Monday, May 30, 2011

Un Escargot, Une Demi-tasse et Roses

 I knew that I wanted to use roses for my new header...but what rose or combination of roses to use? I decided on the polyantha rose, Weeping China Doll, they were one of the first roses I planted when I really became interested in gardening. They are wonderful landscape plants, growing in a mounding, cascading form, with judicious pruning, reaching six to eight feet around and 5 to 6 feet high  The flowers are produced in trusses on long thornless stems. There is no scent, but their grace, color, and profusion of bloom makes up for it.

The following photos are cropped  from the pictures in the header. The demi-tasse cup is from my collection and was given to me by my Mother. The little cloisonne snail, I bought in the gift shop at Descanso Gardens, he is one of the few snails that I like to see at Rose Arbors. Actually, as far as snails in the garden...years ago I distributed Decollate snails and since then I have never had the more voracious and damaging brown garden snails...the resident opossums might also contribute to that!

The common brown garden snail, Helix Aspersa is not native to the Americas but to the Mediterranean. For those readers and gardeners out there I suggest a very charming and uplifting book you might enjoy, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Amy E. Henry.

Weeping China Doll is still available in the trade and can be mail ordered through many of the rose growers specializing in antique roses.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Something New

I finally decided to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. Although I have had lots of fun and some success using different editing programs like Picasa and Picnik and will continue to do so, there are just so many more things I think that I can do with Photoshop...adding textures to my pictures for one thing. So off to Costco I went...

I also couldn't resist buying this publication. I probably won't be adept enough to apply some of these features for a while, but I didn't think it would hurt to dream a little. And it comes with it's own  tutorial disk.

But the big coup is finding this excellent book at Borders. It guides you visually, step by step, through each feature in  Photoshop. I know that I am definitely a visual learner, so this should be just the help I need.

So... can you guess what I am going to be doing this weekend? If any of you have any tips, opinions, or suggestions on using Photoshop Elements you would like to share that would be great!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Le Petit Pont

This little bridge, petit pont in the rear garden leads to the gazebo; on one side is the drystream, on the other side the pond. Here it is in May covered with the wonderful rose Climbing Pinkie.

In early May I set out all the umbrellas in the seating areas. I love the splash of color that they add...what I don't love is scrubbing them down for storage at the end of the summer. But it is worth it.

Here is the view of the bridge on the pond side. In late April I put on my waders and get into the pond to dredge and clean it out. Yucky! I wish I had a couple of 'minons' like Sunny at Life in Rehab has to help me out...maybe they would like to come to California for visit.

Yes...I do have fish in the pond, at least when the raccoons and egrets leave them alone. But my favorite pond occupants are the waterlilies. Both the pond and the bridge were built by my talented husband, Raleigh, he was an excellent craftsman both with wood and stone.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Un Bain Pour Vous Madame?

A bath for you Madame? Won't you step into the salle de bain. I have prepared a lovely bathing experience for you. Music, soft lights, fluffy towels, scented soap, and some flowers for your viewing pleasure...relax, enjoy and will ease all the tensions of the day and bring you sweet dreams.

Rosa: Gourmet Popcorn

This is my attempt to do a 'white' post, it is very hard for me to get away from you can see a little crept into here. The small flowered roses are  Gourmet Popcorn, if you look closely you can see how the buds really do resemble pop-corn. the larger blooms are from the beautiful, bountiful, and dependable florabunda rose, Iceberg. I hope that you enjoyed your bathing experience at Rose Arbors.

All editing done on Picasa. Frames from Picnik

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Bookstand ~ Playing With Textures

 In a corner of my dining room sits this little bookstand, I like to keep a book open and displayed on it, right now it is Martha Stewart's Gardening Book. I change the book depending on whim and the season. A few weeks ago I took a few pictures of this corner for a link party on vintage effects, but ended up not using them. Then over the last weekend, when I should have been getting lots of things done...sewing, cleaning, gardening, getting ready for my upcoming trip, I spent a ridiculous amount of time (but it was fun!) using these photos to play around with textures and effects. This is what I came up with.

I went back into the previous photo and cropped out this picture. I think it looks amazingly like a still life from the Dutch school of painting, maybe because of the blue and white Delft china.

After taking the first pictures I decided to add some additional elements...ribbon, a bit of lace and some flowers. I found out that with soft focus on Picnik,  you can go back in and 'paint' out areas...oh my!

