Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31, 2013 -- Jerusalem artichokes

I know, I know....: enough with The Natural Gardening Company catalog! I promise I'm not getting a commission from them (I'm not even ordering any seeds from them), but I'm still enjoying that catalog cover, and it seems to attract things I like to it. Yesterday I was pulling up some stones and dug up, almost by accident, these Jerusalem artichokes. I'm hoping to have the energy to use them in soup tonight, but for now, they're just enjoying being displayed in the windowsill.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30, 2013 -- catalog with orange pitcher

That catalog from The Natural Gardening Company is still on the windowsill with the asparagus (now with stems in water). My little orange pitcher made its way back onto the windowsill, too, this time with small aucuba leaves in it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29, 2013 -- asparagus with catalog

I love looking at this! The greens and whites are just so pretty.

I started with the asparagus, which I bought at the grocery store yesterday. First put them in a vase but didn't like that, so I tied them up with this brown wire (which looks like twine). Then I went looking for a seed catalog to display with this little splayed stack of asparagus. Love this Natural Gardening catalog cover anyway, but it looks especially pretty with the asparagus! 

Not to worry, I won't waste the asparagus. After photographing this,  I dropped the stems into a Pyrex cup with a little water in it, so they'd stay fresh until supper. They're still on the windowsill, next to the catalog, in the Pyrex cup, and that actually looks pretty, too. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013 -- winter aconite and smooth alder

The ground is still cold, but there was actually something blooming today: winter aconite, which often blooms before, during, and after a snowfall. Its little buttercup-like flowers are only about an inch and a half off the ground, but they are so very cheery! I picked these two to display them on the windowsill, and, on my way inside, I noticed these alder "cones" on the back porch. They'd fallen there when I threw out some alder branches. I gathered them up and added them to this tiny arrangement, making it much more interesting to me because it now includes two very seasonal phenomena--blooming winter aconite and alder "cones" spilling seeds.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27, 2013 -- seed catalog

Today was reward day! Getting to look at my seed catalogs has been the carrot keeping me going for weeks. And the reward was worth the waiting (except I'd forgotten how terrible a decision-maker I am and how many hours I can spend stewing over a $2.50 decision!). Anyway, a seed catalog had to go into the windowsill, and this was my favorite, cover-wise. I tried putting all sorts of things in this little pitcher (broccolli, aucuba leaves, Swiss chard leaves), but it seemed to look best empty.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26, 2013 -- fire and broomsedge

I've just gotten back from North Carolina, where I got lost and found myself exactly where I was supposed to be--on rural route #43, where the ice-covered white oaks took my breath away. The entire countryside was gorgeous, but especially the oaks. The weather had been so variable, some were encased in ice, others had snow dusting their branches and gathered in their crotches. Many pines with little tufts of snow caught in their needles. The brightest thing in the landscape was the broomsedge, which glowed like fire.

Believe it or not, I had gathered some broomsedge from my own fields before leaving for NC. Tonight, I dropped it into this mug. I wanted to move it to a different windowsill where the mullions wouldn't be so distracting, but only in this window did the color of the broomsedge look remotely as fiery as it did outdoors.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013 -- utility room

I was about to try to come up with some new concoction, when I realized the utility room windowsill, where lots of leftovers wind up, was looking pretty spiffy. You'll recognize lots of materials from previous days here. The sweet snail drawing, which stays propped on the upper windowsill always,  is by Mary Garner-Mitchell.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013 -- pressed pansies

This is a good idea I haven't executed very well. These are the same three pansies I used on Jan. 22, and they're the only flowers I still have that aren't buried under snow. Had to find a new way to use them, so I tried plastering their faces to the inside of a wine glass--flat, the way they often appear when pressed.

I like the way their faces look pressed, but I needed more pansies! This is definitely something I'll try again when I have more flowers. Brrrrr!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23, 2013 -- rakish radish

I've been working on things harder than flower arrangements today, so it was not an entirely welcome thing when I realized I needed to do a windowsill arrangement tonight. Here's a single radish I harvested from the garden yesterday, in a new container I bought a couple of days ago. Thank goodness this came together quickly, because I don't have the energy to do much else. On the other hand: what a treat to get to concentrate my attention on this one thing--a radish on the windowsill!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22, 2013 -- three pansies

These three little pansy flowers, all about the same size, were leftover from an earlier arrangement, so I played with them again today. First, I dropped them into my test-tube container with some of their own foliage and some paperwhite narcissus foliage (the solid green stems in the tubes).

Then I dropped them into a yellow ramequin with a black-rimmed dish under it (with some leftover green hellebore foliage). I'm definitely trying to make something from nothing here!

