Archive for October, 2012

Hanson Wedding

Friday, October 26th, 2012

This post isn’t about Santa Barbara or our house.  Instead it is about Ojai and an unbelievable wedding that was at my brother and sister-in-laws house.  Friends of our family asked if they could have their  wedding at the ranch in upper Ojai.  They have a beautiful piece of property over-looking the Topa Topa mountains that they have been transforming for ten years.  It really is an idyllic spot for a wedding.  Combine that with the extended Hanson family talent for all things crafty and my sister-in-laws incredible eye for all things entertaining and you have something worthy of any magazine.  If only I were a better photographer.

Guests were treated to cookies and chilled water at the Welcome Table.  A large wooden W served as the guest book.

An adorable bird-cage held gift cards.  A table draped in burlap and a crocheted table-cloth was available for gifts.

The ceremony was held on the big grass field below the house.  The Hanson’s brought a  trailer full of every imaginable wedding paraphernalia, including the double doors that greeted the guests and wedding party.  On a clear day this field overlooks the Topa Topa Mountains, but the clouds moved in to hide them.

Hors d’oeuvres were served up by the house on the patio while pictures were taken.  I don’t have any pictures because about that time it began to drizzle.  Everyone carried on as if it were dry and sunny.  The reception was held back down on the lawn next to the ceremony.  Lights were strung for the evening. Four long rows of tables were perpendicular to the head table and surrounding the dance floor.  The D.J. was AMAZING not only playing music, but singing every imaginable genre of song.  He was so good we forgot that our hair was limp and our pant bottoms were soggy.  Luckily he brought his own tent!

This is where I come in. Earlier in the day I received a 911 call that they were running short on time.  I often consider setting up for parties more fun than the actual event, so I jumped in the car.  They had table cloths, boxes of decorations and tableware waiting to be laid out.  The flowers were arranged in a myriad of glass containers.  Our only instructions were that no two tables should look-alike and then we were off.  Grandma had provided 150 vintage white napkins wrapped in ribbon.  There were antique books, bags of vintage off-white buttons, crushed shells, silver paper  flowers, clear and mercury glass votives, wide silver ribbon and burlap bags of coffee as favors.  The colors were so perfect.

Some of the Hanson decorations.  Amongst them is a pigeon crate symbolic in that our families once flew pigeons together.  The Hanson family still does more than thirty years later.

The head table was a master piece.  Who has moss-covered barn siding?  They were seated at a church pew and surrounded by their bridal party.

The cakes were loving made by grandma.   They were purposefully made to look homemade in a ruffly style.  Her specialty, coconut, was especially delicious.  They were supplemented by Lavender Brule and S’more cupcakes from Ojai Pixie Cakes.  Yum Yum Yum!  I loved all of the various collected cake stands.

Pre-wedding nap time.  My nephew was the adorable ring bearer.  He couldn’t get dirty while sleeping.  You should have seen him later.

I didn’t take many pictures after the drizzle although it  didn’t dampen our spirits as we danced well into the night.  They even paid for an extra hour with the D.J….he was that good.  We danced until our knees were sore.  They finally left in a beautiful 1934 car through rows of guests waving sparklers.  I was passing them out and didn’t get that picture either.  By then we were having too much fun to stop for photography.  Thanks Hanson’s for counting me in, it was truly an amazing evening.







Rose Garden

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

I have always planted roses at our houses.  In the past I have had them running throughout our borders, nearly a hundred at our Ojai home.  Many years ago I developed a love of the David Austin English roses.  They have the most gloriously fragrant blooms on big bushy plants.  I am essentially a lazy gardener and thus don’t spray or fertilize much.  I have found that these roses respond well to my neglect.  I enjoy creating arrangements from the garden and nothing beats the addition of garden roses.

When we bought our new home, Kirk thought a tropical garden would be more appropriate than the wildly crowded cottage style plantings we had before.  I have made an effort to include palms and phormiums around the house, but decided to plant a dedicated rose garden in a semi-circular bed in full sun at the front of our property.

First on the agenda was having the too narrow driveway widened into the area that would become the rose garden.  The addition of just four feet made it possible for two cars to squeeze through the drive and prevented the perpetual traffic jams we had been experiencing.  There were deteriorating railroad-tie borders along the gravel drive which we planned to replace with rock.   In Ojai we had rock-work done using the numberous boulders found right on our property.  Unfortunately, we had no such windfall in Santa Barbara and had to purchase a truckload of boulders to create the rock curbing.  PVC piping was used to lay out the gentle curve that would become the curb.

From enormous boulders, rock curbing was created to hold the gravel drive in place.  The rose garden was cleared and leveled to prepare for the layout.


 Gravel was brought in to top-dress the existing gravel.  PVC piping was again used to begin laying out the pathways and rose beds following the line of the curbing with a central walkway bisecting the semi-circle.

Pathways within the garden were created by installing a heavy, man-made bender board, then leveling with road base and finally top-dressed  with decomposed granite.

I planted over one hundred, one gallon boxwood as edging around all of the pathways.  Irrigation was added to make life simpler.  You can see that the dog has already run over a few of the young plants.  Hopefully, as they grow into a solid hedge he will politely go around them as he chases those passing by.

For my birthday last summer I got this beautiful water fountain.  It was placed at the intersection of the pathways.  Once it is up and running the buried water basin will be covered and hidden with smooth pebbles.  The area surrounding the fountain was made slightly larger by rounding out the pathway corners.

A rose arbor and bench were added to the end of the bisecting walkway.   I chose a wide arbor to be covered by a rose I brought from Ojai.  Sadly, it suffered a bit waiting to be planted.  Hopefully, it will recover in the spring.  The mosaic bench was an auction purchase created by the students at Monica Ros School where I taught for many years.  It serves as a gentle reminder of the wonderful place that provided my children with an incredible education and me with colleagues that have become dear friends.

After many months, here is the rose garden nearly finished.   Now the fun part can begin…planting roses.  I think another post is in order to chronicle the rose selections.  We see the garden as we drive in and out every day as well as from the living room, dining room and kitchen in the house.  I am so pleased with how it has turned out that I keep walking the short paths.  Silly, I know, but I can’t help myself.





The next chapter…Santa Barbara

Friday, October 5th, 2012