that has seen many good times - just the two of us or a rocking table of family and friends - I feel like I've gone somewhere when we eat up there, like time away...

Kathy's studio seen through the side garden.

How would you describe your style?  I go a lot of directions with that, depending on my mood.  I can be very simple and minimalistic, happy with three stems of weeds in a vase against a certain wall or I can crave lots of texture and layers and groups of objects.  My house is full of color, but all mostly in warm tones - they make me happy.  But, I also get in the mood for all layered neutrals and I never tire of all shades of green - its so energizing and calming at the same time.  I thinks that's the fun of it, having no real barriers, I'll see something that stimulates my imagination and I'm off and running.  I've learned through the years to just let it come, trust myself and not overthink it - the best things happen that way!  I had a lot of art training early on in life and in college - that gave me a foundation to build with.  I used to feel a little disappointed with myself that I did not pursue that more, but to tell the truth I now feel that I'm in my best medium - living and organic things are three dimensional with texture, smell etc. - so much better than a painting or drawing.. I can always return to that and I will in my new life in Oregon.  My new surroundings will be great stimulation for being creative in new ways I hope...

What projects do you have on the horizon?  We are just about to start a whole new life with our upcoming move to the southern Oregon property we have owned for 15 years.  To leave California and our life here is a big deal for both of us but it's a leap we have been working toward for awhile now.   It's been such an amazing process, one with so many decisions that constantly make us think and reflect on what makes us feel good in a home.  It's a chance to make a statement on who we are at this point in our lives - this time around fitting it into a new natural landscape so different than what we are coming from.  I have had to come to terms with the fact I'll never have a garden like I've had here for 38 years - but that it's ok, it will be different and a step back to a simpler life.  We are going to work hard at embellishing nature without leaving too much of a stamp on it.  We've been nurturing the forest and meadow for the last 15 years - it's been so satisfying to watch it become stronger, more diverse, wildflowers and native grasses coming back strong, the constant surprises of all of that.  Being custodians of a forest is an amazing new challenge!