Thursday, November 27, 2014

Styling The Seasons - November

styling the seasons, november, styling the seasons november, wreath, hydrangea wreath, hydrangea, dried hydrangea wreath
    The season of rain here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon is in full swing.  When it's raining, the sky becomes one big mass of clouds that sits over this valley like pea soup, and can last all day, for several days, or for weeks on end.   

As I watched my garden turn from its brilliant wind swept autumn colors to its stillness of bare branches and decomposing leaves, I turned my attention to cutting and collecting hydrangea blooms from the one bush I have in my yard.  I wanted to save them for a rainy day, so to speak, so that when they dried I could make a wreath.  I first learned about this do-it-yourself project last month while reading Katy Ormes' blog Apartment Apothecary, where guest blogger Tamsyn of The Villa on Mount Pleasant demonstrated how to make it.

One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had made plans to make a large hydrangea wreath to hang over an old wooden table on my front porch, together with another, smaller wreath for the door, and to fill the basket on the table with all manner of autumn goodness.  A potted mum (shown in last photo), and my front porch is not only stylin' the season, but rockin' it!

styling the seasons - november, styling the seasons november, styling the seasons, hydrangea wreath, dried hydrangea wreath, wreath

Below are a few more detail photos of the door wreath, the basket on the table, and the chrysanthemum.  

styling the seasons november, styling the seasons, wreath, hydrangea wreath, dried hydrangea wreath
styling the seasons november, styling the seasons, autumn, styling autumn
styling the seasons november, styling the seasons, wreath, fresh flower wreath

styling the seasons november, fresh flower wreath, flower wreath
styling the seasons november, styling the seasons, crysanthemums, fall flowers, autumn color, autumn flowers, autumn crysanthemums

Thank you for viewing this Styling The Seasons post.  If you would like to know more about Styling The Seasons, visit Katy Orme at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts & lots, and of course a Google search will bring up even more bloggers and Instagramers who also love to style the season.  And look for my own version of a do-it-yourself for both the hydrangea wreath and the door wreath in the very near future!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Made In Japan: Kawaii

made in Japan, Japanese ceramic, vintage Japanese ceramic dog,dog, kawaii, kawaii dog, vinage kawaii, vintage kawaii Japan

    Kawaii (pronounced Kah-wah-ee) is known in Japan as the 'incredible cute syndrome'.  Dating as far back as the Late Shogunate Period (mid 19th century), this concept is applied to literally all aspects of Japanese culture, especially to the appearance and manner of women and girls.  However, its meaning also heavily influences industrial product design in terms of size, shape and overall appearance, and is a primary design theme in a broad range of products.

My collection of vintage Japanese ceramics includes many pieces with this Kawaii quality.  I am drawn to these ceramic creatures because of that cuteness, but I also love the colors and shapes of these adorable 'friends'.  That pup above, for example, has the cutest face, but what I really like are the paint colors used and the technique with which the paint was applied - some of it very neat, and some of it haphazard, or even Wabi, in a way.  You may agree that the other pieces below also posses this Kawaii quality as well:

made in Japan, Japanese ceramic, vintage Japanese ceramic, bank, piggy bank, piggy bank made in Japan, vintage piggy bank, vintage ceramic piggy bank, cash only, no refunds

made in Japan, vintage Japanese ceramic, vintage ceramic whale ashtray, whale, ashtray, Japanese whale ashtray, vintage whale ashtray made in Japan, kawaii whale, kawaii Japanese whale ashtray
 made in Japan, Japanese ceramic, vintage Japanese ceramic, salt shaker, kawaii salt shaker, vintage Japanese kawaii salt or pepper shaker

That pig is actually a piggy bank.  On the top, where the money slot is, it says "Cash Only - No Refunds".  And the whale is an ashtray - you can see the place for a cigarette to rest in the middle of that metal bar running around its mouth. That pink figure?  I think it's a flop-eared bunny.  It's a salt or pepper shaker and can you guess how much would I love to find its soul mate?  I wonder what color it is (I'm guessing baby blue!), and whether its shape is the opposite of this one?

