Friday, October 2, 2015

Hydrangea Love

When the seasons change, I'm always a little sad about what I need to say goodbye to, but what awaits me often makes up for it. Like autumn and hydrangeas. Yes.

If I were to list my favourite autumn flowers, hydrangeas would be at the top. There are others (Japanese anemones and Turtleheads come to mind) but it's hard not to love those gorgeous billowy flowerheads with their delicate tones of pink and green. I have four types of hydrangeas in my garden: Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora, Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique', oakleaf hydrangea and Hydrangea macrophylla. The two that do best in my garden are Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora (PeeGee) and Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique'. Although the PeeGee blooms are beautiful (they're in the photo at the top), the Unique blooms are my favourite. There's more space between the flowers so you can appreciate their individual, graceful shapes.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique' and asters on my painting table
It was still in progress at this point.
I started a painting last autumn of some of the Unique blooms. It was almost finished and then, for some reason, I put it away in my painting drawer. I can't really remember why. I got it out again last week and with fresh hydrangeas from the garden put the finishing touches on the painting. It just needed a little more depth in places and a few more details.

Here's the final result. I tried to convey the frothy softness of the flowerhead while also capturing some of the delicate details. I hope to have it available as a print in the next few weeks.

I need to get out into the garden as much as possible in the days ahead. The nights have been very cold the past few days so things are going to change dramatically. This weekend, I plan to bring the last tomatoes in and cut some herbs for drying. And more hydrangeas!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  

Drying tip: I like to dry the hydrangeas and enjoy them throughout the winter months. I read a tip years ago by a favourite gardening writer, Lois Hole, on her preferred way of doing it. She suggested placing the cut hydrangeas in a vase in about an inch of water and letting it evaporate. She said that the flowers retain more colour this way than if they are air-dried. This is the way I always do it now.

Monday, September 21, 2015

An Apple Story

This past spring you may have seen my Instagram post about a crabapple tree in our backyard. I was very excited to see blossoms on this tree as it hadn't bloomed in over ten years. 

This is what I wrote at the time:
This is the crabapple tree that the blossoms I'm painting are from. This tree makes me so happy. This is the first time it's bloomed in about 10 years! It started as a small weeping crabapple. It didn't make it through one tough winter. I cut it back. This tree grew from its base and is now about 12 feet tall. I even wondered what kind of tree it was since it only ever had leaves. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the blossoms on it last week. What a beautiful lesson in not giving up on something and having patience. #mygarden #garden #tree #crabapple #patience #nothingisordinary
Well, imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I walked beside that tree and saw not crabapples but apples on it! I was very, very excited and called everyone in my family to come out and see it. Then, of course, I had to paint one of the apples. 

I smile even looking at my painting. Our first little apple. So proud. This is one of the things I love about gardening. There are constant surprises and rewards, as well as reminders that we are not in complete control. My guess is that my original weeping crabapple tree was grafted onto an apple tree base. When the crabapple top died, the apple portion sent up a sucker from the roots and that is now my beautiful 12-foot tall apple tree.

I am happy to say that I have 5 x 7 prints available of both my apple blossom and apple paintings. I just listed them in my shop today!

Click the photo to see my 'Apple Blossom' print in my shop.
Click the photo to see my 'Apple' watercolor print in my shop.

From now on, I will only be listing my new work in my own shop on Shopify and not on Etsy. I hope you will visit it every now and then. I will be adding more things in the weeks ahead. It's going to be a great autumn!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

When Two Makers Meet: Trowel & Paintbrush and Ohhh Lulu

It was a very rainy Wednesday morning a week ago when I finally met my friend, Sarah Norwood, and her sweet daughter Isabel in person for the first time.

In January of 2013, Sarah and I both volunteered to take over the Canadian Etsy team called Team Canuck, now known as The Canadian Collective.  We didn't know each other at all except for both being members of the same team. Over the past three years, we have corresponded countless times about the team, Etsy, our online businesses, motherhood, our pets and everything else in between. We have shared laughter and tears. One of the coolest things was when we found out that we both were born on July 1st, Canada Day!

Despite our drenched state, I think we look pretty happy!
Sarah lives in Orillia, Ontario. My parents live in Gravenhurst about a half hour away. Because Gravenhurst is a seven-hour drive from where I live, we don't get there more than a couple times a year and our visits tend to be busy with family. I've thought so often about meeting Sarah and finally we made it happen! Sarah volunteered to drive to Gravenhurst so we could meet at the wonderful open-air farmers' market that takes place there every Wednesday during the summer.

That morning it didn't just rain, it poured, but we didn't care. It was exciting to see each other in person. I am also so happy to have met Sarah's baby, Isabel. What a sweetheart she is! The facial expressions she makes are completely adorable. She looks like she can't quite believe she met me either!

A model wearing one of Sarah's lovely creations.
If you don't know Sarah's beautiful lingerie business Ohhh Lulu, you should have a look. Her creations are exquisite and are all handmade by her. She also sells sewing patterns of some of her pieces. She was just featured in a big article this past weekend in the Globe and Mail about handmade Canadian lingerie. I am so proud to know her!

When at the Gravenhurst Farmers' Market, I can never leave empty-handed. Aside from the happy memory of meeting Sarah and Isabel, I left with butter tarts to share with my family, chipotle hot sauce, mango jam, some Thai dipping sauces and this gorgeous succulent garden!

 ❤  ❤  ❤  ❤  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Tiny Garden Friend

When my husband was mowing the lawn this morning he noticed this sweet baby toad. It was so tiny! It waited around long enough that both Chloé and I were able to hold and observe it. It was understandably scared of us big humans. Chloé then placed it into the safety and shelter of the flower bed. Close encounters of the cutest kind.


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