Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

A.W.O.L. Blogger!

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Hello, there!

I’ve been A.W.O.L. for a few days, but I want to give you a quick behind-the-scenes peek at my 12-hour day of shooting yesterday with everyone’s favorite garden guru, P. Allen Smith! We filmed some great conversations for his shows, Garden Style and Garden Home, and we also had a lot of laughs.

I have more to tell you about our shoot coming up soon, but here’s a taste for now!

Tobi and Allen 1 Tobi and Allen 2 Tobi and Allen 7

More soon!


Tobi Signature


Summertime and the Living is Easy

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Well it is officially Summer at my house. My daughter finished the second grade today so Summer vacation begins.


I am particularly excited about Summer this year. Last Summer, I worked incessantly and promised myself and my daughter that wouldn’t happen again. So this year I am practicing what I preach and using the next 3 months to REALLY slow down, care for myself and for her, and I’m finally kicking my addiction to speed. Easy Living, here I come!


I think I have told you all how much I love The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. But that hasn’t always been the case. When I first heard of the book I was at the height of my “workaholism” and found the thought of a 4 hour work week both ridiculous and absurd. But thanks to some epiphanies about self care, slowing down, and getting my priorities straight, I now really value the concept of making work happen in as few hours as possible so I can get on to the things that really fill my cup.


One idea in particular that I am striving for in my life thanks to Tim is the idea of  separation of work time and free time, specifically with regard to time with friends. I essentially worked myself out of many of my friendships in my thirties and now I am excited to rekindle some old relationships and make some new ones during these summer months.

Pure Vegan

I will be taking Tim’s 4 Hour Work Week advice and bringing some “Slow Meals” into my life. Meaning meals or cocktails with friends that last for 2-3 hours and often include five or more people so that you really connect and relax on a different level. It’s an experience that speed just doesn’t allow for. I can’t remember when I made this a priority in my life (if ever) and the bonus is that I will get brownie points with both my hubby and my daughter because they are social butterflies. They get so much energy and pleasure from connecting with friends and that is a gift I can’t wait to give them.


So even though my post today is a bit more about life than design, I hope you see I am designing a life of balance that helps me be my best during these summer months and that I intend to bottle and take with me through the rest of the year.  And hopefully you are as inspired as I am by these “Slow Living” photos to relax, connect with those you love, and live a little easier this Summer. Because as we all know, life is short and it’s time to stop and smell the roses hydrangeas.


I think I’ll even cut a few and make a centerpiece to enjoy with friends.

Happy Summer!


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Keeping Promises to Yourself

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Hi Everyone! I hope you had an amazing weekend like I did and if you are a mom…Happy belated Mother’s Day. I spent some precious time with my daughter this weekend planting flowers on the patio and getting our outdoor spaces up to snuff. And then we spent almost every other waking (and a few sleeping) moments outside enjoying our handiwork from our loungers under the umbrella, in the hammock, or dining in our outdoor dining space. Our garden is really a place where my whole family replenishes so we are grateful for this time of year and the chance to be outdoors.

And while I was out “digging in the dirt” and reviving some of my house plants from their long winter’s nap indoors, I had an epiphany. I realized that the years that my houseplants aren’t thriving from their winter experience, neither am I. What I mean is this: if I am too busy to care for my plants (some of them almost 20 years old) then I am also too busy to take care of me.

And although I have gotten healthy over the last two years, it is still a really slippery slope when I get off-track of caring for myself so that I can care for everyone else during the really busy periods in my life. And caring for myself doesn’t mean just staying slim. Through the last 3 VERY busy months, I’ve been pretty much in control of my weight, but not my health. So now my diet is full of junk again, even though it may not be over my calorie count. And my back, hamstrings, and hips are a disaster from falling off my yoga regime. And my stress level has been high again because I haven’t been doing my cardio regularly to get all those toxic thoughts and energy out. In other words, I wasn’t keeping my promises to my houseplants or to myself.

Which reminds me of a great idea that was mentioned in a recent business conference I went to. The speaker said something profound. He said, “What would happen in your life if you just kept all the promises you made to yourself?” WOW!! Did you hear that? “If you just kept all the promises you made to YOURSELF.” Not to other people which we tend to be more accountable to, but if we only changed one thing and did what we told ourselves we were going to do.

This is HUGE, people!!!! We spend years creating our own self-doubt and insecurities and then top it off with poor health, bad backs, and diseases because we do not keep promises to ourselves. And we lose trust and faith in our abilities to accomplish things because we no longer believe our own thoughts, because we are constantly NOT doing what we tell ourselves we are going to. LIGHTBULB!!!!