Thank you for taking a look!  And if you love vintage, tell me about it!

 made in Japan, Japanese vintage ceramic, kawaii vintage ceramic, vintage kawaii dog, ceramic dog, vintage ceramic dog, made in Japan vintage ceramic dog

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Autumn Gardening

autumn, garden, green versace tomatoes, tomatoes

    There is always something to do in the garden, especially when the seasons change.  And now that autumn is in full swing here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I recently spent some time harvesting the last of the green tomatoes, planting spring bulbs (crocus and muscari), potting a chrysanthemum, and cutting the last of the hydrangea blooms.   

bulbs, planting bulbs, spring bulbs, planting spring bulbs, crocus, muscari, garden, spring garden bulbs, plant spring bulbs

potting, crysanthemum, transplant, transplant crysanthemum
hydrangea, hydrangea blooms, hydrangeas blooms drying, cut hydrangea blooms

And of course when I am in my garden, I can't help but notice what this wonderful change of season has brought into my little part of the world.  I love to photograph these fleeting glimpses of what will soon be a memory and share them here.  I hope you enjoy this photo gallery:

A myriad of leaves to be raked:

leaves, red leaves, lantern, Japanese lantern, lantern and leaves, autumn leaves, leaves and lantern, garden lantern, Japanese garden lantern

The shelf fungus is active again:

fungus, shelf fungus, leaves, rock, log, fungus on log

The birds, like this wren, are returning for their winter stay:

wren, bird
(photo by Editor James Aōyama)

The absolute last of the dahlias:

dahlia, garden dahlia, yellow orange red dahlia,

The hydrangea before the cutting:

hydrangea, hydrangea bush, hydrangea colors

And lastly, I love to 'bring the outdoors in' and so I made a little bowl of flowers for the kitchen table, and the vase of dried hydrangeas is a previous cutting from the same bush shown above:

crysanthemum, hydrangea, fiestaware, tabletop flowers, flowers on my table, flowers in a dish
hydrangea, hydrangeas in vase, drying hydrangeas, colors of hydrangeas, Japanese nightlight, Shirokiya, Shirokiya nightlight, nightlight

hydrangea, hydrangeas, hydrangeas drying, dried hydrangea

Do you like to garden?  Or maybe do you like to photograph flowers or other plants or animals in your local park or wildlife refuge?  Tell me about it!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pear and Cranberry Crisp

pears, crisp, autumn, bake, fruit, Fiestaware
    As I watch the leaves on the trees in my town turn from the lush green which provided much needed shade in summer, to the reds, yellows, oranges, pinks and browns of fall, my mind begins to shift from the fresh tastes of summer to the warm comforting foods of this autumn season. 

A few years back I subscribed to Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine, and while it is no longer in print, I've saved my copies and still turn to them when I need cooking inspiration.  I like the idea of being able to throw a recipe magazine into my pack on the way out the door; it's much lighter than a cookbook!  That's how I came across this recipe.

I'm fortunate to live in a region where pears are grown, and because of their abundance and variety, I was drawn to this particular recipe. It suggests using Bartlett or Anjou - I used Anjou, and as soon as I started cutting into them, I realized why this variety is suggested.  They are very similar to an apple in that they are a firm fruit; perfect for baking into a crisp on an autumn day.

Pear and Cranberry Crisp

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 pounds pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou (about 6), cored, peeled, and cut into half inch pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar, flour, almonds, cinnamon, and salt.  With your hands or a pastry cutter, work in butter until large clumps form. 

2)  In a large bowl, gently toss together pears, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ginger (if using), cranberries, and cornstarch.  Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish and sprinkle with oat mixture.

3)  Bake until juices are bubbling and topping is browned and crisp, 20 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

pear, cranberry, crisp, autumn, fiestaware
If you are contemplating whether to use the crystallized ginger, I would suggest adding it.  The ginger and the cranberries are the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the pears and the brown sugar.  In fact, I would suggest cutting back on the brown sugar to just less than the 1/3 cup and skipping the extra 2 tablespoons that are mixed into the pears.  Those are just my personal preferences.

