Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blue Mystique Orchids - Sorta Hideous

Blue Orchids

Am I the only one to be shocked by the electric blue Phalaenopsis Orchids that have been popping up at garden centers? Though I do love blue flowers, there is something eerie if not hideous about these bluer than blue blooms. 

It's kind of like when you pass an accident on the highway and you have to slow down for a look-see even if you realize that what you are looking at is something that you should not. Some horror that will hunker down in your consciousness for the rest of your life, creeping to the surface at unexpected moments.

 

Blue Mystique has created a product that is not a hybridized plant, nor has it been painted with color. While the process is top secret, I imagine that it has to do with the plant sucking up some blue fluid shortly before the blooming period. Blue Mystique will eventually return to it's natural white color but the blue supposedly returns for 2 - 3 bloom cycles. 

Okay. Maybe for a little fun. Maybe for a blue themed party or (heaven forbid) wedding. Maybe your dear auntie loves the color blue and the plant would make a fun gift to use as an accent in her mostly blue home. Maybe if you need a gift for someone you hate. But if you really want to purchase an orchid for someone and you are not sure of the perfect color, why not go with white. White goes with blue. White goes with everything. 

It's not that I have anything against blue. My shutters are blue. The sky is blue. The ocean is, at times, blue. I wear blue shirts. I love the song "Blue Suede Shoes." And it's none of my business what other people enjoy, color-wise, in plants or any other venue. I am certainly no plant snob. I don't have the education, the wisdom, or the skill to boast any kind of plant elitism. But I can't help but think that I am not the only one to find these wild blue orchids anything but ugly. Maybe that's what really offends me, the fact that I find a flowering plant to be so awful. 

I love plants and flowers of every ilk. Except these monstrosities. I find myself turning away from them. I was afraid someone would catch me taking the photograph of the bloom produced by a top secret process like I was a plant spy.  I am embarrassed to be caught near them. Sorry, blue orchid lovers, but this one makes me gag.

Friday, November 2, 2012

19th Century Landscape Painting Found in the Attic

Old landscape painting by Alfred Cookman Leach


We all have our favorite old things, old dishware, silverware, old paintings. I have always loved 19th century landscape paintings, perhaps I've been looking at the one on the right for over 50 years. 

The painting features a man herding sheep on a cold, wintery day and was painted by Alfred Cookman Leach, a descendant of John Penn (a signer of the Declaration of Independence). Alfred Cookman Leach was an architect who had a hand in the design of Baltimore, Maryland's Revolutionary Monument in Mount Royal Plaza. He also designed a home at the north east corner of Saint Paul Street and 31st Street in Baltimore. 

The painting is signed, "C Leach."

I remember, when I was young, my mother and I laughing at magazine articles that featured beautiful old things that people found in their attics or basements. How could that be, it sounded ridiculous. Yet my home is filled with the artifacts of my ancestors. Nearly everything in my living room once belonged to a dead person. 

Alfred Cookman Leach on the Right
The old things are beautiful, yet are significant with memory. The old trunk, the furniture, the chairs, and books were handled by people that I never met. I touch the things my ancestors touched. I feel the gentle spirit of Alfred. I can see what Alfred wanted people to see, how he saw things and interpreted things. I never met Alfred, yet here is a representation of him here with  me always, remembered in a way that I imagine he would want to be remembered with fondness as I sit in my kitchen trying to paint landscapes that just look old, that remind me of a man long gone.

(For more on this painting and Alfred Cookman Leach, you can read my story by clicking this link)


Friday, September 28, 2012

Garden Art - Make it Personal


Savannah Bird Girl in my garden


After spending some years working on my garden by adding and rearranging plants, I decided to amp things up a bit by introducing some art. Sculpture, attractive stepping stones, amusing junk displays, and other man made items personalize your garden by creating a space that reflects your interests. 

My first little statue, found in a catalog, was a replica of the Savannah Bird Girl that was featured on the cover of one of my all time favorite books, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt 1994). So maybe the famous Bird Girl no longer graces Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery, but a smaller version stands in my yard, a testament to my love for birds and novels.



Glass Flower









But not all garden art costs money. Or at least some garden art can be had for very little. Myfriend, Leola, has created some adorable glass flowers from cups and saucers, bowls, and candle holders that she picks up at thrift shops. When the real flowers start to fade, these glass flowers hold the spirit, catch and reflect sunlight, and are just plain pretty.

