In a Vase on Monday: A shining Star with roses

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A special star made for me by a friend

A special star made for me by a friend

I know what you are thinking: Roses again?!?!  I do apologise, but as always I left myself no time and I knew exactly what I wanted from them so it just had to be!  I haven’t cut all of them but the weather is supposed to turn really cold this week so I’m guessing it will be the end for them.

getting ready for Christmas ever so slowly

getting ready for Christmas ever so slowly

I’m afraid that when I checked the pictures on my camera they all looked “in focus” but as it turns out they weren’t all in focus!  But I had one shot to get it all done so we’ll just have to imagine that this is in focus ;-)

having fun with decorations

having fun with decorations

I like the Christmas balls in the vase!  So simple and fun.

an Angel candle from Celticheritage.ie in Kinsale which I purchased at a Craft Fair this weekend

an Angel candle from Celticheritage.ie in Kinsale which I purchased at a Craft Fair this weekend

I went to the National Craft & Design Fair in Dublin with a friend this weekend.  It was fantastic!  It was so wonderful to see all of the beautiful crafts.  I did my best to support as many of our National Craftspeople as possible!  Merry Christmas to me!

flowers in a vase

flowers in a vase

My favourite purchase is definitely this angel. I think she is just lovely (and not Christmas-y).  I especially enjoyed meeting the artist who painted her.  It is fun to get to chat with the crafters and see their wonderful work!

but the flowers need water so here they are on my counter

but the flowers need water so here they are on my counter

After taking pictures of the flowers in the round vase with the ornaments (and no water) I threw them in a small square vase with water.  Not much work required there.    They should be happy enough this week.

In a Vase on Monday with a Star

In a Vase on Monday with a Star

The star was given to me last year by my friend Susan who had made it for me.  I thought the pink was rather unusual for the lights, but I absolutely love it!  She cut the branches, which came from her yard, hot glued them in the star shape, spray painted it and added the lights.  How cool is that?

Nativity creche

Nativity creche

This small nativity scene was given to me by another very special friend of mine who belongs to the church we went to in Manlius, NY.  I love having those connections.

A little ‘light’ on the flower side of things this week. (haha!  did you see that?  light as in star light? O.K. maybe not…)   As we head into the winter I think it is going to be quite a challenge!  Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the garden for this wonderful meme (challenge)!  You can visit her blog and see other links to lovely arrangements, too!  http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

I hope you have a shining star of a week!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Roses by Candlelight

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Climbing roses, and a couple of stray roses from the "rose garden"

Climbing roses, and a couple of stray roses from the “rose garden”

I am simply in the spirit!  I thought for sure I would have to skip my “In a Vase on Monday” post as I hadn’t prepared anything this weekend.  To top it off, when I arrived home tonight it was pouring rain and pitch dark!  But I had an idea in my head so I really wanted to follow through with it.

what a difference using a flash makes...

What a difference using the flash makes on colouring.  I have to say I really prefer these pictures with no flash.

Roses up close

Roses up close

The roses are in an oasis in a red glass dessert bowl. My mother gave me a set of large and small glasses and dessert bowls all in a beautiful deep red, perhaps more of a burgundy colour.  Why the glasses match the dessert bowls is a bit of a mystery, but they do look pretty together!

Christmas tree candle in the background

Christmas tree candle in the background

You can still see some raindrops on the flowers!  It was *really* raining when I cut them!

a little candle light to make things pretty

a little candle light to make things pretty

I was definitely in the mindset of Christmas with my white tree candle and red bowls.  I had to transform these pretty pinks into holiday spirit!

Nearing the end of the roses...

Nearing the end of the roses…

The climbing roses are amazing and still have quite a few clusters of buds.  I tried to cut the ones that were nearing the end, as it is so nice to see them outside when most everything else is “finished”.

Softer look without the flash

Softer look without the flash

Oh my goodness I am so glad I went outside and got drenched! The arrangement is only 7 inches tall and about 7 inches wide and just adorable (so says the very humble arranger, ahem.).

too many pictures?

too many pictures?

You can join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for this very fun meme “In a Vase on Monday” (http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/in-a-vase-on-monday-wintersweet/ )  as a challenge to find plant material in your garden at all months of the year!

I hope you are also ‘in the spirit’!

In peace,
Dana

Roses by Candlelight

Roses by Candlelight

Christmas Season begins with the First day of Advent

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My brother-in-law's beautiful Nativity set

My brother-in-law’s beautiful Nativity set

Christmas season has begun!  Am I ready?  No, I’m not.  But today at church the sermon really touched my heart and now my focus is back on track.  It is so easy to get distracted with “all the trimmings”!  It will be a challenge for me, I know, as I can really try to do too much.  This year my goal is to be conscious of everything I do during this Season of Advent and to focus on what is really important.

