Friday, April 29, 2011

Antique Roses in the Garden: My Favorite Pictures

2005: The rose arbor and rock wall I built at the first home I owned.
New Dawn is on the left, Apple Blossom on the right,
underplanted with artemisia 'Silver King' and nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'.
I do plan on making the same arbor and stone wall at my studio.
Both ramblers covered the arbor in their second year.
(Apple Blossom is partially supported by a rhododendron).

 Frau Eva Schubert, Teblemann, 1937
I must buy this rose again.   Scentless but lovely.

 Blush Noisette, St. Swithun, New Dawn, Frau Eva Schubert
from my garden at my first home c. 2004.

A sempervirens rose on the arbor at Mottisfont Abbey,
Hampshire, England.   Unknown photographer.

Another sempervirens, Felicite et Perpetue probably, trained on an arbor
at Mottisfont.  Unknown photographer.

Roses of Redoute and Today: Rosa carnea.
(Be very careful trying to buy this: every 'Rosa carnea' I've ever bought
doesn't resemble this beauty.)  Botanical print: P.J. Redoute.
Unknown photographer.

A bower of Cecile Brunner, photographer: 'Missy' from Pbase

Gentle, pale pink, deeply fragrant antique roses with tissue-thin petals have always been my favorite: Albas, Damasks, Centifolias, Mosses.   I share my collection of dream garden photos.

I planted the 1832 Damask Madame Hardy (urged not just by need but by Mira & Bianca's book Belle Blanc: Aus Liebe zu Weiss), and the ancient Alba (prior to the 15th century) Great Maiden's Blush, and pre-1835 Chloris with a PICK AXE in my stony hillside last weekend in the rain & cold, cheered by all the spring cress, sweet rocket, and foxglove babies coming up around me.    I order from Pickering Nurseries of Ontario, Canada even though they are grafted plants because their shipping is lower than most and they come dormant unlike leafy plants from the west coast that get surprised at snow in May.    I haven't lost a plant due to an exposed graft yet and I'm Zone 4 & don't protect (except for deer netting).

In early July I'll share my harvest of roses with you!

Forgive me, I have no idea of the provenance of the pictures save mine; I've collected them years before blogging.   Happy to update if anyone knows.


Until next time, stay shabby!

Come share other beautiful gardens with me at:

Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer

Cottage Flora Thursdays at Fishtail Cottage

Friday, April 22, 2011

Starting Sweet Peas

Rosa 'Konigin von Danemark' and pink sweet peas

Photo: Unwins Seeds Ltd/Frank Bird Photography, c. 1900 reprinted in Gardens Illustrated, June 1999

There they are, the little dears,

The mower and the pruning shears.

Rusty where they hid their heads

All winter long inside our sheds.


“The story of the modern sweet pea begins at the end of the 19th century…Lord Spencer’s head gardener at Althorp (England), Silas Cole, exhibited a variety called ‘Countess Spencer’…with larger, frillier petals…it caused a sensation.  They became Queen Alexandra’s favourite flower.”  -- from “Sweet Symphony” by Mary Keen, Gardens Illustrated, June 1999.

Sweet peas (lathyrus odoratus) are an old-fashioned scented flower I consider a must in a ‘vintage interested’ home and garden.  They’ve all the faults homeowners (note I said homeowners, not gardeners) aren’t interested in: these annuals don’t flower all summer, they need support, the leaf isn’t attractive.   Consequently, garden centers can’t stock them.   But you can grow them.   Soak the seeds overnight before planting in situ.

Using Beth’s $4 French-inspired Tattered Vintage sheet 95, I printed them on my color printer, then glued two together back to back with a bamboo skewer in between (obviously this is last year).   They’re perfect for raising flats indoors or in a cold frame before planting out.

I made a Microsoft Word document with the names of my flowers (in French if I could translate it, otherwise in Latin), in the pretty Kunstler Script font, cut them out and glued them on.   I believe tiny details in the home and garden make for a huge experience of cloaking your world with only the pretty and sustainable.   Unlike plastic, when these markers outlive their usefulness they can be reabsorbed back into the earth.

These are pictures of last year’s sweet peas form packages of mixed colors I bought in the supermarket.   I got a lot of reds and bright blues.   Since I prefer shy shades, this year I’m shopping at Thompson & Morgan online for select varieties.   I did this 15 years ago and remember the results were good, but it came at a price for premium imported seed.

