Monday, June 30, 2014

Fairie Garden

Ever since I attended the annual Greece Performing Arts Society garden tour on June 14th, I have been obsessed with making a little fairie garden of my own. I saw so many of them on that tour and I was totally inspired. I blogged about the tour. You can see it here if you missed it.

So, I thought about it and thought about it, dreamt about it, planned it out, looked in second hand stores for a suitable container. Didn't find one that tickled my fancy. I even thought about using my big, old roaster. The navy blue enamel one with the white dots but couldn't bear to punch holes in it for water drainage.

I did, however, have an old plastic wheelbarrow that belonged to one of my granddaughters. It really should have gone to the landfill long ago. But I'm glad I saved it. I gave it a bath and repaired the one and only wheel it had so it would bear the weight of the garden soil. Then went to work making a fairie garden. That means everything has to be tiny. I knew I had a fairie house in my Christmas decorations. I also had seashells which I could make a garden path from. (You could also use pebbles)

I dumped garden soil into the wheelbarrow. Scooped up moss that grows in shady places in my own "big girl" garden. The moss is going to be the fairie grass. I set the house in a corner of the little garden. Planted a "hens 'n chicks" in front of it. Took another succulent that looked like little trees to me and planted them on either side of the house.

From the house,  I layed out a meandering path of shells through the garden. From two tiny twigs and some twine, I fashioned a clothesline and hung teeny tiny little clothes from miniature clothespins on the line to dry in the sunshine. It was no end of fun to make those miniscule clothes. A tiny pair of farmers jeans, two dresses and a nightie. Don't miss the little birdbath in front of the "hens 'n chicks" plant. I made that from an "orphan" miniature tea set saucer glued to a golf tee.

I made a reflecting pond in the garden from a tiny mirror.

And after a visit to my "all time favorite shop" (Crafts Bits 'n Pieces), I had a wee mailbox and bird house for the garden.

I think it has all it can hold. I will have to quit, though I don't really want to. I have so many other ideas for fairie gardens. If you live near me and you'd like one, let me know so we can build you one together.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Since You Went Away

My infatuation with vintage extends even to movies. "Since You Went Away" is a glamorized peek behind the scenes of what it was like in the 1940"s for the wives, children, parents, and other loved ones when their men went off to war.

This movie was shown at the Dryden Theater at the George Eastman House where important films are restored and archived. This particular film was a silver nitrate film, which, I understand, is very volatile. This evening there were 3 special projectionists in the booth to protect this rare treasure.

I discovered that this particular film was the personal 16mm copy that belonged to David O. Selznick, donated to the museum by his son.

All of these juicy tidbits and many more were announced in the introduction given by "someone in the know". This is usually the case for these screenings at the Dryden Theater. They're usually historical and in need of some explanation of the time period, story line, actors, etc.

The person who did this intro was a woman whose name I didn't get but I noticed her as soon as I walked in. She was stunningly tall and completely dressed in 1940's fashion, down to the black seams in her stockings and little black velvet hat, veiled, tilted askew on her brow. Her suit was crimson, shoes and hat were black and..................chartreuse gloves ! (which she kept on all evening). I sneaked this picture of her because I was totally fascinated with her 1940's vibe and had no idea that she would play an important role in tonight's presentation.

I was sitting in the balcony and she, on the main floor. I thought she was dressed in this manner as an homage to the film. I was wrong: she was actually the mistress of ceremonies ! The theater looks strangely empty because I went an hour early because I wanted my special seat and didn't want to chance someone else taking it. First row balcony.

In the beginning, my main reason for wanting to see this film is: I am a Shirley Temple freak. Two events gave great support to this enthusiasm. One - the recent celebration of the 70 year anniversary of D Day (the end of the war) and Two - Shirley Temple's recent passing.

I thought I had seen all her films but I had never seen this one. It remains relatively obscure to contemporary audiences.

Other blather shared by 1940's lady: Shirley Temple was called out of retirement to play her role of the pre-teen, youngest daughter of the female lead (Claudette Colbert). Elder sister a senior in high school) was played by Jennifer Jones who just recently sued her DH for divorce because she was in love with David O. Selznick (the movie producer), who also was married but obsessed with JJ. JJ's ex, Robert Walker played her love interest in the movie (a young G.I.). This made for torturous love scenes. They had 2 children and DOS was also married to a daughter of Samuel Goldman. Two homes ruined.

Many leading actresses were offered the main female role but turned it down because playing someone's mother was perceived as a not so good career move.

Hattie McDaniels (just finished her role of Mammy in GWTW) played the now unemployed housekeeper (they couldn't afford her anymore because of the "off to the war" head of household's missing income). However, she moved back in with the family because without an income she couldn't afford her own living expenses. She now worked there for free plus room and board. Making the girls very happy, because, like with Scarlett in GWTW, she was their Mammy. Spoiled them, corrected them lovingly, made their meals, did their laundry, tucked them in at night, etc.

This movie was made in 1944 - exactly 70 years ago - the cultural, moral, patriotic, etc., changes in the tone of this country's attitudes, manners, standards............... = astronomical.

Things that were buried deep in my memory that the movie brought back: victory gardens, taking in a "roomer" to supplement income, women went to work at the jobs men vacated, innocence, longer childhoods, housekeepers..........................

Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden Tour

On Saturday, last, I attended, with two friends, the annual Greece Performing Arts Society garden tour. Greece is a suburb of Rochester. Their performing arts society, includes gardening, music, drama, painting, sculpture, etc.

Here in western New York, summer doesn't start until the end of May. It closely follows a Springtime of, roughly, one week. Rochester Summers are usually "hot and heavy". They visit us from June to mid-September, getting cooler at night in September. We usually have a beautiful Indian Summer from September's end to about mid-October. Then...........brrrrrrrrrrrrr.......... Therefore, Summer is usually packed with events. Like the old saying goes "make hay while the sun shines".

The GPAS is always on the second Saturday of June, rain or shine. This time it was a bit chilly. We wore light jackets. In every garden, we were offered cold drinks but turned them down because we were so cold. Before the show was over, we did stop for coffee to warm up. That tasted soooo good.

There were seven gardens to visit. The owner/gardener is in every garden so you can ask questions and get the inside story on their garden. This year I noticed that many of the gardens had a little "fairy garden" tucked away in the landscape somewhere. I also noticed many beautiful colored glass bridbaths. Some gardens had several. The gardens represented the gardeners esthetic. "Staging" was the order of the day. Some were perfect, every blade of grass the exact same length, all beds edged in professional curbing, some had a vintage vibe, some had a riot of garden sculpture, some had fabulous sheds, some had trickling ponds. It's almost too much to digest. You just have to dream of it and take notes in your guide book.

                                                         Fairy Garden

                        "Staging" seed packets, robins eggs nest, quilt, picket fence chair

                                                                     Garden Shed

Multi Level Pond

We (three) look forward to this annually. It's our traditional "girlfriend" thing. I usually take tons of pictures. I'm always looking for ideas for my own garden. I am definitely going to make a "fairy garden".

Recycled Glass Garden Sculpture

These homes always have some sort of patio and from those, volunteers served cold drinks and light snacks (cheese and crackers, pretzels, tea sandwiches, etc,) Another feature of the patios is: they all have live music. And in each garden an artist is sitting at her easel, painting a garden scene.

A part of the tour is a visit the town's Historical Center. Here they have a huge tent set up with a "rolling restaurant", perennials for sale, home canned vegetables, and crafts.  I did buy a couple perennial plants. A tiny hosta for $2 and hen n' chickens for $1.50.  We all had a hot dog from the rolling restaurant.

This is the highlight of my Summer. What's yours?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Etsy Craft Party

Etsy's Craft Party is an annual event. It is actually a "meet-up" of locals who get together to all craft on the same subject together and get to know one another a bit. The theme this year was "Recapture". The idea was to give an old photo new meaning.

I think etsy is getting better and better at enabling this event. On etsy's website, one could find a Craft Party near where they live, you could register online through EVENTBRITE, receive a list of possible projects and the materials needed to accomplish them.

Of course someone needs to volunteer to lead each event. I'm not sure of this, but I think etsy will underwrite financially the materials acquisition if a local event registers a certain number of participants. In the case of the one I attended, that person was the beautiful KIRA of:

Kira reserved a classroom in a local JoAnn Fabrics Store which was furnished with long craft tables and chairs. The tables were festooned with samples of the photo projects the participants could make, made by Kira for our benefit. Tasty snacks were also provided. But, if you're a crafter, you know that when working on a project you very rarely ever stop to eat. You are so intent on finishing the project.

All the materials were also graciously provided. Embroidery thread and needles, water colors and all the accoutrements, buttons, and even vintage photos, (Kira's grandfather was a photographer) etc.

I got to meet totally charming local etsy folks and we all traded business cards so we could visit each other's shops.

These are the projects that I worked on:

A baby picture of me jarred up in a natural setting. This project is in memory of a position that I am not able to do any longer - legs akimbo

Aunt Rose - born in 1900 - crazy auntie that gave us millions of laughs - I put vintage tatted lace around her neckline and a flower in her hair (which is a thing which she would totally wear.

One of my precious granddaughters - we always called her the Italian Princess - I "officially" crowned her as such, water colored her tee shirt and stamped her title on the photo.

This is another childhood pic of me - at the beach - probably Wildwood, NJ - the photo holder is a vintage wooden spool of thread and a large paper clip - the banner is made of flags from the pages of a vintage dictionary - I feel like this picture wants more embellishment.

In the metro area where I live, there were two more etsy Craft Parties that I know of. One was held in a local artists enclave and the other at a private home.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Are Little Girls Made Of?

My granddaughters are crazy for the movie FROZEN. They know and sing all the songs and are signing up for dance lessons to learn the dances in the movie. They watch the video over and over again, ad infinitum.

Recently they sent me a "fashion alert". Grammy, please find ribbon with FROZEN characters on it. We want to make hair bows from it. I found the ribbon here......

I misunderstood their "alert" and thought they wanted me to make the hair bows. So I went to YouTube to get some video instructions for making a bow which is attached to a barrette. There were lots of very informative videos and I quickly became adept.

Here's a pic of the bow I made:

I brought a little kit to work with me that contained all the materials I would need (ribbons, hot clue, blank barrette, scissors). I took a phone picture of my first attempt and sent it to them. They replied immediately - "no, no, Grammy, we love it, but we want to make the bows. So I packed up the ribbon, blank barrettes and the bow I made and sent the package off to them.

I hope they send me pictures of the bows they make with the FROZEN ribbon.

To answer the question of "what little girls are made of"..........they made of sweetness, adorable-ness, hair ribbons, ballet shoes, smiles, squeals, giggles, drama, and every other kind of wonderful-ness you can think of.