Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bathing Beauties: Burley Clay Bird Baths

I made my first visit to a nursery yesterday and stumbled upon the most gorgeous birdbaths while choosing a few plants to make an Easter Basket. I'm not always that keen on bird baths. Maybe because they are often awkwardly propped in the middle of front yards and surrounded by a couple of sad plants and other ugly lawn chachkas.

The birds don't seem to mind the average birdbath, but I'm sure they would rather bath in one of these beauties from Burley Clay Products. These are surely the spa baths of the bird world. Not only are their products beautiful, but the company has a great history and seems to be environmentally responsible. Who knew I'd be adding a birdbath to my wish list.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

The rain just won't stop! The yard is a lake, river, soggy sponge combo and the mud is going to last for days. We are inside for the duration. All this and it's not even April yet. Somebody should call ahead and cancel the spring showers. We don't need any more water, thank you!

So other than filling the reservoirs and over flowing the rivers what are rainy days good for? Hmm, I'd rather be out in the sun, but here's a list of things that make rainy days okay:

1. You can put things off because of the inclement weather. "It was just too damp to paint the trim." That's a very sound excuse. " I meant to go shopping but it was pouring." Understandable. Or how about "I was going to call you but it was raining" That's novel.

2. Rain makes for good naps.

3. Bad walking weather but excellent reading weather. "We are having excellent reading weather today."

4. Doesn't seem like a waste of time to re-watch old TV episodes. Lost Season 1 here I come.

5. Good excuse to indulge in comfort food. "I caught a chill and required a large bowl of pasta to warm myself."

6. No Yard work required. See above description of yard.

7. Perfect day to clean up your desk. And nice to know you don't have to do anything at your clean desk. Remember going back to #1, this is perfect weather for putting things off. Not to mention, who wants to ruin a perfectly organized desktop with a lot of messy paperwork.

8. Perfect time to doodle, laze, ponder, ruminate, and dream. Which brings us back to naps. Which is where I think I'm headed. That or I'll admire my tidy desk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons

That saying was running through my head all day today. Not only was I painting walls which I do not enjoy, but it wasn't going well. I managed to paint the first coat of the powder room just fine, despite the space being so tiny that it was hard not to bump the walls with the ladder let alone my own body parts.

The really lemony part of the day kicked in when I tried to prime the laundry room walls. I have worked so hard to get those walls ready to paint. I sanded them for hours to get off wallpaper glue and rough spots from the old wallpaper being removed. I finally decided good enough, they will never be perfectly smooth. I started to paint and the paint bubbled. I had to scrape it all off. Whatever kind of paint was originally put on the walls nothing wants to stick to it. I was beyond tears.

Sadly, there was no gin and tonic waiting to nudge me away from the edge. Happily, I happened upon this poster tonight which brought a smile to my face if not a return to sanity.

Via A Cup of Jo

Thursday, March 18, 2010

100 Abandoned Houses

These straight on photos of abandoned houses by Kevin Bauman document the decline of Detroit in stark fashion. When I looked at this photo series, I first thought how amazing the houses were and imaged how nice many of them would be fixed up. Then I wondered where were the photos taken. I had an inkling it was Detroit and was right. Finally it made me curious. Where do auto company executives live now a days? Do they live in Detroit? Are they safely tucked behind gates? Maybe they live far away from the blighted city and jet in on their private planes. Do they even bother to come to Motor City anymore or do they discuss what size cars to build and what their stock options and retirement packages should be on conference calls? If you you have any idea leave a note.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring is Spreading

Our garden is making progress! See comparison below. I'm feeling better about all the holes I had to dig in the fall.

Great Nautical Gear

This rising waters of the late made me think some nautical gear was in order. This past weekend the Jersey Shore seemed to be expanding, at least if you were living in Central Jersey and suddenly felt you were living on beach front property. The sun is out and hopefully will hang around a few days, but I may just need to get myself some sailor shorts or seagull tote for our next bout of rain. At least I will look fashionable as I bail out.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Water Logged

We have had just about as much rain as we can stand this past weekend. Everything is water logged including our spirits. I even felt sorry for the poor bedraggled ground hog who was walking around sopping wet. He was obviously looking for someplace to shelter while his den dried out. Suddenly I find the idea of living in a desert very appealing. The ground hog would probably agree. I'm looking forward to the sun tomorrow and hoping things will start to dry out.

1. Peter's Brook Greenway becomes Peter's River.
2. Duke Island Park becomes part of the Raritan River.
3. The Raritan River overflows into the Raritan Canal and takes over the fields of the Duke Estate in the distance.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Flowers From England

These lovely botanical collages were created by Mary Delany in the late 1700s. She began creating these exquisite flower mosaics at age 72 and completed almost 1000 works before her eyesight failed her ten years later. The collection was bequeathed to The British Museum. You can see more of her works and read about her life here on the museum's site.

I would love to be able to see the works in person and up close. I would also love to be as productive and creative as Mrs. Delany was when I'm in my seventies.

