Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oregon Grape

Although I first learned this plant by its genus name, Mahonia, the common name of "Oregon Grape" describes the most memorable part of this plant...its beautiful berries . There is something so amazing about their soft dusty hue and the way they practically glow from within.  I photographed these early this spring so they are still green, but later in the season they turn a wonderful cornflower blue (you can see some here tucked into a flower arrangement).

Technically speaking they are not a grape, but they are edible.  I have not tasted them because they are described as extremely tart.  I did find instructions on how to make Oregon Grape Jam here and the author claims it is "one of the world's most delicious jams" when mixed with blackberries.  George is always adventurous so if we have a good crop this year we will try it out.  But even if we don't make any jam, both the birds and I will enjoy the berries.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vintage Egg Tray

The story behind this photo began in my neighbor's basement about two months ago.  His basement reminds me of a curiosity shop filled with interesting odds and ends, antiques, and vintage furniture.  While I was hanging out watching him stain a leather chair (yes, he actually does a gazillion interesting projects like that that I might think about doing but never actually do) I came across this beautiful, vintage egg tray.  And every week since then I kept saying, "Let's go do a photos shoot for Easter with the vintage egg tray!"  So we finally pulled her out and brought her outside this week for a little fun in the sun.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend filled with colorful eggs and chocolate!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Bunny Candles

This week I decided to treat myself to a little dress shopping.  I have a terrible addiction to summer dresses and one of my favorite places to go is Kismet in O'Bryonville.  As I was perusing the dresses I spied these incredibly cute bunny candles.  I love vintage Easter decorations and as soon as I saw their waxy, vintage-looking bodies I knew they were coming home with me.

When I got home I decided they were so adorable I had to take them out for a little photo shoot.  The top photo was taken in my weedy front lawn. It made me think the bunnies were racing about trying to hide all their eggs.  In the bottom photo I imagine they all met at the local dandelion to relax and discuss more egg-hiding strategies for the big day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Homage to Sloane Tanen #2

A couple years ago I bought my first pom pom chicks and did a blog post about how they reminded me of Sloane Tanen whenever I saw them.  If you don't know about her books you should check them out on Amazon where you can look inside the books at some of the incredible pom pom chick dioramas.  They are hilarious!

So this year I was at Michael's and I couldn't resist buying another box of chicks.  When I got home I was upstairs opening the box and there was Sunshine (my cat) sleeping so peacefully.  I just tucked a few chicks right in the crook of her tail.  She lifted her head and gave me that Mom-what-are-you-doing-now look, but tolerated the impromptu photo shoot well and eventually went back to sleep. When I first saw the photos,  the expression on the chicks' faces made me laugh so I thought another homage to Sloane Tanen was in order.  And if you were worried, the chicks did make it out of there and are now happily on display amidst daffodils and Easter eggs.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Last year I planted this periwinkle (Vinca minor) in my yard because I love its soft purple pinwheels.  However, once I started doing a little research I realized it is non-native and can be aggressive.  It spreads by sending out runners and will choke out weeds, but also your more desirable plants too.  As with many non-natives, if you don't want it to spread you must be very vigilant about cutting it back.

Even though it is an "evil" non-native, I have to admit everything about this flower is cute...from its adorable shape to its interesting name.  While looking up periwinkle I discovered it shares its name with a small edible sea snail called the common periwinkle or winkle (Littorina littorea).  The word "winkle" is also a verb which means "To pry, extract, or force from a place or position. Often used with out."  There is an interesting discussion here about the name and I liked their suggestion that both the snail and the flower are difficult to extract. 

I also discovered it is sometimes called pennywinkle (my favorite), blue buttons, creeping myrtle, wilk, cutfingers, cockles (another mollusk reference!) and in Italy, centochhio, "the hundred eyes" for its "impressive mass of blooms that peer out from the plant’s foliage" (source: Gardening Central.org).