Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First glance, second chance

This is a front yard flower garden in my neighborhood that really stands out now that it's the tail end of Sept. and most of the flowers have "given up" after a very hot summer.
It caught my eye a couple times as I drove by so I decided to take a walk with my camera to get a few pictures.

The brilliant varigated orange marigolds deserved a closer look.

Neither the foliage or the flowers looked heat stressed in this garden. 

When I moved to this angle I noticed the little lantern on the very corner.  I had been so taken by the brilliant colors I had not noticed it before.

I came in for a close up and that's when I noticed...

This little guy all calm, cool, and collected.
My brain clicked into gear.  If there was this little surprise, there might be more.

My eyes picked out the bunny rabbit propped inside the tree stump and that led me to the...
 little fairy checking out his paws.
There was no doubt there was more to be found.  How could I have missed this?

It was certainly big enough, but, honest to goodness, I did not see it before now.  Could there be more surprises?

Who would have guessed?  Can you see how this all started to become very intriguing?  This was becoming the garden of the unexpected.

A lovely little decorative gazing ball topped with a fleur de lis, was as delicate as the flowers themselves. 

  I took a few moments to capture the beauty of this garden because  I was drawn to the colorful mix and  the vibrancy of the late summer blooms. 
As I moved around the sides of this  small plot, I was rewarded with one new discovery after another.

By now I was starting to "get it."  My idea of seeing something needed some serious recalibrating.  I was standing a few feet from this delightful garden, and although all these things were in plain sight, I did not see them.

I did not have a clue until by accident I saw one, and then another, and when I thought I had noticed them all, I would see another.  This was the universe delivering a well taught lesson.

I wanted to blog about this to let it settle in and have it change me.  I thought about my Grandmother who lived next door to me from the time I was born until I left for college.  I wonder what I might have noticed about her had I taken the time to look. 

This line of thinking could go on forever about people and places and things that were skimmed over in my hurry to "see" what's next.  But I think I'll be taking a closer look and just possibly giving myself a second chance on some beauties I glossed over too quickly.

PS:  After publishing this post I went back once more to prove to myself there is always more to discover. 

To my delight I discoved these seals.  They were very close to the polar bear but I missed them earlier.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where I shop

I am currently enrolled in a blogging class taught by Holly of Decor8 and Leslie of The Creative Mint.  It's a great class jam packed with information for bloggers both seasoned and beginners.  You can find more information about this class here.

I chose, as my homework, to produce a post about a retail store where I like to shop and thought you might like to as well.  It is called Little Shop Around The Corner.
It is a resale  shop.  Do I shop anywhere else?  All the merchandise here is donated and the proceeds support the Missouri Botanical Garden which is right around the corner. 
Which means it is in the Garden District at 4744 Castleman in St. Louis, MO.  Their website gives directions if you want to check it out.  They also tell you how you can donate items and receive a tax deduction.  It is also a good idea to check for their SALE dates.  Members of the Missouri Botanical Garden receive a 10% discount AND on special days an additional 10% discount.  At certain times of the year there is a 20% discount for everyone which means members get another 10%.  See why I like shopping here?  But that's not the only reason. 

Like any resale shop, you never know from day to day what you are going to find.  The merchandise rotates rather quickly here, so it is a good idea to check in often.  Today I saw something I did not even know existed.  Do you know what this is?

I did not, so I asked.  As always the staff was most helpful.

See, at the very bottom, it says washing machine. 

They opened it so I could see where you put your laundry.

So that's how it works!  A mechanized washboard. Turns out this was not something I was looking for today.  But I certainly learned something and I have a greater appreciation for my washing machine.

It is a great place to shop for an anniversary or birthday gift.

You will find antiques,

and you will find collectibles.  These canes are just a small part of a collection that was donated by a collector.

They always have quality pieces of furniture.  The range is from antiques to very contemporary pieces.

Sometimes there will be a very unique item displayed in the window.

I was lucky enough to pop in the day this couch went on the floor.

Now it is resting comfortably on my living room floor.
I want to mention here how very helpful the manager was in getting this delivered to my home.  Mark Currington manages the shop and his genteel manner compliments such a fine establishment.

