Saturday, May 14, 2016

Spring 2016

The Dusty Victorian, Spring 2016
Gardening is hard work. It's hard on the back, the hands and the knees. Why do I summit myself to such abuse? Because the rewards are so easy on the eyes, it's therapy, meditation and it heals my soul.

Here is my reward for last autumn's hard work.

Now for the work that will reward me later. For Mother's Day, instead of flowers, I asked Brian and Astrid to get me plants that will reward us long term. We've had so much success with our raspberry hedge that I wanted another fruit-bearing bush. I chose this jostaberry, which is a cross between a black currant and a gooseberry. I will let you know how that turns out.

I also received a wonderful variety to plant in my kitchen garden: tomatoes, herbs,
broccoli, beans and peppers.

My kitchen garden patch is ready to go.
Happy planting, everyone.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Paper Peony Tutorial - Happy Easter!

Although peonies are not a spring flower, they are one of my favourites with their abundant show of petals and lemony sweet scent. With Easter coming soon, I made these paper peonies using paper stock from an old art book. The books I use for crafts are damaged library discards or old vintage books a step away from the recycling bin, but any recycled paper will do.
This easy tutorial is only a guideline, your own personal choices for sizes and shapes of petals are strongly encouraged.

You will need: Paper stock, Wire, Ribbon, Glue Gun, Scissors

*Cut 5 different sizes of petals with different scallops at the tips + a 6th (optional) one that is smaller for finishing off the part under the flower. Each size of petals should be repeated 6 times. You might not use all 6, but have them ready in case you do.
*Cut a band of paper and fringe it to form the stamens.

Shape a little loop at one end of the wire, put a drop of glue on it and wrap the band of stamens around the end of the wire. Add a drop of glue every so often as you go along.

Using one blade of your scissors, curl the tip of each petals.

Cut the petal down the centre approximately half way, put a drop of glue and over lap the two corners to form a dart.

This will create a gentle curve and give your flower a natural appearance.Repeat this process to all your petals. 

Starting with the smallest petals (#1), glue each one around the stamen making sure
to slightly overlap them.

Repeat the same process with petals #2 to #5.

This is what the underside of your flower should look like.

Optional - Add petals #6, glued so they curve in the opposite direction.

This is what it should look like. If you use these flowers for a wreath, I would skip the last step as these petals would serve no aesthetic purposes and would only be a nuisance.

Finish it off by tying a knot around the wire using a piece of ribbon and glue it in place. 

Voila! This flower ended up measuring 7" across.

For this flower, I used images of portrait paintings.

This one has images of the virgin Mary.

In this example, I used a combination of both images and text,

and for this flower, I selected images depicting 18th century notables.

With pointy and narrow petals all curled inwards, this flower resembled a chrysanthemum.

Wishing you a lovely Easter celebration and a flowery springtime.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year - 2016, Year of the Monkey

Patrick, a dear friend of mine celebrated his 50th birthday on February 2nd. A dinner party for 15 people was organized and hosted in the home of the sweetest, most gracious and generous couple, Frances and Bob. When we asked what could we contribute, decorations was the answer. Knowing very well that our friend puts his heart and soul in decorating his house when he's the host, we thought "no monkeying around".
The birthday boy is Chinese-Canadian, and the Chinese New Year was around the corner so we went 'Chinoiserie' all the way.

Reusing some of my older lanterns, I refreshed them with some cherry blossom designs.

A garland of origami cranes was made by my daughter.

Different types of fabrics cut in circles to represent the new moon were sewn together to create more garlands.

The same organza fabric was used to dress up tea lights.

 And for the table, I made this arrangement using a long rectangular bread basket, bamboo canes and a black teapot.

The little lanterns hanging from the bamboo cane were also handmade using glossy paper from old magazines.

My black teapot came in very handy nestled in the middle. The flowers were added later on the day before the dinner party.

I designed some wind catchers, one of a monkey and one of a horse. My friend is a horse in the Chinese horoscope.

We set up everything the day before.

The final touches were 50 little origami horses made by Astrid and placed all over the tables and around the dining room.

We had the most delicious meal with perfect wine and shared the loveliest time amongst friends.