Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hope You Had a Very Merry......

Have a Merry Fourth Day of Christmas (Fourth Day is Friday, Dec 28).

Hope your First Day was as merry and bright as was ours here at Sweetside.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Making Magic

Decorating for Christmas is a bit like what I imagine "making magic" to be. Taking everyday spaces: shelves, table tops, walls, floors & archways and adding bits and pieces, collected over the years from here and there, all to create a little wonderland in one's home. Here seen are the dining room niche, re-arranged since a previous post and the top of one of the several little round tables in my living room.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fun & Busy Days

Finally I have found some time to do my decorating thing. Saturday (between the 2 storms in 3 days) we went with J & B to cut our trees. The snow day Sunday gave me some time and momentum to pull it together. The place is beginning to take shape and feel like Christmas. Here are two sneak peeks: doves and angels. Both much needed this year!! More pictures to come.

Today there was new excitement here: my new Grand-dog came for half the day. Lexi arrived at the home of my daughter and son-in-law this weekend from a Place to Bark in Tennessee; she's a very "special delivery" by artist and animal rescue operator, Bernie Berlin.

Lexi and our Maine Coon cat, Surely, hit it off well. Here they are pictured trying to figure out how to engage each other in cat/dog play. Our older beagle, Chloe, was quite intrigued and tho she watched most of the activity from her pillow, she was quite literally hysterical when Lexi went home. After much consoling and telling her that Lexi will come again tomorrow for awhile, she settled back down to rest. Our old Maine Coon, Arthur was also intrigued. He thinks he is a dog anyway so he felt quite relaxed around this new canine. So far the other 2 cats just watched from their favorite chairs but no one hissed even once which is a great sign.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Season's First Snow Storm

We had the first snow storm of the season this week. I just love the fresh, clean, bright white that sparkles in the sun the next day! Though I prefer the lush green of summer with all the colorful, scented blooms this look is my second favorite.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Let the Decorating Begin

For a variety of reasons I am a bit behind on the Christmas decorating this year. Mostly I have been doing a ton of reading to prep for a new course I will be teaching in next semester. I did get a bit of the dining room decorating started this week. This is a sneak preview of the built in display cupboard. There is more to do but this is what it looks like so far.

Hope your holiday preparations are going well. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Welcome to Advent

First Sunday of Advent-

God wanted, through his Son, to show us and give us the way he would lead us to the goal he has promised.
It was not enough for God to make his Son our guide to the way; he made him the way itself, that you might travel with him as leader, and by him as the way.
Bishop Augustine, 354-430 A.D

May he both lead you and be "the way" to you, this season.

(note: this is our 2006 tree. The 2007 one is still on the "to do" list)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nothing to Fear

Today I read this entry on a blog by Michael Umphrey related to gardening. As I wrap up another year of gardening, pleased with the work accomplished but ever aware of all the other things I wished I had been able to do, his words struck home with me:

"It’s sad not to live in a garden, even a garden as unfinished and in need of care as mine. Having a garden is, to me, mostly a way of paying attention to the grace that dazzles and reassures, a way of aligning one’s small efforts with something so vast and good that we slowly learn we really do have nothing to fear."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Imagine My Surprise

Last week we were unpacking some things that had been in storage when I came across this little doll ornament of sorts that I made when I was about 10 (btw - that was a few decades ago). I had made numbers of them for friends and family, turning them into key chain baubles, and other decorations to use or display in various ways.

I picked up and held this colorful and humble little guy, took a few pictures and set him aside, thinking it would be fun to make more, adult versions, with nicer beads and such for the holidays. Imagine my surprise when I looked at my new Anthropologie catalog the other day, and then again today when I glanced through the new December 07 Martha Stewart Living magazine and saw my imagined, dressed up versions before my very eyes! I felt like I had experienced a premonition or maybe it was deja vu.