There is also artwork, jewelry, linens, silver, and china.  So plan to spend some time browsing.  Check the many shelves for decorated glass vases and beautiful lamps.  Don't forget to look up as there are chandeliers hanging from the rafters.
There are even chairs hanging on the walls.
 Take the time to look around and then come back again because there will always be something new.  I did, and this is what I found.

This mirror measures 50" in diameter and is still sitting in my studio because I have plans to change the color of the frame.  Stay tuned.  I see  a later post on this project. (the canvas you see is an attempt to block the view of a bit of a messy studio at the moment.)

If you live in the St. Louis area or plan to visit here soon, take a little time for the:

You will be glad you did.  Shopping here is tax free, you know. And be sure to check their website for more details and pictures.  There is an interesting mural painted on the side of the building which you will see on the website.  Be sure to let me know what you find at this little shop.  Shoppers love sharing their stories and I want to hear yours.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baby Shower

The recipe for a good baby shower is somewhat determined by the age and character of the group you plan to invite.  But there is always the common thread of food and presents.

But when it comes to the decorations the ingredients can be quite varied.
This particular shower theme started with a couple little birdies tweeting on a computer.  It was drawn by a very talented gal I'm lucky to have as a friend.
We added a little verse about being all in a twitter trying to make room in the nest for Baby Rodriguez.  We asked the guests to help feather the nest by joining us ....and followed with the pertinant info.

Then came the gathering of ingredients:

Some cute paper plates from hobby lobby plus some colorful ribbon and a few sheets of decorative paper.  Oh yes, and some bird templates.
One rusty bed spring for every guest.
Some branches with dryed leaves still attached.
A spiral of grapevine twigs.

Some twine and a bag of spanish moss.
Not pictured are an old music book, Jordan almonds in blue and a few little things we will toss in later.

So first we take the bed springs and make a little nest with the moss. 
A bird cut from the music paper catches in the moss and stands by itself.  Toss in an almond and it is finished.  You can see the burlap was used as the table cloth.  Very simple.  No hem needed.  We are going for the outdoorsy look.

Next the napkins. I have a fold I like to use and would be happy to forward to anyone who might be interested.

The fold stays without the ribbon but I tied it loosely just for color.  The twine slips through a hole in the peak of the musical tag.
These serve as place cards.

I cut several birds from the decorative paper and hung them on tree branches that I had planted in plaster of paris.  I used an olive jar to keep the plaster to a minimum.  Then I stuck that inside a larger container and stuffed newspaper around it to center it.  I added some moss around the opening and a band of decorative paper finished off the outside of this container.

I unrolled this and cut it into two pieces.  I rewound them into nests and added moss and some little blue bird eggs I found at Michaels.

I'm going to make a brief apology here for some of the photos.  My dining room is painted a dark brown and has brown sheers at the windows so it's really difficult to get a good picture.  But you get the idea.
I found these little bird houses at a yard sale.  Although they were blue they were really not the "right" blue for the table so I sprayed them a metallic bronze. 
They rested nicely on two silver candlesticks.  A ribbon of blue on one side and brown on the other was tied at the base of the birdhouse. A kiwi tea light picked up the green on the plates and gave the table a festive twinkle.
A few more tea lights down low and the table was set.
I will add a couple more pictures to round out the party tables.
The flowers on the left were in the center of a metal ring that was made for 4 tea lights.
I omitted the tea lights and wrapped little plastic babies in a soft blue fabric instead.  They did not come with dark hair so I colored it with a felt tip pen.
The punch bowl shot preceeded the punch.  The rubber duckies were linked together and were designed to the punch.  But not all goes as planned and the paddles on the mama duck did not function as intended.  Small glitch.

I kept a picture frame next to the door and as the guests arrived I had them hold the frame so I could take pictures of each of them for the memory book.

No, I did not forget the food.  I never forget about the food.  But I had nothing to do with that department.  It was all prepared by my sister-in-law and my nieces.

I won't show each delicious morsel here.  Let me just say I was delighted to have the leftovers stay at my house.

I am linking to:

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special