Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Favorite

Now that's a cottage welcome!

Nelly Moser's irresistible with her lush, exuberant growth and amazing blooms.  My smile is an ear-to-ear grin whenever I walk by.  Even if my front door still isn't farmhouse green...yet.

I'm seeing the world through my rose-colored glasses as I move through my garden. Every day brings a new treasure to enjoy., but Nelly Moser is definitely the star of the garden.  Last week there was only a single blossom promising delights to come.
Now? Oh my gosh--how many clematis blossoms can you put on one plant?

And they're HUGE. As beautiful close up as they are from the front walk.
If I was a flower fairy, I'd surely choose a clematis vine to nap in.  I'd wrap myself in one of the two-toned petals and nod off as the breezes gently rocked me.  And I'd pluck the silky seed balls each autumn to spin my winter blanket from.

Sweet garden dreams, my friends.

Wishing you joy,

Participating in these parties.  Come join me, you can never have too many flowers or too many friends!

And Show and Tell at My Romantic Home, of course!  
As well as my newly found Fresh-Cut Fridays over at Rose Vignettes!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Guideposts - Week62

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
  ~Margaret Atwood

With dirty fingernails and a newly-planted Double Delight,two peonies, and a big smile,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How To: Paint Diva Roses

Painting these roses are so stinkin' easy and fool-proof that it's practically immoral.

Supplies: Acrylic paint and some paint brushes, pretty basic and pretty simple.

Art brushes: one flat brush to paint the circular roses, one round brush for the details and leaves.

  • Flowers: two contrasting carnation pinks, one light and one medium.
  • Leaves: two contrasting greens, lime is perfect for the lighter of the two and a medium green for the darker. Think tropical.
  • Dots: White.
My plastic lid fancy pants palette is ready to go.  Ignore the metallic gold, aqua and black from a previous painting binge.  Believe it or not, this IS a clean palette for me.  Normally I have ten or more thick layers of paint crusted on.

Basecoat: I'm using soft blue for this tute, but black or white/ivory are fab and I'm dying to try a yellow-gold background soon.
Basecoat your item and let it dry. Besides the pot and wood hearts, I've also considered a bench, stool, flat picture frame, wooden box, garden art, pretty much anything flat that can be painted. You're limited only by your imagination! My brain is creating signs for a Garden Party, an arrow to the Rose Garden,  a garden quote for my jardin and a box for the TV remotes.
Grab your flat brush and some white paint, paint large and small circles randomly. Can you tell I use a pivot technique? So quick to just spin my brush around. Voila!
Let'em dry. (Why white? I always-always-always paint white first when I intend to use pink or red which cover notoriously poorly. You'll get a truer pink or red without painting multiple coats.)

Fill in between the circles with white elongated-almond shapes, some tilted one way, some tilted the other, some almost horizontal. Try to keep them random.

Using your flat brush again (I'm assuming you washed out the white paint), pivot-paint over your white circles in light pink. Don't worry if you still see some white at the edges or if you slop some pink outside the white. It'll look great, you'll see!

Pay no attention to those darker pink circles.  Pretend they are light pink too. Please?

Now use the round brush and lime green to turn the white almonds into leaves. Paint more than half the white shape lighter.  Then use the medium green to paint crescent-moon shapes on the other side.  You should have a definite bend in your leaf.  I usually (but not always) have my lighter green on top.

And yes, I did accidentally touch some wet green paint as I spun the pot around.  It happens.  No prob.
Time for the round brush and darker pink to bring your roses to life. Think sixes and nines and spirals for the centers and fill in with some curved commas around the edges.  It's fine if your lines waver, change from thick to thin or become wispy.  In fact, it's good if they do that!

You can add white polka dots and call it done at this point OR you could darken your green with a tad of black and add some definition to the edge of the green crescent like I did on the right there.

I used this terra cotta pot as an opportunity to play around a bit.  My inspiration piece had large light pink and small dark pink roses with black accents, so I experimented with both red and purple accents for my pastel version of the diva roses with limited success (at least for me, you might love'em).  My conclusion?  Keep all the roses light pink with darker rosy spirals (that's why I told you to ignore those darker pink circles earlier).

Here are three other colorways for the diva roses :
Black background with both light and dark pink roses and white dots.  Wretched photo, I know, so hard to see the colors in the glare in the morning sun.  Do not despair, my lambs, the mug photos below are filled with details enough to delight any heart.
And the fabulous white diva mug itself in with black dots and detailing.  See how yellow-green the leaves are compared to the pastel ones below?
Pastel blue like my How-To flower pot, only with black lining the leaf centers and detailing the roses.

