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June Blessings



    Out in the garden, we are all in bloom. The roses have been in all their glory and had it past; now to deadhead and feed them a bit, to coax them into continuing their show.  Going out into the garden in the morning after I've fed the chickens (they must be dealt with first, or they will give you a very hard time about it, yelling from the coup like a chain gang-- pacing back and forth very very agitated to not be breakfasted yet) is one of my pleasures. The light is still gentle, and the plants have had a good rest from the sun and humidity this time of year brings to the plains.

   This past month was incredibly busy and hectic, although much of it was for wonderful things like tea parties, anniversaries and weddings! We drove down to the heart of Texas to see my brother get married, and just before that I hosted a small anniversary dinner for my parents on their 40th anniversary! I keep their wedding cake topper in a glass cabinet with my own, but got it out and had a cake specially made to go with it--- Italian cream cake with white and peach flowers, to go with the peach silk bells that had graced their first wedding cake 4 decades ago!


    But now the hub-bub is over, and its time for me to turn my attention to creating-- feeding the chickens (first, of course) enjoying the flowers, and also enjoying my loom! This spring I was given (given!!!) a LeClerc Mira loom after falling so in love with weaving when I was at Eureka! Fiber Chrsitmas last year. I took weaving lessons in April and have been practicing on my own loom now--- taking the whole process from the warping board....warping the loom myself, and now I've started on this over-shot pattern which I am so pleased with! In all honesty, I'm a little puffed up like a mama chicken with pride that I actually managed to get it all threaded and working. There are so many little steps, and so many little ways to mess it all up. Once I saw that--- oh my goodness-- the whole thing was working, well, I felt like a genius! And now, well, time to weave!

   But when I'm not weaving out in the studio I am, of course, painting. I got a new window unit for the painting room and I am so excited to be able to paint in the cool air! Delectable! Especially this time of year in Oklahoma! I am turning my attention to autumn and Christmas art too, so if you have any requests, well, do send them my way!

  I am also getting ready to send out my studio newsletter, full of little treats-- plus a special coupon that only my newsletter friends will get-- so if you havent signed up, please do! You can fill out the quick form HERE, and know I will never ever pinky swear give out your information! Its just for you and me! And I cant wait to send you treats and news.

  Well, off for now! Hope you're having a great summer!~
Take Joy!~
H


May Garden in Bloom

    Good afternoon, my friends!
          A few days ago I showed you some of my garden inspiration from the Berkshire Botanical Garden, and this week I thought I'd share with you my own humble blooming space....and a look at how the garden chapel is coming along.

   A couple of weekends ago my husband and I worked on laying down the gravel path in front of the chapel and around the little herb beds we made after we dug out an old rock patio. At one point (about 60 years ago) this area was a pretty rock and mortar patio around the little shed, which started its life as a little girl's playhouse. With time, however, the mortar began to crack and we had a terrible time keeping the whole thing from getting covered with weeds and grass (we'd have to weed eat the patio!)

   So this past year my husband got the wild idea to dig up the whole darn thing and we've started over....using the rocks that had been the patio to edge new beds and create fresh garden space where it once was just baking rock. I'm looking forward to this not being such a scalding hot surface come summer, and I think the plants will like it!

  And just compare this chapel view to a couple of months ago and you can see, a lot has changed! Not the least of which are my two new David Austin Roses I'm keeping in terra cotta pots for the time being (Olivia Rose and Carding Mill). This week in particular things have finally started to get lush and bloom....I love it so much....it makes my heart so happy...




   The funny thing is, in the photo above, I couldnt figure out for a while what that mass of tall green plants were coming up in large clumps! But I left it alone because, well, it seemed so purposeful like it knew what it was doing and who was I to get in its way? I wondered, "What seeds did I plant there? Is it something left over from last year?" I thought it looked a bit like bee balm and googled it, and yep! That's what it is! I vaguely remember planting one unassuming little pot of it last year....and its gone crazy coming up all over this little corner bed, and Im really excited about it! My idea for this corner is that it is a wild mass of wildflowers and things for pollinators--- especially since I've discovered my neighbor keeps bees! They're gonna love that balm, dontcha think?



