Friday, November 4, 2011

DoubleBoba Headed for Spain!

After the huge Nor'easter snow storm on October 29, that led to 5+ days without power....we finally have electricity again.
...and.... it's just in time for me to run off to Spain! Yes... I'm headed to Madrid tomorrow. Come on over to my new blog, DoubleBoba and follow along!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NYC thru my Eyes

New post over at DoubleBoba about my recent trip to NYC.

.....and next week I leave for Spain!! Come on over to my new blog to take a look!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Posts Over at DoubleBoba

Still following me on Terra Nova Design? Then you are missing my latest posts!
I've moved over to a new blog DoubleBoba
Come on over!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Heads North

Today is Saturday, a week before Labor Day weekend. This is prime time to prepare for the arrival of the UMsss students later this week and the beginning of classes the day after Labor Day

I had planned to go into the office this weekend and move my things into my new space but Irene has changed all that. On Friday UMass announced that the campus would be closed all weekend due to Hurricane Irene, who is making her way along the east coast and looks to be following a more westerly route than usual. Although she is "only" a Category 1 hurricane right now (and may decrease to a tropical storm, before hitting New England) the winds and heavy rain are expected to cause significant damage and power outages.

So, instead of prepping for Fall semester today I "secured" my lawn furniture, re-filled my oil lamps and caught up on the laundry. Overall, it feels like prepping for a winter N'easter, when we get hit with 2+ feet of snow, except it is hot and humid.

Honestly, I'm hoping it will largely fizzle out before it gets to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, but I'm not counting on it. I'm also hoping that on Monday my garden (house, neighborhood etc) all look pretty much like they did today.

If you are in the path of Irene, stay safe!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Storm King Art Center with Jess

Last Friday Jess and I took a trip over to the Hudson Valley in NY state and visited Storm King Art Center. What an incredible place! The sculptures, the vistas, the fields and rolling hills. The day was complete with blue sky and puffy white clouds which certainly enhanced the experience. Fabulous!!

It was also great to have a little time away from the rush of daily life with Jess, who -- in just 4 weeks -- is headed off to Europe for 2 months. She and Ben will travel through Ireland and England, see Paris and backpack in northern Spain. Then Jess will spend a month in an art residency in rural Spain!

While we were at Storm King her $2000 Kickstarter challenge, to cover some of the residency expenses, was met! That became a wonderful reason to celebrate!

You can follow Jess here, if you would like to keep up with her posts before, during and after the residency.

The following day she and I went to R & F Paints and the the artsy, antique / vintage enclave of Hudson, NY. More on that in my next post!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Blue Gates - the painting and ours at Sweetside

I made a trip over to the Berkshires to my mother's for her 88th birthday last week. It was really fun to be able to take her out to lunch at Panera, where she had never been, and to share pictures and information about the lives of her grandchildren via their blogs and websites etc.

While there I also undertook a project she has wanted to do for some time, namely to re-paint the frames on two of her oil pantings, changing them from the yellowed-white to her favorite color - blue. One of these paintings was the Blue Gate painting done by my paternal grandmother, Margaret Brunjes, many years ago. As I mentioned in a previous post, this painting, of a scene in Rockport, Mass, was the inspiration for us painting our new gate, here at Sweetside, blue. I took a picture of the painting, sans the frame as it was still drying

Here's the painting....and here's our Sweetside blue gate.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seek Your Course!

Ever thought it would be fun to take an art course but can't find anything at your level or anything interesting and/or affordable near where you live? Well, let me tell you about an awesome way to do it.


I recently took an art eCourse and it was great fun. The instructor, an artist in England in this case, provided regular input via the her website, including a weekly video clip. The people taking the course did their work and then we shared our efforts with each other via a Flickr photo sharing group. We were able to see each others efforts, comment on them and encourage each other..... as did the instructor. It was great!!

And now there's a way to FIND all kind sof opportunities like this, from photography, to wirtintg and painting or sculpture or fiber arts...the list goes on. There are tons of things available for you to discover by browsing Seek Your Course

If you decide to take one of these art eCourses....please tell me about it!!
And let others know about Seek Your Course.

Friday, July 15, 2011

No Time to be Squeemish - Pine Sawfly

It has been unusually hot this summer and I've spent little time in my sunny main garden, preferring instead to work in the back shade area where I am planning some new projects.

It's still hot but far less humid so today after work I ventured into the sun to do a little deadheading. One of the shrubs in the sunny garden is my lovely little mungo pine which is tucked into a section by the small pond, just to the left of the image above, in the blog header.

