Monday, May 30, 2011

Royal Albert "Prairie Crocus"

Welcome friends, I have been waiting for you to join me for tea.  This beautiful teacup and saucer, made in England, is from the Royal Albert Provincial Flowers Series with this one being Prairie Crocus.

This set has wonderful lavender, pink and blue Prairie Crocus flowers – the flower for Manitoba.  The stamen are nicely detailed with soft, buttery yellow and touches of mocha all on a striking black background.

The Gainsborough shaped teacup is softly textured and gently fluted.  Lavish gold gilt on the handle, rims, and foot of the teacup.

A peek at the bottom of the teacup.

This scallop crochet lace handkerchief is monogrammed with my initial in a lovely feather font.

For my centerpiece, I have filled an ivory embossed pitcher with soft pink tulips, sweet pea flowers and bright ranunculus roses.  With its delicate flowers, evocative of butterflies in shape, the sweet pea’s history can be tracked back to 17th century Italy, when a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, sent its seeds to England.  Doesn’t this cottage bouquet look delightful?

The votive candle holder I have selected for today’s tea time is an antique silver mercury glass.  This unique finish has a great vintage feel.  The deep pink amethyst color has a stylish embossed fleur-de-lis design which is pretty and chic.  I love the way it reflects an era of romanticism.

“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~ Catherine Douzel

Thank you for joining me and to our wonderful hostesses.  I am linking this week with the following ladies:

Tea Time Tuesday @ Rose Chintz Cottage
Tea Time Tuesday @ Lady Katherine’s Tea Parlor
Tea Cup Tuesday @ Martha's Favorites
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Friday Pretties @ I Love Pretty Little Things
Friday Favorites @ Simply Sweet Home

Teacup & Saucer:  Royal Albert “Prairie Crocus”
Handkerchief:  Scallop Crochet Lace 
Centerpiece:  Ivory Embossed Pitcher
Amethyst Votive Holder:  Barreveld International

Blogger Issues & Blog Awards

I have been having some serious issues with leaving comments for most of you.  Once I have my comment ready to post Blogger just keeps sending me in a loop when I try to sign in.  A few times the comments have gone through, but always come up as Anonymous.  I am almost to the point of frustration.  So if I haven't been to see you its not because I haven't tried and I apologize.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have received several different blog awards.  I would like to thank these wonderful ladies for choosing me!  Thank you for your generosity and for taking the time to let me know you like my blog.

Cindy at Cindy's Antics! for the Best Friend Blogger Award
Cathy & Stacy at C & S Designs for the Liebster Blog Award
Janet at Life Full of Sunflowers for A Thing of Beauty Award

I still remember when I received my first blog award and how excited I was.  Of course, I only had a few followers at the time which made it easier to pass it on.  With so many wonderful blogs I just don't think I can pick a few.  If you are a follower of Donna's Designs, please feel free to take one of these awards (you all deserve it).  All I ask is that you post a link back to my blog.

I sincerely appreciate all those who have honored me with an award, but your lovely comments and friendship are enough.  Thank you for understanding and being a follower.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Potted Containers

Today I would like to share with you two of my patio containers.  Growing attractive plant combinations in containers becomes more appealing to me every year.  The key recipe I always use when creating containers is to include a thriller, fillers and spillers.  Sounds pretty easy ...

Your thriller plant should be your centerpiece this will give you height and add drama to your arrangement.  Fillers should be soft, billowy plants that will not object to being crowded and will weave through the centerpiece.  Spillers are trailing plants to blur the sharp edges of the container.  I find this design strategy results in a rich, full display.  I also feel less is more so I never use more than three or four different kinds of plants in one single container.

As you can see in this patio container I have the following plant elements:

Thriller – Millet "Purple Majesty"
Filler –  Petunia "Sanguna Lavender Vein" 
Spiller – Verbena "Lanai Blue Denim"

I have followed the same principle on the second container. 

This pot sits on the step next to my gazebo and consists of the following plants:

Thriller – Spike
Fillers – Heliotrope "Marine" & Petunia "Sanguna Lipstick" 
Spiller – Helichrysum "Argente' Silver"

Designing containers for my patio is one of my favorite forms of gardening.  While most of my perennial gardens remain the same year after year, a container garden allows me to have a fresh, new canvas every season with a variety of colors.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Robin Nest Update

Well, you know I couldn’t resist peeking into our little robin nest, so when the bird flew away for a few minutes I was able to snap another picture.  All of the precious blue eggs have hatched and we have four adorable hatchlings.  I think in another week this nest is going to get quite crowded!