I think I like the first concoction better. Either way, it's fun on this January day to be looking into pansy faces!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013 -- leaves from the garden

I gathered up a little handful of leaves today as I was covering the veggies in the garden (anticipating temperatures below 20 degrees). Here they are in a coffee mug:  broccolini, Swiss chard, and mustard greens.

Then I dropped a few other things into mugs--a broccoli head I'd bought at the grocery store (it will have been eaten in another hour) and a radish (you can only see its foliage) I'd pulled from the garden.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013 -- vase with curled leaf and orange

It was sort of interesting the way this evolved. I started with the fatsia leaf, which was leftover from an earlier arrangement. It was dying/drying into a pretty shape, so I just laid it on the windowsill. Then I decided to put this green vase on it. I tried several things--a pansy, an orange peel, a different leaf--in the vase, then decided it was prettiest empty. Wanted some color, though, so I grabbed half an orange from the refrigerator and  posed it in front of the vase.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, 2013 -- Jerry's beer bottles

These are the same alder springs I used earlier in the week, but before I tried to hide the labels on the beer bottles holding them. Today, I decided the labels were so cute (created by Jerry Shalf, who also made the beer) that they should show up front and center.


Even this little bit of plant contact taught me something today, because the female parts of these alder twigs (the little cones) are shedding seeds all over the place.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 2013 -- snow views

This was the view from my office window this morning. Wish the photo were better, because this was so beautiful: snowy landscape with silhouette of little wooden vase in front of it. (There's one scented geranium leaf in the vase).  It pains me that I don't know how to set my camera to keep both the background and the vase in focus. So much to learn!

And this was the view from the kitchen window. I  harvested the scented geranium leaves and the one red blossom from plants I'm overwintering inside. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17, 2013 -- January corn

I actually found this corn stalk on my walk yesterday. The one stalk, with its leaves still attached, was lying on the roadside for reasons unknown to me. Maybe it had fallen off a farm truck? It had been in the rain a long time (it was raining when I found it), and its colors were the richest golds and browns you've ever seen. I brought it home and tried to think of a way to display it that wouldn't involve cutting the stem, but couldn't come up with anything I liked. In the end, I cut the stem into segments and just laid them on the lip of a vase holding the beautiful, beautiful leaves, which I spread out a bit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013 -- dandelion against black tray

I picked this dandelion on a walk when it was in bud and it opened in the house. The seed structure was so perfect I wanted to use it in a windowsill arrangement, but how to make it show up? This was the best I could do: I put a black tray behind it.

It's the underside of the tray you're seeing. At first I worried about the label showing up (the little mark in the middle of the tray), then I decided to pretend it was a Japanese chop mark! I do love the simplicity of this. The dandelion and dandelion leaf are in a black pin holder.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15, 2013 -- pansies in stacked cups

I stole the idea of stacking tea cups from a post I saw on Pinterest. I added pansies from the garden.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2012 -- more browns

Still playing with brown things: two alder twigs in beer bottles and a coffee mug with my "rabbit ears" in it. (The rabbit ears are avocado husks lined with orange peels!)  I also found a gorgeous brown sycamore leaf on my walk yesterday, and it's on the windowsill, too (second photo).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13, 2013 -- alder

This is just a beautiful alder twig I found on my walk today--male catkins toward the top, female cones near the bottom. The catkins are actually more deep purple than black right now.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12, 2013 -- more leftovers

This is just another tweak of yesterday's display. To the black avocado rinds on the right, I added some orange rinds. Crazy, but it's sort of fun to play with these forms and colors using only leftovers.

Here are the avocado rinds with orange rinds nested inside, up close. I've made the avocado rinds stand up by spearing them with wooden skewers.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11, 2013 -- color echo in eggs

So many parts of this would be prettier if I took the time to tweak them (or the photo). For example, you can't really see the avocado husks on the right (so beautiful!), and the under-ripe papaya round sitting on the windowsill isn't really round because I hacked on it for reasons that would take too long to explain. Still...this was sort of fun to do--building on papaya colors from yesterday. The most satisfying part of this was displaying the brown eggs. These are actually eggs from a neighbor's chickens, but I'd have never thought to include them if I hadn't seen Marty Ross use eggs in a windowsill display she created and shared with me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10 2013 -- papaya

This is a remake of yesterday's arrangement with the mug turned around and papaya rounds substituted for the lilies. (I also removed the paperwhite foliage and unfurled the fatsia leaf). Long, long story re why the papaya. The short version: for the first time in my life, I used both papaya and mango in a recipe on Sunday. Or, to be more accurate, I used mango in a recipe on Sunday, but the papaya I'd bought turned out to be too unripe to use. Sure was pretty inside, though! Tonight, I decided to try cutting the papaya into slices and using them as "flowers"-- sort of the way people use cut pomegranates in arrangements. I jammed them onto skewers to make the stand up. The result: this is sort of interestingly tropical-looking, but it also reminds me of something from Teletubbie Land!

