Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gently Coaxing Spring Blossoms

Several weeks ago I attended a baby shower. The centerpieces were simply beautiful. They were birds nests with quince blossoms and orchids and a tiny bird nest with eggs. I was thrilled when the "Mom to Be" gave me one of the centerpieces. Once I had it at home I realized that I could refresh the blossoms with some flowering quince from my garden. The only problem is that my flowering quince were dormant. They were covered in snow.

Beautiful, a nest in a nest. Simple and elegant.

Years ago Martha had a magazine piece on how to "force" spring blooms. I remember chatting with a fellow at the florist about this and he felt "force" was too harsh. He called it "coaxing," and I love the term, don't you? Somehow it is less controlling, more gentle. So right after the shower, I began to gently coax my blooms in my pantry.

One group of quince slowly coming to life in my pantry. It takes time, you have to be patient for the blossoms to wake up and come to life.

The other group coming into bud at the verge of bloom. If you notice in my pantry is a very old large iron sink. It was in the house when we bought it and it must be from the 1920's or so. It was a mess but I did not have the heart to throw it away, so we had it refinished and re glazed. It only cost a couple of hundred dollars versus well over a thousand for a new one. The fellows who installed it tell me it weighs hundreds of pounds. I love this sink.
Soon, the blooms will be ready to go into the arrangement. If you like, I can share how the above arrangement was made, it is really quite simple.

We went to our beach cottage today to make sure there was no storm damage and look at the surprise in my small garden. Over the weekend we had a Nor'easter which was brutal. But what a nice surprise to find these after the storm. They were gently coaxed into bloom by mother nature.

Have a wonderful week, hope it is gentle and not forced.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Glow of Vintage Lighting Fixtures

Lamps and lighting fixtures have always been important to me. I feel that light fixtures and lamps add mood and richness to any room. Vintage lighting is especially appealing to me and I always make a point of trying to buy old before I consider new. When we bought our circa 1890 home four years ago, it needed a tremendous amount of restoration. We tried to find old fixtures for the home and found three that have become my favorite. All three were restored and rewired. While the cost was less than new fixtures, the richness that these bring to my home are priceless.

This one is a favorite in our bedroom. I love the crown, the shield and the candles which are new but look vintage. An old key and a vintage crystal were added by me.

Above is the powder room fixture. It is solid brass with very detailed faces and vintage prisms. We also added the stained glass window. The wooden mirror is also an antique.

Front hall fixture is above. This photo does not do it justice, it is very detailed and beautifully made. You cannot get this quality or workmanship in new. Plus I love the adventure of the hunt in finding these. There is always a story to tell about how we found each fixture. Ah, the romance of it all.

Have a wonderful week.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Peaceable Kingdom - Lion and Lamb in March

For as long as I could remember, I have loved the Lion and Lamb Peaceable Kingdom. Maybe it is the combination of the gentle lamb and the strength of the lion, maybe it is the symbol of peace. It doesn't matter but I love the image especially for the month of March. March is the month when we experience the cold harshness of winter but at the same time we begin to feel the gentleness of spring. Many years ago I taught Scherenschnitte at a local art studio. It was my escape from work and family commitments. It was my time. I always made a point of designing the work myself to add the extra dimension to the class. While I have a degree in Art History I am self taught in American Folk Art. Below is one of my designs that I taught in a class. It was done in the style of Claudia Hopf who is a very accomplished folk artist. It is cut paper with water color. The frame is hand grained.

The above painting is from the Williamsburg Folk Art Museum. I have a framed print of this painting and have always loved it. The artist Edward Hicks was a Quaker Minister (1780-1849) who lived in Pennsylvania. It is interesting that five years ago we bought a home in a Quaker Village established in 1766. Chances are good that Edward Hicks may have visited the Quaker Meeting House across the street from my home. I like to think that was the case.

Enjoy the month of March, may we all experience the peace of the lamb and the coming of spring.

Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Nests

Several weeks ago I saw a wonderful hand knit nest by Vicki at I rarely make impulse purchases, but this was an exception. This beautiful hand knit nest just spoke to me and I did buy it on the spot. It is nicer than I expected and has given me such pleasure, the textures and colors are just beautiful. Several years ago I painted some wooden eggs a soft metallic gold and I decided to add these eggs to the nest. Last year my daughter received a bird ornament as a wedding favor and it also seemed perfect for the nest.

I love the nest on my antique marble buffet as it sits against the old onyx lamp. If you look outside the window you can see the snow. The juxtaposition of the spring nest and snow makes me happy because it signals that spring is around the corner.

The nest against the iron and crystal tree. I purchased the brass tree after the holidays last year and added vintage crystals to make it shimmer and shine in the sunlight that filters through the window.

A photo from a family baby shower. The theme was "Nests." Note the bird motif cake and the nest arrangement with forced cherry blossoms. Since I am the "Mom To Be's" godmother, I was given one of these arrangements. I am planning to recreate it myself with fresh blossoms from my garden that I will nudge into early bloom. Please also notice the snow on the beach.

Keeping Warm..........My favorite picture of the knitted nest on our 1890 ornate radiator.
Have a wonderful week.