Monday, April 23, 2018

A Weird Spring Saga

Finally, the first sign (up here in the frozen north) of spring!
It seems that warm days and lots of pretty flowers may actually become a reality.

I never seem to be able to come up with things to blog about in the wintertime. It probably wasn't the best idea to start a blog about gardening when I live in a part of the country where there can be snow nine months out of the year. It's usually only six but this year has been completely outside the norm. The only spring flowers we have so far have come from the grocery store but they're pretty, too.

Last weekend there we had a blizzard. It snowed continuously for three days.

The fact that it could snow constantly for three whole days took us all by surprise.

It doesn't always snow here in April but it's not uncommon. It just doesn't normally amount to a couple of feet of the white stuff.  Since we are located on a major migratory route, the news was full of sad stories of tired and hungry birds with no access to food. 

So, when it finally quit snowing it seemed like it was our civic duty to put out some extra food for the birds. I was going to put one of the trays of seed on the garden bench but the snow was as deep as the seat so that was pointless, ha! They ate it anyway and so did the squirrels.

Since we were stuck inside all weekend there was plenty of time to take down the Easter decorations. It was a little confusing to be putting away bunnies and chicks instead of snowmen and reindeer while a blizzard howled away outside.

Good thing there was enough chocolate left over.

The bunny wreath (my budget version inspired by a fancy one by Mackenzie-Childs) never made it to the outside of the front door. Maybe next year.

For now, I'm very grateful for the snowdrops, hopefully they won't get buried under a foot of snow. 

Sorry for the long absence, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Let's Just Pretend It's Spring

A few days ago, on a typical early March afternoon, HM and I ventured out to catch a glimpse of spring. There are no actual signs of it around here but luckily some nice florists teamed up with the local art center to a give us all a glimpse of what is to come - if the current weather doesn't drive us completely out of our minds! Just kidding, I love all the seasons and can't imagine living anywhere else but sometimes winter can go on way too long.

Rooms of Blooms is an event that combines flowers and artwork and is put on by our local Paine Art Center. A variety of exotic plants and flowers are done up in wildly imaginative bouquets by florists from the area who are inspired by the paintings from the Paine's permanent collection. There are also special displays to complement the rooms and a group of fantasy themed dining tables.

The main gallery showcased a collection of 19th century landscapes, hung salon style. Set among the paintings were the floral arrangements that took their design inspiration from the works of art on the walls. That sounds a little on the stuffy side but it was actually kind of fun to look at the art and flowers together since no two interpretations were the same. The contemporary botanicals were also a nice contrast to all those pictures in their serious gilt frames. 

This bouquet's reverse pony tail had me laughing.

This visitor seemed to blend right in.

There were some groupings that were very carefully color coordinated . . .

. . . and others where the lines between the art and blooms were just a blur.

I'd love to create a tiny meadow like this but what would it look like after my kitties got into it?

Orchids and roses were on display in the Ladies Sitting Room.

This is a look into the powder room off the Ladies Sitting Room.

How much writing do you suppose she is getting done with those two ravens watching?

The Great Hall was full of tables set for fantasy luncheons. This one was very impressive but a little scary to get close to. I was afraid I might bump into a chair and send the whole thing tumbling down!

A unique centerpiece of birds, nests, moss, succulents and folding cameras.

Here is another flower arrangement that called for a wide berth. Luckily, it was very fragrant so I didn't have to get too close. How cute are those lucite chairs?

No flower show would be complete without roses!

I rarely photograph the staircase because, well . . . it's a staircase. However, the handrail is carved with oak leaves and acorns so I sort of felt like it fit in with the overall botanical theme.

More conventional spring flowers were on display in the appropriately dark Gothic Gallery.

Upon leaving the art center we stepped out into a completely different story.

Of course, since this was a celebration of spring, it was snowing heavily.

At least it was pretty.

I'd like to think that in a couple of months all this snow and cold will be completely forgotten.

Ha! Ha! Ha!  Not likely! 