I think changing this one habit this year could actually make you become the person you want to be. And I think becoming extremely careful with what we say we want to do, if we really have no intention of doing it, which is the all-important second important part of this equation.

So to start you and I both off on a great note this Monday, let’s do this together. Let’s make a list of all the things that we keep telling ourselves we are going to do. Then let’s pick three of them and actually keep our promises. And for now, let’s let all the others go. It takes baby steps to make a new habit, but I think if we can start having faith in ourselves again, and can see that we REALLY can do what we say, that our whole lives will start to change.

Are you game? Join me today. What are your 3 promises you will start keeping right now? Leave me a comment if you are willing. I think if we put it out to the Universe it’s not only keeping a promise to ourselves, it’s keeping a promise to each other.

Here are my three:

1. Keep my yoga practice at least 3 times a week NO MATTER WHAT!

2. Be true to a healthy, not just low calorie diet, even when I am busy.

3. Put my “Tobi Time” in the schedule for relaxing and replenishing first and sticking to it with no exceptions, even when I have more work to do than I can possibly accomplish that week.

Now tell me…What are your three promises? Tell me and write them down and post them at your desk, on your mirror and everywhere else they can help you keep your promises.

I am excited to walk this path with you.


Tobi Signature

Houseplant Hostess Gift ideas from P. Allen Smith

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Unusual Houseplant Hostess Gifts Made With Items From the Housewares Aisle

Cup and Saucer Cup and Saucer with Philodendron Cup and Saucer used to Decorate

Take a cup and saucer, pop in a philodendron and presto-“ instant hostess gift! Later my friend can use this cup and saucer for their morning cup of Joe!

The Dilemma

I’ll bet this situation has happened to you at least once before. Recently I was invited on short notice to dinner at a friends’ house. I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed.

The Solution

As luck would have it -“ I was able to find some extra housewares I had stashed in a cupboard from a recent shopping trip. I already had some nice houseplants growing out in the greenhouse. A match made in last-minute-gift-giving-heaven!

It occurred to me that everyone can use an extra bowl or container for entertaining or a nice coffee cup to use at the office. These unusual planters can be made quickly with impulse items found in the Housewares Department plus a little imagination. Next time you’re out at the mall or in a big-box store — look around the housewares department for unique vessels to hold plants, herbs and vegetables. There’s no need to spend big bucks on containers.

The How-to

Once you find an item you want to use as a planter, you are halfway there.

Next, choose the right plant to complete the look. Small containers can hold a nice ivy or small, compact plant, whereas a larger container, such as a deep bowl, could nicely hold a collection of succulents. Tall spiky plants are a good fit for more squatty vessels. But, if you are not sure, simply place the potted plant in the container, then step back to take a look.

Place in the plant, nursery pot and all, and to keep it from wiggling around, just tuck in some floral moss and out the door you go.

Wooden Bowl Wooden Bowl with Croton Wooden Bowl used to Decorate

This handsome wooden bowl is the perfect container for this colorful croton. Look how nicely the two combine to add a pop of color in the corner of the parlor. Later the bowl can be used to serve a dry snack or a bowl for some dip to eat with chips.

Using Houseplants Together

If you are grouping several houseplants together, select those with contrasting foliage and textures, such as broad and waxy leaves next to fine and feathery foliage to create more interesting compositions.

Ceramic Bowls Ceramic Bowls with Sedum, Paddle Plant and Earth Star

Place larger plants in the background of smaller plant groupings. When combining several plants in a container or basket, use a trailing houseplant, such as ivy, to conceal the edge of the container to give the arrangement a more finished look.

Happy Gift-Giving!

P. Allen Smith

Thanks so much for sharing these great ideas with us!  To read more of P. Allen Smith’s wonderful ideas, visit his blog!



Savoring the Last Drops of Summer

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Happy Friday friends! With school back in session and Labor Day looming, I think it may be time to admit that summer is drawing to a close.

Luckily, I have collected a few images to remind me of the sun, the water and the lush, green outdoors when the first chilly nights of fall and winter arrive. These are a few of my favorites…

[from my Beach Blanket Bingo board]

[image from my Cottage Style board]

[image from my Fabulous Outdoor Rooms board]

[image from my Glorious Gardens board]

[image from my Farmhouse board]

I hope you’ll take the time to kick back and enjoy one of the last weekends of this fabulous season! And don’t forget to save a few images like these your own boards!!

xo, Tobi

[top image via google]