Our Own Little Hint of Spring

I was getting a little jealous of all the pictures people were posting on Facebook of daffodils and crocuses blooming in their yards and neighborhoods. I was also beginning to think what's up? What's wrong with my bulbs? Did the squirrels or deer eat them? Then yesterday, we went outside and voila our garden has begun to bloom. I was so happy to see a few crocuses had come up. Then I spotted the tulips that had been hidden under the snow. They have a ways to go, but they are back! My happiness was followed by the realization that my gardening chores have returned. Suddenly a list was running through my head:

Rest of the leaves cleared out of the beds.
Re do the edging on the beds.
Little metal fences that deter the deer, well sort of, back in place.
Add more mulch before the weeds start.
Buy Deer Away and spray away.

The list goes on but I won't torture everyone with it. Argh, I really don't need more on my To Do List. The funny thing about gardening chores is that they bother me less than say doing the laundry or emptying the dishwasher. Maybe because an empty dishwasher or a stack of folded clothing has nothing on the beauty of a flower. I'll be outside if you're looking.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And the Oscar Goes To ...

I think I beat my own Oscars record this year having managed to watch only one nominated film before the show aired. To make my accomplishment even more amazing, I did not see any of the films nominated for best picture or the acting categories. I have plenty of catching up to do when it comes to cinema these days.

Jane Campion's Bright Star, the one film I saw with a shot at an Oscar, was up for best costume design. My one film, it turns out, did not take home a statue. I didn't see any of the competing films, so I can't say whether it deserved to win or not. The costumes were beautiful but understated like much of the film. What I can say is, I think the film deserved an Oscar for the most beautiful scenery. Hmm, maybe that falls under set design. But the fields of flowers and the orchards from the film did not make me think of movie sets. It just seemed like gorgeously recorded nature. I'm sure cinematic magic was employed, but I'd like to think I could find myself walking in one of those flower filled fields.

Now I'm waiting for all the bulbs I planted in the fall to come up and am inspired to plant more. Who knows someday I could have my own field of flowers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flower Power: Liberty of London Crosses the Pond

Target's Liberty of London pop up store opens today near Bryant Park, giving New Yorkers a 4 day head start to nab some British style before the line is available nationwide. If you love Liberty of London's fabrics and Target's prices, this is a match made in heaven. I'm champing at the bit and fear I may do harm to some fellow Liberty fan in my pursuit of these goodies. I can't wait to see the full line. Is there really a peacock lampshade? Please let it be true.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dive In

These amazing photos by Wayne Levin reminded me of how wonderful black and white photography can be and also how much I love to be in the water. Don't these images make you want to dive into the ocean? Well, maybe come August when it doesn't require the constitution of a polar bear. In the meantime, you can take a visual dip and enjoy the rest Wayne's portfolio here.

Via Lost.

Cool English Digs

"During the last 280 years families and workers have added the layers of their lives to the fabric of the house..."

This circa early 1800s merchant house is located at 4 Princelet Street Spitalfields London EI and is available to rent for photo shoots, films or private functions. Anyone want to throw a great party? How much fun would it be to have a cocktail party or grown-up sleep over in this amazing space?

Want to see more? You can see more photos or take a virtual tour of the house

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring, Spring Green and the 64 Pack

Spring is sprung. Well it's starting to feel that way, even if the official first day is still 15 days away. The daffodils are starting to come up and the buds are visible on the trees, so before we know it the world will be green again. Not the full green of summer but the acid yellow green of spring. Part of what is so wonderful about spring, is the return of vivid colors. Thinking about how to describe the color of spring lead me in a completely unexpected direction, suddenly I was thinking about my Crayola 64 Pack.

Spring Green was one of my favorite Crayola colors along with Sky Blue and Periwinkle. I loved Periwinkle because of the way the name sounded and its grey blue color. But the Sky Blue and Spring Green crayons were my absolute favorites, so bright and cheerful. Sadly, they were also always the first to need the built-in sharpener. The sharpener was a good idea but it never quite worked the way I wanted it to. I always wished it could put a perfect new top on my crayons. I think I would have used my 64 crayons more freely if part of me didn’t want to keep them in mint condition.

The images above are from Google image searches using the color names Sky Blue, Spring Green and Periwinkle Blue. Clearly Google and Crayola are on different pages when it comes to Periwinkle Blue. That's not my Periwinkle Blue. Do you remember what your favorite Crayola colors were? Here's a cool chart to jog your memory, unless maybe like me, you still have a 64 Different Brilliant Colors safely tucked away.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Art or Not Art

Ever been at a museum or gallery with a friend, who is less than sympathetic towards art, and suffered through the "You call that art!" spiel? Suffer no more. All you need is your iPhone and the "Is This Art?" app to answer the question and hopefully quiet the budding art critic.

The Mattress Factory and Deeplocal joined forces to create this not-so-serious art meter that will pass judgment on the object of your choice. Just point, shoot and end of argument. You may not always be happy with the answer, but it beats hearing how someone's aunt or cat could make better art. You can visit the "Is This Art?" website to see what others have put to the test.