Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 -- collisions

Too much to explain--collision of eras (radiator/ box), collision of subjects (antique chair; garden gourds), collision of surfaces (spray paint gold/natural wood). Long story short: I sprayed some gourds gold today (and they do take to that treatment). Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 31, 2012 -- pine tags in cup

Believe it or not, I've got roses in a bucket on the back porch (they're leftover from a recent event that involved lots of florist flowers). But I didn't seem to want to use them today. This interested me more: a Wawa cup I picked up on my morning walk and some pine tags I jammed into it just because they, too, were brown!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012 -- dandelions

Dandelions were blooming along the roadsaide today, so I picked some and dropped them into this little green vase.

 I know it's not unusual for dandelions to be blooming in December, because I posted a photo of both dadelion and buttercup flowers on Dec. 23 of last year! It's so satisfying to be able to use this blog like a nature journal to confirm such things. I should also probably post the dandelion arrangement below, which I created on Dec. 27 but didn't post because it seemed so lackluster. I keep forgetting that the record of what blooms when may be the most useful part of this blog (and now I sort of like this little vanilla jar stuffed with dandelions and honeysuckle foliage anyway!).


Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27, 2012 -- greenbrier

Oh, how I love greenbrier leaves, especially in winter when they turn all rusty red, patina green, and yellow. What you're seeing here is dull compared the way they look outside with sunshine streaming through them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012 -- uninspired

I was outside very little today, and felt uninspired, so I grabbed an ornament off the Christmas tree and dropped it into a vase with a piece of cryptomeria foliage.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25, 2012 -- gifts from two friends

Two friends contributed to this arrangement: Libbey Oliver, who gave me the little felt purse, and Mother Nature, who gave me the yellow holly foliage, the money plant leaf, and the cryptomerial greens.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 -- Christmas card

My favorite Christmas card (from Marty Ross) plus some leftover greens. Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23, 2012 -- winter honeysuckle

Just loved this colorful honeysuckle vine I pulled out of a shrub yesterday. I put it in a hibuscus holder so it could trail horixontally--almost exactly the way it was trailing across the top of a forsythia shrub!

If you look carefully, you can find one black berry on the vine.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012 -- more tubes

This is another arrangement done in test tubes. Again, the tubes are nested in a block of wood, but this time the wood is stained brown, not painted white. John and I made a bunch of these for Christmas presents, and I've had fun filling them. The plant material here is pine needles, astilbe seed structures (the feathery brown things) and gumballs.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012 -- gift

My husband and I made some of these little containers (test tubes nested in blocks of wood)  to give as Christmas gifts. This one--filled with paperwhite flowers and boxwood snippets--got it picture taken before being given away!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012 -- pine, fern, etc.

I find this more satisfying than what I did yeserday. I gathered some more pine (sap still redolant on my fingers), removed the cones, and added some yellow-green mint leaves, which were until yesterday, still surviving in the garden. The cloth under the vase is a table runner that I had already cut in half for some concoction years ago.  The beautiful brown, feathery-looking things are fertile fronds from netted chain fern. Honestly, as I type this, I'm still smelling the pine resin on my fingers! Very nice!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012 -- pine cones

This needs some tweaking, which I hope to give it tomorrow. Included are pine cones, one bunch of pine tags, and some netted chain fern fronds. It's the latter (the featber-like  brown things) that really interest me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012 -- more leaves with paperwhites

This afternoon I removed wilting paperwhite flowers from yesterday's arrangements, which left me with one little reasonably fresh floret. Then  I added a leftover pinkish begonia leaf to a fourth bottle and left the others filled with moneyplant and mustard leaves from yesterday. Below is the result. (This is actually four bottles: two in front, two behind.)

As you can see below, he pinkish begonia leaf adds a lot to this. I picked it from a scraggly houseplant that I keep alive for just this purpose: picking its leaves for arrangements occasionally.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 -- paperwhites, again

I didn't have the time, energy, or inclination to totally redo yesterday's arrangement, but I did tweak it a bit. Added a bit more foliage by cutting up one of the money plant leaves in Saturday's arrangement. Some of the paperwhite florets are getting droopy, because I let the water sink below the level of their short stems. Still, I've decided I really like white flowers in blue containers. So wintry.

oops. It seems my clippers are creeping into this photo from the left. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 4, 2012 -- ramble arrangement

These are things I collected on my walk this morning (left to right): Christmas fern and red oak leaves; honeysuckle vine with reddish leaves; yellow sweet gum leaf; greenbrier vine with multi-colored leaves; loblolly pine needles; red leaves from a white oak.

Later in the day, I decided to pull some of the same materials together in a Sarbucks Frappuccino bottle.

