Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too Hot to Update

Central Ohio has been just ridiculously hot this past week, with heat indexes in the 100-some range every day. My plants have been on my mind in this awful weather, but they're mostly making it through alright.

Today, Tom and I braved the again, over 100-degree index heat to work on the lawn and garden. And I had a bee in my bonnet to stop at Lowes to check out their plant hospital row.

I left with a few things...the lovely blue plant you can see here right in front of and to the left of the hydrangea.

Thanks to my friend Salena, I got a couple of transplants of purple coneflower. I'm pretty smitten with this plant, and have been since I saw it around a couple of gardens in the area. I hope to plant a lot more of it along the fence row. You can see I've gotten a variety of new plants here to fill things out.

I had to transplant these from the lawn to the flower bed. They're too lovely.

My friend Casie gave me a new planter, so I had to fill it! Plants from the hospital row of Lowes again.

My thornless blackberry has taken off a little bit! You can see it sending out shoots in this shot.

And it has some berries on it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Londo and G'Kar

The awesome Edie was quick on the ball and correctly guessed the subject matter of yesterday's silhouettes. They are Londo and G'Kar from Babylon 5, my favorite television show of all time.

The two characters are mortal enemies throughout most of the series, hence why I made their silhouettes face away from each other, and blocked into two separate matt openings.

My favorite character on Babylon 5 (and any tv show) is Lyta Alexander, but G'Kar and Londo have such distinct profiles, and Straczynski has been quoted as saying that the whole show can be summarized as the arc of their story. (At least I think I remember reading that somewhere)

My next silhouette for the wall is already planned out...I just have to find a frame and do it. This is *fun*!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More Wall Artage at CCC

Two for the price of one. A shot of two new things at the Cottage.

Found an incredible deal on this huge Lady and the Unicorn tapestry on Etsy. The also gorgeous but smaller tree tapestry that used to be on this wall will now be moving to the living room wall instead.

Aaaand another pop culture silhouette joins the others on the wall. This one is titled "Not Many Fishes Left in the Sea", if that helps anyone to guess who it is...

I'll post the answer sometime tomorrow if no one guesses it. ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Framed Book Butterflies in the Dreaming Room

Well, you know me...always trying to find the next project. Remember the original teaser picture from the butterfly branches in the Dreaming Room? Remember how I said I was keeping the pages with the butterflies cut out of them as well as the butterflies themselves? Well, here's the result:

As with all my posts, please click image to see much larger! :)

A little closer view:

And here's what I did. I took the page with cut out butterflies, 3 a piece, used for the branch project. I then took a book I have on hand, Alphabets and Ornaments, a book full of medieval and period templates. (A similar book can be found at any library I'm sure) I photocopied three pages that had ornate designs I thought would work well for the project.

I then took watered down acrylic paint, and began painting the photocopied page with colors to mimic butterfly wings. I would continuously lay the template book page down on top of the photocopy to make sure the design was working for my "butterfly." When all three butterfly shapes were painted/filled, I glued the two sheets together, and trimmed off any excess from the photocopy that showed around the book page.

The use of the medieval design adds patterns as well as color, and helps add to the butterfly "look" while also continuing the theme of words and history.

I then bought three cheapie ($3) frames at Walmart that just happened to have mats included in a shade similar to the antiqued page. I laid the page down on top of the matting, but my original plan was to find scrapbook paper that would look good to fill the rest of the frame, and I'm sure that would work too.

For the two smaller frames, I took a book page from the same book (The Rose and the Thorn..a donated book bought for a quarter at the library. All about the Tudors and full of wonderful romantic words) and cut out images I liked from a spare copy of Brian Froud and Alan Lee's Faeries I picked up at a yard sale years ago (paperback copy with a binding falling apart, otherwise I wouldn't dare cut it apart). I placed the cut images in front of the book pages, and sandwiched both behind the matting of, again, a $3 Walmart frame. I made sure some of the cut image was layered in front of the matting for a quirky 3-d effect.

And there you have it! It was a fun little project that could be easily done using similar materials. The book was a quarter at the library, the photocopies were $.10 a piece at the library, and the frames were $3 a piece. So...yeah...not exactly a bank breaker.

Here are the other three frames:

Oh, and for the record, I used the newspaper template method to hang these 5 frames on the wall. I had heard of this method from Young House Love, but never tried it, and let me tell you, when you're trying to arrange things symmetrically or place a grouping in an aesthetically pleasing way on the wall, it is a total sanity saver. Highly recommended.

(To summarize, it basically means that you trace templates of your frames onto sheets of newspaper, cut them out, and add tape to the backs, so you can move them around the wall until you're pleased with their location. You can then X on the newspaper where you need to hammer your nail, and just tear the paper away when you're ready to hang the pictures)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Show & Tell Sunday for July 10th

It's time for the newest edition of Show & Tell Sunday!