Anjou pears, green pears, pears, fruit, Fiestaware, Fiestaware Millenium Bowl, Pearl Grey Fiestaware Millenium Bowl
I'll close with a photo of the Anjou pears so you can see what this variety looks like when they are ripe.  Some pears turn yellow when ripe, but the Anjou maintains its pale green color and is firm when ripe.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Styling The Seasons - October

style, season, design, mantel, surface, styled surface, vintage, midcentury modern, Halloween, candles, Fiestaware, Pearl Grey Fiestaware, swedish candleholders, danish candleholders, midcentury modern, My Mind's Eye paper banner
    October and Halloween are a big deal at my house.  My kids love Halloween, with the costumes, trick-or-treating, and time spent with friends.  And candy.  For me, it's a great excuse to haul out the boxes of decorations and find new and different ways to use them each year.   

This post is about one of the two surfaces in my home that are reserved for my collectibles and other treasures that I enjoy looking at.  I also use these surfaces to place items I am currently fascinated with, usually a new thrift store find, or as a place for greeting cards and other memorabilia.  This mantle is in my living room, and I enjoy the idea of creating a themed statement that is in keeping with the season.  Tag along and I'll tell you about these items.  

style, design, mantle, styled surface, surface, Halloween, My Mind's Eye garland, swedish candleholders, Pearl Grey Fiestaware

The pair of mid-century candlesticks in the above photo were thrifted and are made in Sweden of black painted wood.  The small vase holding the black faux foliage is a piece of Fiesta ware; this style of vase is still being made by Homer Laughlin, but the color, pearl grey, has been retired.  The black bird is from the craft store, and the orange and black striped candle was found at a local charity shop.

style, design, surface, styled surface, mantle, Halloween, danish candleholders, vintage, vintage owls, Hong Kong owls, My Mind's Eye paper banner

Another pair of 1950s candle holders!  These are made in Denmark of cast metal.  And that little owl is another thrift store find - on the bottom it's marked 'Hong Kong'.

style, design, styled surface, surface, mantle, BOO, Halloween, vintage, vintage pumpkin, My Mind's Eye paper banner

The 'BOO' sign is made from real wood, and fairly new for a thrifted item.  That cute pumpkin, made of plaster, is also from a second hand store, and is very old.  And last but not least, I made the banner with scrapbook paper, paper punches and trim.

style, design, styled surface, surface, mantle, midcentry modern, My Mind's Eye paper banner, swedish candleholders, danish candleholders, Halloween

My goal was to create a styled surface with some autumnal color that celebrates the season, as well as the holiday of Halloween, utilizing my collectibles and seasonal items.

Thanks for taking this little tour with me through my styled mantle.  If you would like to know more about Styling The Seasons, visit Katy Orme of Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts And Lots.  See you next time!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekend Life: Autumnal Changes

weekend, life, lifestyle, snoopy, woodstock, fall autumn, flag, banner, leaves, tree, garden
    Both the autumn and the spring are busy seasons in the garden.  While mother nature brings a full display of color for us to enjoy, we gardeners are busy preparing and planting beds.  This year's autumn season here in the Willamette Valley has had perfect planting weather, with just the right mix of sunshine and rain, and although my heart has been heavy with family matters lately, my thoughts have been distracted by the color inspiration that is all around me at this time.  

