Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It's Not November Yet.... + Some Paint Trends

..... but it sure feels like it. 

Work on the book continues. I was away from the farm for a few days - writing and typing and trying to pull it all together. We got back to the farm and November has arrived a few days early. While I was away, most of the leaves blew off the trees. It is such a stark difference from the gorgeous color of last week. 

Here are a few photos of what it looks like here now. Still pretty, albeit a bit bleak. 

I planted some sunflowers very late and here are the mini-blooms. Sweet. Although we have had frost, anything close to the house has been hanging on. Until next year sunflowers......

We are expecting a hard frost tonight with the possibility of a dusting of snow tomorrow. Brrrrrrrrrr. 

Benjamin Moore released their "Color of the Year" along with a coordinating color pallette. 

How they came around to it.....

Here is the complete "2017 Color Palette" from Benjamin Moore. As you can see, they are still there with the pastels and whites but it is nice to see some more interesting rich and evocative colors being promoted.

I would have loved a job like the women featured in the second video - following color trends and developing a collection. Oh wait - I did that at one time -- but with yarn.

The dark shades looks a lot like Abigail Ahearn's Paint Line that she introduced a while ago. See that here. Hers are really deep and rich but I'm thinking most of America couldn't do them. 

Look at these dark and exotic wallpapers. Gorgeous.

Color trends go around and around. I think it is rather bold of Benjamin Moore to pump the dark shades. It will be interesting to see what the other paint companies say for 2017. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Last Flowers of 2016 + Botanical Inspiration - A New Book + Giveaway

We got frost a couple nights ago. My zinnias that have been blooming so bountifully are gone. 

The morning glories are gone too. 

The sunflowers have been over for a while. The birds and the squirrels have been fighting over the seeds. 

There are a few bits of flowers that didn't get frosted but flower season is pretty much over. Now it is the turn of the autumn leaves to fill our lives with color. 

Last week, I wandered around the garden as the sun was setting with my camera. The colors were so lush and rich. 

I couldn't get enough of these magenta colored Amaranth. The strands looked like wooly pom poms. Some of the blooms are over 36" long.

I looked up into the sky and the clouds were this gorgeous shade of peach and gray. Stunning. It didn't last long though. 

Here is the exterior of the newly re-done Garden Shed. I planted Morning Glories to grow up the railing in the front part of the porch and over the archway. They did just what I envisioned.  

The frost held off until after my photo shoot was over. That was so lucky.

You all know how much I love flowers. Really - is there anyone who doesn't? That's why I was curious about a new book called Botanical Style: Inspiration Decorating with Nature, Plants and Florals. It is written by British stylist Selina Lake and photographed by Rachel Whiting. Selina is no stranger to writing books - she has authored seven beautiful books on decorating and styling. She has a strong interest in DIY. (I have two of her other books - Homespun Style and Bazaar Style). Each book gives easy ideas for uncomplicated, easy to make projects. You would think she would run out of ideas by now but she keeps making books. I wonder what her next will be.  

Botanical Style is absolutely lovely. It is divided into 7 chapters: Botanical Inspirations, Vintage Botanicals, Boho Botanicals, Industrial Botanicals, Tropical Botanicals, and Natural Botanicals. 

The selection of textiles that she features is really great, including many vintage fabrics. Here are some of my favorite spreads from Botanical Style

This is a lush book - full of gorgeous photography. I can only imagine how fun it will be to look at in the middle of winter when I am dreaming of being outside and in my garden again. 

At the end of Botanical Style, Selina includes credits for each photo (most of them were taken in the UK and in Sweden), credits for suppliers of props, and a great source guide. 

Follow Selina on Instagram here

So here is what I have for one of you today..... your very own copy of Botanical Style supplied by the American publisher Ryland, Peters and Small. Here's how to enter....


Answer one of the following question(s) in the comments section of this post.

What is your favorite way to decorate with flowers? 
How do you keep flowers in your life when they aren't growing outside anymore? 
OR Tell me about your favorite flower.