We also have some friends who moved into our birdhouse and I see a blue head peeking out ever so often.  Her nest is built as there are pieces of straw and twine on the ground.  Here is a picture of her singing a heavenly song on top of the birdhouse finial.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ocelot for Michael

Today is my husband's birthday and this is the card I will be giving to him this evening.  Since we both love spotted cats and Michael is fond of my Stampscapes scenes I knew this card would do the trick.

I stamped the Ocelot first using StazOn Black then used my stamp-a-ma-jig for placement of the trees, which were also stamped in StazOn Black.  I used a 1" circle punch to create a mask for the moon.

The sky was sponged with Bashful Blue, Ballet Blue and Night of Navy.  The grass was sponged with Mellow Moss, Old Olive, Distressed Forest Moss and Handsome Hunter.  The Ocelot was sponged with Creamy Caramel and I used Basic Brown to highlight the tree trunks.

A piece of Basic Black was used for the mat and the assembled card is 5 1/2" x 4 1/4".

Thank you for coming to visit me today.  I hope you enjoyed my Stampscapes scene.

"Life is a journey, and love is what makes that journey worthwhile."

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  Stampscapes Tree Trunk Trio, Oak Branch, Tall Grass Sm., Ocelot by Coronado Island
Paper:  The Paper Company Vista Metallic, Basic Black, Glossy White 
Ink:  Images - StazOn Black; Sky - Bashful Blue, Ballet Blue & Night of Navy; Grass - Mellow Moss, Old Olive, Distressed Forest Moss, Handsome Hunter; Tree Trunks - Basic Brown; Ocelot - Creamy Caramel
Accessories:  1" Circle Punch 
Techniques:  Sponging

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mosaic Monday - Spring Blossoms

I have some spring blossoms and a birds nest to share with you today.  The perennials in my gardens seem to be thriving this year and blooming early, hopefully, making wildlife feel welcome.  It seems almost magical when birds, butterflies and other wildlife appear in your backyard, but if you provide the key ingredients they will come to visit.

This mosaic has a picture of my old-fashioned Bleeding Heart.  This plant bears long, arching racemes of dainty pink heart-shaped flowers.  Perfect for a woodland garden and irresistible to butterflies.

A "Penny Orchid" Viola with dew drops flowers enthusiastically.  My husband likes to refer to them as Johnny-Jump-Ups.

On the right is a Flowering Almond "Rosea" Bush.  When this bush blooms it has an abundance of double-pink blossoms which cover each and every branch in early spring.  A real show stopper!

I am linking with Mary from Little Red House for Mosaic Monday, Tracie from Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Flora Thursday and Tricia from A Rosy Note for Photo Feature FridayI hope you will join me in sharing some of your garden photos.

Bleeding Heart

"Penny Orchid" Viola

Flowering Almond

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lilacs from the Garden

As I sit and listen to the soft gentle rain, I am enjoying the lilacs my husband picked from our bush.  The delicate flowers are so fragrant like a sweet rose with a hint of vanilla.

The rain is refreshing, renewing and nourishing.  It gives us time to reflect.

"Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby." ~ Langston Hughes

Thursday, May 19, 2011

God's Beauty

A co-worker asked me if I could create a card to cheer up his wife.  How sweet is that!  Right away I thought of this sentiment by DRS Designs.

A close up of the butterfly.

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  God’s Beauty, Finest Flourishes, Sentiment by DRS Designs
Paper:  Natural White Linen, Cameo Coral, Creamy Caramel, Old Olive, Very Vanilla
Ink:  Sentiment – Early Espresso with Clear EP; Flowers - Cameo Coral; Leaves – Old Olive; Flourishes – Creamy Caramel (stamped off once); Butterfly – Early Espresso, Cameo Coral & Old Olive; Sponging – Creamy Caramel & Chocolate Chip
Accessories:  Kaiser Pearls in Champagne, Heat & Stick Powder, Dazzling Diamonds, Edge Distresser
Techniques:  Embossing, Sponging, Blender Pen

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Lily of the Valley" Sheltonian

Today I would like to share with you my Convallaria majalis also known as Lily-of-the-Valley.  In early spring days these woodland plants send up quill-like shoots emerging from a scaly sheath.  The flower stalks, quite bare of leaves itself and bearing at its summit a number of buds, become the purest white, and as they open turn downwards, the flowerings hanging like a pearl of fairy bells.  Each bell with its six small scallops are so sweetly fragrant.

This bouquet was picked from my garden and I have added a few fern sprigs for texture.

I think it is time for a cup of tea.  Please come in and join me!  I have Green tea with lemon brewing today.

Beautiful Lily-of-the-Valley blooms on this fine English bone china by Sheltonian of Staffordshire, England.  These flowers are scattered amidst broad Lily-of-the-Valley leaves both inside and out on this dainty footed cup which is trimmed in 24K gold.

A lovely cheesecake with fresh strawberries and whip cream are ready to be enjoyed on this matching 8” dessert plate.

Would you like to indulge in a piece?

A peek at the bottom of the tea bag holder.

The frosted glass hurricane creates a warm soft glow.

The Lily-of-the-Valley flower represents purity, chastity, and humility. There's a legend that this flower sprouted from Eve's tears as she and Adam were forced from the Garden of Eden. It also represents the return of happiness.

Thank you for visiting me.  I’m linking this week with the following ladies:

Tea Time Tuesday @ Rose Chintz Cottage
Table Top Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Tea Time Tuesday @ Lady Katherine’s Tea Parlor
Tablescape Thursday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Cottage Flora Thursday @ Fishtail Cottage
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Friday Pretties @ I Love Pretty Little Things
Friday Favorites @ Simply Sweet Home
Photo Feature Friday @ A Rosy Note
Teacup, Saucer & Plate:  Sheltonian “Lily-of-the-Valley”
Tea Bag Holder:  Sheltonian "Lily-of-the-Valley"
Lace Linen:  Heritage Lace “Prelude”
Centerpiece:  Frosted Glass Votive Holder
Lily-of-the-Valley:  Fresh from my garden

Saturday, May 14, 2011

American Robin

While gardening today I discovered this precious birds nest tucked away in a yew.  How wonderful to discover two pastel-blue eggs and a baby chick in a neat, deep cup made of mud and twigs.  Nearby the mother Robin watched intensely as I quickly took a photograph of her baby.

Come springtime, I often receive a pleasant predawn wake-up call from our American Robin.  This early bird will fill your heart with song.  I love to watch them as they hop across the lawn looking for earthworms.  They brighten gloomy days with a friendly reminder of springtime sights and sounds.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Twisting Leaves

Doesn’t this look like designer paper?  The twisting leaves actually look like they are part of the paper.  Today I will share with you a little trick to soften an image.

Both the leaves and the sentiment were stamped in StazOn Black and then I did my sponging.  To make the leaves look a shade lighter than the sentiment all I did was sponge ColorBox Frost White over them.  How easy is that?  I use ColorBox Frost White quite a bit when creating my Stampscapes scenes to soften and lighten my background colors.  It also works great for blending colors when you are sponging.

Thank you for stopping to see me today.  I hope you have a wonderful day!

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  Stampscapes Twisting Leaves, Art of God by Impression Obsession
Paper:  DCWV Purple Card, Basic Black, Shimmery White                  
Ink:  StazOn Black then applied ColorBox Frost White over leaves to soften the color                      
Accessories:  The Robin's Nest Orchid Dew Drops       
Techniques:  Sponging

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fresh from Garden Inspiration

There is no better way to bring the grandeur of the garden into your home than transforming a small space with tasty herbs or potted plants.

As Spring finally arrives I like to have fresh herbs on hand in my sunroom, which can be snipped off and added to recipes on a whim.  In the warmth of the day the plants will release fragrant oils and scent the air.  I have filled three pots with Oregano, Sage & Parsley and placed them in my back porch basket by Longaberger. 

I used pottery herb markers and wrought iron stakes to identify each plant.  I actually know what each herb is by the leaf type, but don't the markers look adorable?

The other baskets pictured are from the Longaberger At Home Garden Collection.  Both baskets have beautiful garden vine fabric liners and wrought iron plant stands replicating the vine motif.

With minimal effort you really can bring the simple beauty of the garden into your home to enjoy all year long.

I hope you're ready now to have some tea.  Please make yourself at home.  Today I am serving Peppermint tea in my crocus teacup.  This handpainted stoneware has a feminine vintage appeal.  I just love the scallop edges and the soft lavender and sage spring colors.

A close up of the pretty saucer with fresh violas from the garden.  These varieties are "Penny Orchid" and "Rocky Neon Violet".

A charming garden votive holder.

"Tea should be taken in solitude." ~ C.S. Lewis

Thank you for stopping to see my indoor herb garden and to have a cup of tea!  I’m linking with Sandi from Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday, Marty from A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday, Susan from Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday, and Katherine from Lady Katherine Tea Parlor.

Teacup & Saucer:  Longaberger Crocus Set
Baskets:  Longaberger (Back Porch, Flora & Seedling)
Liners:  Garden Vine & Dragonfly
Herb Markers & Stakes:  Longaberger Greenhouse Collection
Wrought Iron Basket Stands:  Longaberger Foundry Collection
Table Runner:  Prelude by Heritage Lace
Crocus Handkerchief:  Longaberger
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