Between her knack for gardening and her collection of Nativities, Cindy Dendinger has created a sanctuary at her home in the Montclair subdivision.
"I do like to have religious articles in every room," Mrs. Dendinger said. "It's comforting, and it reminds you that help is just a prayer away."
Mrs. Dendinger and her husband, Ken, live in a 1,800-square-foot, ranch-style home. After 26 years in the house, nearly every corner says something about the couple.
Every room has a piece of Mrs. Dendinger's Nativity collection. Many were gifts from members of a prayer group that has met in her home every week for eight years.
One special Nativity, a gift from a friend, sits inside a small ostrich eggshell. The egg was transformed into a little piece of art with paint, hinged doors and tiny figures standing no more than an inch or two high.
Nativity scenes decorate throw pillows, plates - even the bowl of a silver spoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Dendinger enjoy bringing the outdoors inside.
Mrs. Dendinger has used a garden theme in a guest bedroom that used to belong to one of her two daughters. "I've gotten into gardening," Mrs. Dendinger said, "so I wanted this room to look like a clay pot."
Mrs. Dendinger painted the walls terra cotta, then softened the color with green accents.
"When I put the first coat of paint on it, I was nervous," she said. "Now I'm crazy about it."
Mrs. Dendinger found a bed comforter that would match the green carpet. Then she matched the paint and accents with the comforter.
The homemade headboard is in the shape of a birdhouse, painted with a green wash to look as though it has been weathered outside.
In the master bedroom and hall bath, Mrs. Dendinger opted for a deep peach color, with a lighter shade for the ceiling.
In the hall bathroom, the warm peach is balanced by cool green accents, such as ceramic frogs perched on cabinet tops and a soft-green framed mirror.
The back yard is another sanctuary for Mrs. Dendinger.
"This is where I like to spend most of my time," she said, noting her perennial flower beds framing the yard. "Each year it's like old friends come to visit."
Yard work is comforting for Mrs. Dendinger. She attributes that to her ancestors.
Generations ago, when her family immigrated to the United States from Hungary, they became farmers in Louisiana. "I guess digging in the yard runs in my blood," she said.
She also has a talent for adding small details all over the yard. A piece of driftwood next to a sweet potato vine and terra cotta pots lying on their sides next to a wooden wheelbarrow seem to have found their place in the yard by chance, when in actuality they were carefully placed there by Mrs. Dendinger.
Mr. Dendinger says the yard is the best view in the house. But instead of gardening alongside his wife, he prefers to view the landscape from the large picture window in the den.
Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.