First of all, remember how our hydrangea was coming in blue to prove to us our soil is acidic? Well yeah, the two mopheads are definitely bloomed now, and the color is quite clear:

And remember the almost-dead rescue African Violet I got for $1 at the nursery a couple weeks ago? Well, look what a Wardian Case and a little attention will do:

The bee balm along the fence has fully bloomed now as well:

We ran out to a local antique and craft shop and picked up a couple of things yesterday. First of all, we couldn't resist Prince Albert in a Can:

(Side note: I actually never really got the joke about "Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Better let him out!" because I never knew that Prince Albert was an actual brand of tobacco!)

We also bought this beautiful little copper watering can. Of course we couldn't test it for leaks in the store, and when we brought it home it was leaking. We had to run a line of clear sillicone caulk up the side of the seam, and now it seems to be doing ok. It should be great for watering our indoor plants, especially the African Violet, which prefers room temperature water:

And finally, a second addition to our silhouette wall. I'm hoping to add numerous more silhouettes both to this wall, and the one on the other side of the doorway.

Tom is a big fan of Death from the Sandman comics. So much so, actually, he has two Death of her, and a band of ankhs.

This craft project is entirely hand cut/carved paper. Her signature eye spiral was the hardest part by far:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sir Bunny

A nice picture of the back yard in the late evening of a hot summer day. But wait...what's that little brown smudge by the bottom of the Hawthorne?

Why, it's Sir Bunny, finally allowing us to take his picture!

Click to see larger...I took a million pictures, and this one wasn't the sharpest, but his pose here was too cute.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pop Culture Silhouettes from a recent gallery exhibit of papercut silhouettes has been making the rounds of the pop culture/geek websites. It is Papercraft, an amazing collection of pop culture icons rendered in the classical and classy silhouette format. I absolutely went bonkers for this idea, since as you know in our house, I love opportunities for us to express our geeky side, but in a subtle and "classy" way.

Tom's Birthday is today, and I thought I'd take the opportunity to try my hand at the first of what may perhaps be many of these paper crafts I want to make for the house. His favorite movie of all time is a little film made in the 70s called Paper Moon. Tom is an enormous movie buff, but of course his favorite film would be an obscure one with no real fandom to speak of, and very few "collectibles" to give him as gifts. So, I thought, what better gift to make him than a paper craft of Paper Moon?

I started out by screen capping the movie, looking for scenes that had good profiles of the two main characters, Mose and Addie. I lucked out in that there's once scene in the film that provided the *perfect* profile of both of them at the same time.

I reversed the image and tweaked the contrast, and cut out the figures in the foreground, adding a paper moon for easy recognition.

And then it was just a "simple" matter of doing the paper craft one afternoon last week when I was on vacation. It took about 3 or 4 hours all told to do this craft, but I loved the turned out exactly how I wanted it to.

And Tom of course immediately recognized what it was, and loved it. We put it on a wall by our Geek Room / media room, and I hope to add other silhouettes to it very soon. Which characters will be added? Well, I definitely have a few in mind, but that'll be a surprise.

(Tom's also wearing his new Firefly "Fighting Elves" shirt I got him for his birthday)

More gorgeous inspirations from Etsy:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Birthday Blooms

What a week it has been! My birthday was on the 22nd, and a great one it was, but immediately followed up by an excruciating pain in my wisdom tooth the following weekend, when we were trying to hold a garage sale (which was a success, btw!).

Monday I went back to work, but only for a day. I called an oral surgeon and was scheduled to get all four of my wisdom teeth pulled on Tuesday. Today is the first day I've felt like myself again since then...and it's just in time for us to be able to celebrate Tom's birthday tomorrow! (I love that our birthdays are so close together)

Today I just wanted to share a few of the garden joys I've experienced lately. I'm officially smitten with gardening in our new yard...I want to do more and more!

Our bee balm has started to bloom. Pink isn't my favorite color, but when it's nature, you can't help but admire anyway.

When we re-landscaped the front of the house, we moved all the daylilies back into the corner of the back patio, not knowing what color anything was going to turn up. As you recall, a couple of weeks ago we got our first bloom, a stunning huge peach and dark purple daylily known as Egyptian Queen. Well...does this look familiar?

That's right...the dayliliy opposite the plant that had the original bloom has also started to bloom, and it's another Egyptian Queen! We're thrilled.

The smaller daylilies on the far corners are these lovely little dark red numbers. The light made them look brighter than they really appear in person...they're more of a rich burgundy shade.

About a month ago we bought an Endless Summer Hydrangea, and I intentionally bought one that was large enough that it looked like it would bloom this year, but small enough that it hadn't yet bloomed in the store. You see, Endless Summer Hydrangeas act as litmus tests for the soil in your yard. If your soil is alkaline, they will bloom pink. If your soil is acidic, they will bloom blue. You can, of course, mess with the soil to get them to bloom more one shade or the other, but I was curious to see what our soil was naturally.

Well. The first bloom hasn't quite arrived all the way yet, but I think I can definitely see which way our soil leans:

Acidic. No wonder why the neighbors have such tales of rhododendrons doing so well at our house in the past!