I've been thinking a lot about color this season, particularly red and green, so when the weekend rolls around I am anxious to tackle my to-do lists, especially items that say something like 'photograph the garden in the early stages of autumnal change - look for red and green'.  

leaves, red, green, June, hands, fall, autumn, autumn leaves, acorns, moss
It's amazing when I get hooked on an idea like this because, for awhile, all I see are reds and greens!  It's like getting a song stuck in your head.  So, here are a few of my favorite songs, ah, photos, featuring red and green:

maple, maple tree, red, green, Jimmy's maple, Jimmy's maple tree, garden
plant, cactus, red, green, garden
Japanese maple, maple, red, green, garden
lily, red, green, red and green lily, garden
red, green, blueberry, blueberry bush, garden, autumn, fall
In the first photo above you can see that Jimmy's maple is still growing strong. I'm not sure what that next plant is - I bought it as part of a potted assortment of plants, of which this is the only one left.  I think it is a succulent of some kind.  Next is the Japanese maple I bought at the Saturday Market several years ago when it was just a twig.  It's really come a long way!  Then there is a spring lily, or what's left of it.  And last but not least, a blueberry branch.  

Earlier, I mentioned planting, and that was part of my weekend too.  I bought a couple of fall mums to plug in, since I love the instant color they provide.   

red, green, mums, crysanthemum, garden
variegated crysanthemum, crysanthemum, garden

As you might notice looking at the first picture, I was still thinking about red and green, even when choosing mums.  The second mum has beautiful variegated orange and yellow blossoms.     

blueberry, blueberry bush, water, plant, garden
Jimmy added two more blueberry bushes to the garden plot, which brings the total to five.  Our first three were planted several years ago, and although it took a couple of seasons until they began to bear fruit, it was worth the wait.  When early spring rolls around next year, we will plant strawberries around these new blueberries.  Strawberries love the shade provided by the bushiness of blueberry plants. 

I started my bulb planting this weekend as well; about half of my tulip bulbs went around the base of the maple tree.  There are still crocus and muscari to plant, and I'm hoping it actually happens before the fall is over!  Although we have planted spring flowering bulbs as late as, well, spring, and they still grew, and blossomed!

All the gladiola bulbs in this area were moved.  It appeared that the blueberries developed an aversion to them.  Sounds strange, I know, but the blueberries started veering off in weird directions after the gladiolas started to take over.  So, for now, the gladiolas are sitting in a tub...

fall, autumn, leaves, rake, raking leaves, yardwork

And what would an autumnal weekend be without some leaf raking?  I love to rake leaves!  It's an invigorating sport, and a great excuse to take a look around the front and back yards and see what's happening.  

snake, garden, garden snake, sun, snake in sun, snake sunning
mushrooms, dirt, oregon, garden
bird, warble, yellow bird, backyard bird, garden, niger, niger seed, feeding birds
turkey, eugene, front yard, turkey in my yard

And as you can see, I did come upon some interesting things.  I found a snake sunning itself on the wood pile, some mushrooms in a shady spot, and now that I've placed niger seed socks outside my kitchen windows, I was delighted to have some warblers visiting.  And, a flock of wild turkeys came through my front yard; about eight or ten of them.  They were grazing through the grass and leaves, looking for food.  This particular turkey came over and checked me out, even though I was sitting very still!

flowers, carnations, vintage, Bonette, Bonette china, faffing, Instagram photos, Instagram photo shoot, my Instagram
Another part of my weekend involved doing photo shoots for my Instagram account.  Right now I am photographing some of my collectables and have joined the 'Faffing' community.  Click on my Instagram link at the top of my blog (or just click here) and see what I'm up to!  

hydrangea, purple, purple hydrangea, backyard, garden

What kind of autumnal adventures are you experiencing?  Or maybe is it spring where you are?  No matter the weather, there are always interesting changes to see in the natural world.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Bird Diaries

Dear Diary,

Today I walked a very short distance from my hotel room here at the Trail's End Motel to the sandy beach where I fed the seagulls. 

Of all the stuff our family does in this tropical paradise - beach strolling to collect shells, playing mini-golf and shuffleboard, or walking to the shopping center to look for souvenirs, I love feeding birds
the most.  You see, Dear Diary, I have loved birds for as long as I can remember.  

In fact, when we drive the 1,000 miles from my hometown of Chicago to our destination of Treasure Island, Florida, I don't even think I'm really in Florida until I see that big colorful bird on top of the Thunderbird Motel!

That's all for now Dear Diary.  See you next time!
© Under The Plum Blossom Tree | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig