Bachelor Buttons Matted Within a Sky Blue Frame

January calls for lovely images of summer. This second hand store find features one of my favorite flowers, bordered with pale blue resembling a fair summer sky.

Before I know it, I will be on my back in the grass, gazing at eye level blossoms like these. Something to focus upon, to quell anxious moments when weather forecasts include snow and ice.

Here’s how to grow these flowers next summer if you’re interested. Here’s one version of how to paint them – but I created prettier ones, if I do say so myself, a few years ago when I copied a printed design from a vintage plate.

This post includes some interesting theories regarding how bachelor’s buttons, also known as cornflowers, got their name(s).

Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

Seek out the sunset. Be grateful for having made it through another day.

From The Art of Simple Living – By Shunmyo Masuno

The Beautiful Tradition of Holiday Serving Dishes

I’ve always had a place in my heart for lovely floral serving bowls like this one on a shelf in my favorite shop.

My mother even served leftovers in the worn ones. The like new ones we saved for Sunday dinners, which were elaborate when my grandmother was alive.

I understand the youngest generation doesn’t have much appreciation for beautiful dinnerware, even as collector’s items. Pretty dishes are overlooked or placed outside as garden art.

Perhaps when they become more rare, they will return to favor.

A Love of Ephemera from Christmases Past

The whimsical scenes of Victorian Christmas cards capture my imagination, and draw me into the spirit of the season.

Some years I’ve lined my windowsills with vintage postcards depicting detailed scenes of idyllic Christmastime experiences like the one above.

As a lover of creatures tame and wild, I appreciate that the Victorians who created paintings and designed cards seemed to include beloved pets in all their activites.

I’m certain those times were troubling to most of the population, though in other ways than today, but the cards added a touch of culture, hope for the future to their holidays, just as they do to mine today.










A Celebration of Summer Foliage

A friend and I have a running joke. She seems amazed by my fascination with leaves. When we worked together on a communal art program, I was determined to choose the project which included real leaves in the design.

I guess I do have a bit of a fetish with them. I love the way they make tree branches sway on hot summer days. Like the tide of the ocean, the swaying reminds us we’re all connected to something bigger than we are.

The above geranium is of a different variety than I’ve grown previously. I’ve never had one with leaves quite like this.

Following is a tiny collection of the myriad of leaf designs featured by mother nature.

I think this plant is called Snow on the Mountain? That’s what my mom said, but there is another plant in the nursery catalogs called by that title. Does anyone have another name for this one?

One of my favorite leaf designs is that of English Ivy. So artistic, and cheerful. I used to collect dishtowels, picture frames, and other home accents featuring an ivy pattern.

Hosta plants offer some of the most dramatic leaf designs and are carefree in nature. This is a Thunderbolt variety. One of my very favorites.

Gardens offer a great collection of foliage varieties to enjoy. Check out all the textures, colors, scents the leaves give off when rubbed – next time you hoe, weed, or otherwise cultivate your home plot, or visit the garden of a friend.


What plants do you think have the prettiest leaves?

Send us your comments.

A Memorial to My Father?

I discovered this brick in a pile of reclaimed building materials, and immediately my father came to mind.

It’s dated the year he passed away. I’m not sure if it was made by Canton Brick, the imprint on many salvaged ones I’ve seen in the area, but it made my day.

If I still had my expansive flowerbeds, I would find a place of honor for it among the blooms.

Shapes of Nature’s Beachside Artistry

Most of the lovely shapes nature creates are rounded or irregular. Seldom do we see square.

The square stone, framed by an oval of entangled tree roots, is a rarity. I’m working on a title or theme for this arrangement. There must be a message for us.

Perhaps it reinforces the value of individuality. If we all conformed to the same shape, the world would be a less interesting place.

Fun Vintage Find -Racing Wings -by artist Montague Dawson

Montague Dawson a British painter was the creator of this lovely print I spotted in a thrift shop.

Wish I had more space to display expansive paintings like this one.

A bit of research shows that this artist’s specialty is imprinting the experience of sailing onto canvas. I’m not sure what site is pictured, but I can envision it on Lake Erie, near the shop where I spotted it.

It’s just a bit faded, but still lovely, the shades of the frame blend perfectly.

Captivating Cats – in paintings and in person . . .

Felines seem quite prolific in our lives this winter. I can’t seem to recall the source of this illustration, but believe it’s probably one of the thrift shop finds I love to photograph, since I can’t afford, and don’t have space for all of them.

Such lovely green eyes, inquisitive expression.

At our home, we have tried to help rescue several feral cats over the past few months. Apparently a neighbor who fed them is no longer in residence, leaving them seeking sustenance elsewhere.

Captain Jack, a cat who has lived with us for years recently passed, leaving space for one more in our home, Vanna, who paces back and forth like a little runway model, or the famous star of the Wheel of Fortune game show.

Another, we call her Kitty Carlisle after the 1960’s star, is quite tame when we stroke her, but shredded the hands of the person who tried to place her in a cage for a trip to be spayed. Super smart, she won’t enter a live trap or a large animal carrier even for a tempting meal. She’s still a work in progress . . .

Vintage Vases are Always a Temptation . .

Whenever I visit this favorite thrift shop, my vision zeroes in on the lovely wall display of sparkling glassware from years past.

A dose of color therapy, as well as a trigger for memories.

The simple experience of growing one’s own posies, choosing  a few to clip for indoor enjoyment, and arranging them casually in a colorful container can be immensely rewarding.

Some mid-twentieth century homes include windows with narrow shelves across the bases of the panes.

I still regularly pass a few of these, lined with colorful vases and interestingly shaped art glass. What a wonderful way to enjoy the vases and bring color to one’s home in winter.