I was quite fortunate enough last year to see a wonderful display of Nativity sets (Christmas Crib/Creche).  They belong to one of our lovely priests who has amassed them from all around the world. I have included a few (O.K., way more than a few!) pictures of them below.  They are as beautiful and diverse as the different cultures from which they come!  I’ve also included a little information about what Advent is all about for those who don’t celebrate Christmas and would like to know.

I wish you a blessed advent season!

In peace,
Dana

Christmas Crib Kenya 1 Christmas Crib Willow Christmas Crib Vietnam 1 Christmas Crib Spain 1 Christmas Crib South Africa 1 Christmas Crib Slovakia 1 Christmas Crib Mexico 1 Christmas Crib Nepal 1 Christmas Crib Peru 2 Christmas Crib Peru 3 Christmas Crib Poland 2 Christmas Crib Ireland 1 Christmas Crib Haiti 1 Christmas Crib Germany 1 Christmas Crib France 1 Christmas Crib China 1 Christmas Crib Cameroon 1 Christmas Crib Budapest 2 Christmas Crib Bolivia 1

Nativity made in Budapest

Nativity made in Budapest

 

First Sunday of Advent
30th November2014

The word Advent is derived from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” and refers to the four-week period of preparation for Christmas. Adventus is in turn a Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which refers to the future coming or return of Jesus. During the Season of Advent we contemplate two different comings of Jesus into our world. The first refers to his birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. The second refers to his future return in glory as judge at the end of time.

The theme of the readings during Advent is the preparation for Jesus’ second coming at the end of time, while remembering his birth in Bethlehem.

There are many things in life to keep our attention fixed on the here and now – economic challenges, the scandals in church and state, our efforts at trying to make ends meet, along with all the other day-to-day cares of living.

When the huge tsunami devastated north-eastern Japan in April 2011, the Japanese national soccer team came up with a slogan to encourage their suffering people. It read: “With hope we can cope.” The Season of Advent calls for our hope-filled attention. It reminds us that, as daunting as our day-to-day worries are, we ultimately place our hope in the ever-loving and compassionate God. That is why with all Christians down through the ages we can cry out again in the Aramaic language of Jesus: “Mara tha, Come , O Lord.”

Reality Magazine, November 2014

Let Us Give Thanks

Mominthegarden:

As an American, it is in my blood that Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday of November. But as a part of a busy family living in Ireland, we’ll be celebrating this weekend. So for now, I offer your this short blog post.

I would like to reflect on my many blessings, and family and friends are, of course, the most wonderful blessings of all! This poem, posted by my blogging friend Michele of The Salem Garden, made me smile and think of all of my friends in very different ways! and since it is all gardening related I simply love it!

May my American family and friends, near and far, enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving.
In peace,
Dana

Originally posted on The Salem Garden:

Let Us Give Thanks

By Max Coots

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:
For children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks:
For generous friends…with hearts as big as hubbards and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For feisty friends as tart as apples;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us we had them;
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn — and the others — as plain as potatoes, and so good for you.
For funny friends, who are as silly as brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends…

View original 173 more words

In a Vase on Monday: Pink, Purple, Red & Coral … in November!

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Pink Hesperanthus (schizostylis)

Pink Hesperanthus (schizostylis)

Hello there!  I am so looking forward to this week’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme!  My weekend included one whole entire day that had no scheduled activities.  woohoo!  That meant garden time for me.  To top off that great schedule, the weather was incredible on Saturday; very mild and beautifully sunny!

Geranium

Geranium

I worked until I was physically exhausted and could do no more.  There is always so much to do in a garden!  I would not call it work though because I enjoy all of it.  But it certainly does take time and effort.  Lots of effort.

Knautia macedonica "Red Knight"

Knautia macedonica “Red Knight”

After my hard working day, I was so happy to take some time and gather flowers.  At that stage though, I had to move quickly to catch the setting sun in my pictures.  My collection includes Hesperantha, Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve, Geranium, and  Knautia Macedonica ‘Red Knight’.

Erysimum Bowles' mauve

Erysimum Bowles’ mauve

I grouped the erysimum bowles’ Mauve all together.  The individual flowers were rather   wimpy looking on their own.  The group of them look almost substantial!

Geranium

Geranium

The geranium are two lovely shades.  We were scheduled to have a very hard frost on Saturday night (which we did have), so there days are seriously numbered.  They are from last year, though, so they have had a great long life.