So this is how I wasted my time over a rainy I must be a good girl and get back to work, among other things there are weeds waiting to be pulled, dust motes under the bed, and a skirt and dress to be made. Do you find photography this addictive?

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Rose Arbors....?

Just in case anyone was curious, I thought I would share with you why I call my house Rose Arbors.

I have had a love affair with roses for many years and I like all varieties, but my favorites are antique roses: Teas, Chinas, Noisettes, and their modern equivalent, David Austin roses. Here you see a sampling  of these roses inter planted with perennials, shrubs, grasses and annuals in the 'big' border in the front of my house. Pink is the predominant color for early spring in this border but the colors become more intense in the really hot summer months when the roses go into temporary hiatus and the other plants become the focus.

As you can image, getting in here to dead-head, and weed is a real challenge and I often exit snagged, scratched, and worse for wear. But when I see these in their exuberance of bloom it makes it all worth it.

Since I am linking up to Photo Feature Friday on this post I should mention that all the editing was done on Picnik. I used the Lomo-ish effect in the third photo down and I really like it.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Les Lapins ~ Flopsy and Mopsy

Several months ago I started taking a class in pottery making. I wasn't as interested in 'throwing' pots as sculpting. One of my first projects was making rabbit finials for some of the posts in the garden. I thought it might be cute to have something more interesting than the usual wooden balls. This lead to the creation of Flopsy and Mopsy.

I don't know how many of you have experience working with clay but it is a long and frustrating process; first waiting for the object to dry properly so it won't crack, then the first firing, the glazing, and finally the second and last firing. All this while never really being able to predict how it will turn out and trying patiently to wait for your turn in the classroom kiln.

Well they are finally done and last weekend I put them atop two fence posts marking a  gravel pathway in the front garden.  Ladies and Gentleman may I present to you my two new hippity- hoppity friends...Flopsy and Mopsy!

finished and awaiting the first firing

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Un Petit Quelque Chose ~ Vintage

When Tricia at A Rosy Note announced that the theme for this week's Photo Feature Friday would be 'Vintage' I much fun this will be! And it was. It gave me the opportunity to play around again with Textures and Effects in Picnik. The trouble is that I had so much fun playing that I forgot to take note of how I arrived at this image. There are so many possibilities when using these editing tools, I have decided that next time I will have paper and pen handy.

This chandelier hangs in my dining room under a skylight...hanging a chandelier under a skylight is a bit complex structurally, but not insurmountable and it gives a lovely effect. It was purchased many years ago in an antique store while on a trip to the Mother Lode in California. It has a strong Italian influence, I think it is very pretty and brings back such nice memories of a wonderful time.


Doesn't the vintage, shabby, elegance of this photo makes this room appear like a vision out of Dicken's book Great fact out of the corner of my eye, far in the background I think I can see Miss Havisham sitting, waiting for a visit from Pip.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is Anything Easy?

Have you ever set out to do a project that you thought was going to be easy that you could almost do it in your easy that you could whip it out in just a couple of minutes...I mean really, how hard could this be!

Well, this chalkboard was supposed to be that kind of project. Ever since I remodeled my kitchen I have had this enormous, empty wall in the eating area, I really want to do a painting to put here, but I haven't had the time and I have always thought that a chalkboard would look cute in the kitchen. the barn I found this very old, decrepit mirror, my son-in-law was nice enough to remove the mirror from the frame and cut out the piece of MDF (I really need to learn how to use the jig saw). I gathered all the stuff I would need: sandpaper, stain, varnish, chalkboard paint, new brass screws, and a little brass bow to add a touch of ornamentation. Refinishing the frame went well, so I moved onto painting the board. After applying several coats of blackboard paint I left the board our to dry overnight ...who would have thought that some kind of animal would spray on it! More sanding and repainting.

Finally, with the paint dry I went to put it all together but with the pressure of inserting the board into the frame two corners of the frame came unglued; the frame was in three parts! I almost sat down and cried. But, I glued the corners back together (in the process I found out that under duress Bungie cords make excellent clamps)  and after retouching the stain and varnish, the next day I was finally able to put it all together and wonder of wonders...on the wall. I almost had a temper tantrum, and this simple little project almost got thrown into the trash but it is done now and I think that it turned out okay.

I like the way that the "black" ties in with the chandelier and the black wrought iron chairs.

                                                                    What do you think....? 

                                           Bienvenue chez moi....welcome to my home