    It hasnt all been smooth garden sailing this spring....Im afraid we arent going to have much of a peach crop, if anything at all this year....we had a few days of really low temperatures and got well below freezing after the trees had already bloomed. I'd hoped that they'd bloomed and been pollinated in time, but....we'll be lucky if we get even a pie's worth of peaches this year, I'm afraid.

   And for some reason the Peonies....maybe because of those same cold snaps....they never made a single bud! My grandmother has a flower bed full of glorious peony bushes just ready to burst....she even called me yesterday to let me know some were opening up! But not my girls...they took this year off...


    I've been pouring over gardening books, specifically books about English style cottage gardens, especially English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners and Tasha Tudor's Garden. Both books are essential parts of my gardening book collection and offer me so much inspiration. And you know Tasha Tudor, in general, is always inspiring me...

    The roses have finally bloomed, and first to open was this gorgeous old fashioned rose, called Strawberry Hill, which is a David Austin rose. David Austin roses are english cottage roses that are specially bred so that they can do well in American climates. This beautiful rose with its amazing fruity scent is thriving out here on prairie, reaching up the trellis on the side of my studio. I like to look out my kitchen window and see the roses on that old brick, imagining its Jane Austen's cottage just across the yard. But...I'm like that, you know ;)

Anyhow, these days are filled with sun and flowers. Trying to enjoy it, because I know that harsh heat of the summer is coming and I struggle with it every year. But until then, give me roses! Always roses.....

~H

Garden Inspiration: The Berkshire Botanical Gardens

 And all of a sudden, it is spring!
      The winds sure are rolling today, its bright and sunny and warm. This past weekend was our first nice and warm weekend of the season (we'd go weeks with pleasant weekdays, only to have the temps plummet and rain come in just in time for Saturday and Sunday) and I was able to stop over to a local herb fair and get some plants.

   We are also really getting to work on the little garden area where the chapel is, and this weekend installed a gravel path and started planning! The inspiration for the garden is the time we've spent in Stockbridge, Mass., especially at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens--- some pictures of which I'm sharing here!





The day we visited, it was a chilly drizzly afternoon--- in June. This Okie, who'd just escaped the burning up prairie, was so thrilled to need a light sweater in June! And the light rain meant that we had the garden mostly to ourselves, and that all the plants were unfurled and lovely, seeking a drink.

  That amazing riot of color and those beautiful stone and gravel paths captured my imagination, and as we've started to work on our little back yard cottage garden, the beautiful spaces of this botannical garden has inspired me.

  All those intense greens from brilliant yellow to dusty sage, highlighted any blooms in its midst. Butterflies and bees loved the area, an I love the idea of a sanctuary space for those beneficiary little insects-- especially since I've discovered my neighbors keep bees and sell their honey!

  It will take work to get everything built up, and time for the plants to get established and thriving. But I'm looking forward to it....and will show you my little garden space soon!

  For now though, I wanted to show you my inspiration....and wish you a very happy spring!~
~H

Bits of Easter










   And here we are, on the bright side of Holy Week. I'd meant to write here earlier--- but the whole week was a whirlwind (how do I always forget that? It's like Christmas!) and then just after Easter the schools here in Oklahoma shut down for a teacher's strike. I'm terribly proud of our teachers and how much they care for our kids. And I hope so so much, that education here will start to improve! But it has been a little scattered around here as we got completely off schedule...of course, I havent minded sleeping in one bit ;) BUT it's meant painting and writing has been scattered.

   I did manage to finish a couple of pieces though (hurray!) and have stocked my etsy shop with fresh prints. I am also so thrilled to see the outside world greening up, despite the fact that the weather teases us with warm days and then freezes us. I kid you not--- a few days ago we woke up to snow and an earthquake. Oklahoma is contrary, for sure....

   But spring is here, no matter the strange April snow. The crab apple tree bloomed such beautiful dark pink blossoms, i cant wait for that little tree to hit its stride and really fill out. I love too that between this tree and our peach trees, the bees could be happy during these early spring days.

   At church during Holy Week Robbie and I took an hour's vigil time before the Good Friday service, and we walked the big indoor labyrinth. We also sat among the lilies, which smelled pretty spectacular.