Well, they may have beat me to market, but I think will get out the wire and beads and make some up anyway. Meanwhile, I have hung my decades old, brightly colored little beaded guy up in my study, right above my desk. I think he needs a name.....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

It was cold and foggy here but we were warm inside with oodles of food, family and the warmth of the fireplace. Early in the AM Baird drove to the Berkshires and picked up my mom so she could be with us and stay overnight too. My 18 month old grand-nephew paid his first visit to our home and was quite taken with our cats, dog and the turtles. As you can see here, Surely (my Maine Coon cat) was quite taken with him as well. Imagine, a person...who is more her own size! She would sneak right up to him and sniff his hair or ear. And, oh, how I wish I had a video of him when he saw the turtles for the first time! He was so excited.

I had just a little bit of time to do some decorating, making votive candle place markers, decorating my chandelier with vines and birds and arranging flowers for the table. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

End of the Gardening Season

In between everything else in life these days, I've been putting the garden to bed for the winter.

The last of the spicy scented yellow/orange roses found it's way into the house, right next to the water color Jess painted for me, oh, maybe 10 years ago. To me it looks as if she painted the image directly from this rose. I wish I still owned the vase in the painting. It would have been even more perfect, but displayed outside once, the wind blew it over once and left it in pieces.

Meanwhile, I've been enjoying watching the maple tree right outside our living room bay window turn form green to yellow and now to more of an orange. This is one of the three windows that look right out into the branches of the tree. The shiny eyes belong to Sealia, one of our 4 cats. The all find it a great thrill to watch the squirrels chase each other through the tree.

J & B House Update

Cold weather is here...and J & B's dormer windows are in! It is going to be beautiful second floor space with great views.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

NYC Part 2

More pics of NYC......

The Lighting District is an area in the Bowery section where dozens of stores are packed full of chandeliers and other wonderful lighting fixtures. One is not allowed to take any pics inside the stores but shooting from just outside a propped open front door went undetected.

In the 14th Street subway station there are a number of these cute little bronze statues depicting different scenes of city life. They are 12-16 " tall and are the work of Tom Otterness (click on his name to see all of them).

And another shot of Central Park... a living statue. Jess and I saw many such "statues" in Florence Italy but I think this is the first I've seen in the US. How anyone can stand perfectly still, for so long like this, is quite beyond me.

And this one is of the famed bald eagle's nest a top the curved center window of this house on 5th Ave, right along Central Park. The eagle was out and about (likely somewhere in the Park) but people were nest viewing through a telescope anyway.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fall Trip to NYC

I'm just back from 3 days in NYC... three Fall days according to the calendar but quite summery and in the 80's in NYC! It was a hot but beautiful weekend there.

Yesterday I visited the Farmer's Market at Union Square. A true feast for the eyes. Though I was not in the market for fresh produce as I was on the road, hundreds of New Yorkers were there bright and early to fill their bags.

I also took in 3 tours that were part of Open House New York (OHNY). The first was Gramercy Park where I learned a great a deal about the history of this unique English styled town square including stories about its famous residents past and present. The park is private..only open to those who live abutting it but I snapped some pictures between the bars of the iron fence.

Unfortunately I did not spot either Julia Roberts or Uma Thurmon, both residents of the neighborhood. I also visited the offices of Atelier 10, a green building consulting firm and EverGreene Painting where I met artists and designers who produce works for cathedrals, theaters, state houses and much more.... way too much to write about. You'll just have to check out their site.

Today I spent part of my day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One my favorite spots was a wonderful courtyard area in Astor Court. The museum's web site states that the court is a unique feature of the Asian galleries modeled on a Ming dynasty (1368–1644) scholar's courtyard in the Garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai famous for its garden architecture. A gift of the Vincent Astor Foundation, the court opened in 1981.

The roof top garden was also lovely and the view of the NYC skyline over the top of the tall trees of Central Park was extraordinary.

Walking through Central Park was amazing. Tons of families, people of all ages riding bikes, children playing ball, a wedding party taking pictures, people maneuvering the radio controlled sail boats and lots of city dogs enjoying long walks in the shade of the tree lined streets.

Wonderful weekend.......

