Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Winter Blooms to Chase the Blues

Paper whites
Though this winter is not nearly as cold as last, I made sure that I would have some greenery and blooms throughout the 'dreaded season', starting with some delicate and fragrant paper whites.

 They were started a week before Christmas in a variety of glass vases.

 To my surprise, they grew tall and strong - three feet in some cases.

 They were in full bloom by New Year's Eve, providing a fresh and fragrant display for my mantle.

I also started two amaryllis bulbs, one red and one apple blossom. These took more time to bloom, but were well worth the wait.

The red one was the first to bloom. No fragrance to speak of, but the terrific display more than made up for it.

Around the same time, I was offered some forced bulbs: narcissus, tulips, muscari and hyacinth (which were out like a shot).

Little muscari.

 The perfume of the hyacinth filled the library.

 Then the two-tone amaryllis came out.

 Here we are, all together as I'm writing this post. My 'feel good' corner.

But I have another 'feel good' area. This one is in my studio window. Brian bought me two gorgeous cymbidium orchid plants for my birthday. I need some beautiful ceramic planters to put them in.

Orchid flowers last two to three months so they will carry me well into spring.

And then there's my upstairs 'feel good' corner at the end of the hall. My azaleas topiary which spends summer outside, does well inside at that window. This shot was taken last year.

This year again. By the end of February it will be covered in red blooms.
If you're like me and have difficulty getting through winter, I've found that recreating nature indoors really helps.

This post is dedicated my little Violet, my shadow, my sweet and sassy show-off.
I miss you terribly.

2006 - 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Falling Stars and Snowflakes - Last DIY Project of 2014

I'm able to slip in one last DIY project for the year - something you might find 
appropriate for your New Year's Eve celebration. 

I live in an area supplied by hard water so I absolutely need softening laundry products or our clothes and towels end up looking and feeling like burlap. I hate buying disposable items, especially if these items are clean and smell good after being used, but I've found a way to re-use my dryer sheets. As you might know by now, I like to re-use or repurpose as much as I can to reduce my footprint.

 
The used dryer sheets still have traces of scented wax, which are very useful to stiffen paper snowflakes. I sandwich the snowflake between two used dryer sheets and...

press them with a warm iron. A low heat setting is all you need, you want to melt the wax not the fabric. The wax will absorb in the paper snowflake making it slightly darker in appearance and fragrant as a bonus.
In some instances I had to move the snowflake around the sheets to catch all the wax.

 When your snowflake has absorbed the wax, let it cool and gently peel the top and bottom sheets from the snowflake.

 You are left with a firm snowflake that can be hung without drooping.

 You are also left with freshly ironed dryer sheets, which can be used for another project.

 I then take star-shaped cookie cutters and trace them on the stack of dryer sheets. Any simple and easily identifiable shapes could be used, depending on the occasion. 

 Next, I cut the shapes. In the case of the stars, I shortened the points to make sure they don't flop downwards when hung.

I then sew them together leaving spaces between each star. I found that a short stitch works best. I ended with a long strand of stars which I cut to different lengths. 
The round moon-like paper discs garland, the delicate snowflakes along with the transparent stars give the display an ethereal astral theme, appropriate for a midnight event when the ball drops.


A Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to All!
It's always a pleasure exchanging a few words with my dear blogging friends.
I look forward to more exchanges in 2015.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Headdress 2014 - The Countess' New Tiara


Here we are, the Countess' headdress is done. She would often talk in tears about her priceless diamond tiara lost (along with her head) during the French Revolution. So I made her a new one. She is thrilled. Click on the link that follows to know more about my oldest friend Poppy, aka The Countess Papera Ephemera.

 Except for the natural evergreen tree branches, all the elements used to make the gown and the headdress were from reused and recycled materials.
Behind the scenes, making the headdress
Behind the scenes, making the Christmas tree gown.
Special thank you to Chet Greason for the old hymn books.

 Now I have to clean-up this messy studio so I can start a new portrait commission. 
Follow my progress during the holidays at Studio Vignette.

 WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST AND LOVELIEST HOLIDAY SEASON
Don't forget your local animal shelter.