Have fun painting,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday in My Garden

It's time for the Tuesday Garden Party--it's so nice to have something in my garden to share. And I recently discovered that The Little Round Table features delightful gardens.  So join me, spring was a long time coming this year but she was worth the wait.

My Double Delight rose continues to light up our yard. Her cool weather colors are my favorite.
The center is lighter than it would be in warmer weather. I still haven't decided where she'll be planted yet but I need to soon.

Another bearded iris has begun.  She's even prettier in person.
I love the picotee edge!  Even after jazzing up the photos in Picasa, I'm disappointed the colors aren't showing up better.  I thought photos under cloudy skies would be great.  Wrong.  And Picasa is having upload issues to Blogger.  (Or am I the only one?)  Usually they are both reliable.

My two seedling lupines from last year are blooming for the first year and I'm not disappointed in their colors.
This soft peachy pink is nice.

But this pink is the color I was hoping for--yippee-ki-yo!
I'll be seeding some more this year hoping for a deep purple and a blue in the future. What you can barely see is baby peony foliage peeking through the lupine leaves. They should be a spectacular combo someday, especially with the clematis vine directly overhead. Just thinking about it makes me giddy!

And my treasured Nelly Moser clematis has her very first bloom.  She's a springtime star.
It won't be the last one--she's loaded with buds that will welcome one and all to our front door for weeks to come. It tickles me when someone asks if they're real.

It seems every day brings new beauty to the cottage. Have I mentioned how much I love spring?


Monday, May 23, 2011

Diva Roses

Every new trend begins with an inspiration. 
Mine started with my new latte mug--a birthday gift to myself. (Tea or hot chocolate tastes twice as good in a cup that looks wonderful, I think.)
Unfortunately, the mug chipped the first time I put it in the dishwasher. I was able to exchange it for one in pristine condition (they only had three left in the store) and I only wash it by hand.  
Divas apparently require careful handling to keep them happy. Who knew?

Back in February when I decided to repaint the valentine "welcome" heart that hangs on our front porch, the roses on my diva mug became my inspiration.
I can't even begin to express how much I loved the final result.  But I'll try...love, love, love!

I heart easy. I appreciate success. I also enjoy trying out new colorways.
The weather (temporarily) turned warm and I began thinking pastel.  These colors remind me of a Cath Kidston fabric.

I liked the pastel version enough to try it again. This time a softer look--without the black.

I have the feeling that these aren't the last diva roses I'll paint!
Interested in painting your own diva roses?  You're in luck--I just posted a How To!

Lots of people more creative than me at BeColorful.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Guideposts - Week61

My work is loving the world.
~Mary Oliver

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Animals Make Me Laugh

I could watch these twenty times in a row and still laugh out loud. Because I know our dogs understand every single word we say, especially the food words.Why does Dooce always find the cutest ones first? Does she have pickers?

I could become a cat person if I had a pair like these. Or if I could find another like my college cat Steinburg.

This video is cute, but the takeoffs are hysterical. (Thanks to Jenn at Breed'em and Weep for clueing me in on this one).

Go, Animal Kingdom!

Wishing you day filled with laughter and animal cuddles,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Damp May Flowers

I don't often say that I'm happy with rain (I'm half cat), but today might be an exception. Those of us living in the rainshadow endure the winds that usually precede any storm front that's aiming at us. After three days of having my hair unsuccessfully restyled by renegade wind, I'll settle for some nice peaceful raindrops instead. Even if it does mean muddy dog paws.

From dirty dog toes to pink dogwood as you near the cottage.

Those would be peony buds in the lower right!

Bearded iris under the dogwood and birch, just enough sunlight, just enough shade.

Nearing the front door, you encounter a bit of perennial exuberance.
Oh, how I love candytuft and bluebells!

This is my "mayflower."
They're Japanese anenomes with a bit of delicate sweet woodruff nearby.  They love my dry shade and seed themselves in just the right amount.

May also brings flower drop from our cherry tree.
I swept this three times yesterday--hopeless.  But maybe it'll pay off in sweet cherries in a couple months?

My new Double Delight rose loves the cool damp weather as she awaits planting in her new home.
She's my Mother's Day present.

Every single day brings changes to our May garden:  sprouting leaves, delicate new buds, shy bits of color, sudden bursts of bloom.  I've delighted in muddy fingernails, spading compost and manure into the raised beds (I know, only a gardener would list that!), buying petunias and bareroot peonies, nurturing tomato seeds.  I love springtime.  Lots.


Linking up with the Garden Party

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Summer List: Act 1, Scene 1

I began my summer list on Sunday (even if the weather is barely springlike much less summery) while my son drove us to his soccer game. It's hard to believe that summer vacation starts for me in three and a half weeks! Yes, a mere fifteen and a half days of school remain. Not that I'm counting or anything, you understand. 