Please leave an easy way to get a hold of you - email, blogger id, or Ravelry id. Contest ends Sunday October 16th at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Addresses only please. Good luck everyone! 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Made It Through.....

I've made it through the past couple weeks. It is beginning to look "fall-like". Our hill is beginning to turn from green to shades of gold and green. I fear it will not be the best leaf peeping season because of the drought. 

I had my last retreat of the 2016 season the last full weekend of September. It seems so long ago but it was only 2 weekends ago. I had a lovely group of knitters and we had a great time getting to know one another. I enjoyed sharing my love of color, steeking, and embroidering on knits. I was so distracted with things on my mind that I didn't take any photos except this one of the students projects in progress. 

Most of the past few weeks have been spent on getting ready for my first book photo shoot which was yesterday and Monday. I've been working like a mad woman, making things, painting and creating. It has been a whole lot of fun if not a tad bit stressful. Creating under pressure for sure. As I was working my way through my to do list, I kept thinking that if I didn't have the deadline, a lot of the work I was making would not have materialized. I am a deadline driven woman and thrive on them - even if I do exhaust myself eventually. 

As I work on a book, it is a real building process. Nothing happens overnight. I start out with raw concepts and then begin making things. Part of the process is also visualizing how and where the photos will be taken. I knew I would be working with the lovely and talented Rikki Snyder. I have such confidence in her abilities to make my designs look their best. She has a great Instagram feed here. 

Two of the larger projects in the upcoming book are "she-sheds". I have been sharing progress here on my blog over the past few months. This was their big moment. Besides all of the physical work on the two sheds, I also had to plan how they were going to look in photographs. That included planting flowers for optimum bloom time for the photoshoot. A week before, we were supposed to get frost. I couldn't sleep all night knowing that the morning glories and zinnias I was counting on to be in the photos might not be there in the morning. Luckily, we only got a light frost and the plants and flowers made it through. 

Here are few photos from the 2 days of the shoot. 

Flowers and vases awaiting their big moment

My friend Gail Callahan, aka The Kangaroo Dyer, joined us for Monday and was an amazing help. There is so much hauling and moving of things involved in a shoot - especially when you are working outside. It is really physical work and by the end of the day I am always plum exhausted. Thank you Gail. BTW - Gail has a new website. Check it out here.

Here are some pretty shots of the gorgeous sky and the morning glories that are planted in front of the newly decorated Garden Shed. 

On Day Two, Rikki and I were working outside on two different scenes. We headed down into the lower orchard with a cart full of props, projects, food and a ladder. The sheep looked so pretty grazing in front of the house.

We set up and did one product shot. Then we set up the next. Here is what happened next.....

There were the sheep and lambs trying to nibble on one of my projects. Then they decided to get closer to us and came through the gate to inspect the cart that was loaded with food for the picnic. I quickly realized that they smelled the bread and fruit and panicked. In a split second, they could have quickly made a royal mess out of all my projects, eaten all the food, and trampled the dishes and other props. I began waving my hands and yelling to scare them off. (I have past experience doing this.) It took a couple minutes but they realized they were not wanted and headed back up the hill into the main pasture. Thank goodness. We got very lucky.

We had to act fast and improvise two gates without string. Using the bread knife, I cut some broken electronet fencing that was sticking up out of the ground. We secured the pasture and spent the next couple hours creating a dream picnic scene. As Rikki was styling the food, we were chatting about how beautiful it was going to be in the photo. But we also both agreed that neither of us had the patience or the time to go frolicking in the orchard with real dishes, silverware, tablecloths, bread, cheese and fruit. We both thought it would be a great event to attend - as long as we didn't have to do the work. 

Here is Rikki making the fruit and cheese plate. She is both a great photographer and food stylist. Her work is frequently featured in the NY Times Food Section.

Here is the orchard setting.

