There is always a fine line to walk to find balance in your life.  Balance is something that I have been working to try and fine tune lately.  Along the way this Summer I found that to truly get balance you have to add in a little fun.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” ya know. Continue reading →

This little display made me smile.  I just love this bike spray painted green and tucked under a palm by the driveway entrance of this beach cottage at Ocean Isle Beach.  Such creativity.

What a great way to welcome visitors.  I’m sure this display of creative landscaping must give us a hint to a creative interior beyond.

Made me wonder what was inside.  Dreamy days of Summer.   –  Marianne

Well it is the late September and time to say good bye to Summer.  When I look back my summer has been busy and full of plenty of fun.  I’ve traveled to a wedding, the beach with friends, a reunion at the lake, and some fun furniture shopping.  We’ve hosted a fathers day celebration, a baby shower for my niece, and my granddaughters outdoor birthday party that came inside because of a thunderstorm.  We tackled a few projects for the porch, the yard, and inside the house.  We took some time for going to the pool, date night dining out, swinging a tennis racquet, relaxing at home, and lots and lots of porch time.  Oh the craziness of it all.  But isn’t that what Summer is all about?  Packing as much as we can into these few short months when the temperatures rise and we can get outdoors to soak up the sunshine.  The best part of it is that we got to share it all with family and friends. 
So as we say goodbye take a few minutes to think about all the wonderful craziness that you have called Summer then get ready because here comes a whole new adventure called Fall.   -Marianne
Pictures and content are property of Living With Color Designs

mini birthday cakeA Summer Birthday Splash Party like this for kids is fun and easy to pull off.  When the sun shines bright and the heat cranks up it is a great time to take the party outdoors.  Just add some water elements to cool everyone down and plenty of games to get the laughs and giggles started.  Pull up your yard furniture for adult guest to sit on or ask everyone to bring a yard chair.

Fishing game for birthday partiesFor a fun go fish game cut fish out of colorful foam and add an paper clip.  These spiral clips are a cute alternative to plain paper clips.  For the kid sized fishing poles tie some colorful ribbon to the end of a stick, dowel rod, or use the top section (as we did) of some real fishing poles.  Attach strong magnets to the ends of the ribbon.  Place fish in a container.  I used this blue tub that I already had which nicely looked like water.  The play value of this game will last for weeks after the party is over.  There is just something about fishing. Balloon game with over sided fly swatters

These oversized fly swatters from the dollar store worked great for playing bat-the-balloon.

sand buckets and shovels hold snacks

A sizzling orange chevron table cloth was the perfect backdrop for snacks served in buckets.  Use any of the typical hot summer colors and then mix and match.   Pictures of the birthday girl are scattered along the serving table on simple wire stands.

Tablescape summer splash party

Bite sized foods are great for parties with younger kids and enjoyed by all.

keep foods cool in a small inflatable pool with ice

Use a raft like inflatable loaded with ice to keep fruits and veggies chilling.  For decorative corners use those rarely used sand toys you have stored away for your next beach trip.

pool party cake

Let the cake take center stage with a table of it’s own.  This cake was so cute.  It was made to replicate the plates purchased for the party.

Toddler and beach ball.

If you have a pool in your back yard great!  If not there is a wide array of blow up pools, plastic pools, sprinklers, water guns, and slip-n-slides to provide plenty of wet splashy fun.  And don’t forget the inflatables.  They come in all shapes and sizes at the dollar store.

toddler birthday

The wet birthday girl and her personal cake.  She is thinking really hard about her wish.

Opening presents

This particular day we had a storm, and I mean storm, roll in about 30 minutes into the party so everyone had to move inside to open gifts. Rain or shine send your guest home with their own sand bucket filled with your favorite edible treats, bubbles, or other small toys. Kids are so much fun and celebrating their birthdays has gotten so creative.  I hope you will be able to take an idea or two away from this summer birthday splash party.  – Marianne Pictures and content are property of Living With Color Designs.

I love my porch and all the family moments that are shared on it.

Now that the whispers of fall are here I reflect in fondness about summertime on the front porch. No one loves the change of seasons more than me.  I know that fall will bring new adventures in life to the front porch.  I love how our world evolves and brings a new kind of beauty each season.  I am very fortunate to have this huge front porch set back in a secluded place.  A place to relax, entertain, hold conversation, welcome family and friends, get hugs and kisses from little ones, mourn the losses, and celebrate the gift of each new day.
So here I celebrate the porch of summer.  Summer in the South






So excited about this one.  We have had it for several years without blooms and this year it finally bloomed.  We have never gotten a purple one to grow in our yard before.  So exciting!  I know I said that already but it really is the little things with me.



Comfortable seating is a must if you plan to linger for very long.   The designs of outdoor rugs are improving greatly.  I actually liked this one and I believe we will continue to see a broader selection of designs in the future.   Use rugs to define small conversational areas and add color and interest.  With a long porch like this it is best to break up the total space into smaller defined areas.  This end offers a cushioned seating area.  The opposite end had a table and chairs for eating or working on projects.
These adirondack  style wicker chairs are so comfortable. Sit back, put your feet up, hear the trickle of the water from the fountain, look out at the beauty of  the outdoors, and you can’t help but stay a while.
The day I took this picture was a beautiful, sunny, blue sky day.  This created a mirror like reflection in the door.  I tried to focus on the reflection so the rest of the picture seems a little blurry.  You can see the beautiful fountain area my husband created, stone by stone and plant by plant.  It is amazing how the sound of water immediately begins to work it’s magic of making me relax.

 The porch is sure to pop up from time to time in my blog because it is like a close friend that our family shares and lives life with, is always a part of our comings and goings.