It's just that after a hundred eighty day of being ruled by inflexible school bells that don't care if I have a headache, need a potty break or have a flat tire, I kinda--just a little--look forward to setting my own schedule for a few months.

My Summer List  
Priority items are now in red! 
Garden Projects
  • Fix leak in backflow preventer (or replace),  check irrigation timer, and fix the drip system the puppy destroyed five years ago (because it would be nice to go on a trip without my poor neighbors stressing about keeping all my plants watered).
  • Raise the coop, paint, insulate, shingle the roof (who knew all 4 chickens would take up permanent residence here?)
  • Scrub algae off the pond rocks (even if it will grow back) and get larger rocks to replace the small gravel.
  • Paint the doghouse and add some cute factor (long overdue).
  • Re-seed the lawn where dog paws have ground it to bare dirt (big dog = big paws).
  • Make a new hammock sling and re-paint the metal supports (and I have a fabulous flowery aqua outdoor fabric).
  • Spray my fence art (formerly a metal welcome mat) white/off-white.
  • Paint Flick apple green and aqua ('cause the orangey yellow has got to go).
  • Create solar lights in the maple tree (saw some in Target but my sweetie sees no need for mood lighting on the patio, alas).
  • Engineer a canvas awning for the kitchen window (one that is wind-resistant, looks darling, and can fold out of the way).
  • Convince husband that we need to cut down the Japanese maple (it's huge and I'm afraid it's wrecking the roof--that's my story and I'm stickin' to it).
  • Put in drainage pipe to connect with downspout by back door (slipping on an icy walk got really old fast last winter).
  • Gutter nails(found 'em) now I need my husband to pound them in by front door.
  • Add drip irrigation to all the new plant areas (less lawn = colorful plants).
  • Find an umbrella clothesline (I like being off the grid).I found that patio chairs work just as well and the HOA can't complain about a clothesline.  There's always a way to push the envelope!
  • Redesign the compost bin (preferably so the dogs can't scavenge in it)

  • Have wood floors professionally sanded in August September and apply a better finish (tung oil? varathane?).
  • Order shutters for guest/craft room (whether TBG moves or not, it's gotta be done). At least I've got a call in to set up an appointment for them to come out and measure and estimate the cost!
  • Install a ceiling fan in guest room (although if TBG moves out, it may not be worth it).  He did move out--so a fan went on the non-priority list and the shutters moved down a few notches. 
  • Paint our front door farmhouse green (convince husband first) and attach our new kickplate (not necessarily in that order).
  • Shampoo the carpets (again).  Getting moved to the Autumn List!
  • Stop the overflow from the dishwasher.
  • New kitchen faucet.
  • Paint the laundry and powder room (might even get this finished before summer vacation starts).  Added:  HA!
  • Add molding to laundry room cabinets and paint (so glad I received a Lowe's GC).
  • Paint family room (maybe).  I decided it wasn't necessary this year!
  • Paint master bath (did you know Nice and Easy will dye walls if it splashes?).
  • Finish living room curtains (inspiration would be a help).
  • Make new family room curtains (have the main fabric, need to find a great red now for edging).
  • Look for new master bedroom drapery fabric (the original ones are now officially sun-rotted).
  • Find hooks for our new drapery rod (I'm positive I can find them at a great low price even if I haven't after two years of looking). 
  • Scrape off popcorn ceilings (I can dream).
  • Begin repainting the house exterior (at least in front where strange vertical stripes have appeared).
  • Fix drywall where the doorknob slammed into it (everyone has this prob once in a while).
  • Check/replace fluorescent starters and ballasts OR change drop ceiling to lights
  • Craft Projects
  • Bead garlands
  • K.C.'s Santa sock
  • Yellow shelf
  • Large desk, finish, photo and sell.  OK, so it wasn't the same desk I'd planned and it went to our son's new place, but it's one less desk in our garage!
  • Photo local barns
It's far from complete, but it's a start.  Without a list, I'd be lost.

I've learned that summer doesn't last forever. If it did, I probably wouldn't get any home improvement projects finished.  Procrastination is my middle name!  How'd you know?


Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Guideposts--Week60

The true traveler is she who goes on foot, and even then, she sits down a lot of the time.

I'm still challenged on getting more walking into my daily life, but this reminded me to enjoy life in all its aspects.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Spring Robin's Nest

The wreath on the front door of Meadowsweet Cottage is sporting a stylish nest!
Come get a closer look.
It's okay, you don't have to be careful about scaring away the momma bird.  

I'm the momma that made this little nest.
Hey, if a bird can do it so can I.

Come join more fun at My Romantic Home's Friday Show and Tell!