Evening sunlight

Evening sunlight

I just love the evening sunlight…

In a Vase on Monday...

In a Vase on Monday…

This cute little arrangement fits nicely on our kitchen table.  I don’t have any pictures of that to show you, ’cause my kitchen is a bit of a disaster at the moment ;-)

November in the garden...

November in the garden…

The vase I bought at a charity shop in Switzerland 18 years ago.  It is a very simple piece of pottery.  I last used it to hold an arrangement of barley, with the raffia tied in front.  It was for a special friend who really appreciated it.  But when she was done with it, she gave me back the little vase. So now I have it with memories of my friend too.

A different view

A different view

Remember, you can see other “In a Vase on Monday” posts at: Cathy’s blog http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com .

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a good week!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Some real pinkness with roses & autumn joy

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My favourite colour

My favourite colour

It is Monday!  Mondays mean it is time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her In a Vase on Monday meme.  For me this is a much anticipated weekly event in my social calendar (I don’t get out much)!  It is great to see the other arrangements and touch base with the other bloggers.  You too can join us here: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/in-a-vase-on-monday-a-vase-for-thomas-hood/

 

climbing roses up close

climbing roses up close

As for my arrangement this week, all I had to do was cut a couple of branches from my climbing roses.  There were so many blooms! (and even more still outside!)

Sedum, what is not to like?

Sedum, what is not to like?

I know some people aren’t fans of Autumn Joy sedum, but I am not one of them. I love it.  It turns a dark auburn colour as it “matures” through the fall season.  It holds its shape really well when it dries, but the colour turns quite dark (basically black).  I would love to try and spray paint some and see what that would be like … I just need more hours in my day!

on the hutch facing forward

on the hutch facing forward

The vase itself I have used many a time before as it is part of my pottery collection from when we first got married.  I like the pattern on the front of the vase.

on the hutch facing backwards

on the hutch facing backwards

I hadn’t realized I’d taken a picture of the back of the vase until after I uploaded the pictures.  The blue is really rather boring!  The tall grass-like auburn-y coloured plant material was in the garden when we moved here. I don’t know what it is called. I don’t actually like the plant as I think it looks rather sloppy in the garden, despite my cutting off the dead leaves every winter.  But I did like how it added something to the arrangement.  Now I am being critical and I think it might look funny in these pictures!  You’ll have to trust me that it looks better in person. :-)

Some joyful pinkness

Some joyful pinkness

And that is my In a Vase on Monday arrangement!  My next goal will be to remember to have props and themes for my Monday meme (wish me luck on that one)! I’m sure I’ll have no problem with that once I figure out how to add more hours to my day :-)

Happy Monday!
Dana

Acts of kindness last a lifetime, as remembered through a crocheted flower blanket

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It all started with some pink and green...

It all started with some pink and green…

When I think of acts of kindness I think of “the little things”.  That is because I still have fond memories from when I was young of how certain people were patient, supportive, and kind to me.  Let me explain…

trefoil ... little touches of sweetness

trefoil … little touches of sweetness

I learned to crochet way, way, way before it was fashionable to do so.  I was ten years old (ha! O.K., maybe I shouldn’t say that it was that long ago?) and my swim coach and his wife were a lovely retired couple with no children.  I became their surrogate granddaughter and Mrs. Emerson’s love of crocheting was passed on to me with many wonderful afternoons of lessons. I still have and use the set of crochet needles she gave to me.

green flower up close

I have such happy memories of our times with them.  Mr. Emerson was my very first swim coach.  Boy did he have a tough job!  But I remember that he was quite patient with all of us beginners, and always kind.  Being a part of the swim team really felt like being a part of their family.  It was a very fun time!

The very centre of my flower blanket

The centre pink flower is the very centre of my flower blanket

So now when I crochet I find myself thinking fondly of the times when Mrs. Emerson taught  me a new stitch, or showed me a new project, or generally of the wonderful times we had together.

Pinks, yellow & green all lined in white

Pinks, yellow & green all lined in white

As for swimming, I am now a coach myself and I absolutely love it! I think of all of the coaches who were patient with me, encouraged me, and supported me all through my many years of competitive swimming.  Now it is my turn to ‘pay it forward’ and do the same.

an evening shot giving a different hue to the colours

an evening shot giving a different hue to the colours

As for the crocheted flower blanket, it all started while I was away with my daughter at a swimming competition!  We popped into a wool shop and I simply loved the spring colours they had (it was March last year): pinks, yellow, green (especially the green)!

spot the pattern...

spot the pattern…

This is the part where I could write “lessons on how not to make a blanket”…  I just bought balls of wool. I didn’t have a project in mind but I had a vague idea that it would be a blanket.  :-)

I had a couple of books, too many ideas, and not enough yarn!

getting ideas from books

getting ideas from books

I found a flower pattern that I really liked. To make it fit a blanket and with other granny squares I just added stitches to the outside.  The picture of the blanket above is what I had in mind for tying it all together. I really liked the white lining and border.