Lately I had noticed some browning on Mr Mungo but assumed it was from the extremely hot weather we've been haivnng.


As I wandered over there for a closer look...horrors... I saw that dozens (I mean many dozens) of Pine Sawfly larvae were munching en masse on several different clusters of needles. Many needles had two larvae attached, face to face, enveloping the entire needle. AGH! Looking even closer I saw that many branches were devoid of needles and several sections were brown and dead looking.

Well most all of the larvae have now been sunk in a bucket of soapy water, along with a few Japanese beetles from the nearby roses.

What a nasty job.

I'm sure I did not get them all so I'll have to keep a close watch on Mr My Mungo who now has many bare and brown sections.

Hopefully his needles will come back. Does anyone know if they will??

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blue Gate of Amherst

It's been a while coming -- but -- it's DONE!

It took us 3 weekends to build, paint, hang and attach the latch -- to be exact.

But, Amherst now has it's own
Blue Gate

Take that Rockport!

Seriously, we built our fence, slat by slat, 3 years ago but now, it needed a gate so I will not have to worry about my little dog Mia running across the street to the park to play with her puppy friends. She thinks it is her job to be by my side when I am gardening because we all know I might get lost out there (!) but, she also loves other dogs (and chasing squirrels) hence my caution and -- the gate.

Back to the Rockport reference.

In Rockport Massachusetts there is a house with a view of the harbor and the white picket fence has had a blue gate for many years. It has become a well known spot for painters, including my own grandparents, Henry and Margaret Brunjes, over 50 years ago. Next time I go to my mother's house in the Berkshires I will take a picture of the oil painting of Blue Gate that my grandmother did many years ago.

As we were building our gate I had the idea to paint ours blue (the same blue as our house...with just a hint of purple in it) so Amherst would have her own Blue Gate. In this case, just down the street from Emily Dickinson's house.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Emily Dickinson's Bluebirds

Before you thought of Spring
Except as a Surmise
You see - God bless his suddenness-
a fellow in the Skies
Of independent Hues
A little weather worn
Inspiriting habiliments
Of Indigo and Brown-
With specimens of Song
As if for you to choose-
Discretion in the ritual
With gay delays he goes
To some superior Tree
Without a single Leaf
And shouts for joy to Nobody
But his seraphic self-

Emily Dickinson

Listening -perhaps- to the descendants of Emily's neighborhood songsters on this rainy June morn.

(image from

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Before and After

Before and after...a child's desk and chair for a special little guy's 4th BD.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Collage Table: Version 1

When in Chattanooga recently I found this small table with a removable glass top. There was one like it in my childhood living room and I hadn't seen once since. So, of course.... I brought it home. Today I arranged a selection of family pictures, from about 1984-1991, under the glass for after Easter dinner viewing. I plan to paint the table over the summer and brighten it up but couldn't resist using it this weekend.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweet Magnolia!

Sweetside Garden is smelling sweet indeed as the Magnolia is in full bloom. If the predicted rains come, they may end it's display prematurely but for today, it is lovely! It is always such a wonderful, welcoming sign of to Spring. My gratitude to whoever the gardner was who planted it decades ago.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

new role: tree doctor

I just couldn't give up yet. Today I went to the Hadley Garden Ctr and asked Tom what I could do to try to save my Japanese Maple that was seriously damaged by the winter storms. Three of its main arching limbs are torn away from the main trunk but they are not totally severed so, it's worth a try. On Tom's recommendation, I tied the branches up to take the weight off of them and bring the tear back r together. In the largest of the 3 limbs I drilled a tiny hole and used a screw to connect it to the main trunk. Then I applied black tree goop to the cracks to keep water out (which can cause rot). So, we'll see. I am not terribly hopeful. Apparently it might leaf out but when it needs to draw nourishment up from below, there may not be enough intact surface area to get what it needs.

I guess many people had damage to their Japanese Maples this year.....too bad, they are so lovely and grow slowly. On the positive side, the scilla and daffodils have begin blooming and the Magnolia buds popped! I got all the oak leaves raked off the main garden and it's beginning to look like Spring. Yay!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baugh!!! Winter damage to garden....

