January 30, 2014

Pantone's Radiant Orchid.... Baby Cups

I guess I had Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year RADIANT ORCHID on the brain when I put together these baby cup bouquets for my nephew's new set of twins. Baby boy, baby girl. Perfection.

I know, I know. Practical gifts are, well, more practical. But I do adore baby accroutrement like spoons and plates and...cups. So to make these sweet little

 baby cup bouquets ~

I put oasis in both and then fashioned little domes of pale yellow carnations for Baby Bennett and perky pink (ahem, radiant orchid-colored) mums for Baby Blakely.

Because, I mean, really now...

Is it ever to early to begin raising a flower lover?

Me thinks not.

January 28, 2014

January Garden Chores on 4 YOUR GARDEN

While the entire country is cowering under the grip of this record-setting cold, here on the prairie we have our own schizo weather patterns to contend with... we are suffering acute seasonal whiplash. For the past couple of weekends we have enjoyed balmy 60+ degree temps...only to plummet to the teens or single digits during the week. The extreme pattern is forecast to continue in the coming weeks.

Confusion reigns. To emerge or hunker down?...both for the garden and the gardener. To remove the leafy debris around the soon-to-bloom daffodils shoots, or leave it in place?... and then go back to your chair by the fire to gorge on the pretty images in your stack of seed catalogs.

This winter, patience should be our gardening mantra...premature and promiscuous pruning and planting this month will be counterproductive and probably do more harm than good. As a recent Facebook cartoon said: 

"welcome to the land where you can get sunburn and frostbite in the same day'.

So put your garden blinders on, shut the curtains, and try your utmost to ignore
the ugly winter debris that is blowing and growing around you. Savor these last lazy cold days, cuz spring WILL be here, with all of its gardening frenzy before you know it.

Or as some random guy at a 401K meeting I just attended said (eloquently put, I might add...)

" Have you ever noticed that the closer you get to the end of the toilet paper roll, the faster it goes?"

(Well, ahem. Now that you say it, yes.) And even though old man winter still holds us in his spell, there are things we CAN do NOW to get a jump on spring, even in the frozen task tundra of January. So sharpen and/or replace your garden tools, feed the birds and clean out your birdbaths and birdhouses, watch out for pests on your houseplants, and heed these other tips we talked about BELOW on last Friday's segment of 4 YOUR GARDEN.

January 23, 2014

Nandina Berry Wreath

My, but it is bitterly cold outside. Barren, brown, winter burnt and bitterly cold.
Even the evergreens look out of sorts and resentful of this deep freeze. One bright spot...spots, actually...are the cheery red cascades of pendulous nandina berries from the pedestrian, common, but ever so much appreciated in my garden heavenly bamboo or Nandina domestica. 

Throughout the seasons they contribute mightily to my landscape. Their reliability, toughness, economy, delicate foliage, and their 'I will grow anywhere you put me, under any growing conditions with little to no attention' disposition suits me and my Oklahoma garden just fine. When the temperatures begin to warm and the days lengthen, however, the red berries that I found so charming in fall and winter...do not harmonize with, nor please, my delicate sensibility as to color and hue that I deem appropriate for my more pastel-y spring tableau. Imagine that.

Consequently, it's off with their heart-colored heads before spring arrives...and then put to use in a more color and seasonally-appropriate role. Hence this segment last Friday on 4 Your Garden on News Channel 4 at 4:30.

If you missed me and LC making NANDINA BERRY VALENTINE WREATHES, you can watch last week's episode here.

And tune in tomorrow for a 4 YOUR GARDEN SEGMENT on a  
Garden Chore Checklist for February.

January 15, 2014


"He grins and disappears. She hears the basement door close, and she climbs, alone, to the house. A scraggly dog runs up the steps to the house. A city flower. A climber. Yellow with a small red center. Every bloom with its own little violence."
                                                                                                                 ~ TransAtlantic 

Maybe you, my gardening pals, are trying to cram as much reading as you can into these cold winter months, because for me, as soon as that first robin sings, all bets...and books, are off.

I want to share my most recent literary find with you, because it is, quite simply, one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Written by National Book Award winner, Colum McCann, the novel is fascinating generational geology, with words and passages and metaphor that will make you swoon.

"But this is not the story of a life.
It is the story of lives, knit together,
overlapping in succession, rising again from grave to grave."
                                                                                   ~ Wendell Berry,  from "Rising"

Page after page, I regretted that it was a library book...unable to mark the many words and sentences that captivated me.

"She touched his eyelids. She could feel s life fall shut beneath her fingers. No need to stop his breath. It was much like drawing a small red curtain across. So many of them waited until they were in a woman's hands."
                                                                     ~ TransAtlantic

Before spring and the warming soil beckon you...give yourself a gift...read this book.

January 10, 2014

Crocs in the Garden

If you are one to take advantage of post holiday sales...and if you, like me, must finally retire your worn out, over-worked, mud-riddled garden clogs...

then I would highly recommend you take a look at the foot-wear from Crocs. In recognition of your <hopefully> having survived both the holidays and the recent Polar Vortex, or eclipse, or tsunami...or whatever the hell it was.

These rugged, but quite cozy (and furry) clogs (find them here) are just the ticket for post polar gardening. And on sale!

But when temperatures climb, and your tootsies become toasty, I recommend footwear that is decidedly more delicate and airy...but still rugged, of course. Find these sandals  here if you are also on the hunt for summer foot couture.

I ordered both on sale! in a tasteful, understated, earthy brown...to blend in with the garden scape, and not call attention to myself if I happen to be in my pajamas. As for the socks...

you're on your own.

January 8, 2014

Velvet, Ultra Thin Hangers and Closet Organization

When we finally got around to renovating our Master Suite, I was more than happy to sacrifice a small amount of square footage from my office to create a larger clothes closet. We bumped out the interior wall of the existing closet...a very narrow dark space with poor access.

The image above provided a guiding template of what I was going for...as the contractor and I worked with the new space and its old house metrics. Though now a larger area, it still had an awkward, angled exterior wall, compliments of my steeply pitched roof, and we obviously wanted to get the maximum bang for our buck out of each and every inch.

Husband, just like his father before him, parodied his dad's behavior...and either out of benevolence and thoughtfulness, expectation of future favors, or expectation of future incessant nagging... 

decided it best to clear out all together and move down the hall to the
closets and bath vacated by my college bound sons...leaving me solitary 
and sated in my new closet digs.

With the accessories relegated to the Accessory Closet, I had free reign to
plan for clothes alone. Each and every pantie, sweater, t-shirt, camisole, jeans, dress, jacket, scarf and slacks I own. ALL in one lovely bright space. No winter clothes here, and summer frocks there.
Even my suitcases were provided a custom measured home...towards the front of the closet and on the floor...

rendering access for a quick trip all the easier.

L'il Sis, years ago, filled me in on the brilliance, economy and space-saving attributes of non-slip, ultra thin velvet hangers (find them here). Their slim profile helped me fit the entirety of my hanging wardrobe in its new home...

a very happy arrangement, I must tell you.

Shelving on the back and side walls hold the foldable remains...

along with shoes and purses that didn't fit in the companion closet.

Dedicated rods for longer attire with hooks for scarves and a full length beveled mirror on the closet door (saved from before the renovation) complete the arrangement.

Twenty plus years in the making and the waiting...

of a closet and one happy lady.

January 4, 2014

Slatwall Accessory Closet

Before you read any further or look at any images, I feel compelled to tell you a few things about myself, notably that:

1.  I am NOT a spoiled Kardashian brat;

2.  I dreamed of what you will see here for 22 years; for two sons to grow up, move away to college...and for one of them to graduate;

3.  Most of what you see below was gifted to me, or inherited, and

4.  Yes, I do wear and use all of it. Anything I FORGOT I owned has been unearthed in this, my 2014, New Year cleaning and clearing out frenzy.

5. Despite being very broad-thinking in my religious views, I continue to suffer from PTCG -- Post traumatic Catholic Guilt -- that rears its ugly head whenever I realize I am INDEED a spoiled brat to have, and enjoy, such a blessing (yes, it is...) in my life. (But the part about not being a Kardashian is true).

First, just a peak...


...now for the whole salami...

My very own customized costume jewelry (and belt) Slatwall accessory closet. I designed and included it as a part of the renovation and update of my 1935 closet and master bath. Actually, it was my contractor's idea to use the Slatwall system.

You are probably familiar with Slatwall, an organizational wall grid used in retail (and fastidious men's garages)...read about it and order it here.

When I first set it up, I ordered a variety of hanging accessories. Some, of
course, are more useful and appropriate for my needs than others. The ledge under the mirror also happens to be...

a laundry shoot (in the middle), and additional storage on either end of its width. More?

And the excessive rest.

Notice please the new bicycle earrings. Then smile.  :)

Tomorrow -- if you're curious, a look at the renovation of my 1935, postage-stamp-sized clothes closet.

I do realize the sad irony of this, but if you are interested, read my son's
most recent blog post from India on  The Broken Tusk  here.  I promise it will make you think.