There is a yellow cross through the centre, and two diamonds of flowers. Can you see it?

There is a yellow cross through the centre, and two diamonds of flowers. Can you see it?

I won’t show you the many pictures of failed attempts at “randomness”.  Random just did not work for me. I needed to have some order to my madness!  I also had white and light pink granny squares that just did not go well with these colours.  This is the tough (silly) part when you just crochet without a pattern.  I finally disciplined myself to create a pattern of colours and flowers.  Life got much easier then!

natural sunlight

natural sunlight

I have green flowers on a yellow square at the centre point of each border.  From there, I alternated pink and yellow flower colours in a diamond shape. There is also a diamond shape around the very centre pink flower.  To add more flowers, I decorated the corners.  I think I mostly worked diagonally!

spot the pattern...

spot the pattern…

The flowers took a long time to make.  WAY longer than I wanted them to.  The granny squares are a cinch to make.  Crocheting it all together actually made my hands get all cramped!  huh?  I must have been holding everything together too tightly.  There are 121 squares.  That is because I ran out of dark pink yarn and decided I was totally done with this project! Having started in March, done a bit in April, nothing over the summer, and then started again in September, this project was dragging on way too long!  The blanket pattern with the white border simply said to crochet them together horizontally first, then vertically.  It would have been helpful to say “slip stitch over the already crocheted together rows”…   Nevertheless, I figured it out.

Yep, I have the blanket hanging on my clothes horse.

Yep, I have the blanket hanging on my clothes horse.

I waited on the border until I found something a bit different.  The tiny trefoils are simple to make and I liked the look (makes me think of shamrocks).

Here is where my border came from

Here is where my border came from

I only put them at the corners of each square.  I tried more but didn’t like the look.  I should tell you that there were many times I unraveled my work because it just wasn’t good enough.  Now I can honestly say that I really like it.  O.K., I love it.  :-)

looking very sweet on hot pink!

looking very sweet on hot pink!

And that is my story of how acts of kindness can last a lifetime!

I hope there is kindness in your life today!

Dana

In a Vase on Monday: A Simple fall Posy

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A collection of potted plants

A collection of potted plants

Well hello there! Have you come to see what I’ve gathered from the garden this week to create a vase for the meme “In a Vase on Monday”?  I do hope so!  It has been a lot of fun finding different vases, flowers and ideas for this meme. Cathy at Rambling in the Garden is the lovely host, and you can visit her blog here: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com .  While you are there, you can check out the links to other vases too.

Afternoon sunlight

Geraniums, marigolds and calendula flowers bathing in afternoon sunlight

The weather had been quite mild for September and October.  But recently we had our first hard frost, and the forecast is for more cold weather.  So I thought I should feature my potted plants (quick, before they are destroyed!).

Pewter Vase &  awesome afternoon sunlight

Pewter Vase & awesome afternoon sunlight

The vase is pewter and was given to me by a very special friend (thank you Jean!).  I thought it was perfect for my little posy.

Simply lovely

Simply lovely

The afternoon sunlight coming in the house was absolutely lovely.  I have been going at warp speed of late, so it was incredibly wonderful to take some time to pick, cut, and photograph the flowers in that sunlight.  It really is amazing the difference lighting can make.

Later that night...

Later that night…

See?  That picture doesn’t have the same “sparkle” as the ones with sunlight.

A nice arrangement all the same

A nice arrangement all the same

Still, I’ll take the arrangement as it adds some life to our kitchen.

Fall Posy

Fall Posy

And that is me and my “In a Vase on Monday” all finished!  A quick one today.  But I do hope you enjoyed it!

Until next week :-)
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: A Summer look (Still)

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Didn't expect this

Didn’t expect this summer look at the very end of October!