   Now, I'm turning my attention to when I can safely plant....my hydrangeas and peonies are coming up, and I'm holding my breath as this weekend we dip down below freezing at night, yet again.... I'll be covering things and crossing fingers, for sure. I am also embarking on a weaving adventure as I go learn to use a loom I was given this winter, I am so excited!

  Ah, well, I must sign off for now! We have school again in the morning, and there is always more to paint! Thank you for your visit today!~ I hope you are doing well!~
h

Garden Chapel:: March





   In our back garden there is a little shed.

It has been full of bags of dirt, rusty shovels, children's toys. Last fall, however, as we were working on the garden, and tearing out a crumbling rock patio, I had an idea; turn the shed into a little chapel.

  So we swept out dirt and grime and cobwebs. I found an old dresser free on the side of the road. A friend sent me this lovely St Francis stone piece, and I added other items that can last outdoors. And now here it is--- St Francis of the Garden!

  Its time now, with spring coming, to turn my attention to the garden outside. Its my plan to turn the space where the old rock patio was into a cottage garden, and to reuse the stone to create little beds full of fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers. This plan, right now, is very modest. We've just got a little dirt and a lot of rocks.

   But I wanted to record this project in this very bare season. Things are getting greener by the day, and if all goes according to plan, this space will be filled with beautiful growing things. But there's always a beginning-- and here it is.

Here's to beautiful gardens and pretty chapels, come summertime....
~H

In Bloom







    Greetings today, on March 20, feast day of St. Cuthbert~

    Spring has been chilly and a bit moody here in Oklahoma, but nature has decided she is ready to blossom, and each day things are blooming, greening, coming to life.

   Birds love nesting in the wide eaves of this old house, and each morning I hear cheerful cheeping--- funnily enough my closet seems to be the best place to hear little ones peeping all spring. The grown up house owner in my knows that....I probably do not want birds nesting in the old crevices of this place....but the mama and animal lover can't help but enjoy it.

  March always brings brisk winds out here, and the last few days they've been cold. That hasnt stopped the peach trees from bursting into bloom though, or me bringing home flowers to match the greening of the outdoors.

   The chicken yard is also welcoming new life....though, sadly, we lost some babies last night. I don't want to dwell on that sadness though, and Im sure another trip to the feed store for little pullets will be in our near future....

   At home in the studio, I've been painting. Several of my pieces have involved spring and flowers, and some saints. Next month I plan to take an intensive class to finally learn to warp and use my loom, and I'm so excited! Because, of course, I need one more project....as always.

  If you'd like to see new things I've been making, please come by the etsy shop! Always new things coming in and old favorites being restocked.

  And now, to get ready for Palm Sunday and Holy Week all next week. We will make fresh palm crosses, and bury the old ones in the yard....because you cannot throw out Holy things. They must either be buried or burned. Some churches collect them back to burn and use the ashes on ash wednesday. We will bury ours in the garden, for blessings for a good growing season.

   Well, that is all for today! Hope you are well! Thinking of you all up in the north east with all your snow...stay warm! Your spring and lovely gentle summers will arrive before you know it.

Til next time...
~H

Prairie Spring





Spring is here.

She came leaving blooming crocus in the bare flower beds. And more eggs than usual in the chicken coop. Also in lighter yarns on little needles, thinking of days that wont need a scarf thick enough to warm against bitter chill. Spring is coming more and more each and every day.

  And I am so glad of it! For all my love of New England, I do like that winter doesnt drag on through April in these parts. By Easter we will have a landscape filled with lovely blooms, and I'm looking forward to it! Of course March in Oklahoma brings the wind, and its blowing like mad out there. It'll be a miracle if there's a little leaf left on anything, as this wind comes sweeping fiercely down the plain!

   As for me, let's see....Ive been painting as much as I can and am going to list some new prints in the shop this afternoon. Sometimes I've woken up in the very early hours, unable to sleep any more, and go out to the dining room table to paint without interruption. That is always so nice, but usually I love my sleep too much to do it! Im wanting to create a lot of new work though and put together a calendar.....early enough to design and have ready in plenty of time to offer it for 2019.