December 16, 2012 -- paperwhites, again

These are the same materials I used yesterday, just distributed differently. I pulled the one cluster of paperwhite flowers apart to make three smaller bunches and put three snippets of the mustard leaves in each vase. Didn't use the money plant leaves. I might start over and try this again tomorrow, because I think it has the potential to be prettier.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15, 2012 -- paperwhites

I had been wanting to do something in this little blue vase (actually the base of an old oil lamp, I think), and today I decided to do it. The formality of the vase seemed to call for something sort of refined, so I clipped a cluster of flowers from some paperwhite daffodils that were blooming in the house. The nice green leaves came from some moneyplant growing outside, and there's one deeply-cut mustard leaf in this, too. That was leftover from some greens I picked for a sandwich at lunchtime!

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012 -- winter roses

The way this evolved was fascinating. I have been looking for dried culinary rose petals to give my daughther for Christmas. A recipe we like calls for them, but I've not been able to find them at either ethnic food stores or spice shops. This morning it occurred to me (duh!) that I should have collected and dried some of my own rose petals. In fact, maybe I still had some in the garden? Despite the fact that it was 24 degrees outside this morning and the ground was thick with frost, lo and behold, there were still lots of buds (tight frozen ones) on my New Dawn climbing rose. I doubt they'll open, but it was fun to pick them on December 14. Here they are with all their mottled (a.k.a. diseased) leaves still attached. Actually, at this time of year, even a leaf yellow with black spot is sort of welcome, color-wise!

The beautiful turquoise reflection from my coffee mugs on the window frame is not an artifact of the photo--it's real, and even prettier in real life than it is in the photo.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012 -- rosemary in bottle with tag

This fun to do, because it allowed me to display something I loved: the tag that came on a small wreath I'd bought. Something about the tag appealed to me (just simple numbers with a tree graphic stamped beside them). I hung the tag from these rosemary sprigs, but it didn't show up very well, so I taped a little red piece of paper to the back of it. I just love the simplicity of all this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012 -- report from the underworld

In truth, I just didn't have the time or energy to create a new windowsill arrangement today, but I can report on the "progress" of an old one. I felt bad about using an avocado husk in an arrangement day before yesterday, because I knew the "contents" would wither/rot. Well, I can now report that an aviocado husk does shrivel up (although less than expected) and the leftover flesh does darken, but the overall effect is still way more beautiful (two days later) than I'd ever have imagined. And the berries? Still looking fresh.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11, 2012 -- flower pen

I'm not sick but spent a fair amount of time in a doctor's office today, so I decided to do my windowsill arrangement while sitting in the waiting room. Here it is: the receptionist's pen on the windowsill.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012 -- avocado rind + red berries

My daughter taught me how to get an avocado cleanly out of its rind this weekend, and the result (in addition to some pretty avocado slices to eat) was some rinds too beautiful to throw away. This afternoon I filled one with some red berries harvested from an earlier arrangement and put the combination on a small wooden spool. I could look at this all night.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9, 2012 -- leaves & berries

This is just a combo of various leaves and berries: arum leaves left and right; red cedar foliage in the middle. Some of the berries are pyracantha berries, others  Chinese holly.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8, 2012 -- broken ornament

This is a Christmas ball that broke as I was decorating the tree. One of my favorites--sort of a peachy color. Enjoyed commemorating it in a windowsill arrangement.

The little leaf in the vase is a tiny hellebore leaf.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012 -- squash with ivy, carnations

I woke up this morning liking my squash filled with ivy better than I did last night. (And I already loved the way this had evolved: reaming out rotten place in the squash providing nesting place for ivy I had weeding out.) Well, this morning's chores yielded another plant material: carnation flowers leftover from long ago. I had left a bucket of them on the back porch, through many frosts, and half of them were dead but half still looked remarkably good, so I spent a while culling through them to salavage the survivors. So squash, ivy, and carnations were all in my awareness when I decided to jam a few carnations into the same opening I'd jammed the ivy into.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012-- oh, my

Oh, my. This is a total mess, and almost impossible to explain. The photo is worse than what's actually in the windowsill. Today I noticed that a winter squash on the back porch was rotting in an interesting way (a perfect circle was forming on its flesh), so I cut that part out of the squash. This made it look like a birdhouse gourd. Later in the day, I was weeding a flower bed and wound up with some rooted ivy I'd pulled  out. It seemed to want to be planted in the circle I'd excavated in the squash. Hence, what you see. Terrible photo, but I'm too tired to improve it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012 -- berries, cone, etc.