Here in New England, as elsewhere, this winter was the worst in a long time; it really has been a trial in many ways. It finally looks like the coast is pretty clear for Spring to slide in....but, this weekend, when I was able to walk around my garden again, I found three seriously damaged or destroyed plantings that really put me over the edge. The heavy snow and ice has damaged my calycanthus BUT worse still has destroyed (!!) my climbing hydrangea as well as my much loved Japanese maple, the centerpiece of my primary garden. One more big check mark on the "Reasons to Move to a Warmer Climate" list......

(no: I have not had the heart to take any pictures)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Unravelling - A Spring Journey

Just started an online course called Unravelling that is run by British artist Susannah Conway. The assignments are a combination of writing and taking photos. This week's photo assignment was "feet." The class, 160 people from all around the world, has a common flickr photo stream where we can upload as many as 4 photos per week. It is amazing the variety of ways people interpreted the prompt. Here are the 3 that I uploaded: (1) inspecting my water garden -- still frozen! (2) sitting out back waiting for Spring, and (3) playing fetch with Mia

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smitten by the Loft Design of Jimmy Schonning

I'm finding myself hooked by loft design lately. If you are intrigued, clear 30 minutes from your schedule and check out the gallery on the Swedish designer Jimmy Schonning's website. Exquisite!! It's described as "synergy between theater, song, visual arts and design." I say -- Yes Please!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Little Valentine's Day Needle Work

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year I had decided to make something for my adult children to use in their homes. But, what to do? Poking around my studio for some inspiration, I came across vintage napkins with needlework borders. I had recently purchased these with the idea of further embellishing them and creating pillows. Yes! This would be the perfect project for Valentine's Day. I started out with 2 of the napkins and outlined each with an image from my Fanciful Felties book by mummysam. One is a fox which resembles Poppy, A & L's pup, and the other an English cottage for J & B who live in a cute little hillside house with a lovely view. The back sides of each pillow are graphic fabrics that coordinate with the colors in each of their homes. How about you? Did you create any Valentine's gifts this year?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Natural Ice Sculptures in Toronto

Outstanding images of natural ice sculptures on the Toronto waterfront can be seen here. Almost makes me want to hop in my car and drive on up there. Beautiful!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Felt Bird project

For Christmas my artist daughter Jess gave me the book Fanciful Felting from mummysam. I've been working on this cute little British milkman bird. Here it is with some of the main sections embroidered. It is close to being completed now and when it is, I'll post it here. What are you working on these days?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trading Post Treasures

My friends at the Trading Post in Amherst, Louise and Gina are having a sale! I stopped in and came home with a van load of fun pieces to quench my creative thirst. Now, for a little time to get things underway..... and I think I need to build myself a spray booth. I can't say when, but eventually you'll be seeing some "Before and After" shots here on Terra Nova Design. To fuel your curiosity, here are some sneak peaks. Check back!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm Adoring Adore

Yes, I have discovered a new magazine to Adore! It's named just that, Adore and its from Australia. What's even better is that it's fully online, with all 126 pages of its fabulous ideas and gorgeous photography. This issue is the British issue full of all things Brit inspired. Makes me long to return to England -- hopefully this summer. My fav section of this issue though begins on pg 46 with an article called Vintage Shopping! Ooolala! I'd love to spend some time (and cash) in these shops. Check it out...what's your favorite section?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Playing with Red Blue and Yellow

It's about 8 degrees Fahrenheit out there! What better to do on this frigid day than begin Judy Perez's online Color Theory class? I ventured down to my sun-filled studio, cleared off my old slate printer's table, got a out all the supplies and jumped in. I've never worked with Setacolor paints before but they are lovely! I'm really looking forward to using them on fabric. Judy's work - hand painted fabrics - amazes me. Today, I got started by building my color chart with combinations of Red, Blue and Yellow. Such fun you can have with just these 3. I used two red, two yellow and two blues....and look at al the beautiful variations that emerged. Isn't color wonderful? After the chart was completed I had little puddles of color on my palette that couldn't go to waste. So, I painted myself a little bit of Spring. It' a hopeful garden scene for a day like today. It makes me smile.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aluminum Leaf on Furniture!

Oh, I do think I feel a project coming on! Last week I was at Mass MoCA and saw 2 artists working on an installation. They were applying what looked like silver leaf but told me it was aluminum leaf, which is significantly less costly. interest was piqued. There's just something about leafing that has always drawn me in. Then, tonight i was catching up on reading art and design blogs and followed a few links to find myself at this Little Green Notebook post that jumped out and I heard that internal voice speak, saying "You must try this!!" So, sometime soon, I imagine I will do just that. Not sure when, as the new college semester just started but, I'll post some pics when I do.