Fade to pink Sunday, Jul 26 2009 

Middle Tennessee has been graced with an incredibly mild summer, and my patio garden has really risen to the occasion.

The hedge along the inside of the fence has been lush, my old roses resplendent and the Limelight hydrangeas positively over the top. A breeze stirs the lavender, and it smells like Provence.

Time to enjoy an old French magazine over coffee on the patio -- and the right weather for it -- priceless!

Time to enjoy an old French magazine over coffee on the patio -- and the right weather for it -- priceless!

I have a lovely old wrought-iron, glass-top table of my grandmother’s where I like to sit under a market umbrella and drink it all in. The gentler-than-usual temperatures have given me a few extra weeks to enjoy it.

I’ve tried to capture a bit of that feeling – the splendor of an intimate little corner filled with verdant bounty – in the bouquet pictured here. I love the look of the rich greens and whites and a few pieces of lavender against a sterling silver vase.

Nothing says intimate elegance like cut greens and flowers in a sterling vase.

Nothing says intimate elegance like cut greens and flowers in a sterling vase.

This is also the first installment in my Limelight study. I planted this hydrangea variety because it tolerates our Tennessee summers so well, but I am enchanted by the way the blooms, which open green, turn to a clean white then a soft heirloom pink. Check back to see the progress.

Note the hints of pea green paint under the rusty brown of the roof. I'd love to discover a life-size version of this little jewel, in a faraway European garden. Just folie, I guess ...

Note the hints of pea green paint under the rusty brown of the roof. I'd love to discover a life-size version of this little jewel, in a faraway European garden. Just folie, I guess ...

And I threw in a picture of one of my patio lanterns, which reminds me of a miniature garden folie. Yes, I have a thing for garden folies, and yes, I am pursuing the passion in a creative way. Stay tuned!

À bientôt…Tatie

With Marie on my mind Monday, Jul 13 2009 

 

Trianon cheri

Trianon cheri

The story of Marie Antoinette – her world, her demise – fascinated me early on, as I studied French in high school. It was seminal in my lifelong affection for French culture and civilization.

All things Marie Antoinette have captivated creative imaginations lately. Take a look at the recent Somerset/Stampington publication, Marie. I adore the way so many artisans have picked up on the robin’s egg and pale pink of the era.

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We French hand-sewing enthusiasts would call the warm pale blue and pink of the trianon "Giger" pink and blue, after goods made by an old manufacturer of Swiss batiste.

Anyway, looking through Marie, I was inspired to create my Trianon chéri. The original Petit Trianon on the grounds of Versailles is especially fetching.

I began with a papier mâché house box, which I painted with a simple robin’s egg acrylic color, then spattered with brown. For the roof, I started with a base of flat chocolate brown acrylic. Once dry, I applied Tim Holtz’s Crackle Paint in Tattered Rose, which makes me very happy. 

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Torn pieces of Martha Stewart's Flourish paper in palest pink, the edges aged with distressing ink, give a hint of exposed brick or stone.

As a reference to exposed brick or stone, I applied torn pieces of Martha Stewart’s Flourish paper in palest pink. Edges of the paper were aged with Tim Holtz’s Distress Inkpad in Tea Dye.

Next came stamped images in brown from various sources, including the popular Paris set from Cavallini. It’s a lot of fun using an unexpected image as an architectural element.

Particularly whimsical is my treatment of the back of the trianon. I really enjoy working with these houses because the back gives you a full surface, a kind of stage if you have a narrative.

The couture fashion show is my favorite narrative, and for this one, I used stamps, including one from the incomparable Sandra Evertson. Then, I took some old pink and cream plaid twisted paper rope (wish I still had a source for this stuff) and fashioned a skirt, edged with scalloping scissors, and gathered and wrapped with a piece of Martha Stewart’s wonderful coffee bean-edged pink ribbon.

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Wish I could find more of the old cream-and-pink plaid twisted paper rope I used for my mannequin's skirt.

Finishing touch was the tiny paper roses at the front windows. I applied a couple on the side of the house with their wire stems, which gave the look of wild roses climbing up the side of the house. The foliage is model train moss. (I’d like to hear other ideas for foliage – not thrilled with the moss.)

It’s only natural that my first collage house would be a trianon and that it would carry so many Marie Antoinette nuances. I’m thinking my next inspiration will draw from Provence or the European garden folies – or maybe a little of both.

À bientôt…Tatie