I like to place certain items inside shrubs, or under trees, almost hidden from view to add a whimsical surprise. I found a ceramic doll head at a thrift store and just knew she would wind up tucked between some evergreen boughs. She reminds me of a faerie peeking out of the greenery, an elvish face studying on passersby. I figured that few would even notice her, which somehow made her more interesting to me. Well, someone did notice her. They stole her away. I wonder where she is now and hope she found a good home. She'd become a bit weathered and her hair had gone ratty. I still miss her and am glad that I took a photograph.


Garden Art - Doll Head
A young friend of mine made this A young friend of mine made this attractive piece from salvaged bathroom tiles, rebar, and chain. The piece hangs on the edge of the garden, sometimes obscured by plants, but revealed when the growing season passes and in Spring when this picture was taken.

Garden Art made of salvaged material






I'm not sure if you can see this but the books in the bike basket below is spewing water. If you look at the right side of the book pile, you may notice water dribbling down. Now, I hate the idea of ruining books but this is one original idea!








I love how this looks like plants growing in a pot. Actually, the pot, one that I loved, a gift from my mother, broke in half. I could not part with it, so upended it in the soil to mimic a standing container. The plants are growing in the ground, but seem to burst out of a container that is much too small. I like containers but hate the constant watering. Using salvaged material is a great way to add interest and a bit of humor into a garden design.


Container that is not a container



I would not want to use this lovely mosaic stepping stone to actually step on, so have set it on the edge of a garden. Mosaics like these are simple to make using concrete and broken tiles. Craft stores offer kits that you can try out to see if you enjoy creating your own unique stepping stone. It's best to bring them indoors for winter storage.



Mosaic Stepping Stone


Upended bottles used to edge gardens, hanging unusual objects from tree limbs, incorporating architectural salvage as an art form - you can create a personal space in your own back yard. You can add one or two art objects, or go wild and turn the place into one whole art piece. And when you think to yourself, that there is no place like home, you will be right. 


























Friday, September 7, 2012

Collections - The Sentimental Value of Children's Books




Somehow, I accidentally own a collection of old children's books. Some were mine when I was a child; others given as gifts. 

Some are in poor condition and some are nearly pristine. 





The collection is not an investment, nor am I a collector who appreciates the value of old books. These are sentimental items. I love the illustrations and graphics, the adventure, and the old fashioned values. I appreciate how we've changed and old stereotypes seem far-fetched and absurd.






 

Often, children are drawn into the habit of reading by series books. For me, it was the Bobbsey Twins. This old copy of The Bobbsey Twins: Merry Days Indoor and Out by Laura Lee Hope (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1904) offers a view of a bygone era when people rode in horse drawn sleighs and happy children yelled things like, "Hurrah!"

If you are not familiar with the Bobbsey Twins, they were two sets of fraternal twins with Nan and Bert the elder set, both sensible and adventurous; and Flossie and Freddie the younger, a bit silly and wild. 

As I paged through the book, I found one page featuring Dinah, the African American cook who ran the house and assisted in all aspects of the lives of the famous twins:

"Well I declare to gracious!" she exclaimed. "If yo chillun ain't gone an' mussed up de floah a'gin!"

"Bert broke my boiler," said Freddie and began to cry. One must wonder - where is Mrs. Bobbsey and what is she doing? What the heck is a boiler and why is a kid playing with a boiler? And how 'bout dem eubonics?

The Bobbsey Twins at Home, circa 1916, is filled with chestnut hunting orphans, a staged train hold up for the "moving pictures, children lost in lumber yards (where they like to play), and grown-ups leaving 5 year olds to tend boiling sugar. Times were different then.

I remember reading an old Hardy Boys book to the boys where folks are shocked by the sudden appearance of a woman wearing pants. Villains  were swarthy foreigners, and all the brats were red haired boys. The boys got a kick out of the way life was presented in the past. It gave them a little window into history, the way people looked at the world. Sometimes it was a wonderful world, where kids ran wild with a freedom most kids just don't experience today. Sometimes it was ridiculous.

I hold these books with tenderness. Many of the original owners of these old books are long dead, children who took these books to bed at night, or read them on the porch on a summer afternoon. Some of these books could not stand up to another read. They have cracked spines. They've been read to death. They've been loved.

Old children's books can be found for next to nothing at yard sales and thrift shops. They may be found in your grandmother's attic, or tucked away in a forgotten corner of your own home. They can be found in the way that you live as you suddenly find your favorite hobby or interest presented in one of these old stories. They can be found in your dreams. They live in your heart.






Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Unique and Affordable Handcrafted Gifts

Gift giving is so much fun, especially when you can find something that is both unique and affordable. Unfortunately, these two aspects do not often coincide. But I found some beautiful and affordable gifts created by a local artist at Baltimore's 2012 ArtScape. 

I wandered into JennyJen's booth to check out her handcrafted items. Her bird themed creations are adorable, whimsical fabric crafts guaranteed to make any gift recipient smile. Of course she offered more expensive and elaborate items as well. 

The quilted designs of her potholders feature her locally famous birdy-birds appliqued on vintage style fabrics. They would made lovely hostess gifts, housewarming gifts, or something special for a bridal shower. 

I bought a little zippered bag, handy for travel or just keeping stuff in. And if I really wanted to be cheep-cheep, she was selling birdy-bird iron on patches to decorate clothing, back-packs or just about anything. 

You can check out Jen's designs by clicking here

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hutch Display for Collections


Keeping the same objects in the same place in your home for a long period of time renders those items invisible. Favorite pictures and decorative items seem to disappear into familiarity. Thinking of this and looking at my hutch that held the same old antique glassware for seven months, I decided it was time for a change. 

Usually, I like to introduce floral, pinks and green dishware for Spring; blue and white for Summer, and woodsy themes in green and brown for Fall. Now it's time for something new. 


 


Why not display an unusual collection of organic objects, interspersed with old metal, glass bottles, and a few candles for a bit of variety! I like to decorate my living room like a personal mini-museum, like a Victorian cabinet of curiosities. It  makes sense to group these objects together. 

I walked around the house with a box, filling it with shells, coral rock, antlers, a handmade wooden spoon (made from my dead Japanese maple tree), shoe lasts, artisan tile, a bottle brush bear from the Adirondacks, the thrown out spigot handle from the historic home of someone I admire; and a few fossils that I found at Calvert Cliffs. Arranging the items was fun. The hutch now has a whole new look, with unique items gathered over the years. 

Every piece has a story behind it - the twig frame with my favorite camp-site view; a few old bottles that I found in a woods; a block of wood picked up on a beach; a little iron bird from my annual trip to Pennsylvania; a rock my son brought home from a beach in Denmark. The ice tongs are left over from the ice-box days, used to tote large chunks of ice. I found them in my grandfather's basement when he was downsizing. It's funny the things that people keep.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Headboard Does Not Match Bedframe


Finding that special old headboard can be troublesome when the headboard does not match the frame. But you can do this. It's quite simple.

For years, I had been searching for the headboard of my dreams - an old or faux antique steel headboard like you see in hospital wards in old movies. Not that I was actually going for that 1925 hospital ward look.

The obstacles were finding a headboard that fit below the the slanted attic walls of my bedroom, and finding a headboard on the cheap. Twenty-five dollars at Good Will worked for me. Stupidly, I did not bring home the footboard and side frames that would have held the whole thing together. I just don't like footboards. They get in the way when you make the bed and interrupt the little space we have. Plus, you can't sit on the bottom of the bed. But it would have made so much more sense!

The headboard was originally white with smears of red fingernail polish. I sanded it and spray painted it satin black. Two cans of spray paint left me with a little bit for future touch-ups. 



I had the idea of just attaching the headboard to the wall but my husband did not go for that idea. He simply bought a titanium drill bit and drilled holes through the 2 perpendicular metal pieces of the frame and headboard as you can see in the picture on the right.


It all seemed a bit wobbly so he attached the bottom horizontal bar of the headboard to the bed frame with glavanized tab tape, available in the plumbing section of your local hardware store. The tape stabilized the headboard.



Now I have the bed of my dreams. I covered two pillows with old grain sacks to add to the rustic romance of the bedroom.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cute Container for Homemade Soap

Homemade soap in painted berry baskets


There are so many ways to present soap as a gift. I love to look at some of the pretty wrappings I see in shops that sell handcrafted soap. 

But I prefer the soap to show instead of covering it with even the most attractive paper. Exposure to air hardens the product so that it will last longer in the shower. 



Then I found these old wood berry boxes at Carson's in the Cornfields (PA). I thought they would be nice for the homemade jams I like to give as gifts. I usually pick the fruit myself and think the boxes make an amusing container. The boxes looked a bit yucky, so I painted them with a wash of acrylic paint and water. 





