Saturday, July 7, 2018

Perfume bottle painting ~

I had a little framed print on a wall in the bathroom, one day I looked at it and realized that it was so faded from the sun that I could hardly tell what the picture was. That's when I decided to paint a picture to replace it.

 I love perfume bottles and have a small collection which lead me to decided that a painting of a perfume bottle would be very appropriate for a lady's bathroom. So I picked one of my favorites...

First the set up and then the sketch...

 Along the way I decided to replace the single rose with a spray of the Hybrid Musk rose "Kathleen" which was blooming in my garden at the time. I thought it improved the composition.
I work very slowly, and get side tracked on other obligations and projects, from the sketch to the almost finished painting you see below took me several weeks.


finished, framed, and hung. 

 Picking out frames is always hard for me, rather like picking out wallpaper, you never really know how it is going to look until it's done. I had fretted about my decision but when I picked it up I was very happy with how it all came together. 

Now back to working on the arbor, since I have made friends with the impact driver it is going much better, the canopy which is the most difficult part, is almost complete. From paint brush to power tools is quite a switch.

I hope you have a lovely day

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy Fourth of July

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing free speech.” 

Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 25, 2018

Apples ~

The first few days of summer seem like a unusual time to be talking about apples. I associate apples with the cool seasons, but this, strange as it seems, is when my apple trees are bearing.

Over the years I have planted quite a few apple trees, both the ornamental type which only produce small fruit for birds and regular apple trees. I planted them all for aesthetic reasons - I like the way they look. The ornamental crab apple alee lining my driveway is a joy of beauty in spring when they are covered in blossoms. The fruit bearing trees are pretty in bloom too, as in the photo below. But what I really love is their structure,

This tree planted at the street-side is now heavy with ripe fruit. I noticed the other day that all of the apples on the bottom of the tree are gone, whisked away by people walking by. Sometimes people come to the door and politely ask if they can pick some. but mostly they disappear which is fine by me, I think it is nice that others enjoy them.

There is still lots of fruit near the top, maybe I should set a ladder next to the tree so that people can reach them but that would probably lead to a host of problems.

They are really quite beautiful against the early morning sky.

Applesauce anyone?

I leave you with this quote I read today.

These things I warmly wish for you:
someone to love, some work to do, a bit o' sun, a bit o' cheer
and a guardian angel always near.

from an Irish blessing.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Roses and ratings ~

The Climbing Eden rose in my garden is in full bloom. It is a bit late this year, it must have harboring its strength because now that it is in full flower it is spectacular.

Each flower is a joy - large, full petaled and the most wonderful soft pink color.

Of course they are perfect for bouquets, and very long lasting as cut flowers.

Just another wonderful, wonderful, rose!

I have decided that the quote below is perfect for my garden. Instead of worrying about my weeds I am taking a new approach. Ancient Egyptians said that: 

"A beautiful thing is never perfect".

Accepting that although my garden will never be completely weed free, or totally manicured, it can still be beautiful (at least in my eyes) makes me happy. That, and a few beautiful roses!

Maybe perfection is a bit overrated.

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A question of taste ~

This path leads mysteriously to one of my favorite places in the garden.
This area is out in the front and although I can see and hear cars go by they seem very removed - it is nicely sheltered and private, the perfect spot for some new friends.
Now I must warn you that this is not to everyone's taste and borders for many gardeners on tackiness. 

It all started when earlier in the spring I won a garden gnome at my garden class fund raiser. I have never been particularly drawn to gnomes, but he was awfully cute and once I brought him home I had to figure out what to do with him. My garden is large and small things can easily get lost... I decided to find a place where he could be featured.  This involved some type of container as I didn't want to just 'plunk' him down. Once again it was succulents to the rescue. I put him in a pot, planted it with succulent cuttings and added some ceramic mushrooms that I already had (for some reason, in my mind mushrooms and gnomes go together).

 He looked quite charming nestled in amongst the plants, but a little lonely - he needed a friend, and I decided that I needed a little Gnome Garden. Besides I always like things in threes.

So, my original gnome has been joined by two others...

...and with this little guy riding on a snail my gnome collection and my Gnome Garden is complete!

I will bring these inside for the cooler weather, when I take down all of the umbrellas. I think it will fun to have this be a seasonal thing to do. 

