Friday, June 28, 2013

Hollyhock Envy

No price is set on this lavish summer;

June may be had by the poorest comer.

-James Russell Lowell

Seeds of Promise

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morn more fragrant than ever again . . . .anonymous

For me, that garden was in an alley !
Hollyhocks, they were the best thing to happen to the alleyways behind my house, and they seemed to grow there in spite of soil hard as concrete,  gravel, the heat and exhaust from the rumbling garbage trucks, and constant neglect.  I never wondered why they were there, I just waited with joyful childhood anticipation every summer, and when they unfurled their tissue silken petals, I was ready  to play

I'm  never satisfied, no matter how many wonderful things are happening in my garden, I always want more!
There are a few flowers I covet, have loved forever, and yet I can't seem to get them to stick around. So when I saw the tall,  bright pink hollyhocks in bloom in my neighbor's garden this morning , the envy set in immediately.

I had them once upon a time -  I have pictures to prove it - but they moved away,  I wonder why?

Hollyhocks were meant to be playthings for little girls
blooms plucked to make dolls in floaty dresses for tea parties on the lawn

The wedding party is almost ready . . . .now, where are those toothpicks?  The white one will be the bride, the pink and yellow ones the maids, we can float them in the birdbath . . . . 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yay for May!

Where did it go, that sweet soft month of May, I want to hold on to the colors and the smells forever . . . .


Oh lets leave a basket of flowers today
For the little old lady who lives down our way
Well heap it with violets white and blue
With Jack-in-the-Pulpit and wildflower too

We’ll make it of paper and line it with ferns
Then hide and we’ll watch her surprise when
She turns
And opens her door and looks out to see
Who in the world it could possible be

Virginia Scott Mike

Have you ever made a May Basket for someone else, or received one yourself?  If so, you wont forget the experience!

The happy children know it’s spring;
Then forth their little baskets bring,
And go abroad a-flowering

By twos and threes from home they stray,
And in the meadows green they play;
They choose a little Queen of May,
And crown her curls with blossoms gay.

And when at dusk they straggle home
 With flower-laden arms they come,
With roses on the cheeks abloom,
While in their hearts bird carols hum.

And when asleep they lie at night,
Their  little springtime dreams are bright,
With birds and buds and joy and light,
And all the wealth of green delight.

And this is why the tough of spring,
When blossoms blow and sweet birds sing,
Such very happiness doth bring,
It sets their heart a-caroling.

From Fresh Posies by Abbie-Farwell Brown
Houghton and Mifflin Co 1908

 . . .and the flowers of May are plentiful and fragrant beyond belief!

A time to gather violets and sweet woodruff to make a May wine bowl

But nowhere is May more fragrantly and artistically celebrated than in France, especially Paris, 
where the Muguet (Lily of the Valley) appears 
everywhere from May Day and on . . . .

 In the Candy Shops

the flower shops

and in my favorite tea room 

Its true, the greens will never be more luminous and fresh, the flowers more fragrant,
 and the morning dew so jewel-like. 
Spring gives way to summer, 
and May becomes a memory . . . .until next year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

D is for daffodil

Lighting up the landscape on a gray day in early spring, the daffodils are blooming, bringing the first flash of color to my garden.

With a glow and irridescence that nothing man made can possibly match, the blossoms sway in the breeze of an approaching spring storm, oblivious to the changing day, determined to stand tall and do their dance.

. . . from the pages of a 1920 book

Who passes down the wintry street?
 Hey, ho, daffodil!
A sudden flame of gold and sweet.

-Katharine Tynan

Inside the book is a heartfelt inscription, I was inspired to play with some paper and  paint .

A watercolor I found at a Brocante in France, I instantly loved the vintage patina it had acquired,
 even the spots of mildew in the  background

I have a friend who collects different varieties for her garden, 
and the result is an explosion of cheerful spring fireworks every year.  

The last time I visited her she opened her refrigerator to show me that it was filled with individual cut flowers, each in it's own little jar of water.  It was her way of  extending the pleasure!

I'm grateful for the color, for the gaiety, 
for the beginning of a new season .
Like a chorus of tiny trumpets, daffodils are announcing the joy that is unfolding once again!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

paper dolls

This is a special place . . . where good works are done- where elegance is spun from snippets and scraps . . .

I'm gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own
A doll that other fellas cannot steal
And then the flirty, flirty guys with their flirty, flirty eyes
Will have to flirt with dollies that are real 
-the Millls Brothers 1942

What is it about paper? It just has the basic appeal of becoming whatever you desire with so very little effort. 
 A humble material for a world of creative possibilities.

This is me -the me seen by a 5 year old. A paper portrait by my granddaughter -  green construction paper and lots of glitter - I think she  captured me perfectly!

Winter afternoons in the attic with scissors and a new book of paper dolls.  How I wish I had saved some of them, I especially loved the babies and oh those movie stars! The clothes never stayed on,  and the dolls never stood up like we wanted them to, but that didn't discourage us. We wore out the little tabs trying!

The necessary tools were few - scissors for lots of cutting out, glue to paste the dolls that suffered bent necks and 
ankles onto cardboard, scotch tape for mending whatever needed it - usually the tiny tabs that held the clothes on.

Then there were Sunday mornings with Katy Keene. 
 She was in my newspaper every  weekend with a reader-contest  to design clothes for her.  I must have entered a hundred times, but never made it to print. The fun I had trying was so worth it  . . . .

Ok  . . . .Im still at it  . . . . .capturing some of my favorite dresses and  memories with colored pencil

And yes, I'm still buying them - brought this book back  from Hawaii.  I may never put scissors to it,  lots of inspiration for  fun in my painting.

Another recent find - filled with creative ideas!

I recently spotted a tattered  box in an antique shop, and inside discovered this treasure. The doll is painted with watercolors, and the clothes are cut from fabric that has been glued to paper.The fabrics are a clue that she was created probably in the 40's. People asked me what on earth I was going to do with it, but at the time I just knew I  had to have it. . .I eventually framed the collection and it now hangs in the nursery. -

This inspired me  . . .. Paper dolls as art?  Why not! 
They have a charm like no other.

This little Southern  sweetheart was a gift, 
 created with torn paper by Mississippi artist Roz Roy

Are paper dolls a thing of the past? 
No, Never Fear - the fun goes on . . . .