Sunday, July 6, 2014

This Week in the Gardens

I read some good advice on a gardening  blog (can't remember where or I'd happily give credit)- every morning go out in your gardens and just admire the show - no weeding,  no "I should move that plant",  no "what WAS I thinking?":  nothing negative, just bask in the beauty.  I've been doing that and it's a pleasure to just appreciate - colors, textures, flowers without feeling compelled to fix something.  

On one of my coffee-in-hand morning garden tours I realized that this advice is good for life in general - look for the beauty and goodness and ignore the rest.   Appreciating the things that work and make us happy are probably a better view.  This stamp sums it up:

Kraft paper background with swipes of gesso, washi tape, dictionary page strip and Distreess Ink stamped canvas garland.  The circles are the ones I made based on my lurking on the Documented Life Project site- so fun!

This is my judgement-free garden tour of the week:

There - no weeding, no pressure, no misgivings- just enjoying the view.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Finally Made Some Art!

It's been some time since I've spent much time in my studio.   I've been gardening like a crazy person, and while I do think that's a creative outlet, it's not like paper, ink and stamps.

I made this for  Carpenter Son's birthday, using a piece of wood he had sent as protection for some other gift.   I love using wood as a substrate - you can bang it up, nail things right into it , and it takes color well.

I had some trouble getting the background color in this - fiddled with some brown, white and green until I succeeded in making mud!   It needed serious lightening up, so I stenciled the numbers and letters with white gesso, then dry brushed on some cream paint.

I found the old train schedule from his home town at Nancy Dole's Used Books and Ephemera in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.  She has a small shop filled with beautiful old books and all manner of ephemera from the area. 

This is an old family photo of his Papa driving a steam shovel, probably in the 30s.  The smile of recognition at this photo was priceless.

I added a piece of old ruler to honor his carpentry skills.

One of the fun things about using wood is that I could pound these old gears right into it.   

Love this canvas resist clock piece.   The 73 is significant - the year CS was born and the year I turned 10.  How else could it be possible for him to be as old as he is?

It felt so good to be making something again!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Estate Sale House-Gawking (and Some Buying)

Half the fun of estate sales is the estate.  How often do you get to do sanctioned snooping around gorgeous old homes?   Today's sale was in Cape Neddick, Maine, well within what locals call Maine's "Volvo Belt".   The VB spans the southern coast,  the place of grand ocean vistas,  beautiful homes, and people with plenty of disposable income.  There are great spots on the northern coast {or in some perverse bit of old New England geography-humor, "down east"},  but not quite so many grand homes or wads of cash.

I like estate sales run by professionals.  In our area, the sale runs Friday through Sunday.  The way they work it is that on Friday prices are firm, Saturday's negotiable and Sunday, most reasonable offers accepted.  There are reasons to go every day - Friday obviously offers first dibs on stuff, Saturday is for dickering if there's something you really want but not at the listed price, and Sunday is for "what the heck, let's see what's left".

I snapped a few pictures while no one was looking.  You can check it out in it's pre-sale glory on this real-estate video tour here.   No word on the sale price, but quotes were between 1.2 and 1.9 million.

  That's a small fireplace in the kitchen wall.

One of the back decks.

Window seat, second floor balcony.

The neighborhood wasn't too shabby either:

Much of the furniture was already sold or not for sale, but there were lots of small treasures.   Here are mine:

I try not to wash too many dishes by hand, so never planned to use this dish drainer for its original purpose.  I first thought I'd use it as a planter in the garden, but then decided to use it on the counter  for fruit.  Not sure if I'll keep the silverware piece on it, but for now works for lemons and limes.

Maybe you noticed this antique scale in the video.    It was my priciest purchase at $30.00, but I saw it on eBay for lots more.   

I'd love to use it outside as a plant hanger, but not sure it would do well in the rain.  It looks so cute!

A couple of festive tea towels.

I've been wanting one of these glass containers - perfect for an elderflower spritzer I plan to make for summer company.

And a huge enamel roaster.

 Gorgeous house, great finds and a new neighborhood to explore - win, win, and win.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review - Plant This! by Ketzel Levine

I love books about gardening and when I came across this at our favorite  book store, The Book and Bar in Portsmouth, NH, I knew it needed a home next to all my other gardening books.

What sold me is the hysterical sidebar for each plant.  One of my garden stores uses Latin names only- not in a snooty way, just in that way that experts in their field talk their secret lingo.  My high school Latin is not always up to the task so  I can fumble with the pronunciation.  Enter the "sounds like section" in the side bar, right under the botanical name.   So  Polygonatum odoratum  sounds like "a pig done ate 'em".   When was the last time you read a gardening book that made you laugh? ( I have some that have me sleeping by page 4).

There are beautiful illustrations by Rene Eisenbart- really more artsy than for plant identification .

Ms Levine is an NPR senior corespondent who took her first job outside radio at the National Arboretum for $7.00/ hr, in what she describes as a "lateral move from public broadcasting".   She writes like someone who loves her subject and has strong opinions about what she likes and dislikes - my kind of gal.

This is a book about her 100 favorite plants, grouped by season.  She clearly likes foliage plants  and shrubs , but I found myself wishing for more flowering plant recommendations.   Lucky her - she gardens in the moderate Pacific Northwest, so many of her selections wouldn't do well here in fierce New England winters.   I wish she had included a zone recommendation in the sidebar, but that's being nit-picky.

I got a great tip to try for containing gooseneck loosestrife (oops, I mean Lysimachia clethroides).  I love this plant, but is it , to put it mildly, an aggressive spreader.  I'm going to transplant some into my new garden space, confined in a buried one gallon pot.

This is just a fun read, not an encyclopedic all-there-is-to-know gardening book. You read it for lines like this: " I am nuts about plants with perfoliate leaves.  Yes, I am a cheap date".  Then she goes on to explain just what perfoliate leaves are - good to know for dazzling my Latin-speaking garden store clerks.   And here's another,  " If Lychins were a woman, she's be the type Seinfeld would date for her figure;  then once she opened her mouth,  he'd run screaming from the room".

And she gives us this great quote from JC Raulston, "You're not stretching yourself as a gardener if you're not killing plants".

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thrifted Goodies

It's been a while since I shared some second-hand treasures.   I am an equal-opportunity thrifter - estate sales, yard  sales thrift stores - I shop them all.

First up, some art supplies.  I love finding these bargains.  

Blank cards, doilies, metal word tags, storage boxes, and graph paper - great stuff.

This custom  map puzzle was the find of the day.  Look at those fantastic little map bits!

I've already used this stamp cube several times - great for backgrounds.

I have no idea what I'll use this for but for 99 cents why would I leave it behind?

I found this sweet little bench at a yard sale.  Added bonus- the seat lifts for storage!   I'll be refinishing this  - stay tuned!

I'm always on the look out for things for Siobhan - love these embroidered linen pants.  Dug around and found a cute top that matches.

Finding nice tops for little girls is a challenge, so I was happy to snag this one.

What would a retail event be without shoes?   These are really yellow, not the lime green they appear to be.  Yes, I do buy thrifted shoes, but remember, we draw the line here:


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