   How have you been these days? Been drinking any remarkable tea? This afternoon I'm brewing up a strong cup of Stash's Double Spice Chai. Will add a dash of milk and dot of honey. So much tea these days....Ive lost my touch on making a good cup of coffee!

  Hoping you are well, and that you enjoy a beautiful spring!~
Let me know how you are!~
h

Season of Quiet Change


   It's a gray but warm morning here on the prairie. We had a nice thunderstorm during the night-- something I've missed since we are in a winter drought. The landscape is brown and dreary, but spring is coming....I see her popping up through the tangle of last year's dead grasses and vines each day.  But the warm days are usually giving way to frigid temperatures, Oklahoma never being able to fully commit to winter, but still getting chilly a lot.....good days for tea and knitting...





   I am, as always, working on several knitting projects. Ive cast on a pretty blue green shawl that I'm hoping will be done in time for my brother's wedding in May. I like to set goals for knitting, I guess! I've decided the shawl is my Lenten knitting project.

   I recently attended a wonderful fiber art retreat, and came home with some wonderful yarn and other things. I also came home with a new obsession--- wanting to learn to weave. More about that at a later post.... :)

  I can feel the season turning though, changing, and I'm ready for it. I hope, in general, 2018 is a year for change and moving forward. This raw season just before spring is a good way to see how change happens....one little bit at a time....each day, little green sprouts emerge. Spring doesnt happen over night, in a colorful flush. There is quiet work to do first. Beginning underground, before anything even reaches the surface. But in a matter of weeks, we will have blossoms and blooms. And the world will be changed with color. I am looking forward to this kind of change, in more ways than one.

A Cozy Spot

   Do you ever find one unexpected wonderful thing and then suddenly, you're inspired to tear up the whole house and redecorate because of it? That happens to me...sometimes. And it did a couple of weeks ago on a grand scale, when I found this beautiful upholstered wing back chair at an amaaaazing estate sale (I might have gone to it three times....).....

  I did not go intending to buy anything big...I swear! I had seen photos of the sale online and thought "Oh, I love this lady's style! I wonder if she'll have Tasha Tudor books!" because if she does, I am quite happy! But then I get in trouble because if I've stumbled upon a sale of a kindred spirit, uh oh....there are many things there that I love! And I feel like its a bit of my duty (a calling, really!) to rescue beloved things so that I can love them, and they go on being loved for decades more (see, its really a community service for me to go to estate sales, isnt it?)

  But I saw this chair and thought it was beautiful....there was a bit of texting with my husband....and then a lady was helping me carry it to my car! Just the sort of thing that happened when I found my spinning wheel. You just cant leave it there. And now this beautiful, faded, well made, comfy chair is my new favorite reading spot. Well, it was after I'd moved all sorts of things in and out and around and arranged....



      I was inspired to create an old fashioned area in my living room that, honestly, was sort of a forgotten area that we didnt sit in much because we didn't really love the love seat there (how ironic and unfortunate, right?) I moved the 'vintage style' radio over that I'd gotten for my birthday last year--- it looks just like the old ones, but it has blue tooth! And did you know you can find old radio shows on iTunes and its just like you're in the 40s!!? Ask me now I know ;)

   At the sale I also found some beautiful old books, like an old Book of Common Prayer (1928 prayers) and this little tome of Robert Burns poems. I also found the most amazing jar lamp at Target, where you can unscrew the top and fill it with what you want, and I'm filling mine with scrap yarn balls. The hoarder in me is quite satisfied that yes, there was a reason I kept those!



   All if of it was made even more warm and cozy by old photographs and prints hanging on the wall (the center couple are my great grandparents, Lannie and Emma, who lived on this very same street for 50 years!) and my 1940s embroidered foot stool I found at the antique mall last year. I am so happy with how homey and cozy it all became, and the majority of what is in the space is second hand and vintage.

   I'm not sure who these wonderful items used to belong to, but I hope that they know, somehow, that they are being enjoyed and loved by a new generation. One day these things will pass on to another 'old stuff' lover and I hope that they are as happy and cozy as I am today....

How about you? Have you found any treasures or completed any home projects that have you feeling happy and content lately? I'd love to hear about it!

Til next time,
~H