I suppose book photo shoots are a lot of smoke and mirrors but they sure are fun to do. This book will not be out until 2018 which seems forever away but as Rikki says - it will be here before we know it. 

We have 2 more photo shoots scheduled. More chaos for sure. I've got to keep whipping out the projects. I expect posting here to be rather sparse in October. I hope you all will be able to get outside and enjoy autumn if it is a thing where you are living. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Busy Days and Autumn Arriving

This weekend is the last Creative Retreat of 2016 here at our Leyden Glen Farm. The subject is knitting and color and folks are coming from afar. Looking forward to spending two days with the women who are coming in and sharing my love of color, home, stitching and the handmade.

The other evening, after a long day of fabric printing, I rushed out to the garden to grab some zinnias. The light was so pretty - it was dusk and the zinnias glowed. All the plants are getting that almost done look to them. Even though it will be a bit sad to see it all go when frost hits, it has its own particular beauty. 

The sunflowers are pretty much done except for a couple of 110 days to bloom varieties - Sungold and Autumn Beauty. Here is a bouquet from last week. I love this combo of amaranth and sunflowers. 

I've been particularly busy trying to get through lists for projects for my new book. I've got to keep plowing through it all, crossing out the lines as they are completed. Some things haven't worked out as planned and some things are better than I envisioned. That's the fun part of the creative process even if disappointing at times. I always learn something for sure.

Here is a block print design I did today. I like the combination of green and brown. What do you think? 

I made this the other night with my glut of Sungold Tomatoes. It was good the first night but better the second when I added a handful of greens. Super simple and fast supper. 

I've had an excellent tomato harvest this year. I almost didn't plant any and then a farmer at the market talked me into some plants she had on sale for $1.00 each. I decided to risk the space and see what happened. You see, there has been a nasty tomato blight for the past 4 years and I harvested nary a tomato. But this year - oh my! The dry weather has been fantastic for tomato production. Sauce, salsa, soups, and lots of tomato based dinners. I'm especially loving tomatoes with eggs since my hens have been producing like crazy. It was an excellent investment of $7.00! 

If you are a fan of Suzani embroidered fabric, check out this blog. What eye candy! Gorgeous.

Enjoy the season as it begins to change everyone! Tomorrow is the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Creeping In

I can feel it. Autumn is creeping in. The days have noticeably shortenend. The sun is lower in the sky. When I turn the corner onto our road, the sun glares and I am blinded. I hope noone else is coming around the corner because there is no way to see. 

The colors are changing. They are getting darker and more mossy toned. In the garden, the zinnias are putting on a massive show. Rows of colorful blooms. I gather them in my wire basket, strip the leaves and fill my vases in the kitchen. I spread the vases around the house and think about what winter will be like without their bright cheerful colors. 

The amaranth varieties I planted are more like small shrubs. Crazy, spiky, falling over branches filled with miniature seed pods. The blooms almost look like spiky coral you might find under the sea. They flop over and then grow again. It is such a miraculous site. 

The cosmos are starting to struggle after putting out blossom after blossom since July. I regularly deadheaded them to help the blooms persist but then became overwhelmed with all the other gorgeousness and let them go. Now they are producing seeds.

Every autumn, I am amazed by the crazy bounty that keeps growing and growing as the days shorten. It is as if the plants know that winter is coming and they must produce in order to make it through to the next year. I wade through the thick stems, trying not to smush any of them so they can keep growing. I know that it will all be gone soon. Until next year. Just thinking about it makes me want to stay outside for hours. But I can't because I have other pressing things to do. 

I have discovered a new book called Autumn: An Anthology for the Seasons put out by The (British) Wildlife Trust. Looks like a perfect read for this time of year. You can find a couple of excerpts on-line here and here

Have a great weekend everyone. I have a knitting retreat coming up next weekend here at the farm. Fall festivals are beginning around here and there are so many that it is difficult to decide which to go to. Enjoy the photos, the changing weather and cooler temperatures.