I became so enamored of the berry boxes, I decided to use them for my homemade soap as well. I like the old farmhouse look and even save some of those pressed paper berry boxes for next Christmas. 

Adding a bit of tissue paper softens the edges. But lining the boxes with these hand knit wash cloths is not only appropriate, but looks pretty too.

Latest Batch of Homemade Soap

Homemade soap



For my latest batch of homemade soap, I thought that I'd do something different. It's so easy to fall into the rut of sticking to proven winners, the ones that people request, or my own favorites. Of course, my favorites are the soaps I make with inexpensive essential oils. Occasionally, I splurge on patchouli or lavender for Christmas gift giving. 



Wintergreen, peppermint, and a splash of eucalyptus make a refreshing blend of scents. I wanted a deep green color so I added some green French clay and some kelp granules. I can't wait to try it! The soap needs to cure for at least one month. Meanwhile my bedroom, where I store it, smells wonderful.


Homemade soap



Though I usually like to experiment with color, I thought I'd leave this batch (below) alone and see how it looked without additional colors. Two ounces of anise give this soap a wonderful licorice scent. Up close in person, the soap is a bit whiter than it looks on here.




Homemade soap


For detailed instructions on how to make homemade soap, read my hub on how to make soap with Crisco by clicking here




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Garden Arch Adds a Touch Of Mystery








I have become interested in garden arches lately and love how they set off a yard, dividing it from the rest of the world. You step through that arch into another reality. The one pictured above seem so mysterious


Just as I was thinking that, and had stepped out on the sidewalk, here comes a man through the arch as if summoned up by my very thought. 

At first, I heard a jingling sound. Looking up, I spotted a man who appeared to be a shaman. Wearing a long loose fitting jacket and trousers of mystery brown, printed with a metallic bronze, he came carrying a large bag,and a staff from which hung various objects, including jingle bells. His hat was rounded and conical, and he jingled as he walked, moving off to the right. He was very clean and neat, clean shaven, and the cloth of his costume appeared to be polished cotton, pressed and gleaming in the sunlight.

The little child who was with me took a terrible fright and scampered toward the safety of my husband's arms. I wondered, at first, why a child who is interested in and amused by everything should take such fright at such a fascinating gentleman. Perhaps, he really was a shaman, or a sorcerer, witch doctor, whatever you want to call him. 

Where was he going, or coming from, with such jingling, with such a purposeful stride?  I thought of him as Jingle Man and could not help but believe, despite the fear of my young darling, that he was on some mission of mercy. Maybe it was his strange power, or costume that frightened her. Maybe I should have stopped him and asked for his business card. We can all use a shaman once in awhile.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Simple Blue Garden Arch


I love my backyard garden and am always looking for ways to add an inexpensive special touch. An arch placed at the entrance seemed like a good idea to create the feeling of entering a room. You walk into the garden and leave your troubles at the door, moving into an area of serenity and relaxation.

Of course, I wanted to keep it simple and budget friendly. I purchased two ten foot 4 X 4s to use as side posts and two 2 X 8s for the top. Using a piece of stiff paper, I outlined a quick cutting guide, a simple curve, which I traced at each end of of the top cross beams. Then, using a jig saw, I cut the pieces.

I chose a cobalt blue stain because I find the combination of blue and the greens of garden foliage to be quite inviting. I stained the wood before securing it with screws. 

My sons helped me to set up the arch. First, I dug two deep holes. We sunk the side pieces into a combination of rocks and cement. 

I was very satisfied with the project. Then, on a trip to the National Arboretum in Washington DC, I spotted an arch that was quite similar and stained the same shade of blue! I love public gardens and often draw inspiration from visits to places like the National Arboretum as well as our local Cylburn Arboretum. Somehow, this time, I was one step ahead. Suddenly, I was no longer merely satisfied with my garden project, I was thrilled!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Portraits in Cheese

As an amature artist, I have struggled with painting or drawing the human face. Of course, I could attend art classes and learn how to do it right, but sometimes when the muse strikes, you just have to make do. 

I felt a pressing need to portray myself, as well as create a portrait of my handsome youngest son. All we had on hand at the time (this was at a party) were red napkins and that so called cheese that comes in a sort of spray can. Spray cheese, actually called Easy Cheese makes for a wonderful art medium.



