Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flags and Lanterns

Each year, around Memorial Day weekend, I start "dressing" the gardens. Here, in the Northwest, we have lots of rain through June, so I put things our gradually, depending on how well they weather the rain. One of the first pieces to go up is this flag. I made it several years ago from an old piece of corrugated metal roofing. It's weathered and peeling, and hangs of the side of the garden shed that we covered with old barn wood.
I hang lanterns here and there around the yard. At night, when I light the candles, the lanterns glow in the hidden rooms, lighting the pathways winding around the gardens. The poppies and Jupiter's Beard are blooming their wonderful scents and color now.
Several birdhouses tower above the gardens. They are attached to old branches that I use as posts. I like the graphic silhouettes they make in the twilight.
The culinary herbs are so lush. The chives, oregano, and marjoram are growing in wild confusion. The chives are so good chopped in salads, or sprinkled over any vegetable. The flowers are edible also, and are festive when added to a bowl of greens. I'll harvest more herbs to dry for winter use. I'll make some flavored oils too. Next time I'll show you how to make some of my favorite herbal oil blends.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Flowers, Reading, and Memories

Centaurea montana, also known as Mountain Bluet, or Perennial Cornflower, is a cousin to the Bachelor's Button. As you can see, it's in full bloom right now. I love their spidery petals.
They are perennial, and self seeding. They are really good at blocking out weeds. They are good as a cutting flower. They bloom well into summer. They are so easy to grow and are very hardy.
I know, this pile of wood chips isn't beautiful, but I'm so glad it's here. Our city maintenance crew goes around cutting tree branches that are causing problems for the wires. We call the city office and get on a list. When our name is at the top, they come knocking on the door asking us where we want the chips dumped. These are evergreen fir chips. I'll use them for walk ways around the garden.

Beth gave this book to me this past weekend. If you have been wondering about an organic lifestyle, read this book. It's not just about cooking, chickens, and gardening (there is a page about pigs too). It's about skin care, alternative energy, how to make your own polish for your wood floors.
A slice about everything. I've enjoyed the read. Thanks Beth!

This weekend remember all of our people who can't be with their families. Remember those who have served our country. We all have different views about the military, it's action, and how it is used in politics past and present. For right now, let's put that aside, and appreciate their willingness, and what they have given of themselves to us.
Thank you!
Enjoy, and make memories.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


All those little details. All around us. All over the house.

We have chosen items for those details. We admire the details. The details are needed to get the look of the whole. Then we get use to the details. Sometimes we stop noticing them. They just become part of the whole.
Sometimes when I'm gone for a few days, then come home, I see things anew. I see the details again.
Its all the little details that we have chosen that make our homes so unique.
No one will put the same things together the same way. No one will chose the same combination of things to with the color you have.
We are all unique. When we see each others homes and share ideas, we inspire.
Sometimes we see an idea, and add to it, to create something new. Thank you for sharing with me. You inspire me each time I see a picture of your homes and projects or read about you gardening.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Weekend Memories

I had a GREAT weekend! I hope you did too. One daughter and cousin came to visit. My youngest daughter asked one of her older sisters to come down and take her to see the Prince Caspian movie that came out this weekend. When that happens, the family in the area come home also. It's a rather festive time when a bunch of us get together. We spend lots of time just talking catching up on whats happening in each others lives in greater detail, and revisiting memories. Friday we girls hnd lunch in Portland at St. Honore Boulangeris. It's a French bakery and deli.
They make all this wonderful handcrafted bread. The aroma is fantastic! It's all made in the French manner. They even have French newspapers, for people who know French, to read.
Bread and pastries are baked in this huge brick oven. You can sit and watch them make everything.

The pastries were very tempting........but.....They have a large verity of salads and other lunch items to chose. We ate our lunch at tables outside in the bright sun. Of course, we couldn't leave without buying some bread. The girls said the bread was the size and weight of carrying a baby around.
After, we went to Anthropology's to browse. They have so much to for the senses.
I really wanted to bring this sofa home with me. The pillows would be fun too. It looks like people have already been sitting on it in our home.
A fun weekend making more memories.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Giving Neighbors

I live at the edge of a National Historical District. Many people around me live in old homes, and appreciate vintage and antique items. We all seem to have an extra period door, molding, or some architectual detail left over from a restoration project. We pass it to someone who is in need for their current project. We pass other things around also. Things that seem to belong in another home.
I tend to have a more primitive style. A neighbour of mine, Carol, has a more Victorian style. Carol knocked on my door. She was holding this roaster. She has had is pan for years and loves it. She has been going through things, she knew that "down the road" her family wouldn't want the roaster. They didn't like her few primitives. She knew I would appreciate it and would enjoy having it around.
This roaster was made for a flat top, wood burning stove. The rim of the bottom elevates the bottom of the pan, so it doesn't sit directly on the heat source. Thank you Carol!!! I will love giving this roaster a new home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What's happening in the Yard?

What's happening in the yard? I walk around several times a day, just looking. Each time I focus on something different.
Usually, the ladies will join me, clucking and talking about everything around.

The Juniper's Beard is starting to bloom. It will bloom till fall, a nice bright red.
The garden sage is about ready to bloom. Now is the time to harvest, and dry some for winter.
The Rhubarb is still producing a little.

