own a piece of roadside america: seattle’s walker rock garden house is for sale

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You may remember the Walker Rock Garden, the house with the amazing backyard that I wrote about in 2009. Recent repainting and replanting at the house, which is just a couple blocks from my own, got me wondering, and now my suspicions are confirmed: the home’s owners, grandchildren of the original owners, can no longer keep the place up and are looking to sell. But here’s the good news: they are going to do everything they can to sell to someone who will not only agree to keep up the rock garden, but who will be enthusiastic about doing so and will still open the garden to the public on occasion. To that end, they have not yet listed the house but are doing some initial PR to generate interest and feel out potential buyers. You know who wants this house? Badly? So badly she can taste it? Me, me, ME. I walk by that house almost every day, and nearly every time think something to myself like, “I wish I owned that place and could prune those rhododendrons,” or “Imagine hosting a garden party on that incredible petrified-wood patio,” or “If I owned that place, I would replace that fence, and fix the fountains, and invite people to have their weddings there!” Alas, real estate is expensive, we already own one house, and for me, this may remain a pipe dream. But for you, perhaps…? Learn more about the Walker Rock Garden and how to contact the sellers right here. – Mary T.

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five things we learned last week

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1) Outdoor lights bring cheer all year. Mary T. passed along the idea of keeping your Christmas lights up after the holidays and many of you can get behind the notion. Nutmegg says: “I love that idea! January is such a bummer of a month.”

2) We’re ready for tasty alternatives to wine for the host. Salt plates, peppercorns and honey all made our list. David says: “Excellent ideas! I can’t wait to put them to good use. I always feel a kinda lame when everyone invited shows up with a bottle of wine- myself included. I know wine is the go-to standard, but it rapidly starts to lose it’s thoughtful touch when everyone does it by default.”

3) You don’t have to throw that shower liner away! Save money and time by washing yours and reusing it. Sarah E. says: “It might last through more washes than you think! I wash the shower curtain liners in my house every few months using the same method. We’ve had the same liners for at least four years now and they’re still practically as good as new. Good luck with your eco-efforts!”

4) We could be wrong, but, well no, we’re not wrong: you HATE doing dishes. Megan B. asked about your preferences between using a dishwasher and hand washing, and let’s just say we’re hoping Santa has room in his sleigh for some dishwashers next year. Kat says: “After years of living with a dishwasher, I’m in a condo with a tiny kitchen and none. I wash dishes by hand and absolutely HATE it. I can’t seem to bring myself to do them when its only a few dirty, so they pile up. Then I have a huge mess to clean up.”

5) Forget pancakes, we’ve got flapjack fever and the only prescription is Megan B.’s recipe. Ula says: “I have GOT to try these! Thanks for sharing.”

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blogwatch: where we’ve been clicking this week

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Take an exclusive tour of the swinging mid-century pad of Mr. Peabody at Stopping Off Place. His influence has obviously been huge on design today. Via Dinosaurs and Robots.

Readymade is helping to make midwinter bright and cheery with this charming little DIY starlight candle in a jar.

CasaSugar clues us in to Amy Butler’s new quilted coverlet collection, a more muted version of Amy’s delightful pattern magic.

Helpful hints for the dreaded speed clean, courtesy of Design Pop Interiors.

The Paint Quality Institute released their list of 2011 paint trends, and Charles & Hudson was there to disseminate the info. Looks like we’ll be seeing even more of the blues

Likelihood is that there’s snow where you are right now. Swiss-Miss has got the perfect winter multi-tasker — the beautiful Elephant chair, designed to also be used as a sled. All kinds of awesome!

And after a grueling day of chair-sledding, what could be more comforting that cozying up to a warm bowl of baked mushroom risotto with caramelized onions at the Kitchn. No stirring required.

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dreaming of the newest spring perennials

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The closest thing I have to color in my garden right now is Nandina berries, but that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of spring plantings. After a quick seplace online, I found plenty to get excited about. Four new Coreopsis varieties, which require less water than a lot of perennials; a chartreuse-leaved Bleeding Heart; almost a dozen new Helleborus (Lenten Rose), which although slow to get going, are a great solution for shade beds; and eight new Heuchera (Coral Bells), another old-fashioned shade plant. You can find photos and info on the varietals I mentioned on Perennial Resource, as well as the rest of their new for 2011 list. — Sarah L.

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sweater weather: olek’s crocheted charging bull

Olek Bull
New York based artist Olek put her crafting skills to use this holiday season as she worked through the freezing Christmas night crocheting a cozy sweater for Manhattan’s iconic Charging Bull sculpture. The guerrilla art is so bright and cozy (especially against the gray of Wall Street) that I can’t help but fall in love with it. Alas, the neon pink greatness didn’t last long — the park’s caretaker reportedly tore it apart early Sunday morning. No matter, according to Olek, the sentiment stands. She told CNNMoney.com that, “This crocheted cover represents my best wishes to all of us. It will be a great, prosperous year with many wonderful surprises”. – Katie D.

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