The idea here was for these two little arrangments to be sort of opposites of each other, but it didn't quite work out that way. Vase on the left holds Chinese holly berries with a pinecone on top. Vase on the right holds a sprig of eastern red cedar and some Chinese holly berries.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012 -- Lenten rose roots + leaf

Somehow, while I was gardening, I pulled up a hellebore plant and didn't notice it in my discard pile until late in the day. Too pretty to throw away, so I put it in this bottle. Its roots and leaves appealed to me. Then I added a little satellite "arrangement"-- tinier hellebore leaf with red maple leaf added. The realy payoff of all this was the shadows on the windowsill tonight.

This looked  mighty pretty in the daytime, too. And the red leaf is the same one I used in my arrangment Nov. 9. (red leaf in box of test tubes).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2, 2012 -- twilight

I took this photo yesterday afternoon, at twilight. What an amazingly dark blue sky! The flowers in the tubes are yellow violoas, astilbe seed structures, and some hellebore leaflets scavenged from the leaves I used in yerterday's display.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012 -- nest, okra, hellebore foliage, etc.

The platforms for these materials are spools of  woody trellising material I bought at a Michael's but never unwound. In the left spool are okra pods, in the middle spool are hellebore leaves and red cedar foliage, and on the right spool is a bird's nest with an Osage orange in it. I love the "burnt yellow-green" color of the hellebore foliage (which I've dropped into a tube of water in the center of the spool).

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30, 2012 -- collection of chestnut colored things

This started with yesterday's leaf walk. While trolling for a good oak-leaved hydrangea leaf, I came across the tiny tulip poplar leaf in the tube on the right. (It was on the ground.)  I brought it in and saved it until this morning when I put it in this little container made of  three test tubes. I thought about what I liked best about the tulip poplar leaf (in addition to the fact that it was unusually small) and realized it was its chestnut color, so I started looking for other things that color to accompany it in the other tubes. The best things I could come up with were some hardy begonia seed pods (middle tube), a perilla seed head (middle tube), and some nandina leaves recycled from an earlier arrangement (left tube).  I like viewing the way they look  lined up like this.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 28, 2012 -- leaf doilie

Hi. I was playing with using leaves as doilies today, and this is what resulted. The leaves under the vase are really pretty oak-leaved hydrangea leaves. The leaves in the vase are from a spirea shrub with really pretty fall foliage.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28, 2012 -- after dark, after frost

Slim pickin's tonight after dark, after frost. But I knew the 'Mei Kyo' chrysanthemums were still blooming, I could find nandina foliage with my flashlight, and I spotted some Dame's rocket seed pods in the porch light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27, 2012 -- yesterday's arrangement, revisited

This little concoction looked quite different in the morning light, so I moved it to a different location, tweaked it a bit, and tried to photograph it again. Still not too successful, but creating the arrangement has alerted me to where money plant pods are still "whole" in the garden.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012 -- black and white

The colors were getting in the way of what I wanted to say here, so I converted this photo to black and white.

I wanted to play with materials that would represent flag, filler, focal point. Here the flag should be a perilla seed stalk, the filler should be a cluster of aucuba leaves, and the bright focal point should be some white money plant pods. (Forgive me for adding some dark brown iris pods, too!) Unfortunately, I also wanted the treetops in the distant background to show up. Trying to show too much--my downfall as a teacher!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012 -- in Korean restaurant

Having dinner in Korean restaurant when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a windowsill behind our table! This arrangement was sort of a group project. Vase (a beer can) includes a leafy vegetable garnish, a couple of carrot strips, and a pair of chopsticks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 24, 2012 -- leftovers

These are some leftovers, from previous days, still sitting in the winowsill for various reasons.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Novermber 23, 2012 -- corps de ballet (in gourds)

What can I say? These gourd prima donnas were just too much fun to create!

November 22, 2012 -- Thanksgiving gourd

My youngest granddaughter created this windowsill arrangement yesterday (Thanknsgiving). In fact, we decorated lots of things with salmon-pink carnations!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012 -- camellia added

A fall-blooming camellia flower landed in one of my wine glasses from yesterday, and it looks really pretty with the ferns that landed there earlier.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012 -- ferns in glassware

It's sort of fun the way this evolved. Yesterday I had a couple of pieces of bracken fern leftover that were too damaged to use in the arrangement, too pretty to throw away, so I just dropped them into a plastic cup to save them (photo below).  But when I sat the cup on the windowsill, I really liked the way the fern looked plastered to the inside of the glass. So: today I stripped a few little pieces off my yard ferns and dropped them into some stemmed glassware (above). There you can appreciate their silhouettes the same way you could the silhouette of the bracken fern in the plastic cup.