I just put some impatiens in the front under the trees. They are always so sweet.
I transplanted 6 echinacea plants from the back. They grew from seeds dropped from older plants. They look nice and happy in the new beds in front.
Also transplanted from the back, baby lavender. I have 10 older plants in the back next to a bricked sitting area. Seeds from the lavender fall into the sand between the bricks and start growing. I'm able to harvest 8 or 10 plants each spring. Usually, I give the lavender away. This year I planted then into a boarder area in the new beds in front.
Lots of columbine in different colors growing in shaded areas. This plant grew up through the rosemary.
This year I've planted lettuce and spinach in this old wheelbarrow. There are a few rusted holes in the bottom. It makes for good drainage. I can move them around to the shade when the sun starts shining, which is this afternoon!! It looks like it's time to harvest some.
Of course, I didn't show you the unfinished projects, or the places I haven't cleaned up yet. You will get to peek at all that later. Now, I'm going to take advantage of the sun and work on some of the projects. Enjoy your garden today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vintage Lighting

I'm thinking about light, because here in Oregon, it's raining again. Although the rest of the week will be warm and sunny, maybe into the 90's. I sound like a weather report. In the Northwest we look forward to the sun breaks. Well, as I was saying, I was thinking about lights, specifically the lighting in our home. Our home is old. We have lots of windows, but the porches shade some, and the rest face north. It can be rather dark. When we moved in the ceiling fixtures were the 70's style. I shuddered at the look, it just didn't go. One by one I've been replacing them. It's hard to find affordable vintage lighting fixtures around here, so that is what I'm on the lookout for whenever I take a trip back east.
Two fixtures I've found locally, the rest have been found on vacations and have wonderful memories of times with family. This is the first one a daughter and I found in upstate New York.
It is hanging in the kitchen.
This is a worn brass fixture, hanging in the living room. The light bulbs are called swirl lights, I purchase at Hippo Hardware in Portland.
A friend found this in her basement. Everything in her house is supper modern, and thought this fixture would fit out home.

One daughter found this fixture in New York. She gave it to me for Christmas. This was a sorry looking piece, all rusted. She knew it would be something I would enjoy, and I aways love a project. A little steel wool and new sealer gave it new life.

Both of these are in bedrooms. I've tarnished them up a little. I'm looking for the "right" shades.
I love the color in this. It's a little art deco. The lighting in the bedrooms still have the pull chain to turn them on.
I love the aura these fixtures give. I'm looking for more energy efficient light bulbs that will give the same aura with these fixtures.
I have a few vintage table and floor lamps also. One floor lamp I'm working on restoring now. I'll show that to you another time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Finally Finished!

My friend found this chair on the sidewalk in her neighbourhood with a free sign in the seat. The upholstery was very worn, but the "bones" were in great shape. She started taking the old fabric off and decided it would be beyond her skill to redo the upholstery. I offered to help her, but she already decided not to keep the chair. I saved her the trouble of putting the chair on the sidewalk with a free sign, and told her I would take it home. Right away I started to recover it. My daughter's future mother-in-law was coming for a visit and I wanted it done before she arrived. I pulled ten thousand nails and staples from this chair, and nailed many more back in. I knew my hands would never be the same. I got the chair to the point of looking good from the front. I didn't think the future mother-in-law would be looking at the back of the chair since the back was next to a wall. I was getting tired of the project, and there were many other things to do. That was some time ago, longer than I care to admit to you. Finally, this week end, I could stand the gilt no longer. I pulled out that last back piece and put it on the chair. I put the dust cover on the bottom. Nailed the decorative nails. Made sure everything was pulled tight. I even made arm covers. It is Officially finished!!!
I'm happy with it.
Without that hanging over my head, I spent Sunday and Monday afternoon in the gardens weeding and transplanting. My kind of play.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lilacs Are Here

Divine! The wonderful aroma of lilacs! I wait and wait and watch for weeks as the blossom clusters develop. Then as we have a few sunny days, the buds start to grow fat. I'm thinking, just one more sunny day and they will burst open with their beauty and fragrance. Well, we had some partial sunny days, and I would think next week.......then.... more cold cloudy blossoms. Usually my lilacs bloom around Easter. They are usually gone by Mothers day. Yesterday, May 2, They finally burst open with their riot of color and heady aroma. They don't last long, but I love it while there are here!
I'm going out now to cut arm fulls to bring inside and fill the house with lilacs.
Thanks for visiting, hope you have some lilacs to enjoy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A New Page

A new month! Bright. Trees bursting in blossoms and leaves. A little breezy, bringing in the sunshine, blowing clouds away. Flowers shyly showing their faces, then more boldly showing their bright splashes of color. May is a month when I'm finishing up inside projects, and trying to find more time to be outside. I feel like I'm coming out of my cocoon, and want to flit from plant, to plant. Or maybe sit in front of the outdoor fireplace after a satisfying day working in the sun.
This page of the calender is painted with acrylic and metallic paint, then using pearlized cotton embroidery floss, I stitched leaves and French knots.
May is the time I really feel the season change. March and April are teasers, especially this year. I love them, and look forward to those months, but May is it.
Tomorrow, I'll show you the lilacs .........mmmmm!