            Here are the results of using this unique  method combined with the use of original art materials. It may seem like a waste of  food, but I don't think of spray cheese as actual food. In fact, there are probably few ingredients that qualify as what a  normal person would think of as food.

           The portrait of my son was so well   received that he used it for his Facebook avatar!   
















And there am I, in cheese looking a lot like a self portrait I drew when I was about 12. Only then I used a pencil. 

Taking Pictures - It's All In the Light


Ever since I got my new digital camera, an inexpensive Canon Power Shot A490, I've been taking pictures like a madwoman. Or a photographer. Every once in awhile, when I wonder how those professionals get such gorgeous shots, I remember that they not only have a skill honed by years of education and experience, and a high quality camera. And they take a gazillion pictures of one thing. 

Not that I'm not taking way too many photographs, but digital cameras are great for that - take tons of photos, sooner or later, you're bound to get one right!

There are, however, some occasions when you just know the photograph will look wonderful, when you know that you will get it right. Of course we all know that taking pictures midday washes out color and flattens the look of a photograph. And that it's best to have the sun behind your shoulder - in which case you have to watch so you don't wind up with a beautiful photograph marred by a silhouette of yourself. 

But there is that special light that comes before a storm, in late afternoon. The sky is partly cloudy, a heavy blanket of gray hoovers overhead, but the sun slants in from the edges. Run and get your camera! Now you may think, well of course the picture above is pretty - a pastoral sight, trees, blah blah blah. But in that slanted light, even the dullest landscape comes alive and the most ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wedding Flowers - DIY Bouquets and Arrangements




Weddings are wonderful but can be very expensive. You can save money on a wedding by doing your own flowers. Most of the cost of having professionally arranged flowers is in the labor. Now, I certainly don't want to dismiss the floral industry. Professionals can really create fabulous floral arrangements and wedding bouquets. But, when you are pinching pennies, you just have to get a bit creative. 
There I am, old Dolores, fixing up a large combination of flowers in a rustic old bucket. This was an outdoor wedding, so we used all kinds of containers, from old buckets to mason jars. I went heavy on the filler flowers for a fluffy, natural look, adding solidago, Bells of Ireland,  and snap dragons.

The bridesmaid bouquets on the left were simply created with large hydrangeas. Then we added ranunculus for the splash of orange that our bride so loved. The bridal bouquet, you can see at the back, was made of all orange roses with looped ribbons of monkey grass. All bouquets were secured by winding and pinning ribbons around the gathered stems. We put the bouquets together 2 days before the wedding, storing them in water in a cool place. Since we bought the flowers at a wholesale floral warehouse, the blooms were not fully opened, giving us enough time to do things a bit ahead of time. 

Of course, you don't have to get fancy, or create a complex bouquet. Nothing is more beautiful than a handful of all the same type of flowers, a very popular concept. Sometimes combining flowers can be a bit much, while using only one kind gives an arrangement an elegant, yet simple look. 

The last time I created a wedding bouquet, I simply hand tied a few lilies. The bridesmaids carried 3 blooms, along with some fern, while the bride carried 5 blooms and fern. All were secured with white satin ribbon and white beaded pins. 

If you just use a few flowers, remember to include an odd number. It just works out better. Some time before the event, buy some of the types of flowers that you wish to use so that you can practice putting bouquets or arrangements together.

You can also use your own flowers, but flowers raised by the industry do have a tendency to last longer. And you can't always count on your own flowers to be in  perfect shape for the event. Of course, you can always plant the event around the time that your favorite flowers are in bloom. Hydrangeas, for example, remain attractive for a long time. 

I wish that I had more pictures of the flowers, but I was too busy. And at the weddings, well, I was too busy having a good time.

Blue and White Dishware - Classic and Beautiful




 I love blue and white dishware and collect without discrimination. I love it all - my old Victorian Flow Blue, the clean lines of Finlandia patterns (poor man's Royal Copenhagen), and rustic blue and white spatterware and spongeware.

There is something so clean and bright, a simple purity that speaks of home. Oscar Wilde once claimed that he feared he would never live up to his blue and white dishware. Old collectible Flow Blue can cost a fortune. Or you can find blue and white china for next to nothing at a thrift shop.

Blue and white are the colors of the sky, the sea, and the colors most associated with the Blessed Mother. Blue and white china reminds me of the sky on the most beautiful of days, when the weather is dry with a few clouds in the heavens, and the air is fresh and clean.