Like it or not, I have enjoyed doing this and I think that a bit of whimsy lends appeal. Gardens should be enjoyable in many different ways.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a bit of whimsy in your day.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The other deck ~

I always loved the idea of walking into a house and being able to look through the entry hall into french doors leading outside. When we remodeled the front bedroom turning it into a library/media room, my wish was granted.

The old closet was taken out enlarging the hallway, a new door was put in and french doors added in the other room leading to a deck outside.

Over the years much has changed and last year I had the deck restored. During the winter months I didn't pay much attention to what was going on out there and when I took a hard look at the area last week I realized it needed some attention.

The rug which I had stored was unrolled and laid down and everything was washed. It still looked bare and then I remembered a table cloth out in the storage area that I used to have in the kitchen. I put it in the washing machine not quite knowing how it would turn out, but it made it through perfectly. The design and colors really add interest. I planted three pots with succulents (I need to fill them out with more). And then...

...put together another succulent arrangement for the table. Succulents won't need much watering through the hot summer months making them fairly carefree. I don't know what there is about succulents but it is almost impossible to make a succulent planting that doesn't look good. They are so much fun to work with.

The fireplace surround (and the chandelier) was hauled home from a building site long ago, it lends a focus to the area and gives me a place for some of my decorative birdhouses.

 The garden area next to the deck, has become a bit scruffy too. I have some thoughts about what to do down here but that is for another day.

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A few things ~

This post is a bit of a muddle of some new things, finally completed projects and a suggestion.

A new thing - the Queen Anne's Lace I planted from six-packs several months ago blooming in the front border. This is only the second year I have used this plant and now I can't think of spring without it. I don't know if this is Ammi majus, or Daucus carota, both are commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace and are very similiar in appearance and growth habit I might be able to tell when I pull them out after blooming - the Daucus carota is supposed to smell like carrots; whatever, it is lovely.

Next is my big project, new arbors. Two arbors in the back garden are in very bad shape and need to be replaced, I am hoping to get them both done by the end of summer. I have started working on the first one and the most difficult part, cutting out and assembling all of the parts for the top, is almost done.
 (The look on the faces of men in the lumber department when I go in to buy lumber at Home Depot is priceless; it's like,,,what is this little lady doing.)

Then, a new needlepoint pillow. I actually finished the needlepoint part of the pillow a few months ago. It was an odd size so I had to make the pillow form to go inside, and then decide on the edging and what fabric I would use for the back of the pillow. Well, finally it is done! I am not exactly sure where I am going to put it but right now it is residing on this chair in the living room.

Now a recommendation. I have tried oodles of vitamin C serums at a variety of price points; I consider them very important for facial skin care. So far Kiehl's is the best. I have really noticed a difference since using it and I can't say that for many skin care products, in fact I liked it so well that I thought I would try the cleanser. If you are thinking about trying a new vitamin C serum you might want to try this one.

And finally, a new book on Sissinghurst. I love this garden and I thought this book would be a nice addition to my library.

 The rose,  Climbing Pinkie, lavish with bloom, beautiful, easy, almost thornless, suitable for any garden. 

I hope that you found something of interest in this post.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spring rain ~

When I woke up Saturday morning it was raining which is a crazy major thing in Southern California this time of year - especially this year which has been very dry.

Rain for a gardener is always a reason to celebrate, there is something about rain, different from irrigation, that makes the colors in the garden pop.

I picked up my camera, threw a sweatshirt over my PJs, and went outside to take some photos. 

In the potager the scarecrow keeping watch was wet and dripping, but the new strawberry plants were very happy.

I love the way the gravel areas look after it rains.

This old wheelbarrow waiting to be planted with succulents, sits under a Honeylocust tree. The chartreuse color of the tree in spring is spectacular but never more so than during the mistiness of an overcast day.

A Gravel path in the front winding through roses, salvias and the last of the nasturtiums.

And lastly, along the driveway under the newly leafed out trees, yellow lantana, a wonderful trailing variety, shines bright and sunny in the drizzle.


I am reading a book about Sissinghurst, my favorite garden. The author says that,

 "the completely overblown carefreeness was typical of the garden during the Nicholsons' day when they could not manage - not did they want- exceptional tidiness at all times." 

This was very encouraging to hear, for my own garden, as much as I try, will never be completely tidy, weed free, nor anywhere near perfection - there is always some area in need of work and I find myself obsessing over this instead of enjoying what it does have to offer. 

Thank you Vita and Harold.

And, thank you for visiting.