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

J & B's Garden

Summer's drawing to a close quickly here but we got a few things done on the garden at J & B's house. First is a shot of it when they bought it....lush but chest high with tangled, overgrown weeds and scrubby sumac trees. Second, here it is in mid September. I was able to plant the bottom half of the hillside with 10 shrubs, and 8 shrub roses as well as a couple of dozen perennials and a few dozen daffodil bulbs. It's hard to see it all here, shown in the shade, at the end of the season but hopefully it will be lovely next Spring, Summer & Fall. The stone and pebbles are in the location of the seasonal stream that cuts through the backyard. Should be beautiful with the snow run-off. There is still a large area atop the back hill to clean up and where they plan to put an outbuilding/studio (?) from which to watch the seasons pass. As you can see, there is a great view from out there.

For the very curious, the plantings include: blue spruce tree, walking stick tree, variegated willow shrub, purple leaf smoke bush, burgundy leaf bush, mungo pine, 2 white mountain laurel, red shrub roses, shasta daisies, phlox (3 colors), variegated grasses, primrose, stella doro day lilies, several varieties of iris and others I cannot recall off the top of my head.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sweetside Stream

My stream at Sweetside is basically done. There is some tweaking still to do but it looks done so for blogging purposes..... it is "done." Now for the tendonitis in my elbows to go away!! Man that was a LOT of rocks.

Where did August go???

Never in my 2+ years of blogging has 4 weeks gone by without my posting. So sorry to my hundreds of faithful readers (ha!). Actually, I know Alexia is waiting so, for her, I will post :-)

I have been working per usual but all the rest of my time has pretty much been at J & B's painting and gardening etc at their new house. Here are a few pics, in reverse order, to show you the progress on the dormer. Jess and I have been focused on first floor projects and gardening (more pics of that later) while Ben has been tearing off half the roof and building an awesome dormer, with the help of friends and family along the way. Baird has been straightening out some weird wiring things. They moved into the downstairs last weekend. The roof is almost covered again. Thankfully there have not been any storms in the 2 weeks it has been under tarps.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A "New" House Project

"Design is my Art"

Not much blogging on my part this week. I've been spending quite a lot of time at Jess & Ben's new place. We have been ripping out walls and ceilings and painting up a storm. Still a lot to do in the next few weeks but it is fun to see it happening. Here's a few "during" pics. In the first one you can see the kitchen cabinets which were dark red and now, in picture #2, are white. The next shows the multiple layers of ceilings in the kitchen (original horse hair plaster, acoustic tiles and wood wainscoting which was nice but falling down due to poor installation). All have been removed, down to the plaster to begin again. The last one is Jess tearing out the remnants of the half wall that divided the kitchen from the eating area. Opening it up and painting the cabinets & all the trim white has made the space feel much larger and brighter. It's going to be AWESOME!

Tomorrow I am off to NYC for a few days to go to the Chelsea Flea Markets as well as fabric, lighting, paper and art supply shops......
Ooooo la la... posts to follow....

next week, I hope to do some gardening in J & B's beautiful back yard!

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Swaps and more....

I have been trying to participate in one swap per month. This month I am in the Hometown Swap hosted over at Create a Connection. I sent my little pyramid box and other ditties to Melba and they are now posted on the Create a Connection blog. You'll have to check it out there, as I forgot to take pictures before I sent it off. Yikes!! Thx for posting the pic Melba! I am still awaiting my package from the person sending to me, but I will post about it when it comes.

I do stress about the swaps a bit because this is all so new to me, but my pieces have been well received and it is really fun to share art this way. My first swap was a May basket Swap hosted by Artsy Mama, Kari who is now becoming quite famous as her blog is featured in Stampington's new Artful Blogging magazine.

In June I participated in a Charm Swap. I made 27 little clay birds and attached a hand hammered pewter tag to each, that says SOAR. In the end, Mary, who hosted the swap, recirculated the charms and I received back 17 charms made by people from all over the country (and a few international folks as well).

Speaking of people's work in magazines... I am so thrilled that my blog friend Joanna Pierotti has a piece in the latest Somerset magazine! I'm joyous that Joanna has come thru the other side of chemo and is winning her fight against breast cancer. It's fabulous to hear her spirit and see her creative energy re-surging! Big hugs to you, Joanna!!