It is Monday!  Just barely so, but you are getting used to me by now, aren’t you?  I know some people would have had their “In a Vase on Monday” meme done and dusted by now, but sometimes I just need a little bit more time.  Good things come to those who wait, right?   :-)

dahlias, roses, wild yarrow, lavender

dahlias, roses, wild yarrow, lavender, campanula & hesperantha (schizostylis)

I had been making my arrangements on the weekends (the only way I could possibly get them posted on the blog at a decent hour on a Monday!).  But alas, this week it was left until today.  Today was an unsettled weather day, looking rather dull with a very light mist of a rain most of the day. That is, until I went outside to cut some flowers.  Then down came the rain! Ha!  That’ll teach me to not put things off! Maybe.

Some pink Schizostylis/Hesperantha that is the same colour as the roses

Some pink Schizostylis/Hesperantha that is the same colour as the roses

I have to say that I didn’t really have anything in mind when I went outside to cut flowers.  I went outside just to see what was on offer. The roses I was originally going to use were blown away completely just this weekend.  These roses seem to be a little bit more hardy.  The stems had six or more blooms all clustered together.  They are fabulous at our front gate.  Coming from New York, it took a while for me to adjust to the “fall colours” here.  At home you would see so much burgundy, yellow, orange, and red in gardens.  But certainly not pink!  Here you can still see so many summer colours even at the end of October.  The only “fall” look comes from foliage, really.

I had to clear our hutch!

I had to clear our hutch

No sun in sight for my picture taking. Plus, I left it a bit late.  So I had to clear our kitchen hutch. I love it when it is all cleared, but it is so hard to keep it that way!  I’m sure my husband won’t recognise it…

The flowers that didn't make the cut...

The flowers that didn’t make the cut…

The Salsa Red Echinacea and red Schizostylis (Hesperantha) didn’t seem to fit in with the other colours.  They look quite nice on their own, though.

A pink, purple, and yellow look

A pink, purple, white, and yellow look

Up close

Up close

I still find it surprising when I can manage to make an arrangement just from items from my garden.  That.Is.Neat.

Stickley kitchen hutch as a backdrop for my flowers :-)

Stickley kitchen hutch as a backdrop for my flowers :-)

Do you see the hydrangea sitting on top of the hutch?  I should have taken a better picture of it, as it is a very pretty blue and burgundy mix.  I see a wreath creation in its future.  But more immediate, I think my next project will be to make a festive tea cosy to replace the roses cosy.  Since the cosy is on display where it lives on my hutch, I think it might be nice to change things up a bit.

I just need a few more hours in each day!

I’m joining Rambling in the Garden for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme if you’d like to stop by and see some other vases! You can click here: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/in-a-vase-on-monday-collection-of-compositae/

Happy Monday!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday (night): Allium

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Allium, rye, hydrangea, globe artichokes

Allium, rye, hydrangea, globe artichokes

It is still Monday!  Talk about leaving things till the eleventh hour.  My blog post yesterday took me ages to put together, which left me no time for my ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme!  But now I have a moment to breathe and I can share with you an arrangement I put together this summer.  I’m using it today because I really think it is quite a fall looking arrangement.

A rather dry arrangement with the barley fields in the background.

A rather dry arrangement with the barley fields in the background.

I think the barley in the field had just been harvested when I took these pictures. The hydrangea blooms from my father-in-law were freshly cut, but I didn’t put them in water.  I used them in my birthday flower arrangement, too.  (I’m sure you were already thinking that, weren’t you?)

Hydrangea & globe artichokes

Hydrangea & globe artichokes

The pottery vase is a real keeper. I bought that from my gardening club when I lived in  Syracuse, NY.  It has a great height, and the blue and green are lovely colours to work with.  I hadn’t realised until just now that I didn’t get a very good picture of the vase.

that's not allium

that’s not allium

I think I was more interested in my props than my allium when I was taking these pictures.  The globe artichokes are still holding on to their colour.

Holding everything in place

Holding everything in place

Sometimes I pretend that I’m just so clever.  Look how I held everything in place?  Pieces of dried allium stems held together with elastic bands to form a triangle.  Totally high tech.  :-)

Sitting high in my kitchen

Sitting up high in my kitchen

The above picture looks fuzzy!  I hate that.  But I just wanted to show you where my arrangement lives; in my kitchen above my microwave. It is a great space to fill! Some of the allium are still purple while some are definitely yellowed.  There aren’t  so many hydrangeas since I stole them for my birthday arrangement. That lives in my front hall.

I’ll end with one of my favourite pictures of allium that I took (probably around the time of these pictures).

If you’d like to see some other arrangements from the meme In a Vase on Monday, stop by Cathy’s Rambling in the garden’s blog: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/in-a-vase-on-monday-the-joys-of-autumn/ 

Happy Monday!
Dana

Dried Allium

Dried Allium

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