January 9, 2013 -- recycled materials

This is really too big to qualify as a windowsill arrangement, but it does use materials that have been on the windowsill for the past few days. They include the hunk of green hellebore flowers from yesterday, narcissus foliage from Jan. 4-6, and the big fatsia leaf from Jan. 4-6 (it's sort of rolled up in the back of the arrangement). I started with the pretty mug, a Christmas gift, then added the peach-colored lilies because they've been languishing in the utility room since Dec. 28.

The lilies, of course, are the zinger here. I have them only because, after working with friends on some big arrangements Dec. 28, I brought home a little bucket of leftovers. They were buds at the time and we almost threw them away (flowers seem unwanted and cheap when you've been in the presence of too many of them too long), but I've had this happen before: the flowers that seem like too much trouble to keep alive on Dec. 28 have begun to seem like rare treasures by January 9!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8, 2012 -- catalog colors

I must have a mind meld with the creator of the McClure & Zimmerman catalog covers, because I used last year's cover to inspire an arrangement, too. Whoever their designer is seems to know what colors will seem fresh and new each year. In fact, all designers seem to know it, because I almost bought a jacket in these very same colors yesterday! Anyway, this acid green, wine pink, and yellow appealed to me, so I put the catalog on the windowsill then started looking for vase and plant material to accompany it. First thing I found was this stem of green stinking hellebore flowers. They seemed to compliment the cover without overwhelming it, and the low yellow bowl could hold water deep enough to keep even a horizontal stem hydrated.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013 -- pansies on the windowsill

I pass this little house every day when I walk, but until today I hadn't noticed something wonderful on the windowsill. Here's the window closer...

...and closer!!!

The pansy roots are wrapped in a paper towel and sitting in a plastic food storage container. Beautiful. Really. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6, 2013 -- same materials, different arrangement

These are the same materials I've been playing with the past couple of days. I just moved the round of roses over and sat it down on what I now think is a fatsia leaf. The leaf came from the florist, but if it is fatsia, it grows in the southern U.S.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

January 5, 2013 -- rose round

The roses from previous days' arrangements were drying out, but they were pretty even dried, so I jammed them into another object I've found too pretty to throw away--the box a round of Brie comes in. This all looks so very graphic to me!

Wish the dried roses looked as bright in this photo as they do in real life.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4, 2013 -- order from chaos

This order came from a chaos of paperwhite narcissus foliage (see below). I bet lots of people have floppy paperwhite foliage like this in their homes right now?  I didn't want to discard mine without using it somehow, so I clipped some of it off and dropped it into a container made from test tubes nested in a block of wood (above left). Loved that linear look, but it seemed to need some contrast, so I displayed a palmate tropical leaf beside it. The tropical leaf was leftover from an event for which I did flowers on Dec. 28.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3, 2013 -- roses with leaves

It felt like cheating to use roses in a January arrangement again (I'd rather be modeling how to use seasonal stuff), but with leftover roses still sitting in that bucket on the back porch, I couldn't resist. Still, this arrangement seemed sort of boring to me (yellow roses with a couple of sprigs of periwinkle and money plant leaves) until I added the upside-down mahonia leaf in the second photo.

This is remarkably similar to my Dec. 29 post -- with roses now where the dandelions were!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2, 2013 -- apples and old roses

This is a variation on the theme "arsenic and old lace." I took yesterday's roses and nested them in an apple. It was sort of amazing how well this worked. You really can create a water-holding void in an apple.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013 -- roses and apple peels

I was peeling apples this morning and couldn't throw away the peels, because they were so twirly and colorful. Dropped them into stemmed glasses where they looked sort of interesting. But I couldn't leave well enough alone, especially since I had roses sitting in a bucket on the back porch. (The roses, leftover from an event I helped with, have actually experienced two frosts while outside, but they still look pretty good.) Here's the result. The colors are great, the execution not so great. And I usually don't like fruit under water (where to my eye it looks like rot waiting to happen) but in this case I decided my peels could be submerged a while without offending anyone.

Here's the color up close--gorgeous! And there's the smell of apple cake baking in the oven surrounding all this. Almost too rich to bear!