Am I alone in the love of these non-mainstream flowers?!

Until next time, stay shabby!

I’m sharing this post with other gardeners at:

Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer

Cottage Flora Thursdays at Fishtail Cottage

Please join us!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A French Script Linen Pillow Enhancement for $18 at Tattered Notions

Zuzu loves our new Tattered Notions pillow!

Belle still prefers the $20 faux fur throw from Marshall's for her naps.

Beautiful love notes from Petite Michelle Louise using images from The Graphics Fairy.

First of all, thanks for all your kind comments on my friend Karina's work!  And, I hope everyone likes my new banner.  It's painstakingly cut from an 1803 French document I bought from Tracey over at French Larkspur.   She's sold out, now, but Maria over at Dreamy Whites offers them for $15 each.
As I made the printed graphic paper cones for Zuzu’s birthday party in February, I thought how lovely a pillow covered in pale grey French script from an antique document would look.   It would be a nice change on a plain winter white bed like mine, especially if it bore some sort of meaning.   Every day by my “Roi” sends his gestures of fondness for me, his “Reine”, so this pillow has my name on it.   Or does it?   “La Principessa” Zuzu claims it!

My go-to person for graphics is Nevada artist Beth Neumann, who whipped up a darling design and put it in her new shop, Tattered Notions.   She posted an informative, well-researched list of links for those who wish to transfer any graphic on fabric here.   I’m big on doing everything myself to save money, but fabric transfers require an investment in equipment and a learning curve.   My $18 pillow cover from Beth saved money as well as time.

It’s printed on a heavy cotton duck fabric, it’s washable, it’s fabulous.   In an hour I had it stitched over a linen standard size pillowcase, leaving the ends out to fray in that trendy way.

A bittersweet post this is to write!   To meet my fiscal goals I’ve been going Upstate only twice a month.   I’m trying to pay my car off early so I can afford the pay cut I face when I move there.   I miss my King.   I miss my poochies.   Sacrifice is necessary, but being a saint really sucks when I lay on my empty bed at my mom’s house.   I will smile through my tears.

Until next time, stay shabby!

I’m sharing with:

Cottage Instincts for Make it for Monday

Get Your Craft On Tuesdays at Today’s Creative Blog

White Wednesday at Faded Charm

Treasures & Trinkets Thursday at My Cottage Charm

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage

Join in!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Katrina Patina: Karina Gentinetta’s New York Times Feature On Rebuilding Over Ruin

Karina’s late father surely is looking down upon her today, bursting with pride.   I believe I feel just as proud: my dear friend Karina Gentinetta’s feature is published in The New York Times.
Joyce Walder’s words moved me to tears—a tough thing to do when you already know the story.   With the images from Japan so fresh in our minds, it is easy to imagine poor Karina walking around the mud pit that used to be her beautiful home.   One needs the strength of a supernatural being to get through that, but to me, her chutzpah during her three-year struggle to rebuild awes me more.   The crises in her career, marriage, and a hideously long commute in a broken New Orleans is the sort of tortuous agony that the day-to-day marathon of strength really is needed.
New Orleans gets its magic from its people, and, like the twist of bittersweet humor in a jazz funeral Karina marched on.   With the infallible work ethic of the American immigrant she shoved her shoulder into rebuilding.
I thought now would be a great time to share pictures from the 1stdibs opening reception at the New York Design Center in February.   Karina was so nervous the first time she went to Manhattan to set up her booth she had a panic attack before boarding her flight back to New Orleans.   Of course, I made sure I was at the airport to pick her up (in sweats, sneakers, no makeup, who cares?) to circumvent a reoccurrence, but I had to use subterfuge because like all strong people she said she'd 'be fine'.   I looked her flight up online and just showed up.   I went to the Garment District to research fabric wholesalers and when I returned two hours later Karina was gorgeously turned out in a little black dress and super high heels.

Karina graciously put me on the list, and everyone there was quite kind, all smiling and handsomely dressed (including the small doggies).   I thought some faces looked familiar, and Karina said designers like Alexa Hampton and socialites were there.   Naturally, I thought Karina’s booth was prettiest, especially since it seemed most dealers sold modern decor.   Karina fit right in, dressed in all black.   We New Yorkers say we like fashion but wear the same uniform anyway.