Thanks for stopping by! Has spring showed up where you live? 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Some Winter Madness

 Last Friday, His Madness and I decided to get dressed up in our finest Groundhog Day outfits in honor of our personal weather prognosticator, Backyard Burt. Granted he is a plastic skeleton, not a hibernating rodent but honestly, isn't one shadow as good as the next?

Our winter has been a little odd this year. There have been lots of bright, sunny days where the temperature never got above zero but the strangest part was not having any snow! Yes! A winter with NO SNOW! It did briefly warm up and rain however so at least there was ice. 

Without any snow we were beginning to think an early spring might be in our future. So on Groundhog Day we had high hopes for a positive prediction. Once he had been pried off the couch and coaxed outside, Backyard Burt did see his shadow. According to legend, that means we have six more weeks of winter to look forward to. Fortunately, that is actually a few weeks less than the normal length of winter around here so we pretty happy with the outcome anyway. 

Then it snowed all weekend.

 Lets just say it didn't warm up either.
It seems like the dryness in the air is as bad as the cold. Why does Static Guard smell so awful?

We are now back to a more typical winter, just buried in a little less snow than normal.

Mother Nature did made things look a lot better.

She always manages to cover up all the eyesores . . . 

. . . and even threw in some extra sunshine to make it all sparkle.

Some were happy to resume their usual winter pastimes.

Others were not. 

Thank you for stopping by! How is your winter going?

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Glass Museum

A few days ago I came across some pictures I took last year when His Madness and I visited the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass in a nearby town. Recently I've been sidelined by a pulled muscle in my neck so it's been nearly impossible to accomplish anything, much less coerce Ivy and Burt into doing silly stuff. To pass the time I decided to delete unwanted photos. It also kept me away from the news and being outraged by Trump's latest offenses - why is that moron still president? Anyway, this was in one of the photos I was going to delete. It's from the museum mentioned above and although it's a saying that's been around forever, I suddenly felt the need to analyze it, concluding that it can apply to anything but it describes nothing. Or does it? I always thought it was just one of those things people say when they get caught off guard and can't come up with a positive response. This is exactly the kind of thinking that makes my brain hurt so I decided to do a post on the museum so I can delete the stupid photo and quit thinking about what it says. I do like it as a piece of art.

When HM first suggested we visit this museum I thought, paperweights? Really? What a snore. I did not say this out loud, or at least I don't think I did. Anyway, the thought of wandering through room after room of frilly glass balls wasn't exactly my idea of a good time but there was nothing else to do so off we went. After all, they could have a great gift shop or we might find a nice restaurant nearby.

Much to my surprise, there was an exhibit of neon art. It was actually pretty entertaining to watch the miniature lightning bolts flash to the buzz of the transformers although it could've used some spooky lighting. A few of them would be great as Halloween decorations but done in black, of course.   

There were plenty of the old fashioned, classic paperweights, around four thousand to be exact but also a few new styles with pop-culture themes from Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Then there was this one, I could definitely relate to it. Ha!

Betty's Big Night by Ricky Bernstein is undoubtedly the largest piece in the museum's permanent collection. It's made of blown glass on an aluminum armature. According to Google Arts & Culture, Betty is a 1950's housewife who hopes to win her husband's office party competition by steadying a broom with a bowling ball and one boiled egg on fourteen teacups while balancing on yet another bowling ball with only one foot. It is obviously a metaphor of the expectations of women in the mid-twentieth century but I'm afraid it's still kind of true now, except today she would also have a career.   


The Set for Luna was created in 2011 by Carmen Lozar. It's one of the loveliest little jewels on display, in my estimation anyway. You can see more of her beautiful work here.

It's very small, the catalog dimension are 12.5" x 5.5" x 2.5". I couldn't decide which photo best captured it so I'm including them both. It reminded me a lot of those cute paper dress blog parties. 

The museum itself is fairly small and even on the weekend it wasn't very crowded. After an hour we had seen everything and since the admission was free we left a donation and headed to the city of Appleton to check out the Houdini Museum.

Let's just say that things got a little more interesting there.
Don't worry, I let him out, eventually - but I'll leave that story for another time.

Would you care to share your thoughts on, it is what it is?

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!