Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beefeater Begonia

When we first moved in to our house a neighbor across the street gave us a cutting of her beefeater begonia.  Twelve years later it is still thriving and produces the most beautiful flowers at the bleakest time of year.  I have always been fascinated by these blooms because they are both tri-lobed and bi-lobed on the same flower.  But the real reason I started this blog entry about the begonia is not because of the flower.

The other day I was doing a rare thing and cleaning the house when I noticed a dead leaf had fallen from the begonia.  When I picked it up to throw it away I happened to glance down as it fell into the garbage can and this is what I saw!  These amazing dessicated pathways were being created as the leaf slowly dried out while laying on the radiator.

How lucky I was to find this leaf at that perfect moment.  And when I looked even closer at the drying leaf, there was a beautiful, warm glow at the heart of it set off perfectly by the silver grey lines.

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure."  -Rumi

Monday, February 16, 2015

Philodendron Sketch - Krohn Conservatory

Last week Christina, Amy and I sketched at the Krohn Conservatory.  I decided to sketch a huge philodendron that overhangs the waterfall in the center room.  I have always loved the heavily-lobed shapes of philodendron leaves.  Plus the pattern left by the old branches on the trunk and all the "strings" hanging off give it quite the visual appeal.  And the name comes from the greek words philo or "love" and dendron meaning "tree" (Wikipedia) which seems like the perfect name to this tree hugger.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Embroidered Valentine's Card

I have had these scallop-edged cards in my stationary box for years and decided it was time to make something with them.  I started by making the design in Illustrator using the polar grid guidelines.  That allowed me to space everything perfectly in a circular layout.  I then printed the design on regular paper and gently taped it to the scalloped card.  Once it was taped I used my hammer and awl to make all the holes.  I pre-drilled the holes because it makes it way easier to sew later.  After the holes were punched I then removed my paper guide and embroidered the design with a needle and embroidery thread.

Because I wanted to hide the "messy" embroidery on the back I decided to cut a pink circle that would get sewn at the same time as the edge circles.  I decided to add a single heart to the pink circle and sewed that before sewing through both the layers.

I told George that when I am an old lady I just want to sit around making exquisite cards to send to people.  I love designing and implementing a project all in one day.  And I like the thought that there is not another card in the whole world like this one.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

An Eye for Wood

I have always loved the odd, bulbous growths (called burls) found on some trees and the other day I stopped to look at one in a neighbor's yard.  As I was looking at it I suddenly realized it was looking right back at me!  And not only that, but it looked like an elephant eye which made it all the more delightful!

The wood spirits must have been especially active that day because I was also called to inspect a stump that I have walked by a thousand times.  This particular stump is about 5-10 feet from the sidewalk and doesn't look like much from the side.  But when I looked down at it from above I was struck by the beautifully aged "golgi-body" shapes that reminded me of petrified wood.  And this is not even mentioning its gorgeous muted color pallete. 

When I really got up close to it, it became a wrinkled landscaped of worn, ruddy mountains waiting to be scaled by a passing ant or termite.  I wonder what they feel when they scale this rugged terrain.  I guess at this time of year they are nestled deep down in the folds dreaming of warmer weather.  It makes me want to climb in there too.