But the story is about Karina’s house.   Read about Karina here, and at her blog here, and view her art—I mean—her antiques—here at 1stdibs.

Until next time, stay shabby!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pom Pom Napkins Won in My Petite Maison’s Giveaway: European Elegance, Casual American Style

. . . gastronomical perfection can be reached in these combinations:
one person dining alone, usually upon a couch or a hill side;
two people, of no matter what sex or age, dining in a good restaurant;
six people . . . dining in a good home.”

M. F. K. Fisher

When you win a spectacular giveaway like Tracy’s over at My Petite Maison, you have to try very hard to show off your winnings in the best light possible.

Pom Pom is a breathtaking high-end store in LA (and at Neiman Marcus, Horchow, Amazon, and you may get a deal on Ebay) stocking European-style textiles, home accessories, and antiques.   Owner Hilde Leiaghat has been featured in dozens of magazines such as O, Victoria, and House Beautiful.

My napkins retail $80 for four.   Ultra feminine, ruffled, yet made of heavy-woven pure white cotton for a lifetime of use.    Thanks, Tracey, I’d never be that extravagant for myself.

Luckily, I had the perfect chance to photograph them a few weeks ago.   My dear antiquariess friend Karina Gentinetta  lent me the prettiest chairs from her retail space in New York for a project I’m working on.   They were black with gold fabric when she found them.    Now, they’re fit for seating angels.

Natural fabric upholstery.   Rough nail heads.   Swedish finish in white.

Magic happens when the best things from great women come together.

Get a dose of casual Euro-US elegance decorating heaven with them:

Until next time, stay stabby!

I’m sharing with:

White Wednesday at Faded Charm
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Vintage Friday at Common Ground
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Giveaway: Romantic Country Magazine and Romantic Prairie Style from Fiona & Twig Ending 15 April

I'm as proud as Anne's Mom of her.  
She's living my dream: she sold a story to Romantic Country!
Anne's graciously hosting a giveaway to celebrate: a copy of the issue and even
a signed copy of Fifi O'Neill's Romantic Prairie Style.   Fifi gave her a chance.
That's the spirit--taking a chance and giving a chance.   Great women to look up to.

Until next time, stay shabby!

Maple Sugar Season in the Catskills: A Trip to Shaver Hill Farm and Making Our Own Syrup

Evaporating fresh sap on our woodstove.

Homemade syrup with French toast by the woodstove.  Bliss.

Vintage sap tins and one of our sap buckets near my studio.

Scenes from Shaver Hill Farm;
horses and a mural located near the modern evaporator in the barn.


The last weekend in March is Shaver Hill Farm’s annual Maple Sugar Weekend.   We attended, charmed by the horse-drawn wagon rides and their museum of maple production artifacts, but the real reason is to pick up more sap buckets and candy molds.   My King loves tapping our sugar maple trees, evaporating the sap (which looks like water when it comes out and tastes awful) on our woodstove, then boiling it into syrup and candies (sweet as sugar), just as the Native Americans in the region once did.   Maple trees don’t suffer harm with the act.   In fact, some trees have been tapped for over 100 years.

The folks at Shaver Hill Farm (310 Shaver Hill Road, Harpersfield, NY) sell their maple products worldwide.    My favorite?    Maple cream (it's lactose-free).  

I love winter, and this is our last official winter activity.   Because of the ski industry and ever-present blanket of snow, many of us don’t take all our exterior holiday decorations down.   We ‘scale back’ in January to just candles in the windows, or a single fir tree in the yard, a snowflake in the window of a seasonal shop promising a Memorial Day re-opening.   One by one, homes and businesses here in the Catskills will turn their holiday lights off.   The towns will take the cheerful ‘Peace’ street light flags down.   We’ll suffer through April: mud, melt-by-noon snow, taking saplings for firewood, and cleaning out the chicken coop.   In May, at last, it will look like it snowed again—only it will be crabapples and cherry blossoms whitening the earth.

* * *

If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend The Savvy City Farmgirl’s annual antique sale “Shop the Shed”, please do!   Joy’s been featured in Fifi O’Neill’s Romantic Prairie Style and numerous publications.   I called her the other night and she’s so busy she can’t even get her regular stuff listed on Etsy.   It’s going to be bigger than last year, so bring a big car if you go!   “Shop the Shed” specializes in French, Industrial, and Farmhouse goods.

Until next time, stay shabby!

The bravest flower of the year.