Transferware, developed in England in the late 1700s used a printing method to decorate dishware. Previously, dishes had been hand painted. The new method transferred ink from copper plates onto tissue paper which was applied to pottery. Quicker, cheaper mass production of transferred designs became popular with England's burgeoning middle class. Blue and white was the color combination of choice though other colors eventually included brown, cranberry, and mixed hues. Popular designs featured flowers, rural scenes, and souvenirs. The plate below depicts Franconia Notch in New Hampshire USA.
 

Blue and white souvenir transferware plate



Flow Blue

Antique  Flow Blue is a beautiful transferware china that originated by mistake in the early part of the 19th century. When the color ran ruining the pattern, sets were shipped to the United States where they caught on.


Tea cup with no handle

 Early British tea cups had no handles. Though handles were common by the early 1800s tea cups without handles (like the one pictured above) were produced into the mid 19th century.


Old blue and white spatterware pitcher


Spatterware and spongeware refer to simple techniques of decorating pottery. Blue paint was spattered onto a piece creating an interesting design. Sponges could be cut into patterns and used to print a design on a surface. The stoneware pitcher above shows a spattered decoration. Here too, blue and white were the most popular color combination. 



Paperwhites -Beautiful White Flowers That Smell Bad

Paperwhites
Paperwhites are beautiful white flowers often grown indoors during the winter months. Grown before Christmas, they make an excellent holiday decoration. Grown to bloom after the holidays, paperwhites brighten up the winter doldrums with their promise of spring.

Members of the narcissus family of bulbs, paperwhites can be grown outdoors in warmer climates. But they make the biggest splash inside. Tall 12" - 18" stems produce tiny white bloom clusters (as pictured on right), that exude a distinctive aroma. So who put the stink in distinctive aroma?

Some sources claim  that the scent comes from a chemical called indole, a musky smell that up to 1/4 of the population find, frankly, putrid. So doesn't that make me feel special!

Now, some folks are offended by the smell of Oriental lilies. But I think that they mistake too much for too stinky. One or two Oriental lilies smell heavenly. More than that can be overwhelming so that the heady perfume becomes offensive. 

Paperwhites aren't like that at all. They just plain smell bad.

Will I attempt to grow them again? Sure! They are so beautiful that I am willing to forgive the stench.

Paperwhites are easy to grow. For most attractive results, plant an uneven number of bulbs, 5 or more.
  •  Just place the bulbs in rocks, pebbles, or a loose growing medium like shredded coconut fiber. Plant bulbs very shallow, allowing 2/3 or 3/4 of the bulb to protrude above the growing medium.
  • Add water, filling the container so that the water just touches the bottom of the bulbs. Maintain water level.
  • Alcohol - some growers add 5% alcohol to the water. The alcohol (gin, vodka, whiskey) prevent the stems from becoming too leggy.
  • Place potted bulbs in a cool dark place for 2 weeks or until sprouts grow 4" - 6" tall. (45 - 55 degrees F works well)
  • Move container into a bright location at about 60 - 65 degrees F (a good reason to keep the thermostat turned down).
  • Turn the container every day or so to help the plants grow straight (they will lean toward the light)
If you want to go all out and have a dramatic show, plant all the bulbs at once. Or you can stagger planting a few bulbs at a time for a longer lasting show. 

Paperwhites grown in this way are referred to as "forced." Forced blooms, in general, produce an attractive display, but create a weakened plant. Many people throw out the bulbs after the blooms have faded. 

Paperwhites stay in bloom for quite a long time. Remember to keep well watered. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Simple Winter Decoration

For Christmas, or to give your home a special winter themed decoration, use some items already on hand, like this pretty cut glass sugar bowl. Or what ever it is. I picked it up at a thrift store for under $3.00. 

I hate it when all the pretty Christmas decorations have been taken down. Suddenly, dull winter really looms. So, I like to create something that embraces the season. 
Cut glass is so attractive when it catches and reflects light. It reminds me of ice. For winter, I keep my open hutch full of Depression Glass, and various cut glass dishes that I have collected over the years. 

Before I put up the glass, I line the shelves with clear, tiny Christmas lights. A few small brads wedged into the crack between the shelf and the back of the hutch keep the lights anchored. I place the heaviest items (lead crystal) at the edges to help secure the lights. 

During the long, dark nights of winter, when I am in the mood for a bit of twinkle, I plug in the lights, creating an icy reflection, a winter wonderland on my hutch.