Monday, July 29, 2013

Princess Theodora in Moonlit Red

Princess Theodora has joined Willhemina in the world of moonlit color!

I asked on my Facebook page if people would rather I share each princess as I finish them, or do a big reveal at the end.  The consensus seems to be (thanks all!) that I should show a close up of each princess upon completion, and then do an overall share of the room as a whole at the end.  (I also hope to have a party for all local friends when I finish the twelve, to show the room in person!)

Soooo here's Theodora!

Now before you worry that the princesses will all be in a distracting rainbow of moonlit-colored dresses, let me remind you what my two main inspiration artworks are for this project:

Notice in Laurel Long's artwork (the second) there IS a princess in red.  But she blends nicely with the other princesses in shades of blue and green.  The princesses will be primarily in varied shades of blue and green, with the occasional shot of moonlit subtle red.  Theodora just struck me as wanting a moonlit deep red gown.  ;)

Now,  I will resist posting zoomed out progress shots till I'm done....except this last time.  I  had to share a picture of the two princesses side by side.  This will be the last time I do this!!  Hold me to it...I want to keep a big reveal at the end! ;)

Friday, July 26, 2013

First Princess in Color

The other day, I took my first princess off the dining room wall and took her up to my creating room (Dreaming Room) to finish her in color.  After an hour of work, I had to stop to get ready to work, so I brought her back downstairs to see how she looked.  And I wasn't pleased.  In fact I was so torn, I wasn't sure what to do: should I finish all the princesses in color even though I wasn't sure it would look good?  Perhaps I should just take them all down and leave the moonlit forest with its will-o-wisps alone without its princesses at all.  Should I leave them up as they were in black and white?
(blurry shot...I was taking a picture of the whole room)

I was so frustrated by the whole thing it started a chain reaction of self-doubt in other areas of my creativity.  So finally today I put my foot down and said to myself "ok've only worked on this princess for an hour, and like it or not she's in color now, there's no going back.  So go all the way with it."  I spent an additional three hours today working her up in color, and then I took her back downstairs and put her on the wall.

And I liked what I saw!

Now, I've worked out a formula of colored pencils in shades of grey and blue to blend with the colors of the princesses and their gowns to help make them look moonlit.  Hopefully the other princesses will now finish up even faster, but if they don't, that's ok too.  But I feel much better now about proceeding with my original plan (well, close to it...originally the princesses would have been painted on the walls, but my knowledge of colored pencils far surpasses my knowledge of acrylics, I learned the hard way). 

Now on to Princess Theodora!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Cat In Front of the Cottage

Tonight Corvin was begging for front porch time, despite the torrential rain that came down today and still had the front porch moist and saturated.  As I sat out there with him and thought about how adorable he looked, it dawned on me to have Tom take our picture.

It also gives those who haven't been here a bit of relative size perspective on the front of the house.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Few Minor Changes

A few minor changes have been afoot outside the cottage.

Thanks to another generous friend, the shade portion of the back yard fence bed is shaping up nicely.  We've now added two types of Hosta, three Astilbe plants, Lily of the Valley, and Coral Bells to this corner along with the original fern, blackberry vine and Hot Lips Turtlehead.

Gratuitous pointless shot of the view from under the Hawthorn tree.  Think I love this tree much?

Here's something I haven't shown you yet...I planted some Calendula back by the garage, and a couple of Morning Glory vines.  I also planted Zinnia, but as you might be able to see only one plant popped up on either side of the center trellis.  Eventually I want to do more with this wall and the windows.  We bought coco-lined metal window boxes for these windows in the spring, but they were cheap enough quality that I didn't want to drill holes in the siding for them, and we couldn't figure out a way to adhere them to the window frames in a less permanent manner.  So the jury's still out on what's to be done here, but something will!!!

Finally, you can see the two planters that were on the front porch for most of the summer have been moved back here to either side of the blue bench.  (also note the pretty new purple and pink Petunia hanging basket I picked up for $4 on sale)  So what's on the front porch to take their place, you might ask?

Well I found a pair of lovely concrete urns for a marvelous price that just looked like they belonged on the front porch. 

I put a couple of small evergreen topiaries in the urns.  The former hanging Lobelia baskets were starting to lose some of their color/bloom, though they were staying healthy, and I had been wanting something to take us into fall and straight into winter and Christmas.   Hopefully these evergreens will keep their color and health straight into the holiday season and beyond.  Plus I think they add a little touch of symmetrical neatness to a cottage flowery front yard.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Perfect Night

Tonight's rainstorms knocked two of the daylilies from their stems.  I decided to enjoy them tonight beside my perch on the couch, along with a marvelous candle I couldn't resist at Target called "Perfect Night"

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Breeze...Summer Bouquet

Last night I gathered a small bouquet of flowers from my garden.  None of my plants are *quite* big enough yet for me to feel guiltless cutting off blooms to take inside...after all they are so lovely blooming where they are outdoors...but I found a few I could spare and brought them in to enjoy.

Bee balm, Fern, Coral Bell flowers, Zinnia and Coneflower


One more...I realized I hadn't done my signature shot of the front of the house in a few weeks to check on the progress of the flower beds.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July Garden

More gardening.  The more I plant in our yard, the more time I spend getting lost in dirt and petals and water and roots during the summer.  And the more this blog turns into a gardening blog when the weather cooperates.  If you're more about the indoor projects, I understand.  And I apologize.  Those days will come again.  But until then...please humor me. 

We've had rain every day but one for the last two weeks.  And I won't say a word against it, because for the most part (the poor Hollyhocks are basically done for) the garden has adored it. 

The Egyptian Queen daylilies are now all the way out in force.  Gosh how I love these plants. 

The Coreopsis and Bee Balm are beautifully blooming, along with one of the two coneflower plants in the established part of the flower bed.  

 The new extended flower bed is doing very very well.  I still have a space open for a large shrub plant near the tree...right now I'm leaning toward an Oakleaf Hydrangea...perhaps a Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangea.  Everything may look quite small, and they are still establishing themselves, but I'm trying to save room for their full size over the next couple of years.  Still...there's quite a bit of room for adding more.  Next year I definitely want to add some Snapdragons and a few other plants. 

A close up of a bee on the Bee Balm.  Oh I'm always so thrilled to see the bees in my garden.

A close-up of the new Sedum still establishing itself, with droplets of water from the rain.

The Bonica rose bush seems to like where it has been planted thus far.  It thrills me to see its tiny blooms starting to emerge.

The new brightly colored coneflower I put in the new garden is starting to bloom, and the transplanted (taller) coneflower next to it has officially dug down its roots and decided to live and grow.  I believe this coneflower is one of the ones given to me by the best gardener in our neighborhood two years ago.  I thought all the seeds I had planted in the back bed had been duds, but now here this guy is!

Dianthus in the new garden.  My parents clued me into this plant when they bought one for my birthday a couple of years ago.  It's a lovely mounding perennial with at least two bloom cycles each year.  

The above Black-Eyed Susans have already grown bunches since my birthday a little over a week ago. 

A Coral Bell I transplanted from a front flower bed where it was definitely mis-planted in full sun.  The subtle pinking along the edges of the leaves is so lovely.

 The shade portion of the garden has had some advances thanks to my friend Jessica.  I've added several more Hosta plants, some Lily of the Valley, and a pink Astilbe plant I hope will take off and get a lot bigger.  Of course there's also the established bunch of ferns in the corner...which I hope will spread over to the new mulched space. 

Hard to imagine this was ever a Hospital Row Zinnia plant at Lowes.  The majority of my plants in the garden either came from generous neighbors and friends, or the Hospital Row of Lowes.  Thank goodness for discounted plants on their last legs that I can bring back to life!!

The basket on the back gate is also loving the rain.  

The Thornless Blackberry taunts us with its unripened berries through the fence.

The Hot Lips Pink Turtlehead plant really likes its shady corner behind the ferns.  This plant is a late bloomer, and I can't wait to see it.

The thornless Raspberry I planted last spring is starting to produce ripe berries.  Mmmmmm.

An enchanting view through the arbor.  I'm crossing my fingers that we get a lot of beans on the Scarlett Runner Bean vine this year.  Not to eat, but to dry the beans for next year's plant...I'm out of beans to plant.

 Tom really loves the Coneflower, so this shot's for him.

In the front, the Balloon Flower is doing nicely this year.  I planted it two years ago and usually there's only one bloom on it at a time.

I can't tell you how thankful I am to have bought this Hellebore on a whim two summers ago.  In spring the blooms are dusky purple, but they stick around throughout the summer in a modified dusky pink-greige-green color.  Subtle but lovely.  

The Obedient Plant I bought last summer is blooming.

